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Student Representative Report to the School Committee – February 4, 2015

by Katherine Dunham, Class of 2015

Hi everyone! It’s definitely been a while since I’ve been here, with budget hearings and postponements. A lot has been going on at the Sandwich schools and I am very excited to get into it. So, to get into it… It’s a new semester at the high school and everyone is changing to new classes, new teachers, and new lunch schedules. This transition, as always, has been relatively seamless.

Freshmen, who I’ve kept in touch with after last semester’s senior mentor program, have said that they now feel fully comfortable in the school, confident about how they did on their finals, and excited about their new classes. But just as soon as we’ve made this transition, it’s time to think about the next.

Scheduling for next year’s classes has already begun. Today through Friday, current grades nine through eleven are having course selection assemblies with their homeroom. During those meetings, their counselor walks them through what courses are available to them and how to sign up for those courses. Beginning today, students and parents can access the student portal which is where all course selections will be made electronically. These choices can be made and changed until Friday February 6th. Counselors will then look over the schedules to make sure all students are on track to graduate. Individual follow up meetings between counselors, parents, and students are to come. A huge thanks to technology administrator, Mr. Savery, for facilitating this change from paper scheduling to electronic scheduling. Although it is new to SHS, it is in keeping with many other high schools across the country and nearly all colleges.

An important date to keep in mind is Tuesday, February 10th. AP Info Night will be held that night at 6:30 in the high school library. Overviews of the general AP structure as well as specific AP classes being offered next year will be given. The catalog of AP courses offered will expand next year. Additionally, select subjects will now be available to sophomores. All parents of current grades nine through eleven students are invited to attend. Regarding this year’s AP Exams, it is to be noted that they aren’t affected by snow, even if it was a record storm for Boston. Each test will still be held on the day – somewhere between May 4th and May 15th – that was previously scheduled.

While all this preparation for another year at SHS is going on, many seniors are preparing for next year at college. The guidance department is double and triple checking that everything has been sent out to schools as well as monitoring the responses students have received from those schools. By Friday, February 13th guidance will have sent out each student’s mid year reports to each college they have applied to. It is strongly encouraged, however, that seniors do check in to make sure everything has been sent. The general scholarship application that has been open to seniors will close on March 3rd. That one application allows students to apply for many different local scholarships.

After February break, a graduation planning committee will be formed to organize the Class of 2015’s graduation ceremony, the first to be held in the Deconto Stadium.

To prepare for another graduation – that from eigth grade -, freshman guidance counselor, Mrs. Lucas, has scheduled individual appointments with the Class of 2019. These incoming freshmen will also schedule their classes online but Mrs. Lucas will walk them through the process. The eighth graders in STEM have already had their group Program of Studies meetings for which they were commended by high school staff and administration for their questions and interest. SHS encourages eighth graders – no matter what school they’re coming from – to shadow a high schooler, whether for a half or whole day. Parents are also encouraged to come in for individual appointments to voice questions, concerns, and ideas.

And if all that preparation going on in Sandwich wasn’t enough, Mr. Newton, Mrs. Wentworth, and Mrs. Hebb have been visiting sixth graders – the SHS class of 2021 – to get them ready and excited for the next two years at STEM. Outside of academics, so much has gone with high school extracurriculars.

The Spring play has been casted and rehearsed and most winter sports’ regular seasons are coming to a close. All teams have been incredibly successful but perhaps most impressively, coaches and captains have coped with and rallied back from huge weather setbacks. This Saturday is the annual Canal Cup, with Boys Varsity playing at 4 and Girls Varisty at 6. Fans are encouraged to stay for both games to support the Blue Knights and the Lady Knights as they defend their title.

This week, the volunteers organizing After Prom will be sending out a letter to parents with information regarding After Prom as well as asking for support. (Ed note: More information HERE)  Prom will again be held during Memorial Day Weekend and the high percentage of students who go from Prom to After Prom is expected to continue. It is to be noted that any junior or senior can go, even if they didn’t attend the dance. Again, thank you to the parent volunteers for organizing this event, who have been so energetic in their planning, even letting students fill out a survey to input their own ideas and opinions.

The winter has been just as eventful at the K-6s. The Forestdale Student Council, who had organized a school wide coat drive, has exceeded their goal of 100 coats. They thank everyone for the donations and plan to keep the coat drive going until the beginning of March. Forestdale students under the direction of Ms. Linda Paltrineri also put on a production of Shakespeare’s “As You Like It.” The next production planned is the musical “The Little Mermaid Jr” which will be directed by Mrs. Karen Slagle.

The Wing School arts program has also been busy. Students have been working on grade specific art projects that range from pottery to mixed media collages. Over the month of December, Wing fifth graders did a project of their own. This project, called Boxes of Hope, was inspired by something they had read – Pam Conrad’s book Hattie’s Birthday Box. Students gave presents to each other: a box containing an encouraging letter, 5 compliments, a poem, a picture, and a handmade gift. Each part of the gift had to be thoughtful, made specifically for the buddy they had been randomly assigned to. At the end of the project, students said that they enjoyed giving their present and learning about a classmate just as much as they enjoyed receiving a present.

Oak Ridge did have to cancel their Art Show due to snow. More details are to come about the rescheduled date. This, however, did not set them back. Students and staff enjoyed a presentation of African Drums and Dancing which celebrated the joy of music and dance. Students also participated in the Oak Ridge Talent Show, showing off a variety of talents ranging from singing and dancing to magic and hula hooping. This Friday, 4th and 5th will attend the WET Fest this Friday, where they will learn about the water cycle and the importance of conservation and protection of water.

Finally, I have the honor of announcing that SHS has officially been named One of America’s Top High Schools. This title is awarded based on criteria that includes the percentage of students in AP courses, the percentage of those students who scored a 3 or better on the AP test, MCAS scores, and graduation rates. So, Dr. Canfield, it’s a privilege to give you this awesome and deserved result of Blue Knight Pride!

Katherine presenting