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The City Journals

Hawthorn Academy dedicates building with art show, project presentations

Jun 05, 2017 11:22AM ● By Kimberly Roach

Hawthorn Academy’s Karli Anderson, Gabriel Humphrey and Xavier Richardson tell other students about their Primary Years Project where they identified homelessness and worked together to gather supplies to assist those in their community. (Julie Slama/City Journals)

By Julie Slama | [email protected]
Educating the public about drug abuse, teaching others about how oil spills harm the environment and helping students learn how to read are some of the ways Hawthorn Academy fifth-graders came together to improve their community.
Their projects were on display, along with artwork the students selected, as part of Hawthorn Academy’s May 2 dedication of its South Jordan campus that opened last year. The dedication also included commissioned artwork by Ashley Wall that will hang in both the West Jordan and South Jordan campus foyers.
“Our school is inquiry-based, which help our kids become lifelong learners,” said Lead Director Deborah Swensen
 about the school’s Primary Years Programme, or PYP, fifth-grade culminating project. “We asked them to look at what they’ve learned and see where they could actually make a plan to make a difference. They had to research, develop the content, present a well-planned presentation and organize it together in their groups as well as taking action to make a difference in their community.”
PYP, part of Hawthorn’s International Baccalaureate program, invites students to ask challenging questions, reflect critically, develop research skills and learn how to learn. Students also reach out to help their community and beyond. The school also encourages students to lead their own education.
The students had about five weeks to work on their projects, from brainstorming topic ideas to presenting the project at the dedication night.
Fifth-graders Hayden Monsen and Daniel Yang created a website to educate the public about illegal drugs, such as krokodil—a derivative of morphine—and pink, a type of synthetic opioid.
“We want to make people more aware of the abuse of drugs, so we created a website so they could fully understand the impact they have,” Hayden said.
Classmates Elizabeth Birkner, Elliana Markides and Lauren Angilau not only made a website to educate others about how oil spills pollute the ocean, often kill seas animals and affect the food chain—but also issued an environmental challenge.
“We’re calling for awareness as we challenge people to pick up 20 pieces of recyclable material for two weeks,” Lauren said. “It’s a way we all can make a difference.”
The team of Logan Burgess, Alexis Bowman, Jamerson Popp and Rajveer Ghuman created a tri-fold presentation called, “Stop Bullying: Bully Exterminators.”
While one student identified himself as a bully at a former school, he said he was acting out of anger and would think “it was cool to bully other people.”
Two students said they had been bullied at other schools that made them have nightmares and feel helpless and depressed.
“I was always sad, and I’d fake being sick so I wouldn’t have to be at school,” said one student who chose not to be identified.
Through sharing their experiences, they hoped to teach others what to do if they’re bullied and educate them on the causes behind bullying.
Another group used fliers to let their community know about climate change and how they can help keep the climate under control. Then, Jake Leavitt, Tony Fillerup and Samuel Johnson set an example by planting an aspen tree.
Karli Anderson, Gabriel Humphrey and Xavier Richarson collected items from their communities to benefit Family Promise, an organization that provides for families in need. They learned there are more than 2,400 homeless people in Utah.
“We really wanted people to learn how people get in situations and how they could help,” Karli said.
Three students, Hobie Hodlmair, Abby Thomas and Eloise Piercy, spent one week helping students in first grade learn how to read. They helped these students sound out words and practice fluency words with flash cards.
“We’d work with them for about 25 minutes each day,” Hobie said, adding that they learned one-to-one tutoring. “At first they were shy and didn’t want to read. The second day, we’d work on frequency words, and they’d practice the next day. By the fourth day, they were reading books by themselves.”
Abby said through experience, she knows it’s hard to be a struggling reader.
“It’s hard to stay up with everyone doing assignments, so I wanted to help these students,” she said.
Eloise added that reading also will help them become more confident.
“The more confident they are as a person and in a social setting, the better person and student they’ll become,” she said.
The dedication night also featured an art project from every student as part of the school’s Beverly Taylor Sorenson Arts Learning Program.
“We integrate what they learn in the classroom into our art, so they’re learning another way to express themselves and show what they’re learning,” Wall said. “They’re really excited about the show and sharing it with their community.”