Senior Exhibition. The two words that inspire tension and anxiety in almost every Oceana student.
For those of you who are still confused on what it is exactly, Senior Exhibition is a year-long research project that is both an Oceana graduation requirement and a major part of the Senior Humanities curriculum. It includes a paper of at least 15 pages as well as a presentation of at least 20 minutes.
Another aspect of Senior Exhibition that is important to understand is the significance of the mentor. Throughout the year, Seniors are given the guidance of an adult on campus (this can be a teacher, counselor, or even member of the administration) to help with the project. The mentor is important because they are one of the most meaningful, critical forms of support the Senior will receive during Senior Exhibition. When asked about project support, Ambika Nuggihall, an OHS Senior, responded by stressing how important her mentor has been in the process: “My mentor, Ms. Peters, was a wonderful anchor in this process [Senior Exhibition]. At some point, I would become extremely stressed and overwhelmed. But Ms. Peters would always remind me I would be fine. Her kind, reassuring words would help me snap out of it and get back on track. If it weren’t for her, I would have had a lot more breakdowns.”
When asked about what advice they would give to 11th, 10th, and 9th graders, Seniors seemed to share a common answer: organize and don’t procrastinate.
On Friday, March 30, the Senior Class of 2018 was finally freed from their stress they presented their Senior Exhibition. The culminating day of all their hard work is aptly named Senior Ex. Day, where all the Seniors present their final slideshow to students from all grade levels, family members, friends, mentors and a community evaluator, the person who, along with the mentor, will ultimately grade the presentation.
Throughout the day, Seniors present on a variety of different controversial topics: Private Prisons, Gentrification in SF, Immigration, Minimum Wage, Pet Store Regulation, the Electoral College, Gun Control Laws, Cosmetic Surgery and many, many more.
A collective sigh of relief from the Senior Class could be heard after Senior Ex. Day ended.
However Senior Ex. is an experience, not an event. As revealed by Annamae David, former Oceana student, and current UC Riverside student, “I’ve noticed that Senior Exhibition has been an enormous help with college. Just the academic rigor of Senior Exhibition, in general, has prepared me for the academic rigor of college because I realized that like Senior Exhibition, you really need to keep up with the assignments in college.” Annamae went on to discuss how the project has also vastly improved her social skills, “I used to be a very shy and reserved student. But the project taught me a lot of people skills, such as, emailing and interviewing professionals on the topic I’m researching. And with the 30-minute presentation [as done in Senior Ex], presentations don’t seem like this huge hurdle I have to jump over anymore.”
While it might seem overwhelming and stressful, Senior Exhibition is a rewarding experience that challenges students to push themselves into becoming the essence of what it means to be a student at Oceana High School: communicators, problem-solvers, self-directed learners, critical thinkers. collaborative workers, community members and individuals who participate in self-care.