Kinzie Farmer is a senior in high school and will graduate in the spring of 2015. She looks forward studying International Business at Santa Clara University or Notre Dame. Kinzie has spoken at a handful of conferences and is involved in her school through band and Business Professionals of America. She hopes to share what she learned throughout the past year with other students so they fulfill their dreams. Kinzie loves to spend time with her family and friends and travel all over the world.
A School Students Love
As a senior in high school, I have spent more than my fair share of time in a seat watching the clock. I entered my thirteenth year of school this August, and for the first time since I can remember, I was so excited. I no longer had to sit in a seat alongside of thirty other kids and learn what I “had” to. I didn’t have to watch that clock for forty-two minutes, or cram for a test and stay up super late. I didn’t have to be herded through the hallways in five minutes and make it to the next class on time.
This year, I was able to go back to the school that I love. It’s a school without classrooms, with only four teachers, no tests and my favorite, no class periods. Here at Iowa BIG, we learn the same material as other students, just in a way that’s best for us.
I was one of less than twenty students at Iowa BIG last year, and now I am one of sixty. I had the privilege of completing a project last year that challenged me as a student more than I could imagine and as a person even more. I worked with my teacher and headmaster, Shawn Cornally, to create SuccessS.H.E. to inspire young women to overcome the personal boundaries they have imposed on themselves. Through that project and through the school, I created a network in Cedar Rapids that helped me achieve what I never thought was possible.
At Iowa BIG, we have meetings once a week to connect with our groups and decide what we need to do to make progress, they assess our learning similar to a test or quiz. The rest of the week, we work on our projects, have meetings in the community, work with our groups, do “customer discovery”, or go on tours in the community. Last year and this year, I have learned how to communicate with adults that I will eventually work with, schedule meetings, deliver a speech (with an ask) to further my project, advocate for myself, manage my time, and work harder than I ever thought possible. The freedom that Iowa BIG has built in is a key component of learning how to grow up and manage your time without someone telling you what to do. It has been the greatest learning experience for me.
When this year is over, I will be really sad to graduate and leave BIG, but right now, I am working to leave an impression on the community and students to come. One of my three projects is to “Make BIG Bigger”, or expand the BIG model so other students can enjoy school as much as I do. My team is exploring what it would take to make another Iowa BIG and doing marketing for the school. This project is so exciting to me because I can share what has made my high school experience with more students.
So Iowa BIG might not be for everyone, I understand that, but it definitely was for me. I hope students find the thing that makes them love school, because I sure have and I’m so lucky. I can’t wait to share that with others.