Ross Upper School
Debra McCall, director of curriculum and professional development for Ross Upper School and dean of cultural history, is one of 30 educators awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship to study “Roots of the Arab Spring: Understanding the Historical Context for the Arab Uprisings” at the University of California, Davis, this summer. As an NEH Summer Scholar, Debra will attend a three-week institute led by history, anthropology, and literature faculty from UC Davis in conjunction with the History Project, a group of K–12 educators from the Sacramento area. The institute will focus on the economic, sociopolitical, religious, historical, and cultural aspects of the revolutions. Debra will apply the study to creating curriculum for an elective at Ross on the Arab Spring, refining the annual senior presentation on the subject, and strengthening the Middle East thread throughout the curriculum. This is her second NEH Fellowship. She is also a past recipient of four National Endowment for the Arts awards in Choreography, Inter-Arts, and Advanced Design.
Ross Lower School
An interactive, pop-up Egyptian Tomb Museum appeared in a classroom at Ross Lower School on April 12. From the Book of the Dead, to pyramid construction, to hieroglyphs, to Senet games, fifth-graders explained aspects of Egyptian culture to visitors who included both students from the lower grades as well as parents and friends. The entrance to the museum was guarded by Anubis (portrayed by Schuyler VanTassel), and each visitor was challenged to “weigh their hearts” against an ostrich feather, representing a ceremony conducted in the afterlife in Egyptian mythology. Nearby, Maddie Ringelstein showed examples of clothing and jewelry worn in Ancient Egypt, and Orlando Narizzano demonstrated different types of canopic jars (containers that held the organs of mummified bodies).
At Ian Morgan’s station, visitors could play a game of Senet, one of the oldest board games known to civilization. Jaden Schapiro and Joshua Enright-Rabin put together a display on hieroglyphs and guided students as they made 3-D representations of the characters out of clay. Ella Griffiths and Gianna Scala also used clay, helping younger students make small charms. Diego Vanegas and Olivia Weiner explained the relationships and powers of the Egyptian gods, and India Galesi-Grant shared a replica of the Egyptian Book of the Dead, as well as a model of a tomb that students could crawl through.
A number of exhibits focused on the architecture of ancient Egypt. Laina Lomont presented an architect’s model of a compound typically inhabited by a family and their servants. Tycho Burwell displayed a wooden pyramid that he had built himself, while Grace Gaustad put together a slideshow about pyramids and tombs. Josie Smith spoke about the Sphinx and offered visitors the chance to create and decorate their own drawings of the monument. Quentin Bazar modeled a shaduf, a structure used to transfer water from the Nile to crops along the river basin, and Ava O’Shea assembled a microcosm of the Nile in a wading pool.