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The Spiral Staircase Literary Journal
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In Trimester 1, the creative writers in Mr. Riehl's class decided to put together a literary journal. They decided to name it The Spiral Staircase, both because of the wonderful metaphor and to honor the Loretto Chapel in Santa Fe. The idea is to create an annual journal, in order to provide students with an authentic audience and a publication that students may aspire to write for.  Below is an excerpt, written by Lena Pearson, from her story entitled "Niagra Will Fall".

 

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Model UN Conference Success
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The SMA Model UN club recently competed in the Boulder and Fairview High School Conference. The students discussed and debated in council several critical topics with other high school students from around the state, including global warming and human trafficking. Three SMA delegates received awards at the meet. Single delegate Elizabeth Lanava, 10th grade, received an Honorable Mention for her role as Ukraine in an Intermediate Council on Language Endangerment. Double delegation representatives, Millie Brophy and Grace Hutt, both ninth-grade students, received an Honorable Mention for their role as Poland in a Beginner Security Council on climate change. Congratulations to all who participated in this conference!

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Día de los Muertos
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On October 31st the seventh grade is engaging in a multi-faceted study of Día de los Muertos/Day of the Dead. The day begins with a study of the history and cultural significance of Día de los Muertos, a holiday celebrated in many regions of México. The belief system underlying the Mexican holiday is explored and the beauty and artistry of Mexican cultural traditions is showcased. In discussion groups, students examine the difference between multicultural appreciation and cultural appropriation. Students collaborate in creating a traditional Día de los Muertos altar, as a respectful remembrance of passed loved ones, and tour altars on display in the SMA High School. A guided viewing of the Pixar film Coco is included. The program culminates with a reflective writing exercise, inviting students to compose a letter of remembrance to a departed loved one.

On October 31st the seventh grade is engaging in a multi-faceted study of Día de los Muertos/Day of the Dead. The day begins with a study of the history and cultural significance of Día de los Muertos, a holiday celebrated in many regions of México. The belief system underlying the Mexican holiday is explored and the beauty and artistry of Mexican cultural traditions is showcased. In discussion groups, students examine the difference between multicultural appreciation and cultural appropriation. Students collaborate in creating a traditional Día de los Muertos altar, as a respectful remembrance of passed loved ones, and tour altars on display in the SMA High School. A guided viewing of the Pixar film Coco is included. The program culminates with a reflective writing exercise, inviting students to compose a letter of remembrance to a departed loved one.

 

Faculty: JoAnn Cencula - Science 7
Terrye Easton - Social Studies 7
Victoria Fernandez - Language Arts 7
Christina Garcia - Spanish 7
Melissa McQueen - Math 7

 

Why study Día de los Muertos?

This immersive day of study draws upon SMA’s commitment to multicultural learning, spiritual development, and community-building.  To study other cultures is to learn about differences and connections, develop skills in understanding others and resolving conflicts, and broaden horizons. An important element at any stage of education, multicultural education has a particular resonance with adolescents eager to explore their self-identity and place in our global society.

 

Explore More

Interested in exploring this topic more deeply?

  • Day trip: Explore Denver street art in the Santa Fe art district, including murals featuring Día de los Muertos imagery. While you are in the neighborhood, stop by the Museo de las Americas, a museum that celebrates the diverse arts and cultures of the Americas from ancient to contemporary.

  • Day trip: Visit the special Día de los Muertos exhibit Winged Souls at the Denver Botanic Gardens.

  • Movie night: Share Coco with the rest of the family. Common Sense Media endorses Coco, saying it “is a tribute to Mexican traditions and customs…. (and) has powerful themes of perseverance, teamwork, and gratitude and encourages audiences to love and appreciate their family and always follow their dreams.

 

Please note

If students would like to contribute to the altar, they are welcome to bring flowers, candles or pictures to display. Please bring items beginning Monday, October 29.

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Iswari Natarajan - Keynote Speaker at the IBM Global Women of IBM Event
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HS Principal Iswari Natarajan gave the keynote speech at the Global Women of IBM Conference in Boulder on October 17.  She spoke about women and leadership and her speech received rave reviews:

"Your message resonated with everyone and all found you engaging, humorous, and so very inspirational. Many said you were the best speaker we've ever had and I tend to agree. Your girls and SMA are very fortunate to have you and we were very fortunate to hear your story."

"THANK YOU for such an incredible talk today! Wow....you're a very talented speaker with a super powerful message. We all loved hearing you! Thank you for driving home such truly important points. I loved your prescription for happiness and your thoughts on leadership were exactly spot on. I'm going to be teaching a group of 25 adults in a few weeks and I will mention some of your thoughts on leadership...Some of my favorite points...embrace failure as it is the path to empowered courage (empowered courage - what a beautiful phrase!)...grit, resilience and attitude will outshine aptitude and talent (so true and I've personally seen it again and again)...having fun has absolutely nothing and absolutely everything to do with calculus (I agree completely!)...problems come in easy, medium and fun (I'm going to use this one on my group of adults)...being positive is contagious...and being happier makes your life rich and full (100% true). Thank you for brightening our morning and giving us the motivation to be authentically ourselves and never stop dreaming big."

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Multi-Cultural Luncheon
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On Friday, October 5, eighth-grade students and their parents shared favorite foods together in the Forum. The dishes represented the traditions of their families' cultures. Some of the foods were recipes passed down for generations and included Roast Tapada from Peru, Elk Stew from the United States, Taiwanese Fried Rice, German Candies, and Onigiri from Japan. The luncheon capped a week of field studies and guest visits as part of the eighth-grade thematic study of roots. Through literature, global studies, religion, and environmental science, students are exploring their identity, how it is formed, and what actions they can take to act for peace and justice.

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