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World War I Primary Sources Collection at the Library

By Marion Donovan, Assistant Librarian

World War I Primary Sources Collection at the Library

As a librarian at St. Mark’s this fall, I have begun to “weed” through our history collection and have taken a deep dive into time travel. In the past, I was a history teacher myself, so the primary sources that bring the past to life call out to me. A particular section in the library especially rich in those sources covers World War I. Both of my grandfathers fought in WWI on the Allied side, one as a doctor and the other as an engineer, so I grew up with stories and artifacts of “The Great War,” as it was first known. When I applied to graduate school for history at the University of Chicago, I discovered that La Verne Noyes, an American inventor and manufacturer of agricultural equipment, book holders, and windmills, had left the bulk of his fortune to scholarships for Allied veterans of WWI and their direct descendants. These scholarships have now expanded to include 48 colleges. April 6, 2017 will be the one-hundredth anniversary of the United States’ entry into WWI. The European side of the war began in 1914, so many newspaper and magazine articles have already examined new and old perspectives on those events. More will be coming with April 6 in view. We at St. Mark’s are lucky to have an extensive collection of first-hand material (diaries, letters, memoirs, news reports, propaganda, art, photographs) from marshals and generals to privates and civilians on wide-ranging aspects of this war. (more…)

Voice in Guitar and in Literature…and in Me

By Shep Greene, VI Form

Voice in Guitar and in Literature…and in Me

The guitar is an integral part of who I am. As my skill has progressed, I’ve seen my appreciation and understanding of music progress as well. Over this past year, I began to delve into a more abstract form of music in improvisation. Within this form of my guitar playing, I began to find striking similarities between music and literature. Imagine every note as a letter and every note coming together to form a riff, with all of the respective letters coming together as one word. By the end of a piece, just as by the end of a novel, you’ll have a powerful message to send out to your listeners and readers. (more…)

Working Together to Launch the Model UN Club

By Isabelle Kim, Jovin Ho, & Rachel Wang, IV Form and Matt Walsh, Stephanie Moon, & Alan Gao, III Form

Working Together to Launch the Model UN Club

To understand what the “Model United Nations Club” is, it is essential to know the concept of the “Model United Nations” or “MUN”. Model United Nations acts as a simulation of United Nations conferences, in which participants act as delegates. Delegates represent various countries and their ideals, and engage in formal debates over global issues as well as international affairs, through which a resolution is achieved that is, ideally, satisfactory for all parties involved. A couple of weeks prior to the conference, the delegates are assigned respective countries, councils, and issues that will be debated upon, thus allowing delegates ample time to research the topic at hand and formulate their arguments. A big part of MUN is the delegates recognizing that they are not representing themselves, but are a part of a larger picture, having to uphold their country’s beliefs.  (more…)

A Novel of Reaction: Larsen’s Passing

By Charlotte Wood, V Form

A Novel of Reaction: Larsen’t Passing

W.E.B. Dubois wrote that “all Art is propaganda and ever must be…” He thought that artists and writers should try to make the world a better place through their work. Nella Larsen, the author of Passing, would not agree. Her novel centers on two light-skinned black women, Clare Kendry and Irene Redfield, and their respective decisions to pass as white or not. I believe she wrote this novel not to persuade the reader of something or to convince them to enact change, but rather to reflect the world how she sees it. The book is a reaction to society, not something for society to react to. Passing itself is portrayed as something that simply is, not wholly good or wholly bad. Both characters participate in it, and so the reader is not meant to side with one over the other. The relative passivity of its message is reflected in the passivity of its main character, Irene. Because she is not active, the intention of the novel is not active. Lastly, the ambiguity of the ending leaves the reader, like Irene, with more questions than answers. (more…)

Make Peace With the Day to Enjoy the Evening: Remains of the Day

By Gabriel Xu, V Form

 

Make Peace With the Day to Enjoy the Evening: Remains of the Day

There’s an old Chinese idiom that roughly translates to, “The person on the spot is baffled, the onlooker sees clearly”. Surely, this applies to the case of Mr. Stevens. As the aged butler in Remains of the Day travels farther away from the house he has been in service of for decades, he starts to see the truth of his former employer more clearly — a truth so dark and ugly that Stevens has tried very hard to escape. Although Mr. Stevens is forced to learn the tragic truth about his former lord and consequently his own small, yet undeniable contribution as butler to the evildoing his master was conducting, the meeting with Ms. Kenton, a former housekeeper, allows him to see value in his decades of service, to make peace with his past, and eventually to move forward into a hopeful future. (more…)

The Great Gatsby: Chapter 10

By Eric Zhang, V Form

The Great Gatsby: Chapter 10Gatsby_1925_jacket

(Editors’ Note: In Ms. Matthews’ American Literature class, this assignment prompted students to create a 10th chapter of Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, utilizing Nick Caraway’s melancholic tone and including some type of closure for the characters)

It had been five years since the funeral, and I finally returned to this city that I once thought was haunted. Everything was so depressing. There were no sounds of the orchestra playing or shimmering sights of the girls wearing fancy dresses with decorations on their shoes. The city of New York had changed since that October in 1929, what was later called Black October. I wandered the streets of New York, and ultimately, I was pulled back to the Eggs and Gatsby’s mansion. What was once a (more…)