Students from all three divisions assembled in the MAC for the third and last all-school assembly of 2018-19. The event recognizes teachers from the Middle and Upper Schools who receive awards based on student votes and honors faculty for their years of service.
This year, Student Council Co-Presidents Ollie Reeb ’19 and Jamerson Durrill ’19 welcomed the crowd and introduced a special edition of the Beasley Broadcast that featured Lower School students wishing Mrs. Janet McMillion well in her upcoming retirement. They even offered a few suggestions as to how she can spend her newfound spare time. After the video, Beasles delivered thank you notes to Mrs. McMillion.
Ollie and Jamerson then asked Mr. Pat Woessner, Coordinator of Instructional Technology, to come forward. Mr. Woessner is celebrating 25 years at MICDS, and Dr. Jody Marberry spoke about his contribution to the community. She began by asking students who had been in Mr. Woessner’s advisory to stand up. Then she invited students to stand up who had visited Mr. Woessner for help with technology over the years. Next, teachers who went to Mr. Woessner for guidance in using technology in their lessons rose to their feet. Any student who benefited from using tech, whether in a maker space or through special computer programs or robotics or a number of any other applications, all stood. Finally, she invited those students who were looking forward to working with Mr. Woessner to stand. His impact on the school was clear: every single person was standing and cheering for Mr. Woessner. Thank you, Mr. Woessner, for 25 years of making a difference at MICDS!
Ollie then presented the Rivinus Award. He said, “The Rivinus Award is presented to a teacher who is selected by vote of the senior class. The award reads, ‘Elected by his students for his hard work, selfless determination and selfless giving which challenges students to strive for excellence and achieve their full potential.’” This year’s winner of the Rivinus Award is Upper School Math Teacher Mr. Greg Huntoon.
The 8th grade student council representatives came forward to present the Duncan Award, which reads, “Elected by his students for his hard work, determination and selfless giving which challenges students to strive for excellence and achieve their full potential.” They presented the Duncan Award to Mr. Andy Kay, who teaches 8th grade English.
Head of School Mrs. Lisa Lyle then took the podium to recognize those faculty and staff members celebrating milestone years of service. She shared a few thoughts on each:
Mr. Brian Coco is celebrating 20 years at MICDS this year. His students were happy to tell us what they think. Here’s what they said: “Mr. Coco always takes time to ask us about our days and is so enthusiastic about his teaching. I have been lucky to have him multiple years, and he is a teacher that I can talk to about any issue going on in my life and someone who will brighten my day whenever I need it. He’s more energetic than a puppy and the best mentor one could ask for. He believes in each and every single student, and he doesn’t even realize how many lives he’s changed.”
Mrs. Charlotte Dougherty, our 7th Grade Dean and the Director of our Pegasus Summer Camps, is also celebrating 20 years here. She is everywhere in the Middle School, which is great because she’s always bringing her infectious sense of humor. One of her 7th graders remarked, “When we have trouble grasping a concept, she is very patient and talks it through with us. Her sense of humor makes me laugh when I’m in a bad mood, and she makes learning fun and enjoyable.” We are also excited to see her lead Pegasus this summer!
Twenty years ago, Mr. Paul Imbeaux started his career here at MICDS in groundskeeping. He has since moved to the maintenance department to become the painter for our School, in addition to doing other maintenance work. He does his work cheerfully and carefully and is always willing to help others with their projects. He has a wife and two children, and he enjoys spending time with his three grandchildren who are ages 1, 13 and 16. We are so thankful to him for helping keep our campus beautiful.
Mr. Scott Small is a fixture in the Upper School. He’s the glue that holds the north end of campus together. He’s helpful, kind and loyal, and firmly committed to this School and its students. One of his student-athletes said, “Coach Small is the type of person who will always have your back no matter what. His knowledge about the game of basketball and life makes you want to listen and learn from him. His dedication to us as students is the reason MICDS continues to produce leaders that are prepared for the world we live in.”
Ms. Julie Winkeler brings a bright smile to her work in the Admission Department every day, and we are lucky that she has shared her smile with MICDS for twenty years now. While her primary role is to manage the processing of applications for prospective students, she performs so many vital functions for the admission office and the School. Ms. Winkeler has a warm and friendly presence for prospective families and her colleagues.
15 YEAR ANNIVERSARIES
Working in the housekeeping department for 15 years is no small feat, and Mr. Julius Glenn has done some extraordinary work while here with us. Based on his quality of work, you would be hard pressed to find something he enjoys more, but knowing him, it is probably basketball and football that brings him the most joy! His work for MICDS has made our School a better, cleaner and safer place and we thank him for that.
Mrs. Mead Ploszay, our learning specialist in the Middle School, has been committed to MICDS students and families for 15 years. She always goes the extra mile for any student or colleague and she believes deeply in the success of all students. Colleagues depend on her for insight, support and feedback as they strive to better serve students in the classroom. Mead is a team player through and through. She always finds the time to help others and is caring, kind, smart and dedicated. Please join me in congratulating MS. Ploszay as she heads to Whitfield to lead their Teaching and Learning efforts this coming year.
Generous of spirit, creative, cheerful, organized, inclusive, joyful and friendly. These are some of the beautiful qualities Mrs. Ostlund, the Middle School library assistant, shares with students and staff. She is passionate about libraries, reading and research, and she enjoys sharing her passion for reading. She goes above and beyond to foster a community of readers and a community of kindness. Many of you may remember her from Extended Day and the LS library too! Messing Library and the entire school are a better place because of her.
Mr. Dana Self is our Upper School Choral Director and an advisor. We asked some of the students in his advisory what they think of “DSelf,” and this is what they said: “Dself is such a great advisor! He makes advisory feel like a family and is supportive of everybody and everything – even when we almost wanted to get an advisory pet. He gives us confidence and appreciates us for who we are. Everyone in our advisory looks forward to going there, especially when he makes brownies.” Tonight and tomorrow night you can see the Spring Pops Concert hear the result of his amazing work!
Mr. Bob Shaw is a visionary in the world of JK-12 STEM Education. Even after 15 years here, he’s still always looking for ways to extend the learning experience beyond the classroom and is reflective in his own teaching practice. Some of Mr. Shaw’s students said, “He makes class really compelling with the many experiments we do. All the labs relate and connect and they are very hands-on and a ton of fun. I really like the class discussions because they are so interesting.” Mr. Shaw helped coordinate the design of McDonnell Hall, our STEM facility–and we are grateful to him for that, too!
10 YEAR ANNIVERSARIES
Ms. Lily Childs, an Upper School Teacher, is celebrating ten years of teaching Chinese at MICDS. She also serves as an advisor and is loved by her students. Some of her advisees said, “She is always in a great mood whenever we enter for advisory and it is a great break to have during a busy school day. She always asks us how we are doing and genuinely cares about our personal lives. Every time I walk into the room, she greets me with a contagious smile and genuine conversation. She is one of the most caring and thoughtful people I know. She always makes my day with her contagious laugh and delicious snacks.” What some of you might not know is that Ms. Child’s is a fanatic about squash!
Mr. Nolan Clarke teaches 7th grade science and is an advisor, and it’s clear his students enjoy his class. They said, “Mr. Clarke has been a great teacher who always lightens the mood and is really funny. He is one of the best teachers I have ever had and I wish he could teach 8th grade science too! Mr. Clarke is funny and is able to understand me. He is also very smart and helpful when you ask questions.” Congratulations for 10 years at MICDS, Mr. Clarke!
I don’t know that I’ve ever seen Mr. Mark Duvall without a smile on his face, whether he’s in the classroom, the hallways, or monitoring a project. His students appreciate his kind spirit, too. They said, “Mr. Duvall is an amazing teacher, with an incredible enthusiasm for teaching. He always has something interesting to learn about and a fun activity to go with it. He always helps us when we are struggling, even if it is about something little. I love coming to class every day!”
Mr. Ron Falkoff is one of our behind-the-scenes magicians who keep technology running smoothly for us. He has been a great asset to the technology team in his ten years with MICDS. He’s been a thought leader on many of our important projects including upgrades to our phone system, universal messaging and digital faxing. Perhaps his most important contribution, though, is in building and vetting the operating system and software images that go onto all of our computers here at MICDS. Mr. Falkoff loves his work and it shows, but he also greatly values time with his family and children, too.
Mr. Norman Jorcke works in our maintenance department, helping ensure that everything on our campus works. He is an experienced HVAC technician, and it’s thanks to him that we continue to work and learn in comfort. He can always be counted on to be on time and to conduct himself professionally. He enjoys life out in the country, where he fishes, attends farm auctions and works around the house he shares with his wife, their two children and three labrador retrievers. Ellie loves him! Thank you, Mr. Jorcke, for all of your hard work here at MICDS.
Mr. Dan Sadicario teaches English in the Upper School and also serves as an advisor. His advisees are effusive in their praise. I’ll share just a few of the many things they said. “Mr. Sadicario has been a very supportive advisor who has pushed me and my peers to challenge ourselves and stay open-minded. It’s clear that he wants all his students to succeed. He is always there to cheer up the advisory after a bad day. He is extremely kind-hearted. Mr. Sadicario helped me overcome many of the challenges I faced last year and is one of the main reasons why I’m where I am today. I owe a lot of my success at this school to him and his upbeat attitude.”
Ms. Veronica Wachter teaches in our Lower School, showing her students how to be more aware of themselves and to take good care of each other every day. Mrs. Wachter’s first-grade students benefit from their teacher’s strong conviction that teaching is about the whole child. With daily modeling and practicing of inclusive language, kind actions, active listening and reflective thinking, Mrs. Wachter’s students move through the various parts of their day with independence, confidence and a growing sense of self-reliance. You might want to ask Ms. Wachter about her upcoming trip to China!
Mrs. Lyle then paused to share her thoughts about leaving MICDS. She said, “I have to share with all of you my deep gratitude for the 12 years David and I have been a part of this amazing community.
“When I first visited MICDS 13 years ago, I knew that it was a community I’d come to fall in love with, and I did! Through the small daily interactions, from walking Ellie early in the morning and getting to chat with folks who are already hard at work beautifying the campus or meeting with faculty and administrators who want to think out loud about their hopes to dreams for our school and getting to see you – our students – do such amazing things: you’ve found new solutions to thorny problems, performed on stage in ways that took my breath away, been courageous on the sports field and in the hallways….and some of you have juggled family and personal challenges and still managed to come to school and do good work.”
“It’s been especially gratifying to have Ellie with us – and I am okay knowing many of you will miss her much more than you’ll miss me! I am wowed and humbled and deeply grateful to the chance I’ve had to serve this school.”
“On May 11 we will gather at Grant’s Farm and I hope all of you will attend. That will give me a final opportunity to say goodbye! Ellie will be there, too!”
The last all-school assembly of 2018-19 ended with the MICDS Alma Mater beautifully performed by the senior members of the choir, led by Charlie Southern ’19.