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Tenth Graders Showcase Their Sparks at the Personal Project Exhibition

The Quad was the spot where sophomores welcomed our community to explore the IB MYP Personal Project Exhibition, an annual showcase where tenth graders proudly present the results of their eight-month-long independent research projects.

The exhibition tops off five years of Middle Years Program studies — a landmark achievement in their International Baccalaureate careers — and showcases the results of all their hard work.

The Personal Project, as its name suggests, is an undertaking in which tenth graders select a topic rooted in their own interests and passions. From there, they establish the relevance and importance of their work within a global context, develop and follow a plan, and draw on their toolkit of IB Approaches to Learning skills to create a significant piece of work. Students conclude by reflecting on the process, and of course, by presenting it to all of us!

Each year, we’re impressed by the creativity and spectrum of topics — and 2020 was no different! Projects covered a wide range of individual interests, intellectual pursuits, and commitment to pressing issues, including: environmental activism and sustainability, homelessness in New York, and political motivation; art and the brain, expression through calligraphy, and how music influences mood; how to build a computer, how to stay calm while playing a high-level sport, and navigating reality through fantasy; exploring culture through baking, the history of fashion over time, and the impact of sneaker culture; the portrayal of mental illness in movies, mindfulness meditation, and personal fitness … the list goes on and on!

A Closer Look 

Some students expanded their energies devoted to extracurricular activities. For example, Michela Halpern — an Editor-in-Chief of Dwight’s 2019-20 yearbook, The Pride — tapped into her long-time commitment to The Pride for her project entitled “Making the Yearbook Meaningful.” 

Jake Silber’s “POP Photography” project extended his passion nurtured in Art Spark Spark Tank; and several others also built on their Spark Tank endeavors: Rebecca Woldenburg through “Down to Earth: Reinventing Environmentally Conscious Fashion;” Miguel Rumbo with “Seine,” his streetwear brand; and Gabrielle de Lambilly through “Accessible Hoodies” for people with a disability. Additionally, Anousha Bardhan and Sonya Pesselev, whose joint Spark Tank venture to create a line of greeting cards with seeds called “Bloom Cards,” each dove deeper in their Personal Projects.

Thespians Rory Paltridge and Bernardo Sequeira chose “Theater for Change” and “Cultural Introspection Through Playwriting,” respectively, while performing artist Carolina Bueno Silva Arap explored “Music for Change.” 

Varsity Cross-country athlete Gianluca Gendzier-Imperiali studied “Running Injuries” and Varsity Girls Soccer player Gine Grydeland created a video, “Gender Discrimination in Sports.” She interviewed Dwight students and faculty, along with professional players, about their perceptions and experiences of gender inequality in the athletics world. Check it out here:

As Gine’s video, and all the other projects demonstrate, when initiative is paired with rigorous research, the results are powerful!

Special thanks go to all the faculty supervisors, who guided students on their Personal Project journeys — and a well-deserved congratulations to the Class of 2022 for your hard work and dedication!