The Dock is done!
The dock at the Lake House has been completed! Our new dock is 20' x 74' and is larger than the previous one. Made fully of aluminum, it is fixed to pilings in the ground. It has an ADA-compliant ramp that connects to the porch of the Lake House. There will be a 6' x 12' floating section on the front of the dock that will feature a canoe and kayak launch area. While Flyway, the contractor, completed the dock, our Facilities Department will be replacing the porch on the Boat House soon. For updates on the project, visit the Lake Restoration Project on the website.
News From the Westtown Fund
Don't forget to make your donation to the Westtown Fund. All of the money raised this year is spent this year on enhancing programs and experiences for all of our students. Your gift of any size makes a difference in the lives of our students and faculty. Show your support today by visiting www.westtown.edu/wfdonate. Click here www.westtown.edu/wfupdate to see how this year's Westtown Fund is doing. Thank you for your support of Westtown!
Celebrations of MLK day
Each year, all Westtown students and faculty take time to reflect on the work and life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and to participate in projects that exemplify King’s legacy. This year, rich programs were developed in each division designed to explore more deeply themes of standing up for what one believes in, building bridges, and understanding privilege and injustice.
In the Lower School, the legacy of Dr. King was a weeklong celebration instead of just one day. Their focus was on marching, and how Dr. King used marches to stand up for what he believed in and to demonstrate peaceful protest. The children traced their feet and wrote what they would march for on their foot prints. Students in all grades made protest signs and marched down the Granolithic, by Middle School, and through Upper School (to great fanfare!). To connect King’s message of service to the concept of marching, they also held a shoe drive. The shoes will be divided and go two places: the Ghana Senior Project group will take shoes to Heritage Academy, and the rest will go to the Chester County Family Academy with whom the Lower School has an ongoing relationship.
In Middle School, the focus was on building both literal and figurative bridges. They learned about the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama that is said to have separated “the world of what was from the world of what could be.” The students were asked to consider “what could be” in the United States today and what obstacles we face and what changes could provide a bridge to a better, more equal society. Working together in small groups, they were tasked with building small bridges between desks that could hold pennies. They reflected afterward: What made a lasting bridge? How did they achieve success? What challenges did they face? During the day, students also explored numbers and images that tell stories about history and current events. They discussed what role statistics play in encouraging social action and justice. Do points of view change in reaction to data? The day concluded with Meeting for Worship sharing groups.
In the Upper School, the MLK Day observance was filled with activities led by students. They reflected on the intersectionality of their identities and how that impacts their lives here at Westtown and beyond. Students who attended the Student Diversity Leadership Conference started the day with a brief presentation on the eight major cultural identifiers and then led their peers and the faculty in a Privilege Walk. It was a powerful activity and many students were able to consider the ways they are privileged or not and how that influences their lives. “The highlight of the day was the affinity group work. Students had the opportunity to choose a group they identified with including, race, family background, sexual orientation, interest.” says Marissa Colston, Director of Diversity and Inclusion. “Students were able to talk about what they loved about being that identity and also the stereotypes they no longer wanted to hear. They then had the chance to share with the whole group the highlights of those conversations. The whole community learned more about what it is like to be a certain identity and how to be better allies for the different ways we identify. It was a full day of learning and sharing many parts of who we are and the conversations will continue well into the new year.”
history monologues: a new kind of assessment
What if the measure of your learning wasn’t confined to paper and pencil, to multiple choice questions, or to essay answers? History teachers Whitney Suttell and Emma Bracker were interested in a deeper, more discerning assessment so they introduced a new way to give a final exam this semester. Students were asked to research, write, memorize, and then perform a monologue as a person from the Civil War. They were given the choice between writing as a real person (Ulysses S. Grant, Harriet Tubman, Henry Thomas Harrison are some examples that they chose) or creating a character of their own. They researched their character and several other aspects of the war in order understand the social, political, and cultural events that shaped people of the period. This work culminated in a performance in period costumes in the Meeting House.
“For someone who learns slightly different than everyone else, it was refreshing to experience an assignment that did not evaluate me on my capabilities on taking a test,” says sophomore Jane Abbott. “The monologue performance effectively taught me about the Civil War, engaged me in the history, and invested me in embodying my character but did not make the process based solely on memorizing facts and dates. To me this assignment was a great alternative to the typical final exam.” Tray Hammond, also a sophomore, felt that the monologue was a good alternative to the typical sit-down exam. “In doing this assignment, I was able to express myself through my performance,” he said. “It was really interesting to see how those who participated, like myself, were able to incorporate the facts of the past to a dialogue in which it seemed much more natural and human.” Suttell says that she was impressed by the monologues and how well the students knew their characters and aspects of the time period and historical facts that would influence them - and that was an indication that they'd not only learned the material, but also synthesized it.
Lower school partners
Lower Schoolers collected hats, mittens, and scarves before the holidays for donation to the Chester County Family Academy, with which the Lower School has a longstanding partnership. The 4th graders sorted donations, and Lower School Principal Kristin Trueblood delivered them.
After they had collected and sorted the items, the 4th graders became interested in learning more about the Academy and decided that they wanted to meet the kids at CCFA. A field trip was arranged. Teacher Hilary Simons and her students brainstormed what kind of activity they could do with a group of 30 students in approximately an hour, and in a rather small area. They decided that art activities were the best idea. The icebreaker activity was decorating a pencil together, then they made and decorated moose hats. Finally, the students taught the CCFA kids the "Great Big Moose" song as well as a friendship song. Both the 4th graders and the CCFA students were moved by the experience, and the the 4th graders plan to return.
While doing homework in the Moose Kids classroom, 4th grader Langston Payne overheard a conversation about a Westtown Science Institute logo redesign. He was so interested in the project that he spent the entire next recess thinking up ideas. At one point he turned to Keith Stater, Director of Auxiliary Programs, and said emphatically, “Teacher Keith, I have a bright idea! why don’t we use a light bulb in the new logo?” They spent the next hour honing his idea. The newest WSI logo was launched January 2, 2016 at the Young Innovators Fair at the Greater Philly Expo center, to announce this summer's National Young Innovators Conference at the Westtown Science Institute, a weeklong residential program for rising 6th - 8th grade students June 19 - 25, 2016. During Lower School Gathering, Langston’s efforts were celebrated with his peers and he was awarded one of the new Westtown LED light-up jackets for his contribution. Great job, Langston!
middle School robotics
On Saturday, December 19th, the Westtown Middle School robotics teams competed in the FIRST Lego League regional qualifier. This event was the culmination of four months of engineering and programming robots, and designing, researching, and completing team research projects. The teams presented their work to multiple panels of judges and were evaluated across three primary categories: robot design and programming, the team project, and demonstration of the FIRST League's Core Values. Both teams performed impressively and each walked away from the event with an award. The Got Bricks? team was recognized for their demonstration of core values; one judge remarked that the team was "very professional and delivered a gracious presentation of core values! Each team member respected each other, other teams, and the judges.This team was impressively independent." Team The Brickade earned accolades as the overall winner of the robotics game and were recognized for their "simple and robust robot design that clearly demonstrated evidence of a systematic approach to the engineering and programming process. Their strategy was clear and their team goals were well defined." Congratulations to both teams, as well as the team interns (pictured center)!
A delegation of Upper School students recently attended the 32nd Annual Ivy League Model United Nations Conference (ILMUNC). Eleven Westtown students represented Ecuador on seven different committees at the conference, negotiating and brokering collaborations to tackle a number of different topics. All 11 of Westtown's delegates were credited sponsors (which indicates writing credit) for the final resolutions which ultimately passed in their respective committees. An impressive result.
Over 3,000 students attended, including representatives from 20-plus countries (not counting international attendees of domestic schools), but the four-day conference was also jam-packed other ways. In addition to multiple four hour committee sessions a day, most of our students used both their lunch and dinner breaks to collaborate on drafts of working papers, resolutions, and amendments!
Their creative conflict resolution and hard work were clearly appreciated by their fellow delegates, who approved and signed on to each resolution in turn (in several cases beating out the proposals by representatives of heavily-favored world powers). The topics listed
below are the ones for which our delegates sponsored a successful resolution:
- Disarmament and International Security Committee (DISEC): 4th Generation Warfare in the Middle East-- Charlotte Ells
- United Nations Commission of the Status of Women (UNCSW): Women's Leadership and Political Participation--Gwyneth Turner and Tara Kleponis
- Political Security Committee, 1963 (POLISEC): Regulating the Spread of Nuclear Technology--Jalen Jones and Layth Al Bhaisi
- Social, Humanitarian, and Cultural Committee (SOCHUM): Government Transparency--Katie Olsen
- Economic and Financial Committee (ECOFIN): Protectionism--Mike An and Dex Coen Gilbert
- Special Political and Decolonization Committee (SPECPOL): Nationalism and the Decline of International Cooperation--Jack DeVuono and Fritz Gessl
- International Monetary Fund (IMF): IMF Conditioning--Alexander Le Febvre
Congratulations to the Westtown Model UN delegation...here they are with their resolutions!
As 2016 dawned, students in Steve Compton's Design Engineering class were already in action in the wider community. In the class this fall, students went beyond designing and building to creating Gantt charts, budgets, and pitch decks for their projects. Some of these projects were showcased at the Young Innovators Fair held at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center on January 2nd and 3rd. Westtown students spent four days during vacation finalizing their work and preparing for the fair. At the fair, Westtown student projects included the Tiny House Project, the Aether Aeronautics Project, the Biogas Digester Project, and the Hand Project, as well as a Drone Zone for kids. These students spent two days talking to parents and children about their work, and over 20,000 fairgoers were given the opportunity to learn about Westtown School and the great projects our students are engaged in. In addition to the the Westtown School demonstration space at the fair, students also took to the stage each day, presenting their work to an audience of hundreds. Steve Compton reports that "our students presented so well on stage that, over the course of the fair, I was approached by two technical firms interested in learning more about our work. Both were interested in continuing conversations about partnering in some capacity. In both cases, the firm's representatives were shocked to learn that the student they had just watched on stage were not university students.”
Lower school shoe drive
As part of their weeklong celebration of Dr. King, Lower School held a shoe drive. In all, 384 pairs of shoes were collected. About half of the shoes will be delivered to Heritage Academy in Ghana by the Ghana Senior Project group. The remainder will be donated to the Chester County Family Academy. Thanks to all who brought shoes in for the drive!
PMEA Singers - update
Jessica Scott '18 , Troy Larsen '18, and Rachel Blackman '16 had a great time at the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association (PMEA) Choral Festival and participated in an amazing concert this past weekend. Our District 12 includes all schools in Philadelphia, Chester, and Delaware Counties. At the auditions, Rachel placed 1st in the Soprano 1 section and Troy placed 2nd in the Tenor 2 section, qualifying them both for Regionals. Congratulations to all!
Lunar New year dinner
The annual Lunar New Year dinner was held on Sunday, January 31st. It was a beautiful and festive occasion. Students who prepared the meal for the entire school did a fantastic job -- and the food was incredible! We appreciate their hard work and preparations. Click below to enjoy an album of photos from the event.
Kiss me kate
The cast and crew of the Upper School's production of Kiss Me Kate did an incredible job! In case you missed the show, directed by Performing Arts Chair William Addis, please enjoy these photos.
Season highlights so far:
- Naomi Jimenez '16 scored her 1000th career point vs. MFS on Friday, 2/5. She is the first girls' varsity basektball player in Westtown history to score more than 1000 points! Way to go, Naomi!
- Jair Bolden '16 scored his 1000th career point vs. Shipley on Monday, 2/1. Congratulations, Jair!
- Freshman Cruz Buitron broke both the school record and his own 100 Butterfly record with a time of 54.01. This is also a new record for the Friends Schools League. Great job, Cruz!
- Emily Sands '16 was recently honored for making the All-State Soccer team. Congratulations!
- Boys Basketball is headed to the FSL semi-finals on Tuesday 2/9 vs. ANC. Winner will play in the FSL finals on Friday 2/12 at 8:30 at Haverford College
- Girls Basketball is headed to the FSL semi-finals on Tuesday 2/9 vs. AFS. Winner will play in the FSL finals on Friday 2/12 at 7:15 at Haverford College
- Boys wrestling finished the FSL regular season in second place, and they will compete in the FSL playoffs on Saturday 2/13 at ANC
- Boys and Girls Swimming are wrapping up a very impressive regular season, and they will compete in the FSL championship meet at George School on Saturday 2/13.
Jair Bolden and Naomi Jimenez
College Bound Athletes
Congratulations to Emily Sands and Ian Davies! Emily has committed to the University of Pennsylvania and Ian has signed to Philadelphia University, both for soccer.
In November, three seniors signed their National Letters of Intent. November 11th is the National Signing Day of the NCAA, a day set aside for high school athletes to make commitments to Division 1 colleges and universities.
Naomi Jimenez signed to play basketball at Santa Clara University in Santa Clara, CA.
Alyce-Faye Eichelberger signed with Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, CA, where she will swim.
Jair Bolden committed to play basketball for George Washington University in Washington, DC.
L to R: Jair Bolden, Paul Lehmann Athletics Co-Director, Naomi Jimenez, Mich Linder Athletics Co-Director, and Alyce-Faye Eichelberger
Ian Davies and Emily Sands
Both Chloe Moffitt '19 and Natalie Lobach '18 have qualified for the Interscholastic Equestrian Association's Regional Championships, Chloe in both the under saddle and over fences divisions, and Natalie in the over fences division. Regionals will be held in March, with riders who have qualified (by earning a minimum of 18 points at shows) competing for a still smaller number of slots in the IEA's Zone Finals later in the spring. The IEA is a national organization made up of teams from participating stables across the country. Chloe and Natalie both are members of the Bethel Farm and Stables team. Congratulations to Chloe and Natalie!
Don't miss this lecture by Keith Reeves '84, Associate Professor of Political Science and Faculty Director of the Center for Social and Policy Studies at Swarthmore College. Keith will discuss his new book, which explores several controversial explanations underlying the high incarceration trends among black males.
save the date: swing for the students!
great opportunity to play an exclusive course consistently ranked as one of the “Best in State” by Golf Digest. Lunch, golf, dinner, auction and award presentation will be held at Applebrook and tennis will be held at Westtown’s own beautiful stadium courts.
alumni/community basketball game
reflection by a recent alumna
by Elyaa Abuhijleh '17
**Reprinted from the Ramallah Friends School Newsletter
Taking the risk and applying to the International Exchange program was one thing, and getting the acceptance letter from Westtown was another. The application procedure was nerve wracking; a lot of essays, recommendations and time.
When I received my acceptance letter, it was hard to process. I was in shock! Not only had I finally won something, but I realized that I am actually going to leave my family, friends and Palestine for an entire year.
In my first week at Westtown, I was still in shock. However within two weeks, I became homesick and wanted to get on the first flight home. I was the only Palestinian, one of two Arabs. I clashed with a pro-Israel girl during my first week and felt that everything went downhill.
Fortunately, I was surrounded by the most cherishing, caring and supportive individuals on earth. I had received support from all people at Westtown at all times. I could always seek help in my dormitory from the girls I lived with and my dorm parents. I could talk to all my teachers and friends without feeling like an outsider. I was lucky enough to gain friends and make unbreakable bonds with people all over the globe. I met people from Spain, Congo, Iceland, Brazil, Germany and many other places.
Beyond that, I had the opportunity to learn how to co-exist with various mindsets and become an independent and responsible individual. I don't think I have the capacity to describe my experience at Westtown, not even if I tried to do so in a million years. However, two words that would sum up my feeling towards my Westtown experience are blessed and honored. I am grateful for an opportunity that not a lot of Palestinians are exposed to, and because I was able to represent Palestine.
The last day at Westtown was heart breaking. l had to say my goodbyes again but this time to a new family, new friends and a new home-Westtown.
join us for these friends of Westtown gatherings!
We will be hosting Friends of Westtown gatherings in Beijing and Shanghai in March during spring break. We are having two gatherings in each city, one for alumni and the other for all of our parents, students, and alumni. A big “Thank You” to the alumni and parents who are helping with each of these events!
Dates and locations for the gatherings:
Saturday March 12: Alumni-only reception in Shanghai, 6:30pm-8:30pm
Henkes - 1E, First Floor, Reel Shanghai Department Store, 1601 Nanjing Xi Lu, near Changde Lu, Jingan district, Tel: 32530889
Sunday March 13: Reception for everyone in Shanghai, 3pm-5pm
The Sheraton Hotel - Sheraton Hongqiao Hotel, 5 South Zunyi Road, Shanghai, China, Tel: +86-21-6275 8888
Wednesday March 16: Alumni-only reception in Beijing, 6:30pm-8:30pm
Arrow - Across the river from the Yuyang Hotel, 50 meters west of the intersection of XinDongLu and LiangMaHeNanLu
Thursday March 17: Reception for everyone in Beijing, 7:00pm
Club 49 - No.98 Jinbao street, Dongcheng district, Beijing Tel: 65211949
If you would like to join us, please notify Claudia Callahan and tell us which reception you will attend and the number of guests in order to help us to arrange sufficient seating and food.
The coordinators for the alumni gatherings are are Francis Miller ’09 (email@example.com) in Beijing, and Chris DeMarino ’87 (firstname.lastname@example.org) in Shanghai. Alumni should contact them with any questions.
We hope you can join John Baird, Head of School, and his wife Aminda along with Ellen Gilbert, Director of Advancement, and Carrie Brodsky, Associate Director of College Counseling, at these gatherings.