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One special feature of our 8th grade experience is the Capstone research project, designed to give students an opportunity to explore a topic of interest, as well as contribute to their communities.

What is the 8th Grade Capstone Project?

Our 8th-graders spend the whole year exploring independent inquiry questions and creating projects that aim to improve their communities. Past 8th Grade Capstone projects have addressed conservation, mental health, education, art, sports, service, equity, and more. This culminating experience — for which groundwork is laid in 7th grade — gives students a chance to deeply explore an area of interest, plan and implement longterm goals, and become change agents, giving them confidence as they embark on their high school careers.

The capstone project is a critical learning experience in which students utilize the inquiry-based skills they’ve developed throughout our program to research, gather data, and devise solutions to a real-world issue they are passionate about.
Through this process, students become empowered as experts surrounding their specific issue.


The capstone experience emphasizes intellectual problem-solving, social change, and community engagement.

Students produce interactive presentations along with a dissertation document to share their findings with the community and future High Meadow scholars.

Capstone Project Timeline

November: Students share their ideas at the Capstone Proposal Fair and are matched up with High Meadow advisors and mentors from the broader community.


February: Students begin their projects and begin drafting their research paper.

April: Students put finishing touches on their projects and paper.

May: High Meadow students, faculty, families, and friends gather to watch the 8th-graders march across campus and officially turn in their final capstone papers. They then make their way to the PAC for the Capstone Fair where they share their findings with the community.


This year's 8th Grade Capstone projects include:

  • An investigation of the animal shelter system and approaches to improving it, including a fundraiser and public awareness campaign.

  • A scientific study of the impact of music on human emotions, including original music composition and application of the PANAS (Positive and Negative Affects Schedule) scale.

  • A study of how humans impact monarch butterflies, exploring topics such as pesticides, climate change, and suburban sprawl, including planting a Monarch habitat at High Meadow.

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