School dispatches: March 21, 2018

Sheridan middle-schoolers walked out of class in response to the school shooting in Parkland, Florida. (Photo courtesy of Sheridan School)

Deal Middle School

Feb. 14, 2018: a tragic day students and teachers will never forget. Now a month later, Deal students have turned a tragedy into a movement. On March 14, approximately 650 students participated in a 17-minute walkout.

There were two goals: first, to honor the 17 victims from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, and second, to show that together students can change gun laws so an incident like that will never happen again. At 10 a.m., students walked out of their classes into the cafeteria to hear a few brief words from our principal Ms. Neal. From there we all went outside to stand in silence for 17 minutes.

Seventh-grader Justice Weimer reflected, “A lot of people took it seriously and I feel like it’s our job as students and citizens of America to stand up for what’s right. And when we know that people are getting killed because of gun violence I don’t see a reason not to protest.”

As we stood outside, passersby stood out of the Fort Reno hill with us in solidarity.

Student Susanna Hardee shared her thoughts as well.

“It was a meaningful show of protest against Congress and show of respect for the 17 people who were killed,” she said. “To see all those kids outlining the school’s athletic field in silent respect for our fellow students in Florida really gave me chills.”

After witnessing this event it is clear that if students stand together, we can really change the world.

— Naomi Rea, seventh-grader

Emerson Preparatory School

The entryway to the counselor’s office at Emerson Prep is decorated from top to bottom with school notices, college information and flyers with words of encouragement. Inside sits Ms. Reinhart, our school counselor. She describes her primary role at Emerson as being a student advocate, helping students in three main areas: academic assistance, post-high school planning and any social/emotional issues we may have.

“Emerson is a school counselor’s dream,” said Ms. Reinhart in regard to our abnormally small student body. “The small size of the school allows me to know everyone’s name and a chance to help students in more impactful ways.”

Help she does, as a bunch of bananas sit on the ledge of her office door, providing the option of a free, healthy snack for all. Ms. Reinhart makes sure there is always fruit on display and a stash near her desk for students who are food-insecure or just need a snack to help get through the day.

Her favorite part of the job? “The students,” she said. Ms. Reinhart believes that although she may play a small role in our lives, it is rewarding to watch us succeed and grow.

Each day, she helps facilitate community events and thinks of new ways to improve our school. Ms. Reinhart’s role as Emerson’s counselor has benefitted the school in countless ways, thanks to her tenacity and genuine concern with students’ lives.

— Isabel Fajardo, 11th-grader

Hearst Elementary School

Our class was so surprised at all of the things we celebrate during the shortest month of the year — February. We learned about Groundhog Day, celebrated our 100th day of school, learned about the best ways to take care of our teeth, read books about Chinese New Year traditions, and learned about George Washington and Abraham Lincoln — along with our favorite: President Barack Obama.

In addition to all of that, our favorite subject was black inventors, which we learned about throughout February in honor of Black History Month. Here are a few of our thoughts about the topic:

Megan, Paul and Anna thought “the potato chip was the best invention because people love them so much.”

Mila and Logan reflected on what inventions were and explained that “inventions are things that solve a problem and can help lots of people.”

Lucas, Lincoln and Zakarias thought “the traffic light and the gas mask were the most important inventions by Garrett Morgan because they keep people and firefighters safe.”

Sathvik said, “Fred Jones was the best inventor because he made the refrigerated truck which helps ice cream to get to the store.” Speaking of ice cream, Annabel thought that was the best invention because “ice cream is so yummy, it’s just like candy.”

Tristan wrapped up our discussion reflecting on John Standard and his improvements to the refrigerator. He said, “It was such an important invention because it helps our food to not melt and keeps it from getting hot”.

We learned that more than 20 black inventors came up with solutions to problems that still help today and there are new ones every year. The Ninja Nuggets hope that you will go online and find out more about these inventors and their contributions to our country and the world.

— Ms. Prince and Ms. Inge’s kindergarten class

Horace Mann Elementary School

There will be a new playground this year at Horace Mann Elementary School. If you don’t go to Horace Mann, you might not know about it.

This playground is made for third-, fourth- and fifth-graders during school times, but if you wish you could go to the playground after school as well. The playground will add four swings, a seesaw, a slide and two chairs which you can spin in. Recess time is where we kids can go and play on the new playground.

We interviewed Principal Ms. Whisnant about the new playground.

“Our old playground needed replacement and we had ideas of different kind of play structures that might support both recess and our PE program,” Ms. Whisnant said. “The new pieces, twirly chairs, etc., all came from the D.C. government, the PTA helped raise money to add some additional elements.”

We think the new playground will be great because there will be new extensions that students will love even more!

— Nicola Lauren and Olivia Shima, fourth-graders     

Lafayette Elementary School

The wait is finally over. March Madness has arrived at Lafayette Elementary School. Students are filling up the stands in the gym. One student, Anna Finch, said, “I think it will be very fun and cool. I can’t wait!”

The games are plentiful: basketball team vs. alumni, basketball team vs. staff and staff vs. parents. There is also a new game this year, a blue vs. yellow game, which is a scrimmage between the Lafayette basketball team and another elementary school team. Parents and staff will get their share of exercise during March Madness.

March Madness has been a tradition at Lafayette since before we were born. Although there are no brackets, there are high expectations for the basketball team. Fifth-grader Carter Hamilton said, “I think that it is a fun event for both the fans and players.”

The Lafayette basketball team cannot wait to have a few more games to show off their talent before the season ends. One player, fifth-grader Harry Bertsch exclaimed, “March Madness is very exciting! I’ve been wanting to get back on the court for a while now.”

Students, parents and staff can’t wait to show off their moves this week in March Madness.

— Caleb Murphy and Mia Mora, fifth-graders

Our Lady of Victory School

On Wednesday, the middle school at Our Lady of Victory School honored the victims of the Stoneman Douglas High shooting with a special prayer service asking Jesus to bless them, comfort their families and protect students from gun violence.

Students all over the country remembered what happened in different ways. Some left their school for 17 minutes, others expressed their views to lawmakers, and other schools focused on prayer.

At Our Lady of Victory, we prayed the luminous mysteries, but instead of all of us holding rosaries, students themselves acted as the beads of the rosary. Students passed around the microphone and each led a prayer to complete the decades of the rosary. Some students held 17 candles in honor of the 17 students who died.

What happened was especially scary to me because my family was flying into Florida when we heard the news. Our family that lives in Florida had friends who died and were in the school that day. It was hard to hear that something so terrible could happen in school.

I was glad we made a point to focus on the innocent lives lost inside a school. I hope that in the future students will be safe and that people who need mental health services will get them before someone gets hurt.

— Tea P., seventh-grader

Sheridan School

On March 14, around 50 Sheridan middle-schoolers joined thousands of other students across the country and walked out of class in honor of the 17 lives that were taken in Parkland, Florida, and to protest the lack of gun laws in our country.

They marched to the Van Ness Metro station where their enthusiasm and passion caught the attention of the community and morning commuters. They also got the attention of WAMU 88.5 on Twitter and 93.9 WKYS radio station.

The Sheridan walkout was organized by the school’s Young Activists group. The group prepared signs with messages such as “Protect our Lives,” “#NeverAgain,” and “Will We Be Next?”

Their goal was to call the government to action, to save so many innocent lives, and to honor the ones who were taken by guns. In conclusion, the Sheridan middle-schoolers were very persistent and passionate as they protested for the safety of this country.

— Olive Ley and Gwyn Field, seventh-grader

Stoddert Elementary School

My class and Wolf pack went on a field trip to Shakespeare Theater. When we got there we were greeted by our instructor and were allowed to sit whereever we wanted to.

We were given a script with lines from Shakespeare’s plays. It also had made-up words like “You Goosenhoff!” and “Gigglehime!” It was funny. We read the story of Romeo and Juliet. All the boys read the part of Romeo in unison and the all girls did the same. Then we acted it out.

While at the theater we learned breathing exercises to help us with the play we were practicing at school. We learned more air in our lungs makes our voices louder.

After our acting debut, we hopped back on our bus and headed to the Georgetown ice skating rink. When we got there it was lunch time so we could go to Starbucks, a pizza shop or a sandwich shop. After we ate, went to rent our skates. We skated for two hours and then had dessert. After our treats we got back on the bus and went back to Stoddert. It was a long and happy day.

— Aidan Jacobs, fifth-grader