Archives for March 2016

Alumni Profile: Trent Rosenbloom G’84, ’88

Trent Ellie Adena Micah Shayna Huber's Apples 2015

Briefly describe your career after leaving St. Francis.
I graduated St. Francis High in 1988 and went off to Northwestern University, just outside Chicago in Evanston, Illinois. I really loved Northwestern from the moment I first visited as a prospective student. I loved its deep winter snows, the proximity to downtown Chicago and its endless lake beaches, the diverse student body, and its course offerings. I ended up majoring in the History and Literature of Religions, but also focused on French and Pre-Medicine. In my junior year, I studied abroad in France, living in the towns of Tours and Paris. Also, in my very first months at Northwestern, I had a class conflict and had to take a class at an alternate time. There I met Ellie, the woman who would ultimately become my wife, now of over 20 years. Ellie and I now live in Nashville, with our three children, a dog, and a cat. 

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Alumni Profile- The Alwan Family


Alums Shahad ’11, Mais ’12, and Mohammed ’14 Alwan were recipients of the New American scholarships, which provides need-based scholarships to refugee families.

How did you all become a St. Francis family? Faten says, “We moved from Iraq in 2004 because of the war there, and spent four years in a refugee camp in Jordan until the UN was able to help us get to America. We picked Louisville because of all the universities here. When we came here the girls were in Shawnee High School, and then Ky Refugee Ministries helped get us to St. Francis.”

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Photo Gallery for Week of March 21-25

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The Birds Premieres Tonight!

By Reed Gabhart, Head of the Goshen CampusBirds_1

The Birds! (not Hitchcock’s!)

As I mentioned last week, the SFS Drama project’s spring show, Aristophanes’ sociopolitical comedy The Birds, takes flight starting tonight! A colorful and fun mix of comedy, romance, satire, mortals, gods, lots of birds, and even modern music and dance, The Birds is sure to please – and make you think. As I wrote my program notes earlier this week, I wanted to share with a larger audience some of the philosophy behind the SFS Drama Project:

One of my main goals with the St Francis Drama Project is making sure these Middle School students get a broad and varied experience with the wonderful world of theater during their four-year “careers” here. So I tend to think in terms of four-year cycles. For the Class of 2016, they have had quite the journey across eras and genres. From the modern teen angst of John Lennon and Me (Caroline Frederick’s first SFS play), we moved to the world of rock-and-roll in the 1950s and musical theater via Bye Bye Birdie. The genteel American classic comedy Harvey was up next, with the Bard on deck in Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors (the first show Lon Church directed for us!). We then traveled to turn-of-the-20th-century Russia for the wacky fable Fools (Amelia Dimas will never forget those fun Friday after-school rehearsals in the Chinese room), and then to the grimy streets of London town awash with the great songs and choreography in Oliver! We rounded out this “cycle” letting Middle Schoolers immerse themselves in Oscar Wilde’s English comedy of manners, The Importance of Being Earnest, and now find ourselves in ancient Greece laughing at Aristophanes’ The Birds, the same as audiences did over two centuries ago.

I think you can see our students get a very well-rounded travelogue both in eras, genres, and even geography. And coupled with that, the focus is on three key planks: helping them to become better actors and technicians, learning to function as a dependent ensemble, and having fun. It’s a very simple formula, really, but one that has proven very successful for us. Their enthusiasm inspires me every single rehearsal and show.

I hope you can fly with us in the next week!

Showtimes are Friday, March 25th, Tuesday, March 29th, and Wednesday, March 30th at 6:30 p.m., with a Saturday, March 26th 2:00 p.m. matinee. As we did last year with Oliver, we are selling tickets in advance (in the case of sellouts) through Bidpal. The link to purchase tickets is here

The Birds has little to offend young audiences, but it is recommended for students in grades 4th and up.

Surprise Visitor Arrives for Preschool Egg Hunt

By Renee Hennessy, Director of the PreschoolIMG_2767

Thank you to all of our families for supporting the spring egg hunts, and sending in oodles of eggs to support our friends at Keystone Learning Academy.  The children had an eggcellent time searching for brightly colored eggs with the assistance of a special helper, Mr. Bunny!  

A special thank you to Jessica Washer for counting ALL of the eggs and to Matt Washer for donning the bunny costume.  Thank you to Christi Hootman for driving the eggs downtown to Keystone.  I also want to thank the parent volunteers who hid the eggs and stayed to help the preschoolers FIND them:  Nicole Butcher, Courtney Celasun, Kirstie Smith, Caroline Boardman, Lillian Brents, Kirk Shoemaker, and Jessica Washer.

Tuesday, March 29th is our Big Sing for the month.

Next Friday, April 1st, begins our Spring Break.  Have a wonderful time!  We will see you on Monday, April 11th.  Happy Spring!

High School Celebrates Compassion Week

By Suzanne Bizot Gorman, Head of the Downtown Campus

CompassionWeek2Following from our own mission statement (St. Francis School cultivates a joyful, compassionate, intellectual community that celebrates individuality and inspires independent thinking for life) and from Louisville’s status as a “compassionate city,” the High School deemed March 21st – 25th our “Week of Compassion”.  Events began Monday with a panel discussion featuring teachers Ralph Marshall and Trent Apple, senior Jonny Simpson, and peace educator Cory Lockhart, all describing various meanings of compassion.  Tuesday through Thursday Flex periods provided time for workshops led by trained student facilitators.  We debriefed these workshops, which included activities and discussions around comfort zones, perspective, communication, and gratitude, on Friday in advisee groups.  Having this week focused specifically on compassion has led to greater dialogue within the student body and has heightened awareness of both others’ needs and the way in which we should strive to treat one another.  A big thanks to Bob Jones and the Sacred Space Committee for planning the week, and to the student facilitators for taking the time to go through training with Cory Lockhart and for being willing to lead these activities:  Lena Crum, Everett Davis, Charley Drew-Wolak, Kate Jones, Jillian Morrison, Nan Elpers, Jonny Simpson, Gabby Smedley, Brownie Southworth, and Jay Swan.

Sometimes I feel like a crusader in the area of teenage public relations.  The outside world seems so disdainful of the teenage being (and I know that’s not new; every generation seems to think the teenagers coming along will be the ruin of civilization), but one of the reasons I love my job is that I get to see just how wonderful teenagers can be. Three examples:  First, I received an email last week from our friends at Educational Justice, a Louisville nonprofit that recruits high-achieving and service-minded high school students to help combat educational inequity by serving as one-on-one tutors and mentors to middle school students for an hour each week.  This email shared details about how successful Sam Edwards-Kuhn, Natalie McClain, and Madison Ebel have been at working with their assigned students and making a difference in their lives.  Second, last week I finished our annual sexual health education unit in my 9th grade Health and Skills class, with the classes being led by our Planned Parenthood Peer Educators Rosemary DeMarco, Ruby LeStrange, Catherine Dean, and Willa Tinsley.  And these students don’t just help out here; they led the Healthy Choices classes at Goshen, and they travel to other schools and community events to help spread education throughout the year.  Their commitment to this work is significant.  Finally, earlier this week, Alex Resnik, Patrick Spencer, Ella Rennekamp, Emma Boland, and Olivia Bajandas spent part of their evening volunteering with My Dog Eats First, a local nonprofit that collects pet supplies and distributes them each Wednesday night to homeless and low-income people with animals.  This teenage generation is compassionate and kind; they are energetic and active; they care deeply about people and causes.  They inspire me!

A final thought:  Our Quick Recall team finished its season at the State Governor’s Cup tournament this past weekend.  While I’ve written about them before, their accomplishment really deserves another mention, because I don’t think we will see a team like this again any time soon.  Over two years, this varsity squad never lost to another private or independent school.  They went undefeated in the regular seasons and league tournaments with a two-year record of 26-0.  They also qualified through District and Regionals for the State Governor’s Cup competition both years. A huge congratulations to seniors Sam Borden, Sam Edwards-Kuhn, Rose Gilbert, Zoe Koss, Lucy Lv, and Madison Ebel for all their hard work and dedication.

School Notes for Week of March 21-25

  • In partnership with the National Inventors Hall of Fame, St. Francis School is pleased to offer the nationally-acclaimed Camp Invention program to children entering 1st grade through 6th grade. It’s an exciting weeklong summer adventure with lessons that explore connections between science, technology, engineering and innovation. Children will work together to seek solutions to real-world problems and sharpen critical 21st century learning skills while rotating through several fascinating modules. All activities give participants the opportunity to be a part of something big while having fun! Local educators will  facilitate program modules and enthusiastic high school students will serve as Leadership Interns, ensuring that one staff member is in place for every eight children. Early registration discounts available. Every registration includes a complimentary Camp Invention T-shirt. Availability is limited, so visit or call 800.968.4332 to secure your child’s spot today!AmyErin
  • Congratulations to LS/MS math teacher Amy Koloff for winning the Greater Louisville Council of Teachers of Mathematics award for excellence in elementary education. The Helen Cunningham Educator Award is given to three teachers each year in the greater Louisville area. This year, Amy has worked diligently in ensuring each class is meaningful for her students.  She has also taken an interest in helping students to develop interactive notebooks with a variety of visual aids and foldables that engage students in the learning process.  For her engaging classroom and electric personality, Amy was nominated and won!  Kudos to Amy for her hard work; we are proud to call her a Wyvern!Lorenzo
  • 8th grader Lorenzo Mahoney went to the Governor’s Cup State finals this past weekend, which was hosted at the Galt House.  Competitors have to score in the top few at their District and Regional Governor’s Cup competitions before advancing to State. Lorenzo finished in the middle of the pack of 136 students. Congratulations!
  • VarsityQRStateSeveral High School students also competed at the Governor’s Cup State tournament this weekend.  Of the 80 competitors in each discipline who qualified through District and Regional competitions, we had three particularly stellar finishes:  Lucy Lv tied for 15th in math; Sam Borden tied for 16th in science; and Jillian Morrison tied for 32nd in composition. Sam Edwards-Kuhn and Rose Gilbert competed well, too.  Kudos to them all!

Drama Project: The Birds Ready to Take Flight

By Reed Gabhart, Head of the Goshen Campus

The Birds are ready to soar!

If you’ve been in the Main Amp after school in the past month or so, you might have wondered about the cacophony of squawks and whistles emanating from the stage. They are an integral part of the SFS Drama Project’s spring production The Birds!  This ancient Greek comedy written by Aristophanes is a challenge for Middle School students. But in the capable hands of Associate Drama Project Director Lon Church, it is surely coming to life. Beaks, feathers, comedy, classical and modern music, clueless gods, and even a little romance will all collide beginning next weekend!

Showtimes are Friday, March 25th, Tuesday, March 29th, and Wednesday, March 30th at 6:30 p.m., with a Saturday, March 26th 2:00 p.m. matinee. As we did last year with Oliver, we are selling tickets in advance (in the case of sellouts) through Bidpal. The link to purchase tickets is here

The Birds has little to offend young audiences, but it is recommended for students in grades 4th and up. Please join Lon, me and our cast and crew of 40 students as we prepare for another SFS spring spectacle!

5thGradeGovCupAlso, we found out Monday how our 5th grade Governor’s Cup team did last week at regionals! Our team came in 5th out of 13 teams competing, which is fantastic! Kudos are also in order to the following for their individual performances:

Jack Rutherford – 1st place in Social Studies & 3rd place in Math
Amelia Gorman – 5th place in Language Arts

Congratulations to Coach Misty Chanda and our successful 5th grade team!

As a heads up: third-quarter progress reports will be available next Wednesday for you to go over with your child!

Lastly, a BIG thanks to parents Kate Davis and Lisa Francis for chaperoning the Middle School LISC dance at Walden School last Friday night! Lisa said all went well and one of the “highlights” was 6th grader Chase Jones winning a “dance-off” contest! A Wyvern with moves!

Engaging Preschoolers With a Variety of Writing

By Renee Hennessy, Director of PreschoolPSRainbow

In our classrooms, we introduce many different forms of writing to our preschoolers, such as storybooks, information books, magazines, recipes, and information from Internet sites like PBS on topics we want to learn about.  These are examples of the kinds of writing that children and teachers are reading together in school each day.  We often see children act out their favorite stories, draw pictures of stories they have created, and use materials such as clay and Play-doh to represent their ideas.  

Spring Books We Recommend

  • What Makes a Rainbow?  By Betty Ann Schwartz
  • When Will It Be Spring?  By Catherine Walters
  • Grow Flower, Grow by Lisa Bruce
  • The Lamb and The Butterfly by Arnold Sundgaard
  • Inch by Inch: The Garden Song by David Mallett
  • Wait by Antoinette Portis

Last spring, you may remember that we invited our friends from Keystone Academy to visit our natural playground and spend the morning with our preschoolers here on the Goshen Campus.  The morning we spent together proved to be meaningful for all of us in the Preschool, in ways that are really difficult to put into words.  In all of my years (21 and counting) of working with young children, this was one of my favorite days so far.  Read here how our outdoor environment inspired change for the children and community of Keystone. 

Summer Camp registration is live on our web site.  Click here for more information.    

Upcoming Dates to Remember

  • Friday, March 25th is our Spring Egg Hunt
  • Tuesday, March 29th is our next Big Sing in the Multi-Purpose Room

We need a parent volunteer to be … er, to help the Easter Bunny from 9:15 to 11:00 a.m. on Friday, March 25th. Our costume is small-ish, so the volunteer must be of average height.  Thank you in advance – you will love it, we promise.  

Spring Egg Donations Still Needed!

  • 24 plastic eggs per family filled with items such as stickers, colorful Band-Aids, erasers, non-chocolate candy, small trinkets
  • Please tape the eggs shut for ease in hiding and finding
  • Half of the donated eggs will go to Keystone Academy for their egg hunt
  • Deadline to turn in donations is Monday, March 21st

Annual Women’s Retreat Focuses on Stress

By Suzanne Bizot Gorman, Head of the Downtown CampusRetreat_3

Our annual Women’s Retreat last Friday night/Saturday morning was a wonderful experience for the students (about half the female student body) and faculty/staff.  Our theme this year was Stress (with its positive and negative effects), and we role-played, discussed, meditated, made art, and enjoyed good food and one another’s company.  We already look forward to the 15th annual event next year!

On Sunday, we welcomed 42 prospective 9th grade students and their parents to school for the annual Admitted Students Day. Everyone enjoyed a delicious lunch from Ramsi’s, followed by getting-to-know-each-other games for the students, shepherded by veteran history teacher Tom Miron and admissions director Trisha Amirault (with thanks to juniors Gabby Smedley and Jillian Morrison for their help!) and a Q&A panel for the parents.  We look forward to welcoming the Class of 2020 into our ranks!

Next week marks our first-ever Compassion Week.  As you may know, we have a number of themed weeks each year – historically a Diversity Week and a Gender Week, among others that come and go.  This year, the Sacred Space Committee, headed by teacher Bob Jones, developed the idea of a Compassion Week (particularly appropriate because compassion is part of our mission statement!).  Student facilitators will lead activities next week during Flex periods.  I’ll report in next Friday about how it went; in the meantime, starting Monday, please ask your student about this special event!