Wescott Fifth-Grade Podcast Winners Featured on GBN's WGBK Radio!
With the help of technology integration specialist, Anna Davis and director of educational technology, Dr. Andy Kohl, Sammi Nadel and Martine Reif's fifth-grade classes at Wescott School created podcasts to be part of the National Public Radio (NPR) Student Podcast Challenge.
The contest was held nationally and had over 6,000 applicants. Only two winners were selected, so the teachers wanted to find another way to honor their students' dedication and perseverance to their podcast creations.
Ms. Davis spoke with gifted language arts teacher Lanie Levin about the podcasts, who suggested that they reach out the Glenbrook North High School (GBN) radio staff to broadcast the winners on WGBK Radio. Ms. Levin's son Ben has a show, as does first-grade teacher Sharon Latek's son CJ.
The fifth-graders in Ms. Nadel and Ms. Reif's classes listened to each other's podcasts, judged them according to specific criteria, then voted on their favorite podcast. It was a tie for first place.
Both sets of winners came from Ms. Reif's class. They included "Riding Through History" by Kayla Baek, Annika Purohit, and Yagna Yenne; and "Woman's World" by Alison Chung and Samantha Becker.
On May 21, the kids were invited to attend a radio broadcast at GBN with Wescott School alums CJ Latek and Matthew Sedlak. Matthew is Board of Education President, Ursula Sedlak's son. CJ and Matthew interviewed the students about the podcast production process and featured them on podcasts on air.
Thank you to Ms. Latek, who attended this exciting activity and photographed the podcast!
Wescott School Principal Dr. Chris Brown said, "Thank you to all of the students for sharing their gifts, and for the tremendous "District 30 teamwork" to Ms. Latek, Ms. Davis, Dr. Kohl, Ms. Nadel, Ms. Reif, and Ms. Levin."
Wescott Fifth-Graders Perform "Rockin through the Decades"
Wescott School fifth-graders showcased their "cool" when they rocketed through the decades in song during their musical "Rockin Through the Decades." They performed on May 16 for a parent audience and on May 17 for students and staff.
The show began with the Beatles tunes, "Hello Goodbye and "Yellow Submarine." This was followed by "Chicago's "Saturday in the Park", Stevie Wonder's "I Just Called to Say I Love You," Oasis' "Wonderwall," Train's "Drops of Jupiter," and "This is Me" by Pasek and Paul.
Principal Dr. Brown thanked music teacher Quentin Coaxum for directing the production and the teachers for help in the coordination of the musical. They include David Karnoscak, Martine Reif, Sammi Nadel, and Tracy Bahn.
Others who were instrumental in helping make the show a success included Roy Grober, Christina Fee, Joe Burdi, Tia Stevens, Joan Marsh, Heather Cherney, Talia Block, Lucio Castrejon, Jamie Reding, Debbie Grundy, and the PTO.
Second Graders and Seniors Make Beautiful Music Together!
Mr. Coaxum thanked Principal Dr. Chris Brown for his support, and the first-grade teachers for helping him with the show's production. They are Ashley Grosshuesch, Courtney Hoffman, Sharon Latek, and Katherine Kamin. Others who assisted and were thanked included Christina Fee, Roy Grober, Tia Stevens, Joe Burdi, Talia Block, Lucio Castrejon, Margaret Janavicius, Jeanne Mills, Jamie Reding, Debbie Grundy, Cindy Habel, the PTO, and all of the parents.
On May 3, it was an afternoon filled with big smiles, songs, and socializing, when Wescott School second-graders visited their senior pen pals at Covenant Village of Northbrook.
The kids and seniors have been communicating with each other throughout the year via letters, emails, cards, and photos. The teachers said they were so excited to be able to finally meet their friends, and they even got to walk to Covenant Village on a sunny, warm day!
Wescott School children have been involved with the Covenant Village pen pal program for 24 years when the Adopt-a-Grandparent program was initiated by former teacher Sue Smilie. It has become an important and integral part of Wescott School.
During the afternoon, music teacher Quentin Coaxum accompanied the children on the keyboard while they sang songs to the residents. Everyone then sang “Happy Birthday” to Mr. Coaxum, who was celebrating a birthday on May 3.
Seniors, students, teachers, Principal Dr. Chris Brown, and parents sang together old favorites like "America the Beautiful," "What a Wonderful World" and "This Land is Your Land." Afterward, the students and residents sat together and shared stories.
The children presented their pen pals with cards they had made, and all participants visibly enjoyed playing card games.
This heartwarming intergenerational collaboration was coordinated by Wescott second grade teachers Lisa Wolf, Trish Palzet, Xenia Stamoudis, Sallie Magruder, Quentin Coaxum, and Covenant Village Town Center Coordinator/Activity Therapist Wendy Lucchesi
Wescott and Willowbrook Musicians' Performance was Superb!
District 30's Wescott and Willowbrook School musicians filled Maple School's west gymnasium with beautiful music on May 6. This would be the last time that elementary students would play in the current Maple School. Next year they will play in the new Maple School cafetorium, which easily seats 500 people.
Principals Dr. Chris Brown and Scott Carlson welcomed a full-house of families, and thanked them for supporting the school's music programs. They also told everyone that Band Director Mike Vecchio will be leaving to pursue his doctorate in music education at the end of the school year. Everyone applauded him and the administrators wished him all the best in his future!
Those individuals who coordinated this concert with the studetns included Orchestra Director Elspeth Losch, and Beginning Band Director Mike Vecchio with student teacher Angela Kucharski. Music/Choir Director Decima Panitch accompanied the pupils on piano, and Orchestra Director Renee Yoo also assisted in concert activities.
The Beginning Orchestra performed "Ode to Joy", "Frere Jacques", "Lightly Row," and "We Will Rock You." The Beginning Band performed "Concert Warm-Up No. 2", "Frere Jacques", "Crown of Majesty," "Zum Gali Gali", and "William Tell Overture." The Cadet Orchstra performed "A Vivaldi School Year", " Themes from Harry Potter," "Burst", and "Don't Stop Believin."Wescott's Poetry Garden Cafe is Growing "Beeautiful" Prose
"There can be beauty in everything." - Winnie Harlow (Seen printed on a student's paper plate at Wescott's Poetry Garden Cafe)
During National Poetry Month, Wescott School's library media center was transformed into a Poetry Garden Cafe, which featured the background soothing sounds of a live summer garden that included myriad birds and buzzing insects.
The library was all aflutter with handmade, recyclable paper trees, flowers, bees, and butterflies, created by students in all grade levels. Library assistant/artist Joan Marsh helped the pupils put up the creations to create a cozy and pretty garden atmosphere.
On May 1, Librarian Margaret Janavicius welcomed fifth graders in David Karnoscak's class for the last day of the Poetry Garden Cafe activity.
She proudly showed the kids the transformed library and stated, "A good garden always needs bees."
Ms. Janavicius explained that the first-graders created the butterflies, the second-graders made the bumble bees, and the third through fifth-graders made the colorful flowers that surrounded the stage, where all students had the opportunity to read poetry to their classmates.
At Wescott, it appeared that a good poetry garden cafe utilized its busy and productive "bees," in the form of children to create a welcoming ambiance in the room.Glenview Lions Help Revitalize Arbor Day
The Glenview Lions Club is king, when it comes to helping local elementary schools learn about the importance of trees to the environment. On Arbor Day, April 26, for the sixth-year-in-a-row, representatives from the Glenview Lions Club visited fourth-graders at Wescott and Willowbrook Schools to share information about tree care and to distribute Norway spruce saplings to the students. The Glenview Lions’ members were Terry and Rita Dooley, President Thomas Zanoni, and Secretary, James Martin.
Since the Glenview Lions have been visiting Wescott and Willowbrook, they have handed out over 800 trees since 2014. The saplings they provided were courtesy of the Fourth Grade Foresters USA, an organization which aims to revitalize the celebration of Arbor Day in schools. The group has distributed 750,000 saplings to fourth graders in over 7,100 schools across the country since 2006. The organization's current goal is to distribute a million trees by 2021.
Mr. Dooley talked about how to plant and care for their saplings.
He reminded the children, “In the era of global warming and air pollution, tree planting is even more important than ever. Norway Spruce saplings do not spread on their own, but need to be planted to grow and prosper. Trees take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere to help reduce warming and help clean the air we breathe. Planting trees is a simple, inexpensive, and easy way to address the problem.”
A Tree Grows in Northbrook
At Wescott School, there was a planting ceremony before the Glenview Lions’ representatives handed out the Norway Spruce saplings to the kids. Wescott parent Tracey Becker brought her daughter Molly’s two-foot tree which she received as a sapling in fourth grade three years ago. They decided to donate it to the Wescott grounds, next to the butterfly garden. Horticulture expert Rob Sulski (Foot Stone Inc.) with custodian Lucio Castrejon dug the hole for the tree. Students helped pat earth around it after it was inserted into the ground. Care of the tree was discussed, and many of the kids were excited to see how large a sapling could grow in just a few years.
Those individuals who helped coordinate this activity included Assistant Superintendent Dr. Melissa Hirsch, Wescott Principal Dr. Chris Brown, Willowbrook Principal Dr. Scott Carlson, with fourth grade teachers Jane Eilhauer, Julie Molay, Jennifer Murnick, Jessica Schutz, Betsie Onsrud, Jennifer Lund, and Molly Shanahan.
Kindness Diaries' Leon Logothetis Spreads His Message of Goodwill to District 30 Community
“Being kind is the most important thing a person can do for another human being,” declared global adventurer Leon Logothetis, during presentations to students, staff, and parents at Wescott School on April 9. He has documented his travels and experiences for media outlets included "Good Morning America", "Los Angeles Times," "San Francisco Chronicle", "Outside", "Good", "Psychology Today," and "The New York Times.”
Mr. Logothetis is also the television host of the Netflix program "The Kindness Diaries," author of five books (the newest book is "Go Be Kind"), and is a motivational speaker. After leaving a career as a stockbroker in London, he's traveled to over 100 countries and has dedicated his life to spreading kindness throughout the world, receiving acts of kindness, and changing people’s lives, as well as his own - forever.
In "The Kindness Diaries" he is shown visiting different countries, riding his vintage yellow motorbike dubbed Kindness One. He continuously relies on the kindness of strangers to survive. He does not take money when people offer it to him.
“It doesn’t take even a penny to be kind,” stated Mr. Logothetis.
However, as his show depicts, he does count on people to offer him shelter, food, and gas during his travels. Then he returns the favor by presenting life-changing gifts to unsuspecting good Samaritans.
“Repeatedly, I have been won over by the generosity of humanity, like my friend Tony, who was homeless and who shared his blanket with me, to the impoverished farmer who helped me when my bike broke down, and more."
He related how he slept on the streets of Pittsburgh with Tony, who also gave him food and protected him, by not sleeping a wink the whole night. Later he returned the favor on his television show by giving Tony shelter and the opportunity to go back to school.
On a zanier note, he said he once swam in a sea of marshmallows. This brought fits of giggles from the student audience.
Sharing a bit of his personal life, he showed a picture of his Boston Terrier Winston Churchill, who he declared is a naughty-but-nice pal.
“He recently stole my cheeseburger off of the table,” he said, grinning.
Turning to a more serious note, Mr. Logothetis spoke candidly about being bullied in middle school, and how he sat alone at lunch every day. It only took the gesture of kindness of one student and a teacher to turn his life around.
"My teacher boosted my confidence with positive reinforcement, and the pupil invited me to sit with him at lunch. By reaching out to me, they gave me my dignity back. I felt seen.”
“Kindness is free. True wealth is not in our wallets, it is in our hearts. Love is living from the heart. Treat people with dignity and show up. Be present. Let the other person feel 100 percent of your presence, and they will feel your heart, kindness, and compassion,” stated Mr. Logothetis, as he looked up, and spread out his arms, as a bird does when it prepares to take flight.
He maintained, “Change one life with an act of kindness, and you will change the world.”
Wescott School PTO Co-President Michelle King said, “Leon did a wonderful job reframing the way we think about kindness. While we all know that we should always be kind, I think that his tangible examples will leave a lasting impression on everyone who attended his presentation.”
After the pupil presentation, Mr. Logothetis spoke with third-grade students and music teacher Quentin Coaxum, in honor of their winter performance of “The Kindness Diaries” program, where they highlighted and sang about his good deeds and the impact kindness can have on a person's life. He said that he really liked the bright yellow hoodies everyone was wearing from their show, with “The Kindness Diaries” printed on the front. This year, Wescott also adopted the theme of choosing kindness, and there have been many service projects and generous deeds expressed over the past eight months.
He handed out postcards to all audience members titled, “I Helped Someone Feel Less Alone Today.” Their purpose is for people to add their most recent act of kindness on the back of the card. #gobekind, @thekindnessguy @leonlogothetis
PTO Speaker Committee members who coordinated his visit, Joanna Kaplan and Grace Jeon, created a box for individuals to submit their cards at Wescott. Mr. Logothetis said that he will donate a book to a child in need for every kind act that is submitted. So far, with this project, he has given 10,000 books to children around the world. His goal is to collect 20,000 books.
After the evening presentation, Ms. Kaplan and Principal Chris Brown raffled signed copies of Leon Logothetis’ new book "Go Be Kind."
PTO Co-President Christie Hartbarger thanked Ms. Kaplan and Ms. Jeon for arranging this inspiring presentation and expressed appreciation for the support of all of the parents in the audience.
“We were so happy to see the community come together to support Leon’s program. It shows how important the act of kindness truly is. We always have a choice to be kind, and this was an incredible way to be reminded. We are so proud to have been a part of making this day happen,” said Ms. Kaplan.
For more information on Leon Logothetis, go to leonlogothetis.com
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