Our spring play has its world premiere tonight at 7:00 p.m. (with a second performance tomorrow evening, also at 7:00 p.m.) and I hope many of you can join us! Titled Fancy Me Mad, it's an adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe works created by our English teachers and drama team of Michelle Salerno and Juan Ramirez. Fancy Me Mad is also site-specific, with each short play performed in a different area around the school. In the afternoons over the past few weeks, I've been witness to some fascinating things around school: hearing random blood-curdling screams and coming across skeletons sitting in a windowsill, for starters. I watched the dress rehearsal last night and was a) completely creeped out by these otherwise pleasant students coughing, bleeding, murdering, and generally tormenting one another through the evening and b) impressed with how well they pulled off this complex production. Please come see Fancy Me Mad! More information below. Plays include The Masque of the Red Death, Berenice, Pit and the Pendulum, Ligeia, William Wilson, The Fall of the House of Usher, The Cask of Amontillado, The Black Cat, and The Raven. Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for students (plus credit card fees). Click here to purchase tickets. Online sales will close three hours prior to the start of the show. Tickets can also be purchased at the door with cash or check. Note: Due to subject matter, this is appropriate for Middle School audiences and up. There will be an elevator available for those who need it.
Welcome back from Winter Break! We've slipped right back into the flow of things with the official start of spring sports practices, the continuation of Senior Projects, and the banquet finale of the winter sports season. Yesterday, we sent off a student group and French teacher Jenn Buck to New York for a model United Nations conference and Big Apple adventure! As a Progressive school, student involvement and voice are a key component of all we do. In addition to the Gender Equity Rights Initiative group bringing a speaker to campus this week (Molly Kaviar of Kentuckians for the Commonwealth), we have upcoming plans for Diversity Week, Soul Week, and Gender Week, with students busy organizing events and recruiting speakers. Students are also taking a lead role in our annual Women's Retreat planning, as we look forward to this 17th annual event And the School Committee is beginning to put together the annual Talent Show for late March, finding a student emcee and working out other logistics. A primary way we hear student voice is, simply, that we ask them! In addition to getting feedback before break on our recent FCD substance use education, this week we shared with them the new school website (hope you’ve checked it out!) and sent them an online form to share feedback on it. Just today, we surveyed students on whether they are satisfied with the school's lunch options or would like additional in-house ones. Next week (see more information in the newsletter), we’ll be participating in the national High School Survey of [...]
It was a big week for the boys' basketball team, with a visit to the University of Louisville men's basketball practice on Wednesday (coincidentally, they left shortly before Adam Sandler, in town to perform, visited the U of L practice as well!). Also on Wednesday, flanked by his teammates, senior Jeremiah Smith committed to play for Greenville University next year. Congratulations to Jeremiah! As I mentioned in my article last week, we had Will Straughan from FCD (Freedom from Chemical Dependency) at school Monday - Wednesday. Each grade met with him twice; as well, he spoke to parents on Tuesday morning and to the faculty on Wednesday afternoon. He was well received by the students and was able to hold some really important conversations. FCD's approach is health-based, focusing on the effects of substances, especially on teenage brains. It's an approach that allows for lack of judgment and opens the door to discussion. We encourage parents to take this opportunity to engage with your students about substance use. You might ask them what Will focused on with them, whether anything discussed was surprising, or what they agreed or disagreed with. Finally (and I think I showed great restraint in not making this the headline), I must report that the faculty team (with the addition of senior Caden Kirby) was victorious over the students in last Friday's basketball game! And this was without the stellar skills of Tony Butler, who was off coaching a middle school game. Winter Sports Spirit Night also brought a win for the boys' varsity [...]
By Suzanne Gorman, Head of Downtown Campus This odd week with the Wednesday gap is closing with a bang! Tonight is the Winter Sports Spirit Night, with balloon send-off for the teams at the end of the school day. And last night was the annual Winter Concert featuring the Vocal Ensemble, Jazz Ensemble, and Music Performance classes, under the direction of Bob Bertke. It was a superb evening encompassing Motown hits like “Stop! In the Name of Love,” “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” and “Natural Woman,” jazz pieces such as “St. James Infirmary” and “Sing a Song of a Song,” and a capella numbers like “Daft Punk” (Pentatonix) and “Dear Theodosia” (Hamilton). Over 20 of our students are in one or more of the groups, and they certainly put on a show! Other exciting happenings of the week include a Year of the Pig New Year celebration in Chinese classes, featuring dumpling-making - and a special dinner for Chinese language students this weekend at Jade Palace. As well, a group of students from various SFS diversity, equity, and inclusion groups were able to see Pipeline at Actors Theatre on Wednesday (despite having no school) and then present about it at the BSA meeting on Thursday. Senior Project presentations began (3 down, 29 to go!) and we’re gearing up for the annual Freedom from Chemical Dependency (FCD) sessions, which I’ll share more about next week.
By Suzanne Gorman, Head of Downtown Campus Next week brings the start of our Senior Project presentations! The Senior Project process extends over the better part of a year, with students completing proposals in the spring of their junior years, working on the projects from that summer on, and presenting their writing and research in the spring semester of senior year. Topics are always eclectic and wide-ranging; this year's offerings include Training a Psychiatric Service Dog, Exploration of the Diverse and Varietal Regions of Tuscany, The Sound Design of Modern Movies, Environmental Education in Early Childhood, Adding Instruments to the Negro Spiritual "Wade in the Water," Constructing a Writing System, A Taste of Somalia, A Modest Fashion Lookbook, An Art Show Inspired by Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, and Catholic Beliefs, and many other fascinating topics. Each senior is assigned an advisor to consult throughout the process and a grading committee of three, who read the written component, evaluate the research, and attend the presentation. As noted in our Curriculum Guide, the Senior Project is intended to provide all St. Francis seniors with the opportunity to devote concentrated effort and time to a project focused on that which interests them most, to develop those independent research skills which are more and more being expected of college-bound students, to experience the tensions and rewards of a public presentation of their work, and to demonstrate that their years at St. Francis have culminated in the maturation of the integrated and confident intelligence which it is the School’s Mission to encourage and affirm. Senior [...]
By Leslie O’Connor, College Counselor College Corner appears in the Wyvern Weekly with suggestions and dates to help make the college search and application process as stress-free and enjoyable as possible. Attention, 9th and 10th Grade Parents: St. Francis is offering a great opportunity for our 9th and 10th graders. The Pre-ACT will be given on Sunday, February 10th on the Downtown Campus from 1:00 - 4:00 p.m. Every 9th and 10th grader is signed up to take advantage of this practice test. Parents of seniors, juniors, and sophomores, read on for specific college-related information! Seniors: I am happy to report the seniors have been receiving college acceptance letters and scholarships. Please keep all college decision letters and scholarship information so that I can total the amount of scholarship money earned by the Class of 2019! Seniors should also continue checking emails and open college mail, as these communications contain important information about housing, orientation programs, fees, and academic advising appointments. If students have been deferred or waitlisted at a first-choice college, please have them speak with me for guidance about next steps. Juniors: I have met with all juniors individually to review PSAT scores and discuss standardized testing. Every junior should plan on taking at least two college admission tests this year, the ACT and/or the SAT. Dates have been emailed and given out as a paper copy to all juniors. On Wednesday, January 23rd, I met with the junior class as a group to discuss some key college planning information. My presentation focused on the importance of [...]
By Suzanne Gorman, Head of Downtown Campus We are headed into a long weekend commemorating the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In SFS diversity news, we have decided to move to a model of campus Coordinators of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI for short). The longer title is more reflective of what we’ve long meant when we’ve talked about “diversity.” The new Downtown Campus coordinator is Dr. Brett Paice, English teacher and BSA Moderator. He will be working with our BSA, QSA, Gender Equality Club, and Diversity Committee, as well as with the Goshen Campus coordinator, Lindsy Serrano. This semester, plans include a BSA trip to see Pipeline at Actors Theatre, and various speakers and events for all our DEI groups are in the works. It’s admissions season at the High School and we are excited to welcome our new Admissions Director, Toni Robinson (see more information on her in this week’s newsletter). I’ve been reading applications and absolutely love getting to know, at least in this limited way, some amazing students who will join our Goshen 8th graders in the Class of 2023. And, of course, it’s college admissions season! We’ve had some exciting early acceptances, while other students wait anxiously for their colleges to respond. Seniors are busy as they continue to visit possible schools and weigh their options. They’re also occupied with their Senior Projects - I’ll share more about those upcoming presentations next week!
By Suzanne Gorman, Head of Downtown Campus Happy 2019! We've dived right back into the swing of things here at the High School. And, as has been tradition here since (we think) sometime in the 1990s, we celebrate the New Year by sharing “The Lives They Lived” with our students in Morning Meeting. “The Lives They Lived” is the name of an annual New York Times Magazine edition, published in late December of each year with short articles about people who died that year. However, most of them are not household names or celebrities, but instead people who lived remarkable lives but are largely unknown. Alexandra kicked things off on Wednesday by sharing the story of Aiko Yoshinaga, a Japanese-American woman who was sent to an internment camp just shy of her high school graduation. Faculty and staff will relate stories of other fascinating people throughout the coming days, each one at the end of Morning Meeting (temporarily replacing the poem we normally close with). We love the opportunity to do this with and for the students, as they are on the cusp of wondering what to do with their lives, how to make an impact. There are, as we adults know, myriad ways, and “The Lives They Lived” provides the opportunity for inspiration. Speaking of inspiration, another January tradition is the alumni panel presentation about college for 11th and 12th graders. Five recent graduates in college spent an hour with us on Wednesday to talk about the transition to college and dispense advice on roommates, advisors, academics, homesickness, [...]
By Suzanne Gorman, Head of Downtown Campus Semester one, done! I can’t believe we are halfway through the school year, as Reed muses in his article, too. Students worked hard this week, hopefully aided by the dogs, cats, food, and Zen Zone, and are definitely ready for two and a half weeks off before they return on January 8th. I wish them and all of you a joyful, peaceful holiday season and New Year! Can’t wait to see what 2019 brings for our wonderful students and School.
By Suzanne Gorman, Head of Downtown Campus Morning Meeting is always one of my favorite parts of the day because all of us (students, faculty, staff) get to start the day together. On Monday, one of the things Terri White, our school counselor, shared was appreciation for some students and their actions. She complimented various students for jumping in to help her unload items for her car, for washing blankets borrowed from her office, and for volunteering to unpack new food in the Wyvern Store. I love when we can praise teenagers for things like this, to reinforce their thoughtfulness. Acknowledging this is also important because every one of them can choose to be helpful and caring, to make this community a better place - and we are so incredibly lucky that many of them do just that every day. Speaking of which, the Encouragement Club continues its good work this year, as the photo above this article demonstrates. They’re encouraging everyone to “Take What You Need” (courage, compassion, hope, patience, resilience, or love) as we head into the end of the semester. The “Zen Zone” has been constructed for student stress relief in the counseling hallway and the Brain Food Buffet will be out in the Commons Room every day next week. I admit to getting slightly wistful when I read about the Goshen Campus’ festive dress days (Twin Day, Pajama Day, etc.) next week, while we’re all in exams. But then again, some of our students will make every exam day their own personal Pajama Day - [...]