October 4, 2023
Upper Hosts LatinX Summer Reading Program Event
The Upper School hosted its first LatinX Summer Reading Program event. The day started with an assembly with Sergio Mata, the immigrant liaison for Community Action Agency; Mayra Jackson, a paralegal case manager for the Immigrant and Refugee Law Center; Dr. Maria Piombo, the director of the Child and Family Treatment Center at Central Clinic Behavioral Health, and Dr. Megan Nieto, an English professor at Xavier University, talking about their experiences in working in immigration, literature, and mental health. Students then attended workshops diving deeper in the topics of law and immigration, LatinX literature, and serving Cincinnati’s Hispanic community.
Last year, current seniors Grace Dunson, Nathan Walker, and Gabrielle Walker redesigned the summer reading program to make it more multicultural.
“Congratulations to Grace, Gabrielle, and Nathan on this massive accomplishment. When Grace reached out and set up a meeting to discuss her ideas, I could not have imagined the magical, year-long journey that was about to begin,” said Mark Beyreis, chair of the Upper School English department.
Each year, the program will highlight a different culture or identity with each grade reading a different book.
Upper Welcomes Spanish Students
This fall, the Upper School welcomed 30 students and two teachers from Askartza Claret in Bilbao, Spain. The Spanish students were hosted by Seven Hills families and were here for exciting Homecoming events, like spirit week, the all school picnic, and the Homecoming dance.
The Spanish students shadowed their Upper counterparts for their first two days to see what life as an Upper School student is like. In a new program this year, Upper School teachers crafted classes — one for each subject — specifically for the Spanish students and taught in English.
Spanish students worked on children’s books in Spanish as a keepsake for their time in the Seven Hills community. They visited Doherty and Lotspeich Lower Schools to share with books with students while they were in their Spanish classes.
“These exchange programs are truly one-of-a-kind opportunities for our students, allowing them to immerse themselves in a different culture and foster lifelong friendships. Seeing the joy and enthusiasm on our students’ faces when they were with their host siblings was heartwarming,” said Teresa Bardon, Spanish teacher and chair of the Upper world language department.
The Upper Schoolers will reunite with their exchange students in Spain during May Term.
Author Pablo Cartaya visits for Between the Pages
Young adult author Pablo Cartaya talked about the lessons he learned from his grandmother, expressing his feeling through writing, and struggling to understand his identity at the Upper School Between the Pagesassembly. Between the Pages is an annual author visit that brings authors to Seven Hills to spend the day with Upper and Middle School students.
“It wasn’t until I became a writer that I started reflecting on my life and one of those things I started reflecting on was this question about my identity,” Cartaya said.
Cartaya is Cuban-American, but shared he felt like an outsider in the Cuban community in Miami when he moved there in high school because he did not speak Spanish.
“There is no one way to express yourself and your connection to your culture. If you think of your culture like an umbrella, you are under that umbrella and your experience with that culture is your own,” Cartaya told the students.
In his talk, he also expounded on the book editing process and later signed copies of his books for students.