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.
Click here to watch the Henderson High School Concert Choir's performance.
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!
Please click here to see a highlight video of the WCASD 2019 Senior Walk.
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.
Please click here to watch a video recap of the Boys Speaking Contest.
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.
Please click here for a video recap of Henderson's Mock Crash.
*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.