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.


"We're constantly shown what society's definition of beauty is, and most of the time that definition of beauty is unrealistic and unhealthy. But me being only one person, I can't change the world, but I thought maybe I could change the definition at Congressional."


As a part of her project, Ava led a beauty workshop and began a very special Instagram page. Watch her Capstone story as she shares her journey to redefine beauty. Click the tab to the right to watch her presentation--the culmination of her work.



Capstone Story

Capstone Presentation

Capstone Story

Capstone Presentation


"I'm passionate about this project and topic because I have muscular dystrophy, and I really want to educate people so I can help as many people as I can understand muscular dystrophy and the people that it effects."


As a part of his Capstone project, William raised $5,000 to support muscular dystrophy research. Watch his Capstone story to see how. Click the right tab to watch his presentation--the culmination of his work.


As a part of their project, students presented their research. Some were in front of only 8th grade students, others in front of 6th-8th grades, and others in front of the whole kindergarten - 8th grade 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."

Bullying and How It Affects Mindset

Bullying and How It Affects Mindset

Presenter: Melkim '18

Why Did you Choose this Topic?

"I chose this topic because one of my personal values is kindness and bullying is the opposite of that. I don't understand why people are unkind or mean to each other and I think it is important to educate people on this matter so that fewer people are at risk from suffering from the short and long-term effects of bullying such as depression and the feelings of not being good enough. Everyone is important."

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.

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."