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September 16, 2021

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Opening Assembly Kicks Off Another Great Year

On the first day of the 2021-22 school year, fourth- through 12th-grade students from both campuses came together in the Field House for the annual celebration of the beginning of the year. As part of the annual tradition to select one of the Seven Hills values as a focal point for the school year, Head of School Chris Garten encouraged students to come together and celebrate our commitment to community, one of the school’s core values. Fifth-grader at Doherty Tripp O’Connell, fifth-grader at Lotspeich James Levesque, eighth-grader Nina Head, and seniors Thomas Murphy and Anand Patil spoke about the school community and gave helpful advice and encouragement on preserving the accepting and inclusive culture of Seven Hills. “It is really you, our students, who set the tone of the community where we all work and live. Our speakers today reminded us of how special this community is and we find comfort, especially in these trying times, in being together. So, this year I would ask you to commit to the school value of community and work together to strengthen that precious sense we share,” Garten said.

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Middle-Schoolers Find New Home at Modular Campus

As the Middle School Renovation and Expansion Project is underway until spring 2022, the school has been moved to its temporary modular campus. “It’s been a new experience for everyone. Students and faculty and staff are all on common ground. We have all moved to this new land together,” said Head of Middle School Bill Waskowitz. The 16 classrooms are larger and have allowed teachers more opportunities to utilize group and individual learning. He applauded the maintenance crew and faculty and staff for getting the campus ready and ensuring student wellbeing during class changes, pick-up and drop-up, and safety drills. “It’s our new home and we are learning to love it,” Waskowitz said.

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Eighth Graders Go on Adventure Trek

The eighth-grade class and eight current and one former faculty recently traveled to Pisgah National Forest and Blue Ridge Mountains for the annual Adventure Trek trip. Students hiked, camped, went whitewater rafting, and bonded with their advisories. Middle School art teacher Elissa Donovan has been organizing the trip for eight years. “It’s about bonding but it’s also about leadership because they are now the oldest kids in the school,” Donovan said. Head of Middle School Bill Waskowitz commended the students on their resilience as they dealt with torrential rains and high winds from the remanence of Hurricane Ida. Pisgah is a temperate rainforest, so there is always rain, Donovan said, but it was much worse this year. “It’s a challenge for each student. That’s what it is meant to be, and that differs by kid. It’s fun to see where the kids shine,” Donovan said.

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Sixth- and Seventh-graders Bond at Start of Year Retreats

Sixth- and seventh-graders got to know their classmates and teachers through a series of activities at their retreats. The seventh-graders kicked off their retreat by planning and choreographing a dance number with their advisories that they performed in a dance off at The Schiff Center. This year’s winner was Carri Haskins and Hughes Barber’s advisory. The sixth-grade class did a series of activities on campus, including playing a game with Head of Middle School Bill Waskowitz, before heading to Main Event in West Chester. There they bowled, played laser tag, completed a ropes course, and played in the arcade. Seventh-graders enjoyed snacks and get-to-know-you activities such as Two Truths and a Lie and riddle games. The activities were guided by advisors and helped the advisory groups bond by working and making decisions together. They played four-square, capture the flag, and soccer on the Lower Field before heading back to The Schiff Center for a screening of “The Outsiders,” the film adaptation of their summer reading book.  

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Creating Conversations Returns

The Seven Hills speaker series Creating Conversations returns to the Seven Hills community. on Sept. 23. James Butler will be giving a talk entitled “Strategies for Stress Management” at 7 p.m. in the Schiff Center. The event will also be recorded and posted for later viewing. Butler, an early childhood educator and author, will share tips, ideas, and techniques centered around mindfulness-based stress management strategies he has developed. Creating Conversations is put on by the Seven Hills Counseling Department to foster an open dialogue about ways to keep students happy and healthy. There will be two additional events in October and February with more information to come. Those interested can register online. Masks will be required for in-person events.

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