School Blog & News

School Blog and News

Archives - January 2016

Incredible Evening of Music Performances by WSA Jan Term Students Launches Annual Visionary Campaign

January 27, 2016
By Susan Trower

WSA Board members Jeff Johnson and Marisa Lanning, Espen Swanson photoFriday, January 22, 2016:  The last day of Jan Term found West Sound parents, students, staff, and other friends of the school seated in the Olympic College Theater, ready for an evening of music by WSA students.  West Sound music teacher Paul Burback guided his Music Immersion Jan Term ensemble to select and arrange the music for a final performance.  Before the first note was played, two members of the West Sound Academy Board of Trustees, Jeff Johnson and Marisa Lanning, came forward to address the audience, to remind them of the many reasons why they chose West Sound Academy as the school for their children.  

Marisa Lanning spoke of the importance of each family's choice of school for their children, and the need for the entire WSA community to participate in giving to the Annual Visionary Campaign.

"WSA is clearly a game changer for our children, providing them a challenging and supportive environment in which they gain the tools to succeed in life.  This certainly is the case for my own child, Gwynn. In choosing West Sound, each family makes the conscious decision to enter into a partnership. WSA provides the education to move our children and forward and we, in turn, help move West Sound forward."

"As an independent school, West Sound has the freedom to teach creatively and effectively. But as with any freedom there are costs and responsibilities. West Sound does not receive any state or federal money. It is up to us, our families, our friends, the community of West Sound, to make sure our school has the resources to thrive. Twenty years hence we want our children to look back with pride and say “that was where I got the best education and I remember when…”."

Music Immersion Jan Term Performance, January 22, 2016 - Espen Swanson photo"As you know, our tuition does not fully cover the costs to educate our students. This is typical in independent schools. How big is the gap? It’s about $1200 per student. Together we need to close the gap. Some of us are able to pay this amount, others cannot. Some will pay more. Some will pay a portion in cash and the rest in “in kind” donations, volunteering, school work, etc. It is important to me to extend and pay extra because a West Sound education is worth it."

"WSA needs your help today in order to continue providing our kids with amazing:  music, theater, and visual art instruction, exciting STEM learning and leadership, appropriate testing, hands-on science, college level history, international travel, and exposure to a global community and the connections this fosters.  These are the perks and the responsibility of a private school."

Annual Visionary Campaign Hall o' Student Mugs - with LOTS of Espen Swanson photosWest Sound Academy has two goals to achieve in the next four weeks: 100% participation in the Annual Visionary Fund and raising $140,000. 

Already the Board of Trustees and the Faculty and Staff have reached the 100% participation goal. 

The Board has asked the West Sound community to double last year’s donation and give generously, so the school is well on its way to $140,000.  

There is an extra "perk" for WSA parents who donate to the Annual Visionary Campaign:  a very special coffee mug, with an very special photo of their own son or daughter.  

A big thanks goes to WSA junior Espen Swanson for the wonderful photography on all of the mugs.

Posted in Music

Fight Director Joe Bostick to Choreograph Duel in WSA's Winter Production, 'I Hate Hamlet'

January 26, 2016
By Gretchen Nordleaf-Nelson

Poulsbo, WA - West Sound Academy Theatre Department will present Paul Rudnick’s raucous comedy I Hate Hamlet as their winter production March 4 and 5 at the Olympic College Theatre, Bremerton, Campus.

1922 Poster for a production of Hamlet starring John BarrymoreThe cast and creative team for this exciting production of I Hate Hamlet are busy putting all the pieces together on this wildly imaginative ghost story, which is set in the Greenwich Village apartment that had once been occupied by John Barrymore in 1917.  A young and successful television actor Andrew Rally relocates to New York, where he rents a marvelous, gothic apartment. With his television career in limbo, the actor is offered the opportunity to play Hamlet onstage, but there's one problem: He hates Hamlet. His dilemma deepens with the entrance of John Barrymore's ghost, who arrives intoxicated and in full costume to the apartment that once was his. The contrast between the two actors, the towering, dissipated Barrymore whose Hamlet was the greatest of his time, and Andrew Rally, hot young television star, leads to a wildly funny duel over women, art, success, duty, television, and yes, the apartment.

I Hate Hamlet calls for speed, comedy and unashamed boulevard comedy while demanding absolute precision and the West Sound Academy theatre students are rising to the occasion.  To give the production the eye-popping, athletic and theatrically dazzling fight scene between stage legend John Barrymore and TV star Andrew Rally, West Sound Academy has invited fight director Joe Bostick, from Toronto, Canada, to choreograph the infamous duel.  Bostick will teach two workshops at West Sound Academy for theatre students - Movement for the Stage and Stage Combat on Friday, January 29, and begin working with the cast of the production through Sunday, January 31 - over a three-day intensive workshop.

Joe BostickBostick has been working as a fight director/actor/teacher since 1982.
His training began with The Society of American Fight Directors and with various Fight Masters in North America. Most recently, he was the Fight Director for the National Theatre of Iceland’s production of The Heart of Robin Hood. Last fall, he also worked on other award winning productions of The Heart of Robin Hood in Winnipeg, Toronto and Boston at A.R.T. Broadway credits include Les Miserables and Ragtime. Three years ago, he was fortunate to work on Andrew Lloyd Weber’s production of The Wizard of Oz. He also choreographed the fights in the North American premiere and 1St U.S. tour of Dirty Dancing. He was the Associate Fight Director for the world premiere production of The Lord of the Rings in Toronto. Joe worked as Assistant Fight Director for Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (Canada). Some other companies he staged violence for include Drayton Entertainment, The Ron James Show, The Jon Dore Show, The Sean Cullen Show, Nightwood Theatre, Theatre Passe Muraille, Theatre Francais, Theatre by the Bay, Stage West and Young People’s Theatre. He is also a founding member of Fight Director’s Canada and has taught at many Universities and Theatre Schools in Canada and the United States.

I Hate Hamlet features Sam Phillips ’16 as TV Star Andrew Rally, Joey Schmitt ’16 as John Barrymore, Audrey Jordan ’18 as New York realtor Felicia Dantene, Annika Nelson ’18 as Rally’s girlfriend Deirdre McDavey, Angie Mead ’16 as Rally’s NY Agent, Lillian Troy, and Johannes Zodet ‘ 17 as Rally’s LA Producer – Gary Peter Lefkowitz.

The production is directed by Gretchen Nordleaf-Nelson with student director Jackson Vogt, fight choreographer Joe Bostick and directing intern Siri Nelson.   The production team is lead by Stage Manager Alena Pulhug and Assistant Stage Manager Wyatt Weber.  The Design team includes Ben Silvernale and Karsten Hald for Set Design; Cornelia Thane and Natalia Harmia for Costume Design; Props and Set Artists are Ben Taylor and Ruby Gsellman.

Tickets are $10 General Admission, $7 for students with ID and $5 for Senior Citizens. 
For more information contact Gretchen Nordleaf-Nelson at (360) 598-5954
Posted in Theatre

WSA's Chess Masters Visit Silverwood School to Teach (and Play) the Game of Kings

January 20, 2016
By Lionel Pummell

Katie Komar, WSA 8th Grader, supervising a beginner's chess matchChess anyone? West Sound Academy’s Strategy Gaming Club took a field trip to Silverwood School last Thursday with the goal of teaching chess to elementary school students. Silverwood - an independent school for children in Kindergarten through 6th grade - had a group of students waiting, ready to learn how to play the classic game.

WSA's faculty advisor for the Gaming Club, Lionel Pummell, in coordination with Silverwood’s Business Manager Sara Adams, set up this opportunity for students from the two schools to come together. The common area at Silverwood was alive with thoughtful energy and intense concentration during the meeting. West Sound Academy’s students taught chess strategy to the younger children while the classic pawns, rooks, and knights were maneuvered around many boards.

River Gsellman, WSA 8th Grader, giving advice to two young game-playersJon Torgerson, Silverwood's Head of School, was happy to welcome the WSA group. “Silverwood School is honored to partner up with the students at West Sound Academy in offering our students an opportunity to learn and fine tune the game of chess.  I find that any time schools are able to collaborate in a natural and authentic way it is always a benefit for the students.  It was delightful to see the focus and fun that happened on Thursday afternoon,”  he said.

Twenty students, both from Silverwood and local homeschool families, came to learn and play. West Sound Academy sent eleven volunteers to the event: Peter Silvernale, Stuart Parkington, Aidan Phelan, Boaz Adams, Emily Bradford, Katie Komar, Lucius Vigeant, River Gsellman, Chase VanDerek, Micah Adams and Matt Thornell.

With the success of this first experience with mentoring and learning, Lionel and Sara are planning to have the visit of the WSA chess masters be a monthly event.

Mud Pie's Arts Night and Poetry Slam, Arts Poetica: Volume Two, Set for February 19

January 16, 2016
By Aidan Moore and Espen Swanson, Mud Pie student editors

Arts Poetica: Volume TwoMud Pie is proud to announce our second annual arts night and poetry slam. Arts Poetica: Volume Two will be held on Friday, February 19th. Come at 6:30 to view a special assembly of West Sound art pieces and take part in the interactive Art Wall presented by Listen to Your Art. The open mic poetry slam will begin around 7:00. Everyone is invited to share original pieces, or your favorite poems and stories from other published authors (maybe from your favorite edition of Mud Pie…). The open mic is not limited to students, and we welcome involvement from teachers, parents, and others in the WSA community. 

Art and concessions will be available for purchase, and will help defray printing costs for Mud Pie 2016 and benefit Listen to Your Art. 

Students and teachers are invited to submit their art for display; simply drop off your titled artwork in Jen’s room by the 18th. You will be able to retrieve your artwork on Monday, February 22nd. 

For anyone intending to perform during the open mic, please be sure to respect the Poetry Slam Guidelines (adapted from Poetry Slam Inc.):
  • Poems may be on any subject and in any style.
  • Readings and performances are not to exceed five minutes
  • Keep your poems PG-13 (No explicit content, language should move the piece forward in a necessary way)

Remember nearly everything is fair game. Jan-Term creations and pieces published in previous Mud Pies make great contributions too! Student authors and artists are encouraged to submit any new work they present at Arts Poetica to the journal as well, and there will be a an area at the event to facilitate this.

Contact us with any questions at or find one of our Student Editors at school. We hope to see everyone there!

Posted in Performing Arts

January, 2016: Coming Up at West Sound Academy

January 04, 2016
By Susan Trower

next January 5:


Jan Term 2016 begins!  In Jan Term, the normal seven period class schedule is suspended and students study two intensive classes for three weeks.  

Not sure where to go?  Check out the
to see lists of students enrolled in the morning, all day, and afternoon Jan Term classes, and rosters for afternoon IB HL classes


Jan Term 2015 Food Art class

next January 13:


Knowledge Bowl Competition
Divisional Summit Award

Fort Worden, Port Townsend

KB team members: 
  • Arrive at school by 7:30 a.m.
  • Leave WSA: 7:45 a.m.
  • Return to WSA: by 3:45 p.m.
  • Bring a lunch and water bottle
WSA Hawks

next January 18:

There is


Monday, January 18, 2016
in observance of the
Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

next January 22:

Enrollment contracts
            are mailed to current families on
          Friday, January 22, 2016

next January 22:

Jan Term Presentations
in the Commons
Jan Term!!!

next January 22:

West Sound Academy presents:
Jan Term 2016
Performances for family and friends

6:00 p.m. - Refreshments and socializing in the lobby
6:30 p.m.:  Show time!
Jan Term 2015 Music Ensemble Performance
Olympic College Theater
1264 15th Street (15th Street at Ohio Avenue)
Bremerton, WA

next January 25:

There is
           on Monday, January 25, 2016

so that WSA Teachers can clean up after Jan Term and prepare for Spring Semester

Britannica ImageQuest - Teacher Training at the Domestic Arts Training College in Cardiff, 1935

next January 26:

Spring Semester begins
           on Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Jan Term 2016

next January 30:


Open House
January 30, 2016
10 a.m. to 12:00 noon

Open Houses introduce our faculty and program to interested families.

Frodel Hall on the West Sound Academy campus

Visitors will learn about our academics and extracurricular activities, meet the Head of School and some of the faculty and students, and take a tour of the campus. Anyone interested in joining us for an Open House cn email to Lisa Gsellman at  For a map and driving directions to West Sound Academy, click here.

next January 30:

WSA's Student Social Committee presents:
Winter Formal
for WSA students in Grades 8-12 
Place:  Indianola Clubhouse
Time:  7 to 10 p.m.
Refreshments provided
WSA Dance at Indianola Clubhouse - Mark Gsellman photo
Students bringing guests who do not attend WSA must return a completed
Guest Permission Slip 
(signed by the guest's parent) to the WSA Front Office
Friday, January 29, 2016
in order for the guest to be admitted to the dance.
Posted in All School


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