By Luke Stone ’20
After more than a week of deliberation about how to make the Sixth Form’s distance learning experience as meaningful as possible, the school announced that boys in the senior class will be released from previously-scheduled online programming to “dedicate their time and energy to a project that he has chosen.”
While some of the minute details are still being ironed out, the goal of the project is clear. The school hopes that boys will use this newfound freedom to “dig deeply into one topic” that they are passionate about with the support of their faculty adviser and a second faculty mentor with expertise in the student’s area of interest.
“We hope to provide you with meaningful ownership over your last weeks as a Woodberry student,” Headmaster Dr. Byron Hulsey said in an email to the Class of 2020. “We’ve designed this opportunity to help you finish your Woodberry career with a memorable learning experience, one that might allow you to reach back in time to a longstanding passion and, at the same time, look ahead towards interests that you hope to engage in college and beyond.”
Sixth former Adam Henegan ’20 supports the decision and is excited by the prospect of creating something meaningful on his own.
“Woodberry is a place where we all left home to sacrifice the comforts of being with our families and our friends that we know and love to take a risk to explore our own personal interests,” Adam Henegan ’20 said. “I don’t think that the online projects would be well-suited for a freshman, sophomore, or junior, but as a senior heading into my freshman year of college, where I know I’ll be independent, I understand that these online projects will help me learn how to pursue something that I’m truly interested in outside of a standard class schedule.”
Under normal circumstances, about fifteen to twenty seniors would complete Senior Distinction projects on campus during the last marking period. This is the first time that such a task is being mandated for the entire Sixth Form.
Mr. Greg Guldin, the Dean of the Fifth and Sixth Forms, believes that the leeway the students will receive with these projects will be a litmus test of what they’ve learned in their time at Woodberry.
Guldin said, “Often times at Woodberry, the community is what causes a boy to be at his best. Now, during a time when we have all been forced to separate from that community, I hope that a boy’s character has been forged enough such that he can harness it to see how tough he really is and put himself into accomplishing a goal based heavily on his own will to do so.These projects should provide an opportunity to challenge and stretch a boy in such a way that he improves himself, his community, and/or his future as a result.”
More specific instructions are expected to be sent to students some time next week.