Senior Projects Allow for Exploration Into Passions


Graphic: Quinn Patwardhan ’24.

Senior Projects, a longtime tradition in the Upper School, allows each senior to explore their interests and present their work to their freshman, sophomore and junior peers.

After finishing classes in late April, seniors have four weeks to create a rigorous and well-thought-out project to meet their graduation requirements.

Senior Projects often include internships or an independent study and are typically focused on social justice and community engagement.

The internship component allows seniors to develop their passions in a professional setting, whether their field is education, business, art or government. Regarding social justice and community engagement, Sidwell encourages seniors to pursue a topic related to issues impacting their communities. For example, a senior might interact with local nonprofits or organizations to better their local district.

Students propose their topic to a committee of faculty members before winter break. Senior Project Coordinator Sarah Markovits leads the committee and is in charge of keeping seniors on track and facilitating the proposal process. “We give [the seniors] an overview of what is expected, and get them started thinking about what projects could be,” she explained.

Senior projects span many topics, but each represents the interests and passions of the senior student body.

After the committee approves their topics, seniors select a faculty adviser to meet with weekly. During these meetings, students share their work and advisers ensure students are making steady progress.

This year, seniors Morganne Willard and Raina Sachdev are building a table and two benches for their project. Willard explained that she “wanted to do something hands on and productive,” and woodworking fit the description. Inspiration for their project stemmed from a shared conversation in art class and grew as they brainstormed ideas.

Willard remarked that woodworking is something she has always had an interest in but has not previously had the time to explore. In addition, Sachdev’s mother is a professional woodworker, so she has helped them in various stages of the project. Willard said the process has been “smooth so far,” and remarked that they are “lucky to have an expert like Raina’s mom.”

Similarly, senior Lane Worthing is utilizing her senior project to investigate interests such as book binding and creative writing, topics she has not been able to pursue in the past. “A conversation with my grandma gave me the idea to do bookbinding which always seemed interesting but obscure,” said Worthing.

As time for senior projects draws to a close, Worthing reported good progress, having already “practiced most of the bookbinding process.” She is currently working on three of her short stories.

“I love creative writing and really want to produce a cool capstone to my time at Sidwell,” Worthing said.”

Additionally, seniors Laura Youel Page and Maggie Gray are creating a nature guide to Great Falls Park. Youel Page said in a written note that they are “really excited to share all of [their] findings and favorite spots!”

Markovits recalled other memorable Senior Projects, including a student who wrote a novel during their time at Sidwell and decided they wanted to publish it. In addition, ’22 graduates interviewed Upper School Math Teacher Maria Kodiebrodzka and discussed her work as a Polish resistance fighter. The students researched and documented a relatively unknown piece of her life and shared her story with the community.

Markovits also mentioned a student who made a restaurant blog, approaching the project from a computer programming perspective. They designed an app that allowed people to write real-time reviews of restaurants.

Markovits explained that in order to conduct a successful project seniors should be passionate, proud and dedicated to their topics.

The Senior Project period is an exciting time for the Sidwell community, where seniors devote time to an area of their interest and share their passions with their peers.