News from the Upper School “Big” Apple

13 Nov

Deep Autumn
Erica Reynolds Hager

I have rarely seen such a beautiful fall! The colors on the trees have been particularly outstanding, and the leaves have hung on longer in my estimation. Yesterday I stood with two eighth graders while cheering on the “Squirrel Chaser” event up at Flat Rock. The afternoon was mild and the colors around us were muted, save one red tree that was still in full glory! The girls and I remarked on it, each of us having our own way of describing how it looked to us and how it resonated with us. One of the many gifts of life at Applewild is that students and teachers share these kinds of moments every day. Applewild nurtures student-adult relationships. The adults here relish knowing our students and experiencing our world with them. What a treasure!

It was great to see so many of you at Parent Conferences on Monday. The day was an upbeat and full one. As a faculty we share our discussions with each other and reflect on common themes that come up in our conferences. This informs our work in these next weeks and months.   Thank you for your part in these important conversations Monday, parents!

The newness of the year is over, the day-to-day routine is well established and expectations remain steady and high. Right now we are transitioning from fall to winter sports and options. With the change in seasons comes much to look forward to: the fall Sports Banquet, our various Applewild acknowledgements of Thanksgiving, and December concerts in a little more than a month. Our students have such a rich experience and we look forward to sharing them as a community.

Best wishes for a wonderful November and Thanksgiving.

Head’s Seminar, Grade 8
Chris Williamson

We have continued our discussion of what constitutes an ethical dilemma. We have been comparing that to what are hard choices but not necessarily ethical dilemmas (i.e. Do I spend my money on an iPhone now or save it for a car later?). We have also discussed the dilemma of good and bad choices because they can sometimes be hard to navigate, too (i.e. Do I do my homework tonight or text with my friends?). We have learned that ethical dilemmas (i.e. “competing goods”) can be sorted into four general categories, and that recognizing this can help us think about them:

–       Truth vs. loyalty

–       Individual vs. community

–       Short term versus long term

–       Justice vs. mercy

The eighth graders have been wrestling with these questions, and below are some of their examples. We discussed them in small groups a week ago but were not able to finish because the conversation was so lively. We found more time during the ERB schedule this week to finish the conversation. Is each an ethical dilemma? If so, why? If not, why not – and could it be refined to become an ethical dilemma?  Having decided those questions, how would your group resolve the dilemma?

You might want to find out what the class thought, whether your student agreed, and what you yourself think about these questions:

–       I think a good ethical dilemma example is the heroics of the FDNY on 9/11/01. These men had a very difficult choice: to save the lives of people stuck in the Trade Center and be remembered as heroes, or flee the scene and go home to your family.

–       My ethical dilemma is to help people in other countries that have diseases or keep your family healthy. It is an ethical dilemma because you have two competing goods. You could choose family first which is good, but you could help people in other countries which is also good, too.

–       An example of an ethical dilemma is to take a job that you know you will hate that has a large salary; or to take a low paying job that you know you will love.

–       My ethical dilemma is justice versus mercy. As we discussed in head seminar, if a man stole a can of soup for his family, would the cop put him in the slammer or let him free? No doubt, people always find loop holes through dilemmas. For example the cop could warn the man not to do it again, or the cop could pay for the soup. This is an ethical dilemma because it is wrong to let a man who went against the law go without punishment. But if it was just a can of soup that he stole for his whole family, both decisions would be good in different ways.

–       My personal ethical dilemma is whether to help someone who is having trouble with work and have them get it right or have them do it themselves and get it wrong, even though they’re learning it themselves.

–       One example of an ethical dilemma is should people make clones or not. This is because not only to make a clone is illegal but also people think it is god’s work not human’s. However, if people make clones many people who have certain illnesses will be cured.

–       One ethical dilemma is to vote to reduce taxes, where you pay less money, or to vote to raise taxes, where you pay more money, but your money goes toward the town to help the community. The dilemma is, do you help yourself or your community?

–       My ethical dilemma is to study in Korea or in America.

–       An example of an ethical dilemma is whether to help build houses in underdeveloped areas or to help people rebuild their lives after a disaster. This is an ethical dilemma because both options are good because they both help people; but you can only chose one, making this an ethical dilemma.

An Up-and-Coming New Club
Jen Caldwell

As Applewild becomes more diverse with the recent influx of international students, we’re looking for opportunities for our domestic and international students to get together for fun. Earlier this fall, I polled the upper school students using a Google Form to gain an understanding of how many people would be interested in an Activities Club or International Club, and to get overall feedback on the idea.  Here is how it was presented:

“Let’s find ways for our Upper School International and American students to get together to have fun in New England this year! If you’re looking to make new friends, share your culture and/or interests, this is a great way to meet up. You’ll have a chance to pick activities or suggest new ones that would be fun to share with a group. Each outing would have adult chaperones, and transportation when possible. Some activities would cost money that you would need to provide yourself.”

Some possibilities to participate may be at an Upper School lunch, where we could learn a few words in another language, gain exposure to different customs, foods or cultures, or learn different types of recess games from around the world.


school hours

Other possibilities could be outside of regular school hours.

after school hours




What activities would our upper schoolers like to do for fun on the weekends? What New England activity should every International student experience while here? There was a question for the American students to select options they thought international students should experience and a duplicate question for what interested everyone. Here are the results of the latter.

FOR ALL STUDENTS: Which of these same activities would YOU be interested in doing with others outside of school?


activities tally











In addition to the options provided, students listed additional interests like: Sky Zone, Lazer Craze, Roll-on-America, mini golf, water fights, a Revolution soccer game, a slumber party/lock in, or a concert. While not everything will be possible to start (or available at this time of year), and we’ll probably have to start slowly, there was a tremendous positive response!

In the comment section of the survey, students wrote, “Make sure that you add seafood and anything that’s super New Englandy.”; “I think this is a really cool idea, and a good addition to the community aspect of our school.”; “I think this is one of the best ideas Applewild has had to make our community more of a family.”; and “I would love to do all of these!!!!!!!!!!!!”. (I deleted some of the exclamation marks!)

Ideally, we’d like to have a common drop-off and pick-up point for parents, transportation available, and school chaperones. We’re currently working on the logistics for transportation to further destinations.

Stay tuned for our first expedition!

Secondary School Update

Secondary School Lunches

Bob Jones

Our schedule of school lunches continues to go well. Our students are taking full advantage of the opportunities to meet with admissions representatives. Our guests have been impressed with the thought provoking questions posed by our students. These lunches are held in the conference room in the new dining facility. Parents and students can check the main Applewild calendar to see what schools are coming. Students must sign up ahead of time with Mr. Jones. These lunches regularly take place on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.

SSAT Testing

Remember that all students applying to an independent secondary school must sit for SSAT testing. The next opportunity will be Saturday, November 15. We are a test center for that test as well as those in December, January, and February. Go to to register.

What’s the Likelihood?

By Lynda Gregson and Janet Cowan

Student announcements are part of the regular routine at Upper School lunches. However, on October 29th the announcements were anything but ordinary. Students in 6th grade stood up to announce a sixth grade student’s birthday, then a minute later students in 7th grade stood up to announce a seventh grade student’s birthday and then a minute after that students in 8th grade stood up to announce a student’s birthday in 8th grade. WOW! We all clapped furiously and felt as if we had witnessed something really special.

We imagined that everyone was thinking – What are the chances of that? So we posed the question to the Upper School students:  What is the probability that 3 students from 3 different grades have a birthday on October 29th? Many students spent a few days thinking about this real-life math problem. They asked us good questions and spent a good amount of time figuring it out.

Spoiler Alert – Stop reading here, if you’d like to figure it out for yourself! The answer is…. 0.0002 or 2 hundredths of a percent! Not very likely to happen! It turns out we had witnessed something relatively unique. Ask your kids to help you with the calculation – all you need to know is how many students in each grade and how many days in a year? Have fun – math is everywhere!