In the 2022-2023 school year, we started a new 8th grade tradition at The Franciscan School: The Capstone Project.
In the final year of middle school, our 8th-grade students embark on a transformative journey of self-discovery and academic exploration through their Capstone Project. This culminating endeavor serves as a bridge between their middle school experience and the exciting challenges that await them in high school.
The purpose of the 8th-grade Capstone Project is twofold: to cultivate critical thinking and problem-solving skills while fostering a deep sense of curiosity and passion. By selecting a topic of personal significance, students dive headfirst into research, analysis, and creativity. They are encouraged to think beyond the confines of textbooks and worksheets, seeking real-world applications for their knowledge.
Through this project, students learn to navigate the complexities of a long-term undertaking, from conducting extensive research and organizing their findings to developing persuasive arguments and honing their presentation skills. In doing so, they not only deepen their understanding of their chosen subject, but also develop crucial skills that will serve them well in high school and beyond.
Moreover, the Capstone Project provides students with an opportunity to demonstrate their unique talents and interests, allowing their individual voices to shine. Whether it's investigating environmental issues, exploring historical events, delving into scientific mysteries, or tackling societal challenges, this project empowers students to become confident, capable, and compassionate learners.
In essence, the 8th-grade Capstone Project is a rite of passage that prepares our students for the future, equipping them with the skills, knowledge, and self-assurance they need to excel in high school and beyond. It encourages them to embrace their passions, think critically, and make a meaningful impact on their community, setting the stage for a lifetime of intellectual growth and achievement.
“Our inaugural batch of students did a remarkable job tapping into their passions and hobbies to produce amazing finished products,” shares Kristen Dellasaga. Some of those products were creating new soles of shoes for peak athletic performance, creating a portal for students to gain access to mental health services and research, and taking on the artistic styles of the masters of the Renaissance with modern day supplies. Patsy Thieken says, “Overall, we were happy about the enthusiasm that most students showed for their topics and how they embraced the project.”
This year, the 8th grade team aims to make the capstone project an even better experience for our 8th grade students. We will provide them with a teacher mentor for the duration of their project and give them a guide that will move them from generating an idea to the final oral presentation. Dellasaga shares, “We look forward to seeing the students' creativity, critical thinking, and passions ignite in this project.”