Mark Donohue plays the drums as part of his senior project with assistance from Skyler Gilbert on the fife.
One by one, members of the Ticonderoga Class of 2014 stood before a panel that held the fate of their last major academic pursuit in their hands.
It is something that happens every year at the school as students present their senior projects as a final task for their last year as Sentinels.
“It’s great to see these kids shine every year,” said Kim Powers, senior project coordinator. “They have worked hard at it all year long and we encourage the students to pick a project they have a passion for so you see a wide array of topics from real academic topics to hobbies they enjoy. To see them excel at this is great.”
Mark Donohue took from his time as a member of the Fort Ticonderoga Fife and Drum Corps to give a senior presentation on 18th Century field music.
“It has been a really rewarding experience,” Donohue said. “It was a chance to get to learn new things and I found it really rewarding because you get to share the information with tourists and people who come into the fort and now share it as part of my senior project. I get to talk about music and history, which are two things I like.”
Laura West spoke on the arts of lyrical and traditional ballet, something she has done for the past 12 years.
“I always like doing stuff with my sister, and it helped to create a bond between us,” West said. “I have been dancing since my mom put me into the class at seven.”
Kaitlin Diskin took from her years in music to research the impact of music on the child’s development.
“It does make a difference,” she said. “I have always been involved with music and I know that it has had a positive effect on my life.”
Josh Holman worked hard for his project, but more on the physical end, detailing his journey to lose 65 lbs. in order to pass the Army recruitment tests.
“I wanted to let people know how working to be in the Army has changed my life,” he said.
Tiffany Purkey also wanted to look at a personal life-changing moment, involving other students in the school as well to look at the effects that divorce had on children.
“I asked teachers and peers if they knew anyone that would want to be in my project and there were about 15 that we came up with between ages 14- and 18,” Purkey said.
Purkey made a video featuring the students, whose faces were not shown and voices changed, talking about their feelings after the divorce of parents. She reported that 90 percent of the students interviewed said the divorce happened when they were younger than seven, 60 percent said the divorce had a negative impact on them academically, while 80 percent said they did not believe they were the reason for the divorce.
“I wanted to see how divorce impacted other students in my school,” Purkey said. “I didn’t know who my father was until recently and it had a big impact on me. Meeting him really inspired me to do this project.”