The student news site of Francis W. Parker School

The Parker Weekly

The student news site of Francis W. Parker School

The Parker Weekly

The student news site of Francis W. Parker School

The Parker Weekly

A Piece from the Past

Exploring the eighth-grade tradition of “Past is Prologue”
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Photo credit: The Parker Weekly

As the eighth graders approach their last few weeks of Middle School, they celebrate by participating in a series of Parker traditions. One of those traditions is Past is Prologue, a presentation led by the eighth graders where they share a significant part of their lives up to that point. The eighth graders present to their parents, peers, and teachers, sharing their unique moments of growth. 

This tradition has continued for over ten years, each year different from the previous. Eighth-grade English teacher David Fuder has played a vital role in this tradition. Past is Prologue was born “when the MS Musical replaced the 8th Grade Play,” Fuder said. 

Past is Prologue soon became an event upholding many significant values. “ [Past is Prologue] teaches ownership of growth and serves as a reminder to the students that they are on a continuum of development,” Fuder said. Through the process each student undergoes to create their presentation, they explore their identity and the growth they have experienced throughout Middle school. 

Intermediate and Middle School Dean of Student Life Anthony Shaker was one of the many who attended this year’s Past is Prologue. As Dean, Shaker was actively involved with the students, their work, and the teachers’ assistance. While guidance is important for an important project like this, Shaker also recognizes the importance of student-made decisions. “For the students,  [Past is Prologue] provides an opportunity to reflect in a deep and powerful way,” Shaker said. “There’s also an element of freedom to it that gives kids independence and autonomy to look inward and explore what has shaped them as people and as students.” 

Past is Prologue provides value for the parents and teachers as well. “For teachers, I think it allows them to get to know the students in a new way. So many times, the students choose a topic that they haven’t shared with us, so it allows us to get to know them in a new and powerful way,” Shaker said. Other parents and teachers are able to learn more about the students through this presentation and create a tighter bond with the students. 

Eighth-grader Wallace Davis was one of the many who created a presentation for this year. Davis had a smooth time working on this project. “They gave us lots of time to complete the assignment through learning labs, scheduled blocks, and other forms of scheduled times,” Davis said. 

Davis cherished the event and found great value in it. He felt properly assisted and well-taught throughout his process. However, Davis also hit some rough patches during his process. “Some challenges I faced when completing this project were picking what I was going to do it about because I really did not want to overshare in this, and I wanted to pick something with a good balance of where I have enough information to really talk about it and where it’s kind of meaningful to me,” Davis said. 

While many people took this project to heart, Davis saw many people not taking it seriously. “I really feel that this project is not taken seriously by  many members of the grade.” Davis said.  “There were a few people that really tried and put an effort and created something really meaningful to their education and to the rest of the grade and people who saw it. But for most people, it was more of a chore that inhibited their other homework and growth than it was a real opportunity for learning and reflection,” he said. 

Some of the eighth graders requested videos and performances, but they were denied. This year, Past is Prologue was formatted in the style of a Pechakucha, which made it difficult for the students to add text and depth to their slides. 

Overall, many enjoyed this project, learning new information about their peers. Davis mentioned that topics such as phone addictions, family history, and summer camp were presented on. The topics ranged between different levels of emotion and “demonstrated each student’s unique past,” Davis said. 

Past is Prologue gives the eighth graders a time to reflect on significant events throughout their lives, embracing the power of identity. Overall, “Past is Prologue” is a great opportunity for the students to take stock of their experiences, both inside and outside of Parker’s walls, and reflect on how they’ve been shaped by their experiences,” Shaker said.  

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About the Contributor
Roshun Murthy
Roshun Murthy, Staff Writer
Roshun Murthy is a sophomore who's excited for his first year of writing for "The Weekly" as a staff writer. Outside of "The Weekly" he enjoys answering questions for the Scholastic Bowl team and playing tennis for the Parker team.