Rosarian Academy Middle School literature teacher Patrick Hansen has implemented “20% Time” in his classroom. It’s an education movement popularized by Google to give students the opportunity to develop passion through the pursuit of a personal interest project.
The result? Students like current eighth-grader Hailey Albergo starting a schoolwide service project to collect and send used books to underprivileged children in Africa.
“As an educator who has seen students struggle to find their passion in high school and college, I implemented the 20% Time project to help students explore their interests outside of the curriculum with the hope that while not every student’s project will spark a long, passion-driven life journey, all students will move forward with a better degree of clarity about where their interests and abilities intersect,” Hansen said.
Students had seven weeks to create their own self-directed project. Through Albergo’s book drive, she not only collected more than 1,000 books, but also developed a relationship with a local nonprofit, the Kijana Educational Empowerment Initiative, that helped her ship the books to a primary school in a rural village in Bunyore, Kenya.
The books arrived in Kenya at the end of August. In an Aug. 24 e-mail from Jim Cummings, the founder of Kijana, to Albergo, Cummings attached pictures and wrote, “Check out the happiness.”
Albergo’s project quickly became Rosarian Academy’s school mission in practice. Through this project, Rosarian students can tangibly see that we are a global community and can each make a positive difference.
Replying to Cummings, Albergo wrote, “I would love to work with you again… I’m just so happy I helped!”
ABOVE: Students at Essaba Primary School in Bunyore, Kenya with their new books.