If the personal projects for Killeen High School’s International Baccalaureate program sophomores only exposed the students to research and service, most would call the effort worthwhile.
But, the one-and-a-half year’s worth of research and the presentation Tuesday was broader than that and qualifies the students to continue from the Middle Years Program into the IB diploma program.
Projects displayed in the school’s lobby included a rebuilt 1972 Volkswagen, fundraisers for several local charities and teaching youth topics ranging from Catholic church traditions to suicide prevention and algebra.
Debra Morton, IB coordinator at KHS, said the personal project is meant to capture students’ passions and incorporate a service aspect.
Students produced an essay, kept a process journal and completed the exhibition for an audience of peers and school staff members during Tuesday lunch periods.
For the 34 IB sophomores who continue through the diploma program, the project serves as a preview for an extended essay, which is a 4,000-word research paper.
Leya Deickman, a sophomore so service minded she’s poised to receive a Presidential Service Award, came up with “The Projects Project” that was a series of service projects.
She collected box tops for Hay Branch Elementary School, school supplies for Rancier Middle School; pull tabs and toiletries for the Ronald McDonald House and travel packs for the local Special Olympics team.
Her favorite, though, was making tutus, which she sold to benefit Relay for Life. She said she had a connection with all those organizations and wanted to help them all.
Jacob McDonald, a frequent fisherman with his dad, who is part of the Cen-Tex Bass Club, researched and promoted a fishing line recycling system.
The PVC pipe system, which he displayed, allows fishermen to dispose of their line where it can be collected and donated to a conservation institute that recycles it, keeping it out of waterways and protecting aquatic life.
Not all the projects had an obvious service angle, but still required research, organization and diligence. John Velazquez worked with his father Angel Velazquez to restore a 1972 Volkswagen his father purchased when the sophomore was 4 years old.
The elder Velazquez, a mechanic, said he provided the knowledge while his son did the work, replacing brakes, wheel cylinders, tires, interior lining, seats, paneling, paint and the engine.
“It was something we had in the garage, so I thought it would be a good project and would make him happy,” John said, explaining the work he did, combing through online suppliers and piecing together parts.
Crystal Innocent came up with a concept in which she would use donated items to design a wedding for couples in need of an economic ceremony.
Devin Smith taught a group of high school students to play a card game called Vanguard, that he said teaches social skills.
Mary Jo Gould conducted two Saturday math sessions at Manor Middle School using songs and activities and said 122 of the 136 eighth-grade participants reported improved grades.
Deja-lyn Paet promoted golfing for girls, taking on a 9-year-old as her student. Tiffany Enid Agosto Montes created three self-portraits, learning and researching the various styles she used.
Andrea Velazquez raised $500 for Communities in Schools, selling flowers she crafted out of aluminum cans. “I wanted to help the environment and the community,” she said. “It seemed perfect.”