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 - [...]
By Suzanne Gorman, Head of Downtown Campus We got another dose of holiday cheer this week (in addition to our hallway decor) in the form of the Lower School Choir’s annual visit to sing us holiday songs. The cuteness factor is off the charts … and not only the singers in their fantastic holiday finery and whimsical headgear, but also the high school students bopping and singing along with them! We finished with a joint rendition of “Rudolph” and huge applause for the little ones. Thanks so much to music teacher Kim Rash for bringing the group our way every year! Congratulations are in order to the five High School students - Anna Hardwick-Jones, Christ Moo, Eden Baize, Katie Mushkin, and Lily Habich - who participated in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) along with a number of Middle School students. All students wrote over 10,000 words, and Katie and Eden even reached the adult/professional author 50,000 word (200+ page) goal! I hope many of you can attend our annual Showcase of Plays tonight or tomorrow at 7:00 p.m. The playwrights, directors, actors, and crew have been working hard to present this student showcase - an often poignant, sometimes funny, always honest view into the creative minds of SFS students. The improv troupe and the “Dead Poets” will also be performing. Join us!
By Suzanne Gorman, Head of Downtown Campus Basketball season and holiday season are in full swing at the High School! Roundball action officially got underway with the boys’ JV and varsity teams opening at the Goshen gym on Monday night against Holy Cross, and the girls and both boys’ teams opening at home at Old Male on Wednesday against Brown. The newly minted SFS dance team made its debut on Wednesday as well, at halftime of both of the varsity games. They were fantastic! As well, they exemplify perfectly the way St. Francis students take the initiative. A couple of students wanted to start a dance team, so they got enough others to join them, organized practices, worked with the athletic and marketing departments to design and order jackets, and voila! As to the holiday season, our hallways are full of jollity and merriment in the form of Christmas and Hanukkah decor, with trees and menorahs up, plus tinsel and lights festooning lockers and walls. In another beautifully St. Francis move, the 9th and 11th grade hallways feature ornaments with the name of each student in those respective classes. The exam schedule is posted in this newsletter and has also been posted at School and emailed to students. Exam week is December 17th - 21st, and students generally will have one exam per day. They only need to be here for that particular exam (starting either at 9:00 a.m. or noon), but the School is open normal hours and students are welcome to be here before/after exams [...]
By Suzanne Gorman, Head of Downtown Campus In the bustle of high school days, we don’t always stop and take time to be thankful, so each year before Thanksgiving, I like to compile my St. Francis list. I am grateful to have a community where a student whose house is without power due to the ice storm feels comfortable showing up to school with her bearded dragon, who is then happily ensconced under a heat lamp to spend the day with the Biology students. I am grateful for the 9th and 10th graders who have extended themselves over and over this fall to welcome and host 8th grade visitors considering St. Francis. I am grateful for the students brave enough to read a poem in Morning Meeting, from the junior who did it for the first time ever this week to the others who share with us regularly. I am grateful for faculty who create dynamic lessons around the Jefferson-Hamilton dispute over creation of a federal bank (complete with Hamilton clip), who spend lunchtimes doing physics reviews or coaching Quick Recall, who take their weekends and breaks to chaperone trips, KYA, KUNA, and more, who extend themselves to care for and challenge their students every day. I am grateful that SFS students feel they can be who they are here and that they allow us the privilege of really seeing them. I am grateful for the staff who work long hours and behind the scenes to make the St. Francis experience for all of us possible. I am grateful for everyone [...]
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. We have a number of college events coming up next week! Note: All college visits not otherwise noted take place in the College Resource Room on the Downtown Campus. Wednesday, November 14th Columbia College Chicago - 1:00 - 1:30 p.m. Leadership in the College Process The emphasis on leadership in the college process can be another stressor for students as they try and figure out the many ways they can add traditional leadership positions to their resume. But as I stated before in "College Corner" about resume-building, not every student can be the School Committee president or captain of the varsity team. Educator and writer Brennan Barnard illustrates through quotes from college admissions deans and directors the many ways in which leadership can be defined in the college application process. Lessons on Leadership By Brennan Barnard, Contributor to HuffPost While it may be easy to define a leader in principle, college applicants want to know how colleges view leadership. Who are these “leaders” that admission committees want to admit, and what qualities are they searching for? “Someone who stops to ask the question: “What is the RIGHT thing to do in this circumstance?’” - Andy Strickler, Dean of Admission & Financial Aid, Connecticut College “Leadership is a deep engagement in an area of interest - not necessarily an officer in an organization. Rather than the president of the [...]
By Suzanne Gorman, Head of Downtown Campus A huge thank-you to all the dozens of students and parents who came to help out at our Open House this past Monday night! We had nearly 50 prospective families in attendance, and it was a vibrant, energetic evening. One parent volunteer sent an email afterward with this comment: “One thing I’m always reminded of when I do open house, and was especially reminded of last night, is how incredible our faculty is. I’m sure there are good teachers in every school, but the quality of our faculty really stands out on a night like last night. I think as parents we sometimes take for granted how truly different and special they are.” I second that! As many of you know, I have a child in the High School myself, and another headed here next year. But I began working at St. Francis before either of them were even born and had been here 16 years before I became a High School parent. Experiencing over these past few years the magic of the faculty in this building from a parent perspective, and seeing the changes and growth in my own child that I’ve been talking to other parents about for years, is a profound experience for which I’m incredibly grateful. I love Open House because it’s a chance to throw wide our doors and invite the community in to learn about the extraordinary experience that is a St. Francis education. The other best thing about this week is that some of [...]