Joshua Greenspan is using his senior project to help all future Carson High School students with similar projects.
"I want to make a difference and do something to benefit other Carson High students," he said. "It is a way for me to leave something behind for the high school."
He will be among about 430 seniors presenting their projects today and Wednesday before a panel of judges made up of community members and teachers.
Joshua organized Operation Book Drop, asking members of the community to donate books ranging from atlases to novels to the high school library.
"I wanted to make the library a little more broad and try to bring in some new materials," he said. "Books are vital for learning and imagination."
As a requirement to pass English, each senior must complete a three-part assignment including a research paper, tangible project and a presentation to the public.
Joshua wrote his research paper on the history of the printing press and has only the oral presentation left before completing the project.
"At first, I really didn't want to do this," he said. "But once I started to get into it, I became jazzed about the idea. I just can't wait to see how it's going to finish."
About 270 members of the community volunteered to serve on the 116 panels to critique the projects.
Debbie Bunch served as a judge last year to help prepare her son, Kevin Bunch, who was a junior at the time.
She returned this year.
"It was a such a wonderful experience -- I plan to do it every year," she said. "This is really how you get to know the teens in this town. They're just such good kids -- they don't get enough credit."
Vice principal Fred Perdomo said students often complain in the beginning but end up enjoying the project, which fulfills a variety of state standards including the research paper and speech.
"We've got some very talented and bright kids here," he said. "To give them permission to produce work of their interest is what they need to prove to themselves what they can do."
Still, some maintain the projects are too much to balance with work, proficiency and college-entrance exams as well as prom and graduation.
"I did learn things from my senior project," said Megan Wilhoite, 18, who completed a project about cocaine abuse. "But I don't think it should be a requirement for graduation. This is just one more thing to put on you and it can end up costing a lot of money."
YOU CAN HELP
Bring Operation Book Drop donations to Carson High School at 1111 Saliman Road between 7:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. For information, call Joshua Greenspan at 882-8944. Donations will be taken until May 15.