Seniors take final steps

Project display tonight; graduation June 3


— It's crunch time for Steamboat Springs High School seniors.

Months of work will be put to the test this week as 136 seniors display their senior projects at an open house tonight and then make individual presentations to a panel of judges Wednesday.

Senior projects are the culmination of the Senior Odyssey program, a yearlong requirement for seniors that includes a career-oriented class in the fall and a Senior Experience class, in which students plan and complete projects of their own designs, in the spring.

Senior projects this year include art shows at the Depot Art Center, high school and Bud Werner Memorial Library; a weightlifting competition for students; musical performances; a redesign of the high school's Web site; a study of students who have dropped out; a French cookbook; and a short film set in Steamboat.

"The projects are completely all over the board, from creative to technical to hands-on," high school career counselor Gayle Dudley said. "There's just an incredible amount of variety in the projects -- they are as different as every kid is."

At tonight's open house, students will gather in the high school commons area to show display boards that describe their projects. The boards are not their entire projects, and all seniors will be on hand to talk about their work in further detail.

"It's an opportunity for people to see all of the projects at one event," Dudley said. "It's also great practice for the kids."

That practice is for Wednesday, when school staff and community volunteers will serve as judges for project presentations, which Dudley called "senior boards." Each student will have 30 minutes to present his or her project to a panel of as many as 10 judges. A student must earn a "proficient" score, Dudley said, to graduate June 3.

What: Open house displaying senior projects by Steamboat Springs High School's class of 2006When: 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. todayWhere: Steamboat Springs High School commons area

"Senior Odyssey is one of the graduation requirements they have to complete," Dudley said.

Not next year. After extensive committee review and passionate comment by parents at public forums in November and December, the Steamboat Springs School Board voted in January to make Senior Odyssey an elective at the high school, beginning in September.

High school Principal Mike Knezevich said that although the Careers class will take place in the fall, not enough students enrolled in Senior Experience to make it a viable offering in the spring.

"I think it's a tremendous loss to our students," Dudley said. "Our kids are still actively engaged in their learning at this time, and as seniors, that's incredible. Usually at this time, seniors have kind of checked out."

Because the entire high school staff will be involved in judging the seniors, there is no school Wednesday for freshmen, sophomores and juniors at the high school.


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