This week, 8th grade students presented personal essays to their English classes and parents who attended—a bit of an MICDS tradition! The personal essay reading comes after the students studied the different forms of essays: descriptive, narrative, expository and persuasive. They also read essays written by American authors and wrote several mini essays to springboard ideas.
The essays were meant to serve as a letter from the author to the audience—a conversation about something the author felt called to write about. Audience participants were encouraged to ask follow up questions or provide comments after each essay was spoken.
“Listen for descriptive verbs or phrases if it is a descriptive paragraph, listen for intentional parallel construction used in order to aid in persuasion, or perhaps listen for purposeful repetition or attempts at humor. The students strived to use literary techniques in an intentional way,” said Mr. Militello when he introduced the exercise to members of the audience.
During the presentations, students’ topics ranged anywhere from a time when they were afraid, a time when they learned a lesson, a time when they gained new insights and more.
“Giving these young students their voice and a forum to tell their stories in a safe non-judgmental way absolutely astounded me,” said one parent. “The fact that they were willing to share when given the opportunity was even more amazing to me. This exercise exemplifies the ‘community of kindness’ that is so often discussed here at MICDS. It was a living breathing example of this motto in action.”
Here are a few excerpts from the students’ pieces:
“Had you asked me a couple years ago, I would’ve said that I thought my opinions were the best, and that my free thoughts have led me to make the best conclusions and judgments. I now realize that a lot of the free thoughts and ideas that we often have imprison us rather than free us, they force ourselves to be stuck in mental prisons because we only see one way or idea. It’s terrible, it ensures that we just fight and argue instead of being productive and solving problems that we all deal with. Some people call it being narrow-minded or being a victim of tribalism, but I call it being imprisoned in your own free thoughts.” – Sam Baumohl ’22
“Everyone should be lucky as to have their car stolen. At heart, I am a worry-er. Not a warrior. No not that. A worry-er. A scared, fearful worry-er. I mean, I’m worrying right now, standing in front of you. As long as I could remember I have been scared of something. Scared of being embarrassed. Scared of a test that is two weeks from now that I need to study for desperately. It used to very bad. I would worry about anything and everything. I would worry about what if something happened or what if that something didn’t happen. It has since gotten substantially better. One thing that helped me from worrying as much was one of the most frightening nights of my life.” – Alex Kulczwzki ’22
“I get frustrated about things I can’t change, and this causes me to not look at things in other people’s perspective. I’ve encountered many problems in my life that I felt were not in my control, but life goes on and I failed to realize that. Unfortunately, we don’t know when and where things will happen, so we should just enjoy life and be grateful that we are blessed enough to still be on earth. As a child I cannot control whether or not my parents are together or if my parents decide to buy me material things that I like. So, I made it my personal goal to be as appreciative as I can, and look at things in other people’s perspective.” – Antwoin Craig ’22