Congratulations to the mix of new and experienced Princeton Day School Model UN student delegates at last weekend's excellent conference in Edison, NJ. Eyal Yakoby '20, won Best Delegate representing China in the committee on Narcotic Drugs control. Newcomer Lexie Hausheer '20 earned a Verbal Commendation award for her work in the Disarmament and International Security committee representing Belgium. Aidan Njanja Fassu '20 won an Honorable Mention for his role representing the UK Space Agency.
U. S. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith will host poetry readings and presentations for Lower, Middle and Upper School students and faculty throughout the day on January 4 thanks to PDS's signature Imagine the Possibilities (ITP) visiting artist program. The School's ITP program, which typically features multiple artist visits each year, has been made possible since 1995 thanks to the John D. Wallace, Jr. '78 Memorial Guest Artist Series Fund. Smith has been traveling the country to often out-of-the-way rural areas to champion poetry and the cultural curiosity, connections and honest conversations it can foster about societal issues, such as racism, that often divide. Smith's visit to Princeton Day School, which will feature work from her new volume, Wade in the Water, promises to continue raising awareness about poetry as a means for students to develop their voices and explore fundamental questions. PDS is honored to host Tracy K. Smith as she brings her poems to life and invites thoughtful reflection and conversation among our students from PreK through Grade 12.
Val Radvany '19 signed a letter of intent to play Division 1 field hockey at Michigan State University. The scholar-athlete has enjoyed a stellar four-year varsity career at PDS, scoring 27 goals and 52 assists in that time for a total of 108 points during her PDS career as a back/midfielder. Varsity Field Hockey Coach Heather Farlow has high praise for Radvany, stating, "Val has been a vital component of our success and is one of the most decorated PDS field hockey athletes in recent history. She never shied away from an opponent and made big plays in big games. It's been an absolute honor working with Val during her high school career and I wish Val continued success."
Fifth Grade science teacher Jessica Clingman wrote the following blog, published on December 13 by the Center for Transformative Teaching and Learning (CTTL, at http://www.thecttl.org/), where she participated in a mind-opening teaching and learning experience last summer. It's the perfect introduction to her phenomenal 2018-19 curricular work and a signature example of how the power of a teacher's growth mindset can enhance the learning experience for students.
This news story is Part 1 of a series revealing some of the highly engaging and competency-based ways Ms. Clingman is making a year-long study of brain science immediate, relevant and a critical means of self-understanding for her students.
Head of School Paul Stellato created the position of Director of Service Learning in October 2017 to renew and strengthen the School's commitment to service in the 21st century. The School's work to re-envision Community Service as Service Learning truly began to blossom a year later, in 2018, when the PDS community collectively chose Service Learning to be our Middle States Focus for sustaining excellence.
Here, Director of Service Learning Margie Wallace Gibson '84 outlines the successful and purposeful rollout so far, with examples of how tweaks in the Service Learning approach are transforming outcomes across the School. She offers must-read insight into our Service Learning model that's relevant now and throughout the year.
Congratulations to Riley Felsher '20, Ariana Jones '20 and Jules Romano '21 for being honored at the 25th Annual Awards Ceremony last month by Mercer 33 as three of the top Mercer County High School girls' soccer players. All three players were also named to the All Prep first team by the Trentonian and were instrumental in the Panther Girls Varsity Soccer team's continuing reign as Prep B State champs. At the ceremony, Coach Trombetta described the character and skills of each of these stars and highlighted their accomplishments. The team has earned five NJISAA Prep B State Championships and one Mercer County Championship over six consecutive seasons and is poised to continue its winning ways with these returning players.
Come see the student exhibition of STEAM innovations now through January 11 in the Anne Reid '72 Art Gallery -- and if you can't get to PDS, check out the Flickr album and summary highlights of these impressive exhibits here! User-centered design thinking is at the heart of the innovations on display, which were developed to solve real-world challenges and user needs in multiple STEAM courses offered at PDS (along with a few independent projects submitted by students). The Gallery is free and open to the public during school hours on days when school is in session.
Don't miss the tantalizingly brief video included in this story! Dr. Rzeczycki reveals why instrumental music in the Middle and Upper Schools keeps getting even better and how the expansion of the US orchestra has influenced his choices of some signature symphonic experiences at the Instrumental Winter Concert on December 11 at 7pm in McAneny Theater. Virtuosic band and orchestra performances of works that cross cultures, time and genres will provide sensational musical experiences for everyone. The Upper School band, directed by Channing McCullough, will open the instrumental program with rhythmically irresistible arrangements from samba to what is arguably considered the most lyrical heavy metal composition of all time. Closing the evening, Dr. R.'s Upper School orchestra showcases works by some stellar symphonic composers, including a spine-tingling overture by Mozart; an enigmatic variation by Sir Edward Elgar, part of a group of compositions believed to involve a hidden melody thread; an atmospheric theme by contemporary film score composer Alan Silvestri, a frequent collaborator with film director Robert Zemeckis; and a gorgeous duet by master of the tango Carlos Gardel, featured in films including Schindler's List and Scent of a Woman, performed with dance and violin.
The PDS contingent at this year's NAIS People of Color Conference and Student Diversity Leadership Experience included six students: Benjamin Bigdalle '21, Sophia Chaves '21, David Coit '19, Skylar Hall '19, Fechi Inyama '20 and Jomar Meekins '20; and 14 faculty across all three divisions: Alana Allen, Victor Cirilo, Daniel Cohen, Laurence Farhat, Margie Gibson, Tarshia Griffin-Ley, Alex Lasevich, Caroline Lee, Amy Matlack, Anthony McKinley, Elizabeth Monroe, Jason Park, Michelle Simonds and Chandra Smith.
This conference is an unparalleled opportunity to network with other students and faculty from independent schools across the country and access resources and shared learning across areas ranging from self-advocacy and leadership development to inclusion and equity support systems; understanding the process of identifying bias to facilitating conversations about current events across developmental ages and stages; and how to integrate diversity, inclusion and equity into existing programming.
Several PDS attendees offered powerful reflections that reveal the impact of this conference experience and the energy it promotes to continue implementing best practices throughout our learning community.
A gathering to remember Kay McClure, wife of Princeton Day School's founding Head of School, Doug McClure, will be held at Princeton Day School on Saturday, December 8, at 2pm. Location: David Mathey '47 Arts Atrium in the Edward and Marie Matthews Arts Wing. After parking, please enter via the School's main entrance.
This week's Peer Leadership evening for Upper School parents and students exemplifies the best in pro-active, student-led community-building at PDS. Director of Wellness Services Dr. Candy Shah, who was tasked by Head of School Paul Stellato with a leading role in coordinating leadership programming, shares about the School's distinctive and highly intentional student leadership efforts. "Student leadership at PDS is probably one of the biggest mission skills we try to impart on our students to prepare them for the world beyond graduation," notes Dr. Shah.
PDS joins an elite group of only three other secondary schools in the nation to have achieved four-star status from the Green Restaurant Association for their demonstrable efforts to provide sustainable food service. Congratulations to PDS Sustainability Coordinator Liz Cutler, Flik Director Brian Mochnal, Chef Mason Irving, the Flik team and the PDS community for their ongoing commitment to dining green! Learn more about sustainability programming at PDS here.
There's nothing better than stage combat when you're a Middle School actor, and the upcoming performance of The Trials of Robin Hood has plenty of opportunities to showcase safe stage combat skills. What's even more exciting, though, are the many ways this whole-body learning and performance experience challenges students to go beyond memorization and become ultimate problem-solvers. Middle School Theater Director Jonathan Martin reveals the genius of theater for Middle Schoolers as a thrilling source of teamwork, identity development and a commitment to the art of the story as well as the audience. Don't miss the show on Friday, December 7 at 7:30pm in McAneny Theater! (No ticket required!)
A trio of PDS field hockey award winners PDS seniors Gwen Allen and Val Radvany and junior Lexie Hausheer were awarded first team selections at the Central Jersey Field Hockey Coaches Association banquet that was held at Mercer Oaks Country Club yesterday afternoon, making PDS the only school bestowed that honor in Mercer County. Senior Sasha Sindhwani received CJFHCA Honorable Mention honors. Congratulations to the players and their fantastic coach, Heather Farlow!
Wesley Leggett '19 signs with University of Connecticut, flanked by his parents, Terrence and Latrice Leggett. Back row left to right: Associate Head of School Lisa Surace, Varsity Boys Soccer Assistant Coach Bonniwell Graham, Varsity Boys Soccer Coach Ollie Hilliker, Associate Director of College Counseling Cynthia Michalak, Head of Upper School Trixie Sabundayo and Director of Upper School Athletics Tim Williams.
Sunday, November 18 was a great day for PDS grade-level club chess teams at the NJ K-12th Grade tournament, with the 2nd grade team earning first place, while the 3rd and 1st grade teams earned second place! Several players from PDS competed well. Congratulations!
Acclaimed poet Deborah Landau recently hosted the combined Upper School Poetry and Gender and Lit English classes, then led a second session with the student NOW group, interested students and the English faculty.
An author of four collections of poetry and winner of numerous awards, Landau was funny, engaging, candid and thoughtful as she read from her work and shed fascinating light on her subject areas and process.
Next up: The 22nd Poet Laureate of the U.S., Tracy K. Smith, will visit the School on January 4 as the first artist visitor of the 2019 Imagine the Possibilities program, made possible thanks to the John D. Wallace, Jr. '78 Memorial Guest Artist Series Fund.
"Model UN has become an extremely important activity at schools across the country in recent years" says longtime MUN faculty advisor Eamon Downey, adding, "Today it's akin to an interscholastic sport in terms of the strength of the delegations and level of commitment required. Princeton Day School has developed a reputation right up there with the best schools, and in fact last summer we were named among the top 25 best in the country for Model UN." Here, Downey reveals the inner workings of Model UN at PDS and how the key to its continued success has been student-led leadership and commitment combined with a self-perpetuating student-mentoring model.
A Monday evening reception capped off more than a year of work for each of the seven seniors selected last year for the Research Experience Program. REx is a groundbreaking STEAM program that started in the classroom with independent research studies and extended this past summer to university lab experiences the students pursued. , the School's twice yearly magazine (at the printer now!).
For the month of November, ushering in the season of giving, gratitude is the theme actively being practiced across the Lower School. Pointing out the wealth of scientific research on the physical and psychological benefits of practicing gratitude, Ms. Klein emphasized that "Gratitude jars, gratitude journals and gratitude circles are just some of the ways we help our students take time to reflect on what they are thankful for and reap the many benefits of this practice . . . even thinking about the small things for which we are grateful each day can increase one's happiness, empathy, compassion, achievement and one's physical well-being.