"There is always room for a story," once wrote J.K. Rowling, "that can transport people to another place." This was just one of several thoughts on the power of storytelling that were voiced in Upper School Chapel on Tuesday morning. Alongside this appreciation for the weaving of tales, at Chaplain Jenny Cleveland's invitation students as well as employees brought stuffed animal friends to share with the community. As Chaplain Jenny put it, this was in celebration of "all creatures, be they stuffed or not, who always embrace all of who we are."
For the Open Mic portion of the Chapel, those gathered were invited to come up to the front, introduce their beloved stuffed friends, and then read part of a favorite childhood bedtime story. Stuffies in attendance included a monkey hanging around with Oren P., a giraffe who resides with the family of Upper School educator Cameron Jack, and a pair of furry friends belonging to OES employees Debby and Robin Schauffler (the two stuffies have been friends for 60 years, and only see each other once a year at this chapel).
Shared stories ranged from Sophocles, the Hyena to a complex original creation of math and physics written by Chandler W. '17. And as is tradition, Interim Head of School Corbet Clark closed out the proceedings by reading from Winnie the Pooh. Enjoy the full Chapel photo gallery here!
(Photo Credit: Head Chaplain Phillip Craig)
On Monday and Tuesday evenings this week, the Middle School Commons was transformed from a calm gathering space into a classic setting of the clash of the titans. Two teams competed against each other each night for the lively and entertaining seventh grade improv showdowns.
Hosted by OES Performing Arts educator Mr. Gomes, the Improv Nights gave students a chance to showcase their acting abilities for family and friends. "What is improv all about?" asked Mr. Gomes of the actors as they prepared to perform. "Always saying yes and being open to ideas!" was the enthusiastically exclaimed response.
Both evening performances followed this format: two teams of 7-8 students each took turns performing the same exercise, including "Slideshow" (pictured above). This improv game involves two students narrating an imaginary slideshow, while the other actors roam around and twist themselves into the weirdest positions possible. Then the narrators say "Click!" and everyone freezes--with hilarious results. Even parents in the audience got in on the action!
A panel of three judges (including OES Middle School Math educator Mr. Chang) then gave each group scores that amounted to utter nonsense, such as "My cat would have loved it," "110%," and a drawing of a bear. Which is fitting, because when it comes to thinking on your feet and making people laugh, everybody wins.
On Tuesday night, the OES Boys' Varsity Basketball team triumphed over Catlin Gabel by a score of 47-37. This victory secured the team a spot in tomorrow night's District Championship game! We caught up with Alex O. '17, one of the team captains, (pictured above with Emerson L. '17 and Alex S. '19) to get the scoop on Tuesday's game as well as the upcoming head-to-head with De La Salle North.
OES won by 10 points on Tuesday night. Was the game ever close?
The game was definitely very tight in the start and we didn't have a comfortable lead until later in the second half. Their best player, Jacob, came out and really set the tone with a deep three [pointer] and they played tough defense. Our shots weren't falling but we ground it out in the end with our defense.
Were there any pivotal moments that really sealed the win?
The pivotal moment in the game was when we went on a run offensively in the second half and started getting some better shots. We were living by the three-pointer at first.
You're a senior captain this year and have had a great season. How does it feel to be close to the end of your OES basketball career?
I'm definitely thinking about the fact that I have no more than four or five games left, so I just try to go out and play as hard as I can to help our team win. It would be awful to get this far and not leave everything on the court these last few games.
On Saturday night the 'Varks go up against De La Salle North. How is the team feeling about the game? What do you think are the keys to winning the matchup?
We're facing off against the best regular season team in our league--we split our two meetings this season so it's going to be a tough game. They always play with a ton of heart and intensity, and have a really tough press.
We're going to need to handle that pressure in the backcourt and can't give them easy turnovers. If we can get into our offense and slow the game down then that plays to our advantage.
Tip-off for the championship game is at 8 p.m. tomorrow, Feb. 18 at Scappoose High School; Admission is $6 for adults and $3 for students. Go 'Varks!
It's easy to think that you have to spend a lot of money on good theater in Portland. But as OES Performing Arts students--and most recently, Ms. Akehurst's fifth grade class--have shown time and again, you don't always need a night out on the town to see a great show.
As a continuation of studies that came to life during fifth grade Immigration Day, Ms. Akehurst's class decided to share their personal family histories through a play. Shadow puppets, sound effects, and voice recordings were just a few of the mediums the students used to create the production. As Maverick M. '24 shared in the program description:
"Woven Tales is about immigrants coming to America. Everyone's story is different. Some came to the new country because of a natural disaster that was happening in their old country; some came because of a war; some fled as refugees; and some immigrated for a better life. Our stories are inspired by our family histories, and our research.
The play is about people sharing their stories. There is this monster of anger, fear, and hate that they have to overcome. This monster makes you sad and weak, and it makes you remember the worst moments of your life. The immigrants fight the monster by thinking of happy memories, and remembering the hope in their stories. Together they manage to overpower the monster."
These students performed the play three times, twice for their peers and once for parents. Congratulations, tale weavers!
On Tuesday morning the Chapel played host to a very special collection of experiences--all intended to call attention to the perseverance of women and girls both in the United States and around the world.
- A skit that the students wrote and then performed for their peers, which told the tale of a girl who fought to go to school in defiance of Taliban law. As one of the fifth graders who played a schoolboy recited after he and his fellow male learners defended their new female classmate, "I can take what's wrong and make it right."
"Isn't that what voices were designed for, to work for justice and peace?" asked the girl who dared to go to school.
"Yes they were!" resoundingly responded the other actors.
- A story Ms. Busick told about her great-grandmother Anne Dallas Dudley, a woman in the South who fought for women's voting rights. As Ms. Busick shared, "About 101 years ago, she and her family led a march of 2,000 men and women, and then spoke to a crowd about women deserving the right to vote. Her efforts caused Tennessee to be the 36th state to ratify the 19th Amendment to the Constitution so women could have the vote in the United States.
- A special speech by Upper Schooler Nahida M. '18, who shared her experiences of what it was like to grow up in Afghanistan as a girl.
As with the other Sacred Spaces trips, our students were able to learn about the tenets of the Muslim faith. What made the trip extra special, though, according to OES educators Becky Tooley and Toni Holmberg, was that the sixth graders had the opportunity to "interact one-on-one with Muslim students and hear first-hand about how the current national discourse feels to them. This was the best trip we've ever taken."
Many thanks to the MET, Ms. Holmberg, Ms. Tooley, and of course our sixth graders for making this positive and rewarding experience come to life!
Photo credit of patchwork quilt with Arabic words and phrases: Malia Wilkins, OES Educator
"I found," once reflected Georgia O'Keefe, "I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn't say any other way." In this spirit, recently the news broke that many of our talented Aardvark artists have secured honors through the nationwide Scholastic Art & Writing Awards.
The purpose of these awards, presented by the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, is to recognize "the vision, ingenuity, and talent of our nation's youth, and provide opportunities for creative teens to be celebrated."
Ziggy B. '21, for Patron of Shading
Raley S. '18, for Toro Valiente
Noah W. '20, for 21 Gun Salute and Asleep in Miami
Harry Z. '17 for The Kindly Ones
Erin B. '19, for Overtaken
Sabrina B. '21, for Is This the Right Choice?
Ziggy B. '21, for Deep Blue See and Wild in the Winter
Annie C. '18, for Sway in Loneliness
Ella C. '18, for Feelings of Freedom
Emily F. '19, for Silhouette Against a Falling Sun and Attack
Umbre K. '21 for Equality
Tara M. '19, for Self-Portrait
Sarah S. '19, for Esceletor
Cheney S. '19, for City Construction
Noah W. '20, for The Simple Things
Madi W. '18, for Lady Serpent
Kylie W. '18, for Cats
Annie C. '18, for Desolation, Moon in Desert, and Big Book and Small Girl
Ella C. '18, for Star Maker
Emily F. '19, for Story of Scars and Peep the Fly
Florence G. '18, for Choya
Audrey M. '19, for Jim and Pam, The Office
Quattro M. '18, for Self-Portrait
Sarah S. '19, for Two Perspectives
Noah W. '20, for Heart of the Town and Endless Vision
Rebecca W. '19, for Tilikum and Dead Ice
Madi W. '18, for CaCaw
(Photo Credits: Sue Jensen [top] and Cameron Jack [bottom])