Justice for All March
Seventy Westtown students, ten faculty members, and several parents traveled to Washington, D.C. this past weekend to participate in the Justice for All March to end police brutality and increase police responsibility. Students marched to add their voices to the national discourse and, as one student put it, “to be a part of something that is bigger than myself and to hold up a sign that represents more than just me.”
Students' reflections on the march were similar, as they echoed the themes of being a part of something larger than themselves and of having the opportunity to stand up for something they believe in. They were passionate participants who seemed uniformly moved by the powerful speakers and by the volume and diversity of the peaceful crowd. “It was probably one of the most authentic and beautiful experiences I’ve ever been a part of,” noted another student.
Attendance at the march is but one manifestation of our students’ passion, concern, and action around this topic. Even amid exams this week, they continued to consider other forms of action. As a community, we will remain in deep conversations about issues of race, injustice, peace, and activism, both here on campus and in our nation.
“We are mindful that we all have different perspectives, experiences, and lenses through which we see these issues,” noted John Baird in his message to parents last week. “The faculty is providing developmentally-appropriate educational opportunities for becoming informed about current events, for spiritually-grounded reflection in Meeting for Worship, and for witness and action.”
Click here to view the photo gallery from the Justice for All March.
News from Admissions
Our next Open House for Lower and Middle Schools is Monday, January 26, 2015 at 9:00 a.m. Do you know a family who might be interested in learning more about Westtown? Encourage them to register for the Open House!
News from the Westtown Fund
We have several exciting updates to share with you about this year’s Westtown Fund. As you may know, this year’s Westtown Fund allows you to designate your gift to an area that inspires you including financial aid, faculty support, student programs and services, campus care, technology, athletics, and the area of greatest need. We are very happy to report that we have already crossed the halfway mark towards our $1,140,000 goal for this year’s campaign. Thank you to everyone who has already made a gift this school year!
We also want to give you an update on our plans for the monies raised in this year’s campaign. All of the money raised in the Westtown Fund will be spent this year, so your gift goes to work right away. The fund area we would like to highlight in this eCollections is athletics. Our Athletics Department, now under the leadership of our Athletics Co-Directors Michele Linder and Paul Lehmann ’99, has big plans for this year’s budget. They have many priorities, but here are some items at the top of the list:
- Increase opportunities to send our teams to tournaments
- New team uniforms and team warm-ups
- New equipment, including a ball machine for our tennis teams
- New bench press for the weight room
- New championship banner for the newly-renovated Coach Downey Court
In the months to come, we will highlight some of the other designated funds so that you are aware of how your gift makes an immediate impact on our students. Gifts to the Westtown Fund allow us to do things above and beyond what is covered by tuition. It is truly an opportunity for our community to gather together and support the work of our students, faculty, and staff. We hope you will consider a gift this academic year. You can make your gift today and track the progress of this year’s campaign at www.westtown.edu/wfupdate. Thank you for your continued support of Westtown.
News from Communications
- Look for an updated website in early January and, soon after, the winter edition of The Westonian with a cover article written by Rachel Clarke '86 as well as the Annual Report.
- Join us on A Well-Lit Path, our new parent partnering program that features a parenting blog from Westtown's team of expert teachers. Read their blogs and subscribe now!
- Can't make it to the game? Worried that you'll miss the concert? Don't forget that you can watch athletic and theaters events live and on demand with our subscription streaming service, Bleachers! Click on the icon to get started.
The Race Institute and Westtown Teachers
by Pat Macpherson, clerk of Multicultural Board
Seven teachers returned refreshed and inspired by The Race Institute, hosted at Westtown in November. Thirteen teachers came from the West Chester school district and from area independent schools. The Race Institute was founded by Dr. Ali Michael, daughter of Teacher Bonnie Michael. As part of the Education program at Penn under the leadership of Dr. Howard Stevenson, Dr. Michael designed and co-leads the intensive three-day workshop for K-12 teachers in the Philadelphia area.
Racial identity in schools is multidimensional, from the many spoken and unspoken messages in curriculum, activities, discipline to all of our relationships in school. Key themes of the workshop included the difference between teacher intention and the impact on students; the group dynamics of center and margin; the roles of affinity groups to explore identity issues safely; and what “microaggression” and intervention look like in real-life situations. Teachers’ as well as students’ lives are shaped by American racial history and our own families, neighborhoods and schooling. Learning together about our collective diversity and commonality built group understanding and trust. Challenging each other about our conclusions and perspectives allowed us to shift and grow from the continuing revelation of collective truth.
Our teachers left the conference energized and ready to enact change. “The conference allowed us to have those difficult conversations without passing judgment,” said Joe Tyler. “I feel equipped with a skill set to help shift the culture here at Westtown.”
Westtown’s seven teachers recommended to the Multicultural Board that all Westtown teachers experience the Race Institute in order to build faculty knowledge and relationships for the difficult and rewarding work of multi-racial education and community. In the New Year, the Multicultural Board will announce plans for Westtown’s school-wide work on diversity.
Middle School Student Leaders Attend United Nations Conference
Early in December, nine 7th and 8th graders attended a conference sponsored by the World Information Transfer, an NGO founded in 1987 in the wake of the Chernobyl disaster to provide accurate and actionable information about the global environment and its effect on human health. This year’s conference theme, “Our Children’s World,” matches the yearlong Middle School Student Clerks’ initiative: supporting children – locally and worldwide. The students “took over” Westtown’s social media for the day disseminating information from speakers and photos in real time. At the conclusion of the conference, they had a tour of the United Nations. We asked the students to reflect on what they learned. Here are just a few of their observations:
Wesley Flynn: I learned that the UN is a well-coordinated global organization. They have many rooms for different types of discussions with microphones and one-ear headsets so that everyone can hear the speaker. They also have “informational” meetings where only the designated people are talking and providing the audience (which could be the whole world) with information.
Jack DeVuono: It turns out that the United Nations is actually international land, so even though it’s in the middle of New York City, it is its very own country. They even have their own post office! The rooms were huge, and the building itself was massive. There are gifts from countries all around the world outside and inside. For example, there was a giant piece of the Berlin Wall from Germany and peace bell from Japan.
Evee Bak: To see so much diversity and culture packed into one international territory was remarkable. During the tour we were able to see compelling works of art. Personally, a mosaic based on a painting by Norman Rockwell stood out to me. It was a mosaic of people from around the world, of all religions, ethnicities and cultures. On it were the words, “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you,” an old, yet powerful message.
Emma Stavis: One of the things that I learned was that UN has peacekeepers. Once a country or area has created peace, peacekeepers go there and help maintain the peace. These peacekeepers wear blue helmets that have the initials UN on them. Another thing I learned was that the five founding countries of the UN were the United States, China, Russia, Great Britain and France. In the section of the UN that deals with security, these five countries have permanent representatives while the rest of the 193 member countries rotate through. These five countries also have veto power, and it only takes one vote to veto a decision.
Sophie Adler: The conference theme was children’s health. For three hours we listened to many people speaking about issues affecting children. The speaker who stuck with me the most was the woman who talked about Ebola. I knew the basics of what it was about, but she spoke about the background of it. I thought it was interesting that this wasn’t the first ever Ebola outbreak, but it’s the largest.
Stephen Blair: My favorite part was the lecture on Ebola. The topic interested me because it is a global epidemic. The presenter talked to us about how it affected all these children in Africa. Over 3,700 children have been orphaned or abandoned by one or both of their parents due to the epidemic.
Heidi Suh: When I went to United Nations conference, I have to admit I thought it would be a little hard to understand. But in reality it was very interesting; we got to listen to some things that they would talk about in any regular UN conference. It was not simplified for any kids who were listening, and we did not get anything less than what the adults did. It was great. What I pulled away from this was a lot of information about important and relevant child health and safety issues. For example, I learned that even though the Ebola virus often doesn’t directly affect children, many of them were orphaned or couldn't go to school anymore. Also many unborn babies and recently-born babies died. Another topic I learned about is how they want to use technology and connect it with better safety on the road and everywhere else. This is very relevant because now we have so much advanced technology in our lives, so we might as well put all of it to good use.
Isabella Purcell: At the meeting, the topic was about how we can improve the lives of children around the world. I learned that a major cause of death for young people around the world is careless driving. An idea to help solve the problem is to find a way to create driverless cars that can safely drive at the right speed and pay attention to pedestrians. I also learned that the current Ebola epidemic is the largest in history and 14 percent of the people infected are 15 and under.
Hannah Jensen: During the conference, many speakers had a chance to speak on different topics concerning the environment and the health and wellness of children. I found the speaker on air pollution to truly combine both of these topics very nicely. He spoke about how air pollution is natural, but things we do to further human advancement cause more trouble. For example, burning coal releases a toxin into the air that can end up coating the inside of our lungs and causing problems. Also, children breathe two times as much air as adults and are more susceptible to asthma at a young age and premature death.
The Hour of Code
Schools across the world, including Westtown, participated in the Hour of Code last week. The Hour of Code was created in 2013 to encourage schools to teach basic computer programming skills, and to demystify coding for students.
At Westtown, the Hour of Code activities varied by division. In Lower School, students were introduced to the foundations of coding. They learned to use a drag and drop programming, and were given a series of challenges to meet and problems to solve to reach the next level.
In all Middle School math classes, students worked with Scratch (developed by MIT) to learn operators, conditional statements, grids, positive and negative numbers and problem-solving skills. They were charged with designing a game around the plot points from the stories they have been reading in English.
In Upper School, the Robotics Club and some math classes took on the Hour of Code. They worked on programming in C++, Java, and Scratch. They have spent much more than an hour – in fact, the whole week, learning new programming skills.
Watch as kids explain what they were working on!
VIDEO HERE http://youtu.be/1JFla9F472E
The International Festival was a huge success! The festival celebrates Westtown’s international community. There were exhibits for Ghana, Japan, Turkey, Cuba, Syria, Iceland, The Czech Republic, Mexico, the Students of Color Association, Italy, Spain, Earth Services, Palestine, Germany, China, Korea, Nigeria and Great Britain. The festival was enlivened by friendly competitions, holiday tunes played on Angklung (an Indonesian bamboo instrument), and, of course, the delicious foods from around the world proudly prepared by students. Enjoy this gallery of photos from our wonderful day of celebration!
Lower School students have been lighting up the stage with their class productions.They work hard not only to learn their lines, but also to design and build their own sets, and make their own costumes. Enjoy these galleries of photos of our multi-talented Lower School students!
Click here for the 5th Grade Play gallery
Click here for the 2nd Grade Play gallery
As has become wonderful tradition, the third grade presented African Dance a few weeks ago. The dance performance is a culmination of their studies of African history, wildlife, culture, and music and dance. They learned batik to make their own costumes, too!
Click here for the 3rd Grade African Dance gallery
Upper School Dance Concert
Click here for the Upper School Dance gallery
Did you miss the Upper School Revels holiday concert last week? Click here to sign in as a guest and watch it on demand.
Senior Kevin Henriksen's powerful pitching made recruiters take note! In November, Kevin signed a National Letter of Intent to play baseball at Elon University. Congratulations to Kevin and his family!
L to R: Coach Bob Corbett, Kevin Henriksen '16, and Coach Kurt Kebaugh
Global Education Fellow
Congratulations to Celeste Payne, named this year’s Global Education Fellow by Westtown’s Professional Development Committee. Celeste will spend her fellowship at The Friends’ School in Hobart, Tasmania where she will teach some science classes, learn about science education in Australia and about their International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum. She will also use her time at the school to observe various aspects of programming including residential life, student leadership, and the history of Quakerism in Australia. Following her time at The Friends’ School, Celeste, a biology teacher, will explore the unique eco-systems and species endemic to Australia.
Westtown School has developed an exchange partnership with The Friends’ School in Hobart, and they will send a teacher to Westtown in January. Kathy Bunston will be working in Middle School math classrooms. The goals of the partnership are to enrich each other’s school cultures and teaching practices, and to provide faculty with global teaching experiences.
Join us in congratulating Celeste!
Shoemaker Visiting Lecturer Series Presents: Etty
January 11, 2015 7:30 pm Barton-Test Theater
Susan Stein will bring us her one woman show "Etty" about a young Jewish Woman who died in the Holocaust.
2015 Westtown School Auction: Giving the World More Westonians
Saturday, February 28, 2015 at 6:00PM
Westtown School Science Center
This year, we are highlighting the talents, interests, and businesses within our greater Westtown Community. Do you, a family member, or someone you know own a business, have a vacation home, or have a hobby that lends itself as a donation? If so, we would enjoy having these items included in our Auction! By focusing our efforts on donations from our extended Westtown family, we hope not only to have fun learning more about one another, but to also create a really exciting event!
Tickets are on sale now!
Purchase tickets at www.westtown.edu/auction
Early Moose (until December 31, 2014) - $75.00
Young Alumni (classes between 2004 - 2014) - $65.00
Regular Ticket Price (begins January 1, 2015) - $90.00
We were honored to have David Hartsough '58 speak to Upper School students, faculty, and staff on December 2nd. David shared stories about his life as a peacemaker and talked about his new book Waging Peace: Global Adventures of a Lifelong Activist. For more information about David's work, please visit www.Peaceworkersus.org.
Thursday, January 29th
Watch your inbox and the Westtown School Alumni Facebook page for more information.
Stay up-to-date on alumni news! Like the Westtown Alumni Facebook page.