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Somersfield students’ personal passions

Class apart: back, from left, Lauren DeSousa, Luke Madeiros, Victoria Mello, Gabrielle Madeiros, Hasna Turner, Torben Axelsen, Quincy Kuzyk, Shane White, Xela Swan; front, Jaedah Trott, Mason Outerbridge, Asia Seymour, Josai Williams, Chrysda Smith, Briana Medeiros, Charlotte Toogood, Jordan Hendrickson and Jada Outerbridge (Photograph by Blair Simmons)

Luke Madeiros, 15

Creating a Sailing Manual

My goal was to create an informative manual that educates parents about Optimist sailing in Bermuda and abroad: providing them with all of the information that they will need to raise a child through Optimist sailing. And to include information for the sailors that depicts Optimist sailing techniques that will provide them with basic information and skills and also include some of the more advanced techniques that they will need to know to sail at a competitive level.

I am very interested in this topic because I am a high-level Bermudian sailor who came up through the programme and went on to represent Bermuda in some high-level events around the world.

However, I believe that if my parents had more information about sailing and strategies to ensure a child has a successful Optimist experience, I could have gone a lot farther in the boat, and done a lot better at some of these high-level events.

I would like to help parents and sailors in the community so that they can have an advantage over other sailors and achieve the best of their abilities. This project connects with me on a personal level because Bermuda’s Optimist sailing performance is important to me and by writing this book, I can help our team on an international level.

Briana Medeiros, 15

Béla Mesa — Traditional Portuguese Cuisine

My goal was to publish a cookbook containing traditional Portuguese meals that have been passed down through my family. To make sure that my meals are healthy and fresh, I grew some vegetables and herbs. Not only did I create and publish my cookbook, I also grew my own vegetables in a garden that I built using recycled wood pallets.

This topic is important to me because I have been cooking these meals for many years, the majority of which have been passed down. By recreating most of the meals, I gained more knowledge about my culture. During the past couple of years, I have noticed a growth of my interest in cooking and realised that it was something that I may continue in the future.

Victoria Mello, 15

Helping Orphans Stitch by Stitch

My goal for my personal project is to create at least five articles of traditional Ghanaian clothing. This clothing will be sent to Ghana along with materials for Ghanaians to make their own. I want to do this as the fashion in Ghana is becoming Americanised and Westernised because people from Europe and America are donating their clothing to Ghana. This is a problem because if Ghana keeps on getting clothing from other countries, their traditional clothing will no longer exist.

One way to explain how this project is personal to me is through connections. My interest in making clothing stems from my childhood experience of learning to sew. My grandmother was my teacher and we would make clothing and bags which I really loved. Years later, I made another important connection in life, with a MYP teacher from Ghana. This connection inspired me to gain an understanding of the Ghanaian culture and traditions.

Mason Outerbridge, 15

Aquaponics for Everyone

The aim of my project is to create a sustainable and functional aquaponics system that is able to produce organic all-natural, and tasty nutritional food for human consumption.

A sub-goal of mine is to create my entire system out of recycled material. I chose aquaponics because I learnt about it during the “What Matters Conference” that Somersfield held and I was fascinated. I also was very interested about fish which aquaponics include. I also like the idea of sustainability, which is heavily involved in the process.

Josai Williams, 15

Locating lionfish: They can swim, but they can’t hide

My goal is to analyse all of the data collected by the Bermuda Government Department of Environment and Natural Resources regarding the culling of lionfish from 2012 to the present day to determine the most common location, depth and time of day to cull lionfish within two six-month periods: October to March and April to September. I would like my pamphlet to be distributed to those individuals who complete the Bermuda Lionfish Culling Programme and to be posted on the Bermuda lionfish culling website.

My pamphlet represents all the findings of the data and is meant to make it easier for people to cull lionfish in Bermuda. I chose my project because I have always had an interest in marine life and lionfish are negatively affecting our marine environment so I felt compelled to try and make a difference.

Gabrielle Madeiros, 16

Culture and Representation — A Global Reality

The goal for my personal project was to write a book of two short stories and one poem that follow the lives of girls as they face obstacles due to the issues that culture and representation pose in order to create awareness about how two global constants limit and create challenges for women and girls in today’s world.

The product discusses how culture affects women’s education, particularly in India and how women’s representation in the media promotes a negative body image in young women in America.

This was personal to me as I was a first-hand witness to how culture limits women from educating themselves and my friend suffered through an eating disorder. I chose to write a book as a vehicle for my goal because I have a passion for creative writing.

Jada Outerbridge, 16

Lovin’ Sweetcakes

The goal of my personal project was to create a YouTube channel which can be used to teach people cake-decorating skills, styles, and techniques.

I also created a website which included videos that I created as well as in-depth information on specific topics like: fondant, buttercream icing, piping tips and more. These moments were a great bonding experience and the source of inspiration for this personal project.

I chose the topic of cake decorating because it is my love, my passion, and my future profession.

Doing this project is important to me because I find great pleasure in sharing my talents and teaching others about something that I absolutely love.

I want to send a message to young people that if they have a gift or talent in a particular field that they want to pursue, it does not hurt to get started early. I want to encourage them to get a head start in their careers, no matter how young they are.

Charlotte Toogood, 15

Sustainable Surfing

The goal of my personal project was to initiate a conversation within my local community about the innovations in sustainable material through the lens of designing and constructing an environmentally sensitive surfboard.

Along with the construction of my surfboard, I created a short film that highlighted and documented the complexity of the building process.

With the help of Cullen O’Hara, I built my own surfboard because surfing has always been a passion of mine.

However, the irony is that although surfers spend so much time immersed in the environment, their surfboards reflect toxic pieces of foam that are slowly but surely contributing significantly to the pollution of our oceans. Because of this, I decided to channel my passion for the sport into taking on the challenge of creating my very own eco-friendly surfboard.

Chrysda Smith, 15

The Skin I’m In

I wrote, recorded, edited, produced and performed an extended play, comprised of three original songs and two cover songs. I created these songs with GarageBand, a recording software, and recorded them with the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 recording equipment.

I then performed these songs at middle schools throughout the island as well as my church. I then produced it on YouTube. The message of these songs was to empower female teenagers by allowing them to feel satisfied with their self-image and the skin that they are in.

My lyrics were inspired by past my experiences with the skin condition, eczema. I used to suffer from eczema for 15 years and music has been a part of my life since I was four when I started playing the violin. I decided to combine this love for music and hatred of eczema to create this album to inspire myself, as well as others.

Torben Axelsen, 15

The Forgotten People

of Rio de Janeiro

The aim, or goal, of my personal project consisted of two related sections: first, to create an informative documentary on the social injustices that took place in Rio in the years leading up to the Olympics and second, to raise money (more than $250) to donate to The Grael Project — a Rio-based organisation which has taught more than 15,000 underprivileged children to sail along with many other life skills; the donations will assist the organisation in buying two new sailboats.

During the summer of 2016, I watched the Olympics a lot and decided that for my personal project I wanted to do something that related to them in some way because I am a person who enjoys playing and watching sports, fighting for social equality and film-making. I felt that creating a documentary on the social injustices of the Rio Olympics would be the perfect personal project for me.

Jordan Hendrickson, 15

Digital Strokes

My personal project’s main focus was to create and use my artworks to portray my personal interest for digital illustrating.

My digital art style is based on my personal interest in the Japanese manga art style. In the future, I wish to pursue a professional line of fine-arts. I wish to bring drawings, characters, and personalities to life using digital techniques. Being able to tell stories through artworks or simply illustrating what I have on my mind is what I strive to do.

I want to educate others on the media of digital art. In order to achieve this, I informed others about my vision of becoming a successful digital illustrator through my own artworks at the Personal Project fair.

Shane White, 15

Carving My Way into Music

My goal for this project to create an acoustic guitar made out of Bermuda Cedar; then to perform cover songs around Bermuda with a local musician.

As an outcome of this project my confidence as a performer has developed tremendously and my understanding of the demanding work it takes to construct a guitar has also expanded. Perceiving first-hand the precise work that luthiers have to perform, helped to give me a new skill that I will definitely use in the near future.

At the start of the project, I did not know what I definitely wanted to do, but I wanted to base it around guitars, as I am a skilled guitarist.

We were instructed to make our goal highly challenging and I wanted my project to be one to remember, therefore I came up with the idea of making my own guitar. Along the seven-month journey, there was never a moment when the progression was easy with this project.

There was always something breaking, not fitting right, or I could not get assistance for a certain task and I ended up depending on family to assist me. The end of my project was by far the best experience that I have ever had; seeing something “brought to life” by my own hand was amazing.

Asia Seymour, 15

Women are Somebody,

Not Just Some Body!

The goal of my project is to create awareness of how the media creates body image issues and sells the idea that women’s value is based on beauty, youth, and sexuality. I will be doing this by creating a teen magazine that will have articles and photos that highlight powerful women of all shapes, sizes, and races. I will also be creating social media pages and a website to spread the word around about this topic.

This topic is personal to me because I have often felt like I have had to look like the women portrayed in the media. Looking at these girls in the media was hurting my self-esteem and was creating body image issues. I know there are hundreds of girls who feel just like me, and I wanted to help them by creating this magazine.

I also want to become a graphic designer, so this project helped me learn more about design and help me later in life.

Quincy Kuzyk, 15

Running in Style

For my personal project, I designed a new logo for my running club MAAC Juniors and put together an order for a new tracksuit, running top and shorts that all of the club’s athletes will soon wear.

This was needed for my club because many of our club’s athletes previously did not have a team uniform and also because MAAC juniors previously did not have a tracksuit while the other clubs on the island including Pacers, Dash and Flyers did.

I was required to create designs with local artists, acquire a sponsorship from Deloitte and communicate with Nike to get the outfits order complete.

Xela Swan, 16

The Monsters

We’ve Become

The goal for my project was to create an informative book about global issues that humans have caused environmentally and socially.

The book included 12 pieces of body art with the subjects being: natural resource depletion, loss of biodiversity, lack of proper drinking water in developing countries, education, mass media, racism, overpopulation, pollution, warfare and terrorism, and “what the future holds”.

At least one piece had to follow full body, camouflage, multi-person, face painting and selective body painting styles. I chose this for my project because the environment and the wellbeing of others has always been important to me.

I wanted to spread awareness of what humans have done to destroy the planet in a way that could appeal to a wide audience through the artistic and written aspects of the book.

Jaedah Trott, 15

Models Not More Dolls

Your outer beauty will capture the eyes, your inner beauty will capture the soul

— Steven Aitchison

My goal was to create awareness in a documentary about how the fashion and modelling industry has impacted the self-esteem of teens.

My personal interest in the subject is directly related to my passion and hobby, which is modelling.

I have been modelling for eight years since the first Bermuda Fashion Festival in 2010 and even before then.

Over the years that I have been modelling I have seen the industry change and people change along with it.

I have witnessed first-hand what the fashion and model industry does, not only to teens but also to adults. I have had friends who have made dietary changes, exercise changes and even personality changes to fit the name of the fashion and modelling industry.

Lauren DeSousa, 15


for BAMZ

The aim of my personal project was to design, create and sell a range of bracelets that display Bermuda’s unique environment through the use of sea glass.

To supplement my goal, I sold my bracelets at approximately $20 each so that I could donate the profits of my bracelets to the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo.

I wanted to raise at least $1,000, which required me to sell a minimum of 50 bracelets. I am extremely happy to say that I surpassed this goal and raised about $2,000.

Along with the money, I am going to be donating some bracelets to BAMZ for sale this summer and it is still possible to purchase bracelets through my website: ldesousabda.wixsite.com/website.

I chose this as my project because I wanted to further discover Bermuda through jewellery and raise money for BAMZ through my appreciation of the aesthetic.

Hasna Turner, 15

Uyghurs — Prisoners

in Paradise

For my personal project, my goal was to publish a non-fiction book portraying the plight of the Uyghurs who are an Asian ethnic group oppressed by communist China.

I strived to convey several aspects of their story: the oppressive history between East Turkestan and China, the plight of four Uyghurs who were detained at Guantánamo Bay and their statelessness on the island of Bermuda.

The circumstances they endured were very harsh and brutal. I wanted to show the truth behind the stereotypes and misconceptions so that people in our community are informed about the situation.

A journey of self-discovery for students

The MYP Personal Project gives Somersfield graduating students the opportunity to explore a passion.

How many times in your life will you find an opportunity to explore a personally meaningful and ambitious project?

For many, taking time out of a busy schedule for exploring self-interest is impossible.

Perhaps the greatest strength of the MYP Personal Project is the assumption that every student positively benefits from a journey of self-discovery through the development of a significant body of work that is the product of individual initiative and creativity.

Although at first overwhelming for many students, the skills fostered by the MYP Personal Project are invaluable and will remain long after MYP Graduation.

As parents and teachers, we have the pleasure of living vicariously through our children and students, but also acting as essential guides through the process.

Students have been working towards this finish line for the past eight months. It is this project by our students that I am most proud of.

It is a culmination of a lot of meaningful work and care that is put in by a lot of different people through many years.

Jason Hammer

Personal Project Co-ordinator