School Blog & News

School Blog and News

Archives - October 2015

WSA Auction News, Issue 1: Online Auction and a Diamond Bar!

October 25, 2015
By Jen Dennis

Posted in Special Events

WSA's Fall Production - Mary Zimmerman’s The Secret in the Wings - Opens November 13

October 20, 2015
By Gretchen Nordleaf-Nelson

West Sound Academy Theatre Department is pleased to announce their 2015-16 Season.  The fall production will be The Secret in the Wings, to be performed November 13, 14 and 15; their winter production will be Moliere’s Tartuffe, the Richard Wilbur translation, on March 4, 5, 6; and their spring production will be Steven Dietz’s Still Life With Iris.  The fall and winter productions will be performed in cooperation with Olympic College at the Bremerton Campus Theatre.  Still Life With Iris will be performed on the West Sound Academy campus in the WSA Amphitheatre. 

Rehearsal for 'The Secret in the Wings'
Afternoon rehearsal for 'The Secret in the Wings'

Mary Zimmerman’s The Secret in the Wings adapts a group of lesser-known fairy tales to create a theatrical work that sets their dark mystery against her signature wit and humor. The framing story concerns a child and the frightening babysitter with whom her parents leave her. As the babysitter reads from a book, the characters in each of the tales materialize, with each tale breaking off just at its bleakest moment before giving way to the next one.  Following Zimmerman’s style of devising theatre the West Sound Academy drama students will use costumes, props, sets, and lighting to brilliant effect, creating images and feelings that render the fairy tales in all their elemental and enduring power.

The Acting Ensemble for The Secret in The Wings includes: Sam Phillips ’16, Annika Nelson ’18, Trinity Pine ’19, Ryley Mercado ’17, Cornelia Thane ’16, Mubasshira Tabassum ’17, Ben Silvernale ’17, Wyatt Webber ’19, and Audrey Jordan ’16.

Director – Gretchen Nordleaf-Nelson
Musical Director – Megan Hall
Original Music Compositions – Gwynn Lanning
Stage Manager – Jackson Vogt
Assistant Stage Manager – Alena Pulhug
Scenic Design – Ben Taylor
Costume Design – Natalia Harmia
When: Performance Dates – November 13th 14th and 15th, 2015
Where:  Olympic College Theatre – 1264 15th Street (15th Street at Ohio Avenue), Bremerton, WA
Who:  West Sound Academy Drama Program
Tickets: $10 Adults $7 Students $5 Senior Citizens

Reservations and Information Contact:  Gretchen Nordleaf-Nelson at (360) 598-5954

Posted in Theatre

Tips for the College-bound Senior

October 16, 2015
By Catherine Freeman

The college admissions process is in full swing at West Sound Academy. Students are working hard to find schools and complete applications. This week alone the school has been visited by representatives from Hampshire College, Whitworth University, The Evergreen State College, and Marlboro College and many students took advantage of  PSAT testing day on October 14 to visit schools on their own.  Here are some suggestions for seniors and their families on important aspects of this journey: the search, the application, the financing, and communication with colleges.


Looking for a School:


With thousands of options for higher education narrowing the list can be a daunting task. The following websites (listed here in no particular order) can be useful for searching based on grades, scores, location, interests, or other attributes.


The Essay:


Many schools require a personal statement. Generally one essay can be modified to fit the prompt for most schools however it is imperative that the essay fits the prompt. While a great essay will not guarantee admission, a poor essay can severely decrease your chances. Essays are the student’s opportunity to add his or her personality to all the other information that has been supplied.

The goal is to craft an essay that accurately reflects your qualities and character so it is a smart idea to give your essay to your parents and friends to read so you can make sure it accurately reflects you and your personality.

The following links can be helpful for providing further guidance for the essay:




An acronym for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, this application is based on the financial records of parents and becomes available January 1. Using the information provided, the family’s expected contribution is calculated and sent to schools. Aid is given out in a first-come-first-serve manner so completing the FAFSA as close to January 1 is very important.

Here are some FAFSA websites for more information:

Federal Student Aid -


Communication with Schools:

Schools want to see students who are capable of navigating through the application process by themselves, without a lot of extra assistance from parents. Calling schools and asking for guidance and information can be very helpful, but it is important to remember that the application is the student’s responsibility. If parents call schools to ask for information and indicate that they are completing the process for their student, the schools are much less likely to be helpful. Parents, if you do need to make the call, consider tempering your role by saying, “Robert and I were working on your application and we have a question…” College admissions offices are staffed by real people and a good deal of charm can go a long way.


Other Scholarships:


While not always in large sums, there are scholarship opportunities from local organizations such as the North Kitsap Rotary, Lions or Kiwanis. Generally deadlines are in March and most scholarships ask for similar things like an essay, letters of recommendations, and transcripts. Some scholarships require interviews. While not necessarily for large sums of money, they do add up. I will be working to make students aware of any scholarship opportunities to which I am alerted.


No Two Searches the Same:


This time in the senior year students need to combine self-reflection  with solid research on post-secondary opportunities that match them on a range of factors.  No two college search processes are the same and students should look beyond the latest “ranking” and “name-brand” to find more meaningful measures of college fit.

Schools where WSA's Class of 2015 are enrolled:

The American University of Paris

California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

Lewis & Clark College

Michigan State University

Mount Holyoke College

Reed College

University of California, Santa Cruz

University of Portland

University of Washington

Whitman College

Willamette University

Posted in Academics

Full STEAM Ahead at WSA Technology Access Center Grand Opening

October 07, 2015
By Susan Trower

West Sound Academy's Technology Access Center (TAC) received a proper grand opening on October 6, 2015, complete with ribbon-cutting and tours.

Poulsbo Mayor Becky Erickson, with help from some WSA students, cut a ribbon with a pair of sharp giant scissors, allowing the assembled group of students, parents, and community members to come take a look at the "TAC Room" inside of Ryan Hall.

Mayor Becky Erickson gets some help from 6th grader Matt Thornell
Espen Swanson photo

The new facility has WSA's students and teachers eager to proceed "full STEAM ahead" with the school's STEAM curriculum initiative, combining the STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) with Art and Design.  

7th Grader Chase Van Derrick demonstrating his skills in the Alice programming language
Espen Swanson photo

Students enrolled in 6th Grade Introduction to Technology, 7th Grade Computer Language and Logic, and 8th-12th Grade Robotics elective classes were on hand to show off all of the new gear.  

The TAC has 16 PC work stations (plus a teacher work station) equipped with 3D design software that allows students to work with the Cubify 3D printer and scanner.

WSA Science and Technology teacher David Miller had his Robotics and Introduction to Technology students show visitors what they've been working on during the first month of school.  Teams from the Robotics class demonstrated the capabilities of the LEGO EV3 robots to navigate obstacle courses, follow along walls, and use the gyro-sensor to be self-balancing.  The 3D printer was running, printing out a design created using Blender, the 3D program used by the 6th graders. 

Seventh graders were stationed at the PCs, showing off their coding skill.  The Computer Language and Logic class taught by WSA Director of Technology Lionel Pummell focuses on Alice, but some in the class have jumped ahead to learning Java.

8th Grade Robotics student Sam Abraham with his robot going around a wall of math books
Espen Swanson photo

James Kolb, West Sound Academy's Director of Finance and Operations, was part of the team of school administrators and community members that helped make the 'TAC Room' a reality.  Kolb is happy to see students benefiting from the TAC, and he's looking forward to the future potential for the school's new resource, and not just for WSA students.

8th Grade robotics student Elliott Drewry
Espen Swanson photo

The school is in the application process to be a testing center for the Educational Testing Service's TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language).  A TOEFL center in Poulsbo would be a tremendous service to any international students on the Kitsap or Olympic Peninsulas seeking admission to American colleges, since the test is required for all non-English speakers. 

West Sound Academy is also hoping to partner with Kitsap Regional Library and Poulsbo Parks and Recreation to make the TAC available after school for use for classes offered by those organizations.  "This has long been a dream at WSA, so we’re very excited about the Technology Access Center," says Kolb.  "It’s an important step in our STEAM Initiative and gives us another way to welcome the wider community to our campus. "

Posted in Special Events

WSA Theatre Arts Program Granted Thespian Troupe Charter

October 07, 2015
By Gretchen Nordleaf-Nelson

In August of 2015 West Sound Academy Theatre Department petitioned the International Thespian Society, the student honorary division of the Educational Theatre Association, for the privilege of chartering a Thespian troupe. The theatre arts program of West Sound Academy has been determined to meet the standards required by the board of directors of the Educational Theatre Association, and their application has been accepted. We are now the proud home of Thespian Troupe #8175!

Membership in this international organization is not only a reward for the fine work West Sound Academy theatre students have done, but further evidence of their desire to continue to work in this specialized field. As a troupe, they work will contribute to the growth of better theatre in this community, our country, and throughout the world.

Annika Nelson and Sam Phillips in a scene from 'Anatomy of Gray', WSA's Fall 2014 play
International Thespian Society

The International Thespian Society has as its aim the advancement of excellence in educational theatre and the continuing enrichment of theatre arts and their appreciation worldwide.

The official troupe Charter Ceremony and Induction of Thespians will be held on Sunday, November 15, 2015, at the Olympic College Campus Theatre.  Washington State Thespian Board Members will attend to officiate the ceremony. 

The election of officers of Troupe #8175 took place upon receiving the charter and they are the following West Sound Academy students:

Sam Phillips ’16, President
Annika Nelson ’18, Vice-President
Ben Taylor ’16, Dramaturge
Megan Hall ’16, Secretary
Ben Silvernale ’17, Treasurer
Jackson Vogt ’17, Historian
Who is going to be Lenny? - scene from 'Rumors', the Spring 2015 play
Posted in Theatre


Search by Keyword(s):
(separate multiples with a comma)

Recent Posts

10/16/19 - By Jen David
10/3/19 - By Grace Schmitt and Phillip Cox
9/30/19 - By Susan Trower
9/11/19 - By Barrie Hillman
8/31/19 - By Susan Trower
8/19/19 - By Barrie Hillman


Tag Cloud