Juniors on the Rise

Exploring the efficacy of the x-block expo for seniors and juniors


Photo: Snowden

Senior Aiden Tanzer, junior Thandie Boudreaux, senior Deaubranice Garrett, and Mr. Bill McClain are talking to Senior Austin Wall about his SIS project. For his SIS project, Wall helped with the construction of a youth building with his church for three months.

“I definitely think I’ve grown mentally and emotionally because I felt not only stressed, but I was stressed about what people thought of me and everything and social media,” senior Sidney Marr said. “And so [my SIS project] definitely made me realize that none of this is important. I just was able to focus on myself and that really helped me zone out every unimportant thing in my life, and I avoided a lot of nonsense that was going on with social media and high school.”

Marr presented her Senior Independent Study (SIS) along with the rest of her senior class last week during x-block. For her SIS, Marr taught a yoga class before winter exams. She explained at the expo that she was nervous about the class at first, but she soon realized that she wanted to be herself and add her own interests to the school for her last year at St. George’s.

Marr was not alone in presenting the struggles of finishing her SIS project. The seniors presented the projects that they had spent the last year creating and answered any questions sophomores or juniors had about what went into the finalized product of their project.

“I think it helps a lot to see what the finished product is, to see how in the end it all works out and how everybody has a final product to look forward to,” Junior Meghan Barton said. “So for me, to see what I may want to do in the future for next year, it’s a good thing.”

The purpose of the SIS x-block expo was to allow juniors and sophomores a chance to ask questions about the process of creating an SIS project and explore topics that might spark interest in their minds for ideas for next year.

“The reason why the sophomores and juniors went this year is [because] it’s helpful for them to see what it’s all about, and it’s helpful to give them an idea of what they’ll need to do the next year,” Mrs. Kimberly Callaway, leader of the community/service based strand, said. “So, the reason why they’re required is [because] it helps flesh out [some of] their ideas. They said, ‘Oh, I think want to do this for the SIS.’ They might see that it’s already been done or they might say, ‘You know what, I liked seeing that, and I’d like to start expanding on it.’”

Junior Paiden Reed says that she was able to get some tips from seniors during the x-block expo because seniors were willing to help her through her own process.

I didn’t know if I would actually be able to successfully write a children’s book,” Reed said. “But, seeing other people have published a children’s book and other books, it helped me be comfortable with the idea that it could be done.”

Barton agrees with Reed and says that she saw some ideas at the expo that inspired her.

“I saw some people [did an internship], and I want to do that now,” Barton said. “I’ve seen some ideas that I think I can mix together to make my own project.”

The purpose of the x-block expo was to help seniors prepare for the parent and administration expo that took place on Monday, May 8. The x-block expo was a practice for how they would present for adults.

“The x-block expo is really important for the seniors because it’s like a dress rehearsal, and it’s a practice for them,” Mrs. Callaway said. “So most students make additions to their presentation from the x-block expo to the real expo on Monday night.”

Mrs. Callaway even said that teachers saw an improvement from the x-block expo to the expo for the parents and faculty. Seniors were able to bring food and other additions to their project from their house on Monday night. She says seniors even started to bring more interactive expos throughout the week the expos were being presented.

“The presentations got better as the week progressed,” Mrs. Callaway said. “It’s kind of like people would see somebody else’s and say, ‘Oh, I can do a visual for mine.’ Or, ‘Oh, I want to bring in something.’ That’s a great idea. So I found they kind of upped their game as the week went on, which I think helped the seniors and then they even fine tuned from what they had in x-block to Monday.”

Senior Katie Mullenix said that she was able to practice what she would say for the big expo when she was presenting during x-block to the juniors and sophomores.

“I know that I would have been more nervous had I not gotten the extra practice,” Mullenix said.

Mrs. Callaway says that she cannot wait to see the projects that will come next year, and she is glad that the seniors this year were so happy about their final product.

“[The teachers] enjoyed and loved it,” Mrs. Callaway said, “and we were really proud of all the seniors for their supporting each other and for their excitement and conclusion of their projects.”