ISSUE III SPRING/SUMMER 2021-2022
Congratulations to the Class of 2022!
On June 11, 2022, the Class of 2022 received their diplomas in the Greenwood and joined our vast, global network of alums. You can see videos of the student speakers, photo galleries, and learn about their college destinations on this page of our website. Take a moment to check it out! Watch the full Commencement ceremony below.
On Wednesday, June 8, 2022, eighth grade families gathered in the theater for the Eighth Grade Closing Ceremony. Each student was presented with a certificate and a “SPARK jar.” SPARK—an acronym for Spirit, Participation, Academic Excellence, Respect, and Kindness— represents important community values. Each jar was filled with slips of paper with messages from faculty, family members, and friends honoring their unique gifts. As the students were presented with their certificates and SPARK jars, recordings of each students’ reflection on their time in Middle School were shared. Enjoy the entire gallery of photos from the closing ceremony here. On Thursday, June 9, 2022, families, Lower School students, and faculty gathered in the Meeting House for the Fifth Grade Closing Meeting for Worship— the Meeting to celebrate their graduation from Lower School. From the facing benches, each fifth grader stood and spoke about their time in Lower School, as is tradition, and families and teachers spoke out of the shared silence in the worship time that followed. Visit our gallery to see more photos from this special day! Congratulations to all our students who are moving on to the next phase of their academic careers!
College Shirt Day
College Shirt Day is one way we celebrate our seniors’ college choices. They donned their gear and stopped by the South Room for a photoshoot on May 2, the day after National Decision Day. They had a lot of fun with this visual celebration of the next phase in their lives! Check out our College Shirt Day gallery to see where some are headed!
Inspired to Act: Third Grade Ukraine Project
The third grade was studying the geography of Europe when the Russian invasion of Ukraine began in late February. The day after the invasion, students approached Teachers Vicki Shelter and Kristin Hayman and told them they wanted to find a way to help the people in Ukraine — and so began discussion of a fundraiser. But first, the teachers and students educated themselves. The students read articles about the situation on Newsela, a news website for young students, and discussed what they were learning.
During this learning phase, third grader Madison Long received a letter from her great aunt who lives in Kraków, Poland. She described the influx of refugees and how the Polish people were helping the Ukrainian people. This letter — described as “poetic” by the teachers — further motivated the students. They decided to make and sell buttons to raise funds for Ukraine, and formed committees to concentrate on specific aspects of the project: letter writing to administrators to ask permission to undertake the project and to update them on their progress; button design and crafting; advertising; research and goal setting to set fundraising goals, explore organizations to which they could send the money; and, presentation — a committee that created a presentation for the Lower School to describe what and why they were launching this service project.
After obtaining permission to move the project forward, the Design Committee presented their designs, third graders selected a few designs to focus on, and button making began. The Advertising Committee began to make posters to place around Westtown’s campus. The Presentation Committee made announcements at Lower School Gathering. The Research and Goal-Setting Committee determined that Save the Children would be the recipient of their fundraising efforts. They set a goal of $2500.00.
The Writing Committee got busy and secured permission to have a table at Spring Fest; they also wrote to parents asking them to help make baked goods. Head of School Chris Benbow came to third grade to share his support for the project. Finally, the day arrived. The students sold buttons, baked goods, lemonade, and jewelry that they had made in Metalsmithing, an afternoon club taught by Martin Moon ’09. It was a busy and successful day.
The fundraiser, which also included bake sales and a table with buttons and baked good at Spring Fest, was highly successful as well, with third graders making nearly $2300. The Long family decided that they wanted to buy the remaining buttons and send them to Poland to give to the Ukrainian children now living there. The students were very excited to have their buttons sent to Poland and the family’s contribution helped them reach their goal. Teachers Shelter and Hayman recently received word that the buttons have arrived in Poland. The class also received matching donations from GlaxoSmithKline, so, in the end, they collected $4500.00 for Save the Children. Well done, third grade!
Third Annual Westtown School Chapter of the National Chinese Honor Society Induction Ceremony
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.
After reviewing students’ Chinese course work, examining the national standards set forth, and discussing the many qualifications of gifted students, the Westtown School chapter of the National Chinese Honor Society was pleased to induct 25 new members into the society this spring.
- Puddy Boonkongchuen 白振宇
- Sierra Brewer 白欣怡
- Taj Donald 董俊
- Jahlil Gary 葛正雷
- Eric Ochis 欧阳恺
- Kate Eriksson 宋可人
- Sophia Hammond 韩颖
- Cat Le Febvre 范诗琪
- Livia Resnik 任瑾
- Stellablue Robinson 罗梦莹
- Ali Zahm 郑彦琳
- Giacomo Acciavatti 艾烨
- Zach Blumenfeld 毕志诚
- Sydney Kostal 李欣玫
- Tee Johnson 钟俊潇
- Savannah Peischl 潘静雯
- Ada Palacios 潘彩婕
- Mallory Peters 彭心恬
- Camden Chin 陈欣崇
- Christina Wilson 李娜
- Rylee Boles 鲁晓洁
- Carluccio Horton 何斌
- Jaydan Riggs 任琪
- Nyala Tolfree 童谣
- Gab Neal 倪心怡
Congratulations to all!
National Latin Exam Honorees
Westtown’s Latin students participated in the National Latin Exam, and we celebrate those with special recognitions! Beginning Latin exam: Nat Schroeder ’25 – gold medal, summa cum laude; William Bradley ’25 – silver medal, maxima cum laude. Intermediate Latin exam: Peishan Huang ’24 – magna cum laude. Advanced reading comprehension exam: Jake Richards ’22 – magna cum laude.
Fourth Grade Living Museum
The 4th grade’s final project last spring was a presentation of a Living Museum — a culmination of their deep dive into the lives of historical abolitionists. Throughout the year, their 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. From the beginning of the year, teachers Shelagh Wilson ’85 and Colby van Alen build a strong foundation with fourth grade students and lead in-depth conversations with them. 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 fourth graders have access to true and accurate history. Furthermore, they have firsthand knowledge of how people sacrificed their lives to progress towards a fair and just society. At the Living Museum, students portrayed 36 abolitionists they studied sharing their work, struggles, and successes. Well done, fourth graders!
National Merit Scholarship Winner
Jake Richards ’22 is the recipient of a $2500 National Merit Scholarship (NMS). The National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC®) announced this year’s National Merit $2500 Scholarship winners in May, stating, “The 2,500 Merit Scholar designees were chosen from a talent pool of more than 15,000 outstanding Finalists in the 2022 National Merit Scholarship Program. National Merit $2500 Scholarship winners are the Finalists in each state judged to have the strongest combination of accomplishments, skills, and potential for success in rigorous college studies. The number of winners named in each state is proportional to the state’s percentage of the nation’s graduating high school seniors. These Scholars were selected by a committee of college admissions officers and high school counselors, who appraised a substantial amount of information submitted by both the Finalists and their high schools: the academic record, including difficulty level of subjects studied and grades earned; scores from the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®); contributions and leadership in school and community activities; an essay written by the Finalist; and a recommendation written by a high school official.” Please join us in congratulating Jake on this tremendous achievement!
Seventh Grade Think, Care, Act Fair
The Think, Care, Act Fair is the culmination of a multi-stage project that begins in 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 us. 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 to their families, teachers, and 6th and 8th grade peers. At the end of the year, 7th grade filled the Uptown Lounge with trifolds and shared their experiences. Enjoy more photos from the event here!
Congratulations are in order for Will Nagy ’22 who broke the school record in the 1600 meter run this spring. His time was 4:21.48 besting the old record of 4:23.66 set 33 years ago! Will also earned a Silver Medal in the 800 meter run at the PAISAA championships. Well done, Will!We offer another round of applause for the Boys Sprint Medley Relay Team — Sam DiStefano ’24, Will Nagy ’22, Santi Benbow ’23, and Soren Clunk ’24. They broke the Hill Relays Meet Record and the school record this season. GO ‘TOWN!
Join us in congratulating these student-athletes on these achievements in the spring season:
Westtown League of Legends eSports Team finished their Regular Season 13-1 earning them a second place finish. Yoonha Nam ’22 was the #1 overall ranked player in the league, and Andrew Jin ’22 was the #3 ranked player in the league.
Santi Benbow ’23 earned a gold medal in the javelin at the PAISAA championship.
Pitchers Jack Ingino ’23 and Taj Donald ’23 both passed the 100 strikeout milestone for their careers this past season!
Pitcher Lucia Sanchez ’24 surpassed the 250+ strikeouts in 20 career games. (Pictured, right)
Congratulations and GO ‘TOWN!
Playing It Forward
Kaylene Smikle ’22, recipient of Gatorade’s Player of the Year and Play it Forward Spotlight Grant, donated the $10,000 award to Westtown’s girls basketball team. The Gatorade Player of the Year Award recognizes “the nation’s most outstanding high school student-athletes for their athletic excellence, academic achievement and exemplary character.” About her generous donation to her Westtown team Smikle shared, “I believe the program is well deserving of the $10,000 Spotlight Grant. In a short time, the program has prepared me for success at the college level — on and off the court… This is an up [and] coming program that will flourish for many years to come. I am proud to call Westtown my home away from home.” Smikle also designated Westtown School girls basketball the awardee of another $1,000 grant from Gatorade, making the total gift to the girls basketball program $11,000. Smikle has signed with Rutgers University, where she begins this fall. Congratulations, Kaylene, and our deepest gratitude!
Alums Weekend 2022
In May, we welcomed alums back to campus for Alums Weekend for the first time since 2019. It was wonderful to see old friends reconnect with each other and the school, to see a full theater for the Westtown Alumni Association Annual meeting, and to witness the traditional roll call of classes. Look for the Alums Weekend and reunion recaps in the next issue of The Westonian. In the meantime, please enjoy the gallery of photos from the weekend here, and the gallery of reunion class photos here!
Celebrating the Class of 2020 – Again!
We were thrilled to invite the Class of 2020 — who had a virtual Commencement at the time — back to campus in June! This celebration included the traditional procession into the Greenwood, class photo, plaque dedication, and other special activities for them and their families. You can find more information about this celebration in the next issue of The Westonian, and enjoy the complete gallery of photos here.
Art and Faith
From September through late October, an exhibit in the Center for the Living Arts gallery will explore the relationship between faith and art at Westtown. The exhibit will feature prints from Westtown’s archives by the highly-regarded German graphic artist Fritz Eichenberg who visited Westtown often in the 1950s. The exhibit will also commemorate the 70th anniversary of the publishing of Eichenberg’s monumental Pendle Hill pamphlet, Art and Faith. “Looking ahead, our tri-divisional Arts Department will consider how the arts are essential to Westtown’s Quaker mission,” said Alex Ates, Director of the Visual and Performing Arts. “Roughly 70 years ago, our school was exploring the inseparability of art and modern Quakerism, so this exhibit is not only a way of looking forward, it’s a way of claiming our history.” In addition to Eichenberg’s prints, the multidisciplinary exhibit will also feature work by current Westtown students and faculty. Teacher Lizzy Oxler is the exhibit’s curator. Oxler, a member of the Upper School English faculty, is a doctoral student in Folklore and Literature and has been a Curatorial and Education Assistant at the Paul and Lulu Hilliard Museum of Art. The exhibit is being produced in collaboration between the Arts Department, Archives, and Advancement. The Westtown community should be on the lookout for additional information about how to engage with the exhibit in the fall.
Save the dates for these community events. All are welcome!
New Post on the Well-Lit Path Blog
With school right around the corner, Westtown School’s Dean of Integrated Wellness and Learning, Dr. Maria Alonso, offers some thoughts for parents to reflect upon, and ways to communicate to their school-aged children, not just at the beginning of the school year but throughout the year. Read the latest post on our blog here!