Too Many Great Capstones End Too Quickly at EHHS

In EHHS, Capstone is where our second-semester juniors and seniors can showcase the skills they acquired through their K-12 academic career by creating a project of their choosing. Many of the projects have a big impact on the school’s community but they never seem to last after the semester ends.

Capstone is a graduation requirement that gives you the chance to create something unique for your school. This past fall, there were around 100 capstone projects completed, and according to EHHS librarian and Capstone team leader, Mrs. Juliet Goraieb, there have only been seven or eight sustained projects from the fall.

One of the most sustainable projects has been the spirit rock. The school spirit rock has been part of EHHS for a few years now, and it represents our community as a whole. The capstone was originally created by Jessica Stettinger, who is a former EHHS student, and it was continued this past fall by EHHS senior, Tatum Punzo, to improve our school’s climate. Tatum’s project brought pride and spirit to our school, she said, “The plan was that after my capstone semester was over, then it [the spirit rock]would go to the Hive, so right now it's the Hive’s.” Under the guidance of Tatum, the rock was being changed every month in the first semester to make it more creative. However, this semester it hasn’t been updated at all and still displays “Happy Holidays” with a Christmas tree. Tatum was successful in keeping the spirit rock sustainable, but it hasn’t been updated by the Hive since December.

Students in EHHS have completed many creative projects to spread school spirit, school pride, and positivity in our environment, such as the school store capstone: The Buzz Stop. The school store ran last year from January to June under the management of Mrs. Goraieb, Mrs. Carangelo, and ten students in the Business Capstone class. Each member had their own important role in the school store, such as advertising the store, maintaining items affordable for students, designing new clothing logos, etc. The school store brought pride to our school with affordable items, such as hoodies, t-shirts, hats, keychains, stickers, and food but it only lasted that one semester even though their project was successful and their merchandise was selling nonstop. According to one of the members of the project, Manuela Carvalho, “It wasn’t supposed to last for only a semester, it was supposed to last indefinitely.” The school store was a successful group project that ended too quickly and was never continued like most of the other great projects. It did not continue, because the class ended and no one else took on that responsibility of continuing.

Keeping projects sustainable in EHHS has been a struggle. Mrs. Goraieb mentioned, “A capstone doesn’t have to be impactful but if you're creating a project meant to be impactful then it’s the student's responsibility to meet with adults to make sure that it is sustainable, this is something that is struggling in Capstone.” The impact of a capstone in EHHS has not been sustainable, and therefore, are we losing the impact of these great ideas.

Creating a sustainable project could be a challenge but if you want to create something impactful in EHHS than it's your responsibility to come up with a viable plan, meet with teachers and administrators and advertising your project to keep it ongoing. Mrs. Goraieb said, “In order for the capstone to be impactful they need to be sustainable.” Most of the projects end after a semester, therefore, losing the purpose of their project and only some remain sustainable but if your goal is to impact your peers in your community then you should try to make an effort on keeping your project ongoing.