The culminating work of a student’s education at Westminster Academy is the delivery and defense of a senior thesis. It is a comprehensive and integrative project that requires students to use the knowledge and skills they have acquired throughout their education at Westminster to craft a thoughtful and persuasive argument on a chosen topic. It is an opportunity for students to demonstrate how much they have learned about research, reasoning, and rhetoric. The thesis topic must be an issue of depth and significance about which Christians can reasonably disagree. In addition, researching the topic, constructing the paper, and defending one’s thesis orally will provide excellent training for upcoming college and life experiences.
The paper must be rigorously researched, carefully documented, and winsomely presented. Students must demonstrate their ability to:
- Weave together facts and arguments in a cohesive manner
- Gain an audience’s trust by exhibiting competence and confidence in their research
- Explain the context and significance of their thesis
- Develop an argument that is logical and persuasive
- Support their thesis using primary and secondary sources as evidence
- Effectively and eloquently communicate their arguments to an audience
Students will be given 15-20 minutes to present their thesis and defend their position, followed by a period of up to an additional 15 minutes of questioning and discussion with the Capstone faculty.
At the completion of all presentations, the Rhetoric and Capstone faculty will select the recipient of the John and Day Hodges Rhetoric Award. This decision will take into account not only the presentation and defense, but also quality of the research, the strength of the Christian worldview, and the effectiveness of the student’s written paper. The winner of this award will be submitted as Westminster Academy’s entry to the ACCS National Chrysostom Oratory Competition.
This year some of the topics will include:
- The American Dream: Recent Distortions and Original Intent
- Rethinking the Church’s Response to Abuse
- Ethics, The Guard and Guide to Advertising
- The Dangers of Government Intervention and Enforced Equality
- The Body of Believers: The Struggle for Self-Acceptance and Pursuing True Beauty in Christ
Please join us for the final presentations at Second Presbyterian Church Chapel on April 25th from 6:30-8:30, with a reception to follow.
The schedule for the final evening is as follows:
- 6:00-6:30 – Annie Bolton, Relational Wisdom: A Gospel Transformed Emotional Intelligence
- 6:35-7:05 – Sarah Renshaw, The Necessity of Special Needs Ministries
- 7:10-7:40 – Sally Walker, Marriage: For Better or For Worse?
- 7:45 – 8:15 – Emily Carney, The Necessity of Discipleship
- 8:15-9:30 – Reception