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The Metal Moose drive team at the FIRST World Championship
ISSUE II 2022-2023

Metal Moose Motors To Worlds

After the FIRST Robotics game was revealed on January 7, the Metal Moose robotics team got to work designing and constructing their robot. After many iterations and trials, they landed on their final designs. These systems combined to form “BAMI,” their robot for the 2023 FRC Season. 

At their first competition in March, over thirty members of the team participated in a 3-day district qualifying competition. They were finalists (losing the tiebreaker in a close match), came home with two performance trophies, and qualified for the district championship. They won the Autonomous Award for the robot that best integrates environment sensing with robot performance through programming; the other award recognized their ascent to the finals. 

On a weekend in early April, there was another 33-hour marathon event and the Metal Moose won the competition as well as the Excellence in Engineering Award for “design elegance and engineering robustness, performance, and full-machine integration.” They were ranked 8th in their district and 88th in the world among 3,297 teams. The intense work, focused collaboration, and iterative progress these students have taken this year now place the Metal Moose in the top 3% in the world.

By the end of the district championship, they had moved up to 7th in the district, 87th in the United States, and won the Quality Award which “celebrates machine robustness in concept, design and fabrication. Building the robot is only part of their success and the judges recognize them as a quality example to others.” This performance also qualified them for the FIRST [For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology] World Championships once again and they headed for Houston. After three exciting days, Team 1391 and their alliance partners made it into the semi-finals, where they performed well but ultimately did not qualify for the finals. Now back home,  finishing in the top 7% of all teams in the world, the team is meeting to review the year, identify systems for improvement, and set goals for next year, which include aspirations for another trip to the World Championship in 2024. Well, done, Metal Moose! 

Check out the galleries of student photos from their competitions here!

Visiting Artists Share Their Talents with Our Students

Recently, Philadelphia-based artist Tim McFarlane came to our Lower School to teach as the 2023 Candace Freeman Artist-in-Residence. Along with the students, he created four panels that will hang in the Lower School hallways. Tim’s paintings and collages include vibrant colors, layers, and expressive marks, or “glyphs,” that are representative of a unique visual language that Tim has developed over time. The Visiting Artist Program began over thirty years ago and focuses on bringing professional artists to Westtown’s Lower School who embrace a child-like approach to exploring their own creativity. The opportunity for young artists to work alongside a professional artist to learn about abstract art and explore varied art media is a valuable and an important piece of our arts curriculum. Enjoy the gallery of photos from McFarlane’s visit!



Thanks to the McLear Artist in Residence Fund, Westtown welcomed ceramicist and sculptor Kourtney Stone to Stephanie Wilhelm’s Upper School ceramics classes. Stone worked virtually for a time with Upper School art students teaching how to sculpt eyes and mouths on clay tiles. Then, during her week-long residency on campus, she worked with students on making silicone molds of their tiles and instructed them on pressing and molding techniques to make multiple clay casts. Through this project, students learned about close observation, creativity, and the unique history carried within every person. You can see examples of student work and photos from Stone’s time on campus here. Stone’s work, along with the work students did with her, will be featured in an upcoming show in the gallery.  She will return to campus for the opening reception on April 28, and will once again visit Wilhelm’s classes. 

Black History Month at Westtown

In the Lower and Middle Schools, celebration of Black History Month centered on the themes of Black joy, Black Excellence, Black Achievement, and Black families.  Kelly Yiadom, Director of Equity, Justice, and Belonging for Lower and Middle Schools, engaged students in a series of activities throughout the month around these themes. Students learned about Black inventors and  entrepreneurs—Frederick McKinley, Granville T. Woods, and Dr. Patricia Bath, among others—as well as the achievements of Black Americans. Fifth graders visited the Archives to learn about Black history at Westtown. Students in each grade read a variety of works from the poetry of Amanda Gorman and books like Hair Love and Put Your Shoes on and Get Ready by Raphael Warnock. Primary Circle students had a special visit from 8th grader Ryder Tookes, who read I’m Loving Me, which was written by his aunt and uncle, Dr. Clarissa Henry-Adekanbi and David D. Henry II. In addition to readings, third graders listened to music, watched StoryCorps videos and Hidden Figures. All of these activities across the grades led to robust discussions among students. Queries in Meeting for Worship in both divisions centered around why celebrating Black History Month is important. In addition to readings, discussions, and classroom activities, Middle School students learned about the incredible life of Thurgood Marshall in a one man-show at the People’s Light Theater. 

Eighth grader Jamila Burgos was invited to compete in a Black History Month oratorical contest at Penncrest High School. Jamila competed against five high school students and took home the grand prize with her performance of her original poem which was inspired by Nikki Giovanni’s Rosa Parks! Congratulations to Jamila!

Upper School students, faculty, staff, and families came together for our Black History Month Community dinner. The Black Student Union worked with the Dining Room staff to coordinate the dinner, decorated the Dining Room, and planned a delicious menu that included sweet tea, mac and cheese, greens, and sweet potatoes. It was a joyous event that included singing, shared poems, and dancing together in celebration of Black culture at Westtown.  Enjoy the gallery of photos here (photo credits to Coco Chen ’25)!

The Upper School wrapped up Black History Month with an assembly featuring a performance by Amari Rebel and the Movement which honored Black culture and celebrated the history of Black music. Students and faculty were singing and dancing to this lively, lovely performance in the Barton-Test Theater! Our thanks to DeVon Jackson, Director of Equity, Justice, and Belong for the Upper School, for bringing this talented group to campus! See images from this performance here. 

The assembly was a joyful end to the month that  also celebrated Black love in Community Collection, and Meetings for Worship that centered around the five senses of Black excellence. In collaboration with DeVon Jackson, each of the Black affinity groups—Black Women Affinity Group, Multicultural Student Union, In the Know (young men), and Black Student Union—presented queries at a Meeting for Worship aimed at sight and touch (identity, being seen), taste and smell (cultural cuisine, scents), and sound (the impact of Black music). Within these Meetings were also queries about Blackness at Westtown, the impact of Black women in our daily lives, the ways in which Black men impact our lives, and considering which achievements or stories from Black history resonate with us individually.  

Middle School Play: The Story Store

Congratulations to the cast and crew who staged the awesome Middle School production of The Story Store by Lana Haehnel! The play takes place in the near future where there is a service that helps you craft the narratives of your life, from the casual (“What do I say when people ask about my family?”) to the world-changing (“Who should I vote for?”). What does this service mean when it comes to digital privacy, individual thought, and the nature of truth? Roughly 52 Middle School students were involved with the production both on and off stage. Well done, students!  Check out the gallery of photos here! 

African Dance

This year’s third grade African Dance performance marked the 21st anniversary of the African Dance program at Westtown and the partnership with Jeannine Osayande and the Dunya Performing Arts Company! The African Dance performance is a culmination of an extensive unit of study on the continent of Africa and its countries, cultures, and arts and a six-week residency of Osayande and the Dunya Performing Arts Company (DunyaPAC) during which they teach students West African dances and Capoeira. Osayande, Dunya PAC, and the drummers are professional performers whose mission is to teach children about African culture and its diaspora. During Osayande’s and DunyaPAC’s residency, third grade teachers Vicki Shelter and Kristin Hayman lead the students through this exploration of the countries of Africa, and art teacher Kelly Nicholson worked with students on creating their batik costumes while learning about West African adinkra symbols. Third graders did an excellent job in their performance, and so did parents and teachers, who joined in the dancing at the end of the show. Enjoy the gallery of photos here!

Students: Learners and Teachers

Teachers often seek ways for cross-divisional work among students, so that older students can teach younger ones, or students with proficiency in one area can tutor those developing skills as exemplified in the math and English peer tutoring programs in the Upper School. Recently, Upper School students who are native Spanish-speakers (students from Spain, the Dominican Republic, and Mexico) visited Upper and Middle School Spanish 1 classes to help students practice their conversation skills. Spanish 1 students interviewed the Spanish speakers about their homes, and drew pictures based on their conversation. This is just one of the ways our students’ varied experiences and gifts enrich the classroom experience for all. 

Additionally, back in February, the youngest members of our community, Primary Circle, joined faculty and students in Upper School for a special visit to the Science Building! Initiated by chemistry teacher Rose Koenig and supported by her science colleagues in the Science Department, students got a taste of chemistry, biology, and robotics in the Upper School. They made giant bubbles, elephant toothpaste, looked through a microscope, and got to try their hand at operating the robots of the Metal Moose, our robotics team. These “crossovers” are reminders that students are teachers, too! 

Enjoy the full gallery of photos here.

Into the Mountains

Director of Outdoor Education Chris Costa, along with trip leaders Elson Blunt, Fran de la Torre-Shu, Justin Boyer, Jodie Driver, and Melinda Janofsky, traveled to the High Peaks Region in New York’s Adirondack Mountains with a group of 23 students during the long winter weekend in February. Costa reports, “We had early mornings and very full days! Students were fully engaged in programming from Friday morning through Monday night. They worked well together and learned a lot about themselves, one another, and the pace and rhythms of traveling together in the mountains. They unplugged while at camp, engaged in family style meals and joined in the work of making our expedition run smoothly.” They hiked, skied, snowboarded, played games in the evening, and shared campfire s’mores. Costa adds that it was not an easy trip, and that was largely by design. Students faced challenges such as those presented by living in rustic accommodations in the winter, practicing the patience required to travel in a large group, learning to ski and/or snowboard, and shifting their relationship with technology. “They displayed resilience and flexibility and reflected in our closing ceremony about ways that they would bring their experience back to their life at Westtown.” Experiences like these are natural team builders, as well as opportunities to be in and learn from nature. Check out some photos from the weekend here!

Lunar New Year Celebrations

The annual Lunar New Year Community Dinner in the Upper School did not disappoint! Korean, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Thai students worked hard to bring this event back to its pre-pandemic style. Delicious foods, from a menu created and prepared by the students alongside kitchen staff, were served at the dinner which was accompanied by music, student performances, community sharing, and, of course, the Lion Dance. After dinner, students were invited to visit “cultural stations” in classrooms along Main Hall where they could learn about various cultures, play games, and do activities. The wonderful video below, made by students Eric Li ’24 and Coco Chen ’25, captures the joy and excitement of our Lunar New Year Community Dinner.


Lunar New Year 2023 from Westtown School on Vimeo.


In Middle School, 8th grade volunteers supported the Lunar New Year activities throughout the week. All students in Middle School learned about Lunar New Year celebrations, and teacher Jie Song and Mandarin language students created this video below of songs and well wishes for the Lunar New Year.

Students in Lower School learned about Lunar New Year through books, activities, and from parents of Lower School students who came to share how they celebrate the Lunar New Year in their cultures. Students learned about Chūnjié, Seollal, and Tết – thanks to our parents! Have a look at the gallery of photos from this special week of activities!

Winter Dance Concert

Elements Dance Company’s and the Upper School Winter Dance Ensemble’s Winter Dance Concert, entitled Movements on Equal Rights, was a celebration of those who fought for equity, justice, and belonging. Created collaboratively by dance teacher Amy Grebe, student dancers, and guest artist Inaijah Meaux, the pieces in this concert were inspired by lesser-known activists as well as Westtown’s own archival journalism; the work responds to decades of The Brown & White articles documenting the real-time reactions to equality movements by Westonians of the era. You can enjoy photos from their wonderful performances here and here. Photo credits go to students Eric Li ’24 and Dylan Precious ’24, respectively.

Arts Awards and Accolades

This winter, seven Upper School students were honored with 20 recognitions from the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards by the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers!  

Priyanka Acharya ’23Gold Key for “Alone” (Visual Art); Gold Key for “Evolution of Change” (Three-Dimensional Visual Art); Gold Key for “Generational Change” (Visual Art); Silver Key for “Family Line”(Visual Art)

Chloe Baker ’23: Gold Key for “Striving in the Souls of Black Folk: Resisting Humanization” (Critical Essay); Honorable Mention for “Ending an Epic: What Modern Retellings of The Odyssey Get Right” (Critical Essay); Honorable Mention for “Disgust, Desire, and the Transfeminine Body” (Critical Essay); Honorable Mention for “Ouroboros” (Flash Fiction); Honorable Mention for “Pondscum” (Science Fiction and Fantasy)

Coco Chen ’25: Honorable Mention for “May God bless you” (Digital Art)

Peishan Huang ’24: Gold Key for “Enemy” (Short Story); Gold Key for “Jiajia” (Short Story)

Eric Li ’24: Gold Key for “Surveillance” (Photography); Silver Key for “Forgotten Home” (Photography); Silver Key for “Mother” (Photography); Silver Key for “The Builder” (Photography); Honorable Mention for “Ferry Terminal” (Photography); Honorable Mention for “Moon at Dawn” (Photography)

Jacob Liu ’25: Honorable Mention for “An Elegy of Home” (Poetry)

Tina Zhu  ’25: Gold Key for “self-portrait” (Visual Art) 

In other Upper School visual and performing arts news, carved ceramic tiles by Karah Blunt ’25 were selected by the National K-12 Ceramic Exhibition out of 1,300 entries nationwide, and percussionist Milo Salvucci ’23 and flutist Ella Cook ’24 ranked as the top and second musicians respectively in our district of the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association Honors Festival. They joined the District Band Festival with tubist Solveig-Michael Daniels ’23.  

Join us in congratulation these talented artists, writers, and musicians!

Honorees of the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards by the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers

Middle School Artists Receive Honors

Delia Sanchez’s ’27  sculpture was selected as a Juror’s Prize by the Council for Art Education and the Pennsylvania Art Educators Association—the piece will be on exhibit in the State Capitol. Pieces by Maura Wiggins ’27 and Maitreyi Vadigepalli ’27 were included in the association’s Youth Art Month exhibit. These pieces were produced in teacher Marta Willgoose Salo’s art class. 

Chesco Band Fest Nominees

Congratulations to the six Westtown students in 5th and 6th grade who were nominated to participate in the Chesco Band Fest: William Bromage, Norah Davidson, Felix Hopf, Hamilton Kreiling, Kayla Park, and Griffin Richards! These students participated in a one-day festival and worked with a guest conductor to rehearse and prepare music for an evening concert. This year’s fest took place at Owen J. Roberts High School and featured guest conductor Ken Kemmerer. We are proud of our young musicians!

Third Grade Celebrates Carnaval!

In February, the Lower School lobby was bedecked with a beautiful Carnaval display assembled by third grader Lucas Donatelli and his family. His mother, Tamara Rausa, also came to talk to third graders about Carnaval and Lucas shared a presentation about the famous Brazilian celebration, followed by a demonstration of instruments used in Samba. To finish, students danced Samba and had a Samba School Parade! You can see the gallery here


Spring athletics are well underway, and here’s a quick look back at some of the highlights from an excellent winter season!

Girls Varsity Basketball Team Wins Friends Schools League and State Championships!

Double congratulations go to the girls varsity basketball team! This powerhouse team, undefeated in League play, won the Friends Schools League Championship in February, then went on to win the PAISAA state championship. 

And, for the first time in Westtown School’s history, one of our varsity teams was invited to a National Tournament! Coming off of back-to-back PAISAA State Championships, our girls basketball team was invited to GEICO Nationals during the first weekend in April. This invitation-only event featured the best high school basketball teams in the country and included eight boys teams and four girls teams. Their game against top-seeded Monteverde School was aired on ESPNU and shown in the East Collecting Room, where students, faculty, and staff gathered to watch and cheer them on! The girls played hard, fought valiantly, and represented themselves and our school extremely well, ultimately falling to Monteverde 58-51. Given their young roster, including three eighth graders, there is no doubt this will be a team to watch for years to come.

Wrestling Team FSL Champions

The wrestling team, under the leadership of Jay Farrow, won its 25th FSL Championship this season! It was a storybook ending in which the FSL Championship meet between ANC and Westtown hung in the balance until the last match of the day. As fate would have it, the Westtown wrestler was a first year wrestler who had not won a match all season—and he was facing an experienced ANC foe.  As you may have deduced, our novice wrestler was victorious, securing the win for Westtown!

Friends Schools League Honorees

Westtown had 17 student athletes recognized as FSL All League or Honorable Mentions this winter, more than any other FSL school! Join us in congratulating the following student athletes:

Boys Basketball: Matt Mayock ’23
Girls Basketball: Grace Sundback ’23, Joniyah Bland-Fitzpatrick ’23, Savannah Curry ’24, Jordyn Palmer ’27, Zahra King ’24
Wrestling:  Titus Henderson ’23, Ryan Tookes ’24, Ryder Tookes ’27, Luke Holgate ’24, Sam Olojo ’24, Will Nangle ’24

Honorable Mentions: 
Boys Basketball: Jayden Forsythe ’25
Girls Basketball: Atlee Vanesko ’26, Jessie Moses ’27
Wrestling: Santi Benbow ’23, Nick Ross ’23


Waring Award Winners

We also congratulate this year’s winter sport Waring Award winners. The Waring Award recognizes athletes who may not have titles and accolades, but who tirelessly strive for excellence, persevere through hardship, and elevate their teammates with their positive attitudes. It is for those who have devoted their hearts and souls to their teammates, their coaches, and their school. The recipients are:  Santi Benbow ’23, Atlee Vanesko ’26, and Noah Fisher ’23!

Community/Alums Basketball Game

The annual Alums/Community Basketball Game had a great turnout this year, and we were happy to welcome alums back to campus! Jair Bolden ’16, founder of the Grey Rose Foundation, came back to play in the game, and provided the boys’ varsity team with Grey Rose Foundation T-Shirts for warmups on Saturday. It was great to see so many alums on the court! You can see more photos from the game here

Enhancing the Collection: Pottery Donations to Westtown School

In September, Amy Hart, a 90-year-old former ceramics teacher in Swarthmore reached out to Westtown to consider donating a collection of pottery and other materials to the school. Hart is a prolific arts educator in the region and had friendships with major figures in American pottery and pedagogy such as Paulus Berensohn and M.C. Richards. Westtown was suggested as a potential home for these pieces thanks to the suggestion of Hart’s friend, retired Westtown ceramics teacher Joyce Nagata

In this donation, Hart has gifted Westtown with pieces by Berensohn, Ruth Duckworth, and Karen Karnes. Further, to build on this donation, iconic Philadelphia gallery owners Rick and Ruth Snyderman have also donated a piece by Berensohn to Westtown. Berensohn has direct ties to Westtown, as he was an artist in residence in 1993. He worked with students in all divisions and delivered a lecture on his cutting-edge arts pedagogy.

In addition to the pottery collection, Hart donated a wide variety of classroom and research materials to Westtown. This donation included art books for the Lower School and Upper School libraries, 20 Native American rattles made of various materials, 22 carved spoons made of various materials, six Native American Zuni small stone fetishes, a large collection of minerals, fossils, ivory, shells and a completely intact ostrich egg on a hand-made ceramic base.

This donation comes at a time when Middle School art teacher Cindy Hodgson is conducting a project to consider the history of pottery at Westtown in collaboration with the Archives. Further, an anonymous donor purchased pottery by Joyce Nagata and current ceramics teacher Stephanie Wilhelm for the school’s permanent collection, as well as a ceramic piece by Cara Graver, former longtime Westtown art teacher. The donations honor a history connecting Quakerism and pottery in Chester County, as outlined in the book, The Potters and Potteries of Chester County by Westtown alum Arthur E. James. 

“There is a thread connecting Quakerism, American pottery, Chester County, and Westtown School,” reflects Alex Ates, Director of PK-12 Visual and Performing Arts. “For example, Paulus Berensohn—who is widely credited for changing the course of American Ceramics education—was greatly influenced by Quaker mysticism and was a guest artist at Westtown. Amy Hart’s generous donation honors Westtown’s marvelous legacy of encouraging ‘the living arts.’ Indeed, these pieces will now live on campus with us, inspiring and teaching students for generations to come.”

You can explore the gallery of these wonderful donated pieces here

Bowl by Upper School Art Teacher Stephanie Wilhelm

WAA Board Approves Name Change

On March 29 at 6:30 p.m., the Westtown Alumni Association Board held a Called Meeting for Business to discern changing the name of the Westtown Alumni Association to the Westtown Alums Association. This change was proposed to match Westtown’s style convention of using “alums” in place of “alumni/ae/x” to simplify communications and be explicitly gender inclusive.

We are pleased to announce that our proposal was accepted at this meeting, and our official name is now the Westtown Alums Association.

On behalf of all of our members, the WAA board would like to thank everyone who attended the Called Meeting. If you have any follow-up questions, please email [email protected]

A Well-Lit Path Blog: New Post

Why does gender-inclusive language matter? Louisa Egan-Brad, Dean of Equity, Justice, and Belonging, shares her thoughts in this post on our blog.

Alum Visits History Class

Upper School history teacher Dan Burger-Lenehan, invited Andrew Richardson ’02 to a Zoom Q&A session with his  9/11 and U.S.-Middle East Relations classes. Burger-Lenehan shares, “Andrew is a counterterrorism analyst in the NYPD’s Intelligence Bureau. The students in my course just wrapped up a unit on terrorism that covered both 9/11 and the more recent surge in far-right domestic terrorism, so Andrew’s work is very relevant to what they’ve been studying.” Students enjoyed the presentation and had many questions for Richardson. 

This is just one example of how alums’ experiences can enrich learning for our students. We welcome and invite alums to engage with our students, and to share their professional experiences.  If you are interested, please be in touch with Domi Waldron, Director of Alums Engagement. 

Alums Weekend 2023 is coming soon!

We look forward to welcoming you back to Westtown for Alums Weekend on May 19-21, 2023! This year we will celebrate reunions for classes ending in three and eight, including special 50th reunion gatherings for the Class of 1973. More information about the weekend can be found on our website and you can check out this page  for details about how to register. See you back in ‘Town!

MS_Icecream _Social22-28
ISSUE I 2022-2023

New Partnership!

Westtown School and Christa Barfield, owner and operator of FarmerJawn Agriculture, are proud to announce a new partnership. Effective January 1, 2023, Barfield will lease 123 acres of the school’s campus to create an organic farm with an unconventional model.

Both stewardship of the land and the educational potential of Westtown’s 600 acres has long been a focus of the school. This intentional work is prioritized in the school’s Strategic Vision alongside a commitment to fostering equity, access, inclusion, and belonging.  

A portion of the school’s land has been leased for farming use since 1996. Upon the announcement of current farmer Pete Flynn’s retirement, the school began a search for a partner with a commitment to a reciprocal, regenerative, and restorative relationship with the land. The school created a Farmland Task Force and commenced a months-long search for a mission-aligned partner. Head of School Chris Benbow shares, “The task force was impressed by Barfield’s experience, approach, and strong alignment with the school’s mission and Strategic Vision and is pleased to invite her to campus as our new partner.”  

Barfield is a dynamic entrepreneur and a passionate advocate for healthy, organic food and for regenerative farming practices, with a vision to restore access to farmland and farming for Black farmers. She currently operates two Philadelphia-area businesses—FarmerJawn Agriculture and Viva Tea Leaf. Her organization includes a retail and garden learning center in Germantown, a community-supported agriculture (CSA) business, and five acres of farmland in Elkins Park.  Barfield shares, “FarmerJawn is excited to expand our regional network to Westtown School to create a just food system that perpetuates regenerative and organic health for people and the planet.

Barfield will farm half the land and use it to stock the farm market already located on the premises. The farm market will operate under a new name and will eventually include a CSA, prepared foods, and other locally grown and sourced products. The remaining acreage will become a “farming incubator,” comprising five ten-acre cooperative farms operated by a cohort of Black farmers. This incubator model will offer educational development opportunities and a “pathway to entrepreneurship” via sales at the farm market.

Quakers and Working Toward an ABAR Community
By Louisa Egan Brad, Dean of Equity, Justice, and Belonging

At a parent speaker series talk and at a faculty/staff Opening-of-School session this fall, I opened with the following quote from the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC). After you read it, I’d like you to guess what year it was written.

The need for [action beyond nondiscrimination] derives from the fact that discrimination is embedded in our societal patterns of education, housing, employment, social interaction, and political participation. These patterns are so pervasive that frequently neither their perpetrators nor their victims realize when and how discriminatory acts are being committed. AFSC is part of this society and has, generally unwillingly, fallen into some of the very activities and behavior patterns it seeks to avoid in itself and to change in others. In these circumstances, policies of nondiscrimination alone are inadequate to achieve inclusiveness and full participation. Special efforts and procedures to reach out to previously excluded groups are necessary…AFSC believes that the greater inclusiveness which is the goal of [action beyond nondiscrimination] is necessary for us to do our work effectively as a Quaker organization seeking to understand and address questions of oppression, empowerment, justice and peace…The objective of the plan is to change those patterns which have not so far produced the inclusiveness we seek and to try new ways to reach long established goals.

When do you think the text above was written?

Click here to see the answer:

American Friends Service Committee “Affirmative Action Plan” 1978

To me, this statement reads as though it could have easily been written sometime after the murder of George Floyd. The recognition of discrimination throughout American society, the acknowledgement that individuals may participate in and perpetuate discrimination unconsciously, the appreciation that inaction itself reproduces societal inequities–all of these ring true as realizations that have dawned on many in our country only since the summer of 2020.

And yet, Quakers stated these truths plainly over 40 years ago. Is this simply an accident of history? The introduction of the affirmative action plan indicates not, stating that “Implicit in both Quaker faith and practice is the belief that God is an active force, using men and women as instruments in order to bring society to a more perfect state…To be instruments of Divine Will, men and women need to be free of the weight of oppression and harmful discrimination.” Such sentiment underlies a long history of Quaker social activism–while certainly not every Quaker has always been on the right side of history, Quakers have been trailblazers with respect to social justice, with respect to abolition, women’s suffrage, gay rights, and other issues.

At Westtown, our Quaker identity and mission guide our equity, justice, and belonging work and our commitment to working towards an anti-bias, anti-racist (ABAR) community. This work for us is not a digression from our purpose or a mere reflection of broader American culture in our time. Rather, it is central to the work and privilege of teaching and learning in a Quaker school. 

Art and Faith Exhibit

This fall Westtown’s Center for the Living Arts Gallery hosted the “Art and Faith” Exhibit to mark the 70th anniversary of Fritz Eichenberg’s Art and Faith Pendle Hill pamphlet, which considered the role of art at Westtown School. The exhibit featured original prints by Eichenberg from Westtown’s permanent collection, and works by Quaker artist Todd Drake, students, and faculty. 

In 1954, Fritz Eichenberg, a German-born committed Quaker—and one of the most prominent visual arts educators of his time—visited Westtown’s campus to speak about the arts as an extension of the school’s essence. Two years prior, Eichenberg published his thoughts in a Pendle Hill pamphlet, Art and Faith. This is the 70th anniversary of that radical little work. 

Fritz Eichenberg (b. 1901, Cologne, Germany; d. 1990, Rhode Island) was a popular German-American illustrator, speaker, and educator. Eichenberg held prominent posts at the Pratt Institute in New York City and the University of Rhode Island. He fled the rise of Nazism in 1933 and was involved in the Works Progress Administration’s Federal Arts Project during the Great Depression. A committed Quaker, Eichenberg’s art often focused on social justice topics. As a writer, Eichenberg composed radical pamphlets for the nearby Quaker education and retreat center, Pendle Hill. As a teacher, Eichenberg was well-known for his “The Art of Teaching Art” lecture. Perhaps, though, Eichenberg is best known as an illustrator of classic novels and for Dorothy Day’s The Catholic Worker radical newspaper. In the 1950s, Eichenberg visited Westtown’s campus as part of his ongoing participation in The Society of Friends and arts education.    

Todd Drake (b. 1961, North Carolina) is an American interdisciplinary artist, activist, and educator who lives in New York City. The recipient of multiple grants and fellowships, Drake has traveled globally to facilitate social justice-oriented arts projects. Alongside his wife, Drake is the co-operator of a Quaker intentional community in Manhattan, Penington Friends House. Drake’s most recent solo exhibition was “Rising,” a series of prints and pen and ink drawings dealing with the issue of Global Warming. His surrealistic imagery links his experiences growing up on the Outer Banks of North Carolina with his concerns for what will be lost due to the rising tides of the Climate Crisis. Recently, Friends Journal published Drake’s “The Leading of Hope.” 

Director of Visual and Performing Arts Alex Ates was instrumental in bringing this exhibit to life, and the idea came to him during his visit to Pendle Hill, a Quaker retreat and conference center. “The exhibit was inspired when I read Eichenberg’s Pendle Hill pamphlet Art and Faith while I was on retreat there,” says Ates. “I was stunned by the clear and vigorous way that Eichenberg connected Quakerism and art. I was further surprised to learn that Eichenberg has strong ties to Westtown, as the school invited him to speak on campus in the 1950s and purchased several of his prints for our permanent collection. When I visited the pieces in Westtown’s Archives, I was struck by the fact that Westtown has been exploring the relationship between artistic creativity and faith for quite a long time—and the past can help embolden our future as we continue those conversations today. And, it just so happened, this year marked 70 years since Eichenberg’s pamphlet was published! Immediately, I knew to pull in my colleague Lizzy Oxler, who just completed her doctoral research on Folklore, to support this exploration as curator.”

The Art and Faith exhibit ran from September 16 through October 22, 2022.  The exhibit’s opening celebration included remarks from curator English teacher Lizzy Oxler, Head of School Chris Benbow ’90, and Pendle Hill Executive Director, Westtown trustee, and parent Francisco Burgos, along with an original piano composition entitled Looking for the Light, by Mandy Zhao ’24. During the exhibition, students from across divisions had interactive experiences with the work, from an image scavenger hunt and question series for Lower School students to reflective writing prompts for Upper School English classes. 

As highlighted in the exhibit’s opening note: “Eichenberg wrote that while he lives in the Age of the Atom ‘under the shadow of the Terrible Cloud,’ he remains hopeful at the promise of art and what art can do, noting that art itself ‘has survived all cataclysms.’  In our own community, we reflect on our own version of the ‘Age of the Atom.’ We continue to live in a world of nuclear volatility and political vulnerability. And, not to mention the ever-present hum of the COVID-19 pandemic. Still, we came together during Meeting for Worship, we still created productions; those practices continued and they can live together—they do right here, right where you stand. This exhibit is a timeline of the progression of these twinned spaces of art and faith, a meditation on the relationship as perceived by members of the community.

The arts have flourished at Westtown. We live in a space where art and faith are intertwined and cohesive. Bold arts education will grow at Westtown because the seeds have already been planted. So, we invite you to look forward to our past and our present.” Please enjoy photos of the exhibit here


Serving the Community

At Westtown, service learning is an integral part of curriculum and all students have a variety of opportunities to engage in service projects throughout their school careers. In the Upper School, Service Network, a co-curricular offering, provides regular and ongoing projects for students. This fall, students in Service Network and a group of upper-level Spanish students took on some special community projects. 

Last spring, Service Network students worked with Farmer Bill on the Chester County Food Bank farm (grown on the Westtown School farm in partnership with Farmer Pete Flynn). They planted kale, beets, and a variety of greens—about 900 plants in total. Just before Thanksgiving this year, the plants were harvested providing quite a bounty for the CCFB.

Full-grown kale before this fall’s harvest

The Service Network’s partnership with  Cradles to Crayons has also continued. Students recently spent an afternoon at the Philadelphia location to rehabilitate and clean used shoes to be distributed to children in the area. Service Network Coordinator Lara Freeman shares, “The work was tedious and required much elbow grease but the students were joyful and committed to the task!” 

Throughout the fall, Service Network offered donation boxes around campus collecting items in support of the West Chester Food Cupboard. Students drop off donations a couple times each season. So far this year, over 150.5 pounds of food and personal care items have been donated. If you’re on campus and would like to contribute, there is a box on the East End of the Main Building. 

Service Network co-curricular students also provide tutoring for the New Directions Program at the Melton Center in West Chester twice a week, they work at the SPCA in Brandywine once a week, and they make regular visits to volunteer at the Habitat ReStore on Saturdays to support the fundraising leg of Habitat for Humanity. Upcoming service opportunities will include a build project with Habitat for Humanity and a seed sorting project through the Cooperative Gardens Commission in which students will sort and make small packs of seeds for individual gardeners that will be sent to Seed Hubs around the country. Last year, this volunteer-led effort provided food for 20,000 people. 

Beginning in September, 10 students have participated in a unique service partnership at the Iglesia Buen Samaritanos in West Chester. The members of this church are primarily Spanish speaking and a number of them wanted to either improve their English or begin to learn English for the first time. Students involved in this project are: Alena Zhang ’24, Luke Cogswell ’24, Dane Clunk ’23, Noah Bay ’23, Chloe Costa-Baker ’23, Melanie Flynn ’23, Antonio Ubiera ’25, Bailey Tuckman ’25, Helena McConatha-Rosle ’24, and Maya Jain ’24, all of whom have completed Level 4 or above of our Spanish program and wish to practice both their linguistic and cultural competency in Spanish in the local community.  

Each Monday evening, these students met with Spanish teacher Cynthia Voorhees to reflect on the previous week, and make their lesson plans for the week. On Tuesday evenings, they went to the church to teach English from 7:00-8:30 p.m. Voorhees stresses that this is a significant time commitment for students on top of their regular course work.  

Eight students were paired with adults or children at the church to teach them English, and two students also taught a basic technology skills class to the Spanish-speaking adults in the community. These classes were to help adults become more comfortable with creating gmail accounts, sending emails and files, and creating Google slide presentations. All teaching in this program was done in Spanish. The tech class has now concluded, but the English classes will continue through mid-January. In February, our students will be volunteering as child-care givers while adults in the church community are engaged in another course at the church. 

Voorhees shares, “The mutually beneficial partnership that we have formed with this church is truly a beautiful thing. We are serving them, but they are also serving us by allowing us to learn more about their culture, practice our Spanish, and to grow as teachers and care-givers. Some really beautiful friendships have evolved between our students and the folks at the church. I love that our kids are making friends outside their age-bracket, socio-economic bracket, and their own culture.” Just before Winter Break, students gathered with the members of the church enrolled in the English program for a holiday dinner sponsored by Lara Freeman and the Service Network program.



Opening of School

It is a marvelous thing when students return to campus each fall. Student return is incremental and happens in stages  —athletes arrive for presesaon, then international students, then student leaders, then new students — until at last all students have returned; in all this year, 696 students!

The Opening-of-School process includes orientation sessions, team-building exercises, and fun events for students and families to get to know the school and one another, such as the Lower School Sneak-A-Peak  and the  Middle School Ice Cream Social.

In the Upper School, great care is taken to make students feel welcome and at home, especially those coming from great distances. This year we welcomed students from 21 states and 18 countries! Check out some of  activities offered to students, from special orientation sessions for internationals students to team-building, to a special BBQ, to a night out at Ice Line for ice skating.

Middle School Ice Cream Social


Student leaders help on dorm on move-in day!

Lower School Mask Parade

During Lower School art classes, students have been working hard on designing and creating masks for our Halloween Mask Parade — a Westtown tradition that is over forty years old.  Students’ families lined the parade route, cheering on our masked artists. While our parade coincides with Halloween, it is more than just a spooky surprise. The parade showcases our young artists and their creativity.  See the parade of masks here! 

Mid-Autumn Festival

Students in Middle and Upper School Mandarin Chinese classes learned to make one kind of mooncakes as part of the celebration of the Mid-Autumn Festival. In China, Mid-Autumn Festival is a celebration of the rice harvest and many fruits. Ceremonies are held both to give thanks for the harvest and to encourage the harvest-giving light to return again in the coming year. Mooncakes are offered between friends or at family gatherings while celebrating the festival. Check out the beautiful (and delicious) work of our students here!

7th Grade Canoe Trip

In September, 7th graders traveled to the Delaware Water Gap for their canoe trip. These annual trips have been a signature program in the Middle School for over 40 years, and students experience a trip in each grade of Middle School, with the challenges deepening as the students get older. The placement of the 7th grade tip at the beginning of the school year is intentional, as this trip is often a formative experience for students, resulting in deeper relationships with peers and faculty, an increased sense of self-confidence and a belief in their ability to overcome obstacles both individually and as a group. This canoe trip is also an integral component of community building as they enter their 7th grade year.

The students  paddled a section of the Delaware River located in the beautiful Delaware Water Gap Recreation Area on the border of Pennsylvania and New Jersey. They carried everything with them on the river and camped as they traveled downstream. All students were engaged in the meaningful work of: traveling as a large group down the river, tent setup, preparation and clean up of meals, fire building, packing and unpacking of canoes, etc. Students learned navigation skills and had several opportunities to practice leadership in small and large groups. Students also continued their understanding of Leave No Trace (LNT) wilderness travel practices that they began working on in their 6th grade Outdoor Education. Director of Outdoor Education Chris Costa said of their experience, “We had a fantastic time that included lots of animal sightings (Bald Eagles, too!), delicious food, just enough wind and rain to develop some resilience and grit, plenty of sunshine, and lots of laughs and community building!” 

Enjoy the entire gallery of photos from this fun trip here.

Outdoor Education Hiking Trip

This fall, 10 Upper School students hiked 14 miles with heavy packs on steep and rocky terrain on the Appalachian Trail during the Outdoor Education Fall Backpacking Trip. Students carried everything they needed for the weekend on their backs, and learned how to live and travel in the backcountry, including how to work within a group to treat their water, set up camp, build a fire, protect their food from bears, and navigate with a map and compass. Chris Costa, Director of Outdoor Education reports, “Our overnight/morning temperatures were in the low 40s to mid-30s and students layered up and stayed positive. They spent time reflecting together and laughing a lot. They showed great leadership in their support for one another and their ability to meet and push their edges.”  See more from their experience here.


Arts and Activism

In teacher Megan Rose’s Middle School class “Arts and Activism,” students explore artists who use their mediums for expressions of activism and to bring attention to social issues. They studied artists like Andy Goldsworthy, Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Michelle Angela Ortiz and others. They created their own stencils, posters, and natural art works inspired by these artists.

Some of the projects in this class supported Fairhill Burial Ground including field trips where students deepened their acknowledgement of Lenape culture and heritage.  

Creating leaf art inspired by artist and environmentalist Andy Goldsworthy
Field trip to Fairhill Burial Grounds

Upper School International Festival

Sunday December 3, 2022  was our annual International Festival. This long-standing event celebrates our diverse community at Westtown. Our students, families, and faculty set up stations in Main Hall classrooms and offered snacks, games, presentations, and opportunities for connection and conversation about their cultural heritage. Our thanks to teachers Bei Zhang and Rose Koenig, International Student Coordinators, who made this event possible, and to all the students and families who shared their cultures, foods, and languages with us! Visit the gallery here to see more!

National Merit Scholars and Commended Students

Congratulations to our National Merit Scholarship Semi-Finalists (left to right): Sean (Zihan) Dong ’23, Milo Salvucci ’23 Eric Ochis ’23, and Chloe Costa Baker ’23! Each year, the National Merit Scholarship Program “recognizes individual students who show exceptional academic ability and potential for success in rigorous college studies.”

We also offer our congratulations to the  National Merit Scholarship Commended Students, seniors Sahil Mitra, Taehyung Kim, and Sam Tan!  These students are recognized by the National Merit Scholarship Program for “exceptional academic promise demonstrated by their outstanding performance on the qualifying test.”


Twelfth Night

The Upper School production of Twelfth Night was amazing! This new, energetic adaptation of Twelfth Night — Shakespeare’s beloved comedy of mistaken identity, love triangles, music, and mischief — was a delight. Kudos to all the students, both center stage and back stage, who brought this play to life!

Westtown commissioned this original adaptation by the New Orleans-based writer and actor James Bartelle. Bartelle came to campus to have conversations with students about Shakespeare, acting, playwriting, and the process of adapting Twelfth Night. He stayed on campus for the run of the performances and engaged with classroom activities and events along with teacher Alex Ates, Theater Director and Director of Visual and Performing Arts. Our thanks to James Bartelle for sharing his time with our students! 

Enjoy the gallery of photos from the production here. 


Falling Back Into Dance

In case you missed the Fall Dance Concert, you can see a gallery of our talented dancers performing here

Ancient Seeds

Descendants of ancient watermelon seeds were cultivated by the Jordan family and shared with third graders this fall. This seed story actually begins in the last centur —and across the country. In the late 1920s, plant expert Art Combe was exploring a cave in Arizona’s Mogollon Rim. He found a small clay pot filled with watermelon seeds believed to be hundreds, perhaps thousands, of years old stored by Native Americans in the area. Combe planted some of the seeds he found and the fruit the plants bore were small and crook necked, but very flavorful. Over decades, these seeds were cultivated and seed-saving preserved and propagated this particular type of watermelon. Fast forward to last summer when Upper School science teacher Steve Compton obtained some of the seeds descended from those found in the cave and gave them to Associate Director of Admission Samantha Jordan ’01 and her family who planted them. Sam and her son, Tommy ’ 32, shared some of their watermelon harvest with Tommy’s classmates in third grade earlier this fall. The students learned about these heirloom seeds, and Farmer Tim Mountz used the opportunity to teach the students about seed saving and heirloom plants. Finally, they all got to see the “big reveal” when the watermelon from the Jordan’s garden was cut open, and they all got to share in tasting it. Students reported that it was “very sweet, even though it was light pink inside.” When the tasting was complete, third graders collected the seeds from the watermelon to continue the seed-saving process for this unique variety of watermelon. Enjoy the gallery here!

Metal Moose Specialty Drive Team!

Back in September, a contingent of the Metal Moose Robotics team traveled to an off-season competition which featured all-women drive teams. Westtown’s Metal Moose ran the field and won the competition! Team faculty advisor Steve Compton says, “The event offered both returning and students new to robotics opportunities to learn to drive, operate, and fix the robot. The operators for this competition: were Liana Jimenez ’25, Lucia Sanchez ’24, Emily Kessler ’25, Aveline Heryer ’25, Jessie Wang ’26, and Zoe Malavolta ’23. Congratulations!! 

Echo Hill

5th Graders got back to their annual camping trip to Echo Hill Outdoor School, an outdoor education camp by the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland. Students had a blast canoeing, attending ecology classes, learning survival skills, engaging in bay studies, and more. The experiences help them build independence, learn about themselves and classmates, and do things they may have never done before. Science teacher Amanda Jeane Strode shared some of the highlights this year which included: “kissing fish, night hiking, and weighing the S.L.O.P. (stuff left on plate) at each meal.” What a great trip! Enjoy the whole gallery of photos here.

Learning to Build Healthy Communities

Just before break, third graders gave presentations of their community maps depicting communities that they created that represented their ideal. Third grade teacher Kristin Hayman explains, “Our Community Unit started with the essential question, How can we make the world a better place? We started with discussions on perspective and map skills, including learning about map keys and the compass rose. Many picture books were read to the class to gain a better understanding of a variety of topics: imagined communities, clean energy, trash removal, and stories focused on diversity. [We talked about the] concepts of rural, suburban, urban, and the importance of sustainability. The students went on a field trip to Swarthmore where they experienced walking through and learning about community helper’s jobs, sustainability, and how a community can use their environment renewably. We also went on a field trip to Republic Services Conestoga Landfill to learn about how much trash people generate and what we are doing to handle the incredible amount of garbage created. [Groups of] students then created individual maps about what their ideal community would look like. They prototyped buildings and other structures, which led to the creation of 3D maps of their communities.” Art teacher Kelly Nicholson taught the students how to draw a geometric compass rose, which they illustrated and colored with watercolor pencils. Additionally, Science Teacher Amanda Jeane Strode taught a unit on electricity and circuits, which allowed the groups to “electrify” their maps using light bulbs and motors. At the presentation for their parents, each of the groups described their communities, read their “constitutions” and missions, and shared what they were most proud of on their community maps.  You can enjoy the gallery of photos here!

Fall Sports Roundup

Girls Soccer
Congratulations to the girls varsity soccer team, Friends Schools League Champions! The team were also semi-finalists in the PAISAA State Tournament. We offer our congratulations as well to the Friends Schools League All-League honorees and Honorable Mentions (HM): Brianna Bartsch ’26, Olivia Bley ’24, Juliana Del Beato ’26, Lacey Jackson ’25, Berta Grohmann Llinares ’24, Camille Bley ’26 (HM), Lucy Smith ’26 (HM). Olivia Bley was also named an All-State and All Southeastern PA player! 

We celebrate the following student athletes who were named Friends Schools League (FSL) All-League players and Honorable Mention (HM) in their respective sports: 

Field Hockey

  • Grace Malavolta ’25, Grace Rhile ’23, Zoe Malavolta ’23 (HM)

Boys Soccer

  • Josiah Moore ’23, Carlos Salazar ’25, Tee Johnson ’23, Leo Salvucci ’24 (HM)

Cross Country

  • Jamilla Derga ’24 and  Santi Benbow ’23

Girls Tennis

  • Leah Stern ’23, Sasha Khalo ’24 (HM)


At the fall sports award ceremony, two students were given the Waring Award: Josiah Moore ’23 (soccer) and Mariana Ortiz ’24 (soccer).  The Waring Award is given at the culmination of each sport season to the student athlete(s) who have dedicated themselves day in and day out, in service of their school, teammates, and coaches.  This award is intended to lift up those who constantly strive for improvement, who persevere when things are tough, and who lift up those around them with their tireless effort and positive attitude.  This award is for those who never took a drill off, always received constructive feedback with a smile, and poured their heart and soul into their sport and their team.  The Waring Award is for those athletes who may not necessarily have the titles and the accolades but go out and grind for the love of the game.  The recipient(s) of this award are nominated by their coaching staff and selected by the athletic department. Congratulations, Josiah and Mariana! 

FallFest Was a Smash!

In September, hundreds campus to join us for FallFest 2022! There were games, activities, and food trucks, but most of all — FUN! We offer special thanks to our community of volunteers who helped make it all possible, and to event planner extraordinaire Megan Schlickmann!

Enjoy the gallery of photos here! 



Campus Nature Walk

In November, we hosted the Second Annual Campus Nature Walk.  The nature walk was led and curated by Chris Costa, Director of Outdoor Education, and Marta Willgoose Salo, Middle School faculty member and naturalist. Participants got the opportunity to learn more about the flora and fauna of our campus, and simply enjoy being together in nature. Thanks to all who joined us for this educational, community-building event! You can enjoy photos from the nature walk here

Middle and Upper School Parents’/Guardians’ Days

It’s always exciting to welcome families to campus so they can get a taste of what school is like for their kids, sample classes, and meet teachers and advisors! In case you missed seeing the galleries on our social media platforms, here are the galleries of the Upper School and Middle School Parents/Guardians’ Days. Enjoy!

Alums Weekend 2023

We look forward to welcoming you back to Westtown for Alums Weekend on May 19-21, 2023! This year we will celebrate reunions for classes ending in three and eight, including special 50th reunion gatherings for the Class of 1973. More information about the weekend can be found on our website. Bookmark this page and check back this winter for details about how to register. See you back in ‘Town!
Class of 2022 Commencement Portrait

Congratulations to the Class of 2022! 

On June 11, 2022, the Class of 2022 received their diplomas in the Greenwood and joined our vast, global network of alums. You can see videos of the student speakers, photo galleries, and learn about their college destinations on this page of our website. Take a moment to check it out! Watch the full Commencement ceremony below.

Moving Up!

On Wednesday, June 8, 2022, eighth grade families gathered in the theater for the Eighth Grade Closing Ceremony. Each student was presented with a certificate and a “SPARK jar.” SPARK—an acronym for Spirit, Participation, Academic Excellence, Respect, and Kindness— represents important community values. Each jar was filled with slips of paper with messages from faculty, family members, and friends honoring their unique gifts. As the students were presented with their certificates and SPARK jars, recordings of each students’ reflection on their time in Middle School were shared.  Enjoy the entire gallery of photos from the closing ceremony here. 

On Thursday, June 9, 2022, families, Lower School students, and faculty gathered in the Meeting House for the Fifth Grade Closing Meeting for Worship— the Meeting to celebrate their graduation from Lower School. From the facing benches, each fifth grader stood and spoke about their time in Lower School, as is tradition, and families and teachers spoke out of the shared silence in the worship time that followed. Visit our gallery to see more photos from this special day! 

Congratulations to all our students who are moving on to the next phase of their academic careers!

College Shirt Day 

College Shirt Day is one way we celebrate our seniors’ college choices. They donned their gear and stopped by the South Room for a photoshoot on May 2, the day after National Decision Day. They had a lot of fun with this visual celebration of the next phase in their lives! Check out our College Shirt Day gallery to see where some are headed!

Inspired to Act: Third Grade Ukraine Project 

The third grade was studying the geography of Europe when the Russian invasion of Ukraine began in late February. The day after the invasion, students approached Teachers Vicki Shelter and Kristin Hayman and told them they wanted to find a way to help the people in Ukraine — and so began discussion of a fundraiser. But first, the teachers and students educated themselves. The students read articles about the situation on Newsela, a news website for young students, and discussed what they were learning. 

During this learning phase, third grader Madison Long received a letter from her great aunt who lives in Kraków, Poland. She described the influx of refugees and how the Polish people were helping the Ukrainian people. This letter — described as “poetic” by the teachers — further motivated the students. They decided to make and sell buttons to raise funds for Ukraine, and formed committees to concentrate on specific aspects of the project:  letter writing to administrators to ask permission to undertake the project and to update them on their progress; button design and crafting; advertising; research and goal setting to set fundraising goals, explore organizations to which they could send the money; and, presentation — a committee that created a presentation for the Lower School to describe what and why they were launching this service project. 

After obtaining permission to move the project forward, the Design Committee presented their designs,  third graders selected a few designs to focus on, and button making began. The Advertising Committee began to make posters to place around Westtown’s campus. The Presentation Committee made announcements at Lower School Gathering. The Research and Goal-Setting Committee determined that Save the Children would be the recipient of their fundraising efforts. They set a goal of $2500.00. 

The Writing Committee got busy and secured permission to have a table at Spring Fest; they also wrote to parents asking them to help make baked goods. Head of School Chris Benbow came to third grade to share his support for the project. Finally, the day arrived. The students sold buttons, baked goods, lemonade, and jewelry that they had made in Metalsmithing, an afternoon club taught by Martin Moon ’09. It was a busy and successful day. 

The fundraiser, which also included bake sales and a table with buttons and baked good at Spring Fest,  was highly successful as well, with third graders making nearly $2300.  The Long family decided that they wanted to buy the remaining buttons and send them to Poland to give to the Ukrainian children now living there. The students were very excited to have their buttons sent to Poland and the family’s contribution helped them reach their goal. Teachers Shelter and Hayman recently received word that the buttons have arrived in Poland. The class also received  matching donations from GlaxoSmithKline, so, in the end, they collected $4500.00 for Save the Children. Well done, third grade! 

Third Annual Westtown School Chapter of the National Chinese Honor Society Induction Ceremony

The National Chinese Honor Society was established in November 1993. Its objective is to acknowledge the superior achievement of secondary school students studying Chinese as a second language. Like other honor societies, the National Chinese Honor Society not only recognizes high scholastic achievement but also good character, leadership, and service. National Chinese Honor Society members should exemplify all these standards. The Society’s goal is to promote enthusiasm for Chinese language and culture learning, commitment to advanced study, and greater cross-cultural understanding. 

After reviewing students’ Chinese course work, examining the national standards set forth, and discussing the many qualifications of gifted students, the Westtown School chapter of the National Chinese Honor Society was pleased to induct 25 new members into the society this spring. 

  1. Puddy Boonkongchuen 白振宇
  2. Sierra Brewer 白欣怡
  3. Taj Donald 董俊
  4. Jahlil Gary 葛正雷
  5. Eric Ochis 欧阳恺
  6. Kate Eriksson 宋可人
  7. Sophia Hammond 韩颖
  8. Cat Le Febvre 范诗琪
  9. Livia Resnik 任瑾
  10. Stellablue Robinson 罗梦莹
  11. Ali Zahm 郑彦琳
  12. Giacomo Acciavatti 艾烨
  13. Zach Blumenfeld 毕志诚
  14. Sydney Kostal 李欣玫
  15. Tee Johnson 钟俊潇
  16. Savannah Peischl 潘静雯
  17. Ada Palacios 潘彩婕
  18. Mallory Peters 彭心恬
  19. Camden Chin 陈欣崇
  20. Christina Wilson 李娜
  21. Rylee Boles 鲁晓洁
  22. Carluccio Horton 何斌
  23. Jaydan Riggs 任琪
  24. Nyala Tolfree 童谣
  25. Gab Neal 倪心怡

Congratulations to all!

National Latin Exam Honorees 

Westtown’s Latin students participated in the National Latin Exam, and we celebrate those with special recognitions!  Beginning Latin exam: Nat Schroeder ’25 – gold medal, summa cum laude; William Bradley ’25 – silver medal, maxima cum laude. Intermediate Latin exam: Peishan Huang ’24 – magna cum laude. Advanced reading comprehension exam: Jake Richards ’22 – magna cum laude. 

Fourth Grade Living Museum 

The 4th grade’s final project last spring was a presentation of a Living Museum — a culmination of their deep dive into the lives of historical abolitionists. Throughout the year, their social studies curriculum focuses on the history of this continent from pre-European contact through the abolishment of slavery. It is based on the queries “Who’s telling the story? Whose voices are missing?” and seeks to amplify the voices in history that have often not been heard. From the beginning of the year, teachers Shelagh Wilson ’85 and Colby van Alen build a strong foundation with fourth grade students and lead in-depth conversations with them. They clearly articulate the impact of a young learner embodying the spirit of a person who fought for human rights and, because of this, Westtown fourth graders have access to true and accurate history. Furthermore, they have firsthand knowledge of how people sacrificed their lives to progress towards a fair and just society. At the Living Museum, students portrayed 36 abolitionists they studied sharing their work, struggles, and successes. Well done, fourth graders!

National Merit Scholarship Winner

Jake Richards ’22 is the recipient of a $2500 National Merit Scholarship (NMS). The National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC®) announced this year’s National Merit $2500 Scholarship winners in May, stating, “The 2,500 Merit Scholar designees were chosen from a talent pool of more than 15,000 outstanding Finalists in the 2022 National Merit Scholarship Program. National Merit $2500 Scholarship winners are the Finalists in each state judged to have the strongest combination of accomplishments, skills, and potential for success in rigorous college studies. The number of winners named in each state is proportional to the state’s percentage of the nation’s graduating high school seniors. These Scholars were selected by a committee of college admissions officers and high school counselors, who appraised a substantial amount of information submitted by both the Finalists and their high schools: the academic record, including difficulty level of subjects studied and grades earned; scores from the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®); contributions and leadership in school and community activities; an essay written by the Finalist; and a recommendation written by a high school official.”  Please join us in congratulating Jake on this tremendous achievement!

Seventh Grade Think, Care, Act Fair

The Think, Care, Act Fair is the culmination of a multi-stage project that begins in advisories, where students identify their strengths, affinities, interests, and talents. They then focus on what they care about in the community and the world around us. In the third step, they try to connect the first two pieces into a service project that helps others by putting passions and skills to good use. The final step is to present to their families, teachers, and 6th and 8th grade peers. At the end of the year, 7th grade filled the Uptown Lounge with trifolds and shared their experiences.  Enjoy more photos from the event here

Broken Records!  

Congratulations are in order for Will Nagy ’22 who broke the school record in the 1600 meter run this spring. His time was 4:21.48 besting the old record of 4:23.66 set 33 years ago! Will also earned a Silver Medal in the 800 meter run at the PAISAA championships. Well done, Will!

We offer another round of applause for the Boys Sprint Medley Relay Team — Sam DiStefano ’24Will Nagy ’22, Santi Benbow ’23, and Soren Clunk ’24. They broke the Hill Relays Meet Record and the school record this season. GO ‘TOWN! 

Personal Bests

Join us in congratulating these student-athletes on these achievements in the spring season:

Westtown League of Legends eSports Team finished their Regular Season 13-1 earning them a second place finish. Yoonha Nam ’22 was the #1 overall ranked player in the league, and Andrew Jin ’22 was the #3 ranked player in the league. 

Santi Benbow ’23 earned a gold medal in the javelin at the PAISAA championship. 

Pitchers Jack Ingino ’23 and Taj Donald ’23 both passed the 100 strikeout milestone for their careers this past season!

Pitcher Lucia Sanchez ’24 surpassed the 250+ strikeouts in 20 career games. (Pictured, right)

Congratulations and GO ‘TOWN!

Playing It Forward 

Kaylene Smikle ’22, recipient of Gatorade’s Player of the Year and Play it Forward Spotlight Grant, donated the $10,000 award to Westtown’s girls basketball team. The Gatorade Player of the Year Award recognizes “the nation’s most outstanding high school student-athletes for their athletic excellence, academic achievement and exemplary character.” About her generous donation to her Westtown team Smikle shared, “I believe the program is well deserving of the $10,000 Spotlight Grant. In a short time, the program has prepared me for success at the college level — on and off the court… This is an up [and] coming program that will flourish for many years to come. I am proud to call Westtown my home away from home.”  Smikle also designated Westtown School girls basketball the awardee of another $1,000 grant from Gatorade, making the total gift to the girls basketball program $11,000. Smikle has signed with Rutgers University, where she begins this fall. Congratulations, Kaylene, and our deepest gratitude

Alums Weekend 2022  

In May, we welcomed alums back to campus for Alums Weekend for the first time since 2019. It was wonderful to see old friends reconnect with each other and the school,  to see a full theater for the Westtown Alumni Association Annual meeting, and to witness the traditional roll call of classes. Look for the Alums Weekend and reunion recaps in the next issue of The Westonian.  In the meantime, please enjoy the gallery of photos from the weekend here, and the gallery of reunion class photos here!

Celebrating the Class of 2020 – Again! 

We were thrilled to invite the Class of 2020 — who had a virtual Commencement at the time — back to campus in June! This celebration included the traditional procession into the Greenwood, class photo, plaque dedication, and other special activities for them and their families. You can find more information about this celebration in the next issue of The Westonian, and enjoy the complete gallery of photos here.

Art and Faith 

From September through late October, an exhibit in the Center for the Living Arts gallery will explore the relationship between faith and art at Westtown. The exhibit will feature prints from Westtown’s archives by the highly-regarded German graphic artist Fritz Eichenberg who visited Westtown often in the 1950s. The exhibit will also commemorate the 70th anniversary of the publishing of Eichenberg’s monumental Pendle Hill pamphlet, Art and Faith. “Looking ahead, our tri-divisional Arts Department will consider how the arts are essential to Westtown’s Quaker mission,” said Alex Ates, Director of the Visual and Performing Arts. “Roughly 70 years ago, our school was exploring the inseparability of art and modern Quakerism, so this exhibit is not only a way of looking forward, it’s a way of claiming our history.” In addition to Eichenberg’s prints, the multidisciplinary exhibit will also feature work by current Westtown students and faculty. Teacher Lizzy Oxler is the exhibit’s curator. Oxler, a member of the Upper School English faculty, is a doctoral student in Folklore and Literature and has been a Curatorial and Education Assistant at the Paul and Lulu Hilliard Museum of Art. The exhibit is being produced in collaboration between the Arts Department, Archives, and Advancement. The Westtown community should be on the lookout for additional information about how to engage with the exhibit in the fall.

Save the dates for these community events. All are welcome!  

Saturday, September 24 ~ 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Please join us for food, fellowship, and family fun! This is a carnival-like event for the entire Westtown community. There will be food trucks, games, crafts, prizes, pony rides, tractor rides, a balloon artist, and so much more!  For more information about FallFest or volunteering, please contact Megan Schlickmann at [email protected] or (610) 399-7858.
Third Annual Campus Dog Walk 
Saturday, October 8 ~8:00 – 10:00 a.m.
Enjoy a guided walk through campus with your four-legged friend.  More details about this pawsitively awesome event coming soon!
Second Annual Campus Nature Walk
Saturday, November 5 ~ 10:00 a.m.
Enjoy a curated tour around our beautiful campus.  More details to come! 

New Post on the Well-Lit Path Blog

With school right around the corner,  Westtown School’s Dean of Integrated Wellness and Learning, Dr. Maria Alonso, offers some thoughts for parents to reflect upon, and ways to communicate to their school-aged children, not just at the beginning of the school year but throughout the year. Read the latest post on our blog here

ISSUE 2 2021-2022

April was Earth Month and the community celebrated by demonstrating their commitment to our sustainability practices!  A few highlights include:  

The Lower School is learning by living by invigorating their composting program. Lower School science teacher  Amanda Jeanne Strode and her students explore lessons about food waste, recycling, and evaluating data. You can learn more here.

Our librarians encourage all ages to celebrate Earth Month with a book!  Find one you or your child might enjoy here.

The Sustainability Committee created a calendar with environmentally focused activities for families to enjoy.

The Facilities Department continues their work to find new and environmentally-sensitive ways to keep our campus looking beautiful. They have started using electric, battery-run equipment that not only helps in the efforts to reduce our carbon footprint and air pollution, but also reduces noise pollution.

And finally, Westtown was well represented at the Growing Greener Summit for teachers and administrators on Earth Day at Tower Hill School. Organized by ADVIS, PAISBOA, and PAIS, the Growing Greener Summit had over 180 participants.

Westtown science teacher Dana Jensen and Mary Ann Boyer of Boyer Sudduth Environmental Consultants presented “A Carbon Footprint Challenge©: A Real-World, Solutions-Based Climate Change Project” and Westtown’s Case Study.  Boyer provided an overview of the program and background information. Jensen shared examples of student work where students collected campus greenhouse gas emissions, identified solutions and curated a plan to reduce emissions.

Senior Isabel Yuste gave a presentation about her “Sustainability Deep Dive Certification and Green Coalition Project.” Green Coalition, a student-run environmental advocacy club, connects students with the natural world around them, as well as exposing students to climate justice efforts both locally and globally. Yuste described Westtown’s student-facilitated clothing swap drive that promotes “thrifting” shopping on campus instead of promoting “fast-fashion.” (See more below.)

Westtown’s Director of Outdoor Education, Chris Henwood-Costa, presented “Connecting Students with the Natural World – Critical Step Toward Sustainability” where she focused on outdoor experiential and sensory activities, group discussion and individual reflection. Henwood-Costa sees place-based nature connection work as a critical step toward sustainability.

The Common Market recently presented Westtown School — our Food Services Department in particular — with a Certificate of Support. This certificate recognizes Westtown’s efforts to purchase sustainably farmed local food. Rachel Terry, National Partnerships Director at Common Market, writes, “Congratulations on a tremendous year of supporting local farms! 2021 came paired with undeniable challenges, making your innovation and dedication to getting your communities nutritious, local food all the more inspiring. Your support has also translated to deeply meaningful commitments to our supply chain partners—our sustainable family farms located throughout our region…As local food advocates, you have an enormous opportunity to strengthen the health and wealth of our communities. And your purchases contribute to a food system that works for all. We thank you for choosing to buy local with us. I’m excited to present your organization with a Certificate of Support that highlights your local procurement efforts in 2021, including: The number of regional, family farms your community helped support, the dollar amount your community invested in the local economy, and, the number of pounds of local food your community purchased.” 

As you can see on the certificate, Westtown School supported 34 local farms, invested $41,753 in the local economy, and purchased 30,132 pounds of food locally. We extend our congratulations and thanks to Beth Pellegrino and the entire Food Services team who partner with Common Market and are dedicated to nourishing the community with nutritious, locally sourced, sustainably produced foods!

Each day Alums Weekend draws closer, and we are more excited than ever! Our team has been working hard to ensure that this will be the biggest celebration of Westtown alums since the 1999 Bicentennial. Visit the Alums Weekend website for the most up-to-date information about the weekend, including registration information, a tentative agenda, hotel details, contact information, and more. We cannot wait to see you all back on campus soon!! 

This year’s African Dance performance by third graders was a very special one, as it marked the 20th anniversary of African Dance and the special partnership with Jeannine Osayande and the Dunya Performing Arts Company! This beloved tradition began twenty years ago this past March, when third-grade teachers Vicki Shelter and (at the time) Marc Dear began collaborating with Shelter’s friend and neighbor, Osayande, to teach third graders about the movements and storytelling of African dances and Capoeira, and their origins, symbolism, and impact.

The African Dance performance is a culmination of an extensive unit of study on the continent of Africa and its countries, cultures, and arts and a six-week residency of Osayande and the Dunya Performing Arts Company (DunyaPAC) during which they teach students West African dances and Capoeira. Osayande, Dunya PAC, and the drummers are professional performers whose mission is to teach children about African culture and its diaspora. 

Current third grade teachers Vicki Shelter and Kristin Hayman say that in the unit they ask students to explore the essential question: What are Africa’s gifts to the world? Students work together to study different regions of Africa learning about commodities, tourism, populations, and, importantly, they learn that the continent is made up of 54 countries with distinct cultures and languages. Shelter says that is one way they are trying to break stereotypes about Africa. They also work together to create a topographic map of the continent. In art classes, students learn batik and make their costumes for the performance. This year, in honor of the 20th anniversary, students made commemorative costumes with Teacher Kelly Nicholson, dying fabric indigo. 

For this year’s anniversary performance, Shelter and Hayman invited alums of the African Dance to share their memories. Folasade Beckett ’27 and Kayla Shaffer ’17 took the stage to recount their fond memories. As it happens, Beckett’s sister and Shaffer’s cousin were both performing that day! More community connections were celebrated on the stage as well. Kelly Yiadom, Lower and Middle School Equity and Inclusion Coordinator, and Marissa Colston, Equity and Inclusion Specialist, were classmates of DunyaPAC drummer Alex Shaw at Swarthmore. Yiadom, Colston, and Osayande performed a beautiful dance at this year’s performance, to honor that connection. Finally, the Capoeira demonstration this year was enhanced by third graders Morayo Beckett, Nico Ubiera, and Nico’s father, Antonio Ubiera, who are Capoeira practitioners as well. 

This special day was also marked by a special citation from the state. The citation reads, in part, “Now therefore the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania House of Representatives congratulates Westtown School and Jeannine Osayande & Dunya Performing Arts Company on their 20th anniversary of the program.” 

Osayande reflected, “It has been an honor to be here as part of the Dunya Performing Arts Company over the last 20 years. So much life has been lived and grounding it in the practice of the African Diaspora drum and dance with the third grade has been an incredible journey.”  

We offer our thanks and gratitude to teachers Vicki Shelter, Marc Dear, Kristin Hayman, and to Jeannine Osayande, Daryl Kwasi Burgee, Alex Shaw, and all the talented performers of Dunya Performing Arts Company who have been bringing this rite of passage to the third grade over the last two decades! 

The third graders’ performances, along with the special dances and demonstrations, were exceptional and steeped with special meaning. We encourage you to watch the performance here. You can also enjoy the entire gallery of photos here!

Lower and Middle School students were immersed in the study of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. through art, literature, and music. They gathered to honor Dr. King with poetry, special readings, and song in a special combined assembly for the two divisions. It was a powerful and moving tribute. “This student work demonstrates the culmination of our focus on the pursuit of justice, through non-violence and passive resistance, and also highlights the strength, advocacy, and intellect Black people consistently displayed during this period. Dr. King’s legacy is palpable and lives within the Westtown Lower School community even today,” writes Kelly Yiadom, Lower and Middle School Equity and Inclusion Coordination. You can see an overview of the activities in the video below.

There were a variety of Black History Month activities in all divisions, and in the Upper School, the month concluded with a wonderful Community Dinner organized by the Students of Color Association (SOCA). Enjoy the full gallery of photos here.

The World Languages Department, chaired by Bei Zhang, created a series of activities and events to promote language learning and immersion during the first-annual World Languages Week celebration at Westtown. Activities included Collection-sharing, a pep rally, a special assembly, a club period with language and cultural activities and displays, guided discussions with faculty, and the Language Olympics. Zhang says, “Some of our goals included promoting language acquisition, building cultural competency, providing students a platform to celebrate their success in their language education, and helping students envision their future career paths where they can apply their language skills and cultural knowledge.” For the special assembly, Westtown welcomed Eliza F. Al-Laham ’86. Al-Laham, who speaks Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, and French, Zoomed from her residence in Mexico to share about her career in which fluency in several languages is necessary. She is currently Consul General to Guadalajara, and throughout her career has held a variety of State Department posts around the globe, including Israel, Jordan, and China. Her fascinating presentation concluded with a Q and A session with students. 

Though World Languages Week was planned by language teachers,  it was an all-hands-on-deck undertaking, as all Upper School faculty took part in facilitating events. This week-long celebration was also a unique way to assess and build language acquisition. Students made posters and cheered on their teammates in the languages they are studying, they created language and cultural activities, and teachers created special World Languages Week assignments for students. In one example, Spanish 1 teacher Samantha Godoy asked students to complete a research project on a Latinx musician or artist, which led to an interesting encounter for Kien Dang ’24, who chose to do a project on artist Rocio Navarro. “I noticed how little information I was able to get from the internet as she’s a very new artist…I was able to find Rocio’s Instagram [and] Profe Sam encouraged me to reach out to her,” says Dang. “To my surprise, she did reply! Rocio expressed a lot of excitement, as she was very eager to help with my project. I sent Navarro my questions about her life and her art. I immediately noticed that we have a lot of similarities and had an instant connection to Navarro. She often paints portraits and through these portraits she expresses her emotions. We both love using art as a form of communication and through that also explores our identities, too. I was really happy because through this project, I was able to connect with another artist that also shares the passion for art. I really have to thank Profe Sam because throughout the whole process, she encouraged me and supported me [and] the project introduced me to new vocab words that were very useful for expanding my knowledge of Spanish.” Dang displayed his painting at the cultural stations hosted mid-week, along with works from other students. Other cultural stations included Chinese fan dances, Mardi Gras mask making, a Hannibal exhibit, merengue dance lessons, and many more. 

Finally, the week concluded with the Language Olympics, a field day competition between the four languages: Chinese, French, Latin, and Spanish. There were many event stations, among them a faculty relay race, tug of peace, volleyball, tic-tac-toe relay, rock-paper-scissors race, and more. Students reveled in the friendly, sometimes rowdy competition, and in the fun and unique ways to employ the languages they are learning. Many hats off to Zhang, the World Languages teachers, and the Upper School faculty for this exciting series! You can find lots of photos of the events of the week here

Let’s give a big round of applause for the performers, the behind-the-scenes students, and Teacher Alex Ates, Director of Theater Arts, who put on the Middle School musical, Ellsworth!! About 60 student actors and designers presented this world-premiere musical by James Bartelle and Ayla Miller about a brilliant economics professor (who happens to be a dog) and celebrating what makes you unique. Great job, Middle Schoolers!

Enjoy the whole gallery of photos from the production here. And check out the pre-production work here!

Congratulations to The Metal Moose robotics team who made it all the way to the semifinals before losing to the eventual championship alliance in the FIRST Mid-Atlantic Hatboro-Horsham District Event competition! Their performance assured them a spot in the regional championship at Lehigh, and they were awarded the Creativity in Engineering award for their 360 degree vision targeting shooting turret! At the regional competition, they qualified for the world championship in Houston, where they will be one of 400 teams out of nearly 9,000 registered with the FRC program. The Metal Moose — essentially a rookie team this year — has had a very impressive season! Go ’Town! Go Moose!

Maple sugaring on campus is a tradition that dates back to 1922 or 1923 when Albert Baily, a Botany teacher, incorporated it into his curriculum. The process of tapping the maple trees, collecting the sap, and boiling it down into syrup has continued off and on and in various forms over the last one hundred years. Back in the day, Upper School student leaders oversaw the maple sugaring and were known as “Sap Heads.” Today, the sugaring process is stewarded by Upper School Outdoor Leadership students and students in the Lower School’s Farm and Forest classes under the direction of Chris Costa, Director of Outdoor Leadership, Tim Mountz, Sustainable Agriculture Teacher, and Bruce Harrison ’81 who revived the tradition in the late 90s and has been participating in the process with current students each year since. 

In late February, eight maple trees on campus were tapped by students, including the Grandmother Maple (located across from the Admission Office), which was tapped by first graders. The flow and collection buckets were monitored over a period of about two weeks. On March 8, the boil began in the pit on Sugar Hill, located in the woods behind the Meeting House. The sugaring teams kept watch over the fire, adding sap to the evaporator pan over the span of almost 11 (wet and cold!) hours, then the final cook down was done in the steam kettle in the kitchen for about two and a half hours. The boil began with 98 gallons of sap and it produced 3.75 gallons of syrup. Student groups stopped by the boil to stoke the fire, taste the sap, and observe the production. You can enjoy the gallery of photos here!

Middle School students at the maple sugar boil. 

Students who take Mandarin Chinese in Middle School and Upper School celebrated Lunar New Year and the Lantern Festival with a series of special activities. Lunar New Year activities included making dumplings from scratch, writing traditional calligraphy on the lucky red new year paper, and making paper tigers to welcome the Year of the Tiger. Upper School students celebrated the Lunar New Year with a festive Community Dinner. The delicious menu, created and prepared by students who celebrate the Lunar New Year and our kitchen team, included Vinegar-Pepper Shredded Potatoes (醋溜土豆丝), Tomato Egg Drop Soup (西红柿鸡蛋汤), Beef Bulgogi (불고기) Hanoi Spring Rolls (nem rán), Chicken Satay (สะเต๊ะ), and Mochi Ice Cream (餅アイス)!  The International Student Organization made a video of the event, which you may enjoy below! 

You can find the gallery of photos of these celebrations here!

The Green Coalition, Westtown’s student-led environmental club, hosted its first-ever Clothing Swap on Friday, February 4. Three months beforehand, cardboard bins were placed on each dorm floor (a total of six bins were spread out across the school). Students spent those three months cleaning out closets, donating clothing that they may not have been wearing as often or liked anymore. All of the clothes were clean and in good-condition. Almost every bin was full after a few months, and members of Green Coalition folded and organized the clothing onto racks and couches to display to the students. When the doors opened up, everyone came into the south room and was able to take anything that they were interested in. It was a huge success and nearly all of the clothing got a new home. The remainder of the clothing will be placed into the Helpsy Bins on campus which properly recycle clothing and ensure that it does not end up in a landfill. Green Coalition plans on doing a similar event in the spring due to the great success of our first run!

Our Upper School musicians have been busy!  The following students have been standouts at a number of festivals:

  • Natalia Swaitek ’24 and Milo Salvucci ’23 were selected for the District Orchestra Festival.
  • Natalia Swaitek, Milo Salvucci, Ella Cook ’24, and Melanie Flynn ’23 were selected for the District Band Festival.
  • Jake Richards ’22 was selected for the All National Concert Band Festival as one of the top clarinetists in the country! 
  • Otto Hillegas ’24 auditioned and was accepted to the Drum Corps International Marching Band for the Spring/Summer 2022 season.
  • Both Natalia and Milo also auditioned and were accepted to both Region Orchestra and Region Band Festivals and are currently preparing for their All State auditions! 

Join us in congratulating these talented musicians!

WCU Integration Bee
Hats off to the Calculus 2 students who competed at the West Chester University Integration Bee! Alena Zhang ’24, Eric Ochis ’23, Ellen Jang ’23, Milo Salvucci ’23, Christina Wilson ’22, and Noah Fisher ’23 represented Westtown School well in the high school division. Sweeping the top three places were Ochis in first place, Salvucci in second, and Wilson ’22 took third. Congratulations to all!


  • Wrestling is back! After a hiatus due to COVID-19 our wrestlers took to the mats for the first time since 2020. The squad was young and inexperienced, but our numbers were substantial, and we filled every weight class with wrestlers to spare. 
  • The swim teams had a record-breaking season, with our boys’ 200 medley relay team breaking the Westtown team and FSL record. The relay team is: Puddy Boonkongchuen ’22, Jack Nangle ’22, Tee Johnson ’23, and William Nangle ’24. The boys’ 200 freestyle relay team (made up of the same students) broke the Westtown record, and Paige Fisher set a new team 100 breaststroke record.
  • In Indoor Track, Will Nagy ’23 continues to run circles around the competition literally and finished 12th in the Indoor State Championship meet at Penn State.
  • For the first time in Westtown School’s history, both our girls’ and boys’ Basketball teams won both the FSL Championships and the PAISAA State Championships! Additionally, Dereck Lively II ’22 was named a McDonald’s All American and received the Morgan Wooten Player of the year award at the event. Kaylene Smikle ’22 and Dereck Lively II were named the Gatorade Players of the Year for Pennsylvania. This season also saw Kaylene Smikle, Quin Berger ’22, and Jameel Brown ’22 pass the 1000 career point milestone. Dereck Lively II passed the 1000 rebounds milestone for his career. Both teams and players gave us a memorable season. 

  • Congratulations to the winter sports Waring Award winners: Olivia Wiggins ’22 (basketball), Christina Wilson ’22 (swimming), and Melanie Flynn ’22 (climbing)! The criteria for the award reads, in part: “The Waring Award is given at the culmination of each sports season to the student-athlete(s) who have dedicated themselves day in and day out, in service of their school, teammates, and coaches. This award is intended to lift up those who constantly strive for improvement, who persevere when things are tough, and who lift up those around them with their tireless effort and positive attitude.”

  • 18 student-athletes were recognized as FSL All-League or Honorable Mentions this winter, more than any other FSL school! Congratulations to our athletes! You can view the complete list of All-League Athletes here. 

We are so excited to host Spring Fest on Saturday, May 21 from 2:30 to 5:00 p.m. on the Belfry Lawn!
Join us for some food, fellowship, and family fun! This is a carnival-like event for the entire Westtown community! There will be food trucks, games, crafts, prizes, a “pet a pup” area, tractor rides, a balloon artist, and so much more! 
Events like this aren’t possible without wonderful volunteers. Please consider volunteering your time and sign up here for one (or more) shifts at Spring Fest!  Thank you for your support!
We hope you will also join us in celebrating the college choices of the Class of 2022 at the Senior Car Parade, which will be from 4:30 – 5:00 p.m. at the end of Spring Fest!  
For more information about Spring Fest or volunteering, please contact Megan Schlickmann at [email protected]edu or (610) 399-7858.
Each year, we invite the entire Westtown community, faculty and staff, Board of Trustees, current parents, alums, parents of alums, grandparents, and friends, to invest in the transformative experience that a Westtown education offers by making a gift to the Westtown Fund. The Westtown Fund supports the school’s daily operations, and the money is spent in its entirety in the year that it is received. Donors can designate their gifts to areas of their choice including the arts, athletics, building an anti-bias, anti-racist community, faculty support, and financial aid, among others.

Director of Annual Giving, Courtnay Tyus, parent of MJ, Class of ’30, says, “Gifts to the Westtown Fund provide resources to address Westtown’s most urgent needs. We are very fortunate to have thoughtful donors who understand the importance of annual giving and the impact of essential unrestricted income on our operating budget. Thank you to all of our Westtown Fund donors — we could not do what we do without your generous support!”

For more information about the Westtown Fund, please click

Westtown School has proudly partnered with the Lodestone Collective to offer a special collection of textile products. Inspiration for these products came from items in Westtown School’s Archives, which holds an impressive collection of manuscripts, photographs, rare books, maps and plans, artwork and furniture, and important artifacts —  including textiles — from its earliest days. See these samples below, and visit their website to order! A portion of the proceeds of the sale of these items support Westtown School’s programs.


Want to share what’s new with you? Submit a class note! You can tell us if you have moved; or, maybe, you have a new job or are enjoying your retirement. Perhaps you’ve earned a new academic degree, taken up a new hobby, gotten married, or marked a new milestone in your life. Whatever your news, we want to hear about it! And, we know your classmates would love it, too. Class Notes help keep Westonians around the world connected. Submit your note today! We are currently collecting notes for the next issue of The Westonian magazine – please make your submissions by July 1, 2022. 

FALL 2021

December 20, 2021 

A few weeks ago, Interim Head of School Chris Benbow ’90 and the Board of Trustees sent a letter to the community with the results of the Institutional Equity Audit, performed by the Glasgow Group. It includes important discoveries we have made in this process and steps we are taking in response to what we have learned. If you have not read this communication, we encourage you to do so. You may find the letter in full here which contains a link to the audit.

Pat Seagers, former Health Center Head Nurse, retired in 1996 after caring for Westtown students for more than 20 years. Pat was honored on October 23, when friends and family joined her on campus for a plaque dedication. The plaque was installed in the waiting room of the Health Center, which used to be Pat’s office. This plaque honors Pat’s devotion and dedication to the health and well being of generations of Westonians. From the bottom of our hearts, we thank you, Pat!


One of the pillars of our Strategic Vision is Environment Illuminated. To continue our crucial work in the area, Westtown has engaged with Boyer Sudduth Environmental Consultants to review our sustainability goals and vision. One of their recommendations was to reassemble the Sustainability Committee. This committee — comprising administrators, faculty, staff, and students — has been reconvened and meets monthly. At their kickoff meeting in October, they discerned their charge: 

The Sustainability Committee shall advise the school on matters related to campus-wide sustainability and environmental issues and work with faculty, staff, administration, and students to develop policies and practices that promote an equitable reduction of resource usage and create a culture of sustainability practices on campus. The Sustainability Committee shall additionally advise the school on creating educational events and addressing other issues on the campus that relate to sustainability.

The Committee’s first steps are to collect data/conduct an audit, develop an action plan, review the sustainability mission statement, and monitor progress and results. Their broad goals are to reduce the campus carbon footprint; increase awareness of environmental issues, and to enact institutional and behavioral change toward these goals. Stay tuned for updates in this and other Westtown publications. If you have any questions about the Sustainability Committee, please don’t hesitate to contact Mary Ann Boyer of Boyer Sudduth Consultants, or Carolyn Hapeman, Dean of Finance and Operations.


For those who want to learn more about Westtown alumnus Samuel L. Allen who attended Westtown in the 1850s and is the inventor of the Flexible Flyer sled, check out this article currently featured on the website of the US Patent and Trademark Office. It contains several references to Westtown School and includes photographs from the Archives.

Although photos featured in eCollections and other school publications come from a variety of sources, we’d like to give special thanks to Nan Yiljep ’11, Sports Information Coordinator, Shannon Moriarty, Upper School Photography teacher, and students Coco Chen ’25, Wilson Kuang ’24, and Eric Li ’24, whose work you will find featured here and in many of our school galleries.

On October 13, while seniors were working on college applications and juniors were sitting for the PSAT and SATs, 10th graders engaged in a day of service. Organized largely by Lara Freeman, Service Network Director and Religious Studies teacher, and 10th Grade Dean Jennifer Dorfman, service activities took place on and off campus and students could select their projects from a host of options. One group of students worked on a house with Habitat for Humanity. A large group of students took to the campus land farmed by Chester County Food Bank to help in harvesting produce. Other projects included: delivering food donations to City Team in Chester; volunteering at the Coatesville Pro-Bono Counseling Center; cleaning up the tunnel on the farm; letter writing to local, state, and national representatives about areas of passion and concern; helping the Kitchen Staff prepare lunches; hosting a Staff Thank-You Party; writing letter to children at Nemours Alfred I. duPont Hospital; and, finally, writing KOBs to fellow 10th graders. At the end of the day, there was a Meeting for Sharing in the Meeting House during which students reflected upon and shared responses to their service experiences. You can see more photos from the service day here, and the gallery includes photos of how 9th graders spent the day — doing team building exercises and enjoying the ropes course!


Activities and events centered around our anti-bias, anti-racist (ABAR) and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) work continue. Most recently, all faculty and staff engaged in professional development during our in-service day with Dr. Liza Talusan, who is serving as our DEI consultant this year. Dr. Talusan is an educator, strategic change partner, leader, writer, leadership coach and parent. With over 25 years of experience in PreK-20 education, strategic leadership, and organizational change, Liza is an engaging facilitator in conversations about diversity, anti-racism, bias, privilege, and power, and creates environments that allow for people to build skills for difficult conversations. The in-service day included the first of three workshops that Dr. Talusan will offer faculty and staff. Part one of this series, entitled Engaging in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for Organizational Change, introduced tools for the “Identity-Conscious Educator.” These tools included how to get conversations started, how to use Singleton’s Courageous Conversation Protocol, and establishing clear definitions of diversity, inclusion, equity, and justice. The workshop led to productive small-group conversations. Additionally, the in-service day began with an all-employee workshop led by the Quaker Life Committee which provided ongoing education about Quakerism, and concluded with divisional workshops focused on student learning and wellbeing.

Lower/Middle School
Kelly Yiadom, Lower and Middle School Equity and Inclusion Coordinator, has provided a variety of learning opportunities for students, teachers, and parents to deepen engagement in this work. Throughout the fall, Kelly has focused on strengthening students’ knowledge of other cultures and identities, and offered opportunities and affinity groups for students to explore their own. Kelly has also met with parents to discuss her role and to encourage both alignment with Westtown’s ABAR/DEI vision and goals, and to explore how parents can support moving toward these goals. As she shared in her most recent newsletter, “I had the pleasure of speaking with parents at October’s Lower and Middle School Parents’ Council meetings. During my time with parents, I shared that an integral part of my role is supporting the Westtown Village: parents/guardians, faculty/staff, and students. I also noted how important it is to have parents aligned with our anti-racist and anti-bias (ABAR) vision and DEI focus in order for this work to be meaningful and holistically impactful. Parents posed questions and engaged in a call to action, ‘What is one goal to which you can commit that will further support ABAR/DEI work at Westtown?’ We ended our sessions with an affirmation as a reminder to take this work forward.”  You can learn more details about Kelly’s work in her most recent newsletters here and here.

Upper School
In the Upper School, activities, initiatives, affinity groups, and conversations abound. New this year was the addition of a special orientation session for 9th graders who identify as Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. At the beginning of the year, Westtown hosted the first-ever 9th Grade BIPOC Summer Camp for both 9th graders new to Westtown and those rising from our Middle School. Conceived of and designed by Dean of Access and Equity Jay Farrow, Equity and Inclusion Specialist Marissa Colston, and Upper School Diversity Coordinator Celeste Payne, this summer camp experience took place prior to the opening of school and other new student orientation activities over the course of four days and three nights. The camp comprised 20 interactive sessions that covered topics like academics, residential life, co-curriculars, and community. Older BIPOC students served as mentors and helped facilitate the sessions. Farrow says, “The purpose of camp was to present ninth grade BIPOC students with opportunities to develop a genuine sense of belonging and to build strong relationships with each other, as a cohort, and with key staff and faculty before the official start of school. We sought to introduce them to multiple areas of the Westtown School program, its intentional community, this gorgeous campus, and resources and activities in the surrounding area…There was emphasis on them finding, sharing, and sharpening their voices and them taking ownership of their Westtown experience.”

Since 2005, Westtown has hosted the biennial access, equity, and inclusion program called the Independent School Multicultural Conference and College Fair on its campus. Westtown took the best of its in-person program to create a virtual program, and changed its name to reflect the mission of the event. The 2021 Westtown Independent School Equity & Access Conference and College Fair partnered with StriveScan to host a variety of panel presentations, student-led discussions, and a virtual college fair on Saturday, November 13, 2021. There was no charge for high school students, parents, guardians, or high school/community-based-organizations (CBOs).

The morning started with the keynote address by Dr. T. J. Snowden, Director of Admissions at Recruitment at Morehouse College, and a lively conversation facilitated by Veda Robinson, Westtown’s Upper School Principal. There were 671 participants from around the world who attended this virtual program. Some of the independent schools in attendance were the African Leadership Academy in South Africa; Cathedral Catholic High School in San Diego, California;  Church Farm School in Exton, Pennsylvania; United World College — Dover in Singapore; and Catlin Gabel School in Portland, Oregon. To listen to the 2021 program recordings, please click here.  

The program also featured panels led by Westtown alums and students. Special thanks to the young alums who hosted the “Beyond Westtown: What’s College Really Like?” session: Kavi Gandhi ’21, Anna Li ’20, Mia Melendez-Ruiz ’21, Mustafa Shabazz ’17, Lindsey Turner ’21, Enoch Wang ’20, and Jaydn Williams ’21.

The next conference is planned for the fall of 2023. We hope the 2023 Independent School Equity & Access Conference and College Fair will be in person on our campus. Please contact Dr. Marje Ireland, Clerk of the Independent School Equity & Access Conference and College Fair if you have any questions.

An integral part of the Upper School student experience is participating in clubs and affinity groups. It’s so important in student life that club periods are built into the academic schedule. There are a host of student clubs to join and, if there’s not a club that suits as student’s particular interest, they can start their own.  This year’s Club Fair,  the opportunity for students get to learn what clubs are available to them, was held outside on a beautiful day.  There are a whopping 40 clubs this year that represent student interest in everything from visual and literary arts to politics and social activism to sports and hobbies to service and philanthropy — and myriad topics in between. These groups offer shared social time, an opportunity to develop a passion or focus on a favorite topic, and leadership opportunities for students. 

Masks have been created and worn as expressions of art throughout history and across cultures, from Kabuki dancers in Japan to Taino Vejigante masks at Carnival. Different cultures have different reasons and occasions for creating and wearing masks. The Chinese Dragon Dance brings good luck at New Years, the Mexican Day of the Dead festival connects ancestors on All Souls Day, while the Yoruba Masquerade in Nigeria might be worn to ensure an abundance at harvest.

In Lower School during art classes, students have been designing, creating, and animating masks for over forty years! Teacher Jeff Waring inherited the Halloween Mask Parade upon his arrival in 1991, and has worked with several visiting artists to develop themes and forms. When the school expanded in 2002, Teacher Jeanne Watson-Smith, now retired, came aboard and added her mark on the evolving art show on sneakers, and now Teacher Kelly Nicholson has  joined in the creative fun. While our parade coincides with Halloween, it is more than just a spooky surprise. Our parade presents creative interpretations from a spectrum of inspiration, from tiny bugs to imaginary aliens. It is an occasion to celebrate the diversity of our planet and the creativity within each of us.  Marvel at all the students’ creativity here!

The Mid-Autumn Festival is celebrated in many Asian countries and, as students leaders in our International Student Organization (ISO) reminded us, “It is an occasion for family reunions and community unity.  There was a special dinner in the Dining Room to celebrate and the menu included mooncakes, which are an important part of the celebration in many cultures. The ISO made a video about the ways they celebrate Mid-Autumn Festival.  Check it out

Middle School students in Kaiyao Ni’s Chinese class made mooncakes in celebration of the Mid-Autumn Festival, shown below.

Third grader teacher Vicki Shelter writes, “Shrinidhi Venkatakrishnan and Geet Sandhu taught second and third graders about Diwali and what the holiday means to them. Shrinidhi is Hindu and Geet is a Sikh, and they explained that Diwali means light over darkness. They shared their religious stories and how they celebrate Diwali. They set up tables in the Lower School lobby filled with artifacts such as clothing, food, diyas, spices, bracelets and more, and arranged tables so that they could each teach a lesson to their classmates. At one table, students colored in a premade rangoli that Shrinidhi and Geet designed. At the other table, the lesson was how to create a rangoli with different colored sands which were in shakers. After the activities were over, Geet and Shrinidhi gave each student a diya, which is a candle that symbolizes goodness, purity, and light, and a bindi for them to wear on their forehead. The girls did a fabulous job teaching and the second and third graders loved their lessons!”

In the Upper School, a Diwali Community Dinner was hosted by the South Asian Affinity (SAA) Group with a special menu of delicious Indian foods. After the meal, students retired to the East End Student Lounge where the SAA offered engaging community sharing about the Festival of Lights and an outside celebration with sparklers! Enjoy the full gallery here

Just before the fall break, Upper School students enjoyed a special Community Dinner, an Indigenous Peoples/Thanksgiving Dinner “In celebration and Thanksgiving for the Land of the Original Peoples.” This was the first sit-down, family-style dinner in the Dining Room since February of 2020, and it was wonderful to break bread and give thanks together once again. Kyren Lazore ’22, his mother, and his aunt joined our kitchen team to prepare delicious traditional Indigenous recipes like haudenosaunee corn soup, frybread, roasted chestnuts, among others. You can enjoy the entire gallery of photos here!

In teacher Natalie Cheung’s sixth-grade science class, students
took on the role of urban planners that specialize in renewable energies. They explored the question:
How can we build greener cities? In the culminating project, students applied their knowledge by designing renewable energy plans for different cities based on their climate data, location, and population. In addition to communicating their plans in writing, students also designed ad campaigns intended to convince residents of the city to invest in and support the switch to their renewable energy plan. These kinds of real-world, hands-on projects are hallmarks of Westtown’s inquiry-driven science program.

The annual International Festival was back in full swing this year! A celebration of the countries and cultures that make up our school community, the festival offered delicious food, memorabilia, cultural activities, and conversations about cultural heritage. New this year were “cultural stations” that were set up in Main Hall classrooms where students and adults could stop in to learn more and sample foods. Thanks to the International Student Organization student leaders, Assistant International Student Coordinator Bei Zhang, and the many students, families, and community members who participated in creating this rich and fun event! Enjoy the full gallery of photos here.

Double congratulations are in order for Jake Richards ’22!  Last year, Jake was named one of the top clarinetists in the state of Pennsylvania as part of the All State Music Festival. This gave him the opportunity to, alongside all of the All State clarinetists in each of the other states, to audition for the All Nationals Ensembles. Jake auditioned this fall and was accepted into the All-National Concert Band making him one of the top high school clarinet players in the country. In addition to performing with Westtown School’s Jazz Ensemble and Symphonic Band, Jake plays with the prestigious Philadelphia Youth Orchestra. In addition, earlier this year Jake was named a National Merit Scholarship Semifinalist. Congratulations, Jake!

The first in-person performance since November 2019 took place in the newly renovated theater on Sunday, December 12.  The performance featured Symphonic Band, String Orchestra, and Jazz Ensemble. Students were eager to share their music with a live audience once again. The concert was also recorded, so if you’d like to see the concert, visit LocalLiveEnjoy the photo gallery, too

The annual Holiday Community Dinner for students resumed this year! Faculty and staff replace students on the set, serve, and wash work jobs so that students can fully enjoy their celebration. Hats off to our fabulous kitchen staff as well who provided a delicious meal! Check it out

The fall season saw the return of in-person interscholastic competition for most of our athletic teams. Our players brought energy, excitement, and enthusiasm that started in the preseason and lasted throughout the fall season. A number of our fall student-athletes were named to the FSL All-League First Team, and others received Honorable Mentions. 

Recently, seven seniors signed their National Letters of Intent to play their sports at the college level. Join us in congratulating these student-athletes!

Left to right: Zack Ouassil – Hampton University – Lacrosse; Jameel Brown – Pennsylvania State University – Basketball; Will Nagy – Amherst College – Cross Country; Carol Ulichney – Lafayette College – Volleyball; Helena Lasic – University of Pennsylvania  – Basketball; Dereck Lively II – Duke University – Basketball; Diesel Schraufnagel – Wagner College – Lacrosse 

Girls Cross Country Team
The team worked hard throughout the season, ultimately earning 3rd place in league competition (edging out George School for a coveted Patterson Cup point!) and 4th place in the FSL championship race (where George edged out our varsity team despite a valiant race and multiple PRs). In addition, the JV team won our first JV Friends School League championship title in history. In the PAISAA State Championship race at Belmont, injuries held back multiple runners on both our varsity and JV, which led to a 13th place varsity finish. The team worked incredibly hard through all kinds of weather, dedicating themselves to supporting each other and improving their fitness. Their grit and determination were inspiring to their coaches, and we are proud of their work this season.

All-League: Ella Cook ’24

Boys Cross Country Team
This team showed great strength in the Friends School League, coming in second in league competition before being edged out by Abington to place third in the league championships. In the PAISAA State Championship race at Belmont, the varsity finished in 9th on a tougher day for our team against strong competition. Many members of the team dedicated themselves to hundreds of miles of summer running, inspiring their teammates by arriving at preseason at a high level of fitness and ready to jump into speed work and perform at the top of their ability. From school record contenders to aspiring new runners and so many talented and dedicated runners in between, the team put in hours of hard work and supported each other like family throughout the season. 
All-League: Will Nagy ’22

Girls Varsity Soccer 
Following a 2020 season turned upside down by COVID, the 2021 team rostered one senior, welcomed a new coaching staff, asked an 8th-grade goalkeeper to not only play but start every game, and faced a litany of injuries. This is a very concise list of the obstacles this team faced that, frankly, would give any player a valid excuse to quit or give up. But not this team! This team showed up every day with joy and enthusiasm that was contagious. Though not reflected on the scoreboard, this team won more than they lost. No matter the obstacle they refused to surrender their joy and fighting spirit.
All-League: Lucy Smith ’26

Boys Varsity Soccer 
The team had a tremendous season! Despite a number of injuries, a challenging early schedule, and a team that hadn’t truly played together in two years, they rose  to the challenge. Going into our early Friends League games, our goal was to compete and make a run to get into the 5th seed spot. After a win at Moorestown Friends, we felt like we were in a great spot. A few wins and losses later, we found ourselves in a home game against Shipley. In one of the greatest victories in recent memory, we pulled out a 1-0 victory. The incredible journey continued with a loss in overtime to George School, but a hard-earned 3rd seed. Back to George, we went for another incredible win. The Friends League season ended with a loss in the finals. The season was an incredible journey and we are all so proud of the work that everyone put in this season.
All-League: Ryan Stewart ’22, Josiah Moore ’23, Tee Johnson ’23
Honorable Mention: Leo Salvucci ’24

Girls Varsity Field Hockey
It was a pleasure to coach our young group this fall. While it was a challenging season, it was full of tremendous growth, learning opportunities, and provided valuable experience for seasons ahead. Our team held strong to some tough competitors in our league and the Inter-Ac, while also tallying ten goals in two games versus Friends’ Central School. We are very excited for the rare opportunity of returning our entire squad next season, in which we hope to be a contender in the Friends’ School League playoffs. I commend all of our players for their resilient effort, coachability, and for never giving up.
All-League: Grace Rhile ’23

Girls Tennis
This was the best season yet for the fast-improving Westtown tennis program. For the first time in years, the team made the playoffs and lost 3-2 to the eventual winner GFS. More importantly this season, we saw incredible energy from all participants whether it be varsity, JV, development as well as the boys who joined in for the practices. We congratulate all the players for their growth, efforts, and success throughout the season. It’s been a truly gratifying year!
All-League: Alifa Teke ’24
Honorable Mention: Kapom Vettayawaikoon ’23

Thanks to all the alums and community members who came out to play (and watch!) the Alums/Community basketball game! It was especially wonderful to welcome alums back to campus for this annual tradition. 

We have been thrilled to step back into the waters of offering a few community events on campus this fall: Friday Night Lights, Nature Walk, and Campus Dog Walk! Special thanks to Director of Event Operations Megan Schlickmann, who works tirelessly to bring events life!

Friday Night Lights
Friday Night Lights —a now-tradition that began in 2016 — was a wonderful opportunity for the community to cheer on our field hockey and soccer teams, to enjoy a variety of food trucks, and to simply be together. Enjoy the full Friday Night Lights gallery here!

Nature Walk 
On November 6, Westtown hosted a nature walk for current families and community members. The walk was led and curated by Westtown’s very own Chris Costa, Director of Outdoor Education, and Marta Willgoose Salo, Middle School faculty member and naturalist, who shared the wonders of our vast and beautiful campus. You can find more photos here! 

Dog Walk
The Campus Dog Walk was so “pup”ular last year that we brought it back again! Families and their four-legged friends strolled the campus paths that were replete with doggie cafes and treat stations. Enjoy the pups and their families here! 

Westtown School has proudly partnered with the Lodestone Collective to offer a special collection of textile products. Inspiration for these products came from items in Westtown School’s Archives, which holds an impressive collection of manuscripts, photographs, rare books, maps and plans, artwork and furniture, and important artifacts —  including textiles — from its earliest days. See these samples below, and visit their website to order! A portion of the proceeds of the sale of these items support Westtown School
’s programs.


Congratulations are in order for the Cope family, generations of whom are Westonians. Founded by James B. ’39 and Helen Cope in 1992, the Cope Environmental Center’s Environmental Education building has received Living Building certification from the International Living Future Institute. The Institute describes living buildings as “regenerative buildings that connect occupants to light, air, food, nature, and community; self-sufficient and remain within the resource limits of their site; and, create a positive impact on the human and natural systems that interact with them.” Learn more about the criteria here. Located in Centerville, Indiana, the Cope Environmental Center building is just the 29th building in the world to be granted this special and rare certification. The Cope Environmental Center and it’s Living Building Certification are the legacy of a couple who devoted their lives to environmentalism. As daughter Marianne Cope ’67 says in this piece in Richmond, Indiana’s Palladium Item, “It just brings tears to my eyes, and my parents would be just astounded and pleased.”

All of Jim’s and Helen’s children were involved in this project from the beginning: June Cope Chidester ’65, Ed Cope ’66, Trish Cope ’73, Marianne Cope ’67, and Marie Cope Nicholson ’72. Marie shares, “We are so excited about the whole project and want to spread the news!” She adds that another Westtown alum is familiar with Living Buildings as well ― Peter Doo ’71, a LEED architect who won a Living Futures Hero Award in 2016. “We spoke with Peter Doo at the very beginning [of this project] when we first learned of Living Buildings.” Once again, we share our congratulations with the Cope family on this incredible and important achievement.

Want to share what’s new with you? Submit a class note! You can tell us if you have moved; or, maybe, you have a new job or are enjoying your retirement. Perhaps you’ve earned a new academic degree, taken up a new hobby, gotten married, or marked a new milestone in your life. Whatever your news, we want to hear about it. And, we know your classmates would love it, too. Class Notes help keep Westonians around the world connected. Submit your note today!

Each day, Alums Weekend draws closer, and we are more excited than ever! Our team has been working hard to ensure that this will be the biggest celebration of Westtown alums since the 1999 Bicentennial. While we are still working on all the details, we are eager to share our first-ever Alums Weekend Website with you:

Consider this website the Alums Weekend home base. Here you will find the most up-to-date information about the Weekend, including registration information, a tentative agenda, hotel details, contact information, and more. Although registration will not open until January 2022, we encourage you to save this link and check back often as we continue to finalize the weekend itinerary. We cannot wait to see you all back on campus next May!



On June 12, 2021, the Class of 2021 received their diplomas in the Greenwood and joined our vast, global network of alums. You can see videos of the Commencement ceremony and student speakers, photo galleries, and learn about their college destinations on this page of our website. Take a moment to check it out! Watch the full ceremony below.


8th Grade Graduation

On June 9, 2021, the 8th graders were celebrated in their graduation ceremony. In a unique and meaningful update to the ceremony, as each student received their certificate, a recording of their own voice describing what they learned in Middle School accompanied them across the stage. You can watch the ceremony above and enjoy the photo gallery here. Congratulations to the Class of 2025!

5th Grade Graduation

On June 10, the 5th graders celebrated their rite of passage with a traditional Meeting for Worship. In order to maintain physical distancing, the service was held in the Athletic Center.  Each student shared a statement about their experience in Lower School, and family, friends, and faculty were invited to share in worship as well.

Congratulations to all our students who are moving on to new phases of their lives!

Still Looking for Hosts: Be Part of the Host Family Program! 
Join other local Westtown families who host boarding students from afar! We will be connecting our new international students and domestic students who live at a distance with local host families and hope you will consider this exciting opportunity!  Host families offer some home-cooked meals, enjoy cross-cultural conversations, and often develop relationships that live on well after a student’s first year at Westtown. Host families are not responsible for boarding over breaks or transporting students. You can learn more about the Host Family Program on our website. If you have questions, please contact International Student Coordinators Bei Zhang and Rose Koenig.



You know the end of the school year is nigh when College Shirt Day arrives, Lower and Middle School students spill onto the fields for Spirit Days, and students appear on the South Lawn in all their finery for Dinner Dance. After this year, these celebrations seemed sweeter, infused with the joy of togetherness and the gratitude to be on this campus. We hope you enjoy these galleries of some of our year-end traditions!

College Shirt Day
In order to adhere to our COVID mitigation practices, the College Shirt Day photoshoot was held outside —and who can argue with the Greenwood field as a backdrop?! College Shirt Day is our annual celebration of the seniors’ college choices. Check out the full gallery of photos here! (Pictured below are two of our 2020-21 Student Body Presidents: Alexis Rogers and Kavi Gandhi.)

Senior Car Parade
We continued to celebrate college choices at the Senior Car Parade. Last year’s car parade — created so that there was a celebrate seniors in person during the height of the pandemic — was so much fun, we decided to do it again! See photos of the event here  and watch the parade below!

Lower School Spirit Days
This year, in order to maintain student cohorts, there were two Spirit Days for Lower School. Spirit Days are Westtown’s version of field days, full of friendly competitions that end, of course, with ice cream! Check out the Spirit Day galleries! Pre-K, kindergarten, and first grade gallery here; second and third grade gallery here, and fourth and fifth grade gallery here.

Middle School Spirit Day
Middle Schoolers divided into teams by grade for their friendly competitions which included old favorites such as the balloon toss and tug of peace. See the teams in action here!

Dinner Dance
Dinner Dance was back on the docket for seniors this year! This time, in another health and safety pivot, the event was held on campus. Megan Schlickmann, Director of Event Operations, the Senior Class Deans, and the Upper School Parents’ Council planned a splendid event for the students, and did a tremendous job of transforming one of the tents into a perfect venue for dinner and dancing! As has become tradition, students gathered on the South Lawn for photos before the event got underway. At the end of the evening, seniors walked down to the lake for sundaes at the Lake House.

Update from the Office of Diversity and Inclusion
By Marissa Colston, Dean of Diversity and Inclusion

Our ABAR work continues to be front and center at Westtown. Here are just a few examples that represent the kind of work students have been involved in this spring and throughout the school year.

Lower School students spent the year engaging in DEI/SEL (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and Social Emotional Learning) lessons that focused on the themes of identity, empathy, community building, social justice, and anti-racism. In Pre-K students explored their own identity and learned about the human body. They learned about skin color, melanin, and the beautiful variations in skin tone and colors. In the second grade, students talked about bias and stereotypes and spent time discussing how to stop using stereotypes that are often formed around gender identity. In the fourth grade, when students study and learn about American history, they asked questions like Who’s telling the story? Whose voice is not being heard? These questions led them to learn more about the perspectives and stories of the Lenni Lenape, African, and European experiences.

In Middle School, a group of 6th and 7th graders represented Westtown at the Haverford Middle School Diversity Conference, sharing what they learned with classmates. 8th grade leaders spent the end of the year leading workshops for their peers. Students designed their own version of a diversity conference and delivered a series of workshops and activities over a few weeks addressing important themes like naming and addressing bias, identity, and social justice. They were supported by the Middle School Equity and Inclusion coordinator, Alejandra Navarro-Benbow, who helped them design these workshops and supported their presentation skills.

In the Upper School, the spring is a time of much activity. Student activists facilitated conversations connected to community and social justice. Prompted by students, there were campus-wide discussions around consent and sexual violence. After the conversations started on the Opinion Board and online, courageous conversations across many experiences were hosted so that students could share, listen, and learn from each other. These conversations were designed and led by trusted faculty with support from the DEI Office. Students engaged in this dialogue and left with new understandings. They also shared ideas about how to continue the dialogue as well as suggestions for changes in programming that will support more education about sexual violence and consent across the student body community.

Finally, as you may know already, earlier in the school year we launched our new ABAR website which includes an ABAR Community Blog. Every few weeks a new blog entry is posted and each post is related to a wide range of ABAR community topics, and are a sampling of the diverse community that Westtown encompasses. Check it out for yourself!

Paddle On!
A great Middle School tradition resumed this year: canoe trips! Although days trips supplanted the overnight experiences and additional protocols were in place because of our COVID mitigation practices, students and teachers alike were elated to be back on the water. Chris Costa, Director of Outdoor Education, Tom Berrian, Middle School Outdoor Education Coordinator, and a host of Middle School faculty did double duty in the canoes this year. Each grade was divided into two groups in order to maintain cohorts, so they ran two trips for each grade. Seventh and eighth graders paddled the Upper Schuylkill River and sixth graders enjoyed a day on Westtown’s lake.

With the exception of added safety measures, this constant in our education program looked much like it always has. The pre-trip training conducted by Costa and Berrian consisted of: meetings with the groups; “ground school” in which basic water and boat safety, the basics of boat movement, and paddle strokes are taught; lake sessions, which included practice maneuvering and navigating the boat on the water, and opportunities to reinforce safety protocols; and, safety sessions in which groups review outdoor education protocols and cover things like river communication, hydration, lightning drill, etc. Costa says, “For over 30 years, Middle School students have participated in an outdoor experience with a canoeing component. These trips are so valued by students and faculty that their design and delivery have been woven into the fabric of their Middle School experience for decades. Among their many benefits, these trips allow students to step out of their comfort zones, connect with themselves and their peers, and to realize the collective power of the whole. Now, more than ever, these trips are needed.”

African Dance
The annual third grade African Dance performance was outside this year, but no less amazing! Third graders have a comprehensive unit on Africa studying its countries, their cultures, economies, wildlife, art, and more. That study includes a six-week on-campus residency with Jeannine Osayande Dunya Performing Arts Company in which kids learn not only many dances but also about storytelling in the music and movements. Well done, third grade, and a special thank you to the Jeannine Osayande and Dunya Performing Arts Company, who have been partnering with Westtown for 19 years! Enjoy the gallery of photos here.

Martin Ma ’22 Wins Chester County Science Fair Award
Congratulations to Yangyue Martin Ma ’22 who won the Chester County Science Research Fair in the Computer Science Category for the cane he designed for the blind! The cane uses sensors integrated to a computational device running AI recognition software to both alert for objects and identify said objects to the user.

“The preciseness of the detection of objects on streets is extremely important for blind people, since no other references can be made for them,” says Ma describing his project. “In order to help them get familiar with the surrounding environment, I created a blind crutch that not only will alert users about obstacles, but also can identify objects with clear labels using the convolutional neural network (CNN), a neural network especially designed for image identification, to train the classifications needed…To make up for the insufficiency of the GPS module of detecting exact locations, I also created a function of detecting guideposts on streets that broadcasts the current location. After testing, the blind crutch can precisely classify objects and complete the broadcast function under different environments caused by different weather. The project took me approximately two years.”

After the Chester County win, Ma moved into the next level of competition at the Delaware Valley Science Fair, a three-state competition. At this level, he won the Computer Science Division and was awarded the Yale Science and Engineering Association Special Award, which,”recognizes the most outstanding 11th grade projects in Chemistry, Computer Science, Engineering, and Physics.”

Design Engineering teacher and robotics team coach Steve Compton, says, “Although he did not advance to the national competition, he plans to continue the work on this project, iterate, and improve both the hardware and the computational artificial intelligence and training of the algorithms in order to compete again next year. Martin is doing extraordinary work and I’m thrilled he has been recognized in these competitions.”

Third Grade Poetry Slam Celebrates the Harlem Renaissance
A poetry slam in third grade? Absolutely! Upon the completion of third graders’ study of the Harlem Renaissance, teachers Vicki Shelter and Kristin Hayman organized a poetry slam in which students performed the poems they wrote that celebrate what they learned. Shelter explains: “After an in-depth study of the European Renaissance, the third graders were introduced to the Great Migration in the United States and the Harlem Renaissance that followed that migration. They connected that the word renaissance means ‘rebirth’ and it celebrates a very important time in history. After understanding why the Great Migration began and its importance to the African American people, we focused on learning about its impact on American History. The students learned about different artists such as Jacob Lawrence and Aaron Douglass. They also studied the poetry of Langston Hughes, which encouraged them to have in-depth conversations about his life and the racial tensions that were occurring during his time period. The students resonated with his poems and were inspired by his writing. Lastly, we listened to and learned about some of the jazz greats that performed during this time period. The students learned that jazz is an American art form and it is special because of the solos that occur in each song or performance. They heard Cab Calloway scat and saw the Nicholas Brothers tap-dance their hearts out. They danced in the classroom as Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong sang. They learned about Dizzy Gillespie’s hard childhood and how playing the trumpet inspired him. The kids also learned that Duke Ellington, as a child, wanted to play baseball, but as he got older he learned to love the piano and leading his orchestra was his favorite thing. They watched videos of the Harlem Globetrotters entertaining and showing off their basketball skills. Their poems celebrate this time period and their love for what they learned.

“During our poetry slam, the entire third grade [formerly in separate cohorts as part of Westtown’s mitigation strategy] gathered into a tent to share their poems. They got dressed up depending on what their poem was about. We snapped our fingers after each poem was read. It was a great way to gather together our entire third-grade community. It was fun for all of us!” You can enjoy a gallery of photos from the Poetry Slam here!

Sharing Their Professional Stories: Alums Visit Chemistry Class
Teacher Rose Koenig invited alums to speak to her Chemical Bonding (Advanced) class so that students had an opportunity to learn about how and why they pursued their various careers in the sciences. Koenig welcomed:

Dr. Nahara Saballos, Class of 2011, Family Medicine Resident Physician
Katie Metzker, Class of 2010, Assistant Director for Education and Outreach Programs in Galapagos at Intercultural Outreach Initiative
Dr. Caitlin Hepps-Keeney, Class of 2010, Zoological Medicine Resident at N.C. State University
Dr. Beverly Aiyanyor, Class of 2009, Resident Physician at Boston Children’s Hospital & Resident Physician at Boston Medical Center

At the conclusion of their presentations, students had an opportunity to ask questions. You can enjoy all of their presentations below (click on the upper left side of the image to see a drop-down selection). If you’re an alum who’d like to be engaged with students in this way, contact Domi Waldron, Director of Alumni/ae/x Engagement.


Winter 2021

Looking Ahead to 2021-22

It was recently announced that Head of School Tori Jueds will step down at the close of the 2020-2021 school year. Tori will be moving on to serve as the Director of the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, a nursery through grade 12 day school. We wish her well as she moves on to her next adventure! In the event that you have not seen the announcement about her departure, please see excerpts of the email to all constituents from Martha B. Bryans ’68, Clerk of the Board of Trustees, and Tori Jueds below, and you may read the entirety of this communication here

Martha B. Bryans writes: 

As the Clerk of the Board of Trustees, I write to announce that Tori Jueds will step down as Head of School at the close of the 2020-21 school year. Tori has accepted the opportunity to lead the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, a Nursery through Grade 12 day school founded by progressive educator John Dewey. I would like to convey our deep gratitude for Tori’s passion for Westtown’s mission, strategic thinking, and deep commitment to respect, equity, and inclusion. We wish her the very best in this exciting new endeavor.

  Tori Jueds writes: 

Since 2017, it has been my honor and joy to serve as Westtown’s Head of School. It is bittersweet to share the news that on June 30, 2021, I will lay down my work at our wonderful school to prepare for a new career adventure… It has been an extraordinary privilege and pleasure to serve as Head of School. From the bottom of my heart, friends, thank you for the kindness and support you have given me in this role. I am proud and glad to be a Westonian.

The Board of Trustees has begun the discernment process for the timetable and search for the next Head of School, and they have invited Associate Head of School Chris Benbow ’90 to serve as Interim Head of School beginning on July 1, 2021. Chris has had a long relationship with Westtown and has served in myriad leadership roles including Upper School Principal and Dean of Students, in addition to his teaching and leadership experience at other institutions. We are fortunate that Chris, with his deep understanding of our culture, Quaker values, and mission, has agreed to serve in this capacity. “I’m sincerely grateful to be able to serve Westtown as Interim Head as we seek and transition to our community’s next long-term Head of School. I’ve been a part of the Westtown community—and this community has been a part of me—since I enrolled as a sixth grader in 1983,” reflects Chris. “I care deeply about this community, believe strongly in its aspirations, and am committed to doing my part to help us come as close as we possibly can to realizing our individual and collective potential together.”


FALL 2020


“This winter, during the darkest days of the year, our wish for all Westonians is encapsulated in our motto, “Turn to the Light.” Let us first of all be heartened by glimmers of light at the end of the tunnel we have been traveling through the pandemic. More importantly, we hope that the Light in each of us shines brightly, and that near or far, we may all find ways to reflect that Light back to each other, sharing in the radiance of this loving and caring community. In that spirit, please enjoy the uplifting message shared by our Upper School Student Body Presidents in this Westtown holiday video. We wish you all a safe and joyful holiday season, and a peaceful, healthy new year!”

~Tori Jueds, Head of School


We are thrilled to announce that Dominique “Domi” Waldron has been named Westtown’s new Director of Alumni/ae/x Engagement!

Domi has more than 10 years of experience in education, including in student affairs, alumni engagement, communications, diversity and inclusion education, major gift fundraising, and more. Most recently, Domi was the Assistant Director of Alumni Engagement at the University of Delaware. She began her career at her high school alma mater, the Purnell School, where she worked in alumnae engagement, communications, and residential life. After Purnell, Domi continued her career in student affairs at Vassar College and then at Bard College. She is currently a reunion and admissions volunteer at Smith College, where she earned her undergraduate degree in economics. Domi also holds an MS in Higher Education Administration from Drexel.

Domi’s vision and enthusiasm for alumni/ae/x engagement is thoughtful, strategic, entrepreneurial, and compelling, and will help move our program forward. Domi shares, “As a boarding school alumna, I chose Westtown because I want to be a part of an immersive, thriving community. I look forward to the opportunity to eventually attend Westtown events with all of you. For now, I will experience all of what Westtown has to offer virtually, learn more about Quakerism, and what it means to be a part of this community. I am very excited to begin my journey at Westtown as Director of Alumni/ae/x Engagement and welcome the change and growth it will bring!”

Please join us in extending Domi a warm Westtown welcome! You may reach Domi by email or by phone at 610-399-7913.


We hope you have received your copy of the last Westonian, the Summer/Fall issue. If you have not seen it yet, you can also read it here. Because of the constraints the pandemic has imposed upon us, we will not publish a Winter Westonian this year. The next issue will be published in the summer of 2021. In the meantime, stay tuned to these seasonal eCollections in which we will continue to share news and glimpses of school life as we make our way through these challenging circumstances.

In years past, we have included the Annual Report in our Winter Westonian. This year the Annual Report will be published as a stand-alone piece. In alignment with our sustainability mission, we will produce and email digital copies. We will print a small run of hard copies. We look forward to thanking our thousands of generous donors who made gifts during our last fiscal year in the FY ’20 Annual Report! Look for the Annual Report in March 2021.

Our Visual and Performing Arts Department has received an Outstanding Visual Arts Community endorsement from the Pennsylvania Art Education Association! This endorsement is given to schools that demonstrated the importance of their visual arts programs during the 2019-2020 school year. Westtown School is one of only 26 schools selected across Pennsylvania to receive the 2020 OVAC endorsement. The PAEA notes that the criteria for this recognition were:

  • Rigorous and inclusive programs that demonstrated rigor using standards-based curriculum taught at every level by highly qualified and certified art educators;
  • Highly accessible programs that were offered to all students at every level of education with a sustainable budget for the visual arts; and
  • Highly visible programs that identified their programmatic accomplishments, curriculum for all levels, art staff, mission statements, and arts events using their school websites and social media.

Chris Wills, Co-Chair of the Visual and Performing Arts Department and Artist in Residence Coordinator, shares, “The department is especially excited about this designation because it recognizes the work we have been doing over the years to update the program to reflect the school in this particular moment. Our program across all divisions is incredibly student-centered. We empower our students to think and work like artists. Choice-making and risk-taking are at the center of our approach and allow our students to explore their interests, identities, and passions in authentic and meaningful ways.

“Even in the midst of the pandemic, our visual arts teachers have sought to rethink our pedagogical approach to ensure that those skills are at the heart of our classes. We’ve used this as an opportunity to gauge the strengths of our program and identify new scaffolds and supports to allow our students to engage in the creative process. We’ve been able to slow down our practice, and really emphasize experimentation, research, and iteration that are essential to the development of strong final pieces and works. For example, in Upper School ceramics courses, Joyce Nagata switched the materials of the class from clay to paper. We knew that having students work with clay in Westtown Distance Learning would be a challenge and produce unsuccessful results. In response, Joyce decided to keep the focus of the class on material investigation and the form and function of vessels. Over the past few months, students have been working with all types of paper, builder’s paper, toilet paper, newspaper, papier mache, and more, to create vessels that respond to this moment and speak to student’s lived experiences. The forms and work that students have designed represent the core of our 3D program despite a change in the materials. In Westtown’s visual art program, students come to understand that materials and processes are interchangeable and that artists must adapt to circumstances in order to make choices that best reflect their ideas and intent.” Thanks and congratulations to our arts teachers who continue to offer vibrant, engaging, and meaningful programming to our students!

Middle School students Jamila ’27 and Sofia ’25 Burgos are active in their Quaker Meeting, Providence Monthly Meeting, which has been part of the immigrants’ rights movement in Pennsylvania. After learning about detention centers and the treatment of undocumented immigrants, Jamila and Sofia wanted to take action. They teamed up with fellow Middle School students William Bradley ’25 and Auden Vosburgh ’25, members of West Chester Monthly Meeting, and presented to the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting about their desire to organize a march to protest detention centers and to advocate for undocumented immigrants’ rights.

Participating in the march were members of Providence Monthly Meeting and the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) in support of MILPA (Movement of Immigrant Leaders in Pennsylvania), an organization that, among other initiatives, is working to help pass House Bill 2835 that allows undocumented workers to obtain driver’s licences.

In late October, a group comprising MILPA members, AFSC representatives, members of Providence Meeting, and some Westtown students and families gathered on the steps of the Delaware County Courthouse. Students carried posters made by Westtown’s student MOOSE group (Many Optimistic Open-minded Supporters of Equity), and Jamila and Sofia took to the microphone to speak to the crowd about the needs of immigrants and conditions in the detention centers. Speaking in both Spanish and English, the sisters were in powerful company, sharing the microphone with MILPA and AFSC leaders as well as political leaders such as State Senator Tim Kearney, U.S. Representative Mary Gay Scanlon, and Delaware County Council President Brian Zidek also spoke. From the courthouse, the crowd marched to the Providence Monthly Meeting in Media.

When asked why they are passionate about immigrants’ rights, Jamila says, “I’m interested in immigrant rights because I am part of a family of immigrants.” Sofia adds, “You hear stories about people separated from their families and getting put in conditions that we wouldn’t live in ourselves and that makes me really angry. This is my way of doing something.” Reflecting on the experience, each sister agrees that although they were nervous to speak in front of a crowd, it was rewarding to take action. “I felt like we’d been moving slowly because we kept saying we were going to march and it would get pushed,” says Sofia. “It felt good to finally do it.” Jamila says that, “it was a great feeling to be standing there after working toward this for so long.”

One of the most important aspects for both girls was seeing immigrant families and children at the march, which cemented their feelings that they were doing the right thing. “I was speaking to someone from the MILPA community at the march and they were so happy that this group of kids was trying to do something, to stand up for them, says Sofia. “I learned that even if you’re doing something very small, it’s still going to make an impact on someone. Whether it actually changes policy or not, they were happy that we were there.” Jamila adds that she was happy to learn that people do fight for causes that are important to them and agrees, “even small actions can make a difference.”

Spanish teacher and Middle School Equity and Inclusion Coordinator Alejandra Navarro-Benbow, who was present at the march, pushes back against the notion that the students’ actions were small. “What they pulled off is significant! They were speaking alongside local and government officials, and their voices carried weight. If anything, as young activists their voices stood out more than the politicians’. What they worked hard to do was not small at all!” Jamila and Sofia say that they will continue to advocate for immigrants’ rights and will do more to bring the issues to light among their classmates.

Mask making has a long tradition in Lower School, and usually students’ creations are celebrated at the Halloween Parade in the gym with our families as well as faculty and staff from other divisions (who also look forward to this annual fun) in the audience. This year, we were unable to gather together as usual, but we were still able to parade and celebrate virtually. Students on campus created their masks in their cohorted classrooms while wearing protective masks; remote students followed their art teachers’ video instructions to create their own from home. Sarah Sullivan, Director of Theater Design and Production and Theater Manager, visited Teacher Jeanne Watson-Smith and grades 2-5 over the course of four weeks to capture their process and products on video, while Teacher Jeff Waring captured the Primary Wing’s creativity. Sullivan edited all footage into seven grade-specific short videos and one extended Lower School compilation, which we share here. Many thanks to our art teachers, to the parents who support their children creating at home, and to Teacher Sarah for her editing skills. Enjoy the creativity of our smallest Westonians!

While it may have been the oddest opening of the school year ever, our students were still able to create a series of activities and events to offer a warm welcome for new students during New Student Orientation. The Student Body Presidents — seniors Kavi Gandhi, Sam Hu, and Alexis Rogers —along with enthusiastic student leaders and video editor Jhan Setthachayanon ’22 also created videos to introduce leaders and give a tour of the school. They were so warm and welcoming, we thought you’d like to see them, too! View the student leader introduction here, and the campus tour video here. New Student Orientation is just one example of how students maintained connection with one another and continued to foster community. Throughout the fall semester, clubs and affinity groups met, and traditions like Joint Collection, Class Collection, and Meeting for Worship continued via Zoom. 

Please join us in congratulating these seniors, all National Merit Scholarship Semi-Finalists!
Top, from left:
Allen Gift, Sam Hu, Kavi Gandhi, Cindy Jiang,
Emily Zhang, Max Penders, Charles Shen, Lindsey Turner.

Please also congratulate the National Merit Scholarship Commended students Deion Hammond ’21 and Nelson Zhang ’21!

Six students participated in the recent NAIS Student Diversity Leadership Conference (SDLC), which is part of the National Association of Independent Schools’ People of Color Conference. Jalynn Brooks-Perkins ’22, Camden Chin ’22, Avery Elliott ’24, Penny Han ’22, Sajel Surati ’21, and Meliah Van-Otoo ’22 represented Westtown at this year’s SDLC. The conference theme was Keeping It Real in Independent Schools: Bringing Our Real Selves. Connecting in Real Time. Making Real Change.

SDLC is one of the most well known diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) conferences for independent school students. There are highly competitive processes for schools to apply to send students and for Westtown students to apply to attend. This year’s Westtown contingent represents current and emerging student leaders in affinity groups, athletics, grade level initiatives, residential life, and other areas of student life. We look forward to them sharing what they learned with the school and with their peers along with their various contributions, including the school’s ongoing ABAR initiatives.

Because this year’s conference was entirely virtual, our students participated from campus as well as from their homes. You can read more about the conference here.

The Lower School continued its partnership with La Comunidad Hispana in Kennett Square, Jennersville, and Oxford, Pennsylvania, supporting their annual Warm Wishes Coat Drive. After the coats were collected, the fifth grade spanish classes, led by teacher Renée Burgos ’96, sorted and made an inventory of the donations in Spanish. The coat drive was a success! Spanish teacher Amy Liermann says, “Westtown families have been VERY generous in their donations this year! Last year I had the pleasure of serving at the distribution and helping kids at La Comunidad Hispana pick out coats. The donations make a big impact on families in our county.” Thank you to all the Lower School families who participated!


Westtown’s history and campus are rife with learning opportunities, and Middle School history teacher Angie Cook used them as the basis for her sixth-grade geography unit by creating the Westtown Map Project. Archivist Mary Brooks provided students with a map of campus c. 1795, before it was Westtown School. This map depicts a section of campus that includes what is now the Farmhouse (once known as the “Mansion House”), the Spring House (now faculty housing), and the surrounding fields. On a lovely fall day, Teacher Angie and her students went to the fields behind the Science Center. Students took spots on the hill where they could see the Farmhouse and the Spring House. They were instructed to study the 1795 map, observe their surroundings, then create their own map with those houses as reference points. She asked students to note everything they could see.

Back in the classroom, students worked on drafts of their maps adding details, such as the tents serving as classrooms, trees, athletic fields, and compass roses and keys. They then compared their maps with the 1795 map noting differences, and wrote journal entries to chronicle happenings in their lives in the moment and detail what life is like in 2020. Together they discussed and considered the life and times of the cartographer who created the 1795 map. Although the project wasn’t initially created to be about recording the pandemic, the maps and journal entries of the sixth graders will be kept in the Archives and will serve as records of Westtown during the pandemic of 2020 for future students.

This project is bookended by a larger consideration of maps, map-making, and historical records and context. This geography unit began with students exploring a variety of map projections: Mercator, Mollweide, Peterson, and Robinson. The students analyzed these projections, exploring how each represents a different viewpoint or mindset and a different distortion of the world —and why Euro-centric distortions are more familiar to us than others. The importance of understanding these distortions is in the power it has to bring attention to unfair biases, to the marginalization which results from these biases, and to restore a view of the world that is more equity based and accurate. The next project will build on this map-making project. “We will relate this map project back to the first project by considering the perspective that each student had when they created their individual maps,” says Teacher Angie. “For example, one student might have included the tents in the Lower School and another student might have emphasized the trees more or the soccer fields more. I’ll make this connection as a way of reminding students that every map brings with it a particular bias; that map makers get to decide what is important and worth including, and what is less important. We are going to then talk with [Archivist] Mary Brooks to trace Westtown’s campus back through all of the people who have owned the land—including William Penn—so that we eventually discover and learn more about the Lenape who were here originally. This will help us as we begin our Native American Unit.”

On the left: a student’s campus map; on the right: map from 1795 used in the project.


If you didn’t see this gem on our social media channels, check out the work of students in Teacher Alex Ates’ theater co-curricular. They explored the question of How do you make theater for the Zoom brain? which resulted in TheaterTHING, a 20-minute, wildly original performance that consisted of two acts: “Names. Locations, Moments” and “Experiments to the Moon.”


Co-Curriculars at Westtown School looked a little different this fall given the challenges that Covid-19 has presented. Although we were unable to host interscholastic competitions and the Friends Schools League canceled formal league-wide play, our coaches and student-athletes came together for six weeks of practice and training on campus, which provided a great opportunity to be physically active, connect in person with peers and teammates, and get back on campus to enjoy our beautiful grounds and facilities. For our students who could not participate in person, each co-curricular offered a virtual option as well. It is important to note that all coaches and students who participated in the co-curricular program did a fantastic job of upholding our COVID-19 safety protocols to help keep our community safe while engaging in these wonderful activities.

Some highlights from our fall programs include:

  • Soccer, tennis, cross country, and field hockey teams practiced three times per week during the fall season, ensuring that student-athletes and varsity programs continue to build and practice skills even without competition. Each varsity team held a culminating event at the end of the season, providing the opportunity to celebrate our senior student-athletes and their contributions to their teams and school. Thank you, seniors!
  • Our co-curricular activities were a beacon of light for our community this fall, offering classes such as Yoga, Strength & Conditioning, Dance, Theater, Scenic Art Design, Farming, and Outdoor Leadership.
  • The boys and girls cross country teams competed in a “Virtual Pi K (3.1415 K) Race” against some of our peer schools in the FSL. Even though the competition wasn’t in person, it was great to see our students compete against other schools in a virtual capacity.
  • Our Westtown E-Sports Team launched their inaugural season and competed in two interscholastic leagues this fall. Westtown has joined PlayerVs, which is the preeminent high school E-Sports organization and sponsored by the National Federation of State High School Association. Westtown students from around the globe came together online to form our varsity and JV Rocket League and League of Legends Teams! Our League of Legends team is ranked 26th out of 170 teams. Our JV Rocket league is 26th out of 441. Our Varsity Rocket League team is currently ranked 11th out of 441 teams! You can watch live streams of their games by following our Twitch Account.
  • We are thrilled to celebrate the following students who signed their NLI and made commitments to their future universities! We look forward to sharing more good news from our seniors as we move through the school year.
  • Lexi Brooks – Women’s Basketball – University of Massachusetts
  • Emily Ellis – Women’s Crew – Drexel University
  • Charlie Herlocher – Men’s Lacrosse – Rhodes College
  • Hakim Hicks – Men’s Lacrosse – Johns Hopkins University
  • Oneniotekowa Maracle – Men’s Lacrosse – Lafayette
  • Lauren Stewart – Women’s Soccer – Lafayette College
  • Mike Tayloe – Men’s Lacrosse – Long Island University
  • Whitney Tracy – Women’s Soccer – Virginia Military Institute
  • Jalen Warley – Men’s Basketball – Florida State University



Congratulations to Susan Waterhouse who is a recipient of the University of Chicago’s Outstanding Educator Award! Susan, a math teacher, was nominated by former student Tianxin Wang ’20 who wrote, “To my favorite teacher at Westtown: thank you for all you have done! You understood my needs, my feelings, and my worries about life. You turned an easily intimidating subject into a comprehensible and exciting topic. Thank you for always being open to student suggestions, respectful of our opinions, and willing to offer us help. You made the challenging math classes at Westtown enjoyable for me, and I am grateful to have been your student.” James Nondorf, Dean of Admissions at the University of Chicago, explains that, “Contributions to the academic and personal development of young people are most deserving of recognition. For over thirty years, the University of Chicago has asked incoming students to recommend their outstanding educators–individuals who challenged them intellectually for the first time, opened new vistas of discovery, or channeled their interests into paths for intellectual growth.” Once again, congratulations to Susan Waterhouse on this wonderful recognition!


Our faculty and staff are regular contributors to our Well-Lit Path blog. Consider subscribing to read pieces by our experts!


This fall our Parent Speaker Series featured a three-part video series with our school counselors in which they focused on various aspects social-emotional health of students and families during the pandemic and the holiday season. You can watch the first episode in the series below. Watch episode two here; watch the third episode here. Thank you to members of our Student Support Team — Maria Alonso, Clinical Psychologist, Elizabeth Reilly, School Counselor, and Jessica Morley, School Psychologist — and to Ellen Songle, Director of Outreach Initiatives and moderator of this series.


You might be wondering about how we are planning to celebrate with Alumni/ae/x this spring. While uncertainties remain that make it difficult to predict exactly how and when we will celebrate in the spring of 2021, we suspect we will need to be virtual, and we will send you more information and dates in January. We know this is not ideal, but we will gather in community one way or another.

Programming will include our Annual Meeting, Meeting for Worship, webinars, lectures, and presentations and opportunities to interact with faculty, staff, and students. Other events will be designed for individual class years, including Zoom-based class get-togethers. Even if we are online, we look forward to bringing you “back” to Westtown School! Stay tuned for more!


Daniel Mays ’02 and his work were recently featured in this “Kitchen Vignettes for PBSpiece, which also features his book The No-Till Organic Vegetable Farm. We encourage you to also check out the video that accompanies this piece!


Current parent and alum Chris Saenger ’97 visited history teacher Dan Burger-Lenehan’s Hiroshima to 9/11 class in November. Saenger is the program director for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in Colombia. “Since the class is generally about the United States’ role in the world,” says Burger-Lenehan, “I thought it would be a good opportunity for the students to hear from someone who works in the foreign service and has real-world experience in executing U.S. foreign policy.” Here’s a glimpse at Saenger’s presentation to the students.

Would you like to connect with students? Do you have news to share? Would you like to submit a Class Note for The Westonian? Please contact the Alumni/ae/x Engagement Office!

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