Behind the Scenes at Minarets: Senior Legacy Experience

Updated: Sep 27, 2020

By Joseph Langley and Autumn Pecarovich

SLE season is quickly approaching! For those unfamiliar, SLE stands for Senior Legacy Experience. It is a project all Minarets High School students must complete to graduate. Proposals for SLEs will be Sept. 26 and 27, in front of a panel of teachers, at which each student will receive a thumbs up, thumbs down, or thumbs sideways. A thumbs up means your good to go, a thumbs sideways means that the idea needs work, and a thumbs down requires a different idea to be proposed in October.

This year, a handbook was made for seniors that goes over the most important things to remember; the Senior Advancement Project, the SLE, and other important dates. On top of this, the handbook contains a rubric, focused on the Minarets six C’s. To get insight about the entire process, we interviewed principal, Daniel Ching. He commented about the requirements of an SLE, saying “It needs to help the community, with a loose definition of community. Unlike most people might think though, you don’t have to raise money for a charity, it just has to benefit more than yourself.” Another common question is whether a teacher advisor is required. Ching answered this question by stating that, while a teacher doesn’t have to be supervising you at every step of the way, you do need a teacher to check in with regularly. It is actually better if the student contacts and coordinates with a wide array of professionals to make their project happen.

This year it’s been emphasized that SLEs should be more than just a one-time event, with planning, thought, and real experience being gained. The proposal panel assesses if the idea is feasible, fits the criteria, and is legal- specifically, if money is being handled the right way. There's a lot of financial things that go along with this to prevent fraud. There are also projects students aren’t allowed to do, such as another school dance, talent shows, or isolated music shows at Minarets.

That being said, it’s okay to make mistakes. In fact, it’s encouraged! Ching talked about how some of the best SLEs in Minarets history have been failures; “The student has to document what happened and make something meaningful out of it.”

In Ching’s opinion, one of the best SLEs was Minarets 2018 graduate Bethany Morgan’s. Using the funds from the recyclables at Minarets, she was able to bring two water bottle refill stations, one of which is now installed in the gym. This project was not only practical and convenient for future students, but it has had a positive effect on the environment and demonstrated fantastic use of the six Cs.

He also discussed Minarets 2018 graduate Evana Holevas’ SLE. She created a mosaic of a mustang out of pictures from the last 10 years at Minarets High School, using Photoshop. Ching remarked that Evana “saw her skillset, what she was passionate about, and something that could make an impact on the school and other students. And that hit the nail on the head.”

These SLEs highlight the most important aspects of a good SLE. The main point is to be passionate about your SLE. Doing this will help you complete it because you will be excited to work on it. These projects can have huge impacts on the community, and on student’s lives, and that impact is only made possible through passion.

Some students have been so passionate about their SLE’s that they broke out in tears during the final culminating presentation at the SLE Showdown, because it meant so much to them. The presentations are judged by a community panel and then the top 10 are nominated by various administrators for the overall showdown. Cash awards or gift cards are given to the top two seniors.

SLEs may seem daunting, but they are an opportunity to do something you’re truly passionate about, and make a lasting impact on the school, local, and world community. Juniors, it’s never too early to start thinking and planning for your SLE. Seniors, good luck with presentations this Thursday and Friday!


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