Westtown Named Changemaker School
Westtown School is honored to have been named a Changemaker School by the Ashoka Empathy Initiative. In a letter to Westtown’s Changemaker Schools Committee, an Ashoka representative wrote, “We are inspired and encouraged by your commitment to cultivating empathy in your students, as well as your aspiration to ensure all children become changemakers.” We are thrilled by this designation, which affirms the very heart of our mission. Stay tuned for more information about what this new partnership means for Westtown and its students. To learn more about Ashoka, watch this video.
Third Graders Make Scholarship Gift to Heritage Academy
As you probably already know, Westtown School and Heritage Academy in Ghana – founded by Westtown teacher Kwesi Koomson - have had a long and fruitful partnership. What you may not know is that the 3rd grade and Heritage Academy have a special relationship. Under the leadership of teachers Vicki Shelter and Marc Dear, the 3rd grade has been helping support Heritage for ten years.
Each year, 3rd grade studies Africa. Their unit on Africa is action-based and includes studies in geography, African Dance, researching African animals, a group film project, and a service project. Teacher Kwesi visits the classroom and introduces students to Heritage Academy, sharing information about its mission. Together they develop goals of how 3rd grade can help. Over the years, the 3rd grade has helped create the largest library in the district, has raised money for windows and doors, and, this year, raised enough money to create a lifetime scholarship for a girl to attend Heritage from 3rd grade through high school. They’ve called it “The Class of 2023 Westtown Lower School’s Scholarship for a Girl.” They followed a business plan that they themselves created and raised enough money for this scholarship through bake sales.
Recently, the students presented their ‘big check’ to Kwesi and Melissa Koomson. The students were thrilled to present this scholarship, and the Koomsons were no less thrilled to accept it! We’re proud of all the work 3rd graders have done this year and in years past to support our sister school in Ghana!
News from Advancement
Thank you to the 2,000 alumni, parents, grandparents, and friends who have helped us raise nearly $1 million for this year's Westtown Fund. We are in the final weeks of this year's campaign and need to raise $200,000 more before June 30th. If you have not made a donation yet, please consider a gift of any size. We need everyone's support to finish this year off strong. The Westtown Fund contributes to every aspect of our school from financial aid to faculty salaries. Thank you for making your gift today at www.westtown.edu/wfdonate.
Be on the lookout for special web features that we will add this summer to celebrate Commencement and the Class of 2014. We will have video, a photo gallery, and text of the speeches. You'll get a post card alerting you when these special features are live!
Westonians in the World
For a school like Westtown that offers a global education, it’s important to give students occasions to experience the world. The month of May was full of those kinds of opportunities in Middle School.
From May 4-10, 7th graders Sophie Adler, Evee Bak and Aidan Fox, along with T. Jon Kimmel, attended a Young Round Square International Conference in South Africa. Round Square is a global association of schools (to which Westtown belongs) which “share a commitment, beyond academic merit, to personal growth and responsibility through service, challenge, adventure and international understanding which ultimately seeks to empower students to become leaders and guardians of tomorrow’s world.” Round Square’s goals are clearly aligned with Westtown’s own mission of inspiring and preparing students to be leaders and stewards of a better world.
The theme of this year’s conference, held in Johannesburg, was Endangered: A Guide to Survival. The conference focused on what delegates could do to help species (humans, animals, plants) to survive on our planet. Delegates also worked with students from the FanJan Primary School, located in nearby Steve Bikoville, which had been chosen as beneficiary of the conference service project. Supported by the Middle School Student Clerks, Sophie, Evee and Aidan and the rest of the Middle School had raised money and collected art supplies and sports equipment that they then took with them to support FanJan.
May 16 found the entire Middle School out and about in the world. Sixth graders, who are studying the Middle Ages, visited Bryn Athyn Cathedral and Glencairn Museum in the village of Bryn Athyn, just north of Philadelphia. They became medieval pilgrims as they explored the castle and cathedral. Students learned about the social hierarchy of the feudal system when they saw the king and queen being given the “upper crust” of a loaf of bread, and the knights and lesser nobility sitting “below the salt.” They saw the differences between Romanesque and Gothic architecture and examples of the many ways people of the Middle Ages glorified God. Afterward, one said, “Going on this field trip made our test a lot easier. We actually got to see the things we had been studying in class.”
The 7th grade traveled to Washington, DC, for a program related to their US History curriculum and especially, its emphasis on primary source analysis. The group visited the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, where they explored themes of justice, the immigrant experience, the statements made by our clothing, and the American dream. They, too, got tangible reminders of what they had studied throughout the year.
The 8th grade was on its annual canoe trip, a signature culminating event in Middle School. The build-up to this trip happened over the previous three years. Successively more challenging canoe trips in 6th and 7th grades made it possible for them to meet the challenges of a white-water stretch of the Susquehanna River in northeastern PA. Acting as leaders over the course of their 8th grade year – as Work Program captains, Student Body Clerks and Brown & White Team captains – prepared them for the kinds of responsibility demanded by the canoe trip. And it was natural for them to look out for each other because of the sense of community fostered throughout Middle School.
Finally, on May 27, this year’s Student Body Clerks – Lili Fernandez, Aidan Fox, Ryan O’Donnell and Matt Starr – took the Middle School’s final contribution to the West Chester Food Cupboard. Middle School supported the Food Cupboard all year with money they raised through a series of spirit days and with canned food. The last delivery included $300 in cash and a 15-lb. box of toiletries. All told, the Middle School donated over 500 pounds of food and other necessities to the Food Cupboard over the course of the year.
Everywhere Westtown students travel, comments like these follow them: “These kids know so much. And they’re willing to speak up and participate.” “We’re really grateful to these students.” “Where does this group come from? They’re so mature and respectful.” “Your kids definitely stand out. They ask such good questions.”
So as much as off-campus experiences like these support the educational program in Middle School, students’ presence in the places they travel is equally appreciated. They consistently represent Westtown in positive ways.
Having a Field Day
Brown & White Day has long been a tradition in Lower School. Historically, it’s been an afternoon at the end of the school year when mixed-aged students on the brown and white teams compete for points in field day events like sponge passing, tug of peace, and culminates in a relay race. Then, popsicles are shared by all. (Arguably the most fun event!)
Though Brown & White Day has never lacked in enthusiasm, this year the Lower School faculty revamped Brown & White Day, seeing an opportunity to build community. Collaboratively, they turned it from an afternoon of events to an all-day affair, the last day of Spirit Week which was marked by celebrations, such as ‘crazy hair day’, ‘favorite sports teams day’ and ‘wacky day.’
While parents have always been invited to see their little ones, this year parents were invited to spend the entire day and join in a picnic lunch. Families spread out on the field in front of the Belfry to share a meal, chat and have fun.
The 4th grade also used the opportunity of this week-long enthusiasm to promote their fund-raising service project Kids for Canines, an organization that provides specially-trained dogs for children with autism. They sold bracelets and collected donations to give to the organization.
So what does ‘tug of peace,' fund raising, and a picnic really have to do with education? Everything. It’s yet another way in which our faculty seamlessly fold teamwork, service, fun, tradition, and community into the lives of students. It was a day of great fun and, of course, popsicles. Check out the excitement on SmugMug.
Theater Program's CAPPIES Nominees
Westtown’s theater program is a participant in the CAPPIES, the high school Critics and Awards Program. Students from area high schools attend plays and musicals at local schools, write reviews, and nominate students for CAPPIE Awards – the high school equivalent of the Tonys.
This year, Westtown students received eight nominations, including ones for Publicity/Marketing, Comic Actress (Lucy Bond), Featured Actress (Rowan Hepps Keeney), Featured Actor (Nathan Mullen), Supporting Actress (Julia Dietsche), Lead Actor (Dexter Coen Gilbert), Lead Actress (Justine Musselman), and Play (The Laramie Project). See the complete list of nominees here.
At the awards gala held on May 10th, Nathan Mullen and Rowan Hepps Keeney both won acting awards for their performances in The Laramie Project. Nathan had the honor of performing a monologue from The Laramie Project to an audience of 1400. This was Nathan’s second nomination – last year he was nominated for best supporting actor in a musical. Nathan Mullen, Justine Musselman, and Julia Dietsche also had their reviews published in local papers.
The accolades are a testament to the strength of our theater program and to the talent of our student actors and faculty directors. Congratulations to all the nominees and winners!
National Merit Scholars Early Notification
We congratulate eight rising seniors out of a graduating class of 75 who have been notified that they will receive National Merit recognition in September 2014. The students are Anne Katherine Burns, Abigail Kaplan, Mary Kearney-Brown, Melissa McLaughlin, Alex Nunes, Jerry Peng, Haley Peterson and John Zhang.
With a PSAT Selection Index (the sum of their Reading, Math and Writing scores) of 201 or above, these high performers have shown outstanding academic potential. Of some 1.5 million program entrants, each of the Westtown students is among the 50,000 highest scoring participants nationwide who will be recognized next fall. Of these, about 16,000 will be named National Merit Program Semifinalists, and approximately 34,000 others will be commended for their performance on the PSAT.
Bottom L -R: Haley Peterson, Melissa McLaughlin, Abigail Kaplan, and Mary Kearney-Brown. Top: John Zhang and Alex Nunes. Not pictured: Jerry Peng.
Westtown Celebrates National Language Exam High Acheivers
Students who study foreign languages recently sat for the National Spanish Exam, the National Latin Exam, the National French Exam and the National German Exam. These exams test a students proficiency in the target language and ranks students at a national level. Congratulations to all of our high achievers in foreign language!
National Latin Exam high achievers. Click here to see the list of honorees.
National Spanish Exam high achievers. Click here to see the list of honorees.
National German Exam high achievers: Bottom L to R: Lili BurgerLentz, Alia Jones. Top: Lukas DeSimone, Jeremy Evans, Teacher Melissa Graf Evans
A complete list of National French Exam high achievers can be found here. (No photo available for this group.)
Thank you for joining us!
Thank you to everyone who attended the 10th Annual Golf & Tennis Outing at White Manor Country Club on Monday, May 19th. Participants enjoyed a tennis round robin, golf activities, a fabulous dinner, and an exciting auction. This year’s event brought together over 150 alumni, parents, staff, and friends for the benefit of Westtown School.
To see highlights from the day, including information about our sponsors, winners, and photos, please visit www.westtown.edu/golf.
A extra special thank you to our Event Sponsors - GMH Mortgage Services LLC and Otto's BMW and Mini!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Westtown Summer Sessions
Alumni Weekend 2014
What a glorious weekend, filled with indoor and outdoor activities, parties and reconnecting with old friends! Alumni traveled from near and far to join their classmates and to experience how the school has changed and the very important ways that it remains the same. Keith Middleton '89 gave a fabulous performance (including a "Call and Response" with current students) at the Alumni Annual Meeting.
Class Connectors and reunion planners have written recaps of their reunion weekends. Read the recaps here.
Photos from Alumni Weekend 2014
Calling all 5s and 0s!
Does your class year end in a 5 or a 0? Save the date for next year’s Alumni Weekend: May 8 - 10, 2015. Reunion Planning Committees are already being formed. To get involved, please email email@example.com or call 610-399-7941.
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!