Students immersed in senior projects |

Students immersed in senior projects

Teri Vance

With a little more than a month left before senior projects are due, Megan Jackson, like most of her classmates, is scrambling to get it all done in time.

“It’s pretty crazy on top of all the other stuff we have to do,” she said. “But I’m dedicated to it, so it’s worth it.”

For the past 10 years, seniors at Carson High School have been required to complete a project as part of their English classes.

They can choose any topic to research, then write a paper about it, organize a related project, create a portfolio of their work, then make a public presentation of their work to a panel of community judges.

Topics range from potential career projects, to community service, to hobbies and other interests.

English teacher and senior project chairwoman Cheryl Macy said she has seen a tendency this year of seniors to focus on career-oriented projects. But, in all, there’s a wide diversity that will be presented May 20 and 21.

Jackson, 18, combined two passions for her project, organizing a tattoo benefit to aid Advocates to End Domestic Violence.

Her initial focus, she said, was on tattooing.

“I really like tattoos,” she said. “I think they’re a great way to express yourself, a piece of art you’ll have


Her only tattoo so far is on the inside of her bottom lip. She said it reminds her to stay strong and believe in herself.

“It reminds me of who I am,” she said.

She’s hoping to send a similar message to victims of domestic abuse.

“Broken homes and families torn apart by that kind of stuff really just touches my heart,” she said. “It’s such a hard pain to go through to think that someone who loves you could hurt you.”

She is working with Flat Black in Mound House and other local tattoo parlors to offer discounted tattoos on May 1 and 2 with some of the proceeds going to the advocacy group.

Flat Black owner Scooter Fahrberger said he was happy to help.

“Anything for a good cause,” he said.

If people want to help but don’t want tattoos, he said, the shop will take donations.

Macy said that a few years ago, the school mandated that all projects had a philanthropic element. However, many of them fell flat.

“If their heart’s not in it, you can really tell,” she said. “There’s value in allowing them to choose, to give them the opportunity to decide where they’re going. It’s one of the strengths of the project.”

Nick Schlager, this year’s 4A high school wrestling champion, chose to study ballroom dancing with classmate Nicole Updegrove as his partner.

“It just seemed like a fun thing to do,” he said. “My partner was great, and we had a really great time.”

However, there was a danger last year that the projects would not continue. Due to budget cuts, the senior project coordinator’s position was cut.

Although coordinator Darlene Nevin was offered a job at another school, English teachers feared they could not handle coordinating all the volunteer judges without assistance.

The district hired substitute teacher Corina Flansberg to fill in as coordinator this year.

“It’s going really well,” Flansberg said. “Darlene laid the groundwork for all the work that needs to be done.”

Flansberg is still looking for judges to serve the 7 and 9 a.m. shifts May 21. As a former judge herself, she encouraged others to get involved.

“It’s fun to see what interests the students. You never know what you’re going to judge,” she said. “And you get to see the quality of students at Carson High School.”

Although the projects are time intensive, Schlager, 17, said he was glad to see them continue this year.

“The senior project gave me an excuse to get out and do something new,” he said.