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2023-2024 Friday Letter

THE WEEK AHEAD:

* Fri 16th: Unite for Seabury! The Annual BSA Auction:  cocktails 6 pm, dinner 7 pm, live auction, 8 pm

* Sat 17th: MS BBall @ Heritage Christian Academy, Girls 9 am, C boys 10 am, A boys 11 am, B boys noon
Forensics @ Free State High School

* Mon 19th: Boys BBall @ Burlingame HS: Vars ~7:30 pm
Winnie the Pooh (Middle School Traveling Show) @ BSA Commons, 7:30 pm

* Tue 20th: Boys BBall @ Veritas Christian School: JV 5:30 pm, Vars 6:30 pm
MS B Boys Bball vs Summit Christian (1st round of postseason tournament): 5 pm
MS Girls Bball @ Maranatha (1st round of postseason tournament): 6 pm

* Thurs 22nd: Boys BBall Sub-State Quarterfinals @ BSA, 7 pm
MS A Boys Bball @ Heritage Christian (1st round of postseason tournament): 6:30 pm

* Sat 24th: Robotics @ Cheney


Dear Parents,

I look forward to seeing many of you tonight for the Annual BSA Auction: Unite for Seabury!  Please note that the main office will close at 3:30 pm today as we prepare for the auction.  

Please find a draft of the 2024-25 BSA Academic Calendar attached.  I always develop our calendar while keeping an eye on the calendars for the University of Kansas, KSHSAA, and USD 497 (just released this week)--especially when it comes to setting our longer breaks.  Please consult this calendar when setting vacation and travel for the next school year.  

Every year, our middle school performers produce a show for younger audiences and tour area schools.  Director James LaRocca and his young cast will be presenting Winnie the Pooh to the Seabury community (their first audience) on Monday night at 7:30 pm in the Commons.  They will also take the show on the road to Schwegler and Sunflower elementary schools during the week and will perform the play for our Seabury student body on Wednesday afternoon.  We hope you can come out to enjoy our terrific young actors on Monday night!

Congratulations to Thomas CiCi for taking home 2nd place at the Douglas County Spelling Bee!

We were all dispirited by the news of violence at the celebratory parade for the Chiefs on Wednesday, and it was especially distressing to learn that so many of the wounded were children.  As I told the students on Thursday, I resist lengthy discussion of tragic events in morning meeting, as I don't believe it is in the best interest of our students to be saddled with anxiety that cannot be fully processed or translated into productive action.  My advice to them is to feel what they need to feel but also allow themselves to compartmentalize those feelings and not be constantly weighed down by them.  

Every human being has the capacity to do great harm or great good to the people around them--and we are all built to do a little bit of each.  Wednesday brought home just how tragic some human choices can be for the community, but on that same day, I encountered far more people who acted with kindness and generosity.  Whenever I experience these unfathomable tragedies, even one so close to home, I double down on being good to the people around me, including and perhaps especially strangers.  I find that such willfully positive actions can be a materially positive way to fight sadness and grief--and it helps me maintain perspective on the world and these harder moments.  

Yours respectfully, 
Dr. Schawang

THE WEEK AHEAD:

* Fri 9th: Boys BBall vs. Cair Paravel Latin School @ BSA: JV 5 & Vars 7:30 pm

* Sat 10th: Forensics @ Rock Creek High School
Powerlifting @ West Franklin High School

* Mon 12th: MS BBall @ Veritas Christian School: Boys B 4:30, Girls 5:30, A Boys 6:30 pm
Douglas County Spelling Bee @ Billie Mills Middle School

* Tue 13th: BSA History Day Fair
Boys BBall vs. KC Christian @ BSA: JV 5:30, Vars 6:30 pm (SENIOR NIGHT)

* Thurs 15th: MS BBall vs. KC Christian @ BSA: Girls 4:30, Boys B 5:30, Boys A 6:30 pm
Boys BBall @ Maranatha Academy: JV 5, Vars 8 pm

* Fri 16th: Unite for Seabury! The Annual BSA Auction:  cocktails 6 pm, dinner 7 pm, live auction, 8 pm

* Sat 17th: MS BBall @ Heritage Christian Academy, TBD
Forensics @ Free State High School

Dear Parents,

It was great to see many parents of my seniors in conferences last night.  One thing that parents and teachers have in common is their investment in and daily care for these children, and although ten minutes is not a lot of time, it is very helpful for us to share and receive insight on the progress of these rapidly developing human beings.  
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We are a little more than one week from the BSA Annual Auction: Unite for Seabury.  No doubt, you have been seeing the daily auction item "reveals" from Ms. Chindamo - we have some amazing items this year!  Additionally, this year's Fund-a-Need (where the community and attendees can donate directly to initiatives that are outside of our annual operating budget) centers on two items.  First, we are hoping to invest in a double-sided, full color EMC-display monument sign on Clinton Parkway that will highlight activities and events to the Seabury community and raise awareness about our school in Lawrence.  We will also support students in developing leadership skills by underwriting costs for them to attend regional and national conferences and events such as Academic World Quest, the Washburn University Leadership Institute, and the Student Diversity Leadership Conference.  And, as always, a portion of the Fund-a-Need proceeds will be directed to tuition assistance for talented students who could not otherwise afford to attend Seabury.  The auction is a highlight of the year, and we hope to see you there.  You can still RSVP here.  

Families of seventh and ninth-grade students are welcome to view projects from 1:00 to 4:00 pm during the BSA History Day Fair on Tuesday, February 13th.  We ask however that visitors avoid approaching students and judges while they are conducting their interviews.

Good luck to our BSA spelling champion Thomas Cici as he heads to the Douglas County Spelling Bee on Saturday!  

Five thousand high school seniors in the United States are recognized each year as quarter-finalists for the Presidential Scholars Award, a federal program that recognizes students with the most outstanding collective ACT and SAT scores as well as other factors related to academic achievement and personal character.  Congratulations to senior Hayden Slough on being one of those quarter-finalists!

Congratulations also to seniors Hayden Slough and Xiang Zhang on being named National Merit Scholarship finalists!  

Next week is Spirit Week.  Students will demonstrate their school spirit by wearing apparel that is slightly different than most days (okay, maybe not pajama day).  Here are the themes as declared by the all-powerful Student Senate:
Monday: Pajama Day
Tuesday (Senior Night): Seabury Spirit Day
Wednesday: Pink & Red Day
Thursday: Jersey Day
Friday: Formal Friday

At my recent Head's conference, I attended a session where I heard the quote, "Smooth seas don't make good sailors."  I love a hearty aphorism!  For me, this idea is relevant to raising and educating children.  One psychological, sociological, and philosophical theory about humans is that although we want to maximize pleasure, we are more concerned to diminish pain, and I have to wonder if this is why we often settle into systems that limit the amount of discomfort we experience in many pursuits, even if that discomfort inevitably teaches us to be stronger and more capable as living organisms.  Some of the best physical workouts may leave us feeling sore and in need of recovery, but that often means we are working muscles that may need more attention.

I frequently remind students that education--like any human phenomenon that is institutionalized for mass engagement--often settles us into a pattern of expectation and experience that causes us to sometimes forget the "why" of what we are doing and can always risk killing the spirit of that endeavor.  Systems can make us lazy and bored.  For young children, learning and discovery can be electric...until we start attaching homework, grades, and career objectives to that work!  Wednesday, I reminded students that our teachers work like artists of the mind to create instruments for enthusiastic inquiry, discovery, and growth, but we rely on students to bring the intention and energy to learn and to engage...and to push themselves out of their comfort level.  Otherwise, the jungle gym of the classroom is underutilized without the will to climb.

February is the month where we have to work overtime to keep students dancing (and thanks to Eric Nelson and other staff for inventive and surreal ways to achieve this end).  Nonetheless, I think we all need to remember that life has its Februaries.  We learn to appreciate every season and every moment for what it is.  One of the best things we can do for our children is teach them that it is okay to have a bad day, to be unhappy, to feel "off," and to be challenged.  Trying to change the circumstances or remove those moments is a disservice to developing strong kids.  Instead, we teach them how to handle those moments so they can stand tall in the future and not so easily get knocked down by life's hard knocks.  My hat goes off to all teachers and parents who partner in this work: to create seasoned and confident sailors.

Have a great weekend,
Dr. Schawang

THE WEEK AHEAD:

* Fri 2nd: Boys BBall vs. Bishop Ward @ BSA: JV 5:30, Vars 6:30 pm
Robotics @ KU

* Sat 3rd: MS BBall @ Kansas City Christian HS: 6th Boys 10 am, Girls 11 am, Boys B 12 pm, Boys A 1 pm
Student Casino Night, 6-9 pm
Robotics @ KU
Powerlifting @ Royal Valley
Forensics @ Lawrence High

* Mon 5th: MS BBall vs. Pembroke Hill @ BSA: Boys C 4, Boys B 5, Girls 6, and boys A 7 pm
Seniors @ The Capitol
*DEADLINE FOR SIGNING UP FOR PARENT-TEACHER CONFERENCES IS NOON TODAY

* Tue 6th: Boys BBall vs. Heritage Christian Academy @ BSA: JV (TBA) & Vars 6:30 pm

* Wed 7th: Parent-Teacher Conferences, 6-9 pm

* Thurs 8th: NO CLASSES
Parent-Teacher Conferences, 1-4:30, 6:30-9 pm

* Fri 9th: NO CLASSES
Boys BBall vs. Cair Paravel Latin School @ BSA: JV (TBA) & Vars 7:30 pm

Dear Parents,

After snow days, a week of accreditation work and a heads conference in Chicago, and four days out for COVID this week, I have been struggling to maintain my sense of continuity with our school population.  On Monday, I managed to drag myself in front of my laptop to lead my senior philosophy class virtually, and I could see the trauma on their faces as they flashed back to their pandemic experience.  It has been a great relief to be back on campus, if somewhat sequestered in my office.  I have heard from many students and teachers that this feels like the first real week of classes for them after so many partial weeks. I think they are finally getting a rhythm going.  I am still catching up.

And now that we have a full week of classes under our belt....Parent-Teacher Conferences are next week.  The cut-off for signing up for conferences is MONDAY at NOON to provide teachers enough time to prepare for those meetings.  You can sign up here: Parent/Teacher Conference Sign-Up   As always, Betsy will send out a list of Google Meets links for you to join your online conference.  (And don't forget that you must actually download that document with links--and not just open the preview in your email--in order to activate those links.)

As we enter the heart of enrollment season, we always remember that Word-of-Mouth is the best way to recruit new and exceptional students to Seabury.  If you know of any students or families who would thrive at our school, please refer them to Lisa Leroux-Smith at lisalerouxsmith@seaburyacademy.org.

Good luck to our forensics squad as they begin their season of competition this weekend!

We are just a few weeks out from the Annual BSA Auction.  Email reveals for auction items started today!  Don't forget to get your tickets here: Unite for Seabury

If you are interested in hosting a student with the American Exchange Project, please join Lawrence Exchange manager Sonja Czarnecki via Zoom at 10:00 a.m on Saturday morning at this link. Our exchange week in Lawrence is June 26 - July 3. There is a stipend to cover food and transportation costs.

Thanks to all of the parents who volunteered to help with Saturday's Casino Night.  It is great to see so many names on that list, and when you see the response from the kids, you will know it is worth it!

A big thanks to Mr. Patterson for taking over Letter writing duties last week.  As every Seabury senior, graduate, and alumni parent will tell you, Mr. Patterson's wisdom and guidance in the college counseling process is unparalleled and one of the reasons why you send your children to our school.  He is with students and families every step of the way in this increasingly challenging process--including Thursday morning, when senior parents heard from Matt about the mind-boggling delay in FAFSA award notifications before I saw it register on the national news.  For those families with children too young yet to work with Matt, you can rest easy knowing that he will be there for you!

I was happy we could enjoy some sunlight this week.  Despite my initial concern that multiple early snow days have eliminated the necessity for any unexpected school holidays (cough, cough), the students have told me that they do not agree with that assessment.  For new parents, our school has always entertained a surprise day of frivolity called Headmaster's Holiday, which makes an appearance usually (not always) in the grungy months of winter.  We make a surprise announcement in morning meeting, buses roll up moments later, and then we head off to an adventure of some sort, and students return to school by 3:30 pm...ready to nap like over-stimulated puppies.  Will that happen this year?  I just don't know.  Difficult to assess.  We will have to wait and see.

Have a great weekend!
Dr Schawang

THE WEEK AHEAD:

 

* Fri 26th: Boys BBall @ Kansas City Christian High School: JV 5, Vars 6:30 pm

 

* Sat 27th: Art Club Gala, 4-6 pm

         Seabury Parent Bingo Night, 7-9 pm (cards for sale starting at 6:30 pm)

 

* Tue 30th: MS BBall @ Maranatha Academy: Girls 4:30, Boys B 5:30, Boys A 6:30 pm

         Boys BBall vs. Maranatha Academy @ BSA: JV 4:30, Vars 7:30 pm

 

* Thurs 1st: MS BBall @ St. Paul's Episcopal Day School: Girls 4:30, Boys C 5:30, Boys B 6:30,

         Boys A 7:30 pm

 

* Fri 2nd: Boys BBall vs. Bishop Ward @ BSA: JV 5, Vars 6:30 pm

         Robotics @ KU

         

* Sat 3rd: MS BBall @ Kansas City Christian HS: 6th Boys 10 am, Girls 11 am, Boys B 12 pm,

         Boys A 1 pm

         Student Casino Night, 6-9 pm

         Robotics @ KU

         Powerlifting @ Royal Valley

         Forensics @ Lawrence High

 

Dear Parents,

 

With Dr. Schawang out of town working with ISACS, our accreditation agency, Friday Letter duties have fallen upon me. I have much to share with you--fortunately, we have a lot of things going on here at Seabury to keep us occupied as we await the coming of spring and gentler weather.

 

Congratulations to 6th grader Thomas Cici, who emerged as this year's Seabury Spelling Bee champion after an intense competition during X block on Wednesday.  We greatly appreciate the willingness of all competitors to get up on stage in the Commons and show off their skills!  If you see Thomas, wish him luck at the Douglas County Spelling Bee, which will be held in February.

 

Many of you have been asking for an adult-only bingo night, and that time has come! This Saturday the 27th at 6:30 pm you are all invited to Seabury Parent Bingo Night in the Commons, where there will be snacks, adult beverages, and a good time had by all. There is a $20 entry fee. There will be community, laughter, and best of all PRIZES! Please use this link to RSVP so we can get the most accurate numbers for the event.

 

This Saturday will also see our first ever Seabury Art Gala hosted by the Seabury Art Club (see attached flyer). Multiple students will show their art and make it available for sale to the community. The event will run from 4-6 pm, so it is perfect if you want to get to Bingo early and peruse for some early Valentine's Day presents or added decor for the house. Delicious treats will be served!

 

Seabury Casino Night is scheduled for February 3rd. This is one of the most popular events of the year. Students of all ages will sit at traditional gaming tables to enjoy blackjack, poker, and other games, and there will be card and board games for others--something for everyone to enjoy. Parents are encouraged to volunteer time, snacks or drinks, and prizes for students to win. No experience is necessary to help at the tables! Please sign up here.

 

Three weeks from today is our annual auction! Get your tickets now and click the link to join us for Unite for Seabury, on Friday, February 16th, at the Jayhawk Club. Auction catalogs will be in your mailboxes next week and the live and silent auction items will begin to be revealed on the website soon! This is our most important fundraiser and everything raised goes to support our school. This year's theme calls for cocktail casual attire, and while superhero/villain attire is encouraged, it is not required! Just come and have a fun time! Many thanks to auction chair Meagan Lohmeyer and the entire auction committee for all of their work--it's going to be a great night!

 

Per our school's evergreen enrollment contract, your student will be automatically re-enrolled for the 2024-25 school year and the usual annual deposit billed to your FACTS account if we do not receive written notice of disenrollment by January 31st.  If you have signed up for automatic withdrawal, the enrollment deposit will be deducted from your bank account or charged to your credit card on this date.

 

We have a new face in the administrative wing this week. Bonnie Bribiesca began work this month as our new Financial Administrator, and we are very happy to have her on board. She will be your new source for information about billing and other needs on the financial end, and hopefully you will have a chance to meet or speak with her in the coming weeks.  We are sorry to say goodbye to Cris Denning, but she has promised not to be a stranger. (She has kindly offered to volunteer at the auction in February.)  Thank you Cris for all of your years of service!

 

Here is a quick note from Betsy on parent-teacher conferences: "Early next week I will be sending out the sign-ups for conferences. As a reminder, they are virtual and are on Wednesday night February 7th, Thursday afternoon the 8th, and Thursday evening the 8th. Do not stress if you have conflicts with family events.  Many parents opt to visit with just the teachers of the classes that their child may be struggling in or not signing up at all if they feel good about how their student is doing. Who you see is totally up to you."

 

As college counselor, I had some college-related topics I was intending to share with you, but with the Friday Letter so jam-packed already, I have decided to include them as attachments that you can view at your leisure. One addresses the recent Supreme Court decision banning affirmative action in college admissions, and the other is a personal reflection on the work our students do writing college application essays.  If college admissions is on your mind, please read!

 

In closing, I will note that, at this point, the forecast looks pretty clear for the coming week.  I think that even the students will have to admit at this point that we need some continuity in our daily schedule.  As much as we all love a good snow day now and then, we will certainly make the most of our first full week of the semester next week.  In the meantime, I hope you all have a great weekend!

 

Matt Patterson

--

Matt Patterson (he/him/his)
Director of College Counseling

THE WEEK AHEAD:

* Fri 19th: Boys Vars BBall Tournament vs. Baldwin HS @ Baldwin Jr. HS, 7 pm

* Sat 20th: Boys Vars BBall Tournament vs. Wellsville @ Baldwin Jr. HS, 1 pm
Powerlifting @ Leavenworth HS

* Mon 21st: 11th Grade College Planning Night, 7 pm

* Tue 23rd: MS BBall vs. Cair Paravel Latin School @ BSA: Girls 4:30, B Boys 5:30, A Boys 6:30 pm
Boys BBall @ Cair Paravel Latin School: JV 4:30 , Vars 6 pm

* Wed 24th: AMC 8 Math Competition, 8 am
BSA Spelling Bee

* Thurs 25th: MS BBall @ Brookside Charter School: C Boys 5:30, Girls 6:30, A Boys 7:30 pm
Boys BBall @ Heritage Christian Academy: JV 6, Vars 7:30 pm
Robotics @ Topeka

* Fri 26th: Boys BBall @ Kansas City Christian High School: JV 5, Vars 6:30 pm

* Sat 27th: Art Club Gala, 4-6 pm
Seabury Parent Bingo Night, 7-9 pm (cards for sale starting at 6:30 pm)

Dear Parents,

The 2024 BSA Auction--Unite for Seabury!--is on the horizon: February 16th.  Talk to your friends and recruit them to come out for a great night of dinner, drinks, dancing, and supporting the school.  Our auction team always puts on a ridiculously entertaining and exuberant event.  Tables and individual seats can be purchased here.  I look forward to seeing you there!

Our Seabury Parent Bingo Night has also been set for next Saturday 27th.  At our first bingo event, we had quite a few parents asking for an evening just for adults and an opportunity for parents to get together and have fun.  (Non-Seabury friends are welcome, of course.)  We will make it happen as long as we have the interest.  Please take time to RSVP here.  

Our annual school Spelling Bee is next Wednesday.  The entire school will come together midday to watch our young spellers compete, and it is one of my favorite moments of the year.  Seeing our older students cheer on the middle school competitors (the hushed silence during the rounds and the cheers between them).  Good luck to our spellers!  

A big thanks to all of the students who came out on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day to serve the community.  That was a great way to celebrate the spirit of the day.

Have a great weekend,
Dr. Schawang

THE WEEK AHEAD:

* Fri 12th: KSHSAA Debate State Championship Tournament

* Sat 13th: KSHSAA Debate State Championship Tournament

* Mon 15th: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day--NO CLASSES
Day of Service, 9 am to 2 pm

* Tue 16th: Boys Vars BBall Tournament vs. Augusta HS @ Baldwin Jr. HS, 5:30 pm
MS BBall vs. KC Christian @ BSA: Girls 4:30, Boys B 5:30, Boys A 6:30 pm
Upper School Play Auditions, 3:30-5 pm

* Wed 17th: Boys Vars Swimming @ Ozone Fitness Center, 4 pm
Upper School Play Auditions, 3:30-5 pm

* Thurs 18th: 7th & 10th Grade Hearing & Vision Screening

* Fri 19th: Boys Vars BBall Tournament vs. Baldwin HS @ Baldwin Jr. HS, 7 pm

* Sat 20th: Boys Vars BBall Tournament vs. Wellsville @ Baldwin Jr. HS, 1 pm

Dear Parents,

As always, thank you for your understanding as we navigated weather and school closings this week.  Making the call is a lot easier when I have tangible evidence the night before, and that is not always an option.  I do not begrudge the students a few days off for snow, but I do prefer to get our foundations set for the new semester so we have a rhythm going.  Hopefully we will have fewer disruptions in the coming weeks.

This is a final reminder that all families seeking tuition assistance--including families who have previously received assistance--must complete the relevant application by January 15th in order to be considered for funding.  You can access the application on the website portal here.

Good luck to our debate squad as they head to KSHSAA State Championship competition this weekend!

Once again, we will be offering an optional community service day on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day.  Thank you to all of the students and adults who have offered to make a difference on this day!

Have a good weekend and stay warm!
Dr. Schawang
 

THE WEEK AHEAD:

* Fri 5th: BBall vs. Veritas Christian @ BSA: Girls 5, Boys A 6, Boys Vars 7 pm

* Sat 6th: Boys BBall @ University Academy: Boys B 9, Boys A 10, Girls 11, Boys C 12 pm

* Sun 7th: American Exchange Project Informational Meeting @ Seabury Commons: 4 pm

* Mon 8th: Middle School Touring Show Auditions, 3:30-5 pm

* Tue 9th: MS BBall vs. Heritage Christian Academy @ BSA: Girls 4:30, Boys B 5:30, Boys A 6:30 pm
Vars Boys BBall @ Heritage Christian Academy: JV 6 & Vars 7:30 pm

* Thurs 11th: MS BBall vs. Maranatha Christian Academy @ BSA: Girls 4:30, Boys B 5:30, Boys A 6:30 pm

* Fri 12th: KSHSAA Debate State Championship Tournament
JV Boys vs. Bishop Ward @ St. Patrick's School, 4:30 pm
Vars Boys BBall vs. Bishop Ward @ Bishop Ward High School, 7:30 pm

* Sat 13th: Seabury Bingo Night, 7-9 pm
KSHSAA Debate State Championship Tournament

Dear Parents,

I hope you and your children enjoyed the holidays but also found some time for rest.  I know many people are cynical about the idea of "resolutions" for the new year, but I encourage students to take advantage of this constructed moment to examine their habits, embrace their successes and hard work, and make independent and proactive decisions about how to improve themselves.  More than anything, it is difficult to remember what a gift it is to receive an education and to have this dedicated time as a young human to learn and to expand one's perspective.  It is always good for each of us to be reminded about all the privileges and good fortune we take for granted every day.  Gratitude is one of the best first steps towards living a flourishing life.

Over the break, our Debate squad attended the KSHSAA Class 3-1A regional 4-speaker competition, and team members Lucas Sherwood, Xavier Carrasco Cooper, Ben Patterson, Heba Aziz, and Landon Farmer won the tournament and qualified for State next weekend.  Congratulations to them!

We will not have classes on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day (Monday 15th), but the Diversity Club will host a voluntary service day from 9 am to 2 pm.  Participating students will work at various agencies in Lawrence and return to school for a taco bar lunch.  At the end of the event, students will have the opportunity to hear from Dr. Majdi Hamarshi, a member of the Palestinian American Medical Association, who represents a dedication to humanitarian service in extraordinarily difficult circumstances.  Students who would like to participate can sign up here.  

We decided to reschedule December's Bingo Night, and it will now happen on Saturday, January 13th at 7 pm.  This particular event is for adults, and we hope you can come out and enjoy each other's company!  Please RSVP here.

Ms. Leroux-Smith sent a reminder about important admissions dates for Seabury families.  Please remember that all families seeking tuition assistance--including families who have previously received assistance--must complete the relevant application by January 15th.  Also, January 31st is the deadline for families to provide the school with written notice should they not intend to re-enroll their children for the 2024-25 school year.  A non-refundable contract deposit will be processed on accounts on February 1st.  

Hopefully you will receive the official BSA 2024 Auction invitation in the mail this weekend.  The event will happen on February 16th at the Jayhawk Club, and it is always a ridiculous amount of fun for attendees, as well as an important fundraising opportunity for the school.  The theme this year is "Unite for Seabury," as there is no doubt that every attendee is a superhero for the school.  You can RSVP and find more information here.  We look forward to seeing you there!

I gave student drivers a few quick reminders this morning about driving in winter conditions, especially the importance of "turning into the skid."  I am sure you are providing the same directions at home!

It should be an exciting slate of basketball games in our gym tonight as we play our Lawrence rival, Veritas Christian.  I hope you can come out and support our players!

Have a great weekend,
Dr. Schawang

THE WEEK AHEAD:

* Fri 8th: End of 1st Semester
Lessons & Carols @ Plymouth Congregational Church, 925 Vermont St, 7:30 pm (doors open 7:10 pm)

* Sat 9th:  Boys Vars BBall Tournament vs. TBD @ Marais des Cygnes Valley HS, TBD
MS BBall @ Cair Paravel Latin School: Girls 10, B Boys 11, A Boys 12 pm
Blood Drive @ BSA

* Mon 11th: Stop Day--No Classes
Varsity Swimming @ Ozone Fitness Center, 4 pm

* Tue 12th: Finals
8:15-9:45 am: English
10:15-11:45 am: Social Studies

* Wed 13th: Finals: 
8:15-9:45 am: Math
10:15-11:45 am: Languages

* Thurs 14th: 8:15-9:45 am: Science
Winter Formal @ the Eldridge Hotel, 8-11 pm

* Fri 15th: WINTER BREAK BEGINS!
4-Speaker Debate Regional Qualifier @ Silver Lake

* Sat 16th: 4-Speaker Debate Regional Qualifier @ Silver Lake

* Sat 23rd: Alumni Holiday Gathering @ The Wheel, 4-6 pm

* Wed 3rd: Faculty In-Service

* Thurs 4th: Classes Resume


Dear Parents,

I hope to see you at Lessons & Carols tonight.  I always look forward to hearing our children sing for us at this event, and one of the most poignant moments of the school year is to hear them sing the concluding song, "Peace, Peace."  

As you know, final (or "midterm") exams for the semester will occur on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of next week.  In those few instances where students do not have an in-class final exam, they do not need to come to campus.  If they are only scheduled for one exam, they are welcome to study quietly in the Commons before or after the exam they are scheduled to take.  (Your students should know if they have a final in a particular class, but I have attached a list of all finals with room numbers for your convenience.)  We expect students will be picked up at the completion of the finals periods, and no lunch will be served.

On Monday, we offer a "stop day" prior to exams.  Teachers will be on campus and available from 8:30 am to noon (and by appointment in the afternoon) to assist students, but students do not need to come to campus.  If noon pick-up is a challenge for parents, students may remain on campus through 3 pm, but they will be restricted to the Commons (unsupervised) to study quietly throughout the day and will need to provide their own lunch.

As always, I encourage students to maintain an effective study environment when preparing for finals--namely shutting off phones and avoiding online distractions.  I encourage you to check in on them (especially younger students) to see HOW they study, which is just as important as the duration of their work.  (Distracted studying is ineffective and always takes longer.)  They also should get appropriate sleep the night before exams (as their brains do a lot of work while they are snoozing).  Hopefully, this will be a good opportunity for students to wrap their arms around their course material and see the "big picture."

The Winter Formal is Thursday night at the Eldridge Hotel.  After today, the cost for this event is $25 if checks payable to BSA or cash is delivered to Mr. Whipple or Betsy by 10:30 am on the 14th.  After that, the cost is $30 at the door.  As I note every year, the students are more comfortable when parents are not "parked" in the lobby, but it is okay to get a quick look at the finery when you drop off and pick up the kids (and many parents enjoy refreshments at the Jayhawker, Global Cafe, or other nearby establishments).  If you have any questions about the Formal, please contact Mr. Whipple at williamwhipple@seaburyacademy.org.

Good luck to our Debate squad as they head to Regional competition next weekend!

As always, the end of the semester has practically disappeared.  I tell students with sincerity that final exams are a challenge that should leave them with tremendous pride and a sense of accomplishment if they prepare well for them and do their best.  After that, the winter break is a reward well-earned.  I hope all of your families enjoy happy holidays, a merry Christmas, and a happy new year!

Yours respectfully,
Dr. Schawang

THE WEEKS AHEAD:

* Fri 1st: Debate @ LHS

* Sat 2nd:  Debate @ LHS

* Mon 4th: MS BBall vs. Summit Christian Academy @ BSA: Girls 4:30, B Boys 5:30, A Boys 6:30 pm

* Tue 5th: Boys Vars BBall Tournament vs. Hartford @ Marais des Cygnes Valley HS, 7 pm

* Wed 6th: Boys Vars Swimming vs. Hayden @ Capitol Federal Natatorium, 5 pm
MS Play Auditions, 3:30-5 pm

* Thurs 7th: Coffee House in the Commons, 2-3:30 pm
MS Play Auditions, 3:30-5 pm
MS BBall vs. Barstow @ BSA: C Boys 4:30, B Boys 5:30, Girls 6:30, A Boys 7:30 pm
Boys Vars BBall Tournament vs. TBD @ Marais des Cygnes Valley HS, 7 pm

* Fri 8th: End of 1st Semester
Lessons & Carols @ Plymouth Congregational Church, 925 Vermont St, 7:30 pm

* Sat 9th:  Boys Vars BBall Tournament vs. TBD @ Marais des Cygnes Valley HS, TBD
MS BBall @ Cair Paravel Latin School: Girls 10, B Boys 11, A Boys 12 pm
Blood Drive @ BSA

* Mon 11th: Stop Day--No Classes
Varsity Swimming @ Ozone Fitness Center, 4 pm

* Tue 12th: Finals
8:30-10:00 am: English
10:15-11:45 am: Social Studies

* Wed 13th: Finals: 
8:30-10:00 am: Math
10:15-11:45 am: Languages

* Thurs 14th: 8:30-10:00 am: Science
Winter Formal @ the Eldridge Hotel, 8-11 pm

* Fri 15th: WINTER BREAK BEGINS!
4-Speaker Debate Regional Qualifier @ Tonganoxie

* Sat 16th: 4-Speaker Debate Regional Qualifier @ Tonganoxie

Dear Parents,

The days move quickly after Thanksgiving Break.  The Week Ahead (above) lists the full two weeks leading to the end of the first semester.

Our winter sports season begins in earnest next week as our teams head into competition.  Good luck to our basketball teams!  And good luck to Lucas Sherwood and Ethan Smith as they compete in varsity swim!

For new parents, our core academic subjects include graded exams or projects that serve as the culmination of the semester coursework.  Some teachers find that out-of-class papers or projects are more fitted to their courses, but many teachers need extended time for a sit-down exam.  To accommodate those exams, we provide a schedule of final exam sessions on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday following the end of the semester.  The exam dates & times are published at the top of this letter according to subject.  Your students should know whether they will have a scheduled exam, but I will also share with you next week the full exam schedule by course so you can verify whether your child needs to come to campus and at what time.

On the day prior to finals, we build in a "stop day" for students to get work done at home or receive guidance from teachers.  Students are free to contact teachers remotely throughout the day for general guidance (and teachers will discuss availability with students in class).  For students who would benefit from in-person assistance, teachers will be on campus from 8:30 am to noon on that day.  If noon pick-up is a challenge for parents, students may remain on campus through 3 pm, but they will be restricted to the Commons (unsupervised) to study quietly throughout the day and will need to provide their own lunch.

Our annual Lessons & Carols will occur at Plymouth Congregational Church (925 Vermont Street) next Friday night, December 8th, at 7:30 pm.  If you have not been to one of our Lessons & Carols productions, you really should.  Parents often comment on how glad they were that they came out for this beautiful evening to hear our students sing us into the holidays.  Please feel free to attend "the loveliest night of the year" regardless of whether your child will be participating.  

Remember that BSA will host a Blood Drive on December 9th from 10 am to 2 pm.  You can book your appointment here with the group code TP2D.  Thank you for giving!

It is historically common in schools for parents or students to thank teachers during the holidays with a gift of some kind: cookies, tree ornaments, books, and such.  Many years ago, BSAP had the great idea to streamline this process and create a Faculty/Staff Holiday Fund so parents can show their appreciation in a way that is both convenient and equitable.  Such a gift is never an obligation, and you can always thank individual teachers if you prefer.  But thank you in general for your support and appreciation for our faculty and staff!  No one enters teaching for the high monetary compensation but for the joy in positively impacting lives--so I appreciate your help in showing them that they matter.

Winter Formal is the premiere student event of the year.  Please see Mr. Whipple's emails for details.  I will include much of that information in next week's letter.  For now, please note that students need permission to bring a guest and must complete the attached guest pass and submit it to the school office by noon on December 14th.

Bishop Seabury's Festival of Trees donation, which benefits the O'Connell Children's Shelter,  was made by Seniors Helena Gutierrez-Gibbs, Phoebe Ulbrick and Mrs. Porter.  The tree, named "Birch Beauty," is a one-of-a-kind creation that is made from all natural materials (see attached photo). Public viewing goes through Sunday at a new location (Macelli's), and the auction will take place this Saturday. We are proud that this year's tree can play a role in benefitting such a worthy cause.

Per Seabury tradition, I took the senior class on a trip Monday morning to hunt down, cut down, and bring back a school Christmas tree.  They spent the morning decorating the tree in the Commons while enjoying homemade cookies, hot chocolate, and Christmas tunes.  They did a great job with the tree, and a picture is attached.

Have a great weekend!
Dr. Schawang

THE WEEK AHEAD:

* Mon 27th: Senior Christmas Tree Hunt

* Thurs 30th: VEX Robotics Camp in Topeka, 4-6 pm

* Fri 1st: Seabury Bingo Night, 7-9 pm
Debate @ LHS

* Sat 2nd:  Debate @ LHS
Dear Parents,

I regret that I am sending the Friday Letter on Saturday, but my tardiness is an indication that a very busy week culminated in a packed Heritage Day with the students.

Thanks to all of you who were able to attend our 2023 Convocation ceremony last night, and a big thanks to Alum Hilary Griggs for agreeing to be our guest speaker (speaking only days after midterm exams at Yale!).  If you were not able to attend, please feel free to reference the attached transcript.  You can also watch the video recording here.  I told students that I would give a shout-out to the swankiest of our sharp-dressed students....I think that had to be Truman Sizemore!

I want to thank all of our students and staff for their service efforts during Heritage Day on Friday.  We were able to serve and provide resources to the following: Balland Center, Brandon Woods, Family Promise, Friends of the Kaw, Riverkeeper, Give it Get it INC, Good Life/Midnight Farms, Hidden Valley Camp, Horses 4 Hope, Jefferson County Humane Society Farmer's Market, Lawrence Community Shelter, Meals on Wheels, Neuvant House, Operation Wild Life, LINK, Prairie Park Nature Center, Senior Resource Center of Douglas County, SHY38 INC KC Farm Sanctuary, Social Service League, Stepping Stones Early Childhood Center, Trinity Food Pantry, Willow Center, and Woodlawn Elementary.  I think this may be the longest list of organizations we have served on any single Heritage Day!

Many thanks to Elena Buckner for organizing the service efforts this week--and to senior Phoebe Ulbrick for her senior leadership with the items drive.  We managed to collect 4792 items for charitable organizations.  The 7th grade had the highest item count--good work!  And thanks to Mia Rasmussen for her work on the Heritage Day student video.  

I hope you all have a very peaceful and happy Thanksgiving break!

Yours respectfully,

Dr Schawang

THE WEEK AHEAD:

* Fri 10th: The Play that Goes Wrong (Upper School Play), 7:30 pm

* Sat 11th: The Play that Goes Wrong (Upper School Play), 7:30 pm

* Mon 13th: Raku Field Trip
Senior Class Chili Feed in BSA Commons, 5-6 pm
Late Night with the Seahawks, 6-8 pm

* Tue 14th: BSA High School Information & Curriculum Night (8th grade parents), 6:30-8:30 pm

* Thurs 16th: BSA Convocation Ceremony, 7-8 pm  (students arrive 6:30 pm; singers 6:15 pm)
Service & S'mores (8 pm to midnight)

* Fri 17th: Heritage Day (regular school hours)

* Mon 20th to Fri 24th: Thanksgiving Break--NO CLASSES


Dear Parents,

I am so pleased to announce that we have met our goal with the Seabury Fund!  I am so grateful to all of the families, trustees, faculty, alumni, and friends who stepped up to help us in this effort.  To accomplish our goal of $150,000 in a single month is an important indication of community and a healthy culture in our school.  I want to say thank you to our Seabury Fund Chairs Jen & Dane Oldridge, all of our class captains, and Development Director Ellen Chindamo for their collective work in organizing this effort.  I am personally grateful to be at a school where people invest in education.  Thank you!

We have a busy week ahead!  Please remember that our annual Convocation ceremony occurs next Thursday evening at 7 pm.  Known by many independent schools as "Founder's Day," Convocation is a celebration of our school and its mission, and our guest speaker this year is 2019 BSA graduate Hilary Griggs.  All students are required to attend, and remember that this event requires more formal attire: dress pants/slacks, jacket and tie, dresses, dress shoes, and so forth--basically "business appropriate" for an office.  This is our first year to have Convocation in the evening, and we are hoping this time will allow more parents to attend this short ceremony (roughly 50 minutes).  The event will occur in the Commons--I don't expect seating will be an issue, but please be patient if we need to add seats based on attendance.  Please attend if you can!

Also part of our Seabury pre-break tradition is Heritage Day, which this year will fall on the last day before break.  Heritage Day was originally founded by Upper School students in 2003 when we first moved to the Clinton Parkway campus and was a student-led celebration of the School's mission in conjunction with Convocation.  The day begins with advising groups going out into Lawrence for a host of community service projects in the morning, followed by lunch and afternoon activities on campus.  Students can be picked up at their usual time: 3:30 pm

We are in the midst of our Seabury Fall Items Drive, and community members have many opportunities to drop off donations.  Students presently have bins in their hallways (as we have a grade-level competition going on), and parents can drop items off in the airlock.  Items donations are gratefully accepted as admission cost for Late Night with the Seahawks (see below), and many of our Upper School students will be camped out in front of the building ("Service & S'mores") after Convocation until midnight to collect community donations.  We will transport donated items to various service organizations at the beginning of Heritage Day.

I hope you will be available to attend Late Night with the Seahawks on Monday ("late" is somewhat relative here, as the event ends at 8 pm).  In lieu of an admission cost, we simply ask that you bring a few items to help with our Seabury item drive (see attached list).  Be prepared to see student antics, a spirited cheer squad, ridiculously swanky prizes, and our first view of the basketball teams!  There is also a pre-event Chili Feed prior to the game, so feel free to come at 5 pm for dinner ($10 per person to support the senior class trip--see attached flyer).  To help grade sponsors get an idea of how many people will attend, you can purchase a ticket in advance here, but you can also pay at the door.

Break-a-leg to our Upper School students as they perform their comedy The Play that Goes Wrong tonight and Saturday.  We hope you can come out, enjoy their work, and laugh a lot!

I mentioned our BSA Bingo Night for adults in my last Friday Letter.  You can check out details and RSVP here.  

Have a good weekend!
Dr. Schawang

THE WEEK AHEAD:

* Fri 3rd: The Brothers Grimm Spectaculathon (Middle School Play), 7:30 pm
Debate @ Blue Valley

* Sat 4th: Debate @ Blue Valley

* Sun 5th: Junior Class Parent Get-Together @ Lawrence Beer Co., 4 pm

* Fri 10th: The Play that Goes Wrong (Upper School Play), 7:30 pm
Debate @ Shawnee Mission

* Sat 11th: The Play that Goes Wrong (Upper School Play), 7:30 pm
Debate @ Shawnee Mission

Dear Parents,

As we find ourselves suddenly in November, the Seabury Fund is almost there!  We are only $8,684 from reaching our goal!  It is my hope that I can announce victory in next week's Friday Letter.  Thank you to everyone who has already given or pledged, and if you haven't yet participated, please do so here. Clearly, every gift matters and it means so much for every member of our Seabury community!  Thank you all!

I hope you can come out to enjoy the work of our youngest actors tonight in The Brothers Grimm Spectaculathon.  It will be a lot of fun!

Next week, the Upper School actors will perform The Play that Goes Wrong, one of Broadway's funniest smash hits. This Olivier Award-winning comedy is a hilarious hybrid of Monty Python and Sherlock Holmes.  During the opening night of the play-within-a-play The Murder at Haversham Manor, things quickly go from bad to utterly disastrous with an unconscious leading lady, a corpse that can’t play dead, and actors who trip over everything (including their lines).  We hope you can come out and enjoy the work of our eldest thespians!

The main source of income for our parent's association (BSAP) is the sale of pre-ordered grocery cards where you get dollar-for-dollar what you invest.  I have been supporting the grocery card program for as long as I remember, and I have found this to be an incredibly simple and efficient way to support BSAP and pay for my groceries.  If you haven't considered joining the grocery card program, please do, especially with the holidays quickly approaching.  It is free money and a big help!  See the attached flyer and reach out to Julie Smith with questions: julie@twofreckledfrogs.com.

BSA will host a Blood Drive on December 9th from 10 am to 2 pm.  You can book your appointment here with the group code TP2D.  Look for more information in the near future.

Because you all cannot get enough of Bingo, we are looking to host an adult-only Bingo night on December 1st from 7-9 pm, this time with adult beverages.  Mark your calendars--more information will be forthcoming.

Facilities Director Eric Neuteboom spent the last three days attending the Missouri School Board Association's School Safety Academy in Kansas City studying to become a Certified School Safety Specialist (CSSS), involving advanced understanding of emergency operations, school security, risk assessment, cyber security, and other areas of school safety.  Thanks to Mr. Neuteboom for investing the time to ensure the continued well-being of our students and faculty!

Have a great weekend,
Dr. Schawang

THE WEEK AHEAD:

* Fri 27th:9 Miles @ Night, 7 pm
Debate @ DeSoto

* Sat 28th: Fall Carnival, 7-9 pm 
Senior Haunted House, 7-10:30 pm
Debate @ DeSoto

* Sun 29th: 9th Grade Bingo Fundraiser, 1-3 pm

* Tue 31st: Halloween!

* Fri 3rd: The Brothers Grimm Spectaculathon (Middle School Play), 7:30 pm
Debate @ Blue Valley

* Sat 4th: Debate @ Blue Valley

* Sun 5th: Junior Class Parent Get-Together @ Lawrence Beer Co., 4 pm

Dear Parents,

The Seabury Fund total has reached $136,550, and we have 100% from faculty, staff, and trustees.  This is tremendous progress towards hitting our goal of $150,000!  I encourage everyone who reads this letter to please send in your pledge if you haven't done so already.  As always, here is the online link to make that process easier.  Thank you everyone!

The forecast suggests good fall weather for tonight's Nine Miles @ Night event.  I hope all participants have a great time. Remember that sturdy shoes are recommended, and a light is required.  (I encouraged students to dress in layers.)  Here is a location map link.  Questions?  Contact Eric Nelson at ericnelson@seaburyacademy.org.

Come out next week to enjoy our Middle School performers in their first production of the year: The Brothers Grimm Spectaculathon.  An inventive band of actors will attempt to combine all of the Grimm fairy tales--such as Rapunzel, Rumpelstiltskin, Hansel and Gretel, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, and Cinderella--into one madcap extravaganza.  It should be a fun and fast-paced performance.

Every fall, I am impressed by our student athletes as they return from the lull of summer break and leap back into a full schedule of classes, practices, and games--frequently with inhospitable heat.  Congratulations to all of them as they conclude an exciting fall season!

The Tuition Assistance application process for 2024-25 opens on November 1st, and priority is given to current families.

Ms. Czarnecki has invited candidates for City Commission to visit her U.S. Government class on Halloween.  I appreciate Ms. Czarnecki's efforts to keep our Upper School students connected to local politics as we seek to develop informed citizens

Host families are needed for the American Exchange Project (AEP), a national program which sends high school seniors on a free, weeklong exchange program.  Several of our students had a terrific experience with this program over the summer.  Please join Sonja Czarnecki and the students on Wednesday, November 1 for a public informational meeting at the Lawrence Public Library at 6:00 pm to learn more about how students can travel or families can host other students--or sign up here to be a host family for June 26 - July 3.  Email Sonja Czarnecki if you have any questions.

Tomorrow night is the Fall Carnival.  The event is open to all Seabury students & families, and students are welcome to bring a guest but will be responsible for those individuals.  Please remember that the Senior Haunted House ends later than the Carnival, so please coordinate with your child about pick-up time.  Also, remember that you can still bring items for the hygiene drive for KC Refugees on Saturday night.

Halloween is a big deal at our school, especially our annual Jack-O-Lantern carving contest.  Advising groups will be working with intensity on Monday, and on Tuesday, they will present their pumpkin entries during morning meeting.  Standouts will receive prizes...and eternal glory.  I am always amazed at what our staff and students can pull off in so little time!  We will send you pics!

On Halloween day, students are also welcome to wear costumes to school.  I always ask students to be tasteful in their costumes--nothing offensive, too skimpy, or involving real weapons.  (If there is any question about the appropriateness of a costume, students should ask an administrator in advance of the day)  As always, thanks to parents for accommodating the spirit of this macabre holiday, and I especially appreciate the staff for tolerating a certain degree of chaos during this very busy time of the year.

Finally, I know you have the academic calendar accessible on the website, but I want to remind parents about two important events on the horizon, especially as they occur in a different order this year.  Convocation is an all-student event (less than an hour in length) on Thursday 16th at 7 pm.  I will provide more details about this event for new parents in a later Letter.  For now, please know that this is a required event for all students, parents are encouraged to attend, and students are required to dress more formally--dress pants/slacks, jacket and tie, dresses, dress shoes (no sneakers), and so forth--basically "business appropriate" for an office.  An event called Heritage Day occurs on Friday 17th during normal school hours and students will engage in service work and other activities.  Students will be released for Thanksgiving Break at 3:30 pm on that day.  Thanksgiving Break will occur from Monday 20th to Friday 24th.  It will be here before you know it!

Have a great weekend!
Dr. Schawang

THE WEEK AHEAD:

* Fri 20th: Fall Concert @ BSA, 7:30 pm

* Sat 21st: Girls MS B-Team VBall XRC Quarterfinals/Semifinals/Championship @ Maranatha Christian Academy, 11 am
Girls Vars VBall KSHSAA Substate @ Burlingame, 5 pm
Vars XC KSHSAA Regionals @ Sabetha, 10 am

* Sun 22nd: Cheer Clinic, 2-5 pm

* Mon 23rd: Boys Vars Soccer KSHSAA Regional Quarterfinals @ Baldwin, 4 pm

* Thurs 26th: KSHSAA Regional Semifinals, TBA

* Fri 27th: Girls Vars VBall KSHSAA State Championship @ Dodge City United Wireless Arena, TBA
9 Miles @ Night, 7 pm
Debate @ DeSoto

* Sat 28th: Girls Vars VBall KSHSAA State Championship @ Dodge City United Wireless Arena, TBA
Fall Carnival, 7-9 pm 
Senior Haunted House, 7-10:30 pm
Debate @ DeSoto

Dear Parents,

I returned late last night from my quarter-annual work on the ISACS accreditation committee and board of trustees.  This work is very important to me, but I always miss Seabury, our students and staff.  I am glad to be home!  But I have very little time to write this letter!  So here we go....

We have great momentum with our Seabury Fund, as we presently have $98,451 in pledges.  Our goal of $150,000 is in sight.  On a personal note, every time the Seabury "thermometer" goes up in front of the school before we have time to accumulate pledges, I always take a breath and hope that this is not the time we fall short.  Independent schools rely on the investment of many friends, including its most immediate population--an investment of strong belief as well as funding!  I continue to be grateful every year to the members of the community and our many friends who believe in the value of education and of our school.  So thank you to everyone who has made a pledge, and if you have not yet sent in the pledge card you received in the mail, we can make it easy for you with this online link.  Thank you!

I hope you can come out to enjoy the talents of our singers and musicians tonight at the Fall Tapestry Concert!  

We hosted 27 visitors for our first Be-A-Seahawk Visit Day over the last two days, and I appreciate all of the efforts of our student hosts who helped our future Seahawks have a fun experience.  

Congratulations to senior Mia Rasmussen.  Her National History Day documentary on Kansas City Jazz is featured in this five-part docuseries from the 400 Years of African American History Commission!

Congratulations to our Seabury team for winning 1st place at the 14th annual Truman Library trivia contest where students from area schools showed their intellectual prowess on topics related to the theme "1948."  Good job students!

Lace up your running shoes and grab your headlamp!  Mr. Nelson’s annual Nine Miles at Night Run happens next weekend. The evening run (or brisk walk) happens on Friday, October 27th at 7 pm.  Join fellow students and parents as they make the 5K or approximately 8 mile run (or whatever you want to accomplish).  Glow sticks will be provided.  Registration is $5 at the start with glow-in-the-dark bandanas as supplies last.  Proceeds will go to the Wilderness Biology class.  Sturdy shoes are recommended, and a light is required.  Here is a location map link.  Questions?  Contact Eric Nelson at ericnelson@seaburyacademy.org.

Our Fall Carnival & Haunted House will occur next Saturday (28th).  The Carnival involves a collection of games, and there is the option of entering the Senior Haunted House (which is intended to be scary, so young children should enter at parental discretion).  Carnival entry is $10 per patron.  Admission to the haunted house is $7 pre-sale and $10 at the door.  (More information about pre-sale tickets will be sent out later.)   Proceeds from the event help to fund the junior and senior trips in April.  We do allow costumes on Halloween and we have some mad-skills jack-o-lantern action, but I will save that for next week.

On Wednesday, Dr. Sofia Kahn spoke in morning meeting about the work of KC for Refugees, an organization that supports refugee families settled in the greater Kansas City metro area.  Madame Buckner sent an email earlier this week about a Hygiene Drive we are presently running until the night of the Fall Carnival.  Please consider donating shampoo (20 oz or smaller), lotion (20 oz or smaller), 5-pack disposable razors, and bar soap to this cause.  There is a bin in the airlock to receive your donations.  Thank you!

Earlier this week we received the sad news of the death of Seabury parent Nora Hawley.  Jack, Rowan, and their family have been very much on our minds and in our hearts in this very challenging moment.  We send love and strength to these boys and want them to know that the Seabury community is here to support in the coming weeks.

Yours respectfully,
Dr. Schawang

THE WEEK AHEAD:

* Fri 13th: Fall Break: NO CLASSES

* Sat 14th: MS XC Conference @ Summit Christian Academy, 10 am
Vars XC Conference @ Zarda Farm, 10 am

* Mon 16th: Fall Break: NO CLASSES 
Boys MS Soccer XRC Tournament vs. Pembroke Hill @ BSA, 5 pm
Girls MS B-Team Volleyball XRC Tournament vs. Barstow @ BSA, 5 pm

* Tue 17th: Boys MS Soccer XRC Tournament @ St. Paul's Episcopal Day School, 4:30 pm
Boys Vars Soccer vs. Bishop Ward @ BSA, 4:30 pm
Girls MS A-Team VBall XRC Tournament vs. Heritage Christian Academy @ Pembroke, 4:30 pm
Girls HS VBall @ Maranatha Academy: JV 5, Vars 6:30 pm

* Wed 18th: PSAT 10/11
KC for Refugee Presentation

* Thurs 19h: Seahawk Visit Day
Girls MS A-Team VBall XRC Tournament @ Summit Christian Academy: Semifinals 5, Championship 7 pm
Boys MS Soccer XRC Championship @ Barstow, 6:30 pm

* Fri 20th: Seahawk Visit Day
Fall Concert @ BSA, 7:30 pm

* Sat 21st: Girls MS B-Team VBall XRC Quarterfinals/Semifinals/Championship @ Maranatha Christian Academy, 11 am
Girls Vars BBall KSHSAA Substate @ Burlingame, 1 pm
Chess vs. New York/Raintree
Vars XC KSHSEE Regionals @ Sabetha, 10 am
Senior Bonfire, 4-8 pm

* Sun 22nd: Cheer Clinic, 3-6 pm

Dear Parents,

I hope you all found your conferences to be informative (and without wifi issues!).  As I always say, parents and teachers are ideally partners in the work of raising these children, and we each benefit from getting insights from each other.  Ten minutes is not a long time, but it is generally sufficient for most conferences.  However, parents and teachers should always communicate further as necessary about how to support individual students.  This is a process!  Also, thank you to BSAP for providing snacks for our teachers and to Ellen Chindamo for organizing meals.  And a huge thank you to our teachers.  These two days are packed--and that is why we schedule fall break to happen right after!

Students (who are reading this), please remember that we will have two Seabury Days (Tue/Wed) next week, followed by an A-Day and B-Day to accommodate PSAT exams for sophomores and juniors on Tuesday.

I am grateful for the early support of $71,432 in gifts and pledges to the Seabury Fund!  We have great momentum halfway through October as we aim for our goal of $150,000.  We already have 100% participation from our faculty & staff, and I am truly thankful for their generosity on behalf of your children.  Earlier this week, you received communications from your Class Captains about the importance of the fund to our annual budget. This is the vital part of the fund drive when we rely on parent gifts to get us to our goal, so if you still have your pledge card sitting on your counter in the sediment of unopened mail, please excavate it and send it in!  As always, here is the online link for giving.  Thank you!

Next Thursday will be our first Seahawk Day.  If you know any students who would thrive at Seabury but may not have considered our school as an option, please contact Ms. Lisa Leroux-Smith and let her know!  Feel free to share this link directly with prospective families: Seahawk Day registration.  We will also have visit days on October 20th & November 2nd.

On Wednesday, Dr. Sophia Khan--a representative of KC for Refugee--will join us for morning meeting.  Dr. Khan is our first speaker in a series designed to inform Seabury students, teachers, and parents about the diverse communities around us.  We will hear about the work they are doing to help refugees in our area become independent, secure, and self-sufficient, and Dr. Khan will engage with families at our upcoming Halloween Carnival.

In my last letter, I mentioned our football cooperative agreement with Perry USD for varsity students.  We have a similar agreement for Middle School football with Verita, and both AJ Campbell and An Duan play for that team.  Good luck to A.J. and An in their season of competition!

Good luck to our Seabury Chess team as they launch into their season of competition!

I believe that I am fairly handy with language, yet there are many times when I struggle with my limitations, such as when I feel the obligation to reference moments of great tragedy and conflict in the world.  To avoid such issues in the Friday Letter (or even in morning meeting with students) would seem tone-deaf, yet it is difficult in such limited space to say anything valuable or nuanced.

As I have often said over the years, I am careful about discussing tragedy with students in morning meeting, as many of them (young or old) simply do not know how to process that psychological burden, and without an intentionally designed way for them to unpack and handle those feelings, they experience a kind of unresolved trauma.  I generally find it better to explore those topics as relevant and age-appropriate in the classroom where discussion can allow for more guided understanding.  I had been thinking on Tuesday about what I should say in morning meeting about the present and incendiary escalation of conflict in Israel and Gaza, but Fr. Serrano very thoughtfully was ahead of me and addressed the topic in Wednesday's chapel.

Fr. Serrano's message was roughly parallel to mine: this moment sits on top of a long and very complicated history of tension, struggle, and recurring violence, and it is difficult to digest or formulate a satisfying response to horrific acts that have been perpetrated and the expanding repercussions that will continue to devastate the lives of entire populations.  However, the challenge to make sense of this traumatic situation does not preclude us from heartily promoting peace and an end to this violence and the wellbeing of all people caught up in this conflict.  There is nothing naive or dishonest in focusing on such an end, whether that be through prayers, contemplation, or community discussion.  Close to home, that may take the form simply of supporting those in our community with personal connections to that region--and opposing anti-Semitic or anti-Islamic speech or actions.  Certainly the people who are suffering in this conflict are in my thoughts, but so are the worries and well-being of our school community.

I finish this letter alone in my office with no Betsy to proofread my work.  (Although I have two degrees in English, she still catches errors in my writing, including the misspelling of my own name!).  Please excuse any errors you find.

Yours respectfully,
Dr. Schawang

THE WEEK AHEAD:

* Sat 7th: 8th Grade Parents Get-Together, 6-9 pm

* Sun 8th: Grandparents & Family Friends Day, 2-4 pm

* Mon 9th: Boys Vars Soccer vs. Cair Paravel Latin School (SENIOR NIGHT) @ BSA, 4:30 pm

* Tue 10th: Boys Vars Soccer @ Baldwin HS, 4 pm
Boys MS Soccer vs. Pembroke Hill School @ BSA, 4:30 pm
Girls VBall @ Cair Paravel Latin School: JV 4:30, Vars 5:30 pm

* Wed 11th: Parent-Teacher Conferences 6-9 pm

* Thurs 12th: NO CLASSES: Parent Teacher Conferences 1-4:30, 6-9 pm
Faculty In-Service 9 am to noon
Boys Vars Soccer @ Heritage Christian Academy, 4:30 pm

* Fri 13th: Fall Break: NO CLASSES

* Sat 14th: MS XC Conference @ Summit Christian Academy, 10 am
Vars XC Conference @ Zarda Farm, 10 am

* Mon 16th: Fall Break: NO CLASSES
MS Soccer Tournament 1st Round: TBA

Dear Parents,

The billboard in front of the school signals that the Seabury Fund Drive has begun!  As you know, the Fund is the way that our school--and every independent school--closes the gap between tuition revenue and the cost of operations.  We look to the entire community to help us reach our target of $150,000.  Equally important is our goal of 100% participation from faculty, trustees, and parents--supplemented by the giving of extended family, alumni, friends, and a few foundation grants.  Every gift of every size makes an impact and gets us closer to our goal.  You will receive a Seabury Fund brochure and pledge card soon, and you can give online at 2023-2024 Seabury Fund.  For the month of October, you will be receiving emails from your Class Captains regarding participation and I will update you on our progress at the top of the Friday Letter, on the Seabury Fund sign (in front of the school), and on the Bishop Seabury website.  Thank you!

Don't forget that parent-teacher conferences are Wednesday and Thursday.  The last date to sign up for conferences is Monday, Oct 9th BY NOON.  Teachers need time to plan for their conferences, so if you miss the cut-off date, you will need to schedule a meeting time with teachers AFTER next week.  Here is the link in case you missed it: Fall conference sign up

Prior to the conferences, Betsy will send out a list of names that serve as hyperlinks to Google Meet rooms, so you will simply need to find each teacher and click on those names when it is time for you to join your conference.  In 2020-2021, we found that online conferences were much more convenient for parents and teachers than meeting in person, so we have continued to run conferences virtually.  Since Zoom does not allow teachers to stay on that platform for more than 40 minutes, we use Google Meets for these conferences. For those of you who do not have a Google email account, you will need to create one prior to the session OR plan to join your first conference a few minutes early, as you will be directed to create a Gmail account on the spot when you click the name of your first teacher.  This is a very easy process, but I have attached directions for those who tend to be anxious about tech issues!

A quick reminder: conferences are 10 minutes.  Teachers will admit parents to the online session once they finish with their prior meeting, and they are under strict directions from me not to go over those 10 minutes, so please be on time for your conferences.  We have had very few technical problems with these conferences, but please be patient if you run into an issue, and know that you can always follow up with teachers.  Thank you!

This year's first BSAP (Bishop Seabury Association of Parents) meeting will happen on Wednesday, October 18th from 6-7 pm at Global Cafe (820 Massachusetts).  All parents are welcome and encouraged to attend!

Seabury has a cooperative partnership with the football program at Perry LeCompton High School, and sophomore Max Fagan and freshman Lucien Brockhoff are both members of that team.  Best of luck to them with their season--and good luck tonight against Jeff West!  (If you want to watch this game online or future Seabury/PL games live, you can find them here.)

Our Middle School Cross-Country team competed against area middle schools in the 2023 City Showdown.  Congratulations to our fleet-of-foot 8th grade runners for winning the event!  And a special shout-out to Vivenne Pro and Elena Salazar for medaling in the top ten!

We are looking forward to seeing extended family members (and their students) at this weekend's Grandparents & Family Friends Day.  I hope they have a great time getting to know our school.

Have a great autumnal weekend!
Dr. Schawang

THE WEEK AHEAD:

* Fri 29th: Boys Vars Soccer @ Maranatha Christian Academy, 4 pm

* Sat 30th: 7th Grade Parents Get-Together, 6-8 pm

* Mon 2nd: Boys MS Soccer @ Maranatha Academy, 4:30 pm
Boys Vars Soccer vs. KC Christian @ BSA, 4:30 pm

* Tue 3rd: Boys MS Soccer vs. Cair Paravel Latin School @ BSA, 4:30 pm
Girls MS VBall @ Pembroke Hill School--Ward Parkway Campus: 6th grade 4:30, B-Team 5:30, A-Team 6:30 pm
Girls HS VBall vs.Bishop Ward @ BSA: JV 4:30, Vars 5:30 pm (Senior Night)

* Wed 4th: MS XC Meet @ Centennial Park, 3:30 pm

* Thurs 5th: MS XC @ Eudora HS, 3:30 pm
Girls VBall vs. Heritage Christian Academy @ BSA: B-Team 4, A-Team 5, JV 6, Vars 7 pm

* Fri 6th: Picture Retake Day

* Sat 7th: 8th Grade Parents Get-Together, 6-9 pm

* Sun 8th: Grandparents & Family Friends Day, 2-4 pm

Dear Parents,

On occasion, I am informed about how we stack up against other private schools in Kansas and the nation.  One of the more reputable sources for such ranking of K-12 schools and colleges is Niche which relies on student data, SAT/ACT composite scores, college matriculation statistics, parent & student reviews, student-teacher ratios, and student culture and diversity--information gathered from various sources, includng the US Department of Education and the National Center for Educational Statistics.  For the last decade, we have often been in contention with Wichita Collegiate School for 1st place.  They managed to take that spot last year, but this year, we regained the title of Top Private School in Kansas.  Congratulations to students and teachers for continuing to earn this recognition!

For most of your children, their first introduction to our school was a Seahawk Visit Day.  These are important recruitment days in the fall, coinciding with parent-teacher conferences at local schools, and this year's dates are October 19th & 20th and November 2nd.  Prospective students (of all grades) will shadow a current Seabury student and attend classes, have lunch, and participate in the many traditions that make Seabury unique. The #1 way families learn about us is word of mouth - YOU are our best marketing tool!  If you know any students who would thrive at Seabury but may not have considered our school as an option, please contact Lisa Leroux-Smith and let her know!  Feel free to share this link directly with prospective families: Seahawk Visit Day Registration. Thank you in advance for your help!

Our annual Grandparents and Family Friend Day will happen on Sunday, October 8th from 2-4 pm.  Students can bring their grandparents and/or family friends to school for a brief program followed by ice cream floats and a school tour. To help us plan this event, please RSVP by Wednesday, October 4th to ellenchindamo@seaburyacademy.org with your child's name and the names of their guests.  We want to celebrate ALL of our grandparents, including those who live at a distance, so we will send a special delivery to them in November! If you are new to the school or your grandparent(s) or family friend's name, address, and email have changed, please send Ellen Chindamo any changes.

Parent-Teacher conferences are on the horizon.  Betsy will be sending out a sign-up link next Monday, and you will have until Monday 9th @ noon to sign up.  (After that, sign-up will be closed so that teachers have time to prepare for those conferences.)  For new parents, we discovered during the pandemic that conferences tend to be much more convenient and effective when we conduct them online.  Subsequently, after you sign up for conferences, you will receive a list of Google Meet links.  Betsy will send more instructions later.

Picture retakes are scheduled for next Friday morning. Seniors need to remember to wear black. All others need to remember NOT to wear green.

Thanks to everyone who attended the Bingo fundraiser last Sunday for our senior class.  Everyone appeared to have a great time.  For those Bingophiles out there, we will hold a similar event (to support the 9th grade trip to Chicago) on Sunday, Oct 29th 1-3 pm and a Parents-Only Bingo night (with adult beverages because...why not?) on Friday, December 1st 7-9 pm.  We hope you can attend!

As part of our annual emergency drill schedule, we conduct occasional lockdown drills that are associated with possible threats on campus such as hostile intruders.  Most of our emergency drills are unannounced, but I never initiate a lockdown drill without alerting students in advance and reviewing the protocol.  We will have a drill next Thursday.  I try to be both frank and supportive with students when I review lockdown protocol, and I circle back to teachers to see if there were any problems or areas to tighten up.  

Have a great weekend!
Dr. Schawang

THE WEEK AHEAD:

* Sat 23rd: Girls Vars VBall @ Olpe HS, 8:30 am

* Sun 24th: Bingo @ BSA, 2-4 pm

* Mon 25th: Boys MS Soccer @ Summit Christian Academy, 4:30 pm
Girls MS VBall vs. Barstow @ BSA: 6th grade 4:30, B-team 5:30, A-team 6:30 pm

* Tue 26th: HS Girls VBall vs. KC Christian @ BSA: JV 4:30 & Vars 5:30 pm

* Wed 27th: 6th Grade Food Truck Display, 2:45 pm
Civility & Respect Presentation, 4 pm

* Thurs 28th: KU Diversity Conference
XC @ Zarda Farm, TBD
HS Girls VBall @ Bishop Ward HS: JV 4:30 & Vars 5:30 pm
Boys MS Soccer vs. Heritage Christian Academy, 4:30 pm
Girls MS VBall vs. Veritas Christian @ BSA: B-team 5, A-Team 6 pm

* Fri 29th: Boys Vars Soccer @ Maranatha Christian Academy, 4 pm

* Sat 30th: 7th grade parents get-together, 6-8 pm

Dear Parents,

A relevant phrase for this time of year that all educators know (but perhaps parents do not encounter) is "the end of the honeymoon phase."  I think this means that the focus on structure and comportment that is a frequent topic in orientations and initial weeks of school finally gives way to a more relaxed rhythm, work process, and identity.  Although some may use this phrase to reference (negatively) a more lax approach to academic and behavioral expectations, I think this transition into a more comfortable rhythm is a natural response to handling an increasingly busy schedule and a greater workload.  And as you know, one of the benefits of having your child at Seabury is the easy and playful relationship between students and faculty.

Of course, after the first weeks of class have passed, parents often notice trends in student work, including missing assignments due to illness, travel, distraction, or avoidance.  I always encourage parents to keep an eye on grades in Schoology, but I also stress that we should look for patterns and not focus too intensely on individual assignments.  And parents should keep in mind that late work is generally not graded on the day it is received.  (Teachers are often very busy keeping up with planning and grading; it can be a challenge to track down errant student work, and it may take several days to review and record grades for tardy assignments.)  

Next week, you will receive student progress reports from all of your child's teachers, and this is an opportunity for you to receive observations directly from those teachers a few weeks prior to parent-teacher conferences.  This is the only time when teachers send these reports for all students, though they will send subsequent reports quarterly depending on student performance.  Please be aware that these reports are sent through Schoology, and parents must have previously signed in to their account on that platform.  If you have not done so or have any questions about your Schoology account, please reach out to our Technology Director, Julie Pearce at juliepearce@seaburyacademy.org.

Don't forget our Bingo Fundraiser on Sunday, September 24th from 2-4 pm in the Commons.  Please RSVP here.  We will sell bingo cards, snacks, and drinks.  It will be a lot of fun, and amazing prizes are waiting to be won!  Remember that all funds will go to the Senior class form trip!

You may hear students talk about "The Library."  This year, we converted a classroom (Mr. Whipple's, as he continues to remind us--thanks Will!) to serve as a unique study space for our Upper School students.  Many people donated furniture to make this space comfortable and inviting, and students started using it immediately, often working or in quiet conversations with other students or the occasional teacher, complete with sunlight and a view of the soccer field.  (See attached picture.)  We really appreciate help in making The Library a reality, and we have one more step to complete this masterpiece: if you have any books you would like to donate to fill our bookshelves (only for high school students, so YA is not a requirement), please feel free to drop them off in the airlock (main office) or send them with your children.  And thank you!

Next week, twenty-two of our Upper School students will be attending the Student Diversity Leadership Conference at KU.  This event will provide student leaders with an opportunity for exploring the value of diversity in our schools and community and prompt students to consider how they can be change agents in this work.  

I am very pleased to announce our 2023 National Merit Scholar Semifinalists: Hayden Slough & Xiang Zhang.  These students are among the top .5% of seniors in the country who take the PSAT.  Congratulations to these seniors on this achievement!

As you may know, Fr. Rob Baldwin, Rector at Trinity Episcopal Church and Chaplain at Bishop Seabury Academy, has followed a calling to lead a congregation in Solebury,  Pennsylvania.  We have enjoyed Fr. Baldwin's longtime leadership of our weekly chapels (for 13 non-consecutive years!), and we wish him the best of luck in his new home.  As of the beginning of the school year, Fr. Marco Serrano, the Rector at St. Margaret's Episcopal Church, has very graciously stepped in as interim Chaplain to lead weekly chapels.  He has done an exceptional job and provided thought-provoking messages each Wednesday morning.  We are very grateful to have him here!

Last week, in honor of Constitution Day (Sept 17th), Ms. Czarnecki played a related episode of Schoolhouse Rock for the students and teachers during lunch.  I admitted to students in a subsequent morning meeting that I was oddly moved by this episode, partly because it connected me viscerally with my experience as a child (which I no doubt enjoyed passively at the age of seven, not knowing the importance this simple program would have for me later in life).  I was also touched by the sense of optimism and aspiration at the heart of this simple 3-minute cartoon.  Granted, we live in a moment where we wrestle with various aspects of our national history and identity, and we are only at the beginning of another election season and likely bipartisan rancor.  I am aware that our experience of ourselves and our lives is largely an unconscious sediment of what we've been through and come to expect.  However, as I told students, life was not exactly rosy in 1974...the country living in the shadow of Vietnam, Kent State, Civil Rights struggles, Watergate, and more.  

At the risk of reducing a much longer discussion to a pithy observation, I am always reminded that the Constitution is a document created by imperfect people in an imperfect world to be an aspirational tool--a durable framework to improve the world and our lives.  And in that silly little cartoon with the folksy music, the sound of the chime and the rising voice in the chorus...well, it stirred something in me I haven't felt for a while.  And I liked it.  And amidst the daily noise and the "work," I want to do a better job of feeding that feeling and that belief in our capacity to see our world get better and better.  If we don't have that belief, I am not sure we can accomplish much.  (So thanks, Ms. Czarnecki!)

Your respectfully, 
Dr. Schawang

THE WEEK AHEAD:

* Fri 15th: BSA Homecoming, 4-8 pm
Boys Vars Soccer vs. Maranatha Christian Academy @ BSA, 4:30 pm

* Sat 16th: Vars XC @ Leavenworth County Fairgrounds, 8 am
Girls Vars VBall @ Hiawatha HS, 9 am

* Sun 17th: 6th Grade Parents Meeting, 4-6 pm

* Mon 18th: Juniors @ KU Library
Girls MS VBall @ Southwest MS, 3:30 & 4:30 pm
Boys MS Soccer @ Cair Paravel Latin School (Sunflower Soccer Complex), 4 pm
Boys Vars Soccer @ Maur Hill Prep School, 4:30 pm

* Tue 19th: US Play Auditions, 3:30-5 pm
Boys MS Soccer @ Barstow School, 4:30 pm
Boys Vars Soccer vs. Heritage Christian Academy @ BSA, 4:30 pm
Girls MS VBall @ Maranatha Christian Academy: 6th grade 4:30, B-Team 5:30, A-Team 6:30 pm
Girls VBall vs. Maranatha Christian Academy @ BSA: JV 4:30 & Vars 5:30 pm

* Wed 20th: US Play Auditions, 3:30-5:30 pm
MS XC @ Tonganoxie HS, 3:30 pm
Girls MS VBall @ KC Christian HS: 6th grade 4:30, B-Team 5:30, A -Team 6:30 pm

* Thurs 21st: Boys MS Soccer vs. St. Paul's Episcopal Day @ BSA, 4:30 pm
Boys Vars Soccer @ Bishop Ward HS, 4:30 pm
Girls Vars VBall @ BSA, 5 & 7 pm

* Sat 23rd: Girls Vars VBall @ Olpe HS, 9 am

* Sun 24th: Bingo @ BSA, 2-4 pm

Dear Parents,

I hope many of you can come out for our Homecoming celebration and the varsity soccer game this afternoon.  If your child is not staying for the event, I encourage you to pick them up before 3:45 or wait until after 4:15 pm, as the parking lot will be "complicated" during those 30 minutes due to the golf cart parade.

Our athletes are having a great season.  A special shout-out to Xeva Oldridge on being named by Lawrence Journal-World as an Athlete of the Week!

Congratulations to our MIddle School actors on being cast in the fall theatre production.  Auditions for the Upper School production will occur this week on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon.

The senior class will be sponsoring a Bingo fundraiser on Sunday, September 24th from 2-4 pm.  The event is open to the Seabury community and friends of all ages, and you can RSVP here.  All proceeds will help fund the senior class trip to Anna Marie Island in April.  We hope you can attend, support our students, and take home some prizes--it will be great fun!

This year, we are providing specific instruction to Middle School students centered on three specific topics: digital citizenship, executive functioning skills, and social emotional development.  We call this the SPARK program, and it is designed to equip students with skills that we think are especially important for them right now and will be fundamental to successfully navigating adult life as they get older.  SPARK teachers meet with students on Friday afternoons during X Block.  I am attaching Mr. Whipple's most recent SPARK newsletter that went out to parents last week.  The guidance is relevant to parents of all of our students, from 6th to 12th grade.  Feel free to take a look--at least at the bottom of each section where you can find relevant guidance on these topics.

Regarding technology, I gently broached the subject of smartphones with students this week (and not for the first time).  I have said many times to students and parents that I think this technology can be an incredibly handy source for quick access to information and for convenience in communication.  I am not sure how we ever used to find locations with a written copy of instructions or an unfolded map spread in front of the steering wheel (which is something that most of our children will never experience).  However, I doubt any of us are oblivious to the problems that come with these devices, especially how they have impacted our brains and our behavior.  There are strong arguments to be made that unlimited or even significant screen time with these devices has created an expectation for too much immediacy in communication, diminished our mental "free time" to use imagination and simply clear our heads, trained us to engage in constant bouncing searches across apps and sites in hopes of an endorphin rush that is rarely satisfying enough to justify the investment of time, and, in general, diminished our capacity to simply be present in the moment--to others or to ourselves.

I am neither anti-phone nor anti-technology.  (I have three devices on my office desk right now.)  And I think it would be a disservice to students to avoid teaching them how to incorporate technology successfully into their lives and work, which is one of the reasons we allow controlled and responsible use of phones and other devices during the day.  However, I think most of us sense that our technology is rewiring our brains and our behavior.  Looking around in public, it is rare for me to see someone waiting alone, simply lost in their own thoughts and without a device in their hands.

I try not to "lecture" students about these things or speak down to them but to speak from a place of shared experience.  I told them in morning meeting that the most important thing for me is that they try to listen to their instincts--to their gut feelings when they use their devices.  Just as most of us learn how habits with food, alcohol, sleep, or other life factors make us feel (and cause us to make decisions accordingly), we have the same capacity to make deliberate choices about our use of technology.  My two personal resolutions for the moment: 1.) stop looking at IMDB or my email while I am watching a movie at home and 2.) put away all devices while I am eating so I can enjoy my food and my thoughts.  Small steps towards being present and enjoying real life.  Baby steps.  What is fascinating is how my own brain resists.  All the more reason to push back and make these small healthy choices--and to be aware of how difficult these decisions are for children and how much they need our guidance and support in that process.

Have a good weekend,
Dr. Schawang

THE WEEK AHEAD:

* Fri 8th: Senior Class Parent & Student Get-Together, 6 pm

* Sat 9th: Vars XC @ Wamego High School, 9 am

* Sun 10th: Spring Break France Trip Meeting, 3-4 pm

* Mon 11th: Boys MS Soccer @ KC Christian HS, 4:30 pm
Boys Vars Soccer @ Bonner Springs Senior HS, 4:30 pm
Girls MS VBall @ St. Paul's Episcopal Day School, 6th grade 4:30, A-Team 5:30, B-Team 6:30 pm
Girls Vars VBall @ Onaga HS, 5 & 6 pm

* Tue 12th: Girls VBall vs. Cair Paravel Latin School @ BSA, JV 4:30, Vars 5:30 pm
MS Play Auditions, 3:30-5 pm

* Wed 13th: MS XC @ Loose Park, 4:30 pm
MS Play Auditions, 3:30-5 pm

* Thurs 14th: Vars XC @ Wellsville HS, 5 pm
Boys Vars Soccer vs. Cair Paravel Latin School @ Sunflower Soccer Complex, 4 pm
Boys MS Soccer vs. Northland Christian Schools @ BSA, 4:30 pm
Girls VBall @ KC Christian HS, JV 4:30, Vars 5:30 pm
GIrls MS VBall vs. University Academy @ BSA, B-Team 5:30, A-Team 6:30, 6th grade 7:30 pm

* Fri 15th: BSA Homecoming, 4-8 pm
Boys Vars Soccer vs. Maranatha Christian Academy @ BSA, 4:30 pm

* Sat 16th: Vars XC @ Leavenworth County Fairgrounds, 8 am
Girls Vars VBall @ Horton/Hiawatha HS, 9 am

Dear Parents,

As indicated by the Week Ahead calendar, we are in the thick of athletics season.  Our theatre season also begins next week.  Auditions for the Middle School production will occur on Tuesday and Wednesday at 3:30 pm.  Upper School auditions will occur the following week.

Don't forget that we will have a Homecoming celebration next week in conjunction with the Varsity Soccer game against Maranatha.  All parents, students, alumni, and staff are invited to attend.  At 4 pm, we will launch our first annual Golf Cart Parade.  Every grade has been given a golf cart to decorate according to a specific theme, and the parade will occur in the parking lot and frontage road in front of the school.  Everyone who attends the soccer game will receive a ticket to vote on the float that they find least disturbing--err, I mean "best in show."  The winning grade will receive something fantastic for their class trip in the spring.  At 6:30 pm, following the game, we will host a carnival on the back patio with walking tacos and ice cream.  The event will finish by 8 pm.  I hope you can come out to support our athletes and have some fun!

To accomodate Homecoming festivities, please plan to pick up your child before 3:45 pm on Friday 15th unless students are going to stay for the events.  And if you want to attend the parade, you will need to be parked before 3:45 pm.  The parking lot will be closed off from 3:45 to 4:15 pm.

We were very excited to learn that our new 6th Grader Lily Weiss was one of a handful of young students to be selected to join the Sun-Maid's Board of Imagination, an elite group of children who will collaborate "to provide input and help make decisions about the company's innovations."  As part of this honor, Lily earns a scholarship, and Sun-Maid will be making a generous donation to Lily's school (that's us!) as well as providing us with a year's supply of healthy snacks.  Good job Lily and thank you!

By Student Senate decree, next week is the much-anticipated fall Spirit Week.  Expect your child to walk out the door in slightly "unusual" apparel.  Well...maybe not that different than usual based on what I see each morning on the front steps.  Here are the themes:
Monday: Barbenheimer
Tuesday: Adam Sandler
Wednesday: Tropical vs Winter
Thursday: Rhyme Without Reason
Friday: Seabury Spirit

I sent out a survey to parents, faculty, and students yesterday regarding holidays that families observe, and several parents told me that the Google form was not giving them permission to submit.  My apologies on that.  Sometimes the mysterious workings of everyday technology leads me to pointedly SMH moments.  I don't like frustrating people!  I think parents with Yahoo accounts were the ones hitting a wall, and I changed the document settings that might be the problem.  If you had trouble with the survey and want to try again, please feel free to do so here.  

Eutin, Germany is one of Lawrence's sister cities, and our students are periodically invited to participate in a student exchange program. Ken Albrecht is Chair of the Friends of Eutin (as well as being a former Seabury parent and board member), and he has let me know that 12 German students will be coming to Lawrence on September 22nd (staying until October 12th) and that they still need three host families.  If you would be interested in hosting at least one of these students (and they would attend Seabury classes during this time), please contact Stephen Arbeau at stephen.arbeau@usd497.org.

We have had many students and staff out sick in these last few weeks, and there is some evidence that the new COVID strain is making its rounds.  I have had a few parents ask about the school's health policy, and I have created a one page document for easy reference (see the attachment).  We are obviously in a better place than we were at the start of the pandemic thanks to vaccinations and so many people having had COVID already.  Still, there are still many people who are at risk of significant health issues related to COVID or, indeed, the flu, and these illnesses can be very disruptive to work (for students and staff).  For that reason, I reminded students that they should stay home if they are feeling notably sick.  That doesn't mean a headache or a stray cough.  I think we all know when we have a true illness.  It is difficult to create policy that speaks to every situation, collection of symptoms, or specific illness, so I expect parents and students to be thoughtful and to simply use common sense.  Please remember that under no circumstances may a person be on campus with a fever, and they may not return to campus until 24 hours after the fever has abated without the aid of medication.

As much as I am grateful that we are no longer under a mask mandate, I think it is common courtesy for a person to wear a mask when they feel unwell and are around other people.  That is just being sensible.  Also, based on my considerable experience at school, antigen COVID tests often do not pick up the illness until several days into symptoms.  Please encourage your children to follow this basic step to protect the rest of the community--and to treat this no differently than covering their mouths when they cough.  We have masks available in the office for students should they ever need one.  Please don't hesitate to reach out if you have any questions.

Have a great weekend and enjoy the cooler weather!
Dr. Schawang

THE WEEK AHEAD:

* Fri 1st: Picture Day
The Rave (Fall School Dance), 8-10 pm

* Mon 4th: Labor Day--NO SCHOOL

* Tue 5th: Girls MS VBall @ Cair Paravel Latin School: B-Team 4:30, A-Team 5:30 pm
Boys MS Soccer vs. Maranatha Christian Academy @ BSA, 5 pm
Girls Vars VBall @ Veritas Christian School, 5 & 7 pm

* Wed 6th: MS XC @ Haskell Indian Nations University, 3:30 pm

* Thurs 7th: Boys MS Soccer @ Heritage Christian Academy, 4:30 pm
Girls VBall @ Heritage Christian Academy: JV 4:30, Vars 5:30 pm
Boys Vars Soccer vs. KC Christian @ JCCC, 6:45 pm

* Sat 9th: Vars XC @ Wamego High School, 9 am

* Sun 10th: Spring Break Trip Meeting, 3-4 pm

Dear Parents,

I hope your children have a good time at the school dance tonight.  I know they really enjoy this event every year.  Please remember that students should be picked up by 10 pm (except student senators who will help with clean-up).

We have been planning Homecoming 2023 in conjunction with the boys varsity soccer game on Friday, September 15, and we hope you will plan to join us for this fun school wide event!  Starting at 4 pm, we will host our first annual Golf Cart Float Parade on the frontage road, featuring golf carts decorated exquisitely by each grade of students.  Our varsity soccer team will take on Maranatha, and at halftime we will announce which grade will win first place and a prize that is appropriately fantastic.  Carnival fun and food will directly follow the soccer game on the back patio!  Mark your calendars now for a great time!

Spring is a long way away, but we are already planning the next Spring Break International Trip.  This year, the destination is France.  Madam Buckner will be hosting an informational meeting with students on the 10th.

As you have probably heard me say previously, one of many negative outcomes from the pandemic was a diminishment in parent socialization.  During the school year, we host events (curriculum night, convocation, games, performances, and even the relaxed dinner or drinks on Mass St. during the winter formal) where parents have the opportunity to come together and strengthen relationships.  In my experience, children benefit significantly from having not only an engaged but also a close-knit parent community.  To help achieve this outcome, class captains from each grade will be organizing a grade level meeting sometime in the fall.  Once you hear from your class captain, I hope you will put the date on your calendar and plan to attend.  It would be helpful to have at least one if not both parents attending their respective gathering.  And, more than anything, I hope you have fun!

Have a great Labor Day weekend, and we will see the students on Tuesday!
Dr. Schawang

THE WEEK AHEAD:

* Sat 26th: Girls Vars VBall Tournament @ McLouth, 9 am

* Sun 27th: Senior Retreat, 5-9 pm

* Mon 28th: Boys Vars Soccer vs. St. Mary's Academy @ BSA, 5 pm

* Tue 29th: Girls Vars VBall @ Marais Des Cygnes Valley HS, 5 pm

* Thurs 31st: Vars XC @ Wyandotte County Park, 4 pm
Boys Soccer vs. Northeast Kansas Homeschool Athletic @ BSA: Vars 4:30, MS 6 pm
Girls MS VBall vs. Summit Christian Academy @ BSA: B-Team 5:30, A-Team 6:30 pm

* Fri 1st: Picture Day
The Rave (Fall School Dance), 8-10 pm

Dear Parents,

Thank you for taking time out of your busy week to attend Curriculum Night yesterday.  It is always great to see parents in our hallways.  I hope you were impressed with the course offerings that your children will be enjoying this year.

As the Week Ahead calendar reflects, our athletes enter into competition next week.  They have been working hard these last few weeks, including cross-country runners and soccer players who have had some very early mornings to stay ahead of the heat.  I admire the work ethic of these young athletes, and I encourage you to come out when possible to see and support them in action.

School pictures for all students will be taken on Friday next week.  Because we use senior pictures for graduation purposes, seniors need to wear a dark jacket, a white dress shirt, and a tie or a nice black dress or blouse.  Consult the attached flyer from Jostens--especially the warning that your children not wear green, as the green screen the photographers use will otherwise turn your children into floating heads.  (That actually sounds quite amusing until you have to live with those yearbook photos....)

Our Student Senate will host a Back-to-School dance for all students next Friday from 8 to 10 pm.  There is a $5.00 entrance fee, and the funds raised will underwrite student events like Palooza and Winter Formal.  Students may bring one guest but will be responsible for that guest's behavior.  We will need several parent chaperones to help out that evening.  If interested, please email Mr. Whipple at williamwhipple@seaburyacademy.org.  The dance will be held in the commons area of the school.  I always feel the need to instruct our new parents that our school dances are not the clumsy, unfortunate adolescent mating rituals you may remember from your youth.  Try to picture a collection of sugar-injected students bouncing up and down for several hours...that is a Seabury dance.  Our dance code of conduct form is attached as well as the guest form.  I hope the kids have a good time.

Kaylin Dillon (Class of '06) has been the President of our Alumni Association for six years, and I want to thank her for her service to our school.  As she steps down from that role, Ashley Zeller (Class of '06) will be our new Alumni President.  I am looking forward to working with Ashley in the coming years!

I mentioned to our students yesterday that part of being a human being (and a thoughtful one) is awareness of those around us.  One of the simplest demonstrations of that awareness is being aware of people behind us as we enter a building or a classroom.  Visitors to Seabury often comment with a certain degree of wonder at how our students hold open doors for others, a very distinctive Seabury trait.  I trust they are doing so out in the world as well--including for you!

Have a good weekend and, hopefully, some cooler weather!
Dr. Schawang

THE WEEK AHEAD:

* Sun 20th: New Parent Orientation, 4-5:30 pm
Optional Schoology orientation session for ALL parents, 3:30-4 pm

* Thurs 24th: Curriculum Night, 7-9 pm  (Optional parent mixer @ 6:30 pm)

* Fri 25th: Senior Retreat, 5-9 pm

* Sat 26th: Girls Vars VBall Tournament @ McLouth, 9 am

Dear Parents,

I know you get a lot of emails, so the Friday Letter is one method I use to reduce some of the glut of communication.  I will assume that all parents will read these letters each week, as information here may not be repeated elsewhere.  To create ease in reading, I bold-face the topics in each paragraph.  On occasion, I will have a topic to discuss.

On Sunday, we will host our New Parent Orientation in the Commons from 4-5:30 pm.  New families, I hope that you can have at least one parent in attendance.  After a presentation from me, we will use an open house format with various tables so you can focus on getting the information you need.  Parents who already have children at Seabury (in addition to a new student) do not need to attend, but you are welcome!

Prior to the New Parent Orientation, we will host a Schoology orientation from 3:30-4 pm for all parents (new and veteran) who would appreciate a tutorial session on our academic management platform.  This is also an opportunity to ask any questions.  Thanks to our 7th grade English teacher Jenny Simpson for running the presentation.

Thursday evening is Curriculum Night. This will be your opportunity to follow your student’s schedule, meet their teachers, and learn about course work.  Parents often tell me this is one of the most important experiences of the year, and my favorite comment from parents is always the same: “I wish I had these classes when I was in school.”  We will also have an optional parent mixer at 6:30 pm on that evening, giving you time to have an adult beverage and wander the hallways.  I hope you can attend.  I will send more info next week prior to the event.

Kansas summer heat will be back next week.  To protect our athletes, we are temporarily rescheduling these Middle School practices:
Mon 21:
XC: 7-8 pm
Tue 22:
Soccer: 6:45-7:45 am
Wed 23:
XC: 6:45-7:45 am
Soccer: 6:45-7:45 am
Thurs 24:
Soccer: 7-8 pm
Fri 25:
XC: 7-7:45 am

We have implemented a new weekly academic schedule, which involves the usual 8-period day (typically on Monday) followed by a rotation of four 75-minute block classes on Tuesday-Friday.  We have been wanting to renovate the former schedule for many years in order to capitalize on its strengths and remove its limitations, and after two years of development and a successful pilot week last year, we have rolled out a schedule that accomplishes all of our goals.  Yesterday afternoon, I surveyed students at the lunch table and in the hallways about the schedule, and they seemed unanimously enthusiastic (well....as much as I can expect from a student about an academic schedule).  In the future, when we have altered weeks with fewer than five days of classes (Labor Day weekend is on the horizon), I will indicate in the Week Ahead which days will be 8-period and which will be 4-period.  Since students receive the Friday Letter (and no doubt read every word of it), they will be able to plan accordingly.

I hope your children can get some rest over the weekend.  Next week is the first full week back, and that is when the adrenaline wears off, and we have to adapt to a new rhythm...and some ridiculous heat.

Yours respectfully,
Dr. Schawang

The Chronicle Student Newspaper

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