Ensights Magazine

Day in the Life: Grade 8 Student Marshall Wilt

Tiffany Townsend
An apt description for Grade 8 student Marshall Wilt might be “Extracurricular Extraordinaire.” From serving as Middle School Student Council President to participating in Robotics Club, from singing in Advanced Chorale to helping lead the Middle School Girls’ Golf team to an HVAC championship, Marshall isn’t afraid to try it all, and she gives her all to everything she does. “Ensworth is really great about encouraging people to try new things that they have never done before,” she says. Her days reflect her enterprising spirit and variety of interests.
7:55 a.m.: Advisory
At the beginning of the day, middle school students meet with their advisory group to talk about the day ahead or special events on the horizon. Today, they will be spending time with their kindergarten buddies with whom they partner throughout the year on different projects. They are preparing for the St. Jude Mini Marathon, where the kindergarten classes run laps to collectively finish a marathon together. “We prepare by running around the track, doing as many laps as we can,” Marshall explains. “So many of the kindergartners take off sprinting, trying to show off for the eighth graders, and we have a hard time keeping up!” The bonds forged through these cross-grade partnerships leave a lasting impression on the students. “I still remember my eighth grade buddy from when I was in kindergarten,” says Marshall.
10:00 a.m.: History
In history class, students are preparing for the annual May Madness Presidential Debates. Each student is assigned a president and writes a paper on how that president was successful in four of nine criteria (domestic policy, foreign policy, economy, crisis management, compromise, persuasiveness/public popularity, moral values/integrity, sticking to ideas, and the pursuit of equal justice for all). Then, they engage in class debates to determine who was the “Greatest President” in our Nation’s history. “History has been one of my favorite subjects this year,” Marshall claims. “We do a lot of labs where you try to decide for yourself answers to questions that historians have been asking for years. We have Harkness discussions and debates, which has been a great experience.” Marshall is representing Abraham Lincoln and will compete in the finals against fellow student Bo Maradik who is arguing for Eisenhower. “I love that Ensworth doesn’t just teach you how to prepare for tests or ERBs,” she notes. “It’s more about teaching you how to prepare for life. They teach you core skills, like asking questions and problem-solving.”

History teacher Hayley Brantley shares, “Marshall truly embodies our mission statement; she is hard-working, helpful, honest, and an outstanding contributor to all class activities and discussions through her thoughtful comments. What I love most about Marshall, however, is her love of learning. She digs deeply into each topic we cover and asks questions that help her classmates learn and help me become a better teacher and learner myself.”
11:50 a.m.: S.I.P.
Supplemental Instruction Period is a recent addition to the middle school schedule. The flexible period allows time during the day for clubs to convene, for students to seek out teachers for instruction, or for extra study hall time. For Marshall, it might involve practicing with Advanced Chorale, meeting with Student Council to plan the spring dance, or gathering with classmates and faculty members to talk about the eighth grade Spring Service Learning Day. Eighth grade students are able to choose a social issues topic that they feel is important to the Nashville community; they study the topic throughout the year and then partner with community organizations that are working to address the issue. This year, Marshall has been studying the issue of hunger, so she volunteers with Loaves and Fishes on the service learning days. She says, “Ensworth is big about making a change in the environment and changing the world for the better, doing what you can to improve small things.”
1:15 p.m.: Integrated Geometry/Algebra 2 Honors
In today’s class, life imitates math, as the students sit in a circle while working together on angle and chord relationships for lines tangent to and intersecting a circle. Marshall is one of ten students in the Class of 2022 on the advanced math track who are able to take Integrated Geometry and Algebra 2 in their eighth grade year. Math has always been an interest and strength of Marshall’s; she qualified to compete at the MathCounts Chapter Competition in February and was also one of nine middle school students who represented Ensworth in the Tennessee Mathematics Teachers Association Math Contest.
6:00p.m.: Dance Practice
After school, Marshall travels to the High School Campus to practice with the other members of the Middle School Dance Team. The spring dance concert is a three-night production, and Marshall is in five of the dances. “Dance is one of those things that I never thought I would do until I was exposed to it at Ensworth. The dance classes start early at the preschool level and go all the way through high school. I have really enjoyed being involved in the dance program; it truly feels like a family.”

Marshall’s dance teacher, Rachel Tolbert, says, “I have enjoyed watching Marshall thrive on dance team. Not only is she a talented dancer and student, she is an excellent leader and friend to her teammates. She works tirelessly on new skills and is always ready to help others. Marshall’s love of dance, combined with her phenomenal work ethic, have helped shape her success in the program.”

Marshall looks forward to continuing dance at the high school and diving into all of the additional opportunities that will open up as she transitions to ninth grade. She’s already making plans to try photography and work on her swing in the new golf center on campus, and she is poised and ready to take full advantage of the endless possibilities.

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