It's surreal to be writing my last newsletter article of the year. Somehow, as the year goes on, time speeds up and these last weeks simply fly by. We began the process of saying goodbye to the Class of 2019 last week: their last Morning Meeting, the last classes, Prom. This week brought the emotional, joyful Senior Luncheon (at which faculty and staff read a speech written for every senior), and next week, of course, is Graduation. Juxtaposed against this are the visits in recent days from young alums who are back home from college and stopping by to say hello. I am so proud of our seniors, of all they have learned both in and out of the classroom over the past four years. And I cannot wait to hear about their adventures in the coming years! Then I turn to look at the students who will be returning next year: unbelievable that these fresh-faced 9th graders are about to become worldly sophomores, the 10th graders are halfway finished with high school, and the 11th graders are rising to the top and finally abandoning their beloved first-floor locker hallway. I'm so excited about all that 2019-20 will hold, with our new retreat program, a just-announced musical production of Chicago, some already-booked speakers, the usual array of athletics and extracurriculars, and the leadership that the Class of 2020 will undoubtedly provide. First, though: summer break! Time for all of us to recharge, reflect, plan. I will miss all our Wyverns and can't wait to see everyone in August!
This last full week of school (gulp!) has been a BIG ONE for our 8th graders. Tuesday they culminated a semester of work in language arts by presenting their Capstone Projects to their family members and to the Middle School students and faculty. It is always an intriguing morning listening to as many presentations as you can fit in. They’ve all worked so hard, and you wish you could experience each and every one of them. As I walked around the room I heard or saw projects on such diverse topics as women in music, sleep disorders, forensic science, the history of tattoos, quantum mechanics, the psychology and history of con games, the influence of the Vikings, and many more. More impressive is how easily the kids can converse and present their major findings without referring to notes or pages on their trifolds. It is readily apparent that they have learned a great deal about a topic of interest to them while also completing a research paper. What an experience for an 8th grader to have before moving on to high school. Similarly, our 7th graders completed a mini version of Capstone last week with the annual Renaissance Faire. They chose an area of focus related to this fascinating era in history and presented a project on their findings. There I was regaled about “The Romani” (or gypsy culture back in the day), Renaissance food (with a sample included!), stained glass and mosaics, the black plague, Shakespeare, and much, much more. Congratulations to our 7th and 8th graders and their teachers Patrick Donovan, Julie Mushkin, and Brandon Doble for giving them these opportunities to expand their knowledge in such a truly St. Francis way. Project-based learning combines so many elements of education and will stick with our kids for their whole [...]
It’s hard to believe that the school year is over. We had a great year of learning and exploring with our Preschool students. It seems like just yesterday we were walking around the gym parking lot looking at all of the cars and trucks on Transportation Day. Time seems to go by quickly when watching young children grow. This year, our friends have painted, glued, counted, colored, rested, asked questions, cried, laughed, made new friends, read stories, and pretended, among others! The joy of childhood was celebrated each day! We want to thank each and every one of you for sharing your children with our program. The hard work and dedication of the Parent Association is deeply appreciated by us all. I want to give a special “thank you” to Renee Reithel and Jacquelyn Stack for their planning, coordination, and support of all things Preschool over the past two years. I also want to thank our wonderful parents who have brought in treats for parties, helped at open houses, collected items for our Preschool Coat Drive, and volunteered for our events and parties. Good luck to our four-year-olds who are moving on! All of us at St. Francis Preschool wish everyone a very happy, healthy, and refreshing summer! See you next year!
This week brought the annual Middle School Sports Banquet to the Goshen Campus, and it was heartwarming as usual! The camaraderie and spirit among teammates and the special relationships that develop between coaches and their players were on full display Tuesday night. The coaches spoke warmly about their teams, seasons, and challenges, and delighted in handing out well-deserved trophies to some of their athletes. I always love how their teammates delight in cheering each other on, and the “all for one” philosophy is clearly evident. It's easy to see that our faculty and parent coaches are teaching our students the proper lessons about athletics; that winning isn’t everything (OK, it is nice!), practice is crucial, and sportsmanship is paramount. The smiles on the students’ faces makes it one of the really rewarding evenings of the school year. And in addition to the Middle School Sports Banquet, many other events keep coming at us on the Goshen Campus. Last week we hosted yet another stunning Kindergarten Derby, and in our version, there were no disqualifications, only ponies willing to help each other out when they took a tumble! The costumes, parade, and pageantry were fabulous and it was a memorable day at “St. Francis Downs” for our preschoolers through 8th graders, as the latter took their final victory lap around the circle out front. Last week was the Middle School Talent Show; this week, it was time for our Lower School students to have their turn! It was a jam-packed affair, as always, emceed by 4th graders Nolan Reif and Mary Elizabeth Broecker. Kim Rash and Joanne Brock helped the kids prepare, and the acts included a song sung in Chinese, Scottish dancing, a live drawing of a Siamese cat, a patriotic “My Country ‘Tis of Thee,” magic tricks, and more. Wow! [...]
It’s been a big week for Wyvern Athletics! Highlights include: Senior TJ Richardson signed to play tennis with Tiffin University (and plans to play basketball, as well). Senior Caleb Mason won both the 100m and 200m and junior Ben Cornett broke the school record for the mile (5:12) at the Louisville Small School Championships track meet. The tennis teams celebrated Senior Night with decisive match wins against DeSales and Mercy. The baseball team notched its biggest win in school history, dispatching Western 25-0. Tennis and track regionals are next week, as well as the Spring Sports Banquet, and the baseball district tournament is the following week. Congratulations to our spring sports Wyverns on some fantastic accomplishments this season! I will send an email to parents over the weekend as another reminder, but for planning purposes: This Thursday, we hold our awards assembly in the morning (which is just a student-faculty event) and then celebrate our Class of 2019 at the Senior Luncheon, which is off-site. Because of the Senior Luncheon, 9th, 10th, and 11th graders are dismissed at noon and they do need to leave the building promptly at noon, as all the faculty and staff will be leaving to attend the luncheon. Students should be aware of this, and we will continue to remind them about it, as well as encouraging them to use this free afternoon to study for their exams! The exam schedule is listed on the School Calendar and in School Notes, elsewhere in this newsletter. Awards Day and the Senior Luncheon are two of my favorite events of the year - more on those next week!
The preschoolers had a wonderful time celebrating Derby last week. The parade floats were delightful, the races were exciting, and the classroom parties were the best! We would like to thank the many grandparents, parents, and special visitors who joined us and made our Derby event a huge success. We are grateful to the parent volunteers who coordinated refreshments and to Tara Anderson and Breanna Kingsolver for assisting with the set up and tear down of the event. Help us welcome our new Preschool Parent Association Co-Chairs Stacy Plotts and Laura Burke! Stacy and Laura have been members of our community for several years and know our School well. However, Stacy and Laura cannot do this alone. This summer you will receive a volunteer sign-up packet for the 2019-20 school year. Please look it over and decide what you would like to do to help make our school the great place that it is. And don’t hesitate to contact either of our co-chairs if you have any questions. Upcoming Dates On Tuesday, May 14th from 10:00 - 11:30 a.m. we will host our third annual Picnic + Playtime. We welcome new students and anyone interested in learning more about our preschool, junior kindergarten, and kindergarten programs to attend. Please RSVP to Kelli Carter at 502.795.3464. Our last Big Sing of the year will be on Wednesday, May 22nd in the Multi-Purpose Room, with David Beard’s awesome slide show starting at 9:00 a.m. On Wednesday, May 22nd the Goshen Campus will dismiss at noon. We would like to have the preschoolers dismissed first and parents ready at the front of the carpool line; therefore, the Preschool will be dismississing from 11:45 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. We will not be providing Extended Day child care on the last day of school.
We celebrated the Class of 2019’s official commitment-to-college day on Wednesday with a class photo and a congratulatory cake! Next up on the seniors’ calendar (besides AP exams; more on that below) is Prom. Some important Prom details to share, for all parents: This year's Prom is next Friday, May 10th at C2 Event Venue, 225 E. Breckinridge Street (very close to the Salvation Army/Old Male gym where we play volleyball and basketball), from 8:00 - 11:00 p.m. All students, grades 9-12, are invited to come (and may bring a date or not). The junior class is selling tickets at school to 9th - 11th graders (seniors attend free) and will keep those funds to roll into their budget for next year’s Prom. Each year, students raise money (through bake sales, car washes, the Wyvern Store, the Senior Auction, etc.) that is banked for their senior year, when they then are able to plan the Prom they want (and make a class gift to the school). The Class of 2019 has been working hard on this event and we're all looking forward to it! We ended up with a beautiful day for Advisee Games last Friday, with students enjoying relay races, tug o’war (with the crown taken home by the Trent Apple/Alissa Shoemaker advisee group), the ever-popular costume contest (won by the Tony Butler/Terri White advisee group) and a new addition this year: kickball games featuring 9th vs 10th graders and 11th vs 12th graders. My advisee group notched the overall win, bringing the trophy back where it belongs (as I consider it)! Friday also marked the conclusion of our community service endeavors for the year. As a community, we performed about 2,500 hours of service this year, and hopefully both helped students to see and care about the world around [...]
Derby fever raced through the Preschool this week. Horses galloped around the classrooms, while parade floats were painted, taped, and glued together with anticipation for our very own Derby Race and Tea. Thank you to all of our grandparents, special friends, and parents who cheered their little ones on during our Preschool Derby Races. Your presence at our events is so appreciated. And thank you to SFS parent and science teacher Jason Chlopek for making the medals with the 3-D printer! Save the date! Friday, May 10th from 9:00 - 9:45 a.m. is Muffin Day! In the past we have called this event Muffins with Moms, but we have changed the name to ensure we are including all of our families. Even though it is right before Mother's Day, moms and/or dads are welcome to join us for a muffin and coffee. It’s Time to Register for “Camp Curious” Summer Camp Don’t forget to register for “Camp Curious,” our St. Francis Preschool summer camps. We are looking forward to six summery weeks of adventure, exploration, and friendship. Each session will be full of age-appropriate activities and everyone will enjoy camp-wide special events and visitors. Register online here. We hope you can join us!
Monday’s Middle School Morning Meeting had that end-of-the-year feel: more like a rowdy Friday rendition! First off, we honored our 5th grade students who competed in the Kentucky National History Day Competition at the University of Kentucky over the weekend, a first in the School’s history. 5th grade teacher Billy Spalding led his charges into “battle” and they emerged with impressive results. Here is a summary from Billy: “Congratulations to the 5th graders who represented St. Francis, for the first time ever, at the Kentucky National History Day Competition on Saturday, April 27th at the University of Kentucky. Kennedy Julian, Eleanor Kayrouz, Charlie Rutherford, and Sydney Shoemaker competed against the best historians from all over the state. Sydney and Eleanor won second place for the group exhibit category, and Kennedy and Charlie won first and third place, respectively, for the individual exhibit category. All four participants medaled in their NHD debut! Their performance was the culmination of their efforts of the year. The students researched a historical topic utilizing primary and secondary sources, developed a thesis and defended it with facts, and presented their findings in a way that supported their argument and fit with the annual theme of the contest. They then had to revise, edit, and make necessary changes based on the feedback they received at the regional contest. Finally they had to present their exhibit to a panel of judges made up of history professors and teachers. The skills they learned from National History Day are valuable tools that will serve them throughout their entire academic career. Go Wyverns!” And a BIG thank you to Billy Spalding for providing our kids with this new academic experience. I have a feeling a new tradition has begun! We were also treated to a “Taco Challenge” by the We Act Club, [...]
It's been a studious week on the Goshen Campus as our 4th - 7th graders have been toiling away working on their ERB standardized tests. And while it’s certainly not their favorite activity by any means, counselor Julie Marks makes sure the students know why we take these tests and gives the teachers practice tests and information to have the kids properly prepared. By all accounts, it has gone off without a hitch this year. The 8th grade, meanwhile, has enjoyed their standardized testing reprieve, and we are all looking forward to getting back to our normal routine next week. We’ll share your child’s results with you, of course, when the results come in late summer. And our teachers will also look over them which helps with certain placement decisions as well as the valuable information we glean into each and every one of them. I also wanted to highlight a couple of big coming attractions for next week. Tuesday night brings the always-fun Middle School Talent Show, which will start at 6:30 p.m. With the Main Amp under construction, we’ll be in the Multi-Purpose Room this year and will have the usual singing, dancing, and musicianship, as well as some comedy this year - and one more year of the amazing Jamie Campbell performing magic! All of the proceeds benefit the Class of 2019’s class gift, so it’s a combination of great entertainment for a noble cause. And Wednesday brings the heart-warming Preschool and Kindergarten Derby races to campus. The pomp and fun associated with these events are always a highlight of the year, so don’t miss them - and fingers crossed for wonderful weather!
It's been a full and exciting week of Advisee Games (I'll report on that next week), the always-fabulous Student Art Show & Senior Project Showcase, field trips to the Festival of Faiths (thanks to the Sacred Space Committee) and Brasserie Provence (for the upper-level French classes), fundraising lunches by the 11th grade and the We Act Club ("Gumbo for Ghana"), and more! Perhaps the most important thing we did all week, though, in terms of student well-being, is the Distracted Driving presentation for the full student body on Tuesday. Our Counselor Terri White shares more on that below: This week, the entire student body attended an assembly on the dangers of distracted driving. Jay Vaughn, a trial attorney and Goshen parent who travels around the country with other colleagues volunteering their time with the organization EndDD.org, presented to parents Monday evening and students Tuesday morning. The presentation included personal stories of lives lost and forever changed due to distracted drivers who were talking on the phone, working their GPS, texting, reaching for an object in the car, etc. Students were actively engaged throughout the presentation and horrified by video footage they viewed of teens and other drivers veering off the road or speeding through intersections completely unaware of the dangers they posed to themselves and pedestrians around them. The videos did not contain graphic content, but did show how in "just a few seconds," cars can be out of control and off the road from distractions. The students also learned vital information such as: car crashes are the leading cause of death for ages 5-24 60% of teen crashes are caused by distraction today more teens are killed by distracted driving than drunk driving studies have shown that talking on a cell phone, even hands-free, creates an increased risk of [...]
Thoroughbred sock and paper horses are currently being assembled in each classroom for our annual Preschool Derby Race and Tea and Grandparents’ Day next Wednesday, May 1st at 10:45 a.m. Grandparents, parents, or special friends are invited to join us as we parade, run, and celebrate Louisville’s special day. Each child can invite up to four special guests to the event. Please RSVP to your child’s classroom teacher by Tuesday, April 30th. All children who are leaving after the races will need to be signed out in their classrooms with their teachers.
We enjoyed another fabulous Talent Show yesterday afternoon! Joke-telling and lots of music were on the agenda. Students played and sang songs from the likes of Carole King, Taylor Swift, Chicago, and the musical Waitress. What I always love most about the talent show - even more than the amazing skills and passion on display - is the students’ appreciation of each other, as evidenced by copious applause at the conclusion of each performance. A late entry by Señora Angela Katz and some of her Spanish II students, performing a song, even had students waving their uplifted iPhones with flashlights on, as the kids do these days in imitation of the cigarette lighters of yore. Next week brings a distracted driving presentation for parents on Monday night and students on Tuesday morning, our annual Student Art Show & Senior Project Showcase on Thursday, and our final Community Service Day with Advisee Games following on Friday! Other exciting events include a Flamenco dance demonstration with Señora Angela Ponzio from the Goshen Campus; fundraising lunches hosted by the 11th grade and the We Act Group (the latter dubbed “Gumbo for Ghana”); a field trip for upper-level French students to Brasserie Provence; and an opportunity for students to meet and talk with University of Louisville professor and Thrivals founder Nat Irvin. The beautiful weather must be helping energize the students, with teachers holding class in the Courtyard and students spending their free time there as well. Here we go into May!
The podcast Life Kit on NPR was recommended to me recently by a former Preschool parent. Life Kit is a collection of short podcasts covering personal finance, health, and parenting. Like many of you, I’m interested in podcasts and books that cover topics that we grapple with as parents. I discovered that the Life Kit series has segments called “Parenting: Difficult Conversations” and it’s supported by the child development specialists at Sesame Workshop. Oftentimes as parents we aren’t ready for the difficult conversations that come up while parenting, and the timing is rarely right (for instance, after we’ve just read the perfect parenting article about the subject). It struck me that the conversations offered in the Life Kit series dive into the challenging questions we face as parents. When I looked at the entire list of difficult conversations listed, I thought, YES! These are questions that parents have, and want answers to, in order to support their children the best way possible. A few titles from the podcasts are “Talking Race with Young Children,” “Is It OK to Lie About the Tooth Fairy?,” and “Death: Talking with Kids About the End.” I’ve listened to a few of them, and the discussions are thoughtful and informative. And, with their partnership with Sesame Workshop as an added recommendation, we wanted to share this resource with you. Spring Egg Hunts Our preschoolers had a wonderful time collecting eggs on the playground Wednesday morning. The weather cooperated and all of our classes were able to search for their eggs outside. Bunny bags and baskets were overflowing with eggs stuffed with special treats. Thank you to Renee Reithel and Jacquelyn Stack for all your work organizing our Spring Egg Hunts. Thank you to our egg-cellent egg hiders, Trisha Amirault, Marcy Jackson, Hallie Mooser, Roneka Price, Renee [...]
This week, our 7th graders ventured up to Brown County State Park in Indiana for their outdoor education trip. This location was a first for us, so they got to be explorers in seeing whether this park fit the bill as a good location for hiking and class bonding. Overall, we were blessed with great weather - only chilly the first night (mid-40s) before soaring to the upper 70s on Tuesday! And fortunately, no rain, although the high winds literally blew some of our tents out of the ground! Learning to prepare properly for the weather (and what life brings you) is part of the point of these excursions. The area was very beautiful! It was a homecoming of sorts for me as Indiana University is only 15 miles up the road (of course I never made it into the park as an undergrad!). Here are some of the highlights from the trip: Some groups hiked to and climbed a tall fire tower! The view at the top above the trees was impressive, naturally, and the whooshing winds up high were both cooling and calming (even if Angela Ponzio wouldn’t climb up with us). One of our hikes, which all three groups did, led to a gorgeous lake with lots of turtles sunning themselves and one unexpected encounter with a large snake doing the same! We found out later this was a harmless copperbelly water snake, but it still gave many of us the willies. We spent some silent time both hiking and sitting near the lake, which isn’t the easiest feat to accomplish with 7th graders. Some didn’t understand the point at first, but most did afterwards. Watching the wind “dance” across the lake surface was worth the “price of admission” all on its own! As with our 8th grade [...]