Writing and Thinking 2019

Sinziana Stanciu, ‘20

September 2019

The school year began once again with the fearful glances of the freshman and the relaxed yet soon to be anxious Year 2s. Mixed into writing and thinking workshops, students from all grades were combined into random groups for four days of thought-provoking discussions around an anthology curated by BHSEC professors. Every student is curious (and hopeful) about who they’ll end up with because these activities are always intriguing. Friends reunited in the hallways after a few months of being apart, people hugged, yelled and jumped for joy. Bard came alive with the laughter of new and old students hoping to make their mark this year. Amidst all of the happiness, there was also critical thinking in the temporary classes, and some new workshops added to facilitate unconventional discussions. 

As a Year 2, this year’s writing and thinking have been particularly reminiscent of all the other ones I’ve had over the years. I chose to use the same notebook all four years (9th graders please do this) and it has allowed me to reflect on my time here . Honestly, seeing how I’ve grown in the past few years astonishes me, and I’m sure that many other y2s feel the same. I was grateful for the different workshops we did this year, especially one which involved going outside to East River Park. Every writing and thinking workshop had the opportunity over these four days to admire natural beauty, and we did this using the most essential devices for young people today: our smartphones. With the iNaturalist app, we examined the plants within the park, which our schools has the advantage of being so close to. Students had fun walking around, examining the leaves and writing about them. 

Most of the other works that we wrote about came from the anthology. This year one of the pieces that stood out to me the most was a rap song. The faculty at BHSEC is evidently attempting to be more inclusive of the music that students listen to through the use of Jay-Z’s song “The Story of O.J.” This effort paid off, in my particular writing and thinking I had a very interesting discussion surrounding the symbolism of O.J. Simpson and the lyrics paired with the music video. It provoked interesting discussions about African American communities, race, and investment. 

BHSEC is trying to stay on the pulse of the teenage community in more ways than one, and they proved this by  creating a workshop activity around the theme of “you.” This new workshop asked students to take pictures of themselves around BHSEC and then write pieces to go alongside such pictures. When it was all taped together in a vertical format, each student had a representation of themselves through BHSEC. Put together in the Auditorium, we had essentially created an anthology of BHSEC. Students carefully crafted pieces to provoke thought and discussion in the temporary gallery. This year writing and thinking truly embodied our school’s motto: a place to think.