High School Capstone Year

Graduation and Entering Into the World from NOLI

To earn a diploma, NOLI offers a graduation procedure open to students who are enrolled in at least their 3rd year at NOLI, will be at least 16 years of age at the end that school year, and they and their advisors believe that they have developed an acceptable level of maturity, deportment, ethics, and grit, have both the breadth of experience and skills, and demonstrated a level of skill necessary to complete a capstone project or thesis, and enter their next phase of their life can start the graduation process.

The student may choose to continue their education in colleges and universities or they may choose to enter directly into the world of education, business, trades, arts, crafts, technical vocations, or start their own business. Northwestern Outdoor Leadership Institute will provide assistance in preparing for any of these goals.

The Capstone Project

The capstone project experience is required for all Northwestern Outdoor Leadership Institute School students receiving a diploma. It integrates theory and application from across the student’s educational experiences. With the guidance and approval from 2 NOLI staff (one must be a senior mentor) and one advisor from outside of Northwestern Outdoor Leadership Institute from their area of study (college department chair, business owner, master tradesmen, etc). The capstone project consists of a public presintation, portfolio displayed for public viewing, and one or more of the following:

• A design or construction experience

• An experiment to prove a hypotheses

• A self-guided study or research project

• A presentation and report based an internship, co-op, or service-learning experience, or a public performance

Where the senior project does not consist primarily of a written document, advisors, may, where they deem appropriate, require some written documentation (length to be determined by the advisory team) to accompany the senior project. The precise nature or form of a senior project is to be determined by the student and the advisory team. The senior project is normally related to the student’s field of study, future employment, and/or scholastic goals, and is carried out under direct supervision of a Northwestern Outdoor Leadership Institute senior instructor. The senior project maybe a collaboration with other graduating seniors, underclassmen or an independent effort. Expected Outcomes (at the discretion of the senior mentors) Students will have the ability to:

• Reduce a topic to specific points of analysis

• Organize the points of analysis into a logical sequence

• Apply acquired competencies to the successful completion of a project

• Obtain, evaluate, synthesize, and apply project-related information

• Develop and follow a project plan

• Estimate hours of labor and/or cost of materials necessary to complete a project

• Organize, illustrate, and write clear and concise project documentation

• Accept supervision when needed


This capstone project represents the accumulation of thousands of hours of developing skills and is the culmination of this phase of their education. The capstone project can be the work of a single individual or a team. The project should represent:

• At least 1,000 documented hours per student working on the project

• Projects requiring each student an excess of 2,000 hours or more are discouraged

• The number of students participating in a group senior project should not be so large as to unduly limit individual experience or responsibility and initiative

• The student is responsible for identifying costs and potential funding sources for his or her senior project prior to initiation of the project. Costly projects that will not show a net return or discouraged

• The Northwestern Outdoor Leadership Institute project record book format will be used to document budget, cost, and time, etc.

Archiving Capstone Projects

• Each senior project will be archived electronically in the Northwestern Outdoor Leadership Institute library.

"We don’t rise to the level of our expectations…we fall to the level of our training."
—Archilochus, Greek Soldier, Poet, 650 BC
"Leadership is not about the next election, it's about the next generation."
—Simon Sinek