Marie Murphy School Snowflake Workshop

The Snowflake Workshop was held on December 2nd at the Skokie Valley Baptist Church in Wilmette for the Marie Murphy School 7th grade students. Snowflake is a all day youth/adult partnership workshop providing awareness and prevention of alcohol, tobacco and other drug use, while encouraging healthy decision-making in an active community of caring.  It is also a time where students are encouraged to look at themselves and recognize their strengths as well as others’. Small group discussions were lead by Marie Murphy teachers, 8th grade Snowflake Council members, and New Trier H.S. students who formerly attended the school. There were great guest speakers throughout the day.  Breakfast and lunch were provided by the Avoca Parents & Teachers Council and served by 7th grade parent volunteers.

Marie Murphy School and Avoca West Elementary School Winter Choral Concert

The Avoca Choirs consisting of the Marie Murphy Boys Choir, Marie Murphy Girls Choir and the Avoca West Elementary School Choir will be performing the Winter Choral on Thursday, January 12, 2012.  The evening performance will be held at 7:00 p.m. in the Marie Murphy Gymnasium, 2921 Illinois Road in Wilmette. 

The performance is a culmination to the Fall/Winter choral season.  “In the Voices of our Children”, music from different Countries, Irving Berlin favorites, Leon Dubinsky, Charles Tindley and Don Besig will be amongst the program for the evening.

The Public is invited and admission is free.

Soccer Teams Win Conference Titles

Both of Marie Murphy School’s co-ed varsity and junior varsity soccer teams were undefeated this year during the recent North Shore Independence Conference games, each with a record of seven wins and no losses.  Four other teams competing in the conference came from Sunset Ridge, Wilmette, Christian Heritage Academy and Glencoe.  Chad Henley, who served as coach for the two teams, said, “It was an outstanding season for both teams, and I congratulate the players for a job well done.”

The 17 members of the co-ed varsity soccer team include:  Michael Altman, Shayle Arenson, Gregory Chan, Christy Chang, Kyler Coghlan, Max Elghanian, CV Hixon, Sam Lim, Jonathan Lopez, Scott Parra, Sam Petrakis, Mathew Polakow, Jacob Price, Claire Snitovsky, Ethan Wirth, David Yan and Victoria Zibart.  The team had an undefeated season record of nine wins and no losses when non-conference games are included.

The 15 members of the co-ed junior varsity soccer team include:  Arif Ahmad, Paul Farcasanu, Adrian Ille, Andrew Kikos, Matt Kim, Joe Lim, Jackie Manchester, Michael Neuhaus, Louis Shaw, Phillip Shaw, Danielle Sirivat, Abe Sun, Jessica Werner, Tony Xu and Marina Zambrano.  The team ended with a season record of eight wins and one loss when non-conference games are included.

Marie Murphy Students’ Work Featured in Photography Exhibition

On a Saturday in mid-September, Aaron Galleries in Glenview hosted a photography exhibition in which the work of four Marie Murphy School students was featured.  Eighth-graders Kate Carter, Regina Madanguit, Megan Martinez and Mabel Salgado, all residents of Wilmette, had exceeded the expectations of their creative technology teacher, Dave Hoffheimer, when he assigned the class the task of photographing subjects reflected on a separate surface.  Creative technology is an electronic art class that encourages students to see the world in new and different ways.  Mr. Hoffheimer said, “These girls truly present themselves as artists, and their work is exceptional.”  He adds, “Kate, Regina, Megan and Mabel found their subjects in reflections and used photography for expression.”  District Superintendent Dr. Kevin Jauch said, “The exhibition would not have been nearly as successful without the support of Jan Marion, of the H. Marion Framing Studio in Edens Plaza, who not only discounted the frames and mats the students used, but also mounted the work.”  It has been one of Avoca School District 37’s goals to partner with community members for events such as this photography exhibition.

Marie Murphy Student Government Program

The Student Government Program for 8th grade students at Marie Murphy School is sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Wilmette.  It is designed to promote awareness of the important role that local governments play in our lives and to highlight the many areas of intergovernmental cooperation in our region.  Program participants represent all middle schools in the Wilmette area.  This year’s Marie Murphy School participants are listed along with their student leader assignments as follows:  School Board President – Victoria Zibart; School Board Vice President – Tom Sorensen; School Board Members – Kevin Parra, Ben Redemann, Regina Madanguit, Aiyappa Kodendera and Alicia Belknap; District Superintendent – Alexandra Duhe; and Business Manager – Hannah Russell.

Over the next few months, the Marie Murphy School Student Government participants will shadow the elected members of the District 37 School Board to observe how it functions and to learn about the important issues School Board members confront at their meetings.  The program will close with a mock board meeting in the Council Chamber of the Wilmette Village Hall, where students will present and debate their proposals.  Successful proposals by Marie Murphy School participants will then be presented to the School Board for their consideration.  The Student Government Program has been in place for many years at the school and provides excellent preparation for a life of civic engagement.  Eighth-grade social studies teacher Richard Katz is supervising this year’s Student Government Program at Marie Murphy School.

Marie Murphy School Student Council Members Elected

Marie Murphy School Student Council Advisor Robert Schnurlein announced the council’s newly-elected officers and cabinet members for the 2011-2012 school year as follows:  Kelly Milan, president; Jonah Wolfe, vice president; Nick Zhou, secretary; Lauren Newmark, treasurer; and cabinet members Regina Madanguit, Sam Petrakis, Victoria Zibart and Ben Redemann.

Science Olympiad Team Wins 2nd Place at Nationals

By winning second place in the middle school division at the State Science Olympiad Tournament in Champaign, Illinois, in April, the 15-member varsity team from Marie Murphy School qualified to compete in the national tournament at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on May 21, where the team also placed second in the nation – the varsity team’s highest ever national finish.  Last year, Marie Murphy School finished fifth at the nationals.   Of the fifty-nine other teams from around the country that competed this year at the nationals, the Marie Murphy School varsity team came in only 14 points behind the first-place team from Ohio.  This year’s second-place finish is quite impressive, considering that there are over 6,000 middle school Science Olympiad teams in the country, and most of the other schools competing in the national tournament were much larger than Marie Murphy.

The most medals Marie Murphy School’s varsity team won at previous national competitions were in six events.  This year, the team broke their record and medaled in seven events, and every eighth-grader won at least one medal.  The medals were awarded for first to sixth place, and individual medalists at this year’s national competition included the following varsity team members and their events:  First-place winners Michael Rivkin and Solena Rizzato for Awesome Aquifer, Vivian Jou and Jason Lee for Bottle Rocket, and Alexander Chen and Rene Chen for Can’t Judge a Powder; second-place winners Rene Chen, Stephanie Chen and Josh Park for Experimental Design; third-place winners Vivian Jou and Solena Rizzato for Meteorology; fourth-place winners Alexander Chen and Aiyappa Kodendera for Storm the Castle; and sixth-place winners Sahar Bhai and Leah Rivkin for Crimebusters.  Marie Murphy School’s varsity team members include Sahar Bhai, Alexander Chen, Rene Chen, Stephanie Chen, Vivian Jou, Aiyappa Kodendera, Jason Lee, Lauren Newmark, Josh Park, Leah Rivkin, Michael Rivkin, Solena Rizzato, Jonah Wolfe, Clara Yam and David Yan.

Also attending this year’s national competition was the 14-member junior varsity team, of which four members competed in two events:  David Pollak and Daniel Belknap for Mag Lev, and Regina Madanguit and Andrea Wei for Wright Stuff Capacitor.  The ten other junior varsity members include Paul Farcasanu, Katherine Ho, Youngjin Kim, Jamie Knippen, Samantha Mori, Ethan Wirth, Tony Xu, Carissa Yang, Samantha Yang and Chelsea Ye.

The four coaches, who continue to inspire the very best from their students, include Mr. James Gravagna, Mr. Darren Persino, Mr. Peter Ogden and Ms. Shannon Wright.  Mr. Gravagana said, “Our team’s success at the nationals this year is really owed to our eighth-grade students.  After finishing second at state, they not only committed to work harder themselves, but they inspired and pushed the rest of the team to do better, as well.”  This year’s parent volunteer coaches included Mr. John Chen, Mr. Herng-Jeng Jou, Mr. Changappa Kodendera, Ms. Hui-Chen Li, Dr. Anne Nagle, Dr. Geraldine Newmark and Mr. Rory Wolfe.

Marie Murphy School Principal Dr. Deanna Reed said, “This is one of the most outstanding team achievements I have personally witnessed in my middle school career, and it is truly a climaxing chapter in Avoca’s long history of academic excellence.  Everyone in the school applauds the team’s collective accomplishments over the course of the season, and we also commend our outstanding coaches and parents for their essential contributions of leadership and time to the program.”  Inspired by Marie Murphy School’s efforts to stimulate interest in science among children at a young age and pave the way for future scientists, Lundbeck Inc., a pharmaceutical company based in Deerfield, made a $5,000 contribution for a second year in a row to support the students’ trip to the national competition.  This is an exciting example of a school/business partnership.

Eighty-Nine Set to Graduate on June 7

Following are the names of 89 eighth graders who are scheduled to graduate on Tuesday, June 7, from Marie Murphy School:  Ayesha Abbasi, Ilya’ Aiman Ahmad, Akber Amin Ali, Sarah Balan, Carson Victoria Bashford, Sofia Ana Bazianos, Daniel Alberto Belknap, Sahir Amin Bhai, Turner Cepuritis, Alexander Wei-Tsun Chen, Rene Chen, Stephanie Wei-Shan Chen, Gabriella J. Cohen, Jack Alton Cole, Adelaide Clare Conaghan, Kathleen Rose Conaghan, Steven Dellamore, Taras Demyanyk, Caileigh Rose Dunkin, Jordie Formicola,  Preston Donald Fulks, Andrew Richard Gilbert, Marli Gitles, Rachel Goldberg, Julia Suzanne Golden, John Michael Graf, III, Danielle Erin Gurevich, Hannah Gabrielle Heredia, Simon Ethan Herman, Katie Hughes, Janel Ashley Jackson, Jessica Haejin Jeon, Vivian Jou, Nicholas Katsinis, Daniel Cole Katz, Audrey Dahsom Kim, Kelly Do Yeon Kim, Sophia Ella Kingwill, Christian W. Koules, Jonathan Walter Krauser, Areesh Lalani, Sheharyar Lalani, Alix Lauren Leviton, Jacob Matthew Manchester, Eric Anthony Marzillo, Gillian Ellen Mayster, Kathleen Shea Milan, Zain Mithani, Samantha Grace Mori, Arianna Nicole Neuhaus, Taylor Leo O’Callaghan, Chan Hong Park, Grant Jae Hyung Park, Isang Park, Joshua Chan-Hee Park, David Joseph Pollak, Sarah Elizabeth Potratz, Jordi Price, Isabelle Pyritz, David F. Raynes, Leah Gabrielle Rivkin, Solena Margaret Rizzato, George Joseph Robb, Panayiota Roumeliotis, Justin Corbin Savin, Alexandra Scekic, Brittany Lee Schroeder, Luke Sherman, Brian Shiau, Nathan Shin, Sam Ji Sik Shin, Julia Lauren Sieja, Mitchell Silverstein, Margaret Lang Sollitt, Alessio Massimo Sorano, Danielle Valerie Steinberg, Julia Claire Straaton, Aria Szalai-Raymond, Loucine Topouzian, Tamara Ann Villalon, Marissa Joy Vogelstein, Jack Wechsler, Eli Lawrence Werner, Kyle L. Wettersten, Amanda Lois Winter, David Alex Wolanin, Samantha Li-Wen Yang, Keenan John Yoseph, and Cassandra Yu.  Commencement ceremonies will take place at 7:30 p.m. in the gymnasium at Marie Murphy School, 2921 Illinois Road in Wilmette.

Avoca West/Marie Murphy Collaborative Writing Project

During the month of April, Avoca West Elementary School third-grade teacher Jennifer Stefan and Marie Murphy School sixth-grade teacher Andrea Bialk collaborated on a special writing assignment for their students that focused on social/emotional learning and service learning projects.  Vicki Specks, the Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies (PATHS) teacher at Avoca West, concentrated her lessons on helping the students identify similarities and differences and develop an understanding of empathy through learning about the country of Ghana.  The students also attended a presentation by Kim Zimmer, a technology teacher at Avoca West, who shared her personal teaching experiences from the summer she spent in Ghana.

All third-grade teachers, including Jennifer Stefan, Kelly Lee, Tom Erf, Stephanie Rick and Sarah Hannus partnered their students with sixth-grade buddies at Marie Murphy School to write a creative narrative story.  The third-grade students created an outline for the sixth-grade students to use as they developed their stories.  The students at both schools used google docs to write their stories, which enabled the partners to collaborate easily with each other.

When the students finished editing and revising their stories, the third-graders created the illustrations.  The final touches were made when the third-grade students took a field trip to Marie Murphy School to meet face-to-face with their writing buddies to create a title page and put their books together.

After the student-created books were finished, the students sent them along with donated supplies to students in Ghana through Kids to Kids International (KTKI); a non-profit organization that provides a program for children to send Friendship Boxes of educational supplies and student-created books to children around the world since 1991.  Ms. Stefan said, “This writing project proved to be a valuable lesson focused on collaboration among the students and also provided them with an opportunity to share with children who are less fortunate.”

Science Olympiad Team Qualifies To Compete at National Tournament

For the sixth time in the last seven years, the Marie Murphy School Science Olympiad team has once again qualified to compete in the National Science Olympiad Tournament.  The Marie Murphy School team placed first in seven of twenty-three events and brought home more medals than any other team at the recent state competition held at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign campus. They will now move on to compete in the national tournament on Saturday, May 21, at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

Faculty coaches are Mr. James Gravagna, Mr. Darren Persino, Mr. Peter Ogden and Ms. Shannon Wright.  Parent volunteer coaches are Dr. Anne Nagle, Mrs. Geraldine Newmark, Mr. Rory Wolfe, Mr. Herng-Jeng Jou, Ms. Hui-Chen Li and Mr. Changappa Kodendera.  Mr. Persino said, “We are very proud of how our students rose to the occasion in competition and continued the team’s level of sustained excellence in representing their team and their school.” 

First place medal winners include: Awesome Aquifer – Solena Rizzato and Michael Rivkin; Crimebusters – Sahar Bhai and Leah Rivkin; Experimental Design – Rene Chen, Stephanie Chen and Josh Park; Fossils – Alexander Chen and Clara Yam; Meteorology – Vivian Jou and Solena Rizzato; Optics – Alexander Chen and Rene Chen; and Storm the Castle – Alexander Chen and Aiyappa Kodendera. 

Third place medal winners include:  Dynamic Planet – Michael Rivkin and David Yan; Microbe Mission – Sahar Bhai and Vivian Jou; and Towers – Jason Lee and Clara Yam. 

Fourth place medal winners include:  Anatomy – Sahar Bhai and Lauren Newmark; Disease Detectives – Vivian Jou and Aiyappa Kodendera; and Road Scholar – Leah Rivkin and Solena Rizzato. 

Fifth place medal winners include:  Junkyard Challenge – Michael Rivkin and Jonah Wolfe; and Ornithology – Rene Chen and Josh Park.