Professor Dr. Anika Prather spoke to the faculty on Tuesday afternoon about diversity in the classics and the impact of classical texts on African American history. PRather is a professor of Classics at Howard University and the founder of The Living Water School in southern Maryland, a private classics school. She has graduate degrees in Education and Liberal Arts and a doctorate in English, Theatre and Literacy Education. She reflected on the role that Classics had on the philosophy of African American historical figures and philosophers like W.E.B. DuBois, Martin Luther King Jr., and Frederick Douglass.
The fifth and sixth grade completed a digital science fair this year, with students presenting their research using Google Slides and videos describing their work to judges. The fifth grade scientists, advised by science teacher Ms. Dorsey, completed experiments ranging from freezing balloons to submerging baby teeth in different liquids. In first place in the fifth grade was Max Smudde, who measured the impact of magnet placement on Gauss Rifles. Second place was Francisco Blanco, third place was Sebastian Risso, fourth place was June Walsh and Daphna Soskis. In sixth grade, first place was Annie Alcorn, who did a project on prosthetic hands, conducting an engineering challenge with the goal to design a prosthetic hand with both power and precision grip. Second place was Avis Weeden and Nora O’Donovan, and third place was Miles Johnson.
Upper schoolers also enjoyed a wellness day full of reflection and creativity. Ms. Trevino, Ms. Rose, and Mr. Callum kept students physically active with workouts while several teachers encouraged the students to get their cardio outside, socially distanced. Mr. Hultgren, Mr. Liu, and Mr. Edwards-Stuart took students on a bike ride, Mr. Keller invited students to play bocci ball on campus, Mr. Zinck and Ms. Kovach lead students on a hike in Rock Creek Park, and Mr. Clausen took students on a tour of the arboretum, and Mr. Martin, Mr. Torrence, and Mr. Yonker taught students to play disc golf, while Ms. Foster led a kickball game at the school. For the literary and artistic, there were also options like letter writing, led by Ms. Brady, journaling, lead by Mr. Chernitsky-Hamd, and Vision Boards with Ms. Richardson. For the environmentalists and green thumbs in the building, Mr. Stiff lead a wildlife scavenger hunt, Mr. Day shared backyard birding tricks, Ms. Feist shared tips about plant propagation.
Students kept busy with Wednesday Wellness Workshops, including athletic cardio activities, taught by Mr. Marriotti, Ms. Figueroa, Ms. Eleby-El, and Ms. Smith, discussion and social problem solving groups taught by Mr. Coleman and Ms. Grant, and of course lots of fun making and baking activities. Ms. Dobler led a crafting circle, and Ms. Malcchiono taught weaving, while Ms. Coleman led an activity in creating paper dolls. Students also cooked shortbread cookies, granola, and guacamole in workshops led by Ms. Kolb, Ms. Moore, and Ms. Oberson. To round out the day, workshops on meditation, burnout, resilience, and community were lead by our many mental health professionals Ms. Davis, Ms. Griffith, Mr. Werstein, and Ms. Bufort. Wellness days allow students a chance to look inwards, relax, be creative, and socialize in teacher and student led workshops focused on rest, recuperation, and rejuvenation.
On Friday, Ms. Coleman will lead a painting workshop for teachers after school. The art teacher hosts private Paint and Sip events, and has also taught in person lessons for teachers before distance learning. She will keep the teachers hands busy and mouths moving by mixing after school conversation with a passion for the arts. Ms. Coleman also paints stunning portraits which she sells, including images of musicians like Nina Simone, Bob Marley, and Miles Davis and writers like James Baldwin. Ms. Coleman also paints still life images and landscapes. She teaches art to middle and upper school students as well as fifth grade math academic support classes.
Students in Ms. Foley’s AP Language and Composition class had a guest speaker this week on Thursday who touched on the topic of incarceration. Laura Sullivan, a journalist for NPR, investigated the Angola Prison in Louisiana, where two men were put in solitary confinement for 36 years for a crime they didn’t commit. Sullivan is an investigative reporter who covers crime and punishment for Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and other NPR programs. She discussed her journalism career, how to complete an unbiased interview, and some of the ethical dilemmas of journalism. Students reflected on how readers responded to her interviews, what reform attempts have occurred as the result of her reporting, and how she has handled the emotional toll of reporting.