The Yosemite High School senior class of 2015 will be remembered for many years for their contributions to the community, and to the school.
The community benefited through a variety of Senior Projects completed by the 145 seniors throughout the school year. The basic requirements were that the project must benefit others and must not result in financial gain for the student.
The third annual Senior Project Fair was held in the Yosemite cafeteria on May 19.
“The class of 2015 showed up with visual boards in hand to display to the community of Oakhurst the amazing projects they have completed during their senior year,” Rebecca Hardison said. “About 70 judges were present to verify and acknowledge student achievement, and several hundred community members including YHS staff, parents, underclassmen, and community members attended the event.”
Everyone who attended the event had the opportunity to vote for their favorites in three categories: best interview, best visual board, and best project. Winners in each category will be announced at the June 2 end of the year assembly.
“The Senior Project Fair was an overwhelmingly positive experience for all who attended,” Hardison said. “Where else will students be in a room with 145 other people who all worked at least 20 hours on a service project during their lives? Many students were surprised by the magnitude of their peers projects and hard work. Everyone was so proud of themselves and it was an excellent way to show the community how much the teens in the mountains are really ‘giving back.’”
Some students chose acts of service for area charities or organizations such as Cause for Paws, My Tri Triathlon, Boys & Girls Club, Missions trips, Marjorie Mason Center, Manna House, Angles of Grace Foster Family Agency, and Valley Children’s Hospital.
Other students took on special projects including feeding the homeless, helping at free dental day, a CPR workshop, Bass Lake and Oakhurst park clean ups, blood drives, providing for the elderly, tutoring students in foreign language, the “Beat Up Cancer” golf tournament, and Courtney Fire relief efforts.
Other students chose to coach or to assist with organizing a sporting event, including swimming, wrestling, basketball, football, track, and soccer.
“Some students chose to fundraise and then to donate the proceeds to an organization/charity through bake sales, dinners, or work such as cutting wood to be raffled off,” said Hardison, YHS history teacher, and senior projects coordinator. “Seniors chose to give back to the organizations and programs that they care so much about, such as the YHS music department, welding, auto shop, Cadet Corps, senior slide show, and the end of year video.
Hardison said some students just wanted to spread some joy and did this in various ways such as orchestrating a teacher prep room makeover, caroling events, and raising money for YHS scholarships.
“Still other seniors chose to contribute to international organizations such as the Nepal Clean Cook stove project, Operation Christmas Child, American Cancer Society (Relay for Life), Spectrum Ministries, Living Water Ministries, The Diabetes Foundation, Autism Awareness, or the SPCA,” Hardison said. “Students at YHS completed more than 3,000 accumulative hours of service through their senior projects.”
“The Senior Projects are a meaningful endeavor for students who are about to enter adulthood,” said Hardison. “The challenges they face with project planning, communication, dealing with setbacks, working with others, and the need to be flexible are all very relevant experiences for young adults.”
Senior Project Fair
Students verified logs of hours (signed by mentors), wrote a reflection paper, and created a visual board to represent their work to receive credit in their History class. Visual board workshops were held after school on several occasions to help students create effective, visual representations of what they had accomplished and to provide students with the needed supplies. Most students presented their projects and boards in their English classes to help prepare them for the Senior Project Fair.
“The Senior Project Fair was such a great time,” said senior Kristin Bonillas, who served as team captain for the YHS Relay for Life group. “It was really nice to see all of the projects that were done in the community. Seeing our student body coming together to utilize our passions and interests to better our community was truly an eye opener. It was amazing to show what we accomplished as the class of 2015.”
Hardison thanked those in the community who gave generously to support senior projects either through financial support or through a commitment to serve as a mentor.
“All those wonderful community members truly impacted the lives of the Yosemite High School senior class, and the students are so thankful for all that you have done,” Hardison said.
If you would like to help a senior with a project or if you have a project that would work for a senior to undertake next year, contact Hardison at (559) 683-4667, ext. 418.