A Transcendent Evening


The juniors, along with the English 11 teachers, smile before heading off campus for a Transcendentalism-related field trip.

The week before spring break all 11th grade students, along with families and faculty, enjoyed a Transcendentalism Evening at school. This was part of a culminating third quarter project that English 11 does every year, in which students study Transcendentalist authors – Thoreau, Emerson, Dickinson, Whitman – and then create their own projects out of the inspiration that comes with the many readings they have completed and discussions they have had. A handful of the parents who attended the Transcendentalism Evening shared their thoughts on the event. 

Tracy A. Zorpette: The teachers asked the students to go deeper with the ideas presented by the Transcendentalists — and the students delivered.  From pressure to conform, to solitude, to living simply, to being part of the natural world,  the students vigorously and creatively engaged with the themes of Emerson, Thoreau, Dickinson and Whitman.  These teenagers made themselves vulnerable in their honesty and exposure of their hopes, fears and struggles.  Bravo to the teachers for nurturing them through these turbulent years, and to the school as a whole for insisting on an education that goes beyond test scores.

Salma and Arif Ali: Arif and I were completely blown away by the evening.  We noted to each other that this is exactly why we chose Field.  You have a unique way of encouraging each student to reveal their texture, and to celebrate who they are at this moment, while they continue on their journey. Thank you. A great, big, sincere, heartfelt thank you. 


Students and parents admire the work on display during the Transcendentalism Evening.

Deborah Ellick: Stephen and I were touched, entertained, educated and amazed at the Transcendentalism evening. We loved how the students made conscientious efforts to go out of their comfort zone to discuss some hard but realistic life issues. It is not easy at 17 years old to dig deep into the meaning and psychology of the author’s writings to find depth and purpose in their own lives and compare them to the authors of an entirely different generation. The English project that Field requires for the students to learn was eye opening for our son and clearly for the students who presented Tuesday night. Hooray for Field students for sharing their experiences. Thanks for sharing a piece of you with the parent community. We applaud you. 


Jodee A. Z. Lichtenstein: We were so impressed with how  open the presenters were and how respectful, kind and supportive the student audience was.  I think this is unique at Field to find a student body so supportive of their peers.  We were impressed by the quality of the final projects and the amount of work and thought that was put into the projects.  Lastly, we were impressed by the teachers and how supportive and pleased they were about their student projects.  You could see in the teachers eyes and actions how moved they were by the work their students put forth.

Penny Catterall: I loved how honest and open the students were about their experiences and what they learned about themselves, even if it was somewhat difficult for them to discuss in public. I also really enjoyed the diversity of projects, from art to film to poetry. It was great to see how many different directions students were able to take from this one unit! 

Susie Antebi: I really was very impressed with the candid and honest presentations of the students. I was moved by their sincerity and their fragility. They captured the essence of the project and the incredible display of creativity was amazing.


About The Field School

The Field School is an independent school for grades 6-12 located at 2301 Foxhall Rd, NW, Washington DC.
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