The 8th grade at the Philadelphia Museum of Art 
The 8th grade had an incredible overnight trip to Philadelphia last week, visiting The Independence Seaport Museum, the Liberty Bell, The Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Edgar Allen Poe Historic Site, Readding Terminal Market, and The Franklin Institute! The trip was the perfect mix of education and fun.

The Philadelphia trip is just one of the things that makes 8th grade at High Meadow a special year. 8th grade is designed to challenge students to self-reflect on all the experiences and skills they have accrued, and explore multiple ways of communicating these thoughts – through artistic and linguistic expression. Students bond and build memories and confidence during the overnight trip to Philadelphia, in addition to other 8th-grade-focused trips and opportunities for student-driven expression and collaboration.

The 8th grade play is an iconic musical with advanced sets and costumes. This year the play was “Guys & Dolls”, and both performances in January played to packed audiences.

 The curtain call for Guys & Dolls
Another special part of the 8th grade experience is their end of year dance performance.  Together the class works with the dance teacher to decide what they want to do for this final full class creative collaboration. Don’t miss the performance on May 19 to see what they have come up with for this year!

The 8th grade Art Seminar is also a seminal experience. The students develop a piece or a small body of work that focuses on a concept they choose. They build self-confidence while gaining skills and developing patience with their process. Whether they identify as an “artist” or not, each student has the experience of learning to express their truth through the creative process.

As students prepare to leave High Meadow after 8th grade, each of them spends their last 6-8 weeks developing a culminating essay titled “This I Believe”. Sometimes these essays are hilarious and witty, other times they are heartbreaking and raw, but they are always impressively-expressed windows into each student’s developing mind and belief system. The process they go through to create the essays – brainstorming, creating drafts, revising, peer editing – not only hones their writing skills, but helps them step back and really examine how they think and feel about their place in the grander scheme of things. each student presents these at the graduation dinner, surrounded by their peers and family members.
“My favorite part of 8th grade was Halls of Terror. I mean, what other school would trust us to make our own haunted house. It was awesome.”
– Coco
Rachel Van Carpels, 7th/8th Humanities & Drama teacher, writes, “One of the key reasons I feel so lucky to be at High Meadow is the element of community that is present in all we do. The students understand from very early on that they have a responsibility to care for their peers, respect their environment, and be their best selves in all endeavors. The stereotype of adolescence is egotism and exclusion, but I have seen first hand that tween and teens who come through the grades and HMS and remain here, among the same people who supported them as they grew into young adults, maintain a high degree of compassion, magnanimity, and humility. They still look at a 1st grader as a playmate and an adult as a partner in conversation. They still play tag at recess, but can hold a conversation about political upheaval overseas. This is the balance our society needs, and it is encapsulated in our 8th grade.”

High Meadow loves our 8th graders!

Franklin Square Park, Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival