Medford high school seniors are rushing to complete their final projects, but as presentation dates approach, the students aren't the only ones scrambling.
Medford high schools rely on 390 judges from the community to observe and critique the students before they collect their diplomas. But only 160 volunteers have signed up so far.
"Every senior, in order to graduate, is required to complete a senior project," said Mary Holbrook, district director of Junior Achievement and the Medford School District Volunteer Center. "We need about 400 community members, so this is very serious."
The 230 vacancies break down as follows:
"We need about 90 judges per day per school, so that's a lot," said Holbrook.
The projects vary from student to student, but the seniors all have spent the entire term working on them, Holbrook said.
"Sometimes it's a hands-on project where they might build something. Sometimes it's a research project," she said.
When the projects are complete, the students present a speech about their experience to a panel of judges.
"There's normally one teacher, and we try to have three or four community members," Holbrook said. "We give them a criteria for judging, and they try to judge the student's narrative."
The speeches allow students to share their work with the community and hear what the community thought about it.
"It gives the students an opportunity to get feedback from the community in a way they don't normally get," Holbrook said.
The time commitment for volunteer judges is about three-and-a-half hours. No preparation is required, and light refreshments will be served.
"It's fun. It's rewarding. And we need volunteers," Holbrook said. "They might listen to four, five, six presentations that day.
"It's nice to see how great the kids are," she added. "We tend to hear the bad things about teenagers, but they do hard work. We really do need the community to participate in this half-day event."
Volunteers can register to help by contacting Holbrook at 541-842-3920 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
"In all cases, they need to contact me to get registered," Holbrook said. "We don't just want people showing up at the schools."
Reach newsroom assistant Nick Morgan at email@example.com.