Tuesday, November 11, 2014

UCHS Cross Country Leads the Sports Pack

The University City High School Cross Country team just finished its 2014 season. Closing out the regular season was an exciting race at the district meet. Clayton won as expected, and MICDS (the pre-season favorite) and UCHS battled it out for the second state spot. MICDS prevailed, but it came down to the fifth runner and a mere difference of ten points.

Even so, UCHS placed four runners in the top 15 with Derrick Freeman, Isaac Levan, Cleo Pleasant and Benjamin Pomerantz qualifying for state. This is the best representation UCHS has had at the state meet in a number of years.  The UCHS team also had five personal records on the day, so districts was a very successful meet. 

The cross country team is one of the most successful sports teams at University City High School. The team is fortunate to have James Crowe, an UCHS alum, and parent to two UCHS alums, coaching the team.  Coach Crowe has made the team’s mission – for University City cross country athletes to develop their running abilities in a supportive and positive environment.  Each athlete learns teamwork, self- discipline, dedication, integrity and sportsmanship and carry these skills over into their academic and professional lives. 

Summer training will be starting before long and the Alumni/Team- 2 mile time trial is tentatively scheduled for Saturday August 9. Anyone interested in joining the team can contact Coach James
Crowe xccoachcrowe@gmail.com.

The UCHS Cross Country team has a long tradition of success both on the field and in the classroom. Here are just a few facts:

  • The 2006 boys' team won the District meet and took 12th at the State meet.

  • The 2008 boys' team was runner up at districts and took 5th at State.

  • Since 2005, no boys' team has finished less than 4th at Districts.

  • Since 2005 the UCHS Cross Country team has had three different individual runners win Districts (David Lambus twice, Brian Hart, and Ali Klooster, twice).

  • At state UCHS has had girls finish as high as 4th (Ali Klooster) and 7th (Anna Shafer-Skelton) and boys finish as high as 4th and 6th (David Lambus).

  • In years when the UCHS team did not qualify, individual team members qualified for State. In fact every year since 2004 UCHS has sent at least two boys (and most years more than that), and at least one girl runner (most years more than that) to State.

  • In 2012 and 2013 the class valedictorians were cross country runners.  Since 2000 there have been 7 class valedictorians that have been members of the cross country team.

  • David Lambus holds the boy's UCHS record of 16:15 set in 2010.  Ali Klooster holds the girl's record of 19:46, set in 2006.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

UCHS Robotics Team Wins Tournament

The University City High School Robolions (FRC team 3397) took first place in the 2014 Gateway Robotics Challenge, held at Hazelwood Central High School on September 13, 2014.  The Robolions competed against 25 teams from across the midwest in the inaugural year of this off-season event.  

After a day of intense competition, the Robolions advanced to the semi-finals with their alliance partners team 1985, the Robohawks from Hazelwood Central and team 2481, the Roboteers from Peoria, IL.

The team will compete again in November at the Cow Town ThrowDown in Kansas City.

You can read more about UCHS robotics here and follow the Robolions on facebook. 

2014 season competition robot, "Ulysses"

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Because She's Happy: 2014 UCHS Salutatorian Speech

A beautiful, inspirational speech from 2014 UCHS Salutatorian Molly Patterson.


Do what makes you happy.

Life may be long for you,
Or life may be short,
Either way life is precious,
And whether you have a lot of time to live happily,
Or only a little,
Be the happiest you can be at every moment.

Studies show that the happier you are,
The longer you live.
So choose to be happier for longer,
Instead of sadder for shorter.

Ignore the norm and pay attention to your heart, or whatever guides you,
Know that you will get hurt, but don’t let it stop you.
Know that you can learn something from everyone,
And that knowledge is power.
So when in Rome, talk to those around you, in whatever language or hand gestures you can,
Communication is the ultimate ability.
When given lemons, make lemon meringue,
They say food is the way to the heart, not lemonade.
When given an opportunity, take it.
It may lead you to the love of your life,
Or the heartbreak of the century.
Either way, you learned.

Keep a smile on your face,
Maybe someday it will freeze like that.

Whether you are a leader or a follower,
A professor or a student,
You have something powerful to teach another,
So teach and be taught,
And you will live longer.

That poem contained my words of advice given to my AP Lit class a week ago today.  A class containing one amazing teacher and nine students, two of whom received full rides to their dream universities, yet somehow I am up on this stage speaking to you today.  My class has had our ups and our downs throughout the thirteen years I have been a student at University City, but I am glad to have been with this particular group of people on our own personal roller coaster.  As I have heard so many alumni say in the past, I am proud to have attended University City Schools.  I am proud to be part of such an intellectually diverse group of people, who will continue to be a part of me wherever I go in life.
  While many of us may not make it too far from University City after graduation, such as Mr. Carter, Mr. Kelton, and all of the other University City alumni who came back to make our district the best it can be, I know there will be others who may even surpass Nelly, I know we have at least one Beyonce and a few Steve Job’s out there.  But the truth is that it doesn’t matter how far we get, it’s about what we do with what we were given here at University City High School.  It’s about taking our knowledge and spreading it, taking our smiles and making them contagious, and it’s about never forgetting where we learned it.
  My goal is for the class of 2014 to change University City’s stereotypes, to someday never be asked again if I got a good education, if I felt safe, or if I would have gone anywhere else given the choice to.  I chose to attend University City schools and I wouldn’t change that decision.  I am discouraged by those questions and I want ours to be the class to demolish the stereotypes.  I want to come back twenty years from now and see that the ‘Hall of Fame’ has grown to be ‘The Halls of Fame’ and I want to see all of the faces I see in this audience up there on those walls.
  I have confidence in my dream and in every member of the class of 2014.  This class has had many wonderful opportunities, which would not have been possible without Mr. Maclin and Mrs. Johnson.  In the two years they have been at University City, the two of them have arranged a trip to Washington, D.C. to watch the Inauguration of our president, and a college tour trip all around Illinois.  These were experiences exclusive to our class and make us unique and greatly appreciative.  
For me, and I assume many of you here today, high school has been a time of stress, sports, and support.  In the midst of hard classes and busy seasons, I had Mrs. Miller, Mrs. Aboussie, and Mrs. I to help me out.  These three women, along with my parents, are the reason I am standing here today and I would like to thank them for all of their support.  University City’s amazing field hockey coach, Marissa Davenport-Shepard, has also had a huge part in my success as well as three other graduates here tonight.  I would like to thank the Class of 2014 for everything each individual has taught us, and the power I hope we will take from the knowledge that we have received and will carry on to our future endeavors.

Molly will be attending the Foster College of Business Administration at Bradley University in the fall, majoring in Business Administration and Business Management. 

Friday, April 4, 2014

UCHS Jazz Band Workshops with Peter Martin

The University City High School Jazz Band recently spent an afternoon with famed jazz pianist Peter Martin.  The band was invited, as they have been for the past ten years, to participate in a workshop at the Sheldon Concert Hall  in Grand Center.

Students had the outstanding opportunity to perform for Martin (himself a UCHS alum, class of 1987), who then gave them detailed feedback on their performance.  Students were free to ask questions, and topics covered included everything from how to achieve a more authentic New Orleans jazz sound to the complexities of syncopation to what makes the blues sound like the blues.

The workshop concluded with Martin accompanying the band on the piano, enabling these lucky students to claim that not only have they performed in one of the premiere concert halls in the nation, but also that they have played with one of the most acclaimed jazz pianists of our time.

Jazz Band Director Stan Coleman (a Yale University Distinguished Educator) consistently seeks out educational and performance opportunities for his students.  Over the years they have had the opportunity to work and play with many locally and nationally known musicians. In 2012 the jazz band won ten awards at the UMKC Jazz Festival, and they look forward to future festivals and competitions.

University City High School has a proud tradition of producing outstanding musicians, including the likes of Peter Martin, Jeremy Davenport, Marty Ehrlich, Ronnie Burrage, Wayne du Maine, David Harris, and most recently 2013 grad Zach Morrow, who just last week performed at the Monterrey Next Generation Jazz Festival. 

You can catch the current crop of UCHS jazz legends, along with some returning alumni, when they perform at the Starlight Concert Series this summer at Heman Park!

Band Director Stan Coleman
with Peter Martin

Photos by Kim Deitzler.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Journalism Awards

And now a word from the sponsor...

From: Williams, Mary [mailto:marywilliams@ucityschools.org]
Sent: Monday, March 10, 2014 8:00 PM
Subject: Journalism award winners today!

Please congratulate our journalism students who excelled at the Sponsors of School Publications of Greater St. Louis (SSP-STL) conference Monday at Webster University. All of our publications received an overall excellent rating, which is a testament to their teamwork and dedication. One of our newspaper students, Anna Russell, was awarded a Best of Show for her editorial cartoon. Below is a detailed list; however, all students on staff contributed to our success.

Overall Publication Awards
Excellent: Overall 2013 Yearbook, Madeline Lewis, Editor-in-Chief
Excellent: Overall 2013-2014 U-Times, Lily Lewis-Stump and Alice Mutrux, Co-Editors-in-Chief
Excellent: Overall utimesonline 2013-2014, Christine Politte, Web Editor
Newspaper Individual Awards
Best of Show: Editorial Cartoon, Anna Russell
Honorable Mention: Illustrations, Anna Russell
Honorable Mention: Sports Feature Story, Christine Politte
Honorable Mention: Sports News Story, Sophia Kenyon
Honorable Mention: In-Depth Story, Sophia Kenyon and Alice Mutrux
Yearbook Individual Awards
Superior: People/Classes Design, Marina Claunch and Reneise White
Honorable Mention: News Photography, Individual Photo, Eric Strand

Thanks, Mary
Mary C. Williams
University City High School

Publications Adviser/English Teacher

U Times - the UCHS newspaper can be found online at http://www.utimesonline.com.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Ronald McNair

Before Black History Month comes to a close, we wanted share a short story about the man for whom the McNair administration building was named. It's a reminder to always dream big.


I've never been good at math. Just hearing the word equations makes me anxious. Thankfully, my children didn't inherit their math gene from me. In fact, they excel at math and had the great opportunity to participate in the annual U. City Equations Open held every winter at UCHS.

The 2014 Equations teams hard at work

Equations is a board game played with dice that have numerical digits and arithmetic operators (+, -, X, etc.) that are used to make "goal" equations. Competitors improve mathematics skills while having fun in the process.

The start of an equations round
This year was the 17th annual U. City Equations Open. Tom and Mary Ellen Campbell started the tournament and coordinated the first 12 Opens. Judy Maffitt has been chairing the Equations Open since 2010 and is already planning for the 2015 event.

Judy, a Scrum Master for AT&T, and her husband Dave, a software engineer at the Electronic Radiology Lab at Wash U, moved to U. City in 1987. Both of their children attended Flynn Park, McNair, Brittany Woods and UCHS. Their son Kevin is now 23 and a Wash U graduate, and daughter Zoe is 20 and a Junior at Truman State University.

It is committed parents, volunteers and residents like Judy and Dave that make U. City the special community we all enjoy.

UCHS PTO moms run the concessions

The district also hosts a practice session for first-time teams to hone their skills a few weeks prior to the open. In addition to providing an opportunity for students to practice their math, logic and strategy skills, the Open hosts schools from across the region at UCHS and raises approximately $1,000 for the UCHS PTO.

Flynn Park Fifth Grade Team
Like the USFIRST robotic teams in the school district, equations allows kids who may not participate in sports teams to belong to a team. There is only one other Equations event in St. Louis and that is The Gifted Resource (GRC) Council's Academic Challenge. The U. City Open provides Equations teams the opportunity to prepare for that event and gives parents and coaches an opportunity to watch as no spectators are allowed at the GRC event.

For teams that want to get started there is good information on the GRC web site. There are also workshops held every October and November for parents and teachers interested in learning about Equations - and starting their own teams.

Flynn Park Third Grade Teams
Over 300 students attend the Open annually. For many students and their parents it is the first time stepping foot in the beautifully, historic UCHS building and gymnasium. If your school doesn't field a team there is plenty of time to get started. After all, who doesn't love kids playing a math-based game?

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Life Plan

Those that know me might describe me with adjectives such as hard working, good parent, community volunteer, gainfully employed, or activist. Most of the time I live up to those labels, but earning those labels wasn't such an easy path.

My path to adulthood was a rocky one. My parents were transient and sometimes I'd attend 2-3 schools in one school year - if I was enrolled in school at all. There were foster homes, a group home and eventually I landed with an Aunt and Uncle for my last three years of high school. Those three years are the only reason I even made it to college, but my journey was just beginning.

At the age of 17, I found myself in college with no money, no real support system and without the maturity or established direction to be successful. Thankfully there was something in my gut that told me I needed that college degree, but I had to fight and claw for four years to be able to cross the podium on graduation day.

My story is just one reason why I find the Lifeplan program at University City High School so exciting. An outgrowth of the California Mentor Foundation and the Evelyn Freed Mentor Center, Lifeplan believes if you change the conversation with a young adult, you change their choices. With all the distractions our society offers young adults these days, conversations that focus on the future and get students discussing what they want out of life can only be beneficial.

UCHS happens to be the first and only Missouri high school to implement Lifeplan, a mentoring program for teens. The program helps teens maneuver through high school and on through young adulthood helping "participants discover for themselves how to navigate the path of life, avoid the common pitfalls, and become successful thriving adults."

UCHS launched Lifeplan in the fall of 2011 with an inaugural group of 25 freshman and now all incoming freshman go through the program each year. After hearing other area high school administrators talk about the UCHS Lifeplan program, KMOV Channel 4 news visited UCHS and ran a feature on the program.

Many UCHS Alumni support this program financially and as mentors. If you'd like to get involved contact Mr. Ernest Carter, Assistant Principal via email at ecarter@ucityschools.org or phone at 314-290-4128.
logo - California Mentor Foundation logo - Evenlyn Free Mentor Center

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Pomp and Circumstance

In an earlier post we highlighted Brittany Wood students Ethan Braske, Selena Lewis, Torey Lowery, Alan Phillips, Daniel Pomerantz and Phoebe Thoroughman who were selected to play in the Desmond E. Lee Middle School Honor Band which performed Thursday, February 6 at the Touhill on the UMSL campus.

Below is a photo from the concert finale - what a thrill and an opportunity for our students to participant. Thanks to all of the students for representing University City and our schools wo well.

Photo courtesy of Melissa Pomerantz

Friday Night Lights

No, we're not talking football, but on Friday, January 24th the lights were on at many of the U. City schools this past Friday night. There was a basketball game at the high school, bingo night at Flynn Park, Cub Scout Chili Cookoff at Jackson Park, and the Winter Ball at Brittany Wood Middle School - what has become the social event of the season. Below are a few snapshots of all the fun.

Brittany Wood Winter Ball

Jackson Park Cub Scout Chili Cook-off
The U. City Fire Department chooses the winner of the "Judges Choice"

The JP Girl Scouts provide the home-baked desserts

It was a full house at the January 24 Chili Cook-off

The Road to Aerial Assist

The U. City High School Robolions robotics team is in the throes of building a robot to compete in the St. Louis regional First Robotics Competition (FRC) in March 13-15 at Chaifetz Arena. Winners will compete at the FIRST International Championship that will be held April at America's Center in St. Louis.

The Robolions have many new members this year and are rocking the six week build schedule - even with all the snow day delays. With new team members come new skill sets. Who says girls can't be electrical engineers?

Another team member created a new logo.

And another tech-savvy individual documented the team's progress to the Aerial Assist game with this video.

Did you notice the "Winner" banner hanging in the robotic lab? You've never seen anything like an FRC competition. Those kids rock the Chaifetz Arena. Come on out and join us in the Robolion cheering section in March and see if the Robolions bring home another banner.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Marnia Claunch Wins with Confidence

Marnia Claunch, UCHS senior is a 2013 Walgreens Expressions Challenge Finalist for Visual Arts in the St. Louis area. As a finalist, Marina has the opportunity to win up to $2,000 and $500 for her teacher.

The Walgreens Expressions Challenge is an incentive based program established to engage high school teens ages 14 to 18 in the conversation of healthy choices for their future through creative expression. 

For more details, visit www.expressionschallenge.com/.

Marnia Claunch's winning entry

Marnie also has a Facebook page for her artwork which you can view at https://m.facebook.com/profile.php?id=117124985041093.

Following Facebook

If you follow your friends on Facebook, then you need to "Like" the page for the School District of University City. The page is a great source of information for calendar events and school closings, but exciting news such as honored teachers and students. Here are a sampling of posts from the past couple of weeks.

Featured in the photo by Brittany Wood Band Director, Phil Forrester, are (left to right)
Braeske, Pomerantz, Lowery, Lewis, Phillips and Thoroughman.

These students were selected to perform in the E. Desmond Lee Middle School Honor Band. They have begun rehearsals and will be performing at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 6 at the Touhill on the UMSL campus. Doors open at 6 p.m. This event is free and open to the public.