Henderson Music Department Challenges Students to Make Bagpipes
Students are showing their creativity during the coronavirus shut down. The Henderson High School Music Department challenged students to make a set of bagpipes using recorders and a trash bag. Elliot Godin rose to the occasion.
"The bagpipes sound amazingly good! We plan to give him one online homework pass for his efforts," said Katrina Kelly, orchestra director.
Henderson BSU Students Participate in 2nd Annual Rustin HS BSU Knowledge Bowl
The Bayard Rustin Black Student Union hosted the 2nd annual African American History Knowledge Bowl at Rustin High School on Wednesday, February 19, 2020. The Knowledge Bowl was designed to challenge and expose the students of the West Chester Area School District to the many achievements and lasting contributions of African Americans to American history and culture.
Two teams of six students from Rustin and Henderson High Schools prepared for the competition by studying historical and cultural information. After two rounds of exciting and close competition, Rustin was victorious with a final score of 44 to 43. Participants were presented with certificates highlighting the experience.
The event was organized by Henderson BSU advisors, Shirley A. Wilson and Dr. Korey Bell, along with Rustin advisors, Paul Chambers and Marya Graham. The advisors hope to grow the event to include more students and schools in this celebration of African American heritage.
Henderson Concert Choir Brings Down the House at the Upper Darby Choral Festival
On Friday, February 7, the Henderson High School Concert Choir represented the West Chester Area School District at the 28th annual Upper Darby High School Choral Festival, where they performed in front of over 500 other high school students and parents.
The choir, under the direction of Mr. Jonathan Kreamer, is 130 members strong and consists of students in grades 9-12.
Congratulations to this talented group of young performers and Mr. Kreamer for a fantastic performance that brought down the house with a standing ovation!
Each year, the Upper Darby High School Choral Music Association hosts the non-competitive choral festival designed to promote friendship and interdistrict musical collaboration.
Henderson Hosts Business Leaders Breakfast
Henderson High School students grab the opportunity to talk to WCASD Superintendent about what is going on at the school.
West Chester Business leaders and politicians mingled with students at Henderson High School during the West Chester Area School District's Business Leaders Breakfast on January 10. The annual breakfast provides students an opportunity to network while showcasing student achievement and school pride.
The tradition dates back forty to fifty years, according to Superintendent Jim Scanlon. It was initially called the Superintendent's Breakfast.
"The breakfast was designed for students to invite the superintendent and administrators from around the district to have breakfast, get to know students, and receive updates. It started at Henderson High School, moved to East in 1974, and then to Rustin when it opened in 2007. About five years ago, we changed it so each high school could host a breakfast," said Dr. Scanlon.
In addition to the Business Leaders Breakfast, each year, the district hosts a community breakfast in November that coincides with American Education Week and a holiday breakfast and concert in December for residents of Hershey's Mills. Those events were held this year at East High School and Rustin High School, respectively.
"Our kids are just amazing. Many people don't know a lot about how kids are today. They think they're behind their phones, and they're talking with their IPads, which they do, but you don't see any phones or IPads here this morning," said Dr. Scanlon.
Dr. Scanlon added that the events provide an opportunity for students to practice "the soft skills that businesses are looking for and give community members the chance to simply "have a conversation with students."
Attendees enjoyed breakfast prepared and served by Family Consumer Science (FCS) students under the tutelage of FCS teacher Catherine Logothetis. A student string quartet provided musical entertainment, and student artwork was on display.
Dr. Jason Sherlock, principal of Henderson High School, offered details on student achievements, including musical and athletic success. This year, sixteen student musicians from Henderson were named to the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association's District 12 band, choir, and orchestra. The school captured six Ches-Mont championships last year and has received the Ches-Mont National League's PIAA National Conference Sportsmanship Award seven out of the last nine years.
"I look forward to coming to work every day, not just because of the championships or accomplishments, but because of our students and our daily, friendly interactions," said Dr. Sherlock.
"The students here embody the true sense of community and citizenship. I'm honored to be the principal at Henderson High School."
Dr. Scanlon delivered statistics on the entire district.
"West Chester has become a popular destination for people to live, work, and raise their family. I'm proud to say that in 2019, we had 56 National Merit Scholars, and 339 Advanced Placement Scholars, which means they passed two or more advanced placement courses to get acceptance for college credit."
Dr. Scanlon added that WCASD is one of 37 school districts out of the 500 in Pennsylvania to receive an A+ rating, according to Niche.com. All three high schools consistently rank in the top four percent in the nation, according to US News & World Report and Newsweek. SAT scores in the district are 60 points higher than the state average and 70 points higher than the national average for math. SAT scores for reading are 40 points higher than the state average and 50 points higher than the national average.
WCASD school board members Joyce Chester, Dr, Karen Herrmann, President Chris McCune, and Randell Spackman, in addition to district administrators also attended the breakfast.
Henderson Biology Teacher Named Outstanding Educator
Congratulations to Henderson High School Biology teacher Taylor Patchak for being named an Outstanding Educator by the University of Chicago.
Patchak has taught in the West Chester Area School District for the last six years and always knew she wanted to be a teacher.
"I've always enjoyed helping others and love working with kids, so becoming a teacher was the perfect path for me," said Patchak.
"Students make every day different and unpredictable. It is amazing to see them mature from a 9th grader first entering high school to a senior applying to college or technical school or entering directly into a career field. Regardless of their path, it's always rewarding to see their journey and be a part of it."
Each year, the incoming class at the University of Chicago is given the opportunity to nominate an educator who has made a difference in their lives. The nominations are usually anonymous.
"I am not positive of who may have nominated me, but I'm very honored that someone did," added Patchak. "There are so many teachers that are always working for the betterment of their students and going above and beyond to ensure that their students reach their greatest potential in all fields. It really is an honor to be recognized as one of them."
WCASD Students Attend a Workshop on Historically Black Colleges & Universities at Henderson HS
Attendees of the 2019 HBCU workshop held at Henderson High School
College preparedness was the focus of a Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCU) workshop held at Henderson High School on October 18, 2019.
Sixty-two students from East, Henderson, and Rustin High Schools participated in the workshop. The Black Student Unions (BSU) from each school and the Iota Tau Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. sponsored the event.
Before the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the overwhelming majority of colleges and universities only educated white students. HBCU were established to provide post-secondary education to the African-American community.
The workshop began with a panel discussion led by Lincoln University professor Kim Dotson-Brown and current Lincoln University students. Sheila Sawyer, a retired West Chester Area School District teacher, and Lincoln University graduate, also addressed the group. The panel emphasized the importance of not backing down from academic challenges and involvement in school activities.
Students spent the day engaged in different activities, which included a virtual Black History scavenger hunt. They used their phones to scan QR codes, which helped them answer questions during their quest. Students also learned about HBCUs, the SAT and ACT exams, studying abroad, college financial aid, and the college application process.
Feedback from students about the workshop was overwhelmingly positive.
“One thing I learned from today about HBCU was that Lincoln University was the first HBCU that gave out degrees. We were provided with a lot of information about HBCU that I did not know about,” said Jamal Tucker, a senior at East High School.
“I learned that HBCU can make a positive impact on your life,” added Patrice Kallie, a freshman at East High School.
The HBCU workshop comes ahead of a trip planned for November 8, where approximately 100 BSU students will tour Bowie State University in Bowie, Maryland, and Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland.
The primary purpose of BSUs in the WCASD is to build the self-esteem of African American students by encouraging pride in their rich heritage and participation in challenging learning experiences. The organization also helps students develop leadership skills, and education and vocational career goals, while providing a clear understanding of African American heritage to educators and the student body at large. BSU advisors are Velma Rose-Hill and Jasmine Worrell (East,) Dr. Koreem Bell and Shirley Wilson (Henderson,) and Paul Chambers and Marya Graham and (Rustin.)
Henderson HS String Orchestra Selected to Perform at Annual PMEA Concert
Henderson High School String Orchestra
The Henderson High School String Orchestra will have the distinction of performing at the annual Pennsylvania Music Educators Association (PMEA) on April 23, 2020.
The ensemble is one of approximately 30 musical groups selected to perform at the conference. More than 130 applied for consideration. Henderson is one of three orchestras that will perform during the four- day conference that will be held at the Kalahari Resort in the Poconos. They will play for music educators from across the state.
"They are not an auditioned ensemble," said Katrina Kelly, director. "The orchestra meets three of every five days for rehearsal. The Henderson Orchestra is an example of what a high school orchestra program should be able to achieve."
This year marks Ms. Kelly's second year as the orchestra's director.
The group has 47 members ranging from 9th - 12th grades.
PMEA is a non-profit organization whose mission is to be the leading voice and advocate for music education in Pennsylvania. The organization was founded in 1933 by a small group of band directors. Membership has grown to over 4,500, including music educators from preschool to post-secondary institutions.
Andrew L. Hicks Senior Scholarship Award
Congratulations to Nate Fuguet for earning the Andrew L. Hicks Scholarship. The Hicks Foundation Scholarship is a $10,000 scholarship awarded to a senior who has volunteered a minimum of 40 hours with the Andrew L. Hicks Jr. Foundation and achieved academic excellence. Nate has demonstrated an undeniable love for the children of the City of Chester and an uncommon enthusiasm for the work of the Hicks Foundation. He has volunteered 264 hours with the Foundation, participated in many Open Events, and served as an Event Leader on a number of Open Events over the past years. In addition, Nate has been a Camp Counselor at Camp Lionheart, where he demonstrated his natural gifting as a leader and caregiver.
Besides being actively involved in Hicks Foundation, Nate was a peer tutor, National Honor Society member, and Academic All-American Lacrosse player. Nate plans to continue his studies at the Grove City College majoring in Physics. We wish Nate good luck next year!
Senior Earns Highly Prestigious Thomas Jefferson University Honors Scholarship
Suhail Tarazi and Principal Jason Sherlock
Congratulations to senior Suhail Tarazi for earning the highly prestigious Thomas Jefferson University Honors Scholarship. The Honors Scholarship is a $20,000 scholarship for each undergraduate year of study. Only 5% of the applicants are admitted to the Pre-Med Honor Studies Program at Thomas Jefferson.
Suhail had an exceptional high school career at Henderson High School. He served as an elected officer in the National Honor Society and was the Student Senate President. In addition, he coordinated the peer tutoring program at HHS and volunteered in the Warrior Guides. Suhail was also an admired leader and four-year letter winner for the Henderson swim team. Suhail was a role model for his classmates and his leadership will be sorely missed.
After completion of Thomas Jefferson, Suhail will attend Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine. We wish Suhail good luck next year and are extremely proud of him!
2019 WCASD Senior Walk
On Tuesday, May 28, 2019, the Class of 2019 took one final walk through the hallways of their elementary and middle schools in celebration of their graduation from the West Chester Area School District. There were smiles and hugs, cheers and tears, time spent reminiscing and reflections on the future.
They say it takes a village to raise a child. Well, it also took a village to put together our Senior Walk Highlights video! Thank you to all of the teachers, staff, administrators, students, and parents who submitted videos and photos.
Congratulations to the Class of 2019!
2019 Henderson HS Boys Speaking Contest
Nick Washington, Michael Bonsall, Trey Conrad
Love was the topic of this year's winning piece at the Henderson High School D. Webster Meredith Boys Public Speaking Contest.
Senior Michael Bonsall won first place with his dramatic reading of We are Defining Love the Wrong Way, written by Rabbi David Wolpe of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles.
"I wanted to finish strong. I've been doing this contest for three years. I wanted to bring up a topic that connects with the audience and also myself. Love is a huge topic for a community – loving each other, showing that we love each other. I think it was a great way to end everything," said Bonsall.
Sophomore Nick Washington came in second place with an excerpt from the novel The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison. His piece focused on self-image and how it influences one's personality.
Third place went to junior Trey Conrad who performed a powerful excerpt from the 1947 book Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl. The memoir chronicles Frankl's experience as a prisoner in four different Nazi concentration camps, including Auschwitz.
The D. Webster Meredith Boys Speaking contest is one of the longest standing traditions in the West Chester Area School District dating back to 1890. The competition is fierce - close to 100 boys tryout each year while only eight make the final cut. Students are required to audition in front of a panel of staff members. The contestant then chose a staff member who serves as a mentor and coach leading up to the competition. Contest coordinator and Henderson Latin teacher, Janet Booze, approves each student's selection and verifies that it had never been performed publically. The students had roughly six weeks to rehearse with the help of a faculty coach.
The students performed before a live audience consisting of students, teachers, parents, and community members. They are judged on their audience awareness, projection, inflection, diction, pacing, and movement.
The Janet Walton Girls Speaking Contest is held in the fall.
Henderson High School Mock Crash
The sky over Henderson High School was dark and gloomy the morning the junior class witnessed one of West Chester Area School District’s most impactful presentations – Mock Crash.
Fake blood, shattered glass, and twisted metal littered a parking lot outside of the school during the presentation which included student actors, and emergency personnel, making the scene as realistic as possible.
Mock Crash is designed to reinforce the dangers of drunk and distracted driving. The presentation is usually held prior to prom season, which tends to see a spike in teen automobile accidents.
“It’s human nature to make mistakes, we all do it,” said Dr. Jason Sherlock, principal of Henderson High School. “But, this is one mistake that can cripple a community for a long time. Please, make wise decisions. Look out for one another.”
Following Mock Crash, students heard an impactful presentation from representatives of State Farm and Main Line Health.
“I, as a parent, would much rather get that 3 a.m. phone call saying ‘Mom, I made a poor decision. I’m drunk,’ rather than visit you in a funeral home,” said Lisa Eckenroad from Main Line Health. Her words hit home when the audience of typically energetic teens remained quiet.
Nancy Ellis, from State Farm, who sponsors Mock Crash, talked about how teenagers are more at risk for automobile accidents, especially during their first year of driving.
“Automobile accidents are the number one killer of teens. However, we believe it is also preventable.”
Students also heard from Daniel Perrino, who narrowly survived a drunk driving accident in 2009. Perrino, along with his father, David, shares his cautionary tale with high school students across the area through Bryn Mawr Rehab’s Cruisin’ Smart Program.
Daniel described how he went from being a football star at Garnet Valley High School to learning how to walk again after being on life support.
“I was doing well in school. I was like most kids my age. Life was great.”
Daniel pointed out that his one poor decision flipped his life and the life of his family members upside down.
“Please learn from my mistake. Don’t do what I did. Think about your choices and the possible outcomes. Think about your responsibilities to yourself, your friends, and your family. Your decisions affect many other people besides yourself.”
Henderson High School would like to thank the following for their participation in Mock Crash: West Chester Fire Company, West Chester Police Department, Good Fellowship Ambulance, Paoli Hospital, State Farm Insurance, Bryn Mawr Rehab Cruisin Smart, and the Chester County Coroner's Office.
*This article and video were written and edited by Gracie Cleveland, WCASD communications intern.
Henderson Student Faces Off Against Rare Disorder
Luke Wierman and his cousin Norah
Henderson High School senior Luke Wierman has a lot to focus on these days. Graduation is right around the corner, followed by a summer of patrolling Long Beach Island keeping people safe before heading off to college in the fall. But, with everything he has to look forward to, Luke is fixated on his young cousin, Norah.
The adorable three-year-old with bright blue eyes and curly blonde locks was diagnosed with Xeroderma pigmentosum (XP) at the age of two. XP is a rare genetic disorder in which there is a decreased ability to repair DNA damage such as that caused by ultraviolet light. Symptoms may include a severe sunburn after only a few minutes in the sun, nervous system problem, such a hearing loss, poor coordination, loss of mental function, and seizures. People with XP face a high risk of skin cancer, with about half developing the disease by the age of ten without preventative efforts. Those with XP are also at risk of developing other types of cancers, as well as cataracts.
Most people have never heard of XP, which is why Luke has dedicated himself to helping his young cousin through his passion - lacrosse.
Luke has been playing lacrosse since third grade and is a midfielder-face-off specialist for Henderson High School's varsity squad. To help raise awareness for XP and funds to help with Norah's medical care, Luke started Facing Off Vs.XP.
"Every faceoff I take this season is a chance to raise money for Norah and her family," says Wierman. So far, he has raised over $1,800 since the lacrosse season began in mid-march. Luke has five more games to play before the season concludes.
There is no cure for XP and the costs associated with Norah's medical care are expensive. According to Luke, Norah must be covered from head to toe in protective clothing every time she steps foot outside. She requires custom-made masks with a built-in fan to keep her cool in warm temperatures and goes through multiple bottles of specialized sunscreen per week. Her parents must also take protective measures even when Norah is inside including protective film on their windows and light meters.
"She's a very happy little girl, and she's very strong, given what she is going through. I want to tell people about her, so they get an idea of what she is dealing with and the things she has to go through. She is just like every other little girl; she just has some restrictions. I hope she can someday start playing indoor sports. I hope that she stays happy and makes some friends when she gets older. I want her to be a regular little girl and be happy. That's all that really matters."
When Luke isn't busy with his studies, playing lacrosse and helping to raise awareness for XP, he helps coach 8th-grade lacrosse players. He will continue his lacrosse career when he attends Fairfield University in Connecticut this fall. Luke says he will most likely major in business.
To learn more about Facing Off Vs.XP or make a donation, visit pledgeit.org/faceoffvsxp.
Henderson Director of Bands Receives Top Award
Henderson High School's Director of Bands, Jack Hontz, has been named the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association (PMEA) 2019 Outstanding Young Music Educator. The PMEA Award honors an outstanding young music educator within their first 3-5 years of teaching for their contributions to music education and PMEA.
Hontz, a graduate of East High School and West Chester University, has been teaching music in the West Chester Area School District for the past four years. He is currently pursuing a master's degree in conducting. Music has always been a part of his life.
"My dad was a band director, and he inspired me to go into music at a young age," says Hontz.
Hontz, whose primary instrument is the clarinet, oversees Henderson's marching band, concert bands, and jazz bands.
"Being honored with this award is very humbling, and it is more a reflection on my students, colleagues, and family than it is on me. I'm very fortunate to have had great mentors and work in a supportive district."
Hontz received the award at the PMEA's annual conference which was held April 6th in Pittsburgh. The PMEA is a statewide nonprofit organization of over 4,500 members, dedicated to promoting the musical development of all Pennsylvanians. The organization promotes and supports quality music education, learning and performance as well as promoting and supporting music education in schools and communities.
Henderson Students Play the Stock Market and Win
Justin Maratea, Maren Potter, Ambrose Robuck
Three students from Henderson High School recently claimed the top spot in the Stock Market Game, through The Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA).
Senior Justin Maratea, sophomore Maren Potter, and junior Ambrose Robuck outperformed other investment portfolios to place first out of 430 teams in Eastern Pennsylvania, and in third place out of the state's 1,481 teams.
Students in grades 9-12 enrolled in Introduction to Business, and Personal Finance can participate.
Students learn key terms and concepts, and an overview of the fundamentals of investing to prepare for the Stock Market Game. They are also introduced to the logistics and rules of the contest. Students independently research and analyze investment options and then bring the investment strategy and specific recommendations to their group.
Not only does The Stock Market Game help students to gain an understanding of how the financial markets work, but it also helps them develop positive money habits and prepare them for the future.
"Students have the opportunity to learn and practice skills related to investing in the financial markets increasing their knowledge, comfort, and understanding. Students invest as they would in an online brokerage account and monitor market conditions. They learn about investment options and strategy through companies they know," said Melissa Webber, Business & Marketing teacher, DECA & National Business Honors Society Advisor at Henderson High School.
Henderson High School students have participated in The Stock Market Game for at least the last six years. The West Chester Area Education Foundation generously provided a grant to cover the contest entrance fees.
The SIFMA Foundation is dedicated to fostering knowledge and understanding of the financial markets for individuals of all backgrounds.
Holocaust Survivor Shares Her Story with Henderson High School Students
"My story is about hate, and how hate can destroy a nation."
Those words hung in the air inside Henderson High School's auditorium- spoken by Holocaust survivor, Ronnie Reutlinger Breslow.
Mrs. Breslow came to Henderson on April 4 to share her life story with students, many of whom are currently studying the atrocities of the Holocaust. On some levels, Mrs. Breslow's tale was one in which the students could relate. They learned she had two loving parents; was a self-described "Daddy's Girl"; enjoyed spending time with her friends; loved Halloween. However, that was where any similarities to the students' lives ended.
Mrs. Breslow was born in Kircheim, Germany. She lived with her parents Elly and Gustav Reutlinger above their successful dry goods store. When the Nazis enacted the Nuremberg Laws in 1935, the Reutlinger's business was ruined because non-Jews were no longer permitted to buy from Jewish-owned businesses. Young Ronnie was also told she could no longer attend her public school and she was alienated by all of her non-Jewish friends.
In November of 1939, German Jews were stripped of their civil rights, their businesses and synagogues destroyed, and lives lost during Kristallnacht or the Night of Broken Glass. The Reutlinger's knew they needed to flee their homeland, but it was no easy feat.
"There wasn't a Jew left in Germany that didn't want to get out. The problem was - where would we go?" said Mrs. Breslow.
Gustav Reutlinger was able to secure a single ticket on a ship bound for Cuba, but he did not want to leave his wife and daughter behind. Elly insisted her husband leave Germany because she was fearful of what would happen to him if he stayed. The mother and daughter booked passage to Cuba on the SS. St. Louis a short time later. Before leaving, Elly told Ronnie she could bring along one special item. The 8-year-old decided on her stamp collection, having no idea that it would save their lives. They set sail on May 13, 1939.
When the St. Louis arrived in Havana, Cuban authorities refused entry for the ship's roughly 936 passengers. With nowhere to go, the passengers were devastated and fearful of what was to come of them. Other ships that came to port were denied entry as well; many of them returned to Germany and the passengers were sent to concentration camps. The captain of the St. Louis, Gustav Schroeder refused Nazi orders to return the ship to Germany and steered the ship to Holland where Ronnie and her mother were placed in Rotterdam West, a detention camp.
“Captain Schroeder was our hero,” says Ronnie.
Elly learned that the camp commander, a captain in the Dutch Navy, was an avid stamp collector. She gave Ronnie’s stamp collection to the captain in exchange for passage out of Rotterdam West. He advised them to travel to Antwerp, Belgium where they were able to board a ship headed to America. By that time, Gustav had made his way to the United States and settled in Philadelphia.
Elly and Ronnie eventually reunited with Gustav in New York.
"When I ran down the ship's plank into my father's arms, I realized that I was extremely lucky to be in this wonderful country we call the U.S.A., where we have our freedom," says Ronnie. "But, I caution all of you, in these turbulent times today, that we all have to remain vigilant so that this very precious gift called freedom remains here always. We all know that freedom is not free."
Kindness is Contagious at Henderson High School
Henderson High School students were all smiles, Tuesday, and it wasn’t just because they might have a snow day if weather forecasters were correct. Twelve hundred students celebrated Random Acts of Kindness Week. Read more in the Daily Local News.
Henderson & Peirce Kids 4 Kids Club Prepare Meal for Safe Harbor
Peirce Kids 4 Kids Club Henderson Kids 4 Kids Club
Students from Henderson High School and Peirce Middle School donated their time during the month of January preparing meals for Safe Harbor of West Chester.
Safe Harbor is a non-profit charitable organization whose mission is to provide housing, food, and access to support services in a structured environment for homeless single men and homeless single women in Chester County.
Student members of Henderson and Peirce's Kids "4" Kids service club students gathered on two separate occasions at The Kitchen Studio at Pine Street in West Goshen and spent the afternoon preparing chicken and potato casserole, chicken fajitas, salad, freshly baked rolls, and chocolate chip cookies. The food served approximately 40 people.
In addition to preparing meals, the Peirce students also made Valentine’s Day cards which will be sent to sick children through Cards for Hospitalized Kids. Headquartered in Chicago, this international non-profit organization’s mission is to spread hope and joy to children undergoing medical treatment.
Kids “4” Kids is a service club that plans events throughout the year to help others, including raising money for non-profit organizations that help children. Visit www.kids-4-kids.org for more information about the group.
The Kitchen Studio at Pine Street opens up it showroom to local organizations and businesses for fundraisers, networking events, kitchen demonstrations, wine tastings, book groups, Bunco nights, and more. To inquire about hosting an event at The Kitchen Studio, call 610-430-3333.
Henderson Hosts Community Breakfast for Retirement Community
Henderson High School recently opened its doors and welcomed senior citizens from Hershey's Mill for a holiday breakfast and concert. The annual Hershey's Mill breakfast was held on December 6. The West Chester Area School District's three high schools take turns hosting the breakfast each year, along with the Business Leaders Breakfast, and the American Education Week Community Breakfast. The event gives residents of the retirement community the opportunity to interact with students and staff.
Family Consumer Science (FCS) students, led by teacher Mrs. Cathy Logothestis, impressed the guests with a gourmet breakfast buffet, while student body representatives mingled with guests and discussed the various pieces of student artwork on display.
Some of the residents in attendance have grandchildren who attend the West Chester Area School District, while others, like Karen Barsottini, saw the event as an opportunity to kick off the holiday season.
"What a fabulous morning. The district has a sterling reputation. The students and staff at Henderson couldn't be more welcoming," said Barsottini. "The artwork is just stunning! The food is amazing! This is a perfect holiday event."
Henderson's principal, Dr. Sherlock took a few moments to welcome the guests and highlight student achievement. Superintendent Dr. James Scanlon also touted the successes of Henderson's students, pointing out that Henderson, in addition to the District's other high schools - East and Rustin - consistently ranked among the top public high schools in the nation. WCASD school board members Sue Tiernan, Dr. Karen Hermann, Joyce Chester, Brian Gallen, and Randell Spackman were also in attendance.
The morning concluded with impressive musical performances by Henderson's concert choir, chamber choir, orchestra, jazz band, and saxophone ensemble, led by Mr. Jonathan Kreamer, Mrs. Katrina Kelly, and Mr. Jack Hontz.
Winner of Henderson's Girls Speaking Contest Tackles Sensitive Topic
The 2018 Henderson High School Janet Walton Girls Speaking Competition contestants - Lucy Krug (left,) Kendall Anderson, Shreya Verma, Kateri Lalicker, Bailey Henry, Isabelle Perez, Lillian Drake, Katie Detwiler, Abheya Nair
The topic of sexual assault was the subject matter of the winning presentation at the annual Janet Walton Girls Public Speaking Contest at Henderson High School.
The speaking is one of the West Chester Area School District's longest standing traditions, dating back over 75 years. Nine females took to the stage in Henderson's auditorium in front of their peers on November 30 and delivered an excerpt from a published literary piece that had never been performed in public. Each literary work had to be approved ahead of time, and students had roughly six weeks to prepare for the contest. Participants were judged on their audience awareness, projection, inflection, diction, pacing, and movement.
Senior Kateri Lalicker won first place with a passage from Beartown by Fredrik Backman. The book is about a small town consumed with ice hockey that becomes immersed in a scandal when the star of boys junior ice hockey team is accused of sexual assault. Dreams, community pride, morals, and ethics are on the line when the accusations come to light.
"I was kind of unsure about the topic at first because rape is such a sensitive topic," said Lalicker. "But, I thought it could help raise more awareness of the situation."
In addition to her studies, Lalicker is involved with the speech and debate club at Henderson. She is also a member of the National Honor Society, Art Honor Society, and works at the school's literary magazine.
Lalicker plans on continuing her education after graduating from Henderson in the spring. She doesn't know which college she will attend yet but says she will major in chemical engineering. Lalicker has applied to MIT, Northeastern University, and the University of Rochester. She is also applying to Boston University, Carnegie Melon, Tufts University, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Pittsburgh. MIT is her top choice.
Second place went to junior Katie Detwiler who performed an excerpt from A Child Called It by Dave Pelzer. 11th-grader Lucy Krug won third place with an excerpt from Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys.
“It takes a tremendous amount of courage to do what these young ladies did here today. They all did an awesome job. They are all winners,” said Dr. Jason Sherlock, Henderson principal.
Henderson Latin teacher, Janet Boosz is the coordinator of the Janet Walton Girls Speaking Contest. Judges for the contest were Dr. Sara Misset, WCASD director of secondary education, David Ehrhart, interim supervisor of world language, retired Henderson English teacher Linda Banks, and retired Clearview Regional High School Latin teacher, Mrs. Martha Pearlman.
The D. Webster Meredith Boys Speaking Contest will be held in the spring.
Peirce & Henderson Hold 7th Annual runFar
Fusion & Henderson Fusion Clubs
The Fusion Clubs at Peirce Middle School and Henderson High School raised over $3500.00 for orphans in Uganda, Ethiopia, and Zambia at this year's runFar event. The event was held on June 1st at Henderson and featured a one-mile run/walk, 4 x 400 coed relay, and a Best Buddies race. Awards were handed out to the fastest runners.
This year marks the 7th-year students have raised money for runFar, bringing the total amount raised to over $30,000.
RunFAR (Run For African Relief) is an initiative of Covenant Mercies, a PA-based nonprofit with programs in Uganda, Zambia, and Ethiopia that provide for the physical and educational needs of orphans living there.
Mock Crash Represents Real Life Tragedy
“Kids make mistakes all the time, but this is one mistake where there are no do-overs,” said Henderson High School Principal Dr. Jason Sherlock. Sherlock was talking about Henderson’s Mock Crash which was held on May 1st.
Mock Crash is designed to remind students of the dangers of drunk and distracted driving. The presentation is given to the junior class before prom season when there is typically an increase in these types of accidents.
Chaos would be one of the words to describe the staged scene. The loud chatter among students quickly came to a halt when the tarps covering the wrecked vehicles were pulled back to unveil the devastation. Student actors poured emotions ranging from despair to anger into their performance. Emergency personnel arrived on the scene adding to the authenticity of the event.
After the demonstration, students returned to the school’s auditorium to hear the emotional story of one man’s decision to drink and drive.
Guest Speaker Michael Vozzelli from Bryn Mawr Rehab’s Crusin’ Smart program shared his traumatic experience.
Vozzelli played three sports in middle school that carried into high school - track, wrestling, and soccer. When he was thirteen, he started drinking in order to fit in with his older peers. In high school, Vozzelli began taking drugs in excess, but he found it did not hinder his athletic abilities. He could still run a mile in five minutes and a 100-meter dash in 12 seconds.
As he moved grade levels, his fitness regime increased as well. He began bodybuilding and played football with his neighborhood friends. In 11th-grade, Michael ran a mile in 4.26 minutes, the world record at the time was a tenth of a second faster. He also ran a 100-meter dash in 10 seconds.
“I thought I was going to be the exception. I wasn’t going to be an alcoholic or a drug addict. I thought I was invincible.” Vozzelli told the students.
“When I graduated from high school, I was an alcoholic and drug addict; only I didn’t know it at the time.”
On his 21st birthday, Vozzelli and a friend went to Atlantic City to celebrate legally for the first time. “Who would have thought that the biggest gamble we would take on that day would be in getting home,” a partially paralyzed Vozzelli told the crowd. “I didn’t, and I lost that bet.”
When they left Atlantic City, Vozzelli’s friend was too intoxicated to drive, so Vozzelli got behind the wheel - it was the only time he ever drove drunk. A couple of miles later the car flipped, five times.
The accident left him in a coma for months. While hospitalized Vozzelli dropped over a hundred pounds of muscle tissue and ended up being an 89-pound “human paperweight.”
“I was dependent upon total strangers for the most basic needs of survival. They had to change my diaper.”
Vozzeli underwent ten months of inpatient therapy and five years of outpatient therapy. Despite all of his efforts, he was left permanently paralyzed on his left side. His speech was impacted as well.
“All of the people I thought were my friends deserted me. There is not one person in my life today from before my accident.”
Since his accident, Vozzeli lived with his mother who took care of all his needs. She recently passed away, and he has been left to fend for himself.
Vozzeli works part-time, as the brain damage he suffered prevents him from staying awake for more than eight hours at a stretch. The girlfriend he was with at the time of his accident left him while he was in a coma and his dating life is non-existent.
“I call what happened to me an accident because accidents are preventable.”
The day was made possible with help from DJ Sound and Lighting, Jeff Stat Helicopter, Media Theater, Paoli Hospital, Main Line Hospital (Cruisin’ Smart), West Chester Fire Department, Good Fellowship Ambulance, State Farm Insurance, West Goshen Police Department, and Chester County Coroner’s Department, the Henderson SADD (Students Against Drunk Driving) club.
-Written by Henderson Senior & WCASD Communications intern Cassie Wright
Henderson High School Hosts Best Buddies Fun with Friends Day
Bus after bus filled to the brim with students filed into Henderson High School May 2nd to participate in the 8th annual Best Buddies Fun with Friends Day. As students left their buses, they were enthusiastically greeted by Henderson Best Buddies chapter members and volunteers.
Henderson Learning Support teacher Rob McMahon came up with the idea of Best Buddies Fun with Friends Day eight years ago when he taught at East High School. This was Henderson’s second year hosting the event.
“It’s all about making new friends and seeing the abilities of all our kids,” said McMahon. “It’s about raising awareness.”
Fifteen schools from Chester and Montgomery counties participated in the event, doubling the number of schools involved last year. The beautiful spring day served as the perfect backdrop for outdoor fun, which included Frisbee ring toss, soccer, Simon Says, an obstacle course, face painting, and much more.
McMahon prides himself on the diversity of the Best Buddies Henderson chapter.
“I have kids that are involved in band, academic teams, athletics, or nothing specific, but they all participate in Best Buddies. The other groups that they participate in are left at the door when they come to Best Buddies. These kids are awesome.”
The day was orchestrated and run by Best Buddies president Justen Lucas and board members Sarah Guber, Kelly Johnson, Grace Campbell and Caroline Camp.
“It means a lot to me,” said Lucas who was named Best Buddies President of the Year for Chester County. “I couldn’t have done it without the support of my board, the student advisors, the Best Buddies kids, Mr. McMahon, and all of the students that support this organization.”
The afternoon of fun concluded with a group water balloon toss, which ended with a lot of laughter and wet clothing that no one seemed to mind. Students then lined up for an emotional farewell as they received their certificates of participation. Best Buddies from each school ran through a tunnel of Henderson students who high fived each of them and called out their names, cheering them on.
Best Buddies is an organization dedicated to providing friendship and support to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. There are six chapters in the West Chester Area School District – East High School, Henderson High School, Rustin High School, Fugett Middle School, Peirce Middle School, and Stetson Middle School.
In addition to Best Buddies Fun with Friends Day, the organization holds other events throughout the year including The Buddy Ball and Best Buddies Wing Bowl. The group also donates cookies and makes cards for the local police department as a thank you for their service. Best Buddies and their peers also have the opportunity to participate in a physical education class together twice a week.
Since bringing Best Buddies to Henderson, McMahon has seen a shift regarding acceptance of students with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
“Without question,” said McMahon. “One of the kids, a 10-grader, when he came here as a freshman, his mom was very worried about him not knowing anybody. His communication skills were low, but now he gives everyone high-fives. He even participated in our Wing Bowl. He’s like the mayor of Henderson. It’s fantastic!”
Three Buddies and all of the Peer Buddies are graduating this year and starting another adventure, but they will always have their high school memories to take with them on their journey.
-Written by Henderson High School senior and WCASD communications intern Cassie Wright
Henderson High School Mock Trial Team Competes at States
Congratulations to Henderson High School's Mock Trial Team, which won the county and regional competition and competed in the state finals in Harrisburg in March.
The team consisted of lawyers - Captian Sophie Cloarec, Meghan Kristoff, Bhavana Kusumba, Victoria Ming, and Rose Warburton. The rest of the team included Anaya Madyun, Jessica Liu, Shreya Verma, Rahil Radia, Allie Lister, Kendal Anderson, and Gabe Scholl.
Retired history teacher, Ron Miller, came back to coach the team towards great success. A job well-done by the future legal minds of America!
Henderson Clubs Collect Donations for DVCCC
Laura Wilson (Left), Jessica Gonzales, Kate Royer, Candy Jakubowski, Julia Bush, Amelia Rayburn (DVCCC), Marie Schneider, Jill Tscherniawsky
Students from Henderson High School's Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) chapter and FEMpowerment Club collected various personal care products and household items during February to donate to the Domestic Violence Center of Chester County (DVCCC) in support of Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month.
Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month is a national effort to raise awareness about abuse in teen and 20-something relationships and promote programs that prevent it.
According to loveisrespect.org, one in three teens in the United States will experience physical, sexual or emotional abuse by someone they are in a relationship with before they become adults.
FEMpowerment co-founder, 10th-grader Julia Bush said she knows people who have been affected by teen dating violence.
"Whether it is verbal or physical, people seem to think it is normal because you're in love, but it's not normal. It angers me when people do nothing about it," said Bush.
"Our mission is to spread the word that being a feminist is not about girls overriding boys. It's about equality for both genders. We are all equal, and stereotypes need to be broken."
FEMpowerment meets weekly after school and Bush said they have plans to do a similar collection of personal care products and household goods for those in need in honor of Mother's Day.
SADD is a nationwide organization dedicated to empowering young people to successfully confront the risks and pressures that challenge them throughout their daily lives.
The DVCCC has a free and confidential helpline set up. It is available 24 hours a day at 610-431-1430. For more information, visit www.dvccc.com.
Henderson HS Hosts 34th Annual Black Student Union Banquet
West Chester Area School District's Henderson High School recently hosted its 34th annual Black Student Union Scholarship Banquet (BSU.) This year's banquet, with a theme of "Strength in Unity," brought together students, staff, administration, alumni, school board members, and community members. Attendees included Pennsylvania State Representative Carolyn Comitta, West Chester Mayor Dianne Herrin, and WCASD school board members, Joyce Chester and Dr. Kate Shaw. The banquet is held each year at the end of February to mark the end of Black History Month.
BSU members welcomed guests, followed by the playing of the African American Anthem, "Lift Every Voice and Sing." District Superintendent Dr. James Scanlon then offered up his remarks.
"As I was signing the anthem, a couple of the words resonated with me and I thought that maybe our country could learn a few things from this song," said Scanlon.
"'God of our weary years, God of our silent tears.' As I was singing that line, I couldn't help but think of the families and the victims in Parkland, Florida with the tragic school shooting that took place, and how we have weary years of fight for gun control and for mental health solutions in our communities and schools. I thought about Black History Month and throughout our time here in West Chester, the long fight against racism in our country. So perhaps, our entire country can learn from this particular song and the powerful message it sends."
Scanlon concluded his remarks by asking for a moment of silence for the victims of the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
This year's keynote speaker was Kyle J. Boyer. Mr. Boyer is an educator, social justice advocate, and minister. He is a member of the Tredyffrin/Easttown School Board, an executive committee member of the West Chester branch of the NAACP, and a member of the advisory board of the Foundation for Learning in Tredyffrin/Easttown. He also serves as a Youth Leader at Mt. Carmel Church of God in Christ in West Chester.
Like Dr. Scanlon, Boyer also focused a portion of his remarks on the school shooting in Parkland, Florida and the importance of fighting for what one believes is the right thing to do.
"When opportunities come to us, we need to make use of them," said Boyer. "We saw in Florida how many of our brothers and sisters lost their lives. After a situation like that, the temptation grows to become comfortable, to fight for a few weeks and then let the situation go on as normal. However, in moments like these, it brings home the fact that we have an opportunity. There are opportunities all around us. There are opportunities to make sure that every vote counts. When we look around, we find opportunities to make sure that we fight for justice, not just for our group, but folks of all political and religious persuasions. As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said 'injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."
"Time is limited,” Boyer added. “None of us can get time back. It behooves us to make the best use of it."
Following Mr. Boyer's address, BSU co-advisor Shirley Wilson presented certificates of recognition to the 18 student members of the BSU that were in attendance. Dr. Korey Bell then followed with the presentation of awards to this year’s honorees.
Each year, the BSU honors community members, faculty, and staff who go above and beyond with their support and commitment to Henderson students, specifically in the BSU.
The Bell-Majors Award, named after students Valerie Bell and Jaclyn Majors, who founded the BSU with advisor Alice Thomas in 1978 was awarded to Mr. Rory A. Wilson, Sr.
Mr. Wilson has worked for the West Chester Area School District since 1984. He has served the district in many capacities, originally in the maintenance department, working his way to assistant maintenance supervisor, and eventually tackling the important role as mail carrier for the entire district a role he still holds.
The Dr. John Hewlett Award was given to Mr. Robert Bruckman. Dr. Hewlett was the former Human Resources director for the WCASD and has been credited with increasing the number of minority hires in the district.
"Everywhere I go in the community, Bob is there," said Bell. "Every year that I've been part of the BSU, Bob is there. He's always there in the background giving his input, and sometimes it is the people in the background that we have to look back and appreciate how they make a difference."
Bruckman, affectionately known as "Dancing Bob," humbly accepted the award.
"As a kid, I was upset by the inequities that I perceived, how divisive our society was, and how unfairly many people were often treated," said Bruckman. "When I finally graduated from college, I joined the Peace Corps because I believed I might learn how people in other cultures lived. What I learned is that there are essentially two different ways that people live their lives - either a humanist manner in a "we" society or materialistically in a "me" society."
Mr. Bruckman said as a result of his travels and experiences he was guided by the desire to live a humanist existence as a minimalist, focusing less on himself and "stuff" and more on other people while striving for a more equitable, just and peaceful existence for himself and others.
Bruckman served as a community development advisor and housing expert for the Western Nigerian Government. He helped design the prototype of a low-cost house for the local culture and climate there.
"People in these societies, though they may be considered by many in this country to be poor or poverty-stricken, are in my perspective, however, to be very wealthy," Bruckman added. "Rich, in that they have everything they need; what I call the four 'F's' - food, family, faith, and friends. And they are happy despite, or perhaps because of their lack of material possessions."
Mr. Bruckman was also presented with a citation from the U.S. House of Representatives from Representative Carolyn Comitta on behalf of Representative Duane Milne and Senator Andrew Dinniman. Mr. Wilson received a citation as well.
Lastly, Dr. Bell handed out the Alice Thomas Award to BSU President Brielle Ridgeway. Bell noted that Ridgeway is a leader that keeps students motivated and the BSU moving in the right direction.
"I wish I had known about this, I would've put it on my (college) transcripts," joked Ridgeway. "I've really enjoyed being part of the BSU all four years. It is something that has led me toward the direction I am going."
The primary purpose of the Henderson BSU is to build the self-esteem of African American students by encouraging pride in their rich heritage and participation in challenging learning experiences. The organization also helps students develop leadership skills, along with education and vocational career goals, while providing a clear understanding of African American heritage to educators and the student body at large.
Henderson BSU Competes in Black History Knowledge Bowl
Members of the East, Henderson, and Rustin Black Student Unions
Super Bowl LII wasn't the only bowl garnering attention in West Chester. East High School's Black Student Union were the victors of the 2018 Black History Knowledge Bowl. This year's competition was held at East on February 2 and also included BSU members from Henderson and Rustin High Schools.
Students district-wide worked together and created a detailed study guide to prepare for the competition. Categories included general knowledge, inventions, music, and sports.
"All of the participants did a phenomenal job," said Rustin BSU co-advisor and Spanish teacher Marya Graham. "We all learned some pretty interesting facts!"
Rustin placed second in the competition and Henderson came in third.
BSU Students from Henderson & Rustin Reach Community Through MLK Day of Service
Black Student Union (BSU) students from Rustin and Henderson High Schools spent Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day honoring the slain civil rights leader with a Day of Service at St. Paul's Baptist Church (SPBC).
Each January, SPBC celebrates and honors the legacy of Dr. King by sponsoring the county-wide Day of Service, which includes community outreach and service projects throughout the greater West Chester Area and beyond. SPBC collaborates with local churches, community agencies, civic organizations, and school districts to make a positive influence in the community.
The students assembled 100 hygiene kits and care packages that were distributed to the Salvation Army of West Chester, Chester County Food Cupboard, Gaudenzia House, and Safe Harbor.
This year marks the 14th annual SPBC MLK Day of Service.
Henderson Students Learn the Dangers of Distracted Driving
Glance at your phone. What was the last text message you sent? How important was it? Was it worth your life, or the lives of others? That was the message sent to students at Henderson High School during an assembly called Survival 101: A Student's Guide to Staying Alive. Distracted driving has become a big problem, one that Chester County is not immune from.
Distracted driving is defined as any activity that diverts attention from driving. This includes talking or texting on a mobile phone, talking to passengers in the vehicle, playing with the radio, entertainment or navigation system. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), sending or reading a text message while driving at 55 mph takes a driver's eyes off the road for about five seconds, long enough to cover the length of a football field.
The NHTSA reports that approximately nine people are killed each day in the United States, and more than 1,000 are injured in crashes due to a distracted driver.
Survival 101 is a police-driven program developed by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to encourage appropriate decision making among high school students. During the December 11th assembly, students heard from West Goshen Township Police Office Mike Cotter and Chester County Assistant District Attorney Chris Miller. While Cotter offered a dose of reality by showing graphic images of accident scenes caused by distracted driving, DUI’s, and speed-related crashes, Miller's message was a bit harsher.
"I'm not here to look after you," Miller said. "I'm here to look after the victims. Distracted driving has become a big, big problem. It tears families apart. None of you think of yourselves as the type of person that will commit a criminal offense, yet the response I always hear in these cases is 'How could this happen to me? I didn't mean to; I'm not a bad person; I didn't do this on purpose.'"
"I know," Miller added. "But, you're still going to get prosecuted. I'm still going to bring the case to trial. I'm still going to convict you, and you're still going to go to jail. You've heard the saying a license is a privilege. You've been given control of a two-ton missile, and you have to accept every responsibility that comes with it."
Officer Cotter also spent time reviewing the importance of wearing seatbelts and not driving while fatigued. Their message was loud and clear – the majority of fatal and non-fatal injuries are not acts of fate; they are predictable, and most importantly, preventable. One poor decision behind the wheel can change lives forever.
Survival 101 coincided with 3D Collision Centers STOP Distracted Driving campaign, which is also designed to remind students that engaging in any activity behind the wheel of a car other than driving can cost them their lives or the lives of others.
The twisted metal wreckage of a Toyota Prius sat at the main entrance of the school for a week as a sobering reminder to never take one's eyes off the road, even for a second. The wreckage is making its way to other schools throughout Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery counties throughout the year.
Miller concluded the assembly by telling students he hoped he never saw them again - as either a victim or a defendant.
Henderson HS Hosts Annual Girls Public Speaking Contest
Ashley Moak (left), Daphne Rinkus, Maggie Driscoll, Bailey Henry, Shreya Verma, Nikita Jakkam, Lillian Drake, Abheya Nair, and Emma Kilroy.
Not pictured – Kateri Lalicker
A tradition that dates back over 75 years carries on in the West Chester Area School District. The annual Janet Walton Girls Public Speaking Contest was held on December 7, 2017, at Henderson High School.
Ten students representing all four grades participated in this year’s contest.
Each young women delivered a short, published piece that had never been performed in public. Contest coordinator and Henderson Latin teacher, Janet Boosz approved each student’s selection. The students had roughly six weeks to rehearse with the help of a faculty coach.
The students performed before a live audience consisting of students, teachers, parents, and community members. Participants are judged on their audience awareness, projection, inflection, diction, pacing, and movement.
This year's winner was senior Maggie Driscoll who performed an excerpt from “Be An Artist, Right Now” by Young-ha Kim. Second place went to junior Bailey Henry, who chose an excerpt from “Why Not Me” by Mindy Kaling. Senior Daphne Rinkus took third place with an excerpt from “Bad Feminist” by Roxanne Gray.
David Ehrhart, former supervisor of Fine Arts & World Language for the district, served as a judge along with, retired English teacher Linda Banks, and Henderson High School Assistant Principal Elisha Ozer.
The D. Webster Meredith Boys Speaking Contest will be held in the spring.
WCASD High School Students Attend DVCEE's Annual Conference
A group of students from East, Henderson, and Rustin High Schools attended the Delaware Valley Consortium for Excellence & Equity's 12th Annual High School Student Leadership Institute on November 30, 2017. The one-day forum, held at the University of Pennsylvania, was designed to help teach students about how to effectively address personal challenges in school and life, as well as to empower them to make sound and success producing decisions about their futures.
Students participated in breakout sessions, heard from motivational speakers and networked with leaders from other area high schools. Dr. Koreem Bell (Henderson), Miss Marya Graham (Rustin), and Mrs. Erica Moreno-Davis (East) chaperoned the trip.
The keynote speaker was Carlos Ojeda Jr., a youth development expert who focuses on empowering students to succeed by teaching them that their voice is their power. He is the founder of CoolSpeak: The Youth Engagement Company. CoolSpeak provides youth motivational speakers, programs, and events designed to engage, educate, and empower young people.
The Delaware Valley Consortium for Excellence & Equity is a collaborative association of 36 school districts located throughout Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and northern Delaware, as well as several intermediate units, and the PA State Education Association.
HHS Supports Yellow Ribbon Week for Suicide Prevention Awareness
Henderson High School's Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) Club recently did their part to help kids who may be grappling with thoughts of suicide by participating in Yellow Ribbon Week.
In 1994, 17-year-old Mike Emme from Colorado committed suicide. His family and friends were devastated by his death and wanted to do something to help other teens that were having thoughts of suicide - and so the Yellow Ribbon Suicide Prevention Program came to be.
Yellow Ribbon Week raises awareness about suicide prevention. According to the Centers for Disease Control, more 15-24-year-olds die from suicide than cancer, AIDS, heart disease, congenital disabilities, stroke, pneumonia, influenza and chronic lung disease combined.
As part of the project, students signed individual yellow ribbons to show support for suicide prevention. Yellow ribbon cards were also handed out. The front of the card read, "This ribbon is a lifeline and carries the message that there are those who care and will help! If you are in need and don't know how to ask for help, take this card to a counselor, teacher, clergy, doctor, parent, or friend and say 'I need to use my yellow ribbon.'" Students are asked to keep their cards with them in case they or a friend ever need to use it.
Members of SADD also spent time reminding fellow students to look for signs that someone is potentially at risk for self-harm or suicide and that they have the power to save a life. These signs include:
• Talking about wanting to die or to kill themselves
• Looking for a way to kill themselves, like searching online or buying a gun
• Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live
• Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
• Talking about being a burden to others
• Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
• Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly
• Sleeping too little or too much
• Withdrawing or isolating themselves
• Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
• Extreme mood swings
The yellow ribbons lined the hallways throughout Henderson High School and along with them, the hope that someone who has reached a point of despair will get the help that they desperately need.
The Suicide Hotline number is 1-800-273-8255. The number for the Crisis Text Line is 741-741. For more information on the Yellow Ribbon Suicide Prevention Program, log on to www.yellowribbon.org
Henderson High School Hosts American Education Week Community Breakfast
Henderson High School opened its doors as part of American Education Week on Friday, November 17, 2017, and hosted a breakfast for community members. The public had an opportunity to mix and mingle with Henderson students as well as faculty and district administrators. Principal Jason Sherlock and Superintendent Jim Scanlon addressed the crowd, highlighted student academic accomplishments, and praised students for their dedication to community outreach and service projects.
Attendees marveled at the delicious complimentary breakfast prepared by Henderson High School Culinary Arts students under the guidance of Mrs. Cathy Logothetis, complimented by the melodic sounds of the school's string quartet.
Following breakfast, students led their guests on a tour of the high school. The morning concluded with a Skype session with 3rd-grade students at Mary C. Howse Elementary School.
According to the National Education Association, American Education Week is designed to highlight the importance of public schools and that every student, no matter the circumstances, is welcome and deserves the support, tools, and time to learn.
Henderson High School Students Helping Students
Henderson High School Chapter of Students Helping Students
Back Row (left to right) – Abigal Montgomery, Kerry Montgomery, Kylee McElhiney, Jenna Parke, Kate Gordon, Shannon Earley, Sara Lieffrig, Sam Martin, Mary King, Sophia Griffin
Front Row, (left to right) - Olivia Pritchard, McKenna Sheperd, Jamie Worth, Grace Zandi, Anna Tooke
The spirit of volunteerism is alive and well in the West Chester Area School District. Students from the Henderson High School chapter of Students Helping Students (SHS) recently gave up a day of August sunshine to pack up science textbooks no longer being used in the district to send to underprivileged schools in Philadelphia. Fugett Middle School science teacher Kerry Montgomery helped organize the book packing session.
"The district was able to purchase a new science textbook series for middle school students," said Montgomery. "With that being said, our current textbooks were up for grabs. We were looking for options for what we could do with them since most of the books were in good condition, which led us to Students Helping Students.”
Grace Zandi is the co-president of the Henderson High School chapter of SHS. Working together, Zandi and her fellow volunteers packed up over 2-thousand textbooks at Fugett Middle School to send to three schools in Philadelphia - Green Tree Elementary School, Edward T. Steel Elementary School, and G.W. Childs Elementary School.
"The books are going to be stored here at Fugett until we can make arrangements to transport them to the schools," said Zandi. "We don't have a date yet, but they should be there in time for the start of school. We have a lot of resources here in the West Chester Area School District and Students Helping Students is all about sharing those resources with students that don't have them. These books are in great condition. They're going to crazy over them!"
SHS is a local non-profit organization created by Grace Zandi’s cousin, Bill Zandi. Zandi was a freshman at Great Valley School District in 2005 when Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans."I wanted to do something to help," said Zandi. "I saw that many schools in the 9th Ward were flooded, so I called the Louisiana Department of Education and I asked what could be done to help. They said that schools could use some new materials, supplies, and furnishings. Coincidentally, my high school was going through a large renovation project, and they were getting rid of a lot of materials and furnishings. I went to the principal and asked if, instead of throwing the stuff out, could I send it to Louisiana? He said 'sure,' so I raised the money and sent two tractor-trailers full of materials to nine different schools in the 9th Ward."
"I wanted to do something to help," said Zandi. "I saw that many schools in the 9th Ward were flooded, so I called the Louisiana Department of Education and I asked what could be done to help. They said that schools could use some new materials, supplies, and furnishings. Coincidentally, my high school was going through a large renovation project, and they were getting rid of a lot of materials and furnishings. I went to the principal and asked if, instead of throwing the stuff out, could I send it to Louisiana? He said 'sure,' so I raised the money and sent two tractor-trailers full of materials to nine different schools in the 9th Ward."
“I got such positive feedback, that I decided I needed to continue the effort," added Zandi. Initially, the focus of SHS was going to be a disaster relief effort, but when I attended Wake Forest University in North Carolina, I realized the disparity between schools that had things and those that did not, and it was not due to natural disaster, it was due to economic circumstance. So, that’s what spawned the idea of turning this into a non-profit."
There are currently 12 local chapters of SHS, including the club at Henderson High School. Zandi said there are emerging chapters in California, Georgia, and North Carolina. The organization's ultimate goal is to expand to wherever schools are in need of supplies.
In addition to providing supplies to low-income schools, volunteers with SHS can also take part in student mentoring.
"I’ve helped mentor students at G.W. Childs and Overbrook Educational Center,” said Grace Zandi. “We've been to the schools; we see what they need. We help them with their schoolwork. It's a fantastic experience. I'm also working with one of the schools to help them get soccer jerseys for their soccer program."
Bill Zandi said the volunteer aspect has been very rewarding for all students involved.
"It gives the student volunteers from more affluent school districts a great experience in a world that they are not typically familiar with; they’re outside of their comfort zone. It gives them a good frame of reference that a large disparity exists, very close to them,” said Zandi.
“On the other side, we’ve seen a trickle-down effect," Zandi added. "Those that are typically in need of mentors turn around and volunteer at other schools in their community because they found it be such a positive experience.”
To learn more about Students Helping Students, log on www.students-helping-students.org.
For more information, please contact Ms. Jennifer Neill, Digital Communications Coordinator, at 484-266-1171 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Henderson High School Teacher Honored
Hunter Knepshield and Joan Hohwald at the RIT Outstanding Scholar Banquet
"Teachers affect eternity; no one can tell where their influence stops." Those are the words of Henry Adams, grandson of John Quincy Adams, great-grandson of John Adams, and American Historian.
The teachers in the West Chester Area School District make a difference in the lives of their students, and Henderson High School teacher Joan Hohwald was recently made aware of just how much of an impact she made on one former student.
Hunter Knepshield, a 2014 Henderson graduate, attends the Rochester Institute of Technology and was recently named an Outstanding Scholar. The award is presented to the top 1% of the students at RIT who have completed at least 2/3 of their degree's required coursework. As part of the Scholars' recognition, RIT administrators asked him to identify a high school teacher whom he considered to be most influential in his life and he chose Hohwald.
"Mrs. Hohwald profoundly affected my junior and senior years when I had classes with her," said Knepshield. "Junior year, I took AP Computer Science with her. This was the class that solidified my decision to pursue a major and career in computing. I usually finished assignments quickly, so she prepared content above and beyond the required curriculum whenever I ran out of work. She also did a fantastic job preparing us for the relevant AP exams."
"Besides helping stack my resume full of extracurricular activities in preparation for college applications, Mrs. Hohwald was extremely resourceful and knowledgeable about the whole college application process itself. She was always readily available to chat about college decisions whenever I needed. All of this combined made my choice to nominate Mrs. Hohwald as my most influential teacher a very easy one."
Mrs. Hohwald has taught for 25 years, nearly 20 at Henderson.
"I love hearing from the students after they’ve graduated. How their time at Henderson prepared them to do well and helped them get an awesome job," Hohwald replied when asked what she loves most about being a teacher. "I also love when you watch a student come to understand a difficult topic, their face is amazing. The students and faculty and staff at Henderson make you want to come to school."
“This is a well-deserved honor for Mrs. Hohwald," said principal, Dr. Jason Sherlock. "Mrs. Hohwald is an amazing teacher who cares deeply about kids. She has a passion for teaching mathematics and computer science. She has a wonderful rapport with students and parents. Mrs. Hohwald’s AP students consistently score high on the AP exam. I am extremely proud to work with Mrs. Hohwald as she is a leader at Henderson High School and the West Chester Area School District. ”
A banquet was held in Rochester to honor RIT’s Outstanding Scholars and their chosen teachers. Mrs. Hohwald was in attendance and enjoyed reconnecting with her former student.
For more information, please contact Ms. Jennifer Neill, Digital Communications Coordinator at 484-266-1171 or email@example.com
Henderson Holds Boys' Public Speaking Contest
First place winner Jacob Dickens and The finalists: (from left to right) Jacob Dickens, Kyle McTiernan, Evan Dampman, Dan Dychala, Eric Yu,
Reverend Warner R. Durnell Michael Bonsall, Alex Fain, and Alex Ball
Students at Henderson High School recently took to the stage to compete in the 2017 D. Webster Meredith Boys' Public Speaking Contest.
Eighty students tried out for the competition; that number was whittled down to 24, and eight were selected for the final round. The young men chose a published piece of work to perform with the caveat that it had never been performed publicly. Contest coordinator and Henderson Latin teacher, Janet Booze, approved each student's selection and verified that it had never been performed publically. The students had roughly six weeks to rehearse with the help of a faculty coach.
The students performed before a live audience consisting of students, teachers, parents, and community members. They were judged on their audience awareness, projection, inflection, diction, pacing, and movement.
This year's winner was Jacob Dickens, who performed "These are your Parents," by Lena Dunham. Second place went to senior Eric Yu, who chose "New York College Essay," by Hugh Gallagher. There was a tie for third place between senior Daniel Dychala and junior Alex Fain. Dychala performed "Fine," from US Teen Report and Fain's excerpt was from "A Feast for Crows," by George R.R. Martin.
“I was very surprised and happy to win,” said Dickens. “All of the participants put in a lot of hard work. This will look great on my resume! I’d love to come back one day and be a judge.”
Dickens, a senior, will attend Millersville University in the fall as a Broadcasting and Film Studies major.
This year's judges included retired Henderson High School teachers Mrs. Carol Scott and Mrs. Linda Bank, along with the Reverend Warner R. Durnell who won the Boys' Public Speaking Contest in 1967.
"Winning the Boys' Public Speaking Contest was a game-changer for me," said Reverend Durnell. "I was the only junior involved that year and the only black participant. The contest gave me the confidence to speak before a group of people. I look back on that day fondly. When I left West Chester, I came to appreciate how this fine public school system and the teachers really prepared me for life.
When asked if he had any words of wisdom to impart upon future Boys' Public Speaking Contest contestants, Reverend Durnell replied. “You have nothing to lose, and everything to gain. You never know, you just may find your voice.”
Reverend Durnell is a minister with the Presbyterian Church USA in Nashville, Tennessee. His father, Warner A. Durnell, won the Boys' Public Speaking Contest in 1940.
The Janet Walton Girls' Public Speaking Contest was held last fall at Henderson High School. Both contests have been a tradition in the West Chester Area School District, dating back over 75 years.
For more information, please contact Ms. Jennifer Neill, Digital Communications Coordinator, West Chester Area School District at 484-266-1170 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Henderson High School BSU Banquet
BSU members received Certificates BSU President and Alice West Chester Mayor Chester Co. Juvenile
of Appreciation Thomas Award Winner & State Representative Probation Officer
Melissa Morgan pictured Carolyn Comitta James Wiggins
with Alice Thomas and
BSU Co-advisor Dr. Koreem Bell
"Reaching Back, Looking Forward" was the theme of the 33rd Annual Henderson High School Black Student Union Scholarship Banquet. The banquet is held at the end of February as the culmination of Black History Month.
The Black Student Union was founded in 1978 by students Jaclyn Majors, Valerie Bell, and advisor Alice Thomas.
There was a great turnout for this year's event, including students, staff, alumni, school board, and community members.
Attendees were welcomed by BSU President Melissa Morgan followed by a performance of the African American Anthem, "Lift Every Voice and Sing," led by soloist Chaka Allen. District Superintendent, Dr. James Scanlon addressed the crowd which was followed by a special presentation by former students Javonna Wylie and José Matthews.
Wylie, a 2011 Henderson graduate and former BSU president, is the Outreach Coordinator for Exton-based CAREER-CORPS. CAREER-CORPS is where in-school and out-of-school youth and young adults in Chester County, age 16-24, can attend classes for academic remediation, workforce development, GED preparation, vocational training, and post-secondary education preparation.
José Matthews, who was mentored by West Chester Area School District School Board member Joyce Chester, now works as an administrative assistant at Brandywine Hospital. Both Wylie and Matthews spoke about their experiences with the BSU and how important they felt it was to be a part of the banquet and give back to students.
Retired Henderson history teacher, the Reverend Crystal Johnson Goree was this year's keynote speaker. Goree had a 30+ year teaching career between the West Chester Area School District and Coatesville Area School District. Goree retired from teaching last year and BSU co-advisor, Shirley Wilson said having her be a part of the banquet was a great way to recognize her service to the district and commitment to students. "She really related to our students and the students really respected her," said Wilson. "Between her knowledge of history, particularly African-American history and her overall view of diversity, she encouraged students to reach their personal best and was an excellent role model. The students were really excited to see her return."
Following Reverend Goree's address, Wilson presented The Alice Thomas Award to senior and BSU president, Melissa Morgan. Morgan is a National Merit Finalist who will attend Penn State University this fall as a nuclear engineering major.
BSU co-advisor, Dr. Korey Bell then presented this year's honorees - two-term mayor of West Chester and Representative for the PA 156th Legislative District, Carolyn Comitta and James M. Wiggins with The Dr. John Hewlett Award. In addition to serving West Chester and the state of Pennsylvania, Ms. Comitta continues to serve as a mentor to students, and since 1992 has organized the attendance of over 2,000 local students at the annual Health and Environment Conference at the United Nations. Mr. Wiggins has spent over 17 years as a juvenile probation officer for Chester County and was hired as the school-based probation officer at Henderson High School in 2005. The Dr. Hewlett Award is handed out to community members, faculty or staff who go above and beyond with support and commitment to Henderson students. Dr. Hewlett was the former Human Resources director for the WCASD and has been credited with increasing the number of minority hires in the district.
Wilson and Bell said this year's banquet was a great success and proceeds would support cultural activities as well as academic scholarships for Henderson High School students.
“I enjoy being a part of the BSU, " said Wilson. "It’s all about the students – trying to help them recognize their place in society, their value, to encourage them, to motivate them, to be there for them, and push them towards success. I love doing it and will continue to do it. We are open to and would love to connect with the parents and the community of the students that we serve. The more hands, the better to help make our program a success. As the saying goes, it takes a village!”
The primary purpose of the Henderson BSU is to build the self-esteem of African American students by encouraging pride in their rich heritage and participation in challenging learning experiences. The organization also helps students develop leadership skills, along with education and vocational career goals, while providing a clear understanding of African American heritage to educators and the student body at large.
Dr. Bell added, “We do what we do because we love our students. We take pride in what we do because we take pride in our students. We try to help them out the best that we can. The rewards are seen when our students leave here, go out and make a difference, and then come back and share with us.”
For more information, please contact Ms. Jennifer Neill, Digital Communications Coordinator, West Chester Area School District at 484-266-1170 or email@example.com.
Henderson invites speaker from Sierra Leone to share life stories
Incoming WCASD ninth grade students are required to read Ishmael Beah's A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier, a story about the civil war in Sierra Leone which took place in the 1990's.
Henderson High School invited guest speaker Foray Thoronka, a victim and survivor, to come and share with ninth graders his first-hand knowledge of Sierra Leone and the devasting civil war. he spoke about the natural beauty of his country, the effects the war had on children and families, and the ways the country had begun to heal. Foray brought along with him the Jones family with who he lives and call his American family.
Thank you, Foray, for bringing the stories of the book to life!
Best-Selling Author Surprises Henderson Student During Math Class
You don’t often hear about a New York Times bestselling author traveling hundreds of miles to surprise a high school student during math class and present her with a signed copy of her brand new book. However, it happened recently in West Chester, and you’ll hear about it here.
Henderson High School senior Priyanka Chunduru was in the middle of calculus class when Pretty Little Liars author Sara Shepard appeared in the doorway of her classroom and announced she was the winner of a school-wide “Ask the Author” contest.
“At first I was shocked,” said Chunduru. “I don’t typically expect visitors to class, so when I went up to greet her, I was very nervous and shaking at first. But after talking to her, I felt honored to meet her, and I even felt a little special in class.”
The contest was open to all Henderson students and was coordinated by the school’s English Department and the West Chester Public Library (WCPL). To participate in the contest, students were presented with a hypothetical situation: if you could ask Sara Shepard one question, what would it be and why? Students were told the winner would receive a signed copy of Shepard’s latest novel, The Amateurs – teachers left out the part about the contest also including the author personally delivering and then signing the book for them in class.
Shepard personally selected Chunduru’s question from a number of entries submitted by students. Chunduru’s winning question expressed her interest in learning about what Shepard’s pivotal moment was in her high school career that inspired her to explore young adult writing versus non-fiction or adult fiction. “In response, Sara told me about her ‘flamboyant’ eleventh grade English teacher who was impressed with her writing, so much so, that she told her to write a novel rather than complete her essay assignments,” said Chunduru. “As for choosing young adult, she said when she first started she always enjoyed writing about people her own age, and ever since has continued to write about teens.”
The Amateurs was released on November 1 and Shepard was in town as part of the kickoff to her book tour. After visiting Chunduru and signing a copy of her latest novel in front of her and her classmates, Shepard served as the guest speaker at a program held later that evening at Henderson High School. During the program, which was coordinated by the WCPL, Shepard spoke to more than one-hundred attendees about her books and life experiences, and then answered a number of questions submitted by members of the audience. After the program ended, Shepard stayed to meet every guest in attendance, take photos, and sign copies of her book before heading to New York City to continue her tour.
Chunduru and her parents attended Shepard’s evening program, as tickets to the event were the other half of the prize package for winning the contest. Also in attendance at the event was the chair of Henderson High School’s English Department, Charles Clay, who teaches Chunduru in his Advanced Placement (AP) English class. “I am proud of Priyanka for winning the contest because she works hard, and she deserved to win,” said Clay. “Her work ethic is impeccable; she’s inquisitive, she’s considerate, and she’s sincerely interested in what writers do to create, to engage, and to entertain their audiences. Priyanka is disciplined and responsible, and yet she’s still excited about taking on the next assignment or project. She’s awesome!”
In addition to serving as a stop on her book tour, Shepard’s trip to West Chester doubled as somewhat of a homecoming; the author graduated in 1995 from what is now Downingtown West High School. The setting for Pretty Little Liars was loosely based on West Chester, and she often referenced locales across the Philadelphia region in the series. Many of those references were also included in the Pretty Little Liars television series, which debuted on ABC Family in 2010 and is based on Shepard’s mystery novels. The second-half of the final season of the popular television series will air beginning in April 2017. Talks are already in the works about The Amateurs becoming a new television series.
“I started reading The Amateurs as soon as I got home from school,” added Chunduru. “I’ve always loved mysteries, so I’m excited to read about all of the surprises and twists in the story. If it’s anything like Pretty Little Liars, this is the start of another successful series.”
For more information, please contact Ms. Tracey Dukert, Digital Communications Coordinator, West Chester Area School District at 484-266-1170 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Henderson Student Receives Service Award During Army-Navy Cup
Henderson High School senior Kyle Hicks was presented with the inaugural First Lieutenant Travis Manion & Corporal Michael Crescenz Award on Friday, September 23 during halftime of the Army-Navy Cup at Talen Energy Stadium in Chester, PA.
The award is given to two regional high school soccer players, one male and one female, who exhibit the same qualities as First Lieutenant Manion and Corporal Crescenz – men who exemplified selfless service, lived lives of substance, and gave their lives defending the United States.
Hicks was nominated for the award by Sean Ryan, his soccer coach at Henderson High School. “While part of the reason I nominated Kyle was related to the traits he demonstrates on the soccer field, I mainly nominated Kyle on the merits of his work with the Andrew L. Hicks, Jr. Foundation,” said Ryan. The Foundation honors Kyle’s late brother, Andrew, and was established to further his passion for service work in Chester. “Kyle will often spend more time in Chester on the weekends than he does at his home in West Chester,” added Ryan.
In addition to his work with the foundation, Kyle excels in the classroom as well as on the soccer field, where he serves as a role model for his peers and teammates. He hopes to continue to serve in the future on an even bigger scale – he is an official candidate for consideration at the U.S. Naval Academy, with potential enrollment beginning next fall.
“I am honored to receive an award that is given in memory of such courageous Americans,” said Hicks. “In addition, I am honored to be recognized for the work that I have done through the foundation that my family started in memory of my late brother, Andrew L. Hicks Jr., whose goal was to promote social justice by helping under-privileged youth in the city of Chester, PA. Accepting the award on the field at Talen Energy Stadium during half-time was like none other, and I am truly honored to be recognized for my accomplishments.”
Elizabeth Lentz, a junior at Oxford Area High School, was the other recipient of the award. “Out of the many qualified nominees, the committee feels that Elizabeth and Kyle best exemplify the spirit of Travis and Michael and live by the ‘If Not Me Then Who’ motto,” said Rob Bender, Director of Advancement at the Travis Manion Foundation. “Their selflessness and community service is admirable and something we hope other young people aspire to.”
For more information, please contact Ms. Tracey Dukert, Digital Communications Coordinator, West Chester Area School District at 484-266-1170 or email@example.com.
Warrior Guides & Chester Braves: A Strong Community Collaboration
For the past six years, hundreds of Henderson High School students have accepted the very important role of mentor, becoming a significant influence for children living in Chester who may need supplemental support, friendship, or encouragement.
This mentorship role comes with great responsibility, and is only available to a select number of Henderson students per year through their participation in the Warrior Guides, a special club that’s coordinated by Henderson High School and the Andrew L. Hicks, Jr. Foundation. Andrew Hicks was a student at Henderson High School until his sudden passing in July of 2010. His family established the Andrew L. Hicks, Jr. Foundation in August of 2010 to continue to support two of his passions: Henderson athletics, and the work he had begun with underprivileged youth living in Chester, PA.
The Warrior Guides are matched with a Chester Brave – a fifth or sixth grade student going to school in Chester. There are eight events coordinated by the Foundation that are held throughout the course of the school year; the Guides are expected to participate in at least six of them, however, most participate in all eight. In addition to participating in at least six of the eight events, each Warrior Guide is expected to reach out to their mentee five times over the course of the year, which could include mailing a birthday card or calling them to check on their academic progress.
“I believe that the Chester community and each individual Chester Brave sees and knows that there is an entire community here in West Chester that cares about them,” said Karen Hicks, Andrew’s mom and the Executive Director of the Andrew L. Hicks, Jr. Foundation. “Henderson students are learning to be responsible care givers and they are gaining a unique understanding about another community. We are creating a spirit of volunteerism within these high school students that will stay with them for the rest of their lives. They are taking ownership of their responsibility to give back, and are learning that it truly is better to give than to receive. Amazing relationships are being formed as all of the program’s participants learn to depend upon and trust one another.”
Here’s a look at just a few of the incredible things that took place over the past year through the Warrior Guides program:
The Warrior Guides and Braves met for the first time in October at Henderson High School, where they played games together in the gymnasium, enjoyed dinner in the cafeteria, and then headed out to the school’s stadium to watch the home football game.
The Guides and Braves met again in November, where they watched a University of Delaware men’s soccer game. Following the game, the group met and got autographs from the soccer team and then were treated to ice cream from the university’s creamery.
In December, the group reunited to celebrate the winter season…with a splash! That’s right – they visited ACAC in West Chester for a pool party, and then enjoyed a holiday dinner together. The event also included special holiday gifts for the Braves.
St. Joseph’s University played host for the next event – a home women’s basketball game in February! Following the game, the group took a tour of the college campus, which served as quite an inspiration for both the Guides and the Braves.
The Braves and Guides had a ball in March at Palace Bowling and Entertainment Center in January. The group had almost the entire venue to themselves, and participated in endless games of bowling, enjoyed lots of food, and danced the afternoon away.
The Warrior Guides headed to Chester in April to help lead service projects for multiple non-profit organizations. The Guides and Braves worked alongside one another to make a visibly positive difference in the community and strengthened positive relationships with Chester’s first responders.
The year ended with a trip to Citizens Bank Park to watch the Philadelphia Phillies play an exciting game of baseball. The group enjoyed lunch while cheering on the Phillies!
When summer comes along, the Guides and Braves usually have to say goodbye. However, sometimes the connections can continue during the summer. “Many Warrior Guides also volunteer a week of their summer to be counselors at the Andrew L. Hicks, Jr. Foundation’s summer camp, called Camp Paradise, held annually in Maryland,” said Andy Grear, an assistant principal of Henderson High School and a founding advisor for the Warrior Guides group. “Many of the Braves attend this camp, and there have been lots of tears when it comes time to say goodbye at the end of the week.”
Thankfully, they only have to say goodbye for a couple of months – the program begins again early in the fall each year. In fact, the Warrior Guides will host their first event of the new school year on Friday, October 14. This year’s Guides will meet their Braves for the first time while enjoying dinner together inside Henderson High School’s cafeteria, then they will walk to the stadium to watch the home football game. The Andrew Hicks Jr., Foundation specially thanks Hazley Builders for generously sponsoring this event!
“I believe the Warrior Guide program is valuable to both communities,” said Hicks. “We realize that no matter how much money is spent or how many elaborate programs are initiated to heal communities in crisis, the lives of young people do not fundamentally change unless individuals take personal responsibility to pour themselves into them. Henderson High School students and our adult chaperones are making this commitment through the Warrior Guides, and it is positively changing our community and theirs.”
For more information on the Andrew L. Hicks, Jr. Foundation or the Warrior Guides program, or to learn how to become an event sponsor, please visit: www.andrewlhicksjrfoundation.org.
For more information, please contact Ms. Tracey Dukert, Digital Communications Coordinator, West Chester Area School District at 484-266-1170 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stetson & Henderson Presented with Sportsmanship Awards
Henderson High School student athletes proudly stand in front of the banner recognizing the school as the recipient of the 2015-16 Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association Sportsmanship Award.
Henderson High School and Stetson Middle School have been named the recipients of the 2015-16 Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) Sportsmanship Award by members of the Ches-Mont League.
This marks the seventh time in the past eight years that Henderson has received this award. Stetson Middle School was also presented with the award six years ago.
The Ches-Mont League was created in 1950 and consists of fourteen high schools and fifteen middle schools in Chester and Delaware Counties. High schools students compete in varsity sports in the PIAA’s District One at the AAAA, AAA, and AA levels.
All head coaches in the league are given one vote at the conclusion of their season, and use the following criteria when evaluating member schools for the award:
• Spirit: Degree and quality of genuine spirit shown by opposing team personnel and spectators
• Attitude: Maintained proper attitude and self-control before, during, and after the contest
• Arrival: Manner of welcome; professional and informative
• Conduct: Conduct of opposing players and coaches before, during, and after the contest
• Facility: Care given to the facility and equipment by visiting team before, during, and after the contest
• Accommodations: Home team provides an appropriate and clean facility before, during, and after the contest
“Credit for Stetson’s Sportsmanship Award goes to our Athletic Director, Mr. Corcoran, who sets an excellent example for our talented coaches and students of how competitive play, coupled with sportsmanship, earns the respect of other schools,” said Chas Cognato, principal of Stetson Middle School.
“I am very proud of this honor, which was earned by all of Henderson High School’s coaches, student athletes, maintenance personnel, and parents of students who conduct themselves in the finest manner, always appropriately, and who help maintain our first class facility for all Ches-Mont League members to enjoy,” said Ken McCormick, Henderson High School’s Athletic Director. “Receiving this award is all the more prestigious because the winner is chosen by our competitors. These are individuals whom we compete against on athletic fields, courts, tracks, and in pools. All coaches in the league have done a great job and have my sincere thanks and congratulations on a successful year in sports.”
The PIAA’s Executive Director, Robert Lombardi, presented representatives from both schools with each award on September 14.
Henderson Students Win 1st and 2nd Place in Statewide Logo Contest
Out of 150 entries submitted by students from across the state, two Henderson High School students were named the first and second place winners of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Director's Association (PSADA) 50th Anniversary Logo Contest.
PSADA, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2017, coordinated a logo contest open to all seventh through twelfth grade students in Pennsylvania. Students were tasked with developing a logo that would communicate and commemorate PSADA’s 50th anniversary. Thirty-eight finalists were selected, and their designs were sent anonymously to the 33 members of the PSADA Executive Council. The council, which represents all 12 athletic districts in the state, reviewed the entries and selected the top three.
Brennan Smith, a junior at Henderson, was named the first place winner. Mikaela Cobb, a senior at Henderson, was named the second place winner. Smith received a cash prize and an iPad for his winning design. Cobb, who will be attending Temple University in the fall, received a cash prize for her second place design. A student from Guys Mills, PA finished in third place.
The first place logo will appear on PSADA’s website, official letterhead, publications, programs, lapel pins, and more through the anniversary.
“I am extremely proud of Brennan and Mikaela,” said Jason Sherlock, principal of Henderson High School. “Mr. Sneddon and Ms. Snider do a tremendous job with our students. This award is quite an honor for our art department and is testament to their talent and hard work.”
Henderson's BSU Holds Annual Scholarship Banquet
Henderson High School's Black Student Union
Henderson High School’s Black Student Union (BSU) recently coordinated its 32nd Annual Scholarship Banquet, bringing the community together to celebrate students and recognize staff for their hard work and dedication to success.
Dozens of Henderson High School students, staff, alumni, and community members attended the banquet, which was held February 27 and featured the theme “Together We Can Make a Difference.” The annual event is open to the public and held during the last weekend in February as part of Black History Month. Proceeds from the event support cultural activities as well as academic scholarships for Henderson High School students.
Following welcoming remarks from Kadijah Smith, president of Henderson’s Black Student Union, attendees viewed West Chester University’s 2016 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Brunch video, which featured numerous remarks from students attending all three West Chester Area School District high schools. Click here to watch the video.
Juliana M. Mosley, Vice President for Student Affairs at Lincoln University, was the banquet’s keynote speaker. Mosley spoke to attendees about the importance of being yourself, recognizing one’s support system, honing your skills, and finding the positive in every day. She also she took guests on a walk down the yellow brick road, citing characters and character traits from the film “The Wiz” and encouraging those in the audience to find their own emerald city.
Shirley Wilson, co-advisor of Henderson High School’s BSU, then led the presentation of certificates to members of Henderson High School’s Black Student Union, recognizing the students for their leadership both inside and outside of the classroom. “In addition to being a way by which we demonstrate our appreciation to various organizations, groups, and individuals, the Annual Scholarship Banquet serves to encourage students to reach their maximum potential through exposure to visible, positive role models who share their personal struggles and victories with those in attendance,” said Wilson. “As we seek to promote pride in the rich heritage of African Americans, we aim to inspire attendees to get involved in helping others within the community to reach their personal best. We want to highlight the academic performance and efforts of our students, allowing the audience to witness their growth and potential.”
Korey Bell, co-advisor of Henderson High School’s BSU, led the presentations of the Dr. John Hewlett Award to Wilma Santos and Tony Wesley. Santos, who is a Henderson High School alumnus, currently serves as a caseworker for the WCASD and plans to retire at the end of the school year. Wesley has served as a member of the custodial staff at Henderson High School for 35 years, and is regarded as Henderson’s “Number One Fan.” Joan Osborne was presented with the Bell-Majors Award, an award named after Jaclyn Majors and Valerie Bell, the two Henderson High School students who established the Black Student Union in 1978. Osborne is a graduate of Henderson High School and served for 32 years as the West Chester Area School District’s Copy Center Clerk until she accepted a new position as Accounting Technician with the District.
At the conclusion of the event, leaders from Harmony Lodge #21 of the Free and Accepted Masons specially presented a donation to the Black Student Union.
The Henderson High School Black Student Union helps to build the self-esteem of African American students by encouraging pride in their rich heritage and participation in challenging learning experiences. The organization also helps students develop leadership skills, as well as educational and vocational career goals, while providing information on African American heritage to educators and the student body at large.
“By participating in the Annual Scholarship Banquet, I hope that the students learned how much the West Chester Area School District and entire West Chester community cares for and values them - not just as students, but as people with hopes and dreams,” said Bell. "I want the community to enjoy watching our students grow and evolve into contributing members of society.”
Photo caption, above right: The co-advisors of Henderson High School's Black Student Union stand with the 2016 award recipients. From left: Shirley Wilson, Joan Osborne, Tony Wesley, Wilma Santos, and Korey Bell.
Henderson High School Holds Annual Public Speaking Contest
Henderson High School recently coordinated its annual Janet Walton Girls Public Speaking Contest, a tradition spanning more than 50 years.
Eleven students representing all four grades participated in this year’s contest.
In order to participate, students select and memorize a published piece between 2 ½ and 3 ½ minutes long. The piece must first be approved by the principal and contest coordinator, and may not be a drama excerpt or a performance found solely on YouTube.
Students have approximately five weeks to practice and prepare for the contest, and in the process they work closely with a teacher with whom they select to help coach them through the process.
The contestants perform their piece in front of a live audience comprised of students, teachers, parents, and community members. They are judged on their stage presence, audience awareness, voice, articulation, phrasing, and movement.
The 2015 winners of the Janet Walton Girls Public Speaking Contest are:
• First place: Nikki Aigeldinger, Grade 12, performed “Say Yes” by Andrea Gibson
• Second place: Giselle London, Grade 9, performed “The Fault in Our Scars” by Connor Franta
• Third place (tie): Maddie Gershman, Grade 10, performed “Jellyfish” by Sarah Kay; Quinn Rainer, Grade 12, performed an excerpt from “My Sister’s Keeper” by Jodi Picoult
The D. Webster Meredith Boys Speaking Contest will be held in April of 2016.