8th Grade Meet Us Mondays: Gabriella T.

Each week as we count down to graduation we are asking our wonderful 8th grade students to reflect on their time at IL and to share some of their future plans, in a continuation of our "Meet Us Monday" series. We hope you are enjoying these fun interviews and etting to better know our wonderful 8th graders and learn more about their experiences at ILS and in the Upper School. We are so grateful to each of our 8th graders for taking the time to respond and share more about themselves!

Meet Us Monday: Gabriella T., ILS Class of 2018

1. How long have you attended ILS? Seven and a half years.  I started in first grade, actually left for a little bit in 6th grade, but really regretted it and came back after a few months. I went to a bigger school because my parents and I agreed it might help me find more opportunities, join more clubs and get to work in art studios and science labs, things like that, but it ended up not challenging me enough. The academics were a little too simple at that school and I wanted a bigger challenge. 

2. To what house do you belong, and how have you developed as a person by being involved in it? I belong to the House of Augustine, and I think I’ve developed my leadership skills there quite a bit. Before I was not very confident as a leader, but I watched older people around me lead the houses. Last year and this year, I got elected as captain of Augustine, so I used the skills I saw other people using to lead my house in the same way. I like that I really get to know the people in my house and get to hang out even with 5th and 6th graders.  As captain, you have to plan house competitions, you plan how to discuss and strategize in our house meetings, you have to decide what tasks certain house members have, such as in Track and Field Day. You kind of have to assess the strengths and weaknesses of your house so that you can utilize their strengths and not push them to be too uncomfortable in their weaknesses. To run your house, it takes a lot of time and dedication. Actually, as much as I don’t like saying this, Athanasius does that really well. You have to keep your house engaged; I try to do that well but it’s not easy.  Augustine used to be really calm and now they’re not – their enthusiasm has grown. We think they have more fun in the competitions because they’re so engaged. We did a competition recently in which everyone was really engaged and everyone really helped. They told me what parts they could do and we just did it. I hope I always let them work as much as they want to.

3.  What was your favorite House competition?  This year’s engineering competition was really fun. We were given tasks with various items. For example, my group had to build the tallest tower we could out of toothpicks and marshmallows that would hold a ping-pong ball. We were also really happy with one of our house groups that did a job to be proud of in the egg protection project. We had to cover an egg with a small set of materials (balloons, tape, straw) and drop it off the roof. Well, Mr. Schultz dropped it off the roof. I think my dad was there too. It’s great that my dad is so involved.  Anyway, it was set up so that all ages were involved. We had to make groups within our house and the way we arranged our groups was great. Even people who weren’t confident did their best and everything really paid off: we won that whole competition.

4.  What is your favorite ILS memory? (Or, which ILS tradition will you remember the most?) I want to say Chubby Bunny. The teachers and a few of the older students line up and put marshmallows in their mouth and then try to say Chubby Bunny – you keep adding marshmallows and try to last longer than anyone else. Most people can’t talk, or throw it up. It was SO funny.  We probably did that when I was in 3rd grade or maybe even younger.

My favorite tradition is our houses. Our houses are named after church fathers, and I think that is awesome.  House competitions are fun, but being surrounded with your house members every day is a reminder that there is constant adventure in your life. Competitions are just once in awhile, but your house is every day. You can even create your own competitions if you want and ask your house sponsor to support it. Students run the houses but we still have teachers to supervise us. There is a healthy pressure we captains feel to both lead our houses and make these competitions and experiences happen. It’s one of those things that’s hard to grasp until you’re in the middle of it.

5.  Which event did you most look forward to during your 8th grade year? I was going to say graduation, but then I remembered that means I can’t come back next year. It’s both sad and happy, because while we’re leaving ILS behind, we’ll get to make more friends and have more experiences. We can’t just stay here in middle school for the rest of our lives, although it sounds pretty good right now. 

6. What was your favorite class at ILS, and why? I think I’m going to have to say Latin, which will surprise no one. Well, both Latin and Mr. Barnett. He is so funny – there is a real enthusiasm for teaching in him. You can tell by the way he talks about Latin that he enjoys the actual subject and sharing his knowledge of Latin with other people. Right now, we’re working a lot on participles, which are apparently verbal adjectives. Mr. Barnett first tried to explain it to us by saying “it functions as a verb but also as an adjective.” So we just kept on saying “It’s an adverb!” and then he’d say “No! It functions as a verb but also an adjective.” And then we went around like that for awhile before it finally clicked. It was a fun discussion because Mr. Barnett took what could have been a really frustrating discussion and made it both relevant and humorous.

7. What was your favorite ILS field trip? We recently did a visit with Reptiles Alive. The live animals were so close, and we actually got to go up and touch the snakes. It was explained that they’re not really as scary as they seem. A lot of people are afraid of reptiles, but they’re really cool to observe and they are more afraid of us.  

8.  Where are you attending High School? I am going to Madeira and I’m really excited. A few of the main reasons I decided on going there would be what they call their co-curriculum, which is an internship program. The first year of high school they teach you how to be a good intern, the second year you do volunteer work, the third year you intern on the hill for a representative or senator of your choice, and for your fourth year Madeira lets you choose an internship based on any field you’d want to study more or work in. They have a lot of animals there – stables on campus! Their Latin curriculum is also really good. Those are the main reasons I’m excited about it. I’m going to live at home, at least for freshman year. Many girls there who live at home when starting choose to opt into boarding at the junior year, so we’ll just see how it goes when we get there.

9. What will you miss the most about ILS? Is it bad to say everything? Everything from the students and friends I’ve made here to the teachers and the flow of classes. High school is going to just be different; good, but different. I will miss the houses too; Madeira has a system sort of similar to the houses, but I will miss these house members.

10. What is something a teacher told you that you will never forget? It’s not really something they tell me outright, but I think it might be every teacher’s love for certain things. Miss Davis’s love of Lord of the Rings and basically everything by Tolkien. You should have a conversation about it with her. Mr. Schultz and his love of baseball and how he incorporates that into all his classes. Mr. Barnett and his love for strange jokes. Pastor’s willingness to open up a topic for discussion. Obviously, Ms. Kramer’s love for teaching us logic.

 Don’t miss me too much! I’ll come back to visit!