Our Mission in Action

All in a Minimester's Work

High School Dean of Students Margaret Paul
Well, another Minimester has come and gone and I am still exhausted from all the excitement!
This year we had 19 different Minimesters happening and 7 of those were led by students. I am impressed annually by what comes out of this 3-day experience and am blown away by the time and energy that both leaders and participants put into the workshops. If you haven’t talked to your child about their experience yet, please do so this week. The descriptions of the Minimesters that took place this year are listed here again for you to look over (see the very bottom of this message).
One of the goals of Minimester is to bring different groups of people together in order to build community. Students had the opportunity to get to know people in other grades, as well as their own, and perhaps got to know some different Faculty members, as well. Every connection we make with one another improves the entire LREI experience. It weaves the fabric of our community a bit tighter, something it feels like the world needs a bit more of these days.
I want to share a few of the pictures my advisees shared with me of their Minimester adventures. Two advisees toured NYC by Boat and traveled on a number of the different ferries that NYC has. The picture included is from their trip out to the Rockaways. Another advisee led the Words into Action Minimester, where a group of 17 of our students (included 2 other advisees!) went to various NYC organizations to volunteer their time. This picture shows the community garden where they helped out. Finally, we have part of the group from Action Movie: Behind the Scenes where students were taught fight/action scene moves by senior Myles Dunlop. The 3 short films they created were shared during the Friday afternoon Assembly. Myles also agreed to share them with all of you here.

#1 Murder Mystery
Jane Belton & Kelly O’Shea
You (or your alter ego) are cordially invited to the first ever LREI Murder Mystery Party. Get into character and solve a mystery together—then learn all of the tools you need so you can create your own! All sorts of skills, abilities, and creative ideas are welcome!  P.S. This is the only minimester description you need to read.
TL;DR: Solve and plan murder mysteries with your friends.
TL; DR the TL;DR: Join.
#Get a clue #Come hang with us #Give it a shot #Bite the bullet #What a blast! #Lethally fun!

Action Movie: Behind the Scenes
Myles Dunlop & Vin Scialla
Have you ever pretended to do cool things you see in the movies such as stunts or stage fighting? In this minimester, you will learn parkour and stage fighting. Parkour is the art of movement, using the obstacles in your path to your advantage. Stage fighting is when two people fight, but never touch each other. The two of these art forms, merged together, are the basis of an action movie. By the end of the minimester, you will have a short film that includes parkour and stage fighting. Athletic clothes and sneakers are necessary. Also, a packed lunch, snack, and a water bottle.

Baking and Beyond
Flo Finkelstein, Claire Greenburger, Loulou Viemeister & Susan Now
In this sweet minimester we will explore the decadent art of baking! We will be using pure, delicious, and fresh ingredients only. During this minimester, you will learn to make a cake, a custard, a pastry, and many more sweet creations. We will document our efforts by making short and simple baking videos. If you share our love for baking, or want to learn some new techniques, this is the minimester for you! So come join us in the kitchen! Serious bakers only!
**If you are allergic to nuts or dogs, this is NOT the minimester for you.**

Book Nooks
Arturo Acevedo & Adele de Biasi Pelz
If reading is your passion then this minister is in fashion. Bring your love of books to famous NYC bookstores, reading spaces, and literary cafes. We will visit libraries, bookstores and cafes. We will spend time reading in cozy chairs, drinking coffee in cafes and discussing our travels through the books of our choice while we savor the reading life and share our favorite passages. Please come prepared with something to read!

Bored and Brilliant: The Lost Art of Spacing Out
Allison Isbell, Chris Keimig & Pat Higgiston
What's so bad about being bored? No, but really, what's so bad about it? We avoid it all the time by reaching for our phones, we dread feeling it, and when you say "that class was SOOOOOOOO BORING," everyone understands that that's a bad thing. But then again, artists, meditators, and neuroscientists all seem to think that being bored isn't so bad -- it might even be helpful for discovering big ideas or realizing something we wouldn't otherwise. I mean, why would Andy Warhol ever say: "I like boring things"? He even looked bored most of the time, and he was Andy Warhol! What if boring weren't bad, but actually kind of brilliant? What's hiding in boredom that might be surprising? What if we put down our phones and tried to have fun being bored? Spend some time with us this minimester, and find out what you're missing.

Jess Prohias-Gardiner & Jonathan Segal
Ever thought about starting your own business?  Or had an idea to solve an existing problem?  During this minimester, you will take the first steps in turning these ideas into reality!  Join us to learn fundamental business skills, take "trips" to meet and talk with current entrepreneurs, and the option to participate in a 30-second pitch competition.  Whether you have a great business idea or just want to be your own boss, your future business starts right here, right now!

Exploring Indian, Korean, & Japanese Cuisine
Alan Kim & Manjula Nair
Do you like Indian, Korean, and Japanese food? Do you like to cook? If you answered yes to either of these questions, then join us in learning about food in Asia! Most of the Indian fare you find in restaurants is North Indian so you will get a chance to explore South Indian food, a related but quite different type of cuisine. You may have also experienced Korean and Japanese food but mostly in terms of barbeque and ramen. This minimester will give you the opportunity to learn about other aspects of Korean and Japanese cuisine that are not as visible in the American culture today. We will explore the ingredients, history, and beliefs behind the dishes of India, Korea, and Japan and go shopping for the main ingredients that we will use to cook a few dishes.
**If you have food allergies, please talk to Manjula and/or Alan before signing up.**

Fandom 201: Going Pro
Joy Piedmont
A lot of people binge watch tv, but do you binge watch and then go down a Tumblr rabbit hole to find every scrap of info about the show and its creators? Do you spend more time theorizing about your favorite fictional characters than thinking about your history homework? Or maybe you wear a lot of t-shirts that only a few people understand? If these sound familiar: you’re a fan. But what does it mean to be a fan? And how do you make a career or business out of your fandom? During this minister we’ll explore many aspects of fan culture. We’ll learn how to create and moderate a discussion panel (a la Comic Con) and have fun with geeky crafts. We’ll also visit Bustle.com’s office to talk to writers who’ve turned their fan life into their life’s work and Alisa Stern, a stop-motion animator, will come by to talk to us about her popular Doctor Who puppet series. Get ready to wear your fandom (literally) on your sleeve!

Feminist Tour of NYC
Ileana Jiménez
New York is a feminist city. During this tour of feminist highlights throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn, we will visit sites that focus on feminist activism and advocacy for women and girls such as Girls for Gender Equity, Planned Parenthood, and the Ms. Foundation for Women; feminist art and history such as the Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum and the Lesbian Herstory Collection; and feminist books and writing such as the ‘zines collection at Barnard, Bluestockings bookstore, and the Feminist Press. At the end our minimester, you will create ‘zines that reflect your own feminist New York and the personal stories and intersectional activism about which you are most passionate.

FIT Minimester
Micah Dov Gottlieb
What does it mean to be fit and healthy? It's about diet and exercise - but it's much more complex then that. What do Crossfit, Pilates, High-Intensity Interval Training, Spinning, Kick-boxing, Yoga, Powerlifting, endurance training, and the vast array of other workout styles actually do, and why? What diet will help me lose weight? What diet will help me build muscle? Should I eat low carb and high protein? Or do I need high carb and low fat? Paleo, Atkins, The Zone, South Beach, Mediterranean…ahh!!! It's enough to make anyone's head spin.
We'll visit a CrossFit gym and get an introductory training session, meet with yoga and pilates instructors, take a Spin and Boxing class, get a Paleo nutrition consult and so much more. Join the FIT minimester, we'll get out and learn how we can be our fittest selves.
**Not only will we be learning about these styles of exercise and diet, but doing them - so be prepared to work out, and fuel up!**

Jacob Farkas & Mark Silberberg
Join us if you are interested in a participating in a hackathon that will seek solutions to the design challenge, "How might we improve the LREI High School experience?" We'll explore how a variety of technologies might be used together in new and innovative ways. Multiple teams of up to four people will work on innovative software and hardware solutions to real-world LREI challenges. These projects will grow out the ideas and knowledge that participants bring with them to the experience. While some coding experience is certainly helpful, anyone who is interested in working on the design challenge is welcome to participate. In fact, many times the most important aspect of a hackathon is the community it generates and the skills that inexperienced hackers take with them as a result of the experience.

International Cinema
Antonio Valle
In this minimester we will view feature films by major international filmmakers. We will analyze how foreign cultures can be reflected through cinema, and compare the aesthetic differences between international and American movies. We will look at the films through many different lenses, through the eyes of spectator and the filmmaker. And we will also discuss how many values and universal themes are represented through the work of these artists. Students will review critically each film and should come prepared with a journal to take notes and record their views.

Japan in NYC
Leilani Sardinha & Preethi Thomas-McKnight
Dotted throughout the city are little gems of cultural experiences which, interwoven with food tastings and group activities, provide a well-rounded introduction to Japanese culture. Japan is one of Asia’s most modern and industrialized countries, but it also rigorously maintains its traditional cultural heritage. In this spirit, we will balance the historical and traditional sides of culture with tastes (literally) of modern Japan. A morning of reflection at a Japanese garden will stand in contrast to the wildly vibrant anime films made today. Some of the activities we might do are visit Japanese markets, watch movies and anime, learn some Japanese and explore what life might be like in Japan. Why buy tickets to travel across the world when you can visit Japan today - right here in NYC?!

Lions, and Tigers, and Science, Oh My!
Lola Picayo, Eve van Rens, Kara Luce & Sergei Mikhelson
Join us on an adventure back in time! Travel with us to the glory days of lower school: animals, discovery, science, snacks and fun! Nowhere in this Minimester will you hear the word “No”, unless you try to put Cheerios and blueberries up your nose. We will explore the incredibly interactive New York Hall of Science, blow lots of bubbles, and then head out to the Queens Zoo for some fieldwork discovery of sea-lion eating patterns and proper petting-zoo technique. If you’re looking for a good time, some animal trivia and a blast from the past, come join our Minimester and remember, you CAN touch this experience!

New York by Ferry
Stephen MacGillivray & Tom Murphy
We will be exploring NYC by ferry. For much of New York history ferries were an essential part of the Metro area’s transportation system. They were a vital link between the boroughs and the Island of Manhattan. With the rise of car in the 20th century most of the ferry lines went out of business. In the 21st century they are making a comeback as an old answer to the new problem of the city's overcrowded public transit system. Ferries are, however, more than just a way to get around, they connect us to our maritime past and offer unparalleled views of of the most famous skyline in the world. Over three days we will explore the romance of seeing New York by water while at the same time experiencing the newest old way of getting around our island city.
New York in the 1920s
Ann Carroll
The legacy of the Jazz Age, the "Roaring 20s,'" ripples under the surface of New York City - and we are going to spend three days reading, watching, discovering, walking, listening, writing, photographing and sketching the remnants of the era.  We will explore poems, songs, paintings, photographs and short stories of the era - and then visit the places across the city that inspired or reflected these works of art. Among other excursions - we will head to Harlem, and the MET - the Algonquin Hotel, and Central Park - swing by Grand Central Station and look for Jay Gatsby at the Plaza Hotel. If you have seen the film Fantastic Beasts or were intrigued by the era of The Great Gatsby or the world of Langston Hughes - come join us! It will be a gas!

The Science of Candy Making
Kayli Mediratta & Karyn Silverman
In this Minimester, we will examine candy-making. We will look at the history of candy-making, the ingredients used, national differences (with a gummies-of-the-world scientific test), favorite candies, and what exactly is the chemical magic that turns sugar, water, and one or two other things into something delicious. We will make a number of simple candies and also try to visit at least one local candy maker and shop. This is for chemists, cooks, and candy-lovers of all flavors.

Sequential Art & Storytelling
Harry Kassen & James French
This minimester will comprise a series of outings, lectures, conversations, screenings, art-making, and hands on activities revolving around this unique art form and its implications on our society and culture. Students should come prepared with ideas that they would like to illustrate in comics form. All genres and modes of expression will be explored.

Words into Action!
Natalie Goncher, Rafi Perez & Peter Heinz
For this minimester we will dedicate the two and a half days given to work hands-on in the community so that we can truly put our “words into action.” There are a few organizations we will partner with in order to address issues we care deeply about: the environment, animal rights, women's health, and human rights. We will complete projects that best serve their organizations. A half day will be spent at each of the following organizations: Lower East Side Ecology Center, Best Friends Animal Society, Sean Casey Animal Rescue, and Voces Latinas. Following our two days of service, we will come together to reflect on our service and plan for further involvement. One of our goals is to create a blog where we can post volunteer opportunities for the entire school in order to help facilitate our school's commitment to volunteerism and social action in the community. Come help make a difference!
Little Red School House
and Elisabeth Irwin High School

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