David Soldaini has traversed several decades and traveled across continents for his senior seminar project.

David Soldaini has traversed several decades and traveled across continents for his senior seminar project.

The 16-year-old New Albany High School senior has interviewed and researched his grandfather's life for a biography that he will produce at the end of his project.

Soldaini, a native of Marina di Carrara, just outside the region of Tuscany, Italy, traveled back to Florence over the summer to spend time with his family and interview his grandfather, Reuben Kempton, 82, for the project.

Kempton, born in Kentucky to a middle-class family, was 7 when his father died. He has lived through the Great Depression and fought as a U.S. Marine in World War II and with the Army in the Vietnam War.

Soldaini said he has learned so much from his grandfather while working on the project, which he is slated to complete over the winter as part of the summer start program.

"It was just awesome talking with him," he said. "Before doing this project, when we were together, we would just work outside and get talking about his past. I got so wrapped up in it. I like knowing life stories."

He said that when he actually sat down to conduct the 15 to 16 hours of interviews with his grandfather, he learned so much more.

Soldaini said one thing that really stuck out to him was that his grandfather had been suspended from school when he was younger.

"It humanized him," he said. "It was just interesting knowing that high school for him was not completely smooth."

He said learning such tidbits allowed him to relate more to his grandfather.

Soldaini's mother, Tanya Kempton, suggested the project to her son.

"This was a way for him to understand the strife," she said. "These are the things I wanted him to reflect on."

Not only did Soldaini, who came to NAHS from Italy last year, learn about his grandfather; he also learned about the art of writing biographies.

For two of the three research papers he has been required to complete for the project, Soldaini researched how to write a biography and memoir and how to produce a book. He also interviewed two authors, Shannon Leigh Thomas and Judy Baer, about their paths to becoming writers.

"Half the questions were about life and how they became writers," he said.

Soldaini, who plans to attend Ohio State University or the University of Tennessee for business, said he hopes his family could enjoy the biography for years to come.

"I hope it is something he will love," he said. "I'm hoping it will be an honor."