Empowered to explore lifelong interests, educational programs, and career goals they are passionate about, Grade 10 students at Balmoral Hall School have created an individual Passion Project over the course of several months.
They pursued a variety of interests in health, wellness, arts, culture, and community relations. Each spent hours researching this addition to her portfolio as part of a singular university guidance curriculum.
A university preparatory school, Balmoral Hall offers a Capstone Program from grades 6 to 12 that is rooted in best practices for girls’ education.
University Guidance Advisor Jennifer McDonald introduces Passion Projects to her students with a quote from Yo-Yo Ma: “Passion is one great force that unleashes creativity, because if you are passionate about something, then you are more willing to take risks.”
To showcase a student’s unique, individual ways of thinking and expressing herself, McDonald organizes an annual exhibition of Grade 10 students’ Passion Projects; thus, on Wednesday evening, BH girls presented their findings to peers, teachers, and parents.
Mentorship opportunities abound. For example, Grade 10 student Madison Lacombe worked with a faculty advisor, Director of Academics, and world traveller, Lois McGill throughout her Passion Project. She is raising funds to build desks for a co-ed public school in Kenya.
“I have always been passionate about helping others,” shares Lacombe.
“I truly wish to better children’s educational experiences in Mbita. Someday, I hope to visit Nyandenga Primary and Secondary School to witness first-hand the outcomes of my Passion Project!”
Lindsay Speirs, meanwhile, inherited her father’s passion for rock and roll. She dedicated her self-published coffee table book, chronicling the musical histories of David Bowie, The Rolling Stones, Oasis, Pink Floyd, and Fleetwood Mac, to him.
Her project includes hundreds of carefully curated photographs along with a detailed biography of each artist.
“I am happy that I was able to research my favourite artists, and so I created a book that I will keep forever,” Speirs reflects. “This was an amazing experience!”
Other students organized fundraising events. A few created original works of art. Some managed blogs, websites, and other online content.
“We encourage Grade 10 students to celebrate these passions by sharing them with our school community,” says Principal Jodi Hafenbrak.
“While many of them were nervous to set up their displays, there was an undeniable air of excitement here last night as they discussed their skills, challenges, and accomplishments.”
She adds that Passion Projects also further their understandings of how particular ideas are linked and how different people rely on others.