Class Profile: Independent Study


Senior Dom Monacelli researches and studies his chess moves in Independent Study.

Alessandro Romero, Writer

There is a rare learning opportunity in Dakota High School that should be more well-known: Independent study. What is Independent Study? How does it work? What’s the purpose of it? What does one do in the study? The many aspects of Independent Study are explained in several interviews by Mr. Anderson, Ms. Thiel, and students that take an Independent Study. 

Counselors Ms. Thiel and Mr. Anderson explain the fundamentals of Independent Study. The process involves a motivated student seeking a teacher to study a subject that they are interested and experienced inWhen the teacher agrees to help mentor the student, the teacher and student sign a contract with the counselors; then, the principal must approve it. The study has a large of variety of work, activities, lessons, and difficulty because what will be done is determined by the student and teacher. However, colleges may only see this as an elective, and the counselors recommend students to check if thier possible future colleges are okay with the Independent StudyRegardless, students are said to feel they have learned a lot in the study because of the effort they had put in.  

In an interview, Christopher Villaire explains his Independent Study of Financial Study. Specifically, his study focuses on stocks, the innerworkings of the market, and evaluating the value and profitability of companies. During his studies, he has had hands-on experience with evaluating specific aspects of real companies, which he gathered from researching articles and online videos. He plans to go to Grand Valley State University to study business further. With his skills and studies, his goal is to establish a firm where he helps clients prepare for their financial future.  

In another interview, Claire Stevens, the president of Student Government (STUGO) elaborates on her study on what she calls “Leadership Enrichment.” As an extension of STUGO and Leadership, the study hopes to improve the school communityShe achieves this through researching and preparing for Student Government and Leadership. Her skills of time management and organization has improved as well. With the extra time prepping and the improvement in leadership skills, she has managed to run campaigns. For example, the “Care for Cougars” campaign was designed to encourage positivity by making wholesome posts. The study also furthered her development in life skills in leading herself that will carry on in the future.  

In the final interview, Matthew Barnett explains his study of Music Composition. In his study, Matthew writes music pieces that are reviewed by his teacher Mr. Makarewicz. His pieces cover a variety of instruments and composition types like ensembles, which he plans to be played by the school band. These pieces are inspired by classical musicians, but they also carry some of his own style. The process of writing involves him focusing a specific concept like a theme or key. Although music won’t be his major in college, the improvements he made during this study allows for Matthew to excel at his passionate hobby of music. 

Independent Study allows the student to find knowledge in something they may truly enjoy or find a future in. Students can do a variety of topics and activities that schools do not have. They can explore the economics of the world, focus on developing life skills in leadership, or create experimental music under Independent Study. If students are seeking to study something important to them and have room to do so, they should participate in Independent Study for an experience they will not forget.