A newsletter for the families and friends of Westchester Country Day School
In This Issue... Headlines Spotlight on Student Work Middle School News Update from the Admissions Office Upcoming Events Meet Your Wildcats Arts Update Athletics Update Counselor’s Corner For the College Bound
November 2014 Newsletter
From the Head of School Building Community through Financial Generosity Each fall, I meet with small groups of new families over coffee to get a sense of their journeys into our school family. I’ve always found rich rewards in spending time discussing our school with those who have the freshest eyes; they see those aspects of our community that we have either come to take for granted or have let slip into blind spots. Several of the most helpful adaptations we’ve made to our marketing and recruiting processes have come from listening to new parents. Overall, these conversations powerfully affirm who we are and how we do as a school. I always take a moment with new parents to explain our Annual Fund, and my conversation with them on this topic always begins with a confession: “I know it seems crazy, given the tuition bills you have recently received, but we are about to ask you for more money.” Over the years, I’ve come to recognize that this very important effort, particularly from the perspective of a family new to an independent school, is fundamentally counterintuitive. From there, I try to help them understand both the basic financial realities that drive this and what our goals are as a school. Financially, like most independent schools around the country, we charge in tuition and fees less than what we spend to educate each student; as a non-profit, we raise enough money each year to cover this gap (which hovers each year at approximately $1,000 per student). Two major fundraising efforts anchor this effort and account for the vast majority of money we raise each year--the Annual Fund and the Blue and White Gala (our spring auction). Of the approximately $350,000 that we raise each year, these two events account for nearly $320,000. We are able to accomplish this because of the seemingly boundless generosity of our community--parents, trustees, faculty and staff, and alumni. So when these two events come around, we hope and expect that everyone will step in and give as much as they are able by making an Annual Fund pledge in the fall and contributing in as significant a way as possible to the spring auction. Annual Fund gifts are fully deductible, as are many of the gifts given in support of the Gala. The key benchmark we all hope to meet focuses on participation: We want 100% of the current members of our community to participate in both of these events to the greatest extent that they are able. Last year our Annual Fund participation reached an all-time high at 83%; as impressive as this is, we can (and hopefully will) do even better this year. Alongside these two key efforts will sit several small fundraisers, all of which raise money that flows directly back into the school. • WAPA, our all school parents’ association, raises around $10,000 a year, and these funds flow directly to an annual Mini-Grants program. Faculty can request grants to fund a variety of special requests--a special field trip, iPads for their classrooms, new curricular materials, an innovative teaching unit, just to name a few.
• FoFA, our fine arts parents’ association, uses the funds raised through our arts program to fund its own grants program in which around $5,000 a year in grants is made available to the faculty to fund special arts projects and programs--a travelling exhibit, a visiting artist, new equipment, and so on. • The Booster Club, our parent group focused on supporting the athletic program, generates revenue through concessions, a fall golf tournament, and a winter raffle, and these proceeds are directed each year toward athletic needs and special projects. We will enjoy updated scoreboards in the Cats’ Den and at our baseball facility thanks to their strong work last year. The bottom line is this: Annual financial gifts from the members of our school family play a critical role in supporting, sustaining, and improving our school and the rich experiences of our students. Giving serves both as a proxy for your faith in this place, its mission, and the work that we do with your children, and a means to empower us to continue to build up our school and students each day. So when you receive your Annual Fund solicitation, please give as generously as you are able. When you are asked to donate for or participate in the Blue and White Gala, do so as generously as you are able. When you buy wrapping paper, peanuts, a drink at a ball game, tickets to the fall musical, or a raffle ticket, know that in doing so you are helping us build our community in lasting and powerful ways and enabling us to continue to give each child what he or she needs to learn, grow, and thrive each day. I hope that this month’s message has helped you to have a clearer sense of the big picture, and I welcome the opportunity to speak with you further if you have any questions. Cobb
Cats in the Community WCDS was well represented by Georgia Anne Brumfield (from left), Calen Epting, Sutton Scott, Sophia Danch, Reece Hetley (not pictured), and Paige Hetley (not picture) during the Winston-Salem Children’s Museum’s Truck-or-Treat event on October 26. The students handed out candy and painted the faces of attendees while their parents learned more about WCDS!
Headlines Dedication of the Jane Bowie Freshwater Ecology Pond
by Dr. Mark Braun When I arrived at Westchester in the fall of 2012 and settled into my office, I distinctly recall an overwhelming feeling of appreciation for the natural beauty and vibrant life that is observable from my office window. Between my office window and the edge of the woods is a particularly intriguing natural feature. It is a place where students stop between classes to kneel down and peer into the water. It is the site of biology and ecology lessons for students in all divisions. It is a sanctuary for local species of frogs, toads, skinks, spiders, flying insects, and birds of all kinds. This wonder is the Freshwater Ecology Pond, designed and constructed by our beloved former Biology teacher and Science Department Chair, Jane Bowie. Jane conceived of a place on campus for students to observe the workings of a freshwater ecosystem. Jane’s proposal for this pond installation was supported by a WAPA grant, and the project was completed sometime before Jane’s retirement from Westchester in the spring of 2013. Wildcat Nation is invited to attend a simple dedication ceremony for the pond on Tuesday, November 11, at 3:15 p.m. We are pleased that Jane’s name will remain a part of our life at Westchester for decades to come, in recognition of this wonderful teaching environment and the 33 years of impassioned and faithful service Jane committed to Westchester.
Seniors Raising Money for Class Gift To raise money for their gift to the school, the Class of 2015 is once again selling Christmas trees and wreaths. These trees are top-quality Fraser firs that will be cut on December 5 and will be available for pickup or delivery on Saturday, December 6. Click here for prices and ordering information. Thank you for your support of this project.
Book Fair a Huge Success The Fall Book Fair “Sir Read-A-Lot’s Castle” was a huge success. Thank you to all our students, parents, and especially our grandparents who came and supported us. We were able to complete many of our teachers’ Wish Lists and also add numerous titles to our library collection. The Book Fair could not happen without the help of many outstanding volunteers. We would like to thank the following volunteers: Anita Klein, Andrea Mattox, Trang Martin, Iveta Koukolova, Whitney Gunter, Christine Johnson, Fabiana Almeida, Janine Day, Amy O’Keeffe, Amy Lewis, Nicole Culler, Pattie Hollinger, Donna Nottoli, Penny Rowe, Nikki Ryker, Robert Stevens, Mary Niner, and Amy Cecil. A special thanks goes out to our student helpers: Kyle Niner, Olivia Cecil, and Cassie Rowe.
National Honor Society Membership Information With the end of fall semester rapidly approaching, the WCDS chapter of the National Honor Society is preparing to expand its membership. Membership is open to sophomores, juniors, and seniors who demonstrate continuous outstanding contributions to school and community in four areas: scholarship, leadership, service, and character. Initial eligibility for membership in National Honor Society is determined by grade point average. Students who have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.5 at the end of the fall semester (end of first quarter for seniors) are contacted regarding their membership eligibility and are invited to submit a candidate portfolio. The candidate portfolio consists of: (1) documentation and verification of a candidate’s leadership, service activities, and awards and recognition; (2) letters of recommendation attesting to a candidate’s leadership and character; and (3) candidate essays on leadership, service, and character. Details regarding completion of the candidate portfolio are discussed at a workshop announced in advance and hosted by the National Honor Society advisor. Completed candidate portfolios are evaluated by a five-member Faculty Selection Committee; majority support of a candidate’s portfolio is required for admission into the National Honor Society. Questions regarding National Honor Society membership can be directed to Sarah Cerniglia, National Honor Society advisor.
Spotlight on Student Work
Mrs. Noyes asked her algebra students to write an essay in support of the above quotation. Below is a submission from eighth grader John Bovio. Quarterly Math Essay by: John Bovio Math is important, useful and achievable with effort. This statement is valid and on target. I strongly believe that anyone who applies themselves can and will learn math in an effective manner. The importance of math is immeasurable. The Egyptians were one of the very first civilizations to use math and they changed the world with their achievements.
What would our world be without math? Math is so important because it is used in so many other subjects. Math can be applied to sciences such as physics and biology or even in the arts like building sculptures or drawing. It is difficult to find subjects that do not involve math. Math is also useful in everyday life. Any time you make money transactions like buying a car or shopping at a grocery store you’re using your math skills. Also math opens up many career opportunities. Accountants, bankers, law, architecture, technology, etc. all involve math. Most teenagers would probably say that math is boring. But this does not always have to be the case. Math can be taught in a fun interactive way that engages the mind of students. Anyone willing to put forth the effort will receive the benefits of this lifelong skill. Overall I stand by the statement “Math is important, useful and achievable with effort.” I think we can all agree that without math this world would not be what it is today.
“Where I’m From” by Lucy Foster 6th Grade
Middle School News from Mrs. Keever Fall has arrived, and the activity in the Middle School is as colorful as the trees! We began October with a festive Blue-White Day celebration. Middle School students were thrilled to have an opportunity to enjoy the fun before other divisions arrived. The cake walk, jumpy castles, and climbing wall were favorite events. Once the Lower School students arrived, Middle School students enjoyed taking on the role of buddy as they led the younger children through the events and activities. We painted the town blue as we dove into our first service learning endeavor this year. Students and faculty alike served the following Triad schools and agencies: Fairview Elementary, Hasty Elementary, Northwood Elementary, and Westchester Manor. After the service learning activity, students joined their advisor groups for some social and fun time. Some invaded Cook Out and Putt-Putt, while others enjoyed a fast food progressive lunch, or a relaxing jaunt through town. The Middle School PE and fall sports season ended with a bang: our soccer team won the T-MAC Conference Championship, while several cross country student athletes won all-conference accolades (see Athletics Update, page 8). All Wildcats enjoyed developing sportsmanship and making progress within a team. Our Wildcats welcomed retired NFL player, Roman Gabriel, III, to campus two weeks ago. We enjoyed his drug and alcohol abstinence program called Sold Out. Gabriel captivated students with his motivational stories and professional athlete testimonies as he encouraged students to make smart, healthy choices as they pursue their dreams. The winter season has begun: the two class options are Wildcat Fitness and Games or Ultimate Frisbee. The team options are basketball, cheerleading, or swimming. Many of our thespians have enjoyed the early rehearsals for Honk! Jr. We look forward to celebrating their dramatic progress and exuberance in November!
Update from the Admissions Office Instead of holding a formal open house event, we are introducing Walk-In Wednesdays this fall. These are casual open houses, providing prospective students and parents an opportunity to chat with faculty, tour our campus, and learn about WCDS. All begin at 9:30 a.m. and no reservation is required! Upcoming dates include: November 19 December 3 December 10 There are many dates in 2015 as well. To see the complete list, visit our website and click on â€œWalk-In Wednesdaysâ€? from the homepage. If you know someone who is interested in Westchester, please encourage them to visit us on an upcoming Walk-In Wednesday or call the Admissions Office to schedule a tour! Please call 336.822.4005 with any questions.
Upcoming Events WAPA Book Club 8:00 a.m. Wednesday, November 5, Library. We will be discussing Defending Jacob by William Landay. Everyone is welcome! Friends of the Fine Arts Meeting 8:00 a.m. Thursday, November 6, Library WAPA Coffee and Chat 8:00 a.m. Wednesday, November 12, Library WAPA Movie Night Friday, November 14 Plan to stay after the Varsity Boys Basketball game (tip off - 6:00 p.m.) to watch The Lego Movie. Popcorn provided by WAPA! Honk! Jr. Friday, November 21, 7:00 p.m. Saturday, November 22, 7:00 p.m. Sunday, November 23, 2:00 p.m. $5 - online ticket sales begin soon! Watch for more information. Thanksgiving Break Wednesday - Friday, November 26-28. No school. Senior Ad Pages DUE - Monday, December 1
Big Cat/Lil’ Cat Cheer Day Sign up your little one for an afternoon of fun with the Varsity Cheerleaders! December 5th 1:30 – 6:00 p.m. $40 Grades 1 - 5 Includes t-shirt, dinner, activities, and learning a cheer! The Little Cats will perform during half time of the JV Basketball game (6:00 p.m. tip off)! Click here to register today!
Meet Your Wildcats Name: Chris Davis Title: Food Services Family: Mom and dad, four brothers and two sisters What was your favorite subject in school? Psychology Name of the last movie you watched: The Fault in Our Stars Favorite Restaurant: The Cheesecake Factory Dream Vacation: I’d love to visit Ireland and Japan. Something most people don’t know about you: I write poetry. Favorite thing about Westchester: The friendly environment.
An annual favorite, Lower Schoolers showed off their costumes at the Halloween parade. Above left, Mrs. Martin poses with some of her third graders before the parade. Above right, fourth graders Lucy Larkin Heard (from left), Ali Schwartz, Christian Ryker, and Alexander Connors show off their costumes. At left is pre-kindergartner Miles Jennings as a superhero.
▲Jack Merritt and Cameron McMaster explore the density of liquids during a 6th grade science lab.
Jordan Bradley proudly displays her recycling science project during lower school science enrichment class. ▼
Modeled after the Odyssey of the Mind spontaneous problems, our recent Team Building Days for Lower and Middle School students encouraged working together. At right, kindergartners try to get into a box. Above, Mrs. Beale’s advisory team succeeds at the table top marble challenge.
Arts Update from Ann Parks
Somewhere out there We don’t know where Someone will care They’re gonna’ love ya, warts and all!
Our fall production this year is Honk! Jr. - a poultry tale of folk down on the farm - folk who get lost and found, learn acceptance and forgiveness, and in the end discover their true selves…and true love. The characters are funny, sassy, and all in all heartwarming. Even the evil cat finds redemption in the end! Come see our cast of nearly fifty students in Grades K-12, plus a few adults in cameo roles. This is a show everyone will enjoy. Be sure to check the website for ticket reservations. The show runs Friday, November 21, at 7 p.m., Saturday, November 22, at 7 p.m., and Sunday, November 23, at 2 p.m. Tickets are $5. The Lower School Art Show at the Theatre Art Galleries in High Point will have its opening November 21 from 5:30 to 7:30 with the show running through December.
The Arts Together: Integrating the Arts Across the Curriculum Art and Nature
Fifth graders created Mondrian animals in art class. Above by Stephen McLean, below by Olivia Beaver.
Art and Service
Art Club painted pumpkins (left) to decorate school for the holidays. Visitors and students “made their marks” on Grandparents Day by making dots (right), which are now on display in Rives Hall.
Art and Science Senior Kayla Watson’s brain art, created for AP Studio Art.
Art and History Lauren Griffith created this Illuminated Manuscript in Art 1 for the Medieval unit, which sophomores also study in English.
Athletics Update from Coach Schwartz
The 2014 Westchester athletic fall wrapped up this past weekend, and it turned out to be one of the most successful seasons in many years! The Varsity Cross Country Team had a great season with the boys capturing the TAC Conference Championship and finishing with a school record 2nd place finish at the State Championship at Jackson Park in Hendersonville. The girls sealed a runner-up finish at the Conference Championship and a school record 6th place finish at States. The very young Varsity Girls Tennis Team got better every day, and Coach Smith is excited about the future. The Varsity Boys Soccer Team won the TAC Tournament Championship against their arch rival, Caldwell Academy, for the first time since 2005. They advanced to the NCISAA State Tournament, where they put up a great fight before losing to Carolina Day in PKs. The Varsity Volleyball Team also had a season to remember, as they brought the TAC Tournament Championship back to Westchester for the first time since 1986! The Lady Wildcats also advanced in the NCISAA State Tournament until they lost a hard fought match in the State Quarterfinals against the #1 seed.
to Westchester in a very exciting tournament on Kennedy Field. The MS Volleyball Team fought very hard this fall and had more fun than any other team around! The Middle School Cross Country team had an exceptional “run” and will only get stronger under the guidance Coach Jeb Burns.
At the Middle School level, the Wildcats proved why the future looks so bright! The MS Soccer Team brought the T-MAC Tournament Championship back
Cross Country: Boys All-Conference: Abraham Hernandez, Luke Evans, Josh Evans, Edward Lindner
To all of our great fans who came out at home and traveled to support our Wildcats all fall – thank you! Here is a look at all of the individual awards: Tennis: All-Conference: Sophie Lanham Soccer: All-Conference: Ryeong Choi (Player of the Year), Ryan Beale, Tommy Boggis, Max Truschnowitsch NCISAA 2A All-State: Ryeong Choi Volleyball: All-Conference: Kayla Watson (Co-Player of the Year), Campbell Kinley, Terra Johns NCISAA 2A All-State: Kayla Watson
Girls All-Conference: Alex Evans, Abbi Khan, Annabelle Fisher NCISAA 2A All-State: Abraham Hernandez, Luke Evans, Josh Evans, Alex Evans, Abbi Khan Winter Sports: Varsity Boys Basketball – Head Coach: Dave Carrier Assistants: Gabriel Martin / Marc Slade Varsity/MS Swimming – Head Coach: Megann Huggins Varsity Cheerleading – Head Coach: Heather Singer Assistant: Meredith McCall JV Boys Basketball – Head Coach: Marc Slade MS “A” Boys Basketball – Head Coach: Rustin Thomas MS Girls Basketball – Head Coaches: Mario Watson/ Sterling Smith MS “B” Boys Basketball – Head Coach: Bryon Stricklin MS Cheerleading – Head Coach: Renee Hetley
Westchester is also very excited to welcome our new athletic trainer to campus, Mara Duncan. Mara is a recent graduate of the Applied Neuromechanics Master’s program at UNCG, where she was a graduate assistant athletic trainer for Spartan Athletics. Prior to moving to North Carolina for graduate school, Mara attended the University of Indianapolis where she attained a Bachelor of Science degree in Athletic Training. She has participated in sports her whole life, including: ice hockey, tee ball/softball, swimming, basketball, cross country running, track and field, cross country skiing, flag football, and most recently women’s tackle football! She also enjoys camping, hiking, mountain biking, and snowboarding with her new husband as of August 9th. Mara is really looking forward to working with and getting to know all of the coaches and student-athletes at Westchester! We are so fortunate to have such a passionate and qualified athletic trainer looking after all of our student-athletes. The Athletic Department is very excited about the 2014-2015 coaching staff, and all of our teams will compete with integrity, produce in the classroom, and have more FUN together as Wildcats than ever before…hope to see you at the games and meets this winter!
Counselor’s Corner Hello and welcome to fall! The leaves are changing, the first quarter is over, and we are less than 50 days away from Winter Break! I would say the fall semester has taken off and is definitely gaining speed. The Counseling office has been busy as well. I have had several students asking for study tips, organization skills, and time management tips. This usually occurs during this first quarter in hopes of building skills in all of these areas, and it proves to be helpful throughout their career here at Westchester. If your student needs to brush up on a few of his or her skills in these areas, please send them to my office or feel free to refer them online or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org. The Counseling Office and the student organization of SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) worked hard in October to bring awareness to alcohol and drug prevention, as well as making healthy choices in our Lower School. Our coloring and poster contest in the Lower School was a huge success! All new Juniors will be meeting with me during November to start their career assessments. These assessments will help them in their college journey with major decisions. I will meet with each of them during their study hall periods. They will each take the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and the Strong Interest Survey. I will meet with them individually to go over their responses and answer any questions they may have. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me. As always, please feel free to contact me at anytime by email – email@example.com or by phone 336-822-4085. Heather Singer Middle and Upper School Counselor
For the College Bound On Monday, October 27, David Gelinas (Director of Financial Aid at Davidson College) made an evening presentation to interested parents and students about the college financial aid process. Now in his 35th year in this field, David graciously shared an immense level of expertise with our community. Below is a helpful list of myths vs. facts generated by David and referenced during his program.
College Office Informational Meeting for Parents of Juniors Wednesday, November 12 6:30 p.m. WCDS Library
Myth: ABC College costs more than my family and I can afford, so I won’t apply for admission. Fact: Need-based financial aid, merit-based assistance, and creative financing options can make a college education affordable. Don’t rule out any college because of its cost until you find out what financial options are available. Myth: Cost is a good yardstick for comparing colleges. Fact: Cost is not the best way to compare one college with another. Assess the capacity of a particular college to meet your educational goals and personal needs. Consider the opportunities offered for intellectual development and personal growth in light of your own aspirations and requirements. Myth: Most families don’t qualify for need-based financial aid. Fact: Many families qualify for need-based aid. The only sure way to know if you qualify is to apply. Fill out the necessary forms and let the financial aid folks decide! Myth: Our family income is over $100,000, so I know we won’t qualify for financial aid. Fact: There is no specific income ceiling for aid eligibility. Other factors are also important in need analysis, including assets, family size, and number in college. Again, the only sure way to find out your eligibility is to apply. Myth: But our neighbors’ child started college last year. They applied for financial aid and didn’t qualify. Fact: Each family has its own unique financial picture and personal circumstances. Each college is different in its costs, its policies, and its capacity to meet the financial needs of its students. Failure to apply for aid and other programs can cause you to miss out on programs for which you might be eligible.
Myth: The financial aid forms and application process are too difficult to understand. Applying for aid is more trouble than it’s worth. Fact: It is true that the forms are detailed, but that’s because the information is important. Only when a financial aid officer has detailed information about your individual financial and personal situation can he or she make an equitable judgment about your eligibility for need-based aid. Myth: We’ve calculated a preliminary estimate of our expected family contribution. The expectation that we can afford to pay that amount out of our current income is completely unrealistic. Fact: Most families can’t pay the expected family contribution out of current income alone. The formulae assume that families will choose to use a combination of savings, borrowing, and current income in order to fund their contribution. Myth: The forms and the whole financial aid system seem cold and impersonal. The information is submitted to some central processor and run through a computer; there doesn’t seem to be any human element in the process. Fact: There are many people who are involved in the financial aid process -- and who are available, and eager, to answer your questions. In particular, your college counselor and the admission and financial aid professionals at the schools to which you apply are excellent resources for help and information. Myth: My final choice of a college should be based solely on money. I’ll attend the college that offers me the most financial aid and/or merit scholarships. Fact: College choice should be based on other
factors such as the quality of the educational opportunities and community life, the caliber of the faculty and physical facilities. Remember that a college education is not just an expense, itâ€™s a lifetime investment. The lessons learned -- both in and out of the classroom -- will inform and enrich your life beyond the four years you spend on campus. *Courtesy of David Gelinas and Davidson College For more financial aid resources provided by David as well as other helpful information and related links, please see the College Information page on WestNet. If your student plans to apply for college financial aid for the 2015-2016 academic year, the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) will be available January 1st. Pin numbers for FAFSA accounts can be established prior to this date. As David recommended in his presentation, filing 2014 taxes electronically as early as possible will enable students to learn of their financial aid packages much sooner. Please let me know if I can be of assistance throughout this process. Raegan Atkinson Director of College Guidance
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Which Stamps are in Your Passport? As we celebrate the diversity of Wildcat Nation at this yearâ€™s Blue and White Gala auction, we are looking for a variety of travel opportunities to auction off! Please be thinking about any connections you might have with travel agents, hotels, golf courses, resorts, etc. Or if you own a vacation home, have extra airline miles, or know someone who does! For more information or to share ideas, contact the Development Office or Tina Elsayed.
Westchester Country Day is a college preparatory school that seeks to educate each child toward moral, academic, artistic, and athletic excellence in a nurturing, family environment where students, teachers, and parents support one another. By respecting the student and honoring learning, Westchester aims to cultivate informed citizens who are ready for a rapidly changing world and to graduate students who view the pursuit and wise use of knowledge as a lifelong joy.
A newsletter for the families and friends of Westchester Country Day School.