Seniors use projects to fill community needs


Samantha Gritz

Senior Samantha Gritz’ project focused on promoting a drug free lifestyle.

Jessica Lee, Sports Editor

With senior year, three things come to mind: college applications, graduation, and, undoubtedly, the Capstone project.

Every year, Bear Creek seniors are assigned the Capstone project in their English class, an assignment meant to be a culminating academic experience.  A few of the requirements of this year-long project include a six to 10 page research paper, a letter of intent, fieldwork accompanied with logs, and an oral presentation.

Research topics can range from critical illnesses to physical activity.  Students, however, often find the Capstone project a golden opportunity to give back to the community and incorporate walk-a-thons, tutoring, and other charity events to their fieldwork.

Senior Anthony Tran decided to start a toy drive and research how poverty impacts a child’s life.

“I just wanted to make a big impact,” Tran said.  “It was around Christmas so I thought it’d be nice to have a toy drive for unfortunate kids who don’t get to celebrate Christmas.”

Holding leadership roles in Red Cross Club, Key Club, and Friday Night Live Club, Tran spread the word and asked the Bear Creek community to bring in new or used toys in good condition.

With the end of the toy drive on December 19, Tran brought the toys to the Stockton Homeless Shelter and said that the toy drive was a success, with over 200 toys donated.

Senior Carina Hagele, with ties to a program called Bear Creek Water, decided to reach her helping hand to those in Africa, focusing her senior project on the continent’s water crisis and how people don’t have clean water to drink.

“At my church, there’s a program called Bear Creek Water that my family and I are connected to and basically what they do is recycling,” Hagele said. “The money from recycling helps build wells in third world countries.”

Hagele plans to raise money to donate to Bear Creek Water and raise awareness about the water crisis.

“I know I’m going to find some kind of recycling drive or get different bins on campus for recycling and do some presentations at elementary schools about the water crisis,” Hagele said.

Senior Thuy Ngo is focusing her Capstone project on man’s best friend: dogs.

“I really wanted to do something with animals because I love animals,” Ngo said.

With a love for dogs, Ngo is researching about the benefits of animal-assisted therapy and donating to these programs.

“Animal-assisted therapy is when dogs are taken to programs with children and the children play with the dogs,” Ngo said. “It’s supposed to decrease stress.”

Ngo plans to hold a free dog wash that will give owners the option to donate. Any money raised would be given to the Lend A Heart Lend-A-Hand Animal-Assisted Therapy organization in Sacramento that provides animal-assisted therapy to hospitals, schools, and nursing homes.

These projects are just some of the community-based Capstone projects at Bear Creek.

Advice for next year’s seniors?

“Don’t procrastinate on logs and the actual end product,” Ngo said.  “The deadline comes fast.”