AHN English classes take on research paper season


Photo Credit: Alejandra Lozano

Senior papers were finally completed this week; underclassmen still have days to go.

As AHN girls enter third quarter, they are faced with the inevitable truth that will follow them for eternity, or graduation: Research papers. Every year, all grades are required to complete a paper on a specific topic given. This year, every class has a different genre of analysis that they will have to fulfill.

The freshmen class will be writing their first research paper on notable women in history. The freshmen English department partnered with the Social Studies department and will both be grading this paper. The history department will grade for accuracy of information and proving of thesis, while the English department will be grading the analysis, structure of paper, and grammar.

Sophomore English teacher, Mrs. Linda Nutter believes this is an appropriate topic for the freshmen.

“They need to start with a general topic that introduces them to the idea of documentation, MLA format and citations, while having a fairly interesting and accessible subject. Then, next year they will begin to focus on a literary based research paper, which is what they will continue doing junior and senior year.”

An anonymous freshmen believes that, “Research papers are challenging, specially since its our first one at AHN, but I know with a right amount of dedication and guidance, I will hopefully succeed.”

The sophomores will concentrate on reading a short story that they have selected and analyze its literary elements. With the help of Media Center Specialist, Mrs. Emily Swiger and Nutter, the tenth graders have downloaded documents that include critiques and comments by critics that deeply analyze the stories. They must choose a literary element such as characterization, setting or style on which to focus their paper.

Nutter explains that the theme the sophomores are working on was decided by, “taking what the English and History department assigned last year, and expanding the element of research by having the girls integrate what other people, such as the critics they are using have to say about the story they’re researching.”

The juniors, mentored by Dr. Lauren Oetinger, will be writing a “MIOP” (Majorly Informed Opinion Paper) on a topic of their choice concerning social justice in Tampa. As of right now, they have not started the actual paper, but have chosen their topic, completed their preliminary sources, and started working on their outline.

As a junior that preferred to remain anonymous commented, “I really do love English class, but research papers are one of the things I truly have difficulty doing well on. I am hardly ever interested in my topic so my motivation is almost nonexistent.”

Finally, the seniors will be writing a literary analysis on a novel or play. Even though they were in a mad frenzy of picking a book, reading it over winter break, creating a thesis and capsule summary; just a few weeks later, they are now ready to turn in their final draft.

Senior English teacher, Mrs. Laura Frazier commented that her goals for the research paper process were,  “[to] prepare the seniors to pace themselves for larger assignments and projects in college. I intentionally did not “babysit” them on this assignment because it is now their turn to learn what steps need to be done and when. Also, I wanted to give them many options to choose from, so that they were somewhat interested in their topics.”

Although research papers are challenging and time consuming, they are for the purpose of preparing students for college.

As an anonymous sophomore comments, “They might take a lot of time and effort, but they are what we’re basically going to be doing all through college, so we might as well take advantage of the preparation we are being given.”

Once the final research papers are handed in, Academy girls will enjoy a day or two of freedom, until they are assigned yet another project. After all, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and these papers will strengthen the girls’ analysis and writing skills.