The annual Sprague Cookie Walk was as fun as ever, as families paid $3 a bag for cookies made with love by Sprague families. The PTO fundraiser included a raffle, a holiday plant sale, a magician, and card decorating. They sold 545 dozen cookies in bags of 6 cookies per bag. So if my quick math is correct, all that sugar earned the PTO over $3,000. Here are some pics of the fun:
SPONSORED POST: Regardless of age or grade, students at Charles River School in Dover experience hands-on science with real-world applications as part of the curriculum. Experiences like these are supported by the school’s innovative curriculum and unique facilities like its Wetlands Lab and state-of-the-art middle school science lab.
For example, 5th graders are participating in a Citizen Science project supporting and monitoring the presence of salamanders in the CRS Wetlands Laboratory, and sharing their findings with the Massachusetts Audubon Society. Students measured a 10-meter by 5-meter transect near the school’s vernal pool, placed 50 untreated pine boards within the space, and monitored the areas beneath the boards for the presence of salamanders. Since salamanders are an indicator species that helps gauge the health of a wetland, the students have been excited to document the salamander sacs beneath the boards.
This fall, middle school students have undertaken a collaborative, cross-disciplinary study of climate change in their science and social studies classes. They have explored evidence of climate change and both human and natural causes of it, and researched climate-related policies in countries around the world. “The students are gaining an understanding not just of the science involved, but also the practical application of scientific knowledge,” explains teacher Chris Raskin. The unit’s culminating project will be a Model United Nations simulation held at the Dover Town Hall where students will represent points of view from various international governments, and also demonstrate a deep understanding of the science behind the policies.
Wellesley High School is a competitive place. All nine fall varsity sports this year made state tournaments. The performing arts students regularly receive awards and recognition. And academically, WHS students get into some of the best colleges and universities in the country. (Hang in there, seniors, Early Decision notifications are coming out soon).
The most recent show of competitive spirit at WHS, however, has nothing to do with the everyday routine and everything to do with the holiday spirit. The students at Wellesley have that spirit big time, and they’ve shown it by bringing in over 2,000 unwrapped gifts, all for Toys for Tots, and all so that no Massachusetts child goes without a something super fun to open up during the holiday season.
It all started when Drama Department Director Kara Sullivan contacted radio station Mix 104.1 and nominated the school to participate in a friendly competition with other area schools to see which one could collect the most toys for the U.S. Marines-based program. To keep it fun, the radio station paired WHS with on-air personality Kennedy from the popular Karson & Kennedy show. The general idea is that on the show Kennedy would bubble WHS students along with enthusiasm, while needling Karson (who has his own schools he is paired with). The ultimate goal: 10k toys for Toys for Tots. Their friendly competition to see whose partner schools can pitch in the most toys has made for lively listening on the Monday – Friday 5:30am – 9am show.
As of last week, it looked like Wellesley was going to come in dead last in donations. Principal’s Secretary Diane Zinck said, “We weren’t anywhere close to the 2,000 toys goal last week. We were at more like 200. So we made a push through an all-school video, and we put the call out on our Facebook pages, and it worked. I’m so proud of the kids. I’m just really, really proud of what they’ve done.”
Zinck even called the radio show to assure Kennedy, apparently disappointed in the numbers Wellesley was putting up, that Wellesley would seriously bring it. After that Kennedy, in a back and forth with her on-air co-workers, stayed on Wellesley’s side through it all: “She told me last week they were coming in hot,” she crowed. Hot doesn’t begin to describe what was happening.
Andy Brown from Wellesley Toy Shop, who jumped in and donated toys to the cause said, “Every day I have kids coming in here and buying toys for the Toys for Tots drive. It’s been pretty unbelievable, the response. I had one parent come in here, and I won’t tell you who it was, but that parent left here with bags upon bags of toys, all to take over the the high school for Toys for Tots. But it’s the kids who are making an unbelievable difference because of what they’re doing.”
The kids didn’t do it alone, of course. Workers from the Wellesley Facilities and Maintenance Department donated their time to load the toys on a Town of Wellesley truck, drive it to South Boston, and unload it. From there, the toys will be distributed to needy families in Massachusetts.
“Now with over 2,000 toys, I don’t think we’re in last place anymore,” Zinck says. “We find out tomorrow who won the competition.”
Keep us posted, Diane, we’re waiting to hear the big news.
Here’s a round-up of the latest Wellesley, Mass., business news:
Belclare storefronts have filled up….
La Mia Moda Boutiqe is bringing Tom Ford Beauty into the shop for an evening of fashion, glamour, beauty, and fragrance. There will be plenty of make-up to try out, and the store is offering a 10% discount of its fall/winter apparel and accessories.
In the Wellesley shop: Friday, December 14, 5pm – 7:30pm, 590 Washington St.
In the Andover: shop: Wednesday, December 12, 5pm – 7:30pm, 1 Main St
…but empty storefronts abound: What will fill them?
With retail lease space often turning over at the end of the year, we’ll be keeping our eyes and ears open for business openings and closings across Wellesley in coming weeks (please message us if you’re seeing or hearing anything on this front: [email protected]).
The list of high profile empty storefronts include:
- The former Yogurtology (2 years and counting…), Patti Bros., Miele, Century Bank and Red Apple spaces in Wellesley Square
- The ex-French Lessons spot in Linden Square, the former i.d. Salon, Nabina’s Threading & Spa (it says it is moving next door), Dayton Homes and 2 Zoots spaces in Wellesley Hills and Lower Falls
- The former Lyn Evans Potpourri space in Church Square (that business moved down the block)
- The former Bertucci’s location at Playhouse Square.
Are we missing any big ones?
You can almost smell White’s Bakery opening
Two nice new signs have been erected at Playhouse Square for White’s Bakery, which is now hiring to prep for its early winter opening. White’s Bakery, which has been around since 1980, has locations in Brockton, Hingham and Mansfield, and offers a selection of sweet and savory goodies.
Verizon opens for business
Meanwhile, Verizon just opened its store in Linden Square in between Unleashed by Petco and the soon-to-be-opened Door No. 7 restaurant. Can AT&T and T-Mobile be far behind?
Tots at 10 on Dec. 11 in Linden Square
Join the fun at Linden Square’s monthly program that gets kids thinking, moving, and creating.
December 11, 10am – 11am, Sweetgreen for crafts.
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Wellesley High School (WHS) last year launched the Challenge Success initiative in an effort to broaden the definition of what success means for the Wellesley educational system and community. The program received financial support from the WHS Parent-Teacher-Student Organization (PTSO) and Wellesley Education Foundation (WEF). The idea behind the Stanford University-directed collaboration is to make a place in the WHS curriculum to teach resiliency, and explore methods to better engage students both at school and at home. About 130 schools throughout the United States — including those in nearby systems Dover-Sherborn, Acton-Boxborough, Concord-Carlisle, and Medfield — have used Challenge Success.
Challenge Success — from theory to practice
Wellesley HS Principal Jamie Chisum in an email this week updated families on the program and some of the ways it is being put into practice. Here are some excerpts from Chisum’s email:
“As the students will attest, we are continuing to keep our academic rigor and standards high as well as working hard to help our students realize the skills they will need to thrive our ever-changing professional world. This year we have taken greater strides with the Challenge Success program. As many of you know, our theme this year is balance. We are encouraging our students, as well as faculty and community members to reflect on balance in their days, their weeks, and their lives.
“Many of the Challenge Success initiatives are rolled out during advisory as this is intended to be a comfortable environment for your children and assures the school that every student is getting similar messages. This October we did time tracking for a week, we asked your children to put all twenty-four hours of their day in a spreadsheet for a week and after that week we asked our students to reflect on how they actually spend their time. Over the weekend of November 4th we set the clocks back and on that Friday we showed our students a video on the science of sleep and how important it is for their brains to recover while sleeping so that their brains can optimize its abilities.
It’s a balancing act
“Next week we are focusing on the balanced use of technology. Next Tuesday, your children are going to watch a video about how technology is taking up too much time in the lives of Americans in 2018 and that screens are making people less happy. We will discuss the videos in our advisories and it would be great if you could discuss it at home as well.
“Technology can be an addiction. In our community and country some experts are calling it an epidemic. We are hoping to use next week to make a positive impact on our community, and as a model for future weeks, by encouraging less use of technology and spending some time away from screens for more enjoyable, healthy activities.”
There must be more than just trying to get through high school
In the fall we sat down with Chisum to talk about Challenge Success and how it is rolling out at WHS. In the interview, Chisum talked about how he addressed perceptions that with the program the administration was somehow trying to make high school “easier”; building community in the school, especially for incoming first-year students; and the stress level students today operate under.
Chisum says, “We do feel the call to arms because we have a lot of kids who just report that sometimes they just want to survive high school. I don’t remember that being what high school was like for me. The world is challenging but they’re still teenagers, they’re still kids, they’re still forming. We’ve got to support them enough so that they don’t become overwhelmed. So how do we figure out the balance point?”