Librarian shares her top 10 favorite personal projects


A student shows his Bikini Bottom replica personal project at a past exhibition. This year the exhibition was held virtually.

Lucy Pappas, Co-Editor-in-Chief

Every year sophomores complete the personal project. Librarian Helene Achgill gets to be a part of this process every year, so she has seen hundreds of different projects. 

 “ I truly believe that the personal project is an opportunity for students to learn something new that they care about. It does not have to be as big as writing your first novel. Just learning something to become more independent like changing a tire or cooking is very valuable. Exploring a career interest as many have done or expressing yourself creatively is lovely, too. Especially when we are all stuck at home to entertain ourselves, I think the personal project could be a good reason to get off your phone and do something meaningful that can help you in the future. Hopefully, the personal project teaches you something about yourself and gives you confidence to set personal goals in the future.  It might be something you write about in your college application essays someday. It might even be something that really makes a difference for your family or in your community,” says Achgill.

Achgill provides a list of her top 10 favorite personal projects:



“A student learned to make tamales, explained their significance and then offered them to anyone at the exhibition. I can’t imagine that we will be able to taste food in the future, but many students take advantage of the Personal Project to learn how to cook and learning to make special foods that are significant to your cultural heritage is always great.”



“A student wrote and published their first novel. I was awed.”



“A student created a huge model of Sponge Bob’s Bikini Bottom and explained why it was significant to them. There were so many fun details. It was a huge crowd favorite.”


4.Auto Detailing:

“A student learned auto detailing from YouTube videos and brought in the hood of a car divided in half to show the before and after. There were numerous teachers who wanted to hire him.”


5.Changing a Tire:

“A student learned how to change a tire and took step by step photos of the process. That was something I needed to learn.”



“A student studied graffiti with the help of art teacher Jenny Lindell, then made examples and invited all the visitors to his booth at exhibition to make their own. The crowd loved it.”



“Some students worked together to create a pinball machine that actually worked.”


8.Manga Drawings:

“A student created a portfolio of manga drawings that were so beautiful.”


9.Magic Tricks:

“One of our students learned magic tricks and performed them at the exhibition. He was very good and we loved watching him perform.”


10.Included Quote:

“A student included a quote about the Personal Project on their exhibit: “Learn what it is that you want to learn because you are the only obstacle that prevents you from learning something new.”