While evolving one’s own political views is challenge enough, equipping yourself with the ability to understand conflicting perspectives often appears “monumental.” When Gabby asks a question, she asks not to solidify her opinions, rather to evaluate and expand her own options. Although Gabby might prefer to have the answers in front of her to study, she understands that in this field of study, objectivity is hard to come by. By remaining active in discussions, asking questions outside of class, and conducting a fair amount of independent research, Gabby sheds light into the many grayed corners of the United States political system.
Angela progressed from a true novice in French to following along a conversation, inserting her opinion and comprehending what is being asked with clarity. She amazes me when I think of her growth in French proficiency. Angela composes a page in French when you ask for a paragraph. She also helps her classmates every day in the way that she quietly motivates others. She is a model language student for the way that she enthusiastically embraces learning about a different culture. Angela will be missed greatly next year!
Daniel continues to be a simply amazing student. He is only a sophomore, but he shows every indication of knowing what is being discussed before we arrive at the topic. The other students look to him for the definitive answer in class. He shows insights into physics that are so deep and penetrating. I look forward to following his career in the years ahead. He is a winner.
Brooke is a thoughtful, diligent, and indefatigable student who often conveys unique insights in our collective inquiry. While she maintains an assiduous standard for her work, she does not fail to consider the nuance and depth of important moments in a text, in what they represent or in how they connect to other conversations we have had throughout the year. Her pertinacious drive for excellence inspire a deep connection to the levels within a text for the sake of developing consistently strong arguments for her insightful interpretations, as well as her ability to connect with and support the arguments of her classmates.
Hailey always comes to class with a great attitude and smile. She lights up the room! Hailey does not complain and often goes above and beyond expectations. She communicates to me when she does not understand something. I know Hailey will be successful in her language learning because of her openness to improve as well as her committed work ethic outside of the class. I am looking forward to seeing Hailey progress as a francophone!
Mary’s scrutiny of a text gives her direct and forthright inquisition on the consequences inherent to its premises and conclusions ignites a collective literary vivisection that inspires our collective understanding and scrutiny of its wisdom. Mary’s candor and humor often emboldens her classmates to unpack the deeper aspects of a novel or explore the figurative values within a passage with vigor and aplomb. In addition to work through a text, Mary is careful to listen to her classmates and responds to them with interest in their perspective. This simple characteristic fortifies the strength and depth of our learning community and enables each of us to achieve a substantive level of intellectual engagement.
Spotlights recognize commitment and success, as well as engagement in class and content. Jack Finley, this trimester’s spotlight scholar in Global Studies, has embodied the characteristics of an effective historian, and worked towards growth of perspective and opinion. Jack has embraced the opportunity for better global citizen: pursuing access and engagement, being informed, exercising empathy and being open-minded. Jack has purposely initiated discussions, fostered debate and committed himself to presenting his peers with facts and insight, even when contrary to his own views. It has been a pleasure having Jack in this class. Congratulations, Jack!
Nicole has taken on the herculean task of ingesting, parsing, and processing the great American novel, Moby Dick, with the aplomb of a well-trained literary seawolf. Ironic that a cetacean (seawolf) would thrive in a narrative featuring the explicit and grotesque evisceration of majestic cetaceans, but Nicole’s assiduous grit and flexibility in permeating the complexities of this epic landed her with a formidable understanding of the novel in scope, depth, and relevance. Her classwork and scholarship produced exemplar work that served us, her shipmates in this quest, at every turn.
Like his fellow AP Literature classmates, Sam is a conscientious, diligent, and invested scholar, someone who enjoys the challenge of reading and writing about complex works of fiction. Indeed, it is in his critical analyses of the plays and novels of this course that Sam shines brightest among his classmates. He is an impressive writer. He is a logical and orderly thinker, someone whose claims are valid and fully developed and whose arguments are coherent, persuasive, and clever. He is also a careful craftsman, using the structural and mechanical elements of an English sentence to bring both precision and grace to his expression. Sam’s writing is a joy to read, and it is a privilege to work with a student of such insight and intelligence.
John has improved significantly as a violist over the past 5 months. His lessons with Mr. Wood have been reaping benefits and John has become a true leader in the String Ensemble as the viola parts are critical to the arrangements we play. Strong rhythm, accurate bowing, and increasingly more consistent intonation are John's hallmarks. The ensemble is able to attempt more challenging repertoire because the violas have been more dependably synchronized with the other sections, and that has a lot to do with John's daily efforts. A tip of the cap to John for his good work as he displays significant potential as a violist and ensemble player.
Tommy is an excellent critical thinker. His ability to read, digest, and critique an author’s logic makes his analysis exceptional. Tommy is also an excellent writer. He distills complex narratives and arguments into single sentences. He has worked hard to perfect his sentence structure and word choice, and he has developed a sophisticated yet accessible writing style. He works hard, loves to read, and in recent weeks has worked hard to govern his participation, while simultaneously inviting his peers into the conversation. The quality of our class participations have improved drastically as a result. He is an active listener and I commend him for his insight, energy, and passion. Congratulations to Tommy Hu who is the Advanced Topics in World History Winter Scholar Spotlight.
Brooke has demonstrated consistent effort, attentiveness, and accountability in her study of literature and composition this trimester. Prepared for class every day, she listens patiently to others before expressing her analysis. This thoughtfulness is refreshing to see in a freshman English student. Her work in the Poetry Out Loud competition, the writing of poetry, and her analysis of poetry has shown clarity of thought and confidence as a critical thinker.
In History of Peacemaking, Erica serves as the room’s academic safety. All within her zone of protection can rest assured that if they step off the edge of fact-based perspective, Erica will come to their rescue with a quiet, polite, yet needed and accurate, correction. If more than one of her peers falters, then Erica will go as far as to review her notes, take out source material, rewind the video; whatever it takes to bring us all back to good, sound historical practice. Every class should have an Erica.
Olivia is a phenomenal student in English 1, rising to the occasion in each class to be the best student she can be. Her positive energy and curious nature helps to set the tone of classes most days. She is a natural leader in the classroom, often asking probing questions or answering discussion prompts with thoughtful insight. She is adept at leading discussions and adding poignant and important analysis, thereby challenging her classmates to dig deeper into their own thinking and analysis. Recently she represented her class well in the Poetry Out Loud Competition. She took this opportunity and responsibility seriously, spending hours preparing, practicing, and honing her recitation. Her performance was both contemplative and impassioned, and I think this accomplishment reflected who she is- someone who wants to achieve her goals using determination, dedication, and a willingness to take risks to succeed.
Drew distinguishes himself in the English 3 classroom by his enthusiasm for diving deeply into complex ideas—an English teacher’s dream! More importantly, this penchant for critical thinking allows Drew to lead our class as we interrogate authors’ rhetorical strategies and thoroughly explore passages in Huck Finn. Drew’s abilities to express his ideas in writing are constantly improving, as indicated by his outstanding essay on the distorted characterization of Daisy Buchanan in Baz Lurhmann’s film adaptation of The Great Gatsby as well as his vivid essay depicting Sandy Point and its personal significance. Drew’s dedication and inquisitiveness elevate our English 3 class daily.
Emma's musical creativity has blossomed in Digital Music Studio. She has gone beyond the typical expectations of a novice to using the computer as a musical instrument and has composed compelling pieces using interesting combinations of instruments and tonal colors. She has become very familiar, in a short period of time, with the wide variety of percussion sonorities and how to use them effectively. Her explorations into polyrhythm and mixed meter have given a refreshing complexity to her compositions that keeps the listener curious for what will happen next. Emma has a promising future as a composer.
Hopie hit the road running in English class on the first day and has continued to do so for each class since. Her focused, controlled ability to organize strategies for engaging and processing the literary inquiry and the synthesis of analysis in both discussion and writing enable Hopie to lead our class in the quest for understanding and relevance. Hopie supports her classmates in addressing any task with which we engage, and truly enables us to function as a learning team. She is a leader who never calls attention to herself, but rather invites others to work with her toward shared goals, clarity, and gravitas.
Thoughtful, diligent, and precise are the words that come to mind when describing Grace Martin and her work in US History. Always ready to participate, Grace is a leader in class discussions with her insightful observations and helpful information. She listens carefully to her classmates, considering other points of view while contributing her own. Grace’s written work is a joy to read as she crafts well supported arguments that skillfully draw together various pieces of evidence with accurate analysis. As she is eager to improve, she accepts feedback with an open mind and works to incorporate suggestions as she moves forward. Her work sets the standard for her peers and they would agree that she is deserving of the title of “history scholar.” Well done, Grace!
Harper is a humble, yet powerful presence in the AT Neuroscience classroom. While his achievements afford him every opportunity to do so, he is not one to boast or put his abilities on display. He is adept at weaving together complex concepts from primary literature into a compelling story, a truly difficult skill to master. His confidence and impressive handle on the material is earned through consistent, dedicated and meticulous study and preparation. Although he’s not the loudest voice in the room, it would be a mistake to call Harper reserved or quiet—he measures his words carefully and, as a result, the thoughts he shares offer strong evidence of deep critical thinking, creativity, and high-level mastery of the material.
Rosie is a thoughtful and determined English student, and she continuously sets the bar high for her classmates. Her textual analysis abilities are rather impressive for a freshman, and she has repeatedly proven her talent for synthesis and on-the-spot reflection during our Spider Web discussions on Brown Girl Dreaming. Although she has a similar talent for documenting her ideas on the page, Rosie is relentless in her quest to better her writing. She takes the revision and editing processes seriously, both of which allowed her to produce the highest scoring poetry analysis paragraphs in both my sections of English 1. Rosie’s pursuit of excellence and her willingness to contribute to the class’s shared learning experience make her a standout English student.
Max is a most dependable student: she is the first to volunteer to read a challenging passage or take a stab at a complex question. In fact, Max’s willingness to take risks is perhaps her greatest strength in English 3. As we delve into Twain’s use of satire in Huck Finn, Max does not hesitate to offer her interpretation of his critique. Often, she anticipates the direction of the conversation so quickly that I have to take a step back and break down the elements of her response for the class. Although Max’s breadth of interests and desire to explore every facet of a text or subject can sometimes make essay topic selection challenging, her final products are consistently strong. Notably, her descriptive essay about Alconàsser was vibrant and exquisite, undoubtedly a fitting tribute to the Spanish wonderland she was depicting. Max’s earnest efforts to share her ideas about and better her understanding of American literature make her a joy to teach.
Over the past month, Makena seems to have the Midas touch when it comes to English class: everything she does, turns to gold. Her poised and nuanced performance of Kate Bass’s poem, “The Albatross”, for our Poetry Out Loud competition was one of the best in the class. She has also become a leader in classroom discussions, posing probing questions and making keen observations. Finally, when I asked students to create a booklet of five of their own poems, Makena proved that she has not only has mastered the skill of showing and not telling, but she was also able to effectively employ word choice and a series of craft moves to achieve what good poetry does - make the familiar new and exceptional. Thanks for all of your hard work, Makena! Your efforts have enriched all of us.
In addition to a dependably solid performance on tests and quizzes, recipients of the Spotlight Scholar Award are expected to exhibit a certain love for the field. In terms of enthusiasm, Peter deserves more of a supernova than a spotlight. No one likes “that guy” that peppers every movie viewing with “That would never happen…,” unless the movie purports to be historical and “that guy” is Peter, because he is, without exception, accurate in his public protestations. Peter is equally passionate in tackling assigned readings, sharing his perspectives, and diving into simulation board games. It is hard to imagine History of Peacemaking without his energy and expertise.
Brian is the odd junior out in a class of senior academic powerhouses in AT Neuroscience. However, Brian goes well beyond holding his own and has shown consistent and significant growth since the beginning of the year. Above all else, Brian is inquisitive and curious about the world around him; the prospect of discovery excites him, and his joy of exploration easily sparks joy in others. During our on-campus “field trip” with Dr. Aronson, Brian was the last—reluctantly—to leave class, and the last student standing, brimming with questions, in Lyndon South after the evening talk. His desire to fearlessly explore, understand, and ask the tough, unanswerable questions is what science teachers work for years to stoke in all of their students—for Brian, the fire is already there.
Harrison stands out among his sophomore peers for his affable nature, strong intelligence, and genuine intellectual curiosity. He is most likely among his peers to seek for relevance to our discussions in outside sources, not for the purpose of distraction, but rather to help us all see a larger connection. Eager to explore beyond his own perceptions, Harrison is attentive to his classmates’ opinions to help enlarge and clarify his thinking, but he is also not afraid to offer a counter-argument if he holds a contrary opinion. In his written work, Harrison demonstrates solid craft and increasing competence with each new attempt. He is a pleasure to teach.
Richard holds himself to an extremely high standard. He continues to cultivate his superb analytical skills, often synthesizing our readings and discussions in ways that astound and inspire his classmates. In his Protest Speech, which urged students to challenge parental expectations about classes, GPAs, and college selection, Richard was able to articulate some of his concerns about jeopardizing learning opportunities in favor of higher grades and future endeavors. His speech revealed what was already apparent to all in our class—Richard has a deep passion for learning that extends far beyond the confines of the classroom. As a result, Richard respectfully challenges his classmates (and me!) in order to fully grasp the nuances in a text or to introduce a new interpretation. His thoughtfulness and incredible critical thinking skills make him an absolute pleasure to have in class.
Kiley is an intelligent and invested scholar. From day one, she has applied herself to all aspects of this course with admirable consistency and a desire to do her best work. She shines in her ability to compose an effective argument and substantiate her points with textual evidence, as she demonstrated most recently by earning the highest grade in both sophomore sections on her V for Vendetta essays. In class discussion, Kiley will often be the one to lead her classmates to what is most relevant about a text with her accurate recall and insightful interpretation. She possesses a seriousness of purpose but also a fine sense of humor, both qualities that make teaching her such a pleasure.
He is the paragon of the flexible, yet disciplined thinker and learner. If you erase the names on a stack of papers, his is readily identifiable. Strong technical use of writing conventions, an acute understanding of chronological reasoning, and declared claims constructed out of well-founded historical context set his writing apart. He is meticulous in his preparation, confident but generous in sharing his learning of content, and he has the ability to present historical themes in various graphical presentations that explain with clarity and aesthetic appeal. I appreciate the discerning nature of his questions, the understatement of his humor, and his persistent drive to produce quality work as a burgeoning history scholar. Keep up your efforts.
It is the sign of a committed and perpetual learner that they seek improvement where it is most difficult to pin down. Owen shares regular successes with his History of Peacemaking peers by pushing himself to make evermore public and effective contributions in class. No matter how well explored a topic may be, Owen’s raised hand portents yet one more consideration that deserves to be made. Owen never needs more than a brief conversation to norm mutual expectations and then exceed those expectations in the future. For an individual with much more on his plate than this particular class, Owen never fails to take his seat as if it was the only one that mattered.
Owen’s most recent essay on Michael Ondaatje’s The English Patient demonstrated his engagement with the novel during both the reading and writing stages. Owen is a poised student of literature and composition. He is a patient listener and a thoughtful speaker. He understands that speaking / writing about smaller, more precise topics in a specific manner is more effective than speaking generally about larger concepts. This understanding demonstrates his growth and maturity as both a reader and writer.
Being able to retain historical data is important for a student in any history course, but especially one like Advanced Topics in US History, when students are expected to master numerous complex readings and specific terms. However, it is the true scholar who can take that information, think it through, and then have a sophisticated “take” on the topic at hand. When we regularly go around the room to share our takeaways from a particular reading or discussion, the class always seems to pause and lean forward a little bit when it is Riley Suh’s turn to speak. She always seems to have some interesting spin on the topics we study and is often able to connect her thoughts to material previously studied or to current events. Not surprisingly, when Riley goes to work on her papers, her prose demonstrates a similar analysis where even I have to stop for a moment to ponder the complexity and creativity of her argument. Without a doubt, Riley is a true “History Scholar.” Congratulations, Riley!
Riley Suh has been the intellectual engine that drives her junior English class. All aspects of her work from an articulate, well-researched PowerPoint presentation on slavery and the abolitionists to an outstanding protest speech on women’s rights have been exemplary. Throughout our discussions of the various texts in the protest unit, Riley’s incisive, thoughtful comments were always grounded in the text and carefully reasoned. In addition, she is an active listener; Riley constantly built on her classmates’ comments. Moreover, Riley’s classmates respect her intellect and admire her tireless work ethic. This class would be greatly diminished with Riley’s absence.
Jon began AP Chinese in September determined to succeed and to gain fluency in Chinese, but was nervous of what this might require of him. Always prepared for class and willing to practice writing Chinese characters to the point of exhaustion, Jon filled his notebooks with words that he had memorized. However, he was at first afraid to speak and listen without long pauses or many repetitions. Gradually through persistent experimentation and trial, his defenses dropped and he began to speak more naturally and expressively. Jon has proven that where there is a will, there is a way to become a successful speaker of a foreign language.
An educator once said, “That a disorganized genius is no match for the student with a regular routine.” She has the ability to keep her eyes towards the horizon and nose to the grindstone. She approaches her work with consistent effort and intention. If you want a study partner for exams, put her first on your list. You will not find a student with a more organized binder with impeccable placement of every note and handout from day one. Similarly, her class readiness makes her a leader in class activities. It is clear that she has completed and has command of the readings or assignment expectations. Her persistent habits of mind and focus are producing very strong results for Madison Taylor, who is worthy of a History Scholar Spotlight.Way to go!
On a typical day in Modern World History Catherine “the Great” arrives early. She sits down, opens her notebook, and chats quietly with her peers. Once class begins, she picks up her pen and begins to write and what she produces is nothing short of excellence. Her prose is clean and concise. Her narrative is detailed and organized. She has mastered the claim, evidence, warrant style of writing and her ability to analyze and synthesis outside evidence from a variety of sources is exceptional. Her success on the writing front stems largely from the fact that she is an avid reader and an incredible worker. Both industrious and curious, Catherine brings her best to each class and her insights are integral to the success of our class discussions. She asks nuanced questions and she is a first class listener. Ultimately, there is nothing she does not do well. Catherine has worked incredibly hard this year and she has improved in every facet of our course this trimester. Her potential is limitless and I am looking forward to the rest of the year. Congratulations to Catherine Terelak on you winter spotlight!
Science Scholar Spotlight Noah has been a standout member of the Advanced Engineering team. He has good design skills and does great work whether programming, wiring, or building machines. But what sets him apart is his attention-to-detail and his persistence. He not only wants to get it done, but is willing to put in the extra time and effort to make his projects the best that they can be.
Hannah has become one of the most consistent players in the woodwind section of the Wind Ensemble. As she continues to work on her proficiency with the help of private clarinet lessons, her musicianship is becoming better defined. Hannah is technically fluid and able to play even the trickiest passages in Wind Ensemble. Her tone quality has improved dramatically over the last year, enabling her to fill out the second clarinet part of the orchestration. Hannah's solid work ethic combined with a healthy perspective and sharpened sense of humor adds significantly to the positive energy that is generated each day in Wind Ensemble.
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