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Remote Student: An Emulation of Kincaid’s “Girl”

By Yolanda Zhou, III Form

Remote Student: An Emulation of Kincaid’s “Girl”

Editor’s Note: In Writing Workshop, III Form students read and analyzed Jamaica Kincaid’s “Girl.” They then composed their own emulations of the story to capture life as a St. Mark’s boarding, day, or remote student while employing the style of Kincaid’s writing. This piece describes Yolanda’s experience as a remote student during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Wake up at nine or ten in the morning, do your morning routine: brush your teeth, wash your face, eat breakfast, and then do your homework; make good use of the time zone difference: assignments due 12am there is next day’s 1pm your time, so be sure to sort out which ones you’re doing first; don’t leave your stuff till those three to four hours because you’ll be sleeping late at night and won’t get much time to do them; but do use this time effectively if you feel overwhelmed; use the “Modules” function and “Week Overview” in each course on Canvas to sort out every assignment in the week using the academic planner; it shows you everything that’s due this week so you don’t have to waste time or miss assignments; color-code your planner: use red for unfinished homework and black for completed ones; don’t procrastinate, it does no good to you; focus on one assignment at a time; eliminate outside distractions; get everything done as quickly as possible so you have some free time for sports, instrument practice, or relax; How am I supposed to balance all these things with so much homework?; you’ll have plenty of time to do so if you listen to and follow instructions; don’t miss your classes, don’t forget to do your homework; email your teacher and explain if missed your class; create alarms on your phone and calendar if necessary; make sure your Wi-Fi connection at home is stable for your online class; install Zoom and log in with your St. Mark’s email address and password, that is where you go to all your classes; install multiple VPNs on your phone and computer before school starts so you’ll know which ones work and which ones don’t; set up everything your teachers ask you to set up in the beginning of the school year; use passwords and accounts that are easy to memorize, you don’t want to forget your login information the first day of school; this is how you interpret your schedule; this is how you deal with internet issues; this is what an asynchronous class look like; this is how you find the links to the synchronous sessions; this is how to find the replays after classes; this is how you explain to your teacher if you missed your class; this is how you write an email if you submitted your homework late; this is how you should reach out to your advisor; go to bed immediately after class, your classes will end early in the morning; don’t do your homework after your last class, you won’t be able to wake up the next day; do your homework earlier, don’t save them till 1 o’clock in the morning; play sports and work out every day, it helps alleviate pressure and keeps you in shape; look for something to motivate you if you feel bored, like watching Formula 1; treat your homework seriously; don’t submit things later than they should be; But what if I submitted an assignment only a few minutes late?; you think anyone is in the mood of caring whether you’re late for a minute or an hour?; late is late, don’t find excuses for yourself; there’s no guarantee that submitting things late will leave bad impressions to your teacher or if they’ll deduct points in your work, so you’d better get them in on time; maintain high quality and efficiency when you’re working; take a 5-minute break for every hour of work; push yourself so you can learn; balance it with relaxation and exercises so you don’t go crazy; reach out for help whenever you need them to whoever can help you; good luck in your time at St. Mark’s!


Spontaneity and Bread: A Remote Chapel Talk

By Nick Haugen, VI Form

Spontaneity and Bread: A Remote Chapel Talk

View Nick’s Chapel Talk on YouTube

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”