Vail Mountain School senior projects range from racing to LSD to cookbook |

Vail Mountain School senior projects range from racing to LSD to cookbook

Vail Mountain School seniors can opt out of an English and history class, and spend part of their fourth quarter creating an in-depth research project.
Vail Mountain School photo |

VMS senior projects

Wednesday, May 17

3:30 p.m. — Scarlet McCauley, Finding My Genre, VMS Theatre      

4:05 p.m. — Sydney Sappenfield, Mapping Reality: Investigating the Individuality of Reality, Board Room

4:40 p.m. — Dylan Hardenbergh, Archeology of DRTO 0063 Shipwreck, Board Room

5:15 p.m. — Lauren Vossler, What Now? The Next Decade of American Politics, Board Room   

Friday, May 19 3:30 p.m. — Colin Rouaud, Environmental Feeding Behaviors of Mule Deer, Board Room

4:05 p.m. — Kevin Garcia, Brain Throughout Visual Response, Board Room   

4:40 p.m. — Marnina Seller, Hippotherapy: Case Studies and Reflection on the Experience, Board Room   

5:15 p.m. — Peter Mitchell, Making a Wireless Charger, Board Room   

Monday, May 22

3:30 p.m. — Kaitlyn Harty, Good Food, Good Mood: An Anxiety Reducing Cookbook, Board Room

4:05 p.m. — Lyle Shipp, The Hoax of the Moon Landing, Board Room

4:40 p.m. — Lindsey Peterson, An Exploration of Photojournalism Through the Lens of Rock Climbing, Dry Art Room

5:15 p.m. — Tyler Hancock, Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD): A Historic and Psychological Review, Board Room   

5:50 p.m. — Whitney Merriman, Homelessness in Colorado, Art Rooms

Tuesday, May 23

1:30 p.m. — Hannah Siderfin, History of Women’s Fashion: Calvin Klein, Coco Chanel and The Decades, Board Room

2 p.m. — Maddie Donovan, Alzheimer’s Disease: An Overview and Preventative Regimen, Board Room

2:30 p.m. — Dashiell Prince-Judd, A Musical Interlude, Theatre

3:15 p.m. — Flinn Lazier, The Art of Business and Marketing, Board Room

Wednesday, May 24

3:30 p.m. — Chloe Doctor, Constructing Music Through History, Culture, and Modern Inspiration, Theatre

4:05 p.m. — Regina Hernandez, A Mindful Community, Board Room

4:40 p.m. — Holly Parker, The Understanding and Acceptance of Autism Spectrum Disorder, Board Room   

5:15 p.m. — Peter Ferraro, Chinese Cuisine, Board Room   

Editor’s note: Vail Mountain School senior project presentations began Wednesday. For a full schedule of the remaining presentations, which are open to the public, visit this article at

VAIL — Vail Mountain School’s senior projects range from LSD to auto racing to the feeding habits of mule deer.

One student worked in underwater archeology with the National Park Service. Another project focuses on the future of politics. “Good Food, Good Mood” looks at the connection between diet and anxiety and resulted in an illustrated cookbook of foods that help to put one at ease.

Other presentations include the moon landing conspiracy theory, homelessness in Colorado and hippotherapy, the use of horseback riding as a rehabilitative therapy.

Graduating VMS seniors chose a senior project, opting out of English and history classes, but it’s no less work. The seniors spend months preparing their projects and then present them to the public during the course of a week and a half. The presentations are open to the public.

Support Local Journalism

Among the projects:

• Dylan Hardenbergh worked two summers for the National Park Service’s Submerged Resources Center, doing underwater mapping of a shipwreck in Dry Tortugas National Park.

• A few years ago, a soccer coach told Kevin Garcia that players are able to think quickly and process information very rapidly because they are constantly in situations that require quick thoughts and actions. Garcia spent six weeks immersed in it, delving into research involving elite athletes and studying VMS athletes.

• Lauren Vossler loves politics and examined why President Donald Trump won in 2016. She’s examining where we go from here.

• Maddie Donovan studied Alzheimer’s Disease and created a six-day regimen that includes the prevention techniques she learned.

• Flinn Lazier is the third generation of Lazier Racing. Marketing and business are half of car racing, and without a general understanding of business, it’s hard to find a way to race.

• Marnina Seller is passionate about equine-assisted therapy, or hippotherapy.

• Kaitlyn Harty has suffered from test anxiety since middle school. Rather than using medication to reduce her anxiety, she changed her diet and wrote a cookbook about it. She studied the gut-brain axis and the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, which foods release anxiety-derived hormones and foods that help create calming and happiness hormones, such as melatonin and serotonin.

• Speaking of chemicals, Tyler Hancock studied lysergic acid diethylamide, LSD, and wrote a mock proposal to the Drug Enforcement Administration explaining why LSD should be researched further.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and

Support Local Journalism