Pine School News
The flexibility of an independent school approach allows PINE faculty to regularly use Beyond The Classroom opportunities to strengthen & deeper lesson comprehension. Both Upper School & 4th Grade students - exploring the physics of space flight and expanding their studies of space, respectively - individually benefited from recent trips to take in the impressive displays at the Kennedy Space Center.
“The experience of coming face-to-face with actual rockets allows what students see on pages in books become something bigger and definitely delivers a wow-factor they won’t soon forget,” shared Lower School science teacher Jackie Brownie.
The expansive presentations and hands-on displays at KSC - including simulator rides, access to the assembly building & launch pads - provided students with
"I know students took away a new appreciation for all this innovation originating so close to their home," shared Upper School physics teacher Karlheinz Haas.
Photos from the trips can be seen on PINE's Flickr page.
Another PINE first! Not one, but two Pine School Seniors (out of only 55 Seniors nationwide) had their college essays selected by the Princeton Review to be showcased as the best college essays of the year.
Congratulations to Fiona Ankrom (Smith College) & Bella Tancillo (Cornell University) for this outstanding honor.
"The college essay is a challenging task as the student must convey their voice in 650 words or less,” shared Director of College Counseling Kathleen Bracken. “Clearly, both Fiona and Bella's essays skillfully and compellingly reached this goal.”
Nothing is a better example of PINE spirit than our annual Field Day. The friendly competition of BLUE vs GOLD is turned to eleven in the name of all things Knights.
The GOLD team continued their winning streak this year, but the real winner was PINE community. GO KNIGHTS!!
"This tradition is such a special day that brings so much joy to our school community," shared Athletic Director Jeff Shirk. "It definitely stands as a true highlight for our students."
The best (& most popular) PINE traditions are those that can be shared by the entire School community. Near the top of the list is our annual Recycled Runway showcase.
Led by our amazing art teachers Amanda Jones & Michelle Foligno, this year’s event included creations from students across ALL Grade levels - each preparing their designs from completely recycled/repurposed materials. All part of PINE’s GREEN School Of Excellence Earth Week celebrations.
This year's event saw fashion ensembles more than doubling the number of pieces created previously.
“By expanding our participation group, the conversation about recycling has been spreading and has inspired more students to be involved,” shared Jones.
Lower & Upper School students used materials that were secured during a dedicated trip to Resource Depot. Middle School students developed pieces with a focus on a collective ‘mission’ - working collaboratively in ‘fashion teams’ as design teams from a fictional company. Additionally, dedicated Upper School students worked on their ensembles as part of the Recycled Runway Club which met during the activities period.
Plans are already underway for next year’s event - with a focus on "International Connectedness" and the idea of having amazing collaborations between art and foreign language teachers - melding cultural exploration on clothing and consumerism.
"I really loved working with other students to create beautiful designs, while also raising environmental awareness,” added Freshman Ivy Julian.
They have done it again! Our entire Lower School - under the creative direction of Megan Alvarado - has presented their annual musical in fine fashion. This year they tackled The Jungle Book.
As is the tradition, 4th Graders handled all of the lead roles, while the entire production was supported by the remaining Lower School students - each being highlighted with special, showcase appearances.
“From Upper & Middle School students assisting with everything from choreography and make-up to our parent volunteers and amazing Lower School faculty, this was definitely a group effort,” shared Alvarado.
In addition to presenting the musical as part of the festivities during Grandparents and Grand Friends Day, there was also a special performance for the rest of the School community. Both performances were held in the auditorium of PINE’s brand new Arts and Athletic Center.
“I was so proud of the way the entire Division came together for such a spirited production,” summed up Alvarado. “There was so much hard work put into preparing this musical - making the incredible end result that much more rewarding.”
Our Lower School students are reading rockstars! With a total of 444 books read, students surpassed every reading goal set. Nine students even read all 15 of the Sunshine State Readers.
To celebrate the amazing job they did achieving their reading goals, Literacy Specialist Jen McDonough lined up a ‘rock n’ roll’ themed day that included trivia fun, a ‘rock’ wall, a friendly ‘rock’/paper/scissors tournament, & a massive dance party.
“I love the fact that this reading initiative not only excited our students about reading, but encouraged them to read books they might not normally try - which broadens their reading horizons,” shared McDonough.
PINE’s annual Off-Campus Education Week is in the books. This unique programmatic offering provides all of our 5th-12th Graders with specialized travel opportunities - layering immersive learning experiences with time that fosters deeper student-faculty connections.
From Dude Ranch adventures & FL Keys Environmental fun to college tours & New York Urban exploration - these trips expand our students’ worldviews and create lasting memories.
All of the Middle School trips presented targeted opportunities perfect for these age ranges. 5th Graders visited the Nature's Classroom Institute on the Gulf of Mexico - exploring wilderness trails, salt-water beaches, and Man-Groves for a comprehensive learning experience. 6th Graders traveled to the Circle F Dude Ranch, where they participated in team-building activities to develop & practice communication, leadership, trust, safety, cooperation, decision-making and problem-solving skills. 7th Graders explored Florida's West Coast - kayaking the Wekiva River and visiting the Withlacoochee State Park. as well as enjoying time at Busch Gardens. Our 8th Graders caught a bus to Black Mountain in North Carolina and experienced team-building, ropes course, outdoor education, & unique adventure programs.
The range of the Upper School trips were as varied as they were exciting and special. Each of these trips also included opportunities to give back to the communities they visited as students participated in service projects. 9th Graders enjoyed a fun and educational trip to the Florida Everglades and Keys - including the Florida Keys Wild Bird Center, feeding Tarpon at Robbie’s dock, a Conch Train Tour in Key West, and snorkeling at John Pennekamp. 10th Graders were treated to a trip that included both college visits (coordinated by PINE’s College Counselor Kathleen Bracken) and historical sites. 11th Graders took on one of PINE’s most popular OCE Week trips, the New York City Urban Exploration - working collaboratively as they traveled NYC streets and neighborhoods to discover firsthand the forces that shape the city. PINE’s 12th Graders trip was centered around the US National Whitewater Center in Charlotte, NC, and gave our Seniors another opportunity to bond and make lifelong memories.
“In the end, this week is about celebrating the flexibility that independent schools have to explore experiences outside of the classroom,” summed up Off-Campus Coordinator Patty Woodbury.
Photos of Off-Campus Education Week 2023 can be seen on our Flickr page.
Upper & Middle School students presented The Sound Of Music as the first musical to take place in our new Arts & Athletic Center.
Led by Senior Fiona Ankrom in the role of Maria Ranier, the talented cast & crew of almost forty gave three performances to enthusiastic audiences.
"Being a part of the yearly musical production is something that I always look forward to, and this year was especially exciting as we had our own stage to grow and learn on," shared Ankrom, who has appeared in 6 previous PINE musicals.
The production was directed by long-time musical maestro (and Academic Dean) Sean Carlson - with support from faculty members Megan Alvarado (music), Hailley Nieves (costumes) and Dorothy Castle (sound & lighting) as well as members of the Art Dept and parent volunteers.
“The dedication and determination of all involved astounded me,” shared Carlson. “It was truly a community effort.”
Photos of The Sound Of Music can be seen on our Flickr page.
The Pine School's Varsity Boys Soccer team held their State Champions title as they traveled to Deland, FL and bested Canterbury 2-1 in an exciting match. The match was played in Spec Martin Stadium on the Stetson University campus.
This win earns the unique distinction of The Pine School being the first Treasure Coast team to ever repeat a State Championship.
Seniors Max Charles and Christian Kerr scored the goals - one each half, respectively.
Coach Staci Wilson (an Olympic Gold Medal-winning soccer player and member of the US Woman's National team in her own right) led the team through an impressive 14-3-2 regular 22-23 season.
"I'm really proud of this group," shared Wilson. "I've known some groups after a championship, they don't want to work that hard, but this group was all in.”
To cheer the team on, a group of PINE students & faculty made the trek in a Spirit Bus to see the game live, while many others watched the live-stream on campus.
"What an amazing day for The Pine School," shared Athletic Director Jeff Shirk. “The team played incredibly hard and you can certainly feel the buzz of pride that our entire PINE family is currently experiencing.”
PINE’s Senior Capstones allow students to deep dive into a known passion or an unknown exploration. These journeys are even more positive when there is an opportunity to share. Case in point, Whitney Critchfield’s environmental awareness project served as the perfect catalyst to provide our 5th Graders with an immersive experience as they all visited Big Cypress National Preserve - literally walking right into the swamp’s flora and fauna.
Further unpacking of this visit will happen as Critchfield folds-in additional science curriculum touch-points with teacher Justine Habicht.
“It was so exciting to allow the students to see for themselves the unique biodiversity of the preserve,” shared Critchfield. “Students stepped inside a native cypress dome and became aware of the conservation involved in preserving these unique ecological features.”