The Final Steps of the Genius Project

Gabi Larsen

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The Final Steps of the Genius Project
Photographers: Gabi Larsen & Elijah Kinnel
Shahab Fahr explains his passion behind his Genius Project.

After a year of trials and tribulations, the Sage Creek Genius Project winds down to an end for the class of 2017 with the Genius Project Forum.

The Genius Project was intended to be a platform for the seniors to express their passions and interests while simultaneously leaving an imprint on their community. Without teachers evaluating their every move, the seniors were given control in an educational project that encompassed a passion, challenge, and an impact. At the end of their project, they were to conduct a TED-talk explaining their observations, failures, and triumphs at the Genius Project Forum in front of other seniors, juniors, and adults in assigned rooms.

“We wanted to showcase everyone’s journey and to have a moment that wasn’t evaluative but instead celebratory,” English teacher Shannon Alberts, the junior-class lead of the Genius Project, said. As the nature of the project was to have scarce teacher involvement, the project was void of strict grading.

This event showcased many of the senior’s success stories. Senior Shauna Davis was one of them. In her project, Davis led a special-needs dance team to allow the dancers  to connect with other students.

Photographers: Gabby Larsen and Elijah Kinnel Senior Darryn Imoto presents his genius project during the forum.

Darryn Imoto displays his adventures while going through the process of the Genius Projects

“The Genius Project Forum has made me feel like I not only impacted the students in my Genius Project, but the students who watched the speeches,” Davis reflected.

Although Davis is an example of a successful project, some students did not meet their goal. However, the Ted Talk enabled them to present their journey and personal growth.

“If you didn’t cure cancer, or solve world hunger, or do a benefit concert for the country of Zimbabwe, then maybe you just grew a little, and learned how to problem solve, and learned what it meant to set your own goals,” Alberts noted.

In the midst of speaking of their successes and failures, both the seniors and juniors discovered things about their peers. In fact, many of the junior students drew motivation from the failures discussed in the TED-talks.

“I’m open to the idea that failure will bring more ideas,” junior Cameron Bickerstaff said after he saw only one senior victoriously reach their goal.

Bickerstaff’s sentiment was shared among fellow juniors. Despite their initial apprehension towards the Genius Project, some saw the beauty of it while watching their upperclassmen.

Junior Riley Arsenault disclosed her new perspective on the Genius Project. “I thought [the Genius Project] was just going to be hard, but after watching the seniors, I think it will be a really great opportunity to try new things and step out of my comfort zone.”

Photographers: Gabi Larsen & Elijah Kinnel                                                                 Bailey Hughes presents her Genius Project to group of juniors while being critiqued.

By the end of the first ever Genius Project Forum, both the seniors and juniors had gleaned something from the experiences and speeches presented. The forum reiterated that the Genius Project embodies individual passion and expression, as well as a greater impact, and with that inevitably comes hindrances.

Senior Ethan Hyatt reflected on what he learned from his experience.

“All of the seniors thought we had to have this big project when in reality they just wanted to learn something about ourselves.”