“What I have learned from Studio H” – Rough Drafts
As our end-of-year assignment, I asked students to write a personal essay about their experience, journey, challenges, favorite moments, biggest frustrations, and general lessons taken away from Studio H. Because this is Studio H’s first year, we want to learn exactly what our students identify as valuable, and to give them an opportunity to reflect, honestly, on what Studio H has meant to them.
This assignment is also a clever way for us to provide our students with an end-of-year award for their completion of the intensive academic component of the program, before we start building this summer. Our grant has money allocated for their student stipends, so they will receive a monetary award at the end of the year for their completion of their program, and reflection on their experience through this essay.
The assignment can be downloaded here as a pdf. It asked students to respond to two of the following questions:
- What is the one thing you learned that you will take away from Studio H and use in your life, in college, in life, with friends, family, or beyond? Why is this skill important?
- How do you think Studio H has changed you as a person?
- How has Studio H made you think differently about Bertie County?
- How has Studio H made you think differently about the world in general?
- How do you think Studio H compares to the rest of your education and why is that distinction worth noting?
- What did you find most challenging about Studio H? How have you overcome or tackled those challenges?
- How would you describe the Studio H experience to a student entering next year?
Outlines were due last Wednesday, when I sat down with each student and talked through their concept, mapped out the thesis and supporting paragraphs, and helped them craft their story, details, and argument. On Monday, the rough drafts were due. I had a hard time holding back tears while reading some of the essays, which were honest and heartfelt and wonderful. We asked specifically that students not write “what they thought we wanted to hear, but what they honestly felt,” and that is truly what we got. The final drafts are due on Monday, and will be in polished form for the award ceremony. (We may publish the essays along with some photos of this year as a type of Studio H Year 1, 2010-2011 yearbook).
A few excerpts from the rough drafts (we’ll publish the final versions, without specific student attribution for anonymity’s sake, next week):
“With these new lessons I can make my future what I want it to be, not what someone else wants it to be. If I keep my eye on the ball, never give up, and think through all of life’s challenges I will be able to go to college and have the career I want. Studio-H taught me these things and I will use them the rest of my life to accomplish my goals.”
“As you can see, I started this class not knowing how to construct chicken coops, nothing about drafting, and designing. I have learned a lot in this class with the hands-on experience I have received. It takes teachers like Mr. Matt and Ms. Emily to see the need for a program like Studio H and push it to make it happen. I am very grateful for having the opportunity to take this yearly course. It will stay with me throughout high school as well as my life. I encourage any student that has the opportunity to take this course to accept the opportunity.”
“You may be a shy, quiet, and lazy bug but once you get to designing, building, and transforming you will get rid of it all. Studio-H will leave you with many life changes and memories like it did me.”
“Undoubtedly, through the challenges I’ve faced, I have learned that Studio H is an amazing program that I would recommend to any upcoming juniors. Especially for students who enjoy hands-on activity and are basically interested in engineering. That doesn’t mean students that aren’t heading in that direction, career wise, wouldn’t benefit from the class. I use myself as an example because my career plan is to work in the medical field as an OB/GYN but I’ve learned different life skills from Studio H that I can use in medical school. Basically, what I’m saying is regardless of what you plan to do in life Studio H will definitely teach you something you carry with you to college and beyond.”