May 11, 2018
Welcome to this edition of The Westminster Weekly, where you will learn about what's been happening recently at Westminster School! We welcome story suggestions from parents, students, teachers, and alumni. Please email your news to Mrs. Nancy Schuler .
Mark Your Calendars
Upcoming Events

May 14-18
Student Art Exhibition
May 14-18
ERB Testing for KG-6th
May 17
Family Open House / International Day
May 18
Fun Lunch
May 24
WPC Meeting
May 25
Spring Music Program
Don't Miss International Day / Family Open House!
May 17, 2018 5:30-7:30 PM
This year, we have combined our annual Family Open House with a school-wide celebration of our diversity. As always, students will act as hosts for their parents, grandparents and siblings to visit the classrooms, view the Student Art Exhibit, and enjoy the displays of student work, including those centered on our five-senses theme. 

International food and refreshments will be served and special activities will be taking place in the Gryphon Theatre throughout the evening.

Important points:
  • Students are to wear their dress uniforms, blazers, and ties or traditional garments representing their international heritages. Parents are more than welcome to join!
  • The parking lot will be available after 5:10 p.m. for all guests.
  • Family photos will be taken in the library on a first-come, first-served basis, from 6:45-7:30, courtesy of Westminster School.
  • Guests are welcome to visit their child's current classrooms, upcoming classrooms, and to tour exhibits throughout the school.

We need YOUR help to make the evening a success! Please sign up below to contribute food and/or perform at the event.
The Family Open House will also highlight the Annual Giving Campaign, with trustees and administrators on hand to encourage and accept donations to Westminster School. More than 40 nationalities are represented amongst the students and staff. The goal from now until 12 midnight on Thursday, May 17 is $40,000.

Let's make  $40K for 40  a great success!
6th Grade Visits the Renwick Gallery
On May 4, the 6th graders were fortunate enough to visit one of the most exciting exhibits to come to town in recent memory, "No Spectators: The Art of the Burning Man" at the Renwick Gallery.  

The Burning Man Festival is held annually in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada, and can best be described as celebrating the "maker" culture. 
Tens of thousands of people descend on the desert to build, view, and celebrate assemblage sculptures created in a vast array of materials. The festival's name comes from the fact that some of these giant creations are ritually burned at the end of the week's festivities. 

The 6th grade had the opportunity to view and interact with examples of Burning Man sculptures that had been transported to the Renwick. Many pieces are difficult to describe, and need to be seen and experienced to fully appreciate the complexity of the structures and their mechanics. Several pieces were indeed interactive, as students could add their ideas to an existing work. Click on the video above to learn more about this amazing exhibition. Thank you to Mr. Muntain for arranging this field trip for the students.
1st Graders Have Poetry in their Pockets
What's in your pocket? As part of an additional focus on poetry in April, and in recognition of National Poetry Month, first-graders celebrated "Poem In Your Pocket Day" on April 24.

The children copied and illustrated the poem, "City," by Langston Hughes. Each child shared his/her interpretation of the poem in front of the class. "City" is a class favorite as it has been woven into the first-grade language arts and social studies curricula since the beginning of the year. 
I n first grade, the initial social studies unit includes the elements of cities and towns, so the poem was the perfect springboard for a cross-curricular focus. This is also the first poem the children were introduced to in September as part of their handwriting practice. At the beginning of the school year in language arts, the students analyzed "City," exploring the imagery and using it as a vehicle to better understand parts of speech, particularly adjectives. 

On April 30, the students used recycled items to help design a city to end this year-long subject-based project.
3rd Grade Visits the Botanic Garden
As a complement to their life science studies this quarter, the 3rd graders took a trip to the United States Botanic Garden in Washington, DC to explore plants in different habitats and to discover how plants adapt and grow in various environments.

The students visited several unique rooms: world desert plants, medicinal plants, tropical plants, orchids, and even primeval plants, which contained plants that grew under the feet of the dinosaurs during the Jurassic era!

The students were given botanist backpacks and journals that guided them to study plants using tools such as magnifying glasses. The children also learned how fruit-bearing plants grow and got to see how the fruit develops over time.

The students thoroughly enjoyed the trip and they are grateful to their science teacher, Mr. Abdelrazaq, for arranging it for them!
6th Graders Celebrate Medieval Day
On May 3, the 6th graders celebrated Medieval Day as a culmination of the history studies of the Middle Ages. Students enjoyed activities, such as creating beautiful filography artworks, making Celtic knot bracelets, and games of knuckle ball, chess, and checkers. These morning crafts were followed by a presentation by Bruce Broadstreet Longship Company, who brought a great many medieval-style weapons, shields, armor, and daily household items for the students to handle and explore. They enjoyed a traditional feast like one that would have been enjoyed during that time. They even participated in a simulation of the spread of the Black Plague which helped them understand how quickly and easily it spread to take the lives of so many. The day ended with a viewing of the film, A Knight's Tale.

Thank you to Mrs. O'Brien with support from Mrs. Klein, Mrs. Fowler, and many parent volunteers for creating such a memorable day for the students!
Students explore the idea of a phalanx. (above)
Beautiful costumes! (below)
A student tries on chain mail and gets a true appreciation for just how heavy it is!
Student Visitors Head Back to Thailand
Minn and Punn visited in the 3rd and 7th grades respectively for the last two months. The brother and sister are from Thailand and came to stay in the United States with their aunt and uncle, who live in Northern Virginia.

The children joined right in, attending classes with the other students and participating in many activities and field trips while they were here. They also received ESL lessons from Mrs. Hopkins in our Resource Department.

Both children said that had a wonderful experience and were very grateful for the warm welcome they received at Westminster. The Westminster students and teachers were equally grateful to have had two such fine students join our community.

The children plan to stay in touch with the friends they met here and will hopefully come by to see us when they are again in the U.S. We will miss you, Minn and Punn! Thank you for being with us!
Alumni News
Class of 2011 Grad Wins Research Award at Sweet Briar College
We recently caught up with a Westminster graduate from the Class of 2011, Emily Schlosberg. After graduating from Westminster School, Emily attended J. W. Robinson High School in Fairfax County. Emily is currently completing her junior year at Sweet Briar College, double-majoring in psychology and sociology.

Sweet Briar was Emily's top choice of college and it was her dream to attend. She was thrilled when she received her acceptance and quickly signed up to go. You may remember that Sweet Briar College announced that it would be closing its doors just as Emily's class was a few short months away from moving into their dorms. An incredible effort by alumni and friends of the school took place and Sweet Briar was saved. Emily was one of only 22 girls who stuck with their decision to enroll. She is so glad that she did, as Sweet Briar is once again thriving. Her class has a special bond because of their situation and will undoubtedly go down in the school's history as a special group.

Emily is a true model of a Westminster graduate in that she is such a well-rounded and accomplished young lady. Most recently, Emily won the Centra Health Award of Excellence in Student Scientific Research and Collaborative Innovation. This honor is awarded to a student researcher from Sweet Briar College for a completed project in the areas of science and technology or science and medicine. You can read the entire article from the Sweet Briar newsletter here.

Emily holds several leadership positions at Sweet Briar, currently serving as Vice-President of her class, and she will serve as President her senior year. She is also the Head of the Judicial Committee at Sweet Briar.

Emily is an avid rider. She is a member of all the teams available at Sweet Briar, including the National Collegiate Equestrian Association, the Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association and the Old Dominion Athletic Conference. She serves as President of the Riding Council and received the Scholar Riding award this year, which is given to the rider with the highest GPA on the team.

How on earth does she manage to juggle all of these responsibilities? Emily laughed at this question and answered, "time management is my best friend."
When asked if her Westminster education had had an influence on her, she replied, "most definitely. First of all, Westminster is what showed me that I do better in a smaller school where I can interact with teachers and they know my name."

She explained that she is, by nature, a soft-spoken person. However, at Sweet Briar, she has been able to reach back to her Westminster days and push herself to take risks.

Emily feels that her Westminster experience helped her learn responsibility and accountability. She explained, "the whole structure of Westminster and the fact that we had to meet deadlines and had to study really prepared me for what I'm doing now. A lot of people I talk to didn't have that experience in middle school. Obviously, I'm not going to get a detention if I don't do my work, but I know I will face consequences, so I get it done."

She also reflected on her experience in theater at Westminster. "The plays really pushed me out of my comfort zone." Now Emily finds that she's not at all nervous speaking in front of people; in fact, as President of her class, Emily will speak at the Sweet Briar graduation next spring.

Congratulations to Emily on her many accomplishments! We look forward to seeing what she does next!
Winning Debates and Changing the World
As if their philanthropy efforts weren't enough to celebrate, we also are excited to share the news of the Abbasi girls' success in debate.

The girls became the first debaters in Potomac School's history to advance to the elimination rounds at the Tournament of Champions ("TOC") after obtaining a 5-2 record in preliminary rounds. The TOC is the highest level tournament in high school debate--a tournament one must qualify for by advancing far enough in national circuit tournaments throughout the school year. It is basically the NCAA tournament, the Super Bowl, and the World Cup of high school debate.  

The first of four national championship debate events was held at the University of Kentucky where the girls advanced into the field of 32 before losing a 2-1 verdict. This is quite an achievement, especially considering that they are only sophomores! Look out world, here come the Abbasi girls!
As reported in the Westminster Weekly on March 30, Maryam and Sara Abbasi, graduates of the Class of 2016, ran a campaign to raise funds to provide computers to the Maryam School in Afghanistan. We wanted to share an update on that story.

Thanks to their efforts, there are six new computers in the school already being put to use by the students. The girls are now focusing on getting new chairs for the computer lab. Congratulations to the Abbasi girls and their friend, Sarah for making a difference in the lives of these Afghan girls. You may learn more by visiting their "Girls Connect" website.
Food for Thought
"Preparing Teens for Adulthood"
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