The Senior Capstone is a cross curricular, inquiry-based research project that was first introduced as part of a pilot during the 2012-13 school year. Students are challenged to apply all the lessons of their four-year Catholic educational experience by actualizing the traditions of our school’s two founding orders, the Marianists and the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. All projects connect back to Catholic Social Teaching.
Seniors work in groups of two, three or four for an entire year to complete four phases of the Capstone. The third phase requires students to present their research and findings at the school's Stang Symposium.
Approximately 40 different projects are covered with topics from sanctity of life and homelessness to self-image, fair trade, environmentalism, poverty and more.
By the end of the year, students will:
- Explore and research a social justice issue through the lens of Catholic Social Teaching.
- Investigate the various ways to impact their chosen issue.
- Design and implement a project which manifests itself in a specific product or action.
- Understand the principles of servant leadership and how it applies to their life as Catholics.
- Present their findings in a public forum.
- Write a reflection applying the dispositions of the Profile of a CJ Graduate and how it connects to their Capstone experience.
There are four phases of the Capstone project that are to be completed over both semesters. Throughout the year, students receive quarterly assessments indicating their progress. The Capstone is a pass/fail graduation requirement for all students.
Phase One: Formal Proposal - Hearts as Wide as the World
- Each group submits a proposal which details the focus of their inquiry on a social justice issue and how the issue aligns with Catholic Social Teaching.
Phase Two: Research & Discovery
- Partners or groups submit an 8-10 source annotated bibliography.
Phase Three: Project Design, Implementation & Presentation
- A formal project is designed and implemented. Partners and groups must present their findings at the spring Stang Symposium.
Phase Four: Reflection
- Seniors write a reflection essay about their Capstone experience.
Each group is responsible for selecting an adult project mentor. These individuals serve as advisers by assisting students with the selection of a feasible project, suggesting resources for research, and helping develop and implement the project. Mentors are passionate about social justice, familiar with the group's interests, and knowledgeable about Catholic Social Teaching. They encourage students to meet deadlines and do their best work.
If you are interested in serving as a mentor, please email Molly Bardine, Capstone coordinator.
Many groups created an online component (such as a Web site or video) to house and display information related to their Senior Capstone projects. Below you will find links to these resources.