Day 71, December 19, 2007
Today the 9th graders gave their collaboration presentations on the theme of 'separation and unity', and, to be honest, I was quite astounded by their performances. I wasn't expecting such thoroughness and polish, such meticulousness and poise. As they went through the steps of their presentations, it was obvious that they were completely earnest about making a dignified and sophisticated impression. What was also clear was that they had learned a great deal from last year's assessment presentations, and that they used their past experiences with public speaking to carry them through this project. They had 'been here' before. They knew what it was like to stand in front of imposing judges (this year just me) and speak about complicated matters. They knew how to handle the feelings of absolute dread which often arise in formal presentations. For the most part, the groups sailed smoothly through their performances. They had put in countless hours working as teams -- planning, writing, arguing with each other, compromising, finding creative solutions, and putting it all together -- and today they successfully presented the results of their hard labor. I was especially impressed with the musical portions of the presentations -- the lovely piece performed on piano and cello by Joanna and Douglas, and the creative segment conducted by Jojo and featuring Bobby on the guitar, Kevin on keyboard, and Dave on the steel drum -- each related to the theme of 'separation and unity'. Also, I will not soon forget the dignity and poise which Jojo showed as he carried out his part of the performance. He was a true academic leader today.