Issue 2 2023-2024

News

  • 1799 Day: Record Day of Giving

    1799 Day: Record Day of Giving

    Wow! We did it! Thanks to the generosity of 542 donors, we not only met our goal of $200,000 but also exceeded it by $91,824! This sets a new record…

    Wow! We did it! Thanks to the generosity of 542 donors, we not only met our goal of $200,000 but also exceeded it by $91,824! This sets a new record as Westtown’s most successful day of giving.

    Gifts to the Westtown Fund provide critical resources for our students, faculty, staff, and community, including financial aid, program support, and professional development. The Westtown Fund is an essential source of revenue, providing 5% of our operating budget. 

    In addition to the significant impact of the dollars raised, 1799 Day showcased the spirit of philanthropy from Westonians around the world! Thank you!

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  • Four-Star Green Restaurant

    Four-Star Green Restaurant

    We are thrilled to share that our Dining Room has been re-certified as a 4-star Green Restaurant this year! Special thanks go to Chef Josh Jackson and the Green Coalition,…

    We are thrilled to share that our Dining Room has been re-certified as a 4-star Green Restaurant this year! Special thanks go to Chef Josh Jackson and the Green Coalition, our Upper School sustainability club. Some of the hard work that contributed to the re-certification includes: 

    🌱Removing single-use disposables from the Dining Room
    🌱Returning to a no-plastic-water-bottle policy in the Upper School
    🌱A roll-out of the Green Container Program (a check-out and return system for reusable to-go containers)
    🌱Collecting and composting kitchen waste on site
    🌱Removing single use sauce packets, switched to AWSM sauce condiments (co-founded by Westtown alum Paul Lehmann ’99)
    🌱When possible, products are purchased from local sources first, such as on-site Farmer Jawn

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  • The Westonian

    The Westonian

    The Westonian: Issue 1 2024  Look for the latest issue of The Westonian in your mailbox! Remember that you can also always find digital versions of the magazine here on…

    The Westonian: Issue 1 2024 

    Look for the latest issue of The Westonian in your mailbox! Remember that you can also always find digital versions of the magazine here on our website.

    If you’d like to contribute a note for Class Notes for an upcoming issue, you may submit your note (and photo!) on this page of the website, or email the Alums Engagement Office at alums@westtown.edu. 

    One last reminder: if your physical or email address changes, please be in touch with the Alums Engagement Office to update your contact information!

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  • CLTA Recognizes Westtown’s Chinese Language Program

    CLTA Recognizes Westtown’s Chinese Language Program

    Congratulations to the Chinese Program! The Chinese Language Teachers Association (CLTA) just announced the 16 Chinese Programs awarded the "Distinguished K-12 Chinese Program in the United States" and Westtown School’s Chinese…

    Congratulations to the Chinese Program! The Chinese Language Teachers Association (CLTA) just announced the 16 Chinese Programs awarded the “Distinguished K-12 Chinese Program in the United States” and Westtown School’s Chinese program is one of them. The Westtown School Chinese Program website captures some highlights of our Chinese program. We are excited that our program has received this honor and will be recognized nationally. Congratulations to teachers Bei Zhang, Nina Li, and Jie Song for their outstanding work!

    The Award Ceremony to recognize the Distinguished K-12 Chinese Programs in the United States was held during the CLTA Annual Conference in St. Louis, Missouri, where Bei Zhang, Chair of the World Languages Department, accepted the award on behalf of the program.

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Features

  • Solar Eclipse Viewing Parties Near and Far

    Solar Eclipse Viewing Parties Near and Far

    Fourth graders viewing the eclipse! Solar Eclipse Viewing Parties Near and Far As was the case across much of the country, the opportunity to see a total solar eclipse was…

    Fourth graders viewing the eclipse!

    Solar Eclipse Viewing Parties Near and Far

    As was the case across much of the country, the opportunity to see a total solar eclipse was an event! At Westtown, students attended assemblies to learn about the science of what happens during an eclipse. The school provided Westtown-branded protective eclipse-viewing glasses, and Lower Schoolers made masks to go around them. The kitchen staff even made special eclipse cookies. 

    At the designated time, students, faculty, and staff spilled out onto campus to witness the spectacle of the eclipse. The lawns were dotted with spectators and a group of students headed for the observatory balcony as well. The sense of joy and community was palpable as everyone marveled at the phenomenon. In our area, the eclipse reached about 89% coverage seen periodically through passing clouds—still an awe-inspiring sight to behold. But far, far away, students in teacher Elson Oshman Blunt’s Astronomy class had a very different experience. He tells the story: 

    “As soon as I realized my Astronomy class was small enough to fit in a Westtown van, a field trip to the band of totality of the April 8 2024 eclipse felt predestined. But chasing eclipses is not for the faint of heart. Driving for a dozen hours (or two) doesn’t even guarantee that the three-minute experience of totality will succeed. A single errant cloud in just the wrong place at just the wrong moment can scuttle everything. So this was not a mission I could lay at just anyone’s feet. It would have to be the right group of students.

    On the first day of the semester, my classroom neighbor and math teacher Jake Norton greeted my students by asking, ‘What class is this? Astronomy, huh? Are you guys gonna go see the eclipse?’ Well, I’d been planning to broach the subject after getting to know my students a little better, but sure, let’s have this conversation now! As it turned out, it didn’t take any convincing. All seven students were all in for the adventure from the get-go.

    After some discussion, the school approved the field trip, and a generous parent sponsor offered to cover the costs. Dean of Academics Karen Gallagher even found hotel rooms still available near the iconic Niagara Falls, an absolutely stupendous place to view the eclipse. The trip was on! We were going to see it!

    …Or not. Two days out, Niagara’s forecast all but guaranteed complete cloud cover. Following a short-lived period of sad resignation, we turned our attention to the clear skies forecast in New Hampshire and Maine. After all, would you rather drive twelve hours and not see an eclipse, or drive twice as far and actually get to see it? Karen heroically found us new hotel rooms in Portland, Maine, and we were on our way!

    Caught up in our eclipse fever, my aforementioned math neighbor and now total hero Jake Norton agreed to help chaperone the trip and share the driving. Ensconced in our valiant Westtown Van #7, the Astronomy students listened to music, chatted, and played trivia games. When we got to our hotel in Portland that night, spirits were high, and despite being pretty tired most of us weren’t ready to go to bed. What started with a little Calculus homework in the lobby turned into card games, interesting conversations, and more class bonding.

    The following day, after a few more hours of oddly manageable traffic, we settled into our viewing spot, a random field in the Rangeley Lakes region near the Maine-New Hampshire border. Luckily, we were able to coordinate with friends to meet there, including Dean of Equity, Justice, and Belonging Louisa Egan Brad and her kids. The skies were exceptionally clear and sunny, just as predicted. We were ready! But with an hour to wait, there was plenty of time for more Astronomy learning, and this week’s lesson happened to be measuring and calculating the luminosity of the sun. Perfect! After finishing the lab, the students got our colander and eclipse glasses ready to view the partial eclipse.

    The experience of seeing an eclipse is nothing short of wondrous. The special glasses allow less than 0.00032% of the light through, so the Sun looks like a little yellow disk on a completely black background. As the Moon starts to cover the Sun, you see a crescent shape. It looks exactly like the Moon itself, in fact. How ironic that the Sun impersonates the very thing blocking its light! Partial eclipses are weird-looking, but also fun to play with. We projected crescent images of the Sun by letting it shine through tiny holes like a punched piece of paper, fingers arranged in a crosshatch, and the many colander holes.

    As totality approached, the light did diminish noticeably, and several of us put on jackets. But even with just a few minutes left for that sliver of Sun and only 5% of its luminosity (I measured!), it was still quite clearly daylight. That all changed dramatically the instant the last ray finally winked out.

    In those last few seconds, we saw a faint shimmering, like a strobe light. I’m told these are called ‘shadow bands’ and are caused by atmospheric turbulence. And then, quite suddenly, darkness fell. We could see a faint glow near the southern horizon, presumably the Sun shining outside the band of totality a few miles south of us. It was time to put away our eclipse glasses and gaze upon nature’s most unforgettable sight.

    And there it was: a completely round, black disk surrounded by the ghostly solar corona. Normally invisible due to the Sun’s extreme brightness, the corona is the Sun’s outer atmosphere. It’s far hotter than the surface for unknown reasons—in fact, it’s so hot it shines much more brightly to X-ray telescopes than optical ones, but it’s so thin we can’t usually see it. We also saw bright red dots: solar flares peeking out from the edge, a difference from the 2017 eclipse when solar activity was at a minimum. After taking note of all that, there was enough time left for me to settle into a moment of profound spiritual connection with the universe and its grandeur. And then, with a piercing re-emerging ray of light, it was over.

    It was time to become road warriors again. And what a drive that turned out to be! During the eight-hour stop-and-go drive to the other end of New Hampshire, we saw one moose, one almost-closed restaurant whose owners thankfully agreed to serve their last three pizzas to one more group of customers, several overrun gas stations which resembled beehives, and thousands of frustrated humans encased in slowly rolling or stopped metal boxes. By the time we arrived at our hotel near Hartford Connecticut, it was 2:00 a.m. and we were exhausted, exhilarated, and still so very excited that we got the chance to see this amazing thing together. By the time we got back to Westtown the following day, we felt very connected as a group and glad for such excellent company to view one of the great wonders of the universe.

    While the star of the show was (quite literally) the Sun, and the best supporting actor has to go to the Moon, our trip was an ensemble piece. Thanks to this positive and adventurous crew, our time together was fun and unforgettable not just during those magic two and a half minutes of totality but throughout our entire trip, including the 26 hours we spent in trusty Westtown Van #7. Thanks to every person who helped make this incredible trip a reality.”

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  • Learning Around the Globe

    Learning Around the Globe

    Over spring break, school-sponsored trips set off to Italy/Greece, Ghana, Taiwan, and Washington, DC. where students experienced new things, learned by doing, and immersed themselves in their surroundings.  Teachers Ted…

    Over spring break, school-sponsored trips set off to Italy/Greece, Ghana, Taiwan, and Washington, DC. where students experienced new things, learned by doing, and immersed themselves in their surroundings. 

    Teachers Ted Freeman, LJ Scurfield, and Ellen Abbott led 18 Latin students on the trip to Greece and Italy, where they explored the relics of the ancient world. Freeman shares, “We first spent several days exploring the city of Athens, Greece. We took in the grandeur of the Parthenon resting atop the acropolis of Athens. We roamed the Athenian agora, as did so many of the great philosophers and statesmen of antiquity. Our group went into the Greek countryside to visit the fascinating sites of Delphi, Mycenae, and the theater of Epidaurus. 

    “We then flew to Rome, Italy, and continued our exploration of the ancient world there. We climbed several of Rome’s hills, including the Capitoline and Janiculum. We spent a day in Vatican City exploring St. Peter’s Basilica and the endless halls of the Vatican museum. We travelled to Ostia Antica, the ancient port city of Rome that is now an expansive set of ruins. Throughout our trip, students read a variety of Latin passages relevant to each site. Students also enjoyed delving into the cultures, languages, and food of modern Greece and Italy.” 

    Abbott reflected on their journey: “Aside from group sharing and time for journal writing, we had two amazing Meetings for Worship, one on a promontory overlooking the Aegean and in sight of Poseidon’s temple at Sounion, and one in a Mithraic bath in the abandoned Roman city of Ostia Antica. Both were highlights of the trip. I think the thing that struck me most, particularly in the Ostia Antica Meeting, was the number of tributes shared regarding LJ and Ted, their teaching, their commitment to the students and their love of Latin. These students have found a home in the Classics that is central to their education at Westtown.”

    Lynette Assarsson and Marissa Colston led a small but mighty group of students to Ghana to work with our sister school, Heritage Academy, in the village of Essiam. Students gained experience in the classroom teaching Heritage middle schoolers various arts, crafts, and games, which were very popular among Heritage students! Westtown students also led small reading groups daily, where students read aloud together to improve English reading, pronunciation, and comprehension skills. A special time was set aside for our all-girl group to talk with sixth grade girls to discuss education, leadership, and to share about their lives; impactful moments for all. The group engaged in a service project at Heritage: making cement blocks to be used in the completion of a middle school building. Westtown students have been making blocks for this project over the past several trips to Ghana and to honor that work, Heritage will call the new building Westtown Hall! 

    Living in a guest house in the village of Ajumako, just down the road from Heritage, afforded students the opportunity to know our neighbors, enjoy authentic Ghanaian cuisine (and pound fufu!), and to join in the hustle and bustle of “market days” in local villages and towns. At the markets, they learned to barter and even got to use a few words of Fante! 

    The group traveled to Cape Coast to learn more deeply about the transatlantic trade of the enslaved and had powerful tours of Cape Coast Castle and Elmina Castles, both former trading posts. They also spent time on the beautiful coast and braved the canopy bridges of Kakum National Rainforest. Finally, in the capital city of Accra, they toured the home of author, historian, and civil rights activist W.E.B. du Bois, learning about his life, work, and legacy. All of the elements of this journey are unique and a truly immersive cultural experience for our students. We are ever grateful for the longtime partnership with Heritage Academy, who has been welcoming Westtown students since 2008!


    Bei Zhang, Fran De la Torre-Shu, Kyle Layne-Allen, and Megan Williams and a large group of students journeyed to Taiwan. Their adventure began with a tour of Taipei where they explored history, art, and culture through iconic landmarks like the Grand Hotel, Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, National Palace Museum, National Revolutionary Martyrs’ Shrine, Longshan Temple, Presidential Square, and Cheng’en Gate. They experienced Shilin Night Market, a sensory delight that showcases Taiwan’s culinary diversity. The group had several hands-on learning experiences such as Taiwanese cooking, where they made dumplings and boba for tea, a sky-lantern making workshop, and more! The group ventured into Taroko National Park to take in the natural wonders, and to Yehliu Geopark, known for its unusual rock formations. They also visited the Li Chuan clam aquafarm (and dug for clams!) and Toucheng Farm to observe sustainable agriculture practices.

    A very special highlight of the trip was meeting with Westtown alums Steven Wu ’86 and Richard Wu ’87. The Wu brothers gave the students personalized tours of their department stores and learned about their business philosophies and models, and had insightful conversations about their Westtown experiences. Students were also treated to specialty foods such as soup dumplings, bubble tea (from the store that created the first bubble tea in the world!), dried guava and starfruit, and almond cookies. We are grateful to Steven and Richard Wu for sharing their time and insights with our students, and to Amanda Young in the Advancement Office who helped facilitate this wonderful visit!

    Religion teachers Lara Freeman and Jonathan Ogle ’88 led a group of students to Washington, DC, to partcipate in the annual Friends Committee on National Legislation’s (FCNL) Spring Lobby Weekend training. FCNL is a Quaker lobby group that “connects historic Quaker testimonies on peace, equlity, simplicity, and integrity with issues and legislation in Washington. Our community brings together Friends and tens of thousands of like-minded individuals, sharing a belief in relationship-based change making to advance the world we seek, one lobby visit at a time.”  

    The Westtown contingent joined hundreds of other students from across the country as they learned and lobbied together. The training sessions this year focused on lobbying for The Truth and Healing Commission on Indian Boarding School Policies Act. After they finished their training, students visited the offices of both Pennsylvania senators as well as Representative Chrissy Houlahan. One student, a resident of NJ, visited her representatives, including Senator Cory Booker’s office.  Freeman reports that the students were committed, engaged, and phenomenal participants. 

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Students

  • Sugaring to Boiling to Syrup!

    Sugaring to Boiling to Syrup!

    In February, as is now tradition, trees on campus were tapped, part of the long-standing tradition to make maple syrup from our trees. Because of the long stretches of warm…

    In February, as is now tradition, trees on campus were tapped, part of the long-standing tradition to make maple syrup from our trees. Because of the long stretches of warm winter, the sap flowed well and maple sugaring was well underway. Director of Outdoor Education Chris Henwood-Costa worked with her Lower School Farm + Forest classes to tap, monitor, taste, and collect the sap.

    Then, in late February, Lower School students again took part in a historic tradition here at Westtown: the boiling of the sap collected from the trees. This tradition has been a part of Westtown for over 100 years! Henwood-Costa and Bruce Harrison ’81 led the boiling process, and gave Lower Schoolers sap to taste. Next, the sap was placed in kettles and taken to the kitchen for the final steps to become maple syrup! Did you know it takes about 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of maple syrup?

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  • Black History Month at Westtown

    Black History Month at Westtown

    In celebration of Black History Month, the workshop series Black Excellence at Westtown highlighted the achievements of Black faculty and staff who serve as mirrors and windows for our students.…

    In celebration of Black History Month, the workshop series Black Excellence at Westtown highlighted the achievements of Black faculty and staff who serve as mirrors and windows for our students. Each presenter visited a Lower School classroom to share what their roles are at Westtown, how their life experiences impacted their professions, and then did an activity with the students to help them understand their work in our school. Thank you to presenters: Marissa Colston, Jay Farrow ’75, DeVon Jackson, Dwayne Morris, Janiel Samuels, Courtnay Tyus, Tejan Walcott, and Domi Waldron for sharing their professional journeys with our students, and to Kelly Yiadom, Director of Equity, Justice, and Belonging for Lower and Middle School, for creating this workshop series!

    In the Middle School, students learned from four panelists who spoke to Middle School students for the Black Women in Excellence workshop. Their presentations highlighted the achievements of professional Black women during Black History Month. The speakers – Alice Palmer, Attorney Team Lead at Lincoln Financial; Dr. Nicole Aqui, Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology at Penn Medicine; Dr. Nelly Silva, CEO at Advanced Dentistry of Collegeville; and Teleicia Dambreville, In-House Counsel of Burlington Store, held workshop-style presentations that highlighted their expertise in their professions, their journeys, and the path students can take if they are interested in the profession being presented.

    In the Upper School, Black History Month events began with an assembly featuring a panel of Black Quakers who shared their experiences, the influence of Quakerism in their lives, and the connection between their identities and Quakerism. It was an engaging and fruitful presentation and we are grateful to the panelists for talking with our students. Our thanks to (from left): Lee Payton, Upper School Principal Friends Central School; Veda Robinson, Upper School Principal, Westtown School, Karyn Payton, Lower School Principal, Westtown School; Emma Lapsansky-Werner PhD, Professor Emeritus of History and Visiting Professor in the Writing Program and Quaker Studies at Haverford College; Domi Waldron, Director of Alum Engagement, Westtown School; Francisco Burgos, Executive Director of Pendle Hill, member of the Board of Trustees, Westtown School; and, DeVon Jackson, Upper School Director of Equity, Justice, and Belonging, Westtown School, who organized this event.

    Throughout the month, our student affinity groups —Black Women Affinity Group, In the Know (Black Male Affinity Group), Black Student Union, and the Multiracial Student Union—hosted programming during Meetings for Worship and Community Collection. Black history month celebrations concluded with a Community Dinner with a delicious special menu as well as an amazing performance by the Westtown Community Choir!

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  • Metal Moose Earns Engineering Inspiration Award, Heads to Worlds

    Metal Moose Earns Engineering Inspiration Award, Heads to Worlds

    At the FIRST Robotics competition at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy, the Metal Moose robotics team was awarded the Engineering Inspiration Award from FIRST Robotics. This award is given to the…

    At the FIRST Robotics competition at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy, the Metal Moose robotics team was awarded the Engineering Inspiration Award from FIRST Robotics. This award is given to the team that has the highest impact on its school and outside community. The Metal Moose does outreach on campus with Lower School, and at Admission and alums events. Coach Steve Compton notes, “The school impact of our team is clear—we attract students to Westtown based on the reputation of the team, and we do outreach work with second grade Space day, admissions tours, and events on Alums Day. We have created a welcoming ecosystem that allows girls and students of color to find their place and thrive. Each year the team comprises between 10%-15% of the total Upper School students body.”

    Off campus, the team works with Camp Dreamcatcher and Kendal Crosslands Communities to teach Lego robotics and to create lasting bonds between students and those they work with. They are also working with the government of Bermuda to get FIRST Robotics Lego supplies to teachers in their primary schools. Compton adds that the team is developing Women in STEM program will partners with leading women in science.

    Congratulations to the Metal Moose—Team 1391—for earning this prestigious award, and for all its work within our school and community!

    And further congratulations are in order: The Metal Moose qualified once again for the FIRST World Championship tournament in Houston, Texas, with a ranking of 77 among 3800 teams worldwide. GO, METAL MOOSE!!

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  • International Festival

    International Festival

    The annual International Festival was a big success! The festival is an event organized by the International Student Organization to celebrate and learn about the diverse cultures that make up…

    The annual International Festival was a big success! The festival is an event organized by the International Student Organization to celebrate and learn about the diverse cultures that make up our community. Our students, families, and faculty representing 28 countries set up stations in the Main Hall offering snacks, games, presentations, and opportunities for connection and conversation. You can see more photos taken by our student photographers Eric Li ’24 and Will Wang ’26.

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  • Holocaust Remembrance

    Holocaust Remembrance

    On Holocaust Remembrance Day, Middle School students heard a presentation from Jody Russell Manning, a history professor at Rowan University and the Associate Director of Rowan's Center for the Study…

    On Holocaust Remembrance Day, Middle School students heard a presentation from Jody Russell Manning, a history professor at Rowan University and the Associate Director of Rowan’s Center for the Study of The Holocaust, Genocide, and Human Rights. Jody helped create Rowan’s Holocaust and Genocide Education graduate program, and he runs annual study-abroad programs in Europe and ran Westtown Upper School’s 2023 Holocaust-focused trip to Central Europe. He was the first American intern in the International Center for Education about Auschwitz and the Holocaust at the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum from 2005-2009, which continued through his 2010-2011 Fulbright fellowship.  Jody talked with students about the Holocaust from a historical perspective, the importance of remembering and learning about The Holocaust, and how we can honor this history. Afterward, he answered questions from students, and Middle School Counselor Sean Galiczynski held a space for reflection. 

    In the Upper School, in preparation for International Holocaust Remembrance Day, students in the Genocide Studies class spent the day with guest lecturer Professor Jody Russell Manning speaking on the topic of memory and memorializing. Students then prepared survivor reflections to supplement an upcoming Yom Ha-Shoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day, May 5-6) memorial designed by senior Mark Ham ’24 as a capstone project for the Global Leadership Deep Dive program.  International Holocaust Remembrance Day this year marked the 79th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birenua, the Nazi concentration and extermination camp.  

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  • Combatants for Peace Visit Westtown

    Combatants for Peace Visit Westtown

      In February, the History and Religion Department hosted a visit from Combatants for Peace. Combatants for Peace (CfP) describe themselves as a "joint Palestinian-Israeli community working in solidarity to…

     

    In February, the History and Religion Department hosted a visit from Combatants for Peace. Combatants for Peace (CfP) describe themselves as a “joint Palestinian-Israeli community working in solidarity to end the occupation, discrimination, and oppression of all people living on this land. Guided by the values of non-violent resistance, we are showing the world that there is another way.” This organization, founded by former soldiers and resistance fighters in 2006, was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2017 and 2018. 

    Students enrolled in Peace and Justice, World Religions 1, World Religions 2, World history 1800-2000, and Genocide Studies 2 courses, as well as others in the community who wished to attend, gathered in the Meeting House for CfP’s presentation and discussion.

    Souli Khatib, Palestinian Activist and the co-founder of CfP, and Iris Gur, an Israeli activist, spoke powerfully about their personal experiences that led them to this work, as well as their own perspectives on the struggle for peace and collective liberation. Their presentation provided students with an example of groups and individuals working respectfully across deep and sometimes fundamental differences toward the shared goal of peace. Their presentation was followed by a Q&A period in which students asked meaningful questions, the answers to which helped further their understanding. 

    Our thanks to our Religion and History Department teachers for organizing this event, and to former faculty Melissa Graf-Evans and alum and former Trustee Jon Evans ’73 for hosting our visitors during their stay in the area. You can learn more about Combatants for Peace in this video

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  • African Dance: The Tradition Continues

    African Dance: The Tradition Continues

    As part of their studies of the continent of Africa, its cultures and art, third graders spent six weeks working with Jeannine Osayande and Dunya Performing Arts Company. During the…

    As part of their studies of the continent of Africa, its cultures and art, third graders spent six weeks working with Jeannine Osayande and Dunya Performing Arts Company. During the six weeks, the students learn the movements, origins, and symbolism of the African dances and Capoeira, culminating in the African Dance performance. This marks 22 years that Jeannine and DunyaPAC have partnered with Westtown. Well done, third grade!! Enjoy the gallery of photos here.

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  • Chester County Science Research Competition

    Chester County Science Research Competition

    At the recent Chester County Science Research Competition’s award ceremony, students Jerry Huynh ’25 and Shawn Xu ’25 received awards for their work. Huynh took first place in the Microbiology…

    At the recent Chester County Science Research Competition’s award ceremony, students Jerry Huynh ’25 and Shawn Xu ’25 received awards for their work. Huynh took first place in the Microbiology category for his research, “The effect of gelatin encapsulation on phages infectivity on E.coli C and survivability in different conditions. Xu won first place in Engineering for “Needle Roller Stuctured Climbing Robot.”

    Both students advanced to compete in the Delaware Valley Science Fair. Science teacher Tyler Kochel is the coordinator of Westtown’s Science Fair Club, and as such, provided significant time and support to these students. Join us in congratulating them all!

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Arts

  • Middle School Musical 2024

    Middle School Musical 2024

    Middle School students staged a wonderful production of Newsies Junior. When powerful newspaper publishers raise prices at the newsboys' expense, the charismatic Jack Kelly rallies newsies from across the city…

    Middle School students staged a wonderful production of Newsies Junior. When powerful newspaper publishers raise prices at the newsboys’ expense, the charismatic Jack Kelly rallies newsies from across the city to strike against the unfair conditions. Together, the Newsies learn they are stronger united and create a movement to fight for what’s right. Including the now-classic songs “Carrying the Banner,” “Seize the Day,” and “Santa Fe,” Newsies JR. is a timeless story full of spirit and heart. 

    More than 40 students—both on and off stage—were involved in bringing this play to life in the Barton-Test Theater. Bravo to all of our talented students and to the play’s director, Alex Ates, Director of Pre-K-12 Visual and Performing Arts! You can see more photos from the production here.

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  • Quaker Artist Todd Drake Returns

    Quaker Artist Todd Drake Returns

    Westtown Lower School, and Lower School art teachers Jane Chesson and Kelly Nicholson, were pleased to welcome New York City-based artist, Todd Drake as our 2024 Candace Freeman Artist-in-Residence. Todd…

    Westtown Lower School, and Lower School art teachers Jane Chesson and Kelly Nicholson, were pleased to welcome New York City-based artist, Todd Drake as our 2024 Candace Freeman Artist-in-Residence. Todd is a Quaker printmaker and street artist whose artwork addresses the themes of peace, resilience, and community. Todd worked alongside PK – 5th grade students during their art classes throughout the week-long residency to learn the process of lino-cut printmaking. Students learned about concept planning, carving linoleum-style printing blocks, and all had a chance to “pull a print.” Drake will take the student work back to his NYC studio to create a collaborative mixed-media collage, which will feature his own work alongside student prints and will be installed in the Lower School later this spring. Enjoy photos of Drake working with students here.

    The Artist-in-Residence Program began over thirty years ago and focuses on bringing professional artists to Westtown Lower School to share their artistic process and inspiration with our students. The opportunity for young artists to work alongside a professional artist is a valuable and important piece of our arts curriculum. You can see many of the Artist-in-Residence projects from years past throughout the Lower School hallways.

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  • Multidisciplinary Arts Field Trip

    Multidisciplinary Arts Field Trip

    The Visual and Performing Arts Department embarked on its first-ever Upper School Philadelphia Arts Trip! Fifty-four students in various music, printmaking, collage, photography, ceramics, theater design, and dance courses joined…

    The Visual and Performing Arts Department embarked on its first-ever Upper School Philadelphia Arts Trip! Fifty-four students in various music, printmaking, collage, photography, ceramics, theater design, and dance courses joined Upper School Arts Department faculty, who led students through the city to participate in tours, hands-on activities, and observe professionals and professional environments. 

    Music students and teachers Robert Frazier and Dwayne Morris were treated to a private performance by a student trio followed by Q&A about the creative process, techniques, and connections to the wider music community. Then they toured the University of Arts with Professor Micah Jones, the Instrumental Performance Program Director at the School of Music. 

    A cohort of students and teachers Shannon Moriarty and DeVon Jackson focused on printmaking, collage, and photography. They met with Intisar Hamilton from The Dox Thrash Project who led a walking tour of Historic Sharwood. She spoke about legacy, the preservation of neighborhoods, and the rich history of Black Philadelphia. At the Cecil B. Moore Library, they explored different materials to create collages and prints as we processed our day together. Lynn Grant from Collage Philadelphia facilitated this workshop alongside Intisar. 

    Ceramics students, along with teachers Stephanie Wilhelm and Omar Otero, visited The Clay Studio of Philadelphia, which is one of the best local clay studios, galleries, residencies, and community programs in the area. They took a class with artists and teachers Maya Wasileski and Hunter Fussell making handbuilt forms of their choice and learning and incorporating surface decoration techniques such as stamping, sgraffito, inlay, monoprinting, and underglaze painting. They also visited the Resident artist studios and met artists Ruth Easterbrook and Josephine Mette Larsen as they worked in their studios. 

    Teachers Justin Baker and Jack McManus headed the group of students interested in theater design and technology.  Their group got to experience the professional world of production with a backstage tour at the University of the Arts, where they discussed real-world case studies on theatrical design and technology. They met with University of the Arts program Technical Director Joe Fasciano and toured several theater spaces throughout the campus. 

    Students in our Elements Dance Ensemble ( as well as students interested in learning something new!) joined dance teacher Amy Grebe as they took a House and Street Jazz Masterclass at Urban Movement, which was led by teaching artist and dancer Alexis Curiel.

    It was a wonderful day and our students enjoyed their behind-the-scenes look at professional life in these creative fields!

    Enjoy the more photos from this exciting day here.

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  • Arts Awards and Accolades

    Arts Awards and Accolades

    Congratulations, Musicians! Jugad Singh '27 recently earned First Place at the Crescendo International Music Competition with the Penn Youth Orchestra at the legendary Carnegie Hall in New York City! Eva…

    Congratulations, Musicians!
    Jugad Singh ’27 recently earned First Place at the Crescendo International Music Competition with the Penn Youth Orchestra at the legendary Carnegie Hall in New York City! Eva Jaumann ’25 performed on oboe at District Band performing on oboe and Katherine Graham ’25 performed at District Orchestra on viola.

    Chester County Band Fest
    Congratulations to the Westtown sixth graders who were selected to participate in the Chester County Band Fest at West Chester East High School! The annual festival included 20 local elementary and middle schools in the Chester County area, and Jillian Burke-Huyette, Norah Davidson, Diego Fernandez, Lucas Roberts, and Solomon Yiadom represented Westtown Middle School. These talented musicians are pictured here with teacher Jason Wu, Lower and Middle School Instrumental Music teacher.

    PAEA Exhibition
    March is Youth Art Month, a national effort to raise visibility for visual arts education. Congratulations to several of our Middle School students who were featured in the Pennsylvania Art Education Association (PAEA) Youth Art Month Exhibition this year: Rose Cook ’28, Quinn Galey ’30, Trinity Ingram ’28, Piper Lowe ’28, Harrison Rupp ’28, and Scout Shipley ’28. You can see the exhibition and their amazing work here!  A very special congratulations to McKenna Lausch, the recipient of the statewide Middle Division Award. In addition to being showcased on the exhibition as an awardee, the image of McKenna’s work is displayed on a banner in the Capitol. Her original work, entitled Bookworm (pictured below), is displayed in our Westtown Library with award information and a QR code to the exhibition.

    Summer Guo’s ’24 submission entitled “Bloom” for grade 12  has been accepted for display at this year’s national exhibition, held in conjunction with the annual international conference of NCECA, The National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts.

    There were an enormous number of entries, and we commend Summer on this achievement! Ceramics teacher Stephanie Wilhelm notes, “The work submitted at all levels was outstanding. Seen as part of the larger frame of current work from our schools, these submissions demonstrate the inspirational impact ceramic education is having upon a wide range of students.” Join us in congratulating Summer!

    Students in the University of the Arts photography program curated and hosted a juried photography exhibit for high school students entitled Sense of Place. Eric Li ’24 won second place for his photo “In My World.” Junior Coco Chen’s photo “Till the End” was selected for the exhibition as were two of senior James Madonia’s photos, “Return” and “Lost.” Congratulations to all three student photographers on this prestigious recognition!

    Till the End, by Coco Chen ’25

    Congratulations to our many talented artists and musicians!

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  • Upper School Musical 2024

    Upper School Musical 2024

    The Upper School Spring Musical, Chicago: Teen Edition, opens on May 2 in the Barton-Test Theater! In this classic musical, we explore themes of crime, sensationalism, manipulation and fame. Join our merry murderers as…

    The Upper School Spring Musical, Chicago: Teen Edition, opens on May 2 in the Barton-Test Theater! In this classic musical, we explore themes of crime, sensationalism, manipulation and fame. Join our merry murderers as you see their rise to stardom! The Spring of 2024 marks the 100-year anniversary of the original crimes that inspired the musical.

    Featuring 25 students on and offstage, this production runs 80 minutes with a brief intermission.  Music by John Kander.  Book and Lyrics by Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse. 

    Performances at the Barton-Test Theater on:


    Thursday, May 2 at 7:30 p.m.
    Friday, May 3 at 7:30 p.m.
    Saturday, May 4 at 4:00 p.m.

    Performances are free with no reservation required. *Appropriate for 6th grade and older. 

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Athletics

  • Sports Roundup Winter 2024

    Sports Roundup Winter 2024

    We're proud of all our student athletes who gave it their all in the winter sports season! There were some notable standouts as well. The coed varsity wrestling team won…

    We’re proud of all our student athletes who gave it their all in the winter sports season! There were some notable standouts as well. The coed varsity wrestling team won the 2024 FSL Wrestling Championship and secured first place in the PAISAA Commonwealth Division! The seniors on the team are pictured below. In addition, two wrestlers, Ryan Tookes ’24 and Luke Holgate ’24, qualified for the 2024 National Prep Wrestling Tournament. This was Coach Jay Farrow‘s final season with the team and not only did his team give him a memorable one, but also he was given the National Prep Wrestling’s Coach of the Year Award. Congratulations to the team and to Coach Farrow! (Stay tuned to the next issue of the next Westonian Magazine for more on his storied career at Westtown.)

    Meanwhile, the girls varsity basketball team continued their impressive streak of winning FSL and PAISAA State Championships! They went undefeated in the FSL season and won their fourth consecutive FSL title and third straight PAISAA State title. Jordan Palmer ’27 was named Gatorade Player of the Year for the state of Pennsylvania, and she was also invited to the 2024 USA Basketball Women’s Junior National Minicamp. We are proud of this tenacious team!

    Additionally, the boys varsity swimming team secured third place in the FSL Championships! Congratulations also go to the six swimmers who advanced to swim in Easterns: Will Bradley ’25, Mae Conzemius ’25, Rose Cook ’28, Simon Kim ’27, Jacob Liu ’25, and Will Nangle ’24.

    Many of our winter sport athletes were named to the Friends School League All-League Team First Team and Honorable Mentions. In fact, over the fall and winter seasons, Westtown School has had more athletes on the All-League First Team and Honorable Mentions than any other Friends School! Go ‘TOWN! We recognize these athletes:

    All-League Team
    Savannah Curry ’24 (Basketball)
    Olivia Jones ’25 (Basketball)
    Jessie Moses ’27(Basketball)
    Jordyn Palmer ’27(Basketball)
    Atlee Vanesko ’26 (Basketball)
    Cam Wallace ’26 (Basketball)
    Will Nangle ’24 (Swimming) 
    Soren Clunk ’24 (Wrestling)
    Sam Downing ’25 (Wrestling)
    Luke Holgate ’24 (Wrestling)
    Devin Swarthout ’24 (Wrestling)
    Ryan Tookes ’24 (Wrestling)

    Honorable Mention 
    Jayden Kelsey ’25 (Basketball)
    Malik Rasul ’24 (Basketball)
    Felix Cardoso (Wrestling)
    Evan Holgate (Wrestling)
    Rose Cook ’28 (Swimming)

    Congratulations also go to Waring Award winners Soren Clunk ’24 and Vianna Kanyamiheto-Watson ’25! The Waring Award recognizes athletes who “The Waring Award is given at the culmination of each sport season to the student athlete(s) who “have dedicated themselves day in and day out, in service of their school, teammates, and coaches.  This award is intended to lift up those who constantly strive for improvement, who persevere when things are tough, and who lift up those around them with their tireless effort and positive attitude.” 

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Community

  • Upper School Musical 2024

    Upper School Musical 2024

    The Upper School Spring Musical, Chicago: Teen Edition, opens on May 2 in the Barton-Test Theater! In this classic musical, we explore themes of crime, sensationalism, manipulation and fame. Join our merry murderers as…

    The Upper School Spring Musical, Chicago: Teen Edition, opens on May 2 in the Barton-Test Theater! In this classic musical, we explore themes of crime, sensationalism, manipulation and fame. Join our merry murderers as you see their rise to stardom! The Spring of 2024 marks the 100-year anniversary of the original crimes that inspired the musical.

    Featuring 25 students on and offstage, this production runs 80 minutes with a brief intermission.  Music by John Kander.  Book and Lyrics by Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse. 

    Performances at the Barton-Test Theater on:


    Thursday, May 2 at 7:30 p.m.
    Friday, May 3 at 7:30 p.m.
    Saturday, May 4 at 4:00 p.m.

    Performances are free with no reservation required. *Appropriate for 6th grade and older. 

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  • Watch School Events Remotely

    Watch School Events Remotely

    This is a reminder that you can live stream many school events on LocalLive, as well as watch recordings. Use this link (which is also posted on our website) to…

    This is a reminder that you can live stream many school events on LocalLive, as well as watch recordings. Use this link (which is also posted on our website) to find sporting events, theater performances, and special speakers. In the dropdown, select from “live” or “recent” events; you can also see what upcoming events are on the horizon.

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Alums

  • Alums Weekend 2024!

    Alums Weekend 2024!

    Have you registered for Alums Weekend? Alums Weekend, May 17-19, is fast approaching, but there is still time to register! We have so many special activities planned and we hope you…

    Have you registered for Alums Weekend? Alums Weekend, May 17-19, is fast approaching, but there is still time to register! We have so many special activities planned and we hope you will take the opportunity to gather with friends, have some fun, and enjoy the beautiful campus. We hope to see you soon!

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  • Alums/Community Basketball Game 2024

    Alums/Community Basketball Game 2024

    In January, alums and community members hit the Coach Downey Court for the Annual Alums/Community Basketball game. It was wonderful to see so many alums back on campus and back…

    In January, alums and community members hit the Coach Downey Court for the Annual Alums/Community Basketball game. It was wonderful to see so many alums back on campus and back on the court! Enjoy the gallery of photos here.

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  • Nick Thomas ’02 Visits with History Classes

    Nick Thomas ’02 Visits with History Classes

    As part of their new series Identity, Value, and Politics, The History Department and the EJB team hosted their first speaker Westtown alum Nick Thomas '02. Nick ran for the…

    As part of their new series Identity, Value, and Politics, The History Department and the EJB team hosted their first speaker Westtown alum Nick Thomas ’02. Nick ran for the U.S. House of Representatives as an Independent Candidate in Colorado’s 2nd District in 2018. He currently serves the American Friends Service Committee as the clerk of the Committee on Friends Relations. Nick is also an actor, most recently with starring roles in An Egypt Affair (2023) and Amazon Queen (2021). 

    As his bio notes, “Nick grew up within the formative walls of the Boulder Friends Meeting, which he still considers his primary Meeting. He also attends, when possible, the Estes Park Friends/Unitarian group where his parents reside, Intermountain Yearly Meeting, and whatever Meeting he can find in the cities he visits. Nick attended Westtown School and Earlham College, wanting in both to seek out a greater understanding of Quaker practices and values beyond his upbringing. Outside, he is a proven generalist with a particular passion in politics – especially around climate activism and national service; and is also a pilot, actor and producer, and often involved in event management. In 2005 he spent half a year living with, and working as personal assistant to, Mrs. Coretta Scott King, and has long supported the initiatives and Beloved Community principles of the Martin Luther King Center. He holds a Masters in International Diplomacy and an MBA, was chosen as a 2015 Gabr Fellow, 2008 Congressional Youth Ambassador to South Korea, and as an OFA Fellow. He is an Eagle Scout and Rotarian, a lifetime member and supporter of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations and of Hosteling International, and a Board member of AREI.” 

    During his visit with groups of students, Nick spoke about his family’s personal connections with Coretta Scott King and her family, as well as how his Quakerism and experiences at Westtown and beyond have shaped his life philosophy and political beliefs. He described how a commitment to peace and nonviolence informed leaders in the civil rights movement, and he shined a light on movements for peace including the Christmas truce of World War I and the worldwide ceasefire of the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, led by Andrew Young. He discussed the dangers of political polarization and how rank-choice voting and embracing independent candidates might help us move beyond a two-party political system. Nick encouraged students to take positive risks as he has in his own life, most recently leading to his roles in several recent movies. ~Louisa Egan Brad, Dean of Equity, Justice, and Belonging

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