School Dispatches: March 29, 2017

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Blessed Sacrament School

Every spring, the March Madness basketball tournament takes place, composed of the top college teams. But March Madness is not solely about watching the games, as it really brings together everyone, especially my friends and me. I say this because every year during this season, everyone I know including my classmates make brackets, and with those we have competitions to see whose will come out best, and sometimes there is a prize for the winner. This makes the whole time period much more intense for one another, too.

However, this year, I myself did not make a bracket, as I merely wanted to focus on the games and root for the teams I love. To me, the bracket distracts me from the tournament’s main purpose for everyone, which is watching a good game of basketball. Although it is fun, I thought I would take a year off, and just pay attention to the game itself. Throughout the timeframe in which the tournament takes place, big upsets happen and other amazing events occur, like a buzzer-beater to win the title, but really March Madness is a great time to watch a good game of basketball and root for the team you love.
— Cole Anderson, eighth-grader

Lafayette Elementary School

For the third straight year, the Lafayette Elementary School archery team qualified for the National Archery Tournament in Louisville, Ky. To qualify for the nationals, the Lafayette team competed in and won the citywide tournament. This year, 48 kids made the District tournament. Fourth- and fifth-graders are eligible to try out for the team, coached by Ms. McClure and Ms. Howes. Ms. McClure and Ms. Howes hold a Lafayette archery tournament to determine the school’s archery team.

Since Lafayette won D.C.’s citywide tournament, the team advanced to the national tournament held in Louisville. The top 24 archers will go to Kentucky. Last year in Louisville, the Lafayette team had a good showing but lost in the tournament. Kids from all over the nation go to the Kentucky tournament. This year Lafayette’s goal is to get very close to winning the tournament or even win the tournament which takes place May 11 through 13.

Leo Espuelas, a fifth-grader who has been on the team for two straight years, said, “Last year Kentucky was so much fun. Since we have new kids this year, and we have some experience from last year, it will be even better.”
— Finn Boyle, fifth-grader

Maret School

On March 10, Maret’s lower school celebrated Grandparents and Special Friends Day. This is a special day because your classmates can meet your grandparents or special friends, grandparents can learn how their grandchild is doing in school, and everyone watches the lower school sing. It is really fun. We have Grandparents and Special Friends Day because the students want to show what they have been studying. In first grade, we did Mad Libs. A Mad Lib is a fun activity where you have a piece of paper and blank spaces to write an adjective, verb or noun. You can have fun because the words do not always go together.

We dress up because you need to look nice to inspire the grandparents and special friends. You need to focus on your goal to make the grandparents and special friends happy with your singing and be amazed. Every year we have a class that the grandparents and special friends can do with us. This year we had art and made infinity rooms. An infinity room is something that is full of designs. Ms. Michael, our art teacher, told jokes that we didn’t understand. For the concert we sang “Scrub Brush Shuffle” and “This Little Light of Mine.” We were happy to see our grandparents and special friends. We felt nervous because there were many more visitors than we thought. Then we felt sad when they left.

That was our experience for this special day!
— Ms. Sudheendran’s first-graders

National Presbyterian School

On March 22, there was a feast for our fifth grade. The feast consisted of multiple foods from the Mediterranean region, mostly from Greece. We did this feast because we are currently studying ancient Greece in social studies. It consisted of “wine” (for us, grape juice), rice, grapes, hummus, grape leaves, falafel, tahini sauce, rice pudding and olives. It was located in the fifth-grade classrooms and the desks were arranged in a U shape. The room parents helped organize the feast. Mr. Lester, the head of school, and Mr. Ketchum, our Upper Division director, joined us for the feast, along with a few other teachers. I would like to give a shout out to Shemali’s Inc., which supplied all the food. It could not have happened without them. The feast was enjoyed by all!
— Ian Lever, fifth-grader

Our Lady of Victory School

On March 18, Our Lady of Victory School hosted the Blarney Ball. This exciting party was organized by my class, the third grade. There was a lot to do the day of the party. I came to school early and helped to prepare everything.
The third-grade families set up the food stations, decorations, game room, craft room and photo booth. We decorated our gym with green decorations for our St. Patrick’s Day theme. In the craft room, there were many St. Patrick’s Day crafts. You could make a bracelet or decorate a craft page in the shape of a turtle shell.

The game room had a Pokémon theme. Several eighth-graders helped to run this station. Some of them even brought Pokémon cards from their own collections. There were so many cards! It was very cool to see all of the cards even though I didn’t quite understand how to play.
There was a photo booth where you could pick out props and pose with your family and friends to take a great picture. Then there was the dance floor where there was dancing, eating and talking. The DJ was really cool and even used green smoke! We had a slushy machine, a popcorn machine, and a cotton candy machine and a table full of other snacks. I really enjoyed dancing with my friends and making fun crafts to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.
— Skye B., third-grader

School Without Walls High School

On Feb. 15 it was announced that a team of School Without Walls students led by sophomore Tochi Ukegbu were voted as winners of the Verizon Innovative Learning app challenge in D.C. The phone app, named Intercom, won a $5,000 grant for School Without Walls, and a large banner was placed near the entrance of the school. The app easily displays school alerts and information such as school newspapers and Metro delays. Congratulations to the Walls team on its accomplishments.
— Michael Edgell, 11th-grader

Washington International School

The Washington International School’s fifth-grade IB PYP Exhibition process is almost over. One Exhibition topic, chosen by two groups including mine, is de-extinction.
Did you know humans have the capability to bring back animals that have not existed for thousands of years? The most popular approach to de-extinction works by taking the DNA of several similar animals and using a gene editor (CRISPR) to select the pieces of DNA that correspond to the extinct animal. The DNA is then copied multiple times and put in the embryo of a similar animal. The newly edited embryo will grow into a de-extinct animal. The most widely known animal that has been recreated is the Iberian ibex. Scientists are working on de-extincting gastric-brooding frogs, Xerces butterflies and woolly mammoths.

De-extinction relates to this year’s theme of Sharing the Planet because it involves bringing back animals that form social communities and we will need to share our planet’s finite resources with them. De-extinction could help existing ecosystems, but could also harm them.

This has been a wonderful experience for my group. We have discovered tons of information about an extremely interesting topic. We have been researching and writing for five weeks and have accumulated knowledge from many fields, such as biology, genetics and engineering. I have immense gratitude to several scientists — Michael Archer, Helen Pilcher, Ben Novak and Daniel Fisher — for their time and agreeing to interviews. Their talks have been the best resource we could possibly find.
— Hayden Sherwood, fifth-grader