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St. Anne's Belfield School: News & Notes

St. Anne's-Belfield School News & Notes



Welcome to the latest edition of News & Notes,  St. Anne's-Belfield's all-school newsletter.  Read on to keep up-to-date with everything that is happening on our campuses, including important information about upcoming events and school announcements.



An Update on Dining Services' Composting Efforts

As many of you know, Mr. Trey Holt, Director of Dining Services, has received much recognition for his efforts to support local farmers and reduce landfill waste at St. Anne’s-Belfield School. Since April of last year, Mr. Holt’s partnership with Black Bear Composting and the daily work of our community have resulted in almost 38 tons of organic matter going to compost rather than a landfill. This amount of composted waste translates to 61.46 cubic yards and would cover a basketball court over four inches deep. In order to reduce our landfill waste, steps are taken by our kitchen staff, faculty, and students on a daily basis. All organic waste from our kitchens – resulting from food prep – on both campuses is sent to compost, and our efforts to separate out dining room waste, such as paper products and unfinished foods, will be expanded from our Greenway Rise Campus to our Belfield Campus very soon.  


Opaque vs. Translucent

Stemming from information learned at a conference on brain research, Mrs. Carla Moody and Ms. Rachel Yeager decided to implement project-based learning with St. Anne’s-Belfield School’s youngest students – our two year-olds. Their most recent unit on light organically originated during a class lesson involving Vincent van Gogh’s “Starry Nights.” One student’s question about whether light existed under the table led everyone under the table with flashlights and blankets. The students also took trips around the Learning Village looking for opaque and translucent surfaces. That same simple question has also steered the class to projects in mathematics and movement, and will hopefully blend into the next project. To hear the latest podcast featuring these efforts, please click here.


Fifth Annual Capstone Thesis Symposium

Upper School classes paused on Thursday, January 24 for the fifth annual Capstone Thesis Symposium. A full-year, full-credit course, the Capstone Thesis offers senior students the opportunity to design their own courses with faculty serving as mentors. This year’s group of seniors are engaged in a wide variety of studies, each guided by an essential question. To see the listing of students and their research topics, click here.


Spaghetti Bridge Project

With the goal of building the lightest, yet strongest bridge made out of spaghetti, Mr. Mike and Mrs. April Waylett’s Intro to Algebra classes set off to do just that in this annual project that combines mathematics, research, teamwork, history, and engineering. In groups of three or four, students had to select a company name, assign responsibilities, design a presentation in Keynote on an iPad, document the process, test the strength of the bridge, and ultimately present their findings. If you would like to watch a video of one spaghetti bridge being tested, please click here.




Last week Lower School students celebrated Wolfgang Mozart’s birthday for the ninth consecutive year. The composer’s 257th birthday was Sunday, January 27. Students heard from a professional opera singer who performed parts of Mozart’s “The Magic Flute,” while teaching students about different operative elements such as acting, music, scenery, costumes, dance, and singing styles including coloratura. The students even participated in the dragon scene of Mozart’s opera. Click here to see more photos from the Mozart Birthday Celebration.



Eighth grade French students recently designed and developed a free iPad app called “2Lingua Kids” to teach French in a fun and easy way. The project included creating a story (in English with French expressions), recording the story, making info boxes, incorporating a virtual photo album to illustrate the story, designing a logo for the app as well as a cover page, and writing the description for the App Store. Throughout the project, students worked on basic coding, photography, writing, editing, and oral skills.  Most importantly, they learned how to think about a foreign language in a different way. As the story in the app relates to the adventures of the descendants of Louis XVI and Thomas Jefferson, the project also included a field trip to Monticello where the class received a private tour. To learn more about the class project, click here.



On January 18, the Kindergarten Winter Performance entertained families, and first and fourth grade students. The performance centered on explaining the myth of evergreen trees and why they are forever green. Students sang and played musical instruments while telling the story of three birds who finally found shelter in evergreen trees. Click here or on the image to the right to watch the performance. Click here for more photos.






In their plate tectonics unit, seventh grade students studying earthquakes were recently challenged to create a device that would act like a seismograph, responding in a measurable way to shaking. "Earthquakes" of different magnitudes were simulated and tested by dropping books of varying weights on desktops. Students used styrofoam, string, rubber bands, and other materials to create their seismographs. Click here or to the left to see the seismographs in action. 







Last week first grade students celebrated Halfway Day. The special day marks the halfway point in the school year, as well as the first graders study of fractions in their math classes. First grader Laney Geismar is pictured to the right in her two half outfits -- "The City Girl," and "The Party Girl."










Students in Ms. Beth Curran's fourth grade class led Lower School Chapel last week. In keeping with the chapel theme of "Kindness," the students decided to show what the magnitude of doing one kind act can have. By calculating the average shoulder span of a fourth grader (15 inches), the students multiplied that by the number of kind acts that could be made, and then converted the sum into varying measurement units and compared those to objects or distances as a way to illustrate the magnitude. The fourth graders determined that if all 873 STAB students issued one kind act the impact would convert to the length of roughly 11 blue whales. To see more calculations the students devised, read their script. To view their chapel PowerPoint presentation, click here.





Last week, biology classes conducted DNA electrophoresis labs, separating synthesized DNA fragments by electric current to detect genetic diseases in simulated patients. This type of experiment is routinely used to detect cancer genes and genetic conditions, identify paternity and determine suspects in crimes. In class, students presented their results in a series of workshop sessions. The students learned not only about the practical applications of such genetic tests and how to interpret them, but also about how much you learn by teaching others. As student LaRissa Rogers '14 said, "I understand it much better after explaining it to the other students." LaRissa's sentiment is echoed in the Latin phrase: "Docendo discimus," translated as "We learn by teaching."

Over the last two weeks, Señora Wright's three Spanish 2 Honors classes have participated in field trips to the Learning Village where they visited a few of Señora Doherty's first and third grade classes. While studying the two past tenses, the Upper School students modernized well-known fairy tales, which they turned into iBooks to share with the younger students. Everyone knows the story and moral of "The Tortoise and the Hare," but they may not be as familiar with the version set in NYC's Central Park, or the version involving Usain Bolt. Both the younger and older students enjoyed the "story time" visit. The field trip is topped off by a delicious Mexican immersion lunch to El Puerto.




Earlier this month, STAB's Athletic Department sponsored a collegiate Athletic Recruiting Round Table. An overflow of parents, students, and coaches were in attendance.The guest speakers included: Brooke Martin Ireland, a 1992 graduate of STAB and the head coach of the women's lacrosse team at the College of William and Mary; Pedro Arruza, the head football coach at Randolph-Macon College; and Rob Slavis, from the UVA compliance office on athletic eligibility. The round table provided everyone with valuable information about the expectations of being a college athlete. The Athletic Department would like to thank the guest speakers for their time and support of our school's academic and athletic programs.





Last December, adjunct music teacher Mark Kramer hosted the first annual Holiday Guitar Recital. In addition to holiday-themed songs, performers also played selections by John Lennon, The Band, and Joni Mitchell. Twenty students between the ages of 7 and 15 sang, and played lead parts as well as rhythm. 







  • A number of Upper School students recently received honors for their artwork in The Scholastic Art Awards. Please join us in congratulating the following students on their accomplishments.
               Gold Key: 
               Jake Allen '15, Category: Ceramics and Glass, Work: 3rd Times the Charm
               Corbin Dameron '15, Category: Fashion, Work: Queen of York
               Lainey Wood '14, Category: Fashion, Works: Haute and Cold and Wake Up Call
               Wesley Connor '13, Category: Glass and Ceramics, Work: Dripping Amphibian

               Silver Key:
               Anna Gibson '15, Category: Drawing, Work: In a Hurry
               Hannah Glatt '14, Category: Fashion, Work: Dressed to Quill
               Laura Bissett '13, Category: Drawing, Work: Impossible to Eat


  • Congratulations to the following students on their selection to the 2013 All-District Band: August Jin '15 (clarinet), David Lee '14 (clarinet), Julie Lee '14 (flute), Luke Lee '13 (clarinet), and Blake Thatcher ' 13 (trombone). Please come support the students at the All-District Band concert on Saturday, February 2 at Albemarle High School at 3:30 p.m. Admission is free.
  • Congratulations to the following students on their selection to the 2013 All-District Choir: Freshmen -- John Leiner, Alex Peterson, Megan Schwagerl, Liza Stoner, Joe Upchurch, and Christopher Woodfolk; Sophomores -- Meg Foster, Anna Gibson, Julia Haney, Frances Keeler, Michael Mao, Molly O'Donnell, and Lee Parkhill; Juniors -- Julia Bennett, Bridget Braley, Hannah Clark, Shannon O'Donnell, and Tony Ye; Seniors -- Colin Meissner and Allie Nicholson. Please come support the students at the All-District Choir concert on Saturday, February 8 at Fluvanna High School at 3:00 p.m. Admission is free.  
  • Director of Admission for Grades 5-12 Bo Perriello gave a presentation at the 2013 National Lacrosse Convention in Philadelphia, Pa. in early January. This was Bo's second time to be asked to speak at the annual US Lacrosse event. Speaking to a packed house, he presented on zone offensive and defensive concepts. Head of the Middle School Fred Chandler, and Middle School Dean of Students, both STAB lacrosse coaches, also attended the convention. Congratulations and thanks to Bo for representing St. Anne's-Belfield School at the national convention.




  • Healthfest 2013 is slated for Friday, February 1 on the Greenway Rise campus. All students in grades 9-12 will hear the keynote speaker, Kathryn Laughon, Ph.D., RN discuss issues surrounding sexual assault and dating violence. Following the keynote address, seniors will attend CPR/First Aid certification while students in grades 9-11 attend presentations led by local community health and safety advocates. For more information on topics covered in the presentations, click here. As a supplement to their CPR/First Aid training, all seniors are required to attend a screening of the documentary "HAZE" on Thursday, January 31 at 7:00 p.m. in the Randolph Hall Auditorium. After the film, parents and seniors will attend discussion groups led by facilitators from the UVA Gordie/Case Foundation.
  • Last week we enacted our Emergency Alert System in response to inclement weather. If you did not receive a voice message or mobile text announcing the one-hour delay of school and would like to in the future, please provide your name, phone number and preference of a voice or text message to Penny Schwagerl by email or phone: (434) 296-5106 x1222.

  • Tickets for the Winter Musical, The King and I, are on sale now. This beloved musical by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II will be performed February 22-24, 2013 on the Greenway Rise Campus (2132 Ivy Road). Based upon the true story of an English schoolteacher hired by the King of Siam to help modernize his country, the musical follows the relationship between the schoolteacher, Anna Leonowens, and the King, revealing their growing respect, acceptance, and love for one another. The not-to-be-missed production promises spectacle in the form of set and costume design, choreography, and beautiful music. For more information about production dates, showtimes, and the cast members, click here. To purchase tickets, visit or download this ticket reservation form. Online advance ticketing ends Wednesday, February 20.
  • Information for the 2013 Summer Religion Course is now available. The intensive class fulfills the year-long religion requirement at St. Anne's-Belfield. Students will analyze and discuss the sacred texts of Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism. For more information on the 2013 Summer Religion Course, click here. To download the application for 2013 Summer Programs, click here. Please contact Director of Religious Life Bob Clark with any questions.
  • Save the Date for the the PK-12 Art Show slated for Monday, March 25 - Friday, April 19. The annual all-school event features student visual artwork from all divisions and grades. Volunteers are needed in the early morning on Thursdays and Fridays throughout February to assist in matting the artwork. Help is also needed to set up the show on Friday, March 22. For more information on how to be involved, please email Ms. Kim Cox.


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