Pennington Postings

Thursday, March 26th, 2015

News for Parents

  • General Information--March 27, 2015

    Tomorrow's double feature to benefit Untold Foundation: Mr. Reilly’s Advisory Group will be hosting a movie double feature of Casablanca and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off on Saturday, March 28, in the Stainton Hall Lecture Center. Admission is free with the purchase of a $5.00 dessert voucher, which is redeemable for free popcorn and a brownie sundae (between shows). All proceeds will go to the benefit of The Untold Foundation in memory of Willy Alexander Thomas. The doors open at 6:00 p.m., and the first show begins at 6:30.

    Pennington filmmakers to shine on Tuesday: The Pennington School's sixth annual Night at the Movies, held in the Stainton Hall Lecture Center on Tuesday, March 31, at 6:30 p.m., will celebrate the accomplishments of the spring 2014 and fall 2014 video production classes. The two featured films are The Final Draft, written, produced, and starring Colin Schostak '17 and directed by Grace Kovalcik '15. Concussed was written by Bobby Inman '17, produced by Joe Jingoli '15, directed by Amanda Dafonte '15,with cinematography by Hailey Pendergrass '15, and featuring Andrew Gurick '15.

    Historic photos on exhibit in Silva Gallery: The current exhibition in the Silva Gallery of Art, Pennington Comes of Age, consists of historic photos taken in Pennington Borough between 1890 and 1915. This is the first public exhibition of these photographs, provided by the Hopewell Valley Historical Society from its George H. Frisbie Collection. For details about the show and the April 1 reception, please click here.

    Ethnic cuisine requested for Food Festival: The Pennington School’s annual Diversity Week Food Festival will take place on Friday, April 10, and we need your help to make it happen! The Food Festival is a wonderful tradition that allows us to celebrate the many different cultures and ethnicities that we have on campus. Please consider bringing in food that represents your culture or identity to share with the Pennington community. Please contact Ms. Stern-Leaphart ( as soon as possible if you are interested in participating, or if you have any questions.

    Grandparents Day, Friday, May 1: All Pennington students’ grandparents are invited to attend Grandparents Day on Friday, May 1. Starting at midday, there will be light refreshments and a welcome from Headmaster Bill Hawkey, followed by classroom visits, student activities, and athletic contests. Postcard invitations will be mailed soon, and we hope to reach all Pennington grandparents—please alert them to the date! For additional information, or if you believe the School does not have your child’s grandparents’ information, please contact Wendy Ward at or 609–737–6121.

    Weissbourd to speak at TPS on April 13: Princeton Common Ground will present a lecture by Richard Weissbourd, M.D., on “Raising Happy, High-Achieving—and Moral—Children” on Monday, April 13, at 7:30 p.m. in the Stainton Hall Lecture Center. Dr. Weissbourd, a member of the faculty at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and School of Education, will discuss the impact of the intense focus by parents and other adults on kids’ happiness and achievement. This focus—and the constant praising of kids that goes with it—can imperil the development of children’s moral qualities. How can we raise children who are happy, high-achieving, and moral? What are the key moral qualities we need to develop in kids, and how do they develop? This talk will describe concrete practices at the heart of being an effective moral mentor and will also take up the link between children’s moral growth and adults’ own moral growth.

    Learn about our new summer camps at our Open House: There will be an Open House for summer camp this Saturday, March 28 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Information about Pennington's new summer programs, along with a link to register, can also be found here. Week-long summer camps for rising fifth- through ninth-graders, all run by Pennington faculty members, will be available between June 29 and August 14. There is a variety of choices in arts, academic enrichment, and athletics. Register now for the best choices, and please spread the word by telling your friends about these terrific summer opportunities.

    Host families sought for 2015–16: Would you consider including one of Pennington’s international students in some of your family activities during the school year? The School’s Host International Program exposes students from abroad to aspects of life in the United States that they might not otherwise experience. Participating international students do not live with their host families; instead, they and their hosts enjoy occasional activities together while school is in session: for example, a family dinner, a movie night, or a picnic. Please click here for more details about the program. If you are interested in hosting a student next year—for the first time or as a returning host family—you may download an application here, as well.

  • Upper School--March 27, 2015

    College Admissions Panel April 20: There will be a panel discussion about the college admissions process on Monday, April 20, for students in grades 9–11 and their parents. The program, which begins at 6:30 p.m., will be held in the Stainton Hall Lecture Center. The panelists will be Cornell B. LeSane II, dean of admissions, Allegheny College; Rosellen Greco, admission counselor, Fordham University, Rose Hill Campus; Antonio O. Moore, associate director of admission, Pennsylvania State University, University Park; Logan Powell, director of admission, Princeton University; and Susan D. Hanks, senior associate dean of admissions, Union College. RSVP by Thursday, April 16, to or 609–737–6130.

  • Middle School--March 27, 2015

    Pennington polo swap this evening: The Middle School will hold a “Pennington polo shirt swap” tonight, March 27, during Parent/Advisor Conferences. The polos will be on a table in the Stainton Hall lobby. Please feel free to bring outgrown polos to donate, and to take as many polos as you’d like! Boys’ dress jackets are also welcome.

School News

  • Isiah Taylor '15 named Prep Basketball Player of the Year


    Several Pennington School boys’ basketball players were recently honored by The Trentonian on the All-Prep team. Isiah Taylor, scoring 17.6 points per game, provided strong leadership for the Red Raiders and has been named the Prep Player of the Year. To read the entire story, please click here.

  • Odyssey of the Mind team advances to State Finals


    The Middle School Odyssey of the Mind team is heading to the State Finals in Haddonfield, NJ, on April 11. The team placed first overall in their problem category in their division (middle schools in southern New Jersey) at the Lighthouse Regional Tournament on March 14. Odyssey of the Mind is an international creative problem-solving competition.

    The problem the team solved this year was to design, build, and operate one or more vehicles that travelled on tracks and made stops at different stations without touching the floor. While traveling between stations, the vehicles needed to overcome obstacles: moving uphill, towing something, stopping and restarting, going in reverse, and jumping a gap in the track. The Pennington team built two trains: a maglev and a rubber-band-powered train. They also designed and made an angel costume out of coffee filters, painted a backdrop that metaphorically reveals the moral challenge of a teen's quest to become a better person, and built a model of the Coliseum.

    The team members are eighth-grader Kevin Durfee; seventh-graders Abigail Bulger and Griffin Papa; and sixth-graders Mason Brown, Jack Craig, Sahil Navani, and Josh Song. Eighth-graders Jonathan Lai and Harry Wasnak and seventh-grader Bradford Shoemaker are the student coaches; the faculty coaches are Stephanie Heyeck and Susan Wirsig.

    The School renewed its involvement with Odyssey of the Mind four years ago. In the last three years, Pennington has won three Regional competitions, has been State Champions twice, and has sent a team to the World competition three times. Over these past four years, in addition to this year’s projects, team members have designed and built a “ride-on” hovercraft, a hydro-powered car, a mousetrap car, a robot dog, a “ride-on” elastic-band-powered car, and a mini-hovercraft.

    Coach Wirsig says that year’s team had two strong returning team members, Abby Bulger and Griffin Papa, who added leadership and experience to an otherwise inexperienced team. Five of the team members are experiencing Odyssey of the Mind for the first time. “To see the growth in the creative thinking skills in our five new players is incredible,” she says. “They’ve truly demonstrated that creativity skills are not entirely innate; they can be learned and developed. The kids were able to grow their creative thinking and problem solving skills.”

    “I take part in Odyssey of the Mind because I love taking part in the skits,” Abby Bulger ’20 says. “You don't have one assigned part, like just acting or just being tech crew; you get to play every part in the skits. It's also really fun to brainstorm, build, and design with all of your friends.”

    Mrs. Wirsig also praises the three student coaches: “Understanding how to give constructive feedback is critical for the coaches. Being able not only to see areas needing improvement, but also to see and articulate strengths, is at the heart of the coaches’ role. Our student coaches did this very well leading up to our Regional competition.”

    “The students worked very hard for a number of weeks to engineer a creative solution to the Odyssey problem. They addressed the challenge with creativity and fortitude, all the while having fun being together,” says Dr. Heyeck. “Students learned to play off each other’s strengths over time, and these teamwork skills served them very well in competition.”

  • Middle School winter sports awards presented

    Middle School athletic awards for the winter season were presented on March 24. The students were honored as follows:

    Middle School Girls’ Basketball: Coach’s Award, Laura Alaez ’19; Red Raider Award, Leah Johnson ’19.

    Middle School Swimming: Red Raider Award, Casey Ort ’19 and Aidan Sichel ’19.

    Middle School Boys’ Basketball: Red Raider Award: Vincent Colalillo ’20; Most Valuable Player Award, Christopher Herbert ’19; Most Improved Player Award, Mekhi Muse ’19.


Issue: Thursday, March 26th, 2015

Upcoming Events

Fri Mar 27

Parent-Advisor Conferences

5:20pm - 9:30pm