Anjeli Reddy ’23 has won the 26th annual Max Warburg Courage Essay Competition with an essay about standing up for her identity, Lower School (LS) Language Arts Teacher Leila Huff said.
Each year, students at the LS and a handful of other local schools write page-long essays addressing the topic of “Courage in My Life.” This essay concludes the LS sixth graders’ time following the Max Warburg Courage Curriculum, a year-long language arts program that aims to teach students how to recognize and appreciate examples of courage in literature and in their own lives, according to its website. A group of authors, journalists, and educators from the Greater Boston Area then select a winning essay from each participating school.
Anjeli chose to write about how she learned to stand up for herself when some of her LS kindergarten classmates teased her for eating Indian food at lunch. She said that despite original doubts, upon speaking to her mother, Anjeli realized that she did not have to change for the others. After revisiting her experience through the Max Warburg Courage Curriculum, she concluded in her essay that “courage is defending yourself.”
Anjeli’s work will be published in a collection of fellow Courage Essay winners, and she will receive a medal at a celebratory luncheon with Boston Mayor Marty Walsh held at the Fairmont Copley Plaza in May.
Bestselling author of the A Tale Dark and Grimm trilogy Adam Gidwitz visited the Middle School (MS) on April 7 to discuss his latest book and to challenge students to analyze their favorite books’ plots and characters closely.
After reading excerpts from The Inquisitor’s Tale—a fictional story about three children journeying across 13th century France to save holy books—Mr. Gidwitz encouraged MS students to note the similarities between a few well-known books, suggesting that many of their plots are influenced by those of other popular stories. Mr. Gidwitz said that even characters in The Inquisitor’s Tale are not “entirely original,” as they are largely based on characters from medieval stories like The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer.
As an example, Gidwitz gave general plot summaries of the Harry Potter and Star Wars series without revealing which summary belonged to which story. None of the students could tell the difference, Ali Roche ’22 said.
“Adam Gidwitz was very entertaining and interactive,” she said, praising his use of audience participation and his comments about his unique writing process. “His presentation was very interesting.”
This fall, a representative of Porter Square Books emailed MS Librarian Beth Brooks about the shop’s partnership with Mr. Gidwiz to advertise The Inquisitor’s Tale at local schools. Because many MS students had read and enjoyed his work, the library decided to invite Mr. Gidwitz to speak. In preparation for his visit, Ms. Brooks selected The Inquisitor’s Tale as the recommended reading book for the annual MS Read-a-Thon, a two-week event during which students tally the number of hours they spend reading.
After three months of fundraising, seventh grader Sanya Goenka ’22 donated $4,625 to the American India Foundation (AIF), surpassing her $4000 goal and providing for the education of an estimated 85 Indian children.
Sanya said she was first inspired to support the AIF’s Learning and Migration Program (LAMP)—which aims to bring shelter and education to displaced Indian children—when she witnessed the effects of youth homelessness and poverty firsthand during an annual family vacation in the country. Sanya explained that in India, many parents move to work sites in search of jobs, and in the meantime, their children often have no shelter and must beg for money in the streets. The “Light a LAMP” campaign gives underprivileged Indian children the opportunity to “break out of the cycle of poverty,” Sanya said.
“I feel that every child has the right to a good education,” she added. “I am very blessed to go to a great school, and I want to help those who are less fortunate than I am. That is what inspired me to start raising funds for LAMP.”
As one of the nonprofit’s Youth Ambassadors, Sanya has been raising money for Light a LAMP through annual online fundraisers on AIF’s website since she was 10. Last year she collected $3225. Sanya also writes about her trips to India on AIF’s blog.