Senior Capstone

student-capstone-photography

“Growth into Focus,” Tom Greany ’22

If you have a passionate interest in a particular subject, have proven yourself engaged and self-motivated, and are reliable with deadlines, you will have the opportunity to apply for a year of independent study under the guidance of a faculty mentor through Commonwealth's Senior Capstone program.

Over the course of senior year, you meet weekly with your mentor and with the group of Capstone scholars. At scheduled intervals, you submit progress reports and discuss further research with your mentor and department. Finished projects will vary, of course, according to each year’s chosen topics, but by spring, all seniors in the program produce a substantial piece of writing and have the exciting chance to present their year’s labor and discoveries to the entire school. Applications to the Capstone Program are due in spring of junior year; accepted applicants will begin research and correspond with mentors during the summer.

Senior Capstone Projects (2014 to Present)

20192020

  • Ella Markianos '20 explored gender, sociolinguistics, and digital humanities within the Internet subculture of emo music in the late '90s and early 2000s, by analyzing data from archived music message boards and comparing word frequencies and stylistic variations among the genders.
  • Nathan Le '20 wrote a collection of stories about the life of his parents and extended family, who came to America as refugees from South Vietnam after the Vietnam War.
  • Jocelyn Olum '20 wrote a collection of short fictional stories. She explored the everyday life as a lens through which to tell compelling stories that capture the grand themes of life within the ordinary, mundane moments.

20182019

  • Sophia Weil '19 and Lizzie McGarry '19 worked together on a scientific review article regarding HPV, aided by former biology teacher Sam Burke.
  • Aly Yanishevsky '19 wrote a short story collection titled "Melted." Selections from the collection won Scholastic Awards (Honorable Mention in Writing Portfolio, two Silver Keys in Poetry and Short Story, and a Gold Key in Short Story.).

20172018

  • Josh Bernardo '18 built a robot to navigate the school.
  • Jason Vanger '18 wrote a scholarly essay on Wittgenstein.
  • Alex Dalton '18 wrote an essay on dystopian literature. 

20162017

  • Shoshana Boardman '17 wrote an essay on the role of demons in the ancient traditions of Judaism, Zoroastrianism, and Christianity.

20152016

  • Gueinah Blaise '16 created a performance in which song and storytelling interwove, with three female characters on stage voicing Blaise’s own young Haitian-American perspective alongside that of her mother and her grandmother, played by Halima Blackman ’17 and Calliope Pina-Parker ’16 at the school assembly.
  • Julia Curl '16 wrote an academic paper on the work of Russian Constructivist artist Alexander Rodchenko.
  • Cole Granof '16 designed a video game.

20142015

  • Rachel Tils '15 wrote and performed a one-act, one-woman show titled "The Breach." The project had its roots in Tils’ junior year U.S. History research paper, for which she’d read early 19th century women’s magazines as well as diaries and journals as she pursued the question of how post-Civil War women were taught to be women, and how they responded to this teaching.
  • Ian Polakiewicz '15 explored the concept of the eternal return in Nietzsche.
  • Mehitabel Glenhaber '15 wrote and drew a comic about the anti-comics movement of the 1950's.