Showtime! New Ulysses Coordinator earns rave reviews for first Ulysses Fair

Daniela White, Reporter

Some students work for years to perfect a musical instrument, and some put in the hours to learn a new language. The students in the Ulysses Program, however, dedicate four years of their high school careers to creating a project they imagine from beginning to end. Learning basic research skills, Ulysses students create a topic that connects to them and will matter to others. 

Senior year is the culmination of the Ulysses students’ academic careers. Students spend several weeks gathering their research, then create a fifteen-minute slideshow to share with a classroom panel. After all of that hard work, comes the Ulysses Fair. This is when students are able to show their semester-long hard work to the whole school for the entirety of the day. The first Ulysses fair for the new Ulysses Coordinator, Doo Na Kim, took place on Jan. 12 and 13 of 2023. 

Starting right as the bell rang for first period, the seniors began presenting to all those who stopped by their stand. 

When asked about what the process was like to get to the point of presenting at the Ulysses Fair, senior Anika Prasanna added, “It took me the entire semester pretty much to create the project and come up with how I wanted to conduct my original research… And then, yeah, now we’re here! Now we’re here presentin’!” 

Another senior who took part in the Ulysses Fair, Ella Phillippy, had more to add to this statement.   

“There was a lot of practice presentations that we had to do and creating transcripts so that we were well prepared,” the students said, shining some light on the work behind the table-stand presentations. 

Being in the four-year Ulysses Program comes with a lot of knowledge about research, so when asked what she learned the most by being in the program, Prasanna said that the skill she was most exposed to was public speaking. 

“I think the program really helped me develop public speaking skills, especially with doing a lot of presentations [and] going to the middle school to advertise the Ulysses program… Those were all aspects that helped me cultivate my project in terms of the public speaking aspect.”

Prasanna also talked about her favorite part of the journey to get to this point, “Being around my classmates and just having fun experiences all together cuz we’re all collectively doing this and having this collective experience bringing us all together.” The Ulysses Senior also went on to add that even though the work was “daunting at first,” it got better the more she was doing it. 

Phillippy went on to add, “It was a lot of hard work, but in the end, I think it was worth it because I was able to find out a lot about my topic, and it was a really good experience.”

When asked about their their experiences at the fair, the two Ulysses seniors had different reactions. While it can be exciting to finally share your research and passionate ideas with your peers, it can also be draining to do it during the entire school day. “It’s really exhausting, I was very energetic at the beginning, but now [during sixth period] I’m really burnt out, but I’m trying my best to keep going,” Phillippy added when asked about her towards the end of the day. Prasanna went on to say, “I had so much fun, I had a volcano, and it kept erupting, and it was amazing! I had a crowd. The crowd went wild! I absolutely enjoyed it thoroughly.”

The person to thank for the experience of the Ulysses Fair would Mrs. Kim. This year is Kim’s first time being the head of the Ulysses Program. If anyone had any questions or issues within the program, they went to her for the help and guidance. When asked about what she enjoyed about getting to this point of the semester, Kim said that she “witnessed the value of this program and the impact that it has on each and every student in the program.” Coming into a program is hard enough, but immediately being in charge of it is something else. “I had to talk to a lot of teachers who have taught the Ulysses Program for a while, so I built a really good relationship with them. I learned what the whole program entails throughout the whole semester, so it was a great learning process for me overall,” Kim said about her arrival in the program.

Even though the Ulysses Fair was a huge success, Kim still wants to launch it to a new level. When asked about the improvements she might make, she said, “One of the things that I’m gonna make changes is that I will be really strict about the deadlines so that if they don’t submit it they don’t get the points. That’s the one thing that I really want to emphasize in the second semester.”

Since this was her first semester as the Ulysses Coordinator, Kim was asked if she would do this all over again if she could. 

“Absolutely! I am so sad that I have to say goodbye to my research project class in the first semester because it took like months to build this relationship for me and with my students, and then I finally think that I know them, they know me, so we work together really well. We accomplished the same thing with the same goal, but now I have to say goodbye, so it’s really sad,” Kim said, expressing her gratitude for the opportunity and woe to say goodbye to her first-semester students. 

The next Ulysses Fair will take place in the fourth quarter of the second semester, starring the second batch of senior Ulysses students.