Vision for Learning News
For two decades, Lovett freshmen have begun the school year by participating in the annual Service Initiation for Ninth Graders (SING). Over the course of two days and one night, they build relationships with their fellow advisees, learn about new parts of the city of Atlanta, and engage in three service experiences, through which they develop a sense of connection to the larger city of which Lovett is a part.
Service learning doesn’t begin or end with the service experience itself, and that is particularly true for SING. This year, the curricular preparation woven into ninth grade English classes and assemblies centered on the experience of refugees in Atlanta. Students read Outcasts United by Warren St. John, watched and discussed Chimamanda Adichie’s thought-provoking TED talk on “The Danger of a Single Story,” and heard the powerful life stories of three refugees who now call Atlanta home.
Opportunities for reflection and discussion are integral to SING. Some of the most meaningful reflection comes once students return to Lovett and begin work on a personal narrative related to what they saw, heard, and experienced on SING. In his narrative, Jackson Borden '20 connected his experiences at the International Community School to Adichie’s TED talk. He described reading a book to one of the children at ICS and reflected, “I looked into [his] small, childlike eyes and saw a reflection of myself. I saw somebody who wanted to learn. I saw somebody who cared about his education. I saw somebody who changed my view of the world.” Jackson’s sentiment was shared by many of his classmates, whose “single stories” were challenged over the course of SING.
Upper School French teacher and ninth grade advisor Lauren Upadhyay captured the essence of SING as she reflected on her first year of participation in the program. She wrote, “SING is focused on service, but as much of what goes on at SING has to do with discovery of identity--students are discovering who they are in the world and how they fit into the community.”
SING is integral to our continued efforts to nurture students who know themselves and understand and engage with the world around them.