Gettysburg & D.C. Excursion Humbling, Insightful for 8th-Graders

Posted on May 17th, 2019 by Allendale Columbia School

Allendale Columbia’s 8th-graders traveled to Gettysburg and Washington, D.C. in early May as the culmination of their Middle School experience, with many tie-ins to their Capstone Project. First, they visited the Gettysburg Civil War battlefield where more than 50,000 Americans lost their lives. The visit dovetailed perfectly with the class’s studies, and, as one 8th-grader said, “Being there really helped me comprehend what happened.” Mr. Seth Hopkins, a Civil War buff, guided our bus tour, providing colorful commentary on Gettysburg’s significance and on the considerable sacrifices made by Upstate New York regiments. (more…)

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Posted in: Authentic Learning, Eighth Grade, Highlights, Middle School

8th Graders Welcome Honor Flight Veterans

Posted on April 20th, 2018 by Allendale Columbia School

Members of the 8th grade greeted veterans from Honor Flight Mission 58 at Rochester International Airport last Sunday, part of a collaborative Capstone Project between History, English, and Science centered on World War II.

Honor Flight is a non-profit organization that flies WWII and now Korean and Vietnam vets to Washington, D.C., to see the WWII, Korean, Vietnam, and other memorials. For many of these vets, now in their 70s, 80s, and 90s, this will be the last opportunity to see the memorials built in their honor.

(Photos by Andrew Ragan et al. Additional photos and video are available in this Google Photos album.)

Our students wrote over 120 personalized letters to the more than 50 Honor Flight Mission 58 vets. When the flight reaches 20,000 feet, the vets will experience their first “mail call” since their service days. According to Honor Flight representatives who have spoken to our students, the reading of students’ letters is one of the most emotional times of the trip for our veterans.

Honor Flight Rochester invited our eighth graders to a “Welcome Home” celebration at Rochester International Airport on Sunday, April 15th. Our students joined hundreds of people cheering on the returning vets and met and took photos with the recipients of their letters. It was a great way to show these military members of the “Greatest Generation,” the “Forgotten War” (Korea), the Cold War, and Vietnam how much we appreciate their service. They are “living history” that we must embrace while we can.

According to the Honor Flight Rochester website, this is the Rochester hub’s 10th year. AC has been involved since their second year, making this our 9th year of writing letters. We started after Juliana Levinson ’14 volunteered with Honor Flight back when she was in Upper School and asked if 8th graders could write letters. The Capstone Project combines 8th grade History, English, and Science and explores how the science and technology of World War II influences our lives today. It culminates in a science-fair-style Exhibition Night on May 14th with formal presentations to share their research paper findings.

 

Andrew Ragan

Andrew Ragan

Andrew came to teach Middle School History at Allendale Columbia School after 20 years in educational publishing and living in Pittsburgh, New York City, Los Angeles, Toronto, and the Adirondacks. He began writing for young people at Junior Scholastic magazine and has since published hundreds of articles in such magazines as JS, Scholastic News, Disney Adventures, Creative Classroom, and more. After teaching freshman composition at the University of Southern California for several years, Andrew served as the Senior Editor for Disney Adventures Magazine. He earned his Bachelor of Arts Degree in English and Communications, with honors, from Carnegie Mellon University and his master's degree in Professional Writing from the University of Southern California.
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Posted in: Centers for Impact, Eighth Grade, Highlights, Middle School, MS Birches, Partnerships, The Birches, Uncategorized

JT Coupal Finds Success at World Karting Association National Championships

Posted on January 13th, 2014 by klapa

AC 8th grader JT Coupal clinched two World Karting Association National Championships at Summit Point Raceway in Summit Point, WV. JT competed for two titles in the Jr. Sprint classes with competitors from across the U.S. He needed first place finishes in each of the final races of the season to secure the national titles. JT has been karting for three years and this past year moved up to endurance road racing on large, sports car circuits where he not only races against other juniors in his class, but also 40 or more adults that run at both faster and slower speeds than his classes. One of the biggest highlights of the season was the double win at Daytona International Speedway to start the season (and hitting 97 mph on that same track!). The balance of the season he raced at Virginia International Racetrack, Carolina Motorsport Park, and Grattan, Michigan. Congrats, JT!

JT Coupal

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Posted in: Eighth Grade, Kid Kudos, Middle School