A letter about this week's weather
Dear Keystone Families, 

In South Texas, we’re used to scorching summers, but very few of us would have anticipated missing four days of school due to ice, snow, freezing rain, and an awful combination of resultant power and water outages.  

Although the snow at first made for joyful family photos, snow angels and throwing snowballs, the wintry scenes soon gave way to rolling power blackouts, water pipes bursting, and bundling up inside just to stay warm. Many, many of our families and faculty/staff members weathered their own losses of power and water, and in some cases both. On top of the stress of COVID-19, this week brought even more uncertainty and anxiety to an already difficult time.  

In addition, our main campus suffered losses of power and water this week. Our technology infrastructure also took some hits due to the rolling blackouts. Our excellent facilities and maintenance team and our responsive tech team have been keeping an eye on our facilities and technology infrastructure this week; they will take the weekend to survey and repair damage. We appreciate their hard work! 

We will be in touch over the weekend with plans for next week. Much of what we do will depend on the conditions on campus, and whether we can count on our having electricity and water.

Thanks go to the members of our Safety Committee who were in constant contact this week on how Keystone should respond to the daily events and forecasts. Personally, I am also grateful to the heads of the other San Antonio independent schools who met daily via Zoom to commiserate and problem solve.  

To say these have been daunting and unprecedented days feels like an understatement. This community has faced a pandemic, an extreme winter storm, and the loss of some of our most basic needs of heat and water. Yet we remain strong and resilient.

We can and we will make it through this storm and the pandemic. I am proud to be part of the Cobra community and know we will meet the challenges of this moment. Ours is a “can-do” spirit, and together, we will get through this. 

With gratitude and hope, 

Billy

William B. Handmaker
Head of School
5th and 6th graders check in on Mars mission
Inspired by our astronomy club student interest, the 5th and 6th graders have been following NASA's Perseverance Mission to Mars, Mrs. Sobieszczyk reports.

Each week, students heard from scientists who have worked on the mission.

On Tuesday, the students asked questions of scientists during a Zoom session, and spent time on Thursday watching a livestream of the rover landing.
Two Keystone students win Grand Prize honors at science competition
Two Keystone students won Grand Prize honors at the recent Alamo Junior Academy of Science annual meeting and science competition.

Local newspaper publishes eighth-grader’s poem
Congratulations to eighth-grader Aarav, whose poem "Trapped" was published last weekend in the San Antonio Express-News.

Each Sunday, the newspaper publishes a work from a local poet. Usually, the featured poets are adults.

Seventh-grader wins at UTSA piano competition
Congratulations to seventh-grader Anna, who won 1st place for her grade level at the Janice Kay Hodges Contemporary Piano Competition & Festival, sponsored by the University of Texas at San Antonio.

Because of the pandemic, this year's competition took place online.

Anna won a cash award, and a scholarship that covers half the tuition of the highly regarded Interlochen Arts Camp for the upcoming Summer.
Snowball fun
The heads of San Antonio's independent schools challenged each other to take a video showing themselves getting hit with a snowball.

Click here or on the photo to watch Mr. Handmaker taking one for the team. Thanks to the Christiansen and McLaurin families for helping with the snowballs, and a special thanks to senior Hashim for the video editing.
Billy's Blog - From our Head of School
“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.”
– Frederick Douglass

For many years now, Keystone has partnered with the Freedom from Chemical Dependency (FCD) program to educate children on substance abuse. By using a social norms approach, which demonstrates to students that not nearly as many peers use or abuse substances as they may think, FCD helps children make healthy choices and be reaffirmed in those decisions.

Important events and notes
Learn about STEM at UT's Girl Day
Students from K-8th Grades can learn more about STEM and STEM fields during the upcoming Girl Day at the University of Texas at Austin event.

It runs virtually from Feb. 20-March 1, and is free. Even though it's called Girl Day, it's open to boys, too.

Message for Keystone alumni, parents and grandparents
 
From Mrs. Villafranca:

Would you like to create a legacy at Keystone School? How about honoring a friend or family member for years to come? Join us for an information session on Tuesday, February 23 from 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm CST to learn how you can benefit through creative, flexible estate and planned giving options. 

When you make a charitable gift through your estate, you are often able to make a bigger impact than you ever thought possible. Presenters include Keystone’s Head of School Mr. Billy Handmaker, Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy John Benage, and Alumni Class Member Judith Tolbert ’69. Please register for the Zoom meeting at avillafranca@keystoneschool.org
Keystone gear available at Vivroux Sports
Get your Keystone gear with a quick visit to Vivroux Sports.

On their retail floor, they have:

  • White and Black Adidas hats
  • White Comfort Color t-shirts in all sizes adult and youth
  • Adidas grey and white t-shirts some youth and adult sizes
  • Cardinal and black full and 1/4 zip Adidas jackets in select adult sizes
  • And a few Adidas black polos

Vivroux Sports is open 10am-5pm Monday-Friday, at 2222 Breezewood, just off New Braunfels Ave. north of the McNay Museum.
Plan your hot lunch schedule
Support Keystone while you shop
If you're getting school supplies or adding to your home office from either Office Max or Office Depot, please mention Keystone. As part of the Give Back to Schools program, the stores give 5% of the purchase price of qualifying school supplies in credits to Keystone for office supplies. Be sure to include the school's ID number when you make your purchase. Keystone's school number is: 70100727.
If you're purchasing items from Amazon, please consider supporting Keystone with your purchases and use AmazonSmile. Just designate Keystone as the beneficiary and a portion of your purchases will go to the school.

Make sure to install the Smilematic browser extension. It works with Firefox, Chrome and Safari and automatically redirects users to AmazonSmile when they visit Amazon. Here's the tool: https://couponfollow.com/smilematic.
We want to hear from you!
If you have news to share about the students, alumni, faculty or staff at Keystone School, please send it to: etijerina@keystoneschool.org.
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