Photo Story: Students Pursue Topics in the Arts Through IP Projects


Senior Ian Collins presents his project about rhetoric and speechwriting, which delved into how persuasion has changed. Staff Photo: Sadie Stinson.

Sadie Stinson, Parina Patel, and Sophia Artandi

Menlo juniors and seniors presented their Interdisciplinary and Personalized Scholars Program (IP) Arts and Letters projects on Dec. 11 and 12. They worked on them in a first semester Capstone class taught by history teacher Katharine Hanson. Students take IP courses to pursue topics that they’re interested in beyond class, whether it be creating an album, writing stories or even changing Menlo’s curriculum. There are currently IPs in four fields of study: Arts and Letters, Global Scholars, Civic Leadership and Community Engagement and Impact. Captions by Parina Patel, Sadie Stinson and Sophia Artandi, staff photos by Sadie Stinson. 

Detective Margaret prepares janitor-turned-detective Douglass before he interrogates Susie, daughter of the man who was murdered. The play, titled The Janitorial Job, was created and directed by junior Langley Ward, and follows two detectives on their journey to solve a murder mystery. According to Ward, the play “satirizes the film noir genre” and “addresses the gender issues that occurred in the workspace of the post-World War II era.” Staff Photo: Sadie Stinson.

Senior Isabella Madruga explains the challenges she faced while trying to compose three short stories with varying genres. According to Madruga, “this project was just an extension of my own passion for writing, and it expanded my writing skills and imagination further than I would’ve thought.” Staff Photo: Sadie Stinson.

Senior Ian Collins presents his project about rhetoric and speechwriting, which delved into how persuasion has changed. Collins rewrote some of the top Democratic candidates’ speeches and created a website that promotes respectful discourse. Staff Photo: Sadie Stinson.

Senior Bella Guel talks about her website, which focuses on teaching students about California native plants. On the right of the stage is a display of watercolor paintings, ink pen drawings, and original photography of the plants from the garden she built at Menlo. Her IP is a multipart project which consists of a garden, a herbarium, a website, photography, drawing, and ultimately a lesson plan to implement botany in Menlo’s biology and art departments. Staff Photo: Sadie Stinson.

Junior Lindsey Ball presents her IP project, which focused on writing fantasy stories. In her presentation, Ball stated that her novel focuses on a teenager, Cleo, who “ is introduced into a society that is fighting to return to their own utopia, and is in desperate need. It just so happens that this society is one in which her father is a prominent leader in this government.” Ball stated that “I joined this IP class because I wanted to achieve a greater purpose for my novel. I needed to push myself beyond the limits that I had set up and I needed constant feedback from mentors.” Staff Photo: Sadie Stinson.

Senior Griffin Thomas presents his IP project about music and songwriting. Thomas created a music album inspired by the concept of the seven deadly sins. In his presentation, Thomas said that “the biggest thing I had to get over was, I was limited by my own creativity. I was starting from nothing, I could literally do anything I want.” Staff Photo: Sadie Stinson.

Senior Penelope Penfold-Patterson presents her project, which involved creating a country-pop album that focused on social issues that are difficult or uncomfortable to talk about. She said she was especially inspired by Carrie Underwood, using her hit song “Church Bells” as an example where Underwood sings about domestic violence. “I feel like my entire Menlo education has led up to this point,” Penfold-Patterson said in the presentation. Staff Photo: Sadie Stinson.

Senior Alex Morgan presents his project, in which he created a long-form article about how the “pay-to-play” structure of the U.S. youth soccer development system limits opportunities for kids from low-income families. In a text message to The Coat of Arms, he said he hopes to get published by a popular soccer publication in the near future. Staff Photo: Parina Patel.