Celebrating Growth and Success: Highlights from Quarter 2 at PCA

A group of people sitting at a table listening to a speaker.

As we wrap up another enriching quarter and semester of growth and achivement at PCA, it’s time to reflect on the incredible growth and success we’ve witnessed within our school community. From engaging in science experiments to celebrating achievements in Fine Arts and Athletics, there’s much to celebrate and be proud of at our school. Join us as we take a closer look at some of the standout moments from this past quarter.

Experimenting in PCAP

Quarter 2 at PCA Preschool (PCAP) brought excitement, learning, and fun for our preschoolers! Our students engaged in a variety of science experiments, played in the first snowfall of the season, practiced writing/drawing, worked on letter naming and letter sounds, writing using inventive spelling, engaged in math using manipulatives and cooking, and strengthened relationships. Our young learners immersed themselves in a world of exploration and imagination, from captivating science experiments to embracing the season’s first snowfall.

Highlights included the beloved tradition of the Humpty Dumpty Egg Drop, an experiment that involves dropping an egg from a height and constructing a protective barrier to prevent it from breaking upon impact, demonstrating principles of physics and engineering in Miss Beth and Miss Deb’s class. Our students worked as engineers to design a contraption to keep their egg safe. Prior to the drop, students formulated predictions about the outcome of their egg’s descent. After finalizing their hypotheses, they proceeded to test their prototypes by dropping them from a ladder. This year’s outcome was particularly successful, with only 2 out of 17 eggs meeting a “humpty dumpty” fate. We love how much learning is wrapped into this one experiment: invention & imagination, executive function, experimentation, inquiry & exploration, cooperative learning, data collection & analysis, and social & emotional competence!

A little girl standing on a step stool in a classroom.
A young boy drawing on a piece of paper.
A group of children at a table in a classroom.

In our three-year-old classroom, children worked with their teacher to create a snowstorm in a jar! They measured water, oil, white paint, glitter and the surprise ingredient- Alka-Seltzer! The children were so excited when their experiment took shape as they watched, happily announcing, “it’s working”!

In each of our classrooms, we were excited to see engaged and curious learners. We continue to be impressed by the capabilities of our youngest Eagles. Our students are curious, capable, and confident!

Lower School Learning

The Lower School community had much to celebrate in Quarter 2. Students in Kindergarten through Grade 5 participated in various community events, fostered deeper relationships, and challenged themselves academically. Kindergarten students showcased their burgeoning writing skills with a flurry of compositions about winter, utilizing recently acquired phonics skills. Grade 1 delved into the theme of “Christmas around the World” in Social Studies, while Grade 2 immersed themselves in Science, exploring the intricacies of the Skeletal System. Multiplication mastery took center stage for Grade 3, while Grade 4 students enthusiastically dove into the world of C.S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, culminating in a memorable “Narnia Day.”

A map with the word narnia on it.
A closet with coats hanging on it.
A map on a wall in a room.

Students in 3-8 were also able to flex their spelling muscles by taking part in the Scripps National Spelling Bee while their classmates cheered them on. Grade 5 students honed their presentation abilities through a highly successful Wax Museum, where they brought historical figures to life through elaborate presentations, complete with costumes and artifacts. Additionally, our Grade 5 leaders supported the recent filming of a “how-to” video on playing soccer during recess, aiming to promote good sportsmanship and ensure safe play for all Lower School students.

A group of people sitting at a table listening to a speaker.
A girl is standing in front of a microphone.
A group of children clapping in a gym.

It was a full quarter of joyful learning…”

Dr. Carrie Abood, Lower School Principal

Lower School Principal, Dr. Carrie Abood also shares, “Quarter 2 at PCA is synonymous with community. With Thanksgiving and Christmas falling within this period, we seized opportunities to cultivate gratitude, embrace the spirit of giving, and serve through initiatives like the Coat Drive. Moreover, we commemorated the birth of Jesus Christ, our Savior. After returning from the Christmas break, our students seamlessly transitioned into new learning endeavors, completed winter NWEA testing, and engaged with special chapel presentations honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It was a full quarter of joyful learning, and I pray that Quarter 3 will bring new opportunities for our students to maximize their God-given potential!”

A group of people sitting at a table listening to a speaker.
A girl is standing in front of a microphone.
A group of children clapping in a gym.

Middle School Growth

As educators, one of the most fulfilling aspects of our profession is witnessing the growth and development of our students. In the second quarter at PCA, the Middle School students have shown remarkable progress across various subjects and personal skills.

Academic Progress in Sixth Grade

In sixth grade, students have exhibited significant advancement in their academic skills. Teachers have observed notable improvements in their executive skills, such as time management, task organization, and planning ahead. Particularly impressive has been their proficiency in writing five-paragraph essays, showcasing a deep understanding of structure, coherence and the ability to convey their thoughts effectively. Additionally, their enhanced reading comprehension and annotation abilities signify a deeper engagement with informational texts. Students have learned to extract key information, analyze complex passages, and annotate effectively to deepen their understanding. Witnessing the evolution of these essential skills has been immensely gratifying for our educators, reflecting the dedication and hard work of both students and teachers alike.

Engaging Conversations in Social Studies

In seventh and eighth-grade social studies classes, students have embarked on an enriching journey into the history and cultures of Asia. A highlight of this unit has been the thought-provoking discussions surrounding worldview. By exploring ancient China’s culture and belief systems, students have gained insights into the influence of worldview on individual perspectives and behaviors. These conversations have encouraged students to critically reflect on their own beliefs and values, fostering a deeper understanding of themselves and the world around them.

Nature Exploration and Outdoor Learning

Nature exploration classes have provided students with invaluable opportunities to connect with the natural world and engage in hands-on learning experiences. Through activities such as forest walks and building nature-only projects, students have honed their observation skills and fostered a sense of curiosity and appreciation for the environment. Some highlights this semester have included forest walks where we came upon an old graveyard, building a nature-only nativity scene, and exploring the waterfront we have on the Bellamy. These outdoor adventures not only promote physical well-being but also cultivate important skills such as critical thinking and creativity.

Hands-On Science Experiments

In science classes, students have immersed themselves in hands-on experiments that deepen their understanding of scientific concepts. From exploring ecosystems to building rubber band-powered cars, students have embraced the challenge of applying theoretical knowledge to real-world situations.

In 7th grade, students gathered information through observation and research to create posters representing the organisms that make up PCA food chains and food webs.

In 8th grade, students worked hard to understand physics concepts which included speed, acceleration, energy, and Newton’s laws of motion. To demonstrate their understanding, students worked together to build cars powered by rubber bands. Each group was able to meet the goal of traveling at least three meters, with one group traveling as far as 10.5 meters! These practical experiences not only reinforce classroom learning but also instill a sense of curiosity and wonder about the natural world.

Mathematical and Personal Growth

In Middle School’s Math 7.0 class, students have made strides in their mathematical abilities, with some experiencing significant boosts in confidence and understanding. From mastering proportions and percent to solving complex equations, students have embraced the challenge of mathematical concepts and celebrated their successes along the way. Additionally, students have demonstrated personal growth in areas such as organization, self-control, and study habits, reflecting a holistic approach to education that extends beyond academic achievement.

In the Logic and Strategy course, a group of students concluded the semester with a spirited chess tournament. In another class section, our students showcased advancement as they skillfully applied logic to overcome puzzles and challenges that initially seemed daunting at the start of the semester.

Student Perspectives on Growth

Finally, hearing directly from students about their experiences and achievements provides valuable insight into the impact of their learning journey. From academic accomplishments to personal milestones, students have shared their triumphs with pride and enthusiasm. Whether it’s mastering new subjects, improving study habits, or showing kindness towards others, each success contributes to their overall growth and development as individuals.

“I learned how to solve systems of equations.”

“I’ve become more organized and am getting to my classes earlier.”

“I have seen success in the kindness that my classmates and I have shown towards a struggling student.”

“I learned to study without a study guide, manage my work and school life. A great teacher taught me to do both these things.”

“I have learned much about Reconstruction, studying for tests and completing my homework on time.”

“One success I have had this year is learning how to write in MLA format.”

“I got better at being comfortable singing in chorus.”

“I have grown in knowledge and have more interest in learning. I have learned how to pay attention and take notes.”

Upper School Achievements

This past quarter, members of the Senior class at PCA have started receiving their college acceptance letters. These students, distinguished for their outstanding dedication to academics, sports, arts, and service, have secured spots in esteemed institutions such as the US Coast Guard Academy, Boston University, Babson College, Wheaton College, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, MCPHS – PA Program, Colorado School of Mines, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and the University of Arizona. This diverse array of acceptances is a testament to the well-rounded and accomplished nature of the class of 2024, showcasing their readiness to contribute meaningfully to a variety of academic and professional pursuits.

Boston university logo on a black background.
Colorado school of mines logo.
The logo for the wpi.
The logo for babson college.
The logo for the wpi.
Boston university logo on a black background.
Colorado school of mines logo.
The logo for babson college.
The logo for the wpi.

At the completion of quarter 2, we also saw 24 of our Upper School students took either in-person or online Dual Enrollment classes or participate in programs at the Dover Career and Technical Center (CTC). Thus far we have seen our students take courses like Introduction to Business and General Psychology and participate in various Health Science and Medical Programs. We have witnessed tremendous academic growth and exposure to real-world experiences because of these classes and programs and as a result, have seen your children progress further toward their calling. We have also seen our students take what they are learning in their Dual-Enrollment courses or CTC program and integrate it into their other courses which has enhanced the learning experience of their peers!

We have also witnessed many of our students continue to grow as leaders through their participation in our Leadership Development Program. From Small Group Leaders continuing to learn how to foster engagement while having ongoing conversations on wisdom to Student Government learning to effectively plan and execute events like the Silver Bell Winter Dance, and our Prefects learning how to shape the culture of an organization by leading things like PCA’s 8th-Grade Experience Days, we have seen tremendous growth in our student leaders and are seeing good fruit come to bear from their efforts.

Eagles Soar in Athletics

Athletics at PCA witnessed an outstanding array of achievements across various levels and disciplines in quarter 2.

In Middle School, Annaliese Latulippe emerged as a standout athlete on the varsity running teams. Her dedication and stellar performances in Cross Country earned her the prestigious True Grit Award. Transitioning to the Winter Track team, Annaliese’s prowess continued to shine as she not only competed against high school athletes but also attained qualifying marks in the 1000 meter and 1500-meter runs, securing her a spot in advanced meets. Alongside her athletic commitments at PCA, Annaliese also upheld a rigorous training schedule as a competitive swimmer.

The men’s varsity indoor track team made waves with an exceptional start to the season, breaking numerous school records. Notably, the Distance Medley Relay team set a new benchmark at the Dartmouth Relays, surpassing the old record by nearly 30 seconds with an impressive time of 11:26.81. Ivan Sturgis furthered his own record in the 600m, clocking an impressive 1:29.70, while Jonas Teeter shattered the school record in the Mile run with a time of 4:38.27. Additionally, the indoor track team secured a commendable 2nd place finish in a highly competitive meet against D1 and D2 schools.

Four runners pose for a picture in front of a welcome to the woods sign.

In basketball, the 7/8 grade girls’ team advanced to the GENH League Championship Game, while the boys’ team reached the Semi-Finals after a hard-fought battle. Additionally, the 5/6 grade teams diligently prepared for their crucial upcoming matches, benefiting from an unprecedented number of boys participating this year, which allowed for the formation of two full rosters.

As the varsity seasons progressed, both the women’s and men’s basketball teams exhibited impressive performances. Presently, the women boast a record of 8-4, while the men stand at 7-4, with the men’s JV team particularly excelling with an 8-1 record.

Another highlight worth mentioning is the kickoff of our season of intent letters within athletics. This tradition symbolizes our students’ commitment and dedication to pursuing their passions beyond the classroom. A standout moment came when senior Ella Walsh signed her Letter of Intent to continue her stellar goaltending career for Arcadia University Women’s Soccer next fall! Ella has been an integral part of our soccer program, and we’re immensely proud of her accomplishments. Her talent, perseverance, and leadership both on and off the field exemplify the values we strive to instill in all our students. As Ella embarks on this exciting new chapter, we have no doubt she will continue to achieve greatness, on and off the field – making us proud every step of the way!

Four runners pose for a picture in front of a welcome to the woods sign.
Four runners pose for a picture in front of a welcome to the woods sign.
Four runners pose for a picture in front of a welcome to the woods sign.
Four runners pose for a picture in front of a welcome to the woods sign.

Fine Arts: Sold Out Success

The PCA Players kicked off the second quarter of the academic year with the fall theatre production “Tidings of Joy,” boasting two sold-out performances. Students from grades 4 through 12 collaborated seamlessly in the production, integrating actors from all three school levels.

In Quarter 2, we had the privilege of celebrating the exceptional achievements of four of our Upper School students. They boldly auditioned for the esteemed New Hampshire All-State Music Festival, and we are thrilled to announce that all four were accepted! Congratulations are in order for Erick Angwenyi, who not only secured a spot with his impressive performance on the euphonium but also clinched first place in his instrument category and an impressive 16th place overall in the All-State band of 116 talented musicians. Additionally, Simeon Howard showcased his extraordinary talent on the cello, earning an outstanding 6th place in the fiercely competitive cello section. Joining them in this prestigious honor are Anna Tolley and Grace Wack, whose talents shone brightly in the Upper School Voices category. These achievements reflect the dedication and hard work of our students and the unwavering support of our faculty and staff. We couldn’t be prouder of their accomplishments and look forward to witnessing their continued success in the future.

Four young people posing for a picture in front of a building.

In December, our K-6 and 7-12 grade Christmas concerts captivated audiences with their joyful and well-attended performances, earning our music students deserved commendation for their beautiful performances. It was a privilege to share the spirit of the Christmas season through music with our PCA community.

The logo for the wpi.
A man playing a cello.
A group of men playing saxophones.
The logo for the wpi.
A man playing a cello.

Worship teams at the Middle and Upper School levels led students in song during special Christmas Chapels. And as we finished out the quarter, our Fine Arts department began preparations for our upcoming Spring Musical Auditions and the “Music in Our Schools” concert scheduled for mid-March at the Upper School level.