Peace Out

December 2019, it was an exciting and action filled month for me. My grade 8 basketball season was just underway, and PLP workloads and stress levels were rising to levels I had never seen before. The prep for our first exhibtion was taking up all of my remaining time after Basketball. Fast forward to my tenth exhibiton in June 2024 and the exhbition still came at a busy time, grad events which we’ve heard about for the past 5 years were finally happening, yet I still had an exhbition. Well every exhibition is stressful, after 5 years I feel far greater equipped to prepare, present, and adapt in our exhibition prep.

Graduation Ceremony!

Looking back, It’s impressive how much we’ve grown since those first months of grade 8. Both from a literal sense (I was 5’1 then, now I’m 6’2), and from a figurative sense. Over the last half decade my friendgroups have changed, I switched sports, my values have evolved, yet I’ve spent this whole time in PLP. While every year the teachers manage to throw a curveball or two at us, there is a sense of familiarity I have in these classes. This familiarity has aided me in becoming a better student and learner, as well as given me a class where I have a good idea as to the expectations and workload.

Onto our last exhibition, in typical PLP fashion it was not what anyone would’ve guessed we were doing. We were doing a “comic-con style panel” on self improvement books. I read a book called: The Brave Athlete, Calm the F*ck Down and Rise to the Occasion, by Leslie Patterson and Simon Marshall. The book was pretty interesting, it discussed a variety of strategies for athletes to improve their mental strenght and clutch perfomance, as well as outlining why this was important. If you want to learn more go visit their website linked here, or just read the book. While I enjoyed the book I did outline some of my critiques and issues with it in my mini book report. I was dissapointed by the lack of examples of teamsports or non endurance sports found within the text. As an athlete I can learn from examples of athletes in any sport, however it is far easier to attach useful meaning to these ideas if they are of a teamsport or ballsport. As I was writing the book report, we were also working on a final essay project, doing these side by side allowed me to implement some of the writing strategies I had learned from Mr May during the aforementioned project.

the exhibition panel

Our first major assignments of this project was the author bio. This is honestly a great assignment to show off all of the skills I’ve developed in the past 5 years, we had to format it oursleves (This might have been the most revisited skill throghout my whole time in the program), write it in an engaging and brief style (smart brevity), and bring in plenty of media and links (the PLP secret sauce). With a few minor revisions this bio was ready to go, you can check it out here.

Driving questions are one thing we’ve had in every PLP project from grade 8 to grade 12. While I’m sure I will see these in some of my classes next year, knowing how these work in to an overall project hopefully will set me ahead. Our final driving question was… “What can we learn from authors about achieving personal and professional success?” We can obviously learn how they achieved this success, we’ve all heard of the stories of the extra regimented and discilpined lifestyles these authors have built. Many of us want to build these habits, the best way to learn from these authors is if they breakdown the psychology, struggles, and triumphs they experienced.

Thank you to my teachers for the 5 years of support, I wouldn’t have come this far in my studies without you. Thank you to my parents for supporting me through highschool, even when I wouldn’t let you help me out. Thank you to my peers for all of the crazy memories we made, whether it was doing things which were absolutely, safe, responsible, and legal on twin island, or putting up with the craziness of the teachers on field studies with me. Thank you everyone!

Quinn Smilgis, signing out

A Book made with AI (sort of)

I’ve spent a lot of time working with kids in various capacities. As a summer camp leader, volunteer coach, and participant in community initiatives such as teaching kids to read, I’ve noticed that children understand more than we often give them credit for. They grasp various issues plaguing our world, such as conflict, climate change, and intolerance. While they might not understand the finer points, they certainly grasp the basic perspectives.

In our recent project, we worked with grade 4/5 children to teach them the importance of tolerance. Our final product was a picture book depicting inclusion, tolerance, or the negative consequences of intolerance. Early in the project, we met with the children to gauge their knowledge and perspectives on current and historical cases of intolerance. It was interesting to see how they grouped massive historical cases of extreme intolerance, such as segregation and the Holocaust, with more personal events like being excluded from playing tag. My biggest takeaway was the importance of a personalized story in helping kids connect with and understand the message.

Three Villages One River

Creating this story was challenging. I came up with countless ideas and tried various methods of illustration. Initially, I focused on stories about inclusion in sports and accepting diverse lifestyles. However, I eventually chose a topic close to my heart: conservation. My story emphasized the importance of working with people from diverse backgrounds and perspectives to conserve natural places and resources.

Through my parents’ work, interviews with professionals in fields I’m interested in, and my time outdoors, I’ve observed various issues with our conservation methods. Everyone seems to think they know best—whether it’s scientists, farmers, businesses, government, or Indigenous nations. No one seems willing to combine their ideas and find compromises. I believe that by sharing knowledge and strategies, and finding common ground, we can save our planet.

The Pololū valley on the big island of Hawaii, is a place where the government, scientists, locals, and native Hawaiians worked together to conserve a beautiful and important place.

This project also allowed me to practice using AI to showcase my ideas. I used a platform called to generate illustrations and refine the story into a cohesive 25-page book. This experience showed me how AI can help overcome weaknesses and highlight strengths in my work. Going forward, I will explore more ways to use AI to enhance my projects.

At the start of the project, we studied one of the largest historical examples of intolerance: Nazi Germany. We watched testimonies from the Stephen Spielberg Foundation, visited the Vancouver Holocaust Museum, and read firsthand accounts of the Holocaust’s effects on Jewish identity. These studies, revisited over the past three years, challenged me to understand how intolerance spread so quickly. We discussed similar examples of modern intolerance spreading on platforms like Instagram and TikTok, noting parallels between attitudes toward minorities in 1920s/1930s Germany and today’s Canada and the US.

We explored the question, “How is storytelling an effective weapon against hate?” by watching a documentary about Mr. Rogers, who spread messages of tolerance and acceptance. This impact is evident in recent events like the BLM protests, where personal stories from Black Canadians and Americans were powerful. The BC First Peoples (BCFP) course I took last year reinforced this point through stories and testimonies from Indigenous peoples about their experiences during colonization and in residential schools. Storytelling is an effective weapon against hate because it humanizes minorities and victims, allowing the audience to see them as individuals rather than statistics. Most people don’t want to harm others; connecting with victims of intolerance can help reduce hate and intolerance both in Canada and globally.

The Golden & Green Coast

On March 6th our class departed for our final PLP trip. Since I entered this program in grade 8 the field studies have been one of the things I most looked forward to. Having the opportunity to do things I would never do on trips with my friends or family is one of my favourite (and sometimes least favourite) things about these trips. This trip was going to take us to one of the most famous, and influential cities in the world. A hub of business, entertainment, and culture, Los Angelos, California.

In the hills of LA

As with all our PLP trips there was a project focus, for this trip it was the collective identity of the West Coast. Leading up to the trip we researched everything from Disneyland to the National Park Service. The west coast collective identity was broad, it was extremely hard to find an identity which encompasses small towns like Comox and Port Angelos to world renowned cities like Seattle and Los Angelos, to tourist hotspots like Whistler or Tofino. However after hours of discussion, research, and thinking we figured it out, somewhat. 

A sunset from the northern gulf islands, a very different place then the hills of LA

We (the teachers) broke the groups down into 5 elements of west coast culture, unreal realities, the great outdoors, cultural mosaic, film & entertainment, and art & architecture (my theme). If you had to ask me which topics I could speak on at the start of the project, I could tell you about the great outdoors and maybe film & entertainment. After this project and field study I feel like I understand how all of these elements come together to create the west coast culture we know and mostly love. 

This understanding was put to the test with our creation of a docu series. 5 episodes, speaking on each of the aforementioned themes of west coast collective identity. The creation of the videos certainly came with its FAILS and hiccups. From a miscommunication between the teachers and my group which led to a highly rushed stand up section at Griffith observatory. To us not realizing how hard it would be to find knowledgable people willing to let us interview them about our relatively niche topic. If I’m being completely honest I only think our documentary came out ok. Personally I think I could of done a better job at filming a lot of the angles in a more interesting way, and worked with my group to get more stand-ups and videos.

I’m also proud of myself and my group mates Keenan and Ryan for getting things together and creating a cohesive video and story even with setbacks such as our narrator getting sick. I think that we all did a good job at playing to our strengths to get this video out on time and answer the driving question of the project. I learned a lot from filming this which I can apply over the next 4 years in University. Hopefully next time I create a video project there will be less FAILS and more successes.

Now one element of the project I haven’t touched on very much yet is the driving question. “Why are some people able to see around corners in ways others are not, and by doing, shape how we see ourselves in this changing world?” Well the driving question does not seem initially linked to the aspects of west coast identity, innovation and “seeing around corners” is a key aspect of west coast culture. Brands like Disney, Starbucks, and Boeing all innovated there respective industries in a new and exciting way. Even outdoor conservation was innovated on the west coast in ways which are now copied across the world. Why does this happen so much on the west coast though? It comes back to the allure of this region, bringing in innovators and business’s. As well as the inspiring scenery and laid back culture which promote thinking and new ideas. 

Blowing Up Schools

Schools, a place of “learning” and “growth”. Yet most students just go through school, maybe trying to get good grades. They graduate and have no real idea as to what they want to do in the future, burnt out from school, and lack career skills. So in typical PLP fashion we did a project about “blowing up the school system.” Don’t worry our projects didn’t involve violence. 

While many of my classmates did fantastic projects about how we could overhaul the school system for everyone, I decided to focus on how we could offer students opportunities to help them develop career skills for one of the largest industries in BC, outdoor tourism, natural resource management and conservation. These industries employ around 10% of the population within in BC and are all growing considerably. Yet the skills, and connection necessary to success in these industries aren’t promoted at all within NVSD. A school district sitting between the ocean and the north shore mountains. 

A view of the North Shore Mountains a mere 20 minutes from my school

So I proposed we introduced an out of timetable elective block to senior students across NVSD. You can read more about it here.

I was inspired to create this program when talking to my cousin over the may long weekend. He was telling me about the outdoor ed program he was taking at his school (Howe Sound Secondary). He had received important training, gone on incredible trips, and and gained valuable connections with outdoor companies all across BC. 

The mountains of the Callaghan Valley, one of the places my cousins outdoor ed program went camping

So I put out a survey on my instagram asking people to tell me about their experience in outdoor Ed, and how it is influencing/influenced them and their career. I got many responses telling me about how important the connections they made during outdoor ed were. As well as, how it influenced their involvement in conservation movements. This made it even more clear to me that NVSD needs an outdoor Ed program to develop engaged and informed citizens in relation to conservation and sustainability. We need to help develop the future leaders in conservation, natural resource management, and ecotourism. 

I proposed the program to offer outdoor safety programs. These help students learn skills necessary to staying safe outdoors. In addition to being important stepping stones to many careers in the aforementioned industries. I also proposed a number of trips doing various activities, these would help students explore a variety of skills, as well as learn about various environments across BC. Finally I proposed the program to have career development and connections incorporated. This would mean meeting with local ecotourism providers, natural resource management companies, and conservation agencies and learning about potential careers in these industries. 

This project really helped reignite my passion and involvement in our schools. I think that by discussing how we can change schools to create more educated and informed citizens. We all became more educated and informed citizens ourselves. 

TPOL 2023

Wow, only one more year left of school! It’s a strange feeling, I feel like it’s gone by so fast, yet so slow. My lack of experiences from grade 8/9 thanks to the pandemic has certainly been a different experience. But we’re here to talk about this year not, not all of high school (at least yet…) 

This year was supposedly “back to normal”. Yet there’s not really a normal when all 4 years of high school have had drastically different schedules. It was quite the adjustment to go from 2.5hr classes to 70 minutes (although a welcome one). Within about a month of the year starting I became more overwhelmed with schoolwork then ever before. In order to overcome this challenging and high volumes of work across all my classes I had to come up with new methods. It took some trial and error but by about January I had figured out how to manage the work in 3 challenging courses (PLP, Chem, Pre Calc). I used some of the methods we had worked on in PLP over previous years, to do lists, time blocking (although this didn’t work for me), and goal setting. 

However despite these successes in January my school work kind of went down hill for the next 2 months. I felt extremely uninspired, and overall just tried to coast through school. This had the biggest effect on my PLP work. For some reason I managed to keep on top of my BCFP, and my Bio work without much trouble, but even thinking about PLP just exhausted me. I was considering dropping the program, but then our Stories of Hope Field Study came up. I had started the project off quite frankly not caring at all about anything related to it. However when we were down there, I remembered some of the reasons I liked PLP in grade 8 and 9. I came back more inspired in all of my classes, in particular PLP. I did take a while to put my footage together into my video. That’s on me but we have all discussed why that project was a bit of a FAIL on all of our ends.

The Austin Skyline from out Stories of Hope Field Study

One thing I did learn a lot about this year, and really helped my school was using craft. I began to realize the potential it has in many projects. I personally don’t use the linking feature as much as the teachers encouraged us, but I do love how easily it allows me to connect ideas in my notes. I even did my spring exhibition project primarily in craft, you can view it here. Or you can view one of my writing projects here.

In this last project I began to feel more inspired again. The project felt more personal to me, it made me more motivated to do my work. I think I leveraged my personal strengths in a way I hadn’t since project podcast in grade 10. Going into Grade 12 I will need to remember why this project was so much more effective and meaningful then the rest. I will use the strategies I learned this year to stay on top of all my work, and not neglect my PLP work when I get lots of work in other courses. 

Stories of Hope (In the Southern US)

We recently got back from a truly unique field study experience. I went to places, and experienced a culture I never thought I would. Over 10 days we visited 4 states in the “Southern US”. I put quotes around that as whether or not we were in the southern US was a major subject of debate during the trip.

A stunning view of the cascade mountains on our flight out

The trip started off not so bright, yet early at YVR. We all met at a time I don’t want to see my teachers and classmates, and they probably dont want to see me. By about 4pm we had finally arrived in the lone star state. Immediately I was shocked by how green everything was (I thought Texas was a dry and dusty place). I also was also kind of shocked by the lone star symbol found on every single bridge pillar across the Interstate. 

A nighttime view of downtown Austin

Throughout our days in Texas we headed north visiting presidential libraries, delicious bbq’s, borderline cult compounds, and the foreign land of Buc’ees. Now you may be wondering, what could PLP possibly be doing visiting giant gas stations (or cult compounds) in Texas? Honestly at times I was asking myself the same question but it was all somehow connected into our theme of stories of hope. In my last blog post I discussed what these are here. 

A church standing on the former site of the branch Davidian compound

As our trip continued north we reached the vibrant, and extremely flat place called Oklahoma City. Tragically in 1995 this city was struck with tragedy. A disgruntled army veteran named Timothee McVeigh set off a 2 ton fertilizer bomb in the back of a red ryder truck. The explosion caused huge damages on a US government owned building, and ultimately led to the deaths of 168. This story touched me as we saw the resilience and strength the people of Oklahoma found in community. 

The trip continued north east from OKC where we visited Tulsa. After Tulsa, we left the 8 lane interstate highways, and headed for an area better described as the “backwoods” of the US. Arkansas & Missouri were quite different from anything I had seen before. Now I understand Texas and Oklahoma a little bit, as they reminded me of Alberta. However as we left the prairies and headed into the Ozarks, and Eastern Woodlands, the culture began to shift a bit. It was more what you’d expect when you told someone you were in the southern US. We saw a 67ft statue of Jesus, and the “White Christian, Las Vegas”, Branson Missouri. 

Giant Jesus himself

Despite being an area which gets frequently described as “redneck”, “hillbilly” or “Christian nationalist” we did discover some stories of hope, and shockingly incredible art. I made the connection between the ability for art to build a community up here, and how it worked to shape the resilience of the OKC community at the national memorial site. 

On another note, we did get to have a brief stay in California and say hello to Paula deen while heading home.

All of these experiences helped me refine my thesis for my final video. This isn’t my best work I have created in PLP yet. I think there is many things I would of done differently (handing this in, in may would’ve been a good start). After discussing with my classmates and teachers, it is clear that many of us feel this way. I think this FAIL will help me maximize my learning in the field school next year. As well as giving me some ideas for my current exhibition project (which you should check out if your in North Vancouver on June 15th).

What is a Story of Hope?

In recent years we have all heard the words, hope, resilience, adversity, survival. Whether it was related to the COVID 19 Pandemic, one of the many human rights issues which have been fought over, or the war in Ukraine. These words seem to be thrown at everyone experiencing these hardships. But what do they really mean?

Recently our class has been discussing all of these terms, how they relate, what they mean, and what are some examples of them.

Survival is defined by Oxford Dictionary as “the state or fact of continuing to live or exist, typically in spite of an accident, ordeal, or difficult circumstances.” Surviving is just continuing to live. Being a survivor doesn’t mean you did anything impressive, it just means you got lucky. If you can overcome and grow after an adverse situation that is resilience. One individual which demonstrated this resilience is professional surfer Bethany Hamilton. She’s a pretty famous figure so I won’t get to deep into her story, but here’s a quick summary. At 13 years old Bethany Hamilton suffered an attack from a tiger shark. While she survived the attack the lost her left arm. Despite this life altering injury Bethany became a professional surfer at just 17. Since then she has won many competitions, and wrote several books about hope. 

Throughout Bethanys life surviving the shark attack isn’t the most important thing she did. That was largely luck. Her resilience after the traumatic event, and how she used it to grow is what is notable about her life. She experienced what Psychologists call post traumatic growth. This is when a traumatic event causes the victim to experience a shift in perspective. This leads to a greater sense of purpose and content about life. 

Bethany catching a sick wave

What fuels people like Bethany to keep going at there lowest. It is hope, Bethany’s hope of one day becoming a professional surfer helped her get back in the water. She went from being one of the most talented youth surfers, to riding longboards on whitewater, she still hoped that one day she could get back to where she was. Her story, like many others is a story of hope. 

So what is a story of hope? A story of hope can be any story where an individual or community survived adversity, and used resilience to strengthen themselves after.

After looking at all of these themes I realize how closely linked they are. Each word just apart of a story of hope.

MPOL 2023

Wow the school year is halfway done, I’m in disbelief. I feel like we just started the first semester. Since we are halfway done our semester we have a classic PLP event, the MPOL (Mid Year Presentation of Learning). Since this is my seventh or eighth POL (presentation of learning), Im not going to explain it, but you can go read one of my previous posts where I explain it in depth here.

Intro: Why are we so destructive. From the time we can walk, we our knocking toys down, and p over. Throughout history people have spent huge amounts of resources in order to destroy each other’s villages, towns, and cities. As our societies evolved so did our ability to destroy. Fire became gunpowder, then dynamite, then firebombs. Finally we came up with the ultimate destructive power, the atomic bomb. While it destroyed ended the lives of tens of thousands of people, and flattened cities, why should we care? Intro Alt: Destruction, it created the world we live in today. Rich forests, cut down to build our towns and cities. Lush meadows plowed to create farmland to feed us. Wild rivers, dammed to power and irrigate our cities. Every amenity we take for granted today required something to be destroyed to make it. But at what point does this destruction become to much. I think we can all agree we need to cut some forests down to build our houses, or convert some of our coast into ports and industrial zones. But how about when we have to destroy these same amenities of others, even cause them suffering. How about when it requires killing them. How about 150,000. This was the price we paid to end the Second World War. The destruction of two entire cities, full of innocent people. There were children Body: Evidence 1: The explosions of the atomic bomb were not the only important part. The invention and construction of these bombs were incredibly taxing economically, environmentally, and socially. The extraction of uranium is incredibly destructive both to our health and the environment. Uranium is both radioactive as well as chemically toxic. Mining it often leads to contaminated water sources which can ruin ecosystems as well as our health. So why do we use such a powerful resource, which can take such a toll on the environment to extract, just to destroy each other? Evidence 2: There is no better example of our destructive capabilities as humans then the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. These bombings are incredibly significant in our history. They killed well over 100,000 people, Brought and end to WWII, and changed the future of warfare. These bombings were more complicated then being good or bad. Did the positives outweigh the Negatives? What even are the positives and negatives? These are all questions we must ask ourselves when were considering the implications of Nuclear Weapons in warfare. Evidence 3: Nuclear Weapons undoubtedly changed warfare forever. In the last 75 years there has not been a single large scale conflict between major powers. While this seems like a good thing, we need to consider why is this? Could the destruction of an eventual conflict between these two powers destroy our whole planet? Conclusion: So why is the manhattan project important. I think it is because it is the perfect representation of our destructive nature and capabilities. It was. a project with the sole intent of developing a bomb capable of killing millions. Is the potential destruction of us as a species worth the peace we’ve had in recent years? This is why we need to care, so we can answer questions like these, and hopefully use the positive technologies developed by the manhattan project, and leave the destructive ones in the past.

This has been a strange year, at least in terms of PLP. This is the least amount of PLP courses I have ever taken. When I look back at the year I feel like we haven’t done that much yet, even though we have done quite a bit. I think its because of PLP’s slower progression compared to my other academic courses. Even thought there is a logical reason as to why there has been slow progression in this course, I still feel like I FAILed. Also going through my assignments I don’t have very much media I can include in this post. Most of our projects were in person presentations, these styles of assignments don’t leave me much evidence of my work.

Now I didn’t truly fail at people however I don’t think I worked up to my full potential either. Ive missed a bunch of my last two projects to factors I have no control over. I dont think my Macbeth project was anywhere near as good as it should have been. I think I need to prove my strengths in our current Cold War project but at the moment I’m a bit behind in that project as well. Over the next 5 weeks of this term I need to pull together this Cold War Project into something I’m truly proud of, something which showcases my strengths and potential as a learner.

My greatest accomplishments since the last POL weren’t in PLP courses. Many of my other accomplishments, helped me develop skills which I can use in this course. 

My first accomplishment was my completion and high mark (at least for me) in chemistry and precalc.

I spent a lot of time working on these two courses in the last semester. They were two of the most challenging, and complicated courses I have ever taken. While they taught me how to calculate the zero of a parabola, or analyze the bond structure of an organic molecule, the most valuable thing they taught me were study habits. During the busiest weeks, I was spending around 4 hours a night on just those two courses. Spending all this time studying really helped me figure out some study routines, and methods which work for me. This semester I’m going to try to use them while working on PLP assignments. 

I have begun to realize that many commonly suggested methods of study don’t work well for me. I’ve heard so many people suggest that you should take frequent breaks while studying. This doesn’t work for me. In order to effectively complete work I need to get on a roll, in general that means a 1-2 hour period with no breaks and then an extended break. This gets a lot easier If I’m interested in the subject. Sometimes I can work for 3-4 hours straight on subjects Im super interested in them. I also need to work while its quiet. I can’t effectively compete work while theres people coming and going from my house, or talking even in another room. My least efficient work times are at school though. I can’t focus on most assignments at school, particularly assignments which require a lot of thinking. One other little study method for me is to work in cold environments. Kind of random but it actually helps me a lot. 

In order to apply these methods to PLP, I am going to have to adapt them. The most important factors are focusing on making my topics interesting, making sure I can work in a flow state while doing my work, and starting my work after exercising and eating. Over the next semester I will be dedicating 1-2 hours later in the evening to just PLP work a few times a week. The best times to do this work will either be in the evenings when my brother is at volleyball, or later in the night (after 9pm). At both of these times the house is very quiet and I can easily get homework done without interruption.

Another one of my accomplishments was my drastic improvements and dedication to my wildlife photography. If you’ve been following this blog you know I’m super into wildlife photography, last spring I did a podcast on it for a project (go check out the post here). Since then I would say I have improved a ton. I’ve spent hours talking to pros, and other amateurs about all sorts of topics. I have learned so much, and have been able to utilize that learning to improve my work in so many ways. The dedication, learning, and perseverance I have learned in the last few months could really benefit me in PLP. 

  • A bald eagle looking for fish from its perch
  • A wood duck enjoying an evening nap

Above you can see my images from spring last year, and below our my images from this winter. You can see the technical and compositional improvement between the two sliders.


Now obviously I’m not going to be mentally capable of treating school the same way I treat wildlife photography. The only reason I can spend so long, in brutal weather conditions shooting animals (with my camera), is because I’m truly passionate about it. I wont be able to spark the same passion for PLP. I do think I can trick myself into being passionate about certain projects by incorporating these topics I am passionate about, such as conservation, ecology, and animal behaviour into my projects in some way or another. I am currently doing that in my coldest war project. It’s not sparking my passion the same way the podcast did though. My podcast was the work I was most proud of, and that’s because I actually cared about. Now obviously I care about all my schoolwork, but I don’t necessarily care about the content, I just care about completing it to a certain standard. With the podcast I actually wanted people to hear it, Ive even considered continuing it for a second season, or revamping it. I need to find that passion in more projects this year.

Another goal for the last half of the year is to improve my blog. I want to make this a place I can use as a portfolio when applying for university. In order to improve this I will need to work on the main format of my page, as well as going back and recategorizing old posts. I will try and record more media when

My main goal for the next semester is to be more invested in my work. I want to be creating assignments I am proud of, assignments I want to share with the world. This will require me to be more efficient with my time and find ways to keep myself involved in my work even when I’m not super interested.


Would you kill someone, if you knew it would save 10 people? How about if you had to press a button which would kill 100,000, but save a million? This was the key question I asked my classmates to convince them that the Manhattan Project is extremely historically significant. 

Hi everyone, and welcome back to my blog. we just completed our first project of grade 11. As you now know we studied the Manhattan Project (if you don’t know what that is refer to the link here). So for this project we had to write a speech. Now if you know me, you would know I’m not a quiet or shy person. I have no problem discussing topics in front of large groups of people, or presenting projects to my class. However I’ve never written or presented a true speech, and this meant I had a lot to learn. 

Writing a speech is not the same as writing a presentation or essay. It’s almost like a whole other form of writing. I’ve began to think of it as similar to poetry. You have to consider the weight of your language, how your speech will flow, and how your words will effect your tone. Considering all these elements really pushed me to become a better writer. The first big challenge I came across was my introduction. I needed a hook which could be tied into the conclusion, and invoked emotion in the audience. I would say I spent almost half the time on my speech just on my introduction. I knew it was the most important part. If I didn’t have a good introduction my whole speech was doomed for failure. 

I had to overcome another major obstacle during this project. I needed to slow down. Typically I speak very fast. Like a lot of people can’t keep up fast. Like a YouTube video played at 2x speed fast. This is terrible for a speech. If you speak this fast during a speech the audience wont be able to take anything in. Your words will hold no weight. While the recommended word count for our speech was 400 words for our 4 minute speech. I knew I would have to write more. Even if I slowed down my speaking as much as I could, I wouldn’t even come close to that time. So I decided I would speak as slow as I could and keep my speech to about 500 words. After refining my speech, I practiced, and practiced, and practiced. After an agonizing amount of slowing my speech down I got up to the 4 minute mark. It hurt my head to speak that slow, but I knew my speech was long enough. Until it was time to present. 

The final time for my speech was something like 3 minutes and 10 seconds. While its still not crazy far off the target time, it was way to fast. I failed on the time objective. But that’s fine. We all need a First Attempt In Learning. This was only my first real speech, and I know I can get better over time. In fact I want to get better. I know public speaking can be a huge asset in future careers and in general life. In our next project I will make sure to work even more on speaking at that mind numbingly slow rate. The most important thing I took away from this project wasn’t that the manhattan project is historically significant. But that I can and must continue to develop all my forms of communication. 


TPOL 2022

Hi everyone,

The year is almost over and summer is about to start. Before the year ends I have one key assignment. TPOL (Transitional Presentation Of Learning) this is similar to my MPOL (Mid year Presentation Of Learning) However TPOL’s are more focused on recapping the whole year and discussing how I can achieve growth in the next school year. 

This school year was are third year in a row of adjusting to a new schedule, rules, and challenges. We finally moved past COVID which is so exciting! We also were once again allowed to compete against other schools in sports. One of my favourite experiences this year was being apart of the Seycove Junior Boys Basketball Team. We had a tough season but there was a few great games in there and I got a lot better. Another great thing about COVID restrictions lifting was the reinstatement of field schools. We had the opportunity to go to Loon Lake Lodge. Even though we barely left Vancouver Loon Lake was an amazing experience. I cant wait for more field schools next year (New Mexico 2022)! 

Loon Lake was incredibly beautiful

One of my biggest goals this year was Consistency. I often get extremely focused and invested in certain assignments and completely neglect others. This became quite a problem early on in grade 10 and caused my average quality of work to go down. I have got better at this throughout the year however I still need to keep working on this into next year. One thing I need to focus on is making sure I deliver consistent high quality work throughout a project. This was evident in project Podcast. I would say episode 1 and 2 were my best episodes and episode 3 was my worst. I dont think the quality suffered to much but I definitely could have improved episode 3 and 4. Below you can check out episode 1 (top) and episode 4 (bottom) to see the difference. Next year I will focus on continually delivering consistent work throughout a project. 

One goal which I achieved in the last semester is growth. This is evident in both my school work and extra curricular. My best work from this semester, podcast, zine and Portrait, is much better then my best work from the last semester, political party project, Romeo and Juliet and our memorial proposal. One place I really saw growth was the difference between my work for the winter exhibition and the spring exhibition (will be linked once posted). My presentations were more clear, my product was better, and our area was decorated better. All in all, I am quite proud of the growth I have achieved this semester.  

My portrait from the spring exhibition

Along with growth balance was another one of my major goals. This meant giving myself an adequate amount of time to practice my other hobbies. I got better at that this semester and it really helped me focus on my photography. I got a lot better at shooting wildlife, and started learning about studio photography. This balance actually helped my school work. Notably being able to include my photos in my zine, as well as use my knowledge of photography for my podcast. Even though I got better at balancing my school and extra curricular this semester. I have a long way to go if I am to achieve the grades I want next year.

This school year has been a strange year and I feel like both everything has changed and nothing has changed. I did well this year but I want to do much better next year as grade 11 is very important for your future. See you in September!