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Learning by Doing. Building Community.

Spotlight on Senior Projects

  • Senior Projects

Learning to Repair and Drive a Racecar

Describe your goals with this project.

The objective of my project was to go help my brother-in-law repair his racecar and then get a chance to drive the car on a real race track. I was inspired to do this by my incredible love for MarioKart when I was younger as well as just wanting to take a peek into the world of mechanical engineering.

What were some of your most memorable moments along the way?

The most memorable moment was when I first sat in my brother-in-law's racecar on our first run on a race track. It was terrifying how fast we were going but also really cool at the same time because you don't get to go 150 mph every day.

What were some of your biggest challenges?

I mostly faced smaller challenges like how to get bolts out of a wheel or how to replace oil without getting it everywhere, but no challenges that couldn't be figured out after a couple minutes of thinking.

What are the top three things you learned?

-How to change oil

-How to change transmission fluid

-How to change a tire

(Now I can do it on my car!)

Might this be the beginning of a new passion for you? Please explain.

I don't think so. As cool as some of the stuff I experienced was, I was completely burnt out and didn't want to look at a car by the time the two weeks was up. That sort of explains itself.

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  • Senior Projects

Shadowing Firefighters in Wenham

Describe the objective of your project. What inspired you to pursue this idea?

My project was working with the Wenham Fire Department. As kids, a lot of people at some point or another say that they want to be a firefighter when they grow up. This was true for me.

What have been some of the highlights?

There was one experience that summed up what it is like to be a firefighter pretty perfectly. On my second day, we ordered lunch and were just sitting down when we got a call. Everyone dropped everything, grabbed their gear, and hopped on the trucks. That to me just reinforced how something can happen at any moment and that you have to be ready for anything.

What challenges have you faced in completing your project?

At times there was not a whole lot do whereas other times we were constantly moving from one thing to the next.

What are the top three things you've learned?

Being a firefighter is nothing like what people see in movies and on television. There is a lot of waiting for things to happen. Incidents come in clusters sometimes where there will be a few in a row and other times there will be nothing. There is also a lot of maintenance involved, whether that be cleaning trucks, checking gear, or stocking supplies. Preparation can be the difference in saving someone's life.

Might this be the beginning of a new passion for you? Please explain.

Although it is not a career that I am looking at, the past two weeks have been really interesting to see what actually happens in the life of a firefighter.

What advice would you give to next year's seniors when the time comes for them to embark on their own projects?

Pick something that is interesting to you and not just something that looks good. If you don't it will be a rough two weeks.

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  • Senior Projects 2

Volunteering with Lazarus House in Lawrence

What inspired you to pursue this project?

I have always been involved in community service through my church but I found I never really wanted to stop helping. The Lazarus House offers services like shelter and food but also has great programs that teach people English, help them find jobs, and even teach them how to cook to become working chefs. Their mission is close to my heart as I live next to Lawrence and am exposed to many poverty stricken areas and I want to help.

What challenges have you faced in completing your project?

My biggest challenge was forcing myself out of my comfort zone. When encountering people less fortunate than yourself, it's hard not to feel embarrassed. Greeting guests and making sure that they know you care was also intimidating, but I found it became easier with time.

What are the top three things you've learned?

  • That the homeless deserve the dignity of choice. We owe them our respect and love just as anyone else.
  • Giving someone your time is more valuable than any amount of money you could give them, listening to their story instead of trying to tell them what they should be doing.
  • Living by "Did you know... ?" can change the way you look at everything in the world. This concept speaks to the mantra of never judging a book by its cover. I will forever think about someone's personal story before making a judgment about them.

Might this be the beginning of a new passion for you?

This is a continuation of a passion I discovered long ago. I imagine my life without helping others around me as a very sad one. The heartbreak and tears that come with watching people struggle are nothing compared to those actually suffering from this travesty. I hope my project can show the impact the Lazarus House has made on not only myself, but everyone who encounters the organization.

What advice would you give to next year's seniors when the time comes for them to embark on their own projects?

Choose something you love, that is your passion. I never imagined my project turning out so amazing but I went into the office everyday with a smile and excitement, which pays off in the long run. Do something that makes you happy and be happy doing it, say thank you, and laugh a lot.

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  • Senior Projects 2

Tutoring at 826 Boston

Describe your motivations behind this project.

I worked with 826 Boston, a nonprofit youth tutoring, writing, and publishing organization that empowers traditionally underserved students age 6-18 to find their voices, tell their stories, and gain communication skills to succeed in school and in life. It's located in Egleston Square, Roxbury. I was inspired to pursue this idea because I've been incredibly fortunate to have access to the education Pingree has provided me. A lot of kids don't have the same access. I wanted to give back, and use what I've learned to help others. I also wanted to give back to somewhere Bostonian before I left for college in California.

What have been some of the highlights?

A memorable moment for me was when I helped explain fasting and Ramadan to one of the students. She didn't understand, and was trying to give a fasting student water (which can be considered pretty disrespectful). I was happy to help her understand this, and gain new perspective into a different culture/religion.

Another memorable moment was when I had to call families to remind them of an upcoming event, and then realized some of the families were Spanish-speaking only. Instead of passing off the task, I challenged myself and called them! It went really well, and I was really proud of myself.

What are the top three things you've learned?

  • When you're the adult in a situation, act like it. Don't let kids get away with bad behavior because you're afraid of being the "bad guy."
  • Although completing tasks is important, it's also really important to prioritize building trust and relationships with any and all kids you work with.
  • Do not ever forget your inner child.

Might this be the beginning of a new passion for you? Please explain.

Absolutely. Working with kids has always been something that I've loved, but there's something very special about helping them when they're struggling. They may not be their best selves (behaviorally) because they're frustrated, but you get to watch that click. You get to really see how you've helped.

What advice would you give to next year's seniors when the time comes for them to embark on their own projects?

Jump into something you didn't think you would. I originally wanted my senior project to focus on the career that I want— Zoology and Wildlife Conservation. Go for something you never would've chosen initially. You won't regret it!

Read more about Cady's project!

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Danny — Student
Mr. Haltmeier — Faculty
Charlotte — Alum


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