Among the powerful changes that Middle School girls undergo is the discovery that they are individuals, separate from their social groups and driven by personal interests to make an impact on their community. This discovery comes well after girls who have been confident self-advocates in Primary enter Middle School. Carol Gilligan’s pivotal findings, published in Meeting at the Crossroads, identified the loss of voice as a phenomenon that affects girls in early adolescence. Since the publication of Gilligan’s research, our faculty has worked to counter that trend. “Going underground” describes the process. Girls who spoke up against injustice in Primary lose confidence to voice concerns. Fear of what friends might think can shut down girls’ willingness to share their perspective.
Our special assembly on Wednesday offered an alternative. Girls in the Voices Matter Club demonstrated the power of individual stories. Several girls shared poetry and reflections they had written about experience and identity. Girls called out moments when they were stereotyped; they recognized the safety of one’s own room to share secrets; they claimed and celebrated what makes them unique. Follow up activities in advisory groups encouraged girls to think about their own stories.
The challenge of Middle School is the search for ways to be one’s authentic self, to have the courage to be. The times that feel hardest are those when young adolescents don’t yet have the self-confidence to act independently. We work to encourage them to step out of the group, to speak their minds. Even when they are part of an ensemble like the Seventh Grade actors who performed at Wednesday’s assembly following the Middle School Rock Band’s incredible jams, girls’ individual voices ring out.
Choosing to take a unique academic path is another way Middle School students find their voices. Enrolling in an elective in Seventh or Eighth Grade based on personal interest can inspire girls to explore new fields of study. Adding Latin in Seventh Grade or maintaining a well-paced path through math also helps a girl figure out who she is as a learner. In the fall, girls will be able to choose clubs that spark an interest in an activity of her own, whether that is Green and White Team Captains, Student Government, Doodling, Robotics, or Power of the Pen. As we work through the scheduling process, we look forward to seeing girls’ choices shape their days. Imagining new discoveries through clubs, electives, and additional academic courses inspires our hopes and dreams for their adventures in the upcoming year.
In the meantime, we are looking forward to the end of year culminating units: the production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Sixth Grade and the Archaeological Dig in Seventh Grade. Fifth Graders are looking forward to a special end of year field trip and the Eighth Grade is anticipating Promotion and the CCIS Promotion Dance at University School. We will end the year with Last Chapel on the final day of school. This is a treasured experience, providing valued closure to the year. Girls wear their formal uniforms, sing a final song together, and delight in slideshows sparking memories of their year. While the weather doesn’t yet predict sunny summer days ahead, our calendar shows that we have just a few weeks more of school. We look forward to the many events that celebrate the end of the year.
Director of Primary and Middle Schools
Associate Director of Middle School
Laurel's Yui Ishihara '18 was one of ten local high school students chosen to attend the STEM Club Leadership Training Summer Camp, hosted by The University of Akron College of Engineering. Yui shares an interest in science, technology, engineering and math and is a member of Laurel's VEX Robotics Team.Every participant in the STEM Camp was awarded $500 to support their school's club activities and development, along with continuous support through the academic year offered by the Ohio STEM Learning Network – Akron Hub and All-Akron Student Engineering Program. Congratulations, Yui!
The Chagrin Valley Times article "Inaugural events gives people music and Laurel girls a voice," showcased how Laurel girls were integrated in the entire LaureLive experience. Laurel Head of School Ann V. Klotz explains “The whole motivation for the concert is to link Laurel’s own mission to fulfill her promise to better the world and a lot of that has to do with empowering girls and giving them a sense of agency.”
The front page story of the CVT, "Music lovers rave about LaureLive fest," gave an in-depth review of the weekend's festivities. "The inaugural event was held this past weekend with more than 6,000 attendees." You can read the rest of this article via the link above.
A recent article featured in the Cleveland Jewish News reported that Laurel School's Shira Laserson '18 was introduced as the incoming Cleveland NCSY chapter president for 2016-17. Katie Dinner '17 was amongst other Clevelanders named to the Central East NCSY Regional Board during the final NCSY Shabbaton of the year May 27-29 that was held at the Ann Arbor Marriott in Ypsilanti, MI.
More than 250 people attended the celebration, which included the awards of more than $25,000 in scholarships to attend gap-year and summer programs in Israel in June. Katie and Shira were awarded scholarships for Torah Growth and Meritorious Service, along with Alyssa Fixler '18 and Rachel Karns '18. Sapir Flank '16 received the Kesser Torah Award for Torah Achievement. Congratulations to all of the girls on your awards and the exciting appointments for the upcoming year!
Laurel Eighth Grader Kimya Taheri was chosen as one of twelve winners in the Young Entrepreneur Institute's "Selling Bee!" Twenty Finalists were chosen from the initial entries in both the K-4th and 5th-8th categories. One popular vote winner was chosen in each category and five other winners were named from a panel of judges!
Kimya's business is called "VideoEditorz," which specializes in making slideshows and editing videos at an incredible price. You can learn more about her business and view her sales pitch here. Congratulations, Kimya!
Congratulations to Elizabeth Murphy '18 and India Cora '17 for being named to the 2016 All-District teams by the Ohio Schoolgirls Lacrosse Coaches Association (OSLCA).
The players were nominated by their high school coaches and then voted on by other coaches in the area. Elizabeth was awarded 2nd team and India was awarded Honorable Mention. Great job, Gators!
Laurel’s Serena Shapard '16 has been named a National Merit Winner!
The National Merit® Scholarship Program is an academic competition for recognition and scholarships that began in 1955. High school students enter the National Merit Program by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®)–a test which serves as an initial screen of approximately 1.5 million entrants each year–and by meeting published program entry/participation requirements.
Merit Scholar designees are selected on the basis of their skills, accomplishments, and potential for success in rigorous college studies, without regard to gender, race, ethnic origin, or religious preference.
Eighteen girls from Laurel's Model United Nations Club attended the OSUMUN Conference at The Ohio State University in April and brought home several winners! OSUMUN has proven to be one of the most enjoyable and rewarding Model United Nations conferences for delegates across Ohio. Below is a full list of Laurel winners from the conference. We are so proud of all the Model UN girls who did an outstanding job representing Laurel!
Elizabeth LaPlante '18, Outstanding Delegate for the European Union Plenary Session on the Migrant Crisis representing Milan Zver
Catherine McCarthy '18, Honorable Delegate for the Republican National Convention representing Michigan
Katelyn Vlastaris '16, Best Delegate for the European Union Plenary Session on the Migrant Crisis representing Herbert Reul
Caroline Werner '16, Honorable Delegate for the Convention for a Democratic South Africa representing Jay Naidoo from the Congress of South African Trade Unions
- MonAug01 US Fall Sports Begin Provided by team coaches
- MonAug01 US Fall Sports Parent Meeting 6:30 PMLyman
- FriAug05 Summer at Laurel Ends
- MonAug15 Faculty Returns
- MonAug15 Green Key Training 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM
- TueAug16 Green Key Training 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM
- SatAug20 LSPA Used School & PE Uniform Sale 8:00 AM to 11:00 AMLyman, Alumnae Room
- MonAug22 Dream Week
- MonAug22 LSPA Executive Board, Committee Chair & Room Parent Orientation Breakfast 8:30 AM to 10:00 AMLyman, Dining Room
- MonAug22 Grade 9 Student Orientation 9:00 AM to 10:30 PMLyman
- MonAug22 All New US Students (9-12) Orientation & Library/Tech Training 10:30 AM to 3:00 PMLyman
- MonAug22 Primary Grades 1-4 Parent Drop-In, Kindergarten by appointment 12:00 PM to 2:00 PMLyman
- MonAug22 MS Advisor/Family Drop-In 1:00 PM to 2:45 PMLyman, Middle School
- MonAug22 All Grade 5 and New Grades 6, 7, 8 Family Orientation 3:00 PM to 4:30 PMLyman
- MonAug22 Optional Grade 6 Hiram House Family Meeting 5:00 PMLyman, N203