This Year’s Top 10 Final Experiences!

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(Credit: Adam Richins)

Freshman gather in the Media Center on the first day of school last year, sitting close than six feet away from each other...a true throwback!!

Lucy Stefani '21, Arts & Entertainment Editor

During these past few months, online learning has posed our Montrose community with many challenges and opportunities. One aspect of online learning that students seem to enjoy is our new “final experiences,” which have replaced our traditional final exams. In fact, 66.7% of students say that they prefer final projects to traditional final exams, and the other 33.3% say that they enjoy both. 

One sophomore said: “The final experiences are so much less stressful than exams because instead of having to prepare for two hours of a cumulative review of everything you’ve learned since September, you have the chance to be a little more creative with some projects and are able to get your notes in order for a few open-notes final tests. I feel like it also helps you to better prepare for next year in getting notes in order, especially because most classes either continue themes from one year to the next, or they require you to bring back skills from previous years. The final experiences being more about applying skills and organizing notes will be more beneficial for the future than cramming and forgetting the information as soon as you walk out of the room.”

And now, here are the Top 10 Final Experience projects happening at Montrose this year!

  1. 11th Grade US History Speeches

The juniors taking AP U.S. History with Mrs. Whitlock are ending the year by selecting a significant speech in American history and performing it for the class. Students will also analyze the significance of the speech and describe the historical context for it. The juniors seem to really be responding to this assignment because it not only allows students to be creative, but also gives them the opportunity to learn more about a certain topic. Since this year the AP exam only required students to study content up until World War II, juniors can use this project to expand their knowledge of modern American History or enrich their understanding of earlier topics.

  1. Freshman and Junior Poetry Projects

The 11th grade AP Language & Composition class and 9th English classes with Mrs. Whitlock are wrapping up their year by choosing a poem to perform for the class. Poetry is such an important part of understanding English literature, yet it often does not get the attention it deserves and is overshadowed by the novels we read in class. Especially for AP Lang, a class that focused on American literature, nonfiction reading, and analytical writing, this project gives students the chance to dig in to some poetry.

  1. British Literature Othello Projects

Ms White’s 10th grade British Literature class ended the year on Shakespeare’s classic tragedy Othello. As many English teachers will tell you, Shakespeare’s work is meant to be performed rather than just read. That is why the sophomores are each performing a 10-25 line monologue or scene from the play and writing a brief analytical reflection on it afterwards. Bringing performance into the classroom can really help bring a story to life. By acting out Shakespeare’s words, students will develop a deeper understanding and love of his work. Not to mention, our annual Merrie Month of May (2016 Looking Glass coverage) (2017 Looking Glass coverage) has been sorely missed by Montrosians this year, so this seems like a fitting closure to the month.

  1. The 8th Grade Presents: Romeo and Juliet

Similar to the previous project, Mrs. Robert’s 8th grade English class is bringing another Shakespeare classic to life — Romeo and Juliet! In this project, students can choose to work individually or in pairs to perform a sonnet, couplet, or monologue from the play on video. This project is also reminiscent of the beloved Montrose tradition Merrie Month of May, which we sadly were not able to experience this year. It’s encouraging to see the 8th grade and 10th grade keep the tradition alive in a new and unique way.

  1. Physics Engineering Failures!

Ms Thordarson’s 11th grade Physics classes are ending the year by researching various engineering and construction failures and coming up with ways to improve them. Students are researching everything from the Great Molasses Spill of 1919 to the train derailments and bridge failures to find where the engineers went wrong. Students can even build a 3D model of a new and improved version for extra credit.

  1. Much Ado About Nothing: The Sequel

In Ms Kask’s English class, students further explore Shakespeare’s play Much Ado About Nothing and develop a creative writing piece about the characters’ lives after the end of the story. This allows students to go beyond the material and imagine a future for the characters they have grown to love over the course of reading the play. It also helps develop creative writing and storytelling skills.

  1. 7th Grade Corporal Works of Mercy

Mrs. Bowman’s Theology class is ending the year by performing Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy. The reason this project ranks so high is because it goes beyond simply studying in a classroom. Rather, it sends students out into the world to put what they learned into action while bringing light to those around them during these dark times. Amelia White ‘25 said: “I think it’s fun because some of the ideas are making cards or writing with chalk, and overall bring us closer to God and adding light to someones-if not our own-day during this dark time.”


  1. Civics Judicial Review

Miss Hanrahan’s 8th graders spent the year researching various Supreme Court cases and studying how the Judicial Branch works. They are closing the year by selecting a current Supreme Court case and making their own ruling on it based on precedents set by past Supreme Court cases. This project allows students to see the real world application of the skills they’ve learned in this class and gives them the opportunity to build upon their knowledge from the course.

  1. Metaphysics Students Take on the Role of Dante Poet

In Ms Rice’s 11th grade Metaphysics class, students have spent the entire second semester reading Dante’s Divine Comedy — a three-part epic poem about an ordinary man’s journey through Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven. To end the year, students are developing and writing their own chapter of either the Inferno or Purgatorio, taking inspiration from the original text while also adding their own creative flair. Maevis Fahey ‘21 commented on the significance of this project in context of the class, saying: “Our class read Night and Man’s Search for Meaning during our study of the Inferno and it really made the whole experience impact how we see our own lives. I know that we’re going to remember the creativity we needed to create these projects much more than the content of a final exam. I’m so excited about this project and I honestly feel like people would choose to do it even if it was just extra credit or something like that.” Anna Sheehan ‘21 added: “I would write a Canto for a final any year.”

  1. French Newscast

Some of Ms Lechner’s French classes are putting their language skills to the test by creating a newscast video on the topic of their choosing, including commercials and celebrity interviews entirely in French. This final experience asks students to be confident in their skills and also use creativity and imagination. Instead of cramming for a test, students must combine all of their language skills from the year and apply it to a more relatable platform. This project is so creative, fun, and helps the students improve their French speaking skills, which is why it is Number 1 on our official countdown!

 

While quarantine has certainly made school and life a little more challenging, I think we can all agree that these final projects are a unique and exciting opportunity that would not have been possible during a typical school year. Hopefully in the future, we will continue to see more creative and fun projects like these closing our school year.

Lucy Stefani ’21, Arts and Entertainment Editor

21lstefani@montroseschool.org