Compass Expo: Exposing Students’ Passions

HUDSON, 2022–Students gradually pooled into the MAC, scurrying between various tables with the quest of collecting blue tickets, as five tickets resulted in bubble tea, ice cream, and newfound knowledge of their peers’ interests.

Western Reserve Academy strives to provide students with various opportunities to enhance their educational experience. One of these programs, uniquely offered by Reserve, is the CL Compass Program–overseen by faculty coordinators Dr. Borrmann, Mr. Morrison, Ms. Lopez, and Dr. Robinson, alongside members of the Compass Committee.

This past Wednesday, May 4, students from the CL Compass program held interactive exhibitions in the MAC multipurpose room to showcase their year-long projects.

The Compass Program, open to all rising upperclassmen, allows students to pursue passion projects on topics and issues of their choice within a non-traditional classroom setting. As participant Lauren Jacot ‘22 phrased it, “[The Compass program grants students] the freedom to create whatever [they] want since the classroom can sometimes be a constrictive environment.”

However, the program’s application process remains relatively selective–with only two-thirds of its applicants being admitted into the course. Nonetheless, students enrolled in the course work towards developing their projects to the professional level–by learning skills related to public speaking, project management, collaboration, budgeting, and much more. The class culminates with students sharing their projects with the community via Compass Speaks or Compass Expo.

“Compass Expo was so inspiring…it was such a great experience,” noted Shin Lee ’22, the developer of the Reserve Record app. Lee’s project dealt with providing the school’s newspaper, The Reserve Record, with a more accessible platform to reach students. Many participants agreed with Lee, expressing their gratitude for the program–including David King ’22.

Shin Lee ’22 showcasing his project in its various stages

“[Compass provides students with] the ability to work with people outside the Reserve bubble…[and] prepare [them] for the future,” claimed King, who utilized his love for Irish dance to create a dance therapy program for those suffering from Parkinson’s disease.

As community members walked around the exhibition, they had the opportunity to interact with various booths; from controlling drone simulations and writing heartwarming cards for childhood cancer patients to playing Kahoots about the WRA student body’s mental health, visitors were excited upon seeing how dedicated these students were. 

Advice for interested students? Danielle Liu ’22, whose project aimed to create representative fashion, recommends that students have “a thorough plan, as the process can sometimes have multiple obstacles.” Despite the difficulties, Liu–alongside her fellow Compass members–is thankful for the experience and encourages other students to apply for the program.

Danielle Liu ‘22 presenting photos from her personal Compass event

Angela Benzigar ’22

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