School Dispatches: Nov. 29, 2017

British International School of Washington students visited the United Nations headquarters to take part in World Children’s Day. (photo by Katie Stewart)

British International School of Washington

On Nov. 17, seven British International School of Washington students left for the United Nations headquarters in New York. As members of school’s sustainable development goals club, these seven students were chosen to go represent the voices of children worldwide at the UN’s World Children’s Day takeover.

The weekend was spent preparing at the UNICEF headquarters for the final presentation, which was to be given to the secretary-general and all the global ambassadors at the UN. During this time, students interviewed many inspirational students who had come from across the globe to share their stories and to ensure the voices of vulnerable children were heard. Particularly moving speeches included two young Syrian refugees describing how they were forced to walk from Damascus to Jordan; a young girl describing her experience as a child soldier in The Central African Republic; and a boy who was blind and faced some mobility challenges discussed the challenges faced by disabled children.

British School of Washington students also had the opportunity to help prepare musical pieces that were to be presented to the UN officials. The use of music and dancing scattered amongst the speeches added a youthful atmosphere to the performance.

In conclusion, children globally got to stand up for their rights and remind adults of the hundreds of thousands of children who are innocent victims of war.

— Sofia Hollowell, Year 12 (11th-grader)

Deal Middle School

We are learning about monotheistic religions in my geography class, so we went on a field trip to Adas Israel Synagogue, St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral and the Islamic Center of Washington.

At the Islamic Center, women and girls had to cover their hair with a scarf, and neither gender could show any skin except for feet and face. We saw people praying and following their rituals. At St. Sophia, I saw a lot of crosses and a dome, and learned that the choir sang in the dome. There was a bench where you could put your knees and pray.

At Adas Israel, we saw the sanctuary and study room. I learned that they speak and read Hebrew, which is read right to left. They had five books in their Torah. It is rolled up like a scroll and two people hold it to be careful. We stood when they opened the ark to show us the Torah.

— Logan Lockley, sixth-grader (Team Nice)

Emerson Preparatory School

On Nov. 22, Emerson hosted its annual schoolwide Thanksgiving potluck. As each year passes, students come and go from the school but many return for a visit, as Emerson values a strong sense of community. This potluck is unlike some other Emerson celebrations, as we all pitch in as a school to make the afternoon meaningful. Everyone gathers first to celebrate one of our seniors who has just received a full scholarship to attend a summer medical program. This exciting news is yet another reason for the Emerson community to be thankful this year, along with a steady transition from our old Dupont Circle location to our new one at 1816 12th St. NW.

Our close-knit community is celebrated as many families contribute to the function by serving homemade dishes, bringing students together before everyone goes home for Thanksgiving break. All of us get the pleasure of seeing old and new faces; Emerson alumni and parents/guardians are welcome to visit and share food, drinks, and laughs.

Our small but cozy cafe is lined with an enormous feast, and students queue to grab as much as they can hold on large paper plates. As trays are emptied, everyone then disperses into classrooms, our “quiet room,” and other nooks and crannies to dig into heaping plates of the delicious spread with plenty of leftovers to take home afterward.

Happy Thanksgiving to our own Emerson owls, and all those in D.C. and beyond.

— Isabel Fajardo, 11th-grader

Hearst Elementary School

This week, the Shining Stars of Hearst Elementary — preschool/pre-K CES classroom — worked on gross and fine motor skills. We worked on wiggling our fingers and toes. We worked on bending and stretching our core. We worked on lifting, kicking and hopping on one leg. The most fun is that we worked on moving our bodies, learning how to dance and following directions. Also, we worked on our social and communication skills interacting with our peers, singing along and communicating with our peers. The Shining Stars had a blast!

We utilized video modeling and music to teach this lesson. Research on children with autism has shown that video modeling can be an effective in improving skills. It can teach target behaviors very quickly compared to other methods. For people with autism spectrum disorder, music can assist in improving social and communication skills.

— Claudia DeSilva’s CES class

Maret School

For six Mondays in the fall, the fourth grade at Maret visits Martha’s Table. One class goes one Monday, and then the other class goes the next Monday. One of the things we do when we go is bring vegetables. Students bring the vegetables earlier that morning. Another thing we do is pair up with 2-year-old children. When I went to Martha’s Table, I paired up with a student and played puzzles and read books. Martha’s Table is a great way to give back and have fun helping the teachers with the children.

— Morgan Jackson, fourth-grader

Our Lady of Victory School

This fall, Our Lady of Victory’s fifth- and sixth-grade boys won the Catholic Youth Organization Soccer League city title. We ended the regular season with five wins, two losses and one tie. We were very happy with our big win and had a wonderful time playing all the games.

Our first playoff game was against Little Flower on Oct. 27. Our team was excited but a little nervous. We started the game off with a quick goal. The score was 2-0 at halftime; we ended up crushing Little Flower 7-0! We celebrated by eating wings together after the game.

Our next game was against Saint Mary of Nazareth on Nov. 3. Our team had lost to them in the regular season. It was a tough game from the start. The score was 0-0 at halftime, and our team was nervous! Then in the second half we scored on a free kick. The score was 1-0, and we won!

The final game was on Nov. 4 against Our Lady of Mercy. We had also lost to them in the regular season. It was a very hard game; the score was 0-0 at halftime. Then, in the second half, Our Lady of Mercy scored. We began to lose hope. There were only 15 minutes left in the game, and we scored! Then with about a minute left in the game, we scored again!

— James M. and Alfonso P., sixth-graders

Oyster-Adams Bilingual School

On Nov. 8, our middle school Asamblea candidates debated before students voted. Asamblea means “assembly” in Spanish and is the word we use for our student council. We had a talk with Dean of Students Morad about it and one question that we asked was, “What do you like most about the Assemblea?” She said that, “They’re very helpful, they’re powerful leaders, they take things upon themselves to do [that] I don’t have to ask for.”

On the day of the debates, President Nevis Gatti said, “I will be encouraged by your hopes and dreams and [I hope to] make them come true.” Theoretically, we think many were motivated to vote hoping these dreams will come true. All of the candidates worked very hard to prepare for the leadership roles and students were lucky to have a good group of leaders to choose from.

After winning election, Vice President Ava Mcgee said, “Basically my entire middle school career I was always interested in proposing ideas but I never realized that there was a specific place for that. So I am very excited to be a part of this year’s student council team.”

Let’s hope these fine leaders continue their work beyond the election and maybe someday we will have the opportunity to support them as candidates in national politics. We sure do need more qualified leaders.

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

St. Patrick’s Episcopal Day School

Every year, Grade 6 students at St. Patrick’s travel to a camp on the Chesapeake Bay called the Echo Hill Outdoor School. Here, they spend three nights learning about the Chesapeake Bay. The trip isn’t just about learning about the Chesapeake — it’s about learning how we can make the Bay and the world a better place.

On the first day, we were divided into tribes. We had three activities a day with our tribes. Some of the activities were Garbology, team building, night hikes and campfires. We also had free time to swim in the bay, play football and basketball games, and chat with kids from other schools like Calvert School and Grace Episcopal in Kensington.

One of the best things about Echo Hill is the food. Every time the food bell rang, we all sprinted to the cafeteria to enjoy our meal. Afterward, we did not chuck our leftovers in the trash can. Instead, we put them in a Stuff Left On Plates (S.L.O.P), bucket. After every meal we would weigh the bucket and sing a quirky song. This taught us that so much hard work goes into making the food we rely on, and when we throw it away it’s a huge waste and an insult to the people who make it.

Echo Hill was an amazing place to learn and enjoy time with my friends and teachers.

— Giles Kevill, sixth-grader

Sheridan School

On Nov. 12, we (a few students from Sheridan) accompanied a neuroscientist to the Society for Neuroscience Conference, held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. It was a huge event with thousands of people there to share ideas and explore new neuroscience tools.

Sheridan students attended a neuroscience conference to learn about the field. (image courtesy of Sheridan School)

The first thing we did when we got there was go down to the exhibit. There were hundreds of booths operated by employees of different companies selling scientific equipment. For example there were MRI simulators, machines that let lab rats explore virtual reality mazes, microscopes, and more. We saw many different demonstrations. A few of the most memorable ones were a man showing conference attendees how his bionic arm operated, a computer that scanned your eyes and then showed you how your eyes moved in a series of tests and a virtual reality method for viewing brain cells.

We also learned about the growing importance of virtual reality in the study of neuroscience. For humans, the technology lets us actually be inside and around a cell, and study it in a deeper virtual world. For rats, if their head is held completely still, it can be put on a ball or mini treadmill. Then, with the virtual reality machine, we can simulate various experiences for the rat, study the brain reactions and see how they differ depending on the experience.

— Ava Partridge, Emma Nelson and Miriam Akhmetshin, eighth-graders