Pursue Your Passion: 9th Graders Begin Their End-of-the-Year Projects

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Cedar Toavs (9) diligently writes during a lunch period.

As the Class of 2022 approaches the end of their first high school year, they are given a chance to learn about a topic of their choice as a breather before testing season begins. English class provides this chance with the passion project. This project allows students to pursue what they want, the only restriction being it must contain a writing element.

Ms. Anni Knox, the 9th-grade English teacher along with Ms. Jaimie Langley, is apprehensive but passionate about the forthcoming project. “I’m really excited about it because I love this project, and I also think people enjoy it. I feel a little bit anxious because I feel like there’s a time crunch because all these things we have to do before the final exam,” Knox said. “I feel like everything feels a little more constrained than I’d like it to be.”

Cedar Toavs, a 9th grader, is planning on creating a unique project. “I am currently working on writing a fantasy novel and my project is going to be a 100-page manuscript,”  Toavs said. “For creative writing class I’ve been working on writing this book and it’s the thing I’m most passionate about right now. I’m testing myself just to see if I have the stamina to keep this book going for that long. When I hit that goal I’ll just feel really proud and empowered to keep writing.”

Hope Carpenter is working on a podcast, following in the footsteps of previous students, like Lightner Callaghan (10). “My project is going to be a podcast interviewing various autistic people on the problematic portrayals [of them] in fiction and reality.” Carpenter (9) said. “I’m feeling nervous but excited because it’s a pretty big task to actually contact people, but it seems like it’ll be fun.”

Marisol Peters is focusing on forming a connection with her work. “I’m going to get a pen pal and write to them and then write about my experience.”  Peters (9) said. “[I’m feeling] excited, because I want a pen pal and this is an opportunity to do what I want. [I’m hoping to create] a relationship with someone that is not in America and/or Texas.”

Overall, Ms. Knox is just glad that people are getting to pursue something that they’re passionate about. “I hope to see that [students] are excited and focused and working because it’s something that they are wanting to be doing. And so, I care less about the finished product than I do about the fact that they’re working towards something that actually has meaning to them, so they are invested in learning whatever that skill is.” Knox said. “Sometimes the products are amazing, and sometimes it’s the process that’s more amazing.”

When asked how she hopes students feel about their work by the end of the project, Ms. Knox had one word: “Proud.”