Recently, I went on a school field study related to a project about Stories of Hope. For me, it was one of the most memorable and meaningful experiences I’ve ever had in a field study. Before I dive deeper into what happened on our journey, let me set the scene so you can better understand the learning that happened during this project.

Our project revolved around understanding stories of hope and deriving inspiration from individuals and communities who have faced and overcame significant adversities. We travelled to Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Missouri to help us answer the driving question for this project and to create our video. For this project, our driving question was “What lessons and inspiration can we draw from the stories of individuals and communities that have faced tragedy and overcome adversity?”

Before we were able to start creating our final video, there was lots of planning and learning that were involved to understand what was a story of hope. We looked at many different stories and examples to help us understand the terms adversity, resilience, and survival.

For me, hearing stories that related to each term and gaining a deeper understanding of their meaning contributed to my understanding of the term “Stories of Hope”. Adversities are the difficult challenges that people or a community may face. Resilience is the ability to bounce back and recover from adversities or changes in life. Survival is the ability to continue to exist despite facing dangerous challenges or adversity. Learning what each of these words meant has helped my ability to analyze and understand these stories of hope, and has brought me closer to an answer to the driving question.

Before going on the trip, I also had to create a plan for my video. I started my plan by creating my thesis for the project, which was “Personal growth and change can emerge from adversity, which can inspire hope in ourselves and others around us.” My plan included topics I wanted to discuss in my video, research, inspiration, and much more. It felt good to get all of my ideas onto one organized document, as I was more prepared and focused on what I wanted to film on the trip rather than making it up as I travelled. It was the first step in the right direction to creating a successful final video. If you want to see the plan I created in greater detail, click here.

For my final video, I went a bit off of my plan and decided to focus on different topics. This was because after travelling across the U.S., I realized that there were certain stories of hope that I felt inspired by. Going to the Oklahoma City Bombing Museum was a one-of-a-kind learning experience and I’ve never been to a museum quite like it. Each section and exhibit of the museum discussed the immense loss that the citizens of Oklahoma faced, while also reflecting on the strength and unity that was gained after the event. Seeing the artifacts from the event, accompanied by the videos being played of survivors sharing their stories created a powerful sense of connection. The whole experience was once in a lifetime and because of that, I felt like it was important to include it in my video.

In my video, I also discussed the event of JFKs assassination. While in Texas, we visited the spot where JFK was assassinated, as well as the sixth-floor museum and the JFK memorial. From going to the museum, I learned that his ideas lived on through the people that he inspired after he died. This led to large steps forward in events such as the Civil Rights Act and the moon landing.

After going on the trip and creating the final video, I feel that I’m able to answer the driving question for this project as well as my thesis of “Personal growth and change can emerge from adversity, which can inspire hope in ourselves and others around us.” I feel that my video answers this quite well. Although both the Oklahoma City bombing and JFK’s assassination were tragedies, they both brought with them significant change. After the Oklahoma City bombing, the community was reborn stronger and more united. The Survivor Tree is a perfect symbol of the strength of the community and the hope that they share. With the death of JFK, his dream for a better America did not die with him. His vision and ideas inspired people at the time to continue his work and what was a time of sorrow turned into a time of progression and resilience. Both of these events are examples of adversity and how it can lead to personal growth and change. It’s a reminder that hope can be found in any challenges faced throughout life.