A Inspiring Week
A Long Week Of Assignments
Of all the weeks this term that I could have been assigned to write about, I would not have selected the past seven days. To be honest, trying to find something remotely entertaining or interesting from last week’s Fenn experience feels like a cruel assignment. Who wants to relive what could possibly have been my most boring and tedious week not just in 9th grade but 6th, 7th and 8th as well?
To cope with school’s less than inspiring days, I usually look forward to spending the afternoon on the turf running off my pent-up physical energy at soccer practice. But this dreary November week? No sports. We are officially in between seasons now, so there’s no running around, no adrenaline release, no “friendly” competitive ribbing on the field with the kid who not so subtly let it be known that he outscored you on the World Cultures test. So instead of kicking the ball around after school, my team got to passively watch football together one day, and took the mini white school bus over to Bedford Farms Ice Cream. For the record, I got a medium vanilla and chocolate soft serve in a cup with gummy bears on top. Frankly, that ice cream was one of the week’s few high points.
Academically, things were painfully tedious. Geometry, of course, continued with proofs, proofs and still more proofs. I hear it’s going to be like that for the whole year. I am still unsure what life skills I am gaining by needing to go through this multi-step mathematical process to prove that two lines are perpendicular, or two segments are congruent, but they make us do it anyway. I suppose it may be sort of useful if I want to build a house someday, but I will probably hire an architect who actually likes geometry.
Biology was equally stimulating. We went a little Frankenstein on some peas during the bio lab and tested different genetic combinations of different types of peas. At least that’s what I think we were supposed to be doing. Basically, we put a bunch of different colored peas into containers and watched them grow over two to three classes. Up until this lab, I was only aware of green peas, but I saw actual purple peas and learned that their color traits are found in their stems. Yes, peas — those little round green balls — have stems. It’s trickier than it looks. We tested the offspring of purple and green plants and found that the dominant trait was purple stems for pea plants. How exciting! Anyway, I am feeling really confident that this new knowledge will take me places in my future.
In Spanish, I felt like I was back to kindergarten as we took turns reading La Caperucita Roja. For non-Spanish speaking people, that’s Little Red Riding Hood, that sweet fairy tale they tell little kids about a young girl who goes to visit her grandma in the woods but a wolf has captured and likely ate her grandma and is about to have her for lunch too. Señora Gupta loved teaching us the story, and hit us full force with an unbelievable amount of energy for first thing Monday morning. The three other students and I in her Spanish class, however, were having a hard time finding anything close to the enthusiasm she was putting out there. But in our defense, the story is hard to relate to either in Spanish or English, but it’s especially so when you are technically in high school and you are on par with Spanish kindergartners.
I would be really neglectful if I failed to mention the stimulating class discussions, lengthy paper and exam we had in World Cultures this week on the growth of the Islamic empire during the period 632CE - 1200CE. Imagine how scintillating the our discussions about the post-Muhammad succession of random Muslim rulers who often don’t have vowels in their names so they are hard to pronounce. No worries there though — despite devoting so much time to this topic, those names have already found their way into my mental trash bin.
The high point of the week, as it is every day and every week, was doing a deep dive on chapter 11 of The Odyssey with a brilliant, insightful and amusing teacher named Fitz. This week, our hero Odysseus (distinct from our hero Fitz) travelled to the underworld, and the class was so engaged and engaging that I wished I could go right along with him to hell. Honestly, who cannot get excited about a 500 -plus page book on mythology?
Despite the slog of classes, the cold weather setting in, sports being cancelled, there were a few moments of reprieve and satisfaction in the week. There was the assembly featuring African dancers which enabled me to chill out in the middle of the day. In my woodworking class, I came close to finishing the skateboard I have been carving all term; I was even able to burn my last name onto the board with a machine in the innovation lab. On Thursday morning before school, I got to play cards with Cass, my very cool Fenn Little brother. And on Friday, I had permission to escape the Fenn campus to tour another and interview for a potential next school. After the week I just had, they did a good job of showing me what some other schools are doing. Which leads me to this parting question: Are we really paying thousands of dollars for peas, proofs, and Little Red Riding Hood?