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By Samantha Sarafin, VI Form
ASL Sign Language to Popular Songs
In the spring term of St. Mark’s Saturdays, I created and taught this course: “In this course you will learn and practice the foundational elements of American Sign Language, from alphabet-based finger-spelling to more specific signs in vocabulary units. You will learn essential questions and phrases to communicate effectively in ASL and engage with various activities to practice ASL with your peers. You will also learn the history and social contexts of American Sign Language to develop an appreciation for the diversity and cultural richness of the deaf community.”
I designed the final project to be a video performance of an ASL song cover. Each student
found resources and learned the signs to perform one whole song in ASL. Students spent time in and out of class working on the project and presented their videos in the final class. The goals of the assignment were to learn ASL vocabulary, understand how to sign songs, understand ASL word order, and practice sign fluency. This video is a compilation of each of the covers created by the students.
By Charlotte Wood, VI Form
The Rocky Horror Picture Show: a Social Commentary
Jim Sharman’s The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975), an absurdist musical comedy that parodies sci-fi B-movies, particularly those of the 1950’s, reveals much about the culture of Vietnam era America. Specifically, the film comments on the conservatism of the previous decades, the Watergate scandal and other governmental matters, the counterculture movement, and questions of sexual and gender politics.
The 1970’s were a complicated and often confusing time in American history. By 1975, the U.S. had finally withdrawn from Vietnam after being entrenched in the anti-Communist conflict for nearly twenty years, and even then the war raged on between North and South Vietnam for two years after the U.S. had removed its troops. America was left divided, economically devastated, and, perhaps worst of all, defeated. These troops were not coming home as heroes. The right saw them as failures or losers, while the left saw them as murderers. Vietnam truly “pierced the myth of American invincibility,” and postwar America has never been the same as a result. (more…)
By Lucy Cao, VI Form
Probing the Semantic Representations of Emotional and Social Concepts in Autism
Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are a set of neurodevelopmental disorders as shown through difficulties in social interaction and communication as well as repetitive behaviors. Symptoms of ASD manifest at an early age and become most prominent between the ages two to three years old. One major area of defect common among ASD individuals is language and communication, especially the ability to comprehend language and make inferences based on social and emotional context. Recent linguistics studies have shown that there is an association between the ability of individuals with autism to attribute mental states (to themselves and others) and verbal skills. It is found that high-functioning ASD individuals have a less coherent representation of emotional experiences and tend to avoid using emotional terminology. The goal of this study was to examine the relationship between social competence and semantic representation of social and emotional concepts. Knowing that lexical co-occurrences are useful measurements of semantic knowledge, participants of this study were asked to rate pairs of verbs in terms of similarity on a scale from 1 to 5, 1 being very similar and 5 being very dissimilar. Data collected from the typically developing (TD) participants indicates that there is a correlation between social competence and accuracy of similarity ratings of verbs containing social and emotional content. The less socially competent, the less accurate the ratings are. Moreover, such a correlation is not present in verbs of no social or emotional content. However, the investigator failed to identify a significant difference in the ASD population’s perception of emotional and social verbs and the control participants’ perception of these verbs due to reasons of methodology.
By Gabe Xu, VI Form
Wake Up! Dreamers: A Rebellious Pamphlet
Editor’s Note: In the VI Form elective “Rebels with a Cause,” the students were tasked with creating articles in a “pamphlet” with an intentional tone to instigate with the dedication of a rebel, thus the approach and aim of the text may come across as aggressive due to the parameters of the assignment.
Click on image above or here to access articles.
Undocumented Immigration…is Wrong.
“Life Is Priceless”…is Wrong.
Political Correctness…is Wrong.
Moral Vegetarianism…is Wrong.
Forced Good Deed…is Wrong. (more…)
By Lindsay Nielsen, VI Form
On a Life as an Asian-American & Embracing That with Open Arms
The worst activity of my freshman summer was taking six-hour classes of drivers’ ed for five days straight. The only thing that made it bearable was that our teacher let us watch the world cup instead of parallel parking videos, and we were let out early on the last day because my teacher’s daughter suddenly went into labor. Before she got the call, my teacher passed out our graded permit tests. “So..” she said, “it looks like Peggy Chen got a perfect score. Please raise your hand and grab your test” Pause. Let me tell you three things. 1. I knew no one in this class. 2. I did not earn a perfect score and 3. When she told the class Peggy Chen scored a 100, every single person, including the teacher, looked at me expecting me to raise my hand. After trying to tell them my last name was actually Nielsen, a shy, Asian, Peggy Chen out-stretched her hand from the corner of the room to claim her test.
Believe it or not, this is a usual occurrence for me. And definitely not as weird at the week before when a middle-aged woman walked up to me in Best Buy asking how the definition of a 4k tv differed from a curved model. “I’m sorry,” I said. “I don’t work here.” A few awkward stares were exchanged. “Oh…” she said. She looked at me puzzled as if all Asians roaming electronic stores were automatically employees. She then walked away.
Race wasn’t always a prevalent component of my life, but once I knew others were attentive to my race, it started an onslaught of experiences relating to being Asian in what was to me: a largely Caucasian world. In my personal experience, I will explain how I went from of state of oblivion, to self-hate, to self love all in a short period of 18 years. (more…)
By Keely Dion, Cooper Sarafin, Dylan Sotir, & Charlotte Wood, VI Form and Reevie Fenstermacher, IV Form
The School of Athens’ Tableau Vivant . . . & Memes!
Χαιρετε! Over the course of this school year, we, the Greek II class have put together our Classics Diploma Project, an analysis and celebration of Raphael’s The School of Athens. Our inspiration for this project came from many different places. In class, we’ve read the works of great Greek writers, such as Aristophanes, Plato, and Xenophon, three authors who present different accounts of Socrates’ life. Charlotte Wood, one of the students in the class, had traveled to Rome in the summer of 2015, and while she was there she saw Raphael’s Rooms in The Vatican. She was awestruck by the scale, perfection, and beauty of each work, The School of Athens in particular. She then began studying the work in Art History, and her love for it grew. Once the class started learning about Plato and Aristotle, she shared her enthusiasm for the painting, and the class appreciated the work as much as she did. We then decided to frame the project around Raphael’s awe-inspiring masterpiece.
By Cooper Sarafin, VI Form
An Analysis of Alienation: The Natural Estrangement of the Individual
Alienation is a natural state of human beings. We are set in an environment that leaves us with a sense of inadequacy and ineptitude and no matter what extent to which we alter our facades and wear a mask of falsity; we will never be able to cross the glass ceiling that is our expectations. From the very moment we are conceived, we are being classified and divided among throngs of opinions, preferences, and expectations. We are expected to live up to this normality of society, the ever prevalent quest to “fit in”. To be amidst the general populace and succeed in a manner relative to the ideas of said society and government that preside over our specific demographic. We are expected to succeed in the realm of capitalism and to move further up this hierarchy and supersede the ranks of the proletariat in turn for the bourgeoisie. We are expected to develop social relationships with everyone we meet and to be liked by them. We are expected to achieve great things and to do what has never been done before. In the aftermath of all this expectation, what is left for us to expect for ourselves other than that which has been told to us? In that we are governed by these (more…)
By Abby Peloquin, VI Form
Patriotism Is My Life and Flag: I Support the Troops
Patriotism, to me, is far more than saying “I am an American” or putting a flag on your front porch. To be a patriot is to understand the past and present of this country, both good and bad. It is learning the history of our nation, from the pilgrims to George Washington to WWII, and accepting that even the greatest countries have their faults. It is seeing a veteran in Walmart and, although you’ve never met them, saying thank you. Patriotism is putting your hand on your heart for the Pledge of Allegiance every morning at 8am, even when you don’t quite understand the words yet. Being a patriot is a lifelong journey, and the people who understand that more than most are the members of our armed forces. (more…)