Early College has first senior graduation projects for county


First Posted: 9/18/2009

DOBSON Dillon Youngquist, Adam Culler, Karrie McMillian and Tanner King experienced a first for Surry County Schools on Friday.
The students at Surry Early College High School of Design became the first students in the school system to complete and present a senior graduation project.
While the state Department of Public Instruction has postponed the projects as a requirement for graduation for a year, the county school system decided that since students were already working on their projects, they would go ahead with the program.
Youngquist, Culler, McMillian and King showed off what they have learned from their projects on Friday and set the bar for the rest of the countys seniors.
The senior graduation project consists of four parts. Students are required to pick a topic of interest to them and write a research paper on the topic. They must find a mentor in their field of study and have them help create a product. The students must put together a portfolio detailing the process that led to the conclusion of the project. They must finally give a presentation to a panel of community members detailing what they did and what they have learned.
Dillon Youngquist took the stage first, speaking of how he restored a 1980 Chevrolet Custom Deluxe. He talked the panel and his fellow students through the process of buying the truck, buying the parts and doing the repair work and finally selling the vehicle for a profit.
Adam Culler also chose to work on a vehicle for his project. His Ford F150 was, as he put it, Found On Road Dead. With the help of his mentor, he repaired the vehicle and even managed to increase the horse power by 10 or 15 and the gas mileage by three miles per gallon.
I was planning on working on the truck anyway so I thought this was a good opportunity to put time into it, said Culler of choosing the truck as his project. I started working on it about a year before I started driving. It was worth it because I improved the way it looked and the gas mileage and horse power.
Karrie McMillian chose a musical pursuit for her project in learning to play the piano. After 67 hours of lessons since February of 2008, she performed Bourree for the panel and her peers during her presentation on Friday.
Tanner King also chose a musical pursuit for his project, tackling learning how to play a drum set.
Ive always loved rhythm and beating on things, he said of picking the drum set. Its a fun instrument.
Even though the projects provide extra work for students, those presenting on Friday felt that the time spent was well worth it. They plan to continue their projects in the future.
I think that any high school kids who whine and complain just need to suck it up and do it, said King.
The students presenting had some advice for both their fellow classmates who are presenting in the coming weeks and for younger students getting ready to start working on their projects.
For the ones getting ready to present, dont be nervous. Know your project in and out, said Culler. For the ones getting ready to pick, do a lot of research and try to learn as much as you can. It will help you in the long run.
You can start from nothing and learn whatever you like about musical instruments. If you set your mind to it, you can do anything. Just breathe because its going to all be OK, said King. Do not procrastinate. Pick something you dont know a lot about.
The rest of the seniors in the Surry County School System will be presenting their projects throughout this year.
Contact Morgan Wall at [email protected] or 719-1929.

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