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Archives - May 2016

Salamunovich Gives Class of 2016 Some Life Lessons - "What I Wish I Knew Then, What I Know Now"

May 30, 2016
By Susan Trower

WSA's Class of 2016 - Mark Gsellman photoStephen Salamunovich, CSA, a casting director and musician, joined friends and family of West Sound Academy's Class of 2016 at the House of Awakened Culture in Suquamish on May 27 for the school's 15th annual commencement.  Head of School Barrie Hillman welcomed all in attendance, and after an introduction from Lawrence Kerr, Chair of WSA's Board of Trustees, Salamunovich took the podium to address the graduates and guests.

Stephen Salamunovich and WSA faculty - Espen Swanson photoSalamunovich looked back to his own high school graduation forty years ago and the way his life had been "all planned out" and then had taken a series of very different turns, leading him to establish his casting firm in Seattle rather than New York or Los Angeles.  He then gave his list of thirty-one things he's learned that he thinks are valuable - advice on everything from careers, family, political participation, the importance of critical thinking, and personal happiness.  Salamunovich ended with a wish that the graduates become "truly connected to each other, to our planet, [and] to the animals living on it" saying once that happens "we can solve every single problem we have today!  Every one!"  The full text of his speech is here:  

What I Wish I Knew Then, What I Know Now ... (Or THINK I KNOW!") - Stephen Salamunovich

Seniors giving their last WSA music performance - Mark Gsellman photoBarrie Hillman then introduced each of the graduates as they came to give their senior speeches - "The Last Word".  Many members of the senior class came off the dais so that they could give their last music performance as WSA students - "The Weight" by The Band.  

Hillman and Kerr then came back to the podium for the highlight of the evening:  the presentation of diplomas.    

Hillman presented the graduates to the community, then led them in the moving of the tassel on their mortarboards from the right to the left.  The newly-minted WSA alumni left the building to the tune of "Take On Me" by A-Ha, followed by the faculty and guests. Out on the lawn facing the Sound the graduates lined up for the traditional celebration:  the tossing of the caps.  

Congratulations, Class of 2016!


Xue Guo - Espen Swanson photo

Xue Guo is the daughter of Dong Guo and Ping Shen of Beijing, China.  

Xue will be attending Savannah College of Art and Design.  


Megan Hall - Espen Swanson photo

Megan Hall is the daughter of Keith and Laurie Hall of Bremerton.  

Megan will be attending Western Washington University.  


Kwong Wa Lam - Mark Gsellman photo

Kwong Wa Lam is the son of Ching Lam and Wan Chan of Kowloon City, Hong Kong, China.  

Kwong Wa will be attending Oregon State University.  

Angie Mead - Espen Swanson photo

Angie Mead is the daughter of Malcolm and Kathy Mead of Bainbridge Island.  

Angie will be attending Whitman College.  

Aidan Moore - Mark Gsellman photo

Aidan Moore is the son of Bryan Moore of Poulsbo and Patricia Moore of Port Gamble.  

Aidan will be attending Pomona College.  

Liam Near - Mark Gsellman photo

Liam Near is the son of Randy Near and Kim Hancock of Kingston.  

Liam will be attending the University of Washington.  


Yongyao Peng - Mark Gsellman photo

Yongyao Peng is the son of Xiaotong Peng and Qiying Shen of Xiamen, Fujian, China.  

Yongyao will be attending George Mason University. 

Sam Phillips - Espen Swanson photo

Sam Phillips is the son of Jeff Phillips of Bainbridge Island and Meg Mitchell, also of Bainbridge Island.  

Sam will be attending Willamette University.

Ce Qiu (Bill) - Mark Gsellman photo

Ce Qiu is the son of Ruijv Qiu and Jingying Chen of Huizhou, Guangdong, China.  

Ce will be attending University of Colorado, Boulder.

Joey Schmitt - Espen Swanson photo

Joey Schmitt is the son of David and Sharley Schmitt of Suquamish. 

Joey will be attending Western Washington University.    


Peter Silvernale - Espen Swanson photo

Peter Silvernale is the son of Chuck Silvernale of Poulsbo and Jennifer Silvernale, also of Poulsbo. 

Peter will be attending the University of Oregon.  

Wenhui Tang - Espen Swanson photo

Wenhui Tang is the son of Junyou Tang and Hong Yang of Beijing, China. 

Wenhui will be attending the University of Vermont.   


Ben Taylor - Mark Gsellman photo

Ben Taylor is the son of Harry Taylor and Sheila Smith of Poulsbo. 

Ben will be attending the University of Washington. 


Cornelia Thane - Espen Swanson photo

Cornelia Thane is the daughter of Henrik and Marianne Thane of Vasteras, Sweden.

Cornelia will be returning home to complete her final year of high school in Sweden.

Taylor Thornton - Espen Swanson photo

Taylor Thornton is the son of Shawn and Kelly Thornton of Kingston. 

Taylor will be attending Montana State University. 


Conor Ultican - Mark Gsellman photo

Conor Ultican is the son of Shawn Ultican of Port Orchard and Kaela Moontree, also of Port Orchard. 

Conor will be attending Western Washington University.

Zhaoyang Zheng - Mark Gsellman photo

Zhaoyang Zheng is the son of Zhifang Zheng and Xuemei Xu of Huizhou, Guangdong, China.  

Zhaoyang will be attending Oregon State University.


The Class of 2016 celebrating their graduation with the tossing of the caps - Mark Gsellman photo

Posted in Special Events

College Declaration Day for WSA Class of 2016

May 23, 2016
By Susan Trower

WSA Class of 2016 - Espen Swanson photoWest Sound Academy seniors and their families researched colleges, went on campus visits, and consulted with Mrs. Freeman, WSA's College Counselor.  Applications and essays were sent off to colleges and universities during fall and winter of this school year.  Over the past few months the eagerly awaited acceptance letters and scholarship offers have been arriving in letters and email.

Now the choice:  where to attend?  Monday, May 23 was College Declaration Day at WSA, and the members of the Class of 2016 signed the pennants of the colleges where they intend to enroll this fall.

College Destinations for the Seniors, or, Where Will They Be Next Fall?

Savannah College of Art and Design
Xue Guo - Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Georgia



Western Washington University
Megan Hall - Western Washington University in Bellingham



Oregon State University
Kwong Wa Lam - Oregon State University in Corvallis


Whitman College
Angie Mead - Whitman College in Walla Walla


Pomona College
Aidan Moore - Pomona College in Claremont, California


University of Washington
Liam Near - University of Washington in Seattle


George Mason University
Yongyao Peng - George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia



Willamette University
Sam Phillips - Willamette University in Salem, Oregon


University of Colorado, Boulder
Ce Qiu- University of Colorado in Boulder


Western Washington University
Joey Schmitt - Western Washington University in Bellingham



University of Oregon
Peter Silvernale - University of Oregon in Eugene


University of Vermont
Wenhui Tang - University of Vermont in Burlington


University of Washington
Ben Taylor - University of Washington in Seattle


Cornelia Thane - returning home to Vasseras, Sweden to complete her final year of high school
Montana State University
Taylor Thornton - Montana State University in Bozeman


Western Washington University
Conor Ultican - Western Washington University in Bellingham



Oregon State University
Zhaoyang Zheng - Oregon State University in Corvallis




Students in the Class of 2016 were accepted at 28 four-year colleges and universities, including the ones shown below. Congratulations to our seniors - we're proud of you!

American University of ParisAmherst CollegeAuburn UniversityCentral Washington UniversityDickinson College




Istituto MarangoniLewis & Clark CollegePacific Lutheran UniversityReed CollegeThe Evergreen State College




University of IowaUniversity of MontanaUniversity of PortlandUniversity of Washington, TacomaWesleyan University




One last game of hide and seek! - Espen Swanson photo

Posted in Academics

New Student Blog for WSA Spanish Classes:  ¡Películaridad!, el blog cinéfilo 

May 17, 2016
By Julieta Vitullo

Julieta Vitullo and her Upper School Spanish studentsA lot of the work that I do in my Spanish classes revolves around real cultural artifacts such as songs, poems, news clips and articles. Rather than limiting the learning experience to using artificial and mechanical materials targeted at language learners, I like exposing my students to the actual productions of the cultures whose language they aspire to master. Real materials that connect with students' sensory experiences activate the affective dimension of learning and result in a high retention and absorption of meaningful content. That's why I love using films as a medium to strengthen all four skills--listening comprehension, speaking, reading and writing--while developing an appreciation for the traditions, idiosyncrasies, and historical and political processes pertaining different Spanish speaking countries. 

Las lengua de las mariposas por Taylor ThorntonFilms have allowed my students to explore a wide range of topics within the three core topics of the IB--communication and media, global issues and social relationships. Students have had the chance to learn, discuss, understand and produce written texts about the ways in which indigenous populations in Bolivia still suffer the effects of European colonization (También la lluvia), about the story of a Chinese man who lands in Buenos Aires without speaking a word of Spanish only to find a lonely and bitter Argentinian who decides to help him despite himself (Un cuento chino), about the experience of the Spanish Civil War as witnessed through the eyes of a child (La lengua de las mariposas), or about the happiness and hardships experienced by Cuban musicians migrating to New York City during the golden years of Latin jazz (Chico & Rita). Most of the films that we have watched in class explore universal topics such as love and friendship, which allow students to relate to the characters and engage in the language. Since film is a favorite form of entertainment among our students and humor is present in many of these movies, our discussions are not just interesting but fun.

Metagol por Max MorningstarAll of this background information brings me to the topic that I really wanted to present in this post: that the class of 2016 is about to graduate! Yes. It is hard to believe because it was only four years ago that I started teaching at West Sound and these wonderful seniors were starting the 9th grade. So as we are about to send this class off to their next adventure, I decided I wanted to compile some of the best film reviews written by them in our last four years of classes together and have them all in one place for anyone to access and enjoy. The idea was triggered by one of Liam Near's film reviews, in which he invented the name for an imaginary blog called ¡Películaridad!, a word pun based on the Spanish term película (film). After playing with the idea of a blog and asking students to submit revised versions of their highest graded film reviews, I decided I would also ask students in the mid and lower levels to try and write reviews that were worthy of publication. The blog now features reviews and other creative texts written by students in all four levels of Spanish and based on five different films.

The Inkless Link, WSA's site dedicated to student artwork and writing created by my journalism class in 2013, seemed to be the right place to host this blog. This site is in the process of being revived and redesigned to make it more accessible to all teachers and perhaps to clubs as well so they can host their own blogs. One thing that will not be changed in the site is the endearing logo created by Madeleine Bentley (class of 2015) when the site was first launched. Espen Swanson (class of 2017) will be working on revamping the site this summer as part of his CAS project, so talk to him if you have ideas and stay tuned to the upcoming developments.

¡Películaridad!, el blog cinéfio
     ¡Películaridad! logo design by Angie Gangi

So here is the link to ¡Películaridad!, el blog cinéfilo or "the film lovers blog for WSA Spanish classes." May the legacy of the very talented and creative class of 2016 continue and may the current and future classes keep our blog interesting and vibrant!

Posted in Academics

Pennies for Patients Wrap-Up: A Big (Exclamation Point!) Success

May 12, 2016
By Angie Gangi

Teachers' donation jars for the Pennies for Patients fundraiserWest Sound Academy ended the third year of fundraising for the Pennies for Patients campaign with an exclamation point! For three weeks in April, WSA worked with the Pennies for Patients campaign to raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. The LLS aids patients through cancer research and the search for a cure to all blood-related cancers.

WSA's goal of raising $3,000 was a high bar that was not only met but crushed as students, faculty and families raised a grand total of $4,889.60!

That's more than $43 per student!

Student fundraising teams were formed by advocacy. Here's a break down of how the funds were raised per team:

A flying' Ryley Mercado pies his advocate, Gretchen Nordleaf-Nelson

  • Lionel's Team - $1,177.71
  • Mrs. Freeman's Team - $614.21
  • Jen's Team - $530.57
  • Mr. Miller's Team - $509.23
  • Gretchen's Team - $452.83
  • Ms. Garvin's Team - $384.05
  • Karen's Team - $327.36
  • Lorri's Team - $308.86
  • Brittany's Team - $264.62
  • Kim's Team - $210.54

  After our kick off assembly April 11th, students began to raise money by collecting change and asking family and friends for online donations. Online donations accounted for more than half of the total amount raised.

A BIG donation from the WSA community to help fight blood cancersStudents were excited about the difference their funds would make in the lives of cancer patients after hearing about how far the medical advances have come in the past several years alone. They were also looking forward to earning a few of the WSA exclusive incentive prizes along the way including: candy, popsicles, water play day on the last day of school, staff silliness jars, and the grand prize of egg roulette played by a few brave teachers if we reached our $3,000 goal. Needless to say, the teachers got slimed with dozens of raw eggs to great applause at the big results assembly May 2nd when WSA presented the LLS with a huge check for $4,889.60. The final donation amount went up slightly after the final pennies and checks were deposited. Bonus!

The Pennies for Patients campaign highlights the generosity and spirit of the students and families at WSA, and offers hope to those who have been touched by cancer.

May, 2016: Coming Up at West Sound Academy

May 02, 2016
By Susan Trower


IB Diploma Programme examinations
                  at WSA begin

            Monday, May 2, 2016


       See: May 2016 IB DP Examination Schedule


Kitsap Great Give - May 3, 2016 May 3:


           One Day Only!

A 24-hour online giving event

Every dollar you donate will be proportionally matched
by the event sponsors so that
West Sound Academy will actually get more money than you donate!
Proceeds will support the after-school programs in the Technology Access Center, for staffing, tools, materials and software.  See and share our promotional video on the Kitsap Great Give page of the WSA website!

Frodel Hall on the West Sound Academy campusMay 3:


Open House

Tuesday, 7 to 9 p.m.

Open Houses introduce our faculty and program to interested families. Visitors have a chance to 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 this Open House can email Lisa Gsellman at

Guitar - Mark Gsellman photoMay 11:


         Arts Night

             In the Commons:
6th, 7th, and 9th Grade Musicians
                    in Concert
         Paul Burback, Director
2012 Arts Night
                 On display in Frodel Gallery:
                     Work from students in
               Middle School Visual Arts 
      Graphic Design Elective

2015 Jan Term music performance source checkMay 14:

              WSA Presents:

Upper School Musicians

           in Concert

       Paul Burback, Director
Indianola Clubhouse
20446 Indianola Road NE
Indianola  98342
6:30 p.m.

 TARDISMay 18:


                 The last day of
IB Diploma Programme examinations
                       at WSA is


Wednesday, May 18, 2016


See: May 2016 IB DP Examination Schedule

 US Spring Formal, April 25, 2015 - Mark Gsellman photoMay 21:

     WSA's Social Committee presents:

           Upper School

           Spring Formal

7 to 10 p.m.
Indianola Clubhouse
20446 Indianola Road NE
Indianola  98342
Admission:  $15

Students bringing guests who do not attend WSA must return a complete
                                 Guest Permission Slip
(signed by the guest's parent) to the WSA Front Office by Friday, May 20, 2016 in order for the guest to be admitted to the event.

 Pennies for PatientsMay 26:

West Sound Academy will be on a

Friday Schedule for
Monday, May 23, 2016.
 Afternoon assembly agenda:

Presentation of Awards and
Declaration Day for the Class of 2016

            Seniors will sign the pennant for the college
                     they will be attending in the Fall!

 Britannica ImageQuest imageMay 27:

                    There is
                 NO SCHOOL
                        on Friday, May 27
so that WSA Teachers can prepare for
        Commencement Exercises
                   that evening

 Karin Knighton, WSA 2016May 27:

West Sound Academy's
             15th Annual
Commencement Exercises
      for the Class of 2016
House of Awakened Culture
7235 NE Parkway
7 p.m.

Still Life with Iris and Roses, Francois Joseph Huygens - Britannica ImageQuestMay 28:

West Sound Academy presents:
        the Middle School play

    Still Life With Iris

            by Steven Dietz
Saturday, May 28
Two performances
11 a.m. and 2 p.m.
in the Commons

 Britannica ImageQuest imageMay 30:

                    There is
                 NO SCHOOL
                        on Monday, May 30
                  in observance of

          Memorial Day


May 31:

Final Exams for Grades 6-11 begin Tuesday, May 31.

Final Exams for Grades 6-11, Spring 2016

Posted in Schedule


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