It was road-trip Monday at our house yesterday. Well, technically, we weren't *at* our house but you get the idea. We headed up the interstate for a date with our favorite girl and the chance to see "The Project."
Kayla attends a magnet high school, one of four in her city. Incoming freshmen can attend the school they are zoned for or if their grades are good enough, they can apply to any of the magnet schools. I can't remember all the different specialties of these schools (one was math/science), but the one she settled on was college prep. Students are responsible for their own transportation and have to go back to the zoned school if they don't keep up their grades but these school offer unique learning opportunities.
Like the formal sit-down dinner at Christmas where they learn what silverware to use with what course and how to carry on a conversation with people they don't know thanks to a seating chart that guaranteed they wouldn't be sitting next to friends. Oh, they learned calculus and world history too but we're talking unique opportunities here.
And like the Senior Project. One of the requirements for graduation is that each senior completes a year-long project of their choosing. They select a skill, a hobby or something they have an interest in and learn how to do it. A personal enrichment experience, if you will. It's not willy-nilly; there are rules. They have to have a mentor and spend 25 hours with that individual who not only instructs them but signs off on their work, and the mentor cannot be a relative. And they have to put in a minimum of 75 more hours in on their own.
During the course of the school year they do research papers, a power point presentation, compile a big notebook documenting their progress and give four speeches about their project as well as present to a panel of three judges at what is called "boards." And they have to have something to show as evidence of their project. For some it's an instructional video and for others it's a physical product. The topics vary widely, from learning to fly an airplane to photography to sign language. The idea is more than just the students picking up a skill/hobby they might enjoy; it's also about a year-long commitment supervised by someone from outside the school. You don't finish your project; you don't graduate.
Kayla chose quilting and 127 hours later, here is her Senior Project:
This is a girl who'd never sewn a single seam before she embarked on this project and the result is stunning. Before embarking on the full-sized quilt, she got her sewing skills up to par on a pillowcase and then a baby-sized quilt, both of which turned out great too but I'm so impressed by this big one. I made one quilt a long time ago and it was enough for me to know I didn't want to do that again.
The pattern is called a blooming nine-patch and when I saw all those teeny-tiny squares she was sewing together at her birthday in early December, I worried how she was going to get it all done by May given her other course work...and social life too. The little squares aren't but maybe 1.5" including the seam allowance. Nine of them go together to make a block and then there are some blocks of the same size that are solid fabric so they're not pieced. Together they just blend from one patterned material to the next.
The back side is the floral print that is in the middle of the front. And in true modern fashion, she chose the stitching pattern that quilted it all together from a computerized list and then let a machine do its thing. Quilting may be an old-fashioned skill but it's got plenty of modern technology to it too.
This smile might be a little bigger than usual because I know how relieved she is to have this project done. Well...done except for the boards which are tomorrow night. And I feel sure she won't be making a run to the fabric store next week for material for the next quilt either. Still, she's clearly proud of the job she's done and rightfully so. One more requirement down; graduation is just around the corner.