The Buffalo Way: Teacher Inspires Students to Follow Passion With Weekly Genius Hour

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The Buffalo Way: Teacher Inspires Students to Follow Passion With Weekly Genius Hour

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Being able to learn about what you are passionate about is a task that teacher Zoie Park is practicing every week at the Villages High School. Dr. Park is a 9th grade English teacher who is taking a different route when getting her students prepared for life outside of high school. She is using a whole year project called Genius Hour. 

“Friday Genius Hour is a way for students to add a research element into my English class, yet still get to focus on what is important to them.  It allows students to be creative and explore matters which could be incorporated into the real world,” said Dr. Park. “Students get to work at their own pace to a certain extent.  It gives my students time to escape the traditional confines of school and learn about something that matters to them.”

Genius Hour gives students the opportunity to study/research what they are passionate about and what possibly what they want to do when they are out of high school.

“It gets us to think about our future and career,” said freshman Austin Kelly. “We are sitting down and getting told what to learn 5 days out of the week , so one day where we can express ourselves can do us some good.”

The diversity between what each student can be studying is drastic. From studying veterinary science, to studying how to make mats out of bags for the homeless, students are each able to focus on something they are passionate about.

“Passion drives what we all love and do. Without passion, the world would not be the way it is today,“ said Zoie Park

The outcome from the Whole Year project Genius Hour is to allow Dr. Park’s students to be able to think outside of the box and learn in a way that they love.

“The process will be used effectively to show research elements and still allow students to show what they like or love,” added Park.

Dr. Park will be continuing Genius Hour with her future classes, so in the years to come high school students at VHS will be working towards their goals and passions.  She hopes that students are able to put their own spin on their future and able to work on what they are passionate about.