Today was our seniors’ final day of regular classes, and for many of them, it was the end of a thirteen year run at Geneva. Though regular classes have ended for them, they still have their senior thesis presentations looming over the next two weeks. You can see the presentation schedule by following (link not included). The Senior Thesis is one of those things that builds a mysteriousness all its own, with cryptic and mythic stories growing up all around it. I don’t mean to squash the mystique, but there are few frequently asked questions about senior thesis that are addressed in our handbook:
Thesis FAQ: Q1) Why does it have to be memorized? A1) The senior thesis exercise follows and gives training in the Five Faculties of Classical Rhetoric, and memory is one of the five (Invention, Arrangement, Style, Memory, Delivery). Classically trained students must demonstrate this faculty. Q2) Why do we not offer a “senior project” instead of a senior thesis so that students can cap their Geneva careers by demonstrating areas of individual interest and strength? A2) While we recognize that students possess varied and valuable talents and skills, the capstone of rhetoric training should be a substantive effort in rhetoric. Further explanation is available earlier in this handbook under the discussion of classical education. Q3) Why is it so hard? A3) It isn’t. Most students regularly write 5-6 page essays for literature classes. The final thesis essay to be memorized is only ten pages. Students who are influenced by the hype or who do not meet deadlines or who flaunt guidelines are the ones who find the process “hard.”
That being said, this is a significant achievement that most adults never even have to try in their lifetimes, so our students are to be congratulated for this accomplishment (or soon to be accomplished accomplishment…or something like that). Presentations begin next week in the Lyceum and all are welcome to attend.