The Community School Magazine Winter 2009/10
ENGAGING STUDENTS OF DIVERSE TALENTS IN AN INTELLECTUALLY CHALLENGING AND SUPPORTIVE SCHOOL CULTURE.
The UndercurrentThe UndercurrentThe Community School Magazine
2009/10 Annual Fund
Remember your best day at Sams School? Remember that one
teacher who to this day had a profound and lasting impact on your
life? Remember the annual water ght? Camping in the hallways?
Yellowstone? Hells Canyon? Perkins? Arent these memories worth a
donation? They are for me. JOHN VALENZUELA, 84
The Annual Fund represents the backbone of The Community Schools funding needs. We believe in supporting the Annual Fund because we know that yearly contributions from every family enable our children to continue to have exceptional educational programs run by exceptional teachers. LOUISE & TRENT
andy Jones-wilkinsHead of School
Laura kennedyDirector, Elementary School
ben PettitDirector, Middle School
brian yagerDirector, Upper School
katie RobinsDirector of Admission
Tyra Macguf eDirector of Development
Melissa elkins Director of Alumni Relations
bill LauckDirector of Communications
2009-2010 BoARD oF DiReCToRS
Pat AluisiWhit Atkinson 82Leslie BenzJack Bunce - ChairCharles ConnDonna DelahorneMark Eshman Leigh EverittTim FlahertyEllen GillespieJay HagenbuchDavid HolmesAndy Jones-WilkinsRandi KanellitsasJim MilgardJake PetersPeter SmithLisa StelckJoan SwiftJon ThorsenDon WisemanMichael Engl, EmeritusBarbara W. Boswell, EmeritusRuby Becker, PA RepresentativeMichael David, PA Representative
Cover Photo: David N. Seelig, Idaho Mountain Express
Additional Photography: Becky Smith, Bill Lauck, Tyra MacGuf e, Melissa ElkinsLaura Kennedy.
The Undercurrent is produced by The Community School for its current and former families and friends. Inquiries may be sent to The Community School, PO Box 2118, Sun Valley, ID 83340.
3the undercurrent winter 2009/10 1
In the flurrY of activities preceding the winter holiday I typically spend a few moments ref lecting back on the se-mester to take stock of where we are. This year, I must say, has been truly extraordinary! Certainly, every school year is unique and distinctive and yet something about this year has been inspiring to me. In thinking about it I have concluded that active and engaged student leadership is at the heart of what has made the start of this year so special.
As I wrote last spring on the eve of graduation, often the classes at the top of each division set the tone for their respective divisions and in so doing tend to define the school culture for the year. This year the 5th, 8th and 12th grades have been nothing short of incredible. If you did not have a chance to see the 5th grade Witchs Contest in Oc-tober you missed out on a wonderful show. Displaying poise, creativity, and humor, the 5th grade dazzled us with their singing and dancing and, in the process, gave a tremendous gift to our community. Speaking of gifts, this very same 5th grade class has completely embraced our Senegalese exchange student Daniel Gomis to such an extent that they have invited him to class to teach them French songs, decorated their classroom in the national colors of Senegal, and are currently organizing a bake sale to raise money for Daniel to return home for Spring Break. If that is not leadership I dont know what is! Over in the Middle School our current 8th grade class has had an excit-ing and fascinating first semester. Highlighted by their Food Unit the 8th graders have learned much about asking probing questions and seeking deep answers. The culminating activity in the Food Unit was an impeccably prepared and executed banquet at Elkhorn Springs that featured local fruits and vegetables grown in their own greenhouse as well as chickens that the class raised and slaughtered themselves. Not only did this project exemplify leader-ship but it also taught valuable lessons in planning, execution, and, ultimately, public relations and marketing. It was a project of which we can all be proud. Finally, our 12th graders have, over the past four months, distinguished themselves as the true leaders in the school. From the Fall Campout onward this group has set the tone for the entire student body and extended their lead-ership reach far beyond the classroom walls. In the first semester this group has instituted a weekly school-wide barbeque, created a carpooling incentive for students and faculty, taken constructive control of the weekly assemblies, led the fall sports teams through a series of successful seasons, participated in a wide variety of community service activities too numerous to count and produced a festive K-12 holiday celebration. Of course, they did all this and more while taking full course loads and preparing their college applications. From my perspective and that of the faculty, this group has re-defined student leadership at The Community School. To me, all three of these leadership classes embody the Cutthroat spirit. In that context, I look forward to the 2nd semester, as I am sure these students, as well as all the other Cutthroats around them, have much more in store for all of us.
From the head of School
the undercurrent winter 2009/102
T his fall, The Community School was able to off i-cially welcome Daniel Gomis, an exchange student from Senegal, to the Upper School. Daniels enroll-ment represents the culmination of a three-year effort to begin recruiting promising students from around the globe.
Daniels road to TCS began this past spring, when he came to the United States to study English and play basketball, as part of the efforts of the SEEDS Foundation (a program that uses sports to foster the development of promising African young people). He was in the country on a B-2 visitors visa, which limited his ability to seek educational opportunties here, or even to stay for a prolonged period of time. Mem-bers of the TCS community, from the adminstration, board of directors and athletic department have worked for the past five months to change Daniels visa status from B-2 (visitor) to F-1 (student).
Their diligent efforts f inally bore fruit in November, when the status change was approved. This llowed Daniel to enroll as a full-time student at The Community School, carrying a full course load and receiving high-school credit for his work.
CutthroatIn the culmination of a three
year effort to recruit students from around the globe, The Community School
welcomes Daniel Gomis of Senegal to the
3the undercurrent winter 2009/10 3
At 6'9", Daniel is hard to miss on campus, but as noticeable as his stature are his heart and willingness to share his talents with the entire school. As a Junior, his presence is greatest in the Upper School, but hes also made a strong impression in the Elementary and Middle Schools, as he has taught French (his native language) to Fifth-grade students, shared his bas-ketball prowess with Elementary PE classes, acted as an assistant coach for the Middle School Boys Basketball team and organized an after-school French Club for the Middle School.
As a full-time student, Daniel will now compete with the Boys Varsity basketball team. While Daniel had been practicing with the team previously, his status prevented him from full participation in the program. Thanks to the efforts of Athletic Director John Remington, the eight member schools of the Northside Conference approved Daniels par-ticipaton in regular-season games by a 7-1 vote. After con-sultation with other Northside coaches and the Idaho High School Activities Association, John determined that Daniel would not be eligible for post-season play, due to IHSA rules about international students.
Daniels prowess on the court is clear, but that skill rep-resents only a fraction of what hes brought to the School -- and what the School demands of him. Hes been a real asset to our community, Head of School Andy Jones-Wilkins told the Idaho Mountain Express (in one of several articles about our newest student). Its one thing to read about Senegal in a book. Its something else to meet and get to know someone from Senegal. And Andy emphasized the academic aspect of Daniels enrollment; There are oth-er places where Daniel could play basketball, but he came here because we could provide him with a full academic college-prep program. After 9/11, the federal government enacted stricter regu-lations regarding school-issued student visas. Beginning
in 2008, The Community School worked to complete the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) application process, in order to receive official approval to sponsor exchange students for visas. The process culminated with an inspection visit from SEVIS, after which the school was granted final approval to issue I-20 visa sponsorships for foreign exchange students. Director of Admission Katie Robins said Daniel is the first exchange student we have issued a visa for since we were approved by SEVIS and we are thrilled to have him here. He has already proved himself an ambassador for global awareness in our school community and we sincerely hope to see more students like him in the future.
Now that the school has approval to issue I-20 visa spon-sorships, TCS plans to continue seeking students from around the globe. While sports -- fall, winter and spring -- will continue to play a role in finding international students, Andy hopes to find excellent prospects to fit all