At Severn School, we are scholars, innovators, athletes, artists and more. We believe in character conduct, scholarship, leadership and service. And most of all, we believe in each other — we are family. These are the stories that tie us together.
Each year The Capital Gazette, Anne Arundel County Chamber of Commerce, and other local groups elect students to receive the Outstanding Student Achievement Award. This year, three Severn juniors were honored at the award ceremony on March 13th, 2019 along with other outstanding students from the Anne Arundel County community. Join us in congratulating Danica Williams '20, Samuel Bruce '20, and Lindsay King '20 for their remarkable academic achievement, success in the visual or performing arts, and/or exceptional citizenship in our school and the surrounding community. The following is a reprinted version of the Capital Gazette article, click here to read in its original location.
On March 8th, in celebration of International Women's Day, we welcomed three Severn alumnae to speak with our community about their exceptional lives. They shared memories from their years at Severn along with stories of perseverance and strength, through which they have climbed to the top of their fields today. Our values of character, conduct, scholarship and leadership took shape in their voices as we learned about the paths they’ve forged since leaving Water Street.
The annual APA auction brings together parents, alumni, staff and friends for a special night of fun and fundraising — this single event funds all APA-sponsored extracurricular activities at Severn in addition to teacher wishlist items at the end of the year. While an early March wintry mix fell outside, our hardworking auction committee transformed the Edward St. John Athletic center into a fabulous Moroccan oasis filled with laughter, cheer, and a fantastic array of donated items (with plenty of bids to take them home!). Together, we raised over $100,000 for the kids.
During the transitional middle school years, it’s important for students to explore and express who they are as individuals and as part of the global community. Art teacher Ms. Yehee Shin finds creative ways for students to learn the basic elements and principles of art and design through the lens of that self-exploration. For their most recent project, Ms. Shin challenged her classes to look within themselves and create designs for a platform that many of us use every day, Google. One of many lessons that explore the concept of identity through art, the Doodle 4 Google project gives our students an opportunity to design collaboratively, individually and for a real audience.
The weekend of February 21st our Water Street Players staged the hilarious musical comedy "Once Upon a Mattress," a side-splitting Broadway production based on the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale "The Princess and the Pea." Their rollicking spin on the familiar classic of royal courtship and comeuppance had the audience in stitches with Renaissance-inspired shenanigans! The following is a reprinted review of the show from Sharon Lee Tegler of the Capital Gazette. Read the article in its original location here.
Severn School is proud to announce the 2019 David Astle Memorial Lecture Series speaker, Julie Lythcott-Haims, author of New York Times bestseller How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success. She is also known for writing Real American, a critically acclaimed memoir detailing her personal battle with low self-esteem that American racism inflicts on people of color. On Tuesday, April 9th Lythcott-Haims will deliver a keynote address to the Upper School discussing Real American. Her visit will culminate in the evening with her “How to Raise an Adult” keynote address for the Severn community and invited guests.
Over the past several weeks, our 5th-grade students explored American Jazz as researchers, artists and musicians. Librarian Ms. Pilar Okeson teamed up with art teacher Ms. Jonnie Friedman and music teacher Ms. Mary Gaylord to create a multisensory unit based on the music of Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald and Trombone Shorty. Inspired by the whimsical illustrations in biographies about these jazz greats, our 5th graders created artwork, wrote their own music and performed a jazzy scat for their kindergarten Helping Hands.
Last Wednesday our entire Middle School participated in discussions and activities to bring our community together through positivity and determination. Faculty advisor Ms. Diana Talbott and the student-led Community Life Committee hope this day inspires, encourages and motivates our entire middle school to develop more positive mindsets. This annual event is an opportunity for students to practice advocacy, leadership and empathy while building strong relationships outside of their normal social circles.
For the third year in a row, the Zimmerman Library hosted an all-day African American Read-In for students on Teel Campus. To celebrate Black History Month and highlight literature by African American authors, librarians Ms. Whitney Etchison, Ms. Diana Michel and Ms. Mary Carrington covered the shelves in a variety of books ranging from literary classics to contemporary graphic novels. Students from Upper School Art Club and Multicultural Alliance also decorated the library with original artwork and poetry written by African American authors. With snacks, comfy seats and quiet nooks around every corner, it was a great day to grab a book and read-in.
Did you know that some of the first home computers looked more like table tops than the ubiquitous keyboards with glossy screens that we see today? Our 2nd and 3rd-grade students got a personalized tour through the evolution of technology at the Computer History Museum in early February. Perhaps it's more accurate to say they got a robot's-eye look at the famous museum located just around the corner from Google HQ in Mountain View, Calif. With Lower School technology specialist Ms. Vicki Dabrowka at the controls, our students explored the museum through the eyes of a telepresence robot.
What started as brief activities to share experiences gleaned from local and national diversity conferences and to honor the work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Upper School Unity Day has evolved into a full-day conference including a keynote speaker, workshops, community reflection activities and a podcast — all organized and led by our students. Although 2019 marks only the second official Unity Day event, it feels like a tradition for our community. As faculty facilitator Ms. Melissa Osquist said, “There are big, global issues that our students want to understand. And they know that even here at school, we all have so many different opinions. They want to learn how to have good conversations with people that have different viewpoints.”
Many topics in science are straightforward. Few people will argue whether or not water is made of hydrogen and oxygen. But issues more closely tied to human behavior are often debated in both academia and the court of public opinion. What is the extent of human impact on global climate change? Are there benefits to holistic medicine? We look to the scientific community to answer these questions, but even within those circles, there are varied perspectives. Upper School chemistry teacher Mr. Nick DeMarte asks his classes, “If science is a body of facts, why are there different opinions?” And then the debates begin.
Our 2019 Dillon Moran Musicians in Residence program was a two-day musical event unlike any other at Severn School. Jill Collier Warne, Sam Mumford and Ross McDouall of Creative Connections took the stage on Thursday morning with a set of drums, sampling and recording equipment, a guitar, and a cello. But instead of beginning their residency with a complete performance as many have in the past, they put out a call to our community. “We have some very small musical ideas,” said Sam “but we want to access your voices and your thoughts about your community and the way you see yourselves in society.” Over the next two days, students from our Upper and Middle Schools worked with the trio to create the unique multi-media performance, "I Collecting us."
This month, our littlest learners joined the proud ranks of regular library patrons on Chesapeake Campus. While early reading skills have always been a part of our Early School curriculum, our preschool students now visit the library each week for storytime, media literacy lessons and a whole lot of fun. Right from the start, our students learn that the library is a welcoming place to explore their interests and the world around them through literacy-rich, hands-on experiences.
At the end of last quarter, our 6th-grade classrooms buzzed with energy as students prepared for an interactive museum bringing together weeks of hard work. Based on Deborah Ellis’s award-winning young adult novel The Breadwinner, this project gives our students a broader view of the world. It helps them make connections from one class to another, one person to another and one culture to another.
Guest article by Molly Saum '17, Severn School Communications Office intern
When students are young they may feel as though their voices are not heard. However, this is not the case at our Lower School. Every semester two students from each second through fifth-grade class practice leadership, teamwork and service with the Lower School Student Council. Their main task is to work together to complete a service-learning project involving the entire school. This semester’s council chose to support Lucky Dog Animal Rescue. During the final week of this project, we interviewed our Lower School leaders to learn about their experience. As one 3rd grader said, "A lot of it was hard, but it feels good that we have achieved this much."
Guest article by Molly Saum '17, Severn School Communications Office intern
I remember this time two years ago watching the College Counseling Alumni Panel in Roche Lecture Hall, nervous and anxious to start my college journey. Last week I watched the same event from a new perspective, now as an intern for the Severn Communications Office. This year’s panel shared meaningful advice with the class of 2019 to guide them into the future with reminders of everything Severn has given them. As I listened to the panelists, one quote in particular resonated with me, “The further away I get from Severn the more I appreciate it.”
Have you ever spoken to a large audience? Shared something personal about your life or someone close to you? Public speaking can be challenging even for those who do it frequently. It involves a complex set of skills, hours of preparation and the courage to make yourself vulnerable to the onlooking crowd. As challenging as it can be, public speaking is an essential tool to create positive change in our community and the larger world. With English teacher Mr. Joe Christie as their guide, our middle schoolers face that challenge head-on with the 8th Grade Public Address.