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Diving into the MYP personal project

We invited community members to share their experience in the IB Middle Years Programme (MYP). This story is from Atlantic Community High School, Florida, USA.

How do students create a personal project with community focus? In a state surrounded by ocean, there’s one essential skill every student needs to know: how to swim. Willow Moffett used her MYP project to obtain her life guard and CPR certification while laying the groundwork for a club that would offer swim lessons for students in need of training. Willow reflects on her project for the Q&A below.

What experience sparked the idea that led you to your personal project?

I chose the topic Life Guard Certification because I felt that not only was it something that I have been interested in doing for years, but as also having a one-of-a-kind life experience. I started swimming at the age of 9 months and I thought if I worked towards my certification, I could help others and I would benefit on my transcript for college.

Swimming and helping others have always been a passion of mine and I feel that receiving my lifeguard certification would also be something that I would enjoy doing.

What was the most challenging aspect of the project and how did you rise to meet this challenge? 

The most challenging part of this was maintaining consistency throughout my practices. I practiced every Monday, Wednesday and Friday also, I volunteer with young kids while training. One of the most difficult parts of my training was being able to practice swimming with weight, so I had to mount a brick on my back and complete my laps.

Also, I had to increase the amount of laps I had to swim in order to up my stamina, I worked with local kids from summer camps and I maintained the water safety rules while training, it was challenging.

Willow discusses her MYP project at Atlantic Community High School.  She focused her project on swimming to develop her skills and share her passion for the water with other students.

What would you have changed or refined to improve your work looking back?

I felt that things couldn’t have gone better. I was expecting to practice every day and I maintained that goal while having to complete it in time to go on my family vacation.

What has been the most meaningful outcome of the project since completion?

I feel that working with kids was most impactful. The fact that I enjoy working with others and helping kids who are learning to swim in a nearby community really made me enjoy what I did at the Pompey Park Pool.

If a younger student was to follow in your footsteps and build on your work in this area, what advice would you have for them?

The advice I would give a younger student would be to practice good judgement, I feel that working with others in a community where most of the kids do not swim, will be a challenge. Continuing to practice good judgement while working with younger children is especially important. I would explore learning to become a good listener and a good role model for the younger children.

The next big challenge is working as a lifeguard and being able to maintain and continue best practices of being a lifeguard. I learned it’s not just water safety in this community, it will be important to listen to younger kids and practice my skills—including CPR—all of this will be a major challenge once I become a life guard.

Visit our website to learn more about the Middle Years Programme (MYP). To share your great stories and experiences: email editor@ibo.org.