Capstone Groups Share Meal with Mentors

Projects are underway for all 50 Capstone groups! Seniors took advantage of a late-start block morning Wednesday, Sept. 3 to work with their mentors over breakfast.

Molly Bardine, Capstone coordinator, opened by welcoming guests and leading everyone in a prayer for justice. On hand were approximately 40 mentors who joined the 165 members of the Class of 2015 for a half-hour of preliminary discussion.

“The morning went really well,” Bardine said. “Seniors and mentors were given the chance to electronically review their proposal, share their passion for their issue, and begin thinking about their research questions which will help them in the next phase of the project.”

Capstone mentors serve as advisors and include faculty and staff members as well as adults who work in the local community. They are passionate about social justice issues and knowledgeable about Catholic Social Teaching. Mentors meet regularly with students to assist and inspire their group’s activities.

Olivia Childs-Taylor ‘15 and Leah Kiffle ‘15 chose Katie Klain (pictured above) as their mentor after the pair volunteered at The Glen at St. Joseph, where Klain serves low-income single mothers in her role as a career development coach/manager.

“The girls have been volunteers at The Glen at St. Joseph for the last year helping with our evening child care program and they've been fantastic," Klain said. Through their project, Olivia and Leah plan to continue to work with their mentor to identify ways of removing barriers single mothers face when trying to pursue post-secondary education in order to support their families.

Classmate Erin Staley ‘15 said her group is working with English teacher Beth Marshall to tackle issues surrounding childhood literacy. “The breakfast was helpful. I was afraid we wouldn’t be able to speak with our mentor very often, but this created the perfect opportunity.”

Staley’s group has already planned to host a homeroom book drive beginning Monday, Sept. 8 in conjunction with the celebration of International Literacy Day. Books collected will be donated to For the Love of Children, a volunteer group located at 131 N. Ludlow St. The homeroom to donate the most books will receive a pizza party.

“I’m excited for the Capstone because it is different than just volunteering at a service site. You’re able to be part of something bigger than yourself,” Staley said.

In earnest, the Capstone project began for seniors during the spring of 2014 when students -- then juniors -- identified potential projects, groups and mentors. Proposals were submitted August 29 and annotated bibliographies are now due October 31. The next planned meeting with mentors is tentatively scheduled for November. All projects must be implemented by March 13, 2015 and presented to members of the community at the Stang Symposium on April 30.