Welcome to WRA Voices!
What is it like to attend WRA? What makes it different than other schools? No one knows better than the students themselves. In WRA Voices, Ajay '16, Caitlin '16, Kyle '16, Anna '15, Niraj '16, Joey '15, Jessica '15, Cat '15, Sophie '15 and Cristen '16 share their perspectives on anything and everything WRA. Read on!
This past weekend, the Morgan Leaders ventured far past Reserve’s campus and found ourselves smack-dab in the heart of Ohio, Columbus. The eight of us had the wonderful chance to meet with former Reserve students and hear all about their careers. With completely different jobs, each alumni had an exciting perspective on life after college.
Jennifer Peterson, Class of ‘84, explained how going to college campuses and talking to students helped her develop the clothing line PINK, Victoria’s Secret’s little sister. William ‘Bill’ Emery, Class of ‘76, elaborated on his donut truck raids while at Reserve and that even at his age he still has no idea what he wants to do but more of what he does not want to do. Gavrilo Gnatovich, Class of ‘75, introduced us to the world of cartoons and that even adults can create an imaginary world.
Whether it be Class of ‘84 or ‘75, cartoonist or private equity investor they all detailed the importance of their Reserve experience. As seniors, this trip showed us the big bad world of business really isn’t too scary. The valuable and very different tips and tactics that each alumni introduced will surely help in any field we pursue.
What I will personally take away from this weekend getaway is the fact that Reserve is still a huge part of these people’s lives. Far past their graduation days, they still hold their WRA stories and Senior Putz close at heart as well as the friends they made within the brick casing of WRA. Even after continuing their academic career on to impressive colleges, they all attributed part of their success to Reserve. Whether it be the roommate they had, the teachers they encountered, or the passions they discovered; Reserve left a lasting impression.
With my own graduation day right around the corner, it came as a relief knowing that these last few weeks are not leading to a sad and abrupt ending, but toward a new beginning as a Reserve alumni.
Each year the WRA boys lacrosse team takes a week or so out of spring break to make time for a lacrosse trip. In years past the lacrosse team has gone to Florida for a week of training and scrimmages. This year, however, things were a little different. Instead of going to the sunny beaches of Florida, the lacrosse team voyaged down to Philadelphia and Baltimore for two regulation games as well as practices and, of course, some fun team-building activities.
Before traveling south, we convened in Hudson for two days of intense training. After six practices in 48 hours, on the third day we loaded up the bus at 6 a.m. Our trip started with a drive to Philly to play the Hill School. After a hard fought battle, we unfortunately could not pull out a ‘W’ against a talented Hill School as we lost 5-1. Nonetheless, with our first game behind us we felt confident as we began preparing for our next game against St. Andrew’s Episcopal School out of Rockville, MD. Before we played St. Andrew’s we made an afternoon pit stop to visit the University of Maryland. We met with WRA alumnus Kyle Bernlohr, a 2011 graduate. He is the starting goalie at Maryland and is recognized as one of the best players in the country this year. After we watched a UMD practice, Kyle was able to give us a tour of the lacrosse facilities. He talked to us about how important his experiences at WRA were and gave us some overall life advice. The next day we had two practices to prep for our big game against St. Andrews. After an all around great game by the boys, we were able to get the win against St. Andrews 8-2. After our win, we drove to Johns Hopkins University to watch the Blue Jays take down Rutgers University. Being able to watch a game at Hopkins’ Homewood Field, one of the most historic lacrosse venues in the country, was incredible and one of the many highlights of the trip. That night, the last night of the trip we went to Joe’s Crab Shack and pounded over 50 lbs. of seafood as a team, a wonderful end to a memorable trip.
The annual WRA lacrosse trip is a great example of the many athletic opportunities available at WRA. There are not many other schools that offer an athletic opportunity like this. Although we came out of the trip with a 1-1 record, the journey provided us not only the chance to advance our skills as a lacrosse team in preparation for our MSLCA league games, but, also, this year’s lacrosse trip succeeded in one of the primary goals of these annual events — helping to build team chemistry and lasting memories for all of this year’s WRA boys lacrosse players.
Although schedules depend on what classes you take and what activities you are involved in, I hope to help prospective students understand how a regular school day works:
First period and second period (8:20-10:05): Two 50 minute classes. Although I am somewhat predisposed to enjoy Monday morning because of my sleep in (first period off), I enjoy the Monday schedule because you have a break between every two classes. Second period is A.P. physics, enough said.
Morning Meeting (10:10-10:40): An enjoyable blend of This I Believe speeches, the alma mater, a few sports announcements and general “housekeeping” announcements. However, Morning Meeting is a nice way to break up the morning and bring the community together over a funny video announcing prom or an announcement by the theatric Mr. Ong recounting the struggles of few students brave enough to take on A.P. U.S. history or A.P. econ.
Third and fourth period (10:45-12:30): Two 50 minute classes, creative writing followed by English. As a senior, all of the English classes are scheduled for the same period because you have the opportunity to switch teachers during the second semester because they are semester-based classes. Both classes stretch my mind creatively, so it is a nice break after physics.
Lunch (12:30-1): Although Mondays have shorter lunches than the hour-long lunches on Tuesdays and Thursdays, it is a great opportunity to see friends who aren’t in your classes, and the dining hall has great options for all students.
Fifth and Sixth Period (1:15-3:00): The last two classes of the day. I have A.P. calculus followed by dance class. There is nothing I love more than ending the day with dance class! As a dancer, I love that I can take art classes during the day (they are actually required for any incoming freshman).
Sports practice! (4 -6): Reserve has many options for all seasons. This year I played volleyball in the fall and I swam in the winter. I currently dance after school. It is great to get to see people outside of your grade. It really opens up the community, and you meet so many people!
Sit-down dinner (6:30-7:15): Students sit with their friends and the teacher of their choosing for a family-style dinner twice a week (Monday and Thursday). Although day students are not required to attend as boarders are, sit-down dinners allow students the opportunity to see teachers outside of class and get to know each other on a more personal level as in a mentorship.
Study hours at the library or in the dorms (7:30-9:30): Time to do homework! I usually stay a couple of nights a week to see my friends or if I need to work on a project.
Go to sleep after completing my homework usually around eleven or (on a bad night) midnight.
Then the next morning, you start over. Although this schedule seems daunting at first, it becomes extremely natural. Even though students at Reserve work hard, I find comfort in getting the chance to see my friends; that is what makes the Reserve community so strong.
|More than just delicious burritos!|
During the demanding weeks at Reserve as we suffocate under heaps of homework and the stress amplifies, the weekend serves as the bright light at the end of the tunnel. From 5:45 p.m. on Friday, after sports practice ends, until 11 p.m. on Saturday, Reserve students are liberated from the classroom and can enjoy as they please. These two days serve as a refuge from the deadlines, tests and all the burdens of school life. We do not have to worry about completing homework and can spend this precious times with friends.
Some of my most favorite WRA memories have come from the long hours spent in glorious Hudson. This routine always starts on Saturday at noon. After coming out of ECHO, my friends and I eagerly wait for each other, anxious for our adventure into the depths of downtown Hudson.
Our first stop is Chipotle, a common sanctuary for Reserve students. While eating our delicious concoction, we sit and talk about various affairs, laughing and truly enjoying the moment. These moments are fascinating because we can spend hours talking without running out of things to say, making the whole moment even greater. After three hours at Chipotle and polite requests from the staffers to leave, we take our adventure to another establishment, Cold Stone Creamery.
As a post-lunch confection, ice cream has the ability to provide our stomachs with sweet pleasure as well as serve as means for more laughter and enjoyment among friends. Our conversation perfectly picks up right where it left off and before we know he have spent another 2 hours eating ice cream. Then we migrate to the open fields, right in the center of downtown, to just sit in the grass and enjoy our time with each other. Before we know it, the sun has fallen and it is 6 p.m. We make the trek back to campus and have the option to spend time in the Green Key or participate in any of the weekend activities (movie runs, bowling trips, sports competitions, etc...).
Almost at the end of my junior year, I think these weekend excursions have made my WRA experience much better. This time has allowed to develop close friendships as well as create memories I will happily look back on. I think this aspect of Reserve, the freedom to spend time wherever you like, makes it a special, warm place for all.
Hi all! Welcome to my next food tour post! This time, I will take you to the following amazing places:
Basic information: Flip Side is owned by the same owner of Three Palms. Therefore, the environment is similar and the food is just as amazing! There is always a long line on weekends so it would be better to go during the week. The burgers and milkshakes are constantly rated the best in the Hudson area.
- Any burgers they have! My personal favorite is the ‘Say Cheese’ burger. It is just a simple cheeseburger yet the meat is awesome quality-fresh and juicy. I can always finish the entire burger on my own with a milkshake!
- Chef’s shake! It is my favorite milkshake on their menu and you will know why after I tell you what flavor it is. Peanut butter and pretzel! That’s right! It sounds amazing already doesn’t it? It tastes more like ice cream than milkshake due to the smooth texture and you can taste the real ingredients those shake makers put in :).
- Corn dogs! THEY ARE SO GOOD!!! Since I eat so much, a burger and a milkshake do not get me full enough, so corn dogs do the job! With a crispy outside and juicy hot dog inside, they are beyond amazing. They are always served fresh.
The wait can go up to half an hour or longer so make sure you go there early! The waiters and waitresses aren’t always fast since there are too many customers.
Basic information: I am from China and therefore, I crave Chinese food from time to time. My Asian soul would be knocking on my stomach to remind me that it’s time to inject some Chinese food, and Noble House is always my top choice. As someone who lived in China up till she was 16 years old, Noble House is one of the most authentic Chinese food restaurants I have ever been to. It even outraces some Chinese food restaurants in big cities like New York and Los Angeles.
- Eggplant Yu Shang! This is the one thing that I get every single time when I go because it is one of my favorite dishes in China. It is almost identical to the ones I can get at restaurants back in Shanghai. Eggplant is cooked with diced meat in soy sauce and it really is the best!
- Shrimp with Eggs! Yes! Noble house has its hidden menu and this is one dish that you cannot find on their official menu. However, it is too good to be left out. Take a bite and it can take me to Hong Kong where this dish is originated!
It is relatively pricey compared to other restaurants. It will cost two people around $40 for dinner. However, the environment is very nice and it’s definitely worth a shot! You can also order delivery on campus if you don’t feel like walking all the way downtown.
|Who doesn't enjoy a classic game night?|
One of my favorite parts of the week are Friday nights. Not because of the weekly TGIF party in the Green Key or my lack of homework, but because of what happens after we settle into the dorm for the night. Friday Nights, Mr. Yankay is on duty, and Mr. Yankay loves to play board games. The first time I saw him playing, I asked, “So, who’s winning?” Without missing a beat Mr. Yankay replied, “Oh, I’m always winning.” From Settlers of Catan to Texas Hold ‘Em to Werewolf, his duty nights are always so much fun and can get quite competitive.
We try to round up as many kids as we can in the dorm so the games will be entertaining. The numbers always vary but when we get a good turnout, you can be sure that it’s going to be a fun night! I remember when we played Texas Hold ‘Em, the atmosphere was so tense. No one is saying much but we all watch each other like hawks waiting for a tell or a sign that pushes the game in our favor. Mr. Yankay is an insanely good poker player so playing against him had me on the rocks. I held out as long, betting as safely and conservatively as I could, but one by one, my dormmates and I fell to his tactics. Mr. Yankay wasn’t lying when he said he always wins.
Friday nights always end the same way. We will be playing in the common room, yelling at each other about the smallest details of the game when we look at the clock. It’s almost 1:00 AM. We have class in the morning. We all laugh and call it a night. Mr. Yankay packs up his bags and heads out the door and before I know it, I am lying in bed wide awake still thinking about the game, waiting for next week when I just might be able to win.
|WRApotle is a huge hit on campus!|
In recent times, food at Reserve has been a highly discussed topic. More often than not, the food has been criticized for its lack of freshness, originality and overall taste. However, in the past few months, the dining services at Reserve have improved mightily. Thanks to a seemingly greater effort to provide not only better tasting food but a better variety of food offerings, Reserve’s new attitude toward its food has been received with praise.
Specifically, the addition of the “action” station at the south end of the dining hall has created a strong affinity for the food from the students. The “action” station is offered during lunch meals and typically serves a healthy and alternative option for students to eat. The best part about the “action” station is that the food is made right in front of you and you are able to customize your meal by choosing from the ingredients offered. Favorites at the action station have been “WRApotle” burritos and pasta bolognese. However, there seems to be one drawback to the “action” station: the line is almost always unbearably long, but that is only because it has become exponentially more popular since its debut.
In addition to the “action” station, other aspects of Reserve food, such as the main course offering and exhibition station, have also seen upgrades. Furthermore, at almost every dinner there is a pasta bar available to students. And, of course, there is always cereal and PB&J for those students who just want a quick and easy bite.
Recent betterments have also transpired at the WRA breakfast scene. Besides the daily offering of eggs, hash browns and pancakes/french toast, there is now a made-to-order omelette and smoothie station option that is available one to two times a week. These options let you pick and choose your own ingredients for a fresh smoothie or omelette. Improvements like these should help draw more students to breakfast, which, after all, is the most important meal of the day!
Finally, the dining hall staff has gone out of their way to make the dining experience at WRA more student friendly. Recently, an Ellsworth dining hall twitter page (@FLIKISD_WRA) has popped up that gives students updates on what will be served in the dining hall on any given day.
The recent enhancements to the food experience at WRA have been embraced and much appreciated by the entire WRA community and have made life at WRA all that much more enjoyable.
|Students take a break at BB!|
From the Chapel bells, to Morning Meeting, to seated meals, WRA is steeped in tradition. If we had a single defining word I am confident that it would be tradition. We are all so proud to be a part of the long-standing history of Reserve, be that in serious and formal traditions or just some annual lighthearted fun. While I know we all love our Chapel pews and blazers, this past Wednesday was one of the more fun and exciting traditions here at WRA, Bicknell Bonanza.
Many of us thought we left behind our jumpy-house fun at perhaps a 10th birthday party, but once a year Reserve brings back this wonderful memento from childhood. For one night a year, the MAC, our athletics building, is filled with blow up slides, jumpy houses, races, food, music and tons of fun. Whether you like racing against your friends or just dancing the night away, there really is a way for everyone to have a good time. It’s a great stress reliever and event to look forward to, plus it comes with the added bonus of a mandated no homework night! The three-hour event is capped off with a big raffle that every student is entered in, and many smiles.
It may not seem like a big deal, but traditions like Bicknell Bonanza are the best ones in my opinion. They are events of pure fun that we can look forward to every year. Even more so, they are ways to break up the monotony and stress of our school life. Every once in a while, we all need to just take a step back and revert to our childhoods, and Bicknell Bonanza is the perfect venue for this.
|Proud to be a book worm!|
As I waited for some type of inspiration before writing my English paper on The Sound and Fury, I came across a very apt article on the procrastinator’s best friend website, BuzzFeed: “16 Incredibly Terrible Synopses of Classic Books.” Some of the books appealed to the masses (Twilight, Harry Potter, The Hunger Games), but as I read, the number of scholarly books I recognized struck me. I had read 11 of the 16 books. Although I consider myself a somewhat avid reader, I felt pride in my school.
At some point, you start to think is all this work worth it? The papers, the late night reading, the tests. Although larger validation in the form of an award or grade can be nice, it is infrequent or relatively intangible. Then, something small like this comes along that makes me smile all day.
One of the approaches that sets Reserve’s English classes apart is our discussion-based examinations of texts. As a freshman, teachers expect you to read around 20 pages per night and have a plot-based understanding of the text, and as you mature they continue to expect more from you. If you observe a senior English class, you will find usually students run the discussion instead of the teacher. The teacher will ask a guiding question and then allow the students to bring up what they believe is most significant. This approach enables students to have a more personal connection with the novel and appreciate it because of their relationship with it.
The most impressive talent my teachers have is the ability to make me care about what I’m learning instead of just getting the “right” answer. Especially in subjective classes like English, a novel only has the meaning we apply to it, shifting from person to person.
Although I do occasional reach a point where I just have to write an essay to turn it in on time, I try to avoid this because it can ruin a book you love. School can sometimes seem to be nothing but stress. However, every once in a while I find little moments to take a step back and realize what a great opportunity I have had these past four years.
|Cristen's favorite quote!|
"When we make a change, it’s so easy to interpret our unsettledness as unhappiness, and our unhappiness as the result of having made the wrong decision. Our mental and emotional states fluctuate madly when we make big changes in our lives, and some days we could tight-rope across Manhattan, and other days we are too weary to clean our teeth. This is normal. This is natural. This is change."
Entering high school, I was fully confident and ready to take on Western Reserve Academy—what I thought it was at least. Within my first semester, I became extremely stressed out; the balance of a heavy workload, athletics and a social life were weighing down on me. Coming from a small middle school, where my entire grade was comprised of 42 people, I wasn’t used to seeing so many new faces in a day and it was becoming overwhelming.
By the end of the first semester I was starting to question whether or not WRA was the right place for me, and I was going to transfer schools. After some consideration, I realized that I was completely wrong. I realized that I had a problem with change and what it brought to my life at that time.
Starting my second semester at Reserve freshman year, I tried very hard to change my outlook on WRA and by May of 2013 I was in love with high school. Every day I looked forward to coming to school and meeting new people. It was necessary for me to take a step back and get some perspective.
When I was an oblivious freshman, I needed to understand that change is constantly happening and is crucial to move forward with life. I wasn’t comfortable with change happening so quickly, but Reserve has made me appreciate change.
Now, as I’m close to the end of my junior year, I can’t imagine myself at any other high school. The opportunities that are open to me and my peers every day here at Reserve are extremely rare and amazing. I’m confident that I will always keep the relationships I’ve made here, and Reserve will forever hold a special place in my heart.
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