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One of three paintings by Emily Dooley for her Independent Study, inspired by the albumAnimals by Pink Floyd

The hallmark of a High Meadow education is supporting each student in finding their own authentic voice.  As a student progresses through the grades they are offered more and more choices in areas of study so they can pursue an education that is meaningful to them as a unique learner.

In support of this goal for our students, this year for the first time an Independent Study Elective was offered to 7th and 8th graders. They were given the opportunity ponder how they would most enjoy spending their time in school and to propose an independent project for themselves.

The invitation was to engage any medium to explore any theme they wanted.  In order to participate they were required to submit a thoughtful, written description of the project, an idea for its public presentation, and a time frame for its completion.

Four students submitted written applications, and four were accepted into the school’s pilot Independent Study Elective, all eighth-graders.

Lucian Edgar sketched out a scenario for a comedy about a failed magician sucked into a wild bank heist. Colette O’Malley proposed a documentary about close encounters with UFO’s. Emily Dooley’s proposal was for a triptych of oil paintings based on the songs of Pink Floyd’s Animals, while Romany Stover’s was for a comprehensive, intergenerational survey on people’s understanding of their own humanity.

The students worked steadily on their project through the Winter and Spring, meeting regularly with their academic advisors for one-on-ones, and convening on Wednesdays as a group with the independent study coordinator, Roberto Rossi, for a peer-review of their projects. The journey from vision to completion had its twists and turns, but each student brought the project to completion successfully, producing final presentations this week that were remarkably close to what had been proposed.

Congratulations to this first cohort of independent scholars!


Lucian Edgar wrote, cast, produced and directed an original play for his Independent Study, performed for the students this week.