The middle school years are a special time in the life of a child. It is a time in their development when they are old enough to enjoy some independence while at the same time they are still fully provided for and protected by their family. It is a critical developmental period when patterns of behavior are established and confirmed.
This afternoon I sat with Mrs. Renken and reviewed the academic activities of our students as we begin Trimester 3. Is it wrong for me to say I would love to be a student in the Second Class as they are currently learning about whales? Our students are engaging in a cross-curricular unit of study that includes reading, measurement, art, research and presentation skills. I am excited to visit the South Wing corridor when they outline the lengths of the various species of whales in order to visualize and gain a better understanding of the actual size of these massive sea creatures.
I will admit…I am a bit sleep deprived these days. You see, I love the Winter Olympics! Since the Opening Ceremonies, I have been drawn to watch the events of the day in Pyeongchang. I attribute this compulsion to years spent at the ice rink as a child, skating competitions in Lake Placid (site of the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics) and a passion for political history associated with the Modern Olympic Games. Toss in a deep appreciation of John Williams’s Olympic Fanfare and Theme, the pristine beauty associated with the settings of the Winter Games and the indelible childhood memory of Vinko Bogataj’s epic ‘agony of defeat’ fall that opened each episode of ABC’s Wide World of Sports and you have the makings of a grown up Winter Olympic Games junkie.
Last Friday morning, I was meeting with a Board Committee member (and parent of an alum) when the faintest hint of an alarm was heard. Tweaking my ears to hear exactly what it was (recognizing that I am still trying to attune myself to the sound of a tornado siren) I recognized it immediately; within a few seconds the sound was growing closer and stronger. It became clearer to me. I was hearing a whistle being sounded, and then kazoos, and then just plain old noise makers joined in this joyful chorus of disruption. This was the announcement of Congé!
Have you every heard the saying when the going gets tough, the tough get going? Recently I overheard this advice being shared by a Fourth Class student to his classmate. It got me thinking…how has this youngster come to understand that there is a value in sticking with something—to see a project through to completion.
The chance of snow, and dare I say the dream of a snow day, is not the only cause for excitement at the Academy. The students in our Second and Fourth Classes have participated in the international Hour of Code initiative. The program is designed to help expose students to computer science and coding. Our Sixth Class is going well beyond this as they are ‘building’ their own Space Invaders game. Don’t be mistaken, while it sounds like fun and literally games…real learning is occurring as our students learn computer programming including: sequencing, loops, iteration, functions, variables and list.