Sixth graders learn the properties and power of static electricity.
Message from Head of School
A February Throwback to Summer
Brendan Largay, Head of School
Post Date: February 15, 2019
You can find this week’s Blue Handprint Studios audio below:
Finally, some snow on the ground as a reminder that winter is here and that February break is upon us. For some that will mean a getaway—travel from our corner of the country to a far-flung place, perhaps with an adventure waiting, and for others, the break will offer a chance to stay local and decompress together as a family. Wherever the week takes you, I hope it allows you to savor some of life’s joys. This expression is borrowed from the work of Sonja Lyubomirsky in The How of Happiness, which was one of the faculty summer reading options this past summer.
Like each of the texts we could have read, Lyubomirsky’s book is rooted in guiding the reader to wellness, mindfulness, and the discovery of joy. I recently revisited Chapter 9, dedicated to the savoring of life’s joys, for guidance on how to best take advantage of this much-needed break during what has been a busy and exciting school year. What follows are a few of her practical suggestions—a sort of how-to guide towards relishing and making the most of every day.
Transport yourself. While some of you may be doing this more literally than others, the act of transporting yourself to a favorite place or time in your memory requires no passport, no Uber ride. It is about “the ability to engage in positive reminiscence” which can “provide both pleasure and solace when you need it most.” Research backs it up: “those who reminisce on a regular basis showed considerable increases in happiness, and the more vivid the memories conjured, the greater the gain in happy feelings.” (p. 195)
Celebrate good news. Lyubomirsky writes that “sharing successes…has been associated with elevated emotions and well being.” (197) An important note—this is about sharing your own successes and digging in a bit to realize those of your child. Children are not necessarily inclined to recognize the little moments as share-worthy, never mind celebration-worthy. Help them find those moments, and celebrate them together.
Be open to beauty and excellence. “Positive psychologists suggest that people who open themselves to the beauty and excellence around them are more likely to find joy, meaning and profound connection in their lives.” (197) As she explains, it is less about finding the awe-inspiring places in the world, and more about finding the wonder in the everyday. May you find beauty and excellence everywhere you look, and may you remember to savor it.
Wax nostalgic. Take time to remember previous experiences with those you love. Turns out, that’s another route to improved happiness as well. According to Lyubomirsky, those cherished memories fulfill you with warmth, beauty, goodness, and love. Not a bad way to spend a break.
Of course, there are other ways to find relief, relaxation, and joy during break—a good book, a museum visit, time as a family unit, to name only a few. However you choose to spend yours, I wish you nothing but the happiness that Lyubomirsky promises, no matter how you may find it.
Have a wonderful break, everyone.
Third graders enjoyed the wintry weather by building snowmen during recess.
This Coming Week at BDS
February 25 through March 3
Monday, Febuary 25
School Closed for Faculty Professional Development
Tuesday, February 26
8:00–9:00 a.m., Grade 8 Parent Coffee, Coolidge Hall
9:30 a.m.–2;45 p.m., Grade 5 Field Lab, Museum of Science, Boston
Wednesday, February 27
6:00–8:30 p.m., Parents of Students of Color Group
6:00–8:30 p.m., Witnessing Whiteness Group
Thursday, February 28
Faculty Appreciation Breakfast
Shop Wilson Farm Day
Winter Athletics Season Ends
6:00–8:00 p.m., Camp Admin Meeting
7:00–8:30 p.m., Intro to High School Placement, Kiva
Friday, March 1
Admissions Second Round Application Due
Trimester 2 Ends
8:50–9:35 a.m., Sports Highlights & Sharing Assembly
Saturday, March 2
8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m., Technology Class for Associate Teachers
9:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m., English Teachers Collaborative, Barn Conference Room
Sunday, March 3
Trimester 3 Begins
8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m., Technology Class for Associate Teachers
*Reminder: School will be closed for February Vacation, February 18–22, and will also be closed of Monday, February 25 for faculty professional development.
Shop at Wilson Farm for BDS
On Thursday, February 28 stop by Wilson Farm to pick up some fruits and vegetables, gardening supplies, flowers, and so much more while benefitting Belmont Day! 20% of your total purchase will be donated to BDS. Organized by the parents’ association, all funds raised will go toward supporting events and programs at the school.
When making your purchase, please present this flyer, either as a printout or as a digital copy on your phone. For hours, directions, and a peek at their selection visit the Wilson Farm website.
Intro to High School Placement
Thursday, February 28
7:00–8:30 p.m., Kiva
All seventh graders and parents are invited to join Sarah Merrill, director of high school placement, for a wide-ranging introduction to selecting target schools and the application process. Please contact Sarah Merrill with any questions.
Lunch & Snack Menu
February 25 to March 1
School Closed for Professional Development Day
Snack: salt & vinegar chips; apples
Lunch: cheese ravioli with marinara sauce; chef’s choice vegetable; warm rolls; greens with balsamic
Snack: chocolate chip cookies; bananas
Lunch: pork-fried rice; vegetable fried rice; chef’s choice vegetable; Asian spinach salad with Mandarin and soy/ginger dressing
Snack: Tostitos; oranges
Lunch: turkey and cheese panini; pickles; chef’s choice vegetable; chef’s choice soup; chips; Caesar salad
Snack: GoGurt; pears
Help Spread the Word!
Get On the Bus Admissions Event
Thursday, March 21, 6:30 to 8 p.m.
If you have neighbors, colleagues, or friends who are considering an independent school education for their child, we hope you will help us get out the word about this special admissions event.
This informational evening will help parents who want a head start on a future admissions process to get to know our program philosophy, curriculum, and warm community. The event will also cater to parents of students in all grade levels who are excited to begin an application process for Fall 2019 entry but thought they had missed the bus.
Our school is growing enrollment and adding new bus service lines in September, so it is not too late to get on board!
Those who are interested in learning more about Belmont Day can email firstname.lastname@example.org to register or call 617-932-3884. Thank you!
Volleyball Caps Inaugural Season on a High Note
John O’Neill, Director of Athletics
The volleyball team finished off their inaugural season with an exciting intramural match Thursday afternoon. The blue squad ended up on top, taking both games in the season finale. Highlights from the match included Michelle Mejia-Levy serving her team back from a seven-point deficit in the second game, Sonia Kim’s tenacious defensive play, and Elena Dainora Cohen’s strong net game. Overall, coaches Ellie Brennan and Anderson Santos, along with Nathalie Pellenq, created a positive and supportive environment for a group of first-time players to learn the game and have some fun. Needless to say, volleyball is here to stay.
More Athletics News
- The boys’ JV basketball team dropped a heartbreaker to ISB in their season finale, 25-23, in overtime. Jack Abruzzi and Alexander Colangelo led the way with six points apiece. Cole Sparks chipped in with four.
- Girls’ JV basketball fell to ISB at home 26-18 in their final game. Kiki Friedbauer and Lynn Lewis were terrific on the offensive end, while Ellie Kadnar and Alice Morton provided strong D.
- The fencing team split their final two matches this week, finishing with a 6-2 record overall. Brooks Largay and Rosie Schrag had big wins against Beaver. Ashley Luo was excellent against ISB.
- Wrestling finished their season by taking nine of ten matches versus Beaver and five of fifteen from Fessenden. In the back-to-back matches, Dylan Skenderian had two impressive wins on Wednesday and Evan Seymour stole the show on Thursday.
- After an impressive win over Meadowbrook at Friday Night Hoops (73-59), the boys’ varsity basketball team fell to Carroll this week. Jacob Gregor led all scorers for the tenth straight game.
- The girls’ varsity basketball team toppled Carroll by twenty points this week. Piper Morris was a threat all game on offense, and co-captain Sophie Dornstein had a terrific all-around game.
- Badminton capped off its 2018-19 campaign with a fun-filled afternoon of friendly matches in the Downing Gym. Team captains Colton Largay and Sophie Myers set great examples for their teammates all season.
Students Create Array of Makeup Effects for Stage
Christopher Parsons, Theater Arts and Music Teacher
Seventh and eighth graders enrolled in the arts elective Special Effects Makeup have been busy practicing their craft. Stage makeup highlights facial features for performance under bright stage lights so it is not only a lot thicker than everyday makeup but much more pigmented. It creates a great base not only to build coverage but to build your characters look. To withstand the heat of the lights, costume changes and of course sweat, stage makeup is designed for long wear and heavy duty. Students have learned basing, contouring and highlighting, old age, beauty, accident/blood/bruise/gore, and face-painting techniques. To see more photos of the students in the class, visit our website.
Keep An Eye Out for Registration Forms
Registration forms for
Race-based Discussion Groups + Dinner
Wednesday, February 27, 6:00 to 8:30 pm
Join us for an honest conversation that aims to help us better understand our own identities while cultivating empathy for all those in our Belmont Day School community. Professionally facilitated race-based discussion groups are designed to promote open and supportive dialogue around the topic of race. Adult community members will self-identify and attend either the Witnessing Whiteness group facilitated by the Multicultural Teaching Institute’s Jenna Chandler-Ward, or the Parents of Color (POC) group facilitated by Liza Talusan, formerly the Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the Park School.
The Witnessing Whiteness group for parents meets to better understand their own racial identity as white people, examine the roots and costs of racism, and discuss how we talk about race with our kids and give them tools they need to navigate a diverse world.
The Parents of Students of Color group will explore questions about parenting along the continuum and consider how to empower adults to create a more inclusive community in support of children. Discussions will include how to have the myriad of difficult conversations that may arise in families, local communities, and larger global societies.
These affinity discussions are offered in an effort to develop a stronger understanding not only of our own cultures, but how we might best support each other as peers, friends, and allies in the larger Belmont Day community. We found the previous sessions to be empowering and enlightening, but prior experience with either group is not expected. New participants are always welcome!
Though these groups are for adults only, the school offers free childcare for children ages four and older. Dinner will be provided for both parents and their children.
If you have any questions, please email parent volunteers Dinna Louissant for Parents of Student of Color or Elliot Targum for Witnessing Whiteness.
Three Students Honored as Best Delegates at Conference
This past Sunday, nine middle school students participated in the Model UN conference at Tufts University. This was a special type of conference, centered on a no-prep international crisis. Delegates approached a crisis in the Arctic with little to no knowledge of the issues they would be attempting to solve and had various crises thrown at them in real time throughout the day. Topics for our delegates included an oil spill, shipping routes, and the exploration of Siberia. BDS delegates and delegates from twelve other schools in New England had thought-provoking and meaningful conversations as they worked to solve these world issues.
A highlight from the day included three delegates (Miranda Harlow, Christopher McEvoy, and Margot Klug) receiving the award of Best Delegate. We are proud of them as well as the entirety of our Model UN delegation.
Participants representing BDS were Henry Buckley-Jones, Cameron Colbert, Miranda Harlow, Margot Klug, Bree Legrand, Christopher McEvoy, Lucy Myers, Davin Roy, and Ellora Roy.
Parents’ Association News
Parent Book Club
Please join us to discuss Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover on Wednesday, February 27 from 8:15 to 9:30 a.m. in the Erskine Library. Refreshments will be provided. Please contact Nareeluck Stephenson with any questions.
Shop at Wilson Farm Day
ALL DAY! Thursday, February 28, Wilson Farm in Lexington. Be sure to show this form when making your purchases.
PA Nominations Open
The parents’ association is seeking individuals who would like to serve a two-year term on the PA executive committee from June 2020 to June 2022.
The vice president serves for one year and then becomes president of the PA the following year. The vice president is the coordinator for all grade parents serving on behalf of the school and also assists the president in carrying out his or her duties. The vice president also attends monthly PA and PA executive committee meetings.
The treasurer serves for two years. Duties include attending monthly PA and PA executive committee meetings, preparing an annual financial statement and PA budget, collecting annual dues, retaining custody of and disbursing funds.
Both of these positions offer wonderful opportunities for involvement and influence in our school community. We encourage you to nominate individuals who you believe will represent the voices of our parent body. Self-nominations are strongly welcomed and encouraged!
Nominations may be sent to email@example.com or may be placed in the PA Box in the school foyer until Thursday, March 7, 2019. The nominating committee will review all nominations, and the final slate will be announced on April 12, 2019. Elections will be held at the corporation meeting on May 16, 2019.
If you have any questions, please contact any member of the nominating committee: Crissy Straub (PA president 2019-20), Katherine Sayn-Wittgenstein (outgoing PA president), Elise Bayard (clerk 2018-20), Tyl Pattisall (outgoing treasurer), Catalina Guillermety (current board member), Elliot Targum (former PA president) and Augusta Sparks (former PA president).
Auction Invitations Coming Soon!
Wondering when to expect your auction invitation? Please keep an eye on your email the week of February 25. Electronic invitations will be sent out that week to your email address. Please note there will be no paper invitations mailed.
From the email invitation, you will be able to purchase your tickets for the event. You will also be able to underwrite faculty tickets or tables.
Seeking Business Sponsors
Do you own or know a business who may be interested in sponsorship opportunities?
As a sponsor of Wonder, we will put your business in front of the Belmont Day community of families, faculty, and staff of more than 300 people who will learn of your commitment to support our school. Learn more about the support levels that are available.
We would like to acknowledge and thank our current Wonder sponsors, which include:
Carolyn Atinizian & John Yardemian P’27
Gail Roberts, Ed Feijo & Team
Keller Williams – Boston and Cambridge Homes, LLC
MANDARINA Interior Design Studio
Belmont Dental Group
One2One Bodyscapes Personal Training
OTA The Koomar Center
Red Apple Farm
A Day at the Opera
Gluck: Paride Ed Elena
Friday, February 15, 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, February 17, 2 p.m.
Huntington Avenue Theatre, Boston
Odyssey Opera’s fully staged production of Christoph Willibald Gluck’s third reformed opera telling the story of the events between the Judgment of Paris and his flight with Helen to Troy. Catch Belmont Day after school violin teacher Sonia Deng as a member of the orchestra for this exciting production. For more information and tickets, visit Odyssey Opera.
Science on Saturday
Teaching Computers to See, Play, and Think
Saturday, March 2, 10–11:00 a.m.
MIT Lincoln Laboratory
Explore how computers see the world using cameras and other sensors, and how deep learning helps computers and robots know what’s going on around them. Computers are also playing video games to learn how to explore the world! There will be exciting demos of computer vision, augmented reality, and video games used in current machine learning and artificial intelligence research to build self-driving cars, smarter voice assistants, and even basketball-playing robots! Recommended for ages 5-17. For more information and registration, please visit Science on Saturday.
Lecture: Perils of Perfectionism
Wednesday, February 27, 6:30–8:30 p.m.
The Winsor School, Boston
In a community of high-achievers, the unrealistic pressures that teens put on themselves can leave them feeling as though nothing they do ever
Parent Lecture Series
The Belmont After School Enrichment Collaborative and the Belmont Public Schools will present the 5th Annual Parent Lecture Series with three speakers in March, April, and May. The topic this year is “Thriving in a Diverse World: Raising Racially Aware Children.” The lectures are free and open to all. For more information, visit the
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