What an incredible start to the 2019-20 school year! First, the students (and parents) who were able to attend the Back-to-School Picnic last Saturday were blown away by the the new front entrance, beautiful lobby, and, of course, the sparkling gem that is the new theater. It has truly transformed our school building and energized everyone! Secondly, digital literacy and humanities teacher Anne Holmes started work Wednesday with her due date for her baby’s arrival a little more than two weeks away. Well, surprise, surprise, Anne began feeling “funny” during the day, left school at 2:00 p.m., and drove to the hospital where she delivered her little girl at 4:00 p.m. Wow! We are so pleased for her and baby Mabelle, who rang in at 6.9 pounds and 18.5 inches. Baby and family are doing fantastic, and we wish them the best! We were also fortunate that Goshen and High School alum Tom Skaggs G’04, ’08 was on deck to take on another St. Francis short-term assignment. He arrived at lunchtime yesterday, and will be Anne’s fill-in until she returns later in the fall. What a start to the school year! We also wanted to give you some tips to get the new year off to a great start, so here is some advice gleaned over the years from ourselves and other educational experts: Eat a good breakfast. It’s the most important meal of the day and will give your child the energy to power through the morning. Have your child be responsible for their belongings (i.e. packing their [...]
Children need time to feel comfortable in new situations. We often see a few tears in the beginning. This is normal and should not be cause for concern or worry for parents. It can take a few weeks to adapt to a new routine, and it’s not uncommon for children to have more tears during the second week of adjustment than the first. Our Preschool teachers are pros at helping children transition into the classroom environment. Here are a few tips to help: Make sure your child gets enough sleep at night. Try to establish a morning routine that is relaxed and unhurried. Allow enough time to be on time for school. Children feel the hurriedness of being late and not having a chance to ease into their day. For most families, we have found that the carpool routine makes for the smoothest goodbyes. Before separating from your child, calmly remind him/her that you will be back (after school, after lunch bunch, etc). At pick-up time, rituals such a carpool again help set a familiar pattern for your child. Before too long, the transition from home to school and back again will become a natural part of the day. Your child will have learned that greetings and goodbyes are a predictable part of the daily routine.
And we are back! What a fantastic first week it's been. We kicked things off with 9th Grade Orientation on Tuesday, welcomed 157 students to the new school year on Wednesday, and sent the Class of 2020 off on their senior rafting trip on Thursday. Now it's Friday and the general theme settling in among students is exhaustion - everyone is ready for the weekend! Speaking of exhaustion: We all know that teenagers don't get enough sleep; parents don't always, either. But as we get back to school, having healthy sleep habits can have a significant impact on students. Our Wyverns SFS alumni Facebook page had a question posed this week asking for words of wisdom for our current students, and several alums emphasized how much sleep is needed, including, "If you want to actually get 8 hours, you better be in bed 9 hours before you have to get up." It's challenging for teenagers to do this, with activities, homework, jobs, and other commitments, but getting enough sleep is really foundational to students' health, well-being, and academic success. Another important foundation to the work we are doing with our students at St. Francis is encouraging them to advocate for themselves. Particularly as they transition from middle school to high school and then prepare to head off to college, teenagers need to foster self-confidence, self-reliance, and autonomy. When a concern arises, with a class, for example, parents can help by brainstorming the conversation that the student might have with a teacher. It can be tempting to just send the [...]
Each year at our Graduations, students choose a member of the faculty or staff to speak on their behalf. This year’s seniors chose College Counselor Leslie O’Connor. You can read Leslie's speech below. A warm welcome to parents, grandparents, relatives, friends, faculty, staff, administration, Board of Trustees, and the wonderful Class of 2019. I am deeply humbled and honored to be standing here today to address the Class of 2019, my first class as a College Counselor at St. Francis. It is truly a privilege. Recently, I came across a TED Talk by Brené Brown, a research professor at the University of Houston’s College of Social Work. Dr. Brown is a prolific author who has spent 20 years studying courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy. This particular TED Talk was so compelling that my husband actually sat down and watched it with me, a rare occurrence in our house, as sitting is not really his thing. The topic that Dr. Brown addressed was on what she calls; courageous vulnerability. Dr. Brown’s research of this concept was inspired by Teddy Roosevelt’s historical speech from 1910, “The Man in the Arena.” I will read an excerpt of it now, with the preface that I took poetic license and will say woman along with man for the obvious reasons. The reality is that Eleanor Roosevelt most likely wrote the speech anyway! And I quote: “It is not the critic who counts, not the man or woman who points out how the strong man or woman stumbles or where the doer of deeds could [...]
Each year at our Graduations, students choose a member of the faculty or staff to speak on their behalf. This year’s 8th grade graduates chose Middle School Language Arts and Social Studies teacher Julie Mushkin. You can read Julie's speech below. Students, family, staff, and loving supporters, I would first like to thank you for allowing me the opportunity to speak to you today about this class I love so very much. Delivering a graduation address for this talented group of 8th graders is a tremendous privilege, and I am truly honored. Thank you so much for inviting me to speak here. To our graduates, today represents the culmination of years of hard work. You have survived middle school and all the trials, tribulations, and triumphs that come with this time: Capstone, Big South Fork, 7th grade language arts, countless field days, formals, and so much more. Congratulations on making it through the beautiful, messy, priceless middle school years. You deserve to be celebrated today as you are poised and ready to embark on the new adventure of high school. Before we look at the exciting things that lie ahead, if you will indulge me for a minute, please allow me to take you all back to the first week of 7th grade when I gave you three pieces of advice: the first, and very critical for middle schoolers, as you all know, was to wear deodorant every day; the second, and equally important for timid 7th graders, don’t let the stories of the 8th graders scare you, for [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]