2019 Senior Thesis Presentations

The public is invited to observe as seven students present their senior thesis projects Monday and Tuesday evenings, May 6 & 7, starting at 6:30 p.m. in the main building of Matthews Orthodox Presbyterian Church, 2701 Rice. Rd., Matthews, NC.  A light reception will follow the presentations both evenings. The schedule of students and their thesis titles can be found at the bottom of this post.

The twelfth-grade senior thesis project at Greyfriars requires each student, with all needed guidance given, to select, research, write, and defend a thesis statement. To accomplish this task, students work not only with their teacher, Mr. Nathan Johnson, but also with an advisor who helps the student to discuss, organize, and broaden arguments.  However, the paper and defense represent an individual effort that requires much more work than the average writing assignment.  The senior thesis project is an intensive assignment that constitutes the culminating effort of the classical education process, building upon the artistic and literary foundation of earlier years while using the skills of logic and rhetoric.

The senior thesis class at Greyfriars has in the view the following objectives for students, among other aims:

  1. To gain experience in academic research methods (note taking, outlining, citations, etc)
  2. To gain experience in the skills of composition (drafting, revising, editing, etc)
  3. To gain the skill of effective refutation in any given argument
  4. To successfully defend an extensive thesis in front of an audience, with poise and confidence

Monday, May 6: Science, Society, and Our Better Selves

Neidin Shelnutt: Her thesis evaluates the breakdown in communication in American society, looking at the reasons behind our inability to discuss differences in a healthy way and proposing a solution for the church.

Brogan Ecton: His thesis tackles the question of whether and by what means we should pursue Mars exploration and colonization. He particularly looks at it from the perspective of how this is a pursuit of “the good.”

Ann Marie Lawing: Her thesis looks at the reality of conflict in society–particularly war and politics–and argues for how these can be and are redemptive, depending on our perspective.

John Groggel: His thesis challenges our eating habits: a sweeping analysis of the food industry, where our food comes from, what it does to our bodies, and how we can change our foodie lifestyles.

Tuesday, May 7: Education and the Art of Learning

Anna Lise McGowan: Her thesis proposes a strategy for helping children succeed later in life through the thoughtful use of failure and success in early childhood in order to build resilience and a growth mindset.

Kamin Bond: His thesis argues that public middle schools need more Christian teachers, particularly looking at the benefits of mentorship and personal relationship with students as a means of doing the work of Christ in the world.

Rebecca Claxton: Her thesis challenges the way Classical Christian schools define and teach science, arguing for a more Christian and more Classical approach to science and the quadrivium.