Ingenuity and creativity have always been cornerstones of a Wellington education. Now, as our future-focused learning environment continues to evolve to meet the needs of students, our tradition of innovation will lead the way.
Head of School Dr. Jeff Terwin kicked off Cephalopod Week in his marine biology class with a special activity for students to better understand biodiversity. He assembled a bundle of cephalopod treasures for each individual student, including everything they would need for an in-home dissection. Then over Zoom, Terwin guided the class through an in-depth analysis of squid adaptations. Students were also provided with delicious breaded calamari as they learned how squid are harvested and the cephalopods’ critical importance to the ocean ecosystem.
“When you live in Ohio, you’ve got to get creative to bring the ocean to each student,” Terwin explained. “Dipping sauce included.”
Many of the same students in the class are also members of the Wellington Upper School SCUBA Club. The club began this past fall, with only a few already certified divers, so they hosted a Discover Scuba class at Aquatic Adventures, where new divers learned the basics and even tried diving in a pool. These same students are also part of the WISE Curacao group. “These students are passionate about marine biology and marine life conservation,” shared Kara Conley, club advisor and upper school Spanish teacher. “In Curacao, the students were going to do research directly related to helping restore coral reefs.”
The club recently hosted a virtual watch party for “Chasing Coral,” a documentary about the disappearing coral reefs. While the group is currently unable to travel to Curacao to help restore the reefs in person, they are currently working on initiatives to make a difference from their homes in Columbus. “Through all of this, they have not given up their devotion to help restore coral reefs, to be active in SCUBA club, and to eventually earn their certifications,” Conley said.
While many Wellington clubs and groups have had to pivot in their planning for the foreseeable future, that doesn’t mean students aren’t still pursuing their passions. Kate Harvey-Thurston ’22 wanted to bring her zeal for beekeeping to Wellington, so she started the Apiary Club with advisor and upper school science teacher, Trent Neely. They spent the fall and winter planning and building hives, culminating in a bee installation this spring. Neely is excited to see where the club will go. “There are a number of connections with various classes with topics like sustainability, science, and entrepreneurship,” he said. “I’m sure there will be plenty of opportunities to learn from this adventure.”
Not missing a bee-t, lower school teachers didn’t want 3rd graders to miss out on the time-honored tradition of celebrating state assignments, so they visited the home of every student to share the exciting news. Science classes performed an experiment on the impact of heat and cold after spending time with 10 TV’s meteorologist Ross Caruso. The lower school also organized a “Catch the Wave” event in which they lined the Wellington driveway for families to drive through and wave to their teachers, sharing smiles and lots of Jag pride.
Student talent and dedication to the arts was in the spotlight for Upper School Arts Week. Traditionally each spring, the Upper School Commons is transformed by student work on display, including a final show revealing the yearlong body of work by Advanced Studio Art students. Organizer and upper school art teacher, Jaime Bennati explained, “Even though we cannot come together in person for this tradition, we’ve decided why not celebrate virtually and come up with some creative ways to interact with one another.”
With the visual and performing arts departments joining together to create a mini arts week, they curated and showcased student work, activities, and favorite memories on Instragram @wellyusarts and @wellyustheatre. Upper school art teacher Shannon Smith designed an impressive website for students and faculty to share the many ways they create at home and also provided additional fun activities to explore on their own.
“I am so lucky to have a teacher, and a school, that would go the extra mile for me,” Lina Grohovsky ’21 said after relishing her Cephalopod Week experience. “I will always remember this, and can't wait to continue learning about marine biology.”