We are a Campus Kitchen!
Westtown was awarded a $5000 grant to become part of the Campus Kitchen Project! This collaborative venture with the West Chester Senior Center will help us meet the food needs of local senior citizens. We will plant fruit trees and distribute the harvest to the Senior Center in addition to providing some of the tomatoes grown on our organic farm. We will also recover some of the food that does not get eaten in our Dining Room by storing some leftovers and delivering the food to CityTeam in Chester who will then distribute the food to those in need in their community. Thanks to all who voted and a special thanks to Mitch Bernstein and students for spearheading the grant campaign. If you haven’t seen it, check out the video our students made in support of the grant!
WESTTOWN RECEIVES GRANT
Westtown is the recipient of a $10,000 grant from the VWR Foundation! The funds will be used to create a collaborative summer program that connects our Westtown Science Institute Social Entrepreneurship students with students from underserved communities in our region by way of a summer residential "Incubating Social Change" product development program. Westtown students will develop projects in partnership with students from the Boys and Girls Club of Delaware as peer collaborators in an immersive design engineering experience. The VWR Foundation is a charitable organization whose purpose is to promote learning in the sciences. It is part of VWR, a science equipment manufacturer in Radnor, PA.
News From the Westtown Fund
Spring is coming slowly to Westtown’s campus; our students are back from spring break, our seniors have returned from their Senior Projects, and we are in the homestretch to graduation and the end of the school year. These last few months of the school year also signify the end of Westtown’s fiscal year on June 30th. If you haven’t made your gift to the Westtown Fund this year, you should have received (or you will soon) our March appeal, asking you to support the change-making work of our students in all three divisions. Your support of the Westtown Fund goes directly back into enhancing the student experience. There is no place or person on campus that isn’t affected by the Westtown Fund. Our students are doing innovative and compelling work that they hope will make a difference in the world they are inheriting. We hope that you will consider supporting their efforts by making a gift today at www.westtown.edu/wfdonate.
UPDATE FROM THE HEAD OF SCHOOL SEARCH COMMITTEE
Thank you for your many responses to our online survey, which asked what we should be looking for in a new Head. We’ve been told that we received an exceptionally high number of responses to the survey, and we may have set a record for the number of persons who requested one-on-one telephone interviews. The firm that conducted our survey and interviews was very complimentary of the depth and thoughtfulness of the responses. There is no dearth among Westonians, it seems, of opinions – and wisdom too, for that matter.
We have also announced our search to the wider world, with the publication of the position description, which you can find on our website. That has garnered a strong response, also. We have received well over 100 expressions of interest.
With what we learned from our community’s response to the survey and interviews, we have now charged our search consultants to take affirmative steps to augment this initial pool by finding still more candidates and encouraging them to explore the unique opportunity our position presents. We have asked them to search among Quaker educators, women, people of color, international candidates, sitting heads of schools, others with practical school management experience and outside-the-box candidates.
By the way, every name suggested in response to the survey has gone into the hopper. If you have more ideas, please send them in.
Thank you to everyone. We are on the way. So far all signs are good. But we’ve only just begun.
Ed Winslow ’64
Clerk, Head of School Search Committee
Last Thursday evening we hosted alumni, current and past parents, faculty, staff and friends of the school for a Town Hall Meeting. Led by the architect team from WRT and our Campus Master Plan Steering Committee co-clerks, Rob Cottone and Jay Farrow '75, I was delighted to see a full room of engaged and enthusiastic attendees. The tone of the event was spirited and positive. As one alumnus put it, "given the pull of nostalgia, I'm shocked that I find myself supportive of so many proposed changes!" The same presentation was also given to all faculty and staff last week during an in-service day, with a similarly positive response.
If you would like to view a recording of the event, please click here (please note, adobe flash player 11.2 or above is required to view this recording). We have also recently updated the campus master plan section of our website, please take a look here.
If you have any questions, please reach out to me or Jay Farrow '75 co-clerk of the CMP Steering Committee.
Metal moose takes the title!
This past weekend, Westtown School hosted the FIRST® Robotics Mid-Atlantic District Competition. Thirty-seven teams comprised of more than 1,000 students participated in this year’s medieval-themed event. Roughly 2000 visitors attended the event each day. Westtown’s Team 1391, the Metal Moose, formed an alliance with two other teams to win the championship. The Metal Moose also took home the Judges Award, given to a team whose unique efforts, performance, or dynamics merit recognition. Congratulations to all Metal Moose team members, coaches Steve Compton and Larry Dech, and parents and students who have supported and cheered on Team 1391!
But that’s not the end of the story. When Westtown was selected as a host site for this year’s Mid-Atlantic District Competition, Steve Compton, Director of Westtown’s Science Institute and Head Coach of The Metal Moose decided the event not only needed to “solve mechanical issues, but also social ones at the same time.” Thus the 1st Annual Good Robot Challenge was born. Compton says, “with the creation of this challenge, each year we will seek to leverage the power of numbers to create social good. By connecting our annual district event with the power of all of the participating teams, we will support a selected organization that is creating social change and supporting children through education, opportunity and strong futures.”
This year, Westtown is leading a fundraising and in-kind resource donation challenge among robotics teams across the country. Their goal, as part of the 1st Annual Good Robot Challenge, is to raise $38,000 for Yspaniola, a 501(c)3 education organization in the Dominican Republic, by April 30, 2016. Yspaniola provides high quality education programs to over 125 children and young adults in a community of Dominicans and Haitians, many of whom have limited access to basic resources, like education beyond 8th grade and are denied human and civil rights. “Because all of Yspaniola’s fundraising and administrative costs are covered by donations from the Board of Directors and grants, 100% of the contributions will go directly to supporting Yspaniola’s students and education programs,” says Jonathan DiMiao, Director of Strategy and Co-Founder of Yspaniola. “Yspaniola began as a student group eleven years ago, and it’s fantastic that the Westtown Robotics Team is continuing the tradition of US students coming together to support education in the Dominican Republic. We are incredibly grateful for this partnership.” So far, the Good Robot Challenge has raised nearly $2500 toward its goal, and that does not include the backpacks full of school supplies that are also being collected.
Now in their 13th year, Westtown’s Metal Moose robotics team has won 13 awards for performance, design, innovation, systems control, and creativity in engineering. They have qualified for and attended the Robotics World Championship five times and grown from a team of six students to over 40. While these are impressive achievements, perhaps their desire to give back is one of their best.
View the competition gallery here
PROBLEM-SOLVING, ADVOCACY, PERSISTENCE, AND CONNECTIONS: A STORY FROM MIDDLE SCHOOL
By Nancy van Arkel
While working on a project for 6th grade history, a student was frustrated that the Explain Everything app wouldn't let him re-arrange his slides the way he wanted them. Instead of giving up, he found the support section of the site and sent an email. From their response, he learned that Explain Everything knew about the bug and would be correcting it in about a week. The next morning when Teacher Alicia Zeoli, one of our technology integrationists, asked if he wanted help with the work-around we had discovered for the bug, he said his project was complete. Not only had the company fixed the bug the previous night, but also they sent him an email to let him know so he could complete his project.
A few days later, T. Alicia was at EduCon, a national conference for educational technology, and she happened to meet Reshan Richards, the co-founder of Explain Everything. Full of gratitude for the company's responsiveness, she shared this story. Curious, Reshan asked to see the projects and Alicia happily shared them him (and took a selfie of the two of them together to show the 6th graders). Reshan was so impressed with our students' work that he offered to talk with the students using Google Hangouts and asks to use their projects as examples on Explain Everything's media site.
Education is about so much more than accumulating knowledge these days, and this story exemplifies some of the skills our students are developing - using technology as a means of synthesizing and presenting information, identifying problems and possible solutions, considering a variety of resources that might help solve a problem. Critical to this story, however, is the human element - the courage to ask for help, the responsiveness of both teachers and outside tech support, the connections that are later made in person, the use of technology as a means of connecting us across vast distances.
Want to know more? Here's the project: As part of a unit on Vikings in T. Sue Gold's history class, sixth graders studied Norse gods and goddesses. Each student chose a character from the Norse pantheon and researched the character's role. Students sketched their gods, giants, humans or animals, and then animated their drawings using Explain Everything. Students brought their character's myth to life and were able to teach their classmates about it in a visual, creative way. Click here to see the animations.
Kudos to 6th graders, T. Sue, T. Alicia, Reshan Richards and the Explain Everything team!
View a few moments of the students' session with Reshan.
if we are what we eat, then we are westtown!
By Wade Tomlinson, Director of Sustainability
I overheard a conversation in the Dining Hall between two upper school students. To paraphrase, “I have changed my mind. No, I am not going to go on any diet. That is not going to help me. I think if I just eat locally grown food, and organics that are good for me and continue playing [my sport], then I think I will be fine.”
That one statement is witness to the education that is going on at Westtown School. 35% of our foods are locally sourced to within 50 miles of the school, and a good portion of those foods are organic. All of the chicken and turkey that we serve are free ranged and locally sourced. Recently we offered a burger bar on which 100% of the beef served was grass fed and not injected with large doses of antibiotics and growth hormone.
When I was growing up, the school cafeteria was often a source of complaint. When it was mentioned my peers would often associate it with the word “yuck.” At Westtown, I eat with students every day. The words I am most likely to hear is “yum” or “I will try that” as more and more students are willing to experiment in eating new things. To get there, Westtown has revitalized its menus, improved where it sources its food, and has hired chefs to prepare food. We have done all of this while staying within the existing budget because, as it turns out, eating locally saves money.
Along with the food we serve, we also provide education through our mini-farm, through our nutritionist on staff, and through our health classes. Though we are always innovating and improving, we are headed in the best direction possible for our students. We have provided the space necessary to have conversations that can lead to lifelong behavior changes. We are what we eat and we are Westonians, inside and out.
THE WORLD NEEDS MORE WESTONIANS
Recently, teachers Kevin Eppler and Jay Coen Gilbert asked students in their Business and Society class to think about whether they were the type of person that the world needs. “We used the assignment as one of a series of prompts for reflection in the course,” says Eppler. Throughout the semester, students are required to journal in response to a variety of prompts on the topics of study, field trips, or voices they hear throughout the bi-weekly cycle of journal reflection. “We often ask them to consider the following query: ‘If this [what the author/expert/speaker offers] is true, how, then, should we live?’” Eppler continues, “The question about living as a Westonian emerged from recent publications and the use of the [Strategic Plan] decree that “the world needs more Westonians.” We wanted to know if our students felt that they were the type of person Westtown felt was needed in the world. The students are constantly tasked to reflect on the life and work of influential thinkers and to consider the message these leaders present on how people can live in accordance with their personal values in an effort to positively impact the world even, or perhaps especially, through business.” So Eppler and Coen Gilbert issued the assignment, and wanted to share a few responses from their students:
Westtown has taught me that there are real problems in the world, and that there is no reason why I can’t be the one to solve them. – Miskiyat ‘16
The world needs more Westonians, people who care and who have the skills to put those thoughts into action.The world needs more people like me. - Hannah ‘16
I hope that I am a ‘Westonian’ in the sense that I hope I care enough to act. Westtown didn’t teach me to care; I have always known that I want to be of service to people. Westtown taught me how to care, and how to make myself useful. For me, that combination will be important.’ Molly ‘16
Am I the kind of Westonian the world needs more of? Am I a leader and a steward? Do I face challenges thoroughly and thoughtfully before I speak or act? Am I truly present in my surroundings? Do I have a desire to make a world that can seem so daunting more peaceful? Do I live with integrity? Saying ‘yes’ to all of these questions would be dishonest. However, receiving an education at Westtown has provided me with the knowledge and support to be all these qualities of a Westonian.’ – Sammie ‘16
The world needs individuals who are passionate enough to challenge themselves and take risks, and I am glad that I can be one of those people. – Roger ‘16
Westtown’s greatest gift to its students is its emphasis on the morality in all areas of life – in jobs, in relationships, in everyday interactions – and this isn’t something I’ve found in any other school. – Caroline ‘16
Before I came to Westtown, I didn’t even know what privilege was. Now I am aware of the privilege I have. My voice tends to be heard more easily, which means I might have an easier time making a difference in the world. This also comes with extra responsibility. Sam ‘16
As a Westonian, I feel equipped with the passion for learning, the tools to continue to learn, the vigor to stand for what I believe in, and ultimately to tackle issues that most high school students would believe are impossible. – Leo ‘16
Westtown has shaped my personality and my perspective by using Quaker values and practice to create a habit of self-reflection and to never question that all voices deserve to be heard. – Emma ‘17
We’re all so hopelessly interconnected that we can’t tolerate misery in others without trying to alleviate it. Since we are so used to living this way, you can be sure that we’ll carry this with us the rest of our lives; it’s what marks us as Westonians. – James ‘16
Members of the Class of 2016 spent their Senior Projects in 14 countries and 10 states. Projects included the school-led trips to Mexico, Israel/Palestine, Guadeloupe, and Ghana, as well as 47 distinct independent projects near and far. We know that Senior Projects can be transformative experiences for our students. We also know that they give students opportunity for independent learning and reflection. Some of our seniors shared their experiences and reflections on the Senior Projects Blog, so we invite you read them. As Hannah Zuckerberg so eloquently put it as she reflected on her time in Israel, "When I explain Quakerism and my school to everyone I meet, I am reminded about why I am here in the first place. Westtown trained me for four years for the world –giving me the ability to find peace in silence, community amongst strangers, and strength in myself."
On Wednesday, March 9th Teachers Kenny and Robert took seven students from the 5th and 6th grades to Band Fest at Stetson Middle School. Band Fest is made up of selected students from schools in Chester County who come together for a day to rehearse pieces they have already practiced with their teachers. There were 100 students at Band Fest. They rehearsed all day and gave a wonderful performance for their parents that evening. The students from Westtown were, Melanie Flynn, Zavion Allen, Dane Clunk, Maddie Bowen, Jake Richards, Joseph Farnan, and Cole Holloway. Teacher Kenny writes, “I am so proud of how well they prepared their music and how well the represented Westtown. It was a wonderful day of learning and making music with lots of other young musicians!”
Friends Journal Student voices project
For the last several years, Friends Journal, a publication that serves the Quaker community, has sponsored the Student Voices Project. For this project, students at Friends Schools are asked to submit written work in response to various queries and entries are chosen from among them. This year, the queries pertained to aspects of community building. Reflections from the following students were selected: Sophie Adler, Reena Bradley, Carolina Castilho, Tony Chen, Jack DeVuono, Franklin Grear, Natalie Neumann, Heidi Suh. All of their essays were insightful and powerful. We encourage you to read them on Friends Journal's website.
not your ordinary check-out
Henry Zuckerberg says that his advisor, Brandon Thomas, and Tim Mountz, the Farm Manager, inspired him to become more interested in foods and cooking. So he decided to explore a different kind of check-out. (A check-out is the activity a student engages in after the academic day such as sports, gardening, theater, etc.) Beth Pellegrino, Director of Food Services, helped Henry set up this unusual check-out and he began working in the kitchen this winter. Henry and Beth considered several ideas about what this “job” should consist of and settled on technical skills development and learning recipes. “I completed a few projects over the course of the check out,” he says. “I learned my knife cuts and how to roast a chicken and cook a fish as well as many different recipes.” The culmination of his time in the kitchen was creating and preparing a dinner menu for Community Dinner in the Upper School. The menu of watercress salad, steak frites, portabella mushrooms, and crème brule was an amazing and delicious treat! Henry says that he bonded with many of the people who work in the kitchen and he hopes to make this a regular winter check out next year.
The Middle School did an amazing job with their production of Yo, Vikings! If you missed the performances, check out the gallery of photos of their play. Good job, Middle School!
View a gallery of photos from the show here
Along with outstanding performances by all our athletes, two championship teams emerged from the winter sports season, as well as a host of students being named to all-league teams. You can view the roster of Westtown's All-League athletes here.
Our boys' varsity basketball team are the Friends Schools League champions for the third consecutive year, and they have won four of the last five championships. On Saturday, February 27, the team also won its first-ever state title in a thrilling game against Germantown Academy. By capturing the PAISAA title, the team becomes the first team in school history to win a state title. Several stand-out players have garnered All-Area Teams and all-state teams recognition as well. Senior Jair Bolden scored his 1000th point this season as well. Congratulations to all!
The girls' varsity swim team became Friends Schools League champions for the third consecutive season! This FSL title caps what has been a very successful and memorable season for this powerhouse girls' team. Congrats on your three-peat, girls!
The boys's swim team had a strong season with several swimmers named to all-area teams. Additionally, freshman Cruz Buitron broke his own 100 Butterfly record with a time of 54.01. This is not only a Westtown School record, but also a new record for the Friends Schools League. Congratulations!
The girls' varisty basketball season was a huge success all around. They beat league rival GFS for the first time in eight years and earned a spot in the FSL semi-finals for the first time in seven years. Their overall record was 11-10. Sisters Naomi and Eunice Jimenez were named to the FLS All-League First Team. Naomi joined the 1000 points club this season as well. Naomi and Dagny Davidsdottir are committed to playing Division 1 basketball next year, at Santa Clara and Niagara, respectively.
The wrestling team placed 2nd in the Friends Schools League. Coach Jay Farrow's understaffed squad clung to a slim 26-25 lead going into the last four bouts of the 2016 FSL Championship Finals before yielding the victory to Academy of the New Church. Coach Farrow was very pleased with his young team's 8th place finish at the 2016 Pennsylvania Independent Schools Athletic Association (PAISSA) Wrestling Championship. Nine out of Westtown's 12 entrants placed in the top eight in their weight division. Coach Tim Loose was honored at Assistant Coach of the Year by the Pennsylvania Independent Schools Wrestling Tournament (PAISWT).
Both Chloe Moffitt '19 and Natalie Lobach '18 qualified for the Interscholastic Equestrian Association's Regional Championships, and recently advanced from Regionals to Zones, the next phase of competition - Chloe in both the under saddle and over fences divisions, and Natalie in the over fences division. At Regionals, Chloe won 6th place in her jumping class against the other top 14 riders in Zone 2, which is composed of Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey. Natalie earned an 8th place for her jumping class during the team portion of the competition. Our congratulations to Chloe and Natalie!
WESTTOWN NAMED SAFE SCHOOL
We are proud to announce that Westtown School has been named a Safe Sport School by the National Athletics Trainers Association (NATA). In order to achieve Safe Sport School status athletic programs must do the following:
- Create a positive athletic health care administrative system
- Provide or coordinate pre-participation physical examinations
- Promote safe and appropriate practice and competition facilities
- Plan for selection, fit function and proper maintenance of athletic equipment
- Provide a permanent, appropriately equipped area to evaluate and treat injured athletes
- Develop injury and illness prevention strategies, including protocols for environmental conditions
- Provide or facilitate injury intervention
- Create and rehearse a venue-specific Emergency Action Plan
- Provide or facilitate psychosocial consultation and nutritional counseling/education
- Be sure athletes and parents are educated of the potential benefits and risks in sports as well as their responsibilities
Congratulations to our Athletics Department, trainers, and coaches!
ADMISSIONS OPEN HOUSE
Do you know someone who would benefit from a Westtown education? Invite them to our next Open House on Monday, April 25th at 9 am! Visitors are encouraged to pre-register here.
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 WEEKEND 2016
Only six weeks to go until Alumni Weekend! Program highlights this year include a musical performance by Mindy Rhodes ‘91 on Friday, Keynote Speaker Celina Tio ‘88, chef and restaurateur, on Saturday, an amazing alumni art show celebrating the career of Caroline Loose, a symposium in the Science Center, and a Lake Celebration. We hope to see you there!
To register for Alumni Weekend, please click here.