1st Grade Writing and 8th Grade Speech
Today, I got to witness two amazing things that Brookstone teaches so well – writing and speaking. First, my sweet third child gave his 8th grade speech – standing in the same spot I delivered mine nearly 30 years ago. I remember mine well. The topic was manatees. I don’t remember much of what I said, but I remember the round carriage of the slide projector stationed securely in the middle of the Turner Center. My best friend advanced the slides for me manually, the projector making a noise that is unmistakably its own. I even remember what I wore. But today, I sat as a proud parent, watching him deliver his presentation, using Google Slides, checking off yet another major milestone. (This year seems to be full of them for my family.) He spoke with poise and clarity, confidence and authority, as did the other three girls who delivered their presentations today. In large part, this is because Brookstone has been putting our students on stage from the time they were in Pre-K. Every single student goes on stage multiple times throughout the year to both sing and speak in front of an audience. It’s more than just a class play, it is all part of grooming and developing leadership skills. The speech success is also in large part due to their teacher, Mr. Hunter Chapman. Mr. Chapman, or Coach Chapman, embodies everything that is great about our teachers. He’s firm, yet engaging, loving, yet demands their respect, and he never ceases to build, empower and encourage our kids. He delivers the utmost in positive instruction and that showed forth clearly today. The student introductions were laced with humor and personality and they even gave each other high fives as they would pass the podium to the next speaker. It was just another example of what Brookstone builds, both academically and relationally.
Later, I got to visit my first grader’s classroom for his end of the year reading presentation. The reading and writing workshop approach that we use in the lower and intermediate school is just truly amazing. This was their day to show it all off! He was so proud as we sat down on the floor and he began to read me all of the stories that he wrote – his finest works of the year. Oh – the preciousness.
He shared with me pages and pages of stories he not only wrote, but also illustrated – his ideas, his thoughts, written down and consolidated into chapter books. It’s just the coolest thing ever. He even wrote a book SERIES – The Night He Got Lost and The Roller Skates Got Lost! You just wait…they might be coming to a Barnes and Nobles near you soon!
I can’t even stand the pure joy in his face!!! As an alum, I can rattle off a long list of things Brookstone taught me well, but writing and speaking are two biggies. And I’m not alone in saying that – am I right, fellow alums? So thank you, Brookstone, for what you taught me and for what you teach our kids. It is such a privilege to see them grow and thrive. So you just better watch out world! They might be only 1st and 8th graders now, but they are coming to lead the way!! And trust me, they will have been well equipped.