Capstone Class Presents Second Annual Symposium


Sophie Folger, Staff Writer

Despite the 2020-2021 school year being mostly in distance learning mode, some PCS juniors and seniors have still managed to complete Capstone projects. Capstone is a year-long “project-based course that is inspired by a student’s particular interest and passion,” according to the syllabus. Projects undergo four stages: project planning, research, application/experimentation and presentation/evaluation. All students complete research, write a prospectus, literature review and reflection, and finish the year with a final project that reflects their hard work and passion. The course is open to all juniors and seniors, and projects can take infinite different forms, depending on the particular student’s interests and passions.

This year, the Capstone Project Research and Methods Class, taught by Mr. Hunt and Mr. Perera, met almost every week via Zoom for the entirety of the school year. During these meetings, students learned about research methods, time management, formal research writing, project planning and organization, and presentation skills. They also virtually interacted with one another by brainstorming ideas, discussing their projects, and completing peer reviews of each other’s work, among other activities. The class being taught virtually is a first for PCS, and shows how PCS students and teachers adapt to challenges while managing to achieve the same high-quality work.

In addition to attending regular Capstone Project Research and Methods Class meetings, students also met individually with their project mentors, at least four times throughout the year. Capstone mentors are PCS teachers who gave them project-specific feedback and guidance. Students usually choose teachers who teach in the academic department that their project best correlates with.

The annual Capstone Symposium has had to take a different form this year due to the pandemic. Traditionally, the Symposium is an in-person event where students present their projects to parents, teachers, and other members of the PCS community, as the attendees wander throughout the student center viewing the different projects. This year, the Symposium is a website with a page that includes a presentation video and a short written summary.

The Capstone Symposium website is currently live. Students in the Capstone class created a wide variety of projects, from writing novels to creating small businesses to music production to architecture. For example, senior Iliana Bradley undertook the practice of 11 different religions in 12 months, adopting the practices and culture of each specific religion. Her project ended with a months-long comprehensive reflection on her experience.

Senior Noé Arredondo-George went in a different direction, focusing on bebop and avant-garde jazz competition. Noé had done a capstone project last year, and built off of that for this year’s project. You can take a look at the presentations for Iliana and Noé’s projects, as well as all of the Capstone projects from this year at the online Capstone Symposium, linked at the end of this article.

Mr. Hunt, one of the Capstone Research & Methods Class teachers, is excited for the PCS community to see the projects that students have worked so hard on this school year. He says, “Whatever the difficulties and changes, mostly Capstone reminds me that PCS is filled with curious and intelligent people.” He also notes that he believes that the effects of the pandemic have not “diminished the quality or diversity of work we’re seeing.”


Here is the link to the 2020-2021 Virtual Capstone Symposium: