The Sophomore Class will use Finals Week to present capstone projects as a culminating activity in the Responses to Oppression course, the combined English and history “Hislish” class.
Each project will include a TED Talk-style presentation to classmates, faculty and invited guests as well a research paper, both of which are focused on creating a personal response to oppression.
“This year’s capstone projects will be more focused,” English department chair Rachael Denny, said.
Students previously did not have history block periods to work on their projects or full incorporation of the history curriculum into their presentations.
“The inspiration for the Responses to Oppression class came when Ms. Denny and I realized that our individual class’ topics coincided,” history teacher Michael Stafford said. “I was feeling that while what I was teaching was helpful, it wasn’t exactly beneficial to the students.”
“We want these projects to be a celebration of what the students have studied all year,” Stafford said.
The preparation of the cap- stone projects are concentrated into one unit spanning over a month.
Some students are working with organizations and individuals outside of the school com- munity to provide resources for their topics.
Sophomore Amelia Bulivant and her project team have reached out to the Sisters of Mercy in Burlingame, who work with sex trafficking victims to learn about how this crime impacts the Bay Area.
“This year’s project will give the students an opportunity to utilize their skills which they have accumulated over this year,” Denny said.
The skills include analysis, writing, communicating, speaking and responding with action.
“Each of our topics require a lot of analysis because there will be so much research involved.” Bulivant said. “We are going to use writing for our research papers and also to communicate with our outside contacts.”
The sophomores are working individually or in groups of up to three students.
“Working in a group will al- low us to accomplish our set goals while using our individual skills,” Bulivant said.
Tennis player Grace Apple has chosen to focus on a form of oppression that relates to her extracurricular.
“My passion for tennis has given me a some ideas on how I could work with underprivileged kids assisting them with not only tennis, but sports in general,” Apple said.
Apple says since she is so enthusiastic about her topic, she expects her overall outcome will be successful.
“It’s important for the students to be able to choose a topic that they’re passionate about,” Stafford said.
The goal is for students to peak at the end of the year with topics that they are passionate about, give engaging speeches, thoroughly analyze, conduct re- search and write clearly, according to Stafford.