Students’ Projects Mix Techniques

WHEELING – College-bound seniors at Wheeling Central Catholic High School have an opportunity to look into their futures as they present the culmination of their work and reflections of high school to a panel of listeners from across the community Monday.

“This wasn’t something they had done before,” A.J. Bucon, English Department chairman at the high school, said. “We wanted to prepare them for college a little more.”

Bucon, a 1982 graduate of Central, arrived back at his alma mater at the beginning of the academic year with a new vision for how to prepare English students for higher education. While he said students had to do final projects before, this year’s seniors have a three-tiered project wrapped up with a professional presentation.

“It is a mixture of creative and professional learning,” Bucon said. “Students are connecting all literature to their own lives and their lives with Christ.”

He said each student wrote a research paper to learn about different paper-writing formats and documentation. They also learned how to write professional resumes and cover letters.

To keep a chronicle of their experiences in an expressive and personal way, Bucon had his students use a scrapbook as a professional, personal and creative portfolio which his students nicknamed, “scrapfolio.”

Students conducted work all year to include in their scrapfolios, meditations on the nature of gratitude, civil rights and their own lifetime events. Filled with photos, drawings, decorations and notes, Bucon said the scrapfolios helped students keep the project personal and interesting while developing professional skills.

“The students here have been very receptive to the program,” Bucon said. “I’m very happy with the results. The students put a lot into it.”

Students were working Wednesday to prepare presentations, reviewing the research project, scrapfolios and personal reflections. The panel for the presentations will include volunteers from among the high school faculty, school benefactors, business leaders, diocesan leaders and clergy. As they worked, students gave positive reviews of their experience.

“It’s a new way of looking on things,” Brock Earlie, 19, said. “Looking back, it makes you proud of the work you’ve done.”

Earlie said his favorite part of the project was his research paper, which he said changed his whole outlook on the subject material.

“It’s been a lot of hard work but it’s a good preparation for college,” Jessica Allen, 18, said, emphasizing the benefits of learning time management and public speaking.

Allen said she found the research paper most beneficial because she said it helped her prepare for college paper writing.

Emily Bucon, 18, said the scrapfolio was both a great piece of high school memorabilia and a good resource for professional reference.

Caitlin Brosnahan, 18, said the new approach to the final senior project is a step in a positive direction.

“I think it’s going to set a tradition,” Brosnahan said. “During the presentation, juniors will be watching us, and they’ll see what they have to do. It will just get bigger and better.”

The presentations will commence from 9-11:30 a.m. May 6-13, with special hours of 8:45-10:30 a.m. on May 9 in the school library.