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The Swain Eighth Grade Experience

May 15, 2013

A research project about how Hurricane Sandy impacted school-aged children.

A Swain lacrosse game captured on video and then narrated as an example of sports broadcasting.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA 5K run for polio. A choreographed dance session featuring Swain students. Teaching soccer to younger students.

In early May, The Swain School Class of 2013 presented their Independent Study projects to the community.  The requirements were simple: partner with a faculty member, choose a topic of interest, provide a visual and short research paper, and then present. The results were amazing: a huge variety of topics, a tapestry of interests, and gratitude toward faculty members who were there each step of the way.

The Independent Study is just one powerful example of the capstone year at Swain. For some, this final year is the last of eleven. For a young man from Asia, this year marks his first and final, yet he will leave Swain with the same sense of pride and fulfillment.

Other opportunities in eighth grade include giving a community speech MSC_classroomabout someone in your life who inspires you, traveling to an outdoor science lab in Wallops Island, Virginia for the annual class trip, serving lunch – dressed in formalwear – at the Holiday Boutique, creating robots that traverse a Mars landscape made of recycled materials, biking and rafting along the Lehigh River, and on-and-on.

STEAM The program is designed to give early-stage teens an opportunity to be accountable  and take on more responsibility in a safe, secure environment. The novels they read are sophisticated, the classroom discussions are in-depth, and – when given space to complete a task in a nurturing environment – the results are truly inspiring.

In early March, a number of Swain teachers attended the annual NAIS (National Association of Independent School) Conference in Philadelphia, and we had the pleasure of listening to renowned ‘Poetic Voice’ Sekou Andrews. Of the many lines that Sekou rattled off, his most memorable: “children are heaving with curriculum.”

Listening to our students, valuing their input, and giving them space to create is gratifying and inspirational. This is the eighth grade year at Swain, and what a special experience it is.  Join me in celebrating our eighth graders for who they are and what they will become; it’s what the Swain experience is all about.

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