Students listened to both adults and their peers from the community speak about their passions at the second annual Passion Day event on campus on Monday. Last year’s inaugural event encouraged more students to present their passions to other members of the student body.
“I think our original vision for Passion Day is trying to get the students to see beyond academic subjects, or how academic subjects can support what their passion is in life,” library media specialist Pamela Quiros said.
The day started with keynote speaker Robin Cooper, former Pixar artist known for working on major animated films such as “Toy Story” and “Finding Nemo”. Due to the new addition of a freshman class, there were two keynote sessions in the theater, with the sophomores listening to Cooper speak before the freshmen.
This year, students were able to choose from two to four sessions ranging from 45 minutes to 90 minutes, a large difference compared to the three structured sessions offered last year. Presentation topics ranged from string and nail art to geotechnical engineering.
“Passion Day allows me to explore careers and fields of knowledge that I have never heard of before,” sophomore Benjamin Kim said.
Other student presenters included sophomores Nikhil Jha, Jordan Lee, Mike Nassif, Annie Qiao, Maya Sabbaghian, Eden Yeh and student band Cardboard Prison consisting of members Nicholas Hung,Yash Menon, Derrick Peng, Andrew Wang and Brian Yip. Freshmen Rayhan Gosla, Yinzhi Pan, Adele Yoon, Trung Huynh and Ali Dada also gave presentations. Examples of student presentations included Nassif’s “Flying Before Driving: How to Get Your Pilot’s License” and Yeh and Yoon’s “A Guide to Crayoligraphy—and More!”
“I think that [Passion Day] is a good way to be able to showcase what you’re interested in and get other people to recognize how great it really is,” Yoon said.
While the concept of a “passion day” is unique to Portola High, the leadership team plans to act as a pioneer of the event and have Passion Day as a school event for years to come. Future changes that will need to be made include accommodating all four classes on students in the theater for keynote speakers as well as reaching out to more potential presenters to meet the variety of interests students may have. Although the event may be modified, the vision of helping students find their passions remains the same.
“It’s really all about meeting the needs of the students and trying to really help them understand that yes, school subjects are really important, but let’s see the bigger picture of ‘How can I really utilize my passion and what I love to do when I get to be an adult,’” Quiros said.