The Solarium

The solarium is one of my favorite rooms in the mansion. A small table sits in a tiny alcove directly beneath stained glass windows. The cherubim on the domed ceiling smile kindly down on the comfy couch below. The plentiful windows provide ample natural sunlight, and the view of the Mississippi River is simply stunning.

It is therefore no surprise that students set up shop to study in the solarium. When I strolled through the solarium earlier this week I found a handful of students with their laptops plugged in and their notebooks out. Several of them were studying Chinese, learning vocabulary for various food items. I learned that the word for donut essentially means sweet, sweet circle. Another student was learning Chinese terminology for talking about health and diseases. Now a conversation could take place along the lines of How did you feel after eating that donut? I asked the student from China how the students were doing with their pronunciation, and he gave nodding approval.

Chinese was not the only language being explored in the solarium that morning. A freshman was learning about phone conversations in German and how to leave a message for someone. A sophomore was studying family members in French and the construction of il y a. In the space of a few minutes I felt like I had traveled the world although I had walked only a few feet within the confines of the solarium.

In those few moments I was reminded of what makes Rivermont so special - the setting, the subjects, and the students. Where do you get the privilege of studying in a place so grand that simply stepping into the room makes you feel smarter? Where can you find one group of seven high school students studying three different languages? Where do you get the opportunity to interact with a diverse group of studious young people? The Rivermont solarium!


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