Every student must undertake a Culminating Project during the Stage II process in order to graduate. This project must be approved by student's Graduation Committee following the committee's acceptance of the student's Graduation Proposal. After the Graduation Committee has accepted the Culminating Project proposal, the project may only be revised with the approval of the Graduation Committee. Details about this process are described below.
What is a Culminating Project?The Culminating Project is an opportunity to undertake a major piece of rigorous, original work in an area of great interest and personal relevance to the student. It may involve work directly connected to the student's intended Path. It may involve exploration of Path alternatives. Or it may be a personal passion unconnected to the student's stated path. Culminating Projects are self-motivating experiences that the student is interested in, even passionate about. The student chooses the project, designs it with input from the Graduation Committee, and is solely responsible for its execution. The project is culminating in the sense that it brings together the student's skills and knowledge in carrying out a significant piece of self-directed learning.
When is the Culminating Project done?A Stage II student may begin work on the project at any time after it has been approved by his/her Graduation Committee. Typically, students are within a year or two of graduation when they transition to Stage II and begin this project.
Where is the Culminating Project done?As the projects vary, so can the places. Restrictions for off-campus projects are related to credits and legal factors the school is bound by. Students should work with their advisors to ensure that these restrictions do not impede their project. Though most projects have taken place in Boulder, some have occurred in locations around the world. (Note: The costs of travel-related projects, like the costs of any Culminating Project, must be borne by students and their families.) In general, students are encouraged to create inexpensive projects.
How do you get started?The shape of a Culminating Project evolves through a series of conversations. The first conversations take place between the student and advisor. These lead to an idea that can be put down on paper for the Graduation Committee. This proposal is taken to a committee meeting and is discussed at length. Over the course of one or more meetings the proposal is refined and the various aspects of it clarified. This process of clarification should result in a revised Culminating Project Proposal. This written summary of the committee's deliberations becomes the "contract" for the project and provides the basis for the project's evaluation by the committee.
Examples of Senior Culminating Projects
Acted as lead student system administrator for school computer system Began a career as a competitive mountain bike racer Choreographed and performed original dance works Compiled and produced a magazine documenting graffiti around the country Constructed a complex computer Created a display on convergent evolution for the University of Colorado Greenhouse Created a documentary video on mountain biking Created a photography series on Colorado's Fourteeners Created a poetry manuscript Created a portfolio of 3-D computer art Created a web site on resources for self-help in legal affairs Created an animated film Designed a computer network administration program Designed a vacation cabin and created its architectural model Designed and constructed a 3-D model for a state of the art infant care center Designed and fabricated a youth fashion line Designed and produced a music CD Designed packaging for a small business Developed and taught a class on skateboard construction at New Vista Did a research project on Southeast Asian Art Did an apprenticeship in the techniques of Reiki Educated the public about animal rights Explored forensic science careers Explored social work careers and interned at Rape Crisis Center Explored the world of cyber punk and created an anthology of cyber punk pieces Explored veterinary careers in Alaska Filmed and edited a snowboard video Helped create a video on the inclusion of multiply handicapped students Improved human relation skills as a computer system administrator Interned at a school for autistic children Learned how to build a house from the ground up Learned to be an assistant in paleontological research Lived independently and created a handbook for emancipated teens Mastered outdoor living skills including a solo adventure Organized activities connected to a Japanese exchange program Organized, taught and supervised the building of a sailboat Participated in an archeological dig in Uruguay Participated in research on subatomic particles at the Fermi lab Planned and co-led a week long bike trip in Fruita, Colorado Planned and led 200 mile backpacking trip along Colorado Trail Prepared for volunteer fire-fighting activities and designed an accountability system for mountain firefighters Prepared to obtain pilot's license Produced an original comic book Produced and starred in the one woman show, "Belle of Amherst" Pursued advanced study of French language and literature Redecorated a home with original mural work Researched and created a museum on Title IX and Women's Athletics Restored a 1969 Pontiac Firebird Studied the cultural anthropology of Hawaii Studied to be a clown, performed in a variety of venues and created a home page on clowning Taught a class on Greek philosophy at New Vista High School Taught a course in art history Taught AP calculus to high school students Traveled and produced documentary photographs Traveled to South Africa to attend the International Parliament of Religions Undertook ecological studies in Tasmania Undertook field study of Sandhill cranes Undertook in-depth study and observation of apes Undertook intensive summer study at the UNC Frontiers of Science Institute Volunteered at an AIDS hospice Volunteered for the Emergency Family Assistance Center and organized a school-wide food drive Volunteered with Sinapu to help restore wolves to Colorado Worked as a teaching assistant in an elementary school Worked as an intern at a university science lab studying chimpanzees using American Sign Language Worked at a camp for disadvantaged youth Wrote a children's book Wrote and submitted a novella for publication Wrote, directed and filmed a narrative video Wrote, directed and performed an original one woman show Wrote, directed and produced a Spanish language video on Boulder and New Vista