School Dispatches: Nov. 22, 2017

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British International School of Washington

The United Nations celebrated World Children’s Day on Nov. 20. This day was established in 1954 to “promote international togetherness, awareness among children worldwide, and improve children’s welfare,” according to the UN website.

Students recently observed World Children’s Day. (image courtesy of British International School of Washington)

The British International School of Washington sent seven students (Niamh Cogley, Clara Haghebaert, Zahra Heussen, Ella Hughes, Sofia Hollowell, Grace Lundell and Ava Lundell) to the UN for World Children’s Day. They left for New York City on Nov. 17 and spent the weekend participating in workshops to prepare for attending the UN World Children’s Day event. During the trip, the students were able to meet many children of all ages and backgrounds, as well as the secretary general of the UN, António Guterres. It was a wonderful opportunity.

Back in Washington D.C., our school celebrated World Children’s Day through a day of lessons taught by students to their peers, teachers and parents. The school community thoroughly enjoyed this experience.

Our school was extremely excited to be involved in such an important event and is looking forward to taking part in next year’s World Children’s Day.

— Ava Lundell, Year 12 (11th-grader)

Deal Middle School

Last week, we were selected to go to a bookstore to meet an author named David Barclay Moore, who wrote a book called “The Stars Beneath Our Feet.” We walked to the store on a rainy school day; however, we felt excited to go on the trip because we wanted to meet a real author.

We learned that his book is set in Harlem, but he told us about his experience living in Brooklyn. One day his apartment building was bought by a new owner who turned out to be a psychopath. All the other people moved, and he was the only person still living there with the owner. One day at his apartment, there was a loud sound that woke him up. There was a 15-inch machete on his door, which scared him! He asked us, “What would you do if you were in that situation?”

The author told us everything about him growing up, which was interesting.

— Travis Jones and Dylan Santiago, eighth-graders

Emerson Preparatory School

Higher education has been a hot topic on Emerson senior Imara Glymph’s mind lately. Like many 12th-graders, Imara has been researching and traveling the country to visit various colleges and universities. She’s excited, but it hasn’t all been a breeze. “Being a senior in high school is … a whirlwind because at the same time as you’re applying to a lot of different colleges, you’re also finishing up your classes,” says Imara.

Appreciative of the contrast between the rigidity and rigor of her previous high school and Emerson’s individualized curriculum, Imara thinks of Emerson as her “safe haven.” Although she looks forward to college and exploring film and zoology, her two main areas of interest, it is hard to part with an environment like Emerson — so much that she has asked to stay an extra year.

Our school has hosted representatives from various colleges and universities this year, and it has helped students compare schools and ask experts for guidance. When asked how she has benefited from her overall Emerson experience, Imara says, “I’m more confident in the fact that you can take your learning disability to college.” Coming to Emerson, she didn’t think that she’d receive the mental health support that she values in a school but was glad to have a safe space for mindfulness and relaxation with Ms. Reinhart, our school counselor, who is always ready with a granola bar.

The Emerson community has high hopes for Imara, and we’re certain that she’ll go far.

— Isabel Fajardo, 11th-grader

Lafayette Elementary School

At Lafayette, second-graders have a lot to be thankful for. We interviewed students in Mr. King’s class and found that most kids are thankful for their pets and families. Weston Gerdts is grateful for his family and his dog. He is very excited to be staying in D.C. and having turkey for Thanksgiving. Rocky Burke is also grateful for her family and her dog, while Federico Ortega is thankful for his family and his friends. Jack Tafur is thankful for his family and his hermit crabs.

We also gave Mr. King’s and Ms. Styles’ second-grade classes a paper poll with a word bank of things that most kids are thankful for such as home, family, friends and another write-in category. We got their papers back and found that nine kids were most thankful for their families, while five kids were most thankful for friends and three were most thankful for their pets. One brave second-grader says that school is the number one thing he is thankful for.

Most second-graders say they will eat traditional Thanksgiving food like turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie. About half will stay in D.C., and half will travel as far as Florida and Connecticut.

Second-grader Camille Allee had an unusual response. She wrote, “I’m thankful for books because without books you would not learn as much.” I like Camille’s answer because it was different and I love reading, too!

— Eve Fisher, fifth-grader

Oyster-Adams Bilingual School

Our first student electronic newspaper is a total success. The newspaper is called La Perla and is written for the students, by the students and of the students (the newspaper’s motto). Some of the regular features of the newspaper are an advice column called Dear Gaby, Comics, Question of The Week, Riddles/Puzzles, Book/Movie Reviews and Student Profile. Of course, it also has all the regular features of a newspaper, including sports, cover articles, advertisements and a calendar.

La Perla is Oyster-Adams’ new electronic student newspaper. (photo courtesy of Oyster-Adams Bilingual School)

Upon reading the first issue, principal Mayra Canizales says, “This is awesome!” Student council vice president Ava McGee says, “So excited to read it!” Alison Koehler, an assistant teacher, said, “La Perla is lovely — great job on getting everyone organized and getting this out to everyone.” Carrie Roling, sixth-grade English humanities teacher and sponsor of the newspaper says, “Keiry Viera is the awesome lady that deserves the credit! Ms. Viera suggested we use Constant Contact to distribute the newspaper electronically to students in a way that protects student privacy. She worked with students to develop a design for the newsletter. This newspaper could not have happened without her.”

— Gabriella Eversley-Holland, Francis Csedrik and Lesly Bautista, sixth-graders

St. Patrick’s Episcopal Day School

Recently, the eighth-grade science classes at St. Patrick’s were assigned a chemistry project on different chemical elements. Students chose their own element and had to demonstrate their knowledge of their element in a creative way. Students had to define their element, describe its characteristics and properties, and provide a brief history. They also had to depict its subatomic parts and explain current common uses of the element. All of this information needed to be displayed in a creative final product, clearly conveying the element’s importance.

Sander Rodman created a display case of fake platinum jewelry. (photo courtesy of St. Patrick’s Episcopal Day School)

I chose platinum for my element project. Platinum is used in many ways in the 21st century, including being an important element when making jewelry. After researching, I chose to design a jewelry display case to represent the significance and uses of platinum. Inside my display case, I arranged fake platinum jewelry. My final product resembled a jewelry box with information requirements labeled along each side. Other students created PowerPoint presentations, posters and models to represent their own elements. Overall, the project allowed students, myself included, to showcase our understanding of our researched element.

— Sander Rodman, eighth-grader

Sheridan School

The Sheridan School is implementing a program in which the eighth grade splits off and tries to help the world. They are calling those groups Sustainability Labs. The three sectors of exploration are water, food and energy, and the groups are looking into how the school can use resources more efficiently. Sheridan’s Mountain Campus was surveyed, tested and observed on the best ways to conserve water, food and energy.

Sheridan eighth-graders work to improve their school’s environmental sustainability. (photo courtesy of Sheridan School)

The energy group identified the best place to put solar panels: on top of the showers. It was the most sunlit area throughout the day, and it needs electricity for various functions. The water and food groups went on a farm near the Mountain Campus and observed the usage and waste of water there.

Back in the City Campus, the groups are now hard at work researching and figuring out ways the Mountain Campus can be more resource sustainable. A DC Water representative came and worked with the water sustainability group. They tested water and gathered observations, and now there are a surprising number of kids walking around with DC Water necklaces. The energy group is making houses out of cardboard and other materials and making circuits connected to solar panels as experiments. The food group took soil samples from the Mountain Campus and is testing the soil for healthy phosphate and PH levels. All the groups are having fun, and we are all of the edge of our seats to see just how much they can help save the world.

— Ava Partridge and Gabi Delinsky, eighth-graders

Washington International School

The holidays start early at our school. The second that Halloween is over, people start thinking about Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. Gone are the worries of costumes and makeup, and in come the worries of getting the “perfect gift” for friends. Students huddle in groups, trading gift ideas and coming up with Secret Santa drop-off spots. Christmas carols on ready-made Spotify playlists blare from earbuds during a break, lunch, and in the five minutes in between classes.

Wednesday, Nov. 15, is Thanksgiving Lunch day. The grand feast includes green beans, cranberry sauce, rolls with butter, turkey, yams and sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, stuffing and a choice between apple or pumpkin pie. The PentatoniX version of “Hallelujah” blasts in a continuous loop from the kitchen speakers, as the lunch staff passes plates down the food assembly line. The tables are set with creamy white tablecloths and blue linen centerpieces, contrasting against the paper plates and plastic spoons that the students use to eat.

All of the “Halloween Makeup Tutorial” and “Funny Halloween Prank” Instagrams have been replaced with “Festive Holiday Casual” and “New Year’s Glam” tutorials. All of the spooky decorations from Target and costume ideas from clothing stores have been exchanged with perfect gifts from Sephora and holiday decor ideas. Social media feeds are alight with red and green, blue and white. Instagram’s “Explore” page is covered in holiday DIY and gift ideas, with everyone getting into the season, even though it’s still only mid-November.

— Ella Bown and Maia Nehme, seventh-graders