When the Columbia County Board of Education adopted its senior project program, I'd venture to guess that the experience of Will Price at Greenbrier and Heath Durand at Lakeside was exactly what the county was targeting.
Price and Durand planned a baseball camp. It wasn't just any baseball camp; the seniors hoped to raise money for the family of Carson Busby, a 9-year-old who is undergoing treatment for pre-B cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Both admitted that they had no idea how much work would be involved.
That was the first lesson in the process.
One crucial element in the senior project process is choosing the right mentor. Price and Durand did a knockout job with that.
Kelley Dube's son, 10-year-old C.J., was diagnosed with cancer at age 4. It's now in remission.
When she agreed to serve as a mentor for the project, Dube made sure to point out an important distinction up front.
"I've tried to explain to them that, yes, you love baseball and this is a great thing," she noted. "But let's understand the charitable side of it."
Not only that, but Dube hoped to make clear to them what a family goes through. So she showed them.
"They came down and spent a day with me at the clinic," she said. "My son was just there for a check-up. They learned what it was like even to have cancer. ... It was very scary and very awkward for them."
The camp was a success, raising more than $3,400. But the purpose of the project can't be forgotten, and it wasn't in this particular case.
I'm guessing that too many times these projects can turn into students just trying to do something to get by. Or, a poor choice on the mentor side makes the process arduous instead of enjoyable and informative.
When just the opposite happens, the result can be pretty special.
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