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Dublin School

Winter Comments
Monday, March 7, 2016

Student: Taya Kerwin Advisor: Bernarda Del Villar Course: English 10

Exam Grade: A Trimester Grade: A Academic Engagement Grade:
Exceeds Expectations

Students in English 10 have been given the daunting task of learning to contextualize their understanding of
literature through the eyes of writers who are often on the fringe of the Dublin student experience. This course
is designed to develop deeper reading, writing, and critical-thinking skills through encounters with texts by
authors who hail from many countries, many cultural traditions, and many literary genres. This winter, 10th
graders have been wrestling with the creative language and difficult histories inherent in Midnights Children by
Salman Rushdie and the short story collection The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fist Fight in Heaven by Sherman
Alexie. By considering, in Chimamanda Ngozi Adichies terms, the danger of a single story, students have
been working to expand their understanding of how power, knowledge, and literature circulate on a global scale.
Together, we have continued to complicate the essential questions of the course: How does literature add texture
to or erase the realities we live in? Who has the power to write these stories? What are the political and artistic
roles of the author in society? Who decides who is included in the literary canon? How do these decisions
impact our sense of what "English Literature" is? How is our sense of the value of non-canonical perspectives
altered or impacted by these choices? Why do voices that are different from our own matter? How are we made
better by their existence in our lives? Through daily poem responses in their Writing Notebooks, a hybrid
research/literary analysis essay, and student-led classroom discussions, English 10 students are working
diligently to gain confidence in the art of personal expression and to form empathic connections to non-
canonical texts.

As per usual Taya is a delight to have in English 10. She is kind, thoughtful, engaged, and an inspiration to her
peers on how to be closely involved in the work of the classroom and still have fun. Her Midnight's Children
essay was well-written and demonstrated not only her ability to analyze literature deeply, but also to navigate
the ideas of others effectively. I suspect that her essay would have been even stronger without the pressure and
heavy time commitment of the play and I commend her for producing such a solid essay despite the demands of
the play and her other courses. I have no doubt that Taya will continue to shine brightly in English 10
throughout the spring.

Alexander Scalfano