2017 Founders’ Prize for Senior Project Excellence: Newer! Bigger! Better!

The Founders’ Prize for Excellence in Senior Projects was introduced in the spring of 2016. Already, because Senior Projects remain the ultimate culmination of the BASIS.ed Diploma, the Founders’ Prize is expanding in scope in 2017.

The Founders’ Prize was established to honor the co-creative energy and the distinct BASIS.ed learning nexus of the student-teacher relationship – a relationship that we call “sacrosanct” and which has always been the signature of our learning culture.

Indeed, our academic program lands squarely upon the Senior Project precisely because it is in the work and reflection therein that our senior students start “to integrate the academic with the complexity and challenge of professional existence, and adult life” — as BASIS.ed CEO Peter Bezanson wrote in this space last spring.

Prize-earning projects are chosen by a committee that includes co-founders Michael and Olga Block. The winners are projects that, generally, “best exemplify the integration of the academic and the worldly, the use of intellect and imagination, to better understand and enrich our reality” – again, quoting Dr. Bezanson in Vectors.

With the decision by the founders themselves to expand the Founders’ Prize, which is awarded by BASIS Educational Ventures, the award takes on a note of fully realized admiration of excellence. Any senior from across the network who completes a Senior Project will be eligible. The awards will again be announced following the school year, and in 2017, will award four different prizes as follows:

  1. BASIS Educational Ventures Founders’ Prize for student/faculty collaboration
    • $10,000 scholarship towards student’s tuition at a 4-year university or college
    • $5,000 award for Faculty Adviser
    • Awarded for the project that demonstrates the most productive and engaged relationship between the student and his/her Faculty Adviser.
  2. BASIS Educational Ventures Founders’ Prize for Top Project demonstrating the greatest student initiative
    • $10,000 scholarship towards student’s tuition at a 4-year university or college.
    • Awarded for the highest quality project in which the student demonstrated great initiative and independent drive.
  3. BASIS Educational Ventures Founders’ Prize for Top Project demonstrating original research
    • $10,000 scholarship towards student’s tuition at a 4-year university or college
    • Awarded for the highest quality project in which the student conducted original research.
  4. BASIS Educational Ventures Founders’ Prize for Most Inventive Project
    • $10,000 scholarship towards student’s tuition at a 4-year university or college
    • Awarded for the highest quality project that links creativity with application.

Finally, it it important to note that both traditional Senior Projects as well as AP Research Senior projects are eligible for the Founders’ Prize.

  • Traditional Senior Projects require students to develop a Senior Project proposal out of one of their Capstone courses, working with a faculty adviser, a Senior Project Coordinator, and an external adviser. These candidates for High Honors:
    • Produce a syllabus for their 3rd trimester;
    • Log at least 15 hours per week during the 3rd Trimester at their project site — which may be a business, an institution of higher learning, a museum, or another site approved by the faculty adviser and Senior Project Coordinator;
    • Maintain a blog and participate in a blog group;
    • Produce a final product (which may be in any medium); and
    • Deliver a formal presentation about the project to the BASIS.ed community.
  • AP Research Senior Projects require students to complete the requirements of the AP Capstone Diploma (including successful completion of both AP Seminar and AP Research, with passing grades on both exams);
    • Log at least 10 hours per week during the 3rd Trimester at an off-campus site related to their AP Research topic;
    • Maintain a blog and participate in a blog group; and
    • Deliver a formal presentation about the project to the BASIS.ed community.

The 2016 Founders’ Prize winners included two students, and each of their teachers:

Evelyn Scollick, BASIS Oro Valley
“The War Against Algae Growth”
Faculty Advisor: Eric Fetkenhour
External Advisor: Franklin Lane, Biosphere 2

Sammy Kanungo, BASIS Peoria
“Caring For The Future (Elder Care)”
Faculty Advisor: Charlotte Hagerman
External Advisor: Sanjay Kanungo, CareArbo

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