By Muniza Siddiqui
The first Personal Project Fair was started two years ago to allow students to display their experiences with goals and accomplishments to the Henrico High School community.
This year’s Personal Project Fair was filled with excitement and success from every direction. Each IB sophomore had their own unique idea and portrayed all nine months of their Personal Project creatively on a tri-fold. Though some students may have had the same product in the end, their intent and message was different.
Teyana Ildefonso, Yash Kandula, and Jhanvi Parikh created cookbooks, but Ildefonso focused more on the Latin American foods, while Kandula focused on South-Asian dishes, and Parikh made a vegan cookbook. When asked what parts of the whole process she found challenging, Ildefonso said there was nothing challenging about making her cookbook or making the actual food because she had already cooked food before. She wanted to do her personal project on something she was already familiar with, unlike most of the other students who chose to jump out of their comfort zone to try something new.
Jasmyne Khan and Zaria Johnson created a photo essay/album as their proof of completion. Johnson focused on the impacts of social labels on people while Khan created her album on nature. Each photo in Khan’s photo essay symbolized an emotion, such as hope, happiness, regret, and sadness. When asked what she learned from this experience, Johnson answered, “I learned to be more open-minded. I mean when you educate yourself about the struggles that others go through, it’s extremely eye opening. I began to see how my actions or words may impact someone else’s life.” Like Ildefonso, Johnson was already experienced with the camera before she started her Personal Project, however, Johnson does not see photography as a passion, but as a de-stresser. “I just feel like passions are usually activities that you incorporate into your daily routine, and I don’t do that.”
Carlos Brown used guidelines from an Architectural contest to develop a proposal with construction documents and 3D renderings, and then met with architect, Stephen Halsey, for feedback and to learn more about his profession.
“Architecture has always been an interest of mine but I was looking for a way to discover more about the realities of being an architect” Brown commented.
After this experience, Brown realized that this was what he wanted to do for a living. “Yes, it confirmed that this was what I want to do and I’m really excited to see what comes next.”
Michael Punaro decided to create a robot.
“My robot consisted of an Arduino micro controller to act as the main brains of the robot, a motor shield mounted on top of the Arduino to control and command the motors, and a Bluetooth module so that the robot could receive signals from a smartphone.” Punaro created a robot because he plans to pursue a career in this field, and he wanted his Personal Project to focus on what he wanted to do in the future, so he could learn the skills that are required in that field. Punaro said the most challenging part of his project was dealing with bugs or other issues.
“A lot of times in engineering projects, people run into issues that do not have an immediate or obvious solution… However, building a robot is not as hard as many people would think. While building one does require a person to understand some concepts like coding or putting together the hardware, there are plenty of easy-to-follow online tutorials and resources for beginners” Punaro stated.
Overall, this year’s personal project fair has been the most successful fair thus far. Mrs. Schools, one of the organizers of the Personal Project Fair and the IB 10th grade English teacher, enjoyed every student’s topic.
“I have always considered the fair to be a success, however, with this being the third year of having the fair, I think Mrs. Biddle and I now have a better understanding of what we want from our students and present the idea of the fair better to them.”