Always Learning Newsletter - January 2017

Mr. Finley’s Note

In the wake of the election, Epiphany’s students have a renewed excitement about their academic work. For example, for years our curriculum has pushed to move our students from basic memorization and development of necessary skills toward synthesizing information from multiple sources and using information from one domain to solve problems in another, but now the students see even more opportunities where they want to engage in this “higher order” thinking. Likewise, we have always taught our students to examine information critically, but the surge in fake news has many of them fired up. As teachers, we know the issues of tomorrow will not be the same as today’s, but we are excited to equip our students with the skills they will need for the society they will inherit. Thank you for your help in making all this work possible, and please read below to learn about what has happened in the last month at your school.

Your Grateful Head of School,
The Rev. John H. Finley IV

PS Epiphany’s gala will be Friday, April 28th. Finding the perfect date for these all-school events is difficult, but finding a reason to celebrate is not. Please mark your calendars, and please join us. The kids need an audience to cheer them on.

Features on Community Partner:

Baraka Community Wellness

Amy Velez, Director of Community and Program Engagement at Baraka Community Wellness, has known of Epiphany for a long time and is excited about Baraka’s new partnership with us to provide “solutions to at-risk individuals and communities that engage, educate and empower to close the gap of health disparities and reduce healthcare costs.”

Baraka has a long list of programs that they are slowly introducing to Epiphany. For example, each week Baraka brings 90 pounds of fresh vegetables, fruit and prepared meals from stores such as Whole Foods, Big Y, Stop & Shop, Wegmans, and Roche Bros which are used to create shopping bags filled with wholesome and nutritious groceries. The food gets delivered to the school every Thursday afternoon, and each week the bags are filled with different produce.

This partnership has become incredibly successful, and we hope to soon implement other Baraka programs such as Healthy Moms Healthy Kids, Cooking Classes, and the Father & Son Basketball League, which will take place at Epiphany and at the new Early Learning Center. We cannot wait to see the amazing outcomes this partnership will bring.

Dyara and Cece picking up their weekly goodies

One Project’s Highlights

On December 15th, the Epiphany community came together to celebrate the holidays and watch the student produced show: One Project. After three months of hard work in their different electives, students faced their fears and presented a poem they wrote, or a dance they choreographed, or a Capoeira routine, or sang raps and songs of their own composition. Students also designed and picked out all costumes. Brathes Sanchez and Cece Cardoso, two 8th graders, opened up with a few Christmas riddles and had the crowd fired up when the show started with our traditional pageant and a student adaptation of The Grinch. 

During the intermission, families and friends ate cookies prepared by the Gardening Club while admiring the beautiful display of the ceramic decorations the students made in ceramics class. After the intermission, the 7th and 8th graders performed plays they wrote, and the Color Guard elective concluded the evening with a spectacular routine. The gym was filled with love, support and joy. What an incredible way to kick off the holiday season! 

8th grade religion symposium

Social justice is the focus of the 8th grade religion curriculum, and the two big questions they try to answer during the different units are: What do you believe in, and what actions will you be taking to make a difference/an impact? 

Over the last two months, the students studied mass incarceration and the school-to-prison pipeline. After studying the subject, viewing two documentaries, and having an in-depth discussion with a researcher, it was time for the students to respond and reflect on what they learned. They created presentations, posters, art pieces, rap music and comic strips on ways to take action in response to the challenge they had studied.

Finally, Monday, December 19th, the 8th grade held a symposium to showcase for the entire school their projects. It was a very successful event that was able to engage the community. Giovanni , an 8th grader, is still talking about the project amongst his friends and tries to find creative ways to express his opinion on the subject.

On January 15th, Gil Herrera and the chef at Oishii Boston hosted a small group of students and teachers to make their own sushi. The students had never eaten sushi before let alone made it. Before rolling the sushi, the chef broke any misconception about eating raw fish and answered all questions the students had. He demonstrated the steps in making sushi, and then the students rolled their sleeves and got to work. 

It was a great experience for all of them. They ended up really liking sushi and had fun making it. We are very grateful for opportunities as such so that our students always keep an open mind. Thank you, Gil! 

Martin Luther King Jr Weekend

Thanks to the leadership of Erika Forrest, a group of our students went to City Year to volunteer on Martin Luther King Jr Day. It was a great experience for our students to support the community that surrounds MLK Boulevard in the heart of Roxbury. The group was accompanied by four staff members and spent a few hours making t-shirts for stuffed animals, pencil pouches, hygiene kits and decorated school supply bags for the families. We are very proud when our students perform community service and give back. Here are some pictures of the event. 

Epiphany at the Women’s March 

On January 21st, Epiphany was part of history when 8th graders  invited the entire school to participate in Boston Women’s March for America. Their contingent marched alongside more than 200,000 others in solidarity with immigrants, African-Americans, the LGBTQ community, Muslims, the disabled community, and anyone else who is marginalized in America today.  

It was an overwhelming day for the students and teachers that marched, one they will always remember. They felt a sense of solidarity with the crowd and a real feeling of compassion. They were very proud to stand up for equality, dignity, and equal justice. 

While it was difficult for them to actually march due to the amount of people who showed up, they were able to chant, listen to all the speeches and be part of one of the biggest marches in history. We feel very fortunate to be in a country that allows freedom of expression and opinion and are very proud to see our students become good citizens of this nation.