So much of student life consists of doing what you are told to do. The curriculum is designed by teachers and the schedule by administrators. Pursuing personal passions is considered extra or beyond the duties of being a student.
Soille Hebrew Day School believes the best of people come out when they have the opportunity to develop and explore areas of personal interest beyond the daily requirements. The 20% project - a term borrowed from industry leaders like Google - allows middle school students to spend time doing just that.
Working with a teacher adviser, students come up with an idea that they will work on throughout the year. They write a proposal and a strategic plan to accomplish their goal; then they implement. Projects have included designing video games, learning how to juggle, song writing, book publishing, helping the needy, and many more. At the first annual showcase, parents were astounded by the progress of students while pursing their passions.