St. Johns Country Day School

Seniors Defend Positions in Symposia

Seniors Defend Positions in Symposia
Seniors Defend Positions in Symposia

The Class of 2017 last week finished the process that has become known as Senior Symposium. Senior Symposium is the capstone event for the senior class, a final exam of sorts and a rite of passage before graduation.

The project started five years ago as a capstone research project and paper. Seniors select a topic from a variety of business, legal, medical, and ethical issues and then have to choose a side—pro/con, and prepare to present and defend that position on paper and in person, much as a doctoral student defends a thesis.

The seniors write two research papers, one during first semester for their Government and English classes, and the second for English and Ethics during the second semester. The first semester paper identifies and takes a position on a current controversial issue facing the world, and the second paper reevaluates that issue, develops an ethical solution, and cites prominent ethicists who would concur with the proposed solution.

Then they develop a 60-second audio/visual presentation outlining the issue they selected, which will serve as the introduction to their topic. Then they present their case and defend it against questions from a guest panel. This year's guest panel included lawyer Sam Garrison, business professional Mrs. Tanya Powers, pediatrician Dr. Shiree Sauer, and the Rev. Kenneth Herzog.

"Through the process of identifying, researching, and creating a solution to a national or global problem, seniors are able to broaden their worldview and gain a deeper understanding of the ethical issues intertwined with these problems," said ethics teacher Marshall McClung. "In presenting to a panel of judges and their peers, students not only learn how to defend their solutions, much like seniors in college defend a thesis, but they also have the ability to challenge and question each other's solutions."



Senior Leighton Lyons begins her presentation about offshore drilling regulations with a brief video introduction.

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