On Campus

Abu Shakra takes reins as SSP coordinator

Seniors can expect digitization and a greater emphasis on the school motto from new Senior Spring Project (SSP) Coordinator Amani Abu Shakra, who entered the role this fall after Academic Coordinator Ross Clark stepped down to teach more history classes.

As a graduation requirement, SSP annually invites third-trimester seniors to pursue a variety of self-selected activities that together amount to 40 hours per week and reflect the school’s motto of “Honor, Scholarship, Kindness.” Activities range from continuing Advanced Placement classes and sports participation to enrolling in teacher-designed mini-courses or interning at Boston-based companies or organizations.

Working alongside a committee of 11 faculty members, Ms. Abu Shakra will collect and read each student’s project proposal in January, provide suggestions for improvement, and eventually grant them approval.

Ms. Abu Shakra said the opportunity for more interaction with students attracted her to the position.

“My classes are small, so this gives me a chance to have more of a connection to the students of the Upper School,” she said. “I enjoy the SSP, and I have always been interested in doing more work with this project and the ideas that the students produce.”

Ms. Abu Shakra approached Upper School Director Geoff Theobald about the position in early September and officially accepted it on September 29.

“I’m very excited that she has agreed to take on the role,” Mr. Theobald said. “It is very important to her that seniors have the best opportunities to create meaningful and unique project experiences as they begin their process of leaving high school, [and] I have no doubt that her deep reservoir of worldly experiences combined with her strong commitment to student development will benefit all involved.”

To save paper and to give seniors easy access to required and informational forms related to SSP, Ms. Abu Shakra will roll out a new SSP Haiku page.

Additionally, she plans to put a greater emphasis on each project’s reflection of the school motto.

“We hope to see scholarship evident in the courses and independent studies that they sign up for, kindness in the community service work that they will do, and honor in all of that commitment,” she said. “This is the best time to give back to the community, and I hope to see that in every proposal.”

Making the spring a happy and relaxed time for seniors so that they can end their high school careers on a positive note is also a goal, she added.

“It’s a very fun time of the year,” Ms. Abu Shakra said. “The seniors are doing things that they love, and they’re ending their four years—or maybe even 12 years—at BB&N in a very exciting and rewarding way.”

Mr. Clark said he would miss working in the role but thinks Ms. Abu Shakra will thrive in the position.

“She’s got a very good committee working behind her, [and] she’s got the support of Mr. Theobald and the administration and senior grade team,” he said. “I know she’ll do well.”

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