For the second straight year, the boys in Grade 7 have had one hour every four days to dedicate to their passion. The Passion Project allows the boys to pick a topic of their choosing, focus on it all year long and present it at the year-end showcase to parents and Junior School boys.
Catherine Kirkland, Head of the Junior School takes the boys through a process that allows them to land on their topic of choice.
“It takes quite a while for them to settle on just one and we do a feasibility study on it,” said Ms. Kirkland. “They might come up with something that’s really difficult, so we do a series of writing beforehand to help figure out if what they want to do is realistic.”
The end result is a wide range of topics that really shows the different tastes and personalities of the boys: Japanese mythology, baseball bat creation, learning how to pitch, writing novels, learning foreign languages, photography, coding, garage bands and much more.
The boys don’t get graded on their projects. It’s a chance for them to take a breath and focus on something they really enjoy. And, according to Catherine, it’s also a taste of the real world.
“It’s good for the boys to have to see something through to completion and the motivation is that there’s a deadline,” she said. “Just like in the real world, they have to make a presentation and are judged.”
For the boys, the weekly hour is a chance to talk about their passion with other boys, get encouragement and explore something they’ve never done before. Some ended up spending hours and hours outside of school on their passion.
Owen Lavoie was excited when the Passion Project came around because loves planes. He found a remote control plane at a shop in Mississauga, got a simulator and learned how to fly it.
“I learned a lot, like when you fly in heavy wind, you get bounced around,” said Owen, who wants to be an aerospace engineer. “You have to go faster in heavy wind and when you’re landing, you need to be at the perfect speed otherwise you’ll break or damage the plane.”
Fellow Grade 7 student Aiden Magor, who learned how to pitch, enjoyed the Passion Project.
“It was a lot of fun,” he said. “Usually in school, you learn math and science, but in the Passion Project, you get to learn what you want.”