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, Anna '15, Joey '15, Sophie '15, Caitlin '16 and Kristina '16 share their perspectives on anything and everything WRA. Read on!
Wednesday, smack dab in the middle of the week – with Friday, the bright light at the end of the tunnel, just out of hands reach – Reserve students usually find themselves suffocating under mounds of homework, sport practices and Netflix episodes. Reaching midweek, the last thing students want to do is sit through an hour long assembly in the Chapel. Surprisingly enough, before I was about to surrender to exhaustion right in my Chapel pew, in came marching thirteen men in tails. Dressed to the nines, they took over the Chapel stage with poise and excitement. My nap could wait.
The Yale Spizzwinks(?), America’s first and oldest a cappella group, ventured far past their campus in Connecticut and came prepared to entertain on the grounds of WRA. Serenading the crowd with songs like Frank Sinatra’s The Way You Look Tonight, Let it Be by the Beatles, and Chicken Fried by Zac Brown Band, they managed to incorporate every genre – all within a forty-five minute time slot. Besides their harmonic voices and fabulous selections of songs, these Yale students brought with them a comedic and amusing humor; Harvard, Yale’s rival, being the butt end of most of their jokes. Each man, though all dressed the same, brought a unique flare to the overall performance.
The Spizzwinks(?), yes, the question mark is included in their name, tour both nationally and internationally. After their kickoff in Cleveland, they head cross-country to San Diego, Ventura, and Albuquerque, continue onto Florida and finish off their season in Turkey and South Africa. After their performance, Spizzwink members stuck around and answered questions. While eavesdropping, I heard words like “a-ca-awkward” and Pitch Perfect. Though a cappella groups are far from a new concept, with the help of Rebel Wilson’s hilarious character and Anna Kendrick’s voice, in the movie Pitch Perfect, a cappella groups have become the new rage. If you get the chance to see the Yale Spizzwinks(?), take it; you will not be disappointed.
Stress. The whole of senior year is filled with it. This semester is the last, and probably the most important, of our academic transcripts. On top of schoolwork, we have common apps, essays, supplements, and more to fill out in order to apply to college. Sports and social events cram the weekends as well. It’s impossible to fit everything in and do everything justice. However, we must make choices and live with the results.
My life is getting out of hand with all of the applications and work I have to do. But, Western Reserve Academy offers so much help for anyone experiencing difficult time, for whatever reason. There are application help nights and informational meals with college admissions representatives. Some Saturdays are devoted to working on the college process. Teachers accommodate the needs of students and write awesome letters of recommendation. WRA really steps up and delivers for their students in these times of overwhelming stress.
Life isn’t crazy for only the seniors though. Many other students receive help for their various needs as well. Teachers are probably the best resource on campus. They are always available to talk. They hold extra help sessions in the evenings. They even open up their homes to students. At times, life at WRA seems overbearing and too difficult. But so many people want to see students succeed that it’s hard to get completely lost in the shuffle. Although WRA seems like an intimidating place with unbearable amounts of work, not only is the help amazing, but also the rewards for all of one’s efforts are immense.
Joseph Anthony Mylott
WRA Student Life
on Friday October 17 at 02:23PM
Coming to Reserve with little experience with any sports, I can confidently say that my tennis experience has transformed me into a person who is passionate about things I do, and helps me put 100% effort in everything if possible. After practicing everyday under the burning sun over summer, I finally made varsity. It may sound normal for people who have been playing sports for most of their lives; but for someone who picked up her racquet for the first time during her sophomore year, it is a great accomplishment. From the achievement I obtained, I learned that if I put enough effort in something I am passionate about, it will pay off eventually.
Stepping back on the tennis court during preseason, I was so excited when Sebastien, our tennis coach, announced to the team that I secured the last spot on varsity. All my hard work over the summer paid off. Even though I was taking college credit courses at Brown University, I did not give up on playing tennis. I would go out to play in between my two classes and I never stopped or found any excuse for myself not to go. Sometimes I did not even have time to shower before the second class, but I didn’t mind; I loved playing tennis. I wanted to get better and I desired to be a part of the team. When I heard Sebastien’s positive feedback on how much I have improved and saw my teammates’ smiley faces, I knew everything I did was worth it. Tennis continued on teaching me lessons during the season.
One day before a match, Sebastien made the girls go to the “T” on the tennis court as usual. And there, I learned one of the best lessons in my life; he said, “Hey girls, I want you to remember one thing. You get to play tennis, you don’t have to, but you get to. You guys choose to be here so let’s play and enjoy yourself and put 100% effort in this match.” “Right”, I thought, “we get to play tennis. No one told me to put so much effort in this sport; it is my own will doing so, so why not give the best possible?” After that, I gave all I have every time when I step on the tennis court. I move my feet; I look at the ball; I reach to get every single ball possible because I get to play tennis. It is such a privilege that I get to step on the court every day and do something I love to do for two hours.
Tennis season is officially over, but everything this sport taught me will last, and it will benefit me in everything else that I am doing in life. A special thank you to Coach Barsella, who taught me how to hit a tennis ball, and to Jevs who encouraged me and inspired me to be the tennis player I am today, and to Sebastien who offered me the opportunity to play, who trusted me with my ability of winning. And finally, thank you to the entire tennis team who made my senior season. Reserve tennis, you will be missed.
Intercultural understanding is a very important aspect of our daily life at Reserve. Not only are we lucky to have so many nationalities, beliefs, and cultures existent in the students and faculty, but we’re also lucky that our teachers encourage us to immerse ourselves into culture as much as possible and take advantage of the awesome opportunities Reserve offers. Sunday, September 28, is Confucius day. On this day, we honor our amazing educators for all they do. Ms. Chen, our Mandarin teacher, took many students from all levels of the Chinese program to the Cleveland Museum of Natural History to view a presentation from The Confucius Institute (孔子學院). The vibrant showcase included traditional Chinese dancing, singing, instrumentation, and painting, as well as a martial arts display. Each act was different, and extremely unique. The colorful acts were extremely fun to watch due to the energy and passion of the performers. Overall, the showcase allowed us to learn a lot about the cultural values, beliefs, and legends. Following the performance, we had the privilege to take a photo with all of the performers and meet the director of the Confucius Institute.
We were then given some time to explore the museum, where we learned about Chinese history in the new Silk Road exhibit in the museum, which traced the Silk Road back to its beginnings in Xi’an China. Finally, our last stop on the trip was to Pacific East, a restaurant where we all enjoyed bubble tea and dumplings, a great way to end a day filled with fun and culture. Ms. Chen is an amazing teacher who invests herself into our education, well-being, and growth; characteristics which are evident in the opportunities she creates for us to learn about and appreciate Chinese culture.
Sometimes in a boarding school it’s easy to get sucked into a bubble. We eat here, sleep here, go to classes here, study here, live here-- everything we do is centered in this one place and it makes it easy to lose sight of the world around us. Luckily, twice a year we have the opportunity to zone out of our stressful school lives and tune into the broader community around us: community service day, also known as Go MAD (Go Make a Difference). While WRA plans many wonderful service trips to the Dominican Republic, Ghana, and Pine Ridge Reservation, it’s always nice to see the impact you can have in people’s lives right around you. This past Friday marked our first community service day of the year and it was a great opportunity to step outside of our usual lives and make a difference in someone else’s.
There are endless opportunities on community service day for how you’d like to help: making food to donate, volunteering at a local Goodwill or Salvation Army, or raising money for the Wounded Warrior Project, just to name a few. This year, I was part of a group that made blankets to give to the homeless and knitted hats for babies at a local hospital. It was a really great day to have fun with friendswhile actually feeling like I could have some small impact on someone’s life for the better. But regardless of who’s in your project’s group, it’s great to know that on this day, we gather as a small school community to go out and help the broader community we live in, making community service day one of my favorite days of the year.
Catherine is so excited to have been cast in this year's fall musical!
I, Catherine Berry, one of the five second graders who could not embody enough talent to secure a spot in my elementary school's children's choir, thought that I would try my luck at auditions for the upcoming school musical, The Addams Family. Nervous chitter chatter filled the theater as rookies and old timers filtered into the auditorium chairs. Talking turned into group singing and eventually matured into partner auditions. Two by two, singers of all levels tried their hand at the audition piece. Bless my partner that had to put up with my inability to stay on key, hold a rhythm, control a tempo, or read music for that matter. I thought that with nine additional years under my belt and many extra shower solos, I must be a little better than my old elementary self. To say the least, you'll be seeing me in the audience! At the end of the day, I realized singing was not something you magically picked up over time, go figure! But, I did it. I summed up more courage than talent and gave it my all. What I am getting to is, go for it. Skip study hours for an evening and try out for at least one theatrical production. That is the great thing about dear ol' Reserve; even those who are more into athletics or academics still have the chance to try out for our school’s shows. With three shows every year ranging from monster-esque musicals to powerful plays and even a spirited Shakespeare sonnet, there is a little something for everyone. Any Reserve student can tell you, we don't have the sports “jocks”, theater “geeks” or academic “nerds” because we all mesh into the same group of green blazer-wearing fools. So put it on your Reserve Bucket List to try out and if you do not get in, they could always use help backstage.
As the excitement of starting school begins to fade away, the reality of senior year sets in. The life of a WRA student seems busy enough before adding all the tasks of senior year. Leading campus, taking AP classes, captaining sports teams, and applying for college all must be done at the same time. This time of year tends to be the most stressful for seniors, but I think it is also the most exciting.
Students and faculty alike are ready for the new year!
The fall brings our diverse Reserve community back together in one place. The multitude of events that take place this season will both entertain and consume us. The trick is finding time for everything among all the chaos. Focusing on schoolwork and college applications is extremely important, but setting apart extra time to soak in senior year is also vital. Without doing so, we would all go crazy and miss some amazing opportunities. All students need to enjoy themselves and their time at WRA, especially before they realize that it is too late. The last thing I want to do is look back and know that I missed out on making the most of my high school experience. All the long nights of studying and essay writing come with going to school at WRA, but so does all the fun of a boarding school. We all like to think that we are content with our situations, but the fact of the matter is that we probably have not taken full advantage of all the opportunities placed before us. Sports events, the musical, plays, dance performances, the talent show, weekend activities: all of these things are available to WRA students. But how often are the seats packed at an important game or a performance?
Seniors, and freshmen, too: I encourage you to do everything you can while at WRA, because before you know it, it will be over.
Joseph Anthony Mylott
WRA Student Life
on Saturday September 6 at 10:36PM
You do not feel like you are back at Reserve until the Back to School Bash takes place. And it happened this past Saturday. After almost three months of a peaceful and placid summer, WRA students returned.
Sophie and friends wait in line for the rocket car.
The green was full of people playing frisbee, hitting the volleyball and running around. The line of foursquare looped around the street, and the roar of victory sounded incredibly real. People were dancing on the patio, listening to music and putting WRA stickers on their faces to show their Reserve pride. Dining hall staff prepared great food and dessert for us to enjoy on the sunny summer day. Mr. Peterson was helping out, and Dr. Newman brought out his dog to say hello to everyone. Seeing all the enthusiastic faculty members, WRA students and Pioneer Women who help to make Reserve life the most fun, I knew I was back, back in the community that is so tight that it feels like a warm and welcoming family. Seeing my old friends was like reuniting with my sisters. Some people might have a test this week, and some might have a lot of work to do (as Reserve wants us to perform the best in all aspects of our high school careers); the workload, however, did not matter at all at the Back to School Bash. The laughing sound was almost like its own song.
I am a senior this year, so this was my third Back to School Bash. The Rocket Car never fails to entertain me! Even though the wait time in the line was 40 minutes, it was worth it. Everyone was excited to get on the Rocket Car and tour around Hudson without a care. The wind was blowing my hair and I could smell the grass. Summer in Hudson does not last long enough, but when it is here, it is amazing.aculty members, WRA students and Pioneer Women who help to make Reserve life the most fun, I knew I was back, back in the community that is so tight that it feels like a warm and welcoming family. Seeing my old friends was like reuniting with my sisters. Some people might have a test this week, and some might have a lot of work to do (as Reserve wants us to perform the best in all aspects of our high school careers); the workload, however, did not matter at all at the Back to School Bash. The laughing sound was almost like its own song.
The Back to School Bash truly gave us the best way to start a new year at WRA, whether it is the first or last. Here is to the best new year!
Each year, as students return to campus for preseason, an atmosphere of invigoration and excitement flows through the community. Preseason itself is a very unique time; without the pressures of classes, old and new students come together on the field, in the locker room, at meals, during activities, and all throughout campus. This year is my third on the girl’s soccer team. Although each season has been better than the last, my freshman season, in particular, sticks with me. As someone who seldom played sports prior to my time at WRA, I struggled to keep up with the experienced players on the team. Although the varsity players had the option of continuing workouts at their own pace, they made the decision to run with me, lending help and encouragement to me throughout the workouts.
The varsity girls didn’t choose to do the easy thing, but they did choose compassion and love. In this way, they demonstrated the Reserve tradition of integrity, compassion, and excellence, which is passed from class to class. Their actions embodied the character and love shown on a daily basis by all members of the Reserve community. Although the people on the team have changed, the spirit, love, and respect remains constant.
In a team talk, Mr. DiBiase, our coach, stated, "The difference between our team at WRA and other teams is not in the practice; it’s in the soul. You all spend so much time together that you can trust not only in yourself, but in each other.” At all levels of the soccer program, teammates are respected and celebrated. That’s what I love most about Reserve: the bonds formed on the fields or in the dining hall or in the classroom all create a safe space. The amazing and unique thing about life here at Reserve is the emphasis on little things: opening doors for each other; helping with homework; supporting each other in sporting events, in plays, and in the classroom. Although these isolated actions might seem minuscule, the collective actions of everyone, on and off the field, make Reserve my home.
Before coming to WRA, I was really worried that I wasn’t going to be able to dance here, at least not every day as I had been used to at home. However, my worries were wiped away quickly when I found out that WRA had just hired a new dance teacher the previous year and that the dance program was much better than it had been in the past. Although I was still slightly worried it wouldn’t be the same as I was used to, I was hopeful that it could still be a wonderful experience, and it definitely has been.
Anna loves dance at WRA!
The dance program here focuses on modern, ballet, and jazz, but we also sometimes try other things like pointe, hip hop, or tap. It really forces me to step outside of my balletic comfort zone and realize how much I love all forms of dance. Mrs. Barth, the dance instructor, always finds a way to make class fun and different even for beginners who have never danced before.
Every year, Mrs. Barth designs two amazing performances, one of which was this past Saturday. This performance, called “Our Playlist/ Recently Played,” focused on modern music, which made it really fun! I love setting milestones to strive for every year with the performances, and so many students and parents coming out to see the show makes it very exciting. The dance program is definitely one of my favorite things about WRA because it is such a great escape from all the stress of school and a fun class to always look forward to.
Anna Karen Ballard
on Tuesday May 13 at 02:24PM