Volume 13, Issue 2

Columbus Academy opened its 109th school year on August 19 with the Middle and Upper Schools beginning classes that morning and the Lower School hosting a Meet-Your-Teachers Ice Cream Social later that day. The school year began in earnest on August 20 with all grade levels attending. Head of School Melissa Soderberg welcomed everyone back to school during that morning's Convocation ceremony. "Kindness is contagious," she told over 1,100 students gathered in the quad. "When you do something kind, you benefit as much as the person who receives it." And Student Council President Kathan Reddy had a prescient message for the event that paired kindergartners with their senior buddies: "Academy is a wholly unique environment where even the youngest of us get to play and grow alongside the oldest. It's a place where aspirations can live and breathe right in front of your eyes and where your goals are directly inspired by what you see right in front of you."

The Parents' Association of Columbus Academy hosts monthly PACA Forums as an opportunity for you to a) hear about current topics of interest at the school, b) meet other families, c) get any questions answered and d) find out more ways to be involved in PACA and the school. These forums -- the first of which is scheduled for 8:00-9:15 a.m. tomorrow (Wednesday, August 28) -- are open to all Academy parents and guardians, and a light breakfast is provided in the Dining Hall. Tomorrow's guest speaker is Head of School Melissa Soderberg, who will preview what's ahead and share the school's focus for the academic year. The Viking Corner will be open as well, should you wish to pick up some spiritwear for your child(ren), because this Friday is a schoolwide Spirit Day when all students are encouraged to wear maroon and gray above the waist to school! And mark your calendars for future PACA Forums on October 2, November 6, December 4, January 8, February 5, March 4, April 1 and May 6.

All are invited to join us for CA Community Day on Saturday, September 21! This family-fun event begins in the morning with the running of the fourth annual Viking Rampage Challenge through our campus woods, followed by a day filled with activities, food trucks and home games being played by our Viking sports teams. For more information about the event, please visit columbusacademy.org/CommunityDay.


Columbus Academy's math department continues to accumulate honors as Rachael Gorsuch has been selected as the 2019 State High School Teacher of the Year by the Ohio Council of Teachers of Mathematics! Math Department Chair Chris Bolognese received the same award, which is officially called the Buck Martin Award for Exemplary Mathematics Teaching, in 2017. Both Rachael (in 2014) and Chris (in 2016) are previous recipients of the OCTM's Central Ohio math-teacher-of-the-year honors, which Katie Castle earned on the middle school level for 2018. All three -- along with Viking colleagues Sean Corey, Craig Dow, Michelle Platt, John Street, Emily Dennett and many other outstanding math teachers from across the region -- presented professional development sessions at the inaugural Mathematics Educators Convergence on Academy's campus earlier this month.

The entire Columbus Academy community is invited to the 37th Annual Charlie David Dinner on Friday, September 20, from 5:00 to 7:30 p.m. in the Dining Hall. This casual tailgate event includes a delicious City Barbeque dinner (vegetarian options available), silent auction, $1,000 cash raffle (prize provided by Dr. James Hutta) and boardwalk games for children run by our upper school student organizations in the school gym. This fun event benefits CA's middle and upper school athletic programs. You are encouraged to stay for the varsity football game against Whitehall, which kicks off at 7:30 and is free for all Academy families. To become a Charlie David Dinner sponsor or to purchase tickets, visit www.bidpal.net/cdd2019. Over 800 MS and US student athletes thank you in advance for your support! If you'd like to volunteer for the event, please sign up here.

On Monday, November 4, Columbus Academy will host lecturer, entrepreneur and New York Times bestselling author Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar as this year's Celebration of Leadership speaker. His focus on emotional and physical well-being supports our school's attention this year to advancing the third goal of our Strategic Vision: student flourishing. Dr. Ben-Shahar taught two of the most popular classes in Harvard University's history: Positive Psychology and Psychology of Leadership. Today, he consults and lectures around the world on the topics of leadership, happiness and resilience. Dr. Ben-Shahar will be speaking to upper school students in the afternoon and at an Annual Fund leadership donor reception in the evening. The RSVP deadline is October 25; space is limited.

The summer issue of Academy magazine should have arrived in mailboxes last week. This latest edition includes recaps of school events from the second half of the 2018-19 school year plus all the latest alumni news and awards coverage. In addition, a special feature story provides a behind-the-scenes look at how sixth grade teachers have used our Viking basketball players as inspiration for improving students' math and writing skills!

Students, faculty and staff at Columbus Academy thrive in an environment where respect for one another is an underlying constant. From the classroom to the playing field to the greater Columbus community, the need to communicate effectively and thoughtfully is great. In support of this commitment, Parent SEED invites parents and guardians to join together to learn more about and discuss topics of diversity, inclusion and multiculturalism in a safe and confidential space on campus. This group will meet once monthly, from 8:00-9:30 a.m., over the course of the school year. Examples of past topics are racism, classism, gender identity, Islamophobia, mental illness and much more. For further information or to join Parent SEED, please contact longtime facilitator Joyce Simson P'08 at jrs@ix.netcom.com.

One of many strengths at Columbus Academy is our College Counseling Office, which often provides tips and notices about upcoming events for those who are in or approaching the college search process. Here are the letters and attachments that were recently sent to our sophomore and junior families as well as slides from recent presentations.
Important Advanced Placement (AP) Changes: Exams are now ordered in the fall, based on classroom registration in College Board's MYAP. Students must decide about taking AP Exams by the November 1 deadline. Each student is responsible for setting "order exam?" status (in his/her MYAP) to Yes or No (default is Undecided). It is possible to request an exam after the final deadline until the spring course orders and fall order changes deadline of March 1, 2020, but students will be charged a late-order fee of $40 per exam. If a student chooses to cancel an exam after November 1 or does not take an exam that was ordered for them, the student will be charged $40 for each exam cancelled.
*Have an upper-schooler who is not enrolled in an Honors/AP Class but is planning to take an AP Exam? Please email Joan Young at youngj@columbusacademy.org by the November 1 deadline to request/approve an AP Exam order (include your child's name, grade and the title of the exam).

Our lower school music and drama teachers recently announced this performance schedule:
  • Fourth Grade Musical ("The Wizard of Oz")
    7:00 p.m. on Friday, December 6
  • Lower School Winter Closing Ceremony
    2:00 p.m. on Thursday, December 19
  • First Grade Musical ("Go Fish")
    8:20 a.m. on Thursday, February 6
  • Kindergarten Concert
    8:20 a.m. on Friday, March 6
  • Second Grade Concert
    8:20 a.m. on Thursday, March 12
  • Third Grade Concert
    8:20 a.m. on Tuesday, April 28
  • PreK Concert
    8:20 a.m. on Friday, May 1
  • Fifth Grade Shakespeare Festival
    2:00 p.m. on Friday, May 22
  • Lower School Summer Closing Ceremony
    2:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 28
  • Fifth Grade Closing Ceremony
    Time TBD on Friday, May 29

On the final weekend of summer, a group of Columbus Academy families, faculty and staff helped the Westerville Habitat Partnership build walls for a Habitat house. Under the leadership of Help Build Hope at The Point on Otterbein University's campus, the group of volunteers framed walls and loaded them on a truck for delivery to a Habitat for Humanity of Delaware & Union Counties building site.   

Led by individual medalist Grace Luo, Academy's brand new girls golf team (consisting entirely of ninth-graders) won its first match recently by three strokes over Buckeye Valley! Our two-time defending state champion boys squad, meanwhile, swept honors at the MSL-Ohio Preseason Tournament by winning both the varsity (291) and JV (319) team championships led by individual medalists Griffin Mitchell (71) on varsity and Aditya Reddy (76) in the JV competition. The boys also recently defeated Gahanna 325-330, topped a 17-team field in the Warrior-Jag Classic (both times being led by freshman Stephen Ma) and won the MSL-Ohio Midseason Tournament by 14 strokes with a team score of 302, again led by medalist Griffin Mitchell's 71.
Middle School