The following contains selections from an exhibition curated by Leyla Ahmadi, a member of the
Wilson Regional Upper School graduating class of 2040. Leyla developed this exhibition on her
educational experience as her Senior Assessment Project. Since 2030, Senior Assessment Projects
are a graduation requirement across the United States, and require students to spend the last
semester of high school producing a mindful reflection on their learning experiences from early
childhood through graduation. Leyla, alongside several of her classmates, chose to work with Sam
Brown, an educator at the local history museum, to co-develop exhibitions about their learning
experiences. The exhibition will remain on display at the local history museum, with students on
hand to assist in interpretation, through December 2040.
(Unfortunately, the virtual reality and digital/audio aspects cannot be reproduced here.)
School Guidance Counselor Progress Report on Leyla Ahmadi
Leyla is an inquisitive, bright, and talkative child [… ]sAt this point, we would recommend her for
the Centerville History Museum’s After-School Program. As the child of refugees and with two
parents who work full-time, Leyla would benefit from CHM’s warm, informal learning
environment. Participation would allow her to continue her verbal, social, and physical
development on pace with her peers. Since Centerville has still not fully complied with the Every
Student Succeeds Act of 2025, participating in the After School Program at CHM would give Leyla
a more personalized educational experience that her school does not yet provide (full
implementation is expected by 2029).
Moreover, both Mr. and Ms. Ahamdi have expressed in parent-teacher conferences their concern
that Leyla not fall behind her peers in digital literacy, and worry they are not financially able to
provide Leyla experiences in handling virtual reality interactives. Participation in CHM’s After-
School Program would give Leyla the opportunity to improve digital literacy at no additional cost
to her parents, thanks to the museum’s longstanding commitment to provide digital learning
resources to the community.
Centerville Digital Community Board
MusEd wrote: Congratulations to members of the Maya Angelou Elementary kindergarten
classes, who participated in our community garden initiative last month! Students visited the
museum over the course of the month and learned about the history and science of community
gardens. Leyla Ahmadi, 5, said, “I like to learn about the pretty flowers, because we learned at
the museum that they weren’t just pretty because they can also smell good or make us sick or
help us feel better.” When asked what her favorite part of the project was, Leyla eagerly shared a
song the class had learned about a new word — photosynthesis.
Mr. Utaku’s 3rd Grade Class Cordially Invites You
To the opening of their “Where Did We Come From?” exhibition on human evolution. The class
chose this topic at the beginning of the year, and have spent time exploring the history and
science of evolution through 3-D objects, distance tours of the National Museum of Natural
History, and original research.
November 16-18, from 6-8 PM.
Admission is free, and students will act as docents. Students encourage parents and friends to
visit the Virtual Museum Site they designed to enrich the experience.
Mr. Utaku’s Class would like to thank Mr. Utaku, the National Museum of Natural History, and
Sam Brown of the Centerville History Museum for their help and support in turning the classroom
into a museum gallery.
The Excellence in Accessibility Award is presented to Leyla Ahmadi, 4th Grade, Maya Angelou
Elementary on behalf of Julia Washburn, Director of the National Park Service, and Maria C. R.
Gonzalez, President of the United States of America, on 22nd April 2033.
As part of her participation in the “Every Kid In A Park” Program first established by President
Barack Obama, Leyla and her classmates spent one day a week at different National Park sites,
learning national, state, and local history and ecology and practicing hands-on mathematical and
analytical skills. They also learned about the history of accessibility in the NPS, and were invited
to brainstorm ideas for improving accessibility. Leyla Ahmadi submitted a proposal for a virtual
reality tour, designed by students, that could be shared with students from schools across the
world. Leyla says she was inspired by the games and programs she’s participated in as part of the
Centerville History Museum’s After-School Program.
[Painting of the sun rising over New Earth, the first Martian Colony. The landscape is reminiscent
of 19th century landscapes, but includes color studies that evoke Rothko.]
June 1, 2034
Science and art collide! Can you remember a time when we didn’t know what life on Mars looked
like? When I was 11, we hadn’t established New Earth yet. NASA invited kids from all over the
country to send them art based on what we already know about Mars and imagining what daily
life on Mars will look like.
Every painting got paired with one of the first photographs the astronauts sent back from the
founding of New Earth. It was so cool to see my painting next to artwork from another planet!
I’m still proud to have been a part of the first interplanetary museum exhibition.
Augmented and Virtual Reality at the CHM Bring Students Into Ancient Civilization
Overheard at the Centerville History Museum, during the Wilson Regional Upper School’s weekly
field trip, July 14, 2037:
– “Imagine not being able to touch replicas of ancient Greek pottery!”
– “I know, right? If you only saw it in cases against a white background, with no context! My
mom told me that’s what it was like when she was growing up.”
– “Ugh, how boring just having to see it in a box. Literally my favorite part is eating out of
the replicas! How could you understand what it was like to use them?”
– “Can you believe it took so long to invent 3-D printing? I mean, it just seems so basic.”
– “Well, it was expensive though, right?”
– “I guess. But come on, we use it every day! And the museum would be so boring if you
couldn’t touch anything!”
Ah, kids these days.
[Datapad displaying a project assignment from September 2036]
The Independent School Project:
All students ages 16-17 will spend a year of independent learning. Under the supervision of a
sponsor teacher and guidance counselor from Wilson Regional Upper School, students will
research a “critical question,” present their findings to their classmates, and design an
interdisciplinary readying syllabus by consensus with their peers. Students will have full access to
local museum educators and curators and are provided with transportation vouchers and access
to the National Interlibrary Loan Database. Students also set personal “self-improvement”
learning goals that identify a skill which they want to improve and design a project through which
they will learn that skill. Projects may include apprenticeships with local artisans.
Students will spend the first three weeks formulating a “critical question.” In the past, students
have researched questions such as: Why do people have allergies? How are fairy tales from
different cultures related? Students will then spend 8 weeks researching their critical question,
with weekly check-ins with their sponsor teacher to discuss findings and problems. At the end of
the 8 weeks, students will teach their critical question to their peers (including an assessment
which the student and sponsor will co-design).
From weeks 11-21, students will design an interdisciplinary reading syllabus. All students must
read all books selected, but in the selection process will have the opportunity to argue for and
against the inclusion of different books in the curriculum.
Throughout the year, students will embark on a self-improvement project designed to teach a
new skill. Students are encouraged to pick an analog skill, such as pottery, cooking, and carpentry
that is out of their comfort zone. Students will have the opportunity to work as apprentices to
local workers, hone their skill, and then demonstrate it to their peers at the conclusion of the
program. Students are expected to produce weekly reflections
Please note: Students are not required to remain in Centerville for the duration of this program.
Many students and families take this opportunity to use NEA, IMLS, and other federal and state
grants to travel to other parts of the country to stay with family or as part of an exchange
program. Students will maintain an open line of communication with supervisors and peers via
the School2School App on their Datapads.
Introduction Panel to Reaching for the Stars: The Education of Leyla Ahmadi
Girl. Syrian-American. Hijabi. Basketball Player. Historian. Artist. Scientist. I’m firmly rooted in
Centerville, but I’m able to stretch across the country, the world, and the solar system!