Building an Excellence Machine

The sixth grade FLL team isn’t hard to spot, even without the traffic-cone hats. They’ve got the skills, machines, and trophies that mark them as part of Country Day’s fledgling — and thriving — Robotics program.

Assistant Head of School Todd Trout took the stage to congratulate the sixth grade FLL (First LEGO League) squad for their second place finish at the Pennsylvania State Championships last month. The result earned the team a berth in the Razorback Invitational May 16-18 in Fayetteville, Ark., where they will compete against 80 other teams from around the world.

 

Building an Excellence Machine
Girls Make Basketball History
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“Within a short time we’ve established a tradition of excellence, and that’s something to truly be proud of,” Trout said, and the assembled Middle Schoolers roared their approval.

The Upper Schoolers compete in the FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC), a competition in which teams build and program a robot to complete specific tasks on a common course. Every team starts with the same parts and has to write the robot’s code in the same programming language, but other than that, each group designs a unique robot they hope will be the most capable on the course.

This year, the Upper School FTC team has earned a first place Programming Award, a first place Outreach Award, two third place Champions Awards, as well as a spot in the Pennsylvania State Championships in March.

Stay tuned for excellence updates.

Girls Make Basketball History

Led by the most dominant player ever to don a Cougar uniform, the Country Day girls won their first Lancaster-Lebanon League section title, earned a District 3 playoff berth, and made the L-L Final 4 in a season of historic triumph.

Senior Ashanti Duncan became Country Day’s all-time leading scorer in their semifinal loss to Lancaster Catholic Tuesday night, topping the record previously help by Sydney Fasulo ’05.

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Boasting four double-digit-average scorers in the starting five of Duncan, Genesis Meadows, Kaela Stankiewicz, Annabelle Copeland, and Anna Sotirescu, the team also has two 1,000-point career scorers in Duncan and Copeland.

The Cougars started out winning 18 straight, before a Copeland injury sidelined her for two games. Country Day finished the regular season 18-2 overall and 9-1 in the L-L League, Section 5. Their season continues at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 21 at home when they host the winner of the Veritas-Lititz Christian game in the PIAA District 3 quarterfinals.

“This season has been amazing,” said Head Coach Hilary Waltman. “I think a lot of the reason we’ve been so successful comes down to the leadership of our seniors. There’s a maturity there, and a trust between the players and coaches that lifts the whole team up.”

While the girls balanced each regular season loss with nine wins, Waltman’s message to the team has stayed the same: “As long as you put in a great effort, you can be proud, win or lose.”

Echo Hill: A Lesson in Gratitude and Unity

By Sophie H. ’24
Photos by The Chaperone Shutterbugs

On a cold Tuesday morning, the Class of 2024 set off on a four-day adventure to Echo Hill Outdoor School, on the Chesapeake Bay in Worton, Md. Though it was early, everyone was energetic, excited, and curious about the possibilities that our last Middle School overnight trip would hold. Before we knew it, the bus was filled and the sound of 50 kids chattering filled the space. After two hours on the bus, the roads became windier and we became more and more restless. Pretty soon, everyone rose from their seats and pointed to a sign that read, “Echo Hill Outdoor School: Celebrating More than 40 Years!” That sign stood as a reminder to all of us of the hundreds of LCDS students who had taken the same trip in years past.

Right when we got off the bus, the activities began. We started off playing a form of sharks and minnows as group. By the end of the game, everyone was smiling and laughing together. It was like we had left all of our stress back at home and were able to escape and just have fun.

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Next, we headed to our cabins and then Harris Hall for lunch. Every table sat six students and one counselor or teacher. The counselors explained how at each meal a “biddy” must be selected to tend to the food and dishes for the table. The first couple of meals, no one seemed too enthusiastic about taking the job, but by our last meal, there was an outright competition over for the opportunity to wait on the table.

We all enjoyed our lunch and just when we were preparing to get up and leave, we were introduced to two new activities that would quickly become tradition. The first consisted of collecting and weighing the table’s wasted food. Food waste hadn’t been a big priority for us in our day-to-day lives, but once we arrived at Echo Hill, that changed. After every meal, we weighed the slop bucket and were encouraged to think about the resources needed to produce the food that we had helped ourselves to and then didn’t eat. The second ritual was a repeat-after-me-do-as-I-do song. The songs were fun, over the top, and just downright hilarious. They brought our group together in a lively and exciting way.

After each meal, we found out what activity our tribe was participating in that day and which counselors would be guiding us. These adventures ranged from team-building exercises to studying marine life in the Chesapeake. But of everything we experienced, there was quite literally nothing that could top the tower.

Standing almost five stories tall, the massive structure was the highlight of the trip for many of us. It offered the perfect balance of teamwork, encouraging each other, and forcing you out of your comfort zone. It didn’t matter if you made it to the top or not; all that mattered was that you gave it your best effort and felt supported as you did.

As our time came to a close at Echo Hill, we all gathered for one final hurrah to leave our mark on this trip. We played games, sang songs, and talked about our experience.

Through these exchanges, it became clear that Echo Hill will be an event of lasting meaning for our class. Through simple activities, our grade bonded in myriad ways, getting to know one another on a deeper level. We all realized how important it is to be grateful for the opportunity we have to go to a school like LCDS and to be surrounded by such exceptional peers and teachers. And though our time at Echo Hill was short, I know the memories we made there will endure for a very long time.