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Staying on track with Senior Project

March 11, 2011 Leave a comment

By Rebecca Gigi

As the start of second semester rolls around, many seniors are feeling the pressure when it comes to beginning their Senior Projects. Senior Project is a “community minded learning experience designed to stretch a student personally, socially, and intellectually, and challenge them in a way they haven’t been challenged before.”

With all the deadlines for important documents needed to complete the project, seniors may feel the stress in trying to keep up with it all.

“Trying to get the paperwork signed can be very difficult because there are a lot of papers to keep track of and tryin to get a hold of mentors by the specific dates,” senior Amanda Cotla said.

As of right now, seniors should have their topic selected with their teacher’s approval, the Mentor Agreement form, Parent Permission Letter, and Plagiarism form signed as well as having their Proposal Letter and first draft of their paper completed. The total of 30 hours (15 with a mentor and 15 doing community service related to their topic) should be well on their way.

Teachers suggest that whenever students have the slightest question, one should ask immediately to avoid leaving out any details or paper work needed in the future.

Newly introduced this year to students was the need to create a blog online to record their experiences while working with their mentor and community service. The blog will be a part of the portfolio that contains everything students should have recorded during their project that both teachers and panelists will be looking at during presentations in June.

Overall, students need to remember that Senior Project is helping them prepare for life after high school and it’s challenges, as well as helping with communication skills, finding jobs, etc.

“I feel like it’s a good project to help students become more independent when they leave high school and are on their own,” Cotla said.

 

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The expense of Senior Ball

March 11, 2011 Leave a comment

By Marivic Victoria

On May 1, 2011 the Senior Class will be holding their Senior Ball at the Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. Due to the cost of such a high class venue, the Senior Class is still in need of fundraising to pay for the event.

The cost of holding Senior Ball at the Academy of Sciences is approximately $40,000. To raise the funds, the Senior Officers have put on fundraisers throughout the year in order to reduce bid expenses. “Senior sweaters and homecoming t-shirt sales brought in majority of the profit,” Senior Class President Charlene De Castro said. Another large sum has come from snack boxes and selling food and drinks like nachos and Eggettes after school.

To date, the Senior Class has been able to raise most of the money but still has around $2000 left. “Of course we’re trying to exceed that goal so bids will be even cheaper, but that’s only possible with some help from our class,” Senior Class Secretary Matthew Tan said.

To meet the May deadline, the senior officers have set up a few more fundraisers in order to reduce bid prices, such as the annual Rent-A-Senior on held on February 16. Students had the opportunity to bid on seniors who put themselves up for auction with the proceeds directly to that senior’s ball bid.

Seniors have also sold different types of deserts from Gateway Company in the hopes of paying off the last of the expenses. There are delicate delights such as Moca Cake, Lava-Licious Hot Fudge Cakes, and Brown Poppers.

Tan felt strongly in “doing it big” for the Senior Class and that they deserve that much.

Another fundraiser being held will be a Bingo Night on March 29 in El Camino’s cafeteria. Each ticket will be $40 and only for eighteen year olds and up. Each sold ticket from a senior will knock off $15 from their ball bid.

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Step by step: Completing senior project

March 11, 2011 Leave a comment

By Katrina Nolasco

It’s interesting to see the mixed feelings every senior has about starting their senior project. I mean, sure, it IS a big deal. It is, after all, the determinant of whether or not you get to graduate high school, but I never saw it as a huge problem.. I wasn’t particularly nervous about this project until everyone around me began freaking out about the whole thing. The following is a log that I’ve kept, recording my experiences and challenges I’ve faced while keeping up with this project:

January 17, 2011

Just thinking about a good senior project theme that both interests me and is deemed appropriate under the new rules and regulations is difficult enough. As of now, making the first deadline seems out of the question. Less than four days to find a project theme, mentor and some sort of non-profit volunteer site is beyond ridiculous. How am I supposed to focus on finding people that have expertise in a specific field that I haven’t even come up with yet while simultaneously balancing homework and work for the next four days? In some ways, I think teachers tend to overestimate the time AP students have. We can’t juggle everything at once. Then again, I’m going to try anyway – I have no choice.

January 18, 2011

To me, the most difficult part of this entire project is actually finding the tools necessary to get started. When one is on a time budget, the pressure to succeed with flying colors increases. Nonetheless, I can’t let my motivated brain fail me now.

Step 1: Find a project theme

The seniors of 2011 have had to deal with new restrictions regarding picking a project theme. We gripe and complain for a good 24 hours about how cooking and job-shadowing have been scratched off the list, then get over it and move on. When one looks at the big picture, one will see that there’s still a broad list of themes to choose from that doesn’t involve “food preparation”, “police-ride-alongs” and “bring-your-kid-to-work-day”. Upon reading the official handbook a few times, a good, feasible, seemingly worth-while idea came to mind. This may be a stretch, but stay with me here. There’s no specific name for this, so I’ll just throw it out there and see what everyone makes of it:

For my spectacular senior project, I’ve chosen to do charity work. But, wait! There’s more. While working at various volunteering sites, I’ve decided to record my experiences and post them up on the internet. My main goal here is to prove to the world that the internet is a valid resource for spreading information that has a positive effect on society. I really hope to inspire the web community to follow my example and perform their own acts of service and selflessness. How I’ll be able to find someone that has at least a tiny bit of expertise in this particular field is beyond me. All I know is that I have less than two days to do it!

January 19, 2011

Things are finally falling into place. I got off my lazy butt and finally began researching. Ironically, the one piece of advice the seniors of 2010 gave me was “Don’t procrastinate on your senior project!” Well, look at me now!

Step 2: Find a project mentor

In my opinion, this is probably the most stressful part of the entire project. Hours of research on the internet and playing phone-tag with local businesses is something one wouldn’t usually enjoy doing with their time. At one point, I was honestly ready to just give up. But, I finally found salvation the minute I logged into my e-mail account and saw that I had one new message from Facebook. At first, I was ready to delete it, thinking it was just spam, but I glanced at it again and saw that it was a message from my cousin’s friend. My heart jumped and I was cheering loudly in my mind. I read through the entire message and was excited to see that he had agreed to be my project mentor. I had this great urge to…

All I need to do is get my mentor agreement form signed and I’ll be on my way to starting senior project.

February 2, 2011

Organization is really one of the key factors of being successful with this project. It won’t do anyone any good if you lose a signed contract or spill coffee all over a research paper draft. A tip that I strongly suggest everyone follows concerning this project is to keep all of your things neat and tidy. That way you won’t have to worry about losing any important documents. I know that, personally, organization and tidiness isn’t exactly one of my strong suits. I’m so happy that my teacher provided us with a little “senior project file” in her classroom. Now all I have to do is pull up my folder if I need to find something. This makes things so much easier. I really didn’t want to carry around piles and piles of lose paper anyway. Thank God for “neat and tidy” Ms. Panosian!

February 11, 2011

Receiving any messages from my project mentor makes me really glad. Checking my e-mail to see that I have one new message from him just shows me that I’m making progress on this tedious project. Though, thinking about it now, work isn’t necessarily “tedious” if you have fun doing it. I mean, I honestly thought that going into this senior project would almost be like hell, but, actually sitting down and being productive about it actually makes me happy. Truthfully, that’s a big tip for anything. Being productive will make any person happy, regardless of what they’re doing. Now, as far as senior project goes, it also helps to choose a topic that you can be excited about. I’m meeting my mentor for my 1st mentoring session in a few days. FINALLY!

February 14, 2011

I met up with John today. We didn’t really do anything too productive for my senior project. Today was, I suppose, a sort of “introduction” day. He wanted me to grow comfortable with walking around his company building and introduce myself to some of his friends/workmates. I learned today that working for a successful internet company has its perks! We started the day by taking a tour around his office. I was fortunate enough to get a good feel around the office. I thought it was amusing – most of the employees there seemed like total “nerds”. There were life-sized lego statues and a lot of people walking around with thin-rimmed glasses. I felt like I was surrounded by a bunch of geeks with pocket protectors and silly novelty ties – my mentor included. What I loved most about visiting John’s workplace was that face that people there seemed so comfortable with being themselves. It was really refreshing. At the end of the day, I was really happy with my choice of project mentors.

February 20, 2011

Like I established before, my project theme is very unique, in my opinion. Coming up with a volunteer site relevant to my project seemed quite difficult. Luckily, I found my way around the subject. I came to my teacher ahead of time with this proposition – since my project is about spreading good things through the internet, I thought that maybe I could just do that. So, I got it approved. For my community service hours, I’ll be joining a non-profit organization and making videos about my experiences at the site and the benefits of volunteerism as well as environmentalism (I’ll be working at a very pro-earth organization). I really cannot wait to get started. All of this seems so over-whelming, yet I’m having the greatest time!

February 25, 2011

I’ve learned quite a bit from my project mentor. I was able to speak to him over Skype and interview him for a few minutes. I’ve basically learned about the foundation of his company, what his job is about, and any other basic knowledge that he has about internet sharing. After this quick interview, I thought for a long time about what to do for the research paper. At first, I was a little nervous about starting this paper. I looked over some sample papers (i.e. Lauren Eberle) and they seemed really long and thought through. But, then I thought about it again, and read over the papers a second time. I had realized that these papers were pretty much just retained information! There really isn’t that much effort put into these papers except looking up the information, retaining the information, and spitting it all out in your own words across 6 pages of paper. Pretty simple, yet pretty tedious. Though I’m not looking forward to sitting down and doing research for hours and hours, I’m not worried about the paper either. Plus, with a project like mine, it shouldn’t be too hard to find something to write about.

It may seem scary at first, but the senior project really isn’t something any senior should be nervous about. Through my experiences explained above, it’s easy to see that it really takes to have a successful project is a lot of dedication. If you focus, follow instructions carefully and NEVER procrastinate, you’ll be able to push through this with flying colors.  

Senior Ball: Con

March 11, 2011 Leave a comment

By RJ Refuerzo

The key word: expectations. All year, we idealize this night to impossible proportions, tragically becoming victims of our own imagination. As a result, this year’s event is struggling to even begin to satisfy the expectations with its limited budget. All year, fundraisers have been planned and events scheduled, yet the lack of interest has defeated all efforts. I know I speak for them when I say how frustrating it is for so many people to expect so much while doing so little.

El Camino is a campus of tradition, which in this case is a fancy way of saying “we have to buy in, or else people will think we don’t care about El Camino’s history.” This creates tension between classmates, promoting competition to impress onlookers. And the costs! This year senior not only have to pay only for excessively pricy Ball Bids, but for attire, transportation, and everything tied to finding a date as well?

Thoughts of Senior Project, AP Exams, and finals inhibiting your ability to find your dream date? The easy fix is to not go! Ball’s notorious for breaking hearts, but no one ever talks about the shattered friendships over the night’s expectations, because what’s fun for one simply isn’t for others. Don’t bother with the ludicrous financial, emotional and psychological risks. People are best off having a blast with their companions elsewhere. The rest of the world is waiting to be owned.

The impossible expectations, outrageous costs, and physical and psychological stress make for a recipe of disappointment. All things considered, a ridiculous sum of money is dropped on FIVE HOURS, and even if someone can somehow shovel that guilt to the back of their mind the entire night, one still needs to contend with all of the drama. Besides its attendees, the only thing feeling more empty inside during Ball will be your wallet.