Goldsboro High School seniors finish projects
By Steve Herring
Published in News on June 2, 2011 1:46 PM
Goldsboro High School principal John Twitty said this morning that all senior graduation projects at the school have been completed, and discounted earlier reports of a large number of students in danger of not getting the work done as "skewed."
"We were on track to have everything completed by May 31," he said. "I don't know where those numbers came from. I don't think we were behind at all."
As for the flood of volunteers called on over the past month to help with the projects, Twitty said that was done to free up the teacher in charge of the projects -- allowing students to come in at any time of the day instead of having to wait for the teacher's fourth-period class.
"Every school does it a different way," he said. "Some other (schools) are still not finished."
Twitty said that he did not want to delve into the specific numbers of how many students completed the projects since some of them were still being reviewed.
Students normally complete a letter of intent in their freshman year and a personal resume as a sophomore, said Sudie Davis, Communities in Schools executive director. A project paper is written in a student's junior year and the project put together as a senior.
In May, several sources reported that only a small number of students were close to completing the projects, which are required for graduation. According to those officials, of the 126 seniors at Goldsboro High, only about 22 percent had completed the projects.
This morning, however, Twitty said there were only one or two students who had not started their work as of late April or May, and that all the projects were good and legitimate ones, and not fluff pieces or busywork.
"There is nothing watered down about these projects at all," he said.
Mrs. Davis said she is glad the projects have been finished, adding that seniors can now concentrate on the work they still have to accomplish before they can turn their tassels at graduation.
She also praised the students' hard work and the willingness of so many people to assist with the projects.
"All (of them) have finished their graduation projects," Mrs. Davis said. "However, students still have to pass the end-of-course testing in order to graduate. Those of us in Communities in Schools are really pleased that the kids have worked so hard and that people in the school community, Communities in School volunteers stepped up to the plate and helped."
A celebration picnic for the seniors and volunteers was held Wednesday.
Mrs. Davis said all of the students she spoke with at the picnic said how proud they were to have accomplished their projects.
"I think the kids have a great sense of accomplishment," she said. "I think they are legitimate projects. I think we all have learned a lot through the process. Now (graduation coach) Barbara Wilkins has freshmen, sophomores and juniors coming in. I think the message has been learned so that hopefully we will not experience this in the future.
"The kids coming in now and asking for help. It is a sign that they take it seriously."
Mrs. Davis said she spent 15 hours working with one student, and that the expression on that student's face when the work was completed "would have been worth 50 hours."
More than 40 CIS volunteers helped the students complete the projects, as well as people from the school system's central office and school staff.
Mrs. Davis said she had heard some negative comments about the questions raised about the projects.
"But I think what this article did was to send a clear message to the seniors that the graduation project is required and must be done," she said. "I am not sure that the seniors thought they would be held accountable, but discovered that they would. I think that sent a message to the younger ones."
She added that she hopes some sort of monitoring processes will be put in place in the future to help keep students on the right path.
Twitty said he had known that this year and last year "would not be a struggle, but difficult," but he does not expect the same issues next year, because all of the procedures are now in place as to what students must accomplish at each grade level.
"I will put a person in charge of the project to ensure completion at every stage," he said. "(The discussion) did have an influence all the way down to my freshmen. They took it personally. They began asking the graduation coach when they could start working to get it done. It made them work harder. They did not like the negative publicity."