Middle School Announces New Programs and Initiatives
Head of Middle School, Mark Shelley, joined SA on July 1, 2023, although he'd been working closely with administrators leading up to his first official day. Last week he shared a letter with Middle School families to announce four new programs and initiatives that will be implemented with the start of the 2023-24 academic year. His letter is below.
Sewickley Academy Students Break School AP Records
Sewickley Academy Senior School students had an incredible year of triumph on the Advanced Placement (AP) exams. The College Board, AP's overseeing body, recognizes "high school students who have demonstrated exemplary college-level achievement on AP Exams" with their AP Scholar Awards. In a record-breaking year, this year's cohort achieved the highest percentage of students receiving AP Scholar recognition. Moreover, an outstanding number of these students, 55%, earned the esteemed AP Scholar with Distinction award, marking the highest level of recognition attainable, and the highest percentage on the school's record.
AP results, expanding curriculum and college counseling; 2023-24 to be transformative for Senior School
Earlier this week, Head of Senior School Jamie Nestor shared an update with families and students in Grades 9 - 12 regarding the successful results of academic changes that have been implemented in the past year, and her excitement for all that the Senior School has to offer in the upcoming academic year. Her letter is below.
Lower School Literacy is at the Forefront of Educational Practice
Recently, Head of Lower School Jerilyn Scott shared an update with Pre-K through Grade 5 families regarding literacy instruction at SA in comparison to trending debates in education. She was pleased to relay that SA has been on the cutting edge of educational excellence and research. Her letter is below.
Sewickley Academy celebrated the Class of 2023 at the graduation ceremony held on Friday, June 9, 2023 at 4 pm in the school’s Rea Auditorium. Commencement ceremonies for students completing grades 5 and 8 were held the day prior at 9 and 11 am respectively. Each event included the recognition of outstanding students with various awards as follows:
Sewickley Academy annually recognizes Senior School students with a host of awards for their achievements in academics, arts, athletics, and citizenship. This year’s Senior School Awards ceremony was held in Rea Auditorium on Monday, May 15, 2023. Congratulations to this year’s recipients!
SA's Senior School Math Team participated in the international online Purple Comet Math Meet and took 2nd place in Pennsylvania! The high school-level competition consists of 30 problems with varying levels of complexity to be completed in 90 minutes.
We are incredibly proud to share that Sewickley Academy Senior Katie Serafin has won the Three Rivers Arts Festival's Emerging Artist scholarship through the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust for the second consecutive year.
Please take a moment to enjoy our Day of Giving video which allows you to learn more about Sewickley Academy and hear directly from our students about how the Academy has impacted their education and future.
Current and Future Teachers Learn from Those at SA
While anyone in the Sewickley Academy community knows that our faculty are top-notch, it has been exciting to watch our school’s reputation grow as multiple outside groups have recently asked to observe our outstanding teachers in action.
Dr. Ashley Birtwell, Head of School at Sewickley Academy, Pittsburgh’s oldest co-educational, college-preparatory and independent day school, announced the hiring of Mr. Mark Shelley as new Head of Middle School, starting in July 2023.
Sebastian Tan, a Grade 10 student at Sewickley Academy, is in discussion with the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (DOC) to share and expand a website he designed to connect previously incarcerated people in the Pittsburgh area with workforce openings and opportunities to find success. His website and non-profit organization, OutsideConnection, is free and directs users to communities and businesses that are welcoming to individuals seeking reentry.
On Saturday, May 13, 2023, Sewickley Academy will be presenting its very first TEDxYouth@Sewickley Academy event in Rea Auditorium from 9:30 AM to 12:30 PM. Utilizing the TEDx platform, and with the assistance of Mr. Cesario, Manager of Special Projects at SA, the event has been organized by SA junior Anjali Shah.
Sewickley Academy is pleased to share that five Senior School faculty applied and have been accepted as Readers for this year’s Advancement Placement exams. Readers are responsible for grading the written, or essay, portion of the exams. Based on the subjects they teach, Mr. John Basinger will read for AP Calculus, Dr. Sol Boucher for AP Computer Science A, Dr. Ron Kinser for AP Biology, Ms. Cristy McCloskey for AP Computer Science, and Mr. Matt Michaels for AP Statistics.
(Update 5/10/23: A sixth SA teacher will now be serving as an AP Reader: Ms. Jessica Peluso has accepted an invitation to read for AP US History.)
Three senior students in Dr. Kinser’s World Hunger class looked for ways to educate their peers about hunger issues, and decided that, with the benefit of having a Pre-K - Grade 12 student body at Sewickley Academy, they would start with some of their youngest schoolmates, the Kindergarten.
The 2022-23 academic year has been all about advancement. There have been many articles in the "Campus News" and the "SA in the News" sections of our website sharing the achievements of our students, faculty, and staff. With so much excellence happening all around us, it's important for our facilities to grow right along with our people. If you haven't been to campus this year, here's what you've been missing.
On Saturday, February 11, four Senior School students from Sewickley Academy’s Whoa!Bots robotics team traveled to McCaskey East High School in Lancaster to compete in the Pennsylvania FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) Red Tornado Qualifying Tournament. The competitors included seniors Zan McClain, Derek Peng, and Makhi Lambert, as well as junior Alex Wang.
Four Seniors Advance to Finalists in National Merit Scholarship program
Sewickley Academy proudly announces that all four of its Semifinalists in the National Merit Scholarship program of 2023 have advanced to Finalist standing. Grace Armutat, Leon Jiao, Jayne Miner, and Maria Slivaggio are among approximately 15,000 finalists nationwide who are in consideration for 7,250 National Merit Scholarships. Scholarship award winners will be notified beginning in March.
Eight students from Sewickley Academy participated in the Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science (PJAS) Regional (R7) Competition on Saturday, February 4, 2023, at Baldwin High School. Three of these junior scientists will be continuing to compete with their projects at the 87th annual State meeting at Penn State University in mid-May.
The Latino Culture Club at SA supported Central American artisans through the Pulsera Project. Through the recommendation of their faculty advisor, Ms. Villalobos, seniors Daniel Torres and Lucas Mendonca volunteered to sell the wares of the organization on SA’s campus, January 13 - 28, with all proceeds being returned to the group and its artisans. Goods include pulseras (Spanish for bracelets) and bolsitas (bags) for $7 and $15 respectively. With tables set up outside of the Middle/Senior school cafeteria and in the Senior School Commons, classmates lined up to make purchases and donations. Sales were also conducted in the Lower School and during the school’s Taste of SA event.
After a forced hiatus due to COVID, the students of Sewickley Academy’s Senior School were thrilled to once again offer an exciting celebration of multicultural spirit called A Taste of SA, designed to showcase, celebrate, and educate about the many cultures and identities that comprise the academy’s student body. Held on Saturday, January 28 in the academy’s Rea Auditorium, the entirely student-led event began with a series of performances and presentations by various school affinity groups and outside cultural organizations.
They say you truly know a language when you start to think in that language and no longer need to consciously translate for yourself. Well, SA’s Spanish II, III, IV, V and Advanced Placement students are on their way, testing their grasp of vocabulary and sentence structure by corresponding with pen pals (amigos por correspondencia) in Barcelona, Spain, since late November. The learning is working both ways, as the 73 high-school aged students in Spain are practicing their English as they reply to our students’ questions about cultural and linguistic differences and similarities.
First Merit Scholarship Program in US Recognizes SA Student and Teacher
As a semifinalist for the Morehead-Cain merit scholarship program, Jayne Miner, a Sewickley Academy senior, was given the opportunity to name an educator who has had the most profound impact on her. She chose Dr. Ron Kinser, a science teacher, advisor, and coach at the academy for over a decade.
While Sewickley Academy was closed on Monday, January 16, 2023, in recognition of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, the students spent significant time discussing Dr. King’s contributions to the Civil Rights Movement and our country.