BAR HARBOR — Some seniors at Mount Desert Island High School are probably disappointed, while others are breathing a sigh of relief. But they all will be missing what might have been an interesting and valuable experience.
The high school board on Monday approved Principal Matt Haney’s proposal to eliminate two graduation requirements for the class of 2021: the senior exhibition and community service projects.
“Both of those activities involve a great deal of interaction between students and the greater community, which, in normal times, is a wonderful experience,” Haney said in an email to the Islander. “During this pandemic, that type of interaction is not something we can promote, unfortunately.
“Also, in order to reduce class sizes to allow for physical distancing in the classroom, we had to add more sections to a number of our classes. That meant we did not have any teaching slots open to provide the senior exhibition class.”
For their senior exhibition project, students must identify a topic that interests them and pose a question about that topic. Then they work with a mentor in the community to create a project that addresses that question. In the spring – of a typical year – seniors present the results of their work to a panel of teachers, students and community members.
The school board’s official policy on graduation requires seniors to make a
senior exhibition presentation and to perform at least 20 hours of community service. But the board voted in April to waive those requirements for the class of 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.