“Once a student creates work of value for an authentic audience beyond the classroom—work that is sophisticated, accurate, important and beautiful—that student is never the same. When you have done quality work, deeper work, you know you are always capable of doing more.” 
— Ron Berger

French 8th Graders' final project

For a final project, Worcester Academy middle school students in 8th Grade French were challenged to engage with peers and teachers from both divisions and employees from various groups to rally around this year's essential question, "How can we make the world a better place."  It's magnificent for 8th-grade work. 

It is a wonderful example of our community coming together to share personal perspectives that serve to increase cultural understanding and awareness. To see this question responded to at the individual, local, and global levels show us how we can tackle big questions in ways that help us all be part of the conversation of how we can make the world a better place for everyone.
Expressing yourself is essential to helping your friends and teachers learn more about you. Early in Grade 9 World Literature I class, students explore independent creative writing, poetry and self-expression. An assignment from that unit is to write a poem meant to be performed and read aloud that represents their origin. Students write about what is definitive in their own lives and in who they are while also interweaving a historical event related to their story. Through drafts, class work-shops and peer editing, students hone their writing skills and their piece. The students shown below were selected by their peers to perform and read their piece in Warner Theater. They show tremendous courage and confidence in their performances. Take a look.

Sixth graders from Worcester Academy and Union Hill explore The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York together.

How do we make learning Aerodynamics real for our students? With wind tunnels, vacuum forming, slot cars and some fun of course! The Engineering unit on Aerodynamics was introduced by playing with slot cars. Students learned principles of acceleration by developing equations to cars crash and become airborne.  Next, a visit to the WPI Wind Tunnel Lab helped them see how various car shapes impact aerodynamics. A skype call with a Specialized bike engineer furthered their knowlege With that knowledge at hand, students began building vacuums for their wind tunnel projects. In the end, they bring aero testing to slot car design using model cars formed with clay or 3D printer.

Starting with the essential question, "How do readers, writers and thinkers contribute to making the world and to making the world better?", the Worcester Academy English Department hosted a Literary Festival geared toward providing insights into writing for Worcester Academy students. Writers from a variety of media visited to talk shop. Authors discussed from where ideas come, how monsters serve as a vehicle for protagonists and antagonists (calling on student knowledge of The Odyssey and The Catcher in the Rye) to how to beat writer's block, and the writing process. Many of our upper school English classes were involved in panels, classroom discussions to one-on-one time for some students.

Among the authors were English faculty members David Baillie and Jack Haringa '86, as well as Steven Huff (husband of WA English chair Dana Huff), best selling writer Ira Stoll '90, Dwight Ritter '59, and Alexandra Dean Hinrichs '03, as well as Theodora Goss, Brett Savory, James Moore, Bracken MacLoed, and CV Shea III.

Lance: The Literary Review of WA - Volume 54, Spring 2015


by Mackenzi Turgeon ’17

Writing is one of the most powerful tools for spreading ideas and inciting change. “This is powerful.” These are words I’ve begun to hear more often than not when I get my poetry work-shopped. Besides “this made me cry” or “this gave me chills,” to be told that one is able to present words in such a way that people deem them powerful is the greatest compliment a poet can receive. I fell in love with poetry freshman year when my World Literature teacher, Sarah Getchell, showed our class a video of Sarah Kay performing, “If I Should Have a Daughter.” This same teacher, who is now a mentor of mine, recommended that I apply to a prestigious writing workshop, the New England Young Writers’ Conference at Bread Loaf, the following year. I was accepted and the four days I spent in the middle of Vermont just writing were some of the best. I’ve learned to read my peers’ work and stop comparing their style to mine. I’ve learned to accept their strengths as theirs, but still use them to highlight my weaknesses so that I can improve as a poet and a writer. To be validated as a writer, even in the slightest, by people with three times more experience and even by those who do it for a living, is an indescribable feeling. I think the first time I realized I had some sort of knack for poetry was during that same World Literature class, where I read a poem I wrote about Alice in Wonderland in front of my class and they all said I was so talented. At one of the first writers’ groups organized by a teacher, I had another “a-ha” moment. I was prepared for my writing to be torn to shreds, and, after the person to the right of me read my poem aloud, they all needed a minute to take it in. Naturally I had no idea what this implied, but it turned out they found it to be really impressive. That is not to say I did not need to edit it, as no writer is perfect, but I was relieved and my confidence was boosted. As for academic writing, I sometimes find myself struggling, but I’m thankful that I have had Kate Schlesinger as a history teacher for the past two years. My writing in that regards has definitely improved since freshman year, undoubtedly because of her. Another teacher that has helped me tremendously is David Baillie; he’s not only helped me improve my poetry and English essays, but my character as well. Writing and those at WA who have been there every step of the way have shaped my life in the most positive way possible. These people have inspired me to possibly pursue journalism or a career in humanities, as they’ve brought a true love for writing out of me.
WORCESTER ACADEMY® is a co-ed day and boarding school for grades 6 to 12 and postgraduates. Our urban setting, diverse community, and innovative curriculum provide each student with unique opportunities for self-discovery, academic achievement, and personal empowerment.

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