Sep 2, 2022
In Mr. Lawrence Liu’s Upper School Government class, students are discussing the purpose of government and evaluating whether the most important role is keeping order or protecting individual rights. Students are reading excerpts from Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan and summaries of John Locke’s view of government. The discussion will help students work on asking questions, citing texts, and evaluating each other’s thoughts. This type of discussion helps build substantive knowledge of history and philosophy and the practical skills necessary to evaluate and think critically. Mr. Liu, who worked as a lawyer both in private practice and in a federal agency, uses his legal expertise and experience in the classroom to help deepen students’ understanding.
Sep 2, 2022
Students in various English classes are reflecting on summer reading through writing and projects. In Ms. Peale’s seventh grade class, students are writing essays about their summer choice books. In eighth grade, students are writing narrative poems to demonstrate the experience of the different narrators in the book Refugee. Students in Ms. Alston’s ninth grade class are making a timeline of the events in their summer reading book How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents, putting the story, which is in reverse chronological order, into the correct order and choosing the most significant events. Students in AP Language will be presenting to the class using emblematic images from history, art, or popular culture to help express ideas about the graphic novel of Abraham Lincoln’s “Gettysburg Address” talking about the relationship between words and image.
Sep 2, 2022
Last Friday Ms. Melissa Vercammen’s choir class took their music outdoors for a kinesthetic test of their music knowledge. Students lined up along the lines on the blacktop by the lunch tables and had to move their bodies in line with different slabs of pavement to name that note. Students cheered each other on as players were eliminated, testing to see their knowledge of notes using physical space to represent the different letters. Ms. Vercammen, who has been a member of our faculty for more than a decade, is the chair of the arts department and teaches choir, music and Jazz band for students in 8th through 12th grade.
Sep 2, 2022
Each year, Washington Latin faculty have the opportunity to apply for an Inspire Grant, professional development opportunities provided thanks to the donations of our community to the Faculty Fund. The grants are open to a wide range of travel and other activities. Grantees made use of the summer for mountain climbing, participating in workshops, visiting museums, creating new curriculum, and meditating. In the years since the Inspire Grant program began, teachers have visited historical sites in New York, New Orleans, Puerto Rico, Israel, Rome, and other exotic locals. They studied classical literature, the Harlem Renaissance, Jazz Music, Geography, History, and Meditation. The purpose of the grants is to engage teachers in new and dynamic activities to help them recharge and reconceptualize their curricula and area of study, both to enrich teaching and learning and bolster teacher retention.
Apr 29, 2022
Creativity and an appreciation of the arts are central to the Washington Latin education, and the focus on trying out different artistic media pervades the curriculum. Fifth and sixth graders take theater with Mr. Baldwin. Seventh and eighth graders have art with Ms. Malchionno, theater with Mr. Birkenhead, and the eighth graders can also join choir or jazz band with Ms. VerCammen. Through high school, students continue to pursue arts through photography, and advanced art classes with Ms. Coleman and Ms. Malchionno. Creative writing extends across the curriculum, with opportunities for original writing in various disciplines. Many students also hone their writing skills through work on the school newspaper Sumus Leones and literary journal Open Mic.
As such, it is no surprise that many Washington Latin graduates explore careers in the arts for their careers, building on interests they acquired while enrolled here. Below is a sampling of some of our alumni doing amazing work in theater, music, film, photography, and journalism.
Class of 2012 graduate Autumn Yancey-Estime works as a Talent Coordinator for Vanguard Management in Los Angeles. She received her BA in Cinema Production from Point Park University in Pittsburgh, PA. She also writes scripts and cultural opinion pieces.
Class of 2013 alum St. Clair Detrick-Jules shared her book “My Beautiful Black Hair” with faculty and families in this year’s speaker series. She developed her love of writing in creative writing and English classes at Latin, and refined her craft at Brown University. She is also a filmmaker and her documentary “DACAmented” won awards at several film festivals. To read more about her work, visit her website.
Class of 2015 graduate Emily Hall became enamored with work in the film industry, and is a television post production coordinator and video editor for the Netflix Series “YOU.” She is also a video editor for the Tastemade global, digital food and travel network. She previously worked as the post production coordinator for the HBO Max series “Our Flag Means Death.” As a student at Washington Latin she started doing her own freelance photography, video and graphic design business, and her work has appeared in Forbes, NBC News, Huffington Post, Photographer’s Forum, and Washingtonian magazine. Even when she was in middle school, Emily enjoyed making documentaries about her classes and teachers at Washington Latin, a passion she continued at American University. To see more of her work, visit her website.
Class of 2014 graduate Brandi Clarke enjoyed her work in the school choir with Ms. VerCammen, and is pursuing a career in music. Since graduating from the College of Wooster in 2018, she has been using the stage name Brandin St. Clair, and she performs live, and has recorded several videos including “Golden Eyes,” and “Lioness,” available on Spotify. Clarke performed this past Thursday at the music venue, The Pocket, on North Capitol. Several of her music videos feature her classmates from the class of 2013 and 2014.
The original founder of Washington Latin’s school newspaper Sumus Leones, class of 2014 member Cuneyt Dil, has continued to hone his skills as a journalist. After continuing to write for the school newspaper at American University, he most recently is writing for Axios as a Washington DC reporter. Dil covered California and West Virginia state government for the Associated Press, and Washington DC politics and government for the Washington City Paper. To read some of his recent publications, go to his page on the Axios website.
Several more recent graduates are earning money in the arts while they complete college. Shelby Griffith, a member of the class of 2019, who performed vocals with the Jazz Band at Latin, is studying popular and commercial music at Loyola University in New Orleans and sings backup for rapper Ncognita. She also performs at Tipitinas in New Orleans with an ensemble and performs with a band named Fuse. Hear her recording with the Loyola University musical group Smiling Faces.
Some of our current students have distinguished themselves with recordings that can be found on iTunes and with artwork on display in local galleries. But that can be a topic for another week….
Peter T. Anderson
Head of School