Loomis Chaffee has launched a new section of its website featuring 24 student reflections and personal expressions in a variety of media from the All-School Read and Write Project of summer 2020.
Connect to the All-School Read and Write Project website page.
The All-School Read and Write Project challenged school community members over the summer break to examine how the turmoil of the pandemic and the domestic racial and social unrest of the spring and summer touched people’s lives and related to their own personal experiences and perspectives.
As the 2019–20 school year came to an end in May, people and nations around the world were grappling with the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, communities across the United States were reeling from divisive political rhetoric in advance of the presidential election and from civil unrest and protests sparked by decades of persistent racial and social injustices.
Kate Saxton, Loomis' director of writing initiatives and Dean of Diversity Equity & Inclusion Elizabeth Parada encouraged community members to process and communicate their thoughts and feelings about these events through the All-School Read and Write assignment. In their description of the project to students, they said they hoped it would help them "share what has been unique about your individual experience and to connect with others over what is universal about living through these historic months. What can your voice add to the conversation? Where does your personal story intersect with the story of our times?”
Students expressed themselves and their reflections in many creative forms: letters, personal essays, poetry, interviews, songs, and artwork. In September, students shared their reflections in advisory groups led by faculty members, who also took part in the assignment.
Students were invited to submit their summer explorations for publication on the Loomis Chaffee website and in other school media, and a committee of faculty members from Writing Initiatives, the Norton Family Center for the Common Good, the Alvord Center for Global & Environmental Studies, and the Katharine Brush Library, selected 24 pieces from nearly 70 submissions.
According to Kate, the project exceeded its original objective and has served the school community as an avenue for learning, an inspiration for creative expression, and a way to solidify and maintain school community bonds at a time when it is vital to do so. In addition, student explorations from the All-School Read and Write added context to dialogues and other cross-discipline projects, lessons, and activities on campus this fall, such as compositions for the Fall Dance Showcase.
Connect to the Katharine Brush Library webpage for more about Loomis' Summer Reading Program.