West Sophomores Attempt to Change the World


Rethinking your purpose in life is a thought that has come across our mind at one point. Changing the world seems like a task too great to overcome alone, but with the help of students, a meaningful impact may not be beyond reach.

Advanced English 10 students were assigned to choose an environmental or social issue, and attempt to make difference in that area.

“You basically choose an environmental issue or something around your community that you want to face. We had to do research over it, write a paper that had a reflection, research, and why you chose it. We also created a presentation, which was about the plan that you want to make to fix that problem in your community”, English 10 student Yamile Jimenez said.

English teacher, Alisa Casady, said she encourages variety. “Every kid got to pick something that they found important or particularly passionate about.  So for instance, some kids did some research on the power of positivity. And so they all had to research their topic first. And so then they had to come up with what it is that they wanted to do to take small steps to try to encourage others to also have a positive attitude,” Casady said.

Jimenez has her own special project that she enjoys. “My project — I’m working with a partner — we’re doing it over the use of straws and the amount of plastic that’s built up in the ocean. Personally, we use metal straws in our household and started using plastic less,”Jimenez said. After gathering information, Jimenez said she and her partner “realized there are islands of plastic in our oceans, and we still haven’t figured out a way to get rid of this or fix the problem.”

For their final product, Jimenez and her partner created an Instagram called @_oceanfive to inform the public on how plastic is affecting our oceans and marine life.

It’s different than you think Casady said, “it’s more about shaping the world. And through shaping the world through small changes, how then that could impact to make small differences making a difference on a larger scale,”

According to Casady, the project is brand new this year. “It’s district-wide and new on the curriculum with other schools like North and Lee’s Summit high school doing similar projects,” Casady said.

Sophomore Josh Morkert is also doing this project (his is on walking to places and saving gas.)“Some of my classmates are picking up trash on the roadways, I know a couple people who are mowing lawns for people. A couple are serving at a harvesters Food Bank and serving food for the homeless. Just trying to generally make the world and community a better place. It’s just trying to like change the world through like the little things,” Morkert said.

The projects so far have been really good Casady said,“I have been impressed with all the projects, honestly, because I really recognize that all the students have identified something that is not this huge problem, that there’s no way that we can fix it or solve it. But just small steps that we can take in order to help a larger problem,”

Creating a project to problem solve an environmental issue could empower students to take their solutions outside of school and possibly make the community a better place. Jimenez said, “I actually kind of enjoyed doing it because it motivates you to do something. It’s not just something you might do later since it’s a project, so you have to do it. It’s more of a motivation than keeping it in the back of your head.”