Senior Projects

Every year, each senior is required to complete a senior project which benefits the community. These featured projects (below) are those which were especially praised by fellow classmates.



Explain your project:

I directed the one hour of required physical activity for preschoolers for two weeks at Kaleidoscope.

What inspired you? Why choose this project?

I chose this project because early childhood development is something that interests me, and I have had a close involvement with this day care throughout my entire life.

What challenged you about this project?

It was challenging to work with kids of different development levels, but in the end, it was very rewarding to watch them grow and develop.

What have you learned from this project?

I have learned the importance and role that local day cares play in impacting the community to better not only the kids, but also the families.

How will your project benefit the community?

I not only aided Kaleidoscope in the one hour of physical activity and educated the kids, but I also freed up a pair of hands in order to help Kaleidoscope’s expansion of operations.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

I am very fortunate to have grown up on Orcas, and I plan to return to Orcas after I finish college.



Explain your project:

The first part of my project consisted of organizing the Spring Street International School production “Good Kids,” which was performed for OHS students at the Orcas Center. The play is based on a true story where a high school party led to an infamous rape case. The high school actors did an amazing job portraying the severity of sexual assault and how it affects people. Following the play, there was also a discussion with the actors and students.    

The second part of my project, with a long-term benefit, was creating a short film titled “It’s Not Okay.” for use by SAFE San Juans. The film was made up of interviews with Kamilah Willingham, Belle Lyons from SAFE San Juans, and Kyle Freeman, statistics, and other information that focused on the sexual violence continuum and how to disrupt it.                                       

Before doing this project, I was unaware of the sexual violence continuum, but through research and advocates at SAFE San Juans, I have learned that this continuum, and more specifically disrupting it, is key when addressing how to prevent sexual assault. The allowance of sexist jokes and harassment ultimately causes sexual assault. It is important that we work to eliminate harassment and stop making these jokes, and I really wanted students to understand that.

What inspired you? Why choose this project?

My main goal was to focus on sexual violence education and awareness at Orcas Island High School. I wanted to leave a lasting impact on the community, and to do this, I worked with SAFE San Juans whom helped me achieve my goal.

What challenged you about this project?

I faced several challenges while working on my project. Before the completion, I had never before made anything like the film I was striving to create. Interviewing professionals, gathering footage, recording audio, and ultimately editing the video were all things that I needed to learn and do well. While some interviews were unsuccessful (due to my own amateur filming) and I faced minor setbacks while editing, I am very proud of the final product. Both the Spring Street International School performance of “Good Kids” and “It’s Not Okay.” turned out much better than I could have ever expected.

Is there anyone you would like to thank?

I owe a huge thank you to SAFE San Juans for being a sounding board as I worked on my project. Kim Bryan, Alexandria Romero, Isaac Berg, Luann Pamatian, and Belle Lyons were all so kind throughout the process. Kamilah Willingham, a public speaker, activist, and sexual assault advocate, was also very generous with her time in letting me interview her. Her kindness, poise, and expertise were truly influential and encouraging. The teachers and staff at Orcas Island High School also played a huge role in the completion of my project, specifically Corey Wiscomb, Phil Comito, Kyle Freeman, Chris Waage, and Paul Evans. Lastly, I owe the biggest thank you to my family for always supporting me and pushing me to stand up for what I believe in.



Explain your project:

My senior project was working with local scientist Russel Barsh to examine the diet of our local blackmouth salmon to see what they are eating, and also send any parasites we found to another scientist  who specializes in fish parasites. We also took liver samples to check DNA. Both the livers and stomachs were provided by the NOAA.

What  inspired you? Why choose this project?

I chose this project because I really enjoy our environment and wanted to help it in any way I could, and this seemed like the best way of doing so.

Why was the project important to our ecosystem?

About two years ago, the local small fish population (the primary diet of the local salmon) took a large hit. Salmon are very picky eaters, so we were curious as to what they were eating. We found that they had switched from their nearly allfish diet to a diet of shrimp, which is very interesting.

What was the most challenging aspect?

Scheduling was probably the most difficult part, simply because I was trying to work with a scientist who was very busy and also lives on a different island. Also, the work I did on my project required full day commitments, so I was essentially limited to weekends.


All senior projects of the 2017 – 2018 school year are listed below.


Garrett Ballanger: Made a bench made of local island wood and skateboards to anchor by the skate park.

Ivan Bullock: Planted several new trees, and then installed protective fencing around them in Buck Park.

Katy Campos: Planted a butterfly garden, and weeded Aspen’s Garden.

Yusuf Duni: Constructed a scoring table for OHS basketball games.

Skyler Gregg: Searched for antique shoes in the woods and constructed an exhibit to display them for the historical society.

Liam Griskey-Watson: Assisted Russel Barsh on Lopez in his scientific study on the diet of salmon in Puget Sound.

Leif Gustafson: Hosted and planned a golf tournament to benefit the OHS golf team and the golf course.

Journey Howden: Conducted a mental health survey for Safe San Juans and shared the results with the school.

Brittany Kern: Taught yoga to Mrs. Malo’s 4th and 5th  grade class.

Jadyn Kopp: Created a collage with pictures of K-12 students.

Kellen Maier: Created and registered a new “Little Free Library” for the Orcas community.

Joanne Mietzner: Educated younger grades on the importance of a healthy lifestyle and diet, and helped Chef Zach in the cafeteria.

Katelyn Minnis: Helped with the childcare at Kaleidoscope by constructing lesson plans and leading educational games.

Haley Moss: Created an informative documentary raising awareness for sexual assault prevention.

Matthew Mullan: Created and painted a new sign for the Kaleidoscope Day Care.

Ella Nelson: Painted a mural of the Olga Store.

Jessica Nichols: Replaced the seating on the baseball and softball bleachers.

Serei O’Toole: Designed and created a three-dimensional map of the Orcas Island School District’s campus to be posted for help with directions during sports seasons.

Hayden Simpson: Created a bullpen (a pitcher’s warm up area) in Buck Park for the baseball team to use when warming up for a game.

Gabe Smith: Filmed an educational video about the benefits of donating blood.

Violet Sturk: Educated the seniors on Orcas and Lopez about the housing crisis.

Sabina Tillman: Put on a “Barking Lot” sale to benefit the animal shelter.

McCabe Webb: Returned to Japan as a Senior Student and Trip Aid and then gave presentations to younger grades in the school about Japanese culture and history.

Joie Zier: Built several bat boxes to donate to community members to aid in bat conservation on Orcas.