JC Upper School September Newsletter 2023

October 4, 2023

Academic Engagement – IB Biology 11

There is a whole lot of International Baccaleureate Biology going on at Mountain Academy Upper School for 11th grade students.

IB Biology 11 students are beginning their journey into Biology by taking a look at cells of all shapes and varieties. Students are investigating red blood cells, white blood cells, stem cells, cells with nucleii, cells without nucleii. Does this cell in this circumstance actively or passively transport across membranes? What are the ethical and moral considerations of using stem cells? And the biggest question of them all: where did the first cells originate on planet earth? Any guesses at the answer to this one?

Character Development – Fall Extended Journey

The Upper School Fall Extended Journey was a tremendous success. We treated each other with respect. We treated the Tetons and the Gros Ventre ecosystems with respect. We laughed until our bellies hurt. We sometimes ate oatmeal until our bellies hurt. 

We studied literature at altitude as the seniors led all grades in an examination of Tara Westover’s book, “Educated” on multiple nights. We learned how to stick together no matter that we all had different hiking paces. We learned what the Tetons looked like from Paintbrush Divide and from Jackson Peak. We all learned how to imitate that high-pitched squeak of a pika in the boulders fields. With the pre-course help of Alex, MA’s new art faculty extraordinaire, we used watercolors on high boulder strewn fields. 

It was an integrated effort at altitude, as we approached wild places from a place-based perspective, and as we learned about ourselves.

Community Focus – Seniors Monthly Read to Lower School

Picture this scene: two teachers walking down the Mountain Academy path in Coyote Canyon. They greet each other amidst the cheerful banter of young children walking to the dining hall. Intermingled amongst them are various Upper School students talking about…well, talking about what hungry teenagers talk about as they approach the promise of the relief of food. 

The teachers come up with a vision. To wit: how cool would it be if every month on Community Meeting day, two seniors from the Upper School would go to the Lower School in the cool of the morning, and read out loud to the assembled young people in the classroom. They would read a book that pertains to what the Lower School is currently studying. The young kids sit on the floor, cross-legged and listen to the story. They  try to imagine what it will be like when they are in the Upper School. Wow! Maybe someday when they are teenagers they will be reading to kids too.

Beginning on Community Meeting day on October 18th, two seniors each month will read to the Lower School in the morning. We can hardly wait for this sharing in our community.

Student Corner – Kai Parker-Choat

My name is Kia. I have just recently joined here at mountain academy. When I heard all about journeys I was not expecting to be greeted with so many positive people with just great attitudes. It was really cool to see as the new kid. Coming to a new environment like this can be very overwhelming but everyone here made me feel like I’ve been attending this school for years, and have made me feel very comfortable here. I would consider myself a digital artist and an overall creative person because I grew up with parents and teachers that love to do artistic things. I also really enjoy being outside whether that be swimming in the river, skiing, or even taking a nice night walk.

Kai Parker-Choat