Published : Tuesday, June 7, 2016 | 12:03 PM
In the final week of school, seniors showed the fruits of their labor during the Independent Study Showcase, Identity Presentations and at the Stat-Psych exhibition. At Commencement, Headmaster Peter Bachmann noted that 85 students made some sort of public presentation for a culminating project.
Roughly a third of seniors participate in Independent Studies each year. The students develop a topic, determine the curriculum and work with an advisor. The culmination of their work is a presentation for family, friends and classmates.
This year, the coursework included original works in visual and performing arts, as well as science, math, political science, popular culture and art history. Here are just a few interesting projects:
Ceramics instructor Biliana Popova says, “Students are always surprised by how much math they do in my class.” Lauren Stiles worked on a project that required her to translate two-dimensional geometric patterns into a three-dimensional bowl. She researched several artists’ work for inspiration.
Meanwhile, Katherine Pinney and Natalie Rozman worked with art history teacher Vanessa Walker-Oakes for an art historical perspective on Neolithic Pueblo pottery before working with Biliana Popova to reverse-engineer the potters’ techniques. Not only did they collect their own clay from Hahamongna Watershed Park, but they also had to create a makeshift kiln in order to achieve the black-on-black effects of this pottery style.
Xandra Beverlin worked with Vanessa Walker-Oakes in a study of European art from the 16th-18th Century, with a special emphasis on the way food was represented. Then she took what she learned and applied it to the collaborative, cozy, farm-to-table, always “Instagrammable” ethnic fusions of the scene in Los Angeles. Her conclusion was that depictions of food reflect the culture and history of the time.
Shane Frewen guided Alex Tutwiler through extensive research on the cutting-edge topic of astrobiology. Alex explored what conditions would make life possible on planets throughout the universe, concluding that while the requirements are strict, the universe is vast, and there is probably life in the universe.
Jonah Sacks worked with John Ruch to analyze how successful meditation techniques were in calming his nerves and improving his golf game, while David Shin worked with Jill Henry to analyze data from Prep’s alumni survey to better understand the makeup and attitudes of the school’s alumni.
Alexander Maletis evaluated the rise of terrorism after the 9/11 attacks, looked at United States’ involvement in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and offered his analysis on the best options for resolving terrorism in the future, strongly recommending intelligence over military might.
Lincoln Lynch shared creative fiction and humor honed from months of writing and revision. Lauren McCarthy read the works of several essayists and honed her own voice by writing her own creative nonfiction. She read one of her essays.
Josh Choi, Nat Durkin, Mikaela McGoldrick, and John Morse contributed performances for their Independent Studies.
Flintridge Preparatory School, 4543 Crown Ave., La Cañada Flintridge, (818) 790-1178 or visit www.flintridgeprep.org.