Archives for January 2016

Alumni Profile: Robert Bonnie G’80

Robert Bonnie, Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Enviornment, US Department of Agriculture. USDA photo by Robert Nichols.

Robert Bonnie, Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment, US Department of Agriculture. USDA photo by Robert Nichols.

Alumni Profile: Robert Bonnie G’80 


Briefly describe your career after leaving St. Francis.

I graduated from Harvard in 1990 with a major in history, and in soccer. Mostly soccer! I spent the next two years working for a small conservation group, then returned to school and completed two master’s degrees, in forestry and resource economics, from Duke University. Growing up on a farm in Oldham County, land issues, conservation issues, and forestry issues have always been of interest to me.

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Alumnus Napo Matsoso ’13 ranked No. 13 College Player in the country in 2015!

Congratulations to alumnus Napo Matsoso ’13 on the impressive write up in The Courier JNapoournal and for being ranked as the No. 13 college player in the country in 2015! We cannot wait to see what happens for you next season!

School Notes for Week of January 18-22

  • Varsity Quick Recall Team is UNDEFEATED for the second year in a row!   The Varsity Quick Recall team is now 21-0 over the past two seasons in the Jefferson Count Non-Public Schools League (30-1 over the past three season), with three straight league tournament championships.  (It is also worth noting that we are the smallest school in the league!)    Congratulations to Sam Borden, Madison Ebel, Sam Edwards-Kuhn, Rose Gilbert, Zoe Koss, Lucy Lv, Jack Baize, and Mariana Wilson on an outstanding season!   Kudos also to the JV team, who with a roster of all freshmen save one sophomore finished the season 7-4.  
  • Host family needed for Chinese student for one week: January 23-31. Thanks to all who have offered to host Chinese students for the last week in January. There is still a need to house Zhenyu Hang, a 15-year-old 10th grader whose favorite subject is English, but who is also allergic to dogs and cats. We are hoping to find a 7th or 8th grade family who might take her in for the week and help get her to the Downtown Campus Monday through Friday and bring her home (although arrangements can be worked out). A $200 stipend is offered to defray expenses. Please contact Chinese teacher Bob Jones as soon as possible for more information.   
  • On Thursday, February 9th at 7:30 p.m., KCD will host Dan Harris, an anchor at ABC News. His book 10% Dan Harris LectureHappier recounts how he came to realize the power of meditation and the importance of finding time to reflect. It is a very powerful message. Dan had a panic attack on the air (available on YouTube) and from there he realized that he was slowly killing himself. Dan is an accomplished speaker with great rapport, humor, and a very important message. This event is not ticketed; it is free and open to the public.  Organizers anticipate a big crowd, so please come early to ensure getting a seat.  

Aquaponics Comes to St. Francis

By Christine Brinkmann, Garden Coordinatoraquaponics

This fall, we were generously given a 200-gallon fish tank.  The 5th graders will be using it in Debbie Adkins’ classroom to learn about aquaponics – the marriage of aquaculture (raising fish) and hydroponics (growing plants without soil) that grows fish and plants together in one integrated system. The fish waste provides an organic food source for the growing plants and the plants provide a natural filter for the water the fish live in.

Around a thousand years ago, long before the term “aquaponics” was coined, the Aztec Indians raised plants on rafts on the surface of a lake..  In the 1970s, research on using plants as a natural filter began, most notably by Dr. James Rakocy at the University of the Virgin Islands.  The first large-scale commercial aquaponics facility, Bioshelters in Amherst, MA, was established in the mid-1980s, and it is still in operation today.  Home-based aquaponics owes its origin in the early 1990s to Tom and Paula Speraneo of S&S Aquafarms in West Plains, MO. The Speraneos diligently refined a media-bed growing technique that was more appropriate for smaller systems, and wrote a how-to manual that became a springboard for many home-based systems built throughout the world.

A component of the 5th grade science curriculum will be learning about life systems. They will be participating in the creation of an ecosystem that operates right before their eyes.  An aquaponics system can be used to demonstrate various principles of technology; plant life cycles and their structure; how to make effective use of recycled materials; low-tech/high-yield gardening; ecological issues; biology; chemistry; physics; and sustainable farming. The ‘starter’ fish are swimming around and we are all excited, especially the students – I am sure the fish have about five names each! It will be even more thrilling to see the students learn as we build this together!   

A Wild Week and Some Wonderful Wins

By Suzanne Bizot Gorman, Head of the Downtown CampusIMG_0638

It’s been a wild winter week – but we are plowing through! (No pun intended.)  First, some kudos:  Our varsity Quick Recall team just wrapped up its second straight undefeated season – 21-0 in the last two years (and 30-1 in the last three) with its third straight league tournament championship.  More details are in the School Notes section.  Also, congratulations to the boys’ basketball team for its All-A Tournament win over Whitefield on Monday (a first in High School history).  

Snapshots from the week:  Just now, as I was writing, I heard Benjamin Studevent-Hickman across the hall asking his 9th grade Physics students a question and one enthusiastic response, “Because, Bernoulli’s principle!!!”  Every day we’ve been here this week (all two of them), the most pressing question on the minds of the teenagers has been “Are we having school tomorrow?”  It is truly amazing how much thought and care they put into whether it will be safe for them to be out in winter weather; I think I will remind them to put this level of thought and care into other aspects of their daily lives!  Our series on The Lives They Lived continues in Morning Meeting; this week’s offerings were Mary Keefe Doyle (Norman Rockwell’s model for his painting of Rosie the Riveter) and John Nash (Nobel Prize-winning mathematician who suffered from schizophrenia and is the subject of the book-turned-movie A Beautiful Mind).  

I hope everyone is staying warm and enjoying (or at least tolerating) the snow!

The Six Guiding Beliefs of Dr. King

By Reed Gabhart, Head of the Goshen Campusmlk

While sitting inside, warm, admiring the view on our first snow day of the winter, I thought I’d take a look back out at our annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. assembly last Friday.

Alexandra Thurstone led off the assembly by sharing some of her favorite Dr. King quotations. Here is one that stood out, The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. As our students absorbed and reflected on these quotes, I followed up by asking the young ones in the front if Dr. King believed in using force to achieve one’s goals. Of course even our primary students knew that he advocated peaceful means of social change. After that, we were in for a real treat. School Librarian Lindsy Serrano and Spanish teacher Salema Jenkins put together a slideshow presentation entitled “Martin Luther King’s Six Guiding Beliefs.” They narrated the presentation, and after each principle there was a slide featuring one of our students and his/her response to the belief. The six principles were:

  • “Have courage”
  • “Love your enemies” (Jude Sleadd’s response to this was, “If there is a person who bullies you, it would confuse them if you were nice to them.”)
  • “Fight the problem, not the person who caused it.”
  • “Resist violence of any kind.”
  • “When innocent people are hurt, it inspires others to help.”
  • “The universe honors love.” (A group of 2nd and 3rd graders responded thus: “Fight violence with love. Use kind words. We will use kind words. Sometimes our words can hurt more than physical violence.”

After this very meaningful slideshow, Kim Aberle led a group of Lower School students in the song, I Have a Dream. The juxtaposition of their sweet, innocent voices with the historical impact of the message was devastatingly powerful. I showed a clip of Dr. King speaking to close the assembly, this time from the “To the Mountaintop” speech. Many of the kids reported having goosebumps at the end.

This is one of my favorite assemblies of the year. The students have a different demeanor during it, a definite sense of gravity and awareness that they are witnessing something historic and vital to the progress of the U.S. and the world. The challenge now, as then, is to take these principles and put them into action in our daily lives. We will try to help the students do that, just the same as all of us struggle at times to do what we know in our hearts is right.

Parent Association News

Parent/Daughter Dance: POSTPONED!
Due to the winter weather forecast, the PA has decided to postpone the Parent/Daughter Dance. We are working on finding a new date and will share that ASAP.

We are still looking for help! If you are able to assist in any way (decorating, volunteering during the event, etc.), please email co-chairs Shannon Kastman or Kandi Walker. Thanks!

SFS PA is on Facebook!
Don’t forget to “Like Us” on Facebook. Also, to make sure you are seeing all our posts, be sure to “follow” us as well. Thanks!

Mark your calendars
January – 4th Grade Teacher Appreciation Month
Thursday 2/4 – PA Meeting 8:40 a.m. (G & PS)
Friday 2/12 – Valentine’s Day Class Parties 11:00 a.m. (PS) and 2:45 p.m. (G)

Winter Break Camp 2016!

If you are looking for something for your child to do during St. Francis School’s Winter Break, look no further!

What: Winter Break Camp
Where: St. Francis School – Goshen Campus
When: February 15-19, 2016 from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Who: JK-8th Grade
Cost: $225 per week or $45 per day

Students will spend the week working on science experiments, art projects, skits and plays, games, and musical activities. Also, there will be prizes and a pizza party at the end of the week!

Two snacks per day will be provided.  Students should bring a packed, nut-free lunch (refrigeration provided) and a reusable water bottle.

Maximum 25 students

Click here to register.

Quick Recall Champions!

IMG_0638Congratulations to our Varsity Quick Recall Team for their second straight year of undefeated seasons and private school championships!! Go Wyverns!! ‪#‎stfrancisschoolofthought‬

Exciting and Busy Times at the High School

By Suzanne Bizot Gorman, Head of the Downtown CampusHSBakeSale

Third quarter Projects are underway in fine fashion!  New offerings include Turkish Tea House, American Sign Language, Watercolor, and Breadmaking, while Y-Club, Yearbook, Jazz, Science Olympiad and others continue on from last semester.  

Other things going on at the High School:  The bowling season is in its final weeks, with City and Regional tournaments on the horizon.  The basketball teams are in the thick of their season, with over a month still to go.  Avenue Q is in rehearsals most days after school and puppets are under construction.  The Y-Club is working on preparing for the Kentucky United Nations Assembly (KUNA) conference in March, focusing on representations of Sudan and the Maldives.  The Science Olympiad team is busily researching and constructing.  The Yearbook staff is working to meet deadlines so that this year’s edition can be delivered in May instead of the following August.  The 10th and 11th graders are planning overnight class retreats; as well, the annual Women’s Retreat is in the works for March.  The Diversity Committee has scheduled a Diversity Week in early February, with plans at the moment including celebrations of food/customs of the countries outside the U.S. from which we have students and/or parents; a tango lesson; the annual Diversity Potluck Lunch; and recognition of African-American History Month.  

In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., whose holiday we celebrate on Monday, I share the following quote from an opinion piece on education he published in the Morehouse College newspaper in 1947 while a student there.  Nearly 70 years later, still excellent and relevant points:  “To think incisively and to think for one’s self is very difficult.  We are prone to let our mental life become invaded by legions of half-truths, prejudices and propaganda.  At this point, I often wonder whether or not education is fulfilling its purpose.  A great majority of the so-called educated people do not think logically or scientifically.  … Education must enable one to sift and weigh evidence, to discern the true from the false, the real from the unreal, and the facts from the fiction.”