That’s one of the videos produced by the Class of 2017 eighth-graders from Our Lady of Guadalupe School (3401 SW Myrtle; WSB sponsor) as part of the Juan Diego Project. You can see what this year’s students are doing by visiting OLG’s Open House one week from today. Here’s the announcement:
Immigrants, homeless youth, the elderly, the environment – these topics and more encompass the culminating projects of this year’s eighth-grade class at Our Lady of Guadalupe School in West Seattle.
Dubbed “The Juan Diego Project” for the school’s namesake, this academic venture allows students to choose a social-justice topic or service organization they are passionate about and then design an enterprise where they make a difference in that field.
The students will exhibit their research and experience during OLG’s open house from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on January 28, 2018.
For almost 20 years, eighth graders at OLG have performed service to an audience that is marginalized, vulnerable, or underprivileged. They aim to improve these conditions by doing more than holding drives. These students go outside the classroom and into the community interviewing immigrants and telling their stories, teaching people with disabilities how to ski, playing soccer with kids who have cancer, and yes, hosting drives to assist homeless youth.
“It’s a good chance to grow as a steward in our community and help yourself become aware of what’s going on around you,” said student Estella Turla, who is working with YouthCare and learning about homeless families and teenagers. “It helps you see how other people, like the homeless or immigrants, view the world – people who are put in situations where you don’t necessarily know what it’s like.”
In addition to service opportunities, the eighth graders learn to navigate databases accessed through the Seattle Public Library. They conduct extensive research, draw conclusions and lead a seminar, essentially teaching the class and any guests about their topic.
Ben Woodhouse’s project involves caring for our school garden that his class created last year, and he’s currently researching the benefit of urban gardens around the world.
“The project is a way to express what you care about in life within a class setting,” he said. “I like being outdoors a lot, so taking care of the garden was something I wanted to do. It was fun last summer harvesting vegetables and sharing them with the foodbank. I knew I was helping others, not just myself.”
Last year’s eighth grade class created videos highlighting their Juan Diego Projects and overall experiences at OLG. They can be found here.
Along with the animal-related-project video we embedded above, the others you’ll find on that page – all published to YouTube, each just a few minutes long – range from “Fighting Local and Global Poverty” to “Living Healthy Lives” to “Erasing Insecurities” to “Preserving Forest.”