This last full week of school (gulp!) has been a BIG ONE for our 8th graders. Tuesday they culminated a semester of work in language arts by presenting their Capstone Projects to their family members and to the Middle School students and faculty. It is always an intriguing morning listening to as many presentations as you can fit in. They’ve all worked so hard, and you wish you could experience each and every one of them. As I walked around the room I heard or saw projects on such diverse topics as women in music, sleep disorders, forensic science, the history of tattoos, quantum mechanics, the psychology and history of con games, the influence of the Vikings, and many more. More impressive is how easily the kids can converse and present their major findings without referring to notes or pages on their trifolds. It is readily apparent that they have learned a great deal about a topic of interest to them while also completing a research paper. What an experience for an 8th grader to have before moving on to high school.

Similarly, our 7th graders completed a mini version of Capstone last week with the annual Renaissance Faire. They chose an area of focus related to this fascinating era in history and presented a project on their findings. There I was regaled about “The Romani” (or gypsy culture back in the day), Renaissance food (with a sample included!), stained glass and mosaics, the black plague, Shakespeare, and much, much more. Congratulations to our 7th and 8th graders and their teachers Patrick Donovan, Julie Mushkin, and Brandon Doble for giving them these opportunities to expand their knowledge in such a truly St. Francis way. Project-based learning combines so many elements of education and will stick with our kids for their whole lives.

As this is our last newsletter for the year, I wish everyone a wonderful summer! We still have Class Day, our Final Assembly, Blue/Red Field Day, many parties, and, of course, 8th Grade Graduation ahead of us, but we are only a week away from wrapping up another school year. Time flies when you’re working in one of the best and most honorable professions and in such a special place. We’ll see you at the Back-to-School Picnic – where we’ll dedicate the new Main Amp, Theater, and Lobby. I’m counting the days!