Zooming in all year from China, Ukraine and Mongolia, the 11 sophomores in Stacey Browne’s English class are a true testament to the School’s mission of learning, striving, daring and doing.
Browne was inspired by this group’s positive attitude and resolve. “In their rooms, through the Zoom boxes on their screens, across space and time, they managed to connect,” she said.
They did this, she explained, by “diving into books and ideas and lighting up the virtual Harkness. They wrote revision after revision. They challenged each other. They supported and celebrated each other. And as months passed, the class became stronger and stronger.” So when they handed in their year-end individual writing projects that incorporated a proposal, project and presentation, Browne wasn’t surprised by the extraordinary results.
The flexibility and freedom of the assignment allowed Dayan Battulga ’23 to take his love of coding to the next level. “My project was an algorithm that can create stories that include the themes from books discussed this year: honor, gender inequality, fate,” Battulga said.
Gefai (Ryan) Guan ’23 chose to create a short video about his aviation hobby because “it also brings up the idea that passion drives people to learn more about something they enjoy.”
Jinyu (Sandra) Liu ’23 made an animation exploring gender inequality from a character’s imagined point of view based on the Gabriel Garcia Marquez book “Chronicle of a Death Foretold.” Liu enjoys “when the storylines are connected through animation” and was inspired by an animated film about Oedipus Rex that was shown during class.
After reading “The Woman Warrior” by Maxine Hong Kingston, Viktoriia Sokolenko ’23 covered the depiction of women in Ukranian folk songs. “One of the topics in this book was the impact of the talk-stories from the main character’s childhood and specifically her views on femininity and feminism,” Sokolenko said. “This story inspired me to look at the possible impact of the stories I heard in childhood, and I decided to focus on folk songs.”
Director of Global and Civic Exchange Rob Fish was equally impressed by the students’ commitment: “What stands out most is the questions the students asked through these projects – questions with a degree of depth, nuance, and importance that go far beyond the usual inquiries of tenth grade English – and their willingness to explore answers that surprised them and led to even more interesting and unanswerable questions for both them and their audiences.”