Feature Stories

Capstone Program Gives MHS Seniors Real World Experience
Capstone Program Gives MHS Seniors Real World Experience

Each spring, Minnetonka High School seniors have the opportunity to participate in Capstone: a two-week, off-campus experience where they can pursue an internship or job shadow, complete a service project or conduct their own independent study. Students explore their own career aspirations while receiving valuable hands-on experience.

Jack Estenson '19 had the opportunity to work with Wells Fargo personal banker and MHS alum Ben Rice '13 for two weeks as part of his Capstone project in 2019. "I really enjoyed how [Capstone] offered us the opportunity to experience what we will be experiencing in the future," he said. "I knew I wanted to go into something kind of business related, so I worked at the local Wells Fargo for the capstone project. That really helped me understand what I really wanted to do with the rest of my life."

Along with gaining valuable business experience, Estenson also built a meaningful relationship with his mentor. "It was really nice to have Ben there because whenever I had a question I could go ask him," said Estenson. "He was a great teacher as well; he would always explain everything really well when it came to just about anything in the bank."

Similarly, MHS grad Joey Sigel '18 pursued a Capstone project in his senior year. After taking the Global Business strand of VANTAGE, Sigel found a passion in business, and he decided to explore it further in a Capstone project. "Capstone presented opportunities to go down a different path and have that opportunity that not a lot of people do to shadow someone in a job that they're interested in such as entrepreneurship," he said.

Sigel worked on content curation with entrepreneurs Jonah and David Stillman. They run Gen Z Guru, a corporation that gives insight to companies on younger generations and strategies on how to best adapt to the new workforce. Having the opportunity to work with mentors was special for Estenson. Not only did he learn a lot from them, he also felt inspired to pursue the same kind of work down the line. "Seeing how two individuals can start from very little and move up into a relatively large corporation and do well with it was inspiring and made me passionate to maybe follow their footsteps in the future and create something that was new and innovative," he said.

Getting students like Estenson and Sigel out in a real-world learning environment is one of Capstone's main goals, according to Briana Wilson, Spanish teacher and Capstone Director at Minnetonka High School. "The experience is designed to inspire seniors to explore their aspirations while enhancing the educational experience at Minnetonka High School," she said.

"Participating in Capstone is a very rewarding experience," explained Wilson. "Some [students] come away from their Senior Capstone project with renewed enthusiasm, some refine their interests and some plan to alter their plans for the future. No matter what the outcome, it is fun to watch them spread their wings and do something that is meaningful for them and their futures."

If you are interested in participating in Capstone, here's how to get started:

  1. Check the eligibility requirements
  2. Enroll in the "MHS Senior Capstone Project" Schoology Course (Code D7P9-92DD-9SBFT)
  3. Download the Capstone application
  4. Complete the Google form

For more information about the Capstone program, how to apply, eligibility and commitments, visit the Capstone webpage.

For other questions, contact Briana Wilson at briana.wilson@minnetonkaschools.org

If you would like more details about becoming a mentor, fill out the interest form here.

Capstone Calendar for Spring 2021

  • Friday, April 16: Applications DUE
  • Friday, May 21: Last day of school for Senior capstone students
  • May 24–June 4: Senior Capstone project period
  • Friday, June 4: Capstone Program Culminating Event

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