During the week of February 20th, we celebrate literature, reading and all things books! With the generous time and organization of the English Department and Librarians, we have several very special events for our students, all of which share the goal of instilling the joy of reading into the hearts of our students.
The Pinewood Library is excited to present a unique Library Competition for Book Week 2012 that involves creativity, teamwork and Pinewood! The competition is open to all grade levels and entries will be accepted from individual students and small groups. All you need to do is answer the following question in an original way: What makes Pinewood so special? The flyer that your child has received from school outlining the rules of the competition is attached here for your viewing.
Fern Sutton is a children’s illustrator from the UK. She lives in Thessaloniki where she manages an active profession as an artist. She will introduce picture book illustration and the design process to our students in Grades 1-5. Then, she will do an interactive workshop on how to create a character for a picture book with them. To learn more about Fern Sutton and her work please visit her website at: www.fernsutton.com.
SHAKESPEARE’S AS YOU LIKE IT
Mr. David Gibson, former Pinewood English teacher and beloved member of our community, will deliver an introduction to Shakespeare, followed by a special theater group from Aristotle University, who will present excerpts & modern adaptations of the play, As You Like It, by Shakespeare.
WHY READ WHEN THERE’S A COMPUTER IN THE ROOM?
This Secondary seminar will address our questions, “Are books still relevant in today’s world of technology proliferation?” Student performances, surprise teacher presentations and a special guest author will all challenge us to think about this question…and give a variety of answers!
Our Middle School students will go to the library to learn about their next D.E.A.R. assignment, a creative banner, and then enjoy a relaxing hour of reading for pleasure in the Library…students and teachers! Be sure to visit Mrs. Kainz’s article, “Middle School Students Drop Everything And Read,” outlining our foundation and motivation for independent reading at the Middle School level.
Elementary students will visit the Library this week to learn about what their teachers are reading, why they enjoy reading and ask questions about their reading habits. Then, they will all enjoy a long period of quiet reading--students and teachers--as a way to honor the art of reading.
EARLY YEARS PROGRAM
All students in PreK-Grade 5 are keeping a record of their reading throughout the week on specially designed Reading Charts for each grade level. At the younger levels, we ask that parents read with their children nightly and record the book(s) read on their child’s chart. At the upper elementary level, students will record the number of pages they read each day. At the end of the week, all children will receive a special certificate of reading to recognize their participation in daily reading! Reading logs have been sent home with children, but you can also download them here: EYP - Grade 1 Book Week Chart, Grades 2-5 Book Week Chart.
All teachers in the Secondary school are contributing to Book Week by helping to give our school a LITERARY AMBIENCE. Each teacher has taken the first line(s) from one of his/her favorite books (in any language) and written it onto a long strip of paper, also including the title of the book, author and his/her name. We invite you to browse their “reading picks” lining the staircase leading up to the Secondary school.
Some of the best writing samples from students in our Middle and High school are displayed here. We invite you to sit back and read their book reviews and literary essays!
A Separate Peace, by John Knowles, Reviewed by Nina Bustamante '15
Have you ever been in a friendship that goes wrong, when you turn to an evil part of you that you might not even have known existed? In the novel A Separate Peace, by John Knowles, a similar type of situation happened. It all started when Gene (the new kid at Devon School), became roommates with Phineas, or Finny. These two boys became very close friends, and Finny always felt like he had to take care of Gene and make sure he was having fun. But the problem with that was that Gene and Finny were two very different types of people. Gene was a very smart and studious boy, who put a lot of effort into studying and being the top student in the class. Finny, on the other hand, was very good at sports, and not so good in the school/studying area. But, his natural charm and way of speaking always managed to get him out of difficult situations. Finny was known all around the school for his natural talent for sports. Because of Finny's fame for being good at sports, and Gene's lack of natural athletic ability, Gene started to become a little jealous of Finny. This caused Gene to almost totally lose control of himself, to the point that one day he pushed Finny out of a tree. Because of Finny's fall, he was not able to do sports ever again, and it was all Gene's fault. Gene did not want Finny to know that he had done it on purpose, but as everyone knows, rumors spread.
In my opinion, there are two very important themes shown in this book. The first one is how jealousy can be so destructive, and almost take over what you do. It is seen when Gene pushes Finny out of the tree. He was so jealous that he didn't even realize that he could severely injure Finny -- and what the consequences of that would mean. This theme plays an especially big role in the story, because the rest of the book is based on how Finny then survives, even without sports. The other theme that had a large impact on me throughout the story was the value of friendship while growing up. Even after Finny had heard that Gene purposefully pushed him out of the tree, Finny still took him as a friend, and made sure that his name would always be left in Gene's head as a good friend. Another time where we see this theme being expressed was after Finny got back to Devon School. Finny wanted Gene to carry on his dream, to become a good athlete, and to do what Finny always dreamed of doing. I would recommend this book, because it is a heart-warming story that shows you the true power of friendship. It shows that you must really consider the consequence of an action before you do it, and think if it really is the right thing to do. This book made me think, and made me truly value friendship much more. I really loved it!
Up From Slavery, by Booker T. Washington, Reviewed by Juan Nieves Salceda '13 & Aristotle Leventidis '13
Within the dark age of the Post-reconstruction era in the United States (1877-1890), a black man rose from the shadows to enlighten the fragile black society. This man is Booker T. Washington. In his autobiography called Up From Slavery, written in 1901, he narrates and reflects upon his rise from slavery to a highly esteemed black leader and educator.
Throughout the book Booker T. Washington very methodically guides the reader through his major life experiences, explaining and describing his thoughts about them while trying at the same time to depict certain morals and messages. He starts by narrating his early childhood still under the slavery regime where he worked in a plantation in the South with his mother and brothers. He never met his father, something common in slavery. He also says that he wanted to study and get educated as he was seeing the masters’ children reading books and studying. Then he talks about the liberation of the slaves after the American Civil War and how his family moved to work in a salt mine, where by working almost 10-12 hours a day he managed to find time to go to a night school and begin his education. Within a few years he managed to take the risky journey to Hampton, Virginia, and get inducted into the Hampton Institute where he excelled. After some few years of teaching in his hometown of Malden, West Virginia, he was elected to start a new school in Tuskegee, Alabama, an extremely hard task but not an impossible one. With hard work and courage Booker T. Washington was successful and the Tuskegee Institute was developing rapidly. He became famous and well recognized by his people. He also refers to the speech he gave during the Atlanta Exposition and about his trip to Europe. He tells a sentimental but at the same time pragmatic story based on facts and the strong will of a single man.
The book depicts many themes; however, all of them are developed around the main idea of how can a person who is socially disadvantaged can work really hard and gain personal fulfillment. Throughout the book, Booker T. Washington shows that working hard and not giving up enabled him to get an education and rise from the dark depths of slavery to an esteemed black leader. He also depicts themes of good cooperation between the white and black races for the common good to the society.
In our opinion we believe that Up From Slavery is a unique autobiography, in which Booker T. Washington depicts his ideals about how the Black community should progress in the future to achieve mutual progress for the American society. At the same time, as an autobiography, the book also provides some historical insight during the Post-reconstruction period. Therefore, we encourage those who are interested in this challenging period of American history or who want to extend their knowledge of Booker T. Washington’s pragmatic personality to read this controversial and insightful autobiography. We promise it won't leave you indifferent.
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, By Maya Angelou, Reviewed by Tsvetoslava Angelova '13
Have you ever had a book that touched your heart? There are books that can put you right in the story.
One book that can touch everyone’s heart is named “I Know Why the Cage Bird Sings’’ by Maya Angelou. This incredible book is about a young African-American girl named Maya and her brother Bailey, who were rejected and abandoned by their parents. They lived with their grandmother named Annie Henderson, who they called Momma, in rural Stamps, Arkansas. Maya faced a deep racism growing up in Stamps. One day her father arrived in Stamps unexpectedly and took her and Bailey to live with their mother Vivian in St. Louis. There Maya faced a terrible trauma by her mother’s friend, Mr. Freeman. After this event Maya felt a lot of shame, and she and her brother returned to Stamps to live with Momma. Maya wasn’t talking and it was like she was a ghost. One sunny day her grandmother introduced her to Mrs. Bertha Flower, who was the person who dragged her back to life. However Maya faced several incidents that taught her about the treacherous nature of racism, and because of those incidents Maya and her brother moved to live with their mother Vivian in Los Angeles and then in Oakland. After her mother married Daddy Clidell they moved to San Francisco, where Maya felt at home for the first time. Once when Maya went to visit her father, his girlfriend cut her in a fight, Maya ran away, and she lived for a month with a group of homeless teenagers. When she returned to San Francisco Maya was a strong and self-confident girl. At sixteen, she hid her pregnancy from her mother and stepfather for eight months and graduated from high school.
Some of the universal ideas in this literary work are racism and segregation. Growing up in Stamps, Maya saw a deep-rooted southern racism by watching how black people faced indignities from their white bosses. Maya spent time at Momma’s store, observing the cotton-pickers’ daily life. By observing the workers she understood what segregation was. Another case is when Maya was working for a white woman and the woman was calling her Mary, instead of her proper name, which showed that some of the white people didn’t have any respect for black people. Also when Maya went to a white dentist he refused to treat her. All of this shows segregation between black and white societies. However Maya faced other problems in her life that affected her personality. For example, when she was a young child she was a victim of assault. Her life was dark, but then Maya met Mrs. Flower, an elegant black woman who showed her the beauty of life. Being with her, Maya became more motivated to gain knowledge because she saw her role model who made her feel proud to be black.
’’I Know Why the Cage Bird Sings’’ is a strong book in which a young girl confronts racism, sexism, violence and loneliness. I recommend it to everyone because this book is about real life. People should understand what the life of black people being segregated from whites was like. This powerful autobiography shows the cruelty of some people and what they can do to the ones who are innocent and didn’t do anything bad to anyone. It is worth reading; the earlier generations could have likely benefited from a little more open discussion about such matters.
A Separate Peace, by John Knowles, Reviewed by Andrea Fernandez Martinez '15
Thirty years after the end of World War II, Gene Forrester comes back to Devon School. He survived the war. Gene goes to the buildings, thinking how his life has changed since that time. Gene passes the Common Side and he also goes to where the swim records are. Finally, he goes upstairs and he walks in the hallway. He opens his locker and looks for a box that he left there years ago. In that box, he finds some personal and special things from his old life, such as a piece of a pink shirt and a Devon School tie. Afterward he finds an old letter which he wrote. That letter was from his diary while he was at Devon and there he wrote his thoughts about war. He talked about how Finny changed him over the months and how his point of view changed that year. Gene takes out that page of the diary and starts reading:01 - 07 - 1943
Tonight is my last night after the end of this year in school and tomorrow I’m leaving with the army. I know that I have to sleep but I’m really excited about what will happen from this point on. It’s 3.20 a.m. and I’m writing the last page of this diary. I still remember the first day when I arrived at Devon. I was nervous thinking of all the things that I could do during the year, all the new people that I could meet and how the teachers would be. But now, the year is over, and I really have to thank Finny. Finny was the most amazing person that I ever met. He was the perfect person: the best athlete, the best friend and the best speaker that I know. With him I could feel like someone important in the school. But things changed and I changed too. I did the worst thing that someone ever could do. I’m responsible for his death. Everything that happened was my fault but I will never understand how I could do that. Finny and I were really good friends and we made our own 'society' at Devon; the Super Suicide Society and every day, we went to our tree by the river and we both jumped together. But the year went on and things got worse between us. I began thinking that he was trying to be better than me and he wanted to make me fail in school. I was really jealous because of his behavior. When we were on the limb of the tree some force took control of me and I kicked the tree. Finny turned around to take my hand but I couldn’t do anything to save him. Things continued going wrong and one day, he fell again. I talked with him in the infirmary the night before his operation and that’s last time that I saw him alive. If I didn’t move the tree that afternoon he would be with me right now. But during this year I learned so many things with him, I learned what life means and how everybody has to live as if it was his/her last day. With Finny I did things that I will never forget such as when we both escaped to the beach or Finny’s’ winter carnival at Devon. I could see the world from a different point of view. I will remember Finny as the boy who taught me how to live. I don’t know what will happen in the future or what will happen in the war but now I can say that I killed my enemy before going to the war. Devon was my separate peace, a place where war has different meanings for each one and people could learn school subjects or he could prepare for war but at Devon I learned the most important thing of my life and tomorrow I’ll make true his dreams because he made mine true.
A Separate Peace, by John Knowles, Reviewed by Eugenia Castilla-Fragoso '15
Dear Dr. Jones,
My name is Gene. I’m a student at Devon school, and I never thought I would need to talk to a psychologist. The reason I’m writing you is because of the loss of my best friend. I had a lot to do with his death; in fact I killed him. His name was Finny, or that is what all of us called him. When I arrived at Devon the first day, Finny opened his arms to receive me as his roommate and friend; from the first day, he protected me and treated me as if we had known each other from childhood. One day, we were climbing a tree so we could jump from one of the branches to the river. We did this everyday, but that day was different; all of a sudden, an impulse or a force, a really powerful one, invaded all of my body and mind. I understood that all I’ve ever wanted was to be popular, to be in the first place, but Finny was first, as always. He was loved by everyone, first at sports, first in everything, and I was second. In order for me to claim the place I deserved, Finny had to disappear, and I made him fall off the branch. What is the name of this feeling - anger, frustration, envy? You know better than I do. What is weird, is that for a second, when Finny was down at the bottom, unconscious, and I was up the branch, I didn’t scream, I didn’t call his name to see if he was all right, I didn’t cry; I just stood there, watching him.
When the doctor gave me his analysis about Finny, he told me that Finny wouldn’t be able to perform sports. Sports were what Finny lived for; his life was based on sports. From that moment, I killed him from the inside. Even though he was optimistic, we all knew he was sad; he kept being my friend after the first accident; he forgave me, he acted as if nothing had happened. He was happy, optimistic; I truly learned to appreciate his friendship after the accident, and we didn’t separate from each other. That was Finny.
When he had his second accident, he broke his leg again. This time it wasn’t directly my fault; I think that it was everyone’s fault, and at the same time, no one’s fault. He fell down the stairs because our mates had prepared a conference to discover what had happened that day at the tree; Finny got mad, went out of the room, and fell down. I feel responsible for his death, but not for the accident of the stairs. When he died on the operation table, the only thing I wanted to do was to enlist in the army and fight in the war; that is what he would have done if he were alive. I know I will never forget him. He taught me the meaning of life; people don’t value what they have in front of them until they lose it. Life is short, sir, and I didn’t appreciate the gift God gave me, Finny.
Now that he is gone, I feel as if something inside me was missing; he was the fuel that made my body work, he was the light that guided me, the light that gave me warmth when I was cold. Yet, I lost him. That day, up in the tree, I was jealous of my best friend, what kind of friend am I? Do you think there is a cure for envy? If there is any, please tell me. Now that I lost what was more precious for me, I can’t have it back. Right now, my body has stopped working, and I am cold deep inside.
Book Week Seminar Features Student and Faculty Presentations
During Seminar period on Wednesday, February 22, Pinewood secondary students and faculty addressed the Book Week question: “Are Books Still Relevant in Today’s World of Technological Proliferation?” Seminar began with Loxandra Gkotzaridis and Sophia Tsangarides, Grade 8, who spoke on the relevance of reading in general and shared the results of their reading opinion poll.
Book Week Seminar featured two excellent Readers’ Theater performances. The first, presented by a team of Grade 10 students, focused on Ernest Hemingway’s classic novel, A Farewell to Arms. First, we enjoyed two power point presentations, one by Pamela Aspi and Tony Pilato, the other by Claudia Castilla, Dimitra Dokas and Sara Zhang. These presentations contextualized the novel, set in Italy during World War I, and helped us understand the strong anti-war message that permeated the novel. Next, student performers Christina Constantinou, Marco Bustamante, Holly Kay, Cristina Rodriguez, Martin Mihaylov, Nikita Kiseliov, Vela Stoyanova, Margarita Paschalis and Kate Eleftheriadou each interpreted with great sensitivity a segment of a famous scene in the novel which shows the main character’s great disillusionment with the war. The second team of performers, comprised of ESL 3 and 4 students, interpreted the Victorian ghost story, The King’s Messenger, by F. Marion Crawford. First, Marianna Iovino and Tiziana Lunigiani gave a visually impressive overview of the Victorian period in general and Victorian Gothic writing in particular. Next, student performers Maria Poimenidou, Kate Eleftheriadou and Galini Poimenidou interpreted a scene from the story in which they clearly conveyed suspense, mystery and unease. Original art work by Apollinaria Chikunova contributed to the supernatural mood created by student performers.
Faculty members also described a favorite book which has had a major impact on their thinking. Ms. Mary Tsoulfa described one of her favorite books, The Joy Luck Club, by Amy Tan, which resonates with Ms. Tsoulfa’s personal experience as an ethnic minority in Australia. Dr. Clare Squires explained how she likes books by Jane Austen, but especially Pride and Prejudice, because these books explore the role of women in 18th century England. Mr. Terzidis, a science fiction fan in general, especially likes the science fiction classic, Dune, by Frank Herbert, because of its imaginative plot. All in all, the Book Week presentations clearly demonstrated the continuing relevance of reading books in today’s technological age.
- Dr. Manney, English Department
Check out our slide show below of images taken throughout the Book Week activities: