Congratulations to Preston Hollow resident Elena Frattaroli, winner of this year’s Cambridge School of Dallas Senior Tutorial competition with her paper, “Victor Hugo’s Waterloo: Focal Point of Les Miserables.”
Senior Tutorial is the capstone of the curriculum at Cambridge and a requirement for graduation. Its purpose is to provide students with an occasion to study a topic in depth, write a rigorous academic paper on that topic, and present and defend the thesis of that paper publicly before an academic committee. This year’s other finalists were Maddy Chance (“Biological Weapons: Unjust and Morally Wrong”) and Parker Smith (“Law, Morality, and Human Flourishing”).
The Senior Tutorial begins in the student’s junior year. A student selects an area of research, and faculty recommends books to read. Over the summer, students will read widely and deeply in their selected areas. At the beginning of their senior year, the students turn in annotated bibliographies and begin working individually with a faculty tutor to develop a substantive, defensible thesis statement. After much writing, additional research, rewriting, meetings with their faculty tutors, and some careful thinking along the way, the students turn in 15-page defenses of their theses.
After the papers are submitted, the questioning process begins. The final drafts of the papers are sent to the semi-finalist judges. The judges read the tutorial papers, develop objections and questions, and give the students a chance to answer questions and objections publicly.
Three students are chosen to go before a second academic committee in the finalist round, where an outside committee of distinguished judges selects the winner.