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RHS Seniors Project Day Dawns
It was D-Day for Riverbank High School seniors on Thursday. It was time to declare their Senior Project.

More formally dressed than usual, more than 160 of them gathered in shifts in the library to face an audience of their peers and explain the nature of the project they are working on for the end of the school year.

After raising cardboard posters onto an easel, some froze up after a sentence or two and began repeating their lines. Most of them, however, found they were more eloquent than they thought and handled the task of public speaking well. Making a presentation is part of the project.

As part of their graduation, seniors are called upon to investigate a subject they find personally interesting, prepare a research paper and accomplish a hands-on, physical project.

The topics, which must be approved by a school advisor and assisted by a mentor in the workplace, are varied.

They tend to indicate a career choice or a strong interest the student wants to follow.

Steven Clark, for example, talked about break dancing, the different styles of hip-hop he wants to learn and the team demonstration he plans to lead.

Monica Calderon discussed the fashion industry, how people often dress to express their personality, how fashion designers find their different styles, how one garment may look really good on its own but clash with accessories. Calderon indicated she plans to become a cosmetologist.

Steve Munoz is interested in going into firefighting, will join the Junior Explorers program and have Capt. Les Porter of the Stanislaus Consolidated Fire Protection District as his mentor.

Alexandria Guzman will look into the training, tools and techniques of a veterinarian and job shadow Dr. Mike Hellman at the River Oak Veterinary Clinic.

Julian Gill is interested in securing a law enforcement position, will research what it takes to become a police officer and go on a ride-along with a Modesto police officer.

Estefania Fernandez will apprentice herself to florist Karen Bickford for a while, for her research project investigate the types of flowers in America compared with Europe and for her physical project she will arrange the flower decorations for a party.

Some of the projects stem from a deep personal experience or tragedy that rocked a family.

Jessica Hudson choked up as she finished a talk on how cancer killed her mother and how she intends to research the different kinds of this disease and join the local committee organizing the Relay for Life event next May.

Several musicians including Erik Rodriguez, Luis Ferrera and Ruben Vasquez intend to look into the music industry, write about the different methods of recording, mixing the sound and presenting the entertainment. Vasquez plays a number of instruments, guitar, bass, drums and keyboard and, with pro guitarist Nico Hernandez will research the lives of some well-known musicians and prepare his own recordings.

RHS English teachers Nancy Garcia, Monika Bishop, Stacy Blevins and Susie DeWitt organized the event. Department Head Garcia noted most of the seniors doing a presentation wore black that day to indicate their seriousness about the project. They also publicly promised not to plagiarize in completing their project because that would be deceitful, unworthy of their respected position as seniors and possibly detrimental to obtaining their diploma.

Teresa Manriquez of the Credit Trust Union in Riverbank noted her organization was donating $50 for the best presentation made that day and a $500 scholarship for the winner when the projects are presented and judged in May.