It’s crunch time, mere hours before the Friday Harbor High School students presented their senior projects during the community dinner on June 8. The school was electric with their excitement to share their accomplishments.
“We all had those moments where we didn’t think it was going to work out, and then somehow it pulled together,” said Eric Sable. His project “The Battle of the Bands” brought together local musicians of all genres to raise much needed funds for the high school band. It brought in $1,500, not to mention the friendships and bonds the event helped form, according to Sable during his presentation.
Teacher Jenny Wilson has been guiding students through the Senior Community Projects for the last five years. Students are required to complete these year-long projects prior to graduation. According to some of the students, job opportunities have opened up to graduates because of these projects. Adriena Pew, whose project was Ukuleles for Kids, said she has already been asked by several parents to give private music lessons, which is a good start for someone interested in becoming a music teacher.
Pew’s project involved a great deal of fundraising, and she was touched by the generosity of the San Juan community. Even people on Shaw, she said, who were not impacted by the project in their daily life, were willing to help out. Alison Cole, whose project Elementary School Theatre Class, agreed, adding that it helped being in a small community where every one knows them.
“It gave me a new appreciation for teachers,” Cole said, mentioning that one of the hardest aspects of her project was explaining things to elementary children in a way they would understand. She went on to tell the story of running into her “students” after the project.
The kids told her about how they had gone to a play and were able to pick up on things they had learned from her.
“It’s really nice to know I had an impact on their lives,” Cole said.
Many of the projects were locally focused, collecting iPods for patients with Alzheimer’s, gathering books for Peace Health, Landscaping Head Start, painting the fire hydrants, but there were a few that set their sights globally. For example, Madi Kincaid’s project focused on raising awareness about the struggle just to afford enough food for basic survival in third world countries.
Regardless of the projects, each student expressed gratitude to Wilson for the opportunity and experience such a class taught them.
“We live in such a small community, and to have a class dedicated to helping out the community, I think, is really awesome,” Senior Quinn Fox said.