DEAR GRANDDADDY- A Teen, Parent, and Educator Advice Column BLOG #27

Dear Granddaddy, I don’t understand why we have to do a Capstone Project to graduate high school. Alyana Z. – high school student.

Bestselling and award-winning author, speaker, educator, and TV host.


Alyana, I hear you loud and clear. As a matter of fact, as a high school teacher myself, I have been hearing a lot of students saying exactly what you’re saying about their Capstone Project. Some students have even asked me why they have to do a Capstone Projects when kids in other states don’t.

I don’t have all the answers to your and your classmates’ questions, but I’ll give it a shot. As a former history teacher, I can tell you that according to our Constitution, public education is not part of the Federal domain. The Framers of our Constitution left education to the states to individually handle. Each state, and even many school districts within each state, looks at its own unique needs and then makes informed decisions about things like high school graduation requirements.

Now you’re wondering why you have to do a Capstone Project. I do not know all the reasons behind your school’s decision to require this, but I do know that it is right for you to wonder and respectfully question that decision. It shows good citizenship and higher order thinking.

I also know that sometimes you need to look for the silver lining in each cloud. If you’re not a big fan of the Capstone Project, but have to do it anyway, then it only makes sense to make your experience less painful by looking for what you can gain from it. Will you meet someone new? Will you learn something new? Will you explore something you might have some interest in right now? Hmm… got you thinking, didn’t I?

Alyana, I know this didn’t get you out of the Capstone Project, or even completely answer your question, but perhaps I enlightened you some on this subject. And hopefully, I encouraged you to look for the value in your Capstone Project, as well as in other things that you may not like. Good luck! I’m sure your project will be great.

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Dan Blanchard is an award-winning author, speaker, and educator who has appeared on over 100 television and radio shows. To find out more about Dan or to submit a question to him, please visit him on his website at: