Capstone Spotlight: Mary Grace Mancuso

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Mary Grace Mancuso Capstone Project: “Shoot for Success” Mary Grace researched how parental involvement influences criminal behavior. The concluded that maltreatment, the parental influence, and self-treatment of mental disorders were the major predictors of future conduct problems. She also found that it was not just the presence of the parent that mattered, but the quality of the time spent with the child. For her project, Mancuso partnered with the Boys and Girls Club and Blackman Basketball teams for a 2-hour basketball camp. Walmart graciously provided fruit snacks and water for the kids. Mary Grace had three speakers from each team speak about leadership, the importance of school and grades, and what it means to them to be on a team.

Morgan Tincher, Reporter

With the end of Capstone for our BCA seniors, we’re highlighting some notable projects.

Mary Grace Mancuso researched how parental involvement influences future criminal behavior. She partnered with the Murfreesboro Boys and Girls Club and the Blackman Basketball teams to create a basketball camp. At the two-hour camp, the children practiced drills, played basketball, and listened to the players perspectives on leadership, academics, and teamwork.

Capstone is a course designed to challenge and stretch its participants. Mancuso had to overcome a few roadblocks in her path to develop a successful project.

“Brainstorming was by far the hardest part for me. Luckily, I had two supportive parents who helped support me through this process. When I finally put together my idea, I then had to contact both parties for partnerships.” She was inspired by her love of community service and helping kids and said, “I knew that some of the kids might not have the best family lives at the Boys and Girls club, therefore I was hoping with my project to motivate them to get involved and make positive bonds in the future,” Mancuso said.

Throughout the process of writing a 10 page research paper and making a project to impact her community, Mancuso said the biggest challenge she faced was the execution of the project itself.

“Due to traffic, the camp did not start exactly on time. So, I had to learn to be flexible and shift some of my agenda around. I made the drills seven minute stations instead of ten minutes and since we had extra time at the end, the Boys and Girls Club leaders, basketball coaches, and I decided to have the kids play a game of gotcha,” stated Mancuso.

She also feels that being in the BCA provided her with invaluable experiences and strengthened her time management skills and initiative.  This project further motivated her to pursue a leadership role in her future career of business management, providing invaluable experience and networking.

Mancuso stated her favorite part of her project were the smiles that appeared on the kids faces.

“They were priceless! It touched my heart so much to see what an impact I could make in the community,” she said.

Capstone does not always hold the warmest place in the memories of those that decided to undergo the process, but in the end, Mancuso found the experience to be rewarding.

“I love to complain. I am working on that. I will say it is not that bad. In the end, you will look back and never want to do it again, but it is definitely an experience that will challenge you and that you can be proud of. Most high schoolers do not have the opportunity to challenge themselves in such an independent way. Sure, it was a load of stress, but now I know I can do anything I set my mind to. If you plan to do Capstone, my advice to you is to get a planner and plan out a weekly Capstone checklist of things you want to accomplish. If you are responsible, it is a very rewardable experience,” stated Mancuso.

During a time that can be filled with long nights and stressful deadlines, Mancuso said her faith and prayer, as well as her parents’ support, were imperative to creating a successful project.

Guidance is gifted by the wise to help those that come after them. Throughout the course of the Capstone process, Mancuso developed her own words of advice.

“On the Capstone presentation to the panel, remember it is only a grade. If your grade is high enough in the class itself, then the panel grade will be a helper, not hurt your grade. When I realized this, I was more relaxed and nailed the presentation,” she said.

Be sure to check out Mary Grace’s project and the rest of the BCA seniors’ Capstone projects in front of the cafeteria where they’ll all be on display.