The students that volunteer their time and knowledge on Reach a Student are eligible to receive community service hours. We are looking to expand our roster of academic and athletic mentors, interviewers, and video editors to help inspire and answer school-related questions.
Reach a Student is a website established to give students direct communication access to student mentors in various grade levels. Students will be able to reach out to other students and ask any questions they have regarding student and campus life. The site will also stream videos of students sharing their experiences at Windermere Prep as well as activities around campus.
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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.
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.
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:
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!
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 (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.
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.
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.
If you've ever found yourself floundering to maintain your grades, barely getting by the first week of school, follow these tips and strategies I have cultivated over my past two years as a high school student at Windermere Prep.
Time management and Organization
When school, sports, and other extracurriculars get crazy, time management is key to maintain a good learning experience. As a high school student, or a student of any grade, you need to recognize what needs to be done urgently and what can wait. The best way to do this is by finding a system of organization. Whether it be a planner, Google doc, or a notebook, find a place where you can organize everything that needs to be done into categories: mandatory work, extra work, questions you might have, due dates, reminders, notes, etc…This will let you know exactly what you have to do, when, and what's coming up.
Talk to your Teachers
As much as you don't want to believe it, your teachers are here to help you! Don't hesitate to ask them for help after school or during SRT. A key piece of information worth remembering is that when you actively invest in your education, your teachers will notice this and think of you more often, finding ways to help you and always keeping in mind what you might need. They will come to you with more detailed suggestions and resources.
Review, Review, Review!
The best way to lighten up on studying for a final, midterm, or even a test or quiz, is to constantly review. Create a system where you review your classes, whether it be 15 minutes daily for each class, or a couple hours on the weekend. Doing this keeps the knowledge fresh, which will ultimately help you study effectively for big cumulative tests or exams. This will also keep you from cramming, giving more time to process the information. When you do this, studying is truly just review, not relearning!
Prepare for Classes
Another great way to stay on top of classes, especially challenging ones, is to introduce the next topic to yourself with some light textbook (or whatever resource is best for the class) pre-reading. This sets up the unit for you and puts you at an advantage. Don't worry if you don't understand at first, when you begin learning with your teacher and other students, your questions will be gone! This gives you more time to understand and process the concept.
Make use of your Resources
This might be obvious, but don't overlook any resources your teachers give you! These resources are an opportunity, use them wisely! The most accessible and best ones are those added by your teacher on Canvas. One of the best and most useful resources I have found is the canvas calendar. With all your future assignments and tests listed, you can see the exact workload for the upcoming weeks and plan accordingly. If you still find yourself struggling with the class, ask your teacher for more practice or good websites. You can also do your own research and find websites and books to help.
Take Good Notes and be an Active Student
Arguably the most important of these tips is to be an active member of your class. If you have questions, ask them! They are most likely legitimate questions that everyone else also has. They also might bring up a good argument or sub topic that needs to be addressed to avoid confusion later. You might just be doing everyone a favor when you ask questions. You should also try to make connections and share ideas to the class, as this could facilitate a well-rounded discussion with your peers. Lastly, take. good. notes. Find what works best for you and stick with it. This could be hand written notes, flashcards, typed notes…anything! Good notes does not necessarily mean copy every word down. Good notes are ones that summarize main ideas and include key details. You might also want to analyze the information you have and apply it in different ways to test your understanding.
Learn, do not Just Study
Make sure your priorities and reasons for studying are well-intentioned. Do not just study to attain the "perfect grade". Understand the information given to you, and be able to apply it. This is how you truly make use of what you learn in school.
Recognize the Importance of your Education
As much as we think the things we learn in school are useless, and while we might not remember them or use them later, that doesn't mean we shouldn't learn them! The benefit of learning something "useless" is not in its content, but in the skills developed and used. These classes teach us to think critically, analyze the information, and apply it. Attaining knowledge at our level is an opportunity, so seize every minute of it, whether you think it minuscule or not. And perhaps the most important piece of advice I can give you, do it for yourself. Do it for your self-improvement, for your enrichment, and for your enjoyment. Find what makes you love learning and pursue it, no matter if it isn't the safest bet. Be a reasonable risk-taker. No matter what you pursue, if you do it whole-heartedly, you will find your way to success. Enjoy what you learn and do it to become the best version of you, to become a well-rounded and worldly citizen. And remember, grades are not the final and only measurement of intelligence. As long as you are trying, improving, and working hard, your grades will reflect that. If they don't, there might other aspects of an education that you are stronger in, and those are just as important!
Many students dedicate a lot of their time to extracurriculars, sports, volunteer work, jobs, etc. I myself have dedicated my entire life to gymnastics, where I spend every afternoon of every week practicing for just a few moments of glory every year. Spending all of this time involved in something like this makes you realize how important time is, especially when you're involved in the IB program. After all of these years, I have picked up a few tips and tricks on time management and how balancing your social life, extracurriculars, and school work can be done effectively. I've finally learned that balancing my time would help me in the long run and would relieve a lot of unnecessary stress as well.
Firstly, realizing where your time is going helps you understand how you could be using your time better and create a more efficient schedule that lets you control where your time is being spent and how it could be spent better. Setting priorities helps you focus on activities that are most important and allows you to categorize the most important to least important things you need to get done. The best way to manage your time is to stay organized. I recommend using a calendar or planner and daily to-do list, to check off items as you complete them. I also recommend doing tough tasks first while you're fresh and alert and breaking large projects down into smaller chunks to complete these projects more efficiently. I know my main drawback when it comes to time management is procrastination. I've learned that the best ways to avoid procrastination is to set daily priorities, try focusing for short amounts of time instead of hours at a time, and attempting difficult tasks at your high-energy time since your concentration will be easier then. Don't allow interruptions, like a loud room to study or your friend's bothering you, get in your way or else juggling your work may seem much more difficult than it actually is and you'll just become more discouraged. These few tips and tricks may just save you from a sleepless night of studying in the future.
Contrary to my 8th grade year, this year's team was very successful. I was adamant not to give up on playing softball even though the previous year we had was disheartening. We had developed very good team chemistry despite having no wins and we were feeling confident of having a better season. People seemed to sense this and wanted to be a part of our team. We had some experienced players come to our school and join our team furthering our enthusiasm. Having these skilled members, allowed our team to position players by skill not by necessity.
Our team and coaching staff worked together like a well oiled machine. Our compatibility coupled with a desire to win led to a change in our record from 0-12 to 10-6. As a dedicated, experienced member of the team, I was awarded the position of team captain, as a 9th grader. I continued to encourage others around me and I was determined to be the best teammate I could be. To improve my skills, I would take time after practice to do extra drills on the field or in the batting cage.
After my first event, the Special Olympics Basketball Clinic with Windermere Prep, I decided to host another Special Olympics Clinic with the track team. I hoped to have an equally successful camp but there were fewer WPS Athletes than at the Basketball clinic. The disproportionate ratio of WPS Athletes to Special Olympics athletes made me nervous and I wasn't sure how this camp would turn out in comparison to the basketball camp. After starting the camp, I realized this could be one of the most successful camps because the coaches got the chance to work directly with the athletes, which changed the environment of the camp. Instead of the WPS players doing a drill next to the players, they were leading a group of Special Olympic Athletes. The WPS track runners displayed patience when teaching and persistence in making sure Special Olympic athletes were learning new skills. The Special Olympics' athletes were eager to learn and when they struggled used the experienced players around them to gain help. Even though I felt unsettled by the fact there was an uneven proportion of athletes to mentors, all the participants were excited to be learning and playing a sport they loved!
In the WPS Community, there is very little awareness about special needs children. The goal of these camps is to increase awareness among our local community and allow both groups to bond in their commonalities. As my camps continue to grow, I hope they will provide a platform for an inclusive environment for Special Olympics.
Growing up with 2 brothers and no sisters made me an automatic sports lover. The one thing which brought us together was football. My desire to learn more about the medical field and love for football led to me to accept a position as an athletic trainer for Windermere Preparatory School Football. Even though I always watched football on Sunday nights, I never knew athletic trainers played such a vital support role in the game.
Every day after school, the student athletic training team would prepare for practice, which consisted of filling up water and Gatorade jugs, wrapping wrists and ankles, and tending to sore joints and other practice injuries. Contrary to the popular belief that the Student Athletic Trainers are "water girls", the truth is there is much more to the job. Being a member of the team means consistently being ready to help any player. The toughest job during games was blood and wound duty - in 30 seconds we had to change gloves, stop any bleeding, and wrap a player's arm!
Student Athletic trainers had to oversee the well being of all the players on the field on both sides of the ball. Being a member of this team has taught me how to be an effective communicator. Lack of communication, would oftentimes mean players were left with injuries needing attention or players not receiving any water. For different types of injuries, we would have hand signals to bring out certain equipment. Our ability to communicate effectively when a massive injury occurred was potentially life-saving for the players.
Being a Student Athletic Trainer requires selflessness, dedication, and persistence. The team performing at its best is dependent on having athletes in the best physical condition during, before and after the game. This is a cornerstone of the commitment of a Student Athletic Trainer. If you want to be a trainer, please don't hesitate to reach out and see if you have what it takes.
Volunteering at the Special Olympics State Office was a very inspiring experience. While I only performed clerical work, I quickly learned how Special Olympics plays an integral role in the athletes' lives: inspiring confidence and teamwork.
When reading through feedback questionnaires from the athletes, one of the questions asked was: "What is your favorite part about playing sports with the Special Olympics?" The athletes' responses unanimously said they enjoyed playing and meeting other people. Many of them mentioned that they were alleviated of social anxiety when playing team sports.
Considering the benefits Special Olympics (SO) events had on the athletes, I was inspired to provide them more opportunities for memorable experiences. As a member of multiple WPS (Windermere Preparatory School) athletic teams, I knew about the extensive athletic resources and experienced coaches we have. I thought this would be an excellent way to use WPS resources. Furthermore, my peers would also get a chance to train and teach while playing a sport they loved. Thus, I conceived the idea to create clinics which integrated Special Olympics athletes with WPS athletes.
The first Special Olympics-WPS camp was with the WPS Basketball program. On the morning of November 18, 2017, WPS hosted its first Special Olympics-WPS athletics clinic, with 25 special olympic athletes and 44 WPS High School basketball players (3 teams of players). I did not expect such a large turnout. Each of the Special Olympic Athletes were paired off with 2 WPS Athletes. They worked together to complete drills and at the end participated in a scrimmage.
I witnessed not only the Special Olympics athletes laughing and having fun, but also my fellow WPS classmates. The WPS players were lifting kids up and teaching them how to slam dunk. They also took the opportunity to teach all the athletes the most important part of a game: the celebration dance. The coaches turned on music and the players formed a circle to watch. They took turns dancing and showed each other how to do different dance moves. As I watched this, I saw how the camps had the ability to create awareness and an inclusive environment.
As a school privileged with many skilled coaches, WPS was able to share its resources and help improve the skills of the SO players. While there were many differences between the Special Olympics players and the WPS players, their love for the same sport brought them together and created a lasting bond.
This camp created a welcoming atmosphere and allowed both groups to share a sport they love. After the camp, Coach Ben Wilson came up to me and said, "This was one of the coolest things I have been a part of and I want the Special Olympic athletes to be a part of our team at a game." Many athletes saw it takes one small connection to form a friendship. With more awareness and exposure to special needs athletes, I hope our WPS community will become more inclusive. I believe it starts with camps such as these.
If you would like to get more involved in the Special Olympics community, reach out to your county chapter and sign up as a coach or an assistant coach. In addition, the state office is always looking for volunteers. The Special Olympics are a great way to spread your passion for a sport while helping a good cause.
I unfortunately was not old enough to work at our local shelter. So I decided instead to come up with a drive to support animals. I spoke to my local community, handed out flyers and people brought toys and sealed bags of food to donate to ASPCA. We gathered round 30 bags of food and a hundred different toys to donate! When I dropped off these items, the staff told me how the dogs love the toys and the food helps them keep every animal who comes in fed. Next year I hope to be a Bark Buddy and help take care of the pets at the shelter. If you enjoy being around animals come and join me in helping the ASPCA!
Transitioning from the Middle School Student Government Association to High School SGA is a big change. I was a member in middle school and when I became a high school member I was able to see the increased amount of responsibility and commitment that was needed. In high school, even as a freshman, you play an integral role in all parts of SGA. While the transition is difficult, there are a lot of ways to continue your leadership and make sure your voice is heard.
1. Speak up
a. When you have an idea on how to make an event better speak up and make sure your voice is heard. It can be something as small as where tickets are sold to a change in venue. All of SGA appreciates ideas. If you really want to make sure your idea is considered, take some time and think through the logistics, and how things would work and then suggest the full idea. This will showcase your communicative abilities and make sure your ideas are approved.
2. Show Up
a. Be present at all events and make sure you encourage your friends to come. The more you show up and show you are dedicated the more SGA will notice.
a. Take the time to communicate properly. If you can't be present at an event make sure you email at least twenty-four hours in advance of your absence. Also making sure your thoughts and rationale are clear in meetings and emails, this is a sure way to succeed in SGA.
a. In High School SGA, you have to take on a lot of responsibility. This can mean everything from picking up supplies to helping lead events. To complete all your tasks make sure you do not take on too much. If you take responsibility for your job and your actions, you will succeed in SGA.
The change this past year from Middle School to High School SGA was difficult but don't be afraid to face the challenge as it will help turn you into the best leader you can be.
I have played everything from tennis to lacrosse. However, the sport that truly changed my life was softball. As an 8th grader varsity player I had little experience, was scared to play, and was unfamiliar with our new coach. "This is a new experience for a majority of us but let's start by taking it one game at a time," said my coach, JD Wood. Although he had experience coaching sports, he was inexperienced coaching female athletes. His leadership and time in the Army taught him how to lead us and unite us as a team, which was his goal for the season and ultimately inspired me.
This year, I started as the catcher. I had no experience in the position, but it fueled me to work harder and grow as a player. Even though I didn't particularly enjoy catching, I refused to give up and took my position behind the plate as I knew everyone had to play a role for the team to succeed. I was determined to help turn our losing team into a winning one; however, it was not to be. Despite being 0-12 and receiving a mercy-ruling every game, our team's spirit, energy, and unity never wavered. Coach kept our spirits up and rallied the team to continue to work towards improvement game after game.
Although this season was not our desired outcome, it taught me about being a leader and a teammate. Being a leader means demanding the best out of others and yourself. Through our year in WPS Softball, I also learned many valuable things from my teammates: selflessness, trust, confidence, respect and communication. Being a leader or a teammate on a WPS athletics team does not mean you necessarily are the best player but it means you consistently show determination and give your best effort through all of the ups and downs. If you are interested in being a member of the WPS Softball team, please be sure to come out to tryouts next season. We are accepting anyone who wants to learn and be a part of the family we are creating.
At Windermere Prep, we're lucky to have such a well-developing, ambitious, and growing Arts Program available to students of all ages, no matter their level of skill. One of these many programs is the Dance Program, taught by Gilliane Hadley and Alison Barron. Many students, new or returning, may have questions or hesitations about the Dance Program at our school, which is why I sat down with high school dance instructor, Ms. Hadley, to provide some answers to any of your questions.
What do you like the most about the dance program at Windermere Prep?
H: What I like most about the dance program is that you get to dance everyday and I get to see you grow throughout the year. I've had students since they were freshman and now they're about to graduate as seniors. I also love that the fact that the dancers have different levels they can dance in and then they have a choice to take IB Dance or stick with elective dance or do both, which is amazing. I love that they get the opportunity to perform and do activities with Juilliard.
How do you think dance counts as both a sport and an art? Why are both elements important?
H: As an art, because it's a performing art, right? As for being mixed with a sport and art, we're physical, we're always moving, our heart rate is elevated, and we are our own athletes in our own way. Our bodies need to be warm like an athlete and will wear down like an athlete. For each genre of dance, there are certain skills and elements you need to know, just like any sport.
How do you come up with our themes and visions for our dance shows?
H: Sometimes it just happens, and sometimes I just hear something in a song. Music inspires me a lot. If I hear something, I can totally envision certain groups of kids dancing to it, which is how I figure out what dances you're going to do. Regarding the themes of the shows, me and Mrs. Barron really work together trying to figure that out because we have to be able to pick something that not only you guys will be excited about, but also what will inspire us to create those dances. We always like to challenge you and ourselves. Sometimes we think, "Oh my gosh, what are we doing?" But we are always thinking of you guys and what will keep you excited about dance and challenge some classes technique wise.
What do you think the dance program at Windermere Prep has to offer students and aspiring dancers?
H: So, for students who love to dance, it's a nice break from sitting at a desk all day. It should be an escape from your busy school schedule. Yes, I have high expectations for you, but if you love to dance, those expectations should be second nature. I can only help you so much, but if you try, those accomplishments are worth it in the end. Sometimes it's hard, because our classes are so short in terms of regular dance classes. Celeste, one of my aspiring dancers who graduated last year, found it hard to go to auditions and face the dance world because she couldn't take away everything that she should have. But we are not a studio, we are a school. It's not about taking a technique class. There are things we have to dive into more such as terminology, dance history, watching the works of other dancers and choreographers and creating compositions. I try to base our classes off how performing arts schools teach their dancers and try to shape versatile dancers. I want students to be able to walk into an audition or a dance group in college and be able to dance any genre or style, even if dancing professionally is not their ultimate goal.
Why do you think students should take a dance class next year, even if they've never danced before and what can they take away from it?
H: They should not take a dance class if they don't like to move or sweat. I think they should take a dance class because it's good for your health and it builds your brain in a different way. It's a release and it's enjoyable. It's interesting to see dancers in the first month and see which dancers make it to the next semester and the changes in the way they dance; it amazes me every time. They come in so enthusiastic and so ready to be challenged more. The best reason to take dance is that you really learn who you are and how much discipline you have and how much you really want to grow as a person.
Since Reach A Student is all about getting and sharing insight within school communities, I was hoping to meet the new owners of our school - Windermere Preparatory School when I was on vacation this summer in Hong Kong. I honestly did not know what to expect from my visit to the Nord Anglia Education Head Office. Ms. Sarah Doyle had arranged for me to meet and interview the CEO himself, Mr. Andrew Fitzmaurice.
The interview was scheduled for 11am on a Thursday and our hotel was located in the tallest building in Hong Kong on Kowloon and their office was on Hong Kong Island so our taxi went on a short ride through a tunnel that crossed the famous harbor in just a few minutes. The drive only took a quick 15 minutes to reach St. Georges Building where Nord Anglia Education had the entire 12th Floor.
After a quick wait in their reception area, Ms. Doyle came out to greet me and take me to Mr. Fitzmaurice's office. He has a beautiful office with a great view of the harbor and the Hong Kong Eye (which looks a lot like the Orlando Eye). Ms. Doyle and Mr. Fitzmaurice were very kind and Mr. Fitzmaurice shared some nice stories about himself, his family and Nord Anglia Education.
Ms. Doyle was really kind and presented me with some literature about some of their programs as well as a boxed gift, which was very generous of her. They explained some of the opportunities that Windermere Prep students could now benefit from – like Global Classroom and the Julliard partnership. It was an amazing experience and I can't thank Nord Anglia leadership enough for their generosity with their time and for welcoming a student from 1 of their 41-school family.
If you would like to see some of the photos of my visit to the Nord Anglia Headquarters in Hong Kong, please click the main image and scroll to see more.
While I was in Hong Kong this summer, I not only had the opportunity to meet some of the people in the Nord Anglia Education Leadership Team, but I also got to visit one of the Nord Anglia schools in Hong Kong - The Nord Anglia International School (NAIS) located in Lam Tin. Hong Kong is a former British colony and there is a lot of European influence in the city and at NAIS.
The principle of the school, Mr. Brian Cooklin generously gave me a tour of the new school, which just opened this past September (2014). Mr. Cooklin also allowed me to interview him for Reach A Student and share his insight. Besides the school tour and interviewing Mr. Cooklin, I was also able to interview a Year 5 teacher, Mr. Williams, and his student Ava.
This year was the school's first year operating as a new school, and I must say that it was amazing how developed they were for a school still just 9 months old. Prior to becoming the campus of the Nord Anglia International School, the property was previously used as a Catholic Boy's School and when that school moved out, Nord Anglia was awarded the space to use. I learned that there was a lot of construction that needed to be done and everyone worked very hard to get the school ready in just a few months for new students to begin classes last September.
The learning environment is really beautiful and the students and teachers I met were all very nice and welcoming. NAIS follows a British curriculum and that might be the biggest difference between the Nord Anglia International School and Windermere Prep. I spent a long time looking at a lot of their students work, much of it on display in the corridors and I can tell you that it is all of very high quality. Mr. Cooklin explained they use Nord Anglia Education's High Performance Learning techniques and I was very impressed by their approach.
Another difference that I really like was how they separate students in the school into 4 houses; Windsor (red), Sandringham (yellow), Caernarfon (green) and Balmoral (blue). These are the names of grand homes and castles in the United Kingdom. When students do something well, they are given a colored token that represents their house which they deposit in clear cylinder at the front of the school. The cylinder with the most chips at the end of the year wins, so there is a lot of team or house spirit. These houses also compete in school competitions against each other throughout the year. I thought this house system was really unique and fun.
All their classrooms were well designed and the school had excellent learning facilities. They had a gymnasium similar to ours at WPS, an Art room, Computer Lab, A full Science Lab, Library, Music Rooms and so much more. I saw students doing drama, playing in their playground where Mrs. Cooklin had painted a beautiful Panda and so many other things you might see at a school in America, only this wasn't America, it was all in Hong Kong – a city on the other side of the world from Windermere Prep. Needless to say, I was beyond impressed and it makes me happy to know that we are now a part of the Nord Anglia family of schools.
If you would like to see some of the photos of my tour of the Nord Anglia International School, please click the main image and scroll to see many more.
Besides Global Classroom, there is also a program that might interest aspiring WPS musicians and it is called Global Orchestra. This past March musicians from all the Nord Anglia schools were invited to audition for the opportunity to be selected to participate in the Global Orchestra summer school in New York from June 24th to July 1st. This year 34 singers and 46 instrumentalists were chosen from Nord Anglia schools around the world and spent their week attending music workshops and participated in practice sessions conducted by music experts. This is another wonderful opportunity for Windermere Prep students because we are part of this large family of schools.
Nord Anglia Education will be providing Windermere Prep student with access to their program known as The Global Classroom. This program offers students the opportunity to connect with other students from the other 40 Nord Anglia schools spread around the world.
Global Classroom will allow our students to experience diverse perspectives, new challenging concepts, topics and ways of learning. They accomplish this by using 3 methods:
An Online Learning Environment
Students can connect with students in other schools, debate with them and learn new concepts and ideas. As Mr. Fitzmaurice described, a student who was studying the effects of pollution on plants in China, could connect with a student at one of the Nord Anglia schools in China and get a perspective that you wouldn't find in a book.
Students are challenged in competitions to find new solutions to current problems that plague our planet.
These events bring Nord Anglia students from across the globe to work on community service projects, develop leadership skills towards instilling a sense of global citizenship.
I feel strong that bringing Global Classroom to WPS will allow us to learn and experience new topics and expand our global view. This year Global Classroom offered an opportunity to students to travel to Tanzania in Africa where they could volunteer to help the people there and have other unique experiences.
As a student, I am really excited to use The Global Classroom this upcoming year.