Seniors Engage in Meaningful Projects to Conclude Their Time at Riverdale
As the Riverdale community settles back into its routines following the two-week spring break, the warming weather and approaching end to the school year often alters the mood on campus. For much of the graduating class, these final few weeks of high school are greeted with a sense of relief and delight accompanied by an increased sense of relaxation. However, for a few members of the senior class, their work has just begun.
Every spring, Riverdale seniors who are interested in working independently to pursue a topic of interest are given the opportunity to apply for the Senior Project program. Those selected for the program will work with a faculty advisor throughout the final few weeks of the school year to complete their projects. Senior projects vary in length, and students can chose to pursue a four-week independent project, a four-week community-based project, or the more selective 7-week (extended) independent project. During this time, seniors will reflect upon their experience and learning in a daily journal, submit an academic paper of approximately one thousand words, and will conclude their work with a presentation to the Riverdale community.
In previous years, students have pursued a wide range of topics, such as designing voice recognition technology, creating a solar-powered charging station, producing a documentary on microfinance, and exploring the physics of cello-playing. This year’s participants are no exception.
Senior Max Greller is pursuing a 4 week project on the effects of post-concussive syndrome. With the help of Dr. Monica Murakami, Mrs. Lori Gill, and Mr. Jeffrey Greenstein, Greller will create a guide for Riverdale students who may suffer from a concussion. Given the frequency of concussions within the Riverdale community, it is very easy for a concussed student to fall behind on their school work. Greller hopes his guide will “give [students] strategies on how to handle academic work and also explain what exactly a concussion is.” He has begun researching and has already found many sources to use for his project.
Seniors Ezra Stern and Ross Krakower are pursuing a 7 week project to create a hydroponic garden in order to model sustainability on the Riverdale campus. Hydroponic gardens utilize a method of growing plants without soil and instead using mineral nutrient solutions in water solvents. With the help of Ms. Angela Paris, Mr. Peter Simon, and the Sustainability Club, Stern and Krakower hope that the garden will become a lasting part of the Riverdale community, and can be continuously used by future students.
Stern says that the inspiration for the project comes from both his work with the Sustainability Club as well as from his time at The Island School, both of which have given him an insight into the importance of food sustainability and the need for locally grown produce. “I hope that future students will see the project as a step in the right direction towards a more sustainable future,” said Stern. “Hopefully those students will be inspired to increase sustainable initiatives on campus and maybe even build their own, smaller hydroponic gardens for home use.”
Additionally, seniors Millie Felder and Ella Hort plan to create a website/blog on the role of public parks in urban environments. “In New York, a city that can already feel very devoid of open spaces, the parks provide some of the only places to escape into nature, [even] if only on a small scale,” said Felder. The duo will present their research through a historical, artistic, and environmental lens to explore the ways these parks fit into the landscape and historical context of New York City. Their website will feature blog post-style entries with a focus on the historical importance of these parks. The posts will also feature investigations on the parks’ statues, the environment, and community importance through the use of photographs and interviews.
Seniors Sam Lipin and Charlotte Birsh will be doing a senior project in which they will write a poetic adaptation of The Odyssey called the Riverdaliad, using dactylic hexameter and solely Latin. Lipin and Birsh have both found interest in Latin, having studied the language for a combined 10 years. With the help of Mr. Scott Ettinger, the duo’s Latin teacher, Lipin and Birsh will conduct research on various famous Latin poems to learn how to correctly write in dactylic hexameter. They plan to use their project to both explore the language, reflect upon their high school experiences, and give advice to other students through their work. “As our time at Riverdale comes to a close,” reflected Birsh, “we hope this project will allow us to use the skills we have acquired and put them to use in this creative, literary, and poetic endeavor while also allowing for us to reflect on our lives here.”
In total, seniors are embarking on 11 projects this year, and students should look forward to hearing more about these projects when the seniors present them to the Riverdale community. Best of luck to all the seniors!