It’s a lunch break in the Kanab High art room. The air is full of excited conversation and the smell of tater tots as several Muse Program students sit in a circle and share recent progress on their so-called “Muse projects.” Students reply enthusiastically to Megan’s proposal to schedule a reading for her horror screenplay. Dallin and Corbin hilariously take turns talking about their illustrated science fiction novel. Nakita shares a sample of one of her recent fashion design concepts.
Motivational philosopher, L.Q. MacDonald III describes a muse as “that inspirational voice that spurns you on towards greater and greater achievement. A muse is not tied to the arts. Your muse might lead you towards entrepreneurship. Your muse might lead you to athletic accomplishment.
Your muse might lead you to become the best juggler the world has ever seen ... No one gets to tell you what it is and what it wants you to do. You just have to make sure you can recognize it when you see it.”
At KHS, Muse is a unique learning community where students are able to support and inspire each other in their KHS Muse program offers students a rewarding challenge Muse projects. A Muse project is a personally compelling project that is daunting, yet achievable with an end result that is somehow tangible, shareable or experienceable. The Muse project should require greater knowledge and ability than might be possessed at the time the project is initiated, and the ultimate goal is to complete the project before graduation.
While occasional encouragement and direction are helpful from parents, teachers and peers, students are expected to do the work on their own without outside help. A few students prefer to work in collaborative pairs, and some even hope to complete more than one project before they graduate.
The possibilities for Muse projects are as diverse as the students who choose them. Students have written and published books of fiction, a book of poetry, a children’s book and a comic book. Students have recorded albums of original music and performed their music in public. Students have launched businesses, created art portfolios, researched and designed scientific illustrations and created card games. Many Muse projects from the past are currently on display in the trophy case near the KHS art room.
Muse is open to all students at KHS, but not required or expected of anyone. Over 10 percent of the KHS student body have signed up for the Muse program and identified a project to work on. As students identify their motivating interests, discover the satisfaction of self-directed learning and sample the fulfillment of accomplishing a Muse project, their confidence grows and their self concept is transformed.
Henry David Thoreau described this process in Walden, “If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. He will put some things behind, will pass an invisible boundary; new, universal, and more liberal laws will begin to establish themselves around and within him; or the old laws be expanded, and interpreted in his favor in a more liberal sense, and he will live with the license of a higher order of beings.”
For more information about the KHS Muse Program, please contact Josh Baird at firstname.lastname@example.org.