When I entered Leonardtown High School’s Academy of Global and International Studies (GIS) years ago, I knew I would have to complete a year-and-a-half long research project. My project’s looming deadlines stared over me as I ascended the ranks of high school – sophomore, junior, senior. As of now, my study into the importance of writing and literature to global empathy has culminated in an 85-page research paper, a writing workshop at St. Mary’s Library, a literary magazine known as The Leonardtown Lexicon, nights of stress and accomplishment, and, most recently, a website. For my loyal readers, most of this is old news. I have described the rewarding and arduous capstone process at length but, loyal reader, you can now find my research, information regarding my writing workshop, directions to hold your own workshop, and The Leonardtown Lexicon at abridgingapathy.projectferris.com.
The capstone process has three parts: the research paper, the creative product, and the presentation before a panel of graders. GIS seniors, like myself, are on the fringe of completing the product portion. A few months ago, on the outset of summer, we all decided on one of three product options. Of the website, physical exhibition and documentary, most settled on the physical exhibition and one loner created a documentary. I decided on the aforementioned website abridgingapathy.projectferris.com. My project seeks to grow the tacit conversation writers and readers have through stories. These stories build a web of experiences and messages. They teach us empathy and the larger this web stretches and grows, the more connected humankind is as a global community. My research taught me the significance of spreading stories but it was in my service that I contributed. I could not, then, allow these stories to fade and die as many high school projects do and I added the literary magazine, The Leonardtown Lexicon, to The Imprint, an effort in linking people through story.
No other product option, then, resonated with my project. Many put the website down as uncreative, unoriginal, boring even, but my project is about spreading a message. Writers want to feel they have a voice in this ever-distant world and readers want to feel connected to their fellow man. My addition to The Imprint served both these needs but, in the product stage of my capstone, I knew I had yet another opportunity to grow the influence of the Leonardtown Lexicon. A physical exhibition or documentary cannot continue this magazine or continue my mission once I graduate. They cannot continue to teach about workshopping or share my year-and-a-half of research. After such a substantial period of work, I could not allow my project to end with a panel of graders.
The capstone process is often arduous but, with as much time as my peers and myself have dedicated to its success, it cannot help but be rewarding. I could not help but pride myself on my service and my mission to spread stories and the empathy they inspire.