Biolympiad Participants

Angela Wang and Jerry Huynh competed in the 2024 USA Biolympiad National Exam, sponsored by the Center for Excellence in Education. Both Jerry and Angela participated in the first round of exams on February 12.  Angela qualified as a semi-finalist, the highest level that she was able to achieve (without being a US citizen).  

Here are the happy recipients of their award certificates, along with science teacher Leslie Barr!

Middle School Outdoor Education

Outdoor Education in Middle School this year has been full of exploration, learning, art, and time in nature. Students learned how to build emergency shelters, safely build campfires, identify spring ephemeral wildflowers, carve their hiking sticks in the art studio, and work together. In April, Outdoor Education had a cookout at the fire circle where they cooked a feast of penne pasta with a pesto made from garlic mustard and ramps that were foraged on campus. The feast also included a color-changing lemonade made from violet flowers, homemade bread, and. of course, s’mores! Enjoy photos from their cookout here!

Metal Moose: Women in STEM

Recently, the Metal Moose robotics team hosted a Women in STEM workshop for female-identifying students in 5th through 8th grades. The workshop, spearheaded by Lucia Sanchez ’24, focused on three main activities:  LEGO robotics, Python programming, and an introduction to Metal Moose and FIRST Robotics. Sanchez shares, “The LEGO robotics activity was for elementary-aged students, and Python programming was for middle-school-aged students. During the LEGO robotics portion, we taught students how to build and code LEGO robots step-by-step using Ev3 kits. The Python programming section consisted of the open-source Tech Girlz curriculum, which allowed us to teach students basic programming concepts by creating a digital Mad Lib and a number-guessing game. Lastly, we did a brief presentation for all of the students about what the Metal Moose does and how FIRST Robotics and the competitions we attend work. We then did a robot demonstration of our 2024 robot ‘Clio’ during which we explained the functionality of the robot and let students drive it.”

Sanchez says she was inspired to organize this event because she was first introduced to robotics in elementary school in an all-girls tech workshop. “It inspired me to further pursue LEGO robotics and STEM activities at my own school. So I wanted to run a Women in STEM workshop [here] for middle and elementary school girls to build coding skills and learn about robotics in a safe and supportive space.” Because the workshop was such a success,  the Metal Moose team plans to continue holding free STEM workshops in the coming years.

Book Buddies

As part of their English studies, each year 7th graders and Primary Circle students collaborate to write books together. They spend time building relationships, learning each other’s interests, learning about the elements of storytelling, and ultimately they write and illustrate a short story together. When finished, 7th graders bring the finished books to their “Book Buddies” and spend time reading their books, enjoying popsicles, and having recess together! You can enjoy more images of the Book Buddy sharing day here.

The Living Museum

Throughout the year, 4th graders study the history of this continent from pre-European contact through the abolishment of slavery. It is based on the queries, Who’s telling the story? and Whose voices are missing? The culmination of their studies becomes this final project where they share the successes, struggles, and work of many notable abolitionists. They invited family guests and fellow Lower Schoolers to their Living Museum so they could learn about these important historical figures as well. Well done, 4th graders!

Think, Care, Act Project

The Think, Care, Act Fair is the culmination of a multi-stage project that begins in 7th grade advisories where students identify their strengths, affinities, interests, and talents. They then focus on what they care about in the community and the world around them. In the third step, they try to connect the first two pieces into a service project that helps others by putting passions and skills to good use. The final step is to present their projects to their families, teachers, and 6th and 8th-grade peers. At the end of the year, 7th graders filled the Uptown Lounge with tri-folds and shared their experiences. This annual project, led by teacher and 7th Grade Dean Abby Lausch, is designed not only to incorporate service learning into curriculum, but also to help students discern what is important to them and to give them a growing sense of agency in having an impact in their communities.

Learning Civics in Third Grade

“This year’s third graders had a contagious passion for civics! After learning about forms and branches of government, rights and responsibilities of citizens, and civic engagement, we ended the unit with a class election as the culminating project. Students formed campaigns that championed causes, rather than people. Within each campaign, students took on various roles such as designer, creative director, speechwriter, and public speaker. Students then presented to their classmates in hopes of rallying support for their cause. These campaigns aimed to raise awareness for a range of topics including animal welfare, endangered species, pollution awareness, bullying prevention, and climate change. We then set up a private voting booth in our classroom, with a sample ballot inside, and students enjoyed casting their ballots and tallying up the votes (students could vote for any issue except their own). 

The goal of the election was to come up with one cause students could unite behind, and then raise awareness for that cause as a whole grade. Animal welfare won the class election, and third graders then decided on a method for raising awareness. Students landed on creating posters and scratch presentations to raise awareness about this issue, working individually or in pairs on their final projects. It was fantastic to see our students apply their curiosity and passion for civics throughout this project, using their collaborative and conflict resolution skills along the way, in an effort to turn that passion into action.” ~Charis Fisher, Third Grade Teacher

Earth Day

For Earth Day 2024, students in the Green Coalition, Dining Services staff, and Outdoor Education leaders created a program for immersive learning, one that got many students outside. Earth Day began with an all-school Meeting for Worship in the Greenwood, with special queries to reflect upon.

In the Upper School, Mary Ann Boyer of Boyer Sudduth Environmental Consultants gave an assembly presentation. Then students engaged in a wide variety of workshops and activities ranging from a TED talk on Doughnut Economics, to nature writing, to tree measuring, to invasive plant pulling, to planting a butterfly garden, weaving plarn, and building seed bombs, among many other activities. Students enjoyed time canoeing on the lake, the open ropes course, volleyball games, and even an ice cream truck! Our thanks to Green Coalition, Dining Services, student leaders, and the Sustainability Committee for making Earth Day 2024 a memorable one! Check out images from the day here!

All-School Meeting for Worship in the Greenwood to kick off Earth Day

National Chinese Honor Society Inductees

The National Chinese Honor Society was established in November 1993. Its objective is to acknowledge the superior achievement of secondary school students studying Chinese as a second language. Like other honor societies, the National Chinese Honor Society not only recognizes high scholastic achievement but also good character, leadership, and service. National Chinese Honor Society members should exemplify all these standards. The Society’s goal is to promote enthusiasm for Chinese language and culture learning, commitment to advanced study, and greater cross-cultural understanding.

This spring, the Westtown School chapter of the National Chinese Honor Society was pleased to induct 11 new members into the society and renew six students’ memberships. This year, they were also happy to add the “National Junior Scholars for Excellence in Chinese” award for our eligible Middle School 8th grade Mandarin students to recognize their achievement in the study of Chinese language and culture.  Please join us in thanking their teachers Nina Li, Jie Song, and Bei Zhang, and in celebrating the achievements of these students!

New members:

  • Tim Gatto 高艺轩
  • Emily Kessler 艾明兰
  • Grace Malavolta 马悦晴
  • Liam Sellers-Johnston 孙俊
  • Auden Vosburgh 王嘉奇
  • Aveline Heryer何美琳
  • Matthew Black 白子君
  • Sofia Burgos 包慧珍
  • Parker Coates 寇晓洁
  • Alex Delgado 邓凯
  • Vlad Maier 尉迟荣

Renewal members:

  • Nico Lippiatt-Cook 李一鸣
  • Oliver Hart韩耀辉
  • Jessica Schottland石玥琪
  • Maggie Shirk石敏佳
  • Amelia Mcdonough麦熙卉
  • Zeon Waterhouse 吴怡龙

Middle School 8th grade: 

  • Saige Biddison 司言芷
  • Rose Cook 蔷薇
  • Tommy Heckert 马思思
  • Caroline Vonnahme 柯爱玲
  • Trinity Ingram 楚一婷
  • Lev Bryans 简乐炜
  • McKenna Lausch 卢于菲
  • Pierce Ryan 冉天宇 
  • Rayan Siddiqui 沈星宇
  • Archer Webb 卫茗风
  • Cavan Hurley 何凯文

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 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!