Senior Boards, that often dreaded, nearly school year-long major project that Riverbank High School students have had to compile and present over the past 17-plus years, may have seen its sunset with the RHS Class of 2017.
Nancy Garcia, a counselor at the high school in charge of the board judging, and Dr. Sean Richey, RHS principal, have both indicated this past year was the last for this type of senior project.
Both said the program has been a part of senior requirements for graduation for at least 17 years. Garcia has said that the efforts were part of a curriculum that originally was funded by grant money.
Richey said that the requirement has grown to occupy the majority of the school year's work in the senior English classes, with the presentation taking more and more time as the judging day draws near.
Former and present teachers, along with many members of the public, were on campus one day in May, beginning with lunch and an orientation in the RHS cafeteria. They then broke into groups, meeting in classrooms and judging the presentations of five to seven seniors through the afternoon. The scores the seniors received on their overall project became part of their final grade.
Richey said that part of the decision to find an alternative to the senior boards as they now stand was the difficulty in students being able to find businesses that were willing to entertain students as job shadows. Sometimes, liability was an issue, sometimes it was the need for privacy of clients or patients.
One senior, Fabian Verdin, had chosen to work with an ambulance company. During his presentation, he spoke of how hard it was to find someone willing to let him job shadow. Then, although he worked with both the ground and air ambulance crews, he was restricted from actually riding along on cases, because of patient privacy restrictions.
Although Verdin said he originally wanted to be an Emergency Medical Technician, he has changed his interest to pursuing a career in Physical Therapy.
That was one of the benefits various judges in the past have cited of the senior board program. It has been reported that several students learn firsthand that their original interests, for one reason or another, are not what they ultimately decide to study. On the flip side, the senior boards have also been effective in helping students learn that they want to continue pursuing a particular career they studied.
Dr. Richey said that a presentation concerning the future of the program was made at a recent RUSD Board Meeting, though he did not say what, if any, decisions were made.