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‘Who Am I Project’ a cornerstone at Bitney Prep

Submitted to The Union

For the past five years, the Who Am I Project has been a cornerstone of the Bitney Prep Charter High School curriculum and culture. This annual end-of-the-first-quarter project is an opportunity for students to self-reflect, explore and articulate their identity, and get to know each other in a way that they might otherwise not have the opportunity to do. While Zach, from the class of 2025, says, “The Who Am I projects are fun; I like how you can talk about yourself in front of other students so they get to know you more,” Simone, also from the class of 2025, is a bit blunter, saying, “It’s nice we get to talk about ourselves because everyone likes talking about themselves.”

For the Who Am I Project, Bitney Prep students stand up in front of their peers and give a fifteen-minute or so presentation about how they see their history, who they conceive themselves to be currently, and where they envision themselves in the future. The project’s parameters are broken up by grade level. For the ninth-graders, their Who Am I is based on the people and experiences that have shaped who they are, the Sophomores base theirs on a series of personality tests, Juniors see themselves through the music of their lives, and the Seniors take who they are now and project into their future.

This opportunity to muse upon their lives and their identity not only teaches students the valuable lesson of self-reflection, but it also gives them the opportunity to practice their presentation skills, gain self-confidence, and further bond the community. As Bitney Prep Sophomore Fiona says, the Who Am I’s are “a great way of self-expression and a way to get to know your fellow classmates. I find that you get to know yourself a little more in the process.”

Jamie from the class of 2023 echoes this sentiment. He says, “The Who Am I projects are a really productive event for our school community. These projects, when done well, give incredible insight into our peers’ lives and our own, and that is valuable.”

The Bitney Prep High School staff couldn’t agree more about the importance and relevance of the Who Am I Project. Bitney Prep English teacher Kelly Casey says, “I enjoy seeing students be very brave and vulnerable and share things that are important to them.” Likewise, Bitney Prep Science teacher Amy Pugel says, “I like how the students open up about aspects of their life that I don’t normally get to see. It helps me to get to know them more as the unique individual they are and not just as the student I teach.”

In her reflection on the Who Am I project, Bitney Prep Social Science teacher Tori Harris sums it up best, “It’s an opportunity for teens to actually think about who they are and who they want to be. For most teens, social media, school, and family dictate who they are or who they should be. These projects allow students to authentically reflect on who they are as individuals. Personally, I didn’t think about who I was much as a teen. I became the expectations that people had for me. It wasn’t until adulthood that I had to come to terms with this and had what some might call an ‘identity crisis.’ I wish that I had a built-in opportunity in school to figure myself out for myself. I’m thankful that Bitney Prep has this for our students. Although most of our students will evolve with age and become different people over time, they at least have the tools to know themselves better as they grow and change.”

Source: Bitney Prep High School

For the past five years, the Who Am I Project has been a cornerstone of the Bitney Prep Charter High School curriculum and culture.
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