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Meet Madison, '19

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Madison is an 8th grader at Burgundy, and we interviewed her as part of new series of social media and blog posts on current Middle Schoolers.

When asked about a project or lesson she'd particularly enjoyed or found interesting, she told us about a project from her Humanities class this year: "We first learned about sugarcane's history by reading "Sugar Changed the World" by Marc Aronson and Marina Budhos. Then, we each created a memorial of an aspect of sugarcane’s history. My sugar memorial, Sugar-Coated Deaths, represented that while the wealthy people in Europe were having lavish parties, the slaves in the sugar islands suffered hardships.

The scene I depicted in the memorial was of wealthy white men in the 1500s having a feast. They were going to be eating fruits from around the world, wine, cheese, and a sugar sculpture, called a sugar subtlety. Sugar was very expensive back then, and only kings and lords could afford it. I built the wealthy men's chairs from white sugar cubes to show that white sugar was what supported their lives and was their main source of income. The floor of the room and the sugar subtlety was where I highlighted the hardships of sugar. I coated the floor with molasses to signify the dirty and “impure” side of sugar, then covered it with white sugar to show that in places like Europe, where people consumed sugar daily, they didn’t see or know that slaves were being tortured just so they could have one spoonful of sugar for their tea. The bitter molasses is hidden behind the sweet veil of white sugar. I did something similar with the sugar subtlety. The sculpture was shaped like a person and coated with molasses, which is 'impure.' It was a dead sugar slave. I made it a slave because sugar had eaten the slaves' lives, and the white people were going to eat the sugar.

Slaves were tarred and whipped, shackled and raped. Just about any form of torture you can imagine was done to them. Coating the slave in molasses, which is the same thing that is on the floor, represents that the slave is worth as much as or less than the floor. I put a layer of white sugar on the slave to again represent people’s ignorance of the dark side of the sugar industry. There were no benefits to being a slave, but there were multitudes of money to be made by being a slave master."

Madison says this of her first day at Burgundy: "When my older sister started going to school at Burgundy for the first time, I knew instantly that this is where I wanted to spend 10 years of my life. Every day after preschool my nanny would drive me over to Burgundy to pick up my sister. She always had a smile on her face, and it made me want to go there even more. I would always ask my parents when I would be able to go, and they always said 'next year.' 

When the time finally came for my first day at Burgundy, I was ecstatic. I grabbed my lunch and my new pink L.L.Bean backpack, and I practically leaped out of the car onto Burgundy's campus. When I got to my Junior Kindergarten classroom, Kamilah and Carrie welcomed me. I started playing with the other kids, and they were all friendly. We played with the wooden blocks, mostly. We built all sorts of cities and castles. When it came time for lunch, we all sat down at the tables and ate together. Our class was pretty small, so we could all talk to each other. During naptime, no one slept, but we waited patiently for playtime. When it finally arrived, we all jumped off of the sleeping mats and dashed outside. We played on the monkey bars and swings. It was so fun! When it came time to go home, we all left with smiles on our faces. We ran to carpool and got in our cars quickly to tell our parents about the day's delightful events."

Madison, we are so proud of you and are grateful you are a member of this Burgundy family!