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  4. The Giver by Lois Lowry

The story takes place in a fully-controlled society, where everything is pre-established, and nothing is left to chance. Emotions like love or pain are gone, no longer remembered, and human instincts, like desire, are appeased. People do not know colors, fear, risk, or even atmospheric changes. Everything is firm and pre-established by a "Community" that controls everyone's life. As soon as a child is born, they are observed for some time. If they are considered too weak, they are "released,” made to fall asleep so as not to wake up again. Then, there is the assignment of the child’s name and the family unit to which they will belong.

There is no individual difference; everyone grows in the same way as the others. At one year, babies become one, then two, then three, and so on. Every year, there is a ceremony during which children officially become one year older. At every age, they receive something, such as a soft toy for the little ones or a bicycle for the older ones. When a child turns twelve, however, they are assigned the work they will do for the rest of their lives. This is what happens to Jonas, the protagonist. But he receives an important task: that of becoming the “receiver of the memory” of humanity. This means that everything that others do not know, such as cold, heat, pain, etc., will be taught to Jonas by his predecessor, known as "the Giver." The Giver, now old and tired, transmits memories of mankind to Jonas: snow, rain, the burning sun, but also war, fear, and death. Many of these memories are painful, causing physical pain. Jonas, therefore, begins to change his way of seeing the world and society, which has always been his home. Now, this world no longer appears to him as before.

Things that previously seemed normal to him, such as " being released,” now seem like horrible atrocities. He decides to oppose the state of affairs and look for "Elsewhere," a place that is not defined nor clear what it is. Maybe it's a very distant place, or it's death. Jonas escapes into the night, along with a little boy named Gabriel. Gabriel has been a guest at Jonas's house for some time; he was destined to “ be released.” Jonas decides to save him and take Gabriel away with him. The two set off on bicycles and travel at night to hide and rest during the day. After several days, the landscape around them begins to change, and, finally, the two reach a snowy mountain, beyond which there is a "world" as we know it and as Jonas has known thanks to the memories of the Giver.

Is it all true? What will happen to Jonas and Gabriel? Are they safe, or is it just the beginning of a life full of difficulties? And what will change in the Community? Will Jonas ever go back?

I recommend reading this book because it is both thrilling and fun and because it opens peaks of reflection on how hard it is for humanity to find a good way to avoid wars and suffering in the world.

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Chapter 13: Celebrating Faculty | Celebrating Lucy Clink

Lucy Click

2-D and IB Art Teacher

By Natalie Edwards '14 - City of Rome I, Core 9 Teacher and member of the Boarding Faculty
Aggarwala Rohit Headshot
Chapter 14: Alumni Spotlight | Alumni Spotlight Interview, Cortile 2022 Highlights

 Rohit Aggarwala ‘89

Chief Climate Officer and Commissioner of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection

By Natalie Edwards '14 - City of Rome I, Core 9 Teacher and member of the Boarding Faculty
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Chapter 14: Alumni Spotlight | Alumni Spotlight Interview

Varun Baker ‘01

Co-Founder & Managing Director Farm Credibly

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Chapter 14: Alumni Spotlight | Alumni Spotlight Interview

Rachel Nicholson ‘06

Director, Visitor Engagement and Research at the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art

By Natalie Edwards '14 - City of Rome I, Core 9 Teacher and member of the Boarding Faculty
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Chapter 14: Alumni Spotlight | Alumni Spotlight Interview

Brian McKenna ‘00

Music Producer

By Natalie Edwards '14 - City of Rome I, Core 9 Teacher and member of the Boarding Faculty
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Chapter 15: Alumni Stories | Visiting Family Stories, Alumni Stories

Visiting Sully Plantation, Visiting Family Secrets

I stood in the thick green grass, looking at a slave dwelling at Sully Plantation, Chantilly, Virginia.

The cabin was built to replicate one that had housed the people my ancestors enslaved. It was a hot August day in 2021, 95 degrees with Virginia’s drenching humidity. I heard the loud chorus of crickets, the leaves shifting in the nearby copse, felt the heat in the breeze.

By Sarah Fleming ‘71
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Chapter 15: Alumni Stories | Science Stories for Grown-Ups, Alumni Stories

Science Stories for Grown-Ups

Everything ended with a book.
No wait.
Everything started with a book.

By Guilia Sebastio
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Chapter 15: Alumni Stories | St. Stephen's Community, A Small World, Alumni Stories

The Small World of Serendipity

This story is equal parts chance, serendipity, a small world, and the St Stephen’s community.

I am a musician and young entrepreneur, and when I was based in London, I was searching for ways to build connections.

By Edoardo Pariante ‘15