My personal project in Year 11 was based on my passion for sustainable development and the environmental conservation. The main aim of my project was to identify areas in which my school as a whole can improve on protecting the environment. This finding would then be presented to the administration of the school for consideration.
I started off my project with walking around school to observe things that could make NIST greener. There were of course the most obvious things such as turning off lights and air-condition when there is no one in a room. That provided me with a good foundation on which I was able to base my research on and allowed me to dig deeper into my goal. Searching on the internet, I discovered that sustainability doesn’t have to be defined as “saving the environment”, but instead it is the ability to meet our current needs without compromising the needs of the future generation. This inspired me to apply the sustainability concept to a wider range of areas.
I started to extend my research in a much broader aspect. Looking at agricultural side, I read articles written by Jamie Oliver, a famous British chef, who discussed how the current generation is starting to be unconnected to where our food comes from. To prove his point, Jamie went to an elementary school in the US and asked the students there to identify a selection of vegetables that he has brought along. None of the children were able to name the most basic of vegetables such as a lettuce or an eggplant. It was very disturbing in a way to watch to see these kids not able to name the most basic vegetables and definitely left a mark in my mind.
To conquer this problem at NIST, I came up with the idea of having a rooftop garden which was in great sync with the school’s plan to set up a small farm on the rooftop of the secondary building. I immediately jumped on board and started to work together with a team to make this rooftop garden a reality. After 4 years of hard work, currently more than 30 people work at the garden in a weekly basis. The elementary school classes were also able to incorporate the garden into their curriculum where classes visit the garden and the children are able to learn about how food is grown and where it comes from.
I also attempted to integrate my research findings into the high school curriculum. I did this by using the 4 petals of service model that is used by all of the schools of EARCOS (The East Asia Regional Council of Schools). As this model has already been used at school, my research would further compliment this.
The last challenge i needed to conquer was on how to do a great presentation to the administration of the school. This included the Secondary School Principal and the Deputy Headmaster of the school. As they are very busy people, my presentation needs to be short, concise and informative.
The day before the presentation, I locked myself into my room and practiced the delivery of my presentation many times. This way of rehearsing ensures me to perform well on the actual presentation. On the day of the presentation, I was very nervous and I didn’t know what to expect. I started off my presentation slowly by following the advice on how to conduct a good presentation, this allowed me to get comfortable with the presence of the administration.
Here is the PowerPoint for my final presentation
From doing this project, I not only learned about how to do a good presentation but also presented suggestions on how to make NIST greener place. It was indeed good experience even though I believe that I could have conducted much deeper research and written an actual proposal to schools on some of the ideas I have suggested. This would make my project more complete and impact the school’s development.