School Dispatches: June 7, 2017

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Key Elementary School

The Key School celebrated its sixth annual Hootenanny, our form of a spring concert. It was a hoot. It was our biggest Hootenanny ever. We had 110 kids from first grade through fifth grade singing. We sang classic songs like “Crawdad,” “Jambalaya,” “I Ain’t Going to Work Tomorrow,” “Bye-Bye Love,” “Will the Circle be Unbroken” and so many more. We also sang “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” a song written by Key School parent alum Bill Danoff, who also was in the Starland Vocal Band.

The real star of the evening was Ann Roddy, our chorus director, who put the whole thing together. She didn’t miss a thing. She helped all of us sing in harmony and organized all the songs and volunteers. Her dad died on May 5 and she dedicated the program to him. She believes that sharing music is a great way to break barriers so all are one, and I do too. I think if we had more Hootenannies, our world would be a better place.

Today we also celebrated World Family Day on the blacktop. We had Key parents from Croatia, Russia, China, Denmark, Ireland, Germany, Portugal and other countries set up booths on their countries and present.

Euwan’s dad dressed up in a suit covered with UK flags. Co-chair Kate Azevedo said, “We have such a great international community and it’s so great that the kids can learn about it and their friends.”

It’s one of the greatest gifts at Key — our international community.

— Robert Swift, third-grader

National Presbyterian School

At National Presbyterian School, the sixth-graders are working on a social studies project all about Asia. It is an individual project where the students get to choose one current event happening anywhere in Asia. After the students have chosen their current event, they start their research. The teachers, Mrs. Durbin, Ms. Peaks and Ms. Lee, give us a month to do all of the research, and complete the project. The students can choose to do anything from an essay to a poster to a PowerPoint, and really anything that shows our new learning about Asia. For example, the article writers are doing a travel brochure of Dubai and a PowerPoint on Flores de Mayo in the Philippines.

The students get to dig really deep into their topics and learn more about something that we might have never known about. Each Wednesday they do a check-in on the progress that they have made so far. The students can use any form of research such as books, computers and our handy-dandy teachers. Throughout this process, the students have learned so much, and this project will definitely stick with us throughout the rest of our lives.

— Zoie Walden and Rose Papadopoulos, sixth-graders

Our Lady of Victory School

As eighth-graders at Our Lady of Victory, we are extremely heartbroken to be leaving, as this is our last year. We both are going to Georgetown Visitation in the fall and will miss our teachers and classmates immensely.

Everything we have learned at Our Lady of Victory will surely be an advantage in high school. We are working on advanced academics (for math, geometry and algebra) and have had truly enriching experiences in all of our other classes, thanks to our fantastic teachers. We have had great involvement in school activities, as well as fun games — especially for Field Day and Catholic Schools Week — to help us all interact as one family.

As we leave Our Lady of Victory, we take away with us our academic knowledge, our faith and love of God, and the magnificent memories of our friends and teachers. Going to this school has been the best gift our parents could have ever given us, as it gave us a chance to grow in everything we do.

— Adelaide U. and Elise S., eighth-graders

St. Patrick’s Episcopal Day School

Going to Birmingham, Montgomery, Selma and Atlanta, on our Grade 8 Civil Rights trip was an enriching experience for everyone. Although those were troubling times for all African-Americans, it’s still an essential part of our history that needs to be learned. Even if parts of America’s history are bad, we need to be educated so the same mistakes don’t happen again.

We first stopped in Birmingham, where we saw the 16th Street Baptist Church, Kelly Ingram Park and the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. At one point after we came out of the institute, a wonderful man who happened to be there at the time shared a fascinating story of the church bombings and his family connections to all that history. The one thing that I remember most is how he talked about how he believes African-Americans can do more to support each other and share lessons to help each other succeed.

His words have stuck with me, and they have informed my thinking about some of society’s problems. We visited multiple museums and many exhibits, and his words were reflected in the things I saw and read. In Montgomery we visited the Equal Justice Initiative, which deals with daily social injustices and unfair treatment in the justice system. When we visited the Edmund Pettis Bridge in Selma, Ala., as I walked across I could feel the gravity of the whole day in 1965 when police beat peaceful marchers. I could envision the pain.

— Jackson Muise, eighth-grader

Washington International School

As the end of the school year approaches, the fifth-graders have been participating in many special activities. We all went on a camping trip to Calleva, a local campground. All the students participated in an activity, such as zip lining or rope courses. Camping was somewhat of an adventure for some and a terrifying event for others. Overall, we were gone three days (Monday through Wednesday), and I think everyone had a lot of fun.

After we got back from Calleva, we had middle school orientation at the Tregaron campus on Thursday. And Friday was supposed to be our Sports Day, which is a full day of us playing a bunch of different sports. We all look forward to it so much. Unfortunately, Sports Day was rescheduled this year because of the weather, but at least that gave us time to catch up on sleep after such an exciting week!

In the coming weeks, the fifth grade will be moving up to sixth grade through our moving up ceremony! We’ll be singing in the concert and performing.

Our book club read “Amina’s Voice” this month. The author, Hena Khan, visited our school to speak about her book. We have had book club meetings before, but not with the author. It was fascinating to hear Ms. Khan’s reasons for writing the book and to learn about her life.

— Ngolela Saafi wa Omekongo, fifth-grader