Furlow Charter’s Erin White takes first step in following dream of going into Law Enforcement through the Capstone Project

Published 4:59 pm Monday, July 18, 2022

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AMERICUS – As the new school year approaches, many rising high school seniors will be thinking about their final year of high school and, of course, graduation. In addition to that, however, they will also be contemplating what they would like to do in life as an occupation to satisfy whatever desire or calling they might have. At Furlow Charter, each senior is required to select an occupation that interests him or her. Then prior to or during the early part of their senior year, they must do research on that particular occupation. It’s called the Capstone Project.

“Capstone is a requirement for graduation at Furlow and we combine the project with the International Skills Diploma Seal Initiative through the GA DOE,” said JoAnna Arnold, Service Learning Coordinator and French and Spanish Advisor at Furlow Charter. “It’s amazing what our seniors accomplish when they combine their passion for future endeavors with service-learning and global competencies.”

According to Arnold, the student must first successfully complete the project as a component of Furlow’s graduation requirements and it is the culminating project to a student’s high school education. The students are expected to be able to demonstrate accumulated skills and knowledge in research, service-learning, product development, human interaction, organization and public speaking.

Arnold went on to state that Furlow incorporates its Capstone Initiative with the Georgia Department of Education’s International Skills Diploma Seal program so that graduating seniors receive recognition when they complete an international educational curriculum and engage in extracurricular activities and obtain experiences that foster the achievement of global competencies. “The culminating piece is the ISDS Capstone project that integrates a student’s passion for a future career, service-learning, and global competencies,” Arnold said. “The ISDS Capstone program at Furlow Charter School is a signal to employers and higher education institutions that a student is prepared to participate in the global economy. Each year, a senior is selected to be a star student in this program and represent the school at a state-wide ceremony.”

Furlow’s Capstone process begins with a research paper. Each student must conduct research and document relevant information on a subject that interests them, as far as a career interest. Each student will obtain a mentor for assistance and that mentor will advise him/her through the project. The second phase of the project involves creating a product that demonstrates the knowledge and skills gained throughout the research project. It can be a performance, a physical product or an internship with documented and recorded hours.

The third phase of the project involves putting together a portfolio that demonstrates the student’s journey through the entire research project. It includes copies of sources, rough drafts of work, the research paper, logs of time spent with the mentor and similar information. The final phase of the project is the presentation; a 10-minute speech that is given in front of a board of judges from the community.

For Furlow Charter Senior Erin White, her calling in life is to serve in Law Enforcement and has already approached Sumter County Sheriff Eric Bryant for advice. According to Bryant, the advice he gave White was to make sure that she was on the right path in starting a career in Law Enforcement. “Like I explained to her, education is important, but more importantly, your character, as well as your behavior, is something that was important as well…making sure that not only she maintain a very good grade point average, but also at the same time, keeping herself clear and out of trouble as relates to getting any type of criminal charges,” Bryant said. He went on to say that he also advised White to watch out whom she hangs around with so that she won’t risk getting into any type of trouble.


Bryant also talked with White about what lies ahead for her after high school graduation. “I explained to her about different scholarships and programs that are offered within the police academy that would give her the opportunity to go through the police academy,” Bryant said. “Of course, since then, she has been assigned as an intern to my executive assistant. Therefore, she is heavily involved in my day-to-day movements, appointments, the people that I interact with here at the office and that type of thing. She has had the opportunity to attend some public sessions, community relation events and different types of public meetings, but at the same time, she’s also had experienced and has been exposed to areas within the jail, as well as in the patrol side.” Bryant went on to say that White has had the opportunity to go out on patrol with him and shadow the deputies during non-emergency calls  so that she can see not only the equipment that the deputies use, but how they interact with the public. “She’s had a wide variety of exposures and different aspects of the Sheriff’s Office,” Bryant said. “We are just excited to have her working here with us.” Bryant went on to say that one of the things this internship program does is that it gives someone like White exposure to that field that they’ve been curious about and have wanted to be involved in. The internship program that the Sheriff’s Office offers gives them full exposure and helps them to understand better how Law Enforcement works in rural communities.


For White, it has been a life-long dream to be in law enforcement and to be a police officer. As far back as age four, she has had a desire and a dream to work in that field. “I’ve always wanted to be a part of law enforcement,” White said. She went on to say that she has learned a lot during the one month that she has been interning with the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office.


For White and the other Furlow Charter seniors, the Capstone Project is giving them valuable experience and opportunities to experience first hand the challenges and the benefits of what their chosen vocations are all about.