The QUESTion Project Empowers High School Students to Pursue a Life of Purpose
The QUESTion Project is significant because it gives people the opportunity to talk about life questions that are typically internalized, and the chance to interconnect with others. It is also significant because it widens perspectives … it inspired me to expand my wisdom, learn about the ideas and thoughts of people [who] live in my world, and serve … my community in … an extraordinary way. —Karla, QUESTion Project alumnus
We’re thrilled to announce Fetzer’s partnership with The Open Future Institute’s (OFI) The QUESTion Project, an evidence-based social-emotional curriculum that empowers high school students to develop their own identity, strengthen their sense of agency, and build confidence to pursue a life of purpose. The project currently provides teacher training in its curriculum to Title 1 public high schools in Brooklyn and Los Angeles. This work continues Fetzer’s longstanding commitment to and support of SEL as an essential aspect of K-12 education.
OFI founders Gerard Senehi and Francesca Rusciani co-created the QUESTion Class curriculum to support public high school students in establishing foundations for their lives, their future, and a healthy society. “We spent two or three years working with high school and university students to figure out what are the most important human topics, relevant for this stage of development,” Senehi explains in this 3rd Space interview. “At the core of our work … are two questions: Why are we here? And how can we give in a way that fully reflects our own uniqueness?”
Fetzer Institute Senior Program Officer, Xiaoan Li, notes, “Fetzer aims to pave the way for a new core subject field in K-12 education—one where foundational questions about identity, agency, and purpose are at the heart of the learning process throughout the student’s educational journey, ultimately contributing to the well-being of society. We love how this project allows young people to explore the deep questions of life together in ways that expand a sense of meaning, purpose, and possibility.”
The QUESTion Class for high school students, one of many facets of the project, is a semester-long course where students participate in facilitated discussions; co-creative exercises like debates, discussions, and role-playing; student-led presentations, including videos, poetry, and skits; and writing assignments. Working through five core units, students explore big life questions through different themes, topics, and perspectives including Choice, Purpose, Fearlessness, Interconnectedness, and The Bigger Picture. Student Ambassadors are key to QUESTion Classes, working side-by-side with teachers to guide classroom discussions, ignite curiosity among students, and act as a leader in the class.
“The broader aim is to create a space for students’ humanity," says Senehi in 3rd Space. "It’s easy for our lives to be shaped by ideologies, fears, limiting beliefs, and ideas about who we are. The antidote to much of that is connecting with our own humanity—with what moves us, what inspires us, gives us meaning, and connects us to other people; makes us feel part of a whole.”
OFI has partnered with over 14 US-based high schools, reaching more than 7,500 students. The results have been positive: 95% of high school students who completed the QUESTion Class recorded a positive empowerment shift, gained confidence in their ability to navigate a path forward through their choices, while becoming more comfortable with an uncertain future.
Watch the video below and visit The QUESTion Project to learn more about this wonderful work!
The Open Future Institute inspires students with a sense of infinite possibilities, and empowers them to shape their life and future with meaning and purpose.