Freshmen English Project Influences Charity Donation


Kenwood Freshmen vote on which charity they all present will receive a donation.

Nia Olukayode

COVID 19 was not going to interfer with the annual English 9 service learning project that leads to a charity donation each year. Kenwood IB Coordinator Ms. Jannoti first developed the charity piece in order to bring a real-world authenticity to the service project, and Kenwood Library Media Specialist Ms. Magnuson makes an annual donation to a charity the students vote on based on everyone’s presented issue and charity. The students usually present their projects in a community summit to then vote on a charity to win the donation.

Kenwood English 9 teacher Ms. Vanmeter was a bit concerned how the project would come together in a virtual setting. She shares, “We were concerned how we would be able to incorporate this piece of the project virtually. But a positive was that it was easier to present a lot of the digital resources used because students were more familiar with the platforms due to virtual learning.”

The ELA 9 Service Learning project is part of the English 9 curriculum in which students complete an in depth research project with our library media specialist Ms. Magnuson. Students first research an issue they’re concerned about and then they research charities that support those issues. From there students vote on one another’s research presentations to select which ones will receive Ms. Magnuson’s donation. Freshmen participant shared, “Some discoveries was unfortunately our communities sometimes don’t do much to help serious problems. Through my research I learned about serious problems that needs to be dealt with and aren’t held to the importance that they should be.”

Despite isolation students were excited to feel like despite COVID 19 restrictions they
could help out their community and be a part of offering something to others during these challenging times. In their end of the project reflections, “students reflected how they were really proud of their work. Many students commented on how they learned that they had a social responsibility and could make an impact even as a teen,” shares Ms. Vanmeter.

Despite the virtual isolated setting Ms. Vanmeter and Ms Magnuson found the project built community among the students, “They were very encouraging of each other and were excited to pick a charity that would be impacted due to their research,” shared Ms. Vanmeter.

This year’s freshmen students voted to support The Anti-Violence Project , Health Care for All @Healthy Maryland, and Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights Coalition Capital Area Immigrants Rights Coalition.

Despite the pandemic, Kenwood freshmen still had their chance like the Kenwood students before them to make a difference. It’s a project that many students remember fondly from their Kenwood experience. Freshmen Raquel B. reflects, “One of the major takeaways I got from doing this project is that it is in the hands of my generation to fix this cruel world, and to make it better for the generations after us. It taught me that as an American citizen, it is my responsibility to educate others about the dangers of issues so that we can all protect each other.”