At O-High, sophomores, juniors, and seniors are in pathways that allow students to focus on one subject that they are interested in and want to major in when they go to college. Senior year is an important for senior in each pathway because they are required to complete a senior project in order to graduate.
The project varies based on the student’s academy and the subject of the problem that they feel is important and want to study.
One of the academies at O-High is called VAAMP, which stands for Visual Arts & Academics Magnet Program, that allows students to prepare for careers in art by exposing students to different types of art and the different forms of art. VAAMP lets students produce work for audiences and build a portfolio that demonstrates their personal style in their work.
According to VAAMP senior seminars teachers and students, the VAAMP senior project is to decide if the student wants to take photos of someone and create a portfolio of the person or thing if they’re in photography. The other option is to paint a portrait or a place in the school that will represent what kind of art the student is more interested about if the student is in graphic design.
Examples are murals around the school or Oakland, photographs of a person, or even a painted portfolio of someone or something that inspires them.
“This is one of the projects that I have been anticipating since last year,” said Jenny Nguyen, a VAAMP senior, who contributed to a collaborative series of murals along Park Boulevard by painting a portrait of girls’ education advocate Malala Yousafzai. “My partner and I have painted a mural for an activist of our choice for the project.”
“I think it turned out both better and worse than we expected,” said Nguyen’s partner Chuyi Fang, also a VAAMP senior. “Better in terms of shading and color in Malala and worse because time was so tight, we couldn’t get all the details that we planned to include. But overall, it looks quite nice if you are just passing by and not paying attention to the details.”
What makes this senior project different from other projects from other academies is that VAAMP students are able to make a project that uses all the art skills they have learned from their pathway that has some meaning to the student.
Doing the senior project is many seniors’ main priority besides applying for college (if the student wants to go to college) because the student will have to present their final project to their senior seminar teacher and other teachers.
Senior projects are required because it is an opportunity for students to demonstrate their abilities, to represent their school academy skills, and to show they are responsible students, according to VAAMP counselor Ziada Keflezighi.