Fans of Harry Potter will recognize this tradition! For the past two years, Mme Addo has assigned the Middle School students their own “House” – one of five groups based on the school’s core values:
Open-mindedness, Intellectual Curiosity, Integrity, Empathy, and Resilience.
During the school year, Houses accumulate points through games and individual achievements. Each House has prefects to guide them. Last week, the outgoing prefects in 8th Grade held the Sorting Ceremony (complete with Sorting Hat) for this year’s 5th Graders as they prepare to enter Middle School. It was a lot of fun! Glory to your Houses!
As we mentioned in the Echo last week, Mr. Ericson’s 8th Grade US Science class kicked off its unit on systems of the body with a dissection lab featuring special guest Dr. Riaz Ahmed, SDFAS Parent to Gabe (8th) and Anya (5th) and an award-winning cardiologist with the Scripps Clinic.
While following all the necessary COVID-prevention protocols, Dr. Ahmed – who has trained many med students – joined Mr. Ericson in leading our students through a dissection of a pig heart. With the help of a document camera, students on distance learning were also able to follow, and they will now be able to practice the same experience at home (if they would like – in fact, any student who wished not to take part had the option of working on a different project).
During recess not long after, I chatted with the students about their experience. They expressed enjoyment and even a little bit of awe. According to Dr. Ahmed, the 8th Graders showed great composure and curiosity.
Their maturity was not surprising in the least, and we’re proud of their good work. As Mr. Ericson had reminded the class: “We will treat the Pig Hearts and the exercise with respect. We will honor those lives by focusing our attention to learn all we can.”
All the better to have Dr. Ahmed on hand – we thank him again for sharing his time and expertise!
This week I keep returning enthusiastically to the prospect that, after what is now over 13 months living and learning during a global pandemic, our school will be allowed to hold a modified, live graduation on campus.
We have received from the San Diego County Department of Public Health more details about our ability to hold an outdoor graduation ceremony on campus that can includes students, staff, and students’ immediate households.
The gloves aren’t completely off – it won’t be a completely “normal” graduation. Everyone will have assigned seating, and will need to register beforehand. Masks will be required, and socializing will be limited. And, at least as of now, extended family and friends who do not live in the immediate household will not be able to attend. We will incorporate ways to include those who cannot attend in person – borrowing from lessons learned this past year, includingthe alternative – and terrific – event held for graduates last year.
Kindergarten will also be able to hold its traditional graduation ceremony. For Middle School, we are saving the date for Monday, June 14, 5pm!
What are the odds, I asked 8th grader David Deutsch, of scoring a Gold Medal with a perfect score of 120 out of 120 on the Kangaroo Math USA competition? What are the odds of achieving it two years running? Well, it’s a rare achievement, that’s for sure. Last year, he was one of 56 students in the country to receive Gold – and the only one in San Diego County.
56…out of nearly 35,000!
His achievement was deservedly celebrated in Advisory during the morning meeting. Asked how that felt, David is very humble: “It doesn’t mean you’re a legendary mathematician, but it’s something to be proud of.”
David also participated in the AMC8 and AMC10 competitions. On the AMC-8 he was in the top 1.8% among over 50,000 participants, and on the AMC10 he finished in the top 13.33% among all participants (9th and 10th grade included).
Stellar stuff. So what’s it like to get ready for a big math competition?
“It’s a lot like stage fright,” David says. “You generally feel stressed before, and then after that you don’t feel anything anymore […] it doesn’t really help to feel nervous because then you lose your concentration.”
David described his passion for math and for the piano, at which he also excels. Which one’s more difficult? “Piano requires more concentration but the objective is clearer. In math, the destination is more unknown, more abstract…”
One day, David hopes to become a researcher in neuroscience, to study and better understand how to combat and treat brain cancer. As it so happens, one area of promising research in the battle against cancer: applied mathematics.