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The student news site of New Trier High School

New Trier News

The student news site of New Trier High School

New Trier News

Seniors take on passion projects in fourth quarter

With the end of the school year approaching quicker than ever, inspired seniors are exploring their interests that go beyond traditional classroom material
An example of a poster from 2023 in which seniors showcase their dedicated works during Senior Project at an exhibition during the school day. This year, the exhibition is May 23.

Senior Project is a unique opportunity for seniors to explore their passions and possible fields of study for the future. The project this year runs from Monday, April 22, to Friday, May 17. This year, students are taking their interests to a whole new level. 

Seniors who participate in this optional project are excused from their classes, except for Advanced Placement classes, Project Lead The Way Classes, Dance Lab I and II, and certain performing arts courses. Their work with the senior project is to be completed in place of school. 

For a student to engage in this opportunity, they must have demonstrated responsible social and academic behavior throughout the school year, maintained passing grades, and had an attendance rate of 90% or more in all classes and advisery for the second semester.  

Each student must find a Community Sponsor, who is an expert in the field associated with the seniors’ senior project. The students also have New Trier High School mentors; their Community Sponsor and New Trier mentor will give the students feedback and help during their meetings with the students. Additionally, a junior is paired with either one or two seniors to provide feedback on the progress. This gives these juniors a chance at a leadership role and an opportunity to learn more about senior projects before their senior year.

Room 312 is a special place for the juniors involved in senior projects, where they will utilize this room to access daily logs and grade the seniors’ documents (Nesbitt)

Junior Isabel Smith, who is grading Gabby Esteve and Riley Gardiner’s senior projects, is excited to complete the process. 

“I like being able to see what all the seniors are doing, and all of the opportunities that you have at New Trier. There’s someone doing skateboarding, snowboarding, and cooking. There’s a lot of fun things you get to see,” Smith says.  

One student participating in this opportunity is senior Emma Atou, who is going to be shadowing at North Shore Dental Group located in Park Ridge.

“I have been shadowing there prior for six months, but now I am going to be able to do it more full time,” Atou says. 

Atou is set to study dentistry at Creighton University in the fall and is excited to be able to get a glimpse into this possible profession.

Although seniors are excused from attending school and the majority of their classes, this project is not an escape from work. Seniors are still required to submit assignments and show evidence of their work.

Gardiner and Esteve are creating an original musical album that has six songs for their senior projects. Gardiner will work on the majority of the vocals, while Esteve will write lyrics and compose melodies on the piano. 

“Each Monday, we complete a weekly planning sheet to hold ourselves accountable for our weekly responsibilities. Each day we complete a daily log and at the end of each week, we complete a weekly reflection and weekly timesheet,” Gardiner says.  

Kinetic Wellness teacher Andy Horne is their New Trier mentor, and producer Chris Karabas is their community sponsor.

We’ve always felt inclined to create original music, and the senior project has given us time to do it

Riley Gardiner

Gardiner and Esteve, with the support of Horne and Karabas, are making sure that they stay up-to-date with their requirements and goals for the project.

“Songwriting is an extremely time-consuming process, but we are super determined to get as much of it done by the end of the project,” Gardiner said.

Gardiner and Esteve will both continue to work in the music industry at the University of Colorado Boulder in the fall. Esteve is going to study talent management, and Gardiner will pursue musical theater. 

“We’ve always felt inclined to create original music, and the senior project has given us time to do it,” Gardiner said.

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