Seniors showcase their passion projects


Senior Maddie Perry shows off the collected donations for her passion project, @ProjectMMD

Every year at NDB, as a final impact on the community, NDB seniors complete a passion project as a part of the senior spiritual life curriculum. This year’s seniors finalized their year-long project planning and implementation of their passion project’s May 14th.

“The passion project part of our curriculum has always been something I looked forward to,” said senior Andrea Aquino on her thoughts on the passion project. “It is an amazing way for Notre Dame students to get involved in the community and while being part of something they are passionate about. Not many schools do this, which also makes it even more special.”

In a typical year, seniors would present their passion project’s in person. With COVID-19 restrictions, many elements of how seniors approached their projects had changed, including presentation night. Instead of live presentations, seniors recorded their presentations, making them viewable on a more flexible schedule. In addition, with COVID-19 causing new limits with projects, many students took a more virtual approach to their impact.

“I really enjoyed creating my passion project this year with my partner Maddie Perry,” said senior Mary Hunsaker on her experience with the passion project. “Our project name was Project MMD which focused on educating our community about poverty especially in the Bay Area. Maddie and I created an Instagram to post quotes, facts, and share what we were doing to help. Overall the passion project was a good opportunity to reach out to our community and become more connected.”

To access Hunsaker’s Instagram account and more information to get involved in other senior’s passion projects, view the 2021 Senior Passion Project Announcements and Information document sent out by senior seminar teacher Ynez Manalo.

Other seniors knew COVID-19 affected the community in certain ways and decided to aim their projects towards this. For example, typically a senior takes on Mighty Tigers, a youth cheerleading program, as their passion project. Knowing that this would be more difficult this year with the pandemic still affecting the community, senior Mckenzie Rees modified the project to make sure the tradition stays alive.

“Although COVID-19 limited our passion projects, I got the opportunity to write out the instructions of the Mighty Tigers to ensure the project will be carried on in the future,” said Rees. “I am excited to see girls in future years take over this project and make it their own.”

Without the senior spiritual life teachers, though, many of these projects would not have been possible. In addition to each project’s individual adult mentor, teacher’s helped students plan projects, schedule time to work on projects, and make sure their project had a strong impact.

“I have loved teaching the Knights this year, especially because I have seen them grow over the course of their 4 years at NDB, taught many of them as sophomores, and attended Kairos with many of them as juniors,” said Manalo on what it has been like teaching seniors this year. “Over the past few months, I have witnessed the seniors turn their ideas into concrete and tangible projects that have helped make a positive difference in the world. It’s been amazing to hear about their passions for topics such as mental health, children in need, the environment, and poverty and homelessness being acted upon with real-life solutions. I am so proud of them for all of their hard work and dedication.”

Good job Knights with all your work on the passion projects!

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