Iris Ireland’s Capstone presentation focused on how therapy dogs are certified and how they improve the lives of others. Submitted photo

FARMINGDALE — As Hall-Dale High School seniors think about the end of their high school career, they have one big task left to complete.

It is not the typical final exam or a final research paper; it is their Senior Capstone. Each senior is required to complete a Capstone in order to graduate. The senior Capstone is the culminating academic event for all seniors, according to a news release from the school.

“Although there may be frustration during the process, universally, once completed, they rejoice in the final product,” said Principal Mark Tinkham. “When speaking with graduates, they look fondly upon Capstone and how it has helped them at college, in the military and in the workforce.”

The Capstone team of senior advisors works throughout the year with students to guide them in the multi-step process. The research, writing and presentation skills, along with demonstrations of the guiding principles are the foundations for future success.

What makes this process even more unique is the concept of a mentor and fieldwork. Each student must find a mentor, someone who is an expert in their field and will help guide the student through their 15 hours of required fieldwork. This requirement is in place to help the student develop skills working out of their comfort zone and this is an essential life skill.

To complete the project, students present their Capstone to an audience of peers, teachers and invited guests.

Iris Ireland presented her Capstone on April 14. “As an underclassman, I’ve been able to watch many presentations, and now it’s my turn,” she said. “I am very excited to finish my senior year with such a wonderful experience.”

Her Capstone covers how therapy dogs are certified and how they improve the lives of others. “It has been a very rewarding process, one that will help me as I head to Bates College in the fall, and I hope that I am able to share Pepper with others who could benefit from her love,” Ireland said.