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Celebrating the Ways We Build Up Our Kids

Saturday, March 23, 2019

It was great to see many of you at the Arts Festival the week before spring break! Having an arts festival each year that includes visual art from each student is one of the special hallmarks of Burgundy. I love when a proud young artist shows me her work! As well, we all enjoy the musical and dance or theatrical performances each year. Special thanks to all of our visual and performing arts teachers: Connie, Annie, Mary I, Taylor, Emily, Roberta, Mitch, Ryan, Andreas, Mary A.

The week before break we also saw both our boys and girls varsity basketball teams competing valiantly in our league play-offs. Although the girls lost in the semi-finals and the boys came up short in the finals at Bishop Ireton, each team raised its individual and team levels of play to new highs, while dealing with some adversity. Thanks and congratulations to coaches Bethany, EJ, and Matt (along with jv coaches Prince, Andy Akotia, and Jon Ustun)!

Finally, March 16, the Saturday we went into break, our 4th and 5th grade Destination Imagination teams  each won in their divisions in the regional tournament. The students worked so well together as they moved through all obstacles and both teams became best in their classification! They will move on to the state tournament on April 6! Not familiar with Destination Imagination? DI is a global educational nonprofit dedicated to inspiring the next generation of innovators, leaders, and creative problem solvers. The organization engages its participants in project-based challenges that are designed to build confidence and develop extraordinary creativity, critical thinking, communication, and teamwork skills. Big thanks and congrats to the students and the coaches! (See the photo and caption below!)

(Congratulations to both of our Destination Imagination teams for winning best in class! “Mustangs with Glasses” Coaches: Mary Quillian Helms/Deedra Everett. Students: Noah Spicer, Amelie Lutz, Annabel Helms, Sean Robinson, Layla Hill, Sasha Albarelli. “Candy Crushers” Coaches: Dori Gonzalez-Acevedo/Andrea McNicholas. Students: Hayden Wagner, Jonah Wagner, Sadie White, Alessandra Gonzalez-Acevedo, Kate McNicholas)

What is the meaning of these experiences and these successes? Exposure to all of the arts at any depth as a normal feature of elementary and middle school sadly has become more rare than typical; very few schools teach both choral and instrumental music or have art that includes clay, for example. But there’s little doubt of the benefits of exercising the different areas of the brain activated in art: in learning and understanding history and culture; in the making of sense and meaning of our experiences; and in personal expression and confidence.

Many of our students will continue to participate in the arts in high school and beyond. A few will find careers in the arts. But many more will find their future academic work and their professional work in significant ways informed by, intersecting with, or embellished by the arts, whether sketching, painting, clay work, photography, junk art or other ‘making’ or STEAM work.

Burgundy also provides an opportunity for nearly any student who wishes to try playing a sport. For a good number of our athletes middle school will be the first, last or only time they participate in team sports. Learning to work together, unselfishly, understanding and accepting a role in a bigger team effort, increasing one’s fitness and ‘personal bests,’ accomplishing more than you maybe thought you could, learning to manage failure and how to play to your strengths — each of these are lessons learned in sports. At Burgundy so many students can experience the thrill of athletic competition!

As we come off of spring break and into a final chunk of the school year, we’re gearing up for many more highlights: spring Cove trips, the 8th grade musical, spring sports, and lots of interesting and exciting learning for the mind, body, and spirit!