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Friday, April 16, 2021



Ellis (left) and Raveena (right) present  to parents at last year's science-themed Curriculum Night

Today we meet Ellis, who started her middle school journey at Fay School in Southborough, MA. Rebecca Crawford met with Ellis over Zoom and spent some time catching up!

Ellis's start to the seventh grade at Fay School has been full of both new opportunities and some challenges - all of which Ellis has been tackling with her signature poise and maturity. When asked what she's loving about her time at Fay, she's quick to mention how supportive the community and her teachers are. Fay's seventh grade is part of the Upper School and together with the 8th and 9th grade, resides in its own building - so it's a shift for all entering 7th grade students. The class size also doubles from 6th grade to 7th grade with the influx of boarding students from all over the world. Ellis reports that those students bring so much diversity to the classroom and she's already made friends with a classmate from Japan. She appreciates what all of that diversity brings to her experience at Fay.

Of course, changing schools is always a big transition and with that comes a few challenges. Ellis is working hard in her evenings as homework is now a nightly endeavor with lots of small quizzes and tests the next day on the subject matter - it can make her a little anxious to know that she's being graded, but her grades keep coming back well! Another change for her is the way she moves through the school - changing classrooms for each period along with all the other students and carrying everything needed on her back. In the beginning of the year, it was easy to get turned around and lost, but she reports that the transitions between classes are smoother now, though the occasional student still gets mixed up! Covid-19 also presents a challenge at Fay and Ellis finds that making friends is a little bit harder with masks on. It can be tricky to read other people's expressions - that's certainly something we can all relate to!

When asked how she thought Summit had prepared her for her new school experience, she reports that she's so thankful for the way Summit taught her to love to learn. That love for learning motivates her to want to learn more and more in all the subject areas and that makes that increased work load just a little bit easier. She's also thankful for the note taking skills she earned at Summit. In class, when a teacher is writing on the board, she takes out her notebook and puts the skills Ms. Janice taught her to good use - she reports that it makes studying and doing homework so much easier to have solid notes from class.

All the work during Summit without Walls was also really helpful for this year's study at Fay. She has to use Google Classroom and manage her work that way. She's grateful for the experience she came into the seventh grade with. A lot of her class life is virtual this year, even though she's in the school building. She's had the chance to perform virtual science labs, and take part in a program called ecoMUVE where she's faced with challenges in a virtual world that she has to solve. It reminds her of some of the work she did while at Summit.

She does, of course, miss Summit and her friends there! She's especially wistful for the quiet and calm of the classroom - moving from classroom to classroom at Fay means it can get really loud in the hallways! She also misses the long-term project focus at Summit instead of the nightly turn around for quizzes or tests. She suspects long term projects are on their way in the seventh grade, but for now most things are due the next day or within three days. Ellis also reports that she loved the way she has leadership opportunities at Summit to help younger students, like the Beginners and Children's House kids. They were always a highlight of her days at Summit! While she misses these thing, she's starting to get the hang of the more hurried style of scheduled days at her new school.

When asked to reflect on what advice she'd give Summit's current sixth graders, she gives this advice: "I think they should really listen to Ms. Janice and all of the things she has to offer. She really taught me a lot and it really helped when I transitioned. Don't be afraid to ask questions if you don't understand something. Make sure you really get the material."

To all of the students at Summit, she has these words of advice that she says Summit taught her well: "Be your own person - you don't have to follow everyone." All of us at Summit thank Ellis for sharing her advice and experiences! We wish her nothing but success as the rest of the seventh grade unfolds for her!