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Caitlin Crawford column: Senior project can open door to opportunity

By Caitlin Crawford
for the Salisbury Post
The Rowan-Salisbury School System is requiring seniors to complete a graduation project before allowing them to walk across the stage to receive a diploma.
The project includes an eight- to 10-page paper researching the student’s chosen topic, a portfolio containing paperwork from the duration of the project, a product demonstrating what the student has learned during the project, and a presentation of what the student accomplished.
When I first learned about the project, I was upset about this. I didn’t think it was fair at all. But after that initial thought, I was nervous. I had never experienced anything like it before, so I had no clue what to expect. That was the scary part.
After days of agonizing over what I’d do about picking a topic, I decided to do something with the media. Journalism had always been in the back of my mind as a possible career, and since it was the only thing I’d come up with so far, I took that and ran with it.
My specific thesis for the paper dealt with media bias, so my paper talked about that. I ended up sending out a survey to people about whether or not they considered the media more liberal or conservative. As it turns out, the conservatives who participated took the media as more liberal, and the liberals took the media to be more conservative.
I had a lot of support while writing the research paper. Countless hours were spent writing and re-writing every aspect. I even had my history teacher loan me a book that dealt with wars and propaganda.
At the end of last school year, it was time to start considering what I could do for the required 15 project hours that would go along with the product. I immediately thought about the internships that students at my school had served, so I went to the career development coordinator so she could get me set up with that, and here I am, interning at the Salisbury Post.
I’m around the halfway point of the project, so I still have a lot left to do, but I’ve already learned so much. When I found out I’d be interning at the Post, I figured I’d be a file clerk, or something like that. While I do file a few things here and there, I’m more involved than I ever thought I’d be.
This project is designed for students to explore possible career options and get them more involved. Students that like to take the initiative in what they do and apply themselves will succeed in this. However, the project is flawed. Not everyone is on a college or career pathway. Not everyone will take this project as an opportunity. Then what? Those students won’t graduate. The problem is, those are the students who don’t care, and no one can make them care.
– – –
Caitlin Crawford is a senior at North Rowan High School.

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