In lieu of our traditional Senior Projects, the Class of 2021 submitted proposals for a "passion project" of their choosing, with an emphasis on speaking to one or more of the following transcendent values: beauty, truth, justice, compassion, and goodness. The seniors were encouraged to select a “passion project” that they were excited to explore and develop. Students were posed with the question “How can you use your own skills and interests to contribute to an increase in one of these transcendent values in our world?”
Students were directed to choose projects that would:
· Feel satisfying, worthwhile, and fun.
· Energize them, during a year that has felt draining at times.
· Allow them to pursue a passion, perhaps something they don’t typically have enough time for during their busy school year.
· Give them individual choices.
· Push them to think deeply about how they might choose to live a life that adds beauty, truth, justice, compassion, and/or goodness to our troubled world.
· Keep them motivated and working hard.
· Help build community when they share their projects.
At the end of the semester, the students made formal presentations of their projects to the community, which included a slideshow about their process and reflections on their success at reaching their goals. Each complete project was evaluated by two different members of the NCDS community and were accessed via a Google Site. Judges watched a 10-minute presentation video created by a student, viewed their supporting documentation, and filled out a Google Form score sheet using a rubric. Projects included:
Cross-Country Meet Manager
“Comprising over 7,000 lines of code and a substantial database, my web app can set-up, run, and score a cross-country meet from start to finish, dramatically improving the existing, paper-based process. This app can serve the public by allowing coaches to plan and host races through a streamlined, automated process that will save and update all important data (i.e. participating runners, results, personal records, and league standings). My Meet Manager app is hosted publicly online, and is available free of cost for any coach or league that wishes to use it.” - Avery Woolbert ’21
Coming to America
“I chose to make a podcast. I interviewed people who have immigrated to the United States of America. I started this because I've always enjoyed hearing stories of my own family's journey here, but over the past few years I have come to realize that not everyone's experience is the same. In my interviews, I chose to focus on topics like expectations versus reality and culture shock. For the privacy of my guests, I only used their first names.” - Rheanna Patterson ’21
Internship with Middlesex County District Attorney
“Justice looks different for everyone. Everyone has their idea of what is fair. With prior knowledge from my earlier Juvenile Justice Summer Service Program, I learned first hand from people all throughout the justice system the effects and ways of improving it. During the Summer Service Program, I was introduced to people (judges, previously incarcerated people, ministers, and people affected by violence) and heard first hand accounts. During my internship, I was able to delve deeper and witness the court's side of the system.” - Nora Brown ’21
Finding Inner Peas in the Garden
“For my passion project, I ventured to create my own "salad garden" at home, full of vegetables such as spinach, red lettuce, tomatoes, and snow peas. Along with creating my garden at home, I decided to volunteer with a local organic farm near my house twice a week. For six hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I was at the farm - transplanting snap peas, weeding flower beds, laying compost, packaging seedlings, etc.” - Emily Naughton ’21
Poetry in Action
“When brainstorming topics for my passion project, I was most inspired by Goal III of our school ‘A social awareness which impels to action.’ Using one of the core values of Newton Country Day School as a starting point, I am proud to present my collection of poems relating to topics of social justice...The value that my passion project is most relevant to is justice, as I aimed to use my voice through poetry to highlight some of the many injustices of the world, creating a new artistic perspective while calling others to action.” - Tenley Noonan ’21
South Boston Catholic Academy
“It was not always easy working in a K1 classroom; each student has a different personality, and kids definitely will always tell you the truth, whether you want to hear it or not. Throughout the past few weeks, I have worked in a K1 or K2 classroom with the entire class, as well individually with a student when they were having a rough day. I helped with letter and number worksheets, brought them on multiple bathroom trips, played with them during recess, and listened to their hilarious stories (which was definitely my favorite part).” - Riley Sullivan ’21