Envisioning Their Future

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

Over the past  month, Wildwood 9th graders have been creating a Class of 2015 time capsule. The advisory project presents each student with a unique opportunity to envision their dreams for the future.

Students are tasked with crafting a message to their future selves, as individuals and as a class. The goal is to creatively capture their hopes and dreams, and the emphasis is entirely on the creative. Students can express their wishes in any visual art form, via music, through creative writing, performing arts, or videography.

While their 10th grade peers are busy preparing for Gateway presentations later this month, the 9th graders are engaged in answering essential questions as they construct their time capsule messages, including: Who am I now/Who will I be at the end of 12th grade? and How will the Class of 2015 leave its mark on Wildwood?

Ninth graders (left to right), Sonali B., Maya H., Sarah S-M., and Gleeza F., write their poems

Maya H. is one of several 9th grade girls who chose poetry. “I’m writing a poem called ‘Searching,’” she says. “It’s about how these three high school years really are the time to start to figure out who you are, and who you really want to be.”  Her friend, Sarah S-M., described how her poem’s structure relates to the project. “Each stanza begins with the same three lines related to a theme,” she tells me, “’I was…’ describes who I was in elementary school, ‘I am…’ is about me now, and ‘I will be…’ is about my future—when I graduate.”

Ninth grader, Charlotte V., shows off the visual side of her postcard

In the visual arts room, several other students are engaged in the intricate work of  constructing multi-layered mixed media projects out of construction paper, cut-out photos and images, markers and text. “This is a postcard to my future self,” says 9th grader Charlotte V. “On one side I put out pictures of people and styles that are popular today and on the other, I’m writing a message to myself as a 12th grader about what I hope to be like by then.”

The performing arts group takes a break from their time capsule work

Ninth graders who chose to create a performance piece are now busy choosing dialogue by selecting phrases and words from letters they wrote to their future selves last week. The students read aloud, choosing the words that appeal the most to them. “Fly into life like a bird, my friend,” one student reads. “Relax, everything will be ok,” says another.  Once students have chosen their favorite phrases, teacher Melissa Bales explains, “you’ll get a chance to act these out as a group, and we’ll tape it for you to see when you’re seniors.”

I found the project inspiring, and instructive. I saw students engaged in process, and maybe not entirely aware of the deep work they were accomplishing as they use music, paper, paint and words in constructing blueprints for their future selves. That depth will be revealed, no doubt, when the Class of 2015 opens its class time capsule three years in the future and these students catch a glimpse of their past selves.

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