As a senior at Boston Latin Academy, our great World History teacher will not let us graduate, without assigning us our very last student product. In early April, where college decisions and senioritis are plaguing us, Mr. Howard revealed the ultimate project of the year. The ultimate project that traces back to community development and planning. The ultimate project that has to do everything I love doing.
On that day, we were given the options ranging from creating a newspaper to making a video relating to World History. Underneath all of the options, one particular idea intrigued me. The idea of creating a placard, where you pick a place in a community and plan on what should be built there. The assignment sounded very familiar as I was sitting in my seat and as always, Chinatown came right into mind. Then I thought, “Wait, there is still the empty land across from Pho Pasteur, due to Kensington’s careless if not reckless planning. The land can really be put into good use.”
Before you know it, a group starts forming with three people (Kristian, Yelei and me) who know the community inside and out and three new people (Ginny, Kim and VyVy) who are willing to participate and learn simultaneously. Right now, we are in the process of planning and building. Just last Friday, I took the new people onto a tour and they end up learning a lot and was awed by how much history exists in a Chinatown where it has always been seen as a place with just an abundance of restaurants and dirty streets. It was tiring, walking around for two hours and discussing our plans but nevertheless, it felt great that this project is engaging young people to challenge themselves to think critically of what the needs of the community are and to plan on how to apply the needs onto a piece of land.
Up to this point we are thinking of a three – story building. The plan is as followed:
1st floor: Community space/poetry café
2nd floor: Asian American bookstore/music store/ art store
3rd floor: Chinatown history museum
Roof: Green space/ garden
Maybe we can adapt this placard project into A-VOYCE’s curriculum but in the mean time stay tuned for the final product!
Now, if you were asked to pick a place in your community and to decide on what to build on it. WHAT WOULD IT BE?