The 8th Grade Capstone project is the culmination of a student's academic work at Congressional School. The project is intentional in its overall objective, providing a purpose-based learning opportunity for our 8th grade students. It is a time for our students to find an area of interest, explore deeply, take action, and communicate with the broader Congressional School Community.

Students will delve into an interest or passion, apply their knowledge for an authentic purpose, and showcase/share/present their experience with an audience.

Students will identify a topic of personal interest and importance, craft a central question and thesis, conduct research, and compose an essay in English class. Following winter break, students will work with a mentor to extend their learning experience. This application of their knowledge may take many forms and will be determined with and supported by the student’s mentor.

Possible applications may include: 

  • Community Project
  • Film or documentary
  • Art installation
  • Musical composition
  • Dramatic performance
  • Invention or innovation that meets a need

A long-term, self-driven project requires proactive application of life skills. Effective execution of this project requires that the student is accountable to him or herself in its management. The following skills and actions will ensure success:

  • Responsibility
  • Communication
  • Time Management
  • Organization
  • Resources

  1. Generate list of topics of personal interest based on topics you’ve previously learned about at home or in school, a book, t.v. show, or movie, or which you or someone close to you has experienced.
  2. Determine what, specifically, you want to know about each topic.
  3. Choose several topics and create a basic outline.
  4. Finalize your topic: Determine what you want to know and where you will attain information.
  5. Goal-Setting: Determine what steps you need to take to write your essay.
  6. Research and Refine: As you research for your essay, the topic may need to be refined for clarity and size.
  7. Complete your essay.
  8. With your mentor, develop plan, milestones, and goals for project after completing the essay.
  9. Meet with mentor regularly to report on progress, seek guidance and resources, and refine project as necessary.
  10. Present your project.


Paul ‘22 decided to pursue a Capstone topic he has been passionate about for quite some time now: music. Paul completed his music album Stripes&Sinewaves as part of his capstone project, in which he explored the relationship between color and texture to music. He also studied the phenomenon of synesthesia in music. The word “synesthesia” has Greek roots and is translated to “to perceive together.” Paul described the phenomenon as having a second sensory perception, such as seeing color when you hear sound. This is something Paul says he experiences when he listens to and plays music, and this is what Paul wanted to explore more deeply during his musical process.


In order to make this album successful, I had to put in full effort,” Paul said. After completing his album, Paul had classmates listen to samples of his songs and draw what they saw as an example of how synesthesia works. Stripes&Sinewaves was released on April 29th to all major streaming platforms such as Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, and YouTube, and is available for listening now. Paul is very proud of his album and was so happy to be able to incorporate his love of music into his capstone project. “It means a lot,” Paul said. “I’ve finally found something that makes me happy.”



Capstone Presentation

Click the video above to watch Paul's Capstone Presentation on Relationships Between Music and Color.

Capstone Presentation

Click the video above to watch Maddie's Capstone Presentation on Camera Imaging Technology and How They Promote Conservation.




Maddie '23 decided to pursue a topic on Camera Imaging Technology and How They Promote Conservation. She researched various imaging technologies such as camera traps, ROVs, and Crittercams, and experimented with two of the technologies on campus.

"I've always been interested in photography and I was inspired after I read National Geographic's Explorer Academy books."



As a part of their project, students presented their research to members of the Congressional community. Enjoy a few sample presentations below:

Black Lives Matter

Black Lives Matter

Presenter: Lauren '18

Why Did you Choose this Topic?

"I chose this topic because the lives of black people have been oppressed and neglected for too long, and I have decided to put it on myself to be our voice. Saying, "Black lives matter, too," does not mean that only black lives matter or that black lives matter more than others. It is saying that our lives matter as much as anyone else's and that we should be treated with equal regard."

Lack of Diversity in the Media

Lack of Diversity in the Media

Presenter: Olivia '18

Why Did you Choose this Topic?

"If I were to flip through a magazine, I would most likely not see a woman who I could relate to...

Imagine you’re sitting in a waiting room, flipping through Vogue magazine. As you flip through pages and pages, you question: where's the diversity? White. Skinny. Blonde. Size 0. That's all you see. All adjectives to describe “beautiful.” You may look like this, but me? I am not white. I do not have straight, blonde hair or perfect white teeth. But I do have a body. A common feature of a woman that's not as appreciated now, or was ever appreciated before. So let us think about the future. Let us think about the curly-haired. Let us think about the dark-skinned and the plump-bodied; the diversity.

The Plastic Problem
What is True Happiness?

What is True Happiness?

Presenter: Ellie '18

Why Did you Choose this Topic?

"I've been inspired by the people in Chuburna, Mexico. Chuburna is a small fishing village in the state of Yucatan. Ever since I was young, my family and I have been traveling to Chuburna, and we've met some wonderful people. After knowing these people, I've come to learn that most live simply, or at least more simple lives than we do in the United States. Yet what impresses me most about the people of Yucatan was their happiness. My family and I have seen their happiness through their community, families, and traditions... I want to better understand sources of happiness."