Dear Upper School Parents,
Before you read any further, please be sure to check your respective grade-level sections of this newsletter, the list of Upcoming Dates (which includes the exam schedule), and helpful exam preparation tips and a guide to on-campus academic support in the Learning Specialist section. Lori Herringa, School Nurse, has included reminders about next year’s Health Forms and a scheduling link for on-campus physicals. The Community Service, College Counseling, and Global Education sections all contain timely and relevant information for students in all grade levels. I know it means many stops while here in the US Newsletter, but each carries important information for you and your daughter.
The past few weeks have brought exciting news and accomplishments in many areas of Upper School life. In each case, they are manifestations of the commitment, talent, and passion characteristic of our students, especially when they work under the careful and inspired adult guidance of our faculty.
Most recently, Holton's first-ever Chemathon team competed on Saturday, April 28 in a series of scientific show-downs with schools from the Washington area and beyond. Hosted by the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Maryland at College Park, the Chemathon is an annual regional team chemistry championship traditionally drawing top regional science heavyweight schools from Maryland, Virginia, D.C., and even Pennsylvania. Schools competing this year included Thomas Jefferson, Montgomery Blair, Richard Montgomery, Sidwell Friends, Thomas Wootton High, and McLean High Schools. Two levels of competition take place, one for first time competitors and another for students enrolled at the AP level.
The Holton team won a total of eight awards and took second place overall from a field of 21 Level I teams. This is an outstanding feat of intellectual acumen and preparedness to which nine students and their teacher, Xu Duan, dedicated months of team and individual training. The five theoretical and five experimental events in which the girls competed included hands-on lab work ("Reactions in Action," in which they claimed 2nd place, and "Weighing by Redox"), a poster competition (2nd place), a pre-completed crystal growth project (1st place), Chemical Jeopardy (3rd place), and other categories bearing names such as "Medeleev Madness," "Hydronium Hijinks," "Viscoelastic Bounce," "Avogadro's Tiebreaker" and "Chemysteries" (1st place). Since eight of the events run concurrently in a series of four 30-minute rounds, each team competed in small groups or sub-teams over the course of the day. The 2012 Chemathon Dream Team consisted of 10th graders Jennifer Guo, Nyrah Humayun, Madeleine Hyde, Tess Iannarone, Kayla Moffett, Beverly Sihsobhon, Maya Sorini, Noori Srivastava, and Zainab Wurie.
After their success this year, Mr. Duan and his young chemists are no doubt already considering how best to prepare for the level two round of competition a year from now. Stay tuned!
Recent elections for next year's school-wide Representative Assembly positions gave students the opportunity to hear from a slate of excellent nominees during the annual RA assembly. There, each candidate took the brave step of sharing something of herself, including her strengths and her interest in serving her peers as RA Director, Honor Council President, or Assistant RA Director. Each nominee demonstrated "all that's finest" through her articulate, heartfelt, and often funny speech. Congratulations to all nominees, as well and next year's RA leadership: Lexi Butler '13, RA Director; Gabi Mayers '13, Honor Council President; and Emma Raynor '14, Assistant RA Director.
The annual PUNCH (People United for New and Creative Hunches) fashion show is the culmination of months of creative energy and impressive craftsmanship on the part of 15 student designers (who must sew all of the pieces by themselves) and their models. Led this year by PUNCH President Michelle Unger '12 and advised by Marsha Scherbel and Cheryl Hansen, this year's show raised $3,400 for two worthy and fitting causes, Suited for Change and Dress a Girl Around the World.
We are also proud of the work of the members of our Black Student Union, who, with the help of BSU advisors Samantha Davis and Tiffany Reddinger, hosted a mini diversity conference for Holton students on the afternoon of our most recent early dismissal day. The students planned a series of skits, presentations, and break-out sessions that focused on issues of race and identity. Our hope is to include the entire student body in these engrossing and powerful conversations next year. Thanks and congratulations to Bailey Jackson '12 and Antoinette Nwabunnia '13, BSU co-presidents, as well as to facilitators Katherine Castillo '14, Cheyenne Coote '13, Skyler Ford '14, Yasmeen Haider '15, Aimee Jones-Wilkerson '13, Gabi Mayers '13, Kelsey Spencer '14, and Kimberly Whitley '12.
Our students also showed Holton at its best at two service events: an early morning River Road Clean-Up sponsored by the Environmental Awareness Club (Patty Carver, Advisor) and Spring Day in the Country, where dozens of Holton and Landon students hosted 100 children from nearby subsidized housing for a wonderful morning of fun and games on the Landon campus. Thanks to Celia Spiritos and the Community Service Club for all their hard work in advance of the big day!
There is more to share, but these are the group efforts that seemed to best capture the energy and spirit of the Upper School community, so much of which is truly an extension of the academic classroom experience that the students share each and every day in the hands of our fabulous faculty.
All the best to everyone,
Upper School Director