Irene Documentary Premiere

On Monday, March 12, 2012, the Harwood Union Middle School, eighth-grade class held the long-awaited premiere of their Irene Documentaries at Big Picture Theater. The eighth-grade students, under the guidance of teachers Sarah Ibson and Jacki McCarty, worked since August to put together five short films documenting community experiences during and after the flooding caused by Tropical Storm Irene. The series of five short films captures and preserves the stories of people who lived through the “Wrath of Irene” and subsequent cleanup.

After the viewing of the films at the premiere, integral participants in the project were recognized and presented with framed prints of the Irene Documentary Premiere posters, created by eighth- grade student Anna Van Dine. Anna was one of those recognized, along with classmate David Howes for his work on editing the films. Greg Sharrow and Aylie Baker of the Vermont Folklife Center were also recognized for their work on the project, as well as Lisa Loomis and The Valley Reporter, MRVTV-Channel 44, and Claudia Becker and Big Picture Theater (for donating the space for the premiere). Nearly 100 people were in attendance at the event, showing their support for HUMS students and their work. The documentaries will continue to air on MRVTV-Channel 44, and copies will be given to the Waitsfield and Moretown historical societies and the Vermont Folk Life Center in Middlebury for their archives.

HUMS student-run Student Council assembly

On Friday, February 17, the HUMS Student Council conducted their first student-run assembly of the year. After welcoming students to the assembly with an air of unbridled excitement, the students proceeded to entertain the crowd with music, games and lots of laughs. Seventh-grader Michaela Magee wowed the audience with a beautiful rendition of the Adele song “Turning Tables.” Beloved para-educator Joanne Virkler represented the faculty in a riveting round of Jeopardy against the students in categories ranging from teacher trivia to current events and trends. Another highlight of the assembly was the Advisory “Minute to Win It” Challenge, where each advisory group sent a representative to compete on their behalf. Cup pyramid stacking and rubber band shooting were equally hilarious events on the Harwood auditorium stage. The HUMS Student Council is run by Nancy Spencer and Sarah Ibson. Members include Caleb Hoyne, Meridith Martin, Lucas Williams, Connor Delaney, Anna Van Dine, Sophy Furlong, Curtis Wilcox, Nina Sklar, Eva Kendrick, Catherine Anne Barker and Jascha Herlihy. The group is currently planning a second (much anticipated) student-run assembly on March 29.

HUMS Celebration of Learning

Since 2005, HUMS has held its annual Academic Fair: a celebration of academic work, mental sweat, creative interpretations and sound analysis. This year, the Academic Fair has been reformatted and expanded to include all disciplines represented at Harwood, including performing arts. We have also renamed the event, now called the Celebration of Learning which is more representative of the new format and the diversity of the evening planned. Community members and parents are invited to come see this showcase of student work and performance on Thursday, April 5. In addition to the student displays and performances, the annual seventh-grade Oratorical champions will perform their writing, and eighth-graders will perform poetry recitations.

Annual seventh-grade Oratorical project

On the surface, the Oratorical is a public-speaking contest but with a co-curricular approach.

For many years now, the seventh-grade teaching team teaches the SIM Paragraph Writing Strategy over the course of the school year. This strategy is being used in all core subjects and especially for the Oratorical stories. The team has worked together to implement a project that utilizes the SIM strategy, combines research and rhetoric and provides the opportunity for the personal and academic growth of students.

Every student will deliver his or her speech in English class. Based on input from students and teachers, about 10 or 12 of the favorite speakers will be invited to participate in the speech contest which will include a panel of 'celebrity judges' from around campus. The participants will give their Oratoricals prior to the Celebration of Learning, and the top three will be invited to present their speeches on the evening of that event, ultimately to celebrate the work of all the students during the unit.

Upcoming eighth-grade poetry recitations

On Friday, March 23, performing artist and instructor Morgan Irons will conduct the first of two workshops on poetry memorization and recitation with Harwood eighth-graders. Irons has been involved with Poetry Out Loud, a national poetry recitation competition, and the Vermont Arts Council. Students will choose a poem to memorize and will use techniques shared in the workshop to commit the poem to memory. Once the poem is memorized, work on the recitations will begin which will culminate in a second workshop (more of a coaching session) on April 4. Poems will be recited at the HUMS Celebration of Learning on April 5.