The Best SMUS Review Stories of 2011

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by Erin Anderson, editor

Since we’re embarking on a new year, we thought it was a good time to take a look back at the posts of the past year and choose a few favorites. My co-contributor Darin Steinkey (who started on the SMUS Review this September) and I each choose five stories that we liked (it was hard to narrow down — we had almost 200 stories). Below are some of the videos, photos and writing that stood out to us.

Erin’s Picks

Oliver! (March)
I was really thrilled to be able to have an alumnus review the Middle School musical and felt doubly blessed that the reviewer, Liz Humphries ’05, was an accomplished singer herself. The photos are also pretty stunning (taken by Mr. Leahy-Trill) which is another thing I look for in a top post.

Contemplating the Ivy League (September)
Many months back (four precisely) Zachary Santella wrote this hilarious, stylish and slightly sassy review of the Ivy League presentation. I managed to get a couple good photos, but Zachary really made the story.

Middle School Students Share We Day Experience (October)
We Day is a huge event and this was the first time we got a Middle School perspective on it. Students always come back from this youth convention really excited to do more and feeling lucky to have seen such impressive speakers (Mikhail Gorbachev and Mia Farrow were there in 2011).

Kindergarten Class Teaches Parents About Marine Life (May)
Our Junior School does a lot of cool things throughout the year, but my favorite events are the ones that include parents. There’s something really amazing about having a Kindergarten student telling his or her parents about Jacques Cousteau. Plus, the Kindergarten kids are a pretty photogenic bunch (especially when photographed by Mr. Gordon Chan).

Environmental Science Students Examine Waste (February)

This isn’t the flashiest of stories, but I love the details Kieran and Hannah included about how a landfill actually works. I am also pretty interested in the environment and waste, so maybe that’s part of why it appeals to me.

Darin’s Picks

It’s been really great to join the SMUS Review team and offer anything that I can to our weekly posts. Much of the time my job is to get out of the way and allow the students, teachers and staff the space to do what they do best. Looking back over 2011, I was surprised at the amount that happens at the school and proud that the SMUS Review was there to cover it. Here are my favourite stories from 2011.

Small Ensembles Perform Big Songs (December)
The concerts the music department mounts are incredible. There isn’t anything I can say to add to Danny Park’s writing or Erin’s video, images and audio features in this piece, except that I loved the Horace Silver song; I can’t believe high school students are playing it.

A Howl of a Good Time in Boarding (October)
SMUS boarding takes Halloween fun very seriously and I was quite surprised to discover how much time and people-power goes into our celebration. I got to work with Kent Leahy-Trill and the SMUS film club on the video, while getting a close-up look at Shane Archer’s annual fireworks display. This piece was also fun because I tapped new SMUS Review writers Thompson Wong, Gabe Lunn and Mat Geddes to talk about their experience of Howlapalooza and they offered a look behind the scenes of this uniquely SMUS event. This is worth a second look.

Insights From the Dominican Republic Trip (January)
Service trips amaze me. To give up a long, well-deserved break to go to a developing country and volunteer is something I have never done. Christina Chwyl wrote a wonderful overview of her time in the Dominican Republic in the Spring and, in light of Dr. Samantha Nutt‘s words about “volun-tourism” last month when she was here, it sounds like the group struck a balance between helping and learning. Great story.

Grads Say Farewell in Leavers’ Chapel (June)
Leavers’ Chapel is a great way for the graduating class to say farewell. The images and video in this piece are funny and thoughtful and are worth watching a few times.

Student-led Conferences (March)
It was the images that caught me in this story. Gordon Chan is able to catch spontaneity in his photography that I can only hope to emulate. I also like the fact that the Junior School employs so much of the latest brain research (see Heather Clayton’s Brain Series lectures) into their curriculum. The kids are having fun while solidifying the lessons they learn in class and involving their parents in their education.

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