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, Erik '16, Lexi '18, Max '16, Chloe '18 and Brigie '18,  share their perspectives on anything and everything WRA. Read on!

WRA Fall Fashion!

What is better than the summer sun resigning and the arrival of pumpkin spice? Fall fashion! Here at Western Reserve Academy, we have many favorite fall fashion staples, and I know that we cannot wait to whip them out of our wardrobes!

I think we can all agree on how comfortably chic we get to look when the autumnal winds come around, so why not let our creative sides flow? With the return of the cooler weather comes the scarves, boots, vests and the new color scheme!

One of my favorite parts of autumn apparel at Reserve is realizing the massive accumulation of army green and burgundy around every corner! I also cannot pass up a fall day without my loyal L.L.Bean boots, blanket scarves or vests, all of which are major parts to my wardrobe. Julia Gasbarre ’17 proclaims that her favorite part of fall fashion at Reserve is: “Wearing Patagonias and not getting yelled at!” — and I think we can all agree on how toasty and soft these are! Emily Lee ’18 also chimed in with her favorite part of autumn: “Wearing boots because you don’t have to show your toenails!” Both Patagonias and boots are key contributors to many of the Reserve students’ closets, but there is also much more.

I have noticed that many students love to pull out their Chukka boots and wool apparel around this time. Chukka boots can either dress-up or dress-down an outfit, so having a pair of these near by is definitely like killing two birds with one stone! As for the wool apparel, you cannot go wrong! Whether you are sporting a wool blazer, socks, sweater, skirt, you name it, there is no downside! The best part about the wool clothing is that you can stay perfectly warm all day long without layering up.

Last but not least, one of my favorite clothing items: the flannel! Flannels offer warmth, a pop of color and comfort! WRA is all about allowing you to be your own self, and, by sporting a flannel, you can work it in any way! Whether you choose the more earthy-toned/natural-hued flannels, or if you lean more toward the colorful reds and blues, you can be you either way!

To recap, the average Reserve student usually has one or more of the following items ready to make its debut during a cool fall day: 

Libby Hoffman '20 sporting some key Reserve fashion pieces!
  1. L.L.Bean boots
  2. Patagonia
  3. Vest
  4. Sweater
  5. Scarf
  6. Chukka boots
  7. Wool
  8. Flannel
  9. Anything burgundy or army green!  

At the end of the day, as long as you are comfortable in your clothes, anything can be the new WRA fashion trend!

Brigie Kelley '18
WRA Voices 

Posted by Angela Dublikar in WRA Student Life on Thursday October 13 at 02:49PM
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Tag: fashion



It’s spring, which means it’s time to finally put away those winter coats (even after that fluke bout of snow we had in March), the boots and the winter music! Here is a list of songs that make me enjoy and embrace all that spring has to offer:

      1. “New Beat” by Toro y Moi. This song is perfect for the outdoors — whether you’re on a run or relaxing outside and enjoying the sun.
      2. “In Your Atmosphere (Live)” by John Mayer
      3. “Elephant” by Tame Impala
      4. “Something to Believe In” by Citizen Cope
      5. “Jolene” by Ray LaMontagne. If a rainy spring day has come, Ray LaMontagne is a perfect artist to listen to while doing homework or just hanging out inside.
      6. “Tuytus” by ODESZA
      7. “The Best of What’s Around” by Dave Matthews Band. DMB is one of my favorite artists, and their music is so versatile which makes them a perfect artist for spring — or any season, for that matter.
      8. “Bombay” by El Guincho
      9. “You’ve Got The Love” by Florence + The Machine. Florence + The Machine is potentially my favorite artist. Seeing her live last summer made me enjoy and appreciate her music even more than I had before. I recommend this song, as well as others, especially songs off her newest album: How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful.
      10. “Jackie and Wilson” by Hozier
      11. “Make Your Mind Up” by Moon Taxi. Moon Taxi was another band I was able to see last summer, and their vibe is very unique. Their songs range in tune, but this song, I believe, is the one I think of most when I think of spring or summer.
      12. “Stay” by Kygo
      13. “Tired of Talking” by LÉON
      14. “Younger (Kygo remix)” by Seinabo Sey. A personal favorite! If you cannot find the song on Spotify, it is guaranteed to be on Soundcloud or YouTube. The subtle beat is relaxing, yet the intervals of an upbeat rhythm make this a great song for running outside or just enjoying a nice spring day.

I hope you enjoyed my list! Even if you didn’t, I hope it’ll inspire you to make your own spring playlist, or even to just go out and enjoy all the beautiful spring days we have left and get excited for summer!

Cristen Barnett '16
WRA Voices

Posted by rvardell in WRA Student Life on Wednesday May 4 at 10:13AM
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Unofficial Glossary of Reserve Words | Part I

Western Reserve Academy is a special place with lots of traditions. With a place of such history comes terms that may be unique to members of the Reserve community. Listed below is an unofficial glossary of Reserve words to help you better understand campus lingo.

On duty: (adj.) This is when a faculty member is in charge in the dorm for the night to check people in, conduct room checks and make sure the dorm is in study conditions. Beyond just helping people in the dorm, the person on duty can meet with students while there. “Who’s on duty tonight in Ellsworth? I need help with my math homework.”

Sit-down: (adj.) An abbreviation for the phrase sit-down dinner.  Sit down dinner is a meal where students and faculty eat together family-style three times a week. At this meal, you and your friends will eat with a faculty member and complete different chores like “heavies” or “clears” to help set or clear the table. “Is tonight sit-down or buffet dinner? If it’s sit-down, let’s eat with Mr. Cheadle.”

Prefects Elizabeth '17 and Katie '17.

Prefect: (n.) An upperclassman chosen to be a leader in the community. Boarding prefects help the on-duty person check people in a night. Day student prefects help check people in at the library and maintain study conditions. Both serve as role models and leaders on campus. “Be sure when you go to the library to check in with the prefect.”

Green Key / green key: (n.)

1. A hangout space in the basement of Seymour Hall with pool tables, TVs, couches and booths. In the Green Key, students can relax, chat with friends, eat snacks and more. “Let’s go to the Green Key after dinner tonight to watch the Browns game!”

2. An assigned student-mentor to new students / an assigned new student to a senior student-mentor. If you are a new student, your “green key” will be a senior, and if you are a senior, your “green key” will be a new student. Green keys will do activities together throughout the year and are always there for advice. “I need to ask my green key about the best place to grab ice cream downtown.”

Dorm feed: (n.) A surprise snack from the PWA (Pioneer Women’s Association) delivered to the dorms. Once a month you can hear the shouts “Dorm feed!” being yelled from the common room. This means everyone will run to the common room to have the late night snack during study hours, which varies from pizza to donuts to ice cream. Dorm feeds can be a good study break on any night. “It would be great if there was a pizza dorm feed tonight. I am starving.”

SPAR: (n.) Stands for Service Program at Reserve. Every student at Reserve is required to spend one hour a week completing their SPAR. All freshmen work an hour in the dining hall, which creates a common bonding experience between the freshmen and a way to form deeper relationships with people in your class. After freshman year, there are many job options depending on what you are interested in — college counseling, chemistry, watering plants or sorting letters. Can we meet at 5:30 instead? I need to clean some beakers in Wilson for my SPAR.”

Elizabeth Downing '17
WRA Voices 

Posted by Rose Vardell in WRA Clubs & Organizations, WRA Academics, WRA Student Life, WRA Leadership on Thursday March 17 at 06:10AM
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Goodbye 2015, hello 2016!

As WRA students return back to school from holiday break, we begin not only a new marking period, but also a new year.

Personally, when I greet the new year, the first thing I do is to make a New Year’s resolution. It helps me get rid of the regretful feelings of the past year and motivates me to make improvements in the present. This year, my New Year’s resolution is to “stick to resolutions.” 

But while I was coming up with my resolution, I suddenly got curious about what goals the members of our WRA community have. So, I asked several people about what their goals are for the year 2016.

Take a look at the resolutions from some students and faculty on campus:

Put real effort in life – Abbey Zhou ’18
Get healthier – History department faculty member Russ Morrison
Do a lot of reading – Matthew Groll ’18
Meeting new people and improving relationships – Peter Campanelli ’18
Spend more time with my friends and family – Logan Snell ’18
Get better grades and keep up with school – Ian Adams ’17
Floss every day – Delaney Fowler ’17
Learn from my roommate Ran Tao, especially in improving my studying skills – Charles Zhou ’18
Start a journal – Anna Anderson ’17
Sleep before one – Alicia Tan ’17
Get at least nine hours of sleep and meet with at least one teacher each week – Briget Rabatin ’17
Try not to get sick and wear tights every day – Brooke Hovan ’17
Stop killing the trees – Erin Redlawsk ’17
Get better grades and be a better person for Mr. Adams-Wall – Sam LaFontaine ’16
Read more – Avery Brewer ’18
Sleep at least eight hours a day – Chloe Beggs ’18
Get taller – Kai Cai ’17
I want to gain weight, about 10-15 pounds – Alec Wilson ’16
Get jacked, eat less and show my New Year’s resolution to A-Wall – Dan Dorman ’16
Have more fun and feed the hungry – Felicity White ’18
Spend more time with my family – Science department faculty member Robert Aguilar

See Yoon (Sue) Lee ’18
WRA Voices

What’s in My Bag? Winter Exam Edition

It’s that time of year again! Winter exams are approaching and as a senior, I know what to expect, but for those freshmen and new students out there, here is what I carry in my bag to help me through the dreaded exam week.

Gum. I love it, especially wintergreen flavor, and it also helps me focus before a big test or a stressful exam. Orbit is my go-to, but I’ll settle for some Big Red as well. The refreshing scent wakes me up before I dig my head into the paper and fearlessly make my way through the exam.

Word searches. I tend to overthink — a lot — especially before my exams. When going into a big, long test, I have found it helpful to get my mind off of what I am being tested on by doing a quick word search. It may not be a word search for you, it could be journaling, but I have found it helpful to go into the exam with a clear head, and word searches have helped me achieve that.

My empty tumbler. Yeah, you knew it was coming. My tumbler goes EVERYWHERE with me during exam week. Whether it is filled with coffee, chai tea or water, I keep it by my side. Although my main drink during exam week is black coffee, it is important to keep a water bottle on you; coffee is great but staying hydrated is too. So between your espresso shots make sure to throw in a Gatorade or a glass of water, it will help you in the long run!

Healthy snacks. I always carry a granola bar, almonds or a piece of fruit. Healthy eating is important during exam week. Energy is being released at rapid rates as you study for Honors Chem and English, all at the same time, and also try not to lose your mind. A balanced meal or healthy snacks will do much more for you than you can imagine. Remember to take care of yourself during this stressful week, eat well and take little breaks in between studying to spend time with friends or talk to a family member on the phone. At the same time, with good habits and studying all week, don’t be afraid to treat yourself to sweet treat like a Twix or Nut Goodie (my favorite) or whatever makes your taste buds do a little jingle.

Running shoes. Stress can take hold of us before we even know it. To release some endorphins, I make sure to run or workout during exam week. With sports requirements, most of us are getting daily exercise in, but it is important that all of us are doing something during exam week that releases stress. If working out is not for you, make sure to take a study break and do something you love to get your mind off of Math and Spanish for a couple hours.

My lucky ring. Not exactly “in my bag” but I wear this ring every day. Passed down to me by my mother, without it I feel lost and it has provided me with some good luck over the last couple of years. Catch me during exam week, or any ordinary day, and I’ll be wearing my lucky ring.

There’s my list — all sorted out for you! Exams are important, but remember this: It is just a test, and if you don’t feel you did your best on it, don’t freak out and know that everything will be okay. Keep what you need on hand — be it gum, water or whatever you find essential — study hard and stay strong through these upcoming weeks, winter break will be here before you know it! Best of luck folks.

Cristen Barnett '16
WRA Voices 

Posted by rvardell in WRA Academics, WRA Student Life on Monday December 7, 2015 at 03:53PM
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Outside Your Comfort Zone

One unique aspect of life at WRA is the three sport/activity requirement. Whether you are a freshman playing three sports or an upperclassman participating in three seasons of biology research, it can sometimes be a struggle to fulfill the three sport/activity requirement as there are not always options available for each season that spark one’s interests.

This fall, I found myself in one of these predicaments — I did not know what activity to do! I considered playing soccer, but I figured I would step outside my comfort zone and play golf. All my life, I have casually played golf during the summer, but I never devoted myself to the craft and, frankly, never found much success. Nonetheless, I’ve enjoyed getting out on the greens and trying my best.

Yet, the thought of playing golf at WRA never crossed my mind until about two weeks before the start of the school year, and I was anxious about how I would fit on the team. Yet, to my surprise, playing golf at WRA has been one of the best decisions I’ve made during my tenure in high school. Over the course of the season, I’ve garnered a deep passion for the game and find myself constantly thinking about all aspects of golf — on and off the greens. More importantly, I was able to go out every day and hit the sticks with a great group of guys. I was able to build relationships with new friends that I would not have if I didn’t play.

This proves to show how Western Reserve Academy is such a great place to push your boundaries. The great thing about Reserve is that there are so many opportunities — whether they be in the field of academia or athletics — that we sometimes take them for granted and overlook them and the potential benefits that they can offer. After this experience, I urge students at WRA to embrace all opportunities set before them and not discard them as obligations until you have actually tried them out — you won’t regret it!

Kyle Buseck ’16
WRA Voices

Posted by rvardell in WRA Athletics, WRA Clubs & Organizations, WRA Student Life on Friday November 13, 2015
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What to Expect When You’re Boarding: My Four Years as a Boarder

A letter to myself, four years ago

Friends gather for a group photo.

Dear freshman Ajay,

Welcome to life at WRA. As a boarder for four years, I can attest that the decision of choosing whether or not to be a boarding student carries much importance. At the ripe, tender age of 14 — sometimes even 13 years old — kids are thrust into a life of their own. When you’re living in the dorms, there are no parents to instruct and watch over you, no personal bedrooms, and you must adjust to a completely different lifestyle.

I remember stepping onto Western Reserve Academy’s campus as a wide-eyed freshman, anxious for what was to come. I came to this school as alone as a lone soldier, not knowing anyone and filled with fear. As an involved student at my middle school, I was nervous to leave and start at the bottom of the totem pole as a freshman. However, over time, I perfectly assimilated with the boarding lifestyle, recognizing its great aspects, and so will you.

Boarders have the great luxury of independence, the ability to develop close bonds with friends and teachers, and the wonderful opportunity to receive delicious dorm feeds. Honestly, I think it was great that I arrived at WRA with no pre-existing friendships as it allowed me to branch out. Since I did not know anyone, I did not have to hold on to my previous self, and it felt as if I had a clean slate. Deciding to become a boarder was definitely a risk, but, now, this risk has had the biggest payoffs.

WRA boarding will help you mature. You will have to learn how to take care of yourself, wake up on your own and manage your responsibilities. This process can prove difficult and stressful but experiencing it in a high school setting with a tight-knit community makes the transition much easier. Boarding has taught me how to manage rumors and stress. Since we are among a relatively small community on campus, it is easy to succumb to outside influences, but it is important to maintain your character and not let others define you. Above all, the relationships you develop with your roommates are priceless. I have roomed with Jae Hoon Lee ’16 and Niraj Naik ’16 in my time at WRA, and our shared experiences as roommates have created memories that will last forever. Boarding at WRA offers a small community and haven to experience everything in a safe place.

As a current senior, I realize that I will have to start this whole process again once I get to college. Even though this appears daunting, I am confident that I can utilize the skills I gained at WRA. I have to remind myself that the vulnerability you’re experiencing right now was a good thing. It is always worrisome to endeavor down a new path, but remember that sometimes it is important to take risks. They will eventually pay off.


Senior Ajay

Ajay Dakappagari '16
WRA Voices Staff Writer 

Posted by rvardell in WRA Student Life, WRA Leadership on Wednesday October 21, 2015
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The Time of Your Life


Over the past two months I’ve been preparing for the spring play, Time of Your Life. Written by William Saroyan, the play follows multiple stories that all take place in the same bar in San Francisco. I’ve spent many nights in the auditorium rehearsing and memorizing lines and it all came to fruition this past weekend. With the help of our director, Mrs. Ong, and our set designer, Mr. Peveich, we had the amazing opportunity to perform in front of our peers. My friends and I are really lucky because we get to let loose for a couple hours every night on stage. It’s a great way to hang out with your friends.

With such a time commitment, it can get quite hectic with school and homework, but teachers are very understanding and will often be flexible with deadlines. For example, my chemistry teacher was more than willing to help me prepare for my upcoming chemistry test, although I was taking it later than most other students.

On opening night, I couldn’t wait for my friends and teachers to see the performance. We had worked so much every night for the play to be amazing. Once I got out on stage, I felt electrified. The theater was packed with all of my friends, who had come out to support us. Once we made our final bow, it made all of the work that we had done worth it. There was such a sense of satisfaction in the air backstage. I can’t wait to try out for a play next year. It’s one of the most valuable experiences at WRA.

Posted by Niraj Hemant Naik in WRA Arts, WRA Theater, WRA Clubs & Organizations, WRA Student Life on Thursday August 13, 2015 at 10:12AM
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Lots of Lasts

Anna & her grandma visiting on Grandparents Day!

I clearly remember my first “last” at Reserve. Near the end of my junior year I had to attend student body president elections, something the seniors do not attend since they will not be there for the following year. Other things trickled along like my last sports physical, my last time returning to Reserve in the fall, and my last preseason, but frankly I was more excited than sad and it certainly didn’t feel real. Now it feels real.

Nearly everything I do feels like a last as I finish up my senior year. This weekend will be the last WRA play I ever see, in two more weekends it will be the last WRA dance show I am ever a part of, and in a few short weeks it will be my last prom. And even the things that still persist are very few. Only a few more times to sing the Alma Mater, to attend Morning Meeting, to wear my kilt, to wake up in Cartwright with my roommate Sophie. Everything is quickly coming to an end and in a way it is very sad and hard to fully take in. However, I’m incredibly grateful for this moment because it allows me to see all the things that are unique to Reserve, all the things I will have to sadly say goodbye to in a few short weeks.

As easy as it is to complain about school, the good truly outweighs the bad. Sometimes it’s oh so hard to see the benefits of this school when you’re so tired and feel so overwhelmed, but the benefits are all around us. The benefits are the smile of a friend as you get ready to sleep, the support of a sit-down table, the excitement of ringing the victory bell and all of these things quickly dissolve after graduation. Now, I’m not going to lie, I am excited to graduate and I am excited to move on to college, but now I am more able to see how incredibly thankful I am for this opportunity. I know my high school experience wouldn’t have been the same anywhere else, but even more importantly, I know I wouldn’t be the same person right now. So seniors, take in every “last” and savor the moment as you reflect on all the wonderful memories associated with that action. As for everyone else, try not to get caught up in the monotony of school, take every annoying required event and try to see it as an opportunity and a tradition with limited times remaining. It’s hard to say goodbye to what has become normal, but very soon we must. So try your hardest to really take in every “last” and appreciate all the things that we usually take for granted.

Posted by Anna Karen Ballard in WRA Arts, WRA Theater, WRA Athletics, WRA Clubs & Organizations, WRA Academics, WRA Student Life, WRA Leadership on Thursday August 13, 2015 at 10:09AM
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