Senior Capstone 2015



The mission of Marshall School is to educate students to become global citizens who demonstrate strong academic habits, respect, compassion, integrity, self-discipline, and intellectual curiosity.

As seniors prepare to leave Marshall School and enter the next phase of their lives, they have a chance to work individually and independently during their last two weeks of high school, pursuing their passions through the Capstone Project. An optional program for eligible seniors, the Capstone Project encourages students to breathe life into the values of the School’s mission by designing, developing, and implementing their own Humanities, STEM, or Fine Arts project. All Project-related activities must be uncompensated, feasible, legal, ethical, safe, and consistent with the mission of Marshall School.

Taking the mission of Marshall School and the Portrait of a Hilltopper, as their guides, and drawing upon their previous experiences as student-members of the Marshall community, seniors participating in the Capstone Project can learn and do more than is possible within the classroom and school environment. The Capstone Project is the pinnacle–or capstone–of a Marshall senior’s high school achievement.


In addition to completing their Marshall School Graduation Community Service Requirement by January 5, 2015, and fulfilling all the necessary steps of the Project itself, seniors need to maintain an average senior-year GPA of 3.000 through the third quarter to be eligible for this year’s program. (Note: academically ineligible seniors may petition for special consideration.)

Eligible seniors who participate in the Capstone Project will be excused from all classes and all final exams as of Monday, May 18th. (Seniors in semester-long courses may be required to complete a final project/exam.) 

Portrait of a Hilltopper

photo credit: Ruin Raider via photopin cc

Since Projects are guided by the Portrait of a Hilltopper, seniors must demonstrate one objective from each of the five Hilltopper qualities in their Proposal, Portfolio, and during the Capstone Fair Showcase. 

Areas of Interest


photo credit: emilstefanov via photopin cc

A true Capstone Project has its roots in the students’ genuine academic and personal interests, pulls together past experiences and future goals, and generates intellectual curiosity and creativity.


Students work with their Advisor and fellow Advisees to transform an Area of Interest into a feasible and Mission-consistent idea connected to the Humanities, STEM, and/or Fine Arts. 


Essential Questions

Students identify one Essential Question to guide their Research and Project experience, a Question so rich and compelling that it inspires further Supporting Questions that focus and structure the Project. Solid Essential Questions require significant preliminary research and close consultation with the Senior Advisor.

Project Proposal

In their written Proposals, students explain the purpose of their Project, their background and interest in the topic, and how they will answer their Essential and Supporting Questions; they detail what research they will conduct, which local experts/contacts will they work with, what resources they will use, and which objectives from the POAH they will demonstrate; they devise a schedule for completing the Project by the deadline and propose how they will Showcase their work. 



Within and amongst Advisory groups, students develop and practice a 5-minute persuasive presentation in which they articulate and promote--or pitch--their Project to the Capstone Committee (consisting of the Senior Advisors and the Upper School Principal). Once the Committee approves the pitch, completing the Project becomes a graduation requirement. 


Throughout the year, and especially during the two-weeks of Projects, students create and collect a variety of artifacts (including such items as photos, video/audio recordings, journals, essays, reflections, documents, but culminating in a summative product of some kind, to be determined in consultation with the Advisor) which they share in a blog that becomes a crucial portion of their Showcase presentation and that can be archived for posterity.

60 Hours

60 Hours
60 Hours
photo credit: woodleywonderworks via photopin cc

A majority of the Project-related work happens in the two-week Project period, but students may also count time during the school-year, outside of the school-day, toward their 60 hours of required time.  The Portfolio should clearly demonstrate the quantity of time and quality of effort spent on the Project.


The Capstone Fairs take place during the school-day & evening of  June 1, 2015.  Each senior will have a space in the school where they showcase their Project for students, teachers, parents, and members of the community.  Upper School faculty evaluate Projects (on a pass/fail basis).

Built With Atavist The Built With Atavist logomark