Thursday, October 18, 2012

Senior Project

The other day on the way home from swim practice, Rebecca and I got to talking about Senior Project.  Every senior does one, it spans the year and involves something of interest to the student.

Writing 12: Senior Seminar/ Preparation for College: This course provides a culminating experience of the ACS education, as well as setting students on the path for a successful transition to college. The three major components are: the college application essay, senior seminar and senior project. Senior Seminar encourages critical thinking about the nature of knowledge, helping students make sense of what they've learned in and out of school in preparation for the higher order thinking required at the college level. The Senior Project allows students to demonstrate their ability to design and participate in a multi-phased, research-based learning process, while preparing for their future in higher education and the work force.

Rebecca is considering the ACS swim program.

Currently the team has no school pool.  They meet up at Cambridge High School 10-15 minutes away from ACS (determined by traffic, of course).  We have huge hopes that the plans we've seen for an ACS pool and an ACS auditorium/theater will get to ground-breaking very very soon.  That would mean by Rebecca's junior year ACS would have a pool of its own and the swim team would have a home.

But having a place to swim is only the first hurdle.

Rebecca's 3 years of summer swim team with the Dale City Frogs opened her eyes to what a swim team can be.  Not the highly competitive Olympics-bound sort of team, but a team that is cohesive, that has pride in its sport, that's focused on competition as much as it's focused on team building.  The team needs a purpose, for one thing.

The goal: Improvement.  And to have improvement you need a starting point and a finishing point.

For the Frogs, the starting point was a week into the season with time trials.  So far, there have been no time trials with the Piranha Scorpions (we're not sure if the team is one or the other).

For the Frogs, the finishing point was the last day of the season with Divisionals with recorded times and plenty of ribbons to go around.  So far, there have been no meets, and I'm not even sure which schools have a swim team.  Swimming in Jordan?  Not a huge draw.

The other day we were speaking with one of the team organizers about a meet.  As of now, nearly a full quarter into the season, all we have are hints of one coming up in late November or early December, but I've also heard we won't actually know until right before it happens.

Practice times are currently one hour three times a week.  With an ACS pool, that would be adjustable.  Early morning practices for serious swimmers.  More after-school options.  Longer practices.

There's plenty of room for Rebecca to bring some order to the team.  There are also options for bringing out team unity.  Team caps.  Team towels.  Bringing attention to the team at Pep rallies.

And on top of all that, fundraising through bake sales at practice times to subsidize purchases.

Becca wants to get in the pool and coach the younger kids.

We talked about possibilities to lead stroke clinics outside of regular practice times.

How about asking the Olympic Jordanian swimmer to come and teach a clinic?

Getting really bold, there's the option to talk to the Embassy, make connections in the States, and sponsor a professional swimmer or coach to come to the school for a clinic, and open it up to the community.

And for something long-term, how about organizing swimming into ISAC or AAC?  ISAC and AAC are the regional athletics and activity exchanges in the region.  Last week the varsity volleyball team was in Kuwait, and currently ACS is hosting the JV volleyball tournament.  It extends even to Chorus and Band.  ACS is hosting those as well this year, students will arrive from schools in Oman... Kuwait... UAE...

When we were in India, the teams traveled as well, and swimming was included in the full athletics program.  Not only did AISC host the Big Bad Blue meet with local Chennai teams, but the big travel meet was held in Colombo, Sri Lanka, with teams from Bangladesh, other cities in India, and (when peaceful with an open school) Pakistan.

Chances are pretty good that not all of this will, or even could, happen.  But there are so many possibilities.

Last year one of the Senior Project students organized the first ACS homecoming.  It occurred in the winter for the basketball season (ACS doesn't have American football), and this year it's happening again even though that student has graduated.  The 11th graders fundraise for it and organize it.

The same could happen with the swim team.

Rebecca could do so much and perhaps even leave a little legacy behind.

There's lots for her to think about.

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