Seniors work on annual research papers


Francesca Messerschmidt

Elizabeth Dawe’s fifth hour AP English class works on their research papers.

Bailee Clifton, Staff Writer

There have been quite a few changes this school year, but one thing that has not changed is the annual assignment of research papers for seniors. 

The assignment allows students to pick a topic they are passionate about and write three pages of research, along with a works cited page.

“I definitely think it’s better that we get to pick our own topic because it provides us with more motivation to do the paper,” senior Anna Stanelle said. “I feel that when we are forced to do a topic that we are uninterested in, it only makes us procrastinate doing the paper. At least that’s how it is for me.”

With the semester coming to a close soon, a bad case of “senioritis” is setting in for some.

“Students are often  more inclined to read and write when they are excited about the topic,” senior English teacher Elizabeth Dawe said. “It also adds ownership to their work. I want students to feel that their research is useful to them.” 

 Seniors being able to write about a topic that truly interests them has motivated some of them a great deal according to senior Emily Ray.

“I feel significantly more motivated to write this paper because it’s something that I genuinely care about,” Ray said. 

The unit is a learning standard for all juniors and seniors in Illinois and has been taught all 24 years that Dawe has worked at HHS. Part of the project is organizing information and outlining the paper.

“I hate outlines,” Ray said. “I’m much better at letting out how I feel while writing an unedited form of the paper rather than “organized” formats. People write differently, so I would allow people to pick how they would start the first outline or copy.” 

While some may feel drained from the process of outlining the paper, others couldn’t care less.

“For me personally, I wouldn’t change anything,” Stanelle said. “I think it gave seniors more freedom in writing the paper, and I think most students enjoy having a choice.”