School Dispatches: Dec. 13, 2017

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British International School Year 12 students are holding a winter festival to raise funds for their yearly trip to Tanzania. (photo courtesy of Neeraj Prahbu)

British International School of Washington

This week the Year 12 class has been making the final preparations for its long-awaited winter festival. This occasion is a unique opportunity that brings together students of all ages. The event will include a bake sale, refreshments, arts and crafts, face painting, carnival games and a raffle (the prize includes Wizards Tickets, restaurant coupons, a $50 Amazon gift card, a massive stuffed giraffe, a remote control car that holds two children and various other items).

However, the event’s purpose is to not only to boost school spirit, but also to fundraise for the impending Tanzania expedition. Each Year 12 student will embark on a 10-day trip in February to northern Tanzania, on the outskirts of Arusha. There, they take part in a series of service activates, including installing solar panels, constructing houses for teachers and building goat sheds. However, students need lessons in construction, as well as the materials and equipment to build. It is for this reason that the Year 12 students have the hefty task of raising $10,000. This money will be given directly to Seeway Charity in Tanzania, which will use it to provide the necessities for construction, as well as keeping the remaining sum of money to help vulnerable children in the area.

The festival offers the perfect opportunity not only to raise money, but to raise awareness about Tanzania, its culture and the aid our students will be providing.

— Sofia Hollowell, Year 12 (11th-grader)

Deal Middle School

A diplomat from the Embassy of Mozambique, Mr. Adriano, came this week to talk to Team Rio about the culture and history of Mozambique. He talked about the culture and music, and why Mozambique was a country.

He talked about the war that Mozambique fought to gain independence. The war was really sad but the people gained their freedom. To this day Mozambicans are free and living their lives. There are also more schools.

I liked the talk because it reminded me of my memories of living in Maputo, the capital of Mozambique. When I first arrived in Maputo, I was 7 years old. I was so scared because I lived in America and it was so different. When I walked around, I saw amazing things like culture, food, music, fashion and history. What I did and saw was amazing and unforgettable.

— Paloma Helms, sixth-grader

Eaton Elementary School

The Eagle Time Extra reporters came up with a question to ask people and it was “what is your favorite book and why?” Here are some of the responses.

Fifth-grader Rhys responded “‘Murder on the Orient Express’ because it’s a mystery.” Katya from fifth grade said “‘The Book with no Pictures’ because of its originality.” Second-grader Alex said “‘Matilda’ because it ends happily.” Harper from fifth grade responded “‘When You Reach Me’ because it made me think a whole new way.” Fifth-grader Alison chose “‘S.C.A.T.’ because of its morals.” Mr. Reid, after-school program teacher, replied “‘Moby Dick’ because of the adventures.” Gabriel from fourth grade said “Percy Jackson’ because it’s really good and there is so much action.” After-school program teacher Ms. Elise replied “‘Harry Potter’ because I never get bored reading it over and over.” Fifth-grader Samara chose “When the Sea Turned to Silver” because “the main character Pinmie is very brave.” Rowan from fifth grade replied “‘The Uncommoners’ because it is magical.”

— The Eaton Extra reporters

Emerson Preparatory School

Since its founding in 1852, Emerson Preparatory School has changed location multiple times. Since 1937, however, the school had occupied a traditional townhouse in Dupont Circle. That is, until the 2017-18 school year. The oldest non-denominational prep school in D.C. has moved to the historic Thurgood Marshall Center on 12th Street NW. The center is primarily distinguished for being the first African-American YMCA, an association with which Marshall himself was regularly involved.

However, we are not the only inhabitants, as Emerson only occupies the fourth floor of the building. Other members of the building include religious, government, and business resources for the D.C. community as well as educational programs for D.C. Public Schools students. Each of Emerson’s locations in the past century has been historic and culturally rich, and the Thurgood Marshall Center is no exception.

Our head of school, Mr. Shickler expressed sincerely that the relocation “was a great investment for all of us because the students really are enjoying the brighter space, and that we’re all together on the same level in every sense, I think both physically and emotionally.” The move has come with new exceptional faculty and has garnered a visibly positive response from students. The facilities and classrooms bring a fresh, stimulating atmosphere in which to learn.

From the middle of the 19th century to the present, Emerson has developed into a more accepting and inclusive institution, equipping its students for higher education and life beyond high school.

— Isabel Fajardo, 11th-grader

Hearst Elementary School

In my class, we held a Christopher Columbus trial. The trial was about who was guilty for the death and enslavement of many Taino. The characters were Christopher Columbus, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella (the king and queen of Spain at the time), the Taino Native Americans and Christopher Columbus’ men. Each table group had to defend one of the characters, and then we had the jury! The jurors were one person from each table group. They listened to each group’s defense and asked them questions.

My table group defended Christopher Columbus himself. The main bad guy! It was really fun, though. The jury asked a few hard questions, but my group came up with pretty good comebacks. There was also a few easy questions too. I think we defended Columbus pretty well!

When the results came back, it was Columbus who was blamed. I mean, yeah, he deserved it — even if we did defend him. I think if we did another trial, it could be the death and imprisonment of Mahatma Gandhi! The characters could be Gandhi, the protesters and the people that put him in prison. That would be a fun trial! ​

— Reva Kelly, fourth-grader

Holy Trinity School

On Nov. 8, my seventh-grade class went on a field trip to the Billy Goat Trail. It is a tradition at Holy Trinity School for the seventh-graders to hike the trail each year. The hike was so beautiful. The Billy Goat Trail is a 4.7-mile hike that is located in Potomac, Md. It borders the Potomac River, so almost the entire hike has a view of the raging river or waterfalls. The hike is very challenging in some places. There is one part where we had to climb down a rock formation that was about three or four stories high. A number of rock scrambles made parts of the trail exciting.

Our class learned that there are much better healthy ways to spend time, rather than sitting watching TV or playing on an electronic device. Instead, we could go on a beautiful hike or go outside and do something good for the world. During this hike, my classmates were very supportive of one another, and it was really nice to see that the boys and girls were having fun together, instead of the boys hanging out with the boys and the girls hanging out with the girls. I loved the hike and would certainly do it again. It was amazing and so much fun to do it as a class.

— Tate Buchwald, seventh-grader

Maret School

In third grade in my class, four times a year, we have a raffle. We do the raffle by earning tickets. We have to do Mad Minutes, which are 50 addition problems and 50 subtraction problems on the other side. Mr. Stone gives us a maximum of tickets to get, and we all try to reach that number of raffle tickets. The more tickets you have, the easier it gets to win a prize!

Now that you know how a raffle works, let me tell you some of the best prizes. The best prize is to get Private Dinage, which is when you and two other people get to have lunch with Mr. Stone in the classroom! Another good one is that you can have Mr. Stone’s desk for a day, and there is another one that allows you to get Mr. Stone’s rocking chair for a day! The third-best prize is when you get to put a bonus 15-minute recess on the schedule, and you get to pick the game that Mr. Stone and everyone plays.

I love the raffle, and I bet if you ever have a raffle like that, it would be great!

— Maya Swanson, third-grader

National Presbyterian School

At National Presbyterian School, we have an all-school assembly every month. We just had our December assembly on the 5th. We started off with the opening prayer and the National Anthem.

Then second grade shared a video about its field trip to the National Building Museum, where students used scraps like cardboard, plastic, tape and more to build industrial and commercial building models to create a city/community. Two fifth-graders told the school about the ancient civilization travel brochures they had just done in Social Studies. After that, pre-K showed a video on feelings and it was very cute.

Then Mrs. Woods, the educational technology specialist, talked to us about the November and December Makers Mats, which have activities on them that you can do, and shared some of the students’ creations. Then our very own Cardinal News Network showed us a video on playground rules.

After that, some sixth-graders acknowledged some people that went above and beyond by showing our school’s core values, which are respect, love, honesty, safety and responsibility.

After that, we had the best “Jingle Bells” performance ever! Mrs. Rusan, our upper division director; Ms. Primrose, the lower division director; and Mr. Lester, head of school, all danced and rang bells as we sang.

Once that was done, we acknowledged honesty as the core value of the month. Afterwards, we left to go along with our school day.

— Walter Hicks, fifth-grader

Sheridan School

Last week, Alex Myers talked to parents and fifth- through eighth-grade students. Myers was the first openly transgender student at Harvard and at his high school, Phillips Exeter. He talked to us about his book and the struggles he’s gone through.

First he spoke to the parents and explained how to support transgender students in our community. The next day he talked with seventh and eighth graders about his book “Revolutionary” and his experiences being a transgender man.

He told the story of one of his ancestors, Deborah Sampson. She was a woman who was sold as an indentured servant. When it was time for her to get married, she decided she wanted to fight in the Army so she dressed up as a man. When he learned this story, Sampson became the person who he could relate to when he did not feel comfortable in his own skin.

He went on to tell us about transitioning from a woman to a man and some of the struggles he had to go through. When he first came out to his parents, they were supportive but very unsure for him. As a high schooler, he lost many friends. When he came out to his grandparents, one was excited while the other disowned him.

For many people, his talk gave them a different perspective on the experiences of being transgender. For others, it gave them a person and experience to relate to.

— Gwyn Field and Ruby Luzzatto, seventh-graders

Washington International School

Grade 5 students have just finished their unit on persuasion, learning the necessary skills to convince an audience about their ideas. In English class, we were asked to write a speech on a topic that was relevant to all classmates, either connected to school life or to the world. Then, we had to do research to have enough information to support our argument. Finally, we wrote a first draft and edited it until it was ready to be presented to our class. Some of us decided to display a slideshow to accompany our speeches. We had the chance to hear about fascinating issues, from “Renovating the Playground” and “Increasing Teachers’ Salaries” to “Smoking” and my topic, “The Hidden Dangers of Cheap Fashion.”

In French and Spanish class, students in groups of four had to create an item from scratch, advertise it, and finally present the advertisement and object to the class. Then, each student was given Monopoly money to buy the items that they had been persuaded to purchase. In preparation for this activity, every day we had debates on different subjects. Two students were randomly picked to support the two sides of the question.

This unit was useful, because in everyday life we have to make smart decisions and be able to distinguish false advertising from reliable information. Now we are more aware of the repercussions our language choices can have on people around us.

We are now looking forward to our new unit, civilizations.

— Ilaria Luna, fifth-grader