The Capstone Journey

Last week, I wrote about our efforts to nurture curiosity here at BDS and promised a look at our commitment to community with this week’s installment. In the interim, something extraordinary has happened that inspired me to reconsider my plan—Capstone. It has moved a different NAIS mission into place for this week…changing the world.

First off, wow. Everyone told me this would happen. “Just wait for Capstone,” I heard over and over. Everyone—teachers, alums, parents, students, former faculty, past parents—all speaking with the pride of someone who has planned a surprise birthday party, knowing how much I would love it, even if I, myself didn’t know.

They were right, of course. This week (snow day notwithstanding) has been a journey into the remarkable curiosity, leadership, insight, and talents of our eighth grade student leaders as change agents for the future. And while there remain three presentations that will get the space they deserve in this column next week, I wanted to comment on a few things I have learned this week:

From Alex K: I learned that the weight of a wind turbine, in its effort to provide critical alternative energy, matters. I also learned that there’s nothing quite like going first in Capstone.

From Madison L: I learned that I probably have an actual phobia of heights, despite her reassurance that it may only be a fear. I also learned that she would make one heck of a doctor some day.

From Ethan Sm: I learned that one of our nation’s great innovations—the rail system—still carries the hopes and dreams of its citizens on its tracks. I also learned that I would happily travel on a train with Ethan as its conductor.

From Marielle R: I learned about the geopolitical influence that helped to shape North Korea, one of the world’s greatest mysteries. I also learned that the Korean Demilitarized Zone is something of a misnomer.

From Dalia DC: I learned about the ways that a nation’s respect for women have been echoed through the pages of a comic book. I also learned that Dalia may, in fact, become a Hugo Award-winning author some day.

From Will L: I learned about the ways that music can benefit brain function or distract us from our own learning. I also learned that his dog, Maddy, has great taste in music and a lovely singing voice.

From Maoz B: I learned that the world’s democracies are most distinct and nuanced than most may believe. I also learned that I would proudly declare dual citizenship in Maozia if I were given the chance.

From Sam M: I learned of the restorative power of meditation and how it is different from mindfulness. I also learned that Sam’s voice has a distinct soothing power and suspect that he could make a career as a meditative spokesperson.

From Emma R: I learned that Disney and the messages it sends should be consumed critically and with an eye towards the messages they send children. I also learned that she may have a career as a plush toy designer.

From James W: I learned that when the tide recedes quickly, do not take that as your opportunity to collect unique shells, but instead, run to high ground because a tsunami is coming. I also learned that younger sisters will always be there in a pinch.

From Ethan Sk: I learned that the future of medicine and genetic therapy reads like a real life science fiction novel, filled with incredible opportunity and ethical dilemma. I also learned that there is a considerable irony to someone presenting on healing capabilities when they are quite ill.

From Sam D: I learned that my definition of music deserves expansion and that technology is changing the way we know and appreciate music. I also learned that if I ever need a DJ for my next party, Sam can throw down some pretty fierce sampling.

From Jameson S: I learned that car safety has migrated considerably from the days of building an ‘in-car bunker’ for safety and that Volvo and safety are as synonymous as the company claims. I also learned that no pedestrian egg is safe from the perils of his homemade egg-mobiles.

From Kenneth K: I learned that the conversation around climate change has been highly politicized but should have less to do with politics than it does. I also learned that the 2025 global climate summit may very well have a BDS alum featured prominently at the conference.

From Ethan L: I learned that while our national pastime may be baseball, there is a global pastime that was born as early as the third century. Known as football everywhere but in the United States, each year soccer (what we call it) becomes more and more popular here, too. I also learned that I might need to take out a loan to attend his ‘soccer camp for the stars’ with coaches like Lionel Messi and Christiano Ronaldo as counselors.

From Max vG: I learned that the future of cooking may be getting much smaller and more flavorful at the same time. I also learned that Gordon Ramsay may have a challenger in the making from a BDS alum with impeccable skill, style, and delivery.

From David D: I learned that there are some Olympic events—like the chariot races of the original Games—that while they started the whole thing, they are no longer a part of our modern-day Olympic tradition. I learned, too, that we may have a BDS alum golfer to represent the US in the games of 2020.

From Katey F: I learned that there is nothing more powerful in the scope of one’s learning than understanding where your strengths and challenges lie and addressing them carefully, intentionally, and thoroughly, even when others may not be inclined to see them. I also learned that Katey would have been a fine mentor to me when I was in fourth grade, grappling with my own learning challenges, desperate for a mentor to help guide me.

From Gabe M: I learned that the genre of Western films has not yet moseyed off into the sunset, and that science fiction may be tomorrow’s version of the frontier narrative. I also learned that the distant future will be occupied by robots…beautifully crafted, wonderfully imaginative robots.

From Altea T: I learned that space travel may truly be a realistic next frontier to consider, as hard as that may be to believe for those of us who witnessed a man land on the moon or a rover explore Mars. I also learned that one may want to think twice before volunteering to help Altea out as a volunteer for her Capstone project.

From Sarah N: I learned of the devastating statistics and causes of lung cancer and the promising treatments and advances that have been made towards a cure. I also learned that medicine and art have never been quite so beautifully linked as they were by Sarah.

From Rayne M: I learned that there are lessons in communication to be learned from the  natural world, and that one of my favorite smells in the world—that of cut grass—may, in fact, be an outcry by each singular blade for help. I also learned that Rayne’s artistic talent lives somewhere between art imitating nature and nature imitating art.

From Max R: I learned that, while snug, anyone can get by with only 186 square feet of living space at their disposal. I learned, too, that should I want to visit him as an alum, I need to find a lake in Colorado and then find a very tiny house.

From Everett L: I learned that the future of energy consumption in vehicles may hold the key to broader solutions for our climate, our economy, and our political landscape. Now, if we could just build a charging station every 150 miles or so to do it. I also learned that Tesla may have some company in the market once the Lewis-mobile gets beyond the prototyping phase.

From Paolo C: I learned that where nature, art, and survival all meet is a place called camouflage. I also learned that any camouflage called ‘dazzle’ is destined for a short shelf-life… isn’t dazzling supposed to attract attention?

From Gabe H: I learned that luck matters, especially if being lucky is equivalent to leaving mercury in an cabinet long enough to create one of the first printed photographs in history. I also learned that Gabe himself may be the 21st century’s Ansel Adams with his keen eye for natural beauty and willingness to use old-fashioned technique in the lab.

From Laura T: I learned that being a mentor can be a humbling experience when your mentee is as talented, creative, and dedicated as mine was. I also learned that public transportation may go through a bit of a renaissance in the 21st century if Laura has anything to say about it.

From Margo D: I learned that comparing baseball and the history of the violin may be the ideal parallel. I also learned that passion may lead us to discovery, but dedication, insight, and unyielding enthusiasm lie at the heart of greatness for artists and students alike.

From Alex L, Zeke Y, and Jamie M…I have learned (so far) that patience truly is a virtue. Next week, I will be certain to add what I have learned from each of them here in the Scoop.

From Madame Friborg: I have learned countless metaphors for things that come in threes. I have also witnessed the power of confident, organized, and dedicated leadership and the impact it can have on the experience of an entire community.

We are changing the world one student at a time around here, and if any ever doubted that, I’d encourage them to drop by Monday afternoon for the last of our Capstone presentations.

A very happy St. Patrick’s Day to you all. Have a great weekend.


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