Did you know that our brains move like jelloOr that there is a debate about who owns the copyright to music created with artificial intelligence softwareOr what Alfred Odrick contributed to McLeanOr what pET30-6H-Flu-A-NC isThese are all topics that have come up in our seniors’ Senior Project blogs over the course of their Trimester 3 internships and independent research.

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The Senior Project is one of the most unique aspects of BASIS Curriculum Schools’ academic program. Seniors who meet the requirements spend their last trimester working outside of the school on a project of their choice. These 10-week projects offer an opportunity for our students to demonstrate the knowledge and research skills they have developed throughout their time in high school.  

Projects are entirely designed, created, and led by students on a topic they are interested in. Throughout the process they are supported by an onsite mentor and a BASIS Independent McLean faculty member. Students blog weekly about their findings, which they ultimately share in a final formal presentation to the community. For the first time this year, we were able to host these presentations, called the Senior Projects Showcase, on campus for seniors and faculty, while family members watched via Zoom. 

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The Class of 2021 has focused their research on a variety of worldly topics that greatly affect their generation. They showcased everything from the current changes in society brought on by Covid-19 to how to use art therapy to combat depression and stress. Some students were able to perform experiments in a lab, and, due to the pandemic, some completed their internship virtually. One student created and ran their own experiment. Another student created a documentary about local history. Several students found areas of study that they want to continue this summer, and possibly beyond. Read about all their wonderful projects and research on their blogs here. 

“This group of seniors produced some amazing projects, and the internships and research opportunities they embarked on have been enlightening,” said Senior Project Coordinator and College Counselor Ms. Irving. “Reading through their weekly blogs, I was taken by how mature and professional their projects had become and how they had put all their skills and knowledge to work in such a beautiful way. Our Class of 2021 soon-to-be-graduates are truly an amazing bunch of humorous, diligent, and talented students.” 

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Regardless of their topic, our students learned to navigate the world outside our school campus, to trouble shoot, adjust, and learn from their mistakes. They are all successfully growing within a changing world and continuing to challenge themselves outside of the classroom. They are poised and ready to take on their next educational adventures. 

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Upon completion of these Senior Projects, the students are awarded a High Honors Diploma—the most prestigious diploma offered by BASIS Curriculum Schools. The High Honors Diploma is reserved for students who have met graduation requirements by the end of junior year, completed four capstone courses during senior year, and successfully completed their Senior Project. We are so proud of all the hard work these seniors have put in on their Senior Projects and throughout their time at BASIS Independent McLean. They are prepared for the wide array of colleges and universities they will attend next year. (See the Class of 2021’s full College Acceptance list here.) 

Congrats, Red-Tailed Hawks!