The most unique class at MCA is the Senior Project class. Senior Projects are a required course for MCA graduates, taken during the senior year. Students are assigned to assist a Tutor in an MCA class or other highly involved project. In this endeavor they are given many different responsibilities including: teaching, entering attendance and grades, generating assignments, running errands, and grading assignments. These specific responsibilities are discussed and agreed upon at the beginning of the year and are catered to the needs of the class and tutor as well as the senior’s abilities and interests. Tutors and their senior assistants, meet once a week with their tutor to go over upcoming responsibilities and or concerns.
For most students, their education comes full circle during their Senior Projects as they carry the mantle of servant leadership in an academic setting. Their efforts in this class greatly benefit their tutors by sharing the load and it greatly benefits the younger students by setting an example of what a responsible senior looks like. Seniors benefit from this experience by gaining a whole new appreciation for the education process and it serves as a major step toward becoming a responsible, self-governing individual ready to take their place in the larger world. Finally, as this project is undertaken, the tutor is able to disciple the student each step along the way, encouraging them, critiquing mistakes, and providing the patient wisdom and love necessary for such growth to occur.
Many lasting relationships have deepened and formed during this experience. At the end of the year the Tutor shares some brief remarks about the character of his or her senior assistant during Senior Celebration.
One component of the Senior Project class is the Senior Thesis.
The Senior Thesis or Senior Oral is the culmination of the student's career at Midland Classical Academy.
Each graduate is required to research, write, memorize, and deliver a ten-minute speech that demonstrates an in-depth understanding of their subject and relates the topic to other fields of study and to life. In preparation for this seniors are required to conduct research such as reading a reviewed book in the purview and interview an expert in the field of their topic. After writing and crafting their speech under the supervision of their Senior Project tutor, students publicly deliver their oral on an assigned day before family, friends, peers, the community, and a panel of three tutors. Following their speech the student sits down at a table across from their tutor panel who probe the student with questions regarding their thesis and character.
What is demonstrated during this public dialogue is the student’s ability to intellectually and emotionally grapple with a topic. The entire Oral, lasts between forty-five minutes to an hour. The student’s oral is graded along the following categories: scholastic ability, application to life, delivery, responses during the question period and research requirements. Grading is conducted by staff and board-members in the audience or on the panel.
Senior Orals at MCA are accompanied by the pageantry and ceremony befitting such a landmark event in the student’s life. They are as much a final test of the graduate's academic growth as they are a celebration of their scholastic achievement.