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EXTRAORDINARY STORIES: WAKEFIELD SCHOOL 2012 THE END of each school year at Wakefield is marked by a number of ceremonies that attempt to sum up the entire community’s hard work and dedication throughout the year. The occasions are always inclusive and celebratory, but often can’t offer an extensively detailed look into our wonderful community of students, teachers, staff, parents, and alumni. This look at Wakefield is meant to share some more of the extraordinary stories that our community created in the 2011-2012 school year. For more information and up-to-date news, visit, find us on Facebook (, Twitter ( (, and Pinterest (



WHO.............................3 Kate Weimer................................................3 Paul Sipes.....................................................4 Dorrina Deya...............................................4 George Steensma..........................................5 Julia Leggette...............................................5

WHAT..........................6 Constitution Day..........................................6 Planting Peas...............................................6 Languages.....................................................7 Senior Thesis................................................7 Medieval Faire.............................................8 Egyptian Banquet........................................8

WHERE.......................9 Commencement 2012...................................9 College Choices...........................................10 Governor’s School.......................................10 College Visits..............................................11 Hispanic Festival.......................................11

JULY 11, 9 A.M.



JULY 11-14, 7 P.M.


AUGUST 7, 9 A.M.

Food Drives.................................................12 Alumna Buckley........................................13 Lower School..............................................13



WHY...........................14 Alumni........................................................15 2

WHO... are we?

Wakefield School boasts an incredible community of scholars, athletes, artists, volunteers, and teachers. Here is a look at just a few of the talented and motivated people that populate Wakefield.

Weimer excels in art Rising senior Kate Weimer was chosen to participate in the National Gallery of Art’s 2011-2012 High School Seminar. Fewer than two dozen students are chosen from the D.C. metro area for the 10-session series of Saturday seminars at the National Gallery in Washington. The program ran Oct. 15 through Feb. 25, when the student artists made their final presentations. In addition to the ten Saturday sessions, the students in the program have substantial assigned work to produce in preparation for each session. In October each participant chooses a theme from among 34 choices provided by the program’s instructors. Then each student must choose two artists whose work illuminates the chosen theme in some way. Finally, each student much choose a single work from each of the two selected artists that will help the student investigate his or her chosen theme. Works the students choose must be from the Gallery’s permanent collection. Once these critical selections are made, students then prepare a whole series of assignments leading up to their final presentations on their artists: a working bibliography of chosen research sources, a talk at the Gallery on the artists’ work, an “artist’s book” on each encapsulating the important aspects of that person’s work, and an original piece of artwork that interprets the chosen theme in some way. Kate was the fifth Wakefield School student to be selected for the National Gallery’s High School Seminar. In 2010 she was named as one of 11 Northern Virginia student artists chosen by British portrait artist Alexander Talbot Rice as recipients of full scholarships to study art in Italy with Mr. Talbot Rice in the summer of 2012. In April 2012, she received first place in Drawing in the 2011 10th District Congressional Art Show, held on George Washington University’s 3 Virginia campus.

AD Sipes recognized with state honor Wakefield School Athletic Director Paul Sipes was named the 2012 Independent Schools Athletic Administrator of the Year by the Virginia Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (VIAAA). Sipes, who was nominated by a fellow Delaney Athletic Conference coach, oversees the athletic department at Wakefield, which includes 18 varsity sports and 36 total teams. He also coaches the girls’ varsity basketball team and has led them to one DAC regular season championship, one DAC tournament championship, and five consecutive Cavalier Athletic Conference championships. Sipes joined Wakefield in 2005, and since then the school has built squash courts and put more focus on bringing teams to state competitions. The school also maintains an 82 percent student participation rate for athletics.

Dorrina Deya, counselor extraordinaire Rina Deya ‘12 spent seven weeks of both her 2009 and 2011 summers as a counselor for the Emerging Scholars Program in Fairfax. ESP provides academic and social enrichment for a diverse group of students who, without financial assistance, could not consider an independent school education. Daily life as a counselor began at 7:30am each morning. The counselors helped in the classroom, with homework, and mentoring in many of life skills such as leadership, appropriate behaviors, courtesies, and how to analyze difficult situations that may arise.


a m s n e e t S e g r o e G or

f y a w A d n a , p U , Up

George Steensma ‘12 really loves flying. So when he heard about the storied aviation program at the University of North Dakota, he decided to go for a visit to see what it was like first hand. He visited the school, toured the facilities, and completed his application in late July. Two weeks later, he was accepted. The University of North Dakota is a national public research university located in Grand Forks, N.D. The School of Aerospace Sciences is one of the most prestigous in the country for aviation education, research and flight training and has a building complex dedicated to the program, named after John D. Odegard founder and first dean of the program at UND. The complex includes 18 flight simulators, a meteorology lab, weather information station and research center, altitude chamber, spatial disorientation trainer, and Air Traffic Control simulators. At Wakefield, George served as the Secretary/Treasurer of the Student Government and instituted a project raising money this year by selling treats at lunch to help pay for SGA activities. He is an Eagle Scout and raised money and installed four benches on the Lower Bohn Yard for athletic events. He is also a high honors student.

Leggette displays her dedication to Haiti Rising ninth-grader Julia Leggette has a special place in her heart for Haiti. Beginning in 2007, she has campaigned to raise money for the island nation, first asking her friends to donate to the Community Coalition for Haiti in lieu of birthday gifts. Those donations were used to buy goats for farmers. Three birthday parties and many goats later, she again came to Haiti’s aid after its devastating earthquake. She organized a school bake sale and raised $1,050 for relief efforts. She also raised enough money, along with her collaborators in fourth and fifth grade, to build a well in Haiti. She traveled to Haiti later that year to help build the Wakefield Well. Julia was named the first ambassador to the Robert Duvall Children’s Fund, which is committed to improving impoverished children’s lives throughout the world.



are Wakefield students learning?

Constitution Day In honor of the signing of the Constitution of the United States on September 17, 1787, September 17 is recognized each year in America as Constitution Day. Wakefield’s fourth graders started the school year with a short unit on the Constitution, learning so much about the document that they were able to share their knowledge with the entire Lower School in September. In particular, they explained the meaning of the Preamble to the Constitution, and how it continues to be fulfilled in the working out and amending of that document. The few days spent talking about the Constitution are a perfect beginning to the year of American History in Fourth

Grade. It gives the class an early opportunity to think about why so many people have come to America from around the world—an idea that is reiterated many times as the same students prepare for Immigration Day at the end of the year.

Planting Peas Junior kindergarteners and kindergarteners planted sugar snap peas using simple tools of an individual whiteboard with a marker, a sheet of newspaper, a packet of bean seeds, a plastic cup, and three dried peas. Rebecca Cohen taught the students both the botany and the how-to of planting their pea seeds in their cup —using just a sheet of crumpled newsprint for a medium —and gave them samples of tasty raw sugar snap pea pods to try, too. 6




More than 70 Wakefield students ranging from grades 7-12 earned accolades on this year’s National French, Latin and Spanish exams. Lower School students take a semester each of French and Spanish every year.


The Senior Thesis Project is the culmination of the student’s intellectual experience at Wakefield School. Each student uses the skills of scholarly interdisciplinary research, original composition, and multimedia and written presentation to explore a topic of intense personal interest and report on it comprehensively. Seniors choose between a Standard Senior Thesis and an Honors Senior Thesis.

Thesis topics for the class of 2012 include: Benefits of Social Democracy, Birth Control Awareness in America, Rise of Adolescent Diabetes, Synesthesia Syndrome, Epigenetics and Chromosome 15, Development of the English Language, Microfinance in the Third World, Living as a Buddhist Teenager in America, Portrayal of African-American Women in the Media, Social Media and Sports Journalism, Examining Graffiti as an Art Form, Building a Truck Engine on a Fixed Budget, Nelson Mandela’s Impact on Apartheid, Effects of Computer Games on the Brain, Decline of Shopping Malls and Rise of Lifestyle Centers, Ethics of Animal Dissection, The Positive Aspects of Dyslexia, Left-Handedness and the Brain, Neurology and Learning Languages, Psychology of Delayed Gratification, Educational Systems of Korea and the United States, Ethics in Neonatal Medicine, Making of a Serial Killer, Impact of Freemasons in America, Spies: Fact and Fiction, Impact of Electronic Music on Popular Music, 9/11 Myths, Violence in the National Hockey League, Neuroplasticity and PTSD, Bi-Polar Disorder and Drug Abuse, Changing Role of Women During World War II, Sustainable Architecture in China, Unmanned Aviation and the Future of Flight, Technological Advances in Solving Murders, Study of Parkour, Economic Crises in America, Walt Disney’s Impact, Drug War on the Mexican Border, Impact of the AK-47, and Using Social Media to Improve Businesses.


Medieval Faire One of Wakefield’s longest traditions, this year’s Medieval Faire did not disappoint, treating third through sixth graders with a glimpse into what life was like in the Medieval Ages. The students are able to play medieval games, eat medieval food, wear medieval clothes, and even see demonstrations from the Society for Creative Anachronism, an earnest group of professional medieval re-enactorss.

Egyptian Banquet

The traditional Egyptian Banquet is more than a feast of exotic foods, and more than a celebration of everybody’s favorite history unit. This day provides a great opportunity for the students to show off their knowledge, but also to put their creative

writing and acting skills to good use. In just a week and a half, fifth graders write, practice, and perform skits about characters and events talked about in class. On the day of the banquet, the fifth graders perform their skits for an audience of classmates, parents, and Wakefield folks. When the skits and the kudos are finished, they make their way to their feast — always a banquet of grand proportion, organized by parents, with as many authentic Egyptian foods as possible. Once the feasting and fun is over, they head back to an afternoon of classes. And in future years, when they see fifth graders in the hall on The Day, they can exclaim —as older students do each year —that it was one of their favorite days in the Lower School. 8


do Wakefield students go? Congratulations, Class of 2012! Wakefield School celebrated Commencement for its Class of 2012 on June 9. The ceremony was marked by speeches from Valedictorian Isabelle Byers and Salutatorian Trevor Newman, as well as from Wakefield alumni and Commencement Speaker Paul Lackman ‘85. The Wakefield community wishes our 2012 Owls good luck in their next adventure, where they will surely continue seeking the challenge, making a difference, and living extraordinary lives!

Lackman ‘85 tells grads to cherish education Paul Lackman ‘85 (at right) learned through his worldwide travels what a gift a Wakefield education is, he told the audience at June 9’s Commencement. Lackman, who graduated from Wakefield in 1985 and went on to West Point, said, “I have lived in many parts of the world and associated with peoples of all backgrounds, and I feel humbled by the education I received at Wakefield. Many of your fellow Americans have never been introduced to Dickens or Ancient Rome, nor waited for a Wakefield bus in Marshall standing in a Roman Toga at 8 a.m...And I am weekly struck by how badly people all around me express themselves in their writings and their conversations. Cherish it. Be humbled by it.” Lackman currently works for Applied Materials, a Fortune 500 semi-conductor capital equipment manufacturer. He holds an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin. He lives with his wife Soo Yeon and his son Edward in Seoul. 9

CLASS OF 2012 COLLEGE CHOICES American University (2)* Boston College Bridgewater College Christopher Newport University Clemson University College of Charleston Concord University (2) Flagler College Georgetown University Georgia Institute of Technology Guilford College High Point University James Madison University Mercyhurst University New York University Northeastern University Old Dominion University (2)

Princeton University Roger Williams University Salem College Syracuse University United States Naval Academy UCLA University of California at San Diego University of Colorado at Boulder University of Mary Washington University of Miami University of North Dakota University of South Carolina University of Virginia (2) Virginia Tech Wake Forest University (2) Washington University in St. Louis *(2) denotes two students attending

Wakefielders to attend prestigious summer programs Junior Annette Lee, 16, of South Riding, was accepted into Virginia Commonwealth University’s threeweek residential language program, the federally funded STARTALK Russian Academy that runs June 24-July 14. Junior EricaJoy Oliverio, 17, of Philomont, will attend the Summer Residential Virginia Governor’s School for Humanities at Radford University from June 24 – July 21. Juliet Mayer, a 15-year-old sophomore from The Plains, will attend the Summer Residential Virginia Gov-

ernor’s School for Life Sciences and Medicine mentorship at VCU from July 1 to July 27. Alex Simon, a 17-year-old junior from Warrenton, will attend the Summer Residential Virginia Governor’s School for Environmental Sciences/Agricultural School at Virginia Tech from June 24 to July 21. Junior Heather Swede will attend the Governor’s Summer Residential Japanese Academy from June 24 – July 15 at Randolph-Macon College, and junior Alex Diaz-Aleman will attend the Latin Academy, also from June 24 to July 15 at Randolph-Macon College.


College Visits Wakefield’s student-centered college counseling program begins in eighth grade and follows each student through to college acceptance. As part of that program, the school’s dedicated college counselor Matt McDonough took members of the classes of 2013 and 2014 on a two-day tour of Pennsylvania colleges and universities for Discovery Days. The participating students were able to ask admission officers and student tour guides questions about applications, but also about the college experience itself. Each of the four colleges the group visited (Carnegie Mellon, Duquesne, Bucknell, and Dickinson) had its own unique flavor and per-

sonality, but all of the schools were consistent in their message about what matters most in considering applicants for admission. The students came away with quite a thorough understanding of what it takes to compete successfully for spots at highly selective institu-

tions. More importantly, the students had an opportunity to learn from each other, placate each other’s worries, laugh, and envision themselves living and learning on a college campus, pondering the many things they hope to accomplish when they take the next educational step.

International travel right at home: Hispanic Festival IV Lower Schoolers spent a half-day being transported to Panama, Guatemala, Argentina, and Bolivia —all from Wakefield’s own gym, thanks to Spanish teacher Ana Lizarraga. The festival, which alternates years with a Mardi Gras celebration, teaches the students about Spanish-speaking countries and their cultures, including traditions, games, food, music, dances! 11


do Wakefielders make a difference?

Wakefield is a community-oriented school, and opportunities abound all year long for our students, faculty, staff, parents, and alumni to make a difference in many different ways.

Seven Loaves receives 1,300 pounds of produce donations Wakefield’s students and faculty had been challenged earlier in the year by school officials to bring in produce, diapers, and formula for the Middleburg food pantry Seven Loaves. Partner classes at Wakefield accepted the challenge to bring in bananas, carrots, apples, oranges, potatoes and onions, while faculty and staff brought in diapers and formula. At an April assembly, the students piled their donations on the gym floor. The project originated when Wakefield parent Beth Gruneisen, who volunteers for Seven Loaves as a driver, approached the school with the idea of collecting fresh fruit and vegetables for the food bank, as most donations are packaged or canned. The goal was 500 pounds, but the school ended up collecting more than 1,300 pounds of fresh foods and baby supplies.

Yams, yams, yams! In early November, Trevor Newman and Carson Craig, co-leaders of the Service Club, made a plea for every student to bring in a can of yams for the Thanksgiving Food Drive. Mrs. Reedy’s third grade students took the request to heart and far exceeded in their collection of canned yams. The 11 students collected and contributed 40 cans (large, medium, and small) for families who are less fortunate.


Alumna Georgina Buckley ‘08 continues serving While in her busy senior year at James Madison University, Wakefield alumna Georgina Buckley ’08 was moved by 6-year-old Reese Coffin’s story. She organized a 5K run to benefit the family and help them raise funds. Reese Coffin is the daughter of two 2001 JMU alumni. She was first diagnosed with brain and spinal cord cancer when she was four years old. The family has been commuting frequently from their home in Virginia Beach to St. Jude’s Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, for treatment. Both of Reese’s parents have had to quit their jobs in order to take care of her.

Lower Schoolers raise money for Children’s Fund More than 60 lower school students, siblings, alumni, parents and faculty members gathered over the holiday season to make gift baskets for a seasonal fundraiser. The 110 baskets were sold for $5 a piece at school. The fourth and fifth grade raised the money to send to the Robert Duvall Children’s Fund, specifically the Deepalaya Father and Daughter Initiative that cultivates bonds between fathers and daughters to encourage and promote equality in education for girls in India; and the American Childhood Cancer Organization. Both charities were selected by the students. The fourth and fifth graders raised than $3,000!





Alumni return to Wakefield for ‘College Life’ panel How much time each week does it take to participate in a sport? How important is it to take AP courses? Would you recommend testing out [of college classes] by taking AP courses here? In what courses were you best prepared? What is the most challenging thing about college? How’s the food? What do you do on a daily basis? Do you get to work out? Although Wakefield’s college counseling process begins in the eighth grade, most students start thinking about college when they enter Upper School (grade 9). Juniors and seniors are more focused on finding the right college and envisioning themselves “on campus”. Freshmen and sophomores seem interested in knowing what high school classes are most valuable and if they will be competitive with their peers. Earlier this month, nineteen alumni participated in two panels –one for the freshmen and sophomores and one for the juniors and seniors. Overwhelmingly they reiterated how well prepared Wakefield students are for writing compared with their peers at college. Managing your time, attending classes, and keeping up with your studies were other lessons the alumni passed along to our upper school students. Wakefield has been holding Alumni Panels for the last decade or so and within the last five years it has become an annually recurring one with a set date on the calendar. Special thanks to the alumni who joined us for the afternoon: Omar Aminzay (’11), Jack Byers (’10), Jeff Byrd (’11), Kelsey Callahan (’10), Rachel Cole (’11), Ian Fontaine (’09), Max Hechl (’10), Alex Holcomb (’10), Sarah Hontz (’11), Katie Huang (’10), Pete Hunter (’11), Erin Kennedy (’10), Kourtnee Lewis (’11), Annie Olimpi (’10), Max Rice (’09), Brooke Robinson (’11), Ryan Sloan (’11), Gracie Withers (’10), and Lilly Withers (’08). Schools represented were: University of Virginia, Mary Washington University, Wagner College, University of Tampa, Baylor University, College of Charleston, Lynchburg College, Elon University, Emory and Henry College, James Madison University, Vassar College, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, and University of Southern California. 15

The mission of Wakefield School is to provide a rigorous liberal arts education through a challenging, content-rich curriculum and extra-curricular activities that are delivered by skilled, supportive, and creative teachers, coaches, and advisers. We believe in broad knowledge, the equal importance of character and intellect, the benefits of hard work, and the unique potential of our students. We foster self-discipline, independence, creativity, and curiosity. We provide students with the fundamental knowledge and the critical thinking skills to distinguish that which is true from that which is not, and the strength of character to use that wisdom. We welcome families who will embrace our ambitious vision: to develop capable, ethical, and articulate citizens who will seek the challenge, make a difference, and live extraordinary lives...each in his or her own way.


Extraordinary Stories 2012  

This year-end newsletter from Wakefield School is meant to share some more of the extraordinary stories that our community created in the 20...

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