Uplifting the Voices of Princeton Day School

The Spokesman

Uplifting the Voices of Princeton Day School

The Spokesman

Uplifting the Voices of Princeton Day School

The Spokesman

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Ending the PDS English Journey with the Senior Reading and Writing Intensive

(Artwork/Vera Goliyad 25)
(Artwork/Vera Goliyad ’25)

Established seven years ago, the senior reading and writing intensive is a student’s final English course during their PDS career. As seniors prepare to say their goodbyes, they produce their last high school analytical readings and writing assignments in this class.

In an interview with the Spokesman, Upper School English teacher Jessica Manners explained that the semester-long course has two main parts: an in-depth look into literature and a deep dive into oneself as a senior. Through extensive conversations and three main writing assignments focused on Hamlet by William Shakespeare, senior Amanda Chen found that her understanding of the novel has deepened over the course of the class. Chen added how she found Hamlet to be “a tough read, [but] pretty interesting.” 

In addition to deeply analyzing text, the Senior Reading and Writing Intensive also emphasizes self-exploration and discovery. Ms. Manners mentioned some of the questions posed to seniors: Who are they? How do they come to be that way? What do they want to leave behind as their legacy at PDS? What do they want to be going forward? The unique task of giving a speech at the end of the year about oneself, called a ‘Credo,’ provides seniors with the opportunity to craft their closing remarks as a PDS student.

While the previously mentioned core ideas have remained constant, the Senior Reading and Writing Intensive has, and will undoubtedly, continue to develop. The method of getting sorted into class sections has changed recently, from originally being a random process to being based on teacher selection to, this year, being based on book preference. While senior Amelia Sentveld agrees with this new system, they wish “that [the] periods got the same choices of books.” Many novels were offered this year: Family Lore by Elizabeth Acevedo, In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, Station Eleven by Emily Mandel, 1984 by George Orwell, Hamlet by William Shakespeare, Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan. Having a tight schedule, however, many of the books that Sentveld was interested in were simply not available for the sections that met during their period. 

Sentveld summarized, “[The class] makes sure that [we seniors are] prepared for college-level writing. It’s the seniors’ final hurrah of English class, the last book that [we] read at PDS and…the final words that [we] say at PDS.”

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