Sunday, April 12, 2015

I Almost Failed my Senior Project

I very well could have failed my senior project if I had ended up with a different English teacher. I knew since I was a freshman in high school that I was extremely likely to fail my senior project. (Well, okay, maybe not fail it entirely, but I knew I had no chance of getting a good grade on it because I would have entire pieces of the project missing.)

Our senior project was a scrapbook-autobiography. Different English teachers had different requirements for what needed to be included. Most people's senior projects included photos and things like invitations and play programs and ticket stubs. I remember one time after a play was over, our director asked if any of us wanted the extra programs. Our director was also an English teacher, and when no one took the extra programs, he told us that we would "need" stuff like that for our senior projects. This is why I knew I would fail my senior project.

It was common knowledge that we all needed to collect things to put in our senior projects. By the time we were sophomores, some students talked about holding onto things for that purpose. I knew that when the time came to make make senior project, I would have absolutely nothing of value to put in it.

This is not because I didn't save things. I saved everything that mattered to me. I had a huge collage on my bedroom wall of cards, show programs, field trip permission slips, basically every souvenir I had collected since 6th grade that could be taped to a wall.  At some point in high school, I decided to make a theatre scrapbook that included the programs and photos from all of the plays I had been in. Basically, everything that mattered to me already had a place, and that place was not in a school project. Pulling things out of their rightful places in my personal projects in order to include them in a school project was out of the question, which is why I would have nothing to put in my senior project and I would most likely fail.

I got an A on my senior project by a pure stroke of luck. Every English teacher had different requirements for these projects, and I just happened to have an English teacher who didn't require any photos or souvenirs. She gave us a long list of things we could write for the project, and we picked 10 things that we wanted to include. I ended up including some photos of my friends that I went around and took specifically to put in the scrapbook, but the only requirements were the 10 things that I wrote. There were enough options that I could choose 10 things to create from scratch and not have to include anything I already had.

If my only option for getting a good grade on the project had been to pull things off my wall collage and out of my personal scrapbooks, I totally would have failed. I passed because I lucked out.

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