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Middle School Director's Notes

A Message from Middle School Director, Ilse Norris:

Dear Visitation Middle School families,

Due to the cancelation of the traditional three-day trip to Chicago, a very special day was organized for the 8th grade class on Friday, May 6 to commemorate all their accomplishments and graduation from Visitation Middle School. After taking attendance for the day, we left the Middle School circle promptly at 8 a.m. by bus for the Mall of America to participate in The Escape Game. The Escape Game is an immersive 60-minute adventure where teams choose challenges and work together to solve problems in an effort to "escape." We had 60 minutes to crack codes, uncover clues, solve puzzles, and complete the mission. It was a fun and challenging team-building activity. I think I enjoyed it as much as the kids! From the MOA, we traveled to the Ordway Concert Hall for an 11 a.m. concert of Julie Albers Plays Shostakovich’s First Cello Concerto. The emcee explained that Dmitri Shostakovich was always quiet about what his music meant, likely a result of being censored and threatened by the Stalin regime for much of his career. His first cello concerto was masterfully performed by Alberts, the SPCO Principal Cello, giving our students a glimpse of this timeless hallmark of cello repertoire. From the Ordway, we went directly to Camp St. Croix for a picnic lunch and outdoor activities, including the climbing tower. The weather was absolutely perfect and made the afternoon that much more enjoyable. We arrived back at Visitation around 5 p.m., tired but grateful for this all-around beautiful day.

The 7th grade soirée, also on May 6, was a big success. Parents dropped their 7th graders off at 5 p.m. on Friday in the Middle School circle. After a snack in the Commons, students went outside to play Capture the Flag, an all-time favorite. The pizza arrived at 6:15 p.m. and the balmy evening beckoned the students outside. I think my favorite moment of the entire evening was when the 7th graders spontaneously took over the Lower School playground and had fun on the swings and the monkey bars. We forget how tender this age can be. We ended the soirée with arts & craft activities. Nothing warms my heart more than to see kids have good, honest fun together! 

The 6th graders have been hard at work in Religion class learning about food deserts. A food desert is an area where access to nutritious food is scarce. At the end of the unit, students were asked to take action and devise a project that could make a real difference in their community. For example, one group started a food drive through VEAP, a non-profit organization that works to create stronger, more hopeful communities through access to healthy food, housing stability, and supportive services. They called the organization and registered their drive, asked for receptacles to be delivered, and prepared a presentation for the MS Assembly. The food drive runs through May 13. I am very proud of all of our 6th grade students for their initiative and resolve to make a difference.

As always, it is my privilege to partner with you and to work with your daughter in this excellent school. 

Ilse Norris
Director of Middle School