8th Graders Rock their Capstone Projects!

By Reed Gabhart, Head of Goshen Campus

Katie Mushkin Capstone_1As we wind down the final weeks of school, LOTS of exciting events keep us on our toes! One annual milestone is the 8th grade Capstone Projects Showcase, at which the Class of 2017 presents the projects they have put so much time and effort into over the winter months. As always, we are all so impressed with their topics, their knowledge acquisition, and the poise they demonstrate in speaking publicly to people of all ages about their work. Many parents commented to me just how “St. Francis” the Capstone Showcase is; students choosing their own topic and delving into something so personal in many cases. My only regret is that I can’t spend enough time with each presenter in two hours! As I walked around the room I heard or saw presentations on: “Why do People Lie?,” “How the Music Recording Business has Evolved,” “What is My Adoption Story?,” “What Impact Does Autism have on a Family?,” “What is the Creative Process of an Animator?,” and finally one on a disease I knew next to nothing about: POTS (or Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome). Katie Mushkin chose this topic as her mom has this fairly rare condition, and it helped her to better understand what her mom goes through. And as an example of just how impressive our projects can be, Katie wrote a thank-you to Vanderbilt Hospital Autonomic Clinic for allowing her to come for two days and research the condition while her mom participated in a clinical trial. Vanderbilt was so impressed with the project they shared her work with Lauren Stiles, President and Co-Founder of Dysautonomia International (POTS) who wrote back to congratulate her AND asked Katie if she wanted to be an official advocate for the disease in Kentucky and also offered to do a blog post on how to work POTS into school projects using Katie’s as an example! Pretty heady stuff for an 8th grader, and kudos to Katie for putting so much heart and soul into her project!

Congratulations are also in order to Patrick Donovan and Michael Mahoney for so skillfully shepherding our kids through this laborious process. I’m sure our 7th graders were paying close attention as it will be their turn to take on these projects next year!

LS Talent Show WaltzIn the last week we’ve also had the pageantry and charm of the Kindergarten Derby (and it did NOT rain on our parade!) and the always wildly entertaining Lower School Talent Show which played to a packed house! The finale was especially touching as 2nd graders Maya Wright and Nolan Reif danced the waltz to Beauty and the Beast and earned a well-deserved standing ovation! We had our final home track meet of the year Wednesday night, and Tuesday we held our annual Sports Banquet. I love listening to the coaches (teachers and parents alike) speak about “their” kids and seeing the students receive their awards. What is most affirming is just how much the kids pull for each other and revel in the camaraderie that team sports can create. I mentioned that at Morning Meeting the next day and advised the students to try and keep that spirit alive in all their endeavors, whether it’s team, grade level, or even just in the classroom – we’re in this together.