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Category Archives: 2019-2020 v.03

Newspapers and North Korea: “The Girl with Seven Names” Final Project

By Samantha Leslie, Phoebe Macleod, Bobby Sommers, Emma Viens, and Julian Yang, VI Form

Newspapers and North Korea: The Girl with Seven Names Final Project

Editor’s Note: Students crafted these newspapers after reading The Girl with Seven Names: A North Korean Defector’s Story, and each newspaper contains five articles and two visuals. While a book review and a study of North Korea were required elements, students were able to choose from a list of other article types or design their own articles and visuals. Students had to tailor the writing in each article to fit five different nonfiction styles and tones while also presenting the information in a clean, polished final product.

Samantha Leslie’s Newspaper

Click image to view PDF of full newspaper

My Summer of Shoshin: Applying Beginner’s Mind to Learning Ancient Greek

By Dr. Heather Harwood, Classics Faculty

My Summer of Shoshin: Applying Beginner’s Mind to Learning Ancient Greek

Imagine this. You fly across the ocean to a different continent to go to school. You miss a connection and your plane is delayed, so you arrive a day late. You make your way from the airport to the campus of the school where you meet your roommate (someone you have never met before) and several other “ new” students. Most of the students you soon realize are returning for their third or fourth year to the school. These students know the campus, they know each other, and they know the teachers. At the opening night ceremony and for the remainder of your time at the school, the teachers and many of the returning students all converse in a language which, while you have studied it in books your whole life, you have never really heard spoken or spoken yourself. You go to bed a jumble of conflicting feelings: brain-numbing exhaustion from your journey, excitement and eagerness to start learning, uncertainty about whether you should even be here, homesickness for your dog, and total fear.

Sound familiar?

While this is the experience of many students coming to St. Mark’s for the first time from abroad, it was also my experience this past summer when I traveled to Greece to participate in Paediea Institute’s Living Greek in Greece program. I now have a much better understanding of what many of you who come to St. Mark’s from another country experience. The “school” I attended, however, was actually only a two week workshop held in a small coastal town called Selianitika where students, professors and high school teachers of Ancient Greek gathered to learn how to understand and speak Ancient Greek.


How Do Candles Burn? A Chemistry Annotated Diagram

By Catie Summers, V Form

How Do Candles Burn? A Chemistry Annotated Diagram

Teacher’s Note: In 1848, physicist Michael Faraday delivered a series of holiday lectures at the Royal Institution in London on the topic of “The Chemical History of a Candle.” During the lectures, Faraday used his observations of a burning candle as inspiration for relating, to a lay audience, a veritable encyclopedia of fundamental principles of physics and chemistry.  In Honors Chemistry at St. Mark’s, we strive to recreate Faraday’s sense of wonder by performing simple experiments on a candle and interpreting the results in light, based on what we have learned about atoms, molecules, and chemical reactions. Students are challenged to determine the nature of a candle’s fuel and describe the process by which a candle’s flame perpetuates itself. In particular, Catie Summers’s eye-catching visual summary of this process reflects her efforts to link macro-scale observations with molecule-level interpretations.

Click image to view PDF of Catie’s annotated diagram.

The Use of “Battle Hymn of the Republic” and “Dixie” as Anthems in United States History

By Domenic Mongillo, VI Form

The Use of “Battle Hymn of the Republic” and “Dixie” as Anthems in United States History

Contributor’s Note: For this assignment, the task was to examine a Civil War or Reconstruction monument as a type of miniature research project. The resulting project would be able to tell a compelling story about the monument while also explaining the creation of the monument and the context around its creation. The most important part of this project, however, was to explore the monument’s importance to historical memory and how it has reflected the context of its creation throughout history. The projects were able to take on any media that would have helped to explain these facets of the monument; some students chose to make databases, posters, presentations, or videos. While “monuments,” constituted the official topic of inquiry, students were free to choose anything that had contributed to the memory of the Civil War era.

In my video, I chose to address the two songs: “Battle Hymn of the Republic” and “Dixie.” Originally, I was going to focus solely on “Dixie,” but further research prompted me to realize that juxtaposition with an opposing song from the northern side of the Civil War would lead to a compelling comparison that I was eager to explore. I was fascinated by how these songs not only clashed during the Civil War, but have also been anthems of opposing sides leading up to the present. I looked at a few individual monuments that I could have possibly explored, but choosing a topic that carried significant weight to people in both past and present seemed much more interesting to me. 

Click to Watch Domenic’s Monument Project Video

A Community of Language Learners

By Mr. Charlie Sellers, Modern Languages Faculty

A Community of Language Learners

¡Manos con manos, dedos con dedos, puños, palmas, pulgares, dedos índices, dedos meñiques… descanso!”  I orchestrate these commands while the class stands in a circle giving each other high fives and joining fingers, fists, palms, thumbs, index fingers, then they wait for the next direction.  “Espaldas con espaldas.”  Everyone goes back to back. “¡Cinco, cinco, diez, diez, codos, codos, pies, pies!”  The students face their conversation partners, and again give high fives, tens, and knock elbow, elbow, foot, foot.  They wait for the prompt to respond to an attention-grabbing hook about a brief, animated short film about Día de los muertos.  On my cue in groups of two, the students start listing elements that we have studied from Día de los muertos that they saw in the video, which is a novice skill (ACTFL).  “¡Díez al revés!”  The kids give backwards high fives to their classmates who are standing behind them in the circle, turn to face each other, and, again, responding to another prompt, and they start narrating using the past tenses to recount what happened in the video, addressing Intermediate-High Level discourse (ACTFL).

Class Goals: “I want you … to form a community, to take risks without fear, to have fun, and to always speak Spanish.

Summer Photography: A Study Funded by the Class of 1968 V Form Fellowship

By Alie Hyland, VI Form

Summer Photography: A Study Funded by the Class of 1968 V Form Fellowship

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Editor’s Note: At their 25th reunion, the Class of 1968 created a fund to provide grants to V Form students for independent study during the school year or, more commonly, during the summer between V and VI Forms. Their intent in establishing this fund was to reward independent thinking, ingenuity, and planning and to encourage the student exploring non-traditional fields of inquiry or using non-traditional methods of investigation.

Photography has been a passion of mine for years and has only grown during my time at St. Mark’s due to the numerous opportunities to explore and learn more about this art form. When I took the “Art and Science of Photography” Saturday class, I learned the key elements of what makes a photo visually appealing and how to operate the DSLR camera that I borrowed from the St. Mark’s library. Turning in the camera at the end of the Saturday class term was painful, for I was losing a powerful tool that gave me the opportunity to freely express myself and capture the precious moments of life in outstanding quality. In the years following this educational experience, I captured random moments of life’s beauty with my iPhone camera; however, I was always craving a higher image quality and level of professionalism. When I learned about the Class of 1968 V Form Fellowship, I saw my opportunity to obtain a DSLR camera. I filled out the application as soon as it became available and, after weeks of anticipation, I was thrilled when I found out that I had been awarded the grant and would finally own a professional camera.