ISSUE III 2022-2023
The Giant: Celebrating 100 Years
Commissioned by the Class of 1910 in memory of classmate William C. Engle, N. C. Wyeth’s The Giant was presented to Westtown on Alumni Day, June 2, 1923. The painting reflects Engle’s love of the sea, childhood imagination, and the friendship between artist and subject. The children in the scene are Wyeth’s five children, with Engle represented by the young man in the white hat.
An artist himself, Engle attended the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia and later studied with N.C. Wyeth, living in Chadds Ford. He spent the summer of 1916 on a classmate’s family farm in West Branch, Iowa, in an attempt to recuperate from tuberculosis. That summer he painted three landscapes, which now hang in the Main Building. Unfortunately, Engle succumbed to tuberculosis later that year in November on his 25th birthday.
When William Engle came to Westtown in the fall of 1908, the only art class offered was freehand drawing. Engle always made time for his art, however. Westtown classmates later said that between classes he was always out with brush and palette, painting about the countryside. Fifteen years later, when The Giant arrived at Westtown in June 1923, George Whitney—student and friend of N. C. Wyeth—was completing his third year as the school’s director of fine arts and expanding the arts department. Bacon Cottage, which included new art studios with lots of natural light, was dedicated on the same day as The Giant.
Since The Giant came to live at Westtown 100 years ago, the fine arts program has greatly expanded. Today, Upper School students can choose from Intro to Studio Art: 2D and 3D; Drawing and Painting; Photography and Digital Art; Ceramics; Sculpture; Woodworking; and Studio Art Forum. The Giant arrived at Westtown during a time when fine arts were gaining greater appreciation, and that has continued. However, you don’t need to be a student in art class to appreciate The Giant—it still hangs in the Dining Room for all to enjoy, and was restored last year to preserve it for generations to come. ~Chrissie Perella Clement, Westtown School Archivist
At the Annual Meeting of the WAA Board, this film by Erik Freeland ’80 was screened. Please enjoy this lovely tribute piece to The Giant.
Community Dining on Campus: An Exciting New Project
Westtown School has unveiled its plan to create a new dining space on campus. “After several years of thoughtful work and careful discernment, we have made the decision to create a new community dining space on campus. While construction is still a few years out, I’d like to describe in broad brushstrokes our needs, process, and ultimate decision to build a free-standing dining space,” writes Head of School Chris Benbow.” Below, you will see an early vision of the new space as conceptualized by the talented and thoughtful team at SHoP. While these are only conceptual renderings and do not necessarily reflect what will be the final design, we hope they will give you a preliminary sense of the project. This free-standing space, situated just across the Central circle on the north side of the Main Building, will enable the entire Upper School (both students and adults) to enjoy meals at the same time, both building community and removing constraints from the daily schedule. The space will provide our dining services team with the facility they require to accommodate the variety of dietary needs of our students, while aspiring to the highest standards of sustainable practices. Additionally, the location of the new Dining Room will provide much-needed and accessible space for gatherings, celebrations, and meetings all year round. Detailed plans for the newly imagined facility (kitchen, dining, and outdoor space) are in their early stages and will evolve thoughtfully to ensure that both current and future needs are met.” You can learn many more details and read the entirety of Benbow’s message here.
Below are renderings of the early vision of this community dining space as conceptualized by the team at SHoP.
One Story Week
Recently, our Lower School celebrated their annual One Story Week. The week was centered on author (and Westtown alum!) Kat Yeh ’82. After reading two of Kat’s books, The Friend Ship and The Magic Brush, students participated in mixed-grade activities around the themes of the two books: friendship and aspects of Chinese culture. Some of the special classes included collaborative collage of self-portraits for our Lower School Friend Ship (pictured here with Kat), creative writing and storytelling, painting wishes, paper folding, guest readers, and learning Chinese language and writing from special guests, community members, and Upper School students in Chinese classes. To wrap up the week, students were treated to a sneak peek of Kat’s soon-to-be published newest book, Just One Little Light, then she led students in creating an original story together. Please enjoy our One Story Week gallery here. Our thanks to Kat Yeh ’82 for making the week so special for our Lower Schoolers!
Empowering Students with Kelly Yiadom
Kelly Yiadom, Westtown’s Lower and Middle School Director of Equity, Justice, and Belonging (EJB), was hosted on Lead at Any Level Amy C. Waninger’s #IncludingYou Podcast. In this episode, Kelly describes her work, that of the EJB team, and articulates why and how Westtown School integrates EJB priorities into curriculum and community life. We encourage you to have a listen to this excellent episode!
“Lenape Voices” is a Middle School arts and service project that seeks to honor over 10,000 years of Lenape stewardship of this land. As you walk around campus, you will see 21 different rocks (ahsëna) painted with relevant Lenape words and their English translations. We invite you to reflect on both the absence and presence of the Lenape people in this place. Please connect to The Lenape Talking Dictionary to hear mother tongue Lenape speakers bring these words to life in their ancestral homelands.
We invite you to send us pictures of you at any of the rocks. If you visit all 21, your efforts will be celebrated with your own rock at the explanatory signs. You can email your images to Teacher Megan Rose. You can see more about this project on our website.
Deep Dive Certificate Recipients
The Deep Dive Certificate Program honors Upper School students who are engaged in an intentional, organized, and well-documented arc of immersive learning and focused scholarship. Students create the path from initial interest to successful capstone projects. Upon completion of the program, students receive a certificate celebrating their sustained concentration and thoughtful synthesizing of a broad array of experiences and academic work. The designation is noted on the student’s transcript, providing our students with yet another way of standing out from the crowd. Students may pursue more than one Deep Dive.
The Deep Dive Designations promote an interdisciplinary lens through which students design and experience their education. Deep Dive Certificates are offered in these areas: Social Entrepreneurship, Sustainability Leadership, Global Leadership, Diversity, Inclusion, and Social Justice, Data-Driven Change, and Multidisciplinary Arts.
Congratulations to this year’s Deep Dive Certificate recipients! These students are noted below along with links to some of their presentations so that you can learn more about their specific courses of study and projects.
Dane Clunk ’23: Global Leadership
Chloe Costa Baker ’23: Global Leadership
Jon Ebatalye ’23: Data-Driven Change
Tyler Greenberg ’23: Sustainability Leadership
Penny Huang ’23: Global Leadership
Tara Kumar ’23: Global Leadership
Jimmy Qin ’23: Multidisciplinary Arts
Alena Zhang ’24: Global Leadership
Earth Day…and Month!
The Sustainability Committee, comprising faculty, administrators, and students, created a host of ways for the community to celebrate Earth Month and Earth Day, each with the overarching goals to “get people outside, interact with nature, and to intentionally inherit the Earth.” There was a shoe and clothing drive and on Earth Day, students and families gathered on campus and worked together to clear, sort, and size the donations to prepare them for delivery. Also on Earth Day, Upper and Middle School students and families did a creek clean-up and water restoration project, created a path to connect trails, and there was a plant swap/plant propagation station.
Throughout the month, students in all divisions engaged in a variety of projects and activities designed to help them appreciate the nature around them and to do service to our land. In one example, 8th graders explored the wonders of nature through art for their biomimicry art project. They spent time outside exploring, observing, and collecting examples of nature’s designs to inspire their pieces. Students used willow reeds and basketry to create the frames, then various types of paper mache, wool, thread, and other natural materials to tie the project together. Each piece was a beautiful reminder of the beauty and importance of our planet.
In Lower School, students explored the creek, lake, and frog pond, learned about plant life with Farmer Tim, did an invasive plant pull, enjoyed birdwatching, went canoeing on the lake, and more! They reveled in these opportunities to be outdoors and to learn experientially.
School-sponsored international trips resumed over spring break, a welcome return to global experiences and signature programming for our students.
The program to Central Europe explored cities and sites related to the Holocaust. This trip aimed to provide a foundation for understanding genocide both broadly and locally, exploring one of the greatest atrocities of the western world. The group went to Germany, Poland, Czech Republic, and Austria and visited historical and cultural sites such as: The Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, Theresienstadt Ghetto Museum, Eagle’s Nest, Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial, Schindler’s Factory Museum, Lidice Memorial, Nuremberg Documentation Center, The Ringelblum Archive, and the Warsaw Jewish Historical Institute, among many others. The group considered a range of people (individual and collective), ideologies, places, monuments, documents, memorials, archives, cities, primary and secondary sources as well as voices and views on various social levels, and they examined the choices victims, bystanders, and perpetrators confronted and the (in-)actions they took.
The trip was organized thematically, with focus on local, regional, and international spheres, so that students could move beyond the parameters of the Holocaust period and have ample discussion about the aftermath and representation of the this period and genocide in general—which continues to have ramifications for contemporary global society. One of the trip leaders, Upper School history teacher Joseph Daniels, shares, “Our trip to Central Europe had a challenging focus, but one that we felt was incredibly important for young people today. The students accepted the challenging emotional aspects with grace and leaned on each other. They formed a supportive group network among each other that allowed them to care for themselves and connect as a group in the lighter, fun activities and explorations of modern Europe. It was a memory of a lifetime for all of us!”
Another group traveled to the village of Breman Esiam, Ghana, the home of Heritage Academy, our sister school. Westtown students taught a variety of classes for Heritage 7th graders and led reading groups. After school, the group engaged in their service project: making cement blocks. After the last Westtown group visited in 2019, Heritage used the blocks made by our students to begin constructing a new middle school building. They have named it Westtown Hall in honor of all the Westonians who have been visiting and supporting Heritage through the years. Leaders at Heritage asked this year’s group to continue making blocks as their service project. They made 227 blocks, which will go a long way toward completing the building!
The group also took excursions to explore the life, landscape, and history of Ghana. One of the most important aspects of this experience is learning and reflecting on history. Students visited Elmina and Cape Coast Castles—both significant posts during the trade of the enslaved—which are reminders of the brutality endured by millions of Africans forced through the “doors of no return” onto ships headed to Europe and the Americas.
“Students are given a rare opportunity to have personal exposure to sites that mark the beginnings of the West African diaspora and to learn in acute detail the history of the trade of the enslaved. To stand in—and understand—these haunting spaces is a powerful and potent experience.” shares Lynette Assarsson, one of the trip leaders. “Students also have immersive, authentic encounters with the culture. They live in the village, go to markets and haggle for goods, savor Ghanaian foods, learn to speak some Fante, and develop relationships with our neighbors and friends at Heritage. These are intense, rich, and joyful experiences for students, and it’s immensely rewarding for us adults to witness their understanding of the world expand and deepen in real time.”
Another group of students embarked on a tour through Portugal, Spain, France, and Monaco. They visited a host of cities and cultural and historical sites along the way. Led by Bei Zhang, several faculty members, and partners at EF (Education First) Tours, students explored the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos, Castelo de São Jorge, Belém Tower, and other significant sites in Lisbon. From there, they traveled down the Algarve, stopping in Evora on their way to the Costa del Sol. In Sevilla, students got to appreciate the Andalusian culture and lifestyle (and, of course, the food!) and marvel at the cathedral, Plaza de Toros, and Plaza de España. After a quick stop at Gibraltar, the group traveled to Granada where they toured the Alhambra, a stunning and magnificent example of Moorish architecture. They continued to Valencia where they visited the Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias and enjoyed a walking tour. The next stop was Barcelona where they witnessed the brilliance of Gaudí at La Sagrada Familia and Park Güell, and soaked in this art lover’s dream of a city. Finally, the last legs of the trip were spent along on the French Riviera, including tours of Nice and Monaco.
National Chinese Honor Society
The Westtown School Chapter of the National Chinese Honor Society was pleased to induct 14 new members into the society and renew 12 students’ memberships this spring. The National Chinese Honor Society was established in 1993 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. Please join us in congratulating the following students:
Induction: 14 new members
- Alex Delgado ’24 邓凯
- Melanie Flynn ’23 冯莹
- Tim Gatto ’24 高艺轩
- Taehyung Kim ’23 金哲彬
- Lucia Sanchez ’24 孙灵
- Nico Lippiatt-Cook ’24 李一鸣
- Tyler Greenberg ’23 小猫
- Oliver Hart ’24 韩耀辉
- Jessica Schottland ’24 石玥琪
- Maggie Shirk ’24 石敏佳
- Ellen Jang ’23 张智元
- Amelia McDonough ’24 麦熙卉
- Abdullah Sabir ’24 孙志杰
- Zeon Waterhouse ’23 吴怡龙
Renewal: 12 members
- Jahlil Gary ’23 葛正雷
- Eric Ochis ’23 欧阳恺
- Kate Eriksson ’23 宋可人
- Sophia Hammond ’23 韩颖
- Cat Le Febvre ’23 范诗琪
- Ali Zahm ’23 郑彦琳
- Giacomo Acciavatti ’23 艾烨
- Zach Blumenfeld ’23 毕志诚
- Sydney Kostal 李欣玫
- Tee Johnson 钟俊潇
- Savannah Peischl 潘静雯
- Mallory Peters ’23 彭心恬
Join us in congratulating these students! A gallery from the induction ceremony can be found here.
Think, Care, Act
Late in the spring semester, the 7th Grade held their annual Think Care Act Fair, an integration of service learning into curriculum. The Fair is the culmination of a multi-stage project spanning several months that begins in advisories, where students consider and identify their strengths, affinities, interests, and talents. They then focus on what they care about in their communities and the world around them. They then put those passions and skills to use by engaging in a service project that reflects those interests. The final phase of the project is the Think Care Act Fair, where they present their projects to their families, teachers, and 6th- and 8th-grade peers. This year they even had a special visit from their Primary Circle Book Buddies! Combined, the 7th grade class participated in over 400 hours of community service. Well done, 7th graders! Enjoy the gallery from the Fair here.
Second graders had an out-of-this-world Space Day! Astronauts, outfitted in their space jumpsuits, participated in activities to give them a taste of life in outer space. They simulated working with space suit gloves on, practiced communication strategies, tested jumping distances with different weights, worked with robots—including a special appearance from our Upper School Robotics Team – the Metal Moose—and even tried astronaut food. Special thanks to our families who helped run the stations! You can see more of Space Day here!
The Upper School Environmental Justice class recently visited the recycling plant where our waste goes to gain a greater understanding of the role they could play in mitigating waste. Environment Illuminated is one of the three priorities of our Strategic Vision, and educating our students about issues impacting the environment in classes such as this —in which students consider the complex connections between our environment, our material life, religious purity, and colonization—is just one of the expressions of this priority.
Environmental Justice is a course offered by the Religion Department at Westtown. Harvard Divinity School wrote a piece that considers the intersection of climate justice and religious literacy, and how teacher Lara Freeman, who earned a Masters of Theological Studies at Harvard Divinity School, incorporates their Religion and Public Life (RPL) learning resources into her work in the classroom. You can read it here.
World Languages Week
The second annual World Languages Week was a blast! We celebrated the joy of language learning with many special activities. There were awesome student performances at a special assembly, an assembly for visiting speaker Seyon Kpaan ’20, and each language hosted a themed dinner in the evenings. At the end of the week, teams representing Latin, Spanish, French and Chinese competed in the Language Olympics. Congratulations to Team Mandarin who won the World Language Cup aand Team French who won the prize for having the most spirit! You can view all the photo galleries here.
Xinqi (Jessie) Wang ’26 wins Mathematical Association of America’s2023 Young Women in Mathematics Award
Jessie Wang ’26, along with all Upper School students who were enrolled in an advanced math class, took the Mathematical Association of America’s (MAA) American Mathematics Competitions (AMC). Her performance in the AMC 10 B for 9th and 10th grade students—a 75-minute, 25-question problem-solving exam—was one of the top in the country, earning her an AMC Young Women in Mathematics Award.
The American Mathematics Competitions’ (AMC) Young Women in Mathematics Award and Certificate Program honors the top-performing, self-identifying girl students on the AMC 8, 10, and 12. The top five scorers in each competition split a $5,000 scholarship, and the top five scorers from each MAA Section receive a certificate.
In 1950, the first Mathematical Contest, sponsored by the New York Metropolitan Section of the Mathematical Association of America (MAA), took place. It was given in approximately 200 schools to around 6,000 students in the New York area only. Today, the competition has grown to over 300,000 students participating annually, in over 4,000 schools.
Based on her performance on the AMC 10, Jessie was invited to take the American Invitational Mathematics Examination (AIME): AMC’s invitational competition for high-scoring AMC 10/12 participants. Later, she was invited to participate in the United States of America Junior Mathematical Olympiad (USAJMO) (AMC’s top invitational competition for high-scoring AIME participants). Congratulations, Jessie! ~ Jake Norton, Upper School Math Teacher
The 4th grade social studies curriculum focuses on 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? Whose voices are missing? and seeks to amplify the voices in history that have often not been heard. Teachers Shelagh Wilson and Colby van Alen build a strong foundation by having in-depth conversations with students. They clearly articulate the impact of a young learner embodying the spirit of a person who fought for human rights and, because of this, Westtown 4th graders have access to true and accurate history. Furthermore, students gain firsthand knowledge of how people sacrificed their lives to progress towards a fair and just society.
Their studies culminate with doing deep dives into the lives of historical abolitionists, then presenting the Living Museum, to which families and fellow Lower Schoolers were invited, where they share the work, struggles, and successes of many notable abolitionists. Well done, 4th graders! You can see the Living Museum here!
Middle School Visiting Artist
The Middle School and the Visual Arts Department welcomed guest artist Todd Drake to campus this spring. Drake is a printmaker, photographer, and educator, who worked with our students to create a permanent art installation in the Middle School main hallway. Drake and students made linocut prints inspired by the Quaker SPICES (simplicity, peace, integrity, community, equality, and stewardship) and put together collages of these prints that now hang in the Middle School. “[They] beautifully reflect a few essential elements of our students’ experience,” shared Principal Will Addis. “These collages bring together the collected perspectives of nearly 100 students, creating something new and beautiful through collaboration…and remind us of the importance of making space for every voice. The ideas that inspired the students are built on the same values that guide our curriculum and program today and have also influenced Westonians for 224 years.” Drake’s visit was supported by Alex Ates, Director of Visual and Performing Arts, and Middle School art teachers Cindy Hodgson and Marta Willgoose Salo, who co-led this project. The next time you’re on campus, stop by the Middle School to have a look at the installations.
Congratulations to Mallory Peters ’23 whose piece “Historial Urn Replication” was selected into American Museum of Ceramic Art 2023 Annual High School Ceramics Exhibition. The exhibit features works by 109 students from 13 states, plus Washington, DC.
SPOTLIGHT ON PERFORMING ARTS
Upper School Musical
Our spring musical, Broadway Our Way, was a smashing success! We congratulate the 55 students onstage, backstage, and in Scenic Arts Design who put together such an incredible production. This musical review featured songs from Hadestown, Spring Awakening, Beetlejuice, and others. You can enjoy photos from the musical here.
Spring Dance Concert
The Spring Dance Concert, A Bouquet of Movement, featured wonderful performances by Elements Dance Company, Middle School Dance, and original pieces choreographed by other Upper School Students! You can appreciate their artistry in this gallery here!
Middle School Concert
Middle School’s final concert of the year was an opportunity for students to sing, play, and shine! In case you missed it, here is a gallery of photos of the Spring Concert.
Lower School Spring Concert
Lower Schoolers did an amazing job at their Spring Concert. Please enjoy the gallery of their performance here!
PMEA District Band Honors
Congratulations to our students Milo Salvucci ’23 (center), Ella Cook ’24 (right), and Solveig-Michael Daniels ’23 (left) who were invited to attended the PMEA District Band Festival, and a special shoutout to Milo! After being selected for District Band, District Orchestra, Region Band, and Region Orchestra, Milo has reached the highest level a high school musician can achieve by earning a place in the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association (PMEA) All-State Festival music ensembles. For Milo, this is the third year in a row he has reached this level. This year, he was selected as the top percussionist in Concert Band. Congratulations to Milo and all our talented musicians!
There are many highlights from the spring season of athletics to lift up as the school year comes to a close!
- The girls varsity lacrosse team wins its first Quaker Cup Championship!
- Boys lacrosse advanced to the Friends School League (FSL) Finals. They had an impressive season, beating two nationally ranked-teams.
- The baseball team also advanced to the FSL Finals. Jack Ingino ’23 pitched a perfect game.
- The girls softball team advanced to the FSL Semi-Finals. Junior Lucia Sanchez pitched a perfect game!
- Two school records were broken in track and field this year: Santi Benbow ’23 broke the record in the javelin throw, Ella Cook ’24 broke the record for the girls 800m!
And, drumroll please…Westtown wins the 2023 Patterson Cup, earning it back from George School! The Patterson Cup is a yearlong athletic competition between Westtown and rival George School.
In addition to team achievements, the following athletes garnered Friends Schools League recognition on the All-League Team:
First Team Selection
- Santi Benbow ’23 (track)
- Jack Combs ’23 (lacrosse)
- Ella Cook ’24 (track)
- Taj Donald ’23 (baseball)
- Matt Hamill ’24 (lacrosse)
- Jack Ingino ’23 (baseball)
- Michelle Olak ’24 (track)
- Dylan Precious ’24 (golf)
- Lucia Sanchez ’24 (softball)
- Bella Swipes ’23 (lacrosse)
- Carl Wagner ’23 (baseball)
- Charlotte Anstine ’25 (golf)
- Jack Bartholomae ’26 (tennis)
- Arjun Gill ’24 (lacrosse)
- Sophie Jones ’25 (lacrosse)
- Delia Sanchez ’27 (softball)
- Noah Snyder ’24 (lacrosse)
The spring season Waring Award winners are: Jack Combs ’23, Avery Allison ’23, and Jack Ingino ’23. The Waring Award recognizes athletes who may not have titles and accolades, but who tirelessly strive for excellence, persevere through hardship, and elevate their teammates with their positive attitudes. It is for those who have devoted their hearts and souls to their teammates, their coaches, and their school.
Waring Award Recipients
Finally, we lift up the the recipients of the Most Valuable Athlete Awards (from left): Lucia Sanchez ’24 (softball), Jack Combs ’23 (lacrosse), Michelle Olak ’24 (track and field), Ella Cook ’24 (track and field), Jack Ingino ’23 (baseball), Carl Wagner ’23 (baseball), and Santi Benbow ’23 (track and field).
Congratulations to all our student athletes for a great spring season! You can enjoy team photo galleries from the school year here.
Westtown Toile, Spirit Gear, and More!
Introducing the Westtown Toile collection. This collection features images of iconic buildings on the school’s campus. Using the school’s rich archive of historic photographs, artist Joe Kulesza meticulously interpreted each building in pen and ink. The sketches were then digitized, enhanced with elements of the surrounding natural landscape, and put into repeat. The resulting fabric and wallpaper collection is produced by Adaptive Textiles/Lodestone Collective, a local company with alum and teacher ties to Westtown School. Click here to view the collection. Learn more about the print design here. A portion of the proceeds of the sale of these items support the school.
Grandparents’ and Special Friends’ Day
We (and our students!) were thrilled to welcome grandparents and special friends to this spring to get a glimpse of life in the Lower School! Our guests learned about the Lower School curriculum, did activities with students, and enjoyed being in the classroom. You can see more of this special day here.
Thank you for coming!
It was wonderful to see so many alums on campus over Alums Weekend 2023! There will be a recap of the weekend’s activities and reunions celebrating milestone years in the next issue of The Westonian. In the meantime, please enjoy the photos from the weekend!