That’s a wrap. Believe it or not, today is the last day of the 2016-2017 school year.
I know this can be a time of mixed emotions, but, more than anything, I am choosing today to focus on my gratitude to God for the many ways He watched over and blessed our students, faculty and staff during this school year. There were challenges — as there always are — and there were some very rewarding successes — which we tried to celebrate appropriately as often as we could. I pray that all of us — administrators, faculty/staff, students, families — learned important life lessons from both.
In case you blinked and missed it, as they say, here are some of the final highlights from the spring semester:
We continued to add deserving students to our academic and fine arts honor societies — National Honor Society (NHS), National Art and Junior Art Honor Societies (NAHS / NJAHS), Tri-M Music Honor Society, and the International Thespian Society (ITS) — during formal induction ceremonies this spring, and our National Elementary Honor Society (NEHS) made a real difference on our campus through a series of after-school campus clean-up projects.
Campus Minister Steven Toliver challenged students of all ages to put their faith into action around campus via a 40 Days of Kindness initiative, which saw students praying specifically for each other by name, sharing an encouraging word with our janitorial staff, and writing notes to thank those who mentor and inspire them, among other acts of service.
CATaclysm robotics team 1815D stayed very busy, competing in both the CREATE U.S. Open in Council Bluffs, Iowa — where they finished in 6th place, missing by just two points the opportunity to move on to the semifinal round in the 200-team championship — and the VEX Worlds Championship in Louisville, Kentucky — where they advanced to the quarter finals and finished 14th out of 95 teams in the tough Engineering Division of the competition that ultimately saw more than 560 teams from 30+ countries compete. I cannot say thank you enough to Colleen Leeson and our hard-working students for the impressive work they are doing in what is still a relatively new endeavor for WCS!
Sixteen of our students (individually or in teams) placed in the top six — including four 1st place medals (in Algebra 2, Biology, Ready Writing and Social Studies) — at the annual Texas Christian Schools Interscholastic Tournament (TCSIT) held on the campus of Abilene Christian University in April.
Two Wildcat student-athletes advanced to and placed in the TAPPS State Track & Field Championships held at Baylor University the first weekend in May: Madison Simon finished in 5th place in shot put, and Tyler Ondrusek finished in 5th place in discus and 6th place in 110 hurdles.
Two student-artists also excelled in state-wide art competitions this spring. Junior Aya Wen received a gold medal in the Seek & Sketch event at the TAPPS State Art Championship, and freshman Cielo Serna got a gold medal at the Visual Arts Scholastic Event (VASE), hosted by the Texas Art Education Association.
Students also shared their hearts — and their blessings — with members of our community, and some farther away they will never meet, through a variety of service projects, including the annual coin collection for non-profit organizations in Honduras and Haiti that serve orphans and the final projects associated with Project H.U.G. (Hearts Understanding Goodness) in our Lower School — through which students encouraged breast cancer patients, local police officers, and inner-city pre-schoolers, as just a few examples, this school year.
I wish I had time to tell you more — about the band and choir concerts; the theatre productions of “The Lilies of the Field” and the 4th grade musical, “Disney’s The Jungle Book Kids;” the glow-in-the-dark “antics” everyone enjoyed during this year’s Funathon (and the fun backyard cookouts I got to host as a reward for two of our top fundraising students); the celebration of Senior Chapel, 8th grade honor chapel, and the pre-school and lower school award chapels; the awarding of Teacher of the Year to Mrs. Audrey Okwuonu (Lower School) and Dr. Joseph Greer (Upper School) during our last All-School Chapel; congratulating Mrs. Gereta Semanek (with more than 29 years of service) and Mrs. Mary Zamora (with 12 years of service) on their retirements…You’ll just have to check out the school’s Facebook and Twitter pages to see more for yourself.
But just as time seemed to fly this school year, I know your personal time is precious too, and you have places to go and people to see. Before you do, though, please note the following:
We will celebrate the end of an era, so to speak, with our 41 graduating seniors and their families at the 2017 commencement ceremony tomorrow night, May 19, at 7 p.m. in the Dunham Theater on the campus of Houston Baptist University. Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo President and CEO Joel Cowley will be the featured speaker at the event, for which advanced free tickets are required.
Our new Summer ASAP! camp begins Monday, May 22, and continues for 11 weeks through Friday, August 4. There are several two- and three-week options for families who cannot commit to the entire summer but are looking for fun enrichment activities, so please check it out and consider registering your student(s) age 3-12, if you haven’t done so already. Our Athletic Department also has several camps planned as part of its new Wildcat Sports Academy, so there is no excuse for your student(s) to be bored or idle this summer!
Finally, please note this summer may feel just a little bit longer than some in the recent past, because our start date for 2017-2018 is a little later than usual. We are looking forward to seeing most — if not all — of you back on campus on Thursday, August 17, rested, maybe a little tanned, and ready to go for another year of learning and growing — in knowledge and wisdom and in love for others and the Lord.
Now get out there and enjoy the summer, because I hear time flies when you’re having fun!
Michael D. White
Head of School