Teens focus on Senior Projects

Posted on April 6, 2018 by Sonoma Valley Sun

Completing a Senior Project is a ritual, and a graduation requirement, for every senior at Sonoma Valley High School. As part of the year-long assignment, students are expected to write a related research paper and present a public presentation about the project. So how’s it going? The Sun’s Sarah Ford checks in.

John RolstonJohn Rolston

For my Senior Project, I’ll be performing a set of magic tricks to a group of children.

I’ve always had a fascination with magic, but never took the next step to perform in front of big groups of people. When I heard about the Senior Project, I thought it would be a good idea to follow this dream, while completing the school requirement.

Overall, I hope to get more comfortable in front of crowds. I occasionally get nervous when performing for one person, so I can’t imagine what it will be like to be in front of a crowd. I hope to learn is to get over my stage fright, which will help not only in magic, but also in life.

My research paper is on the psychology of magic—why it works, and why people find it so fascinating. I actually had a blast writing the paper because I love to understand physiology, how people operate and function. It also makes the point that the field of neuroscience could better its understanding of the brain by looking into magic, and by talking to magicians. This sounds like a stretch, but surprisingly magicians have picked up on knowledge that scientists still don’t fully grasp, so combining both fields could help everyone.

My mentor is Angel Rosas. He’s a fellow magician I met at the Boys and Girls Club.

For my big performance, I will be doing a series of three magic tricks. I would go into more detail about them but they’re rather hard to explain. Basically they incorporate a little bit of danger, plus some fun as well.



Sebastian AcostaSebastian Acosta

For my Senior Project, I’m teaching people how to play the card game Magic: The Gathering.

I got the idea was from my math teacher at SVHS, Chris Anspach. He thought it would be cool if I could teach more people to play the game, so that perhaps we could get a club up and running.

For my research paper I wrote about the controversy about the game, and whether or not the game was “satanic” and whether or not it was suitable for children.

Because he mentioned the idea to me, Chris Anspach is my mentor. He has a lot of knowledge about the game, and he plays it as well.

What I hope to learn from this project is how to help others build strategy and use critical thinking to overcome difficult situations.

As for right now I am still working on what I am going to present and how I’m going to do it, but I plan to interview some of the people I have taught how to play the game to see what kind of critical thinking and strategy they use during a match, or in other real life situations.


Read more profiles from our continuing series:

Jensen Hedley and Noemi Martinez

Jenna Ebert and Miriam Nolazco

Luci Palmer, Harim Lopez, Kohana Bowman and Karen Torres

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