Grade 12 students at Barriere Secondary School presented their passion projects – from veterinary care to mechanics, sports and healthy eating cookbooks – this month at the school’s Capstone Fair.
Capstone projects are a main part of Career Life Connections, a mandatory course for graduation in B.C. The project requires students to identify an interest they would like to explore and follow through on a plan they design.
Evan Christian, who has taught the course for the past three years, asked all his students to consider how they could turn their individual passions into a career. The idea was to use their passions as a starting point to explore how different interests and skills can fit together in life after graduation.
Once they settled on a passion, there were two key parts of the project: to find a mentor and to connect with the community. A student interested in becoming a veterinary technician, for instance, shadowed a local veterinarian to create a “day in the life of a vet” presentation. That student has since decided to attend veterinary school next year, Christian said.
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“In doing this project I think that it gets them to think that classes are not just silos where we learn one thing, and things are actually connected,” Christian said. “We need to reach out and connect with mentors and connect with the community – really reach outside of school walls to develop those passions.
“This idea of becoming cross-curricular, that the Capstone project does, is it joins these classes together into one thing.”
Students worked on their projects for months, largely because they needed time to play around with potential options. Many students found it difficult to settle on a focus at first, he said, but most were able to successfully develop projects throughout the term.
Another student explored the economic reality of “flipping” used cars, by fixing them up for resale. Another helped coach volleyball and basketball to younger students. Christian said she found her spark while mentoring future athletes who hope to step their game up to the next level.
This was the first time the students were able to present their projects in a fair format since COVID-19 restrictions were lifted.
Roughly eight community members visited the fair. Many community members could not attend because the school had to host the fair during school hours, at 2 p.m. on a Tuesday, due to the number of students who rely on the bus schedule to get to and from school.
Christian hopes the fair will grow into a larger community event in future years as more people become aware of it, noting it has resulted in some students meeting potential future employers through their presentations.