News
News Home
Quick Bites
Exploradio
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
NPR
nowplaying
On AirNewsClassical
Loading...
  
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

Knight Foundation

Akron Children's Hospital

Wayside Furniture


For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )


Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us
Education


Senior projects take students well beyond standardized tests
At tiny Federal Hocking in southeast Ohio, the projects count hugely toward graduation
by WKSU's STATEHOUSE BUREAU CHIEF KAREN KASLER


Reporter
Karen Kasler
 
At Federal Hocking High School, senior projects are a key to graduation.
Courtesy of KAREN KASLER
Download (WKSU Only)
In The Region:

These are the final days of the school year, and for most students, that means final exams and big papers. But Ohio Public Radio’s Karen Kasler found one tiny rural school district that goes beyond testing and written reports in helping students get ready for life after high school.

LISTEN: A different path to graduation

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (4:25)


LISTEN: A different path to graduation, abbreviated

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (3:22)


It’s an annual tradition at Federal Hocking High School in Athens County – senior project night. That’s why vehicles are parked on the school’s lawn, including a race car and a big John Deere tractor by the front door. 

In the school’s main hallway, tables show off other projects – photography, a computer game, a series of videos on how to survive in the wilderness. 
And in the gym, still more:  a doghouse, hand-woven baskets, a football officiating certification.

It’s senior project time
This is the 14th year for the Federal Hocking senior project. It’s a requirement for the 35 kids who will graduate this year. They all have had to come up with an idea, research it, design a plan to make it happen, develop a budget and find some help outside the school. 

They have to defend their idea to faculty before they do it, and then describe how they did it once it’s done. Then they show off their projects to the community with multi-media presentations featuring photos, video and props. The requirement is to spend a hundred hours on it, but many far exceed that.

Animals, old books and fishing holes
Sarah Keirns from Athens spent a year and a half volunteering and raising money for an animal rescue. 

“One of my fundraisers was a yard sale. … My goal was a thousand dollars and I made $1,834. So that’s pretty good.”

Taylor Martin of Stewart started looking for dozens of old books, documents and pictures of the history of the area back in October. 
“A lot of my relatives had, picked up at auctions or just had them, but usually it was just I picked it up from people in the community.”

Cliff Bonner changed a hole on his family’s property into a lined fishing pond. 
“A lot of kids like to really take their time and really do really good jobs and put a lot of time into it, and other kids aren’t as into it and won’t do as extreme projects. But everyone turns out with something really good. That’s why these project nights are really cool.”

Skills learned and applied as well as displayed
The kids have challenges, such as Abbey Deepler of Guysville, who created a quilt. 

“Well, I had to learn how to sew first.”

Chris Lipps of Hockingport restored a 1987 F-150. 
“I had to buy a new cab and a new bed since it was too rusted out to fix. Then I had to rebuild the motor and the transmission because they were bad.”

Laken Clark of Amesville built a round horse pen with huge wooden posts. 
“That was hard by itself. Our post-hole digger broke, so we had to do it by hand.”

But school officials say the kids always get their projects done – sometimes at the last minute, and sometimes with teacher help. Some say this experience will help them with their post-high school plans, while others are just clearly proud of what they’ve done.

‘Doing something with my hands’
Willie Marks from Coolville designed and built a futon of wood from trees he cut down, and got a Best in Show. 

“I’ve never been that great of a student, honestly. I can’t stand sitting in class all day, trying to pay attention. I’d much rather be doing something with my hands. 

“So this worked for you? You got Best in Show.” 

“That was quite a surprise. I thought, I mean I knew it was a good project, but I didn’t know it was Best-in-Show kind of quality.”

A showcase
The driving force behind the senior project idea is Federal Hocking Superintendent George Wood. He says this night showcasing these projects is his second favorite event of the year, just behind graduation. 

“Every one of these kids are going to be our neighbors. They’re going to pay taxes. They’re going to make decisions about what goes on in our community. They better be able to do this kind of work. And I’m pretty confident our kids can.”

The senior project idea had been part of Gov. Ted Strickland’s education reform package, which was abandoned when Gov. John Kasich defeated him in 2010. A spokesman for the Ohio Department of Education says it supports project-based learning that makes education relevant to students, but there’s no policy or legislation that would require students to complete senior projects like these.

 

Add Your Comment
Name:

Location:

E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Comments:




 
Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook




Stories with Recent Comments

Exploradio: Improving the lives of paralyzed people
God bless you doctor. I hope to be alive the day that humans, like me, can use the results of your search...

Nature and nourishment down by the river at the Metroparks' Merwin's Wharf
I love QUICKBITES! I look forward to it every week. One question: is it possible to include a link to the restaurant or store that you profile? Thanks!

Canton's proposed Timken-McKinley school merger is drawing spirited debate
From a sports opinion Varsity would have a lot more talent to choose from So Im sure varsity sports would improve.Also Timkens name would be much more published...

Canton school board will decide whether to merge high schools
I really hope we can save those jobs, usually we try to cut budgets but the demand is still the same. Then we look bad a year or two after the descion is made. ...

FirstEnergy wants PUCO guarantees on nuclear and coal prices
Would just comment that the plant has admitted the following (as reporting in the Akron Beacon Journal): "The utility has said it may have difficulty keeping t...

Mozzarella's easy when you have a way with curd
Hello, Where can I get such a heater that you have? Does it hold temperature that you set? What brand and model is it? Thank you in advance!! :)

Pluto: A healthy LeBron James is the key for the rocky Cavs
It's time to back our Cleveland professional teams through thick and thin. I've seen management, players and coaches come and go and it hasn't changed a thing. ...

Legal marijuana group offers new details about ballot issue
Americans feel as if they should have the right to decide on their own if and when it is or is not a responsible time to have a drink or smoke a joint. The fac...

The PUCO is assessing what happened in Akron's AT&T outage
not the first time for that steam pipe break... happened in the late 70's when the office was being converted to electronic switch ESS.. was a big mess then but...

The freeze of green-energy standards hurts Ohio wind and solar industries
What do we do at night and when the wind isn't blowing? Where does the power come from to back-up these renewable sources?

Copyright © 2015 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

 
In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University