WRA Voices

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, Alex '14, Diane '14, Anna '15, Joey '15 and Sophie '15 share their perspectives on anything and everything WRA. Read on!

Our Playlist / Recently Played

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.

Posted by Anna Karen Ballard in WRA Arts on Tuesday May 13 at 02:24PM
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After a great season last year with an impressive record of 16-9, the baseball team looks to improve even more this year. Being a three-year member of the varsity team now, I have seen a lot of growth within the team, both physically and mentally. We have come to play better as a team and better understand the game.  These improvements should prove vital to this season’s success.

Joey and his team love baseball.

Some kids can’t wait for the next school dance, others can’t wait for the next play or musical, still others can’t wait for the weekend at the end of each and every week. Nearly every member of the baseball team will say that he cannot wait for baseball season to arrive.  Our team draws some of the most loyal and dedicated athletes.  Whereas those who love other sports might only like the game because of their talent in that sport, all of the baseball players love the game regardless of their talent level. A quote from the world of baseball is, “How can you not get romantic about baseball?” The kids who are around baseball at WRA feel this way about the game, which is what’s necessary to keep a small sports program running strong.

Here at WRA, most programs, like baseball, continue to thrive based on the demonstrated interest of different groups of students year after year. We do not recruit star athletes to come to our school; we find well-rounded students-athletes who enjoy doing many different things in their free time. This is what makes our community so diverse and special. No one area of the school receives more attention that it deserves. WRA’s committed and balanced students allow it to remain an amazing school with so many different options for people with all sorts of interests.

Posted by smaseelall in WRA Athletics on Saturday April 26 at 11:50AM
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Off with a Bang!

Entering Western Reserve Academy, I wasn’t quite sure what I what to pursue outside of the classroom. I tried out various clubs and publications, most of which I continued through my four years, but none have given me joy so much as the theatre.

Four seniors will perform in their last WRA play
this weekend.

This love started the winter of my freshmen year. I decided to try out for the upcoming winter play, Inherit the Wind. I was not expecting much as a freshmen, so when I received a role it made me all the happier. Although it was a small and modest part, I made the best of my experience with the stage and my fellow actors. That play opened me up to many different personalities and allowed me to become friends with people I never would have otherwise interacted.

The theater allowed me to continue making those bonds as I progressed through high school. Each year I have had a role in one of our plays. An art dealer, a servant, and now an old drunk actor: I have played them all. Though I very much love the spotlight shining down upon me on stage, the different casts which I have been a part of have been what have truly made my acting experience at WRA so memorable.

I always tell people that my favorite part of participating in a play is the curtain call. Seeing the months of hard work in an audience cheering and clapping makes it all worthwhile. However, when the show is said and done, the applause ends but my friends remain.

I am currently in the process of rehearsing the last play I will do at WRA. Saying it aloud still shocks me. Each night our small cast of nine goes to the theatre to practice, and I leave each night with smiles and the joy of getting to spend the past hour or two with some of the most amazing people I know. This cast of Noises Off, which runs this weekend, is close to my heart, as is the cast of every play I have done. I am so grateful for having the chance to meet such amazing and talented people through the theatre program here. The three other seniors in this play and I will be sure to go off with a bang.

Posted by Alexander Dean Fellows in WRA Arts, WRA Theatre on Wednesday April 23 at 04:31PM
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A New Leaf

As spring is actually becoming a reality, WRA life is being ushered into many new things: spring ECHOs (part of the Saturday Academy program), spring sports, and spring activities. Even though it is my third year here, this spring is certainly proving to be a season of firsts for me.

Anna's ECHO class visited One
Red Door in downtown Hudson.

Recently, my spring ECHO, entitled “The Business of Restaurants,” began. I don’t necessarily want to own a restaurant, but restaurants have always seemed like a risky business to me; I’ve been looking forward to learning about this business all year! Our first venture was to downtown Hudson to meet with the owners of One Red Door, Flip Side, and 3 Palms. We learned many interesting specifics of these restaurants, like where their names came from, why the restaurants are numbered, and how the owners got into the restaurant business, but we also learned some of the specifics of opening a restaurant. It was so interesting to hear about the business from the insiders who truly have a talent as they continue to run three extremely successful restaurants in Hudson and expand their brand. It’s certainly proving to be a very interesting and unconventional ECHO, but most of all, it’s extremely fun!

In addition to my ECHO, I experienced another first: my first track meet! You’d think that by junior year I would have settled into one spring sport, but this year I’ve really taken a chance and branched out from what I know. While the track meet was certainly accompanied by tons and tons of nerves, there was also so much support from the team that it was impossible not to enjoy myself. When trying something new and difficult, it’s wonderful to have a great support system, and the track team definitely fills the bill.

I expected that by junior year I would have completely settled into WRA, and perhaps, even have become a little bored with the same old-same old, but that has definitely not been the case. No matter what, there are new things to try! A new ECHO, class, team, play, or dance are always options available and encouraged to all. By the time you leave WRA, you’ll have tried more new things than ever before, all by the side of your friends.

Posted by Anna Karen Ballard in Saturday Academy, WRA Athletics, WRA Academics on Tuesday April 15 at 10:51AM
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Spring Has Sprung and the Year is Almost Done

 Everybody loves springtime at WRA!

Old Reserve’s lawns wide sweep is finally looking a little greener. Strip off the snowshoes, jackets and scarves because as of this week, Ohio’s winter is finally over. In pleasant contrast to the mounds of snow that littered the campus for the majority of the gray winter, the campus is swarming with warm smiles and a wide color spectrum of spring clothes. Ohio’s aggressive winter left students cramped inside school buildings twiddling our thumbs, but now with daily highs reaching an average of fifty degrees, students are throwing off the layers and enjoying their walks between school buildings. Students filled the stands at last week's Longstreth Relays and are taking more walks downtown for a scoop of ice cream at Hershe'ys or a well-deserved sandwhich at Daves. Sports teams are eager to head outside and play after dwelling in the Murdough Athletic center for the last couple of months. Spring at Reserve allows for frisbee in the front fields, picnics for lunch, class outside and patio games after dinner. Flowers lining Brick Row aren’t the only things blossoming; a lively spirit is blooming and infecting all students and faculty. Maybe it's the thought that this school year is coming to an end, but along with the snow, the stresses from the past school year are slowing melting away. The difference in temperature has allowed for a change in attitude around campus. With a relaxed atmosphere wafting through classrooms, everyone seems even friendlier than usual. Stressful weeks leading up to our final examinations don’t seem so bad when it’s warm enough to study outside. There’s nothing like springtime at WRA, when the essence of what Reserve is all about becomes as clear as the blue skies overhead.  

Posted by Catherine Elizabeth Berry in WRA Student Life on Monday April 7 at 02:34PM
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Social Justice and My Role

Ms. Schnupp's English class
motivated Diane's to think about
social justice.

I had a number of options when picking my second semester English class and I found it harder than most to make a decision. I have been told that I’m a bit indecisive, but that’s beside the point. I wanted to pick a class that would be thought provoking and I found that in Ms. Schnupp’s Social Justice and Literature class. The name seemed pretty self explanatory, but with such a broad topic I has no idea what to expect. The first novel we read, In the Time of Butterflies by Julia Alvarez, documented the brutality and injustices experienced under the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo in the Dominican Republic. I was inspired by the accounts of the Mirabal Sisters and how feverishly they fought for their voices to be heard. It was without a doubt a compelling story, but I was left feeling unable to mirror their strength and determination. What was my obligation to my community? Should I even feel the need to do anything? Those questions followed me as we moved onto our next book. We read A Small Place by Jamaica Kincaid and later watched the documentary Life and Debt. I learned the most from this novel as it was the first time I viewed myself as part of the problem. There is no denying that I enjoy a privileged lifestyle just by living in the United States. I have access to public education, good hospitals, and basic liberties. But by simply buying food imported from developing countries, I am indirectly contributing to the underpayment of farm workers amongst many other things. Fortunately for me I finally found the answer I was looking for. I am simply ignorant. My obligation to society is to become aware of the many human rights violations going on, because the more I know the more conscious of a person I become. I might not be able to change the world, but I choose to be part of the catalyst that does.

Posted by Diane Ogede in WRA Academics on Tuesday March 18
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Institute for Creative Leadership

Recently, all prefects gathered on a Sunday to experience our last session of Institution for Creative Leadership; the outcome was tremendous.

Sophie's team races the clock to complete their puzzle!

We started off building puzzles using pieces of wood with notches that could connect to one another. We had to use the pieces to build the puzzle in the shortest amount of time possible. Our group was highly enthusiastic and energetic. People were so proactive that everyone threw in different ideas and acted upon them. We came up with the best idea: to assign two pieces of wood to a person who would memorize where exactly they had to go. We had 14 pieces of wood and eight people in our group. My classmate, Lexi, stepped up to be the leader who helped organize the form of the puzzle. On our first try, we built the puzzle in 59 seconds. But over time, we improveed incredibly. By placing the pieces in a pile such that we could connect them together the fastest, we shortened our time to 30 seconds. The record for a group of our size was 15 seconds, and our goal was to break that record! As we practiced, we whittled our time down to 15.8 seconds-- almost the record. Finally, it was time for the real competition with the other group, and everyone put in 100% effort. Our time turned out to be 13.26 seconds! Everyone was exhilarated because our hard work paid off.

That Sunday, we also participated in an exercise about judgement and our own perspectives. There were four papers stuck on the wall of our classroom, each of which represented a different meaning: agree, strongly agree, disagree and strongly disagree. The instructor made statements such as, "The legal age of consuming alcohol should be 18 instead of 21," and asked people to stand under the signs that best represented their feelings. The experience was interesting because we got to share different perspectives. We also learned how to be confident about our feelings and even express them freely.

Even though I found the thought of giving up a Sunday afternoon unappealing at first, I learned a lot throughout the training sessions. I am appreciative of the opportunity.

Posted by YiHan Shen in WRA Student Life, WRA Leadership on Tuesday March 11 at 06:28PM
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Changing Seasons

Joey is ready for the spring sports season!

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.

Posted by Joseph Anthony Mylott in WRA Athletics on Tuesday March 4 at 08:12PM
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Free Throws and Farewells

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.

Posted by Catherine Elizabeth Berry in WRA Athletics on Wednesday February 19 at 11:25AM
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The Athlete Becomes the Actor

Cast: To Kill a Mockingbird

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.

Posted by Anna Karen Ballard in WRA Arts on Monday February 3
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