Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Oh The Places They'll Go...

A few months ago I wrote a post on UCHS grads - the preparation they received at UCHS and the universities and schools and military assignments where they would continue their learning.

As I said before, it matters not where high school graduates choose to further their studies, but that it is the right fit for a student's success. Still, scanning this list you have to be proud of the students and all the schools to which they applied.

In the tradition of the classes before them, the Class of 2013 snagged 336 acceptance letters from 122 unique schools. And, from the looks of this list, it appears UCHS grads will be attending schools big and small all over the country.

Equally impressive is the $2,762,068.00 awarded over 139 scholarships.

So peruse this lovely list and share in the pride of the University City High School Class of 2013.

Note: The numbers in parenthesis (0) indicates the number of acceptance letters 
from that school.

Anna Soifer with her
acceptance letter from
 Johns Hopkins
Aubery Williams goes from
Lion to Tiger

Alabama State University
Albright College
Alvernia University
Arcadia University
Ball State University (3)
Bellarmine University
Brescia University
Ursula Monaghan is off to
Case Western Reserve University
Clark Atlanta University
Coffeyville Community College
Columbia College
Columbia College Chicago (6)
Culver-Stockton College (3)
Des Moines Area Community College
Dillard University
Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, Los Angeles
Florida A&M University
Fontbonne University (2)
Full Sail University
Georgia Gwinnett College
Hampton University (2)
Harris-Stowe State University 3)
Hendrix College
Hickey College (2)
Huston-Tillotson University
Illinois State University
Jackson State University
Jefferson College
Johns Hopkins University
Kansas City Art Institute
Kansas State University
Kentucky State University (2)
Kenyon College (2)
Langston University
Lawrence University (4)
Lincoln University (7)
Lindenwood University (7)
Louisiana State University
Loyola Marymount University
Loyola University Chicago (2)
Loyola University New Orleans (4)
Macalester College
Maryland Institute College of Art
Maryville University
Michigan State University (3)
Miles College (2)
Millikin University
Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design
Mineral Area College
Missouri Baptist University
Missouri College
Missouri State University (15)
Missouri University of Science and Technology (6)
Missouri Valley  (5)
Missouri Western State University (15)
Newman University (3)
Northwest Missouri State University (6)
Oberlin College
Oklahoma State University
Park University
Purdue University (School of Engineering)
Ranken Technical College (9)
Rhodes College
Ripon College
Rockhurst University
Saint Louis University (3)
Saint Xavier University (3)
San Diego State University
Southeast Missouri State University (12)
Southeast Missouri State University (College of Science & Mathematics)
Southern Illinois University, Carbondale (2)
Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville (9)
Southern University and A&M College
Southern University at New Orleans
Spelman College
St. John's University - Queens Campus
St. Louis Community College at Florissant Valley (4)
St. Louis Community College at Forest Park (23)
St. Louis Community College at Meramec (6)
Stanford University
Stephens College (3)
Sullivan University (2)
Swarthmore College
Tennessee State University (2)
Texas Southern University (2)
The University of Iowa
The University of the Arts
Tiffin University
Truman State University (6)
Tulane University
Tuskegee University
University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (3)
University of Central Missouri (15)
University of Chicago
University of Colorado at Boulder (College of Arts & Sciences)
University of Dayton
University of Houston
University of Illinois at Chicago
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (College of Engineering)
University of Kansas (2)
University of Kentucky
University of Minnesota, Twin Cities (CSE College of Science and Engineering)
University of Missouri Columbia (18)
University of Missouri, Kansas City (14)
University of Missouri, St. Louis (5)
University of Nebraska at Kearney
University of Oklahoma
University of Southern Mississippi
University of Toledo
Valparaiso University
Vatterott College - St. Louis
Washburn University of Topeka (2)
Washington University in St. Louis
Washington University in St. Louis (School of Engineering)
Webster University (3)
Western Michigan University
Westminster College (3)
Whitman College
Wichita State University
William Woods University
Xavier University (3)
Xavier University of Louisiana (3)

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Habesne Latinam?

In the School District of University City the answer to that question (which, by the way, is “Got Latin?” for those of us less educated) is a resounding HABEO (YES)! While the notion of studying this classical language may conjure up images of stodgy old tweed-clad professors and British school boys, this couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, Latin in U. City is COOL and our Latin students (not to mention teachers) are young, hip, and love learning about language, history, and culture.

One of only six districts in the St. Louis area to offer AP (advanced placement) Latin, students in U. City can begin taking Latin formally in the sixth grade, although many are exposed at much younger ages thanks to outreach programs by the high school’s Latin Club. Courses are offered at all levels through high school, culminating with the AP (Advanced Placement) Latin for seniors. In addition to the coursework offered during the school day, UCHS has an active and energetic aforementioned Latin Club, which meets weekly after school , and many students are involved in the Missouri Junior Classical League (MOJCL), hosts a Winter Classics Fest, and stages fun events like the annual Homerathon (a marathon reading from the works of Homer) in the Delmar Loop.

UCHS Latin Students (along with the head of Pentheus)
prepare to leave for national convention. 
UCHS Latin Club students bring home numerous awards each year at the state convention of the Missouri Junior Classical League, held in April in Columbia (view the cheeky convention trailer here). You can read about this year's attendees and their accomplishments in our previous blog post. UCHS also sends a delegation to the National Junior League Convention each year. This year students will travel to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, to attend the 60th annual NCJL convention.

Latin Club students march in the UCHS Homecoming parade

So why, you may ask, as we speed though the 21st Century, should students study a “dead” language like Latin? There are lots of reasons, according to UCHS Latin teacher Jennifer Whinney:

“It is important for kids to study Latin because it emphasizes the importance of the mechanics and structure of language while exposing them to ancient culture and history. Learning Latin leads to improvement in English skills like grammar and reading. It also exposes students to great authors like Ovid and Vergil that they may not read in English classes. “

Numerous studies show that students who have taken Latin consistently outperform all other students on the verbal portion of the SAT, have higher grade point averages, accelerated reading and vocabulary skills, improved math problem solving abilities, improved study skills and greater knowledge of ancient history and culture. Lots of famous people have studied Latin, including popular authors J.K. Rowling and Toni Morrison, poet Langston Hughes, Coldplay singer Chris Martin, civil rights leader W.E.B. DuBois, and former president Bill Clinton (in fact, most former presidents studied Latin.) It is not surprising, therefore, that many of the top academics in the 2013 senior class are Latin students. Still not convinced? Check out this or this or this.

UCHS sophomore Andrew White acknowledges the academic aspects of studying Latin:

"There are lots of Latin roots in English and romance languages so by taking Latin you are learning several languages for the price of one”, but he also appreciates how a good teacher can make it fun, "Learning about the history and mythology is also very interesting if the teacher assigns creative and fun projects. It can be fun to give these classic stories a new twist by filming updated versions, with friends playing gods, for example. We once even cast a cat as the cyclops."

2013 graduating senior and Latin student Grace Deitzler is heading to Missouri S&T this fall to study Biological Sciences and Information Technology. She credits her study of Latin with greatly expanding her scientific vocabulary and her familiarity with terms common in her coursework. Plus, she says, she had a lot of fun.

To be sure, Latin classes are academically challenging. Students must master vocabulary and grammar and derivatives and declensions and lots of translating, along with a serious dose of Roman history, culture, and mythology. But the magic of our Latin classes, the secret ingredient that has made them so popular for so many years, is that the kids have fun. Serious fun, of the kind that spawns a deep and abiding love of learning, not just Latin but across all subjects and disciplines. but our marvelous teachers. Plus, and perhaps most importantly, UCHS Latin students have fun and develop a genuine love of learning.

Our Latin program is something we can be really proud of. In fact, all four UCHS 2013 Valedictorians were Latin students and even incorporated Latin into their commencement speech. 2011 UCHS grad Elliot Wilson (who was president of both Missouri Junior Classical League and the National Junior Classical League while a student at UCHS) loved Latin so much that he is now studying classics at Harvard University! Latin produces top students, and top students love Latin. If you ask them why they study Latin they may well tell you, Ad Vitam Paramus (we are preparing for life), and they truly are!

Many thanks to Brittany Woods Middle School teachers Wu Bakeman and Thomas Riesenberger and UCHS teacher Jennifer Whinney for their help with this post!

Monday, June 3, 2013

From the University City Musician Documentary Project

The University City Musician Documentary Project recently posted this blog on the University City Patch. We love what it has to say about the district's rich heritage in music and arts education and how they prepare our students for future careers both in and out of the music and arts fields.

U. City Native Tom Seltzer Brings Jazz Icons To Life In New York City

Music and the music programs of the University City School District have affected students and influenced their entire lives even if they didn't go on to be professional musicians.

While researching and interviewing for this music documentary project, we have found that music and arts education as part of the general education in the University City Public Schools has been at the core of what the district has wanted to instill in all students and it's literally written in stone on the front of University City Senior High School. Whether or not students go on to be professional musicians or not has not been the goal. Rounding out pupils and giving them a broad base of knowledge and artistic sensibilities to take on to their careers for the rest of their lives seems to have been the aim.

U. City native and UCHS alumni of the class of 1988 Tom Seltzer is an illustrator, graphic designer, and marketing expert in New York City and has been there since he graduated from Columbia University. Even though he managed to make a living working for some of the largest financial firms in the world doing information graphics and artwork for years, he never really forgot or lost the influence that participation as a saxophonist in the bands at Brittany Woods and U. City High gave him.

Tom more than freely admits that he was never destined to be a professional musician of any sort because of that involvement, let alone go on to be one of the truly great jazz musicians that were in U. City during his era like Todd Williams, Jeremy Davenport,Peter Martin, or Christopher Thomas. But that acknowledgement does not mean that music had not permanently influenced his work and artistic expression.

Thursday, May 30th in the Park Slope section of Brooklyn, New York, Tom is debuting his original print series "Jazz" at "Dizzy's On Fifth", a restaurant and music venue. Stepping away slightly from his "day job" of running his own design studio and producing work for others, Tom has chosen to portray his interpretation of 11 of the greatest jazz icons ever in his own style for himself and for others to appreciate (or even buy). Fresh looks at Louis Armstrong, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, Billie Holiday, Charles Mingus, Thelonious Monk, Charlie Parker and Sonny Rollins are what Tom has put up for the world to see and even get at home on his website. He has even invited his sister Eve Seltzer, another U. City native and UCHS graduate to come and perform with The 11th Street Trio for the evening's entertainment.

And beyond the debut of Tom's own artwork with storied musicians, he has already teamed up with musicians of today to help them interpret their artistic visions. Internationally known jazz musicians like Nicholas Payton and David Gilmore as well as noted Broadway musical theater composer and U. City native Jeremy Schonfeld have called on Tom and his skills. And even more noteworthy because of the nature of this blog, we want to let you know that Tom is the designer of the logo for The University City Musician Documentary Project also, at the request of the director of the project Rod Milam.

Tom is one of many people we have found so far who have passed through the music programs of the University City School District, not gone on to become a musician or music professional, but have used the influence of the music classes they had later on in their lives and careers. This pattern seems to show that what many of the music educators we've interviewed so far were trying to do was successful. Their main goal of not producing professional musicians, but producing people literate in the world of music to the point where applying some of what they learned in class to their lives, lives on. And it seems to live on so well in some former students that expressing that musical influence today is as natural to them as using parts of any of the other disciplines they were taught in school. This and some other factors seem to be what makes up the soul of many of the U. Citians far and wide that we've encountered so far.

The original posting of this article can be found here