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Hillside campus 5400 Red Bank Road Cincinnati, Ohio 45227 513.271.9027 Doherty campus 2726 Johnstone Place Cincinnatio, Ohio 45206


Personal Challenge

The Personal Challenge, a Seven Hills Upper School graduation requirement, is based on the belief that students learn best by doing. Guided by faculty advisors and parents, students design and carry out a project that stretches them, and encourages them to move beyond previous or perceived boundaries or limits.
Personal Challenge Guidelines
1. Students should complete their own Challenges
Students should initiate, design, and complete their own Challenges.

  • Assembling a dollhouse from design plans and adding personally crafted decorative touches
  • Conducting a sports clinic
  • Starting a business
  • Accessorizing an already assembled dollhouse
  • Being a teacher's aide
  • Working in an office

2. Challenges should stretch students
Challenges should stretch students, encouraging them to move beyond previous or perceived boundaries or limits.

  • Constructing a harpsichord and learning to play it
  • Performing in a recital after years of training and performance experience at the same level

3. Challenges may not be dangerous
  • Hiking in the Grand Canyon, with supervision
  • Supervised extended biking trips
  • Outward Bound or similar programs
  • Hiking or biking alone, without supervision
  • Skydiving, learning to fly
  • Taking scuba lessons for the first time
  • Extreme skiing

4. Challenges should take a minimum of 30 hours to complete
Challenges should take a minimum of 30 hours to complete; students start recording hours after their contracts are approved.

  • Tallying a reasonable number of hours for design and execution of the project
  • Recording "growing time" for a garden or extended "shopping time" for materials

5. Students must defend their Challenge
Students must defend their Challenge projects before a committee comprising their academic advisor, a second advisor of their choice, and a randomly assigned third advisor.

6. Challenges should be shared
Challenges should be shared with the community.

Most students share their projects with the community at one of two regularly scheduled Challenge Sharing Days during the school year; they may make a formal oral presentation or take a more informal approach. Some students share their projects with a class or classes.

Students generally bring objects they have made, photographs or other visual aids, and logs, journals and scrapbooks documenting the progress of their Challenge. Other students demonstrate a skill they have learned.
Personal Challenge Examples
Some examples of personal challenges recently completed by Seven Hills graduates include, but are not limited to:
  • learning the basic positions and techniques of ballet and writing a paper about the history of dance
  • writing a novella about the lives and relationships of three friends attending a Connecticut boarding school
  • planning and undertaking an intensive conditioning regimen in order to qualify for the Stingray Diving Team
  • training to become a certified Spinning instructor in order to teach teen Spin classes
  • learning the difficult art of glass blowing through classes at the Cincinnati Art Academy
  • designing four web sites
  • researching and cultivating from seed a vegetable garden
  • learning carpentry, then constructing a 10' x 6' deck with two staircases at the back of his house
  • researching the history of the yo-yo, mastering 25 tournament tricks, and teaching a yo-yo workshop to underprivileged children
  • studying Tae Kwon Do
  • building a 6' x 9' wooden sailboat and sailing it on local lakes
  • training for and completing a half-marathon
  • building a concert-sized 36-string harp and learning how to play it
  • writing a one-act play
  • organizing a fund-raising concert of local bands to benefit the homeless
  • creating a mosaic tabletop
  • tutoring a Russian immigrant in English and U.S. culture
  • working as a Summerbridge teacher
  • learning the basic techniques of quilting, then constructing a quilt
  • researching cartoon and comic drawing styles, then writing and illustrating a 20-page comic book
  • taking gourmet cooking classes and preparing ten meals, including a formal luncheon for the Challenge committee
  • learning calligraphy and making a book of original poems written in four different calligraphic alphabets
  • coaching the Lotspeich third and fourth grade basketball team
  • writing a libretto and score for a full-length rock opera
  • leading a two-week soccer clinic for children in the Seven Hills summer program
  • learning to tap dance and performing a five minute routine
  • learning the art and sport of fly fishing, including casting, catching, and tying flies

Personal Challenge Forms
Hillside campus 5400 Red Bank Road Cincinnati, Ohio 45227 513.271.9027 Doherty campus 2726 Johnstone Place Cincinnatio, Ohio 45206