Austin Prep Choir Finds Inspiration in Journey to Rome
The Austin Prep Choir recently returned from a week-long trip to Rome, where students had the opportunity to sing at Saint Peter’s Basilica and for Pope Francis during the New Year’s Eve celebration on Saint Peter’s Square. The Austin Prep contingent consisted of a group of 60 students, administrators, faculty, and families who journeyed to the Eternal City for The 6th Youth and Adult Choir Festival.
During their trip, which took place December 27th to January 3rd, Austin Prep students attended the Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary celebrated by Pope Francis and the Sunday Angelus. The Choir provided music for the Solemnity of the Holy Family at the Altar of the Chair of Peter and for the January 2nd Mass at the Basilica of Saint Francis in Assisi. The Choir also performed a concert at the Basilica of Saint Ignatius of Loyola for the people of Rome on New Year’s Day.
The highlight of the trip took place on New Year’s Eve. After his annual December 31st Liturgy, Pope Francis exited Saint Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican and walked into the piazza, where he was greeted by dignitaries and others in attendance. The Austin Prep Choir sang traditional Christmas hymns, which drew the Pope’s attention. He began to make his way to the Choir to listen to their song, touching the hands of Choir members and gesturing his welcome and prayers with his warm expression of Christmas joy to both Austin Prep students and their families.
To view a Vatican News clip of Pope Francis with the Austin Prep Choir, click here.
“New Year’s Eve 2019 will forever be remembered in the history of Austin Prep,” said Headmaster James Hickey, Ph.D., P'22, '23, '24.
The Rome trip was an extension of the liturgical experience and Art and Design curriculum at Austin Prep. As with all of the school’s academic programs, opportunities for students to showcase skills learned in an authentic way help create unforgettable experiences that neither textbooks nor classroom lessons can impart.
Dr. Hans-Albert Courtial, Founder and President of the Foundation for Sacred Music and Art, was integral to Austin Prep’s winter Choir pilgrimage. “I strongly believe in the importance of a new generation of artists and composers,” he shared.
“This is the reason why the aim of this Festival is to gather choirs of young and adult voices together to encourage musical excellence and to promote the unifying power of music, which improves contacts among cultures, traditions, and people.”
As the Austin Prep students returned to campus from their Rome travels, they begin 2020 both inspired and enriched by their experience.
“It was an amazing experience to see the churches, sing for the Pope and to be able to travel with family and friends from school,” Olivia Doherty '22 said. “But more importantly, it was humbling to be able to take such a trip, and we are grateful for the special opportunity we were given. We are able to start the new year centered and re-connected”
Father Armano Concelebrates Mass With Pope Francis
Also while in Rome, Austin Prep Chaplain Father Patrick Armano joined over 200 concelebrating priests at the Papal Mass of the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God at Saint Peter's Basilica on New Years Day. A proud moment for Austin Prep!
Auditions for the Spring Musical, Peter Pan
The spring musical this year is Peter Pan! Auditions for the musical take place Monday, January 13th at 2:45 p.m. in the Black Box Theater in Richard J. Meelia Hall. For the audition, please prepare 16 bars of the song of your choice from this or any other show, and sides for the character - you can find them in the daily announcements from last week or email Ms. Kacie Brown. You do not need to have previous experience. You do not need to be a great singer. If you want to be a part of this show we have a spot for you, big and small. Come and try out!
Parents Association Meeting January 15th
With another successful Signature Event in the books, the Parent Association turns its attention to the remainder of the academic year. The next Parent Association meeting will be Wednesday, January 15th at 6:00 p.m. in the Gathering Room (first floor, St. Augustine Hall). We will discuss, among other things, parent led service projects for the spring, end-of-year parent socials, the annual faculty appreciation event, and other Parent Association initiatives. As always, we will also look forward to hearing from Dr. Hickey in regards to current happenings on campus. We look forward to seeing you on Wednesday night.
Austin Prep Launches New Website Next Week
Austin Prep is excited for the launch of a new website next week. The new site will serve current Austin Prep students and families with up-to-date resources and information, and will be an online admissions tool to reach prospective students, providing families in-depth information about the Austin Prep Journey. Be on the look out for more information next week!
Sablone '20 Commits to Ivy League's Princeton University
This past week Austin Prep hosted another celebratory signing for a college bound student-athlete. Lauren Sablone '20 has committed to play softball at NCAA Division I Princeton University. Lauren was joined at the signing by her sister, Caroline Sablone '18. Congratulations to Lauren and best of luck as you continue your athletic career!
Annual Egyptian Museum is January 22nd
Sixth Grade families are invited to the Fourth Annual Egyptian Museum on Wednesday, January 22nd from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. in the Gathering Room and Art Gallery. This annual event includes student-created exhibits showcasing their study of Egyptian Civilization and is an interdisciplinary endeavor between the Departments of History, English, and Theology.
8th Grade Washington D.C. Trip Information Session
Parents of 8th graders attending the Class Trip to Washington, D.C. in March are invited to a parent information session on Wednesday, January 22nd at 7:00 p.m. in the Heritage Room. This half-hour session will provide parents with an overview of the itinerary and a forum to ask questions about the trip.
Girls Hockey Conducts Community Service With Cradles to Crayons
The Girls Varsity Hockey Team completed a community service endeavor at Cradles to Crayons on Thursday, January 2nd. The team donated new and gently used children’s clothing and assembled hat, glove, and scarf kits complete with a handwritten note of encouragement. Additionally, the team broke out into smaller groups and for two hours sorted through clothes, hats, mittens and books, compiling packs for roughly 500 children in need. This was a great opportunity for the team. A great example of caritas during the holiday season!
Austin Prep Serves as Platinum Sponsor at Reading Tree Lighting
Austin Prep was proud to serve as the Platinum Sponsor for the annual Reading Holiday Tree Lighting Celebration hosted by the Reading-North Reading Chamber of Commerce in early December. The Austin Prep Choir sang traditional tunes to get those in attendance in the Christmas spirit. For some great photos from the event, check out the Reading-North Reading Chamber of Commerce Facebook page, here.
Career Day Returns to Campus January 24th
The Office of Alumni Relations is excited for the return of Career Day for our Upper School students and Austin Prep alumni on Friday, January 24th. Career Day will be an opportunity for our alumni to share their professional experience through panel discussions by profession, and a career fair including a resume-building help station. Students will attend two panel discussions the morning of Career Day, followed by the Career Fair. We have heard from over 30 alumni who are looking forward to returning to campus to participate!
On Monday, January 13th in Advisory, students will select their top-three panels to attend. Students will be notified of their Career Day schedule on January 22nd via email.
More detailed information will follow via email and the Cougar Courier in the coming weeks.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
In remembrance of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Austin Prep will be closed Monday. We wish a Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day to our entire community.
Austin Prep Launches New Website
We hope you are enjoying the new Austin Prep website, launched earlier this week. The new website is an outstanding resource, providing timely, engaging and current information to existing families, while presenting prospective students with an in-depth introduction to our School. With an up-to-date design, all new images, and a better use of video content, the website will provide a glimpse into the individual journey of each and every Austin Prep student.
For current families and students, access to the parent and student portal can be found by clicking on the "MyAP" link located in the top left of your browser.
If you experience any difficulties or have any questions about the new platform, please contact Mr. Tyler Fleming.
Big Evening for the Middle School on January 22nd
As a reminder, the Middle School is hosting two events on the evening of Wednesday, January 22nd. First, for 6th Grade Families, is the 4th Annual Eqyptian Museum. This event includes student-created exhibits showcasing their study of Egyptian Civilization and is an interdisciplinary endeavor between the Departments of History, English, and Theology. The event takes place from 6:00 - 7:00 p.m. the Gathering Room and Art Gallery. After that, parents of 8th graders attending the Class Trip to Washington, D.C. in March are invited to a parent information session from 7:00 - 8:00 p.m. in the Heritage Room. This half-hour session will provide parents with an overview of the itinerary and a forum to ask questions about the trip.
Students Prepare for Visit From Harvard Educator
On January 23rd, Austin Prep will welcome to campus Khalid Shah, M.S., Ph.D. Dr. Shah serves as the Vice Chair of Research, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Director, Center for Stem Cell Therapeutics and Imaging, Harvard Medical School . Dr. Shah will be presenting a sampling of his work to Austin Prep students. More information about Dr. Shah can be found here.
In advance of the visit, students in Dr. Ric Vanegas' P'21, '24 Biotechnology class prepared a presentation to give background to students about Dr. Shah’s work. The presentations were 20 minutes long and occurred in several classes. A recap of Dr. Shah's visit will be in next week's Cougar Courier.
Career Day Returns to Campus on January 24th
The Office of Alumni Relations is excited for the return of Career Day for our Upper School students and Austin Prep alumni on Friday, January 24th. Career Day will be an opportunity for our alumni to share their professional experience through panel discussions by profession, and a career fair including a resume-building help station. Students will attend two panel discussions the morning of Career Day, followed by the Career Fair. More than 36 alumni are looking forward to returning to campus to participate!
This week in Advisory, students selected their top-three panels to attend. Students will be notified of their Career Day schedule on January 23rd via their advisors. To view profiles of participating alumni, click here.
Upcoming College Counseling Dates
The Office of College Counseling is hosting some key events over the upcoming weeks. Details are below. If you have questions, please reach out to Mr. Brian Ford.
Practice ACT for the Class of 2021 - Monday January 27th Summit Educational Group, our test prep partner, will host a practice ACT for all juniors to prepare for both their classroom work and then the actual ACT. This day will run very similarly to the PSAT this fall, and students should receive their scores 2-3 weeks after the test. Juniors will be given a room assignment, take the exam, and then will be dismissed at 12:00 p.m. following the exam. They will be able to attend second lunch (their original assigned lunch that day) if they wish.
Junior College Prep Course Information Night - Monday January 27th, 6:00 p.m. After your students take their second standardized practice exam of the year, come learn about the class they will be taking during second semester which offers SAT, ACT and college application prep! Please RSVP for the event here.
Freshman and Sophomore College Information Night - Monday, January 27th, 7:00 p.m. For freshman and sophomore parents specifically, come get an introduction to the college counseling office, our programming, and what are great steps you can be taking right now as a parent for a student just getting started with the process. Eighth grade families are also welcome to attend to get an understanding of the college programming in the Upper School. Please RSVP for the event here.
Naviance Information Night - Monday, February 10th, 6:00 p.m. Whether you are an expert or a newcomer, come learn all about the tool that Austin Prep uses at the heart of the college application process. Learn about ways to use the Supermatch tool to search for schools with your student, get an understanding of how we send all of your documents, and get to understand the scatterplot data everyone is talking about. With sessions going on for both new parents just getting started and those looking for the Naviance expert badge, we have you covered. Please RSVP for the event here.
Representative Brad Jones Visits Campus
Austin Prep was honored to welcome Representative Brad Jones to campus this week. Rep. Jones spent several hours visiting with students and staff, discussing topics related to leadership and government. Rep. Jones represents the 20th Middlesex District, consisting of North Reading, Reading, Lynnfield and Middleton.
During Cougar Block, Rep. Jones spoke to Unitas Leadership Academy students in the Heritage Room about the importance of giving and service to others. In the afternoon, he visited Ms. Kristen Donnelly's Civics class while students were testing their own board games on the legislative process. When asked his favorite part of the job, Rep. Jones answered that "it's different everyday." When speaking to Mr. Nate Piccini's '93 American Experience class and Mr. A.J. Benning's AP Government class, he engaged students about his work on Nicky's Law, the Joyful Hart Foundation, and discussed the importance of compromise and bipartisanship across the aisle as part of being a leader in life and politics.
End of Semester Maker Fair
Students in Mr. Brad Harkins' Experiential Learning Through Technology and Leadership Through Design and Innovation classes presented semester-long projects at the end of the semester Maker Fair. At the Fair, students demonstrated how they have learned to leverage technology to create innovative projects. Some highlights included radio controlled cars built from scratch, an idea to help keep the ocean clean, and student designed video games.
Austin Prep National Honor Society Brings Christmas Spirit to Local Residents
As a recent service project for the National Honor Society, a group of 15 students created "Legacies" for members of The Residence at Pearl Street in Reading. The students were paired with residents and asked approximately 50 questions about their life. After several meetings at the home, the students then took these answers and wrote short stories in the point of view of the resident. They prepared the information in scrapbooks and delivered them in person a few days before Christmas as a gift to them and their families. It was a meaningful experience for both our students, the residents, and staff at The Residence at Pearl Street.
Rome Trip Remembered
Members of the Austin Prep Choir and community who travelled to Italy to support the Choir's performances in Vatican City and Assisi have all settled back into their routines, but have done so with memories that will last a lifetime. We received this amazing photo this week and wanted to share it with you!
Career Day Returns to Austin Prep
On Friday, Austin Prep welcomed the return of Career Day to campus. Over 42 alumni shared their professional experiences with students through panel discussions organized by profession, and a career fair including a resume-building help station. Headmaster Dr. James Hickey, P'22, '23, '24 addressed students before breaking off into panel discussion groups. "Take advantage of this opportunity to interact and ask questions of our alumni. Have conversations not only with our alumni, but with each other." Hickey said. "Some things can't be learned from books alone."
Students had the opportunity to attend two panel discussion sessions, covering the following topics: Athletics, Broadcasting, Business Management/Finance, Career Services, Education, Engineering, Government, Health & Wellness/Science, Journalism/Writing/Communications, Law & Order, Performing Arts/Entertainment.
Austin Prep Welcomes Harvard Medical School Professor to Campus
At Thursday's Community Meeting, Austin Prep was honored to welcome Khalid Shah, Ph.D. to campus. Dr. Shah is the Vice-Chair of Research for the Department of Neurosurgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Professor at Harvard Medical School. He directs the Center for Stem Cell Therapeutics and Imaging as well as the joint Center of Excellence in Biomedicine. He is the Principal Faculty at Harvard Stem Cell Institute in Boston.
Dr. Shah and his team have pioneered major developments in the Cell Therapy field, successfully developing engineering targeted stem cells and immune cells for cancer. These studies have been published in a number of very high impact journals like Nature Neuroscience, PNAS, Nature Reviews Cancer, JNCI, Stem Cells and Lancet Oncology. Previously, Dr. Shah's stem cell work has caught the attention in the public domain and as such it has been highlighted in the media world-wide including features on BBC and CNN.
In an effort to continue to provide students with experiences that cannot found in any book or classroom, Dr. Shah will return to campus with members of his team to facilitate a more in depth discussion with some of our students and faculty in our science classes. To take this experience a step further, additional students will have the opportunity to visit with Dr. Shah in his lab. This is an exceptional opportunity for our students to create unforgettable experiences that neither textbooks nor classroom lessons can impart.
Parent Meeting for Junior Class Trip to New York City
The annual Austin Prep Junior Class trip to New York City will take place March 13th-15th. Parents of juniors attending the Class Trip to New York City are invited to a parent information session on Thursday, January 30th at 6:00 p.m. in the Heritage Room. This half-hour session will provide parents with an overview of the itinerary and a forum to ask questions about the trip. If you should have any questions regarding the details of the trip, please contact Mr. Jay Tebbens.
Spirit Week Around the Corner
Spirit Week makes its way to Austin Prep the week of February 3rd - 8th. The week includes themed dressed down days and charitable efforts, and culminates with a pep rally and Upper School Valentine's Day Dance. A $20 donation to St. Jude's Children's Hospital is required to participate, which also includes a ticket to the Upper School Valentine's Day Dance. If you have questions about Spirit Week, please reach out to Mr. Patrick Costello.
Annual Day of Service
Austin Prep’s Annual Day of Service will take place on Thursday, February 13th during the school day for grades 6-12. The entire day will be dedicated to supporting our Armed Forces, both active-duty troops and veterans, as we pay respect to the sacrifice so many have made in service to our country.
Austin Prep is partnering with two organizations - Homebase and Operation Troop Support - to make this day a success. During the day, we will be hearing from representatives of those organizations as well as alumni who are currently serving in various branches of the armed services. We will take time to reflect as we craft thoughtful notes of support, gratitude, and encouragement and create care packages for active duty service members, veterans, and their families.
To support this event, we are launching a significant effort to solicit donations. Each grade will be assigned a specific category of items to bring. The deadline for donations will be Monday, February 10th.
Freshmen: Toothpaste, toothbrushes, floss, mouthwash (travel and medium sized)
Sophomores: Shampoo, bodywash, deodorant, chapstick (travel and medium sized)
Juniors: Bandaids, hand sanitizer, sunscreen (non-aerosol), bugspray (non-aerosol)
Seniors: Pens/pencils, notebooks, envelopes, stationary
All Middle School: White socks (socks should cover the ankle)
Faculty: Books, magazines, games, crossword puzzles
Thank you in advance for your support in making this day a success. Any questions can be directed to Mr. Jay Tebbens.
Middle School Robotics Teams Compete in Tech Challenge
On January 11th, Austin Prep's two Middle School Robotics Teams were among 20 teams to compete at Andover High School in the First Tech Challenge. The goal of this year's challenge is to build a robot that can stack 4" x 8" x 4" legos, while having a starting height of under 14". Austin Prep entered two teams. Once team included Emily Clay '24, Maddy Shih '24, Michael Young '24, Matthew Palumbo '24, Ethan Donnelly '24, and Victor Villarroel '24 (pictured above, left to right). And the second team included Chaz Knowles '24, Declan Sullivan '24, and Jimmy Holmes '24.
Austin Prep performed well in the competition, taking home the trophy for being on the Finalist Alliance Team and for the Rockwell Collins Innovate Award. Judges were impressed with their work and how they were able to answer their questions during their interview.
The Robotics teams will compete again February 2nd in Natick.
Middle Schoolers Compete in Geography Bee
Austin Prep Middle School hosted the school-wide finals of the National Geographic Geography Bee on Friday. Finalists from Middle School Social Studies classes responded to a series of questions about the United States, habitats, continents, oceans, and cartography as the field narrowed to two finalists. Ryan O'Malley '24 emerged as the school-wide winner with Paula Reyes '24 placing second. Grace Goddard '26 finished third. Ryan received a medal, atlas, and several souvenirs from Peru as part of his prize package. Ryan will sit for an online examination in the next week as he attempts to qualify for the next round of this national competition. Congratulations to all of our finalists, and remember, "never stop exploring!"
6th Grade Egyptian Museum
On Wednesday, the 6th Grade hosted the 4th Annual Sixth Egyptian Museum. This event included student-created exhibits showcasing their study of Egyptian Civilization and served as an interdisciplinary endeavor between the Departments of History, English, and Theology. To read more about the event, check out the Middle School Blog!
Art Students Win Awards
Two Austin Prep Art & Design students have won awards in the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards competition. Mrs. Heather Scott's Illustration/Conceptual Art student, Jacqueline Plante '22, won a Silver Key for her piece, "Hero," based off of a homework assignment in her Illustration class. Jacquie also had winners with her drawings, "Teeth" and "Space Juice," which both received Honorable Mentions. Juyeon (Jullie) Chung '21 also won an Honorable Mention for her painting titled, "Nighthawk." Congratulations to our talented artists!
Acknowledging the Class of 2024
Current 8th Graders received their acceptance letters to the Austin Prep Upper School before departing campus on Friday. Congratulations, Class of 2024!