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Interview with Summit Alumni Elwyn and Kara

By Maia Chandler and Martha Torrence

A few months ago Summit graduated two sixth graders: Elwyn, who attended Summit for 7 years, and Kara, who attended Summit for 4. Elwyn and Kara both went to Riverbend Montessori School for middle school after Summit.

One of the most important questions facing everyone who goes into a new situation is, “How will I make friends?” We asked Kara and Elwyn how they conquered this challenge. Elwyn responded in this way: “At Summit people were coming to me because I was already there. At Riverbend I was going to them to make friends.” A week-long class camping trip to AMC in New Hampshire helped Elwyn to bond with others. As an example, she met another girl whom she approached. “We bonded over Harry Potter. BAM! I have a friend!” Kara shared that it was “nice” coming into the Riverbend community because they were all welcoming. “Elwyn and I made a lot of friends.”

When asked what it was like going into a new classroom with someone who was already a friend, Kara replied, “We didn’t stick together and NOT make friends; we stuck together and MADE friends.”

“It was pretty hard but fun” transitioning from Summit to Riverbend, according to Kara. Both girls agreed that there are many similarities between the two schools: they are both Montessori schools; they both use materials; both schools have internships where students work in classrooms (helping Kindergartners to learn Spanish, for example); they have mixed age classrooms; and they both have “respect rules”. According to Kara, “Because I’m a middle schooler that doesn’t mean I can slack on respect rules”. The girls also shared some differences: Middle School is more structured; there is more homework; there is more direct teaching by the teachers to the group.

We asked what it was like to go from relatively little homework to lots (about 2 hours per night). “Exhausting!” said Kara. Both girls appreciated that there is no more than 30 minutes of homework in any class, and if you can’t get it done you can email your teacher to let them know. They give you time to finish it in school.

The girls shared that while they have some tests (in math), they are not difficult. When asked what was the most important thing that they took from Summit they replied:

​Elwyn: “You are not going to make friends by being shy. Go right up to them and talk to them.”

Kara: “Even though I go to Riverbend I still have friends at Summit. The Summit community is always on my side, and that is comforting.”

Maia is doing her first 6th Grade Intern-ship with Miss Martha. She is working on the Alumni Interview Project, observing in class-rooms, and doing other forms of community out-reach.