Photo Gallery for Week of October 30 – November 3

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Halloween Creativity Does Not Disappoint!

HS Main ImageBy Suzanne Gorman, Head of Downtown Campus

Students and faculty enjoyed the annual Halloween Costume Contest on Monday, with a terrific range of individual and group costumes (see the weekly Photo Gallery!). Halloween is one of Alexandra’s favorite holidays and the costume contest is definitely one of her favorite annual school events, so the prizes are really worth winning, and student creativity does not disappoint! 

Student voice is important in progressive schools, and certainly at St. Francis, so I always particularly enjoy presentations when they are led by students rather than teachers. We had two this week, in Morning Meeting. The first, on Halloween, was about cultural appropriation and costumes and the second, on Wednesday, explained Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos), connecting the sorrow of missing a loved one to the joy of that celebration. We also had students this week announcing signups for the upcoming Project Warm Blitz community service opportunity and promoting next week’s Project Green Challenge (which also apparently has some spectacular prizes!).  

Please check out the Athletics and Kudos sections of this newsletter for some great Wyvern accolades and accomplishments!

School Notes for Week of October 30 – November 3

The Wyvern Ski and Snowboard Club is back! The Wyvern Middle School Ski Club (grades 6th – 8th) and the High School Ski Club are enrolling members for Friday night ski fun at Perfect North! MS dates are January 5th, 19th, and 26th, and February 23rd. For more details, click here. HS dates are January 5th, 12th, 19th, and 26th. For more details, click here. Registration ends Wednesday, November 15th.

The Scholastic Book Fair is scheduled for Wednesday, November 15th through Tuesday, November 21st (Grandparents’ Day) on the Goshen Campus! In the past, the fair has raised money for a graphic novel collection, a projector and screen for the library, an audiobook collection, and an e-book database. This year, the library is raising funds to build a vertical library in its courtyard!

Volunteers are needed to help work the Book Fair. Before school and after school are the busiest times. If you would like to volunteer, please sign up using SignUp GeniusIf there is a shift you would like (especially an after-school shift and on Grandparents’ Day) that is filled, please email Lindsy Serrano. The more help, the better!

Thank you to all of the families who purchased personalized items from Art to Remember. The profits from the program will allow the Fine Arts Department to bring in a visiting artist to work with students this winter. If you are still interested in purchasing an item personalized with your child’s art work, please contact Anne Holmes.

Attention, Enrichment Parents: If you need to get a hold of Enrichment Director Keyonda Turner during Enrichment hours, please call or text her at 502.994.8302. In case of emergency, or if your afternoon plans change, it is most efficient to contact her directly. We would also like to remind you that all students must be picked up no later than 5:30 p.m.

Don’t miss the opportunity to reserve your copy of the 2017-18 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 person who purchases a yearbook. The spring supplement comes with an adhesive strip to insert into the yearbook. Also, all yearbook ordering and purchasing is done through our yearbook company, Herff Jones, so you will receive emails directly from them.​

Click here to purchase your SFS yearbook now! Please contact Alissa Shoemaker for any additional questions.

College Corner November 2017

college-cornerBy Kit Llewellyn, College Advisor

Don’t forget about your November college preparation to-dos! Read on to see what you should be doing now as a sophomore, junior, and senior.


  • Focus on your academics
  • Begin reviewing your personal preferences, strengths, and weaknesses
  • Talk to your “older” friends about their applications and college visits
  • All sophomores will be sitting for the Pre-ACT in the spring (more details to come)   


  • Work on a resume and keep it updated throughout the year
  • Chat with college representatives who visit our school
  • Begin searching possible colleges
  • Use weekends for short exploratory trips to nearby colleges/universities
  • Focus on your academics and extracurricular involvement


  • Finish taking your SAT, SAT subject tests, and ACT
  • Kit Llewellyn will send your teacher recommendations, High School reports, transcripts, and school profiles electronically via Naviance
  • Students will send (paper or electronically) applications, fees, essays, supplements, resumes, and any other additional portfolios, writing samples or video/tapes
  • Students are responsible for sending their official test scores directly to colleges by contacting ACT and/or SAT and/or TOEFL
  • Most applications and school submissions will be sent by December 1st
  • Send in rolling admissions and state school apps (the sooner the better)
  • Keep working on January and February deadline applications
  • Research scholarships offered by companies, parents’ employers, civic and church groups
  • Polish your essays with Brett Paice, Michelle Salerno, and Juan Ramirez
  • Focus on your academics
  • Plan to schedule interviews with local alum or by Skype if visiting the campus is not possible (arrange by calling the admissions office)
  • If you have any questions at all, communicate with the Admissions Offices so that they know that your interest is genuine and deliberate
  • Then…submit FAFSA and CSS Profile (if required!) financial aid forms beginning October 1st. Money for financial aid has a tendency to run out quickly. Please adhere to these deadlines.

Halloween is a Real Treat!

PS Halloween Parade_Main ImageBy Renee Hennessy, Preschool Director

Thank you to everyone who came to the Parent-Teacher Conferences last week. It is always a rewarding experience to take a moment and talk about your child with you.

Through a child’s eyes, I can’t imagine a better way to start the week than with a Halloween parade full of excited preschoolers. All of our classes had a great time parading outside for families and our 4th and 5th grade friends. Thank you to all the parents who brought in food and special treats for our parties.

Mark Your Calendars

Tuesday, November 14th at 9:00 a.m. is our Open House! The Open House is for anyone considering our School as an option for their child. Please invite your friends and neighbors who may have preschoolers. Our parents are our best ambassadors!

Friday, November 17th from 11:00 – 11:45 a.m. is our annual Preschool Thanksgiving Luncheon. Please join your child’s class for a family-style potluck luncheon. The PA will be sending out more information about this event soon.    

“Which Wolf Will You Feed?”: Reflections on Big South Fork

Big South Fork_Main Image_4x6By Reed Gabhart, Head of Goshen Campus

Two weeks ago we had another uplifting backpacking trip to the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area with our 8th graders. While I went for only half a week, joining one of the watch groups on Wednesday at lunchtime, the trip was the fulfilling experience it always turns out to be. One of the “stars” of the experience this year was simply the weather: daily highs were around 70 degrees with bright blue skies, nighttime lows were around 40 – nice and brisk when we emerged from our tents each morning – and NO RAIN!

In addition to the miles of backpacking, cooking, and purifying water, another special aspect of the BSF trip is the conversations we share as groups around the campfires each night. We ask the kids many questions and everyone gets a chance to speak (s/he who holds the flashlight is the only one speaking). One of the things we discuss is why we take this trip. Why do we put a halt on academics to take our 8th grade backpacking? After a few days in the woods, they know the answers – and there are many. We’ll leave those reasons around the fire where they belong.

We also can get pretty “deep” philosophically around the fire. I thought I”d let you in on one of my favorite parables I share with the kids at BSF (and credit goes to trip originator, Mike Black, for sharing this with me many moons ago). It’s a Cherokee Indian parable that goes like this:

A Cherokee grandfather was teaching his grandson about life.

“A fight is going on inside of me,” he said to the boy. “It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.”

“The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”

The grandson thought about what his grandfather had said and then asked, “Which one will win, Grandfather?”

The old Cherokee replied simply, “The one you feed.”

IMG_1691We never explain this parable, but rather let it percolate among the kids and take root (and I hope our 7th graders don’t read this!). I was so pleased when I returned to school and found this written on the blackboard in the 8th grade locker area: “Which Wolf Will You Feed?” It seems we’d made an impression. And the piece of artwork to the right turned up in several areas in the school too. 

I found out Katy Roemer was responsible for the artwork and was gratified she felt so touched by this story. There are many moments like this at BSF, just as there are many reasons why we take this special trip. Congratulations and BIG THANKS to Patrick Donovan, our Outdoor Education Coordinator, Mike Black, Angela Ponzio, Tina Brown, Salema Jenkins, and High School Science teacher David Word for being fellow watch group leaders at BSF this year!

Here are a few reflections from the kids on the week:

The time I spent at Big South Fork was amazing! I never thought that hiking with a 20-pound backpack on your back could be so much fun! I will admit that going into it I was not excited about a week-long backpacking trip into a place where black bears live. If someone told me that I would have loads of fun at Big South Fork a week before the trip, I would have laughed at them. While on the trip I realized that it is not about if the trip is hard or easy – it is about the people who you are experiencing it with. My group was amazing! We laughed, cried, even fell on the trail together. The teachers leading us were great, too! I remember on the first day of Big South Fork, Ms. Ponzio said a quote that I will remember forever, “If you only do the easy things, life will be hard. If you do the hard things, life will be easy.” I kept that quote with me whenever I thought something was too hard. Mr. Word taught me and my group things about the park and about nature that my group and I never knew. Mr. Gabhart (aka “Gabo”) kept conversations going on the trail so nobody was bored just walking, and he brought s’mores! I came into the trip thinking that I could not accomplish the task, but I came out thinking I could do anything. I will forever remember my time at Big South Fork. I will remember learning new things about my classmates. I will remember falling down on a trail. I will remember hiking 10 miles a day. I will remember a lot of things about this trip and I will never forget the great experience I had with my grade at the one and only Big South Fork! – Riley Elliott

I think Big South Fork was a wonderful experience. I really enjoyed the people in my watch group. The first two days of the trip my leaders were Mrs. Ponzio and Mr. Word, a High School teacher. On Wednesday, Mr. Word left and Mr. Gabhart came. On Monday we hiked across a beautiful bridge and then to our camp site for the night, which was an awesome cave. On Wednesday we climbed up a mountain and camped on the top and it was really pretty. On Wednesday night we all sat around the campfire and Mr. Gabhart told us a story about two wolves. When we finally got to the group campsite on Thursday we were happy to see all our friends again and drop our packs. I was really nervous to go on this trip, but now I can say I’ve been backpacking for a week. Going to BSF was definitely worth it. We saw so many good views and got to know everyone in my group so much better than I already did. My favorite part of the trip was when we got to drop our packs. All in all, I am super glad I went on the trip even though I may not have liked it so much while I was there. –  Katy Roemer   

Photo Gallery for Week of October 16 – October 20

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A Visit from a Special Wyvern!

Wyvern_4x6By Suzanne Gorman, Head of Downtown Campus

We had a visit this week from our Founding Head, Tom Pike, and his daughter Lisa Pike Bailey (who, interestingly, teaches at the Kingswood-Oxford School in Connecticut, which like St. Francis is one of the very few schools in the United States that has the Wyvern as a mascot!). Tom helped found the Goshen Campus in the 1960s with St. Francis School’s first Head, Frank Cayce and then, in the 1970s, worked with parents and founding Board members to create the High School downtown. He retired in 2003, after 25 years as Head and after a two-year mentorship with Alexandra. It is almost unheard of in Independent school circles to have had only two Heads in 40+ years of existence! Tom continues to come to Graduation each year, where he presents the Thomas H. Pike Award, given to the student who best exemplifies values especially important to the St. Francis community: a compassionate and respectful nature, a willingness to ask constructive questions, determination to make one’s very best effort, and self-confidence as an independent young adult. We introduced him in Morning Meeting, and I hope the students were able to understand for a moment that everything we do here, every day, relates back to the vision and energy of this now-elderly man (still with a twinkle in his eye) who dedicated his life to education and to teenagers. 

Speaking of the Wyvern, our mascot and the story of why it was chosen, back in the day, were featured in an article in the Lexington Herald-Leader last week. Current students were shocked to learn that they were *this* close to being the River City Rats (and grateful for the Dungeons and Dragons crowd for saving the day). If you haven’t seen the article, check it out here.

A Trip to the SFS Pumpkin Patch

Zach Folley Face PaintingBy Renee Hennessy, Preschool Director

The children spent Tuesday morning outside, celebrating fall and participating in a few special activities for our in-house field trip! The Adventurers and Trailblazers ventured to the school’s garden to “pick” the perfect pumpkins while the Pandas class, much to their surprise, found their pumpkins hidden on the Preschool playground. Faith Murphy led us in a festive sing-along of songs about leaves and Halloween, and each class delighted in playing a few games, having faces painted, and eating a special snack for our fall celebration. Thank you to Preschool parent and SFS teacher Jason Chlopek for helping set up our pumpkin patch and SFS teacher Joanne Brock for helping with face painting.

It is that time of the year when the change in the season is visible everywhere we look. The children have noticed the cooler temperature in the mornings; they may need larger clothing; they are making friends outside of the family; they may have learned to tie their shoes!  Internal changes are also occurring as children are settling into a rhythm, learning the names of new friends, engaging with new materials, and accomplishing tasks independently. All of these things add to a profound sense of self and confidence, an invisible transformation that begins in early childhood.

Upcoming Dates

Thursday, October 26th is a professional development day for our Preschool teachers. The Preschool will be closed and no childcare will be offered.

Friday, October 27th is Parent-Teacher Conferences. You can sign-up for a 15-minute conference with your child’s teachers using the link emailed to you Thursday. The Preschool will be closed and no childcare will be offered.

Tuesday, October 31st brings our Halloween Parade and Parties. This is a low-key event with a parade in costume around the front drive of the School and then a party in the classrooms. Your teacher will send home more information as we get closer to the big day. The Parade will follow 9:00 a.m. carpool drop-off and parents can line up on the circle in front of the Main Entrance.

Ms. Mushkin Goes to Maine

JM Visit and Baby WyvernBy Reed Gabhart, Head of Goshen Campus

Recently, 7th grade Language Arts and Social Studies teacher Julie Mushkin had the incredible experience of becoming an intern at noted educator Nancie Atwell’s Center for Teaching and Learning in Edgecomb, Maine. Nancie Atwell is a guru in Language Arts instruction and was the winner of the first $1 million dollar Global Teacher Prize (like the Nobel Prize in teaching), so this was a prestigious coup for Julie. You can color me not surprised that someone as dedicated to her craft as Julie was one of a handful of teachers nationwide who were selected for this program!

And since I have been in the woods at Big South Fork Wednesday through Friday of this week, I sent Julie an early “interview” to hear about her experience in Maine! Enjoy her report and we’ll share our stories about the 8th grade trip next week!

What was it like to be the student, as opposed to the teacher, again?
Since I just finished a master’s program last year, I still remember quite well how it feels to be a student. That said, I haven’t sat through an 8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. school day as a student in over 20 years, and it was really exhausting! Honestly, by the end of the first day of solid notetaking and listening, I had a renewed appreciation for our students. Being a student is a very difficult job!

What single lesson or technique you observed made the biggest impression on you?
I was blown away by the daily poetry lesson and the students’ ability to analyze the poetry at such a mature level. They not only engaged with the poems emotionally, but impressively dissected the pieces using advanced poetic terms and literary vocabulary.

Have you been able to incorporate any of your experience into your own classroom yet?
Actually, we began “Poetry Monday” this week! The first poem we discussed was “I Look at the World,” by Langston Hughes, which speaks of oppression and leads nicely into our new unit on dystopian fiction. The students were both able to identify the obvious theme of racial oppression and tie the piece to the concepts of dystopia, totalitarian control, and lack of individualism. They also learned how to correctly apply poetic terms such as anaphora and caesura, which was fun. This format of poetry analysis is just one of many things I am incorporating into my teaching, and I am excited to share the dozens of new resources I am creating with my students and their parents over the coming weeks. Believe me, this is just the beginning!

What was your reaction to being chosen when you found out?
I was thrilled and, honestly, a bit surprised. Approximately 25 teachers from all over the world get chosen each year to participate in this internship, 15 of whom are middle school teachers, so it was a tremendous honor to receive the invitation. I have no doubt I was accepted because St. Francis School has an incredible reputation in the national academic community. They only invite teachers who they know will be supported by their administrations in implementing this curriculum. I obviously have the full support of the SFS administration and my colleagues!

How was Maine and did you get to do any sightseeing?
Maine was absolutely beautiful, but very rural. Edgecomb is about an hour north of Portland, and it was similar in size to Anchorage, Kentucky. I drove to some nearby towns after school, but most are just a small strip of locally-owned boutiques. I did drive about 45 minutes to see the Pemaquid Point Lighthouse, but it gets really dark in Maine by 6:00 p.m., so after a quick walk along the rocky coast, I headed straight back to my B&B. There were no hotels!

Can you summarize your time in Maine in three words or less?
Inspiring and intense.

It’s clear Julie had an incredible professional development experience in Maine, and one from which she and our our students will surely benefit!