The following is a letter submitted to The Camasonian from senior student Noah Osten. The views expressed in this letter are not necessarily the opinion of The Camasonian, Camas High School, Camas School District, or its affiliates.
I sit here as a Camas Senior – who has procrastinated many projects, worked too many hours (to save for college) and tried to squeeze the last bit of ‘high school’ out of this year by participating in as many activities (plays, clubs, ball games – both spectator and participant, etc) as possible. What sets me apart from my peers at other neighboring districts? I also get to put in the time of a Senior Project. A project designed to either expose me to an area of interest as a college major and/or eventual career. The goal: “Teach students to think analytically, logically and creatively and encourage students to explore a topic of interest, often by making community connections”.
We all have grandiose ideas heading into our Senior year as to what our project entails and how it reflects on our own future goals. I mean we all have dreams and many may even achieve them but try to fit that into an already busy year, on demand is just not realistic. So then what happens? We check the box of requirements – often not even scratching the surface or intent of what a senior project should be. Other’s parent’s plans for their student’s future takes over and the parent ends up doing the work for them. A select few, are inspired and pick something they are truly passionate about and for them – they excel. They check all the boxes easily (as they are highly interested in their subject), and truly discover what they want to pursue and how to get there. That is great – but back to the majority….
Why does this have to happen during Senior Year? Why is it a requirement by Camas? I think adding this as a Junior year elective or even a summer .5 credit (between Junior and Senior year) makes much more sense. It alleviates the stress off our English teachers to integrate this into their lesson plans and allows the student to decide if they might benefit from this endeavor. Other school districts saw the busy-work mentality of this requirement and got rid of it as a mandate. Moreover, there are many students who graduate high school with 1-2 years of college already under their belt. We are going to simultaneously expect them to explore whether college might be a good fit when some are half way done? I feel sorry for the upcoming group of classes that now must have 24 credit hours to graduate with no room for error. This extra added stress on top of a no room for mistakes criteria is just too much.
So, how can you, the student body of Camas, change this? Write to your Camas School Board, Superintendent Jeff Snell and talk with your parents about your concerns. Now is the time – the time to act. It might be too late for me, but it’s not too late for you. Do this for future Papermakers, including you.
Signed Noah Osten