Happy Birthday, Westtown!

May is a very exciting time at Westtown: the seniors are making their final college decisions, the Alumni Office is gearing up for Alumni Weekend on May 9-11, and our classrooms are abuzz with final presentations and projects. This May is especially exciting because we are celebrating Westtown’s 215th birthday.  On May 6, 1799 the first Westtown students began classes. This year we are going to join together as a community in celebration of Westtown's birthday. So, how can you join the celebration on May 6th?  

  • We are asking all of our students to wear brown and white to school that day.  If you’re not a student, we would like you to take pictures of yourself wearing brown and white and share them on our Facebook page. You can also post them on Instagram  and Twitter- use the hashtag #westtown215years.
  • We will have a giant birthday card to Westtown in Central all day on May 6th.  If you can, stop in and sign it!  If you aren’t able to stop in, send your well-wishes to stephanie.ziemke@westtown.edu and we will post them for you.
  • Visit www.westtown.edu/birthday and reflect on the last 215 years.  There's a lot of trivia and information there, AND we have also dispelled some of Westtown’s greatest myths – like what happened to the original Main Hall!

No matter where you are on May 6th, we hope you take some time to remember what Westtown meant to you. Thank you for being part of our legacy!

Koomsons Recipients of Friends Council on Education's Leadership Award for Service to Society

The Friends Council on Education's Leadership Award for Service to Society was presented to Westtown teachers Kwesi Koomson and Melissa Schoerke Koomson on April 24. The award was presented by Dr. Jill Biden, Second Lady of the United States, at the Friends Council on Education's Leading in the Light celebration of 325 years of Quaker education in the United States. 

"It is safe to say that Kwesi and Melissa Koomson embody the very best in Quaker education, but also the very best in basic humanity," said Dr. Jill Biden in her speech at the Friends Council celebration. "Their work in Ghana speaks for itself: thousands of children given new hope and confidence, regardless of age, background, or disability. They foster cultural exchange between young people in Ghana and the United States, nurturing friendship and a sense of community across oceans and borders."  For the rest of the story, click here.

We are so proud of Kwesi and Melissa and of the partnership between Heritage Academy and Westtown.  We are thrilled that they have received this well-deserved honor! Please join us in congratulating them.

(Photo courtesy of Laurie Beck Peterson)

Design & Engineering Students, a 3D Printer and a Boy

Students in the Design & Engineering course had a big assignment: create a robotic hand for an 8-year-old boy who was born with out a left hand. What they did was amazing. Read the story on philly.com.

(Photo courtesy of Ron Tarver, Inquirer Staff Photographer)

What Else Can High Schoolers Build?

After teaching high school chemistry for 30 years, Steve Compton is piloting the first-ever Design & Engineering class at Westtown School, a private school in West Chester where high schoolers can pitch a technical project and then go out and make it. Read the rest of this story from Technical.ly Philly.

Update from the Board of Trustees

In an effort  to try to keep you informed, we have posted an update from the Board of Trustees. The Board convened April 11-12 in the Lower School Gathering Room.  The focus of the sessions was primarily on oversight of the School’s financial endowment; update and input on the emerging strategic plan; and celebrating the opening of the new Science Center. Continue reading>>>


One Story, One Week

Lower School embarked on a new, annual tradition called One Story. Under the leadership of T. Jenny, the Lower School Library Media Specialist, students read several versions of the Grimm’s fairy tale called The Fisherman and his Wife. The children heard or read the classic fairy tale version and also Russian, African, and American versions. The premise of the story is that the wife wants more, more, more until the magic fish, who has been granting all the wishes, says “enough!”

This story was chosen because despite the greed, the tale speaks to the Quaker tenet of simplicity. A Lower School committee of teachers planned a week’s worth of activities around the story, and a faculty play at the lake kicked off the week. Each afternoon the children were in multi-age groups engaged in a range of activities, all centered on the Magic Fish: water pollution experiments, restoring the path around the lake, creating a mural, animating the story on iPads, cooking and acting out the story. The activities connected the children to literature through science, art, drama, activism, technology, and sports. It was a great way to come together in multi-aged groups to celebrate a mixture of literature, fun and Quaker beliefs.

Middle School Celebrates Poetry

April is National Poetry Month, and students in 6th, 7th and 8th grade at Westtown School joined thousands of schools and people across the country to celebrate Poem in Your Pocket Day on April 24. All Middle School students and teachers carried a favorite poem with them during the day, and whenever anyone asked, they pulled it out, unfolded it and read it.

Westtown students and teachers chose their poems in a variety of ways. Some looked to books they’d read when they were younger, and many had selected poems by Shel Silverstein. Others opened themselves to new poets and poems, finding works in library books or on the Internet. Still others carried song lyrics, and some even wrote their own poems. Any and all poems are fair game, according to Megan Rose, 8th grade English teacher at Westtown and organizer of the event. “The point of the day is engagement by an entire community to celebrate a love of language and poetry.”

Listen as Maya reads William Blake's "The Tiger"  as part of the Poem in Your Pocket Day.

From the Page to the Stage

Juniors and seniors in T. Spencer Gates’ English elective, Page to Stage, were treated to a workshop with actors from the Wilma Theater’s production of Don Juan Comes Home from Iraq. Among them was Westtown alumna Hannah Gold ’06, who got her start as an actress on the stage at Westtown. Other cast members from Don Juan were Brian Ratcliffe and Melanye Finister. They asked students to break into groups of four to create a beginning, middle and end tableau; the spectators were challenged to interpret the story from the tableaux.


And, They're Back!
Seniors returned from Senior Projects in March, bringing with them memories of transformative experiences, new friendships, and deepened passions. Several seniors blogged about their experiences in the field, so be sure to check out the Senior Projects' Blog. Here a few photos of the school-led projects to Ghana, China, Peru and Israel/Palestine. If you'll be here on Alumni Day, visit the Sr. Project display in the Science Center from 2-4 pm.

You're also invited to the 2014 "Wall Museum." Participants in this year's Israel/Palestine Senior Project will be hosting a reception in the South Room at 7:00 p.m. on Monday evening, May 12th, to mark the opening of the 2014 "Wall Museum," a display celebrating their experiences in Israel and Palestine this past March.  All are welcome. 

Photos, from top to bottom: Ghana group at Elmina castle, Peru group in Patacancha, China group at the Olympic park, Israel/Palestine group at Masada. 

Westtown Celebrates National Latin Exam High Acheivers

Every year Latin students at Westtown take the National Latin Exam. The NLE tests each student's proficiency in the Latin language as well as a broader knowledge of ancient history, mythology, and culture. This year over 154,000 students took the NLE from forty-nine states and seventeen foreign countries. We congratulate our students on their outstanding performance. Click here to see the list of honorees

Caroline Tien '16 Wins 2014 Scholastic Art & Writing Award

Congratulations to Caroline Tien '16 who has earned the Silver Key Award in the 2014 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. A panel of Philadelphia teachers, writers, and literary professionals selected Caroline's work from among 450 submissions from Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties. Her work stood out among the most exceptional in the region. Caroline submitted a collection of poems, including Helen of Troy. Once again, congratulations to Caroline! 


News in Upper School Athletics

Senior Taylor Griffith has broken the school shotput record not once, not twice, but three times.Two weeks ago she broke the old shotput record of 34' 11.5" set in 2004, then subsequently broke her own record. Twice. On May 2, she threw the shotput 37' 2.5", a record which will hold...for now. Congratulations, Taylor! 

This foursome shot 157 against Abington Friends, winning by 38 strokes. This is also a school record! Congratulations to (from left) Marc Groenhuysen '17, Nic Pavao '14, Dylan Torpey '17 and Cole Berger '17. 

Senior Finley Sutton scored her 100th career goal in the first half of the Sanford lacrosse game last Friday. Finley has signed to play lacrosse for University of Denver in the fall. Way to go, Finley!


Celebration of Athletic Director Jeannette Cooper

This week Middle and Upper School students, faculty and staff gathered in the gym to celebrate Jeannette Cooper’s 19 years as Athletic Director at Westtown. Jeannette will retire in June. Under her direction, Westtown has become a leader among Friends Schools in our region and in our state. She served as the first clerk of the Friends Schools League and as founding President of the Pennsylvania Association of Independent Schools Athletic Association. Jeannette has been more than an Athletic Director: she has been a coach, mentor, colleague, advisor, dorm parent and friend. We echo John Baird’s remarks at the gathering, “We are deeply grateful for your energetic leadership, wisdom, dedication, strong sense of values, and many contributions to the school and the athletic and physical education programs.”  In recognition of Jeannette's service, the Athletic Offices have been dedicated to her.

Faculty Play

Seniors Julia Dietsche and Justine Musselman directed this year's faculty play Will and Whimsy, a series of sketches based on works of Shakespeare. Our directors and faculty did a fantastic job! 


Register Now for Summer Sessions!

Summer Sessions at Westtown School offer weekly enrichment day camps with exciting morning activities and afternoon day camps. Classes are also available for high school credit. Full-day and half-day weekly enrollment is available. Our flexible schedule allows you to create and customize your child's camp experience. For more information, visit our website: www.westtown.edu/summer or email summersessions@westtown.edu.

Westtown Science Institute: Summer Programming - Reduced Pricing!

The Westtown Science Institute (WSI) offers three-week immersive courses for grades 3-12. These courses focus primarily on the themes of environment, technology and digital tools, and are centered in collaborative design thinking and problem solving. For more information visit  http:/www.westtown.edu/wsi_summer  For questions, email wsi@westtown.edu.

10th Annual Westtown Golf & Tennis Outing
Monday, May 19th
12:30pm Shotgun Start and 2:30pm Tennis Round Robin
White Manor Country Club Malvern, PA
Join us for a day of fun on the course or courts followed by cocktails and dinner. Learn more here.


Alums in the News

Congratulations to Andrew Renzi '03 and Tylee Abbott '03 , whose film "Fishtail" was shown at the Tribeca Film Festival this month.  http://www.indiewire.com/article/meet-the-2014-tribeca-filmmakers-19-andrew-renzi-presents-the-american-west-in-fishtail


The New Westonian
Watch your mail in the next couple of weeks for the newly-redesigned Westonian! The new publication features in-depth articles about alumni and faculty, as well as a "Student Voices" column. We hope that you enjoy it!


Got Moose?
The class of 1984 is enthusiastically raising funds to support a scholarship in honor of two of their classmates. This awesome metal moose is available on Etsy and will also be sold on Alumni Day!

Swing for the Students!
The Annual Golf & Tennis Outing directly benefits all students at Westtown by enabling us to raise funds to support the academic, athletic and arts programs, financial aid, and other resources vital to the success of the school. A fun day for a great cause! Come out Monday, May 19, 2014, to White Manor Country Club, 831 Providence Road, Malvern, PA 19355. To register or for more information please contact Ellen Songle at 610.399.7916 or ellen.songle@westown.edu. Sponsored by: GMH Capital Partners and Otto's BMW and Mini. 

Alumni Weekend
Friday, May 9 through Sunday, May 11
Spring is here and so is Alumni Weekend 2014! Classes ending in 9s and 4s are having reunions, but all classes are always welcome to come home again. Keith Middleton '89 from the New York City cast of STOMP will be performing at the Alumni Annual Meeting on Saturday at 10:00am. For more information and to register click here.


Want to keep with your former classmates? See what fellow alumni live in your part of the world? There's an app for that - and more! Go to the iTunes App Store and download the free Evertrue app, then search 'Westtown Alumni.' It's that simple!

    • MonSep30 Rosh Hashanah; No LS/MS/US Classes
    • WedOct09 Yom Kippur; No US/MS/LS Classes
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