School Dispatches: May 31, 2017

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Blessed Sacrament School

The 75th annual Mission Fair at Blessed Sacrament School was held this week. This event raises money to benefit the Holy Cross Mission School located in Kirinda, Uganda. The tradition is one of the many highlights of the school year. Last year’s fair raised more than $12,000 through games, snacks and other activities.

Every grade gets involved. The sixth-graders run the white elephant sale, which is an annual favorite. Gently used or new toys, books, games, stuffed animals, DVDs and more are sold. There are several raffle baskets, a terrific bake sale, a uniform exchange, and plenty of games and activities on the blacktop and at the Field of Dreams. The seventh-graders work the cotton candy and snow cone stands. Both are sticky, but fun. The eighth-graders run the Dunk Tank where students get a shot at dunking a teacher or faculty member. Everybody gets soaked, and it is a great time! None of this would be possible without the help of many parent volunteers, faculty and staff.

The Mission Fair takes a lot of preparation, work, time and effort. Teachers and parent volunteers make sure all students are safe while having fun. This annual school tradition is one to look forward to all year. It feels good to raise funds for this worthy cause. We were fortunate to have great weather, and we are just a few weeks away from summer.

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— Elizabeth Clark, seventh-grader

British International School of Washington

Our school community has always eagerly participated in charity events and organizations. Active contributions have ranged from the construction of 1,000 paper cranes after the devastating 2011 earthquake that hit Japan, to the creation of food drives for those who are less fortunate.

Continuing these acts of goodwill is Mr. Ball, a language teacher. This spring he announced that he would be running in the San Diego marathon on June 4 to raise money for the Newbury Cancer Care Trust in the United Kingdom. Newbury will use the money raised to bring a specialist cancer unit to West Berkshire Community Hospital, in the town where Mr. Ball grew up. Many school members have donated to this vital cause and all teachers, staff, pupils and parents are wishing him the best of luck.

Additionally, this spring marked the beginning of our school’s educational enhancement trip period. These trips mainly involve the younger pupils and consist of outdoor activities and team-building opportunities. All students look forward to these memorable excursions.

— Ava Lundell, Year 11 (10th-grader)

Key Elementary School

It’s been a busy week at the Key School with so many activities going on. Our third-grade class took a tour and a treasure hunt of the monuments in downtown Washington. My mom and many other parents chaperoned.

We visited the Jefferson Memorial, the Korean War Memorial, the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial and the World War II Memorial. We had lunch with our whole class at the Lincoln Memorial. I enjoyed how so many monuments are together in one area. We had to count how many steps go up to the Lincoln Monument — 87 from the chamber to the reflecting pool, to be exact — and we listened to King’s “I Have a Dream” speech that he gave on on the steps there. There are so many fun facts to learn around each monument.

I also got to meet our new D.C. Public Schools chancellor, Antwan Wilson! He was nice and his team asked me a few questions. It was very interesting to meet the leaders of our D.C. school system.

Meantime we are preparing for our sixth annual Hootenanny, which will be Thursday, June 1, at 6:30 p.m. More than 100 students are participating in the chorus, which is led by Ann Roddy. There will be all kinds of songs and even banjo jokes. I hope everyone can make it. It’s one of the best things about our school.

— Robert Swift, third-grader

Lafayette Elementary School

On June 2, Lafayette will have its annual field day. Kids are called to the field by grade and are put into groups for activities. In the morning, kids go to different stations and in the afternoon, kids participate in the tug of war, water balloon toss, and even a relay if you are a fifth-grader.

The relay race is only for the fifth-graders because this is their last year at Lafayette. Each relay team consists of four runners and each class has four different teams — a half-lap team and a full-lap team for boys and girls. Students can run more than once if needed. Tryouts for the teams are organized by the captains, who are elected by their class. If you want to be on one of the teams, you have to have one of the four fastest times in your class for that event. There will be one alternate. The classes will compete against each other in both the relays and the tug of war.

Field day gives students a chance to relax after the stress of PARCC testing for third through fifth grades. “I’m really excited for field day,” Christian Straw, a fifth grader said. “I can’t wait.”

Usually every field day has a theme. This year’s theme will be numbers. Students at Lafayette love field day and it gives them something to look forward to besides the end of the year.

— Marcus Han, fifth-grader

Maret School

Every May, Maret holds the Fête Champêtre, a spring fair that is organized by the Maret community. It is a favorite activity of the Maret Kindies. “I like the musical chairs with cake prizes,” one student said. “I like getting the cake I made but sometimes I like to get other people’s cakes that look fancy. One had an M made out of gummies, and another had gummy frogs. I got one with chandelier icing!”

There are many ways to win prizes at the Fête. One Kindie explains, “At the lollipop tree, if you choose one with a red end you get a prize. Otherwise you just get the lollipop.” Another Kindie said, “You can play the duck game where you get a prize if you choose the right duck. I played like 1,000 times.” There’s fun to be had for the whole family.
Other traditional fair activities round out the Fête. “There were four moonbounces!” exclaimed one Kindie. “One was like a lion in a net, but it wasn’t real.” One last student piped up, “I liked the flea market because my mom worked there and there was a bunch of stuff I liked. I got a boomerang.” No one goes home empty-handed!

— Ms. McHugh and Mr. Scott’s kindergartners

Murch Elementary School

Creative thinking plus competition plus teamwork equals Odyssey of the Mind! Odyssey of the Mind involves a team of students working together to solve a problem. Murch’s two Odyssey of the Mind teams are off to Michigan to participate in the World Finals event!

There are two types of problems given to teams, spontaneous and long-term. Long-term problems take the majority of the season to solve. They typically consist of building problems, such as building a tower out of nothing but balsa wood. Every problem has a budget and restrictions. Getting ready to present your solution takes hours and hours of work. In the spontaneous category, there are both verbal and nonverbal tasks. In a nonverbal task, the group is given a task, a set of materials and a time limit.

At the D.C./Maryland finals event, the Murch teams placed first and second, which meant that both teams get to travel to Michigan for the final event! The Murch team members are: Francesca Ban-Goodrich, Katie Crouch, Anjali Dave, Bea Gumbinner, Saniya Lewis, Margot Liebhardt, Zoe Morehead, Maia Riggs, Dominic Scialdone, Aiden Stanisich, Estin Stanisich, Paulina Stewart-Aday, Eoin Sullivan and Devan Tatlow.

— Saniya Lewis and Paulina Stewart-Aday, fifth-graders

National Presbyterian School

Every May through June, fifth-graders at National Presbyterian School do something called the Million Dollar Project. This is an individual project where students get $1 million and make a camp out of the money. This project teaches fifth-graders how to calculate percentages, manage money, be creative, draw, write paragraphs, manage time and do operations on large numbers.

The first thing the fifth-graders get is a packet with all of the choices of property, mandatory expenses, indoor space, outdoor space, activities, staff and field trips/transportation. All of the categories have the prices listed. When the students are finished picking items from each category, the total cost has to be $1 million. After students are finished and have verified that the total cost is $1 million, they start working on a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet, listing what items students have bought, what category the item is in, the unit cost of that item, the quantity of the item, and the total cost.

After the Excel spreadsheet, students make a colored percent circle of the major categories. It lists the categories, the percentage of the categories out of $1 million and the actual cost of the categories. After the percent circle comes a colored, accurate map of the camp, and then a marketing paragraph to advertise the camp. Then the students put the work they’ve done onto posters, which will be presented on June 5 to the parents and fourth-graders.

The fifth-graders are having a blast doing this project. They work on this project every day.

— Robert Foster, fifth-grader

Washington International School

Fourth-graders went on a trash hunt near the Potomac River and picked up 17 kilograms of trash! A ranger explained how materials decompose in water and helped us sort trash items according to the time each takes to dissolve. Plastic takes the longest. It gets broken down but never really disappears. That is called the plastic life cycle.

We then started a unit about who we are and what we believe in, focusing on values, spirituality and religious traditions. One parent presented on the Amish way of life, and we visited the Washington Hebrew Congregation and Holy Trinity Church. It was interesting to compare the format and the materials of the two holy texts, and to listen to the similarities and differences between the Jewish and Catholic faiths. We also learned about the Islamic religion and culture when novelist Hena Khan, author of “Amina’s Voice,” spoke about her faith and Muslim characters in children’s books. Muslim children were not usually represented in children’s literature. Hena Khan is making a change by including them in her works.

Our grade participated in an international poetry competition inspired by peace and Martin Luther King Jr. As winners, a classmate and I had the privilege of attending the award ceremony in Atlanta with students from around the world. We met Martin Luther King III and his wife and daughter, and our poems were engraved on plaques that will remain in the King Rose Garden for a year!

— Ilaria Luna, fourth-grader