Student Standouts and Faculty Features for August 21

Student Standouts: Barton ’21, McCarty ’21, Morris ’21, Pollock ’21, Zacks ’21, Motwani ’21, Hamilton ’22, Scally ’22, Poojari ’25, Puri ’25, Nora L. ’32, Football in the News

Faculty Features: Bouchard, Elliott, Grossman, Self, Shaw, Shelton

Congratulations to this week’s standouts below. Way to go #RamNation! And as always, if you have a story to share, please email weeklynews@micds.org.

Senior Launches Ladue & Warson Podcast

Senior Cal Barton ’21 recently launched Ladue & Warson, a podcast for the MICDS community. The goal of the podcast is to create a discussion space that is academic—academic not in content, but in thought. Please enjoy the first episode below, which primarily deals with education and college counseling in the age of social distancing. “Our hope,” Cal shares, “is that this hour of content can—at least in part—quench your thirst for the type of discussion that hasn’t been possible over the last few months [in the spring].”

View or listen to episode 1 of the Ladue & Warson podcast.

Upper Schoolers Start Website to Help Facilitate Absentee Voting

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Missouri state legislature expanded absentee voting. In most cases though, a notary is still required, and one can be difficult to find in Missouri.

Enter MICDS Upper School students Lucas McCarty ’21, Jack Morris ’21, Sydney Pollock ’21, and Jonah Zacks ’21. “We started a website to help voters and notaries get connected,” shares Jonah. “The way it works is people fill out a form on our website, motaryconnections.org, and we use their zip code to pair them with a nearby notary. Then, we start an email thread between the voter and the notary so they can set up a time and place to get the ballot notarized.”

To set up the technology for the website, Lucas spent hours between classes and after school on Zoom with some MICDS teachers to learn how some of the systems work and how to use them for this specific project. “We use a system combining multiple APIs and a network of databases and forms,” Lucas explains. “Additionally, I built a small server that houses the backend portion of our system.”

Recently, the group filed to become a corporation. They plan to take the next step of becoming a not-for-profit soon.

Senior Participates in Civic Superheroes Event

Jonah Zacks ’21 is involved in Civics Unplugged, an organization that “prepares the exceptional leaders of Generation Z to become the civic superheroes their communities and democracy need.”

On June 27, the Civics Unplugged Fellowship hosted Commence 2030. According to Jonah, “Commence 2030 is a first-of-its-kind, virtual celebration of Gen Zers who are going above and beyond their obligations to serve their communities and strengthen—or in some cases, form—democratic systems. The event honored dozens of Gen Z ‘civic superheroes’ and featured speeches and performances by some leading public figures such as Senator Cory Booker, Business Leader Andre Yang, and Digital Minister of Taiwan Audrey Tang to name just three.” He also got to hear from actor, retired pro wrestler, and activist Dwayne Johnson and many other notable speakers.

Jonah has been part of the Civics Unplugged Fellowship since the beginning of the year. “We started in January with a conviction that ‘the kids will lead’ and garnered support from business corners and civil servants to make that a reality. The truly visionary parts of Civics Unplugged have been the other Gen Zers we have had to opportunity to recognize who has been making today good and tomorrow better.”

In addition, Jonah’s MOtary Connections project with Lucas, Sydney, and Jack (see above) is partnering with Civics Unplugged.

A Life of Purpose and Service...and Tennis

Congrats to Aryan Motwani ’21 for pursuing his passions of tennis and helping others by living a life of purpose and service. He started ACE Academy which uses tennis to promote equality by serving marginalized communities in St. Louis. “I felt that the best way I can be a catalyst for change would be to use tennis as a medium to bring people together regardless of race, zip code, or socioeconomic status,” shares Aryan.

Read the full story here covered by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and USTA.

Achieving National Fencing Recognition

Bogdan Hamilton ’22 was named a First Team All-American and a First Team Academic All-American by USA Fencing for the second consecutive year! Additionally, the Canadian Fencing Federation chose him to represent Canada at the 2020 Cadet and World Fencing Championships. Way to go, Bogdan!

Junior Earns 2nd Place in Annual Chinese Bridge Competition

Congratulations to Emma Scally ’22 for her 2nd place finish in the Confucius Institute’s 12th Annual Chinese Bridge Competition. The competition was held online in June and the topic was “What I want my Chinese friends to know about St. Louis.” The contest included a formal speech and a talent show. Read more about the competition on the Webster University website and about Emma’s achievement on newsbreak.com.

Amisha Poojari achieved 2020 High Honors John Hopkins Award

Poojari '25 Earns 2020 High Honors Johns Hopkins Award

Eighth grader Amisha Poojari ’25 was recently featured in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch for earning the 2020 High Honors Johns Hopkins Award. This award recognizes Amisha “as one of the brightest students in the world.” She received this award for her “exceptional performance on the SAT, ACT, or similar assessment taken as part of the CTY [Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth] Talent Search.”

Amisha was one of over 16,000 students from 66 countries to test with CTY last year. As such, she qualified to take CTY summer and online programs. Congratulations, Amisha!

Puri '25 Solves Rubics Cube in Eight Seconds

Arjun Puri ’25 worked on improving his cubing skills over the summer. He started doing cubing at the start of quarantine on March 15. His best record in completely solving a 3×3 is 8 seconds and the world record is 4 seconds.

1st Grader Earns 1st Place at Kirkwood Show

This past weekend Nora L. ’32 competed in the Kirkwood Show at the National Equestrian Center in Lake Saint Louis. She took first place in her ground poles competition, earning enough points to be the overall champion for her age group and class! Congratulations, Nora!

Faculty Feature: Coach Fred Bouchard & Football in the News

On the first day of fall athletic practices, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch covered football practice with our new Head Football Coach Dr. Fred Bouchard. Learn how Coach Bouchard has kicked off this unique football season with Phase 2 procedures in place and read what his student-athletes are saying about the season.

Here are some photos from the first practice (Photo Credit: Paul Halfacre, STLhighschoolsports.com).

Creating Art for an Important Cause

Over the summer, Upper School Library Assistant Aaron Elliott sold his artwork to benefit the Forward Through Ferguson organization. He’s raised $2,700 for the cause and is still going.

Helping Others through Music

Did you know that Coach Eric Grossman has also been a musician for 40 years? Check out the music project he worked on to aid artists who have been affected by COVID-19.


Dana Self Earns Jeff Sanquist Presidential Award of Excellence

At the annual awards for the Missouri Choral Directors Association (MCDA), Director of Choirs/AP Music Theory Instructor Dana Self was honored as the recipient of the Jeff Sanquist Presidential Award of Excellence. Each year, this award is given at the discretion of the MCDA President to someone who contributes exceptional service to the MCDA. Each recipient reveals the qualities of intellectual integrity, commitment to excellence, as well as high musical achievement in the choral hall and on the concert stage.

Dana was honored specifically for his work as the MCDA All-District Choir Coordinator for the last decade. He helped to create and maintain the Handbook for both the All-District and All-State choir and assisted in the training for directors state-wide. His organization and leadership has been invaluable to the MCDA organization. Bravo, Dana!

Dr. Bob Shaw

Dr. Bob Shaw, JK-12 Science Department Chair

Science Department Chair Bob Shaw was featured on the UMSL Daily for his work on his dissertation entitled, “Using Online Interventions to Address Summer Learning Loss in Rising Sixth-Graders.” He and a fellow UMSL College of Education EdD cohort, STEM Education Enhancement student looked at the phenomena from the American Educational Research Journal which found that “more than half of students lose an average of 39 percent of their total academic gains over the course of five summers in elementary school.”

Shaw and his colleague studied a group of rising 6th graders and found that “Students who regularly participated in weekly interactive lessons online – where they received basic, immediate feedback and in-depth feedback from an instructor – saw noticeable academic gains rather than losses.” Learn more about their research in the article here!

Peggy Shelton

New Volleyball Coach Announced

At the end of May, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch highlighted Peggy Shelton, our new MICDS Head Volleyball Coach. The article shares that Coach Shelton comes to MICDS after coaching at St. Charles High for 12 years. In the last five seasons, her St. Charles team posted three winning records. We are thankful to have Coach Shelton lead the volleyball program with the 2020 season well under way. Welcome to Ram Nation, coach!