Freshman friends and family celebrated finished projects at I-Search night

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Inside the mind of serial killers. Women in film. Tacos in America. The world of kelp. The e-sports epidemic.

PHS held I-Search Night on April 24 from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. in the PMS multipurpose room. Students and their families and friends attended the event to show off their recently finished I-Search papers.

“We put all of the I-Searches out on display, and parents and kids and family members [could] come and take a look at all the hard work that the kids have put in,” English teacher Ellen Walsh said. “[They could] see all the different types of topics and the cool cover art, and some of them even read the I-Searches.”

All of the I-Searches were displayed on tables for people to pick up and view. The projects placed into 10 categories: social, arts, technology, psychology, science, food, self-image/ beauty, environmental, sports, and animals.

Freshman parent Marianne Besch said she liked how open the event was, and how accessible all of the I-Searches are for people to read.

“It is really super interesting to read about the dedications, the about the author, and get know about the kids more,” Besch said.  

Freshman Parker Morrell said she attended the event because she wanted to see everyone else’s I-Searches.

“It is a celebration of all of the things that they did,” Walsh said. “They have been suffering through the whole process and so now they can see what their suffering has brought them.”

In the I-Search, students get to pick their own topic that they are passionate about. Freshman Jordan Bowers’ chose to explore the tensions between the police and the public.

“I was interested in it and both of my parents are police officers so I wanted to see the tensions that they are facing everyday,” Bowers said.

Morrell said she chose her topic, ghosts, because she was scared of them when she was younger, and wanted to learn more about the psychology behind that fear.

I found out that there aren’t really any credible sources about whether ghosts are real or not, it is all kind of just first person accounts,” Morrell said.

Besch said she noticed many of the topics were similar and crossed over. Many topics were about sports marketing, like her son’s, and marijuana.

It is interesting to see what is trending right now with this age group,” Besch said.

Researching and writing about the topic that students pick and the rest of the I-Search process prepares students for writing in college, since most essays are research papers, Walsh said. In high school English, most essays are responses to books and other texts, but the I-Search teaches about researching, writing descriptively, and interviewing other people.

“Realistically I think the I-Search teaches a lot of the skills t hat you need long term,” Walsh said. It is kind of a foundational practice for the kids that hopefully they carry through all the way to college.”

This year, Walsh said the English teachers made a few changes to the project. In Walsh’s class, they put a QR code on the inside of the project binders. When a smartphone scans the code, it opens a youtube video of the author’s note. In English teacher Beth Black’s class, they also made the authors’ notes in video form which were displayed on a computer at the event. Also this year they made the second media search a much shorter, one-page essay.

Overall, Bowers said that he liked the project, even though it was sometimes stressful.  

“It was really hard and long and it took a lot of time, but I am really happy that I got it done and it made me feel accomplished,” Morrell said.

Morrell said that she learned the importance of time management and spacing out the essays so she did not have to write them all at the same time.

“I think this is a great tradition,” Besch said. “I think it was a really special project for this class and I think my son’s writing advanced and it was interesting to notice the different parts of the paper that he would get really interested in and kudos to the teachers for doing this.”