Senior Capstone members have dedicated their year to spreading awareness for underlying issues

Since early September, many seniors have been working on their Senior Capstone Projects. Facilitated by a chosen teacher as their mentor, the students work in groups or as individuals to advocate for poorly represented issues in society. There are 10 groups and one individual, Jacob Patterson.  

The seniors collaborate with their partners and reflect on the senior year as well as their volunteering experiences to pick an issue or topic to research and present. Seniors Charlotte Ackerman, Rosie Bayer, Ellie Bowman, Kelly Carville, and Bella Mastruserio have been working together to present the issues surrounding the foster care system and immigration.  

Materials gathered by the group define foster care as “’temporary [arrangements] for minor children whose biological parents are unavailable or unable to care for them, (qtd. in “Foster Care” by Gale).‘”  

The seniors wanted to focus on what causes the lack of support for children within the system and once they leave it, as well as the lack of resources and abuses they face.  

“We specifically talked about why children are in the foster care system and the resources they are given or not given once they leave the system, and we touched on the separation of borders and some of the problems behind our system’s faults,” Bayer said.  

In September, Bowman, Ackerman, and Mastruserio went on the Appalachia retreat in Tennessee and visited an orphanage, Kingswood Home for Children. This served as their inspiration for their Capstone project.  

Ackerman, Bowman, and Mastruserio attended the Appalachia retreat with a small group of seniors. They visited children at the orphanage and spent time getting to know them. 

“It was really impactful and we saw how some of these kids were so vibrant and healthy there, but hearing their backstories, it’s something you want to change,” Mastruserio said.  

In order to make this issue known, the seniors made an informative video and will have a presentation on April 27 during the Capstone Symposium. They want to spread awareness throughout the community so people are more knowledgeable about the struggles of immigrants and kids in the foster care system. 

“We obviously know that we can’t change the foster care system or separation at borders. We can’t take a field trip to the border and protest, so we decided that it’s more important to spread awareness and let the student body know how significant the issue is,” Bowman said.  

They have also focused on the immigration process and how complicated it is to be an immigrant trying to enter the United States.  

 “The amount of time it takes to get across the waitlist right now is like 20 years plus. It’s insane,” Ackerman said.  

Since working on this project, the seniors have learned and been impacted in large and significant ways. Teamwork has brought them closer together and has helped them make this project possible.  

“It’s made me more appreciative of the life that I have and that I was able to be born in the United States. Its opened my eyes to how the system itself works and some of the problems inside of it,” Carville said.  

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