A Message from the Division Head

by Ann Sulzer

We had the honor of hosting Jamie Ford on Monday, author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet. Our seventh graders read this book in their English classes, so it was a particularly relevent experience for our students. Not only did Ford speak to the entire Middle School in Chapel, but also seventh graders worked with him in their classes, and students were invited to eat lunch with him as well. He had some amazing messages for our Middle School students:

  • Ford talked about how he never thought his writing would “be someone else’s homework.” He shared some hilarious anecdotes about emails he receives from students asking for his help on their English homework when they are reading his book.

  • As a Chinese-American, he told the students that he wrote this book partly “to explore my identity” and because “I wanted to sing my own song and tell my own story.” Ford shared his father’s experience of growing up in the Pacific Northwest during the Japanese internment and how that shaped his story.

  • Ford talked about the importance of practicing writing, not in a formal way necessarily, but just to get words down on paper because “there are no wasted words, and like with music practice, it only makes you better.”

Finally, he also spoke about the experience of feeling like he didn’t fit in during middle and high school and “like long division, I was the lonely remainder.” My favorite message that Ford shared with all the students was when he said, “All the things that I thought were my weaknesses in Middle School became my superpowers as an adult and as a writer. As you get older, you will find the support you need in the world.” In those two lines, Jamie Ford summarized all that we want for all of our kids: they find their strengths, their tribe of friends and supporters, and they find their way in the world with confidence. What a gift to know that there are authors who are speaking directly to our kids in both their writing and their understanding of life as a middle schooler.

A few reminders/updates:

There is a Middle School Skating party next Friday morning, December 21. Kids come to school at the regular time with warm clothing and we will take care of the skating and transportation.

Please get these trip dates on your calendar that are new and different from what was previously posted on the calendar:

  • 6th grade spring trip to the Olympic National Park: Monday through Friday, April 22–26, 2019. This trip information was also communicated in an email several weeks ago, and more information will be available in the coming months.
  • 7th grade spring trip to Ashland, Oregon: Tuesday through Thursday, May 28–20, 2019. Note: This trip was previously posted as June 10–12 and more information to come in the coming months.