Girls on the Run is So Much Fun!

Written by Girls on the Run coaches Janice Tan, Erin Hesketh and Liz Tily.

You may have heard this cheer around the Lower School or maybe you have seen some girls and their coaches running up and down the hall or on the fields. Curious? What you have witnessed is the first Girls on the Run (or GOTR for short) team at Baldwin. Before the season even started, months of training and meetings went on behind the scenes – Coaches Erin Hesketh, Liz Tily, Janice Tan and Megan Rohricht were well prepared and excited for the first season to begin!

For those who are unfamiliar with the GOTR curriculum, it consists of 20 activity-based youth development lessons that are completed in 10 weeks. The mission? A world where every girl knows and activates her limitless potential and is free to boldly pursue her dreams. Girls on the Run is more than just a fitness club. Each week begins with an educational lesson designed to offer confidence, build relationships and teach life skills to young girls. At the end of the program, the girls participate in a 5k to celebrate their hard work. Every lesson builds upon a topic from the week before. The goal is to help girls be happy, healthy and confident.

A typical afternoon with GOTR starts with our girls “getting on board.” During this time, the girls transition from school to their run session. We introduce the theme of the day during a short activity. These themes include: balance, self-talk, emotions, empathy, friendship, teamwork and communication. Next, we incorporate some stretching and strengthening activities before we head off to the warm-up. The warm-up consists of movements like a game of freeze tag or a group relay. Soon after, the workout of the day begins. During this time, the girls make a lap goal, don the lap counter bracelet Coach Erin came up with and we get to work!

In between laps includes some type of journaling or communicating about our theme of the day. After laps we process our lesson and transcribe a picture, word or phrase about our day onto our “identity cards.” These cards have become very busy, demonstrating all the hard work and season’s accomplishments. At the end of each lesson, the girls give out a great big cheer and an energy award is given. An energy award is a super fun way to recognize a girl or group of girls who has given their all on that day. The girls have embraced the positivity and enjoyed celebrating their teammates throughout the season.

This past week, we completed our practice 5K and it went beautifully. After navigating some tricky spring weather, the team managed to get their laps in and build the fitness and confidence they needed to get the job done. The end of the season brings our community impact project so look around Baldwin’s campus for some GOTR personal touch!

The season finale ends on May 20th with our GOTR 5K at Montgomery County Community College. All are welcome – boys, girls, friends and family. It will give our girls a chance to share some of the positivity our season generated. If you want to join us for our season closing 5K, grab some sneakers and we’ll see you on May 20th!

As GOTR coaches, we were excited to be a part of a new program. We wanted to meet girls in other grades and get involved in a running program. The Girls on the Run program was much more than that! We were able to develop relationships and help build confidence in the girls to see that they are truly stronger than they believe! We were amazed by the responses and ideas generated by the girls during the group discussions. Many friendships were built through the GOTR program and we had so much fun interacting with the girls. The program even helped the coaches to reflect on and improve different aspects of their lives! We loved being Girls on the Run coaches!

Team Up Philly & Baldwin – Empowering Young Women

DSC_0002Torrie Smith ’20 talks about her experience with Team Up Philly and how she’s helping students at The Baldwin School partner with this organization to inspire and empower young women.

Team Up Philly is an organization designed to empower girls from underserved areas in Philadelphia. By promoting individualism and unity, they teach the girls to become independent while also working with one another.

I originally saw Team Up Philly at the tennis courts where I train every week. Next I saw them at Ludington library every Thursday afternoon for months while I was doing homework there. After seeing them many times, it seemed such a meaningful experience to bond with these girls. I eventually was introduced to their executive director, Marian Fischer Pearlman who helped me to become a tutor. During my freshman year, I attended Thursday sessions at the library from 4:00-5:15 whenever I could where I would help the girls complete homework, work on a special project, or play fun math games. As a very avid tennis player, I also wanted to help out with the tennis aspect. I talked with Marian and ended up volunteering as a coach at Team Up Philly’s tennis camp this past summer. I watched them progress over the course of the six week program.

After working very closely with Team Up Philly, I began to think about my time at Baldwin and realized that there were so many similarities between the two places. Team Up Philly is an organization that inspires girls to reach their full potential. Since Team Up Philly and Baldwin had many similarities, both designed to empower young women, I thought it would be a perfect fit to partner the two organizations.

The girls from Team Up Philly come to Baldwin once a month. Through this partnership, all of the girls are able to create long-lasting bonds with one another. We do fun activities like sports, arts and crafts, and games. During our first session, members of Baldwin’s tennis team instructed and played tennis with the girls. Some players were brand new to the game so they were taught the fundamentals, while others had played much more so they played games with one another and Baldwin girls. Overall it was an extremely fun and rewarding experience. Our second session was devoted to crafts and games. Some of the Team Up Philly girls decorated holiday cookies with the help of Baldwin girls and others played fun games like Jenga and Taboo. In the future, we plan to continue with games, sports and crafts to continue linking the two organizations.

What We Did Over the Summer

Written by Dr. Laura Blankenship, Dean of Academic Affairs

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Myriam Harvey lead a 9-day trip to Peru for Upper School Spanish classes in June.

When I was in school, we often had to write a “What I Did Over the Summer” essay during the first few days of school. I’m sure many of us did, and I’m sure many of us filled the page with descriptions of leisurely activities like swimming, hiking, or just watching tv. While faculty do have the opportunity to get in those leisurely activities, many are just as likely to have spent some portion of their summer participating in workshops or classes, attending conferences, reading new materials for their courses, or redesigning their curriculum. What follows are some of the highlights of the activities our faculty participated in that ultimately create a better educational experience for our students.

Kathy Gates (3rd grade) and Christie Reed (Science) both traveled and did work under the Reed Fellowship. Christie received the fellowship for the 14-15 school year and Kathy received it for the 15-16 school year. Kathy spent time traveling to National Parks while Christie continued her work at the Biology Institute at Exeter. There will be a more extensive overview of their work coming soon.

Athena Anthopoulos (4th grade) spent three weeks in Greece visiting her family and spending time with her two daughters. In addition to some rest and relaxation, Athena also visited museums and historic sites. She also observed and learned from the austerity measures that the Greek population finds themselves under. She says she is already making changes at home to curb the wasteful use of valuable resources and plans to bring some of those ideas into her classroom.

Stephanie Greer (LS DREAM Lab coordinator) was very busy this summer. First, she went to Constructing Modern Knowledge, where she spent the week prototyping, programming, networking, attending lectures and fully immersing herself as a learner. One of the highlights of the workshop was when she had dinner with Carla Rinaldi (of the Reggio Schools in Italy). It was a very special night, she says, as she is a fan of both Carla and the Reggio approach to learning on which she had spoken. She also attended a conference on the Question Formulation Technique, a process she’ll be sharing with the rest of the Lower School faculty and she visited a company that makes a machine that will allow us to upcycle 3D filament as part of her plans to make her classes more environmentally friendly.

Monica Henkel and Carol Beaverson (Kindergarten) attended a class at the Philadelphia Museum of Art on Unlocking Creativity. They learned about fostering creativity in students and incorporating playful learning into their classes. They heard from world-class educators and participated in hands-on activities such as creating a Rube Goldberg Machine that encourages creative problem solving. They took away several important messages. From Scott Barry Kaufman, Scientific Director of the Imagination Institute at University of Pennsylvania, they were encouraged to rethink the definition of educational success and the ways in which education might stifle creativity. And from Dr. Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, Temple University Professor of Psychology, they learned to appreciate the importance of play in the learning process, especially when it comes to interpersonal and collaborative skills.

Anne-Mette Hansell (5th grade) and Kathy Gates (3rd grade) attended a workshop on Google Apps for Education at the Montgomery County Intermediate Unit. The workshop focused on educational strategies, identified differentiated strategies within Google’s suite of tools and gave the participants an opportunity to experience Google Classroom from a student’s perspective. For more about Google Apps, check out this video.

Lynn Cohen, Christy Renninger, Barb Cass, and Jen Lee (Middle School Math) all worked together to develop curriculum for the new math sequence in Middle School. They created more hands-on activities and plan to leverage tools such as Khan Academy in order to further support student learning and to provide opportunities for review and challenge as needed. Lynn Cohen worked on strategies to support the MS teachers within the classroom, further assisting in differentiation for students. Christy Renninger also spent a good portion of her time developing the new Micro and Macro Economics classes, which she is very much looking forward to teaching.

As part of researching new approaches to the math curriculum, Jen Lee attended the Pennsylvania Council of Teachers of Mathematics where she learned about some new techniques for teaching math, both hands on and online. She learned about foldable notes, an interactive physical method for taking and interacting with notes. She also discovered that Rubik’s Cube has a lending program and will be borrowing 30 Rubik’s Cubes to use with her students.

Matthew Bunn used his grant money to purchase some new books and spent time developing the new 8th grade History course. Thanks to Baldwin’s support, he was able to complete the curriculum for all seven of his units!

Kristen Brown (Art), Gabbie Alvarez-Spychalski (Spanish), Cindy Lapinski (MS Director), and Katie Burke (Computer Science) went to the MCRC session with Rosetta Lee and Alexandra Scott. Kristen had seen Rosetta Lee before, but appreciate hearing some of the same topics again. And she was impressed with Alexandra Scott’s discussion of supporting transgender students.

Lauren Friedman-Way (Library) attended Columbia Teachers’ College Reading and Writing Project where she learned specific strategies for teaching Reading and Writing. Her big take-home was following: “[E]very student is capable of greatness, but we have to measure that greatness by the abilities of the individual student; that every child works harder when praised for what they did right instead of scolded for what they did wrong; that we have to manage our expectations of our students, while still keeping them high – you have to go into your class assuming that all of your students will rise to your expectations, instead of going in assuming that they will probably fail; and that being a student is hard!”

Aileen McCulloch (Drama) participated in an online course, called Untangled – Educating Adolescent Girls led by Lisa Damour, the author of the book Untangled. She found it tremendously enlightening and recommends the book itself to parents and teachers. She especially learned a lot about the ways middle school girls interact with each other and their parents and how we tend to make some of the changes girls naturally go through into a negative, when we don’t do the same for boys. I highly recommend talking to Aileen about her experience and to look for more details coming out on the blog soon!

Caedmon Haas (Latin) attended Rusticatio Virginiana, a one-week program in which participants pledge to speak, read, and write entirely in Latin for the duration of their stay. She improved her oral proficiency in the language and gained many strategies for using “active” (i.e., spoken and heard) Latin to generate higher levels of student engagement and achievement. One of the official “work” sessions each day had participants reading texts from 100 BCE to 1800 CE (all about Africa; that was this year’s theme), and she came away with a renewed sense of Latin’s importance to cultural continuity in the West.

Vicky Gold (Art) attended a class on making different kinds of books. The class was intense, 9 hours each day. She made 7 different types of folded books, and 3 bound books, a Mongolian Board Book, a Pyramid Book and an Accordion Book. She learned about various inks and techniques to make decorative papers. She cut stencils, made mono prints and layered images on top of the decorative papers. She learned about many different kinds of paste, inks and tools. Every day was a completely new experience. She looks forward to sharing what she learned with her students.

Katie Burke (Computer Science) participated in an online class called Introduction to Independent Schools. New to independent schools, Katie thought it would be important to find out more about the culture and expectations found in independent school classrooms.

With his grant money, Fred Kountz (History) purchased books for his already extensive collection and traveled to the Holocaust museum in D.C. in preparation for his elective on the Holocaust. He hopes to have students visit the museum and conduct research in the library.

Caitlin McLane (History) spent her summer working on curriculum for the new 9th grade Modern World History course. She worked with fellow 9th grade History teachers Ingrid Herrera and Matthew Bunn to lay out the units, transfer the resources from the current 10th grade Modern World History course, and create new, developmentally appropriate assignments and assessments for 9th graders. Ingrid and Caitlin also spent time discussing essential study skills and discipline-specific history skills that they want their new 9th grade course to teach. Along with her work on the 9th grade course, Caitlin spent time revising and building out my elective on Modern East Asian History and attending two professional development conferences: Facing History and Ourselves seminar “The Reconstruction Era and the Fragility of Democracy” in Brookline, MA and Gilder Lehrman’s seminar on World War I in New York City.

Gretchen Boger (History) traveled to France and Switzerland where she visited the sites related to John Calvin and the Protestant Reformation. She was able to see the churches Calvin established for early Protestants and the Huguenots, and a museum documenting much of the Reformation’s Geneva-specific history. In Paris, Gretchen particularly valued an exhibit at the Shoah Memorial Museum about women of the French Resistance. Finally, she spent the third leg of her trip in Normandy, visiting the D-Day beaches, as well as Impressionist sites and the ancient abbey of Mont St. Michel, where she was able to witness Le Grand Depart of the Tour de France.

Josiane Mariette (French) attended the Oxbridge program’s seminar in Paris where she met other French teachers and spent time discussing curriculum and strategies for teaching French. Josiane noted that the teachers were from a wide variety of backgrounds, so she got to hear many different points of view about the teaching of the French language.

Myriam Harvey (Spanish) used the Blair D. Stambaugh Award for Student and Faculty Enrichment grant to lead a 9-day trip to Peru for Upper School Spanish classes in June. The journey began in Peru’s capital city of Lima.There the students spent 2 days learning about the fusion of several ancient civilizations with the Spanish conquest and the city’s evolution into its current contemporary state. Then they flew to Cuzco where the students spent 3 days learning about the Incan Empire. In Cuzco, they explored the ruins of Ollantaytambo and Sacsayhuaman before traveling by train to Machu Picchu. The journey ended in Puno, where they took a boat ride on Lake Titicaca and visited the Taquile and Uros islands. The students spent 3 days visiting indigenous communities living on the floating islands. Most important, the students and Myriam experienced first-hand the importance of learning language and history outside of the classroom.

Adrian Cox (Athletics) directed the Baldwin Summer Select soccer program for U10 and 11 girls. The program ran for five weeks in June and July on Lower Field and attracted over 35 players from the area. The teams trained two evenings per week and played in two tournaments in Lancaster, PA and Fort Dix, NJ. Baldwin varsity soccer players Lauren Bracken ’19 and Celia Page ’19 were assistant coaches in the inaugural program. Megan Adelman’ 23, Violet Paiva ’23 and Gabrielle Reiser ’24 participated in the program and did a fantastic job. The program was a big success and in 2017 there will be teams offered in the U9-13 age groups.

Mira Ramchandani (Jewelry) enrolled in a stone setting class. It was a one-on-one hands-on workshop that focused on four different types of stone settings.  Settings included a pre-made tube setting, claw settings and a four-pronged setting to a rectangular faceted stone. The class was one of the more advanced and fun classes that she has taken in a long time.  She plans to show the girls how to set faceted stones and inspire them to be creative not only in working with metals but in stone setting as well.

It's a New Dawn, It's a New Day

 Written by guest blogger and Director of College Counseling Sara Shapiro Harberson

harbinson 3 headshotOne of the most humbling parts of my job as a college counselor is learning from my students.  I am enlightened every day to learn about the pancreatic cancer research they’ve done, the scholarly paper they’re writing on how female fans impact the NFL, and what it truly means to be the “setter” on the varsity volleyball team.  A few months back I was speaking with one of our seniors.  She was inspired by Nina Simone.  During my meeting, the student shared that Simone wrote the song, “Feeling Good.”  I told her I wasn’t familiar with that song.  She replied, “Mrs. Harberson, you’ll know it as soon as you hear it.”  And, she was right.  As soon as the student left my office, I read every article I could find about Nina Simone.  I was captivated by her story as a Blues singer and later a Civil Rights activist in the 1960s.    Her songs are soulful, powerful, and relatable even 60 years later.  “Feeling Good” is my favorite by far:

It’s a new dawn
It’s a new day
It’s a new life
For me

I think about those lyrics almost daily especially working with young people.   Sometimes a low grade on a test or news from colleges is not what they were hoping or planning for.  This is especially true this time of year as semester exams and papers are due, and many seniors are learning their admissions decisions if they applied Early Decision or Early Action to their top college choices.  There will be some elated high school seniors over the next few weeks but there will also be some disappointed seniors as well.  Nina Simone’s song resonates with the life of a high school student more than they know.  Students sometimes feel like if they don’t get into their top college choice now, they won’t be happy anywhere else.  But what I’ve found is that a student’s top choice changes as quickly as a Lancaster County sky—one moment it is dark and menacing and the next it’s glowing with vibrant pinks, oranges, and golds.

Just when a student feels like things aren’t working out for them, some positive movement changes the whole trajectory of their life. And even the most intuitive adults can’t predict those magical moments.  When I listen to “Feeling Good,” I pay close attention to the build-up of Simone’s voice and delivery.  At first there is a matter-of-factness and detachment to her words, but as the song evolves, her voice is stronger, more confident than when she began.  And, her last line is the most powerful, not only in meaning but in her delivery.  Every time I listen to that last line, I am reminded that it’s less about what happens in the past, and it’s about living in the moment.

During these weeks of exams and decisions, students need time to digest the influx of what they view as monumental results.  They are monumental to them when it’s happening—but that doesn’t mean those results need to define anything beyond that actual moment.  What I mean by that is that one test grade, one admissions decision, one setback doesn’t define their success or happiness.  Because in the moment when the clouds shift or a “new day” begins, there is an opportunity to be open to new ideas, new top college choices, and “feeling good.”

It’s a New Dawn, It’s a New Day

 Written by guest blogger and Director of College Counseling Sara Shapiro Harberson

harbinson 3 headshotOne of the most humbling parts of my job as a college counselor is learning from my students.  I am enlightened every day to learn about the pancreatic cancer research they’ve done, the scholarly paper they’re writing on how female fans impact the NFL, and what it truly means to be the “setter” on the varsity volleyball team.  A few months back I was speaking with one of our seniors.  She was inspired by Nina Simone.  During my meeting, the student shared that Simone wrote the song, “Feeling Good.”  I told her I wasn’t familiar with that song.  She replied, “Mrs. Harberson, you’ll know it as soon as you hear it.”  And, she was right.  As soon as the student left my office, I read every article I could find about Nina Simone.  I was captivated by her story as a Blues singer and later a Civil Rights activist in the 1960s.    Her songs are soulful, powerful, and relatable even 60 years later.  “Feeling Good” is my favorite by far:

It’s a new dawn
It’s a new day
It’s a new life
For me

I think about those lyrics almost daily especially working with young people.   Sometimes a low grade on a test or news from colleges is not what they were hoping or planning for.  This is especially true this time of year as semester exams and papers are due, and many seniors are learning their admissions decisions if they applied Early Decision or Early Action to their top college choices.  There will be some elated high school seniors over the next few weeks but there will also be some disappointed seniors as well.  Nina Simone’s song resonates with the life of a high school student more than they know.  Students sometimes feel like if they don’t get into their top college choice now, they won’t be happy anywhere else.  But what I’ve found is that a student’s top choice changes as quickly as a Lancaster County sky—one moment it is dark and menacing and the next it’s glowing with vibrant pinks, oranges, and golds.

Just when a student feels like things aren’t working out for them, some positive movement changes the whole trajectory of their life. And even the most intuitive adults can’t predict those magical moments.  When I listen to “Feeling Good,” I pay close attention to the build-up of Simone’s voice and delivery.  At first there is a matter-of-factness and detachment to her words, but as the song evolves, her voice is stronger, more confident than when she began.  And, her last line is the most powerful, not only in meaning but in her delivery.  Every time I listen to that last line, I am reminded that it’s less about what happens in the past, and it’s about living in the moment.

During these weeks of exams and decisions, students need time to digest the influx of what they view as monumental results.  They are monumental to them when it’s happening—but that doesn’t mean those results need to define anything beyond that actual moment.  What I mean by that is that one test grade, one admissions decision, one setback doesn’t define their success or happiness.  Because in the moment when the clouds shift or a “new day” begins, there is an opportunity to be open to new ideas, new top college choices, and “feeling good.”

The Goal of the Baldwin Soccer Team

“The strength of the team is each member. The strength of each member is the team.”- Phil Jackson

Celia Page, Jane McAleese & Natalie Sgro Getting Autographs-400My name is Celia Page ‘19.  As a current eighth grader, I have experienced great classes, teachers and exciting opportunities at Baldwin. One of my favorite things about being a Baldwin girl is suiting up in blue and white to represent my school.  As a fall soccer student-athlete, I’m a contributor to a group of girls who are working towards the same GOAL; being the best Baldwin soccer team we can be.

This past weekend, I attended the 2014 CONCACAF Women’s Soccer Championship (The Road to the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup) at PPL Park in Chester, PA.  The first games were held on Friday night.  I witnessed the intense double overtime and penalty shootout of Trinidad & Tobago and Costa Rica.  These two teams were battling for a spot in the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup. The most anticipated game of the night The United States vs. Mexico.  Everybody in PPL Park was excited to see the USWNT play because they always put on a great show.  Whether Abby Wambach scores a header goal or Hope Solo makes an amazing save, the United States Team never fails to disappoint.  The United States put on a great show beating Mexico 3-0.

While I was overjoyed that the US qualified for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup by winning, nothing compared to the experience I had the next day.  The Baldwin soccer program had the opportunity to watch the Mexican National Team train on Baldwin’s very own Lower Field.  This was an unforgettable experience especially since the head coach let us train with him for 20 minutes!  We did various fun drills and activities.  What we all realized is that it is hard work to be a player on a national team.  You are representing your country plus you are constantly traveling far from home to various places.  We earned a lot of respect for the players and their coaches.  Soccer is a sport that brings people of all ages closer together.  After Friday’s games, I believed I would be routing for Trinidad & Tobago in the fight for the 3rd place.  Watching and training with the players from Mexico made me see things through a different perspective.  I ended up routing for Mexico on Sunday because I recognized how kind they were to us by including us in their practice.  I also met all the players so it was cool to see them playing in an actual game versus playing a scrimmage in practice.  All in all it was a great experience that I will never forget.  I hope as a member of the Baldwin Soccer Team I can help to create lasting memories that my teammates and I will never forget.  Go Baldwin Bears!

Do More Than You Thought You Could Do

Written by guest blogger and Baldwin student athlete Ali Thaler ’15.

AlThaler2013lax

Summer is a great time to relax, recharge, and to do something you would never be able to do during the school year. After finishing my junior year, I envisioned this summer as being one where I would do all of those things, but with an emphasis on relaxing. That all changed when I got an email saying that I was invited to the final round of tryouts for the United States U19 National Team for lacrosse.

After receiving that email, I told all of my coaches. The universal response was, “Well, you better get out on the field and train, train, train.”  And so the journey began. Since June 9 I have been training 6 out of 7 days each week this summer.

It only took one email to change my outlook for this summer, and I believe that it changed my outlook on life in general, as cliché as that may sound. It takes an incredible amount of motivation to push oneself to work out in 95 degree weather, where when you bend over to tie your shoe you see the waves of heat twisting up from the turf. I had imagined myself lying out by the beach, but instead, I ate lunch every day at 10:30 sharp, in order to be ready to work out at 2. Even now, I am working in Boston, and today when I got home at 6:30 after an hour of standing on the T, I decided to go on a 3.5 mile run.

But more important than my personal experiences this summer is the bigger picture it showed me. Even if I don’t make the National Team, the time and energy I have put into training this summer is something I will never forget. As July winds down and August approaches, we have a little over a month before school starts, and just under a month before preseason begins. This leaves you, and the entire Baldwin community, with a perfect chunk of time to devote to doing a little more than you thought you could do. If you are trying out for a fall sport, start pushing yourself to run every day. Even if you don’t play a sport, try a Zumba workout or even a long walk on the beach.

If you are playing on any sports team at Baldwin this year, my goal for you is to be better than you think you can be. I have always considered myself motivated, but I never imagined I would be as strict with myself about my fitness as I have been this summer. Admittedly it took a while to get to this point, but now, each day I look forward to my runs and workouts, and I am excited by the feeling after I run.

I already know this year is going to be a ground-breaking year for Baldwin and Baldwin Athletics. But in order for us to be successful, each person needs to push herself to be better than they think they can be. The power comes from you. As much as your coach might tell you to run or do a drill outside of practice, no one is really forcing you to do anything. It is 100% mental. You determine how fast you run. As they say, “you get out of it what you put into it.”  If we all channel a little extra motivation that we didn’t think we could muster, it will be the difference in a game on Homecoming when the entire school is watching, or the difference between a thrilling win and a devastating loss.

As head of Athletic Association for the 2014-2015 school year, I want to give you the responsibility. If you play a sport, I am confident you will work hard despite a load of homework or an enticing trip to the beach. I am excited to see what we, as a community, will offer Baldwin both in athletics and beyond.

And so I’ll end with a quote from Jimmy Johnson, “The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra”. Don’t just go through the motions this year with your schoolwork, your sports, your music, your theater, or your life outside of school. Try to find a spark that you didn’t know existed. Once you find that spark, cultivate it, because the feeling after you do something you didn’t think you could do is amazing.

Students Speak: Arden Simone, Head of Athletic Association

The opening  assembly was an invigorating gathering of students, faculty and staff.  With classes in full swing, we reflect on our student leaders’ remarks from that day with a five-part series of blog posts beginning with Arden Simone, the Head of the Athletic Association.

“If you know me at all, you know that I love to play sports and I take the word “play” to heart. Since I was little, I’ve enjoyed cramming my summer full of sports practices and camps, without truly realizing how blessed I am for the opportunity to live the active life I do. This summer, I took a break from running and lacrosse, and spent a good two weeks planted in front of the television in awe of the phenomenal Olympians in London.

I was watching track and field when a 17 year old girl, the same age as me, from Qatar, made history and broke social barriers for women by competing in the Olympics. Although Noor Hussain Al-Malki did not finish, the announcers raved about her because 2012 was the first year that women from Qatar were permitted to compete in the Olympics. She was a pioneer for women of her country, showing them that sports are an option. In many places such as Qatar, Saudi Arabia or Brunei, women are rarely allowed to play sport openly. The few that dare to participate in any athletics are forced to practice in secret simply because of their gender.

I cannot fathom the sexism these women must face every day in the field of athletics, and we are very fortunate to have grown up where we have; where women are highly encouraged to participate in athletics, where our successes in sports are hugely celebrated, and where sports, just like education, are a way to get women places in the world. As powerful women with nothing but open doors in our future, it is our job to show all women that they too can excel in sports.

Our freedom in sports is due in part to Title 9, passed in 1972 by the United States Congress. To realize the youth of this, Ms. Surgi was one of the very first women to directly benefit from Title 9 as she was offered an Athletic Scholarship and the opportunity to play in college. Title 9 is the law that made discrimination between men’s and women’s educational programs illegal. It expanded girl’s and women’s sports in high school and college, thus, creating the movement for greater opportunities for female athletes.

As said, this doesn’t occur everywhere and we are lucky that we are free to express ourselves and excel in athletics. I want to encourage all of you to use the opportunity that you have to participate in sports. If you’re in Lower School, have fun in PE and ask your parents to sign you up for a sport outside of school! If you are in middle school, do a sport every trimester! You have to be at school till 3:30 anyway. If you’re in Upper School, try your absolute hardest at the sports you do, and if you don’t participate, we’d love to see you at games to cheer. Teachers! You too! It means a lot for us when you come out to support us. It may seem mundane and every day, but the athletic opportunities that Baldwin offers us girls are phenomenal.

Furthermore, we are fortunate enough to attend an extremely academic all girls school with unbelievable athletic opportunities. Going to Baldwin, we have a huge head start. We experience no barriers because of our unbeatable education. The world values us as women because of our intellectual prowess, skills and confidence. We are empowered. We know our worth. We are smart, athletic, confident, assertive and powerful young leaders with a bright future. We have the opportunity to write our own story as individuals and help others so that they may do the same. As women in sports, we are free to compete, excel and prove our worth to the world. As Ali said, our greatest fear is no longer that we are inadequate, it is that we are powerful beyond measure.”

Summer Spent the Camp Magar Way

“It’s a fun working environment, I have just as much fun as the kids,” said Sarah Bronstein, a current supervisor and 11 year veteran at Camp Magar. “It’s a great way to spend the summer, so I just keep coming back.”

Into its third week, Camp Magar is in full swing as over 400 boys and girls from pre-K to age 12 have swarmed the Baldwin campus to take part in a multitude of outdoor games and activities, from drama and music workshops, to sports clinics, archery, camping and nature lessons.

“There are so many hands-on activities to get involved in,” said Bronstein. “The kids have the opportunity to pick up valuable lessons while also having fun and learning how to work well as a team.”  Members of the Magar groups, which consists of older students, are already in the midst of learning the basics of camping, from how to pitch a tent, to identifying various plants on ‘nature walks’ to learning about how bugs utilize their olfactory senses to communicate. “They also were taught how to tie a square knot and made a game of it by tying their camp counselor to a chair. They had to stick to the rules though, meaning that they could only use square knots to tie them up.”

“The camp’s arts and crafts workshop is a great outlet for students who are looking to get creative,” said Bronstein.  From making fireworks with paint to tie-dying items of clothing and creating friendship bracelets with colorful beads and string, there’s an activity for everyone. “You’d be surprised how many boys we had who were really getting into making friendship bracelets,” she said.  “They were pretty excited about it.”

When it comes to staying physically active, students have a range of sports to get involved in, from baseball and soccer to swimming and tennis.  The camp offers instructional swim classes where students can learn the basics of different swim styles, or try their hand at tennis where they will get to practice playing singles and doubles, in addition to learning how to perform an over-hand serve. 

Archery, another popular activity at Camp Magar, teaches students how to hold a bow and the proper techniques to ‘aim and shoot’.  “The camp counselor’s place balloons over the targets for students to practice their aim, and award those who succeed in hitting the bull’s-eye with juice tickets that are redeemable for a free meal in the dining hall,” said Bronstein. “It’s an incentive for the students and it makes it fun because they have a goal to work towards.”

To view photos from activities and events at Camp Magar this summer, please visit our Media Gallery. For more information please view the camp’s main website or for questions email campmagar@baldwinschool.org

Raising Awareness about Head Injury Prevention

To increase awareness and help prevent head injuries among athletes, Middle and Upper School students will be required to sign a concussion acknowledgement form before being able to participate in physical education or athletics. 

Governor Tom Corbett has recently signed two separate laws that will affect our student athletes.  The Safety in Youth Sports Act is to increase awareness and help prevent head injuries among athletes.   The law requires students showing any signs or symptoms or a concussion to be removed from participating in games and practices until cleared by an appropriate medical professional.  Additionally, this law has an emphasis on parent, student, and coaches’ education surrounding concussions.  All parents and students in Middle and Upper Schools will now be required to sign a concussion acknowledgement form.  This form must be returned and on file in order for our student athletes to participate in athletics.  All of our coaches and Physical Education staff are now required to complete a CDC approved Concussion Training program to help educate coaches on the importance and danger of concussions. 

 Last week, Governor Tom Corbett signed the second law that will directly affect our student athletes.  Pennsylvania is the first state in the nation to have such a law and this is another positive step forward in protecting our athletes.  The Sudden Cardiac Arrest Prevention Bill is similar to the Safety in Youth Sports Act in that it requires parent, student, and coaches’ education surrounding sudden cardiac arrest as well as removal from play if any signs or symptoms of cardiac stress are exhibited.  We strongly urge parents of Upper and Middle School athletes, to ensure that your child has signed and returned this form, in addition to the Health History Form to our offices before the fall session begins.

   Additionally, we have added a more detailed health history form as part of the physical examination form for our Middle and Upper School athletes.  The form can be filled out by you and your child prior to their physical examination with the doctor and is meant to be used as a resource for your physician as well.  This form is comparable to the form all student athletes are required to fill out through PIAA athletics and will give myself and the nurses a better insight in how best to care for your child. 

   We strongly feel that these changes are great steps forward in continuing to provide a safe environment for all student athletes here at Baldwin. 

Click here to download the Concussion Acknowledgement Form, or here to view the Health History Form.

 — Shelley Lapinski, Head Athletic Trainer