Ours was the Best
Danny Stock
"What was so mystifying to me became clear.”

Minimester 2019 delivered invaluable opportunities for learning, connecting, and recharging as High School students engaged in one of 36 diverse offerings for three days. Some took advantage of incredible local treasures in our city while others traveled to other cities—or mountains. Many remained here on campus and took their studies in a new direction. During the culminating event on February 27, students shared details from their in-depth studies, highlighting what they learned, the connections they made with each other, and the ways their thinking had changed over just three days.

“Not to brag, but we went into the pit,” said Adam Leff ’22, referring to the deep excavation for our future Lower/Middle School building across Davenport Street. The 16 participants in How to Build an Amazing New School explored technology, engineering, and construction practices with visits to Gensler and the Lab School construction project; they also observed the pouring of a 60’ x 80’ foundation slab here at GDS.

Not to be outdone, other students clamored to claim that their chosen course had been the best.

In Stonewall Uprising & Living through the AIDS Crisis, students started off joining a talk at NYU on the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising. They studied the legacy of the AIDS crisis, visited the NYC Public Library, and took in a Broadway musical.

In Food, Body, and Soul, students participated in various different forms of fitness classes. “Not only was it fun, but we grew closer with everyone around as we were suffering through the workshop,” explained Claire Wolsk ’19. “It was a great break from the stress of school... and we ate healthy food.”

Colin Kirk ’20 promoted Guerrilla Girls who visited art galleries and spoke with artists. “It was so enlightening to learn about how women's art is undervalued and underrepresented. Art by women was tough to find. It was a great opportunity to learn about feminist artists.”

Margaux Van Allen ’20 recounted her visit to the Rosa Health Center in Georgetown, Delaware as part of their learning in Exploring Reproductive Justice. The center provides services for mostly recent-immigrant patients. “We made a brochure for them and some art to help advertise an event they are hosting. We heard about recent migrants seeking asylum. The leader was so passionate in her advocacy for these women. Now, we are starting a drive to collect shoes, coats, and SAT books for children.”

During Intro to Programming in Java, students discovered new respect for people who build games as they have to create from scratch.

Students in Food, Culture & the Immigrant Experience learned to prepare traditional foods authentically as well as the impact of culture, geography, and immigration policies on the preparations those foods.

“Eating meals together is a good way to get to know each other,” said Shonali Palacios ’19, who participated in Food, Culture & the Immigrant Experience – Latin track. “It was so rewarding after putting so much effort into the dishes we were making to sit down and enjoy our meals. Cooking like this is a lost art.”

Tayae Rogers ’20, who participated in the Chinese track of the same course, added that she felt encouraged to try more authentic foods: “We also learned how to figure out what was authentic in different regional cuisine.”

Another student echoed the value of connecting over a shared food-prep experience during Unplugged in the Wilderness. “We bonded during long hikes and while cooking together. We chopped wood and then cooked together for more than 20 people over our one tiny fire.”

During Art Behind the Scenes in New York City Museums, one participant shared that she “loved the hidden experience so much as an artist.” They were able to view Salvidor Dali’s Persistence of Memory, several Georgia O’Keeffe pieces, and Van Gogh’s Starry Night.

One participant in Producing Music in a Modern Digital Recording Studio explained, most succinctly, the Minimester experience. “What was so mystifying to me became clear.”

The three-day Minimester experience provided new perspectives, new learning spaces, and importantly an opportunity to create a new mix of students and skills from the entire High School body. Join us and the many students who spoke up in thanking the teachers for creating these memorable experiences for students to learn, connect, and recharge.
Watch a summary video »

Complete List of Minimester 2019 Classes
  • A GreenSpace Odyssey
  • A March that Changed the Country: Selma, Violence, and the Voting Rights Act
  • A View from the Other Side: Partisan Politics in Trump's America
  • Art Behind-the-Scenes in New York City Museums: An Exclusive VIP Pass
  • Caffeinate and Educate!
  • Comedians and Society
  • Deep Dive into DC Performance
  • Examining the Brains of Serial Killers and Adolescents
  • Exploring Reproductive Justice
  • Film Appreciation 101: Movie Classics (and What Makes ‘Em Great)
  • Food, Body and SOUL
  • Food, Culture, and the Immigrant Experience (Chinese track)
  • Food, Culture, and the Immigrant Experience (Latin track)
  • Guerrilla Girls: A Philly-based Crash Course in Feminist Art History
  • Hiking Through History in Shenandoah
  • Hip Hoppers Live!
  • Hoppers Helping Hoppers
  • How to Build an Amazing New School
  • Humanizing Homelessness: Understanding the Challenges That Undocumented Immigrants Face When Trying to Secure Housing
  • Introduction to Programming in Java Through Games
  • Lego Mindstorm RoboChallenge
  • Let's Talk About Sex
  • Making Comics
  • Modern Physics Experiments
  • N.C.A.A. (Numerous Conversations about Amateur Athletics)
  • Prisoners and Their World
  • Producing Music in a Modern Digital Recording Studio: Let’s Record the Band!
  • Relatively Weird: Time and Space on a Soft Watch
  • Sabermetrics
  • Stonewall Uprising and Living Through the AIDS Crisis 1981-1991: A Personal Memoir
  • Ukrainian Easter Egg Decorating
  • Unplugged in the Wilderness
  • Walls or Bridges? Immigration and Cultural Encounters
  • Were You Born a Racist? The Neuroscience of Implicit Bias
  • Women Who Shaped the World
  • Yoga, Meditation and Mindfulness
  • Build Networks
  • High School
  • Learn Actively
  • Lower School
  • Middle School