Members of the Class of 2019 have been getting a taste of the real world this spring through their “Senior Projects,” gaining practical experience in everything from neuroscience to public relations, financial advising, and government. This year, several seniors teamed up and channeled their entrepreneurial spirit to create and market a new health drink, “ma-SHOT-cha,” while another senior, J.R. Opont, produced a 7-track album that will be available on Spotify and other music streaming services later this week. On June 5th, the seniors gave formal reports about their experiences.
Morristown-Beard seniors completed their Senior Projects in an impressive array of fields including law, medicine, advertising, real estate, and education. Some shadowed physicians and financial advisors while others worked in architecture, performing arts management, physical therapy, broadcasting, and promotion.
For many of the students, the Senior Project helped them discover what they liked — or didn’t like — about a certain career. “Ever since I was little, I wanted to be a lawyer or a judge, so my Senior Project gave me an opportunity to follow my dream,” said Nicolette Lewis, who worked in the Morris County Courthouse and was able to sit in on many different cases. “It made me realize that I really do want to be a lawyer, although I’m not sure what type.”
“I learned what it’s like to teach theater to children and work in a professional theater company,” said Lauren Mennen, who did her Senior Project with The Shakespeare Theater of New Jersey and helped 4th Graders from Glenwood Elementary School stage a production of The Tempest. “It could be a glimpse into my future; I’m really happy with how it all came together. In fact, I’m going back there this summer to help out with some other projects.”
For a few of the students, the Senior Project enabled them to create their own product and bring it to market. Seven seniors – Tessa Conell, Emma Duffy, Grace Goodman, Jenna Kurz, Leslie Phillips, Lily Pinkin, and Gianna Rella – concocted and marketed their own health drink, “ma-SHOT-cha." Creating and launching the drink required the students to handle everything from formulating the drink to conducting market research, designing the label, and establishing pricing. They even created their own website for the product as well as an Instagram page.
Talented rapper and musician J.R Opont ’19, also known as “The Shiloh,” used the Senior Project as a way to pursue his passion and put together a 7-track album, The Other Side, that will be available on music streaming services on Friday, June 7th. Working closely with MBS Art and Design Chair Chris Finn and Director of Enrollment Management Rob Mitchell (a former A&R administrator at Polygram and Island Def Jam Music Group), Opont honed his craft while also learning valuable lessons about professionalism and the music industry. “The Senior Project taught me that you have to treat your passion as a professional, especially in music, because that’s the only way that you’ll improve your craft.”
Each fall, MBS seniors research and develop a proposal for a Senior Project, combining academic and experiential elements. The students spend three weeks on-site during their spring semester. Students are encouraged to develop a project that will allow them to learn and to think critically about themselves, the environment, the arts, their community, or a possible career.
In addition to delivering a formal oral report, seniors also create a comprehensive field journal that documents their experiences and allows them to reflect critically on the project.