Winter Park Christian School students prepare to defend theses |

Winter Park Christian School students prepare to defend theses

Reid Armstrong

Three graduating seniors from Winter Park Christian School are preparing to defend their thesis papers in a public forum at 6:30 p.m. May 19 in the church sanctuary.

The papers will be available online beginning Thursday, May 5.

The students have worked all year on their thesis statements, according to literature and humanities teacher Stephanie Miller.

The thesis statements are the capstone of the high school student’s “career.”

Students pick their topics based on a subject that has sparked their interest, often something discussed during class. Past thesis paper topics have included church missions, education in America and judicial activism.

Then, applying the research, analysis and writing skills they’ve developed during four years of high school, they craft 15-20 page, persuasive papers.

Prior to graduation, they present their papers before a panel of 3-4 individuals from the community as well as an audience of family and friends.

“We try to pick people for the panel who have some sort of knowledge base on the thesis topics,” Miller said. “Last year one senior wrote their thesis on the judicial review process. So, we asked Judge (Mary) Hoak to sit on the panel.

The panel asks each student questions regarding their thesis paper and the students defend their positions.

“The panel’s questions are thought-provoking but not aggressive,” Miller said. “The students walk away feeling like they’ve truly accomplished something, but are very encouraged in the process.”

The thesis statements help the students be better prepared for college, Miller said, “so they’re not shocked when they have to write a substantial paper in college.”

Miller said, “In addition to preparation for college level papers, students apply logic skills as they develop a cohesive argument and practice effective written and spoken communication. It really encompasses as many of the disciplines of study as possible.”

Defending their papers requires the students to think about their arguments.

“It’s a friendly atmosphere,” Miller said. “They have to think about arguments.”

This year’s thesis topics are:

“Is the American Church in Danger of Amusing Itself to Death?” by Dani Yusten; “Dualism of the Christian Sub-culture: Recovering the Arts,” by Olivia Miller; and, “The Truth for Youth: Engaging Youth with the Truth of the Gospel,” by Elise Matson.

Following graduation, Yusten plans to attend Crossroads College in Rochester, Minn., to study youth ministry and photography; Miller plans to attend CU-Boulder to study English and music; while Matson plans to attend DU-Denver to study journalism and business.

Winter Park Christian School is a non-denominational private Christian Classical school located in Tabernash. This year, the 42 students are enrolled in grades K-12. Twelve students attend at the high school level and four teachers cover a variety of topics, ranging from humanities, theology to civics.

To read the thesis papers online beginning May 5, visit on the WPCS tab located on the Winter Park Christian Church website: