Of Capstone, Car Washes & Sports Banquets!

Reed Gabhart, Head of Goshen Campus, Director of the SFS Drama Project

Reed Gabhart, Head of Goshen Campus, Director of the SFS Drama Project

The cavalcade of exciting year-end events continues on the Goshen Campus! Last Thursday night featured one of our newer entries – the Middle School Sports Banquet! I’m sure Tony and Shavar will have more to say about this feel-good evening in their comments, but I certainly wanted to add a few thoughts as well.

First and foremost, HUGE THANKS are in order to these two for their tireless contributions to our kids’ lives through athletics. They not only do all the “behind the scenes” work in scheduling and AthleticBanquet_1arranging the innumerable factors necessary to make the wheels roll, but also put in yeoman’s hours themselves, coaching and overseeing countless games and matches. We are lucky to have two such dedicated individuals championing (pun intended!) the cause of athletics for our kids.

And what I take away from the sports banquet is not who wins the trophies handed out, but the obvious sense of team spirit that pervades our student body (fostered by our many wonderful coaches). They sit together at tables and cheer for each other, no matter who “wins.” They are all “winners” – and don’t need a trophy for proof. The laughs (and tears!) shed at the banquet are what it’s all about (sorry, Vince Lombardi).

Friday morning brought the annual 8th grade Capstone presentations in Language Arts and Social Studies. After months of guidance by 8th grade LA teacher Patrick Donovan, our 8th graders present their findings and research papers to the school and parents. One of the greatest motivating factors behind the Capstone Projects is that the students choose their own topics. This clearly fosters intrinsic motivation, as they are eager to explore something that 6thGradeProjects_1has meaning to them rather than an assigned topic. As always, the showcase was quite impressive! Many interesting topics were explored, from the cerebral (“The Teenage Brain Under Construction”) to the practical (“How to Build a Canoe”). And while the displays, poster boards, and videos on laptops are eye-catching, I am always more struck by the students’ oral recitations of what they’ve learned! They can go off on long-winded discussions (rants in some cases!) about all the things they’ve learned and what it means to them. That’s where the proof is in the pudding – they have done research, editing, revisions, learned the arduous process of dealing with a term paper AND learned a great deal about a topic near and dear to them. THAT is what progressive education is all about. Here are some quotes (courtesy of Patrick) from some of the students about the Capstone process:

When I look back on all of the work I put into this project, it makes me feel very proud and accomplished. A lot of note-taking, drafting, revising and editing was really worth it because I learned so much about my subject and how to become a better writer.
Evie Boland, “Color and its Effect on People”

I especially enjoyed showcasing my project to the Lower School kids … it made me appreciate the hard work I put into the project. It also surprised me how many people did not know about lucid dreams, but once I explained it, a lot of the kids said they had had similar dreams!
Abby Waggener, “Lucid Dreams”

My topic was “depression”, which has a lot of stigma attached to it. But I had a lot of people tell me I was brave for working on this topic … it (the project) gave me a feeling of pride and accomplishment.
Evvie Cooley, “Depression”

This is funny coming from me, because I am really shy, but I really enjoyed showcasing my work for the school. I wish the presentations could have lasted longer!
Margaret Mundt, “Nut Allergies”

Kudos to the Goshen Class of 2015 – and to Patrick!

And they turned right around the next day to share in some manual labor to benefit the school with the annual Student Council Car Wash! You wouldn’t think there would be much to say about a car wash, but consider this: the previous “record” (approximately) for the car wash was in the neighborhood of $700. The Class of 2019 obliterated that mark by raising $1,170!! (One impressed patron donated $120 for his wash alone!) Sure it was a hot and sunny day at the Arby’s in Holiday Manor (a great location), but I think it is more attributable to their work ethic and drive. And it wouldn’t have been possible without the leadership of two car wash “titans” – 8th grade parents Scott McGraw and Bob Smedley – who worked the whole four-hour day and orchestrated the class’ understanding of the fine art of an effective car wash. More than half the grade was able to be there and the results speak for themselves. You will hear this a lot in the next few weeks, but the Class of 2019 is something special and we will miss them dearly!