Deciding to apply for Innovation Lab in the ninth grade was one of the most riskiest things I think I’ve done. When I first heard about the program I didn’t know what it was completely about, or even what is was for. After going to a couple meetings and asking more questions I finally understood. Innovation Lab is a community that faces challenges and struggles to create and learn something more than a poster for a project or read passages out of a textbook. It is a program to which the students are the leaders, the creators, and the innovators whilst the teachers are more than teachers but our mentors. They are somebody we can not only ask history questions to but somebody who can be there for us during the process of learning.
In the beginning of the year, we started Innovation lab by getting to know the other students and working on quarterly and short time projects. Quarter 1, STEM, we started off the year with the learning of some Math problems while using the online resource ‘Desmos’. This website began to become very important throughout the year and is something that we began to use every quarter. For Humanities, we started off the year with the theme of “intellect and identity”. We used this theme to better understand our learning and ourselves. A couple units in both English and History that I very much enjoyed was the learning of the Progressive era/the Jazz age and WWII history. Throughout the learning of the Progressive era we read the book The Great Gatsby. This book is a classic by F. Scott Fitzgerald and it is probably one of my most favorite books I’ve read this year. Throughout the learning of WWII History, our class was introduced with a project called National History Day where we were able to choose an event in time or a person in history that connected to theme of WWII and exploration, exchange, and encounter. This project took place in school but we had the choice of actually entering the national history day competition if we wanted to. My group and I, Nicole, Katherine H, and Flora decided we wanted to enter, so we did.
During the process of doing the project outside of school, and keeping up with school work as we began to grow extensive amounts of stress, worry, and anxiety for the regionals competition at Sacred Heart University. When the time rolled around and we arrived, we were so nervous, but our hard work paid off when we heard our names be called in placing second place. We then just recently traveled to Central Connecticut State University for the states competition. Less nervous, but a little more anxious for the performance we went through our registration and received the packet that stated our time for performance. After performing first, we watched other groups, had lunch, and then went to the award ceremony. While watching the award ceremony we had very little faith that we’d become one of the top two. There was a third place but they were not invited to nationals, so we all hoped for the chance of being in the top two. After hearing another Connecticut group performance win third place, and another group that did a fantastic job come in second place, we all began to lose a hope. Until the announcer called our names and our group performances title for first place, we were all shocked. Here is a video of the announcement:
Without being a part of Innovation Lab and hearing this competition, I don’t think I would’ve signed up to do something like this. This competition has changed me in many ways to become a better public speaker and to have more confidence in myself. The help of the Innovation Lab teachers with long time projects like this is incredible. The Innovation lab community has given me the power to take a stand in what I believe in through this project and many others, and has given me the voice to do things I never thought I could be able to do.
Innovation Lab is not just about teaching a different way to help students learn a better way and to receive better grades. It’s about letting yourself learn and pushing yourself to accomplish different tasks and challenges to reach the success you’ve been trying to find. If I had the chance to go back in time to Ninth grade, knowing what Innovation lab was and how it can have a positive impact on my learning, confidence,speaking skills, and creativity I would apply again in a heartbeat.
Here’s a picture of my group and I that was reposted by the NHD page: