Gschwind’s English Project

Taryn Robinson , Opinions Editor

Seniors in Kyle Gschwind’s Humanities and Composition class have been assigned an unusual project this first semester: The 20Time Project.

“Basically it’s a passion project — what [you are] interested in learning more about,” Gschwind said.

This is the fourth year Gschwind, new to Manhattan High this year, has given out this project to seniors.

“What first came to my mind is that it’d be super boring and [that] I wouldn’t be able to find anything cool, or interesting to actually do,” senior Tori Neilson said. “It’s actually kind of enjoyable; it gets me to not sit down, and whenever I have nothing to do when I’m just bored and playing on my phone. I’m able to get up and actually train my dog for school and that’s actually kind of interesting.

He hopes that his students not only learn something, but take away something that they can carry with them through college and throughout their life.

“[The goal is] to get the kids excited about learning on their own; the things that we know the most about are things we’re excited about,” Gschwind said. “What I’m hoping they get out of this project is that they become interested in learning, again, things that [they’re] interested in.”

Not only did Gschwind intend it to be something the seniors take with them, but it is something that has proved to be successful in many companies.

“The name 20Time comes from other companies that have done it, but Google especially gives 20% of their working time to their employees to work on projects that they’re passionate about,” Gschwind said. “This is how Gmail came about; a lot of things in Google Classroom are a passion project. [They] aren’t actually assigned jobs.”

This project has almost no limits. As Gschwind said, it’s something that you should be able to take away, and enjoy learning about at the same time.

“I have one student who is learning how to play a new song on guitar, I’ve got a couple students who are learning how to bake and like you’re putting together like a cookbook, I’ve got a couple students who are doing like YouTube makeup, blogs, shows how to you know do makeup, I’ve got some students working on basketball drills, others working on football drills, because, you know, Physical Education bounces as learning as well,” Gschwind said. “I’ve got a couple students who are learning Japanese chess, I got somebody who’s building a dog house for their dogs, somebody’s building an entertainment center, again you know it’s just whatever interests you.”

Gschwind’s goals for this project is to challenge his students while learning with something that they enjoy. 

“I decided to train my dog to do tricks,” Neilson said. “So, just teaching her how to sit, because I wanted to teach her [to] not constantly be running in circles. Since I taught her how to calm down a bit, I have just been trying to teach her how to beg and do other tricks.”

With this being Gschwind’s fourth year in giving out this project, many would think it would be very repetitive, but this year is definitely not like the rest. Social distancing and block schedules have changed how the project works this year.

“I really wasn’t too sure how the semester would play out with COVID and stuff like that and so if we get sent home, having a project that they could work on would be beneficial,” Gschwind said. “[My] students asked [me if] I’d do my 20Time project, [even in this] COVID world, and in the past three years students have presented in class, so this time they’re doing videos and I kind of told them that I’m looking to see what you can come up with.”