Bella Scalora and her Senior Capstone Project

“I think it would be good to prepare myself more by introducing myself into different cultures in fashion.”


Emily Graeber

Bella Scalora with her dog, Mindy.

The seniors of Hopkinton High School are getting excited as the school year starts to come to an end. One exciting opportunity for these students is the “Senior Capstone” project. Not only is it a chance to miss some non-AP classes, but it is also a way to get career and volunteer experience before heading off to college.

According to the Senior Capstone website, students must choose a project that falls into one of these categories: academic, career preparedness, social-emotional skills, or community service and outreach. Students also must have a mentor to lead them through the project and sign off on their hours.

Bella Scalora, a senior at Hopkinton High School, is especially excited for her project, as it falls into what she wants to do as a future career. Scalora is designing and sewing a dress using Gamian fabric.

“I’m doing this project because I love to sew and I want to go into fashion when I’m older and I think it would be good to prepare myself more by introducing myself into different cultures in fashion,” said Scalora.

Each project requires a final piece of work to be shown. Scalora’s final project will be the dress she creates, as well as pictures of her design process.

“I’m very excited because I rarely do anything like this,” Scalora said. “The last time I made a piece of clothing was a year ago with my grandma.”

However, the most exciting part about this project for her is working with her mentor. Her mentor, Mariama Doboe, used to live in Gambia. She started a company called the Starfish Foundation, which is a women’s empowerment organization. They work on educating women in Gambia that can’t afford school. Now, she lives in Massachusetts and runs her organization here.

“She has had lunch with Michelle Obama!” Scalora said.

Knowing that she has the opportunity to work with someone who has also worked with such important people makes the project that much more exciting for Scalora.

The Starfish Foundation website states that their mission “is to uplift Gambian girls by providing them with a world-class education that is focused on service to humanity while at the same time providing international service-learning opportunities for our volunteers.”

As for the “Senior Capstone” project, there has been controversy in the past years over whether it is helpful to students.

“I’m using it towards my career and my interests and I think that that’s very useful,” Scalora said. “But for people that aren’t doing something that helps in the future, I feel like that’s not useful.”

Scalora overall wants to practice collaboration with others through this project to prepare for working with others in the future.

“The main thing I want to take away is how to work with other people and brainstorm together because generally, when I’m designing or creating something, it’s all of my ideas,” Scalora said. “I think it would be cool to incorporate other ideas to make it even better.

Projects like Scalora’s prove that the “Senior Capstone” program can really excite students and prepare them for the future if used the right way!