3 February 2023

Dear Families,

Welcome to February.  It certainly feels more like winter today than it did in January!  And next week we could hit 50 degrees again? 

“If you don’t like the weather in New England now, just wait a minute, it’ll change.” – Mark Twain 

This week our 10th graders had time with their school counselors to actually begin thinking about course selection for next year.  After we return from the February break students will start having conversations with their teachers about recommendations for courses and levels for next year.  Next week our current 8th graders will be coming to the high school to hear about our programs and get a tour of the building. 

On Tuesday evening Sandy Trach, our Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning, and I presented together about Standards Based Grading. In the presentation we explained more of what standards are, some context for why we’ve made the movement we have towards using standards, and some work we’re doing to simplify our practices so students and families can understand course grades.  We are in the process of making some mid course corrections we hope will be helpful to you all. We also announced an in person forum that will take place on March 9th from 7 – 9 pm in the High School auditorium.  We hope this will also be an informative and productive meeting for the whole community. 

Course Change Form – Please Check Your E-Mail

With a new quarter/semester, there are students making schedule changes. If you received an email from whscounseling@wellesleyps.org , it is the electronic course change form that requires your signature to move forward for department approval. 

Timely completion expedites the course change. Thank you for keeping your eye out for this.

The Senior Project Program

The Senior Project program enables qualified seniors to spend the last month of senior year working on a substantive project of their own choice on a partial or full-time basis. Senior projects are designed to help the student explore a personal interest. Such exploration might include a possible career choice, a special talent, or a community service project.  Please click here for a program overview.  Interested students may pick up applications at Bradford House Office starting Wednesday, February 1st, to be submitted by February 15th.

“Empty Bowls” Event at WHS

We have a great opportunity for students, faculty and the community to support a local charity along with our ceramics students.  We are hosting an event called Empty Bowls on Thursday February 9 from 3:30-5:30pm. in the Faculty Dining Room. 

Empty Bowls is a national grassroots movement of artists using their creativity to raise money for people in need.  Ceramics students are making bowls and we will be selling them for $30 each. Bowls can be paid for with cash or a check made out to Vineyard Havens Charity. 

All proceeds will be going to Vineyard Havens Charity.  This is an organization associated with the Jimmy Fund and cancer research. Vineyard Haven Charity is dedicated to giving families the respite they need, but cannot afford. “Haven for kids” helps to bring some extra happiness to these children and their families.  

To find out more about Empty Bowls or Vineyard Haven Charity check out the links below.

(emptybowls.com      vineyard havens.org)

Any WHS student who would like to make a bowl for this event should see Ms. Larson in room 345 or anyone from the Ceramics Intensive class for more information.  Hope to see you there!

8th Grade Tours of WHS

New Student Ambassadors will be giving tours to the rising Class of 2027 on Tuesday February 7th & Thursday, February 9th from 9:50-10:50.  In advance of their course selection process, the students will get a chance to see the academic and elective offerings  as well as ask questions of their New Student Ambassador Guides about student life.

WHS Chorus Director To Receive MMEA Award

The Wellesley Public Schools Performing Arts Department is excited to announce that Dr. Kevin McDonald, WHS Chorus Director, has been selected to receive the Massachusetts Music Educators Association (MMEA)  Lowell Mason Award for 2023. The Lowell Mason Award is presented annually to recognize members of MMEA (Massachusetts Music Educators Association) who have been leaders in music education in Massachusetts. MMEA Members qualify for this honor by demonstrating outstanding leadership in music education and making important contributions to music, music education and MMEA. The award will be presented to Dr. McDonald at the annual MMEA All-State Conference on March 2nd in Westford. 

Dr. McDonald has been on the Wellesley High School faculty for 19 years and is currently the Director of Choral Programs at Wellesley High School. He directs the WHS Rice Street Singers, WHS Keynote Singers, WHS Song Sisters, WHS Brooks Brothers, WHS Concert Choir and oversees and advises the outstanding after school A Cappella program. 

The WHS Choral Ensembles have received numerous awards and distinctions over the years under the direction of Dr. McDonald, including Gold Medals at State Festivals, performances at state and division music education conferences, performances with professional organizations such as the Boston Pops Orchestra and New York Voices, and was named high school champion on WGBH TV show Sing That Thing. 

In addition to his teaching in Wellesley, Dr. McDonald is the conductor of the Handel and Haydn Society Chorus of Tenors and Basses in Boston, Director of Music at Wellesley Village Church, and is an active guest conductor for State/District Festivals throughout New England. He frequently serves as clinician at many state/regional music conferences over the years.  

Dr. McDonald also had the honor of being a semifinalist for the recent Grammy Music Educator of the Year program.

Congratulations to Dr. Kevin McDonald on this well deserved recognition by the Massachusetts Music Educators Association.

WPS Students Selected for All-State Music Ensembles

On Saturday, January 21st, students from the Wellesley High School Music Department auditioned for the All-State Music Ensembles at Shrewsbury High School. Students qualified for these auditions by scoring in the top half of the Eastern District Auditions held in November. The musicians auditioned with approximately 950 students from across Massachusetts for one of the positions in the All-State ensembles.

This year, 10 students from Wellesley High School were selected to participate based on their audition. Being a member of these ensembles is the highest honor for a high school music student in Massachusetts.  

The All-State Festival is sponsored by the Massachusetts Music Educators Association (MMEA) and will be held March 3-4, 2023. Students selected will perform  at historic Symphony Hall in Boston on Saturday, March 3rd at 2:00 p.m.

Congratulations to all of the students involved and also to the faculty members who assisted the students in preparing for these auditions. The following students were selected:



Max Goldenson, Trumpet

Isabelle Lee, French Horn


Jonathan Liu, Cello


Ritvick Abrol, Bass

Eoghan Kelley, Bass

Frank Mendes, Tenor

Eva Meraw, Soprano

Daniel Park, Bass

Louisa Rossano, Soprano

Luca Scirica, Tenor

Faculty Members who assisted these students are:  Kevin McDonald, Choir; Steve Scott, Band and Sergey Khanukaev, Orchestra

For more information, contact Mr. Michael LaCava, K-12 Director of Performing Arts 

National Scholastics Art Competition

Please join the art department in celebrating the following students for creating some of the best art in the state. When you see these students please give them a ‘shout out!’ 

All Gold Keys are entered in the National Scholastics Art Competition. Portfolios are submitted only by seniors and awarded for a body of work. 

Gold Key 5 Awards

Reagan O’Neil, Jewelry

Katherine Passanisi, 2, Ceramics, Portfolio

Paige Stephenson, Jewelry

Joanne Zhang, Photography


Silver Key 16 Awards

Naomi Boegholm, 2, Ceramics

Elisabeth Charkoudian, 2, Ceramics, Portfolio

Noah Goldman, Portfolio

Sarah Hatch, Painting

Alexandra (Sasha) Juriansz, Jewelry

Lizzie Lahive, Portfolio

Robin Lee, Painting

Zoe Maggioni, 2, Fashion, Portfolio

Maddox Marcoux, Sculpture

Reagan O’Neil, Portfolio

Lucia Ross, Photography

Bella Wang, Photography

Joanne Zhang, Photography

Honorable Mention 22 Awards

Isabella Bazant, 2, Jewelry, Portfolio

Grady Brown, Photography

Charles Coleman, Portfolio

Garrett Dobos, Sculpture

Elise Dupont, Jewelry

Mason Kahn, Photography

Vaani Kapoor, Photography

Lizzie Lahive, Sculpture

Oliver Laybourn, Photography

Maddox Marcoux, Portfolio

Ren Martinian, Digital Art

Katherine Passanisi, Ceramics

Sofia Scirica, 2, Sculpture, Portfolio

Paige Stephenson, Jewelry

Eddy Su, Photography

Alexandra Vella, Ceramics

Iris Ventimiglia, Portfolio

Rachel Voci, Jewelry

Katharine Wells, Sculpture

Yulie Yehiav, Jewelry

WHS Scholastic Writing Winners

Please join the English department in celebrating the following students for producing some of the best writing in the state. When you see these students, please be sure to congratulate them!


Gold Key Award 

Mia Meletta, Critical Essay

*As a Gold Key winner, Mia is entered into the National Scholastics Writing Competition.

Silver Key Award

Siddharth Arun, Science Fiction & Fantasy

Lily Jin, 2: Critical Essay; Personal Essay & Memoir

Anson Richman, Critical Essay

Clementine Zei, 2: Critical Essay

Joanne Zhang, Poetry

Honorable Mention

Abby Brown, Short Story

Vivian Pan, Personal Essay and Memoir

Chiara Papa, Personal Essay and Memoir

Michelle Wang, Flash Fiction

High School Voter Registration Program

On February 1, League of Women Voters of Wellesley members Skye Jacobs (WHS’24, TMM) and Ivy Wang (WHS’24, TMM) organized a voter registration event at Wellesley High, gathering an all-time high number of registrations and pre-registrations in the weeks before a Town election.   Two of the first-time voters will be turning 18 only a few days before the election.  

After winning their own campaigns for Town Meeting Member in 2022, Ivy and Skye organized a presentation to educate classmates on Town Meeting structure and how it works.  Students are better informed than ever and appreciate the importance of electing wise decision-makers whose actions will most strongly impact the daily lives of all Wellesley residents.  They are eager to understand candidates’ positions on the issues, especially in the contested races for School Committee, Select Board and the Natural Resources Commission.  One student said, “I’m too young to vote but my parents rely on me to research the candidates for them”.  

Thanks to the LWV’s student volunteers! 

Wellesley Education Foundation Event

The Power of Education to Inspire – Discussion with Steve Pemberton

Time & Location: Mar 06, 7:00 PM at Wellesley Middle School, 50 Kingsbury St, Wellesley, MA 

On March 6th, WEF will be hosting renowned speaker Steve Pemberton at the WMS Auditorium. Steve is the best-selling author of  A Chance in the World and The Lighthouse Effect, How Ordinary People Can Have an Extraordinary Impact in the World.  With anxiety being one of the top challenges faced in our post-pandemic world, Steve has inspired many with his message of hope, resilience and kindness. He shares how he overcame tremendous obstacles in his childhood with the support of educators and how simple acts of kindness can have a profound effect.  

To learn more about Steve Pemberton and to RSVP, please use this link

Seminar Day Speakers Needed for March 1, 2023

On behalf of Wellesley High School’s Student Congress, we would like to extend an invitation to participate in this year’s Seminar Day on Wednesday, March 1st, 2023. We are looking for new, or returning, seminar day speakers to provide our students with an opportunity to explore exciting and engaging subjects outside of our curriculum!  And we have had speakers on a variety of topics – from “How to Tie the Proper Necktie”, “How Does the School District Decide When to Call A Snow Day” – that our students find interesting and intriguing.

Don’t undersell yourself – you may not think that you have anything interesting to offer, but, our students enjoy the variety of topics!  

Each seminar Block (A,B,or C) will be held in person for one full hour, and you can speak for one, two, or all three blocks. Health and safety considerations are guiding our planning to reflect our current reality.


Schedule for Seminar Day 2023:


  • Advisory: 8:00-8:15
  • Block A: 8:20-9:20
  • Block B: 9:25-10:25
  • Block C: 10:30-11:30

Seminar Day Speaker Sign Up Form

If you have any questions about this year’s Seminar Day, please do not hesitate to send us an email (ericksons@wellesleyps.org and lukitosaris@wellesleyps.org

If  you cannot commit to this year’s Seminar Day but are interested in staying on our contact list, please answer the first few questions on the form to ensure we contact you for future Seminar Days. For those willing and able to volunteer your time, we encourage speakers to sign up for more than one block. Our deadline for seminar day speaker sign-ups is Friday, February 17th.  If you know someone outside of our WHS community who would be a great addition to Seminar Day, please direct them to the Seminar Day Speaker Form or have them contact us!  

Sincerely,  Stephanie Erickson and Condro Lukitosari, Faculty Advisors for Student Congress

WHS Parent YA Book Club 

Interested in reading and discussing YA books?  WHS parents and librarians meet once a month to discuss a book. All are welcome.

Our next gathering will be on Tuesday, February 28th, 7:30pm @ Wellesley Free Library  (in the cafe on the 1st floor) to discuss the book:

A Sitting in St. James by Rita Williams-Garcia (the Wellesley Free Library will have copies available to borrow)

Any questions?  Email WHS Librarian Sara Jauniskis at jauniskiss@wellesleyps.org


The college admissions process can be a source of stress and anxiety for students and parents alike. This research-based workshop addresses many of the important questions we hear from families. What do college rankings really measure? Are students who attend more selective colleges better off later in life? What is “fit” and why does it matter? Participants will learn practical strategies to help reduce unnecessary pressure around the college admissions process and ways to support their student’s overall well-being and readiness for life in college and beyond.

Thursday, March 9th, 2023  | 7:00pm – 8:15pm

Who should attend: Parents, Students, Educators  Price:  $10 per person  REGISTER HERE

If the cost of attending this workshop is a barrier for you or students, please reach out about our financial assistance.

Learning Objectives

  1. Learn research-based findings on the relationship between college selectivity and future outcomes, including learning, job satisfaction, and well-being.
  2. Explore practical strategies to embrace a healthier approach to the college admissions process.
  3. Gain a deeper understanding of the value and meaning of engagement in college and high school.


See our Resource page for everything from our college admissions white paper to blog posts and suggestions from the experts for how to approach this college admission conversations.

Wellesley Scholarship Foundation 

Attention Seniors:

Applications for the scholarships offered through the Wellesley Scholarship Foundation (WSF) opens December 1st. WSF funds students attending four-year degree programs, as well as two-year college or technical schools if the student is working towards a degree or certificate. 

Please use this link for more information.

Juniors – PSAT Scores

Attention Juniors:  Your PSAT scores are now available on the College Board website. 

Here is a brief presentation to help you access your scores and understand how to interpret them. PSATs will also be reviewed in your Junior Seminar, which begins Q3. 

Please see your School Counselor if you have questions.

National Honor Society Tutoring

For anyone interested in a NHS tutor, please fill out this form if you, or one of your students, are interested.

We will contact you shortly.

School Council Parent Email

School Council is a site based management council at every school in the Commonwealth. Through open discussion, it serves to advise the principal on matters relevant to the school and approves changes to the Student Handbook (see Subsection C, Jurisdiction).  The Council meets regularly to assist the Principal in the identification of the educational needs of the students attending the school, in adopting educational goals for the school, in the review of the annual school budget, and in the formulation of a school improvement plan. 

As parents you have four representatives who serve to represent your voice here at Wellesley High School on our School Council. Since the parent group is so varied and large they have set up an email address so you can reach out to them with feedback and questions.  The email address is:whsparentreps@gmail.com

WHS Nordic Ski Team

While most of us will be staying indoors for what is predicted to be a brutally cold snap of weather,  there are many who have waited all winter for this weather. If you decide to hit the trails, remember to dress in layers and cover all exposed skin – it only takes 5-10 minutes for frostbite to happen!

Here’s some members of our Nordic Ski Team getting ready for the State Championships on February 14. 


Growing up in the Berkshires, on nights like these we’d make sure gas tanks were full in the car to keep condensation from forming in the fuel tank and we left the water running to keep our pipes from freezing.  I think I may be doing that tonight.  I offer both tips in case you find them useful. 






WHS Principal’s Weekly Bulletin February 3, 2023
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