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, Alex '14, Diane '14, Anna '15, Joey '15 and Sophie '15 share their perspectives on anything and everything WRA. Read on!
The change of sports seasons from winter to spring is upon us. This means that the weather will also begin to change, hopefully sooner rather than later. The WRA campus will once again return to its beautiful state with new the foliage of springtime. Although some people say that they enjoy WRA’s campus more in the fall because of the changing colors of the leaves, sprinkled in the trees and scattered on the lawn’s wide sweep, I beg to differ. I believe that spring brings about the best on our campus, as it transforms from the dead of winter to a picturesque postcard scene. It is truly amazing. Almost in sync with the changes in nature, the moods of WRA students seem to change to wonderfully outgoing. This new energy emanating from all the students also makes spring my favorite season at WRA. Smiles seem a little wider, eyes seem a little brighter, and spirits seem a little higher. The new plants, trees, and flowers light up the grounds, and the students light up the classroom. Baseball, my favorite sport, and lacrosse, a popular sport on campus, take full advantage of the new sunshine and begin practicing outside as soon as possible. Being outside helps the attitudes of everyone on campus reach soaring heights. The weather really makes a difference for the better at WRA in the springtime.
Joseph Anthony Mylott
on Tuesday March 4 at 08:12PM
Emma '14 and Cat '15 will miss playing togehter next year.
Recently, the girls basketball team celebrated Senior Night at a home game against Lutheran East. It was a night full of laughs, flowers, cheers, and tears. It was the first day of Mid-Winter break, so I expected little crowd. To my surprise, the gym was filled. Posters for the seniors were handmade and hung with care. Before the game, the seniors were recognized for their years participating in basketball, as well as for their school and extracurricular accomplishments. Morgan, Alena, Sophia, Miranda, and team captain Emma are the five seniors who will unfortunately depart from the team; our three managers, Chloe, Faith, and Victoria, are graduating as well. They were presented with flowers, picture frames, and notes from their fellow team members. As a junior, I discovered that these past two basketball seasons have allowed me to become closer than I ever expected to some of these seniors. Here at WRA, sports and clubs bring the grades together. JV freshman practice with the varsity seniors, and their improvement from doing so is easily recognizable. In addition to the experience gained, bonds form between grades. Without basketball, I do not think that I would have even spoken to half of these seniors. But through torturous practices and repetitious drills, a team bonds, and class years do not even matter. These seniors were a huge asset in every area, and we juniors have some big shoes to fill. There will definitely be a sense of emptiness next season without these eight girls. It will be interesting to see how efficiently our team runs next year without Chloe, Faith, and Victoria. Also, we will all miss Emma’s energetic personality, along with the theatrical performances Miranda brought to every game. Alena and Sophie will surely be missed when we are in need for a little burst of encouragement, and Morgan’s constantly positive attitude, even when she was out for injury, was something the team depended upon throughout the season. The energy from the crowd was as amazing, and with a consistent ten-point lead, we were able to have fun. Everyone on the team played for the seniors, and we pulled out 42-26 win. The game ended with our only four-year basketball team member, Emma, sinking a buzzer beater from the three-point line (she is a post, I light add)! The expression on her face said it all; Senior Night was a success.
Catherine Elizabeth Berry
on Wednesday February 19 at 11:25AM
Every year, WRA puts on some of the greatest plays. We have one musical a year and two other plays, usually one drama and one comedy. This year we already put on a great musical called “Chess,” and this past weekend many students and families gathered in the Knight Fine Arts Center to see “To Kill a Mockingbird.”
One of the great things about plays here at WRA is that you don’t have to be a member of drama or really have any acting experience at all to participate. Anyone is welcome! From the freshman trying to see if he or she can maybe snag a lead, to the senior just trying to squeeze every last bit out of the WRA experience, you will see all sorts of people performing. The best part is that everyone always works hard and puts as much effort as possible into it, which always makes for a great performance.
This past weekend's performance of “To Kill a Mockingbird” exhibited some of the best acting I’ve seen here at WRA. Classmates who I never knew were interested in drama took over the stage and played their parts flawlessly. As usual, three performances were held, and students and parents filled every single one -- some coming back for a second or even third time. These plays are just small exhibits of what the community can do here at WRA. They make you feel surrounded by friends and make you willing to branch out and try new things that you thought you would never do. Instead of being categorized as the musician, the soccer player, or the dancer, you have the chance to dabble with different veins of athletics, arts, and many other different areas, all while being surrounded and encouraged by your peers.
It's just another reason why I love WRA.
Anna Karen Ballard
on Monday February 3
Another event has come and passed, reminding me that graduation is just around the corner: the swim team’s Senior Night. At the last home competition of the season for each WRA sport, the team honors its seniors. The juniors on the team, being the ones to soon take the reigns, typically put together a parting gift for their seniors. From posters, flowers, food, or gift cards, the seniors experience the farewell they deserve. I have been attending Senior Nights since I started at WRA, and now it is quite hard to believe I have already celebrated my own.
Seniors Alex and Lisie served as swimming captains this year.
Though I only started swimming last year, as a junior, I quickly became closely attached to the team. There is nothing that brings people together quite like the exhaustion of a swim workout. So, through that first season, I grew closer to old friends and turned acquaintances into friends. By the end of my first year swimming, I made a bond with the team and was lucky enough to be voted to be one of its captains this year.
Making the connections I did my first year on the team was great, but seeing those friends, and myself, develop into stronger swimmers made this season spectacular. On top of that, I had the chance to be a leader for the team, something I never imagined possible entering high school. It has been an honor being one of the team’s captains this past season. It saddens me to see this part of my high school life close, but I won’t forget the memories I have made with the team and the people who accompanied me along the way; thank you for letting me be a part of the team.
Alexander Dean Fellows
on Monday January 27 at 10:12PM
This past Saturday, Winter Echo turned students’ vacation mode off and turned their academic mode back on. After Creative Movement this past fall (as I wrote about in my previous piece), I was excited to take a class on my favorite topic: Sociology. The topic of Mrs. Bonomo's first class was social norms. We thought about breaking ingrained social norms to see how people would react when someone did things differently. Mrs. Bonomo, therefore, brought our classroom outside.
Mrs. Bonomo discusses social norms with her class.
After brainstorming possible ways of breaking social norms, we acted upon our ideas. Mrs. Bonomo allowed us to go downtown; therefore, two groups of students chose to visit Heinen’s to conduct their experiments. My group decided to follow a lady with a cart and pick out exactly what she gets after her. She did not realize our plan at first. Nonetheless, when she was aware of what we were doing, she started taking a weird path to check if we were actually following her. After confirming that we were “stalkers,” she started sprinting to the cashier. We went up to her and explained the whole situation and asked her how she felt about it. Even though she was taken aback, she told us she figured that we were doing some sort of sociology experiment. The other group in Heinen’s decided to pretend a person was having a conversation with an imaginary person. The appointed girl determined to stand in front of the bakery and have a conversation about whether to bake or buy a cake with her imaginary friend. A family stopped behind her and listened to the “conversation”; a woman was so astonished that she looked at her husband, seeking his help. Based on their reaction, the group concluded that people expect everyone to follow social norms. When they don’t, it can be shocking or even disturbing.
The experience was tremendous to us because we acknowledged how ingrained social norms and how easy it is for people to observe subtle differences in others.
The first sign of Christmas at WRA is the cold. It’s the first thing that people notice when they are walking from class to class. People may notice it getting cold around Thanksgiving, but the real chill comes with the consistent snow in December. Students and teachers alike get all bundled up between periods to make the march from Seymour to Wilson, or KFAC to the Library. The worst of all is the walk from class to lunch at Ellsworth. Once you round the corner onto Aurora St. from Brick Row, instantly you are exposed to the wind and snow of the open area. The walk to the dining hall, although on a decline, is nothing but an uphill struggle. The conditions only get worse as you near your destination. As you finally stumble into Ellsworth, tripping over the abundance of backpacks outside the coatroom, warmth hits you wonderfully, making the trip seem worth it. However, the trip back to class is no better. You put on your coat, pull your hat over your ears, wrap your scarf tightly around your neck and make the trek back to Seymour for your next class.
Despite all the snowy weather and rosy cheeks from the cold, people raise their spirits around the holidays at WRA. Students donate toys and money for the Toys for Tots collection, people volunteer for the Salvation Army, and so much more. Teachers open their homes to students for cookies, hot chocolate, and conversation. WRA truly becomes more of a community during the holiday season. I believe this makes the Christmas season so special at Reserve. No matter what the diverse collection of faculty and students believe, they all embrace the spirit of the season, and most importantly, one another as one big family.
Joseph Anthony Mylott
WRA Student Life
on Tuesday December 24, 2013 at 11:34AM
Anna and her friendsenjoy a visit from Santa after Vespers.
When asked, “What does your perfect day look like?” many people paint the picture of blue skies, warm temperatures, running around the beach with the whole ocean rolling around in front of them, and squishing their toes around in the sand. But to me, that’s nowhere near perfect! My ideal day is right about now: grey skies, little crystals of snow falling from the sky and laying a thick coating of their pure white happiness on the ground; snow angels and snowmen scattered through the lawns; lights glittering across homes and throughout Hudson; the scent of warm holiday cookies coming out of the oven with hot cocoa in hand; big chunky scarves and thick winter sweaters; and the recognizable happiness behind each person’s smile. This wonderful time around the holidays is full of so much cheerfulness I find it simply impossible to be upset about anything! But this list is missing one very important thing, Vespers. Vespers is an annual tradition here at WRA. It takes place in the Chapel and is full of wonderful singing, great music, and many families squeezing in to catch a glimpse of this wonderful tradition that truly marks the beginning of the holiday season.
Diane and her advisor, Ms. Maseelall backstage during Diane's recent dance performance.
Hello all, and Happy Thanksgiving in advance! I am currently at home enjoying the break from school. Inasmuch as I love WRA and its beautiful campus, Chicago is a city I just can’t be away from for too long. I guess that’s one plus about being at boarding school. I have definitely become a lot more appreciative of my city, my friends, and my family. All this befits the holiday season! Nonetheless, there’s a lot to be personally grateful for:
I am thankful for my friends at WRA. As cliche as it might sound, without my friends I don’t know what I would do with myself. Not only do they provide me with a great support system, but also they make up 90% of the fun and memories I have on campus. Next, I am thankful for Seymour House being a dorm this year. Having my own bathroom, free laundry, and access to Pioneer WiFi is a luxury very few boarders come across, and I am very appreciative of it. I’m grateful for my adviser, Ms. Maseelall, for letting me do homework in her house and letting me play with her adorable dog, Oscar. I’m thankful for the school studio, nerd ropes in the bookstore, Taco Tuesday, cancelled first period classes, the BBB (one of those inside jokes), dorm feeds, and Skype calls to various countries. The list goes on forever, and that in itself sets things in perspective for me. It's undeniable that there's a lot to be thankful for! Even when things get tough for me at WRA, I remember that I wouldn't want to be anywhere else.
WRA Student Life
on Wednesday November 27, 2013 at 09:20PM
Saturday Academy is a special offering of WRA; the program allows students to take classes in a variety of areas, including business, environmental studies, archeology, psychology, and so on. I picked “Creative Movement” from the assortment. This fall, our "creative movers” not only danced inventively in class, but also brought their creativity to morning meeting.
The flash mob took Morning Meeting by surprise!
After dancing around campus once on a Saturday morning, after passing Mr. Ong’s classroom and enjoying the jealous glare from students sitting in class, our class came up with another fabulous idea. At our last class meeting, the “creative movers,” following Mrs. Barth’s advice, decided to surprise everyone with a flash mob during Morning Meeting. We were exhilarated by this idea, and we started to throw in all kinds of thoughts about how to organize our flash mob. We did not want it to be a mess; we wanted it to be neat and fun. Finally, we came up with a piece that combines everything we learned in class, including “shadowing,” “mirroring,” and “balancing with a partner.” Then, we practiced a couple of times in the Chapel to make sure everyone understood our plan.
As the day approached, my excitement grew. Finally, it was the time! When Alex said, “Creative Movement?” we were sitting in our spots and ready to go. He took out the boom box and the music started; everything was so fluid and casual. We danced in the aisles downstairs, and we even went up to present an ending pose. The overwhelming applause indicated our success. People kept coming up to me and telling me that our flash mob made their days
Surprises at Morning Meeting are always fun. Special thanks to Mrs. Manoli, Mr. Zimmerman, Mrs. Barth and all the creative movers who made the experience possible!
Halloween is a huge deal at WRA, and everyone goes all out for this holiday. It’s one of those days where people can put themselves out there and not feel uncomfortable because everyone is dressed in elaborate, hilarious, and sometimes even nerdy costumes. And I love it! Halloween is one of the few major holidays in which schools still have class, but that doesn’t stop us here. Regardless of classes, tudents dress up in crazy costumes, which makes the day special. It is one of the few school days when students and teachers alike, are allowed to be out of uniform. This day lets students take advantage of their creative sides and put together a costume worth remembering. Plus, it’s such a fun reason to dress up and have a good time at school.
Halloween fun at WRA!
Many different events take place on Halloween at WRA to enhance the spooky holiday. The first of these events is the Costume Parade at sit-down lunch. After the meal is finished, students who have entered themselves into the parade stroll, strut, stride, swank, and sashay down the center of the dining hall in front of the entire student body in order to show off their costumes. At the end of the parade, teachers judge the costumes and give prizes to the individual student from each grade with the best costume, as well as the group of the students with the best themed costumes. This event always makes for an exciting and entertaining lunch, and it is easily one of my favorite events of the entire school year.
Some teachers like to dress up in costumes as well, like I said before. Some go as far as having themed classes for the holiday where the lessons are based on Halloween. Not all teachers do this, but the themed classes are extremely fun if your teacher does have one.
The largest event on campus during Halloween, however, is the Woodhouse Haunted House. The residents of the Woodhouse dorm, freshman boys, create a haunted house out of the dorm for the entire school. The dorm is covered in spooky decorations, frightening scenes, and disguised students to scare whomever dares venture through the haunted house. It opens at night and usually successfully scares the attendees. This event is always well planned and well executed by the dorm residents and dorm masters. Halloween is a huge holiday at WRA, and the students, teachers, and administrators do all they can to make it a fun day for all.
Joseph Anthony Mylott
WRA Student Life
on Thursday October 31, 2013 at 04:00PM