For his senior project Shane Johnson, 18, wanted to do something practical, something that would be beneficial to his life and education goals.
“I designed and built a windmill,” he said. “It tied straight in to what I want to do, and it looked a lot of fun.”
Johnson joined his fellow Carson High School seniors on Monday, presenting their final projects to a panel judges made up of members of the community.
English teacher Jason Macy, who serves as chairman of the senior project committee, said there were a few changes to the format of the project this year.
The total hours required for the project was lowered from 25 to 15 to encourage students to try something bold, and the research paper was eliminated.
The biggest change, Macy said, was the overall direction of senior projects.
“We want to make it more of a capstone,” he said. “We want students to use this as a way of showing where they have been in their education and where they are going.”
Johnson said his project fit in nicely with his plan to major in engineering at the University of Nevada, Reno.
He also sees practical applications for it.
“In the future, I will be able to power a car battery with it or pay for some of the electricity use in my house,” he said. “It’s something I can keep using.”
While Tana Greene, 17, hopes to become a veterinarian one day, she also plans to continue to study the paranormal — the topic of her senior project.
“I tried to investigate ghosts, UFOs, aliens and Bigfoot,” she said. “Those types of investigations take more than a year to conduct, but I would say there’s strong evidence of the existence of the paranormal.”
She said her strongest evidence of ghosts came from Goldfield, Mound House and Virginia City. She found some evidence of Big Foot in the Sierra and trace amounts in Mound House.
Michael Reyes, 17, plans to attend the Art Institute in San Diego to study acting, filmmaking and photography.
Dancing, he said, could supplement his portfolio.
For his senior project, Reyes learned the West Coast swing and the waltz.
He thought he’d be able to put his new skills to use during prom, but it didn’t work out.
“The D.J. didn’t play the kind of music you could do those dances to,” he said.
Macy said the real value of the project comes in the presentation to the judges.
“It’s nice for the students to be evaluated by members of the public,” he said. “It makes it more important to them, and it allows teachers to sere more as coaches.”