Mission in Action through 6th Grade Speeches

file1Next week, one of the great NCCS traditions will again kick off as the first class of 6th graders – Mr. Randolph’s – will deliver speeches on topics they care about. The other three classes will follow in the months to come.

Students pick a topic that moves them, write a speech about it, and then deliver the memorized speech to an audience of classmates and family members in our auditorium. Throughout the unit, they learn about speech writing and public speaking. They study great speeches, and even hear from some guest speakers (like me!). When I met with the class, we talked about everything from the power of a story in engaging an audience to the fact that, yes, I get nervous before my speeches too.

This week, in anticipation of the speeches, I received an invitation that lists the titles of the speeches the students will deliver. Reading them made me think of one of my favorite lines from our mission statement: “we respect childhood as an integral part of life.” Part of that respect is giving children the forum to respectfully and thoughtfully talk about topics that are important to them, and this list so perfectly reflects that.

Next week’s topics are: Save the Sea Turtles; Funding Cancer Research; Save the Polar Bears; The Need to Change School Starting Times; Why the US Needs Stricter Gun Control; Benefits of Service Animals; Benefits of Stuffed Animals; Why Plastic Should Be Banned; Distracted Driving; Childhood Drowning; Head Injuries from Youth Sports; Racial Profiling; Artificial Intelligence; The Environmental Impact of Plastic Bags; Gun Rights; Expense of Youth Sports; Unfair Rules by the NFL; and The Current Effects of Climate Change.

No matter what our own personal beliefs may be about such topics, this list is a wonderful affirmation of our students’ thinking and shows true respect for childhood in a pure form. These 6th graders have the opportunity to share their thoughts on a topic that is important to them and, in many cases, the topics are quite relevant in the greater discourse of our society as well.  To be able to share their thinking on these topics in a memorized speech form is all the more impressive, and I greatly look forward to witnessing our mission in action while listening to the speeches next week.

Life Beyond Country School

beyond country school panel bq3a8142Last night, I had the pleasure of attending Life Beyond Country School, a panel discussion featuring two recent alumni and two parents of recent graduates. The event was moderated by Tucker Golden ʼ90, current parent and President of the Alumni Council. Throughout the evening, topics of leadership, relationships, budding passions, and favorite memories of teachers emerged. In addition, the panelists fielded questions about the transition to high school and college — socially, academically and athletically. Continue reading

Happy New Year!

coopers letters from aaronHappy New Year!  I hope that this break and the dawning of 2019 have been great for you and your family and that you have found the time in these past two weeks to rest, rejuvenate, and ready yourselves for a 2019 filled with inspiration, learning, and growth.

After spending the first week here hosting some extended family and enjoying time together in New Canaan, my family and I spent the second week up in the Adirondacks where we also visit in the summer.  Our hope was to ski, snowshoe, ice skate, and generally spend as much time as possible outside enjoying winter. Continue reading