January 15, 2022
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
In remembrance of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Austin Prep will be closed Monday, January 17th. We wish a Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day to our entire community.
Austin Prep Presents Returns January 18
The Austin Prep Presents virtual series returns to the Austin Prep community on Tuesday, January 18th with alumna Dr. Abbey Denaro '05 and "Finding Your Balance— Combating Stress Through Posture and Stretching." Dr. Ricardo Vanegas P'21, '24, science faculty, will join Dr. Denaro for this program.
In this one-hour webinar, Dr. Denaro of Denaro Chiropractic will address how families can help combat stress by implementing daily stretching, working on posture habits, and when necessary, checking in with a doctor (specifically a chiropractor) to help with designing a program that will allow families to work through these difficult times with as little stress as possible. Dr. Denaro specializes in prenatal and pediatric care. Dr. Denaro has been awarded as a Leading Physician of the World, Top Chiropractor in Massachusetts and has been repeatedly recognized as #1 Chiropractor in North Reading.
We look forward to having you join us next Tuesday, January 18th at 7:00 p.m.!
Sixth Grade Egyptian Museum | Save The Date
Sixth Graders have been hard at work preparing for the annual Egyptian Museum.
We are excited to invite family and friends of the Class of 2028 to join us for the Sixth Annual Sixth Grade Egyptian Museum. This interactive symposium will be held on Thursday, January 20th from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. in the Father Smith Library. This past semester, our sixth grade scholars have been working towards this annual interdisciplinary and experiential capstone in their English and History courses. Students have created projects, edited videos, and researched topics of interest to become docents of their very own class museum! This year’s scholarly symposium will be an opportunity for sixth graders to showcase their work and that of their peers. The Egyptian Museum is an important mile marker on the Austin Prep Middle School Journey.
Alumni and Students to Connect During Career Day
Discussion panels arranged by discipline, such as this one during the 2020 Career Day, are a highlight of the day connecting alumni and students.
On Friday, January 28th, Alumni Career Day will return for students in Grades 10, 11 and 12. Students will have the opportunity to hear from alumni about their professional journeys beyond Austin Prep. We had a wonderful response from alumni who are interested in returning to their alma mater to share their time and experience with current students and faculty. Alumni will join us from as far away as Texas! The snow date is February 11th.
Students had the opportunity to select their top three panel discussions they would like to attend on Alumni Career Day. Every effort will be made to place students in their top two choices. The discussion areas are as follows: Athletics, Broadcasting/Media, Education, Engineering, Entrepreneurship/Business, Finance, First Responders, Government Relations/Politics, Health & Wellness, Legal Services, Marketing/Communications, Military, Performing Arts, Real Estate/Sales, Sciences, Technology, Writing/Journalism
We look forward to what will be an amazing day connecting alumni with our students!
Calculus Students Create Art Using Math
Students in Pre-Calculus Honors classes recently completed an annual project combining their mathematical and artistic talents by creating art out of polar graphs. Take a look at some of the highlighted work here!
Students Recognized in UMass Dartmouth Art Competition
Yikun Xian '23, with his drawing "Sunset" and Olivia (Tianyu) Xia '24, with her oil painting "Love In The End Of The World" were recognized in a recent art competition.
Austin Prep students recently submitted entries to the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth's ninth annual Emerging Young Artists competition. The highly competitive annual high school juried exhibition recognizes the exceptional merit of art students from high school art programs in New England. The Emerging Young Artists 2022 Juried Exhibition received submissions from 656 young artists, from which the juror, UMass Dartmouth Dean Lawrence Jenkens, selected 178 works for the exhibition. The following Austin Prep students received Top 10 recognition:
6th place Yikun Xian '23, with his drawing "Sunset"
7th place Olivia (Tianyu) Xia '24, with her oil painting "Love In The End Of The World"
The entire Emerging Young Artists exhibition can be found here.
More Interdisciplinary Work From Our Math Students
Honors Algebra II students collaborated with the English department on a "Message in a Bottle" Project. The students had to send a secret message from one character to another in a book they were reading in their English class. They had to send a message that would change the course of the novel and describe how it does. The students translated their alpha message into a numeric message and then used an encryption matrix to encode their messages. They then showed how to decode them using inverse matrices.
As a part of the project, Aaron Wilcox '25 designed his own elevator. Click the video link to see the elevator in action!
College Process Begins for the Class of 2023
Mrs. Cyndy Pitta P'28, Director of College Counseling, gave the Class of 2023 an overview of the college counseling process.
The Office of College Counseling kicked off the college process with the Class of 2023 and their families on Thursday, January 6th via a live webinar. Students and parents had the opportunity to meet the members of the Office of College Counseling, learn more about what to expect regarding the college process, and were informed of important timelines along the way. For those who missed it, the slides for the presentation can be found here, and a recording of the presentation can be viewed here.
Annual NaNoWriMo Participants Celebrated
Sydney Rech '27 and Celia Sensale '27 shared their work with classmates on Monday.
The NaNoWriMo Project is a capstone experience in Grade 7 English. During the month of November, students are challenged to compose a minimum 10,000-word novel. Students are supported in this endeavor with an extensive planning period in the fall and incentives throughout November. Over the past couple of weeks, students have been polishing excerpts of their creativity and preparing them for publication in the annual 7th Grade Anthology. To celebrate the students' work, English teachers Mrs. Leeann Blais and Mrs. Kate Cavanaugh organized an Authors' Breakfast for the Class of 2027. After enjoying a pancake breakfast, students gathered in the Heritage Room to cheer each other on and to listen to portions of classmates' novels. Sydney Rech '27, author of "That's Not Me," and Celia Sensale '27, author of "Status: Classified" delighted their peers in sharing their stories from the podium. We have no doubt you'll be finding many Austin Prep authors' work on the shelves of a bookstore near you in the future!
Sixth Graders Visit Museum of Science
Sixth-grade students in Ms. Aprille Hibbard's Earth and Space Science class spent a morning at Boston's Museum of Science. The students explored a number of different concepts from the polar ice caps to deep space as they completed a guided field lab to help them interpret the exhibits. A highlight for many of the students was the private viewing they enjoyed in the Museum's Planetarium. The program helped students frame their perspective of the place of our solar system in the universe, inspiring dialogue that will propel future conversations in science class.
Seventh Grade Visits New England Aquarium
From the green turtle poking its head above the water to chow down on a head of lettuce to the dazzling colors of the fish and coral in the reef tanks and the sound of the colony of penguins that greets visitors upon arrival, the New England Aquarium was a perfect way for seventh grade students to take a "deep dive" into Marine Science. Led by Middle School teacher Ms. Aprille Hibbard, and fellow Life Science teachers Christopher Capone '88, P'28 and Ms. Karen Shilo, students spent the morning interacting with exhibits and Aquarium educators. Ms. Hibbard created a guided tour of the Aquarium that got students to observe the aquatic animals and fish and make connections back to lessons at Austin Prep about adaptations, ecosystems, and the relationship between the human and natural world.
Thank You For Your Support This Holiday Season
Thank you to all those who kept Austin Prep in their year-end giving plans this past holiday season. The times that we are living in continue to be unique , yet Austin Prep continues to thrive, largely due to Austin Fund support. We are more resilient than ever and we are forever grateful!
Community Spotlight: Ms. Nicolle Renick
Note: Our vibrant campus comes to life as a result of the talented students and faculty who make up the Austin Prep community. We look forward to periodically highlighting those individuals here in the Cougar Courier.
Hometown: Original: Mechanicsville, IA. Current: Wilmington, MA
Education/Degrees: B.A. in Graphic Design from Eastern Connecticut State University
Years at Austin Prep: First year as a member of the faculty, and my 10th year coaching: Basketball 2011-2018, Outdoor Track 2017-current, Cross Country 2018-current, Indoor Track 2017-current.
Years working in Education: Seven – I was an Adjunct Professor at Suffolk University for six years and taught a class this past fall at Merrimack College.
Department/Area of Subject: Art & Design
Describe a teacher who inspired you growing up: Mr. Corbin was my Art teacher. He was very patient in his teaching, and his love of art really showed. He was a master of pottery – most days we would walk into class to find him sitting at the throwing wheel with a lump of clay turning it into a masterpiece. He also taught me how to process photos in the darkroom and I loved every second of it. It was the beginning of my interest in photography.
What’s the most insightful thing a student has ever said to you?: “Never mind, I figured it out.”
If you weren’t a teacher, what career would you have?: I would either go back to my Graphic Design business, or dive more into Photojournalism. I really like capturing photos that tell a story.
Favorite Quote: “Last one, best one.” – Me, every time my runners are doing intervals at practice
Fun fact (about you or your past; something colleagues & students might not ordinarily know): In college, I worked as a Banquet Server at a Marriott in Connecticut. I got to personally serve breakfast to President George Bush (Sr.) about 5 months after September 11th, 2001. He seemed to like his scrambled eggs.
Any other information you would like to share: I have run the Boston Marathon five times as part of the Alzheimer's Association charity team, in memory of my father. I raised about $30,000 over that time span. I also have two miniature dachshunds, Scarlett and Samira, and a cat named Sandy.
January 22, 2022
Austin Prep to Transition to the NEPSAC
This week, Austin Prep made the announcement that it will join the New England Preparatory School Athletic Council (NEPSAC), effective at the start of the 2022-2023 academic year. It is an exciting move for our students and school community as a whole. To learn more about the transition, click here.
Austin Prep Alum, Trustee, Provides Career Advice
Visit is a Preview to Career Day Which Returns January 28th
Dr. Michael Barry '79, visited campus to speak with students in the Business Club.
On Thursday, Dr. Michael Barry '79, a member of Austin Prep's Board of Trustees, visited campus to speak with the Business Club. The Business Club is co-moderated by Mr. Nate Piccini '93 and Mrs. Kerianne Barry. Dr. Barry, a Finance Professor at Boston College, addressed the students about the current state of business, his personal path to arrive as a professor at Boston College, possible careers students can use with degrees in business, and advised students to take advantage of opportunities presented to them to network with alumni.
As Career Day returns to campus on January 28th, Dr. Barry advised students to take business cards, ask questions and remember that alumni are grateful to give back and support students. He emphasized the importance of finding a career that is the right fit for you as an individual and to avoid being driven by groupthink. When considering internships, he told students to remember that their internship is a 12-week job interview where they will be challenged to work in the field and earn a job when its over.
Students asked questions about his journey through Austin Prep and how they can find the perfect job. "If you find the perfect job, let me know," Dr. Barry said. His response was reflective of his earlier advice about the idea of finding the right "fit." We are grateful for Dr. Barry's visit to campus and his willingness to share his experience.
Sunday Community Masses to Begin January 30
On Sunday, January 30th, we will have our first monthly Sunday Community Mass at 10:00 a.m. in the Chapel of St. Augustine.
We will offer a monthly Sunday Mass announced at the beginning of each month. We encourage our school families who regularly attend Sunday Mass at their local parish to consider joining us for this monthly Sunday Mass. The Mass will give us an opportunity to meet each other and pray together, at least occasionally.
As we start the monthly Masses, the Sisters will offer the music, but as we go on we would encourage students to join the Sisters in providing the music. We will join for a time of fellowship in the Dining Hall after Mass. To help us with our planning, we would ask families to RSVP using the link below so we can take an appropriate count for the Coffee and Donut Hour.
Students are required to attend with their parents. The Office of Campus Ministry looks forward to meeting you as we strengthen each other through this act of celebrating Mass together.
Family and Friends Enjoy Sixth Grade Egyptian Museum
One of the mile markers on the Austin Journey is the Grade 6 Egyptian Museum. Now in its sixth year, this academic capstone is the culmination of students' work in History and English. In students' Becoming Historians course, they took on the role of museum curators to create exhibits including models and posters on various aspects of Egyptian culture and history. In English, students selected books set in Egypt and then filmed and edited original book commercials about their chosen reading. At the Museum, students displayed this work and acted as docents, walking family and faculty through the displays and speaking in detail about such figures as King Tut and Cleopatra and on a variety of other topics. Four faculty were at the helm of the project and collaborated to promote students' interdisciplinary thinking: Mrs. Leeann Blais, English Faculty, Ms. Alexandra Dell'Anno '12, English Faculty, Mr. Brian Russo '09, History Faculty, and Ms. Alicia Varraso, Assistant Dean of Students for Middle School and member of the History Faculty. To view photos from the museum, click here.
Community Welcomed to Daily Masses
Daily Masses are held in the Chapel of St. Augustine and all members of the community are welcome to attend. They take place Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday at 7:30 a.m., and at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesdays. Masses will be celebrated by Father Patrick Armano, School Chaplain.
College News Picking up for the Class of 2022
Week is Highlighted by Three College Signings for College Bound Student-Athletes
This past week, Cat Gallagher '22, Lauryn Hanafin '22, and Andrew Fetten '22 were joined by family and friends as they made their commitments to continue their athletic career at the intercollegiate level. Congrats! Want to learn more about the Class of 2022 and their post-Austin Prep plans? Click here!
Cat Gallagher '22 will play soccer at Wesleyan University.
Lauryn Hanafin '22 will play ice hockey at Stonehill College.
Andrew Fetten '22 will play soccer at Randolph-Macon.
Liturgy for Peace and Justice Held Wednesday
Fr. Jorge Reyes, O.S.A. celebrated a special Liturgy for Peace and Justice Wednesday with our theology students. This semester, we have welcomed two additional Bannabikira Sisters – Sr. Immaculate and Sr. Justine – who joined us for the Mass. We are grateful to have them as part of our community. Be on the lookout for a formal introduction soon!
Fall/Winter 2021 Journey Magazine is Available
We share news among our community and beyond through our alumni and student publication, Journey Magazine. The magazine includes updates from our alumni, students, faculty and parents. Produced by the Office of Development and Alumni Relations, it is available in print and digital format. We hope you enjoy this glimpse into the life of our alumni and students.
Alumni are encouraged to e-mail your news, including family additions, relocations, career changes, recent travel and any other updates for the Austin Prep community to Jennifer Hodgdon, Director of Alumni Relations & Giving, at email@example.com.
January 29, 2022
All School Mass on Monday to Kick off Catholic Schools Week
Austin Prep will celebrate a school-wide Mass in Meelia Hall on Monday, January 31st. The Mass will be celebrated by Fr. Joseph L. Narog, O.S.A., Vocations Director, Province of St. Thomas of Villanova. The Mass will help us kick off Catholic Schools Week, which runs from January 30th - February 5th. We look forward to bringing the entire school community together to celebrate. As a reminder, chapel dress is required of all students for the Mass.
Community Mass on Sunday Postponed
As announced in last week's Cougar Courier, we will begin holding monthly Sunday Community Mass in the Chapel of St. Augustine. The Mass scheduled for tomorrow, however, has been postponed due to the storm.
We will celebrate Mass together on Sunday, February 13th. An RSVP form will be forthcoming. The Office of Campus Ministry looks forward to meeting you.
Students Connect with Alumni During Career Day
On January 28th, Austin Prep hosted Career Day, welcoming over 40 alumni to campus to share their professional experiences with students through panel discussions organized by profession, and a career fair including a resume-building help station. Students in grades 10, 11, and 12 participated in the day, with faculty and staff serving as moderators.
Head of School James Hickey, Ph.D., after an opening welcome to visiting alumni, addressed students before they broke-off into panel discussion groups. "An important part of the unwritten curriculum are the days that you'll remember years from now, and today will be one of those days," Dr. Hickey said. "You'll hear from people further along in their journey than you with successful careers in various professions who are in a position to return to campus and share their experiences with you. Hopefully one day, you will return, too."
Jennifer Hodgdon, Director of Alumni Relations and Giving, organized the event, and encouraged students to be “present by listening to our speakers with open minds; and to ask meaningful, engaging questions. Career Day is your ‘today.’ It is your time to begin building on your future and preparing for your own journey as alumni.”
Students had the opportunity to attend two panel discussion sessions, broadly covering the following professions: Athletics, Broadcasting/Media, Education, Engineering, Entrepreneurship/Business, Finance, First Responders, Government Relations/Politics, Health & Wellness, Legal Services, Marketing/Communications, Military, Performing Arts, Real Estate/Sales, Sciences, Technology, and Writing/Journalism. Austin Prep Faculty served as moderators for these discussions. After the panel discussions, students were given time to interact on a more individual basis with alumni in Meelia Hall during the career fair.
Taylor Vanderwoude '08, a Navy recruiter and nurse, officially commissions a new orthopedic surgeon into the Navy at the completion of Career Day.
Career Day brought some additional highlights. Taylor Vanderwoude '08, a Navy recruiter and nurse, flew in for the event. While she was here, she officially commissioned a new orthopedic surgeon, George S.M. Dyer, MD, into the Navy. Additionally, Britt Denaro '03, the guitarist for Vixen and Producer for Rock N Roll Fantasy Camp offered via a prerecorded portion of her panel discussion a surprise internship to a lucky Austin Prep student. The internship allows the student to shadow her on tour based on location and help manage her social media platforms.
Special Programming Scheduled for Black History Month
Austin Prep celebrates Black History Month in February with a series of educational, extracurricular, and schoolwide events organized around the school’s yearlong theme of "Love one another as I have loved you" and is embedded in our Augustinian heritage and Catholic tradition. The theme was inspired by the Gospel of St. John and guides us in our yearlong planning across multiple departments. The Office of Mission and Inclusion draws heavily upon this theme to acknowledge the legacy of St. Augustine. Programming for Black History Month underscores the core value of caritas as it has been expressed throughout the lives of scholars, artists, inventors, politicians, and religious faithful spread throughout the African diaspora. Although we highlight the events planned for Black History Month, our commitment is continuous and not confined to a single month. Rather, our approach is infused with our strategic efforts to augment the core values of veritas, unitas and caritas as expressed by an Augustinian school.
We highlight our ongoing commitment to fostering respect for all people in our celebration of Black History Month. Led by Fr. Jorge Reyes, O.S.A. and Mr. Jaycob Morales, Coordinator of Inclusion and Community Engagement, Austin Prep has planned numerous activities for staff and students throughout the month of February to honor the achievements of Black Americans and their contributions to our country and world. In addition to the special activities planned for Black History Month, we look forward to highlighting in various outlets the many year-round components of our curriculum which guide us towards the overarching objective to form graduates who are lifelong learners, passionate global citizens, curious collaborative scholars, and compassionate servants.
Highlights of our programming include the celebration of a Peace and Justice liturgy, the sharing of daily inspirational quotes, academic projects in the arts and sciences, trivia contests and interactive activities during advisory, student poetry and art contests, a field trip for interested students to the Museum of African American History in Boston, indulging in 3 different Northern African inspired meals created by Sage Dining, a celebration with the Daughters of Mary that includes learning how to play the Uganda drum known as the Engalabi, and presentations on the influence of African American culture from the Office of Mission and Inclusion during Community Meetings. Additionally, there will be a Middle School movie night, virtual tours of museums with a lens on the impact of Black Americans on the history of the United States, and the Library will offer a display of biographies, poetry and novels featuring Black Americans. Our featured schoolwide guest speaker is 2020 St. Augustine Lecturer Dr. Crystal Kuykendall who has regularly visited the school over the past two years in her role as a consultant to Mission and Inclusion.
Lunar New Year is February 1st
The Lunar New Year begins next Tuesday, February 1st. The Lunar New Year is celebrated in China and other Southeast Asian countries...but also at Austin Prep! This year is the year of the Tiger, and our International Students look forward to telling you more about the holiday at the next Upper School community meeting. In the meantime, you can view a sneak peak of their presentation here.
Austie Awards Return
You know what to do. Make a video and submit it for consideration for an Austie Award by March 25th.
The Austie Awards, Austin Prep’s very own video award show, is coming up on April 8th. APS Media has made a video encouraging all members of the Austin Prep community to enter their videos for a chance to win an Austie! Video submissions are due March 25th. For more information, click here. Click here to watch the video on their Instagram account.
Student-Athletes Celebrate Senior Days
Boys Hockey, Girls Basketball, Indoor Track and Field, Dance Team and Boys and Girls Ski are coming soon...
Boys Basketball celebrated Senior Night on January 17th.
Cheerleading celebrated their Senior night on January 17th.
The Swim Team celebrated their Seniors on January 23rd.
Girls Ice Hockey celebrated Senior Night on January 19th.
Admissions Decisions Released
On Monday morning, Austin Prep sent via email admissions decisions to applicants who completed their applications by the December priority deadline. In just the few short days since admissions decisions were released, we have been overwhelmed by the response from those families who have already enrolled, including our first enrollee on Monday morning. We are grateful for those in our community and beyond who believe in and support our mission on a daily basis, and we can't wait for all our accepted students to start their #AustinPrepJourney!
"Austin Prep is incredibly blessed to have had yet another outstanding admissions season, which is due, in part, to the overwhelming support of our entire community. The Office of Admissions is incredibly thankful to everyone who played invaluable roles in guiding the future of our school through these continuing to be challenging times," Director of Admissions, Steve Silverthorn said. "Whether it be spreading the good word about Austin Prep throughout your local communities, supporting Austin Prep on social media, or participating in an admissions event or as a host, many current students and parents have played a role in the strength of our community, and we thank you."
Community Spotlight: Mr. Jack Brady
Note: Our vibrant campus comes to life as a result of the talented students and faculty who make up the Austin Prep community. We look forward to periodically highlighting those individuals here in the Cougar Courier.
Hometown: Downers Grove, IL
Education/Degrees: Harvard University, A.B in Economics
Years at Austin Prep: First year
Years working in Education: 12
Department/Area of Subject: History, English
Describe a teacher who inspired you growing up:
Linda Augustyn, my 12th grade English teacher, is my favorite teacher. She was tough but fair, her classroom was full of laughter but we always seemed to be more productive for her than for our other teachers. She connected with each of us personally while receiving the respect earned by a wise master. She demanded much from us while helping us realize we were capable of achieving even more.
My coaches have also made a massive impact on me throughout my life. Cathrine Erickson, my college track and field coach, helped me achieve more than I ever could have imagined. I didn’t understand what hard work, commitment, and teamwork really meant before I met her. She continues to inspire my work as a leader inside and outside the classroom.
Do you have a motto you teach by? Or an expression you try to instill in your classroom?
I believe that building positive relationships in a classroom, individually and as a group, is the best way to inspire young minds. In terms of why I teach History and English, I always try to keep in mind that my job is to tell fantastic stories. Whether it is bringing to life the story of a medieval European knight or leading the class through the trials and travails of Ponyboy Curtis, as long as I am conveying to the students how fantastic these stories are, I can get them interested about what else we need to learn in the classroom.
What’s the most insightful thing a student has ever said to you?
I have been lucky to work with some remarkable students as a teacher. The list of times my students have taught me lessons are innumerable. What I will say is that every year I grow as a teacher and a person because of the students I meet and I am very grateful for these experiences.
If you weren’t a teacher, what career would you have?
Having now had two careers in education, first as a college Track and Field coach and for the last five years as a middle school teacher, I know that education is the field for me! If I wasn’t a classroom teacher, I’d love to work in admissions and financial aid. I benefited from generous financial aid programs as a student and I know how life changing they can be.
If you ask my 8th graders, they will say “Stay gold Ponyboy, stay gold.” If you ask my 7th graders, they will say “Will someone rid me of this meddlesome priest!”
Fun fact (about you or your past; something colleagues & students might not ordinarily know):
I was second chair clarinet in my middle school band. Karla Gutzke was untouchable.