Sports Roundup

The fall season of athletics was marked by exceptional achievements and milestones which were the results of our student-athletes’ dedication, skill, and sportsmanship across various sports.

The boys and girls soccer teams brought immense pride to our community, both clinching Friends Schools League (FSL) Championships! This triumph was a monumental moment for our boys’ team, achieving their first championship since 2011, and a testament to the consistent excellence of our girls’ team, who secured their second consecutive title. The individual accolades of Olivia Bley ’24 and Leo Salvucci ’24, who were named to the All-State Team, further exemplify our teams’ and players’ talent and hard work. Olivia’s remarkable journey, culminating in her 100th goal, illuminated the path to the PAISAA State Championship game, showcasing the bright future of both teams.

Our cross-country runners, though few in number, demonstrated immense spirit and resilience. Their performances, especially in setting personal records at the FSL Championship at George School, signal a promising future and a culture of healthy competition and personal growth.

In tennis, our girls team, led admirably by seniors Amy Vaduva ’24 and Sasha Khalo ’24, showed remarkable tenacity. Though starting slowly, their season ended on a solid note, exemplifying the spirit of perseverance and improvement.

Our field hockey team, guided by the leadership of senior Lily Diamond ’24 and junior Grace Malavolta ’25, achieved a significant milestone by making the FSL playoffs for the first time in four years. Their progress and enthusiasm throughout the season set a foundation for future success.

The school’s overall athletic prowess was further highlighted as 24 student-athletes were named to the FSL All-League and Honorable Mention Teams, the highest representation from any Friends League school. This achievement underscores our commitment to athletic excellence and holistic development.

Lastly, the advancement of the Oak Lane Turf Fields Project marks a significant step forward for Westtown School. The approval for Conditional Use and Land Development and the progress in other related areas bring us closer to realizing our vision for enhanced sports facilities, which we aim to complete by the Fall of 2024.

These accomplishments reflect the spirit of Westtown School, where growth, teamwork, and resilience are as much a part of our ethos as academic excellence. As we look towards the winter season, we remain committed to fostering an environment where our student-athletes can continue to thrive and succeed.

Girls Soccer Team – FSL Champs
Boys Soccer Team – FSL Champs

National Merit Scholarship Commended Students

The National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) has recognized the following as Commended Students for their outstanding performance on the PSAT/NMSQT: (from left) seniors Peishan Huang, Maya Jain, Joey Kim, Jerry Li, Ly Nguyen, Ethan Shaman, Tony Wang, and Alena Zhang. “Those named Commended Students have demonstrated outstanding potential for academic success,” says a spokesperson for the NMSC. “These students represent valuable national resources; recognizing their accomplishments as well as the key role their schools play in their development is vital to the advancement of educational excellence in our nation. We hope that this recognition will help broaden their educational opportunities and encourage them as they continue their pursuit of academic success.” Please join us in congratulating these students on their outstanding achievement!

Lenape Celebration Day

Fourth grade spent the fall term learning about the Lenape people who were the first people to live on the land that is now our campus. The Lenape Celebration Day is an opportunity to honor and celebrate the Lenape, while enjoying the beauty of this campus. Students worked together to prepare food from ingredients (squash, beans, and corn) that the Indigenous people would have grown. They spent time in the woods building structures and canoeing on the lake. They also played traditional Lenape games in the Arboretum. Other campus activities included time on the ropes course, a cookout at the lake, a sunset Meeting for Worship, and making s’mores at the fire circle.  See more photos from Lenape Day here!

Fifth Graders Travel to Echo Hill

Experiential learning is an important part of the Lower School curriculum, and fifth graders have the opportunity for hands-on learning, exploring nature and ecosystems off campus, and team building in their annual trips to Echo Hill. Echo Hill is an outdoor education camp by the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland that houses, feeds, and educates students. During our fifth graders’ trip to Echo Hill, they engaged in canoeing, ecology classes, learning survival skills, studying the bay ecosystem, and more. Over three days and two nights, our students have experiences that allow them to build their independence, learn about themselves and classmates, and do things they may have never done before. Some of the highlights included, night hiking, learning about the bay—and kissing fish!  See more from their adventures here! 

Lower School Playground: Students Dream Big

An exciting addition is coming to the Lower School: a new playground! Studio Ludo, a well-respected landscape architecture firm with certified playground safety inspectors and vast experience designing play spaces, including those for school environments, has been engaged for this project. As Lower School Principal Karyn Payton notes, “One of the draws for hiring this firm was their practice of engaging teachers and students in the pre-design phase. Studio Ludo and their partners have worked with us to develop their understanding of our Lower School community and play culture, and of our hopes and dreams. They will use the information gathered to inform their proposed designs. Beyond the installation of new play equipment, we are looking for an outdoor play space that reflects our divisional commitment to whole-body health and learning. A space that facilitates and broadens our students’ opportunities for social, cognitive, sensory, and motor growth and development. A space that fosters individual choice, resilience, healthy risk-taking, deepening social interactions, and of course, play, play, play!” 

The folks at Studio Ludo have come to campus several times and have engaged faculty and students in pre-design activities (pictured below; top collage courtesy of Studio Ludo) to help in their understanding of our school culture and to capture the essence of play at Westtown. In the workshop for faculty, teachers recalled their favorite play memories from childhood, then they broke into small groups to gather a sense of what play means in this community. 

Students were asked to draw their ideal play space based on the prompt questions: What kind of adventures could you have here? If you build anything, what would it be? Then there was a design workshop in which each student built a 3D model of their ideal playground. You can enjoy their delightful ideas and imaginative creations here

The goal is for the playground to be ready by the opening of school in September 2024. Stay tuned to eCollections and other publications for updates on this exciting project! 

Staats House Ribbon Cutting

On Friday, November 3, 2023, members of the community—including classmates and friends of Barbara and Allan Staats ’56—gathered for the dedication and ribbon cutting for the newly renovated Barbara and Allan Staats House. After a welcome from Anne Roche, Clerk of the Board of Trustees, Head of School Chris Benbow and Dean of Advancement Ellen Urbanski addressed the gathering. Once Benbow cut the ribbon, the Advancement team hosted a reception and open house. 

Formerly known as the Lane House, the building was completed in 1920 to be used as a faculty residence. It has remained primarily a space for faculty and staff housing, and most recently served as a second health center during the pandemic. “And now, friends,” shared Head of School Chris Benbow at the ceremony, “it is the Allan and Barbara Staats House! As many of you know, Allan attended Westtown from 1953 to 1956, and he and Barbara were active in the life of the school for decades, visiting campus regularly for class reunions and other events, including Commencent in the Greenwood…Allan described his deep appreciation for what Westtown taught him both as a student in the classroom and as a whole person. He noted that his years at Westtown were among his most memorable, and that he developed values and dispositions that grounded him throughout his life, including the critical importance of maintaining hope and positivity.”

The Staats have been tremendously generous to Westtown School over the years supporting the Westtown Fund, financial aid, capital projects, and several endowed funds. “Although we lost Allan in 2020 and Barbara in 2022, their legacy lives on,” shared Ellen Urbanski, Dean of Advancement. “Through their estate, the Staats’ generosity is now providing additional support to financial aid, the endowment, the Center for the Living Arts and the Staats House renovation. The Staats’ estate gift also provided resources for us to endow their annual Westtown Fund gift, which will support the Westtown community in perpetuity. Allan and Barbara understood the importance of community and took great pleasure in being with friends and family. In 2021, as we were preparing to honor his life during Alums Weekend, Barbara told me, ‘Allan loved Westtown and is smiling down on all of us knowing that his gifts bring joy to Westtown students, faculty and staff.’ While I do wish they were with us today, I imagine they are both smiling on us this afternoon and cheering on our work together on behalf of Westtown School.”  

“Living and learning together—and from one another—is an essential ingredient of the Westtown experience,” continued Benbow. “The community we build here each and every year—each and every day, really—the life long connections we make, and the ways these experiences and relationships shape who we are and how we move through the world simply would not happen without the generosity and intention of people like Allan and Barbara. Financial support for our students and families remains one of our highest priorities, and as someone who has known some of the young people who have benefited directly from Allan and Barbara’s generosity, I also know how much Westtown has benefited from the gifts those young people bring, grow, and share with us daily. We are thrilled to have another welcoming community space on campus where we can connect alums, parents, guardians, grandparents, students, faculty, staff—all members of our community. When I look at this building, I will continue to think with gratitude of Allan and Barbara, of their generosity, and of the connections and community they continue to help make possible.” The Staats House will now serve as offices for the Advancement Department and as a welcoming entertainment and meeting space for the entire Westtown community. The next time you are on campus, we invite you to stop by the Staats House to see this wonderful space. Until then, enjoy the gallery of photos from the ribbon cutting!

Seventh Grade Canoe Trip

The beloved tradition of Middle School canoe trips, which now spans more than four decades, kicked off this year with the seventh grade’s trip to the Delaware Water Gap. Students prepared for the trip on campus before taking off on the water where they paddled well, developed new friendships, and laughed a lot! Director of Outdoor Education Chris Costa shared that they had beautiful weather and saw multiple Bald Eagles—including several that were circling over them during their floating Meeting for Worship. Students worked together to set up camp, cook dinner, practiced Leave No Trace principles, read maps, and navigated their canoes over 20 miles on the Delaware River. They were challenged and grew in many ways that will continue to strengthen their class and our community back at Westtown! We offer a special shout out to the many enthusiastic teachers who accompany students on these trips, ensuring that they have a safe, educational, and fun experience. Have a look at the entire gallery of photos from this trip here!

Students Demand Action Host PA Senator Williams

On November 3, Pennsylvania State Senator Anthony Williams ’75 met with students for a Town Hall about gun control legislation as well as funding for education/access. The visit was proposed and organized by Tessa Kipnis ’26 and Lucy Smith ’26, club heads of the new Westtown School chapter of Students Demand Action with the support of Joseph Daniels, Chair of the History and Religion Department, who also serves as the club’s faculty adivsor.  As Williams arrived on campus, he was greeted by Head of School Chris Benbow ’90 and classmate Jay Farrow ’75. Afterward, he spoke at two Town Hall sessions with students and answered questions.

Students Demand Action Club Heads Tessa Kipnis and Lucy Smith with PA State Senator Williams and Joseph Daniels
Senator Williams with students and faculty advisors of Black Student Union

Alums Weekend 2024!

We look forward to welcoming you back to Westtown for Alums Weekend on May 17-19, 2024! This year we will celebrate reunions for classes ending in four and nine, including special 50th reunion gatherings for the Class of 1974. Registration will launch in March, but in the meantime, it’s time to start thinking about your class reunions. If you already have plans confirmed, please let us know

Keep an eye out for more details in the coming months, and don’t hesitate to email our team with any questions!