The beginning of fall at Del Lago Academy is the time when most grade levels start their first IDP project of the year. For juniors, the fall IDP project is a segway into the notorious internships that take place at the end of February.
Given about a month to complete, juniors are tasked with a lengthy research paper explaining the impact they made in their community. The “impact” is something the scholars get to decide for themselves. There are 3 areas where an impact can be made—healing, feeding and sustaining Escondido. After every scholar picks an area to focus their research on, they are later grouped into teams of three, four, or five with scholars who share similar or the same interests. Megan Kroepel(junior), enjoys the intermingling of classes. “It’s cool that it’s across villages so you have a chance to work with people that you’ve never worked with before”. These teams then decide upon an “action” to take in the community and venture off into the public—on their own time, to take “action”. Another junior, Nadine Khayed, seems to sum up the general mentality of the project. “It’s something that people are actually passionate about,” she states, “and I feel like that motivated people to actually work...like, my action plan is to lecture kids, and we’re gonna go to the school and actually like, talk to them about child obesity and diabetes so it’s cool to be like, ‘we’re gonna be the teachers’”.
On weekends and after school, those not of Del Lago would happen to notice that a flock of adolescents in teal polos seemed to descend upon Escondido. While taking a stroll or doing the weekly shopping, one might have run into groups of these adolescents working to defend, or passionately preaching their word on an array of subjects—climate change, homelessness, mental health, clean oceans, hunger—the list goes on.
In an interview with junior humanities teacher Ms. Meredith, the refreshment of working with people from other classes was discussed, as well as the passion birthed from the student’s ability to guide their own project. Towards the end of our interview, she brought a fresher point to the table—a societal one. “I think that it’s a really amazing opportunity for action and service, which I think is so important in the world we live in—when people feel so disconnected—to be able to connect with others in our community and with each other.”
In this day and age, there does seem to be a bigger distance between people. Perhaps it is one of those things that is brought on by one's mind where in fact it’s really not there—or perhaps it is. Whether that distance is caused through social media, or politics, the IDP has the power to disregard those disparities and reunite the community, which is the first step in reuniting everything else.