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Category Archives: 7th Season: 2019-2020

Space is Physical. Place is Personal.

By Kian Sahani, VI Form

Space is Physical. Place is Personal.

As Thomas Bender says in Making Places Sacred, “the places we make act as mirrors to our lives. They reflect the good or ill, passion or indifference, with which we hold them back on to the people whose lives they touch. Places, as well as people, draw sustenance from how they are held in our hearts. How we feel towards them does strongly affect our lives” (Bender 1991: 321). For the Faith Family Missionary Baptist Church, it is the people and the connections made between them that makes it a place. Monique Azzara stresses this fact throughout her article, Grappling with the Impermanence of Place: A Black Baptist Congregation in South Los Angeles. To Faith Family, finding a sense of place does not require significance associated with a physical space, but rather with other people. 

In the article, Azzara describes how Faith Family has no permanent space of worship because of low funding. As a result, members must meet in a different place every time, removing the possibility of a lineal place. Yet, the members are still able to find a sense of place within the community. Azzara provides a strong example of a group of people finding a place within each other, without the need for a physical space, showing how one’s sense of place is relative to their view. The social and spiritual factors of Faith Family are made apparent by Azzara, who argues that “congregants build fellowship by pooling their resources in an attempt to follow the call of God to do good, and to recruit and save the disenfranchised” (Azzara 2019: 77). The members’ sense of place is shaped by these relationships of solidarity. At the same time, their place is challenged when it has no concrete features. 


No Accidents: A Remote Chapel Talk

By Julian Yang, VI Form

No Accidents: A Remote Chapel Talk

To be perfectly honest, I never thought I would give my chapel talk. I figured that it would be unrealistic for us seniors to be delivering any sort of address in an online or remote nature. However, even though Reverend Talcott told us that chapel talks were, in fact, a “go,” I refused to give a live talk. 

Since September, I wanted to make my chapel talk unique. There were so many clever and well-written speeches this year that set the bar high. There was almost no way that I could give one live that could have made my talk memorable, especially given that I really had no life-changing stories to tell. But here, in quarantine, that opportunity presented itself. Armed with time, space, and equipment, I decided to put my own spin on my chapel talk and make it into a movie that could be watched over again forever. 


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

By Libby Flathers, Celine Ma, and Lina Zhang, V Form

Newspapers and North Korea: “The Girl with Seven Names” Remote 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.

Libby Flathers’ Newspaper

Click image to view PDF of full newspaper

The Virtual Infectious Disease Project

By Ms. Elise Morgan, Faculty; Andria Bao, Shreeya, Sareddy, Madison Hoang, and Maddie Yearout, III Form

The Virtual Infectious Disease Project

Instructor Note from Ms. Morgan:
We have spent the last couple of weeks discussing how to be global citizens within our different communities. Our obligations to these communities change depending on situational factors such as time period, crises, and individual needs. During pandemics, often times our obligations to society and our communities directly oppose our civil liberties. Infectious diseases can easily become epidemics and evolve to pandemics when individuals do not understand the who, what, and why behind the transmission of the disease and when measures have not been put in place to control or to prevent the spread of infectious diseases. It is also important to note that when infectious diseases do become epidemics or pandemics, populations of people and regions of the world are differentially impacted; that is, confounding factors such as access to resources, the density of population, climate change, and women’s health impact how infectious diseases are spread, treated, and prevented in different regions of the world. In this project, you will explore how one confounding factor impacts the spread of a particular infectious disease in a specific region of the world.

Zombie Pathogens
By Andria Bao and Shreeya Sareddy, III Form

Click to view Andria and Shreeya’s PowToon video project.

Comprehensive Poetry Analysis Video Recordings

By Erin O’Keefe, Caroline Sullivan, and Carmen Tosi, IV Form

Comprehensive Poetry Analysis Video Recordings

Instructor’s Note from Ms. Kelly: After choosing a poem from a list, students were tasked with planning and recording a comprehensive reading, analysis, and annotation as a cumulative poetry task. The analysis had to include some key elements of the poem as well as a selection of more advanced poetic terms and devices for discussion. Students planned and practiced their analysis before filming and uploading their final videos.

Erin O’Keefe’s Analysis Video

Caroline Sullivan’s Analysis Video


Extending Community During Social Distancing: Remote Experiential Learning in Spanish

By Mr. Charlie Sellers, Spanish Faculty; Lindsay Davis, V Form; Tate Frederick, V Form; and Sydni Williams, IV Form

Extending Community During Social Distancing: Remote Experiential Learning in Spanish

Spanish is not for the classroom, and it is my hope that, after this year, all of my students will feel empowered to use their Spanish beyond St. Mark’s. 

– Mr. Charlie Sellers

During the final three weeks of Remote Learning, Spanish 4 students worked on a multi-step project called Estrechando Lazos/Making Connections. I asked students to pick a topic that in some way related to one of the units that we studied during remote learning: COVID-19 in the Spanish-Speaking World; Immigration: Assimilation and Alienation; and The Food Supply: the Migrant Farmworker in the United States. Students were asked to research the topic and find two to three relevant sources. Then, they tried to make contact with at least one person who is knowledgeable in the topic area. Students composed emails in Spanish to set up interviews using Zoom. 

Experiential Learning is a large part of what we do at St. Mark’s, and what I have learned from participating in experiential programs at our school influenced how I set up the project. I relied substantially on what I learned from last year’s Fifth Form Lion Term Leaders, Colleen Worrell and Kim Berndt: Design Thinking; making contacts outside of the school; giving students choice in choosing topics; guiding them along the way; and helping them present their most salient takeaways in a final demonstration of learning. In the final week of school, students presented a culminating project of their choice that showed what they had learned. The students’ work exceeded my expectations. 

The projects were diverse and relevant to the students’ interests. Fifth Former Sydney Williams interviewed both a family friend who is an immigration attorney and WBUR immigration reporter Shannon Dooling about the Dreamers and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. For her final product, she created a collage about the Dreamers and DACA. She wrote facts that she had learned from her interviews and research in images that she cut out of monarch butterflies and two stop signs. A symbol of the Dreamers, monarch butterflies pass freely over the US/Mexico border. She also included a dream catcher behind an image of the Statue of Liberty, and she superimposed these images on top of a background of the Dream Act.

Final Project by Sydni Williams, featuring information from her interviews.

Antimatter as Energy: Physics and Energy Conversion

By Andria Bao, III Form

Antimatter as Energy: Physics and Energy Conversion

Assignment note from Mr. Bauer: Students were tasked with creating a presentation on one technology either currently used or currently being researched to convert energy. All of the ways we make electricity for use in homes and buildings use some source for that energy, such as oil, coal, sunlight, uranium, or water. Additionally, there are other technologies that count as “Energy Transformation” such as internal combustion engines in cars and planes, or the electric and hybrid engines of newer vehicles like the Tesla or Prius. Students could even focus on smaller types of energy conversion, for example, the use of LEDs in place of old-fashioned light bulbs or wireless charging stations for their phones. What is important is that the technology needs involve the conversion of energy from one form to another for practical use.

Click to view Andria’s video “Antimatter as Energy”

Growing Pains: Coming of Age in The Catcher in the Rye

By Amanda Wang, IV Form

Growing Pains: Coming of Age in The Catcher in the Rye

Growth is a beautiful pain. In American classic, The Catcher in the Rye, J. D. Salinger vividly depicts a teenage protagonist who is overwhelmed by the rapid changes around him and his impending adulthood. Holden lives in a metropolis but does not belong to it. All he wants is to “catch [children] if they start to go over the cliff [of sophistication]” (Salinger 191). But in reality, he is the child who runs astray. When he is on the verge of falling, Mr. Antolini lends him a helping hand and provides him a satisfactory answer to his dilemma. At last, Holden accepts his philosophy and procures a new understanding of his situation, surroundings, and society. 

Mr. Antolini wakes Holden up from his dream of escaping the city. Mr. Antolini speaks bluntly that Holden is “riding for some kind of a terrible, terrible fall” (Salinger 206). Since Holden wastes all his time deceiving others and himself and trying to delay his inevitable adulthood, Mr. Antolini has to ruthlessly tear off his mask and force him to face reality. Yet he takes an atypical approach to help Holden. While old Spencer reinforces that “life is a game that one plays according to its rules” (Salinger 11), Mr. Antolini advises Holden to know his “true measurement and dress [his] mind accordingly” (Salinger 210). Contrary to other adults in the book, Mr. Antolini sees hope in Holden. His firm belief inspires Holden to become the captain of his life instead of drifting along the mainstream or dropping anchor in place. Holden’s struggles now motivate him to continue his ordinary life instead of alienating him from it. Then Mr. Antolini asks Holden to think twice about attending school, describing education as history and poetry. Holden takes his proposal into consideration because he feels cared for and understood by him. Moreover, Mr. Antolini consoles Holden by stating that he is “not the first person who [is] ever confused and frightened and even sickened by human behavior” (Salinger 208). His words narrow the feeling of disparity between the depressed and lonesome Holden and other youths. Mr. Antolini gives Holden a carrot after the stick, bringing him back to the real world and arousing his passion for life.