Every senior in our three diocesan high schools have one assignment in common – the Senior Capstone.
The Senior Capstone journey begins junior year when students select a topic from an approved list based on the Theology curriculum. With help from teachers and priests, these students research their subject with an eye towards defending the Church’s position.
Once the research is complete, students write a thesis paper on their findings, as well as prepare an 8-12 minute presentation on their topic in front of their high school’s panel of judges.
Finalists from each school present their Capstones at the Thomas Aquinas Scholarship competition in Kalamazoo for awards ranging from $500 to $5,000.
More than money, the Senior Capstone gives each student a deeper understanding of their Faith, as well as experience completing a college-level research project.
“Most kids don’t understand the method of Apologetics – what do we teach, why do we teach it, what are the common objections and how do we answer those objections,” St. Philip Theology teacher Tony Wojick said. “Many students find a new appreciation for our Faith using that method.”
The 2019 St. Philip finalists were Magdalene Hill, Madi Elliott, Maya Segovia, and Myrka Cardoso-Garcia. Each walked away with a $500 scholarship and a deeper understanding of the Faith.
This week, they shared their experience with our BCACS Blog.
Maggie’s project was on angels and their differences. She chose this topic because of its difficulty.
“I wanted to do something supernatural because morality is so easy to defend whereas supernatural is harder,” Maggie said. “It’s the harder questions that I want to answer.”
Maggie enjoyed the in-depth research and found comfort in her conclusions that angels do exist.
“Even if you think there is no one, you are never really alone,” Maggie said. “Your guardian angel knows you better than you know yourself. I found that reassuring.”
Maggie is going to Michigan State University this fall.
Madi’s project was on euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide. She chose this topic because she wanted a deeper understanding of the Church’s view on the subject.
“I didn’t have a lot of information going into the project, but I am much more well informed now,” Madi said.
The process itself was interesting to Madi, who delved into church teaching as well as personal stories from euthanasia advocates.
Her conclusion was euthanasia is morally wrong in all circumstance.
“My research confirmed what I went into it with, but with a deeper understanding about why it was that way,” Madi said.
Madi is going to the University of Michigan in the fall.
Maya’s project was on artificial contraception and whether it is morally permissible. She chose this topic because it is relevant for young adults.
“For teens today, artificial contraception can be seen as an easy way out,” Maya said.
Her research led her to a deeper understanding of the Church’s position on the subject. It also was a chance to study the Faith in a personal and practical way.
“You are choosing a topic you are interested in,” Maya said. “You have a mentor, but it is more on you and what you’re doing. It prepares you for the real world.”
Maya is going to Michigan State University this fall.
Myrka’s project was on Christ’s divinity. She chose it because she had heard arguments that Christ wasn’t truly God.
Her research range from the Church’s view that Jesus is God to others’ view that he is not. Ultimately, Myrka returned to her fundamental belief.
“I found lots of arguments about why Jesus wasn’t God, but there was always something from the Catholic Church to explain why that wasn’t true,” Myrka said. “The whole time I still believed what I’ve always believed, that Jesus is God.”
The difference now, however, is why she believes it.
“When you are little, they teach Jesus is God, but now I understand why and I actually know,” Myrka said. “It’s not just something I’ve been taught since I was little.”
Myrka is going to the University of Michigan this fall.