Capstone students celebrate at exhibition

A+cut+above+the+rest--+Senior+Daulton+Upchurch+demonstrates+how+to+cut+a+timber+frame+with+a+beam+cutter+at+the+2016+Capstone+Exhibition.+For+his+capstone+project%2C+Upchurch+created+a+timber+frame+pergola+that+was+donated+to+West+Woods+Upper+Elementary+School.+Upchurch+was+one+of+over+80+students+who+showcased+their+work+at+the+exhibition.
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Capstone students celebrate at exhibition

A cut above the rest-- Senior Daulton Upchurch demonstrates how to cut a timber frame with a beam cutter at the 2016 Capstone Exhibition. For his capstone project, Upchurch created a timber frame pergola that was donated to West Woods Upper Elementary School. Upchurch was one of over 80 students who showcased their work at the exhibition.

A cut above the rest-- Senior Daulton Upchurch demonstrates how to cut a timber frame with a beam cutter at the 2016 Capstone Exhibition. For his capstone project, Upchurch created a timber frame pergola that was donated to West Woods Upper Elementary School. Upchurch was one of over 80 students who showcased their work at the exhibition.

Amanda Roth

A cut above the rest-- Senior Daulton Upchurch demonstrates how to cut a timber frame with a beam cutter at the 2016 Capstone Exhibition. For his capstone project, Upchurch created a timber frame pergola that was donated to West Woods Upper Elementary School. Upchurch was one of over 80 students who showcased their work at the exhibition.

Amanda Roth

Amanda Roth

A cut above the rest-- Senior Daulton Upchurch demonstrates how to cut a timber frame with a beam cutter at the 2016 Capstone Exhibition. For his capstone project, Upchurch created a timber frame pergola that was donated to West Woods Upper Elementary School. Upchurch was one of over 80 students who showcased their work at the exhibition.

Kristy Pan and Anna Green

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Capstone students had the opportunity to display and present their final projects during a showcase in the school library on May 26. Over 80 students showed off their work to other students, faculty, Board of Education members and district administration.

For the showcase, Capstone students set up different types of presentations to show anything related to their project, including information on their project, their final outcome, demonstrations of their learning and their personal takeaways. The showcase served as the first part of the culmination of the year-long Capstone program.

In Capstone, students work either individually or in groups to achieve a set end goal. This year, 13 different courses were offered with varying project focuses.

“Every year I’m struck by how many people are involved in this program either as teachers, steering members, advisors or even informal mentors. This program works because of the commitment of an excellent faculty and administration. Without the involvement of so many people, our students would never have such a great opportunity,” Library, Media and Technology K-12 Department Leader Martha Burr said.

This is the first year that the showcase was held during school hours and open to anyone interested in seeing different projects. In the past, the celebration was held in the evening after all presentations were completed.

Projects were set up in the morning by capstone students with displays including tri-folds, computers and photos. Every student was assigned a scheduled time block and were at their stations during that time, explained their projects to their onlookers and answered any questions others had.

“I [looked] forward to seeing all of the Capstone projects displayed and getting the opportunity to talk to the students about their work, what they are proud of and what they learned through their projects. I was only able to attend a few of the Capstone presentations, so having all of the projects displayed in one place at one time is a great opportunity to appreciate and celebrate all of the hard work of the Capstone students and to discover and learn more about their passions and interests,” Principal Bill Silva said.

Students in different courses had a variety of projects that they decided to take on throughout the course of the year. One option available was the ability to take the Custom Capstone course. Senior Daulton Upchurch used this opportunity to give back to the community.

Upchurch had a goal of building a timber frame pergola that would later be donated to West Woods Upper Elementary School.

“I chose this topic because during my junior year I completed both construction classes our school offered. After visiting Hinman Lumber, a local mill in Burlington, I met Rudy Niksa, a former Farmington High graduate. He introduced me to the trade and timber framing as a whole. As my passion grew larger, so did my eyes for timber framing and other techniques of building,” he said.

The skills that he gained through this experience included having a leadership role that helped him grow as an individual and see what he was capable of. Since the timbers was expensive, he had to make sure that the work that he was doing was accurate and making sure that he didn’t waste any materials through his process.

“Not only did this course give me the opportunity to explore and interest of mine, it gave me the chance to leave my comfort zone. Individually, I reached out to the different companies, I went on job shadows with, and was able to make and maintain contact with them. I am proud to say, that the contacts I made are now useful resources of mine,” Upchurch said.

One new course that piloted this year was The Art of Leadership Capstone. One student who completed this project in this course was junior Ali Troup. Her project focused on leadership development in student athletes. As part of her project, she interviewed coaches, teachers and professionals in the field, completed job shadows and held a volleyball clinic.

“[I chose this project] because I wanted to improve my public speaking and wanted to work on my leadership skills of motivation and patience, and I think I met my goal,” she said.

Other courses were also available for students to pursue. Senior Ioana Kondareva pursued a Capstone project in the Sport, Exercise Science and Wellness Capstone Course focusing on tennis injuries.

She pursued this project after getting injured playing tennis herself. Now through her work, it has helped her decide what she wishes to pursue in college as she is going to Sacred Heart University majoring in exercise science before going into physical therapy.

Senior Ashley Grady decided to take the Career Capstone so she could discover how to find a career she could be successful in while continuing to be creative. She de-
cided to focus her research on how allowing employees wear what they want affect the productivity in a work environment, both positively and negatively.

She found that what people wore does affect mindset and colors can greatly affect productivity.

“This [project] taught me that since I will be working in a business setting but will be focused on the more creative side of business, it is important that incorporate bright colors such as yellow and orange into my office and wardrobe to increase the level of creative thinking and collaboration between my coworkers and I,” Grady said.

She found that the Capstone course was beneficial and tailored to her as it helped her learn more about who she was and how to incorporate her skills into a career that would leave her personally and professionally fulfilled.

In addition, students who successfully passed their project got corded during ninth period on May 26. This ceremony celebrated the end of the student’s hard work throughout the year and gives them a cord to wear for their graduation. This ceremony wraps up all of the efforts that students and teachers made throughout the year to make their projects successful and accomplished.

Despite all of the hard work, students felt like the experience was worth it. Some felt as though they improved as a learner, person, or both.

“I have had a phenomenal experience with the capstone program. I have made great community connections as well as professionals relationships within FHS. My Capstone has far exceeded any of my previous expectations,” junior Halley Dopp said.

Through these projects and what is accomplished each year, Silva hopes to see the Capstone program continue to develop further.

Silva said, “I hope that the capstone program continues to grow and that opportunities for students to explore topics and issues of interest to them are expanded. I am excited about the new Capstone courses for next year and the support shown by students and teachers for the program overall.”

A cut above the rest-- Senior Daulton Upchurch demonstrates how to cut a timber frame with a beam cutter at the 2016 Capstone Exhibition. For his capstone project, Upchurch created a timber frame pergola that was donated to West Woods Upper Elementary School. Upchurch was one of over 80 students who showcased their work at the exhibition.

Amanda Roth
A cut above the rest– Senior Daulton Upchurch demonstrates how to cut a timber frame with a beam cutter at the 2016 Capstone Exhibition. For his capstone project, Upchurch created a timber frame pergola that was donated to West Woods Upper Elementary School. Upchurch was one of over 80 students who showcased their work at the exhibition.