Maui High School is the only high school on Maui that requires all of its graduating seniors to complete a Senior Project. Senior Project involves a proposal that needs to be approved and signed by Ti’a Joaquin, the Curriculum Coordinator. The required documents include a signed mentor agreement, a contact log to record your minimum of twenty hours, and a journal log with at least eight entries.
To be able to successfully complete a Senior Project, the students must apply time management, planning, and support an idea or cause using their own skills. As students brainstorm, plan, collaborate, network, and fulfill their proposed projects, they are on their way to find themselves personally while doing a project that interests them.
This summer, Justine Yagin decided to lead a Bible school for children at her church, Central Maui Church of Christ. Justine says, “Upon leading and planning this event, I have learned several new skills as well as experienced what it is like to be a teacher to many children.” By doing this, Justine learned she enjoys working with kids and planning lessons as well as speaking, which eventually inspired her to become a teacher. Another student, Cortney Tabujara, who is the current President of Academy of Hospitality and Tourism (AOHT), chose to do her project on Human Resources. “I was intrigued to learn about all those jobs,” Cortney said, “It’s for my personal exploration.”
The Building and Construction Capstone class will be building a tiny house. Mark Rafael, a member of the Building and Construction Capstone class, proudly says, “I’ve always loved building things with my hands.” By doing the senior project, seniors are more challenged but of course, during their presentations, they will all be proud of their work. Not only will they feel successful but also after everything, they will have an idea as to the type of environment they desire to work at in the future.
In the past, high school seniors practiced their presentations to different classes. Trisha Mae Rapacon witnessed a presentation from an Advancement Via Individual Determination student last school year. Trisha says, “That particular presentation stood out to me the most because the argument really correlated well with the hours, which was to travel to Mexico for the summer.” The presenter volunteered in an orphanage where disabled children and adults were being taken care of. “The student really proved that disabled children should not be aborted because they can also bring happiness to people’s lives,” said Trisha, who learned that every person has the chance to live as much as we all do.
“My senior project will be on Hospitality and Tourism,” explained Trisha. “I’m currently job shadowing with Envisions under an Event Planner/Coordinator for the required hours. By doing this experience, I will be able to apply all of the event planning skills I’ll be learning for my senior project product which will be the AOHT’s Christmas party. For Tourism, I will be writing an argument about lifting Executive Order 13769 also known as the “Muslim ban” that was signed by President Trump. I chose this topic for my paper because it relates to people traveling to America and it is something I’m really interested about. I enjoy planning, traveling and working with customers and other people. Doing this topic for my senior project will help me enhance and expand my knowledge and skills under this field. It will also help me determine if it’s something I really wanna pursue as a career in the future.”
That’s also the reason why Chloe Sijalbo is job shadowing a veterinarian. “That’s the career I want to go for. I want to know if that is what I really want to be in the future.”
Music will be the focus for Jairus Larin’s senior project. “I’m doing a cover of a song and turning it into an instrumental. My paper topic is about why music should be a mandatory course in high school,” said Jairus. “I chose this topic because I believe music is really important to everyone and I want to point out some of its benefits, and also, I love music and I want to expand my knowledge about it.” Jairus was intrigued the most with a library mural as a senior project: “I would say the one that stood out the most to me is the mural by the library because I never thought someone could use the school’s property to do their senior project. I think that’s really smart and unique.”
Bonie Daoaten, explains why he selected dance as his Senior Project: “For me dance isn’t just movements to music, it’s more of a way of expression and emotion—as if you bring the music to life.” The most outstanding senior project presentations that I’ve seen in the past involved any type of musical or choreography explained Bonie. “Music and dance have always been interesting to me since I was young and so I have a deeper understanding as to why that person chose to present their Senior Project on the music/dance arts.”
Like Bonie, Vinrichie Bongcaron will be presenting something that is interesting and he feels passionate about—art therapy. Bongcaron is looking forward to his classmates and his own future presentation, especially since he hasn’t witnessed any presentations in the past.
As for me, I will be volunteering for A Cup of Cold Water (ACCW) which is a community Care-Van outreach program on the island of Maui, led by Episcopalians from four churches: Good Shepherd in Wailuku, Holy Innocents in Lahaina, St. John’s in Kula and Trinity By-the-Sea in Kīhei. ACCW is so meaningful and hopeful for those who are homeless that it made me—a youth from Good Shepherd Episcopal Church—want to also be a part of it. I wanted to actually see and help those who are in need. According to The Episcopal Diocese of Hawai‘i’s Website, “In 2015, A Cup of Cold Water conducted 158 mission runs and completed 8,673 service contacts with people in need,” and “in 2016, A Cup of Cold Water conducted 167 mission runs and completed 9,779 service contact with people in need.” I want to help those in need and even though I may think it’s not that much, for them, it means so much. I wanted to research and witness how the atmosphere is for those who intentionally want to do a good cause for the community. More importantly, I want to learn more about Maui’s homelessness population because I have seen so many of them walking around, especially in Kahului, where I live.
I want to help and listen to their stories of why they are in the situation they are in. Having that knowledge, I hope to to understand what our community needs to do to help.