Students in grade 12 have the option of pursuing a Capstone Thesis, which offers the opportunity to explore deeply a topic within an academic field of their choice.
A Capstone Thesis counts as a yearlong, full-credit, graded course, designed by the student under the guidance of a faculty mentor. Student are encouraged to enrich their study through participation in conferences and workshops, as well as through consultation with local or regional experts.
To navigate the research process and to promote intellectual rigor, each student engaged in the Capstone Thesis program not only meets weekly with his or her mentor but also consults with a second faculty member who serves as an outside reader. Moreover, the students convene regularly as a cohort to discuss progress, share ideas, and help each other overcome obstacles.
The Capstone Thesis program begins in May of the students' junior year, as they submit formal proposals detailing their intended project to the Capstone Committee. Approved proposals spur many students to start working over the summer. At the annual Capstone Symposium, held in January, the Capstone students formally present on their progress to an audience of their peers. The Capstone program draws to a close in late April, with students submitting final written and public components. In the spirit of creativity, students are strongly encouraged to craft final components consonant with their fields of study; volumes of original poetry and scientific reports are equally likely to be submitted for review.
In addition to learning more about their chosen topic and developing their research, analytic, and writing skills, students also report incredible personal growth and increased self-awareness as a result of their scholarship.