Archives for January 2017

Staying Connected with Alumni

Alum Napo Matsoso_1By Suzanne Gorman, Head of Downtown Campus

My counterpart Reed Gabhart focused on alumni last week; this week, that’s foremost on my mind. As Reed noted, any teacher or administrator will tell you that one of the most rewarding aspects of the job is staying connected with students after graduation and watching their adult lives unfold. At the High School, we’ve seen many recent alumni coming through in the past few weeks, before and after the Holiday Break while they are home from college. Last week, we had a particularly special visit from Napo Matsoso ’13, a senior at the University of Kentucky who was just drafted 31st by the New England Revolution in the Major League Soccer draft. If you aren’t familiar with Napo, you can read more about him here. His success is a testament to incredible dedication and hard work, and we’re excited to have been a part of it.

We also had a visit last week from alum Embry Rucker G’87, ’91, brother of our Director of Advancement Síofra Rucker G’84. Embry is a traveler and photographer whose roster of clients is long and impressive (Nike, Target, North Face, Sony, Olympus, Canon, Home Depot, Oakley, People, ESPN, Runner’s World, and many others). He was in town and generously came by to chat with our aspiring student photographers.

To cap off the week, we had a visit from our founding Head of School Tom Pike. Tom has been retired for over a decade now, but he pops in from time to time – this week, to show his daughter and granddaughter, visiting from out of town, our newly renovated spaces. Tom also made time last weekend for James Risley ’17 to conduct an interview with him for a Senior Project focused on an oral history of St. Francis High School/School. (Trivia question: What was the other final contender for the School’s mascot, besides the Wyverns? I kid you not: The River City Rats.) It is rather extraordinary for a school to have had only two Heads in 40 years – just one of the many special things about St. Francis.

Put on a Happy “Face!”

Brad Devlin Faces Workshop_1By Reed Gabhart, Head of Goshen Campus

Making sure our students have a meaningful experience in the arts has always been a core value at St. Francis. To that end, not only do we have wonderful art teachers at every level who engage the children multiple times each week, but also our Art Department actively seeks out local artists to come to campus and present an artist-in-residence program that connects our students to the community.

In the past decade we’ve had local craftspersons teach metalworking, wheel throwing, textile and puppeteer design – and even chainsaw art! This year we are delighted to have local artist Brad Devlin lead our Middle School students in a mixed media project, turning everyday materials into expressive “Faces!”. Brad is known for his incredible talent to transform found objects into acclaimed works of art that invoke thoughtful conversation about a wide range of issues and emotions. He has an innate ability to turn reclaimed relics, salvaged material, and ordinary stuff into works with historical, artistic, and personal meaning.

Brad Devlin Faces Workshop_17Brad came to Middle School Morning Meeting a couple of weeks ago to show us some of his fanciful creations – and this week it has been the students’ turn. The loud banging in Alex Taylor’s art room has been worth the wait to see what our kids are creating!

“It’s really cool to watch the students translate Brad’s enthusiasm into beautiful works of art that teach the value of recycling and the power of imagination,” observes Judy Riendeau, Lower School art teacher. Parent volunteers and staff helped with this effort, and were equally amazed to see the students engaged in a new and challenging way. “It’s hard for me to imagine my son using a hammer, drill, wire cutter, staple gun, awl, and sandpaper in a beautiful project – other than at St. Francis,” shares 7th grade parent Tricia Erwin. “How fun to see this ‘stuff’ come to life. Mr. Devlin was thought provoking, fun, and caring.”

Brad Devlin Faces Workshop_14“What a great (large!) group of inquisitive, creative, and polite kids,” Brad commented after his first day. “I always come away from one of these workshops energized, and full of new ways to use new and old materials. Thanks to Judy and Alex, and all the other volunteers who came to help.”

We appreciate our parent support for Art to Remember and this workshop which enabled us to offer this unique experience with Brad (aka the “Master of Found Materials”). A special thanks to Ben Reif for the use of his drills and the donation of wood for materials. Thanks to parent volunteers Scott McGraw, Tricia Erwin, Tammy Nofsinger, Aimee Caudle, Gerri Willis, Robin Hilton, Joe Walden, Gretchen Davis, and Michelle Koch.

Brad’s work can often be seen at Galerie Hertz, as well as at this year’s Imagine! Art Auction + Scholarship Fundraiser on Saturday, February 25th at the Tim Faulkner Gallery (and you can “friend” him on Facebook to see more of his work).

Year of the Rooster!

Chinese New Year Parade_1By Renee Hennessy, Preschool Director

We kicked off the Chinese New Year a few days early in the Preschool. Our Yale-China teaching fellows Angel Yip and Tommy Kwan worked with our faculty to plan a day chock-full of celebratory fun and hands-on learning. Each class participated in activities such as creating paper fans, Chinese writings, and dragon horns. The Junior Kindergarten class joined us for a parade through the Lower School led by a beautifully constructed dragon created by the Trailblazers class. The Yao family donated red envelopes called “hongbao” to all of the children in Preschool, Junior Kindergarten, and Kindergarten, sending everyone good luck and well wishes. Thank you to World Language teacher Daphne Tang for bringing in traditional Chinese celebration clothing borrowed from Western Kentucky University. Over the next few weeks, the Chinese New Year will be celebrated throughout the U.S. and we look forward to reading and learning more about Chinese traditions.   

Mark Your Calendars
Dads (or special guests) are invited to join your child’s class on Friday, February 3rd from 9:00 – 9:45 a.m. for doughnuts and coffee.  

Re-Enrollment is Now in Progress!
Guarantee the placement you want for next year by returning your online contract. We are in the process of re-enrolling for next year. As a current Preschool family, you have priority for your children’s placement. If you have another child that you are interested in enrolling in Preschool, please contact Kelli Carter at 502.795.3464.

Photo Gallery for Week of January 23 – January 27

 

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School Notes for Week of January 23 – January 27

The Science Olympiad Regional Competition is Saturday, March 18th at KCD and parent volunteers are needed to prepare and run events. Science Olympiad is an all-day competition where Middle School and High School teams participate in 23 events covering all aspects of science; from technology and engineering, to chemistry and physics, to life sciences. Teams from both of our campuses have been working hard collecting materials, studying, practicing, building, breaking, and rebuilding.

The Louisville Regional Competition is the only one in the state that is completely organized and run by teachers and volunteers from the competing schools. For this year’s competition, we are still in need of Event Supervisors for three of the events at the High School level: Remote Sensing (using remote sensing imagery, data, and computational process skills to complete tasks related to climate change processes in the Earth system), Hydrogeology (manipulating a groundwater computer model to answer questions about groundwater concepts, and evaluate solutions based on hydrogeological evidence, to reduce anthropogenic effects on groundwater), and Experimental Design (determining a team’s ability to design, conduct, and report the findings of an experiment actually conducted on site).

If you or anyone you know would be interested in volunteering to prepare and run an event or would like more information about the events, please contact Downtown Campus chemistry teacher Luke Johnson

Studio Borgo AT 2017Interested in taking art classes in Italy? Join Goshen Campus art teacher Alex Taylor for a Plein Air Landscape Workshop in Tuscany July 17th – 21st. Alex has been invited once again to conduct a one-week drawing and plein air landscape painting workshop with Tom Ruggio in Tuscany, Italy. The experience is a truly memorable one, as you experience art classes, art history, local history, Tuscan cuisine, and living in a delightful Italian town. The workshop is limited to six participants, so if you are interested, visit the website and apply early. Please contact Alex Taylor with any questions or for additional information.

Don’t miss the opportunity to reserve your copy of the 2016-17 yearbook! We are able to offer a reduced price of $50 until March 1st; after that, the price will be $57. Similar to last year, the yearbook will come out BEFORE the end of the school year so that students can sign copies and have them for the summer break. We will mail a spring supplement full of great photos from end of the year activities, graduations, etc. to each of you who purchase a yearbook. The spring supplement comes with an adhesive strip to insert into your yearbook. Also, all yearbook ordering and purchasing is done through our yearbook company, Herff Jones.​

Click here to purchase the SFS yearbook now. Please contact Rosanne Conlan or Trisha Amirault for any additional questions.

Admissions Personnel Announcement

By Alexandra Thurstone, G’80, ’84, Head of School

As many of you know, our Goshen Admissions Director, Richard Butcher, is leaving us at the end of February to join his family in San Diego. We have conducted interviews over the last several weeks and I am happy to announce that we have filled his position – with one of our own:  Trisha Amirault.  Trisha is currently Admissions Director for our High School, and she will be moving to our Goshen Campus next month to take over as our PS-8th grade Admissions Director. Additionally, I am happy to announce that we have hired Kisha Watts as Admissions Director on our Downtown Campus and Diversity Director for SFS (school-wide). While originally Kisha interviewed for the Goshen Campus position, Trisha suggested that she would be a great fit for the Goshen Campus Admissions Director, given her own degree in Elementary Education, and Kisha’s high school experience. Since Trisha has done such an outstanding job at the high school, I wanted to honor her wishes, and it turned out that Kisha was indeed interested in the high school position, so I am thrilled that we have fantastic people who fit beautifully for both positions.  

Trisha Amirault - Admissions IntroductionTrisha is a Louisville native who attended the Brown School. She then attended Mercer University and received a BS in Education, particularly Holistic Child/Elementary & Special Education, and an M.Ed. in Higher Education Leadership, also at Mercer. She began her career in Admissions right out of college in 2010 at Mercer, and was promoted twice, ending her time at Mercer as Associate Director of Admissions. Her territory included Kentucky, and she visited the Downtown Campus many times to recruit our students, which caused her to grow even fonder of St. Francis before she even came to work here!

Trisha has had an outstanding track record at St. Francis and welcomed in the largest freshman class in the High School’s history this year, and next year’s freshman class is once again on track to meet or exceed this year. Trisha’s unique combination of an academic background in education, her understanding of and love for Progressive education, her seven years’ experience in Admissions, and her unbridled enthusiasm make her ideal to lead our Goshen Campus Admissions Office. She also happens to be a new mom, and she looks forward to bringing her daughter Rigby to our Preschool when she turns two!

Kisha Watts - Admissions IntroductionA little bit about Kisha: She grew up all over the country, as a military child, but finished high school at a public magnet in Washington D.C, called “The School Without Walls,” which is quite a bit like our high school. She then went to Williams College, and concentrated in Women and Gender Studies, but also completed the Pre-Med program. From there, she went immediately to work at Thayer Academy an Independent School in Massachusetts for seven years in a number of positions including MS English, MS Science, MS Diversity Coordinator, Diversity Director, and MS Dean of Girls, and she worked in Admissions throughout. In her last years at Thayer, she was also the Co-Chair of the NAIS People of Color Conference, and the Chair of the AISNE (New England Independent Schools organization) Students of Color Conference. She then moved to a large boarding high school, the Taft School, for four years and served as the Director of Multicultural Recruitment, and simultaneously as the Diversity Commissioner for the Connecticut Association of Independent Schools. Most recently she worked at another boarding school, Cushing Academy, for two years as Dean of Admissions. Kisha’s extensive experience in both admissions and diversity work will be great assets to St. Francis and I look forward to the ideas she will bring us. She was looking for the kind of school that she could find a home and really support the Mission; she believes she found that home at St. Francis.​

Her first day will be February 20, so please welcome her when she arrives!

Kelli Carter - Admissions IntroductionI’m also pleased to announce that Kelli Carter G’91, ’95, who has also done an outstanding job as Admissions Coordinator over these last nine months or so, is now our Assistant Admissions Director on the Goshen Campus. While our goal is never to become a large school – that would change the character and spirit of St. Francis – strong and healthy enrollment is essential to every aspect of our School. I know that Trisha, Kisha, and Kelli will make a great team and help us find fantastic “St. Francis kids” from all over the Metro Area!

A “Blast From the Past!”

Reed and Visits from AlumniBy Reed Gabhart, Head of Goshen Campus

I always love to hear from alums! Often they are recently graduated students such as two college freshman (Charlie Bond G’12, freshman at Seton Hall and Braden Barnett G’12, freshman at Vanderbilt) who surprised me recently by just showing up. But sometimes, a real “blast from the past” checks in and knocks my socks off. This was the case one day last week.

I received an email from Stuart Young. Stuart graduated from the Goshen Campus in 1994 and the Downtown Campus (then St. Francis High School) in 1998. I had kept abreast of his professional career sporadically via articles he wrote that appeared in the Courier-Journal. A very precocious and talented lad here, Stuart graduated from the High School and then earned a law degree from Harvard. That did not surprise me one bit. Stuart was immensely verbal, loved the stage, and loved to argue (with me being on the receiving end of many of those diatribes!). I also wasn’t surprised about his academic success. He was a top-notch student. He went on to say in his email that he has worked for the BBC and in the British Parliament. Impressive! But he has had a change of career plans and hopes to make a career out of writing.

Alum Stuart Young_1The other reason he wrote – besides just sharing an update – was to express his thanks to the late Ed Gupton and me for inspiring him as classroom teachers (this is the “knock the socks off part”). Alums can’t possibly have any earthly idea just how rewarding correspondence like this is to educators. It isn’t why we go into this sometimes-difficult field, but it sure is nice to hear things like this from your former students who reflect back on their past. It certainly erased any trivial frustrations I might have been having that day –  and put a huge smile on my face.

What do I take away from this? Several things. One, we know we prepare our students for academic success beyond the thick Goshen Campus concrete walls or the classrooms of the Downtown Campus, but it’s Alum Stuart Young_2certainly reaffirming to see proof of it in such dramatic action. Second, he said that his St. Francis teachers inspired him more than any of his college professors. What validation! While our courses certainly weren’t as commercially viable to his career as law school, no doubt, it’s the people and their influence on him that has remained. And finally, the fact that he would take the time to look me up (via Alexandra Thurstone) justto say “thank you” in writing speaks to his character. Again, a hallmark of a St. Francis education.

So, thank YOU, Stuart Young, for making this veteran teacher’s day! I’m sure we’ll be reading more of Stuart’s work in the not-so-distant future (and here is a link to an op-ed piece he recently wrote, as well as a couple of pictures of him with some “friends” you may recognize).

Visit from Peter Mulvey Inspires

Peter Mulvey PerformanceBy Suzanne Gorman, Head of Downtown Campus

Last Friday, the entire student body had the pleasure of spending the lunch period with singer/songwriter/activist Peter Mulvey. Thanks to parents John and Cindy Borders, Peter was in town and came by the High School to perform for and talk with our students. Peter connected quickly with the students when he told them that he knew his life’s path at the age of seven after seeing musicians perform on “The Muppet Show”. He talked about his life on the road, writing songs and performing. A particularly powerful moment came when Peter sang “Take Down Your Flag,” a song he wrote after nine African-American people were killed at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, SC, expressing his outrage at the Confederate flag flying over the South Carolina statehouse. Particularly on the eve of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday weekend, his words felt so important for us all to hear: “It will take all of the love in all of our hearts, and it will also take something more.”  

On Tuesday in Morning Meeting, several members of the Black Students Association read excerpts of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, and some of the words particularly resonated with me as I reflected on Peter’s as well: “We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children. …  Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends.

And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’”

As ever, when I look out in Morning Meeting at the faces of the 155 teenagers assembled there, I am filled with hope, thinking about their dreams for our world and the myriad ways in which – I am positive – they will bring those dreams to fruition.

School Notes for Week of January 17 – January 20

The Science Olympiad Regional Competition is Saturday, March 18th at KCD and parent volunteers are needed to prepare and run events. Science Olympiad is an all-day competition where Middle School and High School teams participate in 23 events covering all aspects of science; from technology and engineering, to chemistry and physics, to life sciences. Teams from both of our campuses have been working hard collecting materials, studying, practicing, building, breaking, and rebuilding.

The Louisville Regional Competition is the only one in the state that is completely organized and run by teachers and volunteers from the competing schools. For this year’s competition, we are still in need of Event Supervisors for three of the events at the High School level: Remote Sensing (using remote sensing imagery, data, and computational process skills to complete tasks related to climate change processes in the Earth system), Hydrogeology (manipulating a groundwater computer model to answer questions about groundwater concepts, and evaluate solutions based on hydrogeological evidence, to reduce anthropogenic effects on groundwater), and Experimental Design (determining a team’s ability to design, conduct, and report the findings of an experiment actually conducted on site).

If you or anyone you know would be interested in volunteering to prepare and run an event or would like more information about the events, please contact Downtown Campus chemistry teacher Luke Johnson.

Studio Borgo AT 2017Interested in taking art classes in Italy? Join Goshen Campus art teacher Alex Taylor for a Plein Air Landscape Workshop in Tuscany July 17th – 21st. Alex has been invited once again to conduct a one-week drawing and plein air landscape painting workshop with Tom Ruggio in Tuscany, Italy. The experience is a truly memorable one, as you experience art classes, art history, local history, Tuscan cuisine, and living in a delightful Italian town. The workshop is limited to six participants, so if you are interested, visit the website and apply early. Please contact Alex Taylor with any questions or for additional information. 

Don’t miss the opportunity to reserve your copy of the 2016-17 yearbook! We are able to offer a reduced price of $50 until March 1st; after that, the price will be $57. Similar to last year, the yearbook will come out BEFORE the end of the school year so that students can sign copies and have them for the summer break. We will mail a spring supplement full of great photos from end of the year activities, graduations, etc. to each of you who purchase a yearbook. The spring supplement comes with an adhesive strip to insert into your yearbook. Also, all yearbook ordering and purchasing is done through our yearbook company, Herff Jones.​

Click here to purchase the SFS yearbook now. Please contact Rosanne Conlan or Trisha Amirault for any additional questions.

Photo Gallery for Week of January 17 – January 20

 

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