Platinum v. Capstone: What’s the Diff?


Photo by Stephanie Blankley

Samhita Krishnan '17 and Kirsten Wigant '16 show off their involvement in CI and Leadership Academy

Presentation students are notorious for being overachievers. Every Monday, the Panther Report reminds us of just how above and beyond many of our girls go. We have athletes, scientists, researchers, performers and so much more.

While there are many wonderful ways to be involved, some Pres girls choose to go the extra mile by completing a Capstone or a Platinum Project. We hear about these projects all the time, but what’s the real difference between them?

The short answer is that a Capstone Project is leadership-based within the Pres community, while a Platinum Project is service-based beyond just Presentation.

Capstone Projects are completed through the Leadership Academy on campus, which offers classes to Pres students on a variety of topics including communication, event planning and ethics. Within the Leadership Academy, there are four levels of membership depending on how many sessions a student has attended. A student can achieve probationary, bronze and eventually silver status after completing all ten workshops. Once those are all finished, a student may complete a Capstone Project to achieve gold status.

This year, senior Chandler Sutherland tackled the Father-Daughter Dance for her Capstone Project. She oversaw the planning, development and execution of the entire event. This includes the budget, coordinating with faculty and making and setting up the decorations. Of course, an event of this magnitude cannot be done all alone, so Sutherland needed to recruit and manage a team of helpers.

“I used a lot of my skills I developed in the Leadership Academy sessions, especially team building when working with my committee and event planning for the overall scheduling and timeline of the project,” Sutherland said.

On the other hand, Platinum Projects are completed through Community Involvement. If a student finds an issue she feels passionate about, she can propose an idea for a service project. These are meant to directly help those in need. While a student must have completed the ten Leadership Academy sessions to do a Capstone Project, any student can do a Platinum Project as long as she has a strong proposal and can do a presentation for all of it.

A recent Platinum Project was completed by seniors Kate Scott and Lauren Winchester. They planned a day in the gym to make little survival kit backpacks for the homeless. Another example of a Platinum Project from the past is Run for Nuns.

Because these projects are run by different organizations in Pres, it is possible to complete both. Senior Taylor Farley completed her Platinum Project by transforming her regular bake sale into a fair trade chocolate project to raise money for Mission Drive.

“I got the idea to actually make my Mission Drive baking into a project when I learned more about fair trade from Adriana Neimeyer,” Farley said. “After learning from her, I wanted to be able to help the nuns and raise awareness for fair trade so we wouldn’t be exploiting some people while helping others.”

Farley also worked with a team to improve the recycling program at Pres for her Capstone Project. She was able to work for service and also utilize her leadership skills in completing these projects.

“Taylor is awesome for doing both of them,” senior Mary Claire Simone said. “She’s a rockstar.”

Completion of one or both of these projects is recognized at the senior awards ceremony before a student graduates. They are great ways to practice leadership skills and give back to the community.