College Corner February 2018

By Kit Llewellyn, College Advisor

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

Sophomores:

  • Consider a college summer program. Do your research on the Internet or with Kit Llewellyn.
  • Continue enjoying your extracurriculars, hobbies, or a part-time job.
  • Think about using the February Winter Break for visits to nearby colleges/universities for initial comparisons.
  • Give a lot of energy to your studies!

Juniors:

  • Register for the SAT and ACT tests online at www.collegeboard.org or www.act.org.
  • Those students who are eligible for extended time need to check in with Brian Holahan or Claudia McCrocklin in order to complete registrations for the SAT and ACT.
  • Those students who believe that they will qualify for fee waivers for the SAT/ACT, please see Kit Llewellyn.  
  • This is the last semester that counts towards your GPA before applications, so go for it; show the colleges what you have to offer!
  • Consider a college summer program, course, or job.
  • Each junior will have an individual meeting with Kit Llewellyn and together they will generate a list of suggested colleges.
  • Parents of juniors are encouraged to make appointments with Kit Llewellyn after the lists are composed for further discussion and planning.
  • Plan on taking the SAT in March or May, the ACT in April or June, and SAT Subject Tests in June if your colleges require those tests.
  • Consider planning some college visits during the February Winter Break and the April Spring Break.

Seniors:

  • Complete your taxes, send financial aid forms (*FAFSA and CSS Profile forms when required) and the specific aid forms from the individual colleges.
  • All seventh-semester transcripts have been forwarded to your colleges.
  • Mid-year reports are required by some colleges.
  • Continue to research scholarship info in Kit Llewellyn’s office and online at fastweb.com.
  • Keep working on your Senior Projects and enjoy!
  • Your senior grades will always be a permanent piece of your high school record…don’t slack off!
  • Check that all of your colleges have received all materials: applications, fees, test scores, recommendations, and financial aid forms.
  • Carefully read all emails and information coming from admissions offices: acceptance procedures, housing, financial aid procedures, registration, and orientation. Periodically check your spam because sometimes important messages may be posted there.     
  • Keep Kit Llewellyn informed of your acceptances (and otherwise!).

Coping with Frustrations

By Renee Hennessy, Preschool Director

One of the most important lessons we can teach our children is how to cope with frustrations. In the Preschool, we help children develop and practice their skills by giving them opportunities to make age-appropriate choices and decisions. Sometimes sticking to the decisions they make can be difficult for them, but it’s important for children to experience the consequences of the choices they make. For example, at clean-up time, if a child decides not to participate, s/he may miss an opportunity to play in that area with those materials next time. Our expectations are that children are not allowed to hurt themselves or anyone else when they are frustrated. Working through those big emotions and developing coping skills takes time, patience, and practice. 

New Year, New Book Drive
The New Year, New Book Drive has been a wonderful success! Thank you to our current and former parents for donating books to the Preschool classrooms. Over 50 books have graciously been delivered in just two weeks! Wow! Click here if you are still interested in donating to the Preschool’s bookshelves.

Doughnut Day!
Don’t forget that you are invited to join your child for doughnuts on Friday, February 9th. Please come to your child’s classroom right after carpool. For those new to the School, this event usually only lasts 30-45 minutes. If a parent can’t make it, a grandparent or a favorite family friend can drop in. We hope to see you there!

Middle School Basketball Spirit Night, FCD, and Governor’s Cup!

By Reed Gabhart, Head of Goshen Campus

It was an action-packed Middle School Morning Meeting on Monday! We hyped up our Middle School Basketball Spirit Night held Monday night, which was rescheduled from our recent snow days. I attended the games (in an embarrassing white ensemble reminiscent of John Travolta) and was certainly impressed by the spirit and hustle of our 7th and 8th grade players and the obvious great coaching they’ve received from coaches Shavar Cowherd and Kara Spalding. But I was most impacted by the touching ceremony to honor all of our 8th grade players in between games. The pride evident on every player’s face, along with their parents’, was a real goosebump moment. I’m so glad our players got to finish this season in their home gym (and with victories to boot!).

Director of Counseling Services Julie Marks also introduced this year’s Freedom from Chemical Dependency (FCD) educator John Tummon to the kids during Morning Meeting. One of the things he said that struck a chord was that peer pressure, usually thought to be a negative, should actually be considered a positive thing instead. Children need to adjust their thinking to how they can support each other through positive peer pressure rather than succumbing to the power of negativity. FCD uses an evidence-based social norms approach to help promote healthy student behavior and attitudes, to correct false beliefs, and to decrease the number of students who use alcohol and other drugs. John shared with the students the reality that many students at most schools around the world do not regularly use alcohol or other substances. John also shared the latest brain science to help our students understand that the teenage brain is more vulnerable to addiction and delaying the use of drugs and alcohol is crucial to proper brain development. I’m sure our kids received valuable life lessons and strategies from our FCD association this week, and thanks to Julie for setting it up as she does every year.

Finally, we celebrated our 7th/8th grade Governor’s Cup team, who competed at the district level last Saturday. A BIG thanks goes to coach Lindsy Serrano and assistant coach Nate Hilberg for their dedication to coaching them during recesses and lunches and providing inspiration and leadership to our motivated kids! Here is more from Lindsy on their accomplishments:

The Middle School Governor’s Cup district competition took place last week at St. Aloysius School. Competition started on Thursday with the Written Composition portion. The rest of the team met early Saturday morning to take written subject-area tests and compete in the Quick Recall tournament. St. Francis School placed 4th in the Quick Recall competition and placed 3rd overall! We also won the Sportsmanship award. All of the students who placed 1st – 5th in the written assessments and composition portion have qualified to participate in the Regional competition. Those students are:

Composition – Jane McLeroy (5th place)

Arts and Humanities – Lily Gilbert (1st place), Amelia Gorman (3rd place)

Language Arts – Amelia Gorman (4th place)

Social Studies – Ayda Marshall (2nd place), Jack Rutherford (4th place)

Congratulations to all the students who participated, and a big thank you to their parents for supporting the event, along with Anne Holmes, Andrew Frechette, and Misty Chanda for helping with Governor’s Cup competition this year!  

FCD Educator Empowers Students

By Suzanne Gorman, Head of Downtown Campus

Mine may be a minority opinion, but I’ve been thrilled to get in a full week of school, our first since December, between scheduled holidays and snow days! I’m also glad we had no interruptions because this was our FCD Week – our annual visit from a Freedom from Chemical Dependency educator. We have been working with FCD for years, but educator John Tummon is new to us this year and has been extremely popular with the students. Perhaps it’s his Irish accent (with a little Boston thrown in, to reflect his current residence), but more likely, I think, is that he combines his own experience (all FCD educators are in long-term recovery) with deep knowledge of brain science/substances’ effect on the brain and an innate ability to relate to teenagers. (He can also do card tricks, which never hurts.) One idea he shared with the faculty during our meeting with him was that the goal here is prevention – keeping healthy teenagers healthy. He spent an hour meeting with parents during his stay, as well, and our Director of Counseling Services, Terri White, had that recorded to share with anyone who was not able to attend. 

I’ve been working with teenagers at St. Francis since 2000, and on a personal level am now the parent of two teenagers. So I know that it is challenging, to say the least, for parents to guide adolescents through the web of making healthy choices, particularly because our society tends to glorify substances that, whatever one’s position on them for use by adults, have an objectively and measurably negative effect on teens. It really does take a village to keep them healthy, and we are glad to bring FCD to St. Francis each year to help in that effort.  

One idea I try to promote with the Wyvern flock is that they don’t need substances to have fun.  And on that note, we’ve got a fantastic Spirit Week and Night coming up next week! Tuesday through Friday, the School Committee has come up with themed dress days, and then on Friday, we’ll have face-painting throughout the day and a balloon send-off for our basketball teams, followed by an event starting right after school at our home gym (Old Male). A student-faculty basketball game, a pie-eating contest, boys’ and girls’ basketball games, Senior Night celebrations for basketball and bowling, halftime shooting contests, and free popcorn and drinks are all on the menu. We hope all the students will come out, and you’re certainly invited to join the festivities, too!

Photo Gallery for Week of January 22 – January 26

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School Notes for Week of January 22 – January 26

Click here for a list of 2018-19 Major Dates!

Looking for something to do this weekend? Check out our Artist-in-Residence Julie Leidner’s “Garage Gallery” opening this Saturday, January 27th from 5:00 – 9:00 p.m., featuring a new site-specific installation by Norman Spencer. Located in a one-car garage on West Magnolia Avenue between 2nd and 3rd streets, in the rear of the building at 1401 South 3rd Street (click here for a map), the exhibitions are intended to only be seen through the garage windows. Click here for more information.

The state of Kentucky recently added to its vaccination requirements for students, beginning with the 2018-19 school year. Your student may need to receive additional vaccinations and submit a new immunization certificate (or submit a new religious exemption form) by August. Of particular urgency, a new requirement is that all students must get two doses of the Hepatitis A vaccine and they must be obtained at least six months apart, meaning that in order to be fully vaccinated by the start of school in August, students currently missing this vaccination MUST OBTAIN THE FIRST VACCINE BY MID-FEBRUARY. Please see below for specifics on these requirements, and consult a physician’s office/clinic for any questions.

  1. All students, of all ages, must have two doses of Hepatitis A vaccine. The minimum time between the doses is six months.   
  2. Students who are 16 and older must have received two doses of meningococcal ACWY vaccine. However, as of the start of school in August 2018, if they have not previously received a dose of the vaccine and are 16 or older, only one dose is required. For younger students, please consult with a physician for a recommended schedule of these vaccinations; two doses will be required before they turn 16.  
  3. If your child has had these vaccines, you simply need to provide the School with an updated immunization certificate; if s/he has not, the vaccines must be given and then a new immunization certificate provided. A new religious exemption certificate must be provided if your child will not receive the vaccines.

Again, because the Hepatitis A vaccine has a required six-month minimum between doses, students who have not been vaccinated must receive the first dose prior to mid-February in order to be eligible to receive the second dose by mid-August when school begins.

A summary of the changes from the Kentucky state government’s website can be found here. Please contact your physician for specific questions regarding the vaccinations.

Interested in helping our Garden Coordinator Christine Brinkmann with our animals over weekends and school breaks? Sign up here. In appreciation for your help, the free-range, farm-fresh eggs are yours to keep. Please email Christine Brinkmann with any questions.

Photo Gallery for Week of January 16 – January 19

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Old Man Winter

By Renee Hennessy, Preschool Director

It’s all about Old Man Winter in the Preschool! We are turning our attention to winter activities in the coming weeks and each class will be celebrating the season in their own special way. For the Pandas, we brought the snow indoors and introduced a winter sensory bin, adding polar bears, spoons, cups, and more! They will also create ice paint using salt, paint ice cubes, and learn how to use a fork and white paint to create snowflakes. For the Adventurers, we were in the business of making snowmen. We also played with acetic animals on ice, watercolor painted on snow, and used colored water in eye droppers to melt the snow. The Trailblazers are studying animals that thrive in the winter and worked on making a snow storm in a jar as an experiment. These are just a few samples of the fun and creative things we have planned for the month of January.

The Power of One!

By Reed Gabhart, Head of Goshen Campus

Every week during our Middle School Student Council meetings we have a segment devoted to student suggestions. Most weeks these are items that are either somewhat routine (The water fountain needs fixing!) or impractical (Can we have a swimming pool?), but often completely appropriate. It was the students’ idea to have a formal dance for 7th and 8th graders about 10 years ago, and that has become a treasured tradition.

And then sometimes, out of the blue, comes something really noteworthy. Such a suggestion happened last fall and reached fruition as we entered the new year. Chef Matt Thomas from SAGE Dining Services comes to our Student Council meetings two or three times a year to hear from students about their likes, dislikes, and suggestions as to our lunches and snacks. Prior to this fall’s meeting, I received a lengthy email from 7th grader Meredith Snyder, who wanted to use his appearance to call attention to an issue that she felt was important for our community. This issue was the inclusion of the preservative TBHQ in some of our snacks. If you’re like me, you are probably asking yourself, “What is TBHQ?” I didn’t have to wonder long, as Meredith also included multiple weblinks on the subject to further educate us. Here is an excerpt from her email and plea:

It was announced at Morning Meeting on Wednesday, November 8th, 2017, that the Middle School Student Council would be having a meeting with Chef Matt about food. We, the Middle School student body, were told we could make suggestions to be brought up during that meeting. I have been wanting to bring this up for a while and I now have the opportunity. Cheez-It® Original crackers are a huge concern for me. I think our school should stop serving them at first recess on Fridays to the Middle Schoolers, and stop serving them as an after-school snack in Homework Hall and other activities. Cheez-It® Original crackers have health concerns and risks that are not very well-known and that’s what I’m writing about.

Adults and children love Cheez-It® Original crackers, but they have no idea what they are made with. They contain an ingredient by the name of TBHQ. A lot of people have no idea what that is or what it means. It stands for Tertiary butylhydroquinone. It’s a long name with many potential dangers and concerns. It is used as a preservative in many foods so the food stays “fresh” but it is a terrible thing, and can cause issues to humans.

TBHQ was tested in rats and a study was conducted by CSPI (Centers for Science in the Public Interest) and found that “… this additive increased the incidence of tumors in rats.” (The previous statement in quotes was from Healthline.com.)

There are many alternatives that can brought in instead of Cheez-It® Original crackers. Organic applesauce, fresh fruit, apple slices that come in little packs, and many more (double-checking that TBHQ is not thrown in those foods randomly would be necessary, and if it is, looking for another brand or distributor could be a potential option).

I really hope that this will be taken into account, and looked at in depth, as it is a problem. TBHQ is a very bad thing that is served throughout our school and there are ways to fix that with SAGE Dining Services, and our after-school activities.

Thank you,

Meredith G. Snyder

As you can see, Meredith was very thorough, respectful, and passionate in her request. And I’m happy to let everyone know the school did in fact meet with SAGE Dining Service about this and we all agreed to change our daily snack rotation and eliminate TBHQ in the process! On top of that, instead of a five-day snack rotation, we now have a 10-day rotation that includes items such as apples, bagels, fat-free vanilla yogurt, house-made granola (everyone’s favorite!), and even Goldfish® crackers. Why Goldfish®? Because they do not use TBHQ.

I applaud Meredith for having the courage and conviction to put the time into such a request (in addition to her schoolwork). I also applaud SAGE Dining Services for listening to the idea of one student, and I think we deserve a pat on the back, too. Student Council and the St. Francis School Mission in action – priceless!

“The Lives They Lived”

By Suzanne Gorman, Head of Downtown Campus

Our January tradition at the High School is to have presentations each day in Morning Meeting entitled “The Lives They Lived.” We take the name from The New York Times Magazine‘s annual feature by that name, which contains articles on notable (sometimes, but not always, famous) people who have died in the past year. In lieu of the poem that normally closes our Morning Meeting, faculty and staff choose a person (from the magazine or not) and read a short piece on him or her.  

“Lives” read or upcoming this month include:

  • Scharlette Holdman, anti-death penalty crusader
  • Sue Grafton, Louisvillian and mystery writer
  • Norma Leah McCorvey, Jane Roe of Roe v. Wade
  • Glen Campbell, guitarist and singer (“Rhinestone Cowboy” and more)
  • Sam Shepard, actor/director/playwright, who lived in Kentucky
  • Charles Bradley, soul singer
  • Jim Nabors, “Gomer Pyle”
  • Maryam Mirzakhani, renowned mathematician
  • Irina Ratushinskaya, poet, writer, and dissident
  • Clare Hollingworth, World War II correspondent
  • Delia Graff Fara, eminent philosopher

We love sharing with the students these stories – stories of lives well and usefully, or at least interestingly – lived!