Students graduating from high school in 2020 had many new experiences and, for Kwalikum Secondary School (KSS) grads, one of those experiences was the Capstone project. Capstone is a program designed to showcase the comprehensive skills of graduating students. Each student delivers a major project using all the skills and experience gained during their years of schooling.
Capstone projects can be on virtually any subject and discipline – languages, science, the arts, technology, social studies, mathematics… Ideally, a student’s Capstone project reflects the student’s personal interests. It can take the form of a project, as in an engineering project or an art project, or a presentation of a topical issue or a performance piece. There are no limits, other than the student’s imagination.
KSS teachers guide their students through the stages of designing and preparing their Capstone project. Ella Yarham, one of KSS’ Class of 2020, was recently given permission to complete her Capstone project, a large mural. Ella’s mural is intended to encourage future students to use a “growth mindset” to develop their self-confidence. This could be something like “getting a not-great test mark, but learning from that, and getting better marks,” says Ella. She started the mural before Spring Break which, Ella says, “seems like a long time ago now.”
Capstone projects are typically intended to be a culmination of a student’s schooling. Students are encouraged to apply their multi-curricular knowledge, critical thinking skills and life experience to their projects. “Completion of a Capstone project is a mandatory requirement for graduation,” says KSS Principal, Ms. Lori Marshall.
Ella’s mural is entitled “Success is like an iceberg.” The mural displays words that she believes are reflective of her high school experience, but also reflective of what others may not realize that students are going through. “My mural expresses words, below the waterline that people cannot see. The words above the iceberg are what people see.”
The word “PERSEVERANCE” will soon be colored in on the mural to give it the weight and impact that Ella believes it has in determining a student’s future success. Ella is hoping that her mural will be on display next year in the upstairs hallway of KSS’ north wing. The School District web site has an apt congratulatory message on it for Class 2020, one which resonates in Ella Yarham’s mural: “What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us.”