Student Showcase

One of the hallmarks of a Ravenscroft education is that our students graduate remarkably well-prepared for college. But it's not all about the outcome -- it's also about the journey and what they learn along the way. We take great pride in the quality of work that's produced by our students. Below is a collection of visual art and writing samples that reflect some our students' best work.

Award-Winning Upper School Poem

Emmanuel Thombs was selected as a Topical Winner in the American High School Poets competition for his entry "Orbit." Thombs, a student in Alison Kelly's English course, was among approximately 50 Topical winners who will have their work included in the upcoming anthology "Of Love and Dedication," which is scheduled for publication in mid-December. 

"Of Love and Dedication" will present studies of love and loyalty based on poems written by teenagers for teenagers. Fewer than 2 percent of all of the poems entered to the competition will be published in the anthology. 

Orbit

by Emmanuel Thombs '18

Reminiscing about the time we spent
Hand in hand, staring at the moon
The soft sea breeze grazing across our skin

But the chills that slide down my spine aren't the fault of the wind
Rather the feeling of your mesmerizing eyes gazing at me softly

Seduced by the moment, I lean in for a kiss
As our lips meet, the warmth of your embrace carries me to another world

A world where the stars are aligned perfectly
A world where the earth no longer revolves around the sun,
Rather we are the point of orbit

And then, in that moment
I realize, that maybe this was meant to be

I realize, alone on the sea
The world revolves around us
Posted by in writing on Wednesday November 5, 2014
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AP English Literature & Composition: Final In-Class Reflection

The Infamous Victory Over the Sigh

by Christina Potter '14

 

Sigh.

Unlike sports coaches and teachers, mothers have their own unique way of conveying disappointment. Sports coaches will scream, disgusting spittle flying from their lips as they force you into some sort of physical torture like doing sprints. Teachers will give you the classic frown, the corners of their lips pulling down so far you wonder if these corners will extend past their face and droop onto the floor. However, mothers are the queens of the art of disappointment. My own will sigh and walk away saying something like, "Do whatever you want." From there, guilt corrodes your soul until you give into the matriarch's demands. Doubt floods your neurons. "Is this battle really worth fighting for?" you wonder. "My mother does everything for me, can I really ask this of her as well? I should just let her have it. I owe her anyway." The mother's way has always been a one minute, fool­ proof take­down of any and all adolescent resistance. 

This time, the bone of contention happened to be which radio station we would listen to on the way to our destination. My mother, the driver, was an avid listener of NPR and classical ­ nothing I am against, of course, ­ but over time, a change of station is needed in my opinion. I am a rabid fan of alternative rock and indie rock. The music of 95.3 FM is food for my soul. My mother's opinion on this station wavers between extreme annoyance and forced contentment. I was determined to get my way this time, so I turned the magic dial to 95.3.  

Then, it happened: the sigh.  

Pangs of conscience wracked my heart so I could feel it bleeding out from self­reproach. The damage slowly leaked into my body cavity, burning my organs from the inside. I could feel my fingers twitching to turn the radio station back to classical to end the torture. My mother was winning. Yet deep down inside me, a wave of defiance rose up in me. I had held an ace up my sleeve for the last 17 years, and now was finally my time to use it.  

"Just think, Mom. You only have a few more months to listen to this music with me. After that, I'll be gone." 

My mother's composure slipped up as her sure victory crumbled. She paled slightly. The weight of sadness at losing her youngest child caused her to slouch slightly over the steering wheel. "Oh," she squeaked. She turned up the volume slightly so 95.3 echoed throughout the cabin of the beat-­up minivan.  

A small part of me wanted to crow with victory. I had found the winning hand to beat all arguments, yet my own argument rang through my consciousness. I was really leaving. I wouldn't be riding in the minivan with my mom anymore. I was really moving to Boston. Why am I moving to Boston? Why did I have to choose a university so far away from my dear mother, the last woman standing in a house of a mother and two children. What was wrong with me?  

My internal struggle poured out into the minivan, my lips smiling to soften the blow of the truth. "Mom, I'm going to graduate, and then I'm going to move away. Then, I'm only going to see you, like, twice a year." 

"Stop or I'm going to start crying!" my mom mock­ glared at me, her eyes already a bit shinier than usual.  

"I know! And you're going to cry at graduation! Then, if you cry, I'm going to cry!" 

"I already changed the radio station for you," my mom grumbled. She saw my disquieted posture and smiled gently. She squeezed my hand for a moment. "Please, you're going to have so much fun in college."

My internal rant cut off. Graduation was getting closer and closer as was leaving for college. I was 17 and still clinging to my mother's skirts. Still, I knew, deep down, that my mom was right as per usual. I was going to love college and graduation wouldn't so much be the end of an era but the beginning of a new one. 

Since the infamous radio station victory, I've gotten closer and closer to the big day. My mom and I are both very excited about my decision to go to Northeastern University. My high school career has seemed eons long rather than just a mere four years at Ravenscroft. I have gone through three sports seasons, two boyfriends, a court battle, prom, a half marathon, and so many inspiring teachers and friends. Graduation will be the perfect end to an exciting four years. Will I cry? Probably. Will my mom cry? Definitely. Will I not get to see her very often while I'm in college? Unfortunately, yes.

But something tells me we'll both be just fine. 

As long as she doesn't convert my room to a den or an office or something because that is not okay. I turn my head over my shoulder to the amazing woman who has raised me. "You won't mess with my room while I'm gone, right?" I ask.  

Her eyes twinkle mischieviously in reply. Her blonde hair, just like mine, swishes as she climbs the stairs to her office. "I have no idea what you're talking about." 

"Fine," I sigh, smiling. "Do whatever you want."

Posted by in writing on Wednesday July 9, 2014
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Narrative Form Poem

From The Teacher's Desk

We practiced a model of a narrative form and modeled after a Gary Soto poem.  I especially liked this one.

Teresa Taylor, 6th Grade Literacy and Communications Instructor


Glowing

By Margaret Russell '20

 

As they smile the light burns on,

 

The flames dance like a bold, bright, tango.

 

You can feel their warmth even though they’re trapped.

 

They let you know you can sing and dance.

 

I can see it glow in my dreams.

Posted by in writing on Friday May 30, 2014 at 03:00PM
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Middle School Research Papers

From the Teacher's Desk

Ally did an exceptional job of using research to support her thesis that children were able to survive the Holocaust by "hiding" in plain sight from the Nazis. Students completed their research and wrote their papers during Language Arts class in third quarter.

Mrs. Sarah Baker, Middle School Language Arts Instructor 


Double Lives of the Holocaust

by Ally Tannenbaum '18

Despite the German Nazi’s extreme anti-Semitic efforts, thousands of  Jewish children lived in the heart of Nazi Germany, leading seemingly normal lives with average gentile families. The Nazis were an anti-Semitic political group that took control of Germany in 1932 when they secured thirty three percent of the German Parliament. After that, their leader, Adolf Hitler, became Chancellor in 1933 and persuaded the Cabinet to call for a state of emergency, terminating all personal freedoms, including freedom of speech and press. After naming himself Dictator that year (1933), Hitler announced his anti-Semitic beliefs on sources of media (like radio, posters, and newspapers). He encouraged doctors to perform operations on both men and women that would prevent Jewish children from being born. In 1940, seven years after naming himself Dictator, Hitler opened up Auschwitz, a concentration camp meant to either work Jews to death or to gas them, resulting in a quick death. Despite Hitler’s anti-Semitic movements, known collectively as the Holocaust, thousands of Jewish children lived their lives publicly, hiding their heritage from the Nazis and from those who supported Nazi ideals.

As Hitler’s anti-Semitic movement accelerated, he began to round up Jews to bring them to concentration camps. Jewish parents often wanted to spare their children of this fate so they shipped them off to gentile families that agreed to take them in. Christians were considered Aryan as long as they had the right papers and the typical Aryan look: blonde hair, blue eyes, and light skin. Many Jewish children looked like Aryans and used this to their advantage by accessing fake Aryan documents and being “adopted” into an Aryan family. But the process did not end with the fake adoption. The adopted children would need to learn everything possible about his or her adopted family’s religion, extended family, and daily lives. One example of a Jewish child who was “adopted” was Anita Ekstein, who joined a Catholic family. Anita felt compelled to learn more about her Catholic family’s faith after a close call with the German Nazis in which she ran to escape a confrontation. Her preparation would have saved her had she actually had a confrontation with suspicious Nazis. When cornered by Nazis, false identity papers would usually determine the fate of a Jewish child. If the papers were created efficiently and convincingly, the Nazis would believe that they were real documents. Magda Lipner, a Jewish school girl whose friend’s dad handled important documents, asked her friend’s dad to forge a convincing birth certificate for her. He also created false papers for her siblings, and just in time. Germans occupied the Netherlands not long after and Magda and her siblings left the country with the help of their documents. Another man who worked for City Hall got her and her siblings passports. They left the country after receiving the passports, right before the rest of their family was deported to Auschwitz. Anita Ekstein and Magda Lipner’s parents were smart enough to send their children to safe locations before the ghettos that they lived in shut down. Some children were not as lucky and had to find hiding spots in the ghettos. It was extremely brave for Jewish children to live and act as another faith, but some young Jewish adults also had to live double lives. Some even found that living in the middle of Germany, the heart of the Nazis’ anti-Semitic campaign, was a disguise.

In the process of the Holocaust’s advancement, it became increasingly more dangerous for Jews to live in Germany, the heart of the Nazi’s crusade against Jews. Despite the danger, many Jews continued to live in Nazi Germany; some Jews moved to Germany because they found it safer than in their home country. In their home country, people could recognize them and know of their heritage. Also, if a Jew was impersonating another nationality, it would be easier to avoid that nationality living in Germany than to live in the nation of which nationality they were impersonating. In one instance, Raszka Galek, a Jewish young adult, solved her problem this way. After getting her fake documents as a Polish Catholic girl (which she was not), Raszka decided to move to Germany. According to Linda Jacobs Altman, many Jews would have found this to be a foolish move, but Raszka figured that if she lived in Poland, she would stand out because she was not actually Polish and would need to learn Polish attributes and cultural traits. Instead of having to learn everything about Polish culture, Raszka simply moved to Germany and avoided contact with Poles. By moving to Germany, she was a foreigner that nobody could question because they did not know where in Poland she was from. The Nazis would never guess that a foreigner from Poland who worked on a farm would be a Jew. In Poland, people would have expectations of what a typical Pole would do, eat, and say. In Germany, almost no one would have these expectations. The key to posing as a foreigner was to avoid people of the nationality impersonated. In addition to Raszka’s story, Magda Lipner had to make a similar decision. She had to leave her siblings, so she decided to move to Budapest, Hungary. On the train ride there, she dressed as a gentile woman and said nothing to suggest of her Jewish heritage. She even read a Nazi newspaper on the train, just to stay inconspicuous. Once Magda got off the train in Budapest, two men were arrested by the Hungarian police for being Jewish. According to Linda Jacobs Altman, this frightened Magda and led her to be more careful with her identity. After finding a roommate who was also a young Jewish woman, Magda began to search for a nice room to stay in. Magda and her roommate found a nice room to rent, but soon learned of their landlady’s support for the Nazi party and their ideals. If she was to find out about Magda and her friend, they would be in deep trouble. In addition to the landlady’s support of the Nazi party, her son shared the passion with his mother. One day, as Magda recalled, the son “came home with hand grenades in his belt.” According to Linda Jacobs Altman, Magda and her friend were alarmed by his grenades, but had to act as friendly as possible to him. Living in the middle of Nazi country was rough for Jews, even young adults. They had to act like gentiles at all costs. Even if the portrayed emotion was the exact opposite of their true feelings, they had to display only what was to be expected of a gentile. When Magda and her friend came home to the landlady’s son holding his hand grenades, they had to act thrilled for him, even though it completely horrified them. Having the right fake papers and living in the right place may have helped hiding Jews, but staying in character helped them the most. If they broke their act, the resulting consequences would be death.

Having fake Aryan documents and a fake family did not always save Jewish children, for if a Jewish child were to stumble with his or her Aryan background story, a Nazi or Nazi supporter could catch the mistake and accuse the child of being Jewish. Improvisation and quick thinking often saved the lives of Jewish children when put into such situations. Often the act came down to staying in character at all times. Leah Hammerstein Silverstein was a Jewish girl who posed as a gentile cook’s assistant. Unbeknownst to the cook, his assistant (Leah) was Jewish. One day, Leah was peeling potatoes on the porch when some sunlight highlighted her red hair, a common color for Jewish women to have. Some children saw and started laughing, and Leah saved her own life by laughing along with the rest of them, as if she was a silly schoolgirl too. Similar to Leah’s story, Yehuda Nir, another Jewish child, had a close call with discovery. He worked as a dentist’s assistant with a young woman named Christine, who confided everything (including her romantic interests) in Yehuda. When Yehuda, trying to fit in and seem normal, asked Christine when Christmas was (he was thinking of Easter and its changing dates) that year,  Christine immediately recognized that he was Jewish and threatened to tell the dentist, who would definitely turn young Yehuda in to the Nazis. Yehuda, thinking fast, ran over to Christine and slapped her. He threatened her with telling everyone all of the secrets that she had told him. Christine begged Yehuda not to tell, and he told her that he would not tell if she did not. Staying in character constantly was difficult for Jews of all ages. Yehuda messed up and nearly lost his life to a frivolous dentist’s assistant. Because of his quick thinking, Yehuda saved his own life. Leah’s simple act of laughing let a big deal slide into a little thing. Jews who hid in plain sight were constantly in danger and always tried to be as alert and self-aware as possible. The smallest question or look could trigger a Nazi supporter to realize a Jew’s true heritage. When discovered, he or she had to think quickly to save his or her life.

In conclusion, hiding in plain sight, even with all of its dangers, gave Jews an alternative to hiding in a dark cellar or living in a concentration camp. The Holocaust was a mass genocide designed to rid the world of Jews and other people who did not fit Adolf Hitler’s “Aryan” standards. Nearly six million Jews died at the hands of the Nazis during the Holocaust. Many of the Jews who survived the Holocaust by living with Christian (gentile) families found that through learning all of the Christian values they memorized to stay safe, they had become Christians and believed in Christian values. This caused internal conflict for many of them. Eventually many reverted back to their Jewish heritage, but were forever changed by their years in the Holocaust. Hitler convinced an entire nation to agree with his values and to condone the mass genocide that he had planned. There is a saying, “History repeats itself.” In the case of the Holocaust, people have already begun to deny that it ever happened. In denying its existence, those people are allowing for a window to be opened- a window that would let the Holocaust repeat itself. A modern genocide on the massive scale of the Holocaust would be devastating around the world. Always remember and never forget the Holocaust.

From the Teacher's Desk

Clay has worked diligently to overcome initial struggles with composition and wrote an excellent paper on the integration of three ethical systems to create modern-day unified Chinese social order. Students created their outline for this paper in World History, and wrote the actual paper for Language Arts. 

Mrs. Sarah Baker, Middle School Language Arts Instructor


Chinese Ethical Systems

by Clay Baker '18

Imagine a home in chaos. Neighbors fighting neighbors for more land and more power. China was in turmoil; the end of the Zhou Dynasty led China away from their original ideas: social order, harmony, and respect. This time was known as the Warring States period; it was a difficult time as many regional leaders were fighting for more land and control. From 475 BC - 221 BC, China was filled with battles, both with nomads and people in the then-separated regions. As a result many scholars thought they had ideas that would restore order and peace in China. Due to the Warring States period, three different philosophies-- Confucianism, Daoism, and Legalism-- were created and implemented to unify China.

Confucianism, an emerging ethical system during the Warring States period, valued education and character. Confucius, the creator of Confucianism, believed in filial piety, or respect for the elders, and had a code based on the five basic relationships that would allow for restoration of order to society. These relationships include: leader-subject, father-son, husband-wife, older brother-younger brother, and friend-friend. Confucius said, “The Superior man is gracious without accepting bribes. He works alongside people without giving cause for resentment. He has ambitions, but he is not avaricious. He is dignified, but without undue pride. He inspires respect, but is not cruel” (Strathern 63). Confucius taught that everyone should respect their elders, follow the code for the five basic relationships, and be graceful and respectful. In addition, Confucianism supported education for all by stating that education could make anyone a gentleman. “Confucius said that education could transform a humbly born person into a gentleman” (World History: Patterns of Interaction pg. 105). Confucius wanted all men to have great character and he thought education could create a gentleman. When Wudi took over the Han Dynasty, he believed men with respect, compassion, and honesty were right for government jobs. He set up schools to teach men Confucianism and then recruited the students for government jobs. This helped many people born into a low class move up in class. A low ranking merchant’s son could study Confucianism, and then possibly get a government job, which was part of a higher ranking social class than a merchant’s. Confucianism promoted two ideas, education for all and character, otherwise ignored by other scholars, but it did not talk about human fault and universal forces, like Daoism.

Lao-tzu, a smart and peaceful scholar, established Daosim, which focused on right and wrong and following a universal force known as The Way. Lao-tzu claimed that only the humans were at fault, and that they questioned right and wrong; he believed no other creature does this. “Of all the creatures of nature according to Laozi, only humans fail to follow the Dao. They argue about questions of right and wrong, good manners or bad” (World History: Patterns of Interaction pg. 105-106). Daoism was the only philosophy saying that the humans are at fault and they must stop questioning right and wrong. Lao-tzu said “When there is no desire, all things are at peace” (World History: Patterns of Interaction pg. 106). Another idea Daosim had was that the Chinese should stop following their desires and allow themselves to be lead by Dao once again. Humans stopped following the Dao for desires like greed and power, so to reunite China everyone must stop wanting and let themselves be led the Dao or the Way. Daoism was a very radical idea which focused on what is right and wrong, while Legalism, a stricter philosophy, focused on power and authority.

Han Fezi and Li Si teamed up to create Legalism, a strict and harsh philosophy based on control, punishment, and rewards. Han Fezi stated, “To govern the state by law is to praise the right and blame the wrong” (The Complete Works of Han Fei Tzǔ (c. 230 BCE)). Legalists believed punishing and rewarding the Chinese citizens would convince them to act responsibly. For example, those found outside of their village without a travel permit would lose their ears or their nose. Shi Huangdi of the Qin Dynasty adopted legalism, and his rule was not popular because as time passed, rewards were less common and punishment was more common. “The Legalists believed in controlling ideas as well as actions” (World History: Patterns of Interaction pg. 106). They would burn anti-government books, or books promoting different ideas of the government. The Qin dynasty burned Confucianist books and murdered Confucian scholars, these actions made this rule even more unpopular. Punishment and lack of freedom lead to revolts after Shi Huangdi’s death. Daoism and Confucianism tried to control how the Chinese thought, but not what they thought. Legalists went straight to the point and got rid of anything that did not promote their ideas. Legalism was a strict philosophy based on control and punishment; it was much harsher than the other philosophies.

While Confucianism, Daoism, and Legalism were created to reunite China, their beliefs and ideas were very different as well as the approach by the leaders using them. Each philosophy had the same goal of unifying China but had different ideas to get there and thus different outcomes. Confucianists believed that good character would restore order. Daoists thought that removing desires would bring peace. Legalists had the idea that punishment and rewards, along with complete power would create social order. Without any of these philosophies China would have remained scattered and not be the economic superpower it is today. The three ethical systems-- Confucianism, Daoism, and Legalism-- played a major part in the history and future of China.

Posted by in writing on Friday May 30, 2014 at 02:58PM
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Final In-Class Reflection

From the Teacher's Desk

Garrett wrote this final reflection in English IV:  World Literature/Africa with me.  It is a really fine piece to show camaraderie and determination.

Marcia Jones, Upper School English Chair

Garrett Anderson '14

Raising my hands above my head as high as possible, I draw in a long breath of the pollen infused springtime air. With the soft warmth of the evening sun draping itself on my shoulders, I reach down to grab my tool. The fourteen foot and six inch long fiberglass pole glinted in the sunlight as it settled into position. All the preparations were completed, all rituals performed, and all prayers whispered. It was finally go time. Almost effortlessly, I lean back to lift the large pole high in the air. The wind stills, and I run.

My third year pole vaulting was punctuated on a bittersweet note. I placed second in the independant school state meet, right behind my teammate Josh Mccoy. We had both cleared the same height, 13'6", but because I had taken an extra two attempts at a lower heigth The tiebreaker determined him the winner. While I was excited for Josh, I could never quite bury the resentment I held in my heart. Josh had started vaulting as a sophomore in highschool, a year after I began. That year I had broken the (admittedly low) school record, and believed I could only continue to dominate.

Junior year Josh came out of nowhere. He had broken my previous record, and we continued to trade it back and forth the rest of the season. By the time States rolled around, I was in the lead with a jump of thirteen feet even. Believing I had nothing to worry about, I relaxed and prepared for my celebration.

After my loss at states, I began to train with a renewed vigor. Weekend practices, running on the track alone, even conpetion in meets as an unattached athlete, I did all I could to prepare for the new season. Despite my efforts, in the second meet of the season, it wasn't I who broke the record again, but Josh. He managed to jump 13'7" in a meet where I couldn't even get 13'. Like a swan, I remained serene on the surface, but underneath I was beginning to struggle. "Why couldnt I win? What was happening?" I would ask myself over and over. The next few weeks I would tuck my head down and work as hard as possible, until my efforts were finally realized, in just one moment.

That thursday evening, I found myself in a shocking situation. I was standing at the back of the red rubber runway, preparing to attempt 14'7". That same day, Josh wasn't even able to clear his opening height. Grasping for some sort of answer, I turned my head to the right, and ground Josh sitting in the grass of the football field, in the most natural and relaxed position in the world, smiling straight at me. In this moment, I came to a realization. Josh wasnt some enemy I had to defeat, but rather a precious rival. Without him to beat, I never would have worked half as hard as I did, and would never been able to accomplish what I was able to. Josh Mccoy pushed me to my very limits, and for that I will be forever grateful. Returning his smile, I let my muscles relax, dropping my shoulders as I shift my focus to the mat ahead of me. Raising my hands above my head, I breathed.

Bounding down the runway with the evening sun on my shoulders, the world comes to a halt.

The fans may be cheering, the wind may be blowing, but to me, everything is quiet. I lower the fiberglass beam as I run, and like sweet poetry the rest falls into place.

Clack,

Tap

Woosh.

The vault was over before I noticed, I had cleared the bar with ease. I turned around, ran off the mat, and hugged josh.

Posted by on Friday May 30, 2014
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Advanced Placement Art Exhibition

  Sara Howard Francis '14
Kristen McCarthy '14  
Jonathan Kluger '14 Jake Isley '14
Sophia Giovinazzo '14 Caitlin Given '14
Nuha Kabir '14 Axel Barth '15
 
Emily Sikkel '15  
Rosie Waring '14  
Posted by A. Wilson on Thursday May 15, 2014 at 02:28PM
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Upper School Short Story, Finalist in Literary Contest

The King of the Street Corner

by Clare Zaytoun '16

Clare Zaytoun '16 was a finalist in the 2013-2014 Raleigh Fine Arts Society Literary Contest for her short story, "The King of the Street Corner." Upper School English Teacher Nicole Moore provided feedback on the story, which was not part of a formal class assignment.

Only 46 of the 594 contest entries submitted for the literary contest made it to the final judges. The contest is open to students in grades 10 through 12 at Wake County public and private schools.

Read "The King of the Street Corner."

Posted by in writing on Wednesday March 26, 2014
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Middle School Point-of-View Writing Assignment

From the Teacher's Desk

This piece comes from my seventh-grade Advanced Language Arts class. After reading Kathryn Erskine's Mockingbird, a novel from the point of view of a young girl with Asperger's syndrome, students were assigned to select a chapter or scene from the novel and re-imagine it from a different character’s point of view. The assignment was meant to promote empathy, a competency in Ravenscroft's Citizen-Leader Framework, as well as creativity. Erin beautifully re-imagined this scene from the point of view of a librarian who is barely mentioned in the novel. She created a fully-fleshed character with a distinctive voice and a vivid history.

Morrisa Nagel, Middle School Language Arts instructor

Someone Else’s Shoes

by Erin Pugh '19

This wasn’t the first time I had seen the girl, but it was the first time I had deliberately focused on her. Sure, as a fifth grader with the same reading level as most adults, the girl had earned my attention before, though only the occasional glance. But this time, this time was the first visit she’d made to The Library since the incident, since her brother had died.

The Library had always been some sort of safe haven for me as a child. On some particularly distressing day I would shuffle through the creaky side door and turn to Mrs. Paggery, the current head librarian. It almost seemed as if Mrs. P had been expecting me everytime I passed through that ancient door, for she would hand over just the right book and give me her smile, with her crooked teeth, that you wouldn’t expect to make you smile, until you actually experienced it, and smiled. And so I’d accept that smile, and I’d take that book, whether it was Huckleberry Finn or Treasure Island, and then I’d go to my dim, little corner, right behind the poetry section shelves and an untouched recliner, and I would read. Through her smile and her books, Mrs. P unknowingly taught me that there is comfort in knowledge, and so as news of the incident became less and less frequent, I become more and more positive that Caitlin would come through that creaky side door someday soon. And she did.

As I reshelved beat up copies of Oscar Wilde and Whitman onto the thick, oak shelves, a man I had just barely recognized approached me with an oddly shuffled step. I had seen him many times before, lounging on one of the threadbare couches, a newspaper in each hand, or even peering over the shoulder of his daughter, the girl. He looked different today, on all other occasions he would flash me a polite, clean-shaven smile and continue with his current mission. Today he walked without purpose, his mouth tucked into a small, grim line.

The man I’d identified as Mr. Smith pointed to a petite figure hunched over the reference section shelves, and whispered, explaining to me that his daughter, Caitlin, would be using his library card for some sort of project. This was not the first time we’d made this same arrangement. In fact, it was becoming a familiar and regular routine, almost welcomed.
     
Instead of watching the books Caitlin Smith was checking out, I tried to look into her shallow eyes. Her face held no grief, unlike Mr. Smith, who still had a watery film of dejection covering his own face. Her eyes only showed determination. I had lost my own husband to a heart attack years before and had cried for days straight. In fact I was still crying, just silently, on the inside. A lesson I had learned over the years, just from the experience of living, is that no one who has experienced loss, no matter how fine or normal they look, is actually completely okay, and so I became determined on that day to show Caitlin some form of comfort.
     
I was so focused on Caitlin that I nearly let a reference book on the heart, purposely wedged between thirty-two other books of the same subject, escape. I wanted to let her have the book, even though giving it to Caitlin would be breaking the rules, which almost certainly would result  in suspension as head librarian. I couldn’t give Caitlin Smith the book, but I could at least give her my consolation. For years I had prided myself on being good with kids, and so I crouched down from my great, big mahogany desk, looked Caitlin in the eye, and tried to put on Mrs.P’s ever-sincere smile. I whispered to her in my kindest tone possible, “I’m so sorry dear, but this book has  to be kept in the The Library’s reference section, so that others might be able to enjoy it.” Caitlin only gave The Physicians’ Reference Book a hard look, briskly turned away from me, and held her still immense pile of health books firmly to her chest.

That was not the last time I had seen Caitlin Smith, it was just the beginning of many regular visits in The Library to come. She actually warmed up to me quite a bit as she matured in middle school. Each day I would await the sound of that old door creaking open and creaking close, because I knew it meant a chance to talk with Caitlin. In fact, I began to trust her so much that I showed her my  dim, little corner, right behind the poetry section shelves and an untouched recliner. I even continued to carry out Mrs. P’s legacy by giving her just the right book and (hopefully) just the right smile. I knew I probably hadn’t helped Caitlin Smith find comfort on that particular day in The Library, but I had kept on hoping that maybe, just maybe I had taught her to find comfort through knowledge, just like Mrs. P had taught me.

Posted by in writing on Tuesday March 25, 2014
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Lower School Persuasive Writing

From the Teacher's Desk

This was a fourth-grade student’s initial attempt at crafting a  persuasive essay using the boxes and bullets format from the Lucy Calkins Series for Writing Workshop. The students began with opinion essays, then progressed to persuasive writing, having to do research and include facts to back up their claim.

Eileen Price, Fourth Grade instructor

Breakfast

by Sarah Zhao '22

You should eat a good, healthy breakfast because, of course, being healthy is what you need to live. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and most of all because it keeps you awake and not hungry until lunch.

You should eat a good  and healthy breakfast because being healthy is what you need to live. If you are not healthy, you could die, or get really sick. For example, you could get high blood pressure if you ate too much sugar or salt. When you get a high blood pressure, you could have a heart attack, stroke, lose your eyesight , or not get enough blood flow to your brain.

Another reason why you should eat a good and healthy breakfast is because breakfast is the most important meal of the day. You shouldn’t skip breakfast. Most people skip breakfast to lose weight but instead you are gaining weight. Kids should not skip breakfast because our developing bodies and brains rely on food.  When kids skip breakfast, they can end up going for long periods of time without food and this semi-starvation period could cause physical problems and mental problems.

Although I think you should eat a healthy breakfast because being healthy is what you need to live, and because breakfast is the most important meal of the day, you should especially eat a healthy breakfast because it keeps you awake and not hungry until lunch time. When you are not hungry and tired, you can focus more on what you are doing, or for students, learn more. It gets your metabolism working well for the whole day. When your body receives food in the morning, it tells your brain to digest it. This wakes up the system which wakes you up.

Now we can see that we should all eat a healthy breakfast because we we would not want to get sick, or fall asleep during the day.

Posted by in writing on Tuesday March 25, 2014
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Lower School Art Work

Anderson Colantuoni '23 Lauren Shaffer '20

Cecilia Mendez '22 Peyton Dunnagan '21 and Joel Lucien '21
Lotte Fox '20 and Charlie Fink '20  Life Web by Mrs. Newton's 5th Grade Class

 

From The Teacher's Desk

In keeping with Ravenscroft’s “green Initiative,” this year’s  exhibit was themed  “ PARTners in Conservation.” Each class made animal medallions woven into a “web of life”  dream catcher. Patterns, pastels, scratchboard, collage  and painting were some of the mediums learned to illustrate various wildlife as students made personal connections with the animal of their choice.  While making  their artwork, students initiated class discourse relating to the interconnections of all living things.  Our fifth grade shoe drawings represent  the footprints we leave upon our Earth. - Sally Fortlouis, Lower School Art Instructor.
Posted by in lower school art on Friday May 24, 2013 at 10:20AM
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