Author Archives: polk@hamlin.org

Hamlin Harvest 2019

For many, many years, The Hamlin School has worked to support families experiencing homelessness in San Francisco through a profound partnership with Hamilton Families.

Hamilton Families’ mission is to end family homelessness in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Our largest event connected to Hamilton is our annual Harvest. This year numerous Hamlin students, parents, and faculty members prepared food for families currently experiencing homelessness. On Saturday (January 26), we made vegetable lasagnas, salads, garlic bread, and apple crisps. The following day a group of Hamlin Grade 8 students served the food at Hamilton Families. Altogether, Harvest provided nourishment for about 300 people.

The Saturday event took place between 8:30 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. and consisted of two work shifts. Between the shifts, Tomiquia Moss (Executive Director of Hamilton Families), Wanda M. Holland Greene (Head of The Hamlin School), and Sheena Tart-Zelvin (Hamlin’s Service Learning Coordinator), addressed the volunteers. Ms. Moss spoke about having a generosity of spirit: “Generosity is not just showing up and doing this event, it is who you are every day.”

Special thanks to Hamlin parents Daisy Downs and Rachel Euretig for helping to organize this wonderful event.

Middle School Performs Arabian Nights

Our Grade 7 & 8 Theater Elective class has worked hard on their production of Arabian Nights, a stage re-enactment of Scheherazade’s 1,001 nightly tales. Students watched the show on Thursday and parents can see it tonight, January 25 at 7 p.m..

Arabian Nights is the legend of the greatest storyteller in the ancient Arabic world, Scheherazade, who uses her tale-spinning talents to save her people from their angry Persian king. Betrayed by his wife, the broken-hearted King Shahryar decides to punish all the women in his kingdom. Armed with only her wit and her imagination, Scheherazade heroically steps in to enchant the king with stories for 1001 nights and to turn his hatred back into love.

Scheherazade’s stories are based on a collection of folk tales written during the Islamic Golden Age (between 700’s and 1300’s). These stories trace back to ancient and medieval Arabic, Persian, Indian, Egyptian, and Mesopotamian literature.

Grade 7 App Design Showcase

On Wednesday, the Grade 7 App Design Elective showed their final projects to The Hamlin School’s Technology Advisory Committee. The semester-long course started with identifying real-world problems and researching existing options for solving those problems. Students then came up with their own solutions keeping target users in mind. Girls created a digital prototype of their app using Balsamiq Mockups and then used code.org‘s App Lab to design and code their app. The presentations included a slideshow of the process as well as a live demonstration of the app.

The student-created apps were:

iStretch: This app encourages users to stretch throughout a busy day to improve health and wellness.

reminDING!: This app acts as personal assistant and helps people juggle day to day tasks.

PACKit: This app helps users pack the perfect clothes for trips anywhere in the world.

Carpool: This app helps families better coordinate getting kids to and from activities.

When asked about the app development process, students shared:

“I really liked doing the coding.”

“It was so much fun turning a drawing on paper into a functioning app.”

Hamlin’s New Food and Cooking Elective

This year, students participated in Hamlin’s new Food & Cooking elective. Girls learned all the basic skills required to cook delicious, homemade meals. They developed their own recipes and learned about various food topics, from seasonal produce and whole grains to the cultural histories and identities behind favorite dishes.

As the class wrapped up, the Grade 8 Food & Cooking elective invited the whole 8th grade to come taste what they made.

Below was the menu:

Soy glazed turkey meatballs with scallions and parsley
Tofu and pork dumplings with cabbage and carrots
Bean & Cheese burritos with homemade churros
Homemade pigs in a blanket and mac and cheese
Grilled teriyaki chicken skewers with veggie fried rice

Ten Grade 7 girls will be taking this elective in February.

Special thanks to Wanda M. Holland Greene who generously shared her kitchen with our students.

Ali Meneghetti ’11 Gives Back to Hamlin Theater

Ali Meneghetti graduated from Hamlin in 2011, but has continued to be involved in several Hamlin theater productions throughout her high school and college years. Now a senior at Smith College, we had the opportunity to catch up with Ms. Meneghetti as she was working on props for the upcoming production of Arabian Nights.

What did you love about your time at Hamlin?

I loved theater, field day, the Halloween assembly, playing basketball, soccer, and running cross country. I also loved my friendships; I still have three Hamlin friends who I talk to and text with very consistently.

Tell us about your theater experience?

I loved acting in the plays, being various characters, telling stories on stage. I remember being in “A Christmas Carol” in 1st grade, I had one line, but I was very excited. I went on to perform in so many wonderful roles every year that I was at Hamlin. In 8th grade I hurt my ankle and couldn’t play sports. I started volunteering with Ms. Abbott, helping 3rd and 4th graders block scenes, do character voices and character walks. I enjoyed being on stage performing, but found that I really loved helping out with the off stage work. I loved watching younger students discover their voice; they found out more about themselves as they rehearsed their character.

How does your time at Hamlin connect to your life at Smith College now?

I’m the Chair of Student Programs at Smith. We put on weekly films, host speakers, live music concerts, and general events. My theater work at Hamlin in 8th grade made me a problem solver. I use that same ability now when managing the many moving parts of various events.

How did you become such a dedicated Hamlin theater volunteer?

I tried doing theater in high school, but the program didn’t have the same feel as Hamlin. Ms. Abbott was such an integral part of my life, I really believed in her program. In the space she creates, each student has the opportunity to shine and feels valued. Everyone in a production is important and has a distinct role. Ms. Abbott knows each kid and how they work. She brings a wonderful individual approach to a communal environment. I wanted to give back to a program that gave me so much. I will continue to come back and volunteer as long as Ms. Abbott is here. Working at the Hamlin theater is my happy place. I like being around the energy of the girls and watching them grow up.

 

VIP Public Speaking in Grade 4

Throughout the academic year students in Grade 4 engage in dynamic public speaking in front of the entire Lower School, along with parents and faculty. Girls talk about some of their favorite things, share specifics about one topic in particular, then take 3 questions from the audience.

Today, girls spoke about the following:

Liliana spoke about her love of waterskiing.

Paige spoke about her love of surfing.

Sasha spoke about her love of baking.

Georgia spoke about her love of singing and then performed “You Belong With Me” by Taylor Swift.

For many girls, this is the biggest speaking event of their lives so far. They practice, work through nerves, and ultimately thrive from the experience. In the coming days another group of Grade 4 students will have the opportunity to take the stage and be VIP speakers.

 

 

Social and Emotional Role-Playing in Lower School

On Monday, Janice Tobin and Elizabeth McLeod from the Institute for Social and Emotional Learning worked with students in Grades 3 and 4.

Students had an opportunity to explore various facets of communication by role-playing with aggressive, passive, and assertive language. They focused on word choice and how body language is involved with communicating. One of the goals was to avoid being too passive or too aggressive.

Some communication examples:

Passive– head down, no eye contact

Aggressive– name calling, blaming

Assertive– strong tone, kind but direct

The Institute for Social and Emotional Learning will be speaking with Lower School parents at Hamlin on 2/12 and with Middle School parents on 2/13 (8:30am-10am both days). The Institute will be working with Middle School students in March.

For more information about their work, please visit: https://www.instituteforsel.net/

 

Positive Coaching Alliance Speaks at Hamlin

On Friday, Carrie Zarraonandia from the Positive Coaching Alliance, spoke with our middle school students about using social media in life and with sports.

Carrie Zarraonandia was elected to the Marin County Athletic Hall of Fame for coaching and has been honored as a S.F. Bay Area Double-Goal Coach Winner and national Finalist. She has over 30 years of service to the United States Professional Tennis Association, and recently was awarded the 2017 NorCal Pro of the Year.  She is a “veteran” sports mom and taught three out of her five children to play tennis and enjoy the sport. 

Ms. Zarraonandia shared the following insights (among others):

-What you post on social media is important and shapes how you are perceived.

-The negative use of social media has real world consequences.

-You can use social media to be a positive influence.

She shared the following questions to ask before posting on social media:

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Unity Festival Celebration

On Thursday evening our Hamlin community gathered to celebrate the many cultures that make up the African Diaspora at our Unity Festival hosted by PLAID. (PLAID is a Hamlin Parent Association group focused on educating our community about diversity and promoting an inclusive environment).

The event featured: bracelet-making, opportunities to play mancala (a board game originally from Africa), Soul Food, heartfelt poetry readings by students Niyah, Kennedy, and Adella, and an invigorating dance performance. By the end of the evening students, parents, and faculty were all smiles and laughter as they danced together.

To learn more about PLAID, please visit: https://www.hamlin.org/page/plaid

 

Hamlin Student Lights Up The Ballroom Dance Stage

Annika (Grade 6) and her dance partner Nathan are currently highly ranked ballroom dancers competing on a global stage. The two began dancing in San Francisco in September 2014 at the SDA Sukachov Dance Academy. By the end of 2015 they were American Dance League’s couple of the year in Pre-Teen 1 category for two years in a row.

Annika has recently started competing in the Junior category where the competition is tough and the dancers are older. Even though they’ve only been competing in this new category since July they have already won numerous regional and national competitions including winning in the West Coast Junior Olympics and placing 2nd in the country at one of USA’s most competitive national competitions. They have competed in Paris, and London, and will be dancing in Vienna (Austria) next week.

We had a chance to interview Annika.

How did you get started with dancing?

My mom signed me up for a dance camp. At first it started as an after school hobby, but soon became one the most important things in my life.

What do you like most about dancing?

I love that after each competition I become more and more hungry to improve. Nathan and I are always working to be our best.

What is your training like?

I practice every single day of the week, 2-5 hours a day. Some days we go through our whole routine, other days I’m in a group class. During the week I also do one on one sessions with my teachers. On Thursday I do a stretch class with ballet. The training works your core, your rib cage; you have to pay attention to every aspect of the human body in motion. Nathan and I will also watch YouTube videos of other dancers to get inspiration.

Do you ever get nervous before a competition?

I do sometimes get nervous, you should always be a little nervous so that you know you are ready and not overconfident. Our teachers pump us up by getting us to focus on the process of dancing, not the result. They don’t want us to dance better than the other couple; they want us to do better than our previous performances, to compete with ourselves.

What are your future dance goals?

I have a lot of goals. I would like to be a National champion in Juniors I and II in Ballroom. I would like to be top 3 at the competition in Blackpool, London. I would like to be a world champion.