Getting a jump start
When Koriann Lee attended the Duluth air show this summer she wasn't just awed by the pilot's skills -- she was researching her future career. The Superior High School senior is one of about 100 students getting a jump start on their senior proje...
When Koriann Lee attended the Duluth air show this summer she wasn't just awed by the pilot's skills -- she was researching her future career.
The Superior High School senior is one of about 100 students getting a jump start on their senior project before the start of school.
That's more than double the students who decided to complete their projects early last year, said Mike Matejka, senior project coordinator.
"I believe students are beginning to understand that it's not going away, and it's part of the culture now," he said.
They're hearing from previous graduates who say they wish they'd done their project early, he said.
All SHS seniors must complete a senior project as a graduation requirement. They can choose from career exploration, learning a new skill, service or peer research. Most students choose the career option and explore the training and education required for a career that interests them.
For the projects, students research their topic then write an essay and give a presentation on what they've learned. Many of the students doing the work this summer will give their presentations in October, Matejka said.
Lee is planning to present her project later in the year. She's already expanded her project from investigating the Air Force to a comparison between entering an aviation career from a military or commercial path, she said.
"I really wanted to get a jump start on it. I know I'm going to be busy during the school year with dance and homework," she said.
She is studying the Air Force and Navy, and aviation programs at the University of North Dakota and St. Cloud State University in Minnesota. Lee also collected information about the region's career opportunities in aviation while attending the Duluth Air Show.
Aviation offers many career options besides piloting. Women are good at working as aviation maintenance technicians, Lee said.
While Lee began her project early in order to free up some time during the school year, she said she's planning to work on her project throughout the year in order to learn more about aviation.
"I'm really happy we have to do this because otherwise I wouldn't push myself to look into this," she said.
Senior Will Gedde decided to do his project this summer to free up time for sports during the school year, he said.
"Lots of my friends last year put it off and stressed out," he said.
Gedde is investigating a career in physical therapy by interviewing and shadowing therapists, he said.
"This is the career that I want to have when I'm older so I thought it would be good to learn about it and experience what the job is going to be like," he said.
Students are beginning to understand that the senior project can be an enjoyable experience that could help them decide what they want to do with their lives, Matejka said.
"The students have begun to realize it's not a punishment if they choose well," he said.
Many students working on their projects this summer are doing career research projects. A popular topic is the medical field, which several students are exploring by getting their CNA license or shadowing nurses or doctors, he said.
Other students are being a little more creative with their project choices in the self-development category.
Senior Karinna Kadrmas is doing her project on paranormal investigations, she said.
For her project she's participating in a paranormal investigation in Ashland on Friday with the South Shore Spirit Hunters.
"I've always been fascinated with it," she said.
Kadrmas watches the Ghost Hunters TV show and said she always wanted to have her own paranormal experiences.
She decided to do the majority of her project this summer so she can concentrate on her classes when school begins this fall.
"I might as well do it during the summer when I have nothing to do," she said.
To prepare for her paranormal investigation, Kadrmas researched the equipment used during paranormal investigations.
She will help use the equipment and record on electronic devices.
She'll be able to take copies of any Electronic Voice Phenomena the investigation produces for her presentation, she said.
"It's gonna be a load off my back," she said.
Most students will work on their projects throughout the year and give their presentations in spring.
Anna Kurth covers education, call her at (715) 395-5019 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org .