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Accomplishments and Awards

06 Jun

This is the time of year when, particularly with Upper Schoolers, we recognize superlative individual performances. At Recognition Day we celebrate many such achievements, including some from Lower School; and we announce our Green and White Captains for the coming year.

What is lost sometimes when we make awards and invite our Green and White captains to speak on behalf of the fifth grade at Moving Up Day is the outstanding progress that has been made by all of our children. On the recent national language exams, for example, well over 60% of our students earned recognition. That includes our fourth and fifth graders who performed admirably in French, with almost all of them earning at least the Certificate de Merite. In seventh and eighth grade, 62% of our Spanish students and 61% of our Latin students earned recognition, including 80% of the eighth graders who tried the Latin level II exam! That is particularly noteworthy because our goal is for our students to have completed the equivalent of an honors I language program in eighth and be fully ready to begin honors work in Level II in ninth grade. Depending on the secondary school, however, our students will place into language level two or three classes in ninth grade, as the results of the National Latin Exam demonstrate.

These results are both individual and group accomplishments, just as student successes in our musical, theater, and athletic endeavors require both individual effort and group collaboration. I was struck by that, and by the role awards play, at the Heritage Festival compared to the Sixth Grade Famous Dogs juried show at the FitchburgArt Museum. At the former, there were no prizes given. We celebrated all of the students’ projects (and delicious foods!). At the latter, Sara Sanford made a point of addressing that some students would receive prizes for their work, yet all of the works were on display (in a museum, no less!) and demonstrated achievement and value.

I do not suggest that “everyone gets a trophy” has particular merit in a society that relies at least in part on competition. There is work that is of higher quality, just as there are first chair players in our Jazz Band, leads in the plays, more accomplished athletes. What makes Applewild such a positive place for students, even as we present awards, is the affirmation that each student’s accomplishments are worthy of note, that each student is known well for her or his progress by the adults in the school, and that each student contributes to the success of the group and can take pride in her or his progress. Sometimes that progress has been in speaking up, making friends, learning how to be organized, adjusting to a new environment, developing the confidence to take risks. All of this growth matters and we celebrate it all.

I particularly want to celebrate our eighth graders this year. They have provided us with outstanding leadership in big visible ways and in the equally important small, daily actions that make a difference in the quality of a community. In so many ways they have supported each other and our younger students and set a great example. While I will talk with them about this at graduation (and have told them this already), I wanted all in our community to have the chance to recognize the tremendous achievements of this accomplished group.

Summer Opportunities

Applewild’s Summer Camp and Programs offer a variety of mix and match opportunities for summer fun and learning. I understand from Director Milissa Cafarella that there are still a few openings in all three sessions. Note that there can be some mixing and matching within sessions, too. For example, in the last week of session three our Learning Specialist Norma Harrington will reprise her popular Animal Ambassadors elective. Go to http://www.applewild.org/summer/ for more information about all the offerings, including co-ed basketball, the writing institute, and Music, Movement and Drama.

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