A Fresh Start to Springtime: Third Graders Learn In Hartman Hall Garden

MFS Science Teacher Andrea Robinson decided to take the Hartman Hall garden, a school staple for a few years now, in a new direction by getting Lower School students involved. With the help of these new volunteers, Robinson plans to harvest enough tomatoes next fall to supply the Dining Hall enough to feed the entire school a meal.

Mrs. Robinson teaches the students about how vegetables grow from seeds.
Mrs. Robinson teaches the students about how vegetables grow from seeds.

Currently, the garden is already producing spinach and three types of lettuce; Robinson recently brought a third grade class outside to learn about sustainability and how to grow vegetables.

Mr. Quinn’s third grade class tasted spinach leaves from the garden and then planted tomato seeds. For many of the young students, it was their first time tasting anything fresh from a garden. Ms Robinson noted that “the Lower Schoolers were excited to have responsibility for the garden and enjoyed planting the seeds.”

Third grade students sample vegetables fresh from the garden.
Third grade students sample vegetables fresh from the garden.

Robinson said she is confident that the interest in the garden from students of all ages will continue to grow— pun intended. She hopes to start up a club or elective block so Upper School students can help maintain the garden. Currently, Robinson does most of the gardening herself, with help from a few volunteers.

With more hands on deck next year, her idea to provide enough fresh vegetables to supply the Dining Hall seems to be on the right track.

Still, even though she is optimistic, she said that “right now it is just a hope for the future, but not yet an actual plan.” With the help of the Mr. Quinn’s third grade class, her distant hope could soon become reality.

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Fresh New Faces For MFS Summer Scholars Program

School may end in June, but MFS is never quiet; to handle all the happenings at school over summer vacation, Moorestown Friends School has welcomed two new faculty members, Angela Wertner and Martha Cameron, to be co-directors of the summer program this year.

Mrs. Wertner, new this year to MFS as Theatre Director, will expand her role into the summer program as well; in addition to managing Middle School and Upper School productions and teaching theater classes, she will manage the Summer Scholars and Academic Transitions courses.

While Wertner did make some immediate changes to the curriculum, including adding new courses and adjusting the age level for some classes, Mrs. Wertner did not make changes to the basic format of the summer program. She explained, “It is a part of the administration’s goal to keep it very similar and to maintain what has already been produced.”

Wertner further added, “MFS’s camp is unique because it emphasizes academics and a range of educational topics for students to study. MFS’s camp focuses on advancing technology, sciences and mathematics along with some art classes. Students can get more specialized training from great MFS teachers and some insights into one of the top private high schools in New Jersey.”

She also adds that fun summer classes have a unique chance to connect with the youngest students and get them enthusiastic about learning: “Kids can have a lot of excitement when learning academic topics, for example, in ‘cookienomics’, kids can have fun baking breads as well as learning how to earn profits for their own cookie company.”

The other new director, Mrs. Cameron, had previously worked for sixteen years in a private school in central New York. There too, she ran the summer programs, as well as all of the community programs. According to Cameron, her choice to leave that school and come to MFS was motivated by a desire to explore a new environment and nurture a different educational program.

Although Cameron agrees with Mrs. Wertner that it is their job to maintain the program, she also sees a possibility of gradual changes in the future, eventually adding up to large ones. Cameron explained, “It’s one of my goals to see how it’s run this year and to make an assessment of what’s working well, what to keep, what to change and what to offer.”

She said she might make the registration system more user-friendly next year because “a lot of parents are frustrated over the complication of the registration process.” According to her experience, a user-friendly way to register will create better reports and will be easier for parents and administrators.

Cameron would also like to add some classes, filling more time so the children at the camp are always engaged. However, she said “I won’t know that until I see what works and maybe that’s really productive down time and kids need that.”

In addition to managing the MFS summer camp, Cameron is in charge of all other summer programs at MFS, including high classes offered to students for credit. In the past few years, many students have enrolled in the summer chemistry class, offered to rising sophomores, which allows them to get a head start on taking more advanced science courses.

However, since enrollment fluctuates from year-to-year and grade-to-grade, the chemistry class might not always be offered. For now, it seems to be here to stay: “As long as there are more than four people enrolled, I think it’s worth it,” said Cameron.

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Junior Citizens: The Hallways of MFS Without the Class of 2016

Moorestown Friends School seems to get awfully quiet this time of year.

“Quiet” is one word few people would use to describe the bustling high school, which thrums with focused, often chaotic, energy every day, from before the first bell rings in the morning to hours after the same bell brings the ‘official’ school day to a close. Even during the fourth quarter, when the scent of summer can distract even the most dedicated students, this energy does not abate — people are working hard, playing hard, and getting things done until the very end.

But very suddenly, one day, all of that energy reaches a loud, raucous crescendo, and then stops entirely. At first it is muted, and even when it comes back, it is mellowed. For the rest of the year, after that one joy-filled day, the hallways of MFS seem empty even when they are three-grades full. This year, that day was May 6: the day the senior class of 2016 left their classes behind and headed off on their Senior Projects.

While the senior class is doubtlessly off having their own adventures outside the MFS bubble — stay tuned for WordsWorth coverage of some of their coolest experiences — for those of us still here, their presence is still deeply felt. In many ways, the tone and feeling of every school year is set at the top; by the teachers for academics, maybe, but by the senior class for nearly everything else. As the 2016 school year sputters to the end, these halls are left with a gaping hole, empty of the graduating class that made this year their own.

The absence of the senior class is felt on every level of the high school. Mixed-grade classes have lost their senior classmates, making the rooms feel a lot larger with their absence. Junior Tyler Radack commented, “I miss the seniors [in Mr. Omilian’s AP Calculus class] because at one moment we can be talking about derivatives and the next moment, we’ll be talking about the best way to survive a zombie apocalypse.”

And outside the classroom, seniors had perhaps an even larger presence. The Class of 2016-2017 were leaders across a wide range of activities, from Jacob Schoifet as the President of Model U.N., to Skylar McClane as Clerk of Meeting For Worship For Business, to our very own Edward Gelernt as WordsWorth Editor-In-Chief.

While these vital roles are quickly being filled by rising seniors and juniors ready to step into leadership positions, there is no replacing the people who previously held them. Still, new student leaders are doing their best to live up to the example set by the departing seniors.

Sophomore Anna Goula, a newly chosen officer for the MFS Model U.N. delegation, explained, “[Model U.N. President Jacob] Schoifet is irreplaceable. He was a great officer, and I would definitely not be in the same place I am today in the club without him.”

While the senior class is sorely missed, their absence has also allowed a new grade to step into their place in the limelight. The class of 2017, currently juniors, are now the big kids on the block.

Although the juniors miss their senior friends, the grade seems thrilled to take over the senior hallway, senior benches, and other senior privileges; the sense of excitement among the class of 2017 is palpable.

“Going uptown is nice,” said Junior Alyssa Klier. “I like the freedom in general, and Passariello’s salads don’t hurt.”

Still, even for the rising seniors already looking forward to the 2016-2017 school year, the Class of 2016 will never be forgotten. “Sitting on the senior benches still feels weird, and probably will for a while,” said Klier. “It makes me miss the seniors, and half-expect one to come around the corner yelling at me for sitting on their bench.”

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A Flash of Dance: Flash Mob Roars Into DHC

MFS Dancers take their fellow students by surprise with sudden Flash Mob.
MFS Dancers take their fellow students by surprise with sudden Flash Mob.

Last week an energetic, dance-fueled Flash Mob in the Dining Hall Commons took everyone by surprise. The flash mob, put on by Angela Wertner’s Dance students, consisted of a variety of group dance routines with accompanying music.

Dance teacher Mrs. Wertner explained that a lot of effort went into preparing for the even the few short minutes of entertainment, to make sure that everything went on without a hitch.

“Well it took half of the semester for the Intro to Dance class,” said Wertner. “We picked songs, and then made a mix. Then we had to chart the music, then choreograph, and then we figured out the formations. Then we worked on placement. It was a neat way for inexperienced dancers to try out dance. It was a fun class project.”

The dancers, all clad in black with white masks, made for quite an unusual sight in what was otherwise a normal lunch period.

“It was unexpected, I’ll give them that,” said junior Connor Cronk. “I had no clue what was going on. I guess that was the point.”

“I thought they did a great job,” continued Wertner. “I think they really did an awesome job, and they pulled through. It’s not an easy thing to do, to dance in front of all your peers.”

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A New Piece O’Pizza: Dining Hall to Keep Passariello’s Through End of School Year

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Passariello’s pizza is here to stay in the MFS Dining Hall. Healthy Foods by Choice, the company in charge of the school’s food, plans to keep Passariello’s as the supplier for every Friday ‘Pizza Day’ throughout the rest of the school year, after a resounding success on Friday, April 22, the first day the new pizza was served.
“The response was overwhelming. We usually serve fifty pizzas, but on Friday [April 22] we served seventy,” said Dining Hall Manager Kimberly Watson. The week of the 22nd was the first full week Watson had in her new position.

The restaurant Healthy Garden was previously the provider for MFS’s pizza.

“I don’t eat it because it’s bad, and the cheese is like Laffy Taffy,” commented Andrea Kinzler (‘16) for a previous story regarding the Healthy Garden pizza.

When asked about why Passariello’s was selected Watson commented with a laugh, “They were local, and weren’t too expensive, to be honest.” She added that she received emails from both teachers and students with nothing but high praise for the quality of the new pizza.

“The only reason I bought the pizza was to support the cause [of the Passariello’s change],” said WordsWorth staffer David Borne. He went on to say that he will continue to buy the pizza in future.   

There was a bit of a wait for the pizza, due in large part to the increased demand for the novelty. Upper School Students waited for upwards of forty-five minutes for a new delivery of pizza.

“Once we got to the Upper School … [the students] were getting three pieces [per person]. We had allotted for one slice each for the Lower School and two slices for the Middle and Upper Schools,” said Watson.

While the new pizza choice has been a resounding success and will continue for the rest of the 2015-2016 school year, the decision of whether or not to continue serving Passariello’s next year has not yet been made.

According to Watson, the Dining Hall will be prepared for the bigger demand this Friday.

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Going to Town on College School Considering Removing College Announcements From Final Awards Ceremony

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Editor’s note 5/3/16: A previously published version of this article contained insufficient information from the Upper School team regarding its rationale for the decision. We apologize for any bias this may have imparted.

Editor’s note 5/4/16: A previously published version of this article falsely implied that Meredith Hanamirian had commented on Andrew Karolodis’s plan for the final Meeting for Worship. We apologize for this error.

Editor’s note 5/4/16: This article previously appeared under a different headline. The headline and the content of the article now reflect recent developments.

Full disclosure: Both co-authors are themselves members of the Class of 2016 and recused themselves from the survey described in the article.

The decision to not individually announce the seniors by name and their college destination at the final award ceremony is now being reconsidered.

Administration told seniors they would not be announced individually by name and college at the conclusion of the end-of-year awards ceremony, a decision that sparked widespread discontent within the Class of 2016 and a subsequent decision by the administration to revisit the topic at an upcoming faculty meeting.

The original decision represents a departure from a long-standing MFS tradition. In past years, at the conclusion of the awards assembly, seniors stood up individually while a member of the school administration announced their name and the college that they would be attending the next year.

The change was originally proposed by the Upper School team — Upper School Director Justin Brandon, Dean of Students Mike Brunswick, Upper School Counselor Katie LuBrant, and School Psychologist Susan Batastini. It was then brought to a faculty meeting, where the consensus was that nixing the announcements was in the best interest of the students.

“It’s been a topic of discomfort for years,” said LuBrant. “We followed the Quaker process — came up with the idea in the Upper School team, then brought it to the faculty, and they made the decision.”

In his meeting with seniors to announce the original decision, Brandon mentioned “dirty looks” and other negative reactions that some seniors have received when their colleges are announced. “It adds some negativity to what should be a very positive last experience for the seniors.”

Director of College Counseling Meredith Hanamirian stated that the Class of 2015 was surveyed as to whether or not they were in favor of the individual announcements.

“The majority liked having the colleges announced, but there were some who didn’t like it,” said Hanamirian.

Though the change was intended to remain in place for future years, those most acutely affected by it are the current seniors. The decision was formally announced to them immediately following Meeting for Worship this past Wednesday and quickly became a hot topic of conversation within the grade.

In an informal survey of the entire senior class, 45 of 75 respondents said that they were opposed to the decision, while just 6 reported being in favor of it. The remaining 24 who responded were indifferent or unsure.

“Everyone should be proud of where they’re going [to college],” said Amanda Karlsson, who was vehemently against the decision. “We deserve to be recognized for our achievements.”

Rylee Fennell was also a vocal opponent of the move. “The final assembly is a time to recognize the achievements of the entire senior class, not just the few that get awards.”

“It is an honors/awards assembly, and we get that presenting the whole class individually would include them in that,” said Brandon. “Our main point in looking at … this topic was to support any of the students who may not feel comfortable during that time.”

Brandon disagreed with some students’ comments that the school is “coddling” its students in shielding 17- and 18-year-olds from “a few dirty looks.”

“It’s not necessarily coddling; it’s just we wanted to make sure [the seniors’] last big event that’s all-school is a positive one,” Brandon explained.

Those students who supported the decision all commented that they understood both sides of the situation.

“I’m lucky to have gotten into my first choice school,” said Jacob Schoifet, who was in favor of the decision. “But I know that some people applied to colleges that other people got into, and getting rejected from those colleges and then hearing that again in the assembly could possibly be hurtful to some people.”

The administration originally proposed an alternative to the individual announcements: a variant on the “Great Kids, Going Places” campaign open to all seniors. A display featuring pictures, favorite memories, and colleges of attendances of all seniors who choose to participate would be on display in Stokes Hall during senior week, the school week leading up to graduation.

“I am really excited about it,” said Hanamirian of the campaign. “I think we really do want to celebrate every student in the senior class and their accomplishments here and where they are going.”

Nonetheless, many people remained unconvinced. “By announcing each one of our names and college, it gives everyone that opportunity to feel not only the support of the community, but also an incredible pride in ourselves that can’t be replicated through posters on a board,” said Fennell.

After the announcement, several students met individually with Brandon to voice their opposition to the decision, prompting an email Wednesday morning to the senior class.

“Your response has warranted further dialogue,” Brandon wrote in the email. “The faculty will revisit the topic at our next Upper School Faculty meeting later this month.”

We reached out to Brandon about his email regarding the “further dialogue.”

“When we revisit it … everything is on the table. … I’m sure we will now think about the decision and see if it is the right decision, or [maybe we will decide to] go back to what we’ve done in the past and announce the names.”

Short of a reversal of the decision, senior Andrew Karolidis has an idea regarding how to implement the announcements anyway. “At the last Meeting for Worship, I’m just going to stand up and say, ‘Andrew Karolidis, University of Delaware,’ and sit back down. And then everyone else can follow.”

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Promposals 2016

Ever wonder how the great couples and pairs you see dancing at prom first got together? Well, it all started with a ‘promposal’. Whether the two want to celebrate a long standing relationship, initiate a first date, or purely just want to have a great time as friends, one of them must take the creative leap and come up with the perfect promposal for the other. And at MFS, the Senior Class of 2016 have taken the uniqueness and creativity of their promposals to a new level this year.

A Puntastic Promposal, Plus Sushi

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Andrew Karolidis asked his girlfriend to prom in a way that encapsulates his personality perfectly: high class and high wit. Besides, who could possibly say no to sushi?

Baby It’s Cold Outside

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Jake Rosvold asked his girlfriend to prom after a chilly stroll, warming both her and her heart with this hot chocolate promposal made in a homemade, personalized mug.

Eggs Before English

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Andrew Cates created this ornate setup in the middle of the Senior hallway to ask Rose Graziul to prom over homemade Eggs Benedict and fresh orange juice.

Thinking Outside the Bun

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Brad Klier got Skylar McClane’s quirky and fun personality spot on with this simple yet humorous Taco Bell promposal.

I Planned to Ask you for the Longest Time

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Edward Gelernt, along with a few friends, serenaded Margaux Vellucci with his own arrangement of “For the Longest Time” by Billy Joel.

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Triple Digits: Star Lacrosse Player Katy Repholz Soars Past 100 Goals

MFS Girls Lacrosse junior midfielder Katy Repholz scored her 100th career varsity goal Tuesday, April 12th. The goal was Repholz’s third for the game, as the Foxes cruised to a 12-3 victory over Academy New Church, led by her outstanding hat-trick performance.

“I was open in the middle of the eight, and Alexis Watson had the ball behind the cage. She passed to me and it was a real quick one-cradle goal. Having my team be a huge part of the 100th goal was great,” said Repholz.

A lacrosse player since 5th grade, Katy has put in plenty of time and hard work to get to the level where she is today. In the summer and fall she plays for South Jersey Select, a club team that is filled with top players from the area, but in-season she remains focused on leading the MFS varsity squad.

Katy may be a rare talent, but she is also a team player, prioritizing MFS’s success as one of her top priorities.

“Making it to the Friends League Finals would be amazing. But I really think games like Collingswood where we battled back from a deficit and won a close game are the most rewarding,” explained Repholz. “You can just see the team improving around you, and that’s what I think high school sports is all about.”

Repholz went on to add that she would like to play lacrosse in college, but it would have to be for the right school and the right program. Regardless, the achievement of reaching one hundred varsity goals in just her junior year undoubtedly secured her high school legacy.

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MFS Wins Regional Consumer Bowl

The MFS Consumer Bowl team won the regional New Jersey Consumer Bowl finals last Thursday, April 21st, advancing to the state championship for the first time in three years.

The team, composed of juniors Alex Barrett, Alex Horn, and John Barton, and senior captain Josh Murdy, went to the Enterprise Center at the Mount Laurel campus of Rowan College to compete in a trivia competition about New Jersey Consumer Law. Topics ranged from regulations of amusement park games to the New Jersey used car auto industry.

The competition consisted of five teams, the winners of local Consumer Bowl competitions from different counties in South Jersey. The Foxes beat Cape May County champion Ocean City High School in the first round before beating West Deptford, representative of Gloucester County, in the final round to clinch regional victory. The other two competitors were Cedar Creek High School from Atlantic County and Gloucester City High School from Camden County.

This year marks long-time team advisor Barb Kreider’s final Consumer Bowl run, as history teacher Judy Van Tijn is slated to take over next year after Barb retires. Murdy, who will participate in his second Consumer Bowl state championship after making it to states as a member of the team his freshman year, remarked that Kreider has overseen the team for many years in spite of her open disdain for it.

“Barb hates the team,” commented Murdy. “She hates Consumer Bowl. We use that negative energy as motivation.”

The New Jersey Consumer Bowl Championships will be held on Trenton on Friday, May 27.

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Barb’s Last SEE

2015 SEE / Andrew Rowan / WordsWorth Staff

Tomorrow marks the last Science and Engineering Expo that Barb Kreider will oversee before her retirement at the end of this year.

Now in its eighteenth year, SEE has changed quite a bit since its inauguration early in her tenure as Science Department Chair.

“The first one was awful,” Kreider recalled with a laugh. “There was no candy (now a SEE staple), and the entire school was together in the same three gyms for the entire day.”

From there, she changed the format quite a few times until today’s current version. A full day expo, SEE Assemblies, and a half-day format all ran their course before the current quarter-day schedule was reached.

“Science isn’t science until someone repeats it,” said Kreider, explaining the most important aspect of SEE. The entire community is now invited to the expo, showcasing more than 200 pieces of work all produced by Middle and Upper School students. She also stressed that the use of visuals such as graphs and interactive projects is important when showcasing science work. “Developing communications skills should not rely exclusively on English.”

The current model of SEE is primarily focused to show the Lower School what the Middle and Upper School do in science. Freshman students are utilized as SEEscorts, taking Lower School students to designated balloon stops where they receive a sticker for their passport in a scavenger hunt styled game that encourages exploration. “Nobody cries, and all the kids are pretty happy, so that’s great,” commented Kreider.

Kreider reminisced about all the great projects throughout her years at MFS. “My all-time favorites … there was an amazing 8th grade ear [model] that I kept for several years, the 7th grade alternative energy projects are absolutely terrific, and the third was a physics project that was a hoverboard made out of a vacuum cleaner.”

Kreider said she hopes SEE will remain a continued tradition for years to come, since “[MFS students] are creating projects that are meaningful to adult scientists and engineers.”

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