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Nathan Mingo

I came to Lotspeich in first grade, and then my younger brother and younger sister started there after me. My earliest memory is of the first assembly I ever went to. It was in the Lotspeich library. Head of Lotspeich Mrs. Fox talked to the students, and other teachers made announcements. As first graders, we were sitting up front with the older kids behind us. It felt exciting to have the whole elementary school together in one place. Later, when I was a fifth grader, I liked sitting in the back because we could lean against the bookshelves.

One of my favorite teachers was Ms. Steller, who I had in fifth grade. She was full of energy. In her classrooms, she had little llama stuffed animals, and she called them emotional support llamas. She would tell us, “I know some tests and quizzes can be stressful. Having something to hold on to that’s soft can help.” I remember using one for a difficult math test and a spelling quiz. At the beginning of the year, there were two or three llamas, then students brought more in, so by the end of the year, there were 10 or 15. It shows how kind our teachers are.

It’s honestly hard for me to think of much that I would change about Seven Hills. Maybe one thing would be a little bit longer lunch period. It’s only 30 minutes, and I spend the first 20 minutes eating with my friends, and then we go play foursquare or basketball in the gym for the last 10 minutes. For the first part of the pandemic, I didn’t like wearing a mask while we played sports because it made breathing harder, and it was tough missing some of my favorite events, like May Fete, but I know someday, it’s something we’ll tell our grandchildren about and be like, “I made it through this!”

Sports are my main extracurricular, but in Middle School, I’ve also really liked being in the instrumental ensemble, where I play the violin. Every year, we have a big recital and we get to show off the pieces that we’ve learned and all the hard work that we’ve put in. Right now, we’re learning the Mission Impossible theme music, which is really cool.

I think when I was in elementary school and going into Middle School, I wanted to be a Lego engineer or a basketball player when I grew up. But now, I’m not sure what I want to do because being a student at Seven Hills, I’ve seen a broader range of what I can choose from. My original plan was also to go to Walnut Hills for high school, because two of my close friends were going there. Now, I have my sights set on staying at Seven Hills all the way through because of the friends I have made here.

In the years I’ve been at the school, I think it’s changed a lot. They put a lot of focus into making sure the curriculum is relevant and geared toward what feels current in today’s world. There have been big facilities changes, including the new Field House, which has four basketball courts, and the new Middle School building. I think it shows how the school is looking to create a better and better experience for students, not just keep what’s already there or keep doing things the same way.

I also think the school does a very good job and keeps getting better on issues of diversity. When I started, I was one of the only African American students in my grade. Now there are five other African American boys in my class, and five African American girls. I have other classmates whose families are from all over the world. I like getting to have all kinds of different friends, and that diversity matters so that you can also have friends whose experiences are relatable to your own. I know that Seven Hills wants everyone to be comfortable in their own skin.

The same thing that I liked at that very first Lotspeich assembly, the feeling of community, is still one of my favorite things. It feels like we’re all connected. Even though I’m in Middle School now, during the day, I’ll sometimes cross paths with my little siblings in elementary school. I’ll stop to give them a hug, and they’re glad to see me.

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