Alumna Donates Masks to Sewickley Academy, Other Local Schools and Local Organizations
Elizabeth “Betsy” (Wiegand ’91) Wentz teamed up with Jason Leviere of Santom Upholstery in Ross Township to produce masks for local businesses in an effort to do their part to contribute and help support those who need protective equipment. Betsy, owner of Betsy Wentz Interior Design in Sewickley, purchased the fabric from Thibaut Fabrics and Santom Upholstery provided the labor.
Four Grade 5 Students Receive Community of Respect Award
As Virtual School wrapped up for the year, Head of Lower School Ryan Baxter notified four Grade 5 students – Giovanni, Bella, Nicholas, and Isabela – that they were this year’s Community of Respect Award recipients.
Grade 8 Students Honored with the Annual John W. Heagy Award
Head of Middle School Dr. Shannon Mulholland announced Abby and Max as the winners of the John W. Heagy Award, which has been given annually since 1994, during the Grade 8 Virtual Commencement Ceremony on Thursday, June 4, 2020.
Sewickley Academy is proud to congratulate four seniors – Mira Bhatia, Connery Brown, Catherine Cable, Eirnin Mahoney – who are graduating as Honor Thespians through the International Thespian Society (ITS).
Sewickley Academy Inducts Eight New Students into the Cum Laude Society
On May 18, 2020, Sewickley Academy’s Senior School hosted a virtual ceremony to honor the academic, athletic, and artistic achievements of students during the annual Awards Ceremony, which included an induction presentation for the newest members of the Cum Laude Society.
Junior Advances to the Semifinals in the USA Biolympiad
Junior Prateek performed extraordinarily on this year's Center for Excellence in Education’s USA Biolympiad (USABO) exam, earning a place as a semifinalist. Unfortunately, due to the coronavirus pandemic, this year’s semifinals were canceled.
“The USA Biolympiad (USABO) is one of the most challenging tests a high school student can take. It covers every aspect of the vast field of life science and at a very deep level,” Senior School biology teacher Dr. Ron Kinser said. “The test also emphasizes the quantitative aspects of the field as well as cutting edge biotechnology used in modern labs, both of which makes it even more challenging.”
Being a USABO semifinalist meant a lot to Prateek. “I started developing a passion for biology after ninth grade “Honors Biology” with [Senior School biology teacher] Mr. Gallagher. The class was a great introduction to the complexities of life at the molecular level. The labs in that class were also a lot of fun, and are some of my most memorable experiences in the science lab in high school so far,” he recalled. “When I found out I became a USABO semifinalist, I was ecstatic. I put in a lot of work into something that I enjoyed learning about ever since those freshman bio classes and I had something to show for it,” Prateek said.
The exam required strategic preparation that he began in late August 2019. “There were plenty of late nights and early mornings where I would read and take notes on ‘Campbell's Biology,’ which is the standard biology textbook that's used in classrooms around American and is used for this competition. It was also particularly fun studying while my sister was also studying for her medical school entrance exams. We would quiz each other on things, and it was one way that we both would be able to stay awake through those late-night study sessions,” he explained.
Along with Mr. Gallagher, Prateek also wanted to thank Dr. Kinser. “Dr. Kinser took time out of his day from his busy schedule to proctor the exam after school and also was happy to answer all the biology questions that I had whenever something confusing came up in my prep. Without his support, I really wouldn't have been able to succeed in the olympiad,” he said. “I also want to thank Senior School science and robotics teacher, Mr. Spicer, for his help in being the teacher sponsor along with Dr. Kinser for Science Bowl. I think that the Science Bowl was a great environment that motivated me to want to learn more about biology. Both of these teachers took time to explain to the team science topics, sometimes beyond the scope of our school curriculum, clearly and effectively. This was incredibly helpful, and their attitude towards teaching helped motivate me to study for the olympiad as well. Thanks so much, Dr. Kinser and Mr. Spicer!” Prateek said.
In the past, the Academy has had other students take the test and find success. Cole Luther ’18 made it to the semifinal round three years ago, and now Prateek is following his example. “Prateek is a junior, so it is exciting to think about what the future holds for him and his performance on the USABO test next year. I hope he has the chance to challenge himself and accomplish his goal of making it past the semifinals,” said Dr. Kinser.
According to the organization’s site, the USABO is the premiere biology competition for high school students in the United States. It enriches the life science education of nearly 10,000 talented students annually by providing the motivation, curricular resources, and skills training to take them beyond their classroom experience to the level of international competitiveness. Typically, finalists represent the USA at the International Biology Olympiad (IBO), a worldwide competition involving student teams from over seventy countries. This year’s competition scheduled to take place in Nagasaki, Japan in July was also canceled due to the COVID-19 crisis.