A look at Mercer Island High School students' culminating projects

The state testing this month might have had a new name and different format, but the senior class' culminating projects were as diverse as ever. From a presentation on the war in Guatemala to baking dessert and learning to create flower arrangements, the Mercer Island senior class tried and presented it all.

Eric Becker rearranged Eric Clapton's classic tune "Layla" for a six-piece trombone group for his culminating project. Becker said the idea came after he heard the all-trombone CD "London Trombone," which covered the song.

"I heard the trombone version and just knew I had to use it," said Becker. Originally planning to use it as his solo and ensemble piece, Becker said he changed his mind and rewrote it for his project. The London Trombone version was done by 16 trombones, so Becker said he had to rearrange the music to fit the smaller group and incorporate a key change.

The group of six performers included Teddy Trimble, Chris Brosius, Noah Schorr, Nick Radow, Ben Poor and Becker.

Later that morning, James Suh showed off his skills as a flower arranger during the next session of projects. After creating a boutonniere for his classmates, the senior showed an example of creating a rose bouquet, going through each step of the process.

"It can have whatever type of design you want," he said during the presentation. "It's a form of art. There is no wrong or right."

Topics are based on the student's interest; therefore, they are as diverse as the students themselves. This year topics ranged from fashion photography, volunteering at the Refugee Women's Alliance, becoming a mid-wife, church architecture and genetic research. Culminating projects are required by state law for a student to earn a high school diploma. Each school district is responsible for creating guidelines for students on how to finish their projects successfully. At MIHS, students spend time throughout their senior year developing and finishing their projects, which are annually presented during the school's testing week.

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