Do you have the Christmas spirit? If not, you haven’t been spending enough time on the Westbury Christian campus, where it’s large and in charge.
Tonight (Dec. 19) our Fine Arts Department presents its last of four Christmas programs — choir, band and primary department so far — with the elementary students taking the stage to wrap up this “most wonderful time of the year.” Our Honor Choir also performed for members of our community this month at the invitation of the Bellaire/Southwest Houston Rotary Club and Southwest Houston 2000. And the High School Choir went caroling around the building — with jingle bells included! — this past Friday, to the delight of all who heard them.
The spirit of teamwork and competition is also alive and well in our Athletics Department this winter. Boys and girls soccer and boys and girls basketball are both underway, and our student-athletes are really enjoying themselves. Our JV boys soccer team went 4-0-1 during their mini season, which is an impressive showing. And two of our girls soccer players — Hannah Jonesia (goal keeper) and Naomi Sims (midfielder) — were selected for the All-Tournament Team at the Village School American Cup Tournament.
To quickly wrap up fall sports, the Wildcat football team made an exciting appearance in the first round of the playoffs and saw 20 of its players receive first team, second team or honorable mention at the All-District level, and 11 went on to do the same at the All-State Level. We also had four academic All-State honorees — Brant Banks, Garett Leeson, Drew McLeod and Tyler Ondrusek — and Joseph Harper was named the district Defensive Player of the Year, and Mannie Nunnery was recognized as the Newcomer of the Year.
Our robotics team has also entered its competitive season, and our middle school teams — including students Sam Furler, Leo Gonzales, Will Rohren and Chayne Tillis — are really making a name for themselves. At a VEX Robotics tournament just this past weekend, one of the middle school teams was picked up by the 2nd alliance captain and went all the way to finals. Another captained the 5th place alliance and earned a Judges Award.
In case you didn’t know, science teacher Colleen Leeson — who came to Houston, and WCS, all the way from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan — is the driving force behind the success of our robotics program. She started at WCS as a Lower School aide in 2009, after her three sons — alumnus Nick ’15, senior Garett and freshman Erik — enrolled for the 2007-2008 school year. She started teaching 8th grade science in 2011, and this is now the sixth year she has taught the Middle School LEGO Mindstorms EV3 robotics program and the fifth year for her to sponsor the VEX EDR program. Last year, Mrs. Leeson helped launch a new AP Computer Science Principles course, and in just its first year, 80% of students scored well enough on the AP exam to earn college credit. This year, Mrs. Leeson is teaching a new project-based Engineering Design course in connection with the University of Texas through which participating students have the possibility to earn three college credits from UT. Mrs. Leeson told me she enjoys seeing the pride and ownership her students take in their work. “The robotics students don’t like for me to touch their robots, in class or at competition,” she said. “They take responsibility for their success. If they win, it’s them, not me.”
Before I close, I also want to thank all of you who have made this “season of giving” such a special one for WCS. I know many of you — through your very generous students — donated food to the Lower School Food Drive for the Houston Food Bank hosted by our 3rd grade classes and/or purchased items for Campus Ministry to include in M.A.G.I. boxes for underprivileged children in the Caribbean. I am also truly grateful for all of you who have made gifts to the Annual Fund this year. We’re not yet to our 100% participation goal, but it is within reach, so I kindly ask again that if you’re one of the few who hasn’t already, please consider donating to the Annual Fund before Dec. 31, to help blessings flow down on our school in the New Year.
It’s relatively warm and dreary today, but I hear colder weather is on the way for Christmas. Whatever comes, and wherever you celebrate it, I hope you and your family will have a very Merry Christmas. I am looking forward to the extended period of rest but am also excited about what God has in store for all of us in 2018. See you then.
Michael D. White
Head of School