The Sharon Academy Newsletter, May 2, 2014

Posted by on May 2, 2014 in Community, High School, Middle School, Newsletter, Uncategorized

In this Issue:

Mark Your Calendar
Upcoming Events
General News
Middle School News
High School News
Community Service Opportunities
Summer Opportunities


Mark Your Calendar

May 2014

 Fri  2 Spaghetti Dinner and Bingo! 5:30 pm
See General News below
Fri 2 MS Dance  6:30 – 9:30pm
See MS News below
Thurs 8 NECAP testing for grades 8 & 11
See MS and HS news below
Mon 12 Senior Exhibition Day
Tues 13 In Service – No School
Weds 14 HS Auditions for next year’s interim
Thurs 15 Last Cafe Night of the year
Fri 16 All HS Trip
See Rafting below
Sat 17 Prom  7:30pm – 11:00pm
See HS News below
Tues – Thurs 20 – 22 All MS Trip to High 5
Fri  23  MS – No School.

Please note: The last day of school – June 13th, will end at 2:00


May at TSA

The month of May is a very busy month at TSA.  Please be sure to read this newsletter carefully to keep track of all that is happening.




We love hearing about what are students are up to!  Please write to
with news of any accomplishments your student may have.

Thank you to Nancy Sizer for sharing her knowledge with us regarding the importance of small schools this week at our Face 2 Face, Heart 2 Heart session.  Over 50 people came to hear Nancy speak.  Thank you as well to TSA Parent, Edie Farwell, for coordinating Nancy’s visit.

Thank you to the over 100 student and parent volunteers who helped make the Taking Flight Arts Celebration a great success (too many to list here).  We had record attendance at both the Gala and the Free Family Arts Day. During Friday’s gala, our gym was transformed into a magical, silken tent where over 170 of us danced the night away to the sounds of the Starline Rhythm Boys, while eating scrumptious food and bidding on a wide variety of auction items. On Saturday, The Sharon Academy High School was full of nearly 100 parents and children making jewelry, felting bracelets, painting faces, walking on stilts and generally having a great time.  We raised considerable money to support Art programming here at TSA, and had a great time doing it. Pictures will be on Facebook next week.  (Stay tuned for final numbers about how much was raised.)  Click here to see WCAX’s coverage of the art day:

We have two teachers who are about to embark on the adventure of parenthood for the first time.  Both Steve Basham  (and his wife Emma) and  Stephanie Davis (and her husband Will) are expecting children within a couple of weeks.  In fact,  this is our last week with Stephanie Davis before she heads off on maternity leave.  Stephanie & Will and Steve & Emma – our thoughts are with you as you begin your new families!

Congratulations to the Middle School students for their most recent Food & Hunger newsletter, called Our Times.  As many of you may know, this newsletter is the culminating project of our Food and Hunger Unit and includes articles written by all of the middle school students. It represents an incredible amount of work done by the students.  Thank you to the Dartmouth Printing Press, who has generously  printed 1,500 copies  of the newsletter, and to TSA parent Angelique Lee for designing the newsletter.  A copy of the newsletter can be downloaded by clicking here:

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Events Tonight

Bingo and Spaghetti! Have you been craving a good game of bingo?   How about a plate heaped with spaghetti? Do you have nothing to do on a Friday night? Well there’s good news! You’re invited to a community wide bingo night at The Sharon Academy. At 5:30 tonight, May 2nd, we will host a spaghetti dinner followed by Bingo at 6:30!  Come enjoy delicious pasta, garlic bread from the pizza oven and salad as you support the TSA Community Service Club’s future service projects! $5 Suggested Donation per person. Then stay for BINGO and support the KIVA foundation, which provides micro loans to people in developing countries to pursue new ways of creating income and support for their families and communities. $2 per BINGO CARD. Come with your friends and family and enjoy a night of good food and fun, all while you are supporting some great causes! Please contact Abby Hurwitz at if you have any questions.

Middle School Dance!

  • When? Friday, May 2nd 6:30 – 9:30. Pam Ward’s advisees will need to stay for clean up and should be picked up at 9:45.
  • Where? At the middle school
  • Who? All TSA middle school students are encouraged to attend. Each TSA student is allowed to bring up to two guests. Guests must be in grades 6-8 and be pre-approved by Pam Ward.
  • Why? To have fun and boogie!
  • What (to bring)? Admission is $1.00 or an item for the food shelf. 7th graders should bring snack food to share, 8th graders should bring drinks to share.
  • What (else)? Three parent chaperones are needed. Please contact Pam Ward if you can help.


Alumni News

Otto Pierce This summer, between June and August, Otto Pierce (Vermont native, dancer, and TSA alum) is founding The Sable Project, an alternative, off-the-grid artist residency. Concerned about the limits placed on many artists – time, space, and food – Otto started to formulate the concept for a space designed to foster art and creativity and the idea for The Sable Project was born. The goal of The Sable Project is to free creative minds from their everyday limitations and distractions so that artists may focus on creating daring, elegant, and powerful art. Sable has twelve artists from across the disciplines coming to live, work, and collaborate at The Sable Land in Stockbridge. The participating artists are an eclectic group, ranging from sculptors, to dancers, writers, musicians, printmakers, photographers, painters, and more. Their individual and collaborative work will create the art showcased in a final performance/exhibit in August. To contact Sable, email To explore the project further and follow their progress,, and ‘like’ Sable at


General News

School Fees: Reminder –  May 1st was the deadline for all tuition and fees to be paid in full. Please send in your payment as soon as possible if you have not already done so.  If you need to make payment arrangements please call or email Janice Stumpf.   (x105)  Thank you.

Looking for a Host Family for exchange student Fatima from Pakistan for next year:  PAX is an exchange organization with which TSA has had the pleasure of working for many years now.  Each year, TSA strives to host 2 exchange students through the PAX program.  A critical part of that process is finding host families for exchange students.  So, let’s introduce you to Fatima from Pakistan, who we  hope to be able to host at TSA next year:

Fatima is very energetic and fun-loving. She loves playing soccer and hockey, hanging out with friends, helping with housework, listening to her grandparents tell stories and, most importantly, sharing in meal time with her family. The relationships that she has and the problems that humans face are what matter most to her; however, this extends far beyond her inner circle. She says, “I believe humans around the world have the same issues and by being more homogenized, we can resolve them.” Fatima is eagerly waiting for the day when she can experience “American culture and traditions…and observe it at a closer glance” while bringing her own culture and experience with her to share with others. Fatima is an exceptional student and is described by her teachers as being “a motivational instrument for her classmates.” One day she aspires to attend Harvard in the hopes of becoming a physicist. By coming to the States Fatima believes, “this experience would help me to improve as a human being and become more understanding and mature.”  TSA would love to have Fatima enrich our lives next year. We need a family to open their home to her. Contact Carol Harry, PAX Community Coordinator at 802-763-8014 or

Lice Blaster:  The TSA middle school and high school are now proud owners of a LiceGuard Lice Zapping Comb.  These combs can be borrowed from the school if your family has an outbreak of lice.  Just let us know by calling Cynthia Masterman at the high school or Pam Ward at the middle school.  We will most happily share our special comb.  Please note: we are not aware of any cases of lice in the middle school or the high school at the moment.  We just wanted to let you know about this resource as soon as it became available.

Looking for Costumes: The Musical for the upcoming school year (2014-2015) is Disco Inferno! The Costumes Committee is in need of clothing from the 70’s. See photos below for examples. Please pass the word around because it is a hard find these types of clothes and we need all the costumes we can get. Also if parents are interested in helping the Costumes Committee sew costumes we would love the help! Please contact Alice Connelli at if you would like to help or have questions.



Seven Stars Parking:  Please remember that the parking lot at Seven Stars is for the use of their clients and patrons.  Please do not use their parking lot for games, etc.

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Middle School News

Newsletter: As mentioned above in the Appreciations Section, Our Times – The Food and Hunger Newsletter has generously been printed (1,500 copies!)  by the Dartmouth Printing Press.  This newsletter is the culminating project of our Food and Hunger Unit and includes articles written by all of the middle school students.  The last stage of this project is to distribute copies throughout central Vermont.  Please open the attached spread sheet which lists  the locations of where students have volunteered to distribute the newsletter.  Distributing the newsletter generally includes students  speaking to someone at the location and asking permission to leave a pile of newsletters.  Students have been given about 10 newsletters for each assigned location.  Please remind your student to bring home the newsletters, help them get them to the assigned locations, and then urge them to politely speak with the person in charge. Also, you will notice on the spread sheet that there are many locations where there is no one  signed up to distribute the newsletters.  If you can get the newsletters to one of these locations, please email Pam Ward  Newsletters will then be sent home with your student for this purpose.  Also, feel free to request more newsletters for locations not on our list (your workplace, church, community gathering places, coops, schools, doctor’s offices etc).  We depend on middle school families to distribute this publication throughout the community to let your student’s voices be heard.   This project was a lot of hard work on your student’s part.  Let’s make it worth the effort!  Thank you so much for all you do to help the middle school students.

Projects Galore! – Please be aware that students will soon be assigned major writing projects in Language Arts, Science and Social Studies (see below). They will be receiving support and time at school to work on these projects, however, they should also be working on them at home. Please help your student by asking them about their projects and helping them stay organized and on top of deadlines. Let us know if you have any questions or concerns.

Social Studies – Students are working on this every day at school. Your student has been assigned either Level 1 or Level 2 work, both of which are outlined at the following link:

Science Fair: The middle school science fair project has officially started. Students have work time every day at school, but in order to keep up students should also be working on this project at least a half hour every night until the end of the school year. Even if students do not have access to the Internet at home they can be bringing home pertinent articles to read. For a detailed outline of the requirements and due dates for this project please click on the following links. Students have all of this information in hard copy.   Please note that some students have been assigned a Level 1 version of this project. In this case families will soon receive a separate email from Natalie Golden with the Level 1 criteria sheets and should disregard the links below.

Language Arts – Students have begun a response to literature essay for October Sky.   Your student has a criteria sheet (Either Level 1, Level 2 OR Level 3) and a writing frame and outline guide to assist them in writing the essay.   Please see the attached link for the criteria sheet and for the writing frame and outline guide.


High Five Outdoor Leadership Program – This is a reminder that students will be attending the High Five Adventure Learning Center in Brattleboro, Vermont on May 20, 21 and 22nd. Please watch for more information in upcoming newsletters for this two night overnight exciting trip. Drop off will be regular time on the morning of May 20th but pick up will be later than usual at about 5:30 on the 22nd. Please also be aware that Friday, May 23rd is High Five recovery day and there will be no school for middle school students. To download the medical release form and the Info for attendees form, please click here:


MS Graduation is coming right up!  The Sharon Academy Middle School Graduation Ceremony has been intentionally designed to support the goals of our mission.  Students are publicly recognized for their strengths, thanked for their efforts, and honored for the transformation they have undergone during their middle school years.  All eighth grade students are required to speak and are expected to reflect on their own personal growth, and to appreciate the supporting role that others have played in their lives. Additionally, the Graduation Ceremony provides a forum for the 7th and 8th grade to perform the choral work that they have been practicing for the prior ten weeks.  We recognize that the ceremony is long, and while we have trimmed the ceremony a bit from recent years, we have consciously decided to continue our tradition of having each student speak and to have their advisor speak about them.  We ask that family members come with the understanding that our graduation program is an integral part of our curriculum and to help us to support our students in this important transition to high school.

  • All students are expected to attend this event on June 13th 6:30 – 9:00 PM.
  • Both the seventh and eighth grade will be performing a choral program.
  • 8th grade student will be giving a short speech. Students will be given time at school to write their speech. They should also be writing and practicing their speech at home. We will begin the speech writing process at school at the end of May.
  • Students are expected to dress slightly more formally than casual school.
  • Please consider bringing a bottle of water and a snack to make your evening more comfortable.
  • Dessert will be served following the ceremony.


Homework Support: Homework support for students is available at the middle school from 3:30-5:00 on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Please come for extra help, for organizational support or for a quiet environment. Light snacks served. Please contact Nicki Abetti at or 763-2531 or 802-279-2826


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High School News


TSA Prom 2014:   Students and staff at TSA are cordially invited to this year’s Prom which will be held on Saturday, May 17th from 7:30pm-11:00pm at The Inn At Idlewood in Sharon, Vermont. Tickets will be available starting May 5th at a table in the pit during lunch as well as in Kate’s office. This year’s prom tickets are $25.00 and are paid for by the Student Activity Fee that was charged to each student at the start of the year. Students will need a ticket to gain entrance to the prom. If TSA students would like to bring guests (1 guest per TSA student) the guests will need to pay the $25.00 for a ticket. Guests will also need to be registered with Kate Sensenich before May 15th with their full name, school, phone number, as well as a parent or guardian’s contact information.

Prom Volunteers and Donations Needed!  The prom committee is looking for the following help with this year’s prom:

  • Food Donations: Veggie plates, fruit plates, cheese and cracker plates, finger food- savory and sweet, and desserts.
  •  White Holiday Lights: Please label with your name and telephone number and bring to Kate’s office (Student Support Center- Rm 115).
  • Parent and Student Volunteers to Decorate: We will need help decorating on May 17th from 12:00pm-4:00pm.
  • Flowers: We are looking for donations of fresh or store bought flowers.
  • White candles of all sizes

If you can help our prom committee with any of these requests, please contact Kate Sensenich at or Abby Hurwitz at Thank you!

NECAP Schedule: On May 8th, all 11th graders will be taking the Science NECAP test.  It is mandatory for all publicly-funded students.  If students do not take the test on May 8th, they will be required to take it on a different day.  Students should bring two #2 pencils (already sharpened), a book to read, and a water bottle.  Students may not bring any electronic devices, textbooks or reference materials, or food.  Students should also bring a sweater or sweatshirt as the gym may be cold.  The schedule will be:

  • 8:15 – 10:10   Session 1
  • 10:10 – 10:15   Break
  • 10:15 – 11:50   Session 2
  • 11:55 – 1:00   Session 3


Senior Exhibition Presentation Day: Reminder – Senior Exhibitions are coming up! Exhibition day is Monday, May 12.

All High School Trip:  May 16th is our all-school trip to Massachusetts for a Class II-III rafting trip with CrabApple Whitewater. Thank you to everyone for returning your liability waiver forms for the trip! Here are the travel details for that day:

  • 7:15– All students should arrive at TSA
  • 7:30— Buses depart from TSA (Please be here early, as this departure time has NO flexibility)
  • 9:30—Arrive at CrabApple in Charlemont, MA, gear up and go rafting
  • 4:00—Depart CrabApple for home
  • 5:30—Arrive back at TSA

Below are some answers to some questions that parents and students might have about the trip.

Why are we going rafting?
Five years ago, we took the high school rafting for the first time, and the positive feedback was conclusive:  our students said that it was the best all high school trip yet!

Rafting is fun and exciting and an experience that will be new for most of our students.  Whitewater rafting is team building at its best because students need to work in coordination to maneuver their rafts down the rapids.

Why use CrabApple Whitewater?
There are two good reasons we have chosen to use CrabApple.  First and foremost, they have an outstanding safety record and years of experience taking school groups of mixed abilities on the river.  Secondly, our very own Spike Carter has worked as a guide for them for five seasons, and he is very impressed with the entire operation.

It’s Spring – won’t the river be raging and very full?
May on the Deerfield River generally means an optimal rafting level on the Fife Brook section.  If, however, there is a large amount of rain at any point in the season, CrabApple makes adjustments to the trip to ensure safety and enjoyment on the river.

Who is on each raft?
Each raft will be led by one of CrabApple’s highly-trained river guides.  Additionally, a TSA adult will be in each raft.  Each raft will hold approximately 6 students.

What if I cannot swim?
There is no need to worry if you cannot swim.  Each student will be outfitted with one of Crabapple’s personal floatation devices (PFDs) and a helmet, and CrabApple starts each trip with a safety talk that outlines what to do if you fall in the water.  In addition to being fun, CrabApple guides are highly trained in getting people back in the boat if they should fall out.  Swimming is not a requirement for rafting, however, it is helpful information for Spike, if you are concerned about swimming ability, please let him know.

Can I wear my own Personal Flotation Device (PFD) and or helmet?
No.  Crabapple’s PFDs and helmets are repeatedly checked for safety.  The PFDs  are specifically rated for this activity and for paddler weight.  Using Crabapple’s PFDs and helmets ensures the safety of the students and Crabapple’s equipment will be required.

What should I bring with me?
CrabApple will be providing wetsuits and neoprene booties.  Most people wear board shorts under a wetsuit, and you can also wear synthetic or wool long underwear depending on the weather and if you know you get cold easily.  DO NOT bring cotton to wear on the river!  When cotton gets wet it clings to your skin and keeps you cold.  If the weather allows and you choose not to wear a wetsuit or booties, you should plan to bring waterproof footwear that fixes around your heel, such as Tevas, Chocos, or an old pair of sneakers you don’t mind getting wet is okay.  If you wear glasses or want to wear sunglasses on the river, be sure you have a neck strap for them, otherwise be ready to lose them.  We’ll be out on the river for at least a couple of hours, so bring some sunscreen.  When we get off the river it is also recommended to have a warm and comfy change of clothes with you.

Are there changing facilitiies?
There is a changing room for men and one for women.  Both rooms have a few private bays and a large open area for changing.

Is lunch provided?
Yes!  CrabApple will provide a lunch spread of sandwiches, chips, and homemade brownies.  If you have food allergies, please let Spike know before the trip so that special arrangements can be made.

I have special medical considerations.  Can I go rafting?
In most cases the answer is yes.  However, there are exceptions, so please check in with Spike prior to the trip just to make sure.  Check out the FAQs section of Crabapple’s website for more information:

Who should I talk to if I have concerns?
Spike is your first point of contact if you have any concerns. He can be reached at or stop in to talk with him.  The majority of the staff have also taken this trip before, so you can ask them questions too.

What if I am feeling anxious or worried?
There were many students and adults for whom this trip was out of their comfort zone the last time we went and yet they still had a blast! We think this is an incredible opportunity to do something exciting and a bit challenging in a supportive and organized way. We encourage all students to participate – and will help you make it successful. Just talk with Spike or another teacher about your concerns.

What if I have other questions?
If you have any questions, please contact Spike Carter at


Community Service Opportunities

Green Up Day: Please join the energy team for Green Up day, this Saturday May 3rd from 11-2. We will meet at the TSA high school and clean up along Route 14 to the South Royalton border.  Please bring gloves, your community service forms and a lunch for afterwards.  The energy team will provide ice cream at the end! If you have any questions please contact Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Medieval Festival: Open Fields School in Thetford needs volunteers for the Medieval Festival coming up the weekend of May 24.  Any volunteers can sign up at (click on “Volunteer” on the left side of the page). Kimberly Barnhart is the volunteer coordinator for this event, so students should direct questions to

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Community Events

The Strafford Creative Preschool Event: The Strafford Creative Preschool invites you to An Evening Out on Saturday, May 3, 2014 5:30-8:00 pm at Barrett Hall, South Strafford, VT.  Admission is free. Come listen to a great local music, while enjoying light appetizers, and bidding on your favorite Silent Auction items.

Midsummer Night’s Dream: The Newton School 7th and 8th graders proudly present Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream on May 7th and 8th at 7:00 pm.  Admission is free and no tickets are needed.

BRAIN BEE at Dartmouth:  The Neuroscience Center at Dartmouth and the Society for Neuroscience New Hampshire Chapter are hosting the second annual Upper Valley Brain Bee at Dartmouth College on Saturday, May 17, 2014. The Brain Bee is a fun and educational neuroscience competition for high school students living in the Upper Valley. We hope to show students the fun in learning about the brain and to provide an opportunity to experience what the field of neuroscience is all about! All participants will have the opportunity to sign up for a “Brain Boot Camp” run by Dartmouth College graduate students to train for the main event!  The Brain Bee, which will be open to the public, will include an interactive neuroscience fair with demonstration booths followed by a hands-on, brain-friendly competition. All students will receive a certificate of participation recognized by the International Brain Bee, and prizes will be awarded to the top three winners! To register go to Deadline to register is April 30th.

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Class of 2014: residents of Royalton, Sharon, or Tunbridge: the Heartland Lions Club and the Rising Sun Lodge (Free Masons) each offer scholarships, ranging from $600 to $750. Applications are outside KB’s office.

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Summer Opportunities

Note: many colleges offer summer courses for credit to students. These are a small sampling of the opportunities available.


Want a Great Intercultural Experience this Summer?  For five summers volunteer host families have welcomed students (14-16 years of age) from the Basque region of Northern Spain into their homes.  This Basque-Vermont connection, which was started up by the Wellspring School has produced some wonderful experiences and friendships for both the students and the families.   As a host family you would welcome a student into your home from June 25th to July 20th, treating them as one of your family and having them join in with your summer plans.  Each host family will receive a stipend to help pay for food and any activities that you might do with the student.  The program will also give a donation to the Sharon Academy of 300 euros (approx. $400) for every TSA family that hosts a student.  This is a wonderful opportunity for your family to get to know another part of the world and at the same time enable a student to improve their English.For more information please email:  Jools Skeet  at or Sally Hostetler at

The Stone Bench project is being sponsored by Pentangle Arts for students who reside in any of the Woodstock HS area. It is open to young people ages 13-19. Participants will gain a solid skill basis in three-dimensional design, lettering, architectural and sculptural stone working, as well as an appreciation for the industrial history of the Marble Valley region. Applications are due May 16. For more information, contact Nerissa Edwardsa at



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