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I Built a Canoe!

By Reily Scott, III Form

I Built a Canoe!

Over the summer, I ordered some blueprints, bought some wood, and started on my

Click the image for a time-lapse video of the project!

seventy-hour journey to buoyancy. For the past three summers, I have built something alongside my dad. Projects have varied from a toolbox to a blacksmith forge. I knew I wanted to build something, so I looked online, but nothing inspired me. After some deep thinking, I decided that my solution should consist of something with fishing because of my dad; oh, and I love the joy of using dangerous power tools! My dad and I searched online for unique canoes that we could construct. Eventually, we came upon a method known as “skin on frame”. This method helped Eskimos construct their boats. Basically, it consists of a seal skin pulled tightly over a wooden frame. Since we were not planning to go to the top or bottom of the world to hunt and skin a seal, we purchased a small tarp of polyester in substitution. (more…)

Penny the Penguin: Parents’ Best Helper!

By Izzy Kim, VI Form

Penny the Penguin: Parents’ Best Helper!

This summer, I attended a tech + business program at MIT called LaunchX, formerly

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 known as MIT Launch. I was admitted as a “hacker,” with my specialities in app development and virtual reality. The ultimate goal of the camp was to create a start-up and pitch the business idea in four weeks. I worked with three other students and together we co-founded Ami. Ami has an ambitious vision of “keeping kids happy and healthy,” and we are taking a first shot at our vision with our pilot product Penny the Penguin. On the outside, Penny might seem like any other penguin plush. Yet, Penny is a kid’s best buddy and the parent’s best helper: Penny can speak parent-crafted messages through a phone-connected bluetooth speaker. Through these messages, children will adopt healthy habits, and parents will find parenting less of a difficulty and more of a joy. Busy parents who accidentally forget to remind kids to “brush their teeth” or “wash their hands” can simply set up a reminder on our accompanying app to have a message played specific times. We tested our products on families living in the greater Boston (more…)

The Power in Controlling the Past: Orwell’s 1984 & Big Brother

By Laura Sabino, IV Form

The Power in Controlling the Past: Orwell’s 1984 & Big Brother

Editor’s Note: 1984 was the St. Mark’s School Gray Colloquium Summer Read for 2017

In George Orwell’s 1984, the Party aims to control all of the citizens of Oceania. They have figured out how to take away their citizens’ privacy by watching them through tele-screens, brainwashing them to be blindly loyal, and even claiming control over their bodies and mind. The Party has limited language, so rebellious thoughts could not be expressed, and are working towards controlling the past. The Party wants to control the past because by controlling history and memories, they are able to control their citizens and gain power.

At first sight, controlling the past might not seem too important since most people do not think history is crucial to their everyday lives. However, the Party controlling the past ends up giving it power. People look back and learn about history so that they are aware of mistakes and things to avoid. People look at history so that they can get reminders of what worked out and what did not, and what ended up being good and what ended up being bad. In 1984, the Party understands that history defines its people. (more…)

Becoming a National IV Cup Soccer Champion

By Hailey DuBose, VI Form

Becoming a National IV Cup Soccer Champion

You train three times a week all year. You go to the gym, do the beep test, and run three miles all to prepare for four days of games. You’ve put in work all year, almost 15 hours a week to prepare to play 360 minutes of perfect soccer in four days. Most people would never think of doing something as demanding as this; they might even call it crazy. However, to me this is one of the most exciting times of the year: the US Youth Soccer National Championships. Yes, you miss fun things throughout the year like hanging out with friends on “days off”, not being able to ask anyone to the Sadie’s dance because you have a tournament in Virginia, and people deciding that you don’t want to be invited because, “You always have soccer.” Saying “Sorry, I can’t go, I have soccer” at least 100 times a year gets annoying, but the feeling as the final whistle blows in the final game and knowing that you just became a national champion is worth the travails. (more…)

Productivity, Neuroscience, and Deliberate Practice: Deep Work and School (Part 2)

By Dr. Colleen Worrell, Director of the Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning

Productivity, Neuroscience, and Deliberate Practice: Deep Work and School (Part 2)

With the school year off to a frenetic start, I am returning to the topic of deep work, which I wrote about in LEO last September. My article, “Make Deep Work Your Super Power,” was supposed to be the first in a series of posts that would connect Georgetown Professor Cal Newport’s book Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World to school and learning. “Deep work” is the ability to focus deeply on a challenging task for a specific period of time, blocking out all distractions in order to get stuff done efficiently and well. The fact that I’m writing part 2 of the “series” one year later proves that I have yet to master this skill. Indeed, my failure to build deep work into my own practice is, in part, what motivates this post. (more…)

On Spoken Word Poetry

By Grace Darko, VI Form

On Spoken Word Poetry

Before I start, here are some of my favorite spoken word pieces: one by Loyce Gayo and a few by Kanye West.

Spoken word poetry is the lovechild of rap and free verse. She definitely had an identity crisis and couldn’t decide whether she should speak in verse or in prose. But, it turns out her audience is multilingual, so she never really had to choose. She instead takes from both parents, honoring them by presenting the best of both worlds.

I was introduced to spoken word in my later years of elementary school. My brother had recordings of performances from the show called Def Poetry Jam, hosted by rapper Mos Def. Each episode of Def Poetry Jam was an oral anthology of poems with no particular order, and the show includes poetic performances from popular singers and rappers. It was amazing to hear some of the performances. Up until middle school, I never saw the video recordings because I only listened through my brother’s mp3 player. Yet, when I finally looked at the tape, the experience was even better than just the music. (more…)