Meet Some of Our Newest Griffins!

by Ivan Gu

Grace Kleman:

For those of you who know Davis, the human calculator, you can probably recognize his sister. After graduating from McCracken Middle School, Grace came to the Day School instead of continuing to the district public high school. She explained that Davis always tells stories about strange things that happened at SDS. Some unique aspects of SDS and our school’s exceptional academic program made her decision to join the SDS community easy. Similarly, we are honored to have Grace as a member of our family.

When Grace was asked to provide one difference she saw between SDS and McCracken, she immediately responded that students here are nice and encourage each other. It feels like a big family rather than individual classmates and teachers here, whereas at McCracken, classmates are more likely to be involved academically than socially.

Grace usually spends 45 minutes on homework– AP Human Geography takes up most of her homework time. Some students claim that their most challenging class is the one that has the most homework, but Grace argues the opposite. She finds that Honors Physics and Math are her two most challenging classes: “It’s not about the amount of homework; it’s the high academic level required for physics and math.”

As a freshman new to SDS, Grace has been doing very well. She is involved in class discussions and interacts with teachers and her classmates. We are very happy to Grace as a new member of the family. If you see her walking down the hallway, make sure to give her a greeting and welcome (BTW, I know this is the second quarter, but just do it anyway).

Matthew Brown:

If you see a tall guy walking down the hall, and he is not Zion, then it is very possible that he is Matthew– one of the star basketball players in our school. Matthew went to Woodruff High School, where Coach Robinette used to teach and coach football. It is somewhat surprising to see Matthew transfer to our school in his junior year, but he explains that “the high academic program and the good basketball program of the Day School attracted me.” Indeed, it is an honor for us to have Matthew here.

When Matthew was asked to provide one difference he saw from his old school, he said, “Back in Woodruff, there are ‘mini groups’ around the school. Here, it feels like a big family.” I agree with Matthew. As a new student to SDS three years ago, everyone’s openness and kindness, welcoming new students to the school, is a huge benefit I saw.

When it comes to homework, Matthew explains that he usually spends one hour on his homework; Spanish homework takes the most time. Matthew finds that Spanish is the most challenging class for him; he explained that as a second language, it is very hard to learn.

School lunch is usually one of the elements that students take into consideration when deciding on which school to attend. Some students here complain about the food at SDS, but Matthew admires the food here. Comparing the food here to the food at Woodruff, he says: “In Woodruff, the food is just awful.”

Matthew is performing very well both academically and athletically. He studies really hard for his challenging classes. Of course, he is an exceptional basketball player, and we are looking forward to seeing his skills this upcoming season. If you see him, make sure to give him a warm welcome.

Lauren Lee:

Lauren went to Byrnes Freshman Academy before she came to the Day School. She has heard of the stellar academics that SDS offers and is ready for the challenge. Additionally, she looks forward to participating athletically – she plays volleyball and basketball for our school and starts on both of the varsity teams this year.

One unique aspect of the Day School that Lauren immediately noticed was the size of the student body. She said that at Byrnes, it was loud and chaotic in the hallways and during lunch time. Even though it was only ninth graders, there were so many students that it was impossible for her to know all of her peers’ names like she does at the Day School.

Lauren usually spends an hour or two a day on schoolwork. She spends most of her time on English, as it is her most challenging class: writing was never easy for Lauren.

Ironically, the college process played a major role when she was deciding on which high school to attend. Lauren says that SDS is helping prepare her for college by making her think outside of the box, pushing her to be a better student and a better leader.

Again, it is our pleasure to have Lauren here with us. She is a well-rounded student and athlete. As you all know, basketball season is gearing up, so if you can make it out to a game, be sure to support her and all of our basketball teams!

New Exchange Students:

This year, we are lucky to have five new exchange students from China with us. I interviewed four of them: Charlie and Leon (freshmen), Christine (sophomore), and Han  (junior).

When I asked them for a difference from their old school, they all responded saying that the size of the study body is much smaller here. Charlie even pointed out that the whole upper school population is less than the number of the classmates in her grade in China!

All four of them are grateful for the amount of homework we have here, complaining about the amount of homework they had in the schools in China. Christine, Leon and Charlie told me that they struggle with English and History, the two subjects that always seem to be the exchange students’ weakness. I personally suggested for them not to worry too much and to make sure to put in every effort possible. It is very common for exchange students to meet a situation like this (speaking from experience), and the Day School teachers are fully aware of that. They understand that these students are trying their best to learn everything in their second language.

American food is also very different from Chinese food. Our exchange students were worried that they would not be able to adjust to the food difference well, but it turned out to be a false alarm. On some of the American TV shows, the school lunches are just hamburgers and sandwiches, and students eat the same thing everyday. However, the Day School does lunch quite differently. Our menus for lunch are different every week; students can find the week’s lunch schedule on the school website.

It is such an honor to host these exchange students. Their existence not only brings different cultures to the Day School, but it also adds another unique aspect to the Day School community. If you are talking with these new exchange students and they are having trouble expressing themselves, please just try to listen closely to what they are saying and give yourself time to understand them.


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