The 20% Project

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Updated: Tue, 11 Mar 2014 08:54:03 CST

From improving education to fighting the obesity epidemic.

"Our health is actually getting worse compared to other countries," said Jacob Steiner.

A Hastings high class is trying to improve everyday life, one project at a time.

"I think that creating awareness by displaying the poverty in Hastings is one step to ending world poverty," said Justine Steiner.

This time of year, teacher Katie Shepherd can see the look in her students eyes.

"I remember spring semester really having senioritis," said Katie Shepard, German teacher at Hastings High School.

So, she came up with an idea adapted by Google, called the 20 percent plan. Student step away from their normal work load, and, use 20% of class time to come up with a project. Just one requirement, change the world.

"I thought this would be a great way to take some time out of our class time for them to focus on something that they're really interested in," said Shepard.

Senior Nicholas Howard sees flaws in our education system. He thinks students need to be more involved in the process. Nicholas is using class time to come up with solution.

"I'm really excited for it because it's like a great example of being able to pursue something you wanna pursue and hopefully taking something that you are passionate about and turning it into something immensely valuable."

In just her second year of teaching, Shepard has decided to think outside the box.

"Kind of change the culture in my classroom of high school and encourage students to learn because it's what they want to do."

And her students are embracing this opportunity.

"We actually get to think outside the box now we're doing our own thing with no restraints," said Kevin Tur. 

"We get to choose what we want to learn about, it's something that I'm passionate about and we can apply it to not only our lives and everybody around us in the community and maybe the world," said Jacob Steiner.