The Freshmen Kicked Off the Week!

9th Graders at Camp PiomingoBy Suzanne Gorman, Head of Downtown Campus

Welcome back to school! This has been a wonderful week, beginning with our 9th grade orientation on Tuesday. The freshmen walked through their schedules, learned some ins and outs of the school, and went to Camp Piomingo for some team-building activities. We welcomed 46 of them, just shy of the sophomore class’s 47 students.

Wednesday was a smooth first day, and we’re sailing on through the week. The seniors departed yesterday afternoon on the annual Senior Rafting Trip, and we’re looking forward to hearing about their adventures upon their return. Monday brings the exciting solar eclipse, and as you know, we’re looking forward to taking students outside (with safety viewing glasses) and watching it. Physics teacher Benjamin Studevent will give a presentation Monday morning about the eclipse and viewing protocol.

At the start of every year, I am always so grateful for all these wonderful teenagers you share with us. The pool balls are clanking, the ping-pong balls are flying, the microwaves are back in use, field hockey bags are lining the hallways, noise fills the stairwells, and it is all completely marvelous. Can’t wait to see what the rest of 2017-18 has in store!

Capturing the Magic of SFS!

Morning Meeting ImageBy Alexandra S. Thurstone G’80, ’84, Head of School

Welcome back to school! On the opening day of the 2017-18 school year, I wanted to share a poem written by Kinsey Morrison ’14, which she read in the High School’s Morning Meeting on the first day of her senior year in 2013 (she is now about to start her senior year at Stanford University). You may not recognize the names or all the stories, but Kinsey perfectly captures the magic of SFS. Enjoy!

My Last First Day

On my first first day,
I wore a black strapless top
with matching sandals.
I had a huge crush on Gray Thurstone
and a terrible tanline.

On my first first day
I was a vegan. (Gag!)
I was 20 pounds lighter than I am now,
Probably because I was eating cardboard for lunch,
But I still desperately wanted to be
One of the skinny girls
And wear a bikini and a size small
Field hockey jersey.

On my first first day,
I went to Nancy’s and got a
Cranbran bagel with honey and no
Cream cheese – vegan days, remember?
And then I “officially” introduced myself
To Kit Llewellyn.
At 13, I made sure to get my foot
In the door of her office,
Which is probably why I still haven’t
Found my way out.

On my first first day,
Mr. Paice had a Mohawk,
I got to school 30 minutes early –
Which has never happened again –
And Sra. Katz intimidated me –
Which has never changed. 

Sophomores, if today,
Your second first day
Is a bad day that’s okay because you…
Won’t remember any of it.

And juniors, you’re pretty safe too,
Because all I remember from my
Third first day is that
Mr. Miron stole my keycard.

But freshmen…you better make it a good day.
I promise you will remember it.
I promise that this is the only school
In the world where Chinese Lion Dancers
Roam the hallways at the whim
Of a civil war re-enactor.

I promise you’ll get that joke eventually.
I promise that here,
If you work hard and show up,
You can be a leader in field hockey AND
Quick recall,
Even if you’re not the highest scorer
On either team.
I promise that you’ll cry in class a lot.
Usually, because you’re laughing so hard,
But sometimes, because you’re in Calculus.
I promise that your sports practices will get changed
At least once a week.
Or if you play field hockey,
Twice a day.

I promise you’ll like art,
And I promise you’ll hate the back stairway.
I promise you should go to the big games,
And the plays and the talent show,
Because that’s when you’ll realize
just how much love is in this room.

I promise that we are a family,
even if a highly dysfunctional one.
I promise that unless you’re Jack Costel,
You will get sick of McDonald’s.

I promise that Ms. Gorman does get sick
Of hearing about your day to day problems.
But you should tell her about them anyway,
Because somewhere along the line
She teaches you how to fix them yourself.
Most of them anyway.

I promise that you won’t be friends with everyone,
But you can be friends with anyone.
I promise that most of the poems are
Shorter than this one,
But some will be even longer.

I promise that sometimes 6:30 a.m.
Will come way too early,
And you won’t be as excited to get up as you were
On your first first day.
Okay honestly,
I promise that a few times over the next four years,
You’ll get three hours of sleep
And you won’t want to get up at all.

But I promise that there will be these
moments where out of nowhere
it hits you,
That this place is special,
And here you are loved.
And you know in your core
That this is where you belong.
One of those moments will be your last first day.

On my last first day
I think Gray is a good friend and a good man,
And somehow I still haven’t had a single class
With him, which seems mathematically
Impossible in a school this small.

On my last first day I still have a pretty bad tan line,
But my hair looks better
Because I got Jillian to fix it.
On my last first day
I can’t believe how much I didn’t know
on my first first day.
But I’m proud of how much I’ve learned
And how much I still will.

On my last first day,
I didn’t just come to school.
On my last first day,
I came home.

12th Annual National Youth Arts Awards

NYA LogoThe results of the 12th Annual National Youth Arts Awards for the 2016-2017 season have been announced and we are proud to say that St. Francis School earned 9 awards and 17 nominations!

Awards:

Lead Actor in a Play: Thomas Simpson as Winston in 1984
Lead Actress (Junior Division): Teagan Morrison as Reno Sweeney in Anything Goes
Lead Actress (Junior Division): Teagan Morrison as Nicole Burns/Nicole Bernhardt in Anne Frank & Me
Supporting Actress in a Play: Zoe Koss as Claire in The Breakfast Club
Supporting Actress in a Play: Hannah Jones as Claire in The Breakfast Club
Supporting Actress (Junior Division): Amelia Dimas as Allison in The Breakfast Club
Supporting Actress (Junior Division): Audrey McClain as Renee Bernhardt in Anne Frank & Me
Supporting Actor (College Division): Gray Thurstone as Bender in The Breakfast Club
Ensemble: The Breakfast Club

Nominations:

Lead Actor (Junior Division): Jimmy Lancaster as Billy Crocker in Anything Goes
Lead Actress (Junior Division): Sophie Johnson as Hope Harcourt in Anything Goes
Lead Actress (Junior Division): Natalie Koch as Hope Harcourt in Anything Goes
Supporting Actor in a Play: Aaron Lattis as Andrew in The Breakfast Club
Supporting Actor in a Play: Clay Smedley as Brian in The Breakfast Club
Supporting Actress in a Play: Paige Didier as Allison in The Breakfast Club
Supporting Actress in a Play: Jillian Morrison as Party Member (Julia) in 1984
Supporting Actor (Junior Division): Theron Varda as Lord Evelyn Oakleigh in Anything Goes
Supporting Actor (Junior Division): Jackson Sleadd as Lord Evelyn Oakleigh in Anything Goes
Supporting Actress (Junior Division): Lily Gilbert as Little-Bit/Liz-Bette Bernhardt in Anne Frank & Me
Supporting Actress (Junior Division): Sophia Kirby as Little-Bit/Liz-Bette Bernhardt in Anne Frank & Me
Supporting Actress (Junior Division): Bentlea Schwartz as Erma in Anything Goes
Supporting Actress (Junior Division): Mellie Simpson as Erma in Anything Goes
Ensemble: 1984
Ensemble (Junior Division): Anne Frank & Me
Ensemble (Junior Division): Anything Goes
Direction: Reed Gabhart for The Breakfast Club

To see the full list of winners for this ceremony, visit the National Youth Arts website.

College Corner September 2017

college-cornerBy Kit Llewellyn, College Advisor

College Corner appears in the Wyvern Weekly once a month, with suggestions and dates to help make the college search and application process as stress-free and enjoyable as possible! Read on to see what you should be doing now as a sophomore, junior, and senior.

Sophomores:

  • The NACAC College Fair is Saturday, September 9th from 1:00 – 4:00 p.m. at Bellarmine University
  • The PSAT is scheduled for Wednesday, October 11th at 8:30 a.m. at school (more information to come)
  • Keep track of all your activities/jobs/interests for your resume
  • Work hard and give your energies to your studies and activities

Juniors:

  • On Sunday, August 27th at 1:00 p.m. at school, all juniors and their parents are strongly encouraged to attend the College Kick-Off presented by Annie Murphy, Associate Director of Admissions at Centre College, and Kit Llewellyn, College Advisor
  • The NACAC College Fair is Saturday, September 9th from 1:00 – 4:00 p.m. at Bellarmine University
  • The PSAT is scheduled for Wednesday, October 11th at 8:30 a.m. at school
  • Colleges are focusing on your achievements from this year, so give it your all
  • Purchase or borrow college reference books
  • Confirm your High School CEEB code number (181604)
  • Confirm your Social Security number
  • Pay attention to the calendar in the gathering space to be aware of visiting college representatives and financial aid seminars

Seniors:

  • On Monday, August 28th from 7:00 – 8:00 p.m. at school, all seniors and their parents are strongly encouraged to attend the College Application Workshop presented by Annie Murphy, Associate Director of Admissions at Centre College, and Kit Llewellyn, College Advisor
  • On Wednesday, October 11th, all seniors will be meeting with Kit Llewellyn in the morning.  Brett Paice, Juan Ramirez, and Michelle Salerno will be available for essay writing and Kit will be available to help with Naviance logistics and completion of the Common Application
  • Be aware of visiting college representatives/presentations on campus and in Louisville by looking at the calendar in the gathering space
  • Finalize your college list on Naviance and note the deadlines and test requirements
  • Complete your resumes and personal profiles on Naviance
  • Complete your Common Application and polish your essays and supplements
  • If necessary, register for a retake of the SAT, ACT, or SAT Subject tests in October and November

Register for your SAT and ACT tests at collegeboard.org and act.org

 

Awards Day and Senior Luncheon

Senior Luncheon_1NEWBy Suzanne Gorman, Head of Downtown Campus

Awards Day and Senior Luncheon, both celebrated yesterday, are two of my favorite events of the year. Awards Day runs the gamut from the serious to the silly to the sublime, with students recognized for who they truly are and what they contribute to the community around them. I love that about our Awards Day – it feels so genuinely reflective of our ethos as a school. Ditto that sentiment for Senior Luncheon, of course. This event featured the faculty delivering individual speeches for every member of the Class of 2017, with their parents joining us, as well. The depth of the relationships in the St. Francis community takes my breath away, as does the ability of the faculty to articulate those and send our seniors off with such love. I hope to see many of you at our final celebration with the Class of 2017 – Graduation on Friday, May 26th at 4:00 p.m. at Actors Theatre.

From Prom last Friday night, where the dance floor was filled until the end, to our final Advisee group meetings yesterday, it’s been an incredibly fun-filled and emotional week. The underclassmen are into exams now, so “fun-filled” is no longer an apt descriptor for them.

This is our last newsletter for the school year, so I’ll sign off with best wishes for a terrific summer for all our St. Francis families. 2016-17 has been an incredible year, and while we all need a little time to plan and prepare for next year, I can’t wait for August to get here!

Student Art Show and Senior Project Showcase

By Suzanne Gorman, Head of Downtown Campus

Senior Project and Art Show_1Last night, I felt like we got to officially welcome the Class of 2021 during their 9th Grade Registration! We sent them home with details about summer reading, summer sports camps, and more, and let them know we couldn’t wait to see them again in August.

The other celebration of last night was our annual Student Art Show and Senior Project Showcase. As always, the paintings, sculpture, drawings, photographs, films, music (including both our High School and Middle School jazz bands), and array of Projects were impressive.  Many thanks to artists-in-residence Julie Leidner, Andrew Dailinger, Bob Bertke, and Archie Borders, and Senior Project Coordinator Luke Johnson for all their work on this fabulous evening!

Today is the official last day of classes for the Class of 2017. We can’t wait to join them for the Senior Luncheon next week and Graduation the week after!

A Progressive School Visit

ISACS_4x6By Suzanne Gorman, Head of Downtown Campus

Alexandra and I spent Sunday – Wednesday this week serving on an ISACS visiting accreditation team. As you may know, ISACS sends teams to schools every seven years for a visit; our own is coming up this fall. Prior to the visit year, the school conducts a Constituent Survey (which you may recall having taken last spring) and writes a comprehensive Self-Study, covering all school areas and incorporating the data from the Constituent Survey. It is always a rich experience, being able to immerse ourselves in another school’s culture for several days. This particular school – The Roeper School in Michigan – is, like us, a Progressive Preschool – 12th grade on two campuses. We are finalizing the dates for our own accreditation visit, but it is only months away!

This week the Kentucky Shakespeare Festival visited us to perform Julius Caesar. Tonight into tomorrow is our annual Women’s Retreat. We are grateful to parent Karen Morrison and Gilda’s Club for hosting us for this event.  

Advisee Games: A Favorite SFS Tradition

Advisee Games_Main ImageBy Suzanne Gorman, Head of Downtown Campus

The annual Advisee Games were enjoyed by all on Tuesday. We don’t have the final results yet, but competition was fierce in some quarters; in others, students enjoyed a beautiful day in the sunshine in more laid-back fashion. This is really one of my favorite SFS traditions, and I think most of the student body enjoys it as much as I do!

Before the Advisee Games on Tuesday, the We Act community service group attended part of WE Day Kentucky, an annual celebration of service, along with our Middle School counterparts. Reed Gabhart’s space below is filled with a detailed recap of the event by Shelly Jones, so please check that out. This was a particularly special WE Day for us, because our accomplishment of raising $10,000 over the last several years to fund the building of a school in Haiti was realized this year, and our group was featured in a film shown at the event. Check out the film and our spokesperson Elizabeth Johnson ’19 here.

Earlier in the week, we had a presentation from Moshe Ohayon, founder of Louisville Tutoring Agency and the nonprofit organization Educational Justice. The Educational Justice program matches high school student Activists with middle school student Achievers, with the goal of utilizing the intellect and achievements of the older students to help struggling younger ones. We have several students participating in the program currently, and they spoke about their experience in glowing terms. Moshe’s visit was to get signups from students who are interested in being trained over the summer to become Activists in the fall, and a number of students indicated their interest. It is a one-hour commitment per week for the school year and there is flexibility. Please visit www.educationaljustice.org for more information!

Coming and Going!

China Trip_1By Suzanne Gorman, Head of Downtown Campus

Welcome back from Spring Break! Two and a half weeks till AP exams; five weeks till regular exams; six weeks till graduation. Hang on!

Our China trip-goers are back safely and had a wonderful adventure. Next week, we send a group off to the Sarah Lawrence Poetry Festival in New York. As well, students have several interesting local opportunities in the coming weeks. Next week, a group will attend the Festival of Faiths panel “We Are Already One – Religion and Compassion in World Affairs” with Karen Armstrong (author of a book the freshmen read this year in Culture and Civilization), Ambassador Matthew Barzun, and Noah Feldman, moderated by William Vendley. And the Music Performance class will attend a rehearsal of the Louisville Orchestra. Next week also brings We Day, the annual celebration of service that our We Act community service group attends. The following week, a student group will attend the Actors Theatre New Voices Showcase of Plays, and we’ll have our 16th annual Women’s Retreat, planned by the women of the faculty and staff for interested students. One note about all these local trips: except for the Women’s Retreat (which isn’t too far, and thanks to Gilda’s Club for hosting us), we can walk to every single one. The benefits of a downtown location!  

Next week also brings our annual Advisee Games, weather permitting! (Rain date is Thursday, April 27th.) Students will dismiss that day from Seneca Park at 3:30 p.m., although some faculty and staff will return to school and can transport students who need rides back downtown. Pictures and report from the Games to come next week!

College Corner April 2017

college-cornerBy Kit Llewellyn, College Advisor

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

Sophomores:

  • Send off for college viewbooks and browse college websites.
  • Listen in Morning Meeting to the acceptance announcements and chat with seniors about their college admissions journey.
  • If you have a learning difference and need extended time on standardized tests, make sure your documentation is updated and contact Michelle Salerno in the The Learning Center in order to verify your documentation.

Juniors:

  • Take the SAT reasoning and ACT tests.
  • Register for the June SAT reasoning and/or subject tests and ACT tests.
  • Keep your focus.
  • Meet your deadlines for Senior Project proposals.
  • Review the list of suggested colleges with Kit Llewellyn and begin researching/exploring.
  • Make sure your learning difference/special needs documentation is updated if you expect to receive extended time on your standardized tests.
  • Update your profile and resume on Naviance.

Seniors:

  • All colleges should respond with financial aid offers by early April.
  • Meet with Kit Llewellyn and your parents to discuss which college is your best match.
  • Consider financial aid packages carefully as offers arrive. You should have received your SAR from FAFSA.
  • Try to visit or revisit the colleges that have offered you a place.
  • Listen to the advice of your parents and Kit Llewellyn, but insist that the choice be yours. Do not be overly influenced by the college name prestige.
  • Follow acceptance instructions carefully.
  • Students on waitlists should write letters expressing interest and send any additional information.
  • Make your final college choice and submit your deposit by May 1st. This is not a postmark deadline!