At Lakewood Catholic Academy, we strive to make school fun, engaging, and rigorous every day. We also work to create memorable, meaningful, and unique learning experiences for our students. In the seventh grade, that experience is the “Best Day of School Ever,” a day full of surprises and real world learning. Parents and students receive minimal information about the day, aside from the date, time, and general location of the day (various locations in downtown Cleveland). Gratefully, our parents have been as excited as we have about the day, and they have allowed their children to participate without hesitation.
In order to make our Best Day of School Ever a reality, we began by considering what subjects students would focus on throughout the day. We settled on three sessions lasting an hour and a half each, covering math, social studies, and language arts.
Once we solidified the session details, it was time to brainstorm locations in our local community where students likely would not otherwise have a chance to visit or go behind the scenes. At the same time, our chosen locations needed to provide an engaging, real world classroom. After considering the various treasures we have in our city, we landed on FirstEnergy Stadium, home of the Cleveland Browns, the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, and the State Theatre in Playhouse Square.
As the Best Day of School Ever approached, students worked to discover where they would spend the day. Some students came close, but none actually guessed any of the locations for the day. Students were excited for the unknown and were anxiously awaiting the experience designed just for them.
As soon as morning prayer ended, the bus left left campus and headed downtown. Students were dropped a block away from their actual destination to ensure that other students on the bus remained unaware of where they would visit later in the day.
The first stop of the day was FirstEnergy Stadium. Mr. Fletcher, our Dean of Students, and Mrs. McGuire, our Dean of the IB Program, waited at the stadium ready for a day full of math. Students used the Pythagorean Theorem to solve football-based equations, were granted field access and used the relative difference equation to compare their own 40-yard dash time to NFL players, and went through the LCA-combine, where they not only tackled math problems but took on physical challenges, like those at the NFL combine.
The second stop of the day was the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, where students participated in an economics lesson on supply and demand. Students were divided into groups, each of which received a wallet with $200 in various denominations of “LCA money.” Students then received random products – ranging from paper clips, erasers, and straws, to pencils, Starbursts, and a full size Hershey bar – that they had to price and attempt to sell to other groups. During the lesson, students learned that items that had no demand were virtually impossible to sell. After the lesson and discussion ended, we were lucky enough to receive a tour of the old and new bank vaults, where we learned the history of the Federal Reserve and learned about the technology that keeps the bank running today.
The third and final stop of the day was the State Theatre in Playhouse Square, where Mr. Sinchak taught a language arts session. Students were awed by the beauty of the theatre, and were excited to be in the seats in which they had previously sat during productions. During the lesson, the group examined the plot structure of both a play and a short story, and read and analyzed Gift of the Magi by O’Henry.
As they returned to campus, students excitedly shared their experiences with their friends, as well as with our younger Saints back at school. In each of these conversations, our seventh grade students agreed that they had, in fact, enjoyed the best day of school ever!
~Brenna Warrell, Principal