Landon’s Class of 2023 participated in an updated senior capstone experience that includes practical life skills to prepare students for college and life beyond, as well as experiential learning that draws on the historical and cultural influences of the D.C. area.
“We wanted to provide opportunities for the students to study an area of interest or to serve individuals or causes that are important to them as the final academic requirement before Commencement Week,” says Ehren Federowicz, Head of Upper School.
There were a total of eight “tracks” to choose from. They included:
American Government & Public Service
Art in the Public Realm: Socially Engaged Art
The Black Experience in the DMV
Conservation & Environmental Science: Real World Applications
Habitat for Humanity
Handbell Performance and History
Museums of DC
"My favorite part of my program was creating a close relationship with the 3rd graders and being able to spend time in the classroom and on the field with them. They are a very intelligent and energetic group, and I loved every second spent with them. I look forward to coming back and watching those guys grow up," Anthony '23 said.
"My favorite part of the capstone experience was dining at Ben's Chili Bowl. The impact that restaurant has had not only on preserving African American culture in D.C. through gentrification, but also bringing wealth and recognition to the African American community in D.C. is immensely powerful," Art '23 said.
“Whether it’s visiting the U.S. Supreme Court or the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, meeting with prominent DC area Black leaders, developing a public art project, or mentoring Landon Lower and Middle School students during the school day, we hope the breadth of these opportunities created by Landon’s teacher-coach-mentors allowed students to actively engage in ways that positively impact others and increase their awareness of the world around them,” Federowicz added.
For many years, a Landon senior’s final weeks were spent on an independent study project, chosen by the student, approved by a faculty committee, and managed by a faculty advisor. Before the pandemic hit, the Upper School began to re-imagine the capstone experience as a two-week program that would bring seniors together as a class and expand their experiential learning beyond the White Rocks. Once the pandemic hit, even those plans had to be altered.
“The school pivoted at that point and provided programming on campus given closures and restrictions around us. It was called “25 Things All Bears Should Know,” said Federowicz, who added that “25 Things” was inspired by a similar program run by Landon Director of Athletics Bill Brady when he worked at Haverford School. “This programming proved to be quite successful by offering lessons around basic life skills and activities such as financial literacy and car maintenance that are not normally taught within our curriculum.”
Plans were then reviewed for 2022-23, including feedback from students, teachers, and parents. The approach, like many things in the pandemic, became hybrid. In the second week of this year’s capstone experience, seniors learned about networking, dry walling, car care, finance, and plumbing. Students also participated in a service event with Rise Against Hunger and a conversation with past Landon student council presidents.