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Friday, February 12, 2021

Joaquim at natures classroom



Joaquim attended Summit for four years, beginning in the third grade and culminating with graduation at the end of his sixth-grade year in June 2020. Joaquim now attends the Riverbend School in Natick, where he is a part of their Montessori Middle School program.

Those of us who got to know Joaquim well during his tenure at Summit smile when we think of his kindness, his great social and problem-solving skills, his love of music and all things “Hamilton”, and his warm and immediately engaging smile. Joaquim was a friend to many and was truly looked up to by the younger students and his fellow classmates.

When we connected for this interview in late November, Joaquim had had several months to adjust and acclimate to his new setting, which appears to be a great match for him. When asked how it was going, and had there been any difficulties to overcome, he shared that “I really like it. My teachers are amazing; they are really good teachers. The school combines Montessori with something like a public school; it’s perfect.” Joaquim shared that he “didn’t expect when he got there that he would have friends”. But in fact, in addition to his pal Raveena who he knew well from Summit, he has made friends and feels very comfortable in his class. (Later in the interview Joaquim reflected that in his view it’s not super important to have a lot of friends (“like 65 or something”), but that it is the quality of friendships that really matters.

What kinds of changes did he experience when he moved on to Middle School at Riverbend? “I was sad about not going to Summit any more. I love Summit. But I made new friends here as well. We have more homework because it’s middle school. We have an online program called Alex that helps us. We are reading literature like Fahrenheit 451 and Animal Farm. I really loved those books.”

Did Summit prepare him for the transition to a new school? Joaquim shared that Summit helped him to transition into a school that is more traditional, noting that “we usually do more paper work instead of the materials because it’s middle school. But I was ready for that.” Joaquim also notes that they take quizzes every week, along with some tests. He says that he likes his tests, especially in science. “I actually developed my love for history and English when I was at Summit. I still love them. I like science and math too, but not as much as the other subjects.”

When asked what he misses about not being at Summit, Joaquim responded quickly. “To be honest, I just miss Summit. As a person I really developed a lot when I was there. The people really helped. I definitely developed more with leadership in sixth grade. I didn’t think of myself as a leader, but I learned how to be one during sixth grade.”

What advice would he give the sixth graders at Summit this year? “To try to become more of a leader, and to strive to be a good example for the rest of the school because they (the sixth graders) are the oldest in the school. Really notice how much this is going to help you in the future. Because it is!”

Was there anything else that he wanted to share with the Summit community? “No, not really. Just say hi to everyone, and tell them that I miss them!”

We miss you, too, Joaquim, but it makes us very happy to see you thriving in your new school environment.