Every year the Ross community comes together to listen to students and teachers share their stories and adventures from the on- and off-campus M-Term courses. This evening is one of the most popular events at Ross School, with an opening reception at the Ross Gallery followed by group presentations.
Also known as Winter Intersession, M-Term gives High School students and teachers the opportunity to work together for three weeks, often in March, between winter and spring terms. Courses take place both on campus and overseas, however some students choose to focus on Independent Study projects instead. Mementos from this year’s courses were on display in the Ross Gallery during the opening reception on April 25. Guests viewed photographs, videos, maps, paintings, sketches, ceramics, process books, comic strips, articles, and even a dress constructed out of recycled beverage labels by Geige Silver.
Work from two on-campus M-Terms was exhibited. Students in Odysseus and the Amazing Technicolor Representation had read Homer’s Odyssey and constructed maps, illustrated cartoons, and rendered 3D images in conjunction with the text. In addition, the artwork and writings from students in Art & Soul: Exploration of Space and Creativity were also on display. Students explored artistic creativity and soul space while engaging in a wide range of visual arts and creative writing. Lastly, two Independent Projects showcased Justine Friedrich’s painting and Jiahui Guo’s ceramics.
Following the reception, a special presentation on the travel courses was held in the Court Theater. Many featured documentary-style videos. This year, all but one trip went to China, which included visiting Beijing and Shanghai and viewing some iconic sites of Chinese civilization such as the Great Wall, Forbidden City and the Terra Cotta Warriors in Xi’an. However, each course focused on different aspects of the country.
In Harmony Between Heaven and Earth: Chinese Culture and Ecology, students explored how cultural and political history has shaped environmental relations in China from the first dynasties to the present. They analyzed the development and influence of ideas about harmony between heaven, earth and humans by studying archaeological evidence from Neolithic sites and the Terra Cotta Warriors. They also looked at how humans have adapted to the natural environment during guided hikes through the Dragon’s Back rice terraces and on a bamboo-rafting trip along the Li River. Also relating to ecology, students in the Giant Panda Conservation M-Term learned how to care for and help preserve giant pandas, an endangered species. They worked in the Bi Feng Xia National Reserve and Ya’an Panda Conservation Center cleaning out pens and feeding the pandas, in some cases, by hand.
Meanwhile, in Echoes from the Past: Are They Being Heard Today? students learned about the architectural heritage of China and the philosophical and religious traditions of China's most important cultural roots: Buddhism, Daoism and Confucianism. They compared the past with the present, looking at trade, government, religion, the arts, design, wellness and cuisine. In Road to the Revolution, students learned about the formation of the People’s Republic, The Cultural Revolution, The Communist Party and Mao Zedong. They also explored Mao’s early life and upbringing in Hunan, the modern political center of the party in Beijing, and Shanghai’s history in the revolution focusing on the infamous Gang of Four.
From political history to artistic influence, students in Evolution of Cultural Expression: Art, Fashion and Architecture explored legendary sites and trendy cosmopolitan areas, while analyzing the evolution of expression in Chinese art, fashion and architecture. They looked at street fashion as a distinct form of self-expression and attended the Shanghai International Fashion Culture Festival where they observed modern art on runway models.
The last off-campus travel course, “Go West, Young Man,” took place in the U.S. in the great Southwest. Students visited small towns, such as Truth or Consequences, and large cities like Las Vegas and Los Angeles. Dividing into groups of writers and photographers, students worked together to tell the stories of the people they met along the way and document the extraordinary landscapes.