Winter Sports Spirit Night

Spirit WearBy Suzanne Gorman, Head of Downtown Campus

Tonight we celebrate our Winter Sports Spirit Night, honoring bowling and basketball athletes. The School Committee planned a Pajama Day yesterday, followed by Wyvern Wear Day today, and has also made banners for the basketball teams to run through prior to their games. Activities will get underway at the Goshen Campus as soon as we get out there after dismissal, as the faculty take on the students in a basketball game. (It is important to note that we do not allow current basketball players to take part in this. After all, we do not want them worn out for their actual games. And also, we don’t want to lose too badly.) Class of 2017 athletes will be honored with Senior Night festivities prior to tip-off of the boys’ basketball game v. Covington Latin at 6:00 p.m., followed by the girls’ game against Covington Latin at 7:30 p.m. Students will enjoy free popcorn and soft drinks and some halftime contests during both games. Thanks to the School Committee and to our Athletic Coordinator Catherine Lafronza for all the planning and work on this – looking forward to a fun night!

College Corner February 2017

college-cornerBy 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 Michelle Salerno 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 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.
  • If a seventh-semester transcript is required, please ask Kit Llewellyn to send it.
  • 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!).

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.

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.

“The Lives They Lived”

The Lives They LivedBy Suzanne Gorman, Head of Downtown Campus

Congratulations to Alexis Nelson ‘18, our 5th 1,000-point scorer in Wyvern basketball history! We had three until this year, when both Alexis and James Risley ‘17 accomplished this feat.

A longstanding St. Francis tradition every January is called “The Lives They Lived.” Named for The New York Times Magazine feature by the same name, our “The Lives They Lived” profiles interesting (and sometimes famous) people who died in 2016, with the goal of exposing our students to stories about people who lived truly interesting lives – by various definitions. Faculty and staff take turns reading pieces in Morning Meeting. Our lineup this year includes Prince, Antonin Scalia, Sharon Jones, Edward Albee, Ruth Hubbard, Fidel Castro, Vera Rubin, Tyrus Wong, Muhammad Ali, Fidel Castro, Gwen Ifill, Bill Cunningham, and more.  

Third-quarter Projects are underway, and the offerings are, as usual, quite interesting, including Dystopian Films, Pinterest Fails, 30 for 30, Baking and Cooking, Turkish Tea, KUNA, Science Olympiad, ULS, Jazz Ensemble, American Sign Language, AP World History, Simple Games (which are anything but), and Diversity Committee. This last offering is something of a trial run, as it is a student-directed Project. Under the auspices of Terri White and Angela Katz, interested students will be determining how they want to spend their time each Thursday afternoon during the Project period and, among other activities, will plan the upcoming school-wide Diversity Week. Over the past few months, students have expressed interest in being able to suggest and run Projects, and as a Progressive school, we thought it was a truly mission-appropriate idea.

Welcome Back!

hs-panelBy Suzanne Gorman, Head of Downtown Campus

Welcome back and happy 2017! Hope everyone had a wonderful break.

On Tuesday, January 3rd, the faculty and staff returned from our holiday break a day early to work on our ISACS Self-Study, a comprehensive look at every aspect of the school that forms the basis for the accreditation visit we’ll have next fall. And we got to welcome our new Receptionist, Ashley Vega! At the Front Desk, our Receptionist is at the activity hub for students, parents, faculty and staff, so I know everyone will get to know her soon. Ashley grew up in Seymour, IN and has just moved to Louisville. She has a bachelor’s degree from Indiana University-Purdue University Columbus, and is an artist working with 3-D mini sculptures. Her experience spans working with youth and working in an administrative assistant capacity, so we knew she would be a great fit for us. She’s working with Danielle for the next week until we say goodbye to Danielle next Friday.

On Wednesday, the first day back, we got right back into the groove with the 11th and 12th graders by spending lunch and flex periods hearing from a panel of recent SFS graduates about their transitions to college. Many thanks to Anthony Perry ’13, Kinsey Morrison ’14, Gray Thurstone ’14, and Lucia Burton ’15 for talking with our students. I hope the 11th and 12th graders got as much out of it as I did; our alums did an extraordinary job sharing their experiences – the easy ones and the more challenging – and giving really solid advice about navigating the upcoming transitions.

Second semester – here we go!

College Corner January 2017

college-cornerDon’t forget about your January 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 and research those possibilities online
  • Peruse the box of summer options in the College Resource Room and the bulletin board in the 2nd floor Atrium Commons

Juniors:

  • Using your PSAT scores, research a range of colleges which might interest you; utilize the My College QuickStart on the College Board website (your ID number can be found on your PSAT score sheet)
  • If you so choose, pursue SAT preparation independently or through a course
  • Register for the SAT and ACT to be taken in the spring (ACT.org and Collegeboard.org)
  • This is the last semester that counts in your GPA prior to applications; go for it!
  • Consider a college summer program or an activity related to your Senior Project
  • Be thorough and punctual with your Senior Project deadlines/proposal (coming later this spring – start thinking about it!)
  • All juniors will be meeting with Kit Llewellyn individually after January 20th
  • For students who are seeking extended time on the ACT and SAT, please be certain that your assessments/documentation are updated with The Learning Center so that you can apply for eligibility and register for the upcoming tests

Seniors:

  • It is imperative that you submit your FAFSA and any financial aid forms as soon as possible. Visit www.kasfaa.com for complete list of events and locations.
  • Complete your taxes ASAP, if you are considering applying for financial aid
  • Complete and send financial aid applications, ensuring you have completed the CSS Profile and /or the FAFSA if required and college specific financial aid forms
  • If a seventh semester mid-year report is required please let Kit Llewellyn know
  • Continue to research scholarship information (Fastweb.com)
  • Maintain your second semester grades; BEWARE of senioritis/slacking off!
  • Your academic year is not over; colleges are informed of any radical GPA slides
  • Submit all remaining application materials by the end of this month
  • Check with your colleges to make sure that nothing is missing from your file
  • Keep Kit Llewellyn informed of responses from colleges and any missing materials requested

College Corner December 2016

college-cornerBy Kit Llewellyn, College Advisor

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

Sophomores:

  • Talk to your senior friends about their applications/visits to campus/interview experiences
  • Be sure to keep up background reading (newspaper, novels, magazines, sci-fi) to maximize your performance on the SAT next year
  • Research possible colleges for admission using handbooks, catalogs, videos, virtual tours, and online resources
  • When your PSAT test scores arrive, study the results to discover where you need more focus or assistance. You will be sitting for a practice ACT test in the spring (Sunday, March 19th from 1:30-4:30 p.m.) for experience.

Juniors:

  • When you receive your PSAT test results, make sure to discuss your scores with Kit Llewellyn
  • Research possible colleges for admission using handbooks, catalogs, videos, virtual tours, and online resources
  • Using your PSAT scores and GPA as a preliminary indicator, begin narrowing the range of colleges you are researching
  • Register for the SAT and the ACT on one of the spring test dates (observe that some of the test dates fall during Winter Break, Spring Break, Derby, et al) so plan ahead
  • If you are interested in SAT/ACT prep courses or tutorials, Kit Llewellyn is a good source of information, especially since the SAT and ACT now have a writing component
  • Keep your academic focus during exams and this next semester
  • Check into some summer programs that you might coordinate with the proposal of your Senior Project

Seniors:

  • All of your evaluation forms and teacher recommendations have been submitted via Naviance to your colleges
  • You should complete SAT, ACT, and SAT Subject Tests (if required) testing this month. Walk-in registration is possible, if you did not register on time. Remember that it is your responsibility to send your official scores from ACT and College Board to the universities.
  • If you are accepted early decision, withdraw applications to all other colleges by writing a note
  • If you are deferred early decision, write to the college stating that it is still your first choice and you will attend, if accepted in the spring
  • Parents, finish filling out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) and/or the CSS profile (if applicable) for January mailing. The earlier the better!
  • Everyone will enjoy the holidays more if all of your paperwork is completed by exam week.
  • Realizing how the juggling of your daily work, sports, drama, jobs, friends, and family can be overwhelming, try to stay organized and manage your time wisely.
  • If a college requires an interview and you cannot make it to campus, it is your responsibility to call the admissions office and set up an alum interview locally.
  • As always if you need clarification or are confused about any piece of this process, do not hesitate calling or emailing Kit Llewellyn (502.736.1012)
  • Make sure to get all information regarding the financial aid process at EACH college/university; their requirements and deadlines vary

Spreading Holiday Cheer During Exam Time!

4th-5th-grade-play-2016_2By Suzanne Gorman, Head of Downtown Campus

We’ve had a largely serious exam prep week with a touch or two of festivity – most notably the 4th/5th grade play performance on Thursday, bringing a bit of holiday cheer to the High School. The exam schedule is in the School Notes section of this newsletter, and as a reminder, the school is open normal hours but students only need to be here for their specific finals. Teachers are all here on days prior to their finals, available for help sessions with students. Other means of assistance:  Kittens will be in residence on Tuesday and a therapy dog in training will be available Wednesday, both for student stress relief. We also provide a “brain food buffet” with some healthy snacks each day in case students haven’t had the chance to eat before they come in to school. A little pre- or post-exam pool and ping-pong may help defuse stress, too!

Speaking of festivity, a huge thank-you to the Parent Association and all parents who contributed to the Faculty-Staff Appreciation Lunch on Monday. We are so grateful for our wonderful parent community and for this lovely annual event. Thank you all!

Kentucky Youth Assembly

kentucky-youth-assembly_1By Suzanne Gorman, Head of Downtown Campus

Just before Thanksgiving, 18 of our students participated in the Kentucky Youth Assembly (KYA). Group advisor (and French teacher) Jenn Buck provided the following detail: 

Students were split into two groups, with each writing a bill ahead of time to be presented and debated at the conference. Our Commonwealth bill was written by seniors Oona Milliken and Maddie Case and junior Hanna Cobb. Our Bluegrass bill was written by sophomores Mike Snyder and Caroline Parker. On the first night, students ranked the bills that would be chosen to be presented in the Capitol. Monday was our trip to Frankfort where the top-ranked bills from both groups were debated on the Senate and House floors. Our Commonwealth bill was debated in the Capitol while our Bluegrass bill was debated back at the Hotel. Unfortunately, neither of our bills passed both House and Senate. Many of the students did join in the various debates and small speeches made about each bill from the different schools, and had a great time meeting other students from all around Kentucky. Oona Milliken was named as outstanding delegate for our delegation!

showcase-logoIn other extracurricular news, our Showcase of Plays premieres tonight, with a second performance on Saturday (both at 7:00 p.m. at the High School). This is an always-entertaining evening of short plays (written in our Playwriting Project, led by Actors Theatre Education Director Jane Jones), along with a performance by our Improv Troupe and a special appearance by some “Dead Poets” courtesy of English teacher Juan Ramirez. Tickets are available at the door –  please join us!

Both the boys’ and girls’ basketball teams started their seasons with wins this week. Bowling, Math League, and Quick Recall continue their competitive seasons as well; of note there are our varsity Quick Recall team’s winning season and junior Will Yelton’s first-place finish among all 11th graders in his division on the first Math League test this year.  

Soon, activities will wind down just a bit as students prepare for final exams. More on that next week!