by Jaime T '20 by Jasmine S '20

Nicole Rodriguez’s Personal Project: Ending Animal Cruelty

OtisCertificate2016BSGE-page-001This year, a sophomore named Nicole Rodriguez decided to adopt a pig and a sheep for her personal project to save both animals from animal abuse. Nicole has been vegan for over a year, and has always been passionate about animal rights. She has used the personal project as an opportunity to raise money to sponsor Otis the pig and Claria the sheep.

“Earlier in the summer, I went to a vegan expo which had a display on Sanctuary Farms. I knew instantly that this is what I wanted to do my personal project on,” Nicole explains. Although she was already vegan, she was inspired to do more than simply refraining from eating animal products. So she successfully guided two animals to a better life.

by Justin H '17

Personal Projects: Fundraising Edition

Two personal projects this year were more visible to the school than most. These are the fundraising projects, one by Isabelle Mah ’17 and the other by Najwa Jamal ’17. You might have seen ads for different kinds of sales around the school, such as a burrito sale or a Christmas-themed bake sale.

Photo Credit: Isabelle Mah
Photo Credit: Isabelle Mah

Isabelle raised money for the Wild Bird Fund, the only wildlife rehabilitation center in New York City, with a goal of $500. She did three different fundraisers in school for it, one joint sale with Najwa and two burrito sales. Though a burrito sale is an odd choice, Isabelle explained that “it was a fun and creative way to raise awareness about my project and fundraiser without following the usual norm.” This certainly worked, as the three fundraisers made $276 for Isabelle total, more than half of the way to her goal. The rest and more was made up by an online campaign, which, although the project itself has ended, remains open until the end of March for people to donate to, and can be found here:

Photo Credit: Isabelle Mah
Photo Credit: Isabelle Mah

Najwa’s personal project is for Services for the Underserved, an organization that helps mentally challenged homeless people in NYC. She chose this organization because she sees many homeless people,

by Moshan G '17

BSGE Sophomores’ Personal Projects

BSGE is starting its 13th year of the Middle Years Program (MYP) for sophomores by beginning the personal project process. The personal project is an important part of the International Baccalaureate Organization’s MYP because it requires the student to use skills learned from the 7th through 10th grades. It encourages the student to explore their own interests and creativity under certain guidelines. 10th graders have to choose their own Guiding Question and Area of Interaction while exploring the project. During the months before tenth grade, part of the summer assignment was to come up with the initial personal project topic and explore the topic through research at the Mid-Manhattan Library. Not only is this project self-directed, it also helps prepare students for the IB program and Extended Essay in 11th and 12th grade. Students are required to create a product, whether it is a book, a sculpture, a film, or any other culminating piece of work. During the process, they keep a process journal to record their plans and actions for the project, and they also write a project report that describes the process they underwent. The majority of the personal project work is completed independently and outside of school, except for times when students need to discuss their project with their advisors and supervisors, usually during advisory or office hours. After finishing and submitting their projects, the 10th graders are required to present their projects to 7th, 8th, and 9th graders in order to help the students prepare for their own personal projects. Below are a few interviews from some selected sophomores on their personal projects:

1) Sakina Ali

  1. What is your personal project topic? My personal project is about memorizing the 206 bones of the human body.
  2. How are you going to display your project? I am going to create a paper mache skeleton from memory and then use many cultures of the world and their art to decorate the skeleton.
  3. Why did you choose this topic? I am interested in both art and science and want to connect them together through the personal project.
  4. What do you think will be the best part of this project? I think part of it is because I’m interested in the topic and also that it will be quite easy to document the process in my process journal.
  5. What do you think will be the hardest part of this project? The memorizing part and also when I will do the work and divide it up. I also don’t know how I will connect memorizing the bones with making a decorative skeleton.
  6. What benefits do you hope will come from exploring this topic? I will have the bones all memorized if I decide to approach science or biology as something I want to explore in the future for my career.
by Maya J '16

Personal Project Focus: Gabriel Steinberg Creates a Full-Length Album

For his 10th grade personal project, Gabriel Steinberg wrote, recorded and produced an album of original music. The album, titled Into the Arms of Morpheus, includes ten instrumental tracks. You can listen to his music here: Into the Arms of Morpheus


1) What was your inspiration for this project?

I have wanted to record an album since I started really enjoying playing music, and since too often I start big projects and never finish them, I figured the personal project was a great opportunity to give me extra incentive to finish this project.  I would have eventually recorded an album anyway but I figured I could kill two birds with one stone by making it my personal project.

2) What was the hardest part of the process?
The hardest part of the entire process was motivating myself to not just improvise for hours once I picked up the guitar.  That was what I would normally do but I couldn’t do it anymore since I had to get an album done.  It was hard to convince myself to cross the border from just messing around all the time to actually sitting down for hours on end and recording music.  Sometimes it felt a little more like work than fun but I’m glad that feeling was rare for me, because I’m sure other people felt that throughout their entire project.
by Mr. Lakhaney

Personal Project Focus: Christian Trotti Writes a Civil War Novel

For his personal project, Christian Trotti wrote a historical novel that takes place during the Civil War. His final work, titled, A Brother’s Blood, ended up being over 100,000 words. He is currently looking for a publisher so that he can share his work. You can download and read the prologue to the novel here: Prologue of A Brother’s Blood

Below is an interview with Christian Trotti about his project.

1. Where did you get the idea for this project?

The idea of creating a historical novel about the American Civil War had been present in my mind since the beginning of the Personal Project. I have always been passionate about creative writing, especially in the form of short stories and poems. However, I had never embarked on writing a longer work such as a novel because I never felt I had the right opportunity or a significant amount of time to work extensively on it. When I was presented with the Personal Project, I realized that this would be the perfect opportunity to write a novel, because it would force me to complete the task. I wanted to challenge myself and achieve something that I had never achieved before. As for the historical aspect of my novel, I chose the Civil War as the setting and main event because the Civil War is my favorite time period in American history. Ever since I visited the Battlefield of Gettysburg four years ago and read Michael Shaara’s The Killer Angels, I was inspired by the glory and horror of this bloody conflict. Therefore, I wanted to write a book that would inform people, especially students, about this significant time period while providing a dramatic and engaging historical fiction plot.

2. Can you describe the process of going from an idea to a finished product?

The process of going from an idea to a finished project was very difficult and lasted months. First, I needed to develop the basic plot of my book before researching information. I decided that the novel

by Maya J '16 by Mr. Lakhaney

Personal Project Focus: Maya Juman Photographs Invisible Beauty

Photo of a Sunset Moth wing
For her personal project, 10th grader Maya Juman photographed natural objects through a compound light microscope and compiled her favorite images into a photo book. She waded through thousands of images and chose her favorite forty to include in her book titled, Invisible Beauty. You can download a pdf of her book here: Invisible Beauty

1. What was your inspiration for doing this project?


I was inspired to explore photomicrography for my personal project after seeing a photo gallery at the American Museum of Natural History, with microscopic images of insects, fossils and artifacts. I was interested in photographing feathers, insects, sand and other organic materials on my own, using the compound light microscope instead of a high-powered electron microscope. I took my photographs using a Nikon 1 V2 camera with a macro lens. I was also inspired to look at insects because of my own mild phobia of them. I wanted to take photographs that would reveal the beauty in bugs to myself and others.


2. What did you learn while doing this project? 


This project gave me a greater appreciation for the natural world, especially the world beyond the naked eye. Without it, I never would have had the chance to examine a spider’s knee, or the scratches on

by Mr. Lakhaney

Personal Project Focus: Jamie Carroll Sells Cupcakes to Raise Money for Charity

photoFor her 10th grade personal Project, Jamie Carroll raised money for charity by baking and selling cupcakes at BSGE. In order to raise more money, each cupcake she sold was also a raffle ticket that allowed those who bought cupcakes also to have a chance to win either $50 or $100. The winning cupcakes had the winning dollar amounts written on the bottom of the cupcake wrappers. Below is an interview with Ms. Carroll about her project.

1. What charity were you raising money for? How much did you end up donating? How many cupcakes did you sell?

I raised money for the Hour Children Foundation. The Hour Children Foundation is a foundation that owns a facility that is used to help children who have incarcerated mothers. The foundation is located in Long Island City which is not too far from our school and it helps guide mothers and children to have a healthy and stable relationship while the mothers are in jail and even when they are released. I raised a total of $507 between cupcake sales and donations. I made a total of 216 cupcakes and I sold approximately 180 of those cupcakes because after the fundraiser, I gave the remaining cupcakes to the French Club and asked them to sell them at the Mardi Gras party.

by BACC Rag staff

Francesca Tan’s Photography Personal Project

_DSC0080 _DSC0081 (2)

by Jonathan Z '18

10th Graders Present their Personal Projects

On May 3rd, 10th grade students presented their Personal Projects to an audience of 7th, 8th and 9th graders. The Personal Project was a yearlong assignment that revolved around topics that interested the students and that they chose themselves. Using information they gathered, they were to create a final project that demonstrated their knowledge of their topic. Students were expected to follow a process that included a presentation at the close of the project. Presentations lasted 10-15 minutes and varied greatly depending on the topic. Students in the audience were given packets to complete based on the presentations to help them learn about the experience.

The 10th graders were assigned to develop a presentation since the start of the school year. They focused on a variety of Area of Interactions to guide them throughout the project process, as well as Guiding Questions (GQ).  10th graders began

by Ritika K '14

Personal Projects from BSGE’s 10th Graders

In order to complete the Middle Years Program, the 10th graders are required to do the Personal Project. The Personal Project is an independent project that gives each of the 10th grade students the freedom to choose or create a topic of their choice and interest. The Personal Project process begins in the summer after the 9th grade where the students use the summer break to brainstorm topics and begin initial research on their topic. The 10th graders are also required to incorporate two of the four Areas of Interaction into their projects. The Personal Project process is organized into four phases; the planning stage, the research stage, the creation stage and the reflection stage. The completion of the Personal Projects takes up the majority of the 10th grade year. The 10th graders are given time in advisory to work on their projects but they are expected to work on a majority of their projects at home. The 10th graders are also required to have a process journal so they can document their Personal Project process. The 10th graders, after completing the product for their Personal Project, have to present their Personal Projects to the 7th, 8th and 9th graders. A few 10th graders were interviewed about their Personal Projects and how they are handling the process so far.

Name: Grace Camia

1)    Personal Project topic?

Comic Books vs. Reality

2)    Why did you choose this topic?

“I got the inspiration for the

by Joshua K '13

Reflections and Advice On the Personal Project

So, what’s there to expect from the Personal Project?
For those of you that don’t already know what the Personal Project is, it’s exactly what its name implies, a personal project. The Personal Project can be thought of as the final test to pass the IB Middle Years Program and receive the diploma. Even though the IB Middle Years Program is no longer available in our school, students are still required to do the Personal Project in order to move onto the 11th grade. Don’t think of it as a drag, however, because it’s not as bad as it seems. Yes, you’re given a couple due dates which you’re required to have completed a number of tasks, but you have a lot of flexibility throughout the course of this assignment. To be specific, you’re able to choose

by Nathan N '11

How to Save the World

My name is Nathan Nikolic and for my tenth grade personal project I chose the topic of global warming. In specific I created a plan to move the United States off of fossil fuels in 50 years. It took a lot of work and research, but on the upside I now know quite a bit about alternative energy and America’s consumption habits.
For those who are unaware of what global warming is or have some confusions to what it means, this article will clarify that. For those who are already informed about the topic, this article will provide more information and some tips on how you can reduce your impact on the environment.
Global warming describes the change in the earth’s climate and weather patterns. Since the