The Capstone Journey Continued

Last week, I looked at the ways that our eighth grade students have already set off to change the world through their Capstone work this year. As promised, the three hearty students who presented their work on Monday are honored here in this week’s Scoop. As you’ll recall, Capstone is a journey into the remarkable curiosity, leadership, insight, and talents of our eighth grade student leaders as change agents for the future. Here is what I learned from our final three presenters:

From Alex L: I learned that the age-old art of blacksmithing calls on the same fundamental learning principles that guide some of today’s most forward technological thinking as well as dedication, fortitude, and resiliency. I also learned that taking a sip of water after explaining the function of a given acid to the audience is a great way to get a heightened inhale of anxiety from your audience!

From Jamie M: I learned that the applicability of universal design would suggest that it is quite aptly named, and that those who are exposed to the principles of universal design are bound to notice their absence everywhere they go. I also learned that the three bears from Goldilocks’ story have extended relatives—an uncle and grandpa, to be precise—and that they have a heck of a time getting around museums.

From Zeke Y: I learned that the future of computer animation is advancing as quickly as the technology that creates it and that each iteration gets closer and closer to perfecting the duplication of actual actors on the screen. I also learned that Pixar may have a future animator on his way to create Toy Story 4.

Again, on behalf of the entire BDS community, congratulations to all of the eighth grade students on their Capstone journeys.  

On now to the cultivation of community, the third NAIS mission in our series.

It is worth noting that when I asked everyone for their BDS Story back in September, community was far and away the most consistent thread from one person’s story to another’s. The fabric that brings this community together is strong, and has been braided together by many hands over the history of our school. As such, it is visible everywhere you turn: our gallery is filled with kindergarteners’ artwork created around the theme of community. What shapes a community? Where do you see it and how can you contribute to it?

For those of us who inhabit the building in the later evening, community can be seen in the commitment of our faculty and staff to know the names and stories of the cleaning staff that arrives each night to ensure that our school is well prepared for students’ arrival in the morning. It is nurtured in our commitment to community service—whether through our Family Environmental Community Service Day next Saturday (April 1) or in Roots and Shoots selling baked goods at Friday Night Hoops—driven by an understanding that our core values are nurtured and reinforced by giving back. It is nurtured by “Way to Go Wednesday” Facebook posts that celebrate the achievements of our many alumni. It lives in a comfortable conversation between a prospective parent and current parent. And perhaps more visibly than anywhere else, it lives in our children’s zone of proximal development in the classroom.

Community at Belmont Day creates for our students the necessary safety to take a risk. The knowledge that even if I try and fail, I will be picked up and dusted off by my teachers who know best how to translate the moment into one of learning and joy rather than frustration and stagnancy. Community is the foundation of all that we do here at Belmont Day and you can feel it from the moment you cross the threshold into the gallery. Should you find yourself there in the near future, I would advise a quick stroll to inspect our kindergarteners’ artwork, if only to be reminded that cultivation of community is a critical part of who we are at BDS.

Next week…embracing diversity. Hear about how race-based discussion groups are fundamentally changing the lens for our experience at BDS and beyond; how the Raphel Scholarship for Leadership and Diversity will positively impact our school; and about the quieter ways that our diversity efforts have already been integrated into each student’s experience at Belmont Day.

Have a great weekend everyone.

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