How are Dwight students using their spark of genius to build a better world?
One student, Calvin Solomon '17, is applying his passion for web design and technology to make an impact right here on campus. Calvin is constructing a student-focused website ―named "OurDwight" after Dwight's parent portal "MyDwight" ― to connect students in new and creative ways.
"I began working on the concept during the first week of school," Calvin reports. "I have always loved web design and wanted to use my knowledge to help better the Dwight community." Calvin's website will provide a secure online forum for Dwight students to share their campus locations with friends, view one another's daily class schedules, publicize news, share ideas, and chat online, among other things.
The creation of "OurDwight" is Calvin's tenth grade Personal Project, an eight-month-long assignment that marks the culmination of the IB Middle Years Program, in which students independently pursue an area of personal interest. They each create an extended piece of work that challenges them to be creative and reflective, while meeting a rigorous set of IB criteria. These projects are as unique as the students who create them.
As with many students, Calvin's spark of genius is driving his Personal Project. Calvin shares, "I find the design aspect of the website process the most intriguing. I enjoy the coding aspects and the overall building, but designing the pages, logos, images, and the overall navigation is probably the thing I enjoy the most."
Calvin's passion has been nurtured in his classes at Dwight, noting that he was motivated by teachers and the excitement they instilled, including Mr. Stabb, Dean of Ninth Grade and Social Studies Teacher. Calvin also cited key insights that he gained in digital media and design classes taught by Mr. Doyle, Digital Media and Advanced Media Teacher.
"From logo design, to user interface enhancements, both these classes have furthered my ability to understand what the standard user wants to see when going to a website," Calvin explains. "In short, a user would much rather see a simplistic website that is easy to understand than a website with 70 links, 100 pages, and every color on the color wheel. It's a web designer's job to make it clear to the user because in the end, it's not me who has to understand how to use it, but everyone else."
Designing "OurDwight" with the end-user in mind, Calvin already has surveyed Chancellor Spahn, faculty members, and fellow Middle and Upper School classmates on their everyday activities, needs, and inquiries.
Calvin sees a long future for "OurDwight." "If all goes perfectly, the website would stay up permanently and could be used even after I graduate," he says. "I also hope to find a few students willing to help me manage, moderate, and possibly even code the website."
Stay tuned for updates on Calvin's Personal Project, as he works to complete "OurDwight" and gain additional feedback from his teachers and peers. We love seeing how our students explore their passions!