School Dispatches: Nov. 8, 2017

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A group of seventh-graders recently visited the Hirshhorn. (photo courtesy of Field School)
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British International School of Washington

Last week, the British International School of Washington issued its first edition of Amplified. It replaces The Atlantic, our original school newspaper.

When creating Amplified, the team’s main goal was to produce a fresh take on the classic school newspaper. Amplified is now referred to as the school magazine, not newspaper. Each edition has a theme that serves as the inspiration for all featured articles, creative writing pieces and comics. For example, the first edition’s theme was Netflix.

The school’s news magazine, Amplified, recently printed its first issue. (image courtesy of British International School of Washington)

The Netflix theme provided the stimulus for many very interesting articles and opinion pieces. These included an article about the changing environment of the American workplace (inspired by U.S. version of “The Office,” a sitcom based on a failing paper company called Dunder Mifflin), and an opinion piece on “13 Reasons Why” (a very controversial drama about teenage suicide).

Every edition will focus on a new theme. The school community and Amplified staff are extremely excited about this new approach to a school publication. Each new theme provides an opportunity to explore different ideas and subjects that one might not usually tackle.

Amplified was met with excitement and applause. The school community now anxiously awaits the release of the second Amplified edition.

— Ava Lundell, Year 12 (11th-grader)

Deal Middle School

Last Thursday we visited Wilson High School to hear the author Jason Reynolds speak his story. He told us about his new book, “Long Way Down,” and how he became successful. He told us about growing up in Maryland. We also heard anecdotes about eating ramen noodles crunched up and how much sugar he and his brother added to Kool-Aid when they were kids.

Once he snuck into his brother’s room to get a Walkman to listen to the Queen Latifah tape that he saved up to buy. After hearing her, he decided to he wanted to be her when he grew up, and talked about writing Queen Latifah poems. Even though he failed his college English class twice, his teacher eventually passed him and he moved to New York and he got a book deal.

I think if you have the chance to hear his story, please do.

— Jacob Anthony, eighth-grader (Team Havana)

Emerson Preparatory School

On Halloween, our typical students do not roam Emerson’s hallways. Instead, bloody scarecrows and werewolves show up to shadow for the day. The moment our second-period bell rings, a Halloween party is in full swing. We have Emerson teachers, administrators, students and parents to thank for organizing. Food, decorations and fundraising contributions made the day festive and allowed students to unwind.

“The Halloween party is important to Emerson because I think that everyone could use a break, especially after midterms,” party planner Paule Ndjiki-Nya explains.

Along with a team of other planners, Paule used our classrooms to compose a horror movie room and an “escape room,” and transform our lunch cafe into a dance party filled to the brim with pizza and sweets.

The annual event gives everyone an opportunity to socialize with schoolmates and a chance to express themselves in costume. For instance, junior Tyler Finelli woke up at 3 a.m. to work on his extremely realistic and gory FX makeup, which predictably won the schoolwide costume contest.

Not only does putting this celebration together benefit the students, BUT it also teaches the student planners organizational skills, positive leadership, and awareness of others’ ideas and feelings.

The team’s hard work paid off, as the first Halloween party at Emerson’s new location was a terrific day to remember. As our third-period classes began, every bowl of candy was emptied, and regretful comments about never eating so much candy again could be heard throughout our school.

— Isabel Fajardo, 11th-grader

Field School

The vast, smoky buildings loom up before the 36 students standing below, the chattering of friends and the booming of the fountain shattering the silence of the great circular building. We are at the Hirshhorn, gathered together early in the morning to visit Ai Weiwei’s Trace.

A group of seventh-graders recently visited the Hirshhorn. (photo courtesy of Field School)

Our teachers usher us inside to meet our tour guides and our noise increases, prompted by the quiet inside. We are immediately taken to the second floor. Spread around the walls is an exquisite gold wallpaper which, at a far glance, looks like an an ornate design. Up close, handcuffs form circles around security cameras, ropes link around Twitter logos and there is some kind of llama/alpaca animal. The piece is titled “The Animal That Looks Like a Llama but is Really an Alpaca.” The piece is meant to show surveillance and things that are not what they seem to be. 

We walk around the main exhibit, Trace, where Lego images of faces lie on the floor. These people are activists or people who have been hidden by the government or society. Pieced together Lego by Lego, these people lie on the floor, represented by Ai Weiwei as their misrepresented selves.

When we exit the museum our minds are swimming with ideas of activists young and old, as well as Ai Weiwei’s fight to protect the misrepresented. What did these people do to deserve the treatment that they were given? Will we follow in their footsteps?

— Sarah Cymrot, seventh-grader

Holy Trinity School

This year our class made the big transition from lower school to upper school at Holy Trinity. That means we moved to another building and had to adjust to many changes. The lower school is pre-kindergarten through fourth grade and the upper is fifth through eighth grade.

In the lower school, students need to be silent in the hallways so as not to disturb the other classes. In the upper school, every class changes at the same time with two minutes in between to get to your next class, so students are allowed to talk in the hallways. Upper school students get lockers with lock combinations, but the lower school students have easy-to-open lockers and lockers without any door at all. The girls’ uniform changes from jumpers to skirts when students move to upper school. Upper school students have more teachers to get to know, and every grade in the upper school has two homerooms.

It may seem like the upper school is a lot better, but that’s not 100 percent true. There are a lot more responsibilities in the upper school and less time for lunch and recess than in the lower school. Also, there is a lot more homework and classwork. Every year it gets harder.

There are so many similarities and differences that we could go on and on, but that’s all we have for today.

— Madison Gray, Ellie Moran and Claire Patterson, fifth-graders

Lafayette Elementary School

There’s a new club at Lafayette called Kaleidoscope Kids. Principal Broquard suggested the name because when you look into a kaleidoscope you see different shapes all coming together to form beautiful designs. The same thing is true about Lafayette, so the new club is about how kids can be kind to all different kinds of people.

Fifth-graders Eve Fisher and Elsa Gerber Vico and one of the kid-made signs advertising Lafayette’s new club, Kaleidoscope KIds. (photo courtesy of Lafayette Elementary School)

Club members learn about people’s physical and “invisible” differences. So far this year they’ve have discussed physical disabilities that would cause you to use a wheelchair or a walker and “invisible” disabilities such as ADHD, autism and dyslexia. Later in the year they hope to tackle LGBTQ issues, racism, skin color and religion.

Sometimes during Kaleidoscope Kids’ meetings, kids with learning issues such as ADHD will talk about their learning difference and present their perspective about what it is like. “I find that to be one of the most interesting things about the club,” said Elsa Gerber Vico, a fifth-grader. “It helps me to understand the person better.”

Club members have made posters and put them all over the walls of the school. The posters tell how students can help other people with disabilities or differences. The sponsors of Kaleidoscope Kids are Ms. Ryden, the peace teacher; Ms. Deisner, one of the school’s two guidance counselors; and Ms. Richie, a first-grade teacher. Ms. Ryden said, “We are making sure that Lafayette is a place where everyone is as kind and accepting as can be.”

Kaleidoscope Kids really spotlights Lafayette’s hashtag for this school year: #choosekind!

— Hannah Brickman, fifth-grader

National Presbyterian School

On Nov. 2, we had Upper Division chapel at our church, National Presbyterian Church. Upper Division chapel is held every Thursday for the second- through sixth-graders. Our chapel leader is the Rev. Dunfee, our school chaplain. She is also our religious studies teacher. A third-grader named Stella played our opening prelude on the piano as everyone was coming in. Sixth-graders also help out with our chapel service. Ingrid lit the candles while everyone was silent and Bendu read the Bible passage.

On Thursday, we had a special guest for this service and his name was Dr. Quinn Fox, who works at our church. Dr. Fox talked about Martin Luther, who spread his ideas about Christianity. Our third-graders shared Prayers of the People. Ingrid came back down the aisle to extinguish the candles. At the end, everyone sang the closing song as we departed. We are all grateful that Dr. Fox took time out of his morning to talk to us. So from National Presbyterian School, we say, “Thank you, Dr. Fox!”

— Taylor Kittrell, fifth-grader

Our Lady of Victory School

It’s that time of year again! The leaves are changing, the days are feeling shorter and Halloween is here! Our school had a Halloween party, called the Sock-Hop, on Oct. 27, held in the school gym. There were a lot of fun costumes such as pirates, Wonder Woman, cats, a Winnie the Pooh trio and a variety of other festive outfits.

In the science room, there were games such as bowling, a fun version of horseshoes and a game where you had to get the ball into the hockey net. When you won a game, you would win something such as a trinket or some cool Halloween shades. In the art room, you could make fun arts and crafts, such as masks and a diverse assortment of decorative Halloween things.

This dance had such a playfully scary atmosphere. When you walked in, there was an arch of balloons colored black, white and orange for Halloween. There were pumpkins and all types of spooky decorations! There was a merry assortment of food such as cookies, popcorn, cupcakes, pretzels and some punch. The icing on the cookies was filled with spiders and fun little decorations that everyone could enjoy. One of my favorite cupcake designs was the little spider made out of pretzels. The second-graders chose the theme, and the parents helped turn their imagination into a reality, and I think that’s what made this the best Sock-Hop ever.

— Juliette C., seventh-grader

Sheridan School

Sheridan’s kindergarten students recently visited Rock Creek Park. (photo courtesy of Sheridan School)

One day, the Sheridan kindergarten class got on a bus and went to Rock Creek Park for a field trip. When we got there we had snack and sang a song. We went in three groups to different activities. One was games like “Capture the Flag.” And there was a science project. We got told a story about leaves and did an experiment about pigments. We went on a hike and found interesting nature things. We saw a police horse named Guinness and he kissed some of us. After that, we had lunch where there were lots of leaves. Later we got back on the bus and went back to school. It was an interesting place. We had a good time.

— Sheridan kindergarten class

Washington International School

Here at Washington International School, we really like to have debates, which tend to happen in our English and humanities classes. Currently we have a four-day-old debate running in the seventh-grade French humanities classes. On one side there is the Catholic Church, and on the other, there is the Orthodox Church. So far, we have discussed Catholic priests being accused of sexual abuse and how they collaborated with the Nazis during World War II. We also talked about the Orthodox belief about paintings being sacred, and we went back and forth about what was better: having one Pope (as in the Catholic Church) or having multiple patriarchies in every country (as in the Orthodox Church). A big topic during these debates is corruption and both organizations stealing money from their churches and hospitals. Both sides helped Jews during the Holocaust, but both also committed some crimes and have been accused of helping Germany during World War II.

We have yet to decide who “wins” these debates, but until then each side will continue trying to persuade the other. Note: None of the things stated in this article about either religion are meant to offend anyone.

— Abigail Bown, seventh-grader