The end of semester can be a bit hectic in most schools. Not only does it seems that we haven’t really had time to find our feet after a long winter break (a feeling compounded by school closings due to the freezing weather), but we are also trying to wrap up seminars and projects. Staff have been busy dreaming up new seminars and sharing them with the community, we’ve been rejigging the ARTech schedule to accommodate these changes (ah, scheduling! Don’t get me started…). And then, advisors also have the additional task of reporting progress via grades and comments on the student transcripts. If some of our fine faculty looked a bit cream crackered last night, you now know why!
Of course, it’s a fairly frenetic time for our students as well. Our middle school students always sharelearning from their thematic studies. This past quarter, the middle school has been learning under the umbrella theme of the Victorian Era. I’ve particularly enjoyed the theatrical flavor of the study. The advisors created a project based approach that brought the era alive with costume and characters. I have had the good fortune to guest as an evaluator during two of the share pieces. I observed students presenting powerpoints about different aspects of this historical period back in December. On Thursday, I joined a group of middle school students to listen to their oral character presentations. I encountered funeral directors, authors, royalty,cricketers, architects and pickpockets to name but a few of the characters who populated the ARTech Victorian landscape. The middle school ended the theme on Friday with a “dinner party” replete with tea and biscuits, dancing and games. It was enough to warm this Englishman’s heart.
At presentation night, the younger students reprised their character roles and shared powerpoints. As you will know if you were there, the students revel in the presence of parents and other community members to provide a new audience. This was also evident in the enthusiastic performance of The Sneeches that opened up our presentation night.
High School students are expected to share projects at least twice during their academic year. They do get credit for this, but more importantly they have an opportunity to showcase areas of study they have been pursuing with a wider audience. As well as some excellent individual projects on topics as diverse as broncitis and Women of Photography, there was also a performing arts flavor to the event this time. We were treated to a series of monologues from high school theater students and there was an hour long performance based music appreciation project in the great room. At these events, I’m always reminded that for some of our new students in the high school who have joined us from more traditional schools, this is often the first time they share a project before a community audience. That’s a daunting, but important part piece of the process, and last night I witnessed students working through it in a supportive environment.
If you were not able to attend on Friday night, it will be worth stopping by the building and taking some time to look at the splendid art work now displayed around the school. The middle school impressionist Victorian Era self-portraits took me back to my own teenage years when I took my first trip to Paris and became enamoured with impressionist painting I saw in the Louvre. Also, check out the individual art projects by high school students on display in the foyer and south-side hall.
Our exhausted faculty deserve a day on Monday to regroup, report and plan for the next semester.
Queen Victoria herself, was quoted as saying: Great events make me quiet and calm; it is only trifles that irritate my nerves.
After hosting Arts for Martin and Presentation night in the space of a week, I think it’s safe to say that the Queen would have approved of our recent schedule. Staff and students on the other hand, might be ready for a few days of irritating calm!
Until, that is, Campfire Day, Wolf Ridge, PSP festival, Auction…
Check out an album of photos from last night event under the Photo Album category on the right hand bar of this page.