By Katie Meredith, Assistant to Institutional Advancement

In the EPS community, students in the Middle and Upper School are using innovation to create a better world. When faced with a problem or new opportunity, having a “why not me?” attitude leads to incredible results. From helping youth facing housing instability to designing alternative power sources for airplanes, EPS students are bringing their personal passions out of the classroom and into the real world.


In 2015, heavy rainfall produced by an annual monsoon caused major flooding throughout south India. One of the impacted cities was Chennai, the hometown of Jaanvi’s mother. “I remember being in second grade at the time and the flood in India hit really close to home,” they said.

Along with two friends, Jaanvi came up with an idea to raise money for victims of the flood. The three elementary school students made hundreds of cards and bracelets and sold them at farmers markets, donating all the proceeds to Aid India. This project catalyzed their desire to continue helping others, leading them to create a group called “Soul Connections.”

Together, Soul Connections has organized supply drives for Seattle Children’s Hospital and Mary’s Place, and gathered winter clothing for KidVantage. Jaanvi is becoming more aware of the regional housing crisis, and specifically the impact it is having on youth. They said, “I believe youth feel the impacts of unstable housing the most.”

Jaanvi’s goal is to help other young people and they are currently working on starting a year-round tutoring program at Friends of Youth. Their hope is that the tutoring program would support middle and high school students with life skills, homework, and learning English. Learn more about Soul Connections:


Today, Aamina loves to read and write, but she didn’t always feel that way. “I actually hated reading as a child, I never liked books. I remember pretending to read Harry Potter when I was younger but never actually liking it.” Fast forward to eighth grade, when she remembers taking English classes from home during the COVID-19 lockdown. “That’s the time I began to feel agency over my writing…that’s when my writing started to become my own.”

The following summer, Mr. Kelly-Hedrick encouraged her to try a writing program at Hugo House. Aamina loved it and went on to explore other summer programs. In ninth grade, she took creative writing with Mr. Litten and English with Ms. Sayles, teachers that changed the way she thought about writing. “Mr. Litten’s class was the first time I started to think of writing as a craft, as a skill you could hone. And I discovered that I loved analyzing the details and structure of poetry, which I learned that year
in English.”

Aamina was recently accepted to a Youth Poet Laureate program and has given poetry readings at Elliott Bay Books and Town Hall Seattle. Her first poem was published in Blue Marble Review and she has another piece being published soon in The Kenyon Review. Moving forward, Aamina hopes to continue writing and experimenting with poetry. “The most important part of writing is the practice of doing it. In the future, I would be fulfilled by just continuing to write as part of my life.” Read Aamina’s poem, “In the Margins”:


From the first time she stepped onstage, Annika instantly fell in love with performing. “I remember being in School of Rock! at nine years old and thinking, ‘this is perfect.’ This is what I want to do.” Annika has gone on to perform in productions at EPS and with KIDSTAGE at Village Theatre.

She recalls being in Into the Woods at Village Theatre, which was her first experience being one of the older kids in the cast. “I learned to step up and be mature while making it fun. I was responsible for making the cast feel like a family. That really helped me reflect on what the older kids taught me when I was being mentored as a younger performer.”

While she mentors younger actors, Annika is being mentored through the Institute Program at Village Theatre, where working actors train aspiring performers and occasionally send out casting calls. By responding to one of these calls, Annika was cast as an understudy in the 2022 production of Mr. Dickens and His Carol at the Seattle Repertory Theatre.

As a performer, Annika says her greatest challenge is time management. She’s also learned to accept rejection without feeling defeated. In the future, Annika hopes to get a BFA in Musical Theatre and act professionally. To aspiring actors, she says, “Don’t let your doubts get the better of you. If you constantly tell yourself you can’t do it, then you won’t. Believing in yourself is key.”


During the COVID-19 pandemic, Aryaman remembers watching the news with his parents and noticing that all the stories were negative. He remembers, “During Covid, it was really depressing to see so much bad news everywhere.” Soon, he got an idea to create an alternative source of news. “I really couldn’t find any source of good news out there, so I decided ‘why not create my own.’ That’s when I created Good Newz Coronavirus.” He designed his own website featuring positive news stories related to the pandemic, including articles about hardworking frontline workers and cities where death rates had been going down. He shared his site with friends and family and added social media channels. Within the first five months, his site had reached 100 subscribers.

Now that the pandemic has subsided, Aryaman has rebranded his site with a new name, Good Newz Universal, where he continues to share positive stories on a wide variety of topics. “I started doing this in 2020, and I’ve continued to gain more subscribers. People from all over the world send me emails about how much they love the site.” In addition to Inspire, Aryaman has been featured on KING 5 News and The Dr. Oz Show. In the future, he hopes to become an entrepreneur or go to law school. “I’m a pretty optimistic person and positive in general. I’m continuing to work on this site because of my subscribers. I want to continue sharing positivity and good news with them.” Read his positive news stories at Good Newz Universal:


In Middle School at EPS, eighth grade students take Environmental Practices with Dr. Russell, and annually they participate in the World of 8 Billion video contest. To compete, students are challenged to create a one-minute video on how the human population impacts the world. Eva made a video on climate change, but was soon inspired to make another one. She said, “The contest was interesting, and I wanted to make more videos. We did a video on climate change for our class, but I found gender inequality really interesting and wanted to explore that topic more.”

Eva asked her friend Alice to join her, and they began researching the issues caused by gender inequality. They discovered that gender inequality isn’t an issue that is exclusive to other countries—it also happens here in the United States. The team found the topic of child marriage coming up frequently as one of the key factors contributing to gender inequality, so they chose to make that the focus of their video.

In the Middle School category, Eva and Alice placed first with their video on child marriage. Last spring, they were interviewed by KING 5 News for their achievement. Alice says, “The impact we hope to have is to educate people. We hope to catalyze people’s consciousness and get them thinking about these issues.” View Eva and Alice’s video at:


Amelia was intrigued when she heard friends talking about fossil fuels and the environment. They were working  on a Solar Wind Aviation Power (SWAP) project and invited Amelia to join them. She said, “I was inspired by them because they were also in sixth grade like me. I thought, if they can do a project that makes the world better, what’s stopping me from joining them?”

For their SWAP project, the team was tasked with solving a problem by innovating a future technology solution. The team wrote a research paper describing a technology, that uses solar energy to power aircraft and reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions. They envisioned creating a satellite in space to convert captured solar wind energy into microwave energy using a MASER (Microwave Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation). Then, a computer would direct the microwave energy to the plane’s skin and into the microwave plasma engine, which will power the  aircraft.

They took their project to the largest K-12 science competition in the world, ExploraVision, where they received an honorable mention. This recognition is only awarded to the top 10% of all project submissions, and this year there were over 2,000 teams that submitted SWAP projects. Their team was only one of eight honorable mentions awarded in the fourth- to sixth-grade division for our region.

Amelia and her team plan to resubmit their project next year, and she hopes to have a positive impact on the world. “I hope we can help little by little in decreasing fuel emissions and use of fossil fuels.”