ILPs are Cool


Alexandra Joelson

Madeline Larosche in her beekeeping gear.

By Alexandra Joelson, Staff Writer

English 10 Honors Independent Learning Projects are truly a special experience where students can for the first time actually pick their topic for a project. The research projects  are a way for students to explore  their hobbies, passions or even possible career choices.

Kerri Leonard, English 10 Honors teacher said, “One of the things I think is most important about it is it pushes people out of their comfort zones. It makes them figure out and overcome challenges and then I think it is very true about education that you learn better when you are actually interested about what the topic is.”

These are semester-long projects where students are working towards their goals over a long period of time. This project forces students to stay organized and not procrastinate like many high school students tend to do. The process of completing this project is a creative and sneaky way to teach students different types of writing and requires students to learn how to organize such a long term project and follow a calendar.

Students are forced out of their bubbles to go out into the real world to contact experts and learn to conduct formal interviews. This skill is crucial for high school students because this is a skill needed for college and jobs in the future.

Teachers at the end of the project have students create a professional portfolio and presentation to present to the class what they have accomplished over this semester long project.

Some students go above and beyond and do a project that is more than ordinary. ILP’s can be something simple, like sewing, or something  complex and different. Madeline Larosche, sophomore, did her ILP on beekeeping. She said, “I really look up to bees; it is like an all-female society. They are just really cool and are very organized.”

Larosche took beekeeping classes and even got to go out with bees in a full bee suit and learn about their biology and how they behave. Just through the course of this project, Larosche found a new passion and maybe even a possible career.

Another example of a project most likely unheard of was done by Issie Prince, sophomore, who did his ILP on spear fishing. Prince said, “I spearfished so I could be in shape for hockey.  The spearfishing project I decided to do it because it seemed like a fun thing to do and I have never done it before.”

One might think, hockey is cool, but, Prince doesn’t play regular hockey: he plays underwater hockey. According to Prince, underwater hockey is a sport where you are on a bottom of a pool and you have sticks and try to get the lead puck along the bottom of the floor and push it into the goals.

Prince did his ILP project on spearfishing so he could be in shape for underwater hockey. Prince found something new that he really enjoyed to do and during the course of this project also learned how to conduct interviews, write a research paper, create a portfolio and much more.

An ILP could be explained as a really long project that is time consuming and boring, or it could be explained as a great opportunity to do something you love, improve your english skills and get out into the real world.