As every senior at Baldwin Park High School knows, and dreads, the senior project is an inevitable process. This project consists of a research paper and a PowerPoint, which would then be presented to a board of judges. Time-consuming and stress-inducing, the senior project is incredibly important because, if you don’t pass, you don’t graduate.
For more than 10 years, the senior project has plagued seniors of BPHS with a ton of nerves. Due to this, several seniors have expressed their complaints and have even proposed the idea of not participating in the senior project. After all, BPHS seniors proclaim, why does the BPUSD district have to have a senior project when the CVUSD district, a district that is right next to Baldwin Park, doesn’t?
Though seniors are given a mentor to help them with the progression of their senior projects, many seniors still feel like the project is too much and not worth all the trouble. Jasmin Raygoza, a BPHS senior this year, states, “I kind of hate it [the senior project] because of how it’s a long process.” Which is a true statement, as the senior project does begin with a research paper draft in September, a final draft in November, a PowerPoint in March and, finally, the oral board presentation in May.
Salvador Olmos, another current senior at BPHS, vocalizes that, “It [the senior project] is wack. I don’t see a point to it. It’s pointless and I don’t understand what it proves. Why does the world feel like a paper means everything? I’m smarter than what my grades say.”
In contrast to what seniors have been expressing about the senior project, BPHS teachers have their own opinions. Ms. Cash, the anatomy and sports medicine teacher, has conveyed that the senior project does need improvement. Why? Ms. Cash believes that a paper and a PowerPoint is not challenging to a student because of how they have been doing it for most of their high school careers. She also states that the senior project is stretched over too long of a period, and feels that it would be more beneficial for the students if the project were to be compressed to a 3 month timeframe.
Mr. Valbuena, the pre-calculus and statistics teacher, has expressed his own opinion of the senior project. He stated that, “I actually kind of like it, but I would change certain things about it (“voluntary as far as mentors”) because I want to make sure that when we graduate, people actually know how to put all their research together because, basically, that’s what you do in college.”
In response to the complaints of seniors, Mr. Valbuena responds that, “Realistically you’re talking about seven minutes out of your life and if you can’t speak on a subject that you’ve researched for six months then something is totally wrong and you shouldn’t graduate… If we modeled why we do it and what is expected of it, students would be able to understand the benefit of it if you’re going to the next level [college].”