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ISSUE I FALL 2022-2023

New Partnership!

Westtown School and Christa Barfield, owner and operator of FarmerJawn Agriculture, are proud to announce a new partnership. Effective January 1, 2023, Barfield will lease 123 acres of the school’s campus to create an organic farm with an unconventional model.

Both stewardship of the land and the educational potential of Westtown’s 600 acres has long been a focus of the school. This intentional work is prioritized in the school’s Strategic Vision alongside a commitment to fostering equity, access, inclusion, and belonging.  

A portion of the school’s land has been leased for farming use since 1996. Upon the announcement of current farmer Pete Flynn’s retirement, the school began a search for a partner with a commitment to a reciprocal, regenerative, and restorative relationship with the land. The school created a Farmland Task Force and commenced a months-long search for a mission-aligned partner. Head of School Chris Benbow shares, “The task force was impressed by Barfield’s experience, approach, and strong alignment with the school’s mission and Strategic Vision and is pleased to invite her to campus as our new partner.”  

Barfield is a dynamic entrepreneur and a passionate advocate for healthy, organic food and for regenerative farming practices, with a vision to restore access to farmland and farming for Black farmers. She currently operates two Philadelphia-area businesses—FarmerJawn Agriculture and Viva Tea Leaf. Her organization includes a retail and garden learning center in Germantown, a community-supported agriculture (CSA) business, and five acres of farmland in Elkins Park.  Barfield shares, “FarmerJawn is excited to expand our regional network to Westtown School to create a just food system that perpetuates regenerative and organic health for people and the planet.

Barfield will farm half the land and use it to stock the farm market already located on the premises. The farm market will operate under a new name and will eventually include a CSA, prepared foods, and other locally grown and sourced products. The remaining acreage will become a “farming incubator,” comprising five ten-acre cooperative farms operated by a cohort of Black farmers. This incubator model will offer educational development opportunities and a “pathway to entrepreneurship” via sales at the farm market.

Quakers and Working Toward an ABAR Community
By Louisa Egan Brad, Dean of Equity, Justice, and Belonging

At a parent speaker series talk and at a faculty/staff Opening-of-School session this fall, I opened with the following quote from the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC). After you read it, I’d like you to guess what year it was written.

The need for [action beyond nondiscrimination] derives from the fact that discrimination is embedded in our societal patterns of education, housing, employment, social interaction, and political participation. These patterns are so pervasive that frequently neither their perpetrators nor their victims realize when and how discriminatory acts are being committed. AFSC is part of this society and has, generally unwillingly, fallen into some of the very activities and behavior patterns it seeks to avoid in itself and to change in others. In these circumstances, policies of nondiscrimination alone are inadequate to achieve inclusiveness and full participation. Special efforts and procedures to reach out to previously excluded groups are necessary…AFSC believes that the greater inclusiveness which is the goal of [action beyond nondiscrimination] is necessary for us to do our work effectively as a Quaker organization seeking to understand and address questions of oppression, empowerment, justice and peace…The objective of the plan is to change those patterns which have not so far produced the inclusiveness we seek and to try new ways to reach long established goals.

When do you think the text above was written?

Click here to see the answer:

American Friends Service Committee “Affirmative Action Plan” 1978

To me, this statement reads as though it could have easily been written sometime after the murder of George Floyd. The recognition of discrimination throughout American society, the acknowledgement that individuals may participate in and perpetuate discrimination unconsciously, the appreciation that inaction itself reproduces societal inequities–all of these ring true as realizations that have dawned on many in our country only since the summer of 2020.

And yet, Quakers stated these truths plainly over 40 years ago. Is this simply an accident of history? The introduction of the affirmative action plan indicates not, stating that “Implicit in both Quaker faith and practice is the belief that God is an active force, using men and women as instruments in order to bring society to a more perfect state…To be instruments of Divine Will, men and women need to be free of the weight of oppression and harmful discrimination.” Such sentiment underlies a long history of Quaker social activism–while certainly not every Quaker has always been on the right side of history, Quakers have been trailblazers with respect to social justice, with respect to abolition, women’s suffrage, gay rights, and other issues.

At Westtown, our Quaker identity and mission guide our equity, justice, and belonging work and our commitment to working towards an anti-bias, anti-racist (ABAR) community. This work for us is not a digression from our purpose or a mere reflection of broader American culture in our time. Rather, it is central to the work and privilege of teaching and learning in a Quaker school. 

Art and Faith Exhibit

This fall Westtown’s Center for the Living Arts Gallery hosted the “Art and Faith” Exhibit to mark the 70th anniversary of Fritz Eichenberg’s Art and Faith Pendle Hill pamphlet, which considered the role of art at Westtown School. The exhibit featured original prints by Eichenberg from Westtown’s permanent collection, and works by Quaker artist Todd Drake, students, and faculty. 

In 1954, Fritz Eichenberg, a German-born committed Quaker—and one of the most prominent visual arts educators of his time—visited Westtown’s campus to speak about the arts as an extension of the school’s essence. Two years prior, Eichenberg published his thoughts in a Pendle Hill pamphlet, Art and Faith. This is the 70th anniversary of that radical little work. 

Fritz Eichenberg (b. 1901, Cologne, Germany; d. 1990, Rhode Island) was a popular German-American illustrator, speaker, and educator. Eichenberg held prominent posts at the Pratt Institute in New York City and the University of Rhode Island. He fled the rise of Nazism in 1933 and was involved in the Works Progress Administration’s Federal Arts Project during the Great Depression. A committed Quaker, Eichenberg’s art often focused on social justice topics. As a writer, Eichenberg composed radical pamphlets for the nearby Quaker education and retreat center, Pendle Hill. As a teacher, Eichenberg was well-known for his “The Art of Teaching Art” lecture. Perhaps, though, Eichenberg is best known as an illustrator of classic novels and for Dorothy Day’s The Catholic Worker radical newspaper. In the 1950s, Eichenberg visited Westtown’s campus as part of his ongoing participation in The Society of Friends and arts education.    

Todd Drake (b. 1961, North Carolina) is an American interdisciplinary artist, activist, and educator who lives in New York City. The recipient of multiple grants and fellowships, Drake has traveled globally to facilitate social justice-oriented arts projects. Alongside his wife, Drake is the co-operator of a Quaker intentional community in Manhattan, Penington Friends House. Drake’s most recent solo exhibition was “Rising,” a series of prints and pen and ink drawings dealing with the issue of Global Warming. His surrealistic imagery links his experiences growing up on the Outer Banks of North Carolina with his concerns for what will be lost due to the rising tides of the Climate Crisis. Recently, Friends Journal published Drake’s “The Leading of Hope.” 

Director of Visual and Performing Arts Alex Ates was instrumental in bringing this exhibit to life, and the idea came to him during his visit to Pendle Hill, a Quaker retreat and conference center. “The exhibit was inspired when I read Eichenberg’s Pendle Hill pamphlet Art and Faith while I was on retreat there,” says Ates. “I was stunned by the clear and vigorous way that Eichenberg connected Quakerism and art. I was further surprised to learn that Eichenberg has strong ties to Westtown, as the school invited him to speak on campus in the 1950s and purchased several of his prints for our permanent collection. When I visited the pieces in Westtown’s Archives, I was struck by the fact that Westtown has been exploring the relationship between artistic creativity and faith for quite a long time—and the past can help embolden our future as we continue those conversations today. And, it just so happened, this year marked 70 years since Eichenberg’s pamphlet was published! Immediately, I knew to pull in my colleague Lizzy Oxler, who just completed her doctoral research on Folklore, to support this exploration as curator.”

The Art and Faith exhibit ran from September 16 through October 22, 2022.  The exhibit’s opening celebration included remarks from curator English teacher Lizzy Oxler, Head of School Chris Benbow ’90, and Pendle Hill Executive Director, Westtown trustee, and parent Francisco Burgos, along with an original piano composition entitled Looking for the Light, by Mandy Zhao ’24. During the exhibition, students from across divisions had interactive experiences with the work, from an image scavenger hunt and question series for Lower School students to reflective writing prompts for Upper School English classes. 

As highlighted in the exhibit’s opening note: “Eichenberg wrote that while he lives in the Age of the Atom ‘under the shadow of the Terrible Cloud,’ he remains hopeful at the promise of art and what art can do, noting that art itself ‘has survived all cataclysms.’  In our own community, we reflect on our own version of the ‘Age of the Atom.’ We continue to live in a world of nuclear volatility and political vulnerability. And, not to mention the ever-present hum of the COVID-19 pandemic. Still, we came together during Meeting for Worship, we still created productions; those practices continued and they can live together—they do right here, right where you stand. This exhibit is a timeline of the progression of these twinned spaces of art and faith, a meditation on the relationship as perceived by members of the community.

The arts have flourished at Westtown. We live in a space where art and faith are intertwined and cohesive. Bold arts education will grow at Westtown because the seeds have already been planted. So, we invite you to look forward to our past and our present.” Please enjoy photos of the exhibit here


Serving the Community

At Westtown, service learning is an integral part of curriculum and all students have a variety of opportunities to engage in service projects throughout their school careers. In the Upper School, Service Network, a co-curricular offering, provides regular and ongoing projects for students. This fall, students in Service Network and a group of upper-level Spanish students took on some special community projects. 

Last spring, Service Network students worked with Farmer Bill on the Chester County Food Bank farm (grown on the Westtown School farm in partnership with Farmer Pete Flynn). They planted kale, beets, and a variety of greens—about 900 plants in total. Just before Thanksgiving this year, the plants were harvested providing quite a bounty for the CCFB.

Full-grown kale before this fall’s harvest

The Service Network’s partnership with  Cradles to Crayons has also continued. Students recently spent an afternoon at the Philadelphia location to rehabilitate and clean used shoes to be distributed to children in the area. Service Network Coordinator Lara Freeman shares, “The work was tedious and required much elbow grease but the students were joyful and committed to the task!” 

Throughout the fall, Service Network offered donation boxes around campus collecting items in support of the West Chester Food Cupboard. Students drop off donations a couple times each season. So far this year, over 150.5 pounds of food and personal care items have been donated. If you’re on campus and would like to contribute, there is a box on the East End of the Main Building. 

Service Network co-curricular students also provide tutoring for the New Directions Program at the Melton Center in West Chester twice a week, they work at the SPCA in Brandywine once a week, and they make regular visits to volunteer at the Habitat ReStore on Saturdays to support the fundraising leg of Habitat for Humanity. Upcoming service opportunities will include a build project with Habitat for Humanity and a seed sorting project through the Cooperative Gardens Commission in which students will sort and make small packs of seeds for individual gardeners that will be sent to Seed Hubs around the country. Last year, this volunteer-led effort provided food for 20,000 people. 

Beginning in September, 10 students have participated in a unique service partnership at the Iglesia Buen Samaritanos in West Chester. The members of this church are primarily Spanish speaking and a number of them wanted to either improve their English or begin to learn English for the first time. Students involved in this project are: Alena Zhang ’24, Luke Cogswell ’24, Dane Clunk ’23, Noah Bay ’23, Chloe Costa-Baker ’23, Melanie Flynn ’23, Antonio Ubiera ’25, Bailey Tuckman ’25, Helena McConatha-Rosle ’24, and Maya Jain ’24, all of whom have completed Level 4 or above of our Spanish program and wish to practice both their linguistic and cultural competency in Spanish in the local community.  

Each Monday evening, these students met with Spanish teacher Cynthia Voorhees to reflect on the previous week, and make their lesson plans for the week. On Tuesday evenings, they went to the church to teach English from 7:00-8:30 p.m. Voorhees stresses that this is a significant time commitment for students on top of their regular course work.  

Eight students were paired with adults or children at the church to teach them English, and two students also taught a basic technology skills class to the Spanish-speaking adults in the community. These classes were to help adults become more comfortable with creating gmail accounts, sending emails and files, and creating Google slide presentations. All teaching in this program was done in Spanish. The tech class has now concluded, but the English classes will continue through mid-January. In February, our students will be volunteering as child-care givers while adults in the church community are engaged in another course at the church. 

Voorhees shares, “The mutually beneficial partnership that we have formed with this church is truly a beautiful thing. We are serving them, but they are also serving us by allowing us to learn more about their culture, practice our Spanish, and to grow as teachers and care-givers. Some really beautiful friendships have evolved between our students and the folks at the church. I love that our kids are making friends outside their age-bracket, socio-economic bracket, and their own culture.” Just before Winter Break, students gathered with the members of the church enrolled in the English program for a holiday dinner sponsored by Lara Freeman and the Service Network program.



Opening of School

It is a marvelous thing when students return to campus each fall. Student return is incremental and happens in stages  —athletes arrive for presesaon, then international students, then student leaders, then new students — until at last all students have returned; in all this year, 696 students!

The Opening-of-School process includes orientation sessions, team-building exercises, and fun events for students and families to get to know the school and one another, such as the Lower School Sneak-A-Peak  and the  Middle School Ice Cream Social.

In the Upper School, great care is taken to make students feel welcome and at home, especially those coming from great distances. This year we welcomed students from 21 states and 18 countries! Check out some of  activities offered to students, from special orientation sessions for internationals students to team-building, to a special BBQ, to a night out at Ice Line for ice skating.

Middle School Ice Cream Social


Student leaders help on dorm on move-in day!

Lower School Mask Parade

During Lower School art classes, students have been working hard on designing and creating masks for our Halloween Mask Parade — a Westtown tradition that is over forty years old.  Students’ families lined the parade route, cheering on our masked artists. While our parade coincides with Halloween, it is more than just a spooky surprise. The parade showcases our young artists and their creativity.  See the parade of masks here! 

Mid-Autumn Festival

Students in Middle and Upper School Mandarin Chinese classes learned to make one kind of mooncakes as part of the celebration of the Mid-Autumn Festival. In China, Mid-Autumn Festival is a celebration of the rice harvest and many fruits. Ceremonies are held both to give thanks for the harvest and to encourage the harvest-giving light to return again in the coming year. Mooncakes are offered between friends or at family gatherings while celebrating the festival. Check out the beautiful (and delicious) work of our students here!

7th Grade Canoe Trip

In September, 7th graders traveled to the Delaware Water Gap for their canoe trip. These annual trips have been a signature program in the Middle School for over 40 years, and students experience a trip in each grade of Middle School, with the challenges deepening as the students get older. The placement of the 7th grade tip at the beginning of the school year is intentional, as this trip is often a formative experience for students, resulting in deeper relationships with peers and faculty, an increased sense of self-confidence and a belief in their ability to overcome obstacles both individually and as a group. This canoe trip is also an integral component of community building as they enter their 7th grade year.

The students  paddled a section of the Delaware River located in the beautiful Delaware Water Gap Recreation Area on the border of Pennsylvania and New Jersey. They carried everything with them on the river and camped as they traveled downstream. All students were engaged in the meaningful work of: traveling as a large group down the river, tent setup, preparation and clean up of meals, fire building, packing and unpacking of canoes, etc. Students learned navigation skills and had several opportunities to practice leadership in small and large groups. Students also continued their understanding of Leave No Trace (LNT) wilderness travel practices that they began working on in their 6th grade Outdoor Education. Director of Outdoor Education Chris Costa said of their experience, “We had a fantastic time that included lots of animal sightings (Bald Eagles, too!), delicious food, just enough wind and rain to develop some resilience and grit, plenty of sunshine, and lots of laughs and community building!” 

Enjoy the entire gallery of photos from this fun trip here.

Outdoor Education Hiking Trip

This fall, 10 Upper School students hiked 14 miles with heavy packs on steep and rocky terrain on the Appalachian Trail during the Outdoor Education Fall Backpacking Trip. Students carried everything they needed for the weekend on their backs, and learned how to live and travel in the backcountry, including how to work within a group to treat their water, set up camp, build a fire, protect their food from bears, and navigate with a map and compass. Chris Costa, Director of Outdoor Education reports, “Our overnight/morning temperatures were in the low 40s to mid-30s and students layered up and stayed positive. They spent time reflecting together and laughing a lot. They showed great leadership in their support for one another and their ability to meet and push their edges.”  See more from their experience here.


Arts and Activism

In teacher Megan Rose’s Middle School class “Arts and Activism,” students explore artists who use their mediums for expressions of activism and to bring attention to social issues. They studied artists like Andy Goldsworthy, Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Michelle Angela Ortiz and others. They created their own stencils, posters, and natural art works inspired by these artists.

Some of the projects in this class supported Fairhill Burial Ground including field trips where students deepened their acknowledgement of Lenape culture and heritage.  

Creating leaf art inspired by artist and environmentalist Andy Goldsworthy
Field trip to Fairhill Burial Grounds

Upper School International Festival

Sunday December 3, 2022  was our annual International Festival. This long-standing event celebrates our diverse community at Westtown. Our students, families, and faculty set up stations in Main Hall classrooms and offered snacks, games, presentations, and opportunities for connection and conversation about their cultural heritage. Our thanks to teachers Bei Zhang and Rose Koenig, International Student Coordinators, who made this event possible, and to all the students and families who shared their cultures, foods, and languages with us! Visit the gallery here to see more!

National Merit Scholars and Commended Students

Congratulations to our National Merit Scholarship Semi-Finalists (left to right): Sean (Zihan) Dong ’23, Milo Salvucci ’23 Eric Ochis ’23, and Chloe Costa Baker ’23! Each year, the National Merit Scholarship Program “recognizes individual students who show exceptional academic ability and potential for success in rigorous college studies.”

We also offer our congratulations to the  National Merit Scholarship Commended Students, seniors Sahil Mitra, Taehyung Kim, and Sam Tan!  These students are recognized by the National Merit Scholarship Program for “exceptional academic promise demonstrated by their outstanding performance on the qualifying test.”


Twelfth Night

The Upper School production of Twelfth Night was amazing! This new, energetic adaptation of Twelfth Night — Shakespeare’s beloved comedy of mistaken identity, love triangles, music, and mischief — was a delight. Kudos to all the students, both center stage and back stage, who brought this play to life!

Westtown commissioned this original adaptation by the New Orleans-based writer and actor James Bartelle. Bartelle came to campus to have conversations with students about Shakespeare, acting, playwriting, and the process of adapting Twelfth Night. He stayed on campus for the run of the performances and engaged with classroom activities and events along with teacher Alex Ates, Theater Director and Director of Visual and Performing Arts. Our thanks to James Bartelle for sharing his time with our students! 

Enjoy the gallery of photos from the production here. 


Falling Back Into Dance

In case you missed the Fall Dance Concert, you can see a gallery of our talented dancers performing here

Ancient Seeds

Descendants of ancient watermelon seeds were cultivated by the Jordan family and shared with third graders this fall. This seed story actually begins in the last centur —and across the country. In the late 1920s, plant expert Art Combe was exploring a cave in Arizona’s Mogollon Rim. He found a small clay pot filled with watermelon seeds believed to be hundreds, perhaps thousands, of years old stored by Native Americans in the area. Combe planted some of the seeds he found and the fruit the plants bore were small and crook necked, but very flavorful. Over decades, these seeds were cultivated and seed-saving preserved and propagated this particular type of watermelon. Fast forward to last summer when Upper School science teacher Steve Compton obtained some of the seeds descended from those found in the cave and gave them to Associate Director of Admission Samantha Jordan ’01 and her family who planted them. Sam and her son, Tommy ’ 32, shared some of their watermelon harvest with Tommy’s classmates in third grade earlier this fall. The students learned about these heirloom seeds, and Farmer Tim Mountz used the opportunity to teach the students about seed saving and heirloom plants. Finally, they all got to see the “big reveal” when the watermelon from the Jordan’s garden was cut open, and they all got to share in tasting it. Students reported that it was “very sweet, even though it was light pink inside.” When the tasting was complete, third graders collected the seeds from the watermelon to continue the seed-saving process for this unique variety of watermelon. Enjoy the gallery here!

Metal Moose Specialty Drive Team!

Back in September, a contingent of the Metal Moose Robotics team traveled to an off-season competition which featured all-women drive teams. Westtown’s Metal Moose ran the field and won the competition! Team faculty advisor Steve Compton says, “The event offered both returning and students new to robotics opportunities to learn to drive, operate, and fix the robot. The operators for this competition: were Liana Jimenez ’25, Lucia Sanchez ’24, Emily Kessler ’25, Aveline Heryer ’25, Jessie Wang ’26, and Zoe Malavolta ’23. Congratulations!! 

Echo Hill

5th Graders got back to their annual camping trip to Echo Hill Outdoor School, an outdoor education camp by the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland. Students had a blast canoeing, attending ecology classes, learning survival skills, engaging in bay studies, and more. The experiences help them build independence, learn about themselves and classmates, and do things they may have never done before. Science teacher Amanda Jeane Strode shared some of the highlights this year which included: “kissing fish, night hiking, and weighing the S.L.O.P. (stuff left on plate) at each meal.” What a great trip! Enjoy the whole gallery of photos here.

Learning to Build Healthy Communities

Just before break, third graders gave presentations of their community maps depicting communities that they created that represented their ideal. Third grade teacher Kristin Hayman explains, “Our Community Unit started with the essential question, How can we make the world a better place? We started with discussions on perspective and map skills, including learning about map keys and the compass rose. Many picture books were read to the class to gain a better understanding of a variety of topics: imagined communities, clean energy, trash removal, and stories focused on diversity. [We talked about the] concepts of rural, suburban, urban, and the importance of sustainability. The students went on a field trip to Swarthmore where they experienced walking through and learning about community helper’s jobs, sustainability, and how a community can use their environment renewably. We also went on a field trip to Republic Services Conestoga Landfill to learn about how much trash people generate and what we are doing to handle the incredible amount of garbage created. [Groups of] students then created individual maps about what their ideal community would look like. They prototyped buildings and other structures, which led to the creation of 3D maps of their communities.” Art teacher Kelly Nicholson taught the students how to draw a geometric compass rose, which they illustrated and colored with watercolor pencils. Additionally, Science Teacher Amanda Jeane Strode taught a unit on electricity and circuits, which allowed the groups to “electrify” their maps using light bulbs and motors. At the presentation for their parents, each of the groups described their communities, read their “constitutions” and missions, and shared what they were most proud of on their community maps.  You can enjoy the gallery of photos here!

Fall Sports Roundup

Girls Soccer
Congratulations to the girls varsity soccer team, Friends Schools League Champions! The team were also semi-finalists in the PAISAA State Tournament. We offer our congratulations as well to the Friends Schools League All-League honorees and Honorable Mentions (HM): Brianna Bartsch ’26, Olivia Bley ’24, Juliana Del Beato ’26, Lacey Jackson ’25, Berta Grohmann Llinares ’24, Camille Bley ’26 (HM), Lucy Smith ’26 (HM). Olivia Bley was also named an All-State and All Southeastern PA player! 

We celebrate the following student athletes who were named Friends Schools League (FSL) All-League players and Honorable Mention (HM) in their respective sports: 

Field Hockey

  • Grace Malavolta ’25, Grace Rhile ’23, Zoe Malavolta ’23 (HM)

Boys Soccer

  • Josiah Moore ’23, Carlos Salazar ’25, Tee Johnson ’23, Leo Salvucci ’24 (HM)

Cross Country

  • Jamilla Derga ’24 and  Santi Benbow ’23

Girls Tennis

  • Leah Stern ’23, Sasha Khalo ’24 (HM)


At the fall sports award ceremony, two students were given the Waring Award: Josiah Moore ’23 (soccer) and Mariana Ortiz ’24 (soccer).  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.  This award is for those who never took a drill off, always received constructive feedback with a smile, and poured their heart and soul into their sport and their team.  The Waring Award is for those athletes who may not necessarily have the titles and the accolades but go out and grind for the love of the game.  The recipient(s) of this award are nominated by their coaching staff and selected by the athletic department. Congratulations, Josiah and Mariana! 

FallFest Was a Smash!

In September, hundreds campus to join us for FallFest 2022! There were games, activities, and food trucks, but most of all — FUN! We offer special thanks to our community of volunteers who helped make it all possible, and to event planner extraordinaire Megan Schlickmann!

Enjoy the gallery of photos here! 



Campus Nature Walk

In November, we hosted the Second Annual Campus Nature Walk.  The nature walk was led and curated by Chris Costa, Director of Outdoor Education, and Marta Willgoose Salo, Middle School faculty member and naturalist. Participants got the opportunity to learn more about the flora and fauna of our campus, and simply enjoy being together in nature. Thanks to all who joined us for this educational, community-building event! You can enjoy photos from the nature walk here

Middle and Upper School Parents’/Guardians’ Days

It’s always exciting to welcome families to campus so they can get a taste of what school is like for their kids, sample classes, and meet teachers and advisors! In case you missed seeing the galleries on our social media platforms, here are the galleries of the Upper School and Middle School Parents/Guardians’ Days. Enjoy!

Alums Weekend 2023

We look forward to welcoming you back to Westtown for Alums Weekend on May 19-21, 2023! This year we will celebrate reunions for classes ending in three and eight, including special 50th reunion gatherings for the Class of 1973. More information about the weekend can be found on our website. Bookmark this page and check back this winter for details about how to register. See you back in ‘Town!
New Faculty & Staff 2022-23

Welcome to the newest members of our faculty and staff! Earlier this week, our new employees participated in a two-day orientation. The orientation process included programs such as an introduction to Quaker education, as well as some team building activities. New faculty members will participate in the National Association of Independent Schools’ Cheryl Irving Cultural Competency Institute on Thursday. Our new hires are:

Jennifer (Jen) Anthony, Middle and Upper School Science Department Chair – Jennifer earned a B.S. from the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse and a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. For the last eight years, Jennifer was the Science Department Chair and a teacher at Salesianum High School. Born and raised in Wisconsin, she is a huge UW Badgers, Green Bay Packers, Milwaukee Brewers, and Milwaukee Bucks fan. She moved to this area 16 years ago and has taught both at the collegiate and high school level. Jen shares, “My husband and I are blessed with a son who is heading off to Penn State this year and a daughter who is a Junior at Archmere. I love to travel and have been able to see Ecuador/Galapagos, Iceland, Italy, and Japan with students. For my next trip, I will be heading to Ecuador with my family over Christmas. An interesting fact about myself is that I know how to play the flute, bassoon, tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone, and I love music!” 

Christian Bielizna, Upper School Dean of Students – Christian earned a B.A. form Bard College in Creative Writing/Languages and went on to earn a Master’s in Liberal Studies with a focus on Comparative Politics from Wesleyan University. He comes to Westtown from St. John’s Northwestern Academies where he was Dean of Students and Head of Innovation and Design for the past two years. His eclectic twenty-year career in independent education as a: teacher, dean, coach, advisor, division head, consultant, leader, and mentor has been rewarding and formative. Christian has a deep appreciation for the kind of learning that takes place outside (and inside) the classroom and strives to create and implement programming for students to develop themselves. He is pleased and excited to be joining the Westtown team. Keep an eye out for his classic cars on campus in the warm weather months!

Rosa Catania, Lower School Primary Circle Assistant Teacher – Rosa holds a B.A. from Dickinson College, a JD from Temple University Beasley School of Law, and is pursuing a degree from Drexel University School of Education. She worked as an attorney for ten years and then decided to change to a career in education. Rosa has worked in the Lower School for the past several years as a substitute teacher, a fourth grade assistant teacher and, this past spring, was the long-term substitute Spanish teacher. This year she will serve in a new role as Assistant Teacher in Primary Circle. Rosa shares, “My son Charlie (2nd Grade) and daughter Ruby (Pre-K) attend Westtown School. When I’m not busy playing with my kids, I enjoy reading, traveling, running and practicing my Italian!”

Ferlin Charles, Upper School Wellness Counselor – Ferlin holds a B.A. from Vassar College, an M.S.W. from Boston College, and an M.S. from West Chester University. She has a private practice as a Clinical Social Worker/Psychotherapist. Ferlin says,”My new hobby is trying to find time to engage in former hobbies! I used to engage in memorializing activities such as photography, journaling, and making videos. I also enjoy watching mystery shows and documentaries.”

Jane Chesson, Lower School Visual Arts Teacher – Jane earned a BFA from University of Delaware and an MFA from Texas A&M University. She comes to Westtown from Tower Hill School where she worked the last seven years as the Lower School Art Teacher. Jane is mom to two daughters, Helen (7) and Hazel (5), who will also be joining Westtown this year. A few of her hobbies include reading, indoor cycling, and making art. A fun fact about Jane:  she “very naively”  hiked Mt. Katahdin in 50+ mph winds and (barely) lived to tell the tale!

Lindsay Cleary, Psychology Extern – Lindsay has a passion for working with children, providing comprehensive assessments and therapy. Lindsay currently lives in Philadelphia and enjoys taking care of her cats, working out, painting, and spending time with friends and family. Fun fact: Halloween is her favorite holiday!

Ami Crowe, Lower School Primary Circle Assistant Teacher – Ami holds a B.S. from Colorado State University and a B.A. from Colorado Christian University. Last year she was a Lower School substitute teacher here at Westtown, and was a long-term sub in first grade. Prior to that, Ami subbed for York City School District. She shares, “I was born in Colorado and grew up in Nebraska and Colorado on a Simmental cattle ranch. My husband, James, our three children, and I moved to Pennsylvania in 2017. We moved one year ago to the West Chester area for our kids to attend Westtown School. Our son, Julien ’25, our son Maxwell ’26, and our daughter Zoe ’28 are entering their second year [here]. I enjoy snowboarding, hiking, eating great food, and find a good sense of humor valuable. I am overjoyed to be part of the Primary Circle team as an Assistant Teacher where I will be working with pre-K and Kindergarten students. Fun Fact: Back in the day, when I wasn’t at Colorado State University, I was working most summers as a lifeguard/swimming instructor or a whitewater raft guide on the Arkansas River, Colorado River, and Clear Creek.”

Lisa D’Ortone, Upper School Learning Specialist – Lisa holds a B.A. and an M.A.T. from James Madison University, and has a wide range of professional experience in education. She comes to Westtown from Immaculata University where she worked last year. Prior to that, she was a Career and Technical Education teacher in Maryland. Lisa is a native of upstate New York, and spent the last 13 years in Maryland. She recently moved to the area with her husband and two sons. She enjoys travel, live music, reading, and animal rescue.

Sarah Duda, Director of Advancement Operations – Sarah earned a B.A. from Swarthmore College. Last year she was at AIM Academy where she served as Manager of Advancement Services. Prior to that, she was the Assistant Director of Alumni Engagement at Sidwell Friend School. Sarah enjoys running and hiking and spends some time most weeks doing either with friends. She used to be a big fan of long-distance running and previously ran five marathons, but now she takes it a lot easier! She adds, “One fun fact about me is that I share the same hometown as Mr. Rogers and Arnold Palmer (Latrobe, PA). Another is that I will be getting married this October!”

Louisa Egan Brad, Dean of Equity, Justice, and Belonging – Louisa holds a B.A. from Swarthmore College, and an M.S. a M.Phil. in Psychology and a PhD in Psychology  from Yale University. Louisa comes to Westtown from the University of Portland where she was an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychological Sciences for the last seven years. She shares, “I am delighted to be joining Westtown. I enjoy hiking, chocolate, hot springs, New Haven pizza, gibbons, and dim sum. I am looking for new climbing partners. My husband, Daniel, and I are parents to Raymond (class of ’32) and Susanna (age 3), and you may see any combination of us with Shiumai, our giant puppy. Fun fact: I have spent a lot of time feeding M&Ms to capuchin monkeys. For science.”

Sean Galczynski, Middle School Counselor. Sean earned a Bachelor’s in Psychology from Dickinson College and a Master’s in Counseling Psychology from Delaware Valley University. He comes to Westtown after serving as the school counselor at 21st Century Cyber Charter School. In addition to serving as the Middle School Counselor, Sean will serve on the Middle School administrative team and coach track. Sean says, “I am excited to be the new Middle School Counselor at Westtown. There is not much free time to be had with two sons under 2 years old, but I’m not complaining because I love spending time with my family. We particularly enjoy going on walks outdoors and discovering new wildlife in the creek near their house. My wife and I were collegiate runners, so if given the opportunity, we get out for a run. A few fun facts about me: I used to play rugby and rock climb, my brother owns a gymnastics and ninja warrior gym. I enjoy writing and listening to spoken word. I own a private practice. In college I was a member of a comedy improv group. Can’t wait to meet everyone!”

Nicholas (Nich) Graham, Middle School Science Teacher – Nich earned a B.A. in Biological Science from Vassar and a M.S. in Science Education with an emphasis on Middle School from Rutgers Graduate School of Education. For the last three years, Nich was a 7th grade life science teacher at Savannah Country Day School and was a lead 6th grade teacher at the Santa Monica Bilingual School in Honduras. Nich will teach 6th grade science, 7th grade math, coach, serve as a 6th grade advisor, and live on campus. Nich shares, “I’m a dedicated fan of the outdoors, whether it’s soccer or mountain biking or frisbee golf, just give me a chance to go outside! As a science teacher, I love learning about nature, especially things that grow. My favorite trees include sequoias, firs, and magnolias. If I’m inside, you’ll find me in the kitchen, prepping a veggie stir fry. Pass the garlic!” 

Amy Grebe, Upper School Dance Director – Amy earned a B.A. from Slippery Rock University and an M.A. from Eastern University. She has developed and executed workshops and lessons in classical ballet, modern, contemporary, and jazz for all age groups and abilities. She says, “I have  been involved in the arts, particularly dance, since I could walk. I am keenly interested in working at the intersection of the arts, social-emotional well-being, and neuro sequencing. When not in the studio, I enjoy going on adventures with my daughter, spending time with my dogs and gardens, and dreaming of buying a farm and caring for rescued goats and cows.”

Geoff Hillman, Assistant Kitchen Manager. Geof comes to Westtown having worked at Trader Joe’s the last year and, prior to that, served as the General Manager at Azie restaurant in Media for six years. He goes by either Geoff or Geoffrey and says he doesn’t have a preference. He shares, “I’m Quaker and went to Sandy Spring Friends School in Maryland as a boarding student. I’m married and have two sons, Solomon (6) and Vincent (2). My wife and I met while I was working near Busan in Korea. I love learning about different cultures and anything related to the arts!”

DeVon Jackson, Upper School Director of Equity, Justice, and Belonging. DeVon earned a B.A. and an M.S. from Villanova University. For the last five years, DeVon has served as the Director of Diversity and Inclusion at Salesianum School. Joining him in our community is his wife, Max, and their children Ethan (13), Xavier (7),  and Averie (5), who is starting kindergarten at Westtown. DeVon’s hobbies include basketball, comic books, dance, watching stars, and being with family. He also shares, “I produce the live stream Bible study for my church. Fun Facts: I sang the national anthem at arenas a couple of times and recorded two albums with a group. Will Smith and I grew up in the same neighborhood.”

Josh Jackson, Sous Chef, Food Services. Josh holds a B.S. from Wilmington University, and he studied culinary arts at Johnson and Wales University. Josh comes to Westtown from White Clay Kitchen, where he has been the Executive Chef for the last six years. He adds, “I live in Landenberg near White Clay Creek with Leslie, my wife of 22 years, my three kids Isaac, Charlotte, and Chloe, and my dog, Lucy. I love spending time outside and seeing live music; I’ve seen over 200 live shows!”

Sarah Kaplan, Psychology Extern – Sara is one of the clinicians in training in the Wellness Center this year who will be working with Maria Alonso. Sarah shares, “I have two goldendoodle puppies named Aspen and Luca, and I love going on adventures with them! I also love cooking. A fun fact about me is that I have been to 26 National Parks, and have a lifelong goal of going to all of them! Can’t wait to work with you!”

Jessica Lacey, Lower School Counselor – Jessica holds a B.A. from Immaculata University and a M.Ed. from West Chester University. She has school counseling experience with multiple age groups, most recently working as a counselor at Reedy Creek Elementary in Florida for the last six years. Jessica is originally from Chester County but has been living in Orlando for the past six years – and is happy to be back in the area. In her spare time she loves being outdoors and active. Another passion of hers is animal-assisted therapy. She and her dog, Buster, are a certified therapy team and volunteer at local children’s hospitals to help their experience be a little less scary. Jessica adds, “Two fun facts about me are that I am one of six kids and I’ve gone skydiving six times! Looking forward to working alongside an incredible community.” 

Kyle Layne-Allen, Upper School English Teacher – Kyle holds a B.A. from Colby College and a M.S. Ed. from the University of Pennsylvania. Kyle spent the last three years at Worcester Academy teaching English Language Arts. When he’s not teaching, Kyle enjoys reading, creative writing, and hip-hop culture. He shares, “I’ve been working on a handful of hip-hop related projects over the last decade. My most recent endeavors include the first steps to creating an online ‘merch’ shop and organizing performances through my hip-hop collective, Grand Choice Records. Fun Fact 1: Over the last three years, I’ve created three hip-hop projects. My most recent project has a credit track dedicated to my former students, family, and friends. Fun Fact 2: Last year, I created and taught an elective called Hip-Hop Expressions. In the course, we explored hip-hop’s founding pillars, cultural appropriation, and created graffiti and lyrics. Fun Fact 3: I’m a big Shonen Anime fan. My favorite anime are Cowboy Bebop, Naruto, and Samurai Champloo.”

Gaby Macera, Psychology Extern – Gaby is a PsyD School Psychology student at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. She shares, “I was a student at Westtown for a few years and absolutely loved it! I am so excited to come back! My hobbies include being with my family, friends, and husband, competing in triathlons, hiking, listening to music, reading, and, of course, spending time with my dog. A fun fact about me is that I have gone caging with sharks.”

Tyler Martin, Upper School Dorm Parent/Assistant Varsity Basketball Coach – Tyler earned a B.S. at Saint Peter’s University and for the last year was the Athletic Director/Health Education Instructor at Saint George Academy. Tyler shares, “I’m from Brooklyn, NY. and my favorite activity is to play basketball. Also, for fun, I play billiards and bowl. Two things you need to know about me is I’m a huge J Cole fan and I love cinnamon rolls!”

Kyle McCormick, Psychology Extern – Kyle McCormick is in his third-year pursuing doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Immaculata University. He comes to Westtown for his first practicum opportunity after a career as a private investigator. During his academic turn, has been working one-to-one in various special education programs in the West Chester area.

Courtney McKinley, Middle School Science Teacher/Outdoor Ed  – Courtney has a B.S. from the University of Delaware in Wildlife Conservation and Biology and a M.S. in Secondary Education from St. Joseph’s University. Courtney has taught Upper and Middle School Science at Wilmington Friends School, was Program Coordinator at the Delaware Nature Society, and the Education and Special Events Coordinator at Mount Pisgah Arboretum. She shares, “In addition to teaching science, I enjoy all kinds of outdoor activities, gardening (native plants are my thing; my vegetable garden needs work), hiking, biking, rock-hopping in streams with my two kids (8 and 5, starting at Westtown in 4th and K this year), and the occasional paddle down the Brandywine. I also love reading, traveling, and hanging at our neighborhood pool with friends and family in the summer. Fun Fact: My husband and I once rode our bicycles loaded with all our camping gear 500 miles from Oregon to California.”

Jack McManus, Middle and Upper School Theater Production and Design Teacher – Jack recently earned a B.A from Swarthmore College, where they double majored in theater and political science and led the Drama Board. For the last year, they worked as an Assistant Stage Manager for Team Sunshine Performance Corporation and Associate Set Designer for Swarthmore College. Jack says, “I enjoy playing games of both the electronic and tabletop variety; my family and I are having a Catan renaissance recently! I also love to explore new cities and destinations, especially when it comes to unique attractions, the arts, and thrifting. A fun fact about me is that hot sauces are my snowglobes — I buy a bottle whenever I go somewhere new. I am very excited to be a part of this community!

Sara Mullen, Archives Assistant – Sara holds a B.A. from Hofstra University and an M.S. from Simmons College. For the last six years, Sara has worked at Barnes and Noble while interning at the University of Pennsylvania with the University Archives. She  says, “I love the beach, browsing thrift and antique stores, and spending time outdoors. I’m also a huge baseball fan (go Phils!). In my spare time I like to visit museums, research my family history, read, try new recipes, and hang out with my tortie cat, Pippa. A fun fact: when I was in fifth grade, I was an extra in an independent movie that was partially filmed at my elementary school!”

O’Shayne Rankine, Upper School Math Teacher – O’Shayne holds a B.S. from Northern Caribbean University and M.S. from Pennsylvania Western University. He comes to Westtown from Pine Forge Academy, where he taught and was Math Department Chair for the last seven years. O’Shayne shares, “I was born in Jamaica. I love sports and board games—my favorites are chess and dominoes. My favorite sports are soccer, basketball, badminton, basketball, volleyball and cricket. In my spare time, I enjoy reading, cooking, watching comedy, going to the gym, spending time in nature or playing any of my favorite games. My favorite Comedy is The Office and my favorite TV Show is The Mentalist.” 

Scott Sheridan, Lower and Middle School Educational Technology Coordinator – Scott  holds a B.S. from Bates College, an M.A. in Educational Psychology from the University of Connecticut, and is studying for his PhD in Education from the University of Delaware. He was the EdTech Manager at Marianapolis Preparatory School and has also been a research assistant, computer science teaching assistant, and the co-instructor of Integrating Technology Education at the University of Delaware. Scott joins us at the end of his doctoral program at the University of Delaware, where he has been studying Learning Sciences while working on research projects regarding best practices for teacher professional development, research-based decision making in schools, and technology integration to support student learning outcomes. Scott says he is looking forward to completing his dissertation this fall. In addition to working at Westtown, he also serves on the board of a charter school in Delaware. Scott is an avid hockey fan — Go Bruins!

Jie Song,  Middle School Chinese Teacher – Jie has a B.S. from Beijing Sport University and a B.A. from the University of Southern California. Most recently, Jie taught at Presidio Knolls School in San Francisco; she had previously taught at the Yuming Charter School. She recently moved to Philly from San Francisco, where she had worked in a Mandarin immersion school for the past six years. She says that three things that she enjoys doing in her free time are: playing tennis, dancing tango, and eating spicy food!

Giemaly Soto, Dorm Parent – Giemaly is a doctoral student in the PsyD in Clinical Psychology program at West Chester University. She shares, “Last year, I joined the Westtown community as a psychology extern. This year, I will be staying at Westtown as a dorm parent on W3, and I’m really excited to continue to support students as they navigate the upcoming school year! Some activities I like to do include hiking, baking, reading, and spending time with my friends and family. A fun fact about myself: I’ve been to Disney World 23 times.”

Heather Stufflet – Kitchen Staff – Worked the last 12 years as a dietary aide/Cook/Nightime Supervisor at Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi. Heather shares, “I started off as a dietary aide when I was in high school and worked up to cook/ supervisor. I was [at Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi] for almost 12 years, so I have a bit of experience with food, but I am eager to learn more! My husband Patrick and I  live in our hometown, Prospect Park. Our daughter, Jordan, is 5 years old and will be starting kindergarten this year. What we love to do in our free time is see our family and friends and visit lots of different parks, lakes etc. My husband and father-in-law are big with our youth club in town so we are always down the field supporting all the teams, especially this year since our daughter has joined cheerleading! I’m very excited for my new journey here at Westtown and look forward to working in the kitchen prepping and helping the staff with meals and service!”

Dallas Vallar – Psychology Extern – Dallas says, “I love playing tennis, painting, and hiking. I also enjoy playing both competitive and cozy video games. You will always find me with one of my favorite coffee mugs filled with caffeine. I look forward to being a part of the Westtown community! Fun Fact: I have lived in 5 different cities over the past 8 years.”

Ken Wells, MooseKids Lead Instructor, Dorm Head – Ken holds a B.S. from Millersville University.  For the last three years, he has worked in MooseKids, Auxiliary programs, as a substitute teacher, and as a dorm parent. Ken says, “I graduated from Millersville University in 2013 and have worked in and around education ever since. At Westtown, I’m known as the ‘Frisbee guy’ — I love playing and teaching ultimate and disc golf. Please reach out to me if you want to learn or find a place to play! I also love history, TV, and — of course — the Philadelphia 76ers. Fun Fact: I saw the U.S. Women’s Soccer team beat Thailand 13-0 live in France at the 2019 World Cup.”

Debbie Wills, Front Desk Afternoon Receptionist – Debbie holds a B.S. from Winthrop University. She returns to Westtown after having worked as an Administrative Assistant in the Upper School Office. She also has experience as an interior designer and realtor. She says, “I will return to Westtown as a part-time Front Receptionist in the Central Office. During the month of August, I have filled in for Susan [Smith] and have already met so many members of our community that I did not know! On weekends, my husband and I will continue to hike, bike, garden and enjoy the Eastern Shore of Maryland. I am excited to be back in a new role at Westtown!”

Judene Wint-Martin, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner – Judene earned a B.S. in Nursing from City College, an M.S. in Nursing from Hunter College, and a Doctor of Nursing (Pediatric) from the University of South Alabama. For the last six years, Judene was a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner at Huntsville Hospital for Women and Children in Alabama . She shares, “I recently moved with my family from Huntsville Alabama (Huntsville was voted in 2022 the best place in the US to live). I currently live in Hockessin, DE, with my husband, my twin daughters, and my chocolate Boykin Spaniel named Hershey.  My twin girls are excited to be joining the Westtown community as well. They are incoming 11th graders. I am originally from Jamaica, WI, and love to visit beautiful beaches with my family. Fun Fact:  I grew up near the ocean but I do not know how to swim.” 

Deb Wood ’86, Middle School Administrative Assistant – Deb holds a B.A. from Oberlin College, a B.A. with teacher certification from Michigan State University, and an M.Ed. from Lesley University. Deb was formerly a history teacher at Westtown for many years and recently has substituted in the Upper School, our Food Services Department, and the library. Deb says, “I’m known to some as the jam and pickle maker, the baby quilt maker, Megan’s morning walk buddy, soccer fan, history teacher, summer lunch lady, the faculty member least likely to have a cell phone, and will now add retirement failure to the list. I ended up doing so much in retirement, I’ve come back to work! It’s great to see so many former colleagues again and getting to know the new ones. I’m still active with Friends Peace Teams but now the work is virtual rather than overseas. I’m looking forward to the 2026 World Cup in the U.S., Mexico, and Canada and hoping my sister and I can take in the games in the Pacific Northwest and do some hiking as well.”

Class of 2022 Commencement Portrait

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.

Moving Up!

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. 

  1. Puddy Boonkongchuen 白振宇
  2. Sierra Brewer 白欣怡
  3. Taj Donald 董俊
  4. Jahlil Gary 葛正雷
  5. Eric Ochis 欧阳恺
  6. Kate Eriksson 宋可人
  7. Sophia Hammond 韩颖
  8. Cat Le Febvre 范诗琪
  9. Livia Resnik 任瑾
  10. Stellablue Robinson 罗梦莹
  11. Ali Zahm 郑彦琳
  12. Giacomo Acciavatti 艾烨
  13. Zach Blumenfeld 毕志诚
  14. Sydney Kostal 李欣玫
  15. Tee Johnson 钟俊潇
  16. Savannah Peischl 潘静雯
  17. Ada Palacios 潘彩婕
  18. Mallory Peters 彭心恬
  19. Camden Chin 陈欣崇
  20. Christina Wilson 李娜
  21. Rylee Boles 鲁晓洁
  22. Carluccio Horton 何斌
  23. Jaydan Riggs 任琪
  24. Nyala Tolfree 童谣
  25. 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

Broken Records!  

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 ’24Will Nagy ’22, Santi Benbow ’23, and Soren Clunk ’24. They broke the Hill Relays Meet Record and the school record this season. GO ‘TOWN! 

Personal Bests

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!  

Saturday, September 24 ~ 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Please join us for food, fellowship, and family fun! This is a carnival-like event for the entire Westtown community. There will be food trucks, games, crafts, prizes, pony rides, tractor rides, a balloon artist, and so much more!  For more information about FallFest or volunteering, please contact Megan Schlickmann at [email protected] or (610) 399-7858.
Third Annual Campus Dog Walk 
Saturday, October 8 ~8:00 – 10:00 a.m.
Enjoy a guided walk through campus with your four-legged friend.  More details about this pawsitively awesome event coming soon!
Second Annual Campus Nature Walk
Saturday, November 5 ~ 10:00 a.m.
Enjoy a curated tour around our beautiful campus.  More details to come! 

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

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