Shakespeare wrote, “that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” After completing their diversity research the 8th graders from Early College Prep Academy might disagree. As part of the “Unpacking Your Diversity” Bridgeway project, facilitated by a partnership among Early College at the Richmond Schools, Ivy Tech, and the IU East Campus Library, 8th grade students from ECPA learned what diversity meant for themselves and for others. The Bridgeway project is intended to prepare students to transition into the Early College Academy at Richmond High School and later onto college. Dr. Jackie Schlichte (Early College Director) and Heidi Huff (IU East Library Instruction Coordinator) worked with 8th graders during the month of April to develop their research skills and focus on targeted information about their diversity.
In their speeches students were asked to present the meaning of their names and where the name originated. They also conducted research about the countries those names came from as well as their personal religion, gender, and cultural differences. The final presentation involved new uses of technology like filming themselves using their netbook cameras and uploading the presentations to their school website. At the culminating event on Friday April 27th the 8th grade ECPA students introduced and screened their own diversity films.
Their presentations were evaluated by Early College faculty, Dr. Schlichte, IU East Library’s student academic support specialist, Ben Coburn, and instruction coordinator Heidi Huff. Two lucky winners from the culminating event presentations were awarded books from the Library’s Young Adult prize collection. After their formal presentations, students discussed their own and their peers’ research, including questions such as “What did you learn about your own diversity; how do you identify with the meaning of your name; and what did you learn about the countries, religions, and hometowns you researched?” Most students reported that they did not already know the meaning of their names or what countries they originated in. They also learned about characteristics of those countries and religions and were asked to synthesize that research into how it related to them as a diverse person.
During the culminating event students were also recognized with certificates for their participation in National History Day research which was also facilitated by IU East. Students whose NHD presentations scored the highest at the Early College judging were awarded YA books to further their love for reading, researching, and reporting.
Congratulations to the 8th grade class of ECPA for your research work this year; we hope to see you on campus soon!