New senior capstone exit interviews were introduced this year along with the charisms (humble, wise, loving, courageous, sacrificial and joyful). NDP tried out this new process with the Class of 2016 in April.
In past years with the ESLRs (respect, reverence and responsibility), students had to go through a more formal interview with questions and answers. They also gave ignite presentations in addition to answering questions. Now, NDP has transitioned to the charisms and changed the interview to a personal presentation by each senior.
A charism is a gift of the Holy Spirit, and NDP’s charisms which were introduced to the students last August, are joyful and sacrificial, courageous and loving and humble and wise
According to Mary Lou Lachvayder, director of student formation, “The capstones went as expected in many ways.” She noted that there was more creativity than she had originally expected.
For the future of the capstones, Mrs. Lachvayder plans to “revise communication, and include parents in the communication of what is expected and what the consequences are if a student does not pass.”
Mrs. Lachvayder, who is the first to hold this position since it was created last summer, said, “I was hopeful but not certain if it would happen. I was very pleased with the number of seniors who took it seriously and worked to demonstrate who they have become in very interesting and amazing ways.”
The point of the senior exit interviews continues to be for seniors to show the panel who they are as people and how they have grown into young adults over the past four years.
“We still use the ESLRs, and they remain important as something all NDP students should think about,” said yearbook and photography teacher Rebecca Strolic. “With the addition of the charisms, the presentations are more interesting and more meaningful to the students,” said Mrs. Strolic, who has been here since the beginning and has seen it all from ESLRs to charisms.
This new process is laid back and open-ended as students can share whatever they want with a panel of six teachers. For the past three years, an administrator and three teachers comprised the panel. Any kind of presentation is acceptable now, from sharing a PowerPoint to writing a song. And that’s the way it ought to stay.
Strolic said, “One senior brought in cookies and discussed how she was an unformed ball of dough freshman year and how more ingredients were added each year until a wonderful chocolate chip cookie was baked. Another senior wrote and performed a song. A third senior showed a portfolio of his photography and how the photos were metaphors for the charisms and ESLRs.”
The new capstone allows for a lot more freedom in the presentation. Students can share their God-given gifts and show off their growth as seniors.
With some advice for the future classes, senior Sydney Hurley said, “Put thought into whatever you do; don’t take the interview lightly, and don’t wait until 15 minutes before your interview time to sit down and try to throw something together.”
Mrs. Strolic, who serves as the chair of the Fine Arts Department, also added, “[It was a more creative endeavor because] seniors were not pinholed into a rote process that teachers and admin viewed over and over. [The only shortfalls occurred because] some seniors did not take the capstone interview seriously, and it showed in their presentation.”
Mrs. Lachvayder expressed praise, saying, “The teachers reported really enjoying the work the students did. Many expressed that they were easier to watch because of how varied they were.”
She said three students absent, so they were re-scheduled along with 11 others who were re-presenting.
She will be surveying both students and teachers to reveal more about how the process went.
Mrs. Lachvayder concluded, “I want students to realize that they are different, and for the better, than when they came to NDP. I want them to realize, with pride, that their time here has made them better people. I understand and don’t expect them to like everything and everyone at Notre Dame, but to realize that they have grown in very important ways and we had a part in that.”