The Riverside School Latin Club travelled to Phillips Exeter Academy on April 15 to compete in a full day of Classical Contests. Events included but were not limited to a Certamen (a trivia contest), Olympika (a chariot race and gladiatorial combat) and a costume contest (dressing up as a character from classical mythology or ancient history). Henry & Waverly Griffin from Danville, Liam Markey from Peacham, Phoebe Barrett from Westmore, Alexa Counter from Barnet, and Katie Lyon from Waterford represented The Riverside School and we are all so proud of their efforts in winning the novice division of Certamen and the costume contest.
6th graders from The Riverside School, Oak Clarke, Caleb Harrison, Ruby Rolfe, and Riley Miller, all watch intently as their Science teacher, Joel Gilbert, increases the pressure on the jack to see how much weight the bridge that Oak built can hold before it is crushed. Bridge Breaking is an annual event at the school. The 6th grade class works for weeks designing and building bridges that are then judged by area engineers. The final test for the students is to see which one can withstand the most weight before it splinters to pieces. Caleb Harrison and Colter Thibeadeau took overall first place with Riley Miller a close second.
The Broadway dancers, pictured from left to right, Jasmine Whittaker from Kirby, Alexa Counter and Maren Giese both from Barnet , Riley Miller from Kirby and Aurora Gilbert from East Burke (not shown Ruby Rolfe from Kirby) dazzled the audiences at The Riverside School during an amazing performance of "Singin' in the Rain." Play Week is a highly anticipated, annual tradition at the school. It offers the students an opportunity to not only showcase their musical and theatrical talents but also their leadership and active learning skills while preparing for the show. It is no surprise that we are all looking forward to seeing the Preschool-5th grade plays that will be featured later in the Spring.
Two groups of Preschool and lower Elementary school students from The Riverside School traveled to Burlington High School on Saturday, March 18 to compete in a Destination Imagination competition.
The “Rising Stars” team which incorporated preschool through 2nd grade students learned about simple and complex machines and built one that was integrated into a self-authored play. When asked what he liked most about the experience, Kindergartener Conall Kennedy stated, “I liked the feedback after our performance, they told us we were rock stars.”
The early elementary aged group that incorporated Kindergarten through 3rd grade students chose an improvisational challenge where they learned about different genres of theatre and character development and incorporated that knowledge into improvisational skits. 1st grader, Gabe Adams remembered, “Our team won, and that was really fun but the most important part of Destination Imagination is working with our team and learning together.”
The two groups also completed “Instant Challenges” where they had to utilize the teamwork skills that they had developed to work together to solve challenges.
The students began the process of building their teams and creating and practicing their challenges in the winter and met weekly until the spring competition. The parents of several of the team members volunteered as coordinators and supported the students to write self-authored plays, build sets and create costumes.
Destination Imagination is a nation wide program that encourages the participants to utilize a variety of skills and teamwork to solve problems and overcome challenges. All the while having fun and being creative.
On Monday, March 13 science teachers from around the Northeast Kingdom gathered for their annual idea exchange. This year they met at The Conte Wildlife Refuge near Island Pond. They exchanged ideas on labs and activities and pedagogy.
This annual event was started by The Riverside School's science teacher, Joel Gilbert, in an attempt to make the science teaching better for the area's youth through open sharing of ideas. Both public and private school's science teachers attend. This year they were very grateful to their host, Rachel Cliche for her encyclopedic knowledge and original ideas. Next year the get together will be in Lyndonville in November.
Middle school students from The Riverside School, Claire Morgan, Waverly Griffin, Sawyer Goodwin, Trevor Lussier and James Lamontagne performed in the Northeast Middle School Music Festival at the North Country Union High School on Friday, March 10.
Sixth, seventh, and eighth graders at the Riverside School in Lyndonville are engrossed in their annual Play Week to bring together all the elements of their spring production, "Singin' in the Rain."
Performances of their play will be Friday and Saturday, March 24th and 25th at 7:00 p.m. in the Barn at Riverside. Admission to this lovely performance is by donation.
Each student has an acting role or position on the tech crew in the play, but they have also spent two class periods over each of the last 8 weeks collaborating on the production elements of sets, props, costumes, or publicity.
In the sets elective students collaborate to design creative backgrounds that make the acting more believable for the audience. In Props the students come up with interesting objects for characters to use during the play. Publicity is also an elective choice, in this elective they make eye-catching posters, format the program, and schedule different ways to promote the play. In costumes the students sew, craft, or borrow every single costume there is in the play themselves.
There are no academic classes during this week, and the classrooms get turned into meeting places for the various groups of students who need to meet different goals by working together. Play Week at Riverside is a chance for the middle school to put the finishing touches on their play while learning collaboration skills that they will use for the rest of their lives. It may sound easy to have no math, English, or science for a week, but students comment that often it is more stressful, especially for the lead roles who might not have their lines memorized yet. The students’ hard work during the week shows with two amazing performances on Friday and Saturday nights.
7th grader Angela Steele says, “Play week is a time where Riversiders can express their creative abilities.”
Singin’ in the Rain had to go through a tough election process - among other popular musicals - by the students to become their chosen focus this winter. There are three rounds of voting, with time for students to argue and debate the merits of each option. with time for students to argue and debate the merits of each option. At first, "Aladdin" had received the most votes, but then it was noted that this show has only one lead female part. Since there are more females than males that wanted parts, selection had to be redone, and "Singin’ in the Rain" became the collective choice.
The Riversides School's Latin Club participated in a certamen at The University of Vermont on January 28, 2017. Coach, Nathan Gair with students, Phoebe Barrett and Liam Markey came in 2nd out of 7 teams beating high school and college aged students.
Middle School students at The Riverside School with a group of parents went to Montpelier on Wednesday, January 25th to be active participants in National School Choice Week.
In late October, a Northeast Kingdom local legislator invited The Riverside middle school chorus to sing for legislators on Vermont National School Choice Day. In the morning, Jasmine Whittaker, a 7th grader, testified before the House Education Committee and then later testified before the press. Jasmine advocated for school choice for Vermont children and highlighted her experiences at The Riverside School.
During a legislative luncheon, the middle school chorus performed White Winter Hymnal and then moved down the street to the Capitol Building, where their classmate, Liam Markey, a 6th grader, opened a House session with a solo piece on the cello.
The students remained in the Capitol Building to witness an entire House session.
A group of local dancers has been filling the Barn at the Riverside School with the joyous sound of music and square dancing every Wednesday evening for the last several years. For the last few weeks they have also been assisting the school’s 4/5 Physical Education students unit on square dancing.
Dale Deblois, one of the square dancers, observed, "This is a great group, lots of fun, lots of friendship!"
In asking the students about their experience, 5th Grader, Cameron Clark stated, “It is hard work and takes a lot of mental focus.”
Fellow classmate, Lacey Patoine shared, “It is really fun. It does take a lot of work but once you have it down it’s easy. There is a lot of laughing.”
All the students will admit it was a little awkward, especially when dancing with one another for the first time but soon that faded away and the pure enjoyment of the experience prevailed.
Alumni Day usually draws people back to their former high school or college, but The Riverside School has the unique position of hosting an Alumni Day at the elementary and middle school level. The school had the honor of hosting 15 alumni on January 5, 2017.
Once on campus, they were greeted by the student body during morning assembly, had time to tour and participate in class activities, chat and catch up with their friends and faculty as well as meet with the Head of School to create class agents for future sustainability goals.
Joel Gilbert, science teacher, mused, “Deanna Emery, currently at Harvard, and I discussed how she is in the same program my sister-in-law is in - working for the Smithsonian in Astrophysics. Armen Emery plans to come back and judge our annual bridge building competition. LaTina Webber sat in on biology and challenged the kids to learn more bones than I was teaching. She threw out bone after bone for them to absorb.”
It is no surprise that for many at The Riverside School, Alumni Day is one of the most special days. It is inspiring for everyone to see these individuals grow and achieve their goals and make their dreams come true.
The Riverside Latin Club is enjoying their pizza lunch after competing successfully in the Granite State Certamen in Dover, NH on November 19. Teammates (from left to right) Phoebe Barrett, Katie Lyon, Henry Griffin, Sarah Barrett and Waverly Griffin competed in the Certamen which is a contest of knowledge about Roman and Greek history, mythology and language. Everyone on the team played hard, answered a lot of questions right, and had a ton of fun.
Firefighters Dan Bigelow and Tim Nolan brought the big red engine to The Riverside School much to the excitement of the preschool through 1st graders. They instructed the students about fire safety, explained their equipment, what to do in the event of a fire and how to act in the presence of a firefighter.
The Riverside School welcomed 57 grandparents to school activities during their annual Grandparents’ Day: the first Monday after the Thanksgiving holiday. The photo shows the Kindergarteners with their grandparents, enthusiastically playing math games.The Riverside faculty comment that Grandparents’ Day helps the school meet its mission to develop a supportive community and engage students in active learning. It is another example of how the school and its community wraps its arms around its students, providing them the support they need.
The parents and faculty of the Riverside School came together on November 16th for the first of a series of “Coffee House” discussions that are being hosted by the Parent Advisory Committee. The very interactive and lively event was led by Riverside parent, Sandra Laflamme, with guidance from a professional facilitator from National School Reform. The topic of discussion was homework. Michelle Ralston, head of school, stated “The parents and faculty were asked for their input and participated in a variety of activities that allowed for contributions by all who attended. The information that was gathered that evening will be used to help inform a possible revision to The Riversides School’s homework policy.”
Given a little homework themselves, the participants were asked to read several articles about the pros and cons of this topic prior to the gathering. This provided a framework for what proved to be lively discussions and observations. Some of the more telling responses included, “homework should help teach delayed gratification and the love of learning” while others pondered the idea of “quality over quantity.” Still the “consideration of what needs to be in place for homework to be successful” was the theme that prevailed.
Many agreed that proper stimulation and time management skills coupled with assignments that allow for student ownership and choice are the clear benefits of homework. Furthermore, it was stated that the importance of these experiences is to facilitate and enhance parent understanding of their child’s learning.
Parent involvement has always been a central component of The Riverside School and one of its strongest traditions. Parents are called upon throughout the year to perform a variety of tasks and the response is resounding. The goal of the Parent Advisory Committee is to support two-way communications between the head of school, faculty, and parents by providing a point of contact for parents within one grade level when questions arise related to Riverside’s program; assisting Riverside in keeping parents updated and involved in program events and aware of classroom needs; to assist the Head of School in the facilitation of “Coffee House” discussions for all parents. It is with this charge that parent involvement will continue to thrive at Riverside.
The next “Coffee House” is scheduled for January, 19th. The topic will be: Grades and Grading.
Studying the classics has always been an integral part of The Riverside School experience. Nathan Gair, an alum and current Latin teacher, led the entire student body in the school’s annual Mythology Day on December 21, 2016.
In preparation for the whole school event, each student chose a character from Norse, Greek, Roman and Tolkien mythology, studied the character in depth, dressed in costume, and presented it to Riverside students, teachers, and family members.
The mixture of Cyclops, heroic soldiers, powerful gods and goddesses then preformed such formidable tasks as reenacting the Battle of Troy, braving the Labyrinth while defeating the Minotaur, and building the Walls of Troy. The event commenced with the Urn of Fate in which the students shared gifts with one another, not knowing the giver or contents of the package prior to its opening.
It was an event shrouded in tradition and mystery, evoking a deeper understanding of history and reinvigorating the mythmaker in all of us.
With the holiday season in full swing, it is the time of year when folks feel compelled to reach out and support one another. The students at The Riverside School show no exception to this rule. On Friday, November 18, each one of the 96 students spent his or her time participating in a variety of service projects designed to benefit our community during the school’s annual Community Service Day.
Whether it was wrapping 100 boxes for HOPE to fill with holiday gifts, making cards for soldiers or baking 48 loaves of pumpkin bread for the Lyndon Area Food Shelf, the spirit of engaged citizenship, a key component in the school’s mission, was genuinely expressed throughout the Riverside community. The school felt honored to contribute to HOPE, the Lyndon Area Food Shelf, the Darling Inn Free Thanksgiving Meal, local preschools, the American Legion and the Riverside Life Enrichment Center.
Everyone enjoyed their chosen projects and were eager to participate in any way. Many going above and beyond offering assistance to other groups on campus to make sure everything was completed before the Thanksgiving break. In addition to the group projects, the student body, faculty and staff donated to a food drive. These items were given to the Lyndon Area Food Shelf.
Nick Heinrich a 4th grader from The Riverside School shakes the hand of a local veteran during a celebration on Veterans Day. Students from The Riverside School and Thaddeus Stevens School attended the ceremony and their presence was noted and appreciated by the attendees
Soccer has been a long-standing tradition at The Riverside School. The 5-6th grade team coach, Jamie Yerkes, played when he attended Riverside in middle school and his passion for the game has continued on with his son, Gus, who played on the 5-6th grade team. The team ended their season undefeated with two ties.
Jamie commented, "It was a thrill to see how quickly these kids started to play together as a team. A lot of them started the season with little to no soccer experience but they picked up on team spirit almost immediately. That is why they were so successful. They will all be playing together for 2-3 more seasons of Riverside soccer, building on these team skills. I’m very excited to see how they develop over the next few years."
Joel Gilbert, the 7-8th grade team coach, stated that that team was well balanced with both a strong defense and an offense making many generous passes. The students also had well distributed skill levels with many players scoring their first goals. Their final standings were 7-1.
During his five years of coaching, Mr. Gilbert has always encouraged every student to play for the team and worked to give roughly equal playing time for all. This hasn’t always made the team as competitive but has nurtured team camaraderie and sportsmanship which are far more important than winning the games.
The Riverside School’s soccer program is a leadership opportunity for students, a place to have fun exercising and developing skills, and most importantly a venue to grow their sense of community.