High School News
On Wednesday evening my wife, Barbara, and I enjoyed a stroll along the creek close to our house. A glorious sunset accompanied us as the pond skaters skipped across the water, and ducks paddled serenely on their way to settle down for the evening. We remarked how easy it was to take such an idyllic setting for granted. This started me thinking of how we are so often embroiled in events, which we too easily take different settings for granted. I wanted this newsletter to address the balance by paying tribute to those people who make Westwood a bustling and yet idyllic environment.
The Fall Reception is such an example where an extremely pleasant evening was made possible by the efforts of both our Parent Booster Club and the student volunteers who ran a babysitting service at the Proton Road Campus. In addition to our being able to meet each other in a social setting, we took the opportunity to launch the Annual Fund, and the passion and verve we have come to expect (but I hope not take for granted) from our parents was infectious. Jenina Smith announced that we were taking part in the North Texas Giving Day. Through this, our donations would be partially matched by the Communities Foundation of Texas, and we were invited to help launch the day by following up our attendance on Good Morning Texas TV show with another TV slot on News 8 Daybreak. Two students, Douglas (Grade 11) and Aubrie (Grade 6) braved a 4:00 am start to the day and helped Mrs. Lourcey and I represent our school on TV. Looking cute as kittens in their PJ’s, sleeping masks, and fluffy slippers, students cheered and displayed the Westwood banner with pride, giving us tremendous TV coverage. No sooner had we finished our TV slot than it was back to school to join in with our own fundraising PJ Party. The response from you should not surprise me – but it did!! Of 972 organizations across north Texas, Westwood School had the 4th highest number of donors!! We received donations from staff, students, parents, alumni and international friends of the school. The response was a phenomenal vote of support and confidence from all associated with this incredible school. As well as giving me goose bumps when I see the figures, it gives me a sense of tremendous pride to be part of such a wonderful group. Please extend your appreciation to Jenina Smith and Heather Lourcey who were not just the architects of this incredible event, but also the cheerleaders throughout the day who burned the midnight oil to see the event through to completion. With over $84,000 raised in just 17 hours, they deserve a well-earned “thank you”.
As Giving Day unfolded, I was privileged to represent Westwood School at the Farmers Branch Chamber of Commerce. I am hopeful that many exciting opportunities and contacts will be made by our involvement in this organization. As I learn more about the structures and functions of local organizations, I hope to be able to advance the school’s profile so that we are not just in the community – we are part of the community.
Missing out on all the fundraising fun, our Grade 9 class had to “endure” a week-long adventure to South Texas exploring lakes, rivers, and the ocean. As they spent time on kayaks, surfboards and boats, participated in a number of water-based activities, lived free of electronics and slept under the stars, many experienced (and thoroughly enjoyed) activities they believed were beyond them. Isn’t that really what high school is all about? Even in the “wilderness” our students managed to impress strangers. One campsite visitor was so inspired by their attitude and maturity that he treated the group to a $100 pizza dinner. I do not know his name, but I wish to express my thanks to him and to our students for representing Westwood in such a positive light. Thanks are also due to Trey Adair, Kiki Brandon, Shaun Dalrymple, and Kristin Pelletier for volunteering to accompany the students. Without such dedication, these life-changing experiences would not be possible.
If the above were not enough to convince you of the diversity of our school activities, then please note that John Bain is now enrolling students for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. Some have already signed up, but with the trips, it may have slipped by one or two students so please encourage them to participate and get the forms back to him by the end of the month. The DoE is a wonderful opportunity for the students and few schools have teachers such as Mr. Bain who are willing to volunteer so much of their time. Another event you might like to add to your calendar is the Swim Team Meeting for Parents and MS/HS students, organized by Coach Cottle. If you are interested, please e-mail [email protected]. The final item for your calendar is the IB BBQ which takes place at the High School on Monday, September 24th. I hope to see as many of you there as possible.
I am mindful when writing this column to keep my accounts brief, but considering it is only two weeks since our last chat, you can see the vibrancy of our High School and why we must remind ourselves regularly not to take such a wonderful school for granted. I hope you agree with me and continue to support our students and teachers at every opportunity.
Head of High School