Falmouth Water Stewards (FWS) is committed to protecting, preserving and restoring Falmouth’s bays, estuaries, salt ponds, and freshwaters through education, advocacy, and citizen science. FWS will hold its annual meeting on Thursday, July 18 at the Falmouth Public Library where it will award its first environmental stewardship award to Jayne Abbott of Waquoit for her work with estuaries. The board will also announce the creation of the David Palmer Scholarship Fund for Falmouth high school graduates pursuing environmental studies.
It may not surprise you to learn that as a child, I was quite dutiful. When the various authority figures in my life, parents, bosses, and of course teachers, issued directives, I was diligent and timely in my response. This tendency extended to the sometimes onerous task of summer reading.
The Goethe-Institut Chicago & Germany’s “Wunderbar together” program sponsored Dr. Ehrenbrink and four students to travel to Loyola University’s Lake Shore Campus during Memorial weekend for the Sustainability Summit 2019. Tasha Sudofsky ’22, Ella Heywood ’21, Maisie Saganic ’21, and Isabelle Santamauro ’20 were the first to respond to Dr. Ehrenbrink’s call for interested fellow travelers and so secured a spot.
There is a certain gravitas to the word “executive.” Chief Executive Officers head up corporations, they sometimes are assigned executive coaches, they wear suits labeled as “executive fit,” and they are said to make “executive decisions.”
A rite of passage, it seems, for any toddler, is earning the oohs and aahs of an audience by raising one’s arms in response to the familiar prompt, “How big is (insert toddler’s name)? Soooooo big!!!” My nephew’s parents, perhaps longing for a slightly less cliche toddler call and response, would instead say, “Finnie, strong man!” in response to which Finn would clench his fists, flex his biceps and pecs, and scrunch up his facial muscles until he looked like a cross between Popeye and a member of the Lollipop Guild.
Perhaps you are one of those that maintains a shoebox of your child’s artwork, report cards, participation certificates, and various other childhood relics. Among that unruly pile of paper likely resides their kindergarten report card, wherein can be found one of my favorite student descriptors: “plays well with others.” I am convinced that for middle and high school students, and indeed for us adults, there are very few qualities that correlate more directly with long-term success and happiness than this simple phrase.
Falmouth Academy, I’ve discovered, is good with names. What others might call “Prize Day” is known here as “Recognition Day.” What others call “Oral Presentation Day” is known here as “Declamation Day.” But I think my favorite example of rebranding, so to speak, is the senior capstone project known as the “Major Effort.”
“Before we begin our meal tonight, raise your hand if you were involved with the harvesting, preparation, cooking, or serving of tonight’s meal.” So begins another meal at The Farm School, “an organization of three interweaving programs spread out over the land of four old family farms.”
As part of a nutrition lesson in 8th grade Wellness for Life class, students gathered in small groups in Morse kitchen to make smoothies and learn about micronutrients, vitamins, and nutrition. Ms. DiFalco explained that the colors of various foods indicate their antioxidant and nutrient composition. She encouraged students to eat from a “rainbow” of foods for overall physical and mental health and emphasized the mind/body connection.
In biology class, students have been studying microbiology, learning about viral and bacterial structures and how each can cause disease, though most kinds of bacteria are harmless to us and many are critical in our own microbiomes or to the environment. As part of this unit, students designed and carried out two experiments with bacteria. In one, bacteria content from two locations in the environment around us were tested, and in the other, agents that inhibit bacteria were compared.
Your kids may have told you that from time to time I will show a brief, hopefully thought-provoking, video clip at All School Meeting on Monday. I invite the students to discuss its contents with their peers and teachers throughout the week and then at our Friday gathering, facilitate a dialogue with the whole school community about its implications.
On March 7th and 8th, Falmouth Academy students attended the Massachusetts DECA State Career Development Conference for the first time as part of the DECA elective offered this year by Mr. Ed Lott. Ben Schwenk '19, Ethan Fan '20, Logan Moniz '22, Jack Butler '22, accompanied by Mr. Lott, traveled to the Copley Marriott in Boston for two days of lectures, competition, networking, and fun.
For many Falmouth Academy teachers and students, the term “spring vacation” is a bit of a misnomer. Some were elbow deep in the culture and history of Thailand; others were busily “exchanging” with our partner school in Germany. Some were competing in the South Shore Regional Science Fair and others in the Junior District Music Festival. And as I peer out my window this chilly “spring” morning, I even see a group of dedicated scholar athletes readying themselves for the coming lacrosse season.
It likely would not surprise you to learn that in middle and high school, I did not identify as an athlete. Perhaps it was because my three older brothers played college sports, or perhaps it was because my high school counted among its alumni countless division one athletes–a few who even went on to play professionally. However, I knew that it would be the classroom, not the rink, the gym, or the field, that would be the arena wherein I would perform with the most confidence.
-Barbara Campbell, Director of Alumni and Parent Relations
Juniors and seniors had the opportunity to talk face-to-face with author and alumna Kristen Roupenian ’99 prior to her speaking about her writing journey to an adult audience at a Falmouth Academy Community Series event. Thoughtfully, the students had prepared questions prior to her talk and seniors Lenie Draper and Gedeon Pil moderated the discussion.
Seventeen middle school students met on multiple Saturdays in January and February to prepare for a Model United Nations conference that was held at Clark University on February 23rd. In the weeks leading up to the event, students learned about their countries and one of four important global issues:water privatization, food security, corruption in Crimea, and one historical issue—the oil crisis of 1973. Students wrote position papers that described the global problem, their country's position on the problem, and their suggested solution.
One of the most iconic television show theme songs is from Mission Impossible. You know it. “Dunt, dun . . . dunt, dunt, dunt, dunt . . . dunt, dunt, dunt, dunt . . . dunt, dunt, duuun.” You may already be humming along! Worthy missions, though, are not impossible; but they ought to be aspirational; and Falmouth Academy’s certainly is. Yes, most school mission statements can be a bit like burritos; that is, a little overstuffed, and in keeping with that tradition, ours is a bit of a mouthful!
An unintended consequence of the modern era, with all its welcome conveniences, is that there seem to be very few surprises out there. We access an array of navigation apps so we never get lost, news we might prefer to share ourselves leaks out via any number of social media platforms, and, of course, the internet has deputized us all as amateur meteorologists, able to predict, almost to the minute, whatever weather happens to be coming our way.
Earlier this month, Virgin Galactic flew Charlie Fenske ’18 to Washington, DC, to celebrate the donation of “RocketMotorTwo” to the collection of artifacts at the National Air and Space Museum. Dubbed by the Guiness Book of World Records the "most powerful hybrid rocket to be used in manned flight,” the artifact will be part of the “Future of Spaceflight” exhibit at the Museum scheduled to open in 2024.
On my way back from the airport the other night, I stopped in at a convenience store for a cup of coffee and some gas. As the clerk rang up my purchase, a message appeared on a small screen to the right. “Please rate your shopping experience today at _______,” under which were five emojis ranging from dark red and angry to bright yellow and beaming. It seemed to me a small encounter, but being by nature a giving and responsive person, I swiped the happiest disc and headed back to the car.
One of my many secret vices is that I am a long-time and devoted fan of the show “Project Runway,” in which host Heidi Klum guides a collection of aspiring fashion designers through a series of weekly challenges. My favorite episode each season is invariably the “unconventional materials challenge,” which requires our would-be fashionistas to design high-end avante garde ensembles from materials like pet supplies, Hallmark cards, candy, burlap potato sacks, even items mined from junkyards or grocery stores. I am always in awe of what the designers dream up and bring to life.
Despite nearly thirty years of working with middle and high school students, I am always cautious when it comes to issuing definitive statements. One thing I can say with a high degree of certitude, however, is that when an educator (or a parent!) finds his insights or counsel greeted by an eye roll or worse yet, that dreaded three letter word, “duh!” he has likely committed what is, in the eyes of an adolescent, a death penalty level offense; he has stated the obvious.
I had the privilege of attending the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. Breakfast, an event sponsored by our town’s No Place for Hate chapter. I was joined by five teachers and eight students from Falmouth Academy, and together we took in an inspirational morning that offered us the opportunity to hear from some powerful speakers, enjoy a little music and song, and break bread in fellowship with 300+ of our neighbors. While we may have differed in race, religion, class, age, orientation, and political affiliation, we shared a commitment not only to honoring Dr. King’s legacy in the moment but more importantly to living into and enacting his dream.
We school folks tend not to view the changing of the calendar as the start of anything particularly noteworthy. We save our countdowns for evenings in June, and September 6 or thereabouts is our New Year’s Day, a day brimming with promise, opportunity and resolutions to do things if not better, certainly differently. Folks in the real world, however, seem to take this changing of the calendar year rather seriously. They cling to a number change because, unlike us, they have few authentic beginnings and endings, both of which, I am convinced, can be meaningful opportunities for reflection, reinvention, and, of course, resolution. So in that spirit, I thought I would tell you two stories that book-ended one winter break of mine from a few years back.