Samford Valley Steiner School
Senior Research Projects
Over the weekend of the 15th to the 17th October, Samford Valley Steiner School once again hosted one of the most important events on our calendar – the Class 12 Senior Project Presentations. The presentations are a public culmination of all the work that goes into creating a Senior Project and the Class gave presentations of up to 20 minutes and then fielded questions from the audience. Along with this the school hall was filled with visual displays that further explained their projects. The number of past students and parents who came to see the presentations was a notable part of this year’s event as it spoke so much about what a fulfilling and meaningful experience this can be and not just for those directly involved.
In taking on the year long project (the process begins in Class 11), students follow their own interest to develop a topic which will explore practical and theoretical components as well as give them an opportunity to reflect on the process they have followed. They are encouraged to reach out beyond their teachers by finding mentors who have expertise in the field they are interested in. It is a time of challenge and fulfilling achievement. It is also a core element of the students receiving their New Zealand Steiner Certificate of Education which provides an assessment framework for the projects. Every student has a member of the High School staff as a supervisor and we also allot 2 periods a week to develop the project which has worked very well for us in facilitating the students’ progress toward the end goal.
The 2021 Class, like others before, came up with a diverse set of projects that ranged in scope from sustainable architecture to construction, photographic art, the ethics of food production, rock climbing, perspectives on asylum seekers, CAD software and applications, acting, set design, performance art and consumer culture, interior design, a comprehensive astrological/astronomical calendar, animation and the creation of character through movement, an examination of fibreglass as a material to make bike frames, a look at the concept of judgement and the relationship of photography to self-image.
It was so inspiring for the teachers and parents as well as the school community to listen to the final presentations and see what our students have created, crafted and contemplated. I have been associated with these projects for many years now and I am always impressed by the confidence our students gain to follow their ideas and passions, to express themselves and think more deeply and how this process is so valuable in helping them form their own lives in the complex world of today. In many ways, the Senior Project Presentations represent what I would call a ‘convergence moment’. We see the culmination of the Class 12 student’s passage through the school merged with the young adult who can give meaning, voice and apply their will to a task of their own making.
Here at Samford, we wish to offer congratulations to all our Class 12 and the students in other Class 12’s around Australia who were able to complete their Senior Projects. If you wish to be optimistic about our future, I would advise you to attend a Senior Project Presentation.
Griffith University Professors who were assessors for the Friday night wrote:
Sincere and effusive thanks to you both for inviting Linda and me to be audience to and provide feedback on the SVSS Senior Research Projects. We’ve heard many folk talk about these projects over the past year, and were thrilled to be involved in 2021. We’d like to add to the chorus of praise and congratulations. The variety of projects, the theoretical depth and practical significance is second to none. It’s inquiry done right and a stellar example of parent and community engagement of the highest order. Equally impressive was the depth of questioning from the audience, sometimes from students and sometimes from the parent/community groups.
Please share our gratitude and admiration to the students, their supporters and their teachers.
Senior Project Co-ordinator
Samford Valley Steiner School