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Senior Project

The Seattle Academy Senior Project provides our students with career exploration opportunities in alignment with our mission that challenges students to question, imagine, and create in order to contribute boldly to a changing world. The Senior Project Program is a non-paid educational/professional experience designed to introduce our students to real-world job experiences in a career field of their interest.

The three guiding principles behind Senior Project Program are:

The Senior Project Program prepares students for life by exposing them to real-world settings that require risk-taking, resilience and empathy. Students are thrust into environments that require them to apply interdisciplinary skills and display an ability to work in a team setting with individuals from extremely diverse backgrounds and experiences. They are faced with real-world issues that require problem-solving skills on a daily basis.

"To be sure, there was initially a steep learning curve- public lands, surveys, grants and patents –all new stuff; plus some GIS software, but he became quite skilled very quickly. That allowed a more independent approach to his work.​​​​​​" - Charles Raines, Cascade Checkerboard Project/Forest Conservation

Photo of Seattle Academy female student presenting at Senior Project Night

The Senior Project 

Provides students the opportunity to explore areas of intellectual and professional interest that may help guide them in their college and post-collegiate life.

Photo of Seattle Academy Senior at Internship site in the science career field

The Senior Project

Develop a code of ethics about living and working in the adult world where there is more independence (and greater consequences) for their actions.

Photo of a Seattle Academy student at internship sitting at their desk

The Senior Project

Interact with people outside of the Seattle Academy community; building an increased awareness of life beyond Seattle Academy.

Photo of Seattle Academy at their Senior Project Internship site

The Senior Project

The Senior Project Program occurs the final five weeks of spring trimester during senior year and is ultimately an opportunity to activate the skills they have developed over their time at Seattle Academy in an adult setting that requires real-world competencies.

2019 Senior Project Mentor Survey Results

Following the completion of the Senior Project, site mentors were asked to rate students performance on a scale of 1-10. Results from the 2019 survey are below:

How satisfied were you with the quality of the work performed by the Seattle Academy student? (Rated 8, 9, or 10)
10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100%
Respondents willing to mentor again
10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100%
Rate Seattle Academy students Ability to respond to Failure (Rated 8, 9, or 10)
10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100%
Students Offered Internship Extensions
10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100%

“During her time here, I and others were quite in awe of her level of maturity for adapting to the daily scheduling unpredictability, of her steadfast passion for justice, and of her ability to quietly size up questionable situations.”
- Karen Murray, Associated Counsel for the Accused Division (ACAD)


What is the SAAS Senior Project Program?

The Senior Project Program began in the spring of 2004 with the goal of helping our Seniors apply their education, experience, and problem-solving skills in a real-world work environment. 

What are the program benefits?

Organizations often benefit from skills that SAAS students have as well as the unique point of view of a high school student.  Students participate in a variety of projects including hands-on technology work, research, materials engineering, presentation development, they build things, they help businesses organize and transform systems, or they can develop a social media program, among other duties that benefit the business/organization.

What are the program requirements?

The organization must host the student for 20-25 hours per week from late April through May.  Students are required to attend class at SAAS each Friday morning, but are available to work after the mandatory on-campus period.

Are there any other ways to support the SAAS Student?

Yes, clear communication of expectations and accountability setting is critical for success. We also encourage site representatives to attend Project Presentation Night in late May/early June. Each Senior will prepare a five-minute presentation, followed by a Q&A attended by students, faculty, and sponsoring organizations. This is the culmination of the entire Senior Project experience.

What are typical challenges that students face in Senior Project?

Seniors want to do a good job, and for some, this might be their first job experience. Organizations can help the Senior by being very clear about expectations and feedback. Setting goals and more frequent check-ins at the beginning of the project are a good ideas.

Is it okay if I give students administrative work?

The purpose of the program is for the student to provide meaningful work for an unmet business need or challenge. Consistent with the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries Criteria for Unpaid Internships, this program is not intended to provide free labor for a position that should be done by a regular professional.

What do I do if I have questions/challenges?

Contact Rick DuPree

Rick DuPree

Locations: Upper School, All School
Phone Numbers:
School: 206-676-6893