Semester in Review: Senior Capstone, Fall 2016

The Shenandoah Valley Governor’s School provides a challenging program for gifted learners, high achievers and creative thinkers in a community of learners that extends their education by providing rich, deep learning experiences.  SVGS offers advanced classes in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, as well as theater, visual arts and humanities. Since its inception in 1993, over 1000 graduates have received exceptional preparation for college and career through accelerated, enriched and varied classes that go well beyond typical high school preparation.

The culminating experience for SVGS students is their Senior Capstone project, which encourages them to reach beyond their academic work by applying their skills and interests to design and implement a real-life learning experience. Jeannie Knotts, SVGS student experience coordinator, and Paul Hildebrand, arts and humanities consultant, are leading seniors through this process along with SVGS staff, outside mentors, and consultants.

Students conceive and propose their capstone project during the 2nd semester of their junior year.  Throughout their senior year, they work with the student experience coordinator and depending on the nature of the project, they are paired with a mentor in the area of their career interest.


Examples of Capstone projects this year include:

  • An Arts & Humanities student who is working with St. Francis Catholic Church in Staunton to design and paint Gothic style artwork on the church organ pipes.

    Art Therapy, Alex Beelendorf w/ Alzheimer's patients and Ally Clawson w/ special education students, SVGS Class of 2016
    Art Therapy, Alex B.w/ Alzheimer’s patients and Ally C. w/ special education students, SVGS Class of 2016
  • An Arts &  Humanities student who is using Art History as a basis for a study in costume research and costume construction for a specific time period.
  • An Arts &  Humanities student who is researching absurdism and the Theater of Absurd by reviewing several works and will develop lessons.
  • capture1
    Motorized Wheelchair Sensor developed by Sarah D., SVGS Class of 2016

    A STEM student who is researching the GRK4 protein and its influence in major diseases of our time, including kidney disease, hypertension and cancer.

  • A STEM student who is creating an app for a food pantry to assist with management of needs and supplies.
  • A STEM student who worked with an industrial engineer at Virginia Panel to design part needed.
  • A STEM student who is teaching younger kids about the environment and freshwater species through fly fishing.
  • Two STEM students who are with a software engineer to learn database programming.
  • Two STEM students who are study the different mechanisms and factors behind antibiotic resistance of different bacteria with JMU professors.
  • A group of STEM students  have completed a mentorship in various departments at Augusta Health and are designing a Medicine and Health career fair for middle school students.


UVA Sleep Study Research by H. Frederick, SVGS Class of 2016
UVA Sleep Study Research by Hannah F., SVGS Class of 2016
Microfludics Project by M. Daley, Class of 2016
Microfludics Project by Michael D., Class of 2016




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