Number One in PA, Number Seven in the Nation

We are thrilled to report that the Environmental Protection Agency  has ranked Westtown first in Pennsylvania and seventh nationwide in green power purchasing among K-12 schools! You can see the EPA's school rankings here. This is the third consecutive year that Westtown has appeared in the top ten nationally. Westtown is an EPA Green Power Partner and a Department of Education Green Ribbon School.

The green power purchase is only one of the ways we continue to make strides on our path to living out our sustainability mission. The Facilities/Grounds Department has been using biodiesel in their fleet and equipment for 10 years. The fleet includes one van, four buses, two campus generators, one fire pump, three tractors and four lawn mowers. Essentially, anything that runs on diesel is running on biodiesel.  

We have recently installed software called Papercut, a product that will help us cut down, perhaps significantly, the number of print jobs we make. It will arm us with data and information about the printing habits and choices that we make as a school and as individuals. Printing less means less paper waste and using fewer printer cartridges. Over time, the change of behaviors will save both material and money.

Stay tuned for more sustainability efforts in future issues of eCollections, and in the meantime, check out our new Sustainability Director Wade Tomlinson’s post on our Well-Lit Path Blog. 

Lake Update

Here is the latest on the lake and dam restoration project:

  • Dredging is now complete
  • Step culvert being constructed; completion by December 20
  • Dam completion by December 4
  • Westtown Road culvert completion still on track; Westtown Road closure June 2016
  • New drop box in service; old dam culvert de-commissioned
  • One Soil deposit area backfilled and seeded (germinated)
  • New dock will be installed in December
  • Additional concrete work and deck modifications at the Lake House
  • Turtles and fish will most likely be returned to the Lake in the Spring


Independent School Multicultural Conference and College Fair

On Saturday, October 17th, Westtown's Families for Multicultural Community hosted the Independent School Multicultural Conference and College Fair.  Held every other year since 2007, this event attracts close to 900 students and parents from over 75 schools, community based organizations, and college access programs from DC to New York City.  Originally a Friends school initiative, the program has grown substantially and is known as a valuable educational opportunity and college recruiting event.

College admission counselors offered many educational workshops such as Anatomy of an Application, Diversity and Inclusion on Campus, and Paying for College, to name just a few.

Eight different kinds of colleges and universities were showcased in sessions called, "What's Great About..." featuring: Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Women’s Colleges, Colleges vs. Universities, STEAM Programs and Colleges, Visual and Performing Arts Colleges and Programs, Colleges in the South, Non-Urban Colleges and Universities, and Faith-Based Colleges.

Over 100 of the Westtown community (parents, students, faculty, and staff) provided the labor and logistical support necessarily to stage such a large and complicated event.  Here’s a look at just some of the numbers:

  • 830 people attended including over 300 students and parents from Westtown.
  • 52 different high schools were represented.  The largest school groups were from Abington Friends School, Baldwin School, Bryn Mawr School (MD), Brooklyn Friends School (NY), Friends Academy (NY), Friends Central, Friends Seminary (NY), Germantown Friends School, Penn Charter, St. Andrew's, and Wilmington Friends.
  • 30 college representatives served as panelists in 21 different workshops.
  • 500 students, parents, and college representatives attended the Assembly.
  • 112 colleges were represented at the College Fair.
  • Parent volunteers made 700 sandwiches
  • Jay Farrow and his wrestlers set up and took down 140 tables in the Field House

Thank you to all helped make this an event such a smashing success!

Photo gallery can be viewed here

Will Cauffman '12, Social Entrepreneur

Sometimes it’s the small, unexpected moments that change your life. This is certainly true for Will Cauffman ‘12, founder and CEO of Greenstone Aquaponics.

While on his Westtown Senior Project to Haiti, Will noticed an aquaponics system in the backyard of someone he met. This backyard garden had nothing to do with his Senior Project, which involved learning about aviation, but it piqued his interest. This new friend was growing tomatoes and raising tilapia, and Cauffman became fascinated by this strange but simple apparatus that could produce such bounty.  When he returned home, his interest in aviation dwindled and he began to research aquaponics instead.

What is aquaponics, anyway? It’s like hydroponics, but with fish. Cauffman explains that it is a “sustainable closed-loop food production system in which fish and plants are raised symbiotically. This efficient, zero-waste method requires only minor inputs.”

Cauffman, now beginning his senior year at Gettysburg College, has long been passionate about taking care of the earth and sustainable living practices. He wanted to know more not just about how these systems work, but also about making them. He was accepted to an internship in Shanghai at an aquaponics company and spent the summer of 2014 learning about different types of aquaponics systems.

During this internship, the idea of launching his own business formed. He believed that it was important to make this sustainable method of gardening and food production available to the general public. With help and funding from the Gettysburg College Entrepreneurial Fellowship, he launched his company, Greenstone Aquaponics, last spring and has been making the rounds introducing this growing method to businesses and individuals.

He’s also been busy building the systems, a craft he learned at Westtown. “I was very influenced by woodworking, a lot of which I learned at Westtown - I took it for three years,” says Cauffman.  “The systems that I build are meant to rival furniture in their appearance. My choice of wood as a main component of the system was influenced by my interest in woodworking as well as an appreciation for traditional styles of production.”

Last year, Cauffman reached out to his former Westtown teacher, Steve Compton, to talk about the possibility of bringing aquaponics to Westtown in some way. As it so happened, Compton had been searching for a way to integrate aquaponics into his new Design Engineering class. A student project was born.

Over this past summer, Cauffman and Compton taught aquaponics to students enrolled in Westtown Science Institute’s summer course in Design Engineering. Students have built their own aquaponics system here on campus and while it’s in the initial stages, Compton thinks the project looks promising. Cauffman was thrilled to introduce aquaponics to students and be back at Westtown where he spent seven years of his life.

If you would like to learn more about home aquaponics systems, visit Greenstone Aquaponics’ website. You can also learn more in this instructional video.

Crafty not Ghastly

There’s nothing scary about Halloween in Lower School! Each grade makes its own elaborate mask around a theme, such as African animals or bugs. Every year the students parade with their masks, and every year we are amazed by their creativity!  A special thanks goes to art Teachers Jeff Waring and Jeanne Watson-Smith who shepherd this wonderful project, and who make the Lower School art program so rich and engaging for students.

Photo gallery can be viewed here

Composer in Residence

Music teachers Kenny Joseph and Robert Frazier welcomed composer, teacher, and clarinetist Richard Summers to campus recently. Summers spent two days working with the Middle and Upper School bands. Summers has been commissioned to compose a piece for the three divisions’ bands. The work is called "Westtown Psalm" and has a colonial flavor harkening back to Westtown's founding days. The piece will be premiered by Westtown band members from all three divisions at their Spring Concert. He worked on another of his recent compositions with the Middle School Band. The piece, called "Air and Light of Aether," will be published in July 2016. The Middle School Band world premiered this piece in a concert for the school on October 16.

Tips for Meeting for Worship

The Religious Life Committee - made up of both students and faculty - made a video for students with tips on how and what to share in Meeting for Worship. They are helpful reminders for all of us, so we thought we'd share their video with you.

Upper School Fall Play, The Miser

Upper School students recently staged Moliere’s The Miser. It was a fantastic production with wonderful performances by the cast, a clever set design, and superb direction. A shout out to all the behind-the-scenes players as well: stage managers, make-up artists, costumers, and light and sound technicians. Well done, everyone! 

View the photo gallery

Sports Roundup

All our athletes in fall sports worked hard this season!  Here are a few highlights:

Boys Soccer: 6-5-2 Overall. 5th in the Friends Schools League
Girls Soccer: 12-3 Overall. They were undefeated in FSL play and were the #1 seed heading into playoffs.
Field Hockey: 10-2-1 Overall. 6-1 in the FSL. They won their playoff game and head to  FSL Finals tomorrow (11/3) at  Academy of the New Church 2:15 p.m.
Boys XC: 5-2 Overall. 4th place finish in FSL
Girls XC: 4-3 Overall. 4th place finish in FSL

Emily Sands broke Westtown’s single season goal record with 24 and counting (the old record was 21). She also broke the career goal record with 64 and counting. Congratulations, Emily!

Ryan O'Donnell finished 6th in FSL Championships and had a top 5K time of 17:00 flat this season. Congrats to Ryan!

Faculty Blog

A good way to keep up with what's happening in classrooms in all divisions is to subscribe to the faculty blog, In a Class of Our Own.  The last post, Pond Scum or Pond Gold, is about the 6th grade's water collection, sampling, and observation.


Dr. Monica Ruiz-Melendez, chair of the World Languages Department, was recently published in DIVERSITY in Ed Magazine! You can read her article "Catapult Your Career" on page 22. 

Concert for the Whole Family

On Sunday, November 8 at 2:00 p.m. at Fugett Middle School in West Chester, come see four Westtown teachers perform with the Chester County Concert Band: Robert Frazier, horn; Sarah Sullivan, horn; Leslie Barr, flute; Kenny Joseph, clarinet. There will be lots of fun music with a concert titled Music of the Stage, Theater and Screen. It is  great concert for the whole family to enjoy!

Adults $10
Students/seniors $7
Children under 12 are admitted for FREE


What White Children Need to Know About Race:
A Conversation with Dr. Ali Michael of University of Pennsylvania and Marissa Colston, Westtown’s Director of Diversity and Inclusion
Join us on November 19th 7:00 p.m. -9:00 p.m. in the Lower School Gathering Room.
As the school and community at Westtown continues to strengthen our cultural competence regarding race and ethnicity, Ali will help us with how we talk with our children about race, in a way that informs, empowers, and provides tools to navigate what might now feel like uncomfortable conversations. For this session, we will focus on what white children need to learn about race based on Ali's recent article in NAIS magazine.  Please RSVP here if you plan to attend.

Wyeth on Wyeth
We are thrilled to partner with the Chadds Ford Historical Society to host Victoria Browning Wyeth on November 21st as she gives an intimate look into her grandfather Andrew Wyeth’s paintings. The lecture will focus on works from his entire career. Special attention will be given to artistic technique, models, and the context surrounding the paintings. Ms. Wyeth will share family photos and special memories of her time spent with her grandfather. She will unveil a slide of a never-before-seen early painting of Andrew Wyeth. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit the CFHS website.
This seven-week series, lead by mindfulness teacher, Vicky Huestis began on October 20th and meets on Tuesdays at 9 am in the Lower School.  All are welcome.  


Emma Compton '10 Named Yspaniola's Program Manager

Congratulations to Emma Compton ‘10 who has been named Yspaniola’s new Local Program Manager. Yspaniola is an education-based non-profit organization in the Dominican Republic. It creates and maintains educational programs for pre-K through university students that focus on civic engagement. As the Local Program Manager, Emma will oversee their Student Service Learning, Internship & Fellowship, University Scholarship, Summer Camp, and Community Outreach Programs. Prior to her new role, Emma was a Princeton in Latin America fellow with Yspaniola, providing on-the-ground support to various organizational initiatives and teaching in the Learning Center. She says, “We are in a really exciting time of growth and I am looking forward to pushing our programs to their full potential.” 

Class Notes

We want to share your news! Submit a class note for the Winter 2016 issue of The Westonian by emailing before November 13th.

Please join us for these fun fall alumni events:

Wednesday, November 4 - Alumni Gathering at Sine Studios in Philadelphia

Sunday, November 8 - Parent of Alumni Beer Tasting at Victory Brewing in Kennett Square

Sunday, November 15 - Friends of Westtown Gathering in West Chester, featuring the music of Anna Spackman '08

Thursday, November 19"Athletics at Westtown Today" at SHoP Architects in New York City

Save the Date

Nov 5-7 - US Dance Performance
Nov 7 - Philadelphia Yearly Meeting
Nov 15 - US Instrumental Concert
Nov 20 - Thanksgiving Break
Dec 6 - Shoemaker Performance - Peterson Toscano
Dec 13 - US Holiday Revels Concert
Dec 17 - MS Winter Concert
Dec 18 - LS Winter Concert 
Dec 18 - Winter Break

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