Hands on: Orcas High School seniors tackle unique projects for their final hurrah

Senior Michael Langworthy learned welding.

The 2011 batch of Orcas high school grads is soon to spread their wings for the great beyond.

For many, their senior projects have given them an avenue to explore passions, interests and potential fields of employment, many of them hands-on.

“Yes, the van is running, but not well enough to take it on any highways,” laughed Jacob Hansen, who  fixed up and converted an old van he plans to live in this summer. He said he’s learned a lot about the motor.

“I really would never have been able to fix any kind of problem on a car until working on this van,” he said. “I’m glad I did it!”

Here’s a sampling of some other senior projects.

Halley McCormick refurbished the school’s darkroom and taught other students how to use the darkroom and print black and white photos.

Michael Langworthy learned how to weld from his father, Bill, and Pete Welty. He then built a trailer to tow a four-wheeler.

“I’ve always been intrigued by welding, so I thought this would be a good opportunity,” he said.

Langworthy plans to learn underwater welding at Commercial Diving Academy in Jacksonville, Fla.

Alex Zderic learned blacksmithing and created a set of basic tools.

Sabina Smith-Moreland worked with Susan Babcock’s first and third-grade dance classes and choreographed a performance that she presented at Seattle’s Velocity Dance Center on May 14.

Adrien Erickson hand-crafted a classically designed violin. Mikaela Forster, who has served as a youth delegate to the United Nations in the past, mentored a group of sophomores through a visit to New York and participation in the UN.

Lindsay Anderson brewed kombucha tea, added nutritional supplements and tested its antibacterial effects. Taylor Smith taught eighth grade sailing. Haley Paulson studied signs and symptoms of teenage suicide.

April Hofmann planned to visit Puerto Vallarta, Mexico to work with families living at the area’s dump.

Jacqlynn Zier will be refurbishing a 1967 R50 BMW motorcycle and get her motorcycle endorsement.

Seabern Gieger planned to study writing styles used in texting and blogging and write a fictional novel based on his life. Piper Hayworth is set to write, illustrate and self-publish a 32-page children’s book.