Happy 15th Birthday, Chloe!

ChloeL and ChingLaamY about to feast on cake.

We observe each and every student’s birthday in class. The festivities are necessarily rather brief, given the amount of work that our students and staff have to do during every lesson, but even a brief celebration presents an opportunity for reflection. Mostly, we tend to find ourselves marveling at how much the birthday gal or guy has matured over the course of the past year.

ChloeL's Oskar-Schell-style business card.

We’ve been reading Jonathan Safran Foer’s award-winning Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close with our most advanced class and have incorporated open-ended pass/fail questions into their reading comprehension homework assignments to supplement the traditional, intensively proofread and marked questions.

One such question invited Chloe and her classmates to create a self-descriptive business card for themselves similar to the one that the protagonist of Foer’s novel hands out to the people whom he meets. Chloe’s answer, visible above, is really great and gives anyone fortunate enough to read it a snapshot of the self-perception of a really intelligent and fascinating young person.

For comparison purposes, here’s Oskar Schell’s card:

Oskar Schell's business card.

One of the most rewarding aspects of the work that we do is the opportunity to interact with young people like Chloe while they develop and grow as human beings. It’s amazing and immensely gratifying to be able to facilitate, even in a small way, the process whereby smart, hard-working children become really sharp, interesting proto-adults with bright futures.

ChloeL blowing out the candles on her birthday cakes.

On that note, happy 15th birthday, Chloe!!!