Debha Amatya’s documentary film about a group of Bhutanese refugees was a Senior Search project that took root during his own community service work in Cincinnati. Classmate Gabby Chandra turned photos of the school into a fund-raising coffee-table book “Hidden Faces and Spaces of The Summit.” Previously, seniors Elizabeth Maynard and Preslee Mortenson waded knee-deep in Michigan waters to help biologists tag sturgeon while Ryan Flannery spent three weeks inside Procter & Gamble researching how RFID tags work. Other students at the private Cincinnati Catholic high school have shadowed orthopedic surgeons and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base personnel, taught English to Hispanic immigrants, worked on an Arizona cattle farm, worked at the Lindner Center with children who have psychological disorders, traveled to New York City to intern at Teen Vogue and won the cooperation of some of Cincinnati’s highest profile citizens to create a booklet on leadership.

Students really rise above expectations each year and present impressive and rich experiences. Senior Search is a special opportunity outside the classroom in which students can demonstrate independent study skills by designing their own learning experience – whether they want to explore the career paths they have in mind or pursue a passion. Senior Search shows students it’s OK to take a chance. Exploring a possible career option can be valuable but so can a project that puts students in places they never saw themselves.

Debha is one senior who took a chance. “I’m not the most artistic person but I’m a big documentary film fan and I thought making a film would be challenging to make a film.” “I knew it would be meaningful because I knew something about these refugees. Here in Cincinnati, most people don’t even know where Bhutan is and they could have Bhutanese people living next door.”