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St. Anne's Belfield School: News & Notes - Holiday

St. Anne's-Belfield School News & Notes


Welcome to the latest edition of News & Notes for the 2013-2014 academic year. Read on to keep up-to-date with everything that is happening on our campuses, including important information about upcoming events and school announcements.




Hour of Coding Recap

In connection with Computer Science Education Week (December 9-13), St. Anne’s-Belfield School joined millions of other students around the world to participate in an international initiative to expose at least ten million students to an Hour of Code. Under the leadership of our Technology Resource Coordinators, Mrs. Michele Mathieson and Dr. Johanna Craig, and Upper School English teacher Mrs. Laura Robertson, all students in grades Kindergarten-12 had an opportunity to work with coding software. Coding activities in the Learning Village included self-guided lessons in Code Maven, Tynker, BeeBot, Kodable Pro (App available for download here), Code Monster, and LEGO Mindstorms. In the Upper School, students explored coding with Grok Learning, Light-bot, Maze and Blockly, CodeCombat, and Cargo-bot (App available for download here).

Most activities were facilitated and led by student instructors from all divisions. For their dedication to this endeavor and willingness to introduce an interest of theirs to our School community, I would like to thank the following students: Jeremy Chase ‘21, Trevor Chase ‘16, Vijay Chhabra ‘20, Parker DeVillier ‘18, Ani Grosch ‘20, Nate Harris ‘19, Jackson Jones ‘20Milo Last-Yuen ‘19, Johnny Lindbergh ‘18, Jacob Lourie ‘18, Elijah Monroe ‘17, Stewart Morris ‘21, Lisa Ng ‘21, Molly O’Donnell ‘15, AJ Poindexter ‘20, Diego Russo ‘21, Aidan Scheinfeld ‘20, Courtney Schoeb ‘20, Porter Sherman ‘15, Cole Sidders ‘21, Alex Sullivan ‘14, Oliver Van Wincoop ‘21, Celia Wood ’21, and Steven Yue ‘14. This week of collaboration led to a high level of engaged work on campus, brainstorming for future inclusion of coding in our curriculum, and student desire to code at home with siblings and friends. To see more photos from last week, click here.



On December 4, sixth graders presented their science projects to other Learning Village students and parents. The exhibitions featured the individual research students completed for the Science Fair. Each student began his or her project by identifying a question and forming a hypothesis about what the results would be when the problem was tested. Some of the scientific projects presented included the study of the senses of smell and taste by gender, and the affect of music on a resting heart rate. Two students even tested hovercrafts by creating different designs. To see more photos from the Science Fair, click here.





Earlier this month, first through third grade students presented their Winter Music Concert. The production, titled “American Folk Roots,” paid tribute to the beginnings of American music featuring Spanish-American carols, African-American spirituals, and British-Appalachian songs. As part of the performance, students sang, danced, acted, and played a variety of instruments including glockenspiels, metallophones, and xylophones. To see more photos from the performance, click here.








On December 8, students, parents, faculty, and staff, and members of the Charlottesville community joined together for the Third Annual Tailgate and Donate Silver Lining Blood Drive. Despite inclement weather, the drive collected 125 units of blood in less than eight hours. The community event featured live streaming football games, an XBOX 360 station, free massages for donors, and catered meals by The Shebeen and Littlejohn's. To see NBC29's coverage of the event, click here.






Last week, third grade students braved the cold to visit the Frontier Culture Museum in Staunton, Va. Students were able to combine their classroom learning experiences about colonial life in Virginia with hands-on learning activities at the living history museum. Armed with a new perspective and understanding of this historical period, third graders will continue their studies about life in colonial Virginia by researching topics of interest and making presentations to their peers later in January. To see more photos from the third grade trip, click here.





On December 11, the fourth grade class continued their study of James Monroe by visiting Ash Lawn-Highland. The trip consisted of six different activities: a house tour, lantern-making, hearth cooking, 1800s games, paper quilling, and a tour of the grounds. The students thoroughly enjoyed the hands-on learning and the opportunity to see authentic artifacts. To see more photos from the group's trip, click here.






On the afternoon of December 11, the Comparative Religion Senior Seminar traveled to Ligmincha Bon Buddhist Institute, known as "Serenity Ridge," located on 19 acres in Nelson County. Students met with John Jackson, a long-time Buddhist and senior student of Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche. They toured the center, learned about the ancient roots of the Bon lineage within Tibetan Buddhism, discussed the growth of Buddhism in America, and experienced a guided mindfulness practice. The trip exemplified the goals of experiential learning and collaboration, which are at the heart of the Senior Seminar program. To browse more photos from the trip, click here.





Middle School students were able to show their progression and growth as string players through the Middle School Holiday Orchestra Concert on December 11. Fifth grade students, who performed with their string instruments for the first time, played traditional songs such as Hot Cross Buns and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, and even tried out some jazz with Groovin' for the First Time. The sixth grade Haydn Orchestra performed Snowflakes and Ode to Joy, and the seventh and eighth grade Mozart Orchestra closed the concert with Le Froid de L'Hiver and an arrangement of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. To see more photos from the performance, click here.







Last week, the second grade class completed their unit of study on Ancient Greece with the annual Greek Day Celebration. Dressed in Olympic attire, the students participated in a Mini-Olympics with events such as the right-handed marble grab, left-handed sponge squeeze, paper plate discus, plastic straw javelin throw, and cotton ball shot-put. Following the games, the students indulged in a traditional Greek feast. To see more photos from Greek Day, click here.






On December 12, Middle School choral students presented their holiday concert, titled Reach for the Stars! The performance featured fifth grade music and movement classes, the sixth grade choir, and the seventh and eighth grade choir, Saintly Voices. The evening’s theme celebrated the New Year and included a special dedication of Debussy’s Noel Des Enfants Qui N’ont Plus de Maisons to those students who volunteer with Mama’s Kitchen Club. Click here to browse photos from the concert.




To usher in the holiday spirit, first grade students spent time last week building Gingerbread Houses. Together with their classmates and parents, the students crafted their dream homes of sugar out of graham crackers, icing, marshmallows, pretzels, and a variety of candy pieces. To see more photos of the students' creations, click here.





Last Friday, a dozen first through third grade students participated in a Fairy House Workshop. They used natural materials scavenged from the woods to create houses, parks, schools, and one fairy spa. Several students added bright red berries to decorate their constructions for the holidays, and many clippings from pine trees and cedar branches became Christmas trees and wreaths for visiting fairies. 



Dressed in traditional renaissance garb, Upper School students entertained family and friends at the fourth annual Madrigal Dinner. The festive event featured musical performances by the Upper School choir and Counterpoints ensemble. Students also provided entertainment in the form of comedic sketches throughout the dinner. The evening concluded with a audience sing-a-long featuring the carols Joy to the WorldHark! the Herald Angels Sing, and Silent Night. To see more photos from this past weekend's event, click here.





Resilience, perseverance, coping skills, values – we hear these words over and over, but are we really listening to what is being said? We all want our children to be successful in whatever endeavors they choose, but do we truly understand the importance of authentic success? Are our children able to recognize and appreciate their successes internally or are they merely collecting accolades? Unless we as parents work hand-in-hand with the School, we will miss our opportunity to make critical changes that will benefit our children both today, and as they grow toward independent, self-sufficient adulthood.

Please plan to attend the Parents’ Association Meeting on Wednesday, January 15 at 12:15 p.m. in the Learning Village Auditorium. David Lourie, Head of School, and Matt Zimmerman, Director of Training and Staff Psychologist at the Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) at U.Va., will co-present on the mental health issues facing teens who are in rigorous “college prep” programs, and how schools, colleges, and parents can and should make changes to positively impact children’s mental health.

PA Thank You Notes:

Thank you to Julie Jones, Sharon Greene, Malaika Rogers, Wendy Carlton, Christie Shaps, Angie Oakey, Meredith McClellan, and Irene Jennings for serving as Division Coordinators. In addition to coordinating the activities within their respective divisions, they graciously share their time, wisdom, and enthusiasm by serving on the PA Executive Committee and PA Board. I’m so thankful for each and every one of you.  – Anne Jones

Thank you to the Lower School families who participated in the Lower School Thanksgiving Food Drive – filling the hallways with overflowing grocery bags. Thank you also to the Middle School families who sent food into Advisories for the Middle School Thanksgiving Food Drive.

Happy Holidays to you and yours!





  • Upper School yoga and pilates teacher Ms. Dinah Gray recently partnered with Chloe Sackier '14 on a work of choreography that was performed at U.Va.'s Fall Experimental Dance Concert. The dance featured live accompaniment on violin by Chloe. In the piece, titled Construct your story. Name your days., four dancers present different ways of walking through the world at the start of a lifestage. Chloe's accompaniment takes shape in response to the dancers' performances. Congratulations to both Ms. Gray and Chloe on this exciting collaboration.
  • St. Anne's-Belfield School fall Varsity athletes had successful seasons across the board. To view all post-season awards from the season, click here. Congratulations and thank you to our student-athletes for representing our School well.
  • Congratulations to Becca Lourie '21 for her participation in Ash Lawn Opera's performance of Amahl and the Night Visitors held at The Paramount Theater this past weekend. Becca performed with other dancers from The Wilson School of Dance. To see a brief video of the dancers' preparation for the performance, click here.
  • Senior Lainey Wood's submission to the Virginia Film Festival won the Audience Award for Favorite Narrative Short. To watch Lainey's short film, Awakened Eyes, click here. Her film also received Runner Up in the 2013 ACTION! High School Filmmaker Competition. To read NBC29's announcement of the festival winners, including Lainey, click here. Congratulations to Lainey on this exciting achievement.
  • Lauren Dusseau '16 recently participated in the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Teen Stylin' Costume Couture runway event where she was awarded Best Use of Alternative Materials and a trip to New York City. Pictured to the right is Lauren with Elly Easter '16 who modeled Lauren's couture piece at the show. Congratulations to Lauren on her hard work.
  • The School is pleased to announce five students were selected for the All-District Band. The students auditioned and competed for a spot in the All-District Band Festival slated for January 31-February 1, 2014 at Monticello High School. Please join us in congratulating the below students on their achievement:

    Symphonic Band:
    David Lee '14, Clarinet

              Concert Band:
              Kerry Chen '16, Clarinet
              Trevor Li '16, Mallets
              Robbie Simeone '14, Accepted for both Timpani and Snare Drum (selected Timpani) 
              Xiaoyang Chi '17, Mallets*

              *denotes First Alternate




  • Lessons & Carols will be held this Friday, December 20. The event will begin at 10:00 a.m. and will be held in the Conway Convocation Center on the School's Belfield Campus (799 Faulconer Drive). For more information about the event, including details on dress code, dismissal, and parking, please click here. All Upper School girls participating in Madame Day activities should be dropped off at the Upper School campus no later than 7:55 a.m. (transportation will be provided for these students to the Learning Village for Lessons & Carols). All other students in grades 5-12 should come directly to the Conway Convocation Center on the morning of the December 20 for the 10:00 a.m. service.
  • Make Your Year End Gift Today! With the end of the year quickly approaching, now is a great time to make your gift to the Annual Fund of St. Anne’s-Belfield School. With the stock market is at an all-time high, you may want to consider a gift of stock this year.

    How it Works:

    • You transfer securities to St. Anne’s-Belfield School.
    • The School sells your gift of stock and uses the proceeds to support our programs.

    Please click here for stock transfer instructions. For more information on giving securities, please contact Director of Annual Giving, Lisa Mann, at (434) 220-4216 or  

  • Hope Chest Donations are due Thursday, December 19. For more information about where you can drop off your donations of gently used clothing and household items, click here to read the news post.
  • The Fall 2013 Performing Arts Newsletter is now available. Click here to review a recap of fall arts events. 
  • The Upper School Care for Critters Club would like to thank everyone who recently supported the blanket drive. Altogether, the group collected 77 blankets, towels, and sheets. Pictured to the right are members of the club prior to taking the donations to the Charlottesville-Albemarle SPCA and the Nelson County SPCA last week. The animals will appreciate the added warmth this winter. Thank you!
  • The Third Annual Cut-A-Thon is slated for Sunday, April 27, 2014. Sponsored by the Upper School Greatest of Cuts Club, the hair cutting event aims to secure as many hair donations as possible for the Pantene Beautiful Lengths Program. The program provides hairpieces free of charge to financially disadvantaged women suffering from long-term medical hair loss. For more information about how you can be involved, click here.
  • Did you know ... The oldest of the School Christmas traditions we still observe is "Madame Day." Beginning in 1943, the week before vacation was "Madame X Week." Each boarder picked a name and became that girl’s “Madame X” or Secret Santa, remaining anonymous until her identity was revealed just before winter break. In 1961, the tradition was expanded and adopted by the day students, with each “Madame Day” drawing the name of a “Day Child;” hence the name “Madame Day,” by which the tradition is still called, even though it now includes day girls and boarders alike.



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