Reach A Student Blog

Feeding the Homeless

Added on May 13, 2020 by Shailee.S

Feeding the Homeless

Recently after traveling to downtown Orlando, I noticed there were more homeless people than usual. My mom told me a lot of shelters were at capacity and many homeless were forced to live on the streets. Things got worse over the next few weeks and I realized that while I could not change the situation many of the homeless people were in, I could give them food to help them during these hard times.

With COVID I could not distribute food directly to the homeless, but I discovered a program called Service and Love Together, SALT who I could volunteer with. SALT not only provides food, but also mobile showers! The volunteers went above and beyond and also gave the homeless an opportunity to wash their clothes. I saw this as an opportunity to combine two things I am passionate about: cooking and service.

I contacted SALT and they granted me the opportunity to create snack bags. My 100 snack bags were filled with oranges, granola bars, and waters. I handed these bags out while people were waiting for the main meals. I watched as different people came up and received a bag. They were so thankful for such a small item. The compassion they showed to each other and to the volunteers was moving. To them, it didn't matter where you were from; they just wanted to take care of each other.

I continued making snacks and meals for SALT on a weekly basis. One of the most touching moments that left me with an indelible impression was a cute woman with a red flowered fishing hat. She approached us as we were walking back to the car and complemented how much she loved my mom's shoes. I smiled at her and told her how these were my mom's 20-year-old shoes that had lasted her through everything. I watched as the woman listened intently and told me about her shoes which were torn and ripped in all different places and how they had lasted her only 7 years.

When I got home, I got to work scourging all the closets in the house looking for old shoes. I ended up compiling 18 pairs of shoes amongst everyone in the house! The following week when I went back to SALT to hand out food and shoes. I gave the woman with the red hat the shoes she loved so much, hoping that my mom's shoes would last her another 20 years. :)

SALT is an amazing place to volunteer and they have a variety of duties to be involved with! If you enjoy cooking, they love to have people make meals and donate them. However, there are other ways to help like donating clothes, snack bags, and shoes! Don't hesitate to reach out and see ways you can help.

 

Donating COVID-19 Masks

Added on April 22, 2020 by Shailee.S

Donating COVID-19 Masks

Our lives during the COVID-19 pandemic have changed drastically. Everyday new information is released about prevention and what can lead you to have a higher infection rate. Consistently, throughout all the information, seniors (people over the age of 60) have a greater chance of contracting the virus and becoming seriously ill when exposed to COVID-19. After learning this, I thought about my grandparents and how they could potentially be affected. In order to keep my grandparents safe, my parents and I brought them all the supplies they needed including masks, sanitizing wipes, hand sanitizer and groceries. I continuously saw why nursing homes and assisted living facilities were the highest risk for a dramatic spread of the virus: I felt compelled to help them in some way. I learned the best method to prevent the spread of disease was the use of PPE (Personal Protection Equipment), especially N-95 masks.  As I called a few local senior assisted living facilities, I realized they did not have the proper supplies for their staff or residents.  After researching manufacturers, I was able to find a local company selling N-95 masks. I organized a fundraiser and was able to raise enough funds to purchase 100 masks.

Donating PPE to The Commons Senior Care Facility was similar to a child in a candy store.  Nurses and residents were ecstatic to be able to protect themselves and residents. They came running up to me and I was instantly surrounded by eager faces wanting PPE.  They were so thankful for the small amount I could provide, just so they could do their jobs. Additionally, to help keep the residents safe, I invited a local doctor to speak about the proper ways to reuse masks and prevention of COVID.  I hope my minor efforts to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 helped keep someone's grandparents safe.

Even if you are not a healthcare provider, there are many different ways to get involved including sewing masks, donating masks, and even just showing your appreciation for healthcare workers.

 

Tackling TAP- 8th Grade

Added on April 3, 2020 by Jasleen.S

What is TAP: TAP is a fifteen minute presentation in front of all of your teachers! I remember making 8-12 connections for each of my classes. It seems a little stressful, but you need to make sure you prioritize your time. I recommend students to choose a challenging topic or a unique topic. For example, My presentation was about Neuroscience. I suggest you should finish your connections as soon as you can, your teachers definitely would go over your script and help you out with any unclear connections. You should explain each connection thoroughly (5-6 sentences ). Your connections are basically the base for your script! Before you start your actual script make a rough draft or outline your connections. Your script is required to meet 15 minutes and no more than 15 minutes. I know, it may seem like a lot! But, you would actually want to write more than 15 pages. A tip: During your presentation, use notecards for key points. 

Visual Aids: I definitely would recommend to use visual aids. For example, I used a sheep's brain, and I make a jello brain with gummies in it (gummies=brain disease) During my presentation, I also gave they teachers an opportunity to dissect the brain with dissecting tools.

Layout for your Connections: 8-12 connections (depending on each subject/teacher)

Connection #1

How does it relate:

 

Connection #2: 

How does it relate:

 

Connection #3: 

How does it relate:

 

Connection #4: 

How does it relate:

 

Connection #5: 

How does it relate:

 

Connection #6: 

How does it relate:


Connection #7: 

How does it relate:

Connection #8: 

How does it relate:

Script: You should definitely make a rough draft because you will be deleting a lot of information on your script. I remember when I first timed my presentation, it was around 24 minutes. You basically have to simplify and shorten your script. Make sure your script is not boring, you don't want to lose your teacher's attention. Make some jokes, interact with your teachers during your presentation!

Presentation: Again, Don't lose their attention! Your teachers don't want to hear a 15-minute long speech. You might be nervous and it's okay! Your teachers will understand, just make sure you memorize your speech and know what you are talking about. If you mess up, its okay, play it off and keep going! If you ever need to talk to someone about TAP, talk to freshmen or sophomores about it. Ask them for their advice and their experience! I couldn't stress more to use notecards. Note Cards could be used to help you with the order of your script, bullet points you want to address during your presentation. Just read your script over and over! Don't be nervous and I'm sure you'll do great!

 

Health and Wellnes During COVID-19

Added on April 2, 2020 by Shailee.S

Health and Wellnes During COVID-19
 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, our daily lives and schedules have changed drastically. Many people are stuck at home unable to go to their jobs or see family and friends. These changes have caused many of us to feel emotional and affected our health. We are unable to workout at gyms, and I think we can all agree that being stuck at home has led to a lot of unhealthy eating habits. With my extra time I have been cooking and baking everything that comes to mind! After a couple weeks of this I realized how unhealthy I felt. I had thrown out my workout schedule and stopped being productive in my day. I realized I needed to take care of myself, we all need to take care of ourselves! The below is a list of things you can do to feel better during quarantine. 

1.     Exercise Routine

a.     Working out should be an important part of everyone's day. It allows for the release of endorphins which makes us feel happier. Even just walking for a few minutes outside every day will improve your health and fitness. Exercise also helps keep a schedule in your life. During these troubling times, there is little to no schedule and it makes us feel lazy. By working out, we can reintroduce structure into our lives and start getting back into our daily routines.

2.      Eat Well

a.     When we are stuck at home it is easy to always feel hungry especially when you are bored. If you are like me and found yourself constantly snacking, instead of eating chips or cookies try to eat some different things.

                                                            i.          Instead of chips have apples, the crunch of an apple is pretty similar to that of a chip.

                                                          ii.          Instead of cookies, have a banana and peanut butter. 

                                                         iii.          Instead of having ice cream, freeze some grapes as snack.

                                                         iv.          Instead of eating Takis or Flaming Hot Cheetos, have wasabi peas. 

There are healthy alternatives for everything you want and you just have to find the right snacks for you.

b.  Avoid caffeine if you don't normally drink it. Caffeine is a stimulant and jump starts your brain and heart. It also creates a dependency. Once your brain uses coffee to get a jump start you will see yourself needing it more and more to keep yourself awake caffeine can make you jittery and anxious too. 

i.    Instead of consuming caffeine have a smoothie with some fruit yogurt and ice. It will energize you just as much as coffee!

By making these small changes you will see yourself feel so much better and happier during quarantine. 

 

The Importance of Emails

Added on March 10, 2020 by Manya.A

The Importance of Emails

Do you ever wonder how to get involved in student activities or how you are able to communicate with teachers and other students when you are not at school about school related things? The answer is through emails. Since not everyone has the phone numbers of every single student, and definitely not the numbers of teachers, many people like to communicate about school related things through emails.

For example, the SGA, especially the High School SGA loves to try to increase grade and school involvement through emails. These emails may give links to sign up for Spirit Week Events or links to sign up for contests where you can win Free Homecoming Tickets and things like that. Emails are often sent to the entire grade, and they often contain valuable information not just about how to get involved, but many important memos such as PSAT Locations, Field Trips, and College Planning Meetings.

It's not only just the SGA and Lead Faculty that loves to communicate through emails. Many other clubs love to communicate through emails as well about meeting days and locations, and ways to collect information like T-Shirt sizes. Even teachers use emails to communicate memos about their classes like their lesson plans, quiz reminders, study guides, and location.

So, if all these people use emails for many reasons, why don't you? The email system, despite sounding boring and not as quick as text messages, is still a fabulous form of communication. It is professional, formal, and leaves a great impression on your teachers. Emails are a great way to ask your teachers questions, schedule meetings among members of the Laker Community, and blast out memos. Remember that when in doubt, check then write emails. 

 

Volunteering

Added on February 14, 2020 by Isabella.M

 Volunteering is a big aspect of academic life; it not only helps out with hours, but it also aids in building skills such as empathy, commitment, and it opens an opportunity to play a bigger beneficial role in the community around us. As known, many students look for volunteer opportunities, that is why I have interviewed Mrs. Danielle Newbold, responsible for Miles To Go, a charity organization that operates in the Orlando area.

1.How did MTG start?  What was the original idea?

"Miles To Go began one afternoon at a red light on the corner of Turkey Lake & Sand Lake Rd.  There was a panhandler there asking for money. Miles was in the backseat telling me to give him cash.  "I know you have some Mom, why aren't you giving him any?!"

I had been putting this conversation off for awhile.  Miles was not letting up this time and was getting quite upset.  So I told him, "We can't be sure how he will use the money." Miles had the solution, "So then we need to give something else!"

We went home and brainstormed items to give.  We googled, used our common sense and knowledge of our local weather.  It was a great start!

Our original idea was to do this as a mother/son community service project.  It didn't take long to realize that we were meant to do more!

Our first 150 empty bags were donated by Orlando Body & Movement Therapy.  It was there that the name "Miles To Go" came to us as well.

From there we became a 501(3)(c) and have now packed/donated over 600 bags!"

2. How can the community help MTG on a daily basis?

"The community can and has been of great help!  You can simply save your hotel shampoos, add a couple MTG supplies to your weekly grocery order, order from our Amazon wish list, order through Amazon Smile (.5% goes back to the charity of your choice), attend a packing day, host a supply drive…..so many options!"

3. What is MTG's goal?

"Our goal has been the same since the beginning; Spreading love one bag at a time. We do not have a monetary or quantity goal.  We just want to help as many people as we can. We do that with our gift of a Miles To Go bag to the homeless & also by growing compassion in the person giving the bag out."

4. Can helpers get volunteer hours? How can they be a part of MTG?

"YES!  Helping our youth is one of our favorite things!  We love assisting you get your hours and growing compassion while you do it!  You can do a supply drive with your club, team, church, family, so many options!  You can also help in by getting supplies ready for packing (like folding t-shirts, pairing items, numbering cards, etc).  Social media is a big one too! You can spread awareness, share our Amazon wish list and so much more!"

5.  Do you have any future plans regarding the future of Miles To Go?

"On the horizon we have a brunch at Plancha (the Four Seasons) November 4th where a portion of the proceeds will be given to MTG & a packing day November 15th.  Both are open to the public. We are excited to announce that Miles To Go was selected by Visit Orlando to be the philanthropic feature at their event in Tallahassee this December!

We are set to do a large school fundraiser in Ocala in February, are partnering with local schools and doctor's offices in Orlando, Windermere & Winter Garden and can be found in local gyms as well!"

*After that, if interested, I recommend you to find more information about Miles To Go and be a part of this amazing project in order to get some hours, help the community, and be a part of many smiles that come with the bags. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to let me know!

  Isabela Maluli.

 

Women in STEM

Added on January 22, 2020 by Shailee.S

Women in STEM

At a young age, I was fortunate to be able to attend a STEM after school program with one of my teacher's Mr. Falcionie. In school, Mr. Falcionie's science class was always my favorite because the class allowed me to work with my hands, critically think, and stimulate my deepest creativity. I was blessed to have access to this after school program, which allowed me to further my interest in the STEM field. I realized at a young age, this was something I wanted to work in for the rest of my life. This year, I had the opportunity to volunteer at Riverside Elementary, a Title 1 elementary school. I helped mentor 4th and 5th grade students, predominantly younger girls, on their LEGO robotics team afterschool. This opportunity allowed me to impact the next generation of learners and spark their interest in STEM - just like Mr. Falcionie did with me. I built a team of female STEM students to aid in providing individual mentoring.

As a group, we got to mentor and work with individual students. We taught them the benefits of trial and error and the concept of analysis. As mentors, our job was to foster independence while supporting them in learning STEM skills. Furthermore, we taught the students valuable skills such as communication, teamwork, and responsibility, which are all vital to success in STEM.

The most powerful moment for me was not seeing the complete robot, but seeing the robot take its first steps and fall. The kid's faces did not waver through this mishap, showing me their determination and their ability to problem solve. Leading up to that day when parts would break and mechanisms failed, the students would get frustrated. We took these opportunities to show them how to work with a failed result. Instead of letting their emotions get the best of them, they learned to ponder why the robot failed at its mobility and how to come up with a solution. The moment when the robot fell is one that I will always cherish because I could see the students actively applying our teaching.

Furthermore, the experience of mentoring was truly rewarding to me and it can be for you too. It is a great way to make an impact and help others. In order to gain experience in mentoring, tutoring can teach you how to work with all different types of people and also valuable skills you can utilize as a mentor.

 

The Life of a Student Athletic Trainer

Added on January 9, 2020 by Kristjana.P

The Life of a Student Athletic Trainer

Football can be considered the most popular sport in America; almost every high school in the U.S. highlights the sport. What is not usually highlighted is the group of people behind the scenes, assisting the players when they are on or off the field, the people who make the athlete's health their number one priority. 

What the audience sees is a few girls carrying water racks at the football games, handing the athletes a bottle of water when they ask for it; what people don't see is the enormous responsibility that is placed on these students. 

Every day, these students go to school and go throughout their day as any other high school student. When the bell rings, they rush to the Athletic Training room and get everything prepared for that day's practice. They tape writsts and ankles for the athletes that need the support. After that, they start filling up coolers with ice cold water, bring the coolers to the field, and fill up every water bottle to the brim. 

They stand in the heat, making sure the athletes stay hydrated throughout their practice. The trainers often stay after practice just to make sure that everyone has made it off of the field safely and that there are no injuries. If the athletes do sustain an injury, however, they stay until their treatment has been completed. Most days, they stay for over 3 hours just making sure the athletes are in their best interest.

Every Friday night, the team plays a competitive game against another school, which everyone wants to do their best in. In order for the athletes to perform their absolute best, they need the assistance of their peers, who put their performance and health first. 

Every injury sustained in a sport is treated by the Athletic Trainer, who is assisted by the Student Athletic Trainers. Every player is the student's responsibility: everything from bandaging a wound to rehabilitating an athlete who suffered an injury. 

Not everyone can become a Student Athletic Trainer. In order to be considered for the responsibility, you need to be trustworthy, responsible, and dedicated. Learning the techniques needed for the part include taping wrists, fingers, and ankles for games. They need to become first aid and CPR certified so they are prepared for anything and everything regarding possible injuries. 

 

Advice for 10th Grade Extended Level Mathematics

Added on December 10, 2019 by Zaid.S

Advice for 10th Grade Extended Level Mathematics

High School Mathematics is often perceived as a polarizing subject. This is because while it might come naturally to some students, there are a larger number of students who continue to struggle with it even after years of consistent learning. While 9th Grade Extended Level Mathematics was relatively straightforward, 10th grade extended Level Mathematics is a major step up in difficulty in every way possible. I'm here to share some tips and thoughts on how to prepare yourself and succeed in the class. 

Structure of Questions:

First of all, the questions in 10 grade extended level mathematics are structured in a format that mimics IB Questions. While these questions aren't necessarily as hard as regular IB Questions, the framing of the question can easily throw students off. One thing I've learned the hard way is that these pre IB Questions are very rarely taken directly from the homework. While the overall concept is present 10 EL questions are designed to measure your ability to think and process information, not memorize questions. 

Other Resources:

This brings me to my next tip relating to resources. While doing the homework is very important, you might need to rely on outside resources to guarantee yourself a high grade. Resources I recommend are Khan Academy, YouTube videos from "The Organic Chemistry Tutor", and most importantly your teacher. In order to excel in 10 EL Mathematics, you must understand the basic concept and apply it in various situations. Going after school and asking questions in class is a smart way of doing this. 

An Open Mindset:

If you are someone who has excelled at mathematics in the past and then suddenly notices an alarming portion of marks off in the first few tests, don't get discouraged. 10 EL Mathematics is meant to prepare students for both IB Standard Level Mathematics and IB Higher Level Mathematics which means it's going to be harder than usual. If you keep telling yourself that you just aren't capable of doing math then it will simply prevent you from going over your mistakes and learn from them. On top of that, if you demonstrate to your teacher that you are trying everything in your power to succeed in their class, they'll be more inclined to support you with whatever problems you have.  

 

Lakerthon

Added on November 19, 2019 by Natalie.W

Lakerthon

Dance marathon is a movement that has swept the U.S with the goal of raising money, spreading awareness, and showing the power of dancing and fun. WPS held our first dance marathon last year, called Lakerthon, and we raised over $35,000. It was an absolutely amazing experience, and we are hoping to make this event grow every single year. As most people don't know everything about Lakerthon, I figured I would summarize what Lakerthon is, the benefits, and how it makes a positive impact on our community.

Lakerthon is a fundraiser for Children's Miracle Network Hospitals that raises money for sick and injured kids. We raise money specifically for Arnold Palmer and Winnie Palmer here in Central Florida, so you know exactly where your money is going. We fundraise throughout the school year, leading up to Lakerthon night, which this year will be on February 1st, from 5-11 in the WPS gym. We have a bundt cake fundraiser, poinsettia sales, a spirit week, and so many other opportunities to raise money. It is an all school event and we try to connect the LS, MS, and HS in order to make the biggest impact.

On the actual Lakerthon night, there is dancing, food, games, and hearing from miracle families who graciously tell us their story. Everyone at the event stands for the whole night as a symbol for kids in hospital beds who can't stand. "We stand for those who can't". We commonly use the phrase #FTK, which means "for the kids", meaning that everything we do is for them, and all money raised goes towards helping them.

We raised $35,000 last year, but our goal this year is $60,000. This isn't possible without all of our miracle makers and the support of our community, both inside and outside of school. We encourage anyone and everyone to participate in Lakerthon, because there are so many ways that you can make a miracle in a kid's life.

 

Note Taking

Added on November 1, 2019 by Ryleigh.R

Note Taking

Taking notes is an incredibly important part of learning especially in high school. Although I did not attend WPS for middle school, I have heard that it was pretty easy. At my old school we would often just get an outline or notes already taken for us that we would review in class a lot so we didn't have much to study at home.

Notes are used both in class and at home studying and without them you will not know what to study. Almost as important as the content of the notes is the layout. Notes should have everything you need to make the connections content wise but I find that having a good set of colored pens, markers, or highlighters can help a lot. Not only will your notes look better but when they are neat and structured well, they will be easier to study.

Some teachers are really good about taking structured notes for you copy down from the board, a slide show, or a google doc. If not following a few of my tips listed below should get you off to a good start.

Title :

At the top of the page have a detailed yet concise title that is larger than the rest of the text on the page. It should be about the topic directly.

Subtitles

These should be larger than the rest of the writing that should follow it. They should also be concise. The content of a subtopic should be something along the lines of an essential idea to the topic or a description of the topic.

Headings:

This should be the name of the subtopic.

Subheading:

Slightly smaller than a heading, this could be a sub-category under the subtopic.

Sub Subheading:

The smallest of the headings and can be anything like a word that gets defined directly after. Something less "big picture" than the topic, subtopic, or subcategory but more important than a regular sentence.

Normal text:

This should be the descriptions of everything that is listed above.

The style of your notes in completely up to you but underlining important words in sentences, highlighting topics, using different colors for different sections and including diagrams will really help with note taking.

Although it is "old fashioned" it is definitely helpful to take your notes by hand. It is scientifically proven that taking notes by hand helps to remember what you wrote down plus you want to always be able to take notes and some teachers no longer allow computers to be open during a lecture and handwritten notes don't need wifi.

 

Taking Classes Not Offered at WPS

Added on October 7, 2019 by Jordan.B

Taking Classes Not Offered at WPS

One thing many Windermere Prep students don't realize- you can take the electives or courses you want online even when the school doesn't directly offer them and still have it count as one of your class periods. If Windermere Prep isn't offering a course or elective you're passionate about/really want to take part in, you do have the possibility to take that course during the school year! There are many options offered as to what you can do to ensure you're taking a course you're excited to learn about. For example, I am taking a film course, and a photography course online this year. I am taking these classes because I'm extremely passionate about these subjects, and unfortunately, Windermere Prep does not offer them as a course. But, I don't have to let that restrict me from learning about what I want to do! It's awesome that Windermere Prep encourages their students to do what they're interested in, as they want their students to succeed, so I advise you to take advantage of this. 

Here are some things to consider if you're interested:

-You must talk to your counselor, and have them approve it. This is crucial! They must understand why you want to take the course and how it will benefit you in the future. Your counselor can discuss options with you as to what platforms meet Windermere Prep's standards/work best for you. 

-You need to be prepared to do work on your own. Online courses are relatively independent, so being self motivated is a must. An online course is still a class, and there are assignments and tests that may be due each week. You need to plan accordingly and allot time each week to complete assignments as you would for your classes at Windermere Prep.

-If you do end up taking an online course in place of one of your electives or other courses, you may be permitted early release. Since I am taking two online classes, I have early release each day, as I don't have a 6th or 7th period. This may not work/be ideal for every person's individual situations, but it is something to bring up when speaking to your counselor. 

 

Shadowing

Added on August 9, 2019 by Shailee.S

Shadowing

Do you know what you want to be when you grow up?  When we apply to college, many of us pick a major with a career path in mind. One of the best ways to experience different careers while in high school is shadowing. 

My first experience shadowing was in the field of cardiology with a Dr. Dinesh Arab. I had seen the patient side of going to the doctor but I had never seen the doctor's perspective. The day was fast paced, with the doctor moving from room to room seeing over 20 patients in a day. I marveled at the doctor's ability to  remember every patient's specific details and conditions. I asked Dr. Arab how he was able to do this and he told me, "Every patient has a different story and when you learn a little of that story you can easily remember who the person is and what has happened to them." He saw his role was more than fixing the physical ailments but also anything else bothering the patient. He also made it a part of his job to create a personal relationship. This reminded me of my own pediatrician who always said, "When you are talking to a patient they are 50% telling the truth and 50% lying, unless you create a personal relationship you won't be able to allow your patient to feel safe and talk to you openly." I saw the applications of this in Dr. Arab's office as he was always able to openly converse with his patients on any subject. I aspire to one day have similar doctor-patient relationships. 

This shadowing experience taught me about patient care and allowed me to see a different aspect of medicine. A majority of the job is being able to communicate face to face while also being able understand the symptoms and deduce the issue. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with Dr. Arab, and it reconfirmed my decision to go into medicine. 

Try shadowing and see if that is what you would like to be when you grow up!

 

Research at UCF

Added on July 16, 2019 by Shailee.S

Recently, I had the opportunity to do some research at UCF ( University of Central Florida). This experience gave me the opportunity to work in a more formal setting and see what the STEM field looks like at the college level. I worked with a UCF graduate student on noble metal dichalcogenides, NMDs. These are the combination of the noble metals and chalcogen groups. The combination of these elements can be used to create advanced parts in electronics. Much of my time spent there was reading and analyzing papers, along with, working on projects involving the creation of graphene. If you would like to see and experience what it is like working at the next level in STEM, then becoming a volunteer in a lab is a great place to start. If you reach out in March/April, many professors will be able to help you set up a project for the summer.

Linked here is a presentation I created about NMD's. If you have any sort of questions regarding research or professors please don't hesitate to ask.

https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1AFpksVtJ9llF9Fe_rS49-vrUjG9skC8z48Gi_O0JWl8/edit?usp=sharing

 

Softball

Added on May 4, 2019 by Shailee.S

My third year playing under Coach Wood was one to remember and was one of the peaks of the program. With our entire team returning we could pick up exactly where we left off and this led to us being extremely successful. As we played harder teams and played more public schools we saw that we were one of the best teams out there. Our rankings in the state rose to 6th among 3A Florida public schools. Our continuous work and effort allowed us to gain a spot in the playoffs. Not bad for a 0-12 team 2 seasons prior! Our apex was winning our district championship, a crowning achievement for our team. Reflecting back on this season I credit my team for helping me grow in maturity, selflessness, discipline, responsibility, confidence and trust. Go Lady Lakers!

 

A Look Into The Fine Arts

Added on March 10, 2019 by Nur.I

A Look Into The Fine Arts

Windermere Prep offers a wide variety of choices in their Fine Arts department - you can focus on traditional art, dance, drama, or band and orchestra music. I know that sounds daunting, especially if you're first entering high school. It can be hard to choose, especially if you think that you're not particularly good at any of these. But I'm here to tell you that innate talent should not guide you in your decisions, at least in the art program.

High school is the time when people really start to learn more about themselves. They learn what they want, what they're good at, and how to become more independent. They also learn to challenge themselves, and to try and learn new things that they've never done before.

Many of the students you see that blow you away with their sheer talent in art? It didn't come to them just like that. They dedicated time to practice and work on their skills because they genuinely wanted to learn. That's why the teachers are there: to help you learn and practice. They don't look at a student and think, "oh, they're good at dancing, I'm only taking them in my class." They look at a student and consider their potential.

There's no real way I can help you choose what you want to do in the Fine Arts program; that's all up to you. Think about what you want. Consider these questions:

  • Do you want to try something different and new?
  • Do you have a passion for something in the arts department? Do you want to stick with it
  • Do you want to challenge yourself?

Answering these questions will make it easier to make the decision, and hopefully it will leave you satisfied with whatever choice you make.

Good luck, everyone!

 

Transitioning to High School

Added on February 1, 2019 by Grace.A

Transitioning to High School

As you transition from middle school to high school, you start to get more work with due dates closer together. It's important to know the best way to study for tests and the best way to turn in assignments. One important tip is to know your teacher and figure out how they do the tests. Some give you practice tests, and for some, you may have to go up and ask the teacher. I have both of those cases this year as a freshman and it's important to know your teachers, tests and the material. Another important study tool that I learned is to not over complicate the question and just break it down, really understand it.

An important study tip I learned, is to also prioritize your time. This helps especially because if you have a very tight schedule and you think very little time to study for tests or work on assignments its very important you prioritize your time. Something I have learned this year is when I am stressed, the 2 hours that I have to do homework, I need to shut off my phone and just go and get it done. If you really try and just sit there and focus for a solid 2 hours, you could get the work done you would typically do in 5 or more.

 

Come Blog With Us At Reach A Student

Added on January 10, 2019 by Sarina

Come Blog With Us At Reach A Student

I hope everyone had an amazing New Year! 

Our goal at Reach a Student is to help the students at Windermere as much as possible by providing tips and help from a student's perspective.  Answering questions is a great way for students to connect and share with one another, however, the knowledge shared is limited by the questions asked.  Blogging allows students to share their thoughts more freely and anyone can provide their peers with whatever information they think would be beneficial.

Since I believe that every student has some kind of insight that could be useful to others at WPS, anyone can contribute their own personal entries to the blog.  I can even make your entry anonymous if you choose to.  I also believe that the WPS teachers have valuable experience from when they were students (for example, how they faced and overcame an obstacle that a student might be facing today), so I reach out to all WPS faculty and hope you will contribute to our blog. 

If you would like to submit a blog entry, email me at sarina@reachastudent.com

 

Embroidering Socks for the Elderly

Added on January 3, 2019 by Shailee.S

Embroidering Socks for the Elderly

I am very lucky to have known my maternal Great Grandmother, Moti Dadi. Her selflessness allowed my family to come to America. She followed her four children to the United States, and practiced customary Indian tradition by living with her eldest son. Unfortunately as she got older, they were unable to provide her the standard of care she needed. So at the age of 89, Moti Dadi, was moved to an assisted living care facility.

My family and I went to visit her as often as we could. I looked forward to our chats, which while she was in pain always started with her asking me, " How are you?" with a beaming smile. One of the last times I was able to sit with her - instead of her asking how I was, I got the chance to ask her. She told me about the hardships she faced: from large issues such as not being able to communicate with the staff to small issues such as her socks never making it back to her room. I wanted to reciprocate the care she had always shown me and asked my parents to write words in both Gujrati, our native language, and in English so whenever she needed help she could point at the English word and get the assistance she needed.

She mentioned how her socks always seemed to get lost in the dryer and she struggled to stay warm. I wrote her name on them with a Sharpie but this didn't solve the problem, after a couple of washes the letters began to fade. So then I embroidered her initials on the sock! After I left her with several pairs of embroidered socks, she called me to tell me that she was receiving all of her socks. I was so happy to provide her a little more comfort.

While talking to other residents at The Commons, I told them about my great grandmother and her story. Many of the residents had similar stories where they left their home countries to come to America in search of a better life or just to be closer to their families. I noticed while they were speaking many of their socks were miss matched and they also expressed a similar situation to my great grandmother's. So I began to make embroidered socks for each of the residents.

This experience has been a reminder of how small gestures can also be impactful. If you are interested in helping the local community, the assisted living care facility is a great place to start! The community is welcoming and always open to talking.

 

Cookies for the Elderly!

Added on January 2, 2019 by Shailee.S

Cookies for the Elderly!

I have always had a sweet tooth and love making cookies even more, especially at Christmas time.  One of my fondest memories growing up was when my whole family would put on Santa caps and decorate the tree. My mom would hand me and my two brothers ornaments to hang up while my dad videotaped us. During the holidays, I always looked forward to not just the decorating but the sweets. While holiday music played and we finished decorating the tree, my mom would make us a batch of chocolate chip cookies and peppermint hot chocolate (two of my favorite things). I was luckily to always be assigned the role of "taste tester".

While doing my monthly visit to The Commons senior care center I noticed many of the residents were not in  "the holiday spirit." I asked them about why they were feeling so mellow, and they expressed how they missed their families during these times. When I heard this, I could not even begin to imagine what it would feel to spend the holidays without my own family. To cheer up the residents, I decided to bake them homemade cookies and ask them about their own holidays and traditions. I heard from different residents who spoke about how their families did similar things to mine. We bonded over these similarities even though we were from different backgrounds. They spoke with such a reminiscent tone of the times they enjoyed. Many missed caroling, so I took them caroling to their fellow residents' rooms and we ate my homemade cookies together.   We created our own holiday traditions which I plan to experience with them next year, come join me and spread some holiday cheer!

 

The Responsibilities of a Theatre Student

Added on December 1, 2018 by Alex.S

The Responsibilities of a Theatre Student

With the new addition of the Cypress Center and the brand new theatre, there has been a lot of speculation of the theatre programs, including the addition of IB theatre - what does this all mean? I am able to participate in most theatre functions and have a large understanding of how the performing arts programs run daily, as well as all the opportunities available for students.

Thespians

It's called "Thespians" for short, however it is the International Thespian Society. This is a club that revolves around theatre in general, as well as going to theatre competitions. Students practice scenes, monologues, songs, and technical events like costume design and playwriting, and participate in a festival for a few days in our district whilst being judged, and if they get a high enough score, can take a trip to the Florida state festival and take workshops and classes from the very best as well as performing. However, thespians has multiple other events for those who do not get into districts- this includes Improv. Night, The Haunted House, Shakespeare Night, and many new events such as Miscast and W factor (in which boys perform female numbers and vise versa), and school events like the homecoming parade. However, this club forms a community and even if you do not participate on stage or backstage but enjoy the art form, then it is to learn about and celebrate everything theatre has to offer.

WHAT THESPIANS REQUIRE

  • Meetings every Friday
  • Energy whenever we meet or participate!
  • Watch or participate in other theatrical events/shows
  • Go to districts and if possible state
  • Spread the word of theatre around WPS!

OFFICER LIFE

The Officers are very involved in running thespians - our sponsor helps us, however organization of events is all us. We make plans for all the meetings, send emails, and decide what to do throughout the year. We have to be leaders of the troupe and help critique district pieces, have separate meetings, go to club events, find ways to raise money, etc. It is very busy, almost like a job as well have to do something everyday, but very rewarding.

School Shows

With the opening of the cypress center came a plethora of new school shows for students to participate in - both offstage and onstage. These include the current "Peter Pan" All School, the high school play "Steel Magnolias", the HS/MS musical of "Addams Family", as well as the Lower Schoolers "Cinderella" and the MS Broadway review. There will also be a summer camp show of "Les Miserables" in which anyone in the community can participate in. This means that it is a fulfilling year for both technical and theatrical students, but it is also a lot of work.

  1. The Students must research the show and prepare songs and sides before auditions
  2. Auditions and callbacks last approximately a week, with students getting tried for multiple rows and learning new material throughout the week until the roles are chosen
  3. Once roles are given out, students must learn their lines as quickly as possible - once the scene has been blocked it should be memorized and not revisited until cleaning.
  4. Depending on the role, students must be present for long hours after school and for multiple days in the week. For example in peter pan, I have rehearsal 4-5 days a week until 6pm. If not in a scene, students would be memorizing lines or doing homework.
  5. Many techies have to shadow performers and come to rehearsals in order to see how the show runs and to practice moving sets/lightning/finding props
  6. There will be weekend rehearsals for both set building and for full runs of the show, which can be long and detailed and tiring.
  7. Tech week is the busiest time for a production- students spend long amounts of time in the theatre working the show, usually until 7-9 at night. Juggling this and school work as well as other extracurricular activities can be very difficult, and the rehearsals take a lot of time and effort in order to make sure as the pieces of the puzzle (the set, music, blocking, and other technical effects) fit together.
  8. Show week is the time in which the months of preparation are worth it- students work hard in order to show everyone what they had been working on. It is tiring, but rewarding to see the positive comments and to have an audience. There is usually more time to do other work as well.
  9. After the final show, students are rewarded with an after party in which they get to relax and celebrate their work. It can be quite sad to close a show because of all the effort put into it and the memories made, but soon students get excited for the next and will take what they have learnt from the past show with them.

Classes

The performance sets are very difficult to maintain, therefore many students take classes in and outside of school in order to keep and improve their skills. A lot of theatre students take dance classes in order to keep with the demand of movement in shows, as well as musical theatre which can contain high intensity dancing in multiple styles. They also take choir or chorus, to learn the proper technique of singing, the different variations, and how to be united in a group. Both of these classes also give the benefit of making the student a triple threat, something desired in the community because of the versatility of the student that allows them to perform roles with multiple requirements (for example a character that can sing opera, or Tap dances). Some students even take music classes to learn or understand musical instruments and how to read music- there are many shows that now require actors to play instruments and the business is very competitive. These music students also have an opportunity to play in the orchestra of a show.

However, the most important part is acting or theatrical classes. It is the backbone of musical theatre - performance is about expressing yourself, which is what this class does. There is so much variation in acting and an actor can always improve in each style and in each style and needs constant direction in order to be as close to perfect as possible. This helps abstract theatre, speech, script work, directing and critiquing others, and being able to learn about techniques.

Technical theatre is also expanding at our school, through the use of the art classes. WPS is beginning to make its own sets, and creative minds are needed for this. Students that take art classes are creative, problem solvers, able to view the full picture and see what compliments, and bring new ideas to the table.

It is important to take these fine and performing art classes because it keeps the students in a creative mindset, allows them to expand and grow, and can bring it to their multiple projects.

Volunteering

Many students find their volunteer hours through the performing arts. Many of the lower school and middle school shows invite HS and MS students to tech backstage or stage manager, as well as help the children, and the high school shows have a tech team that consists of high school students- for example, many high school students are "fly crew" in Peter Pan, which is a very big job. Not only does it create leadership and organizational skills, but it gives students many CAS and volunteer hours. Thespians tech at both W factor and Mr. Windermere Prep, and students usually help the performing arts teachers in tasks.

 

How to Succeed in IB Pysch!

Added on November 10, 2018 by Nabiha.A

How to Succeed in IB Pysch!

In the IB Diploma program, I am taking Psychology at the HL level. This course fully revolves around real-life events, and there is a focus on biological, cognitive, and sociocultural levels of analysis. In addition to learning about these aspects, we need to know and understand many studies - which could be experiments, observations, correlations, and etc. These complex studies are used for short answer questions (SAQ) and Essays. Although a SAQ requires one study and an essay requires three (most of the time), students need to know much more to be fully prepared for an exam. From my experience, here are some of the things that I think are helpful.

    • Understanding will help you memorize: This course requires a high degree of knowledge on the material taught. In order to know such a multitude of background information and those "studies," I have to start studying one to two weeks ahead of time. In this way, I would retain (and understand) the information for a much longer time and I would be more confident about it. This is also a way for me to have questions in mind to ask the teacher. Usually, cramming might help you for a one-day exam, but it won't help in the long-run.
    • Outlines: For the SAQ's AND Essays, writing an outline for each prompt (or most of them) is highly recommended. In this way, the format is easier to remember, especially since the organization is a big part of the writing requirement.
    • Making Connections: Try to connect levels of analysis to your daily life. Psychology is all around us, and comparing what you learn to your personal experiences will help you understand the material even better.
    • Talking to the Teacher: Asking questions to the teacher and reviewing over certain sections can be very helpful. Ms. Isley is very kind and is always happy to help:)
    • Review: It is important to know that the IB Exam in May of your senior year is a cumulative exam. I would recommend reviewing previous material from time to time, especially since lots of material can be forgotten with the breaks.

 

A Junior's Guide to The College Application Process

Added on October 30, 2018 by Jenna.B

A Junior's Guide to The College Application Process

If you're a junior, you know that practically everyone has begun breathing down your neck about college. 11th grade is the year where you research, visit and begin to decide upon which colleges you want to apply to. The college search process can be daunting, especially when you don't know where to start. Here are some tips from a senior who just applied to three schools today!

What Should Matter in The Search Process?

The school you attend will be your home for the next four (possibly more) years. You'll want to consider whether you'll be happy there. One factor you should consider is the location and atmosphere of the school. How far away do you want to be from home? You have the opportunity to move somewhere completely new. Do you prefer living in the city or in a more traditional style campus? You'll also want to consider the people that attend that college and the professors. Could you see yourself making friends and lasting connections there? Also, consider the dorms that the school offers. Would you feel comfortable there? Another factor you'll want to consider is majors and academic programs. You are going to college to learn, after all. You'll want to look for a school that offers the program or major you're interested in and research exactly what that program entails. Even if you are undecided, are there a number of majors or programs you could potentially choose later on? In addition, you'll want to consider if the school has any athletic programs or extracurricular activities that you are interested in. Even though you are there to learn, you won't spend all of your time on academics so you'll want to look for somewhere where you can also enjoy yourself. Some additional factors that might come into play in your search might be internships in the area, study abroad programs, leadership programs, etc).

What Shouldn't Matter in The Search Process?

There are many misconceptions about what to look for in a college. Just because a college is popular or has a good reputation, doesn't mean that you should apply there. I'm not discouraging you from applying to those schools, just be sure you are applying there because you could really see yourself there and not because the college is a household name. Also, just because a college has a lower acceptance rate, that doesn't mean it is any better than a school with a higher acceptance rate. Don't apply to a school simply because their acceptance rate is 10%. Apply to that school if you feel that it is a good fit. An acceptance rate should not be a deciding factor, it is only important in showing you your chances of getting into that school. You don't want to apply to a college based on a reputation, so make sure you like the school enough to consider going there if you are admitted.

What Should You Consider?

There are many factors you should consider in the process. One of these factors, as mentioned before, is location. Do you want to stay instate or do you want to move out-of-state? My advice is that you should apply to a mix of both, if you are unsure. Another factor you should consider is the size of the school. Size of schools can range anywhere between 2,000 students to 50,000 students. The social dynamic is going to vary depending on the size of the school, so you should consider whether you want to be a part of a smaller, closer-knit community, or a larger, more diverse community? As mentioned above, you should also consider majors and programs. Some majors may be more rare, and not all colleges may offer that major. On the other end of the spectrum, some majors are offered at almost every school, so you should search for a program that stands out to you (in a good way). Lastly, you should consider the cost of the school. This is something you'll want to discuss with your parents later on, but you should be aware that depending on whether the college is private or public and whether you are paying in-state or out-of-state tuition, cost is going to vary greatly.

Where to Start Looking?

Now that you are aware of what to keep in mind during the search process, you are probably wondering where to start. I recommend starting with one factor on the list above and using Naviance or Google to find colleges that potentially fit one of those factors. If you know of a college that you're already interested in, research that college and see if you like what they offer. Later on, you should start to look into the requirements for the application process and plan to visit the campus if you can. Visiting the campus will give you a better feel for the atmosphere and the people that attend the school.

Even though you don't need to start looking for colleges until second semester (summer, at the latest), it isn't a bad idea to get a jump-start during the first semester. Don't stress out about finding the perfect college, you only need to find a list of schools that you are interested in. Most students apply to somewhere between four to eight schools, but your interest list can be much longer than that. You'll be able to narrow down that list later on when you start to apply.

Good luck with your college search process!

 

Navigating APUSH

Added on October 16, 2018 by Natalie.W

Navigating APUSH

If you have ever heard of APUSH (AP US History), you probably heard that it is one of the toughest classes at Windermere Prep. Compared to other schools, WPS offers this course at 9th grade, while other schools offer it at 11th and 12th. I am just going to flat out say that if you aren't willing to work hard and put in the time, then this class is definitely not for you, as the work never stops. Now as a former survivor of APUSH, I know a few things about how this class works, and what it takes to succeed.

Outlines

The first part of this course is outlines. Every night, you basically summarize a part of a textbook chapter in a specific format, which Mr. Zoslow then checks the next day. Every outline is a total of 3 points, so as long as you complete it, you should get full credit. Of course it depends on how many pages your reading is for that night, but my outlines were around 10 pages, give or take a few pages. You might be stressing out during your first outline, and it might take you a long time, but just know that they get easier as you continue on throughout the year. My advice to you is to use every minute of the day for outlines. Even 5 minutes at the end of another class can get you a few paragraphs outlined. Don't worry about making everything perfect, because honestly Mr. Zoslow just scrolls through it, and doesn't actually read everything word for word.

KBATS

KBATS are just a bunch of vocab words that you think are necessary to study for the unit exam. The catch is that Mr. Zoslow doesn't give you a vocab list, but you have to come up with the words yourself and then write definitions for them. My suggestion is to either underline or highlight your KBATS while you are outlining so you can go back and know which words you thought were important. Some won't agree with me, but I found it easy to complete my KBATS while I was outlining so that way I didn't have to worry about them later. You will just have to determine what works best for you. Make sure you are only doing definitions for words that are necessary, or you will end up with a couple hundred words for each chapter. Lastly, DO NOT procrastinate these. I guarantee the last thing you want is to have to complete a couple hundred vocab words in one night.

EDQs

EDQs (essential daily questions) are a necessity in this class if you want to succeed. You get a specific question based off of your reading from the night before, and you have to answer it in the form of an essay. When you come to class the next day, there are usually 3-4 readers depending on time, and you get 10 points for reading your EDQ, even if it is completely wrong. It definitely takes a lot of courage to read in front of your classmates, but just know that your classmates really don't listen to the EDQs. Even though you may think that Mr. Zoslow isn't paying attention, he definitely is, so don't try to slide in some wrong information or information from a different topic. There are three main components that you have to include by the end of the year; thesis, contextualization, and synthesis. You will gradually need to do all three, but the first quarter is just composing a thesis. After you read your EDQ, Mr. Zoslow will ask you to repeat your thesis. Don't worry about not knowing how to write one in the beginning, but just make sure you know what you are talking about. Don't try to make up information that isn't true or accurate, because Mr. Zoslow will ask you about it.  You want to make sure that you get your readings done as soon as possible. When you get to the end of the quarter, everyone is in the same boat as you, and then there are too many people and too few days for everyone to read and get their points. At the end of the year for me, there was a huge waiting list everyday for reading your EDQs, and some people emailed 2-3 weeks in advance for a spot to read. You want to complete them every night and not procrastinate doing them, because you will eventually have to turn in an EDQ packet at the end with all of your essays. It is definitely harder to write an essay and remember the information from a month ago, rather than just writing it the night you learned the material.

Unit Exams

I'm not gonna lie; the unit exams you will take for APUSH will SEEM very impossible, but they aren't. After your first few tests, you learn what Mr. Zoslow is looking for, and what it takes to get a good grade. When studying for these exams, don't focus too much about the minor details, but make sure you know the overall picture. You have the whole class period to complete the test, so right when you walk in the door, make sure you already have your pens and highlighters in hand. Trust me: every minute counts. There are 55 multiple choice questions, and there is no possible way that you could get all of them right. I would recommend to spend about 10 minutes on the multiple choice because the essay is where you get the most points. When you get to the essay, make sure you do a little 2-3 min outline of what you are going to write, because that alone can get you 5 points. You get a point for everything you get right, but a point off for something wrong, or even more points if it is a really dumb answer, so just right everything that you know. However, if you are unsure of a date or a specific detail, don't write it, because you may get a point taken off for it. Make sure you frame the narrative, and for every person that you introduce, make sure that you describe him/her and not just simply write their name. If you are given documents, you MUST use all documents or else you will get points taken off. Keep reminding yourself that you are in APUSH, so make sure you don't find yourself focusing too much on other countries. Lastly, sleep is the most important thing. If you don't get enough sleep, your brain can't properly function, and you won't be able to remember any of the information.

Grading the Unit Exams

All of the APUSH tests are curved, which means that points are added on to your raw score. Your raw score is the actual grade that Mr. Zoslow got from your exam, but the curve is made based on how everyone else does. If everyone did really good on the test, then the curve is going to be lower, but if everyone did bad, the curve might be higher. There is what is called a floor, which is the lowest possible score someone could get. If you get lower than the floor, then the floor score is the one that shows up in the gradebook. For example, if someone got a raw score of 20, the curve was 40, and the floor was a 65, then they would get a 65 in their grade book. If someone got a raw score of 80, and the curve was 40, then they would get a 99 because that is the highest grade you could get.  Just know that your first probably won't be the score that you wanted, but it will get better from there.

Study tips

Use your friends for resources, because they are going through the same struggles that you are. Collaboration is key in this class, because there is so much information that you can't possibly remember all of it. Use your prep book, and watched jocz production videos. Before tests, look up practice essay questions and write out a brief outline just to practice to ensure you know the information. Take notes during class so that you make sure you are paying attention and can later use them for a review resource.

The AP Exam 

At the end of the year, you will take the nationwide APUSH exam. It includes a DBQ, a long essay, multiple choice, and short answer questions. Your grade is given on a scale from 1-5, but don't expect that you are going to get a 5. Remember that you are going against juniors and seniors, and a 5 is really hard to get. I would definitely study a lot for this exam because you want to get at least the passing grade of a 3. Also, at the end of the year there is a US history subject test that is required for some colleges, so I would recommend taking it so that way you don't have to worry about it when you are a junior or senior.

One thing to know about this class is that it never stops, not even during breaks or on weekends. Even when you finish an outline, you always have one for the next day or another assignment you should be doing to get ahead. Despite all of the work that you have to do, it is really hard to do badly in this class, as long as you complete all of the necessary work. Even if you get the floor on every test but complete all of your EDQs, KBATS, and outlines, then you might end up with a B. This class is very independent, and it teaches you how you best learn and how to manage your time better. One thing to steer away from is comparing yourself to other people. Don't panic if someone already had their outline done for tomorrow when you haven't even started. Everybody works at their own pace and in their own way. By the end of the year, you will be thinking and working 10 times faster than you were in the beginning of the year. Just know that at the end of the year, you will finally be able to say, "I survived APUSH", and trust me, it's a great feeling.

 

Shailee Shroff 's Special Olympics Football Event with NFL Super Bowl Champion Ray Lewis

Added on September 10, 2018 by Student

Shailee Shroff 's Special Olympics Football Event with NFL Super Bowl Champion Ray Lewis

After participating in the Special Olympics and WPS football clinic and watching the Ray Lewis interview, I want to send a word of thanks to Shailee Shroff on a stellar job!  It was a once in a lifetime event to have the Hall of Famer - Ray Lewis participate with us in teaching football skills to Special Olympics athletes on Saturday at WPS. Not only did it build up the WPS Football team, but we had a great time teaching these great kids about a sport we love.  I especially loved seeing all fun personalities on the Special Olympics team from areas as far as Vero Beach and Lake County.   It was crazy how excited and hyped up they were to meet Mr. Lewis!  Your tenacious and persistent nature helped to get Mr. Lewis to attend – I am sure this was not an easy task.  The questions you asked during the interview helped me realize that he is a caring guy who is much bigger in life than the sports figure on TV.  He gave some great advice and showed the power of dreaming and believing in yourself.  Thanks for inspiring me Shailee!

 

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