On the second day of school, the Upper School decamped to destinations near and far for some lessons outside the classroom. The freshmen went on a scavenger hunt around Lancaster City, the sophomores headed to Heritage Creek Farm and Mt. Gretna, the juniors made for the Holocaust Museum and National Museum of American History in D.C., while the seniors hit up Refreshing Mountain Camp.
Seniors Kendall K. and Scarlett T. could hardly have chosen a more fitting song to ring in the 2018-19 school year than “Here Comes The Sun.” The morning had seen parents and students streaming through the misty haze of golden August sunshine into wide-open school doors, and would soon see those same parents lining Hamilton Road like paparazzi waiting for a glimpse of The Beatles.
“Your energy is simply electric. Welcome, welcome, welcome to the 2018-19 school year. We’re thrilled to see you here,” said Head of School Steve Lisk.
Between the fifth, sixth and seventh grades, the kids in khaki provided stomp-applause enough for the whole school, including the drumroll of footfalls that rang in the introduction of the senior class.
Student council co-presidents Lauren L. and Nick H. ’19 reassured returning students and their 107 new peers that though the first day of school can be hard, Country Day’s “inclusive and inviting community can help you feel at ease.”
Having the Lower, Middle and Upper schools under one roof nurtures this feeling of community that’s also “supportive and encouraging of striving for excellence,” they said.
The pair closed on a philosophical and inspirational note.
“The willingness to accomplish goals must be innate, and everyone in this room has the ability to accomplish his or her dreams.”
Then came the parade.
Hand-in-hand with kindergartners either beaming or looking like they’d just woken up on stage in front of a packed Radio City Music Hall and forgotten their lines, the Class of 2019 and 2031 walked through a tunnel of their peers to cheers and applause and kicked off the new school year.
“Every year when my students walk into class for the first time, they walk into the greatest opening bars of the greatest song ever,” said Glenn Whitman, hitting play on his laptop and standing back, smiling, as “Born To Run” cascaded down in all its anthemic glory on the Country Day faculty.
His point was a simple one.
“It’s a cue to students” about the tenor of the class, he said. “Even if the kids don’t love the Boss, they still get a boost when they hear it.”
Whitman is a teacher and coach, as well as the co-author of “Neuroteach,” and the director of the Center for Transformative Teaching and Learning (CTTL) at St. Andrew’s School, with whom Country Day has become a partner school. All faculty at LCDS read “Neuroteach” as a part of their professional development in 2017-18. He was here Thursday, Aug. 16, for workshops with teachers, teachers and students, and to deliver an evening talk to the community about helping children achieve their full potential.
“We all win from our time with Glenn and our ongoing partnership with the CTTL,” said Director of Learning Services Rachel Schmalhofer, who arranged Whitman’s visit and is working to incorporate “Neuroteach” ideas into LCDS pedagogy.
Part of our partnership entails sending one administrator and one teacher from each division to a week-long workshop at the CTTL for at least the next two summers. This past year’s group consisted of Todd Trout, Lindsay Deibler-Wallace, Sue LeFevre and Joie Formando.
Classes ranging from Brenna Stuart’s World Civ II to Sheryl Krafft’s preschool have embraced the idea that understanding the brain, the organ of learning, is critical to learning, and they’ve seen it bear fruit. The profound — if occasionally just plain common sense — ideas behind their efforts are a central focus of Whitman’s teaching philosophy, as well as the subject of “Neuroteach.”
“This is just the jumping off point,” said Schmalhofer. “LCDS has made a commitment to staying on the cutting edge of mind, brain and education research and our efforts will continue to grow every year. What we are doing is a really big deal and represents an effort to create a culture of learning not just for our students, but for our teachers and parents as well. We want to practice what we preach.
“It’s different because it’s an undertaking that engages the entire community: teachers working to use current research to inform their practices, and teaching students to become more efficient, effective, motivated learners; parents continuing the conversation at home; students developing their abilities to be reflective about their learning and to approach learning from a mastery orientation rather than a performance orientation,” she said.
Cougar News presents some of our favorite images from this past school year and wishes everybody an awesome summer! (If you’d like to see more of this year’s photo highlights, click here.)
By Michael Schwartz ’98
The proud and the smiling parents and grandparents filed in from the rain, their spirits bright and immune to gloom of any stripe on this May Saturday. In 15 minutes, their sons and daughters, nieces and nephews, grandchildren and siblings would process into the fieldhouse to cap their lives’ first act, and embark on the second with affirmation and love filling their sails.
On Saturday, May 19, the 53 members of the class of 2018 graduated from Lancaster Country Day in the school’s 110th commencement.
“On the whole, you see before you a profoundly interesting, impressive and easy to like collection of individuals,” said Head of School Steve Lisk in his introduction. “The value they have placed together on appreciation of difference in one another is, in my view, among their real strengths. This quality, I confess, gives us reason for hope in our future as a people, as a country and as a world.”
The class of 2018 “won acceptances to 83 different colleges and universities [and] … will scatter to 39 separate campuses across the United States and Canada,” Lisk continued. “I know I speak on behalf of the faculty and staff here who know you so well when I say: We are big on your future.”
Chosen by her peers to give the class address, Clare J. delivered a delightfully droll and self-aware monologue.
“If you’re looking for a commencement speech full of clichés, you’re going to be disappointed today,” Clare began. “At no point do I plan on telling you that your world is an oyster, or any other kind of shellfish. I will not say, “We made it!” and I definitely won’t say “It’s called commencement for a reason.” I also won’t quote “Oh, The Places You’ll Go,” but that’s only because Dr. Seuss’ copyright people are vultures and I’m 100 percent sure there’s one of them in the audience with us today.”
She gave her class three nuggets of wisdom: Take your work seriously, take others and their feelings seriously, and don’t take yourself too seriously. To this last point, she tacked on an addendum: Do your best to be humble.
“I’m the perfect person to give this advice because I am amazing at being humble. Not only that, I’m smart, I’m beautiful, I’m funny. … If any of you guys need advice on how to be humble, come talk to me in the lobby after the ceremony. I’m really easy to talk to,” Jackson said with impeccable comic dryness to peals of audience laughter.
The graduating class also chose mathematics department chair Mary Turner to give the faculty address, both an honor and a challenge, but one to which Turner rose with poise and eloquence.
“As you move through life, you will cross paths with many new people, new ideas, new opportunities. It’s always imperative that you remember the lessons of arithmetic: You must determine if these things are adding to or subtracting from your quality of life. Treasure those that add, and don’t be afraid to dismiss the ones that subtract,” Turner said.
“In turn, your impact on the lives of others is equally important. Be a force for good. Multiply your good fortune. … Be a multiplier, not a divider.
“Throughout life,” she continued, “I can guarantee that you’re going to face some problems — challenges — the word problems of life. Some will be small and some will be immense. Everyday we can allow ourselves to be swallowed by the enormity of it all — grades, jobs, money, success — or we can remember the lessons we learned in math. Focus on what’s important, put aside what is not, forgive our mistakes, face life head on and persist.”
Senior class co-presidents Dory B. and Lauren M. delivered a speech titled “What Makes Us the Class of 2018?” The pair told their peers, “You have been role models, comic relief … and you have made a difference. … Every time you took charge of an issue, someone younger was watching.” They closed on a note of gratitude, observing that, “The people in this room love us.”
While the day belonged to the students, they didn’t have the market cornered on prizes and recognition. Board of Trustee Chair Bernadette Gardner presented The Trustee Emeritus Award to Vicki Zuckerman, who “has served on the Country Day board for the maximum 12 years allowed in the bylaws. I say maximum because we would keep her for more if we could,” Gardner said.
Gardner then saluted Director of Admission and her predecessor on the board, Sandi Abraham. She is “Country Day’s own Renaissance woman,” Gardner proclaimed, before presenting her with the Life Trustee Award and leading the seniors in a hearty chorus of “Happy birthday” for the mother of three lifers.
Fourth-grade teacher Crystal Meashey was awarded the Marcia L. Hubbard ’53 Endowed Faculty Chair, an honor previously held by the man who presented it: Assistant Head of School Todd Trout. In introducing the winner, Trout described Meashey as a versatile and dedicated teacher who has — and continues to — enrich the Lower School.
Diane Wilikofsky’s invocation and Genevieve Munson’s benediction echoed similar philosophical sentiments.
“Be courageous and compassionate as you create new and indelible marks on the wide world. We hope you fondly remember your LCDS community as we will remember you,” Wilikofsky said, invoking a maxim of Henri Matisse.
Munson mined her wisdom from the rich depths of Ralph Waldo Emerson. Quoting the Transcendentalist, Munson said, “The purpose of life is not to be happy … [but] It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate … [in order] to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”
“Class of 2018, I hope that you find work that is real, that feeds your sense of purpose, that continuously pushes you to be honorable and compassionate, and that makes a difference — wherever you go,” Munson said.
The Trustee Prize: Awarded to the senior with the highest cumulative grade point average. Winner: Matt L.
Ruth S. Hostetter Award: This award is presented by the Alumni Council in the memory of a Shippen School graduate from the class of 1931. It recognizes a senior who, over an extended period of time, has worked selflessly and enthusiastically to enhance the school community. Winner: Katie W.
Ann Musselman Award: Given in honor of Ann Musselman, an LCDS English and history teacher who enriched the lives students and colleagues for 30 years, this award is given to the student who best exemplifies personal qualities Ann cherished and modeled for others: enthusiastic curiosity; the courage to take intellectual risks; joy in a lifetime of learning; and a desire to pack the most living possible into each one of life’s “precious minutes.” Winner: Emma S.
Faculty Award: Given to a student who embodies of what the faculty most respect in a scholar and a person, someone who has a true love of learning, contributes to the intellectual life of the school and is a model citizen. Winner: Sam D.
Head of School Award: Presented by the Head of School, recognizing the seniors who are most deserving of special recognition for having qualities such as leadership, school spirit, persistence and civic virtue. Winners: Lauren M. and Cristian T.
Departmental Awards for Excellence Presented at the Awards Assembly May 18
Music Award–Sarah F.
Karen Stork Memorial Award/Theatre–Delphi A., Clare J.
Visual Art Award–Cristian T.
English Award–Matthew L.
Elizabeth Ross Award–Delphi A.
Foreign Language Award
lancasterhistory.org Award–Lauren M.
History Award–Calvin B.
Mathematics Award–Matthew L.
Science Award–Michael E.
Female Athlete of the Year–Emma S.
Male Athlete of the Year–Matthew L.
PIAA E. Jerry Brooks Award–Nicholas L., Matthew L.
PIAA Fackler-Hower Sportsmanship Award–Emma S., Samuel N.