Throughout the 2018–19 school year, be it on the stage, in a classroom, or in front of peers or adults, a number of Dana Hall students have been making their voices heard in various ways.
National Recitation and Monologue Competitions
A. Chikunya ’19 won the school level of the national recitation contest, Poetry Out Loud, and represented Dana Hall at the regional semifinals in March in Boston. She is also competing in the August Wilson Monologue Competition: She took first place in the Boston regional finals and will travel to New York City in May to compete at nationals on Broadway.
The reinvigorated Dana Debate team competed in five tournaments across the northeast this school year. R. Mallick ’20 placed in the top 10 in the Varsity Division at Suffolk University Law School in November and again at Boston Latin Academy in February.
“Debate is extremely helpful when it comes to in-class discussions,” Mallick said. “I feel I have developed my ability to come up with questions and responses quite quickly. My confidence has skyrocketed because I know I can come up with an answer or at least defend myself well now.”
In October, Dana Hall sent a team of faculty and staff members to AISNE’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion conference. Among the highlights: a panel of 10 students from different independent schools, including our own B. Smith ’19 and S. Shaikh ’19, which was facilitated by Dana’s Director of Community, Equity and Inclusion Erica Ramirez.
N. Nguyen ’21 spoke at a TEDxYouth event in November. She shared her journey through navigating her different identities as a first-generation Vietnamese American, and how that led her to understand those personas are three parts of her whole self.
“The TEDx Talk forced me to be self-reflective which has given me a chance to fully express and open up about the identities I’ve suppressed,” Nguyen said. “Composing my story helped me change the way I viewed myself at Dana, and embrace the challenges I face as a Vietnamese American trying to balance my different cultures and identities. Sharing our unique stories and cultural identities in our different communities is a way to develop our perspectives and to see further than our cultural biases.”
In December, the team co-chaired St. John’s Preparatory School’s annual Model UN Conference. Five hundred and seventy students from across New England attended the conference, which boasted 17 committees—one of which was Middle School-specific. This was the first time Dana Hall has participated as chairs in a conference of this size. In April, the team was awarded Best Large Delegation (1st place overall) at the annual Dartmouth College Model UN conference, along with three individual first-place finishes by B. Bossert ’19, S. Miettinen-Garrett ’19 and N. Taylor ’20.
Junior J. Schwartz ’20 started Epic Rose which sells hand-painted apparel and donates 100% of the proceeds to food allergy research. Schwartz herself suffers from a severe food allergy and wanted to use her designs to increase support and raise awareness.
“Originally, Epic Rose began with a simple desire to paint on jeans,” Schwartz said. “However, once I realized that this idea had the potential to evolve into a real business, it felt like something was missing. I wanted a reason to work hard for Epic Rose, to build a business that was larger than myself and pursue a mission that mattered. This was the moment everything clicked. Thus, I combined my passion for art as well as my passion for food allergies in order to create a nonprofit organization with passion, purpose and personality.”