Senior Capstone Project


Skye Justice

Senior Sydney Fortin works on her Capstone project

Imagine your English teacher asking if you’ve heard back from a mortician, or what days you’re planning to ditch school. These are some of the many things that are new to every senior entering English 12 teacher, Kari Fortik’s, door this semester. Seniors have to complete a Capstone project, where they shadow a career of their choice and write a research paper and slideshow. 

“I’m going to try to have a mentorship with the 5280 Magazine company,” senior Graciela Fischer said. 5280 Magazine is based out of Denver, and is the largest circulated magazine in Colorado. “I’m going to do a journalism [mentorship] directed towards magazine writing”. 

This project is spread out over the course of the whole semester, but with graduation quickly approaching, time seems to be limited.

“[The project] is going to benefit me because I’ve already done journalism internships with newspapers, so I think it will give me more magazine experience that could help me in college when I major in journalism,” Fischer said. The biggest worry for Fischer during this project is finding a mentor. “I feel like we don’t really have a lot of time to find people,” she said.

This Capstone affects not only seniors, but Conifer administration as well. 

“In previous years, I’ve seen kids get job offers from their mentors,” said Assistant Principal Gregory Manier. The biggest risk that Mr. Manier sees is for students unable to complete their project. “This isn’t pass or fail, this is graduate, not graduate,” he said. 

In the five years that this project has been included in the curriculum, there hasn’t been a student that has shadowed Mr. Manier.

 “The problem with shadowing an Assistant Principal is that there are HIPPA and FERPA laws that constantly come into play, so you can’t really get the full experience. [The project] is obviously not an ending point, but it’s a place that gives them confidence to show ‘Oh, the world isn’t just school,’” Manier said.

The teacher leading this project is just as impactfull to students as the project itself.  Kari Fortik has been leading the capstone project for five years.

 “Last year one of my seniors got his pilot’s license,” Fortik said. “He took me flying the week before school started.”

This project only happens in the second semester of senior year.

“As seniors are leaning out of high school and into adulthood, this can potentially be a smooth transition into a potential job,” Fortik said. 

Since this project is fairly independent and can tell Mrs. Fortik more about the students, it is her favorite project. “I love it because I get to connect with the students in a different way. We get to ditch the traditional 12 years of English they’ve already experienced, and get to do English differently. My relationships with my students actually improve.”