The May Excellence Achievement Roundup

The Sound — and the Gift — of Musical Preeminence

Three Country Day Upper Schoolers won spots in festival ensembles after competitive auditions earlier this spring. In Pennsylvania, students begin the process by competing within the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association at the District Level, comprising 25 school districts within the South-Central Pa. From there, the top players in their instrument section advance to the Regional level and finally the All-State level, again through competitive auditions against their peers.

Caterina Manfrin, 11th grade flutist, won auditions through to the All-State level, and is ranked among the top 12 flutists in the Commonwealth. In addition to studying privately, Caterina is a member of the Allegretto Youth Chamber Orchestra and performs in our school orchestra as well.

Students who succeed to the All-State level have the chance to apply the following year to participate in the All-Eastern Festival, made up of the top students across 13 states, as well as the All-National Festival, sponsored by the National Association for Music Education (NAFME). As a result of their 2020 All-State wins, Florie Schaumann and Cecilia Wright applied for and were accepted into the All-East Festival. Florie, an 11th grade violinist, studies privately and is also a member of the Allegretto Youth Chamber Orchestra and our school’s orchestra.

Cecilia Wright, a 12th grade violist, also won a spot in the NAFME All-National Orchestra. Lia studies with a member of the New York Philharmonic and is a member of the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra in addition to playing in our school’s orchestra.

Due to the pandemic, the festivals went on, but virtually. Rather than rehearsing in person with their peers and conductors who represent the best in their field, the students would Zoom into sectionals and be coached as to how to best play for the “performance.” Each student then recorded their individual parts against a background track as a guide. These were then stitched together to produce a virtual ensemble recording. Each of the girls remarked that while it could never replace rehearsing and performing live with other fantastic musicians, it was nonetheless a tremendous learning experience.

Said Country Day Orchestra Director Greg Woodbridge, “Of course I’m impressed by the level of musicianship these three young women demonstrated by winning these prestigious positions in these honors ensembles. But what impresses me most is that they share their talents with their peers and the school community by choosing to participate in their school’s ensemble. This is a true contribution — their gift, given for the benefit of others, not just themselves.”

Eighth-Graders Crush North Museum Science & Engineering Fair

This year’s North Museum Science & Engineering Fair may have been virtual, but the Class of 2025’s achievements make clear they weren’t phoning anything in.

Amelie Breuninger won the junior champion award for her project, “Analyzing the Impact of the Global COVID-19 Lockdown on Microplastics.” Her success had company. Raphael Andreae took second place in the engineering category, while Anna Grove placed third in earth science and classmate Emma Trout earned an Honorable Mention in Computer Science.

Robotics Students Are Winning Machines

At the Middle School First Lego League scrimmage hosted by LCDS in mid-March, Team Jade won the First Place Core Values Award, while Team Orange took top honors in Robot Design as well as Coding. Both squads went on to compete at the LCDS Qualifying Tournament March 27.

At the Qualifier, CougarBots Jade came in fifth out of 17 teams, earning the Breakthrough Award and a place in the championships. Team Jade is Wyatt Alexander ’25, Jack Burns ’28, Sonia Gallo ’25, Dalton Groff ’27, Zachariah Neff ’25, Jeremy Ouilikon ’25, Nehemiah Smith ’25, Caden Topper ’27, Nate Weiss ’27, Finn White ’27, and Andrew Yanero ’25.

Also at the Qualifier, CougarBots Orange ranked sixth out of 17 teams, earning the Motivate Award and a spot as an alternate in the championships. Team Orange is an all-Class of ’27 crew, made up of Andrew Carlisle, Lauren Cohen, Ruby Edwards, John Kelsey, Lucas McDevitt, Benjamin Yodfat, Samantha Zerbe, and Austin Zheng.

In Upper School robotics news, four students earned honors in the US Technology Student Association Regional Competition. They are:
Isa Marquez ’22 — First place, Extemporaneous Speech
Any Jaramillo ’22 — First place, Flight Endurance
Seth Meyer ’24 — Second place, Architectural Design
Eli Hurtt ’23 — Third place, CAD Engineering

Sparks de Triomphe in National French Contest

Three Upper Schoolers earned awards in the Grand Concours, a written exam organized by the American Association of Teachers of French and administered to students in all 50 states as well as abroad.

The Country Day standouts were:

Arielle Breuninger ’21, AP-Level 5, Silver, No. 7 nationally
Natalie Stuccio ’21, AP-Level 5, Honorable Mention, No. 19 nationally
George Warfel ’22, Level 4, Silver, No. 11 nationally

Said their teacher, Erin Myers, “I am so proud of all of my students for their hard work in French, especially considering that proficiency in French is just one of many scholarly and athletic pursuits for them.”

Warfel and Brantley Earn Chemistry Honors

Congratulations to George Warfel ’22 and Carson Brantley ’22, who, on March 27, finished in first and second place, respectively, out of 48 students from 13 area high schools across south-central Pennsylvania on the 2021 Chemistry Olympiad regional exam. The regional exam is the first stage of the national Chemistry Olympiad competition, which identifies top chemistry students throughout the United States.

Because of their top performance, George and Carson qualified to take the first portion of the 2021 National Chemistry Olympiad Exam, given to about 1,000 students across the country. On this test, Carson was the top performer of the 10 students from south-central Pa. who qualified for that level, and George placed second in that group. While neither student qualified for the final stage of the national exam, Carson missed the cut-off for the finals by just one point and both of their performances were outstanding.

Said chemistry teacher and Assistant Head of School Todd Trout, “Their achievements on both the local exam and the first stage of the national exam were highly commendable. I believe that this was the first time in my 22 years at LCDS that one of our students had the highest score on the local section exam. For Carson and George to earn first and second place on both that exam and also the first component of the national exam for students in our region of Pennsylvania was very impressive.” Both boys received special recognition for their achievements at the annual Chemistry Education Night hosted by the Southeastern Pa. section of the American Chemical Society on April 21.

Winning at Wall Street from Hamilton Road

Raafae Ayyaz ’25 finished in the top 10 of Pennsylvania middle schoolers in the PennCFL Stock Market Challenge. Raafae is a student in Trex Proffitt’s Money Matters class, and won thanks to his savvy investing and the performance of his stock portfolio over the duration of the competition. The Pennsylvania Council on Financial Literacy, or PennCFL, aims to provide students a solid foundation in financial management and foster entrepreneurial skills.

Rising To The Poetry Challenge and Triumphing Out Loud

Senior Lily Nguyen won the regional Poetry Out Loud competition last month, and now moves on to the state level, with the chance to win a cash prize and compete nationally. In Middle School poetry news, Meghan Kenney’s seventh graders answered a prompt from NPR: “Honor MLK By Describing How You Dream A World.” Each student wrote their own poem, then chose their favorite line to contribute to the collective class poem based on Langston Hughes “I Dream A World.” Lily’s winning submissions are below, followed by the seventh graders’ work.

“Abandoned Farmhouse,” by Ted Kooser


“An Anthology Of Rain,” by Phillis Levin


“Tall Ambrosia,” by Henry David Thoreau


Collaborative class poems inspired by Langston Hughes’ “I Dream A World”

By English 7 (1)


I dream a world where peace, love and progress guide us, not hatred and heteronormativity.
A world where perfect isn’t what other people judge you for, but what you see in yourself.
I dream a world where everyone feels loved.
With this love there will be no one that feels alone, and people can love who they want.
I dream a world where subjects are optional.
A world where people are people in the eyes of businesses, and not just machines made to do their bidding.
I dream a world where everyone has a voice, and where voices are heard.
Where the streets will be filled with seas of colors: red, brown, yellow, white, black all entwined and linking in a powerful tide of unique beauty.
A world where anyone can walk the streets and not be ridiculed for what they look like.
I dream a world where no one has to sleep in the cold, and where there’s no need for worry.
I dream a world where there is no COVID-19.
I dream a world of a long happy life.
If planes can soar then we can too; we are all in this together.

By English 7 (7)

“The Way I Dream This World Of Mine”

The world I dream isn’t far, we can make it happen if we start working hard.
I dream a world where there is no hate just because of different races or beliefs,
A world where life is free.
I dream a world where there is no conflict
Or violence.
A world where all will feel safe.
I dream a world that is a healthy place for people to live in.
The world that I dream, gleams and money grows on trees.
Nations apart, but somehow combined, is the way I dream of mine.

By English 7 (6)

“This World I Dream”

I dream a world, this world I dream is equal for all and for all it is free.
A world where men and women are treated the same
A world full respect and equality
Where freedom knows no borders
And we come together and celebrate differences and individuality.

I dream a world where everyone sees the sun,
Everyone smiles and laughs,
And always has fun.

I dream a world where violence
Will not touch earth’s petals
Where we do not destroy the planet but care for it
A world with clean air and water all over it.
A world with no immediate conflict
Where no animal shall suffer
And everyone looks out for one another.
A world filled with green and no corruption
With police who can properly function
Where peace and love are all around and there is harmony.
I dream of a world free from war and injustice
A world where there is kindness and we see through our blindness.

I dream a world full of these things;
But the way the world has become,
I feel I can only just dream.