Tyler J. Hassett, a 12th-grader in the CK school district, is
less than impressed with the culminating project graduation
requirement. In a letter to the editor published today, he
complains about having to sit inside and finish his project instead
of getting to play outside in the snow.
Winter break should be a time of relaxation and catching up for
students of all ages.
As a high school senior, I should be able to enjoy myself and
play out in the snow for what may be one of the last times.
Instead, I am stuck inside, delegated to finish my Culminating
Project. For those who don’t know, this is a project required by
our state to be completed in order to graduate.
I can understand the reasons behind it — we need thoughtful,
intelligent students to lead our communities into the future.
Sadly, this district and others are going about it all wrong.
Currently, I am being forced to research a career when I still
have almost no idea of where I want to be 10 years from now. I
cannot see the benefit of using an entire semester to complete a
10-minute presentation on something of little significance.
However, I must do it anyways, because I intend on graduating,
going to college, and moving on to bigger and better things.
I hope our district, and indeed the state, can figure out a
better way to finish a student’s career.
Tyler (J.) Hassett, 12th grade
You know, after watching my three kids (who are younger than
Tyler) romp through the drifts for days over Christmas break, I
have to sort of sympathize with his point of view. Of course, some
of the time I was right out there with them (and I am MUCH older
than Tyler) so I don’t think I can agree with his statement that
this was one of the last times he will be able to play in the
In any event, Tyler does have to complete the culminating
project to graduate. Read about the requirements here on the CK school district website. As
I read through them this morning, the project sounds like a good
idea and definitely not a waste of time. The kids are asked to
explore a topic of interest to them in the areas of personal,
community service, career, cultural or academic interest. The
project is supposed to explore an interest connected to the
I love some of the CK restrictions on project topics: no
piercing or tatooing, no bungee jumping, spelunking, extreme snow
boarding, shark chumming (what the heck is that?) no dog training
and no weapons.
The culminating project is a statewide graduation requirement.
Read about the project here at the OSPI website. OSPI also
showcases some extraordinary projects from Washington students in
the past. One girl was a camp counselor at a camp for kids in
war-torn Croatia. Another girl worked with cancer researchers on a
possible link between cell phone use and brain cancer. Yet another
volunteered at a free health clinic in her community and used her
Spanish skills to help patients.
Bad news for Tyler: These projects sound pretty worthwhile.
So what’s the word? Is this project a waste of time? If you’re a
student, what have you studied? If you’re a teacher, what
benefits/drawbacks have you seen for your students? Parents?