SEA Senior Projects

Anastaisa Veal, Staff Reporter

As this year draws to a close, the Space and Engineering Academy (SEA) senior class has been finalizing how they will make the final stamp on the West campus: their senior projects.

The assignment has been a part of the academy for many years, and it serves as a graduation requirement that must be completed for the seniors to graduate with SEA. The main point of the experience, to Mr. Randy Moehnke, the SEA coordinator, is for the students to “make something that provides lasting benefit to a charitable organization” and be able to “show the skills they have learned.” The process began in September 2015 and the seniors had to create groups of four, and then they brainstormed and put together a proposal which was due in October. This proposal is crucial to the project so Moehnke as the head of the SEA staff requires all teams to have it approved by him before they can proceed with the project. Over the next two months the project is built as the teams prepare for inspection by academy staff in January.

In February, the projects are finished and presented to the West High staff. Moehnke, English teacher Ms. Marna Bynum and other SEA faculty members attended the presentations held in the library every day and they were joined by many other helpful faculty including Mr. Stephen Callahan, Mr. Zach Boswell, Ms. Shannon Bancroft and Ms. Karen Evans.

This year’s projects not only helped the WHS science program, but they also reached out to our track team and other local schools. Himashi Goonsekera and her group that included Alyssa Febre, James Bautista and Steele Langland built a shed for Art Freiler. Goonesekera noticed that Freiler “had an old shed that was falling apart and no doors” and was aware the school wanted to restart their gardening program, but Freiler did not have adequate storage. One of the first steps in construction was funding. Many groups covered the expenses either out of their own pockets, used family donations to pay for the projects, or created gofundme accounts. Goonesekera and her group used profits from custom made t-shirts to cover the cost.

The assignment was both challenging and rewarding for Goonesekera, she learned how to use power tools and had to spend a lot of her own time helping to build the shed. This group was not the only to build something much needed, Anthony Rhoads and his partners; Jarrett Rasmussen, Justin Vargas and Xavier Martinez built “two benches for the West high track team” because Rhoads saw “last track season throwers needed somewhere to sit after throws.” Rasmussen and Rhoads are current throwers for the team so for them the project was very close to their hearts Rhoads was also proud because it “gave [him] something to look forward to” he was happy to be a part of something and see how their group “really came together as engineers.”

The project for the class of 2016 is now over but it is something upcoming juniors in the academy should be thinking about. Meohnke wants to “encourage them to watch the presentations so they have some idea what they are getting into.” He points out, “It is a big project and something they have to look forward to in their senior year.”

Thank you SEA seniors for your helpful contributions and we wish you luck in your future.