I joined the C&C community when I was five. Over the last ten years I have developed friendships, discovered who I am as a student and as a person, and made so many happy memories.
The first lesson I remember learning was when I dropped my cream cheese bagel into the VsN room toilet. I hated my lunch and to get the message across, I decided to clog the toilet! Nina made me retrieve my bagel as the whole group watched. That was the turning point when I understood that the best way to get things changed was to speak up as opposed to clogging the toilet. In this way, C&C has shaped my personality and my confidence. I enjoy community discussions and expressing my values. C&C’s mission is to prepare kids to graduate with the ability to speak up for themselves and I believe that has been the outcome for me.
In the VIIsV I remember having a group discussion about which neighborhood we should make out of blocks. I was interested in Chinatown at the time so I passionately argued for it and convinced my group to select this area for study. We visited a Buddhist temple and a traditional Chinese pharmacy where everyone got a bag to fill up with candy! Back at school we built a miniature Chinatown using blocks, complete with shops, temples, and restaurants. Our other building experiences that year filled me with information that I still remember today, ranging from stories about John Roebling of the Brooklyn Bridge to the plumbing systems of the Permanent City.
The VIIIs was my most memorable year at C&C. The Social Studies curriculum made me feel like a real colonial apothecary owner, selling my products to my classmates. On a trip to historic Richmond, on Staten Island, I witnessed artisans sculpting kitchenware, jewelry, and religious artifacts. Although people lived simpler lives then, they seemed content with what they had.
Another favorite memory from the VIIIs was when Nancy Segal dressed up as two different characters, Dr. Perry Meter and Miss A. Rea, and presented to our group. That experience has cemented the basics of measurements in my head forever.
The IXs Country Trip, and the extensive prep that we undertook prior to our adventure, instilled in us vast amounts of scientific knowledge. I loved it when we dried apple slices and hung them around the classroom. It was exciting to chop down wood to fuel our brick oven fire and then bake bread to eat with our Oregon Trail families. As the wagon leader, I made exciting decisions for our trip and my character’s family. When we played the Oregon Trail game, one girl got so attached to her character that she cried inconsolably when the character died of cholera. We learned and really understood how many sacrifices people underwent in the hopes of achieving better lives.
In the IXs’ Store, I learned negotiation and management skills along with financial skills that have been key to my C&C experience. I have driven my mother crazy analyzing unit pricing in the grocery store!
Calligraphy was the highlight of my XsM year. We would turn off the lights, click on fake candles, and ink our quills. Learning to write calligraphy helped me understand what life might have been like for a scholar in the Middle Ages. At the end of the Xs year, Molly invited an artist to teach us how to print our own illuminated letter, complete with a gold leaf outline.
During the XIs year, I learned about the Golden Age of Islam and the Renaissance, two subjects that I had never thought about prior. Discovering the treasures of the Arab kingdoms, and understanding the flaws of the European world, really opened up my mind. In the middle of the year, our group visited a mosque on the Upper East Side. At that time, I didn’t really know what a mosque was. Being invited to a prayer session in one made me more mindful of other people’s cultures. In our Renaissance play, my character, Pope Leo X, burned heretical books and ruthlessly manipulated politics. I never could have imagined that religion governed so many everyday aspects of a person’s life.
Transitioning from the XIs to the XIIs, I became more opinionated. I started Debate add-in with Sarah Whittier, XIIsS Teacher, and it allowed me to express my ideas through argument. Going to tournaments launched my love for the competitive activity. At lunch I remember constantly talking with my friends about politics and other controversial topics. I enjoyed inciting heated group discussions.
Another important milestone in the XIIs year was working at Daisy’s Food Pantry at the Church of the Village. Talking with people from backgrounds other than my own, and experiencing the environment of the church, gave me a greater understanding of the neighborhood that I go to school in. Not everyone in the world is wealthy or poor, people’s situations differ. Utilizing the knowledge I have learned from Daisy’s and my experience at C&C, especially the social justice curriculum of the XIIIs, I feel confident leaving my community and moving on to high school.