Pennington Postings

Thursday, October 16th, 2014

News for Parents

  • General Information October 17, 2014

    Open House on Sunday, October 19 from 1-4:00 p.m. Most prospective students and their families hear about The Pennington School from current families. Please let people you know that this Sunday is our annual Open House event, which is a great way to visit our campus, meet the faculty, and learn more about the curriculum. Information about the Open House is on the website and you can still register for the event here.

    Run for the Cure 2014 on Oct. 19: The Peer Leaders are once again sponsoring their 5K run-walk to raise money for Susan G. Komen for the Cure®, the foundation “dedicated to saving lives and ending breast cancer forever.” Even if you can’t participate as a runner or walker, you can help. Click for details about the event and for a registration form.

    A reminder about drop-off and pick-up: All drop-off and pick-up at the beginning and end of the school day should take place in front of the library or the Campus Center patio. Students should not be dropped off or picked up in the parking lots. Backing up, turning around, etc. while students are walking and others are trying to park creates an unsafe situation.

    Sign up now for Haiti service trip: Students and their parents are encouraged to consider joining Pennington's fourth annual Spring Break service trip to Haiti. The Pennington community has helped raise funds to build a school near Port-au-Prince, and each year we travel to Haiti where we volunteer in a medical clinic and help build the school. This year's trip will take place March 10 - 15, 2015, and will cost $2,000 per person. There will be an informational meeting at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, October 23, in the Art Schalick conference room, for interested students and their parents. For more information, contact Mr. Thompson ( or Dr. Sisserson ( in the Global Studies office.

    Directories available for pick-up: The 2014–15 Pennington School Directory is here! Upper School students can pick up their parents’ copy at Mrs. Moore’s office in the Campus Center. Directories will be mailed home to all boarding parents.

    Vote for your favorite ox: The many decorated oxen brightening the Pennington/Hopewell area are now in a friendly competition. You can now vote for your favorite ox, and help decide which wins the “People’s Choice” award! (Note: We believe in freedom of choice, but we will draw your attention to Arty, the ox decorated by the After School Art Club, and to George Oxington, the work of Middle School teacher Jameson Moore. Unlike some elections, here you can vote for more than one candidate—and vote more than once!)

    First, you must register for a Stampede Account. Then, simply visit the page for your favorite ox and click on the “Vote for me” button! If you are not logged in to your Stampede account, then you can log in at that time and your vote will be registered. Voting for a different ox will automatically update your choice, so you can change your vote as you visit more oxen and change your mind. Vote early and vote often!

    Announcing the New York Theatre Trips for 2014-2015: Students, parents, siblings, and faculty are invited to venture into NYC for a day of theatre, dining, and sight-seeing. Ms. Houston and Ms. Bell will serve as chaperones for any unaccompanied students. This year, we will be seeing On the Town on December 6, 2014. We will depart the campus at 10:45 a.m. for a matinee performance and will return to campus by 9:45 p.m. after dinner and shopping. Tickets are $105 each and include coach transportation. If you would like to reserve seats for the show, please contact Ms. Houston. Payment is due mid-November. Email if you are interested. The spring show is yet to be booked (we are hoping for Finding Neverland), but save the date of April 11, and more information will follow.

    Props needed for Fall Play: The Drama program is seeking a few items for use in the Fall Play (now through November 8). We need two walkers, a wheelchair, a toilet, and a baby bassinet on wheels. Please contact Ms. Houston at if you have any of these items that Pennington Drama can borrow.

    Reserve Holiday Poinsettias Now: This year the French Club will again be selling poinsettias in different colors such as red, white, pink, burgundy, and red glitter (red w/ white splashes) for the holiday season. Place your order with any member of the French Club, pick up an order form at Mrs. Iorio’s desk, or email Mme. Zema at for an order form. Orders will be taken until October 30. Proceeds from the sale will be used to help the children in Haiti.

    Red and Black Bash coming Nov. 15!: The Pennington School Parents Association (TPSPA) will hold the first RED and BLACK BASH Parents Party and Silent Auction on Saturday, November 15, at Cherry Valley Country Club, 125 Country Club Drive, Skillman, NJ, from 7:00 to 11:00 p.m. This is a great opportunity for the entire Pennington community to come together for a fun evening out and support our wonderful school at the same time! You may purchase tickets online or donate items online by logging into the Auction website: Tickets are $75 per person.

    A friendly reminder to parents and donors:

    • Auction Donations are due on November 1, 2014. Auction items may be donated through a committee member, or you can drop off the items with Mrs. Maureen Iorio. Gift Certificates can be emailed or mailed along with the Auction Donation Forms. Be sure to include a completed donation form with all auction items. You may also donate online at and while there you can check out our Auction Wish List for ideas to donate.
    • We are accepting wine donations with a minimum value of $25 for our Vin Café Wine Pull. This is a great way for families to donate! If you need more information, feel free to email Molly Rice at
    • New items are being added to the auction website at Be sure to check out the newest additions, including Senior Class Chair, Head of Middle School for a Day, Dinner for 10 at the Coe’s Home, Best Seats in the House for 8th and 12th grade and A Paint Party for Five.
    • Thanks to the Mavellia, Taylor and Weeder families for their generous contributions!

    If you would like more information about the event, ways to donate, or how you can help the committee, feel free to email us at Donna Chance Dowdie and Lori Washton, Red and Black Bash 2014 co-chairs.

  • Upper School Information October 17, 2014

    College Guidance presentation Oct. 19: Parents and students in grades 9, 10, and 11 are invited to an informative presentation, The College Planning Timeline, on Sunday, October 19, at 6:30 p.m. in the Stainton Hall Lecture Center. Pennington’s College Guidance staff will address topics including the testing timeline, academics, and navigating through the high school years. Registration deadline is Thursday, October 16. Please let Barbara McQuade know whether you will attend; email her at or call 609–737–6130. Please provide your name and the number of family members who will be attending.

    Freshman, Sophomore Parents Parties planned: Mark your calendar. The Parents Association has scheduled the following dates for grade parties. Please RSVP and sign up to contribute so hosts can prepare best for their guests.

    Oct 18: Grade 9 Parents Party, 6:30–9:30 p.m.

    Nov 1: Grade 10 Parents Party, 7:00–10:00 p.m.

    Donations requested for Red and Black Bash Upper School grade baskets: As noted in the letter you have received about the Red and Black Bash Parents Party and Silent Auction, the Parents Association is creating themed grade baskets to auction at the Parent Party. The committee is asking for contributions; click here to see the theme for each grade’s basket. Please feel free to be creative or to team up with other parents to provide more expensive items. If you have questions, please email Annie Michaelson at All items may be dropped off with Mrs. Iorio in the Main Office by October 31. Thank you—and we look forward to seeing you on Saturday, November 15!

  • Middle School Information October 17, 2014

    Seventh and eighth-grade students have been invited to attend a dance at Princeton Day School this evening, October 17. Reminder: we need one parent for every 10 Pennington students.

    Technology and Screen Time: As parents, there is rarely a day that goes by when we don’t see our children engaged with technological devices. Some of that engagement is most definitely school-related as we help students acquire specific skills and take advantage of valuable resources. Another type of engagement is spent seeking entertainment, such as social media, gaming, YouTube, and the like. Since today’s devices offer learning, entertainment and social opportunities, what more could a pre-adolescent want or need at their fingertips 24 hours a day?

    At the first round of Parent Coffees, the topic of screen time was discussed and articles were shared. Parents expressed the challenges of balancing technology use with other activities in addition to establishing consistent and specific rules that can be adopted in the home. In listening to the discussions that took place and in understanding what the research is advising, I have put together four recommendations for Middle School parents. These are recommendations, not mandates, but have proven to be in the best interest of today’s developing children. The recommendations are as follows:

    1. One-half hour prior to bedtime should be spent free of all things that require use of screen time. This also includes television. During this half hour a child is able to minimize stimulation, quiet and settle the mind and prepare for sleep.
    2. Begin bedtime preparation by powering off all social media use by 9:00 p.m. each school night. Powering off (not just stand-by mode) at a designated time will allow children the opportunity have “safe time;” time off-the-grid when they know no one will contact them and they won’t feel the pressure to respond to whatever comes their way. If no one is “on” after 9:00 p.m., no one will feel as though he or she is “missing out.”
    3. Once students settle into bed for the night, they should do so without any technology. Those using technology late into the night develop poor sleeping habits, have difficulty concentrating in school, performing in activities, and are at high risk for engaging in regrettable behaviors.
    4. Parents should be mindful of their technology use in front of their children. If we are to help our children establish healthy relationships with technology, we must model the very balanced use we hope for our children. Do you have no-technology times or zones, such as in the car and at the dinner table? Are there moments each day or each week when no one in the house is using technology? When you have a conversation, is that conversation the singular focus or is a device in your hand?

    I have shared these recommendations with students during yesterday’s Community Meeting. What you choose to do as a parent is completely up to you. But if the research is accurate, following these recommendations with your child will enhance the health and well-being of our school community.

    Donations requested for Red and Black Bash Middle School grade baskets: As noted in the letter you have received about the Red and Black Bash Parents Party and Silent Auction, the Parents Association is creating themed grade baskets to auction at the Parent Party. The committee is asking for contributions; click here to see the theme for each grade’s basket. Please feel free to be creative or to team up with other parents to provide more expensive items. If you have questions, please email Annie Michaelson at All items may be dropped off with Mrs. Iorio in the Main Office by October 31. Thank you—and we look forward to seeing you on Saturday, November 15!

School News

  • Panson's Postings from Homecoming Day

    Pennington Varsity athletics were on full display for Homecoming this past Saturday, October 11. The field hockey team started off the day with an exciting 3-2 victory over Stuart. Clare Long, Annie Brunner, and Ella Arata each scored for the Red Raiders and Casey McGovern was solid in goal. The water polo team earned a very impressive victory against Germantown Academy. Senior Nick Bunn (who recently committed to Harvard) and Junior Andrew Mavis each scored 6 times to seal an 18-13 victory. The team improved to 10-5 record for the year and has been playing very well of late. The boys' and girls' varsity cross country teams were in action on campus, going up against both South Hunterdon and PDS. The boys' defeated South Hunterdon 26 - 33 but lost a nail-biter to PDS 31-28. The boys were led by seniors Nick Pontillo, Ryan Rizzuto and Mike Luciano. On the girls side, despite solid efforts from seniors Sophia Mavellia, Bethany Reim and Rosie Taylor, Pennington dropped another heartbreaker, losing 22-33 to a tough South Hunterdon team. Varsity football suffered a one point loss against Fieldston despite a strong, all-around performance. Greg Oldsey completed 14 of his 21 passes and threw for three touchdowns. Benji Williams and Moses Vigo caused turnovers on defense, but the Fieldston attack was just too strong. The girls’ soccer team needed just one amazing goal by Allison Vickers to beat Moorestown. The girls’ needed every bit of two overtimes and finally cashed in the only goal of the game with seven seconds remaining. Tara Hessenthaler was solid in goal preserving another shutout and helping the girls improve to 10-1. The boys’ soccer team had the tough task of facing Delran without several of their starters (due to injury). The boys suffered a 3-0 loss but are looking forward to a strong end of the season with their team leaders back on the field. Kudos go to Pennington's dynamite Cheerleading team for arranging a fantastic Pep Rally on Friday evening. It was an exciting day for all the teams and we thank all the faculty, students and alumni for making it memorable.

  • Banned Book Week in Middle School

    This month the entire Middle School participated in Banned Book Week activities. Banned Book Week is an annual event highlighting and celebrating the freedom to read. All grade levels had excellent--and spirited--conversations on censorship, the First Amendment, and the right to access information.

    Challenged or banned poetry and fiction was read and discussed in each English and Humanities class. The sixth-graders made protest signs for and against banning The Lorax by Dr. Seuss. Seventh-graders examined some favorites in juvenile fiction, like Dav Pilkey’s Captain Underpants and Barbara Park’s Junie B. Jones, to understand why the books have been challenged over the years and penned persuasive letters in support of each side of the argument.

    The eighth-grade students wrote essays about the banned book they read over the summer, did an in-depth study of Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird and researched, prepared, and delivered arguments in a debate format about the Harry Potter book series. The well-crafted debates, held in the Stainton Hall Lecture Center in front of a panel of judges, resulted in a tie and a four student panel presented impassioned speeches, resulting in the series remaining on the shelves for all to enjoy. As one student reminded everyone “Free People Read Freely.”

  • Dontae Johnson '10 runs back pick for TD

  • Wesley Alumni House dedication ceremony


    Wesley Alumni House is named in honor of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph L. Wesley Sr. of Newtown, Pa., whose generosity, through the Joseph and Marion Wesley Family Foundation, has bestowed the second largest gift ever given to The Pennington School by one family, and the largest gift ever given by grandparents. All ten of the Wesleys’ grandchildren have attended The Pennington School. Headmaster William S. Hawkey said, "The Pennington School to deeply grateful to Joseph and Marion Wesley, grandparents of ten Pennington graduates. Their commitment to our educational resources and to our alumni is extraordinary. Their generosity provides a home to welcome back all alumni as well as a beautiful, dedicated space for cross-disciplinary collaboration in our new humanities building."

    The Wesley Alumni House will be devoted to the office of alumni and development. Formerly known as Lowellden, this historic building moved in March 2014 to its current place of prominence in front of the flagpole and veterans' memorial. Now being completely renovated inside and out, Wesley Alumni House will be a center of alumni activities during homecoming and alumni weekends in the fall and in the spring. The restoration and reconstruction of this building, once the home of past headmaster Francis Harvey Green, preserves the historical integrity of the School’s campus and the larger Pennington community.

    Joseph L. Wesley Sr. is the visionary founder of the AmQuip Corporation, “The Crane People,” now known as AmQuip Crane Rental LLC, a leading provider of crane rental equipment and related services in the United States, where Joseph Wesley continues to remain active as a member of its Board of Managers.

    In addition to providing the funding to bring Wesley Alumni House to its present glory, the Wesleys’ extraordinary gift to The Pennington School will also underwrite the stunning central gathering space to be found within the new Kenneth Kai Tai Yen Humanities Building currently under construction. The Joseph L. and Marion M. Wesley Forum will be a unique, multistory environment flooded with sunlight, specifically designed for cross-disciplinary collaboration within the field of humanities and offering an impressive gathering space for large assemblies, meetings, and special presentations.

    The Wesleys’ remarkable donation is a cornerstone of the School’s capital campaign. PENNINGTON 175: Building for the Future. The Pennington 175 Campaign includes the Pennington Fund, the Pennington Facilities and Endowment Fund, and all Planned Giving. This campaign invites all parents, alumni, and friends to join the Wesleys in building for Pennington’s future.

    Peter Tucci, Chair of the Board of Trustees, said, “Pennington thrives today in large measure because of the philanthropic support provided over the past 175 years by the generations who preceded us. The Wesleys have given us an outstanding gift during a very exciting time for the School, with new leadership and a campus plan that will transform the learning experience for current and future students.”

    Today's ceremony opened with an invocation by the Reverend Varlyna D. Wright, Capital District Superintendent of the Greater New Jersey Conference of the United Methodist Church. Dr. William S. Hawkey welcomed the Wesleys, their children, grand-children, and great-grandchildren. Peter Tucci '79 P'16 P'16, chair of the Board of Trustees, thanked the Wesleys for their visionary gift. John Biddiscombe '63, president of the Alumni Association Board, then spoke about the successful efforts to bring more alumni back to Pennington this year, which was evident by the crowd that gathered despite the cold and rainy weather. Finally, Joseph Wesley spoke about the importance of education and the motivation for his generosity. A ceremonial ribbon-cutting took place, and then everyone celebrated with a glass of champagne inside the beautiful, newly-restored building.

  • Open House October 19 at 1


    Click here for more information.


Issue: Thursday, October 16th, 2014

Upcoming Events

Fri Oct 17


Diane T. McLarty "Black Box" Theater, Campus Center
Sat Oct 18

Ninth-grade parent party

6:30pm - 9:30pm
Sun Oct 19

Run for the Cure

Pennington School Campus

Admission Open House

1:00pm - 4:00pm

Upper School College Guidance Presentation

Stainton Hall Lecture Center