Brooke Black, Caroline Maloney, and Jacqui Vergis
As the second semester of the 2016-2017 school year begins, seniors are starting to prepare for our senior project. Recently, the grade gathered for an assembly that outlined the process of this project. We learned that it is basically broken into a ten step process, leading up to our three week, real-world experience and school presentation. APEX, an acronym for what advisors have coined the Active Personal Educational eXperience, is an opportunity where seniors are able to explore career fields and personal interests by briefly working in a setting of their own choosing. The school district implemented this program with the hope that students might learn more about themselves and what they may want to pursue outside of high school.
Many seniors are either anxious or excited about this process. Anxious because it’s our first chance to do something that we could be doing for the rest of our lives, and excited because we get to leave school three weeks early and explore our creativity. In the past, seniors were required to do a cumulative project based on a specific career path that they worked on for almost all of high school. Last year, New Hope-Solebury made the switch to the APEX project so that students were able to experience their interests first hand. One of the most interesting parts of this project is that we are able to travel outside of our “New Hope bubble,” within reason of course. For example, last year two seniors, Aaron Nagg and Lucas Ebeling, decided to travel all the way to Zimbabwe, Africa, where they were able to experience the culture and get an idea for what they wanted to do with all that they learned. This year, some will stay in New Hope and some will travel all the way to Africa again.
Leading up to the project, seniors are required to finish assignments that will ask us questions about our APEX decisions, such as where we want to spend the three weeks, and who we are working with. We will be able to meet with our APEX advisors a few times before the internships begin so we will be well-prepared. Once the project starts, advisors will be coming to our workplace a few times over the 3-week period to see how well we have been working and how much progress we have made. By the end of the three weeks, seniors will have accumulated a ton of information to be turned into a presentation for our advisors, who will give us a pass/fail grade, and our younger peers, so that they can get an idea for what is expected of them in the coming years.
The APEX project is only in its second year at New Hope-Solebury High School, but it looks as if it will stick around for quite a while. Even if the students from last year’s class did not like what they decided to do for the three weeks, many reported that it helped them make conclusions about what they may actually enjoy. This year, we are excited to see the outcome of the project so that each of us can get a better understanding for what career path we want to take in life. We are all very happy to be a part of such an interactive senior project.