PHD Projects


Project of Your Heart's Desire

Eighth grade students' culminating project allows them to choose something they are passionate about and to work with a mentor from the community to complete a special project. The program begins in the seventh grade with the Community Learning Project. Students choose a field of work they are interested in, find a mentor(s) in that field, and job-shadow them for a week. In Eighth grade, students challenge themselves further by working with a mentor all year to plan and execute a project. This provides opportunities for students to pursue their own interests and questions and to make decisions about how they will find answers, solve problems, and complete a long-term project. In the spring, students "defend" their project to a panel of teachers, administrators, board and community members. Some highlights of past graduate projects included students who:


  • Wrote and published a book on the complete care of raising a kitten after working with a veterinarian;
  • Designed and made a guitar from scratch;
  • Wrote and performed a musical score for Robin Hood;
  • Researched climate change with the Scripps Institute; and inspired by Al Gore's , "An Inconvenient Truth," decided to research the five major criticisms of the film; developed his own powerpoint presentation; started his own non-profit; and gave speeches to students all over California;
  • Created and designed a photography exhibit and posted on the internet;
  • Designed a portable shade structure for migrant farm workers after working with an architect.
Only passions, great passions, can elevate the soul to great things.
--Denis Diderot