Marching Into Madness: Highlighting This Year’s IP10 Projects

As the month of March wrapped up, so did the 10th-graders’ March Madness projects. 

Each year, the sophomore students independently create passion projects, which are displayed at the Independent Projects 10 (IP10) Symposium in mid-April. This year, the symposium will be held Wednesday, Apr. 10, 2024. The symposium serves as a stage for the students to exhibit their interests and talents. 

Among this year’s students’ projects is  Fletch K.’s exploration of Gothic architecture. Fletch’s fascination with this intricate style was ignited during family trips that diverged from a conventional Disney World trip. He said his family has always “prioritized exploring massive cathedrals and churches, delving into their rich history and evolution.” 

Grace Church is a monumental piece of Gothic architecture for Fletch, as it has been a part of his life for many years. Fletch said that because he “spent considerable time” at Grace, he “felt a strong connection [to the church], making it an ideal subject for [his] project.” 

Amidst Grace Church’s towering arches and colorful stained glass, Fletch found the spark of inspiration for his IP10 project: the creation of a detailed LEGO model of the church. 

Fletch’s project goes beyond replicating a structure; it’s an immersive exploration of historic Gothic architecture. 

“My aim is to independently uncover Gothic architecture’s historical backgrounds and evolutions,” Fletch explained. “It’s a delightful blend of my passion for historical research and one of my favorite art styles. I incorporated my love for Lego into the project to add a personal touch.”

The journey began with Fletch carefully planning and ordering the necessary LEGO pieces. After chapel one day, he “stayed back, meticulously photographing every corner of the church,”  allowing him to create an impressively accurate replica. Once he had all his photographs, he began to build.

Fletch devoted an “average of six hours a day [and] five days a week” to his project, which he completed in about five months. The final build will be presented at the IP10 symposium, and a website detailing Fletch’s whole process will be created.

Another highly creative project is Micah W.’s compelling documentary on political polarization in America. Micah’s choice of topic stems from a fusion of personal interest and societal significance. 

“It combines two of my favorite interests,” he said, “and also has an important story to tell in today’s context!”

Micah’s documentary takes the form of a “sizzle reel,” a shorter-style format. His vision includes interviews with a diverse range of perspectives, from fellow students and teachers to government officials, such as Virginia Senator Tim Kaine. Micah’s documentary sheds light on the complexities of the partisan divide. 

While the documentary may be shorter in duration than a standard feature, it is brimming with meticulously curated information gathered throughout the school year. 

Micah also plans to continue working on his project beyond the symposium. He feels that if he continues, he could make it a “stronger documentary.” Micah believes that his documentary might have more to touch on with the upcoming presidential election.

Throughout this project, Micah has learned about the politically polarized state of America and a lot about “interviewing skills and how to edit a documentary!” Micah also learned the value of “not procrastinating.”

Another 10th-grader who learned the important lesson of “not procrastinating” is Mika H. ‘26. Her project involves two of her passions: neuroscience and coloring. Mika has always been “captivated by the intricacies of the brain and its incredible capabilities.” She believes it’s “truly amazing how such a small organ can be capable of controlling everything in our bodies from regulating it, to keeping us alive, to our emotions, memory, and everything that makes you you.”

Mika’s book “Neuro in Color” is a coloring book that teaches the reader about the brain while they color. Mika described how “through engaging activities, this book will not only entertain but also enlighten [readers], providing a unique way to learn and have fun while expanding our understanding of the brain.”


Media provided by Mika H. ’26

Mika’s research started with reading multiple textbooks. “Instead of googling everything online,” she said, “I decided to gather my information from textbooks that people would use if they wanted to learn about the brain.” 

Once she completed the research, Mika moved on to the skeleton of her coloring book on an app called Procreate. She said, “this part took quite a while because digital art is not as easy as I thought it would be, and it took some time to adjust.” 

Then, Mika added the information about the brain          

onto each page. She made sure that all the information 

was “digestible and not overcomplicated.” She said it was a “really valuable experience” as she learned all about the brain and creating a book while also learning about time management skills and planning. 

Finally, Mika will print her book to be showcased at the IP10 symposium.

Zoe Z. ‘26 has always had a passion for fashion. Over the summer, she interned with Cynthia Rowley, a famous fashion designer. Although she has always loved fashion, she came to realize the impact unsustainable fashion has on the world. While interning at the fashion company, she noticed “how much waste was being produced in the process of manufacturing and designing clothes.” This is where she came up with the idea for her magazine called “Fashion Forward.”

The magazine highlights sustainable fashion. She includes interviews with “different experts surrounding the fashion industry, examples of sustainable brands, the negative effects of fast fashion, and finally, the improvements that have been made in the industry.”

Media provided by Zoe Z. ‘26

The magazine allows the reader to understand how important sustainability in fashion is while listing options of sustainable brands that deserve recognition.  “In making this magazine, [Zoe hopes] to spread awareness about sustainability and to provide examples of ways my readers can make a conscious difference in their purchases.”

While reflecting on her project, Zoe shared how the project “has allowed me to be resilient and cordial in school, and has allowed me to successfully work without the strict deadlines of normal assignments.” 

Another student who learned the art of resilience was Felix W. ‘26, who learned to fly a plane.

Felix has always been passionate about flying. When he was figuring out what to do for his project, he quickly realized how great an opportunity IP10 was to follow that passion.

Media provided by Felix W. ‘26

Over the fall, Felix spent his time “tutoring and babysitting to earn the funds to take lessons to become a student pilot.” He shared that his project’s goal is completing his first solo flight.

Similar to Micah’s documentary-styled project, Felix’s symposium deliverable is a video “centered around the process of completing my first solo flight.” Throughout the process of “learning to fly, I compiled footage to create a short movie about the experience of flying.”

Felix shared that the main thing he learned while working on his project was “the skills to become a student pilot and the progress to the point of my first solo flight. I learned that the hardest part of flying is becoming fluid with the controls.”

As the IP10 Symposium approaches, it is evident that the sophomore students at our school have embarked on remarkable journeys of creativity, passion, and discovery. From Fletch K. ‘26’s intricately crafted LEGO model of Grace Church to Felix W. ‘26’s lifelong passion for learning to fly a plane and make that dream become a reality, each project is a testament to the talents and interests of the sophomore students. 

Check out the 10th graders’ projects here: Zoe’s project, Mika’s projectFletch’s project, and Felix’s project

Cassie Ball ‘26, the author, is a staff writer for The Grace Gazette and completed her own March Madness project on happiness.