An Introduction to Capstones

Senior capstone projects are a great way to get involved in the community, but many students are unaware of what they are or where to start.

A capstone is an opportunity for seniors to participate in a service project, internship, or job shadowing from May 15th to May 26th. Projects can be completed solo or in a group, but must be self-initiated. No matter what path students take after high school, Capstone Coordinator Mrs. Elbaum says capstones “prepare students to be empathetic and self-sufficient citizens who are actively participating in the community.”

Before beginning a capstone, First, students must fill out an interest form outlining the project and assuring a total of around fifty hours of work per participant. Next, students must obtain a parent and sponsor signature. A sponsor could be an employer, teacher, or a community member in conjunction with the project. Students will need to get teacher approval from all classes to make sure grades and attendance are not lacking. All the necessary forms can be found on the Woodgrove senior website and senior Schoology page. 

Projects are encouraged to be done outside of the school but must stay within the DC region and cannot include working for a parent who works from home. Many local charities such as Loudoun Hunger Relief, Mobile Hope, and Habitat for Humanity have all expressed interest in having Woodgrove students complete their capstones with them. All of these organizations can be contacted through their websites, but students are encouraged to find other local organizations to work with as well. 

Nearby elementary and middle schools also have a range of ideas for potential capstones. Reach out to former schools to get involved in anything from working with students to coding. If students are already involved with an organization such as the Purcellville Fire Department, continued work there can also be a capstone. 

Proposed by Social Science teacher Mr. Talboo, one exciting capstone opportunity is working with the Freedom Center through the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). For anyone interested in history, and especially African American History, this is a unique chance to get a hands-on look at local history and make a difference in the community. Students would be consolidating data from tangible artifacts for the Freedom Center. The work done with this project would ensure access to the complete history of the area. “Our history is changing very rapidly and it’s easy to forget where we came from,” says Mr. Talboo. Everyone is welcome, so for those who are interested, email Mr. Talboo to get in touch with Pastor Michelle, the project’s organizer from the Freedom Center. 

At the end of the day, capstones are student-created and executed. Find an idea that speaks to your interests, or create your own! There are no limits as to what your project can be. If you have questions about your idea, have any capstone-related issues, or simply want to introduce yourself, contact Mrs. Elbaum.