Students thrive in a diverse and inclusive learning environment that engages their curiosity, encourages critical thinking, and inspires them to focus on the future. When young minds make connections across grade levels, cultures, and personal interests, they grow, evolve, and flourish.
In celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, Wellington faculty organized a wide-range of guest speakers, film screenings, and hands-on activities to help students learn more about the vast accomplishments and personal experiences of members of the AAPI community. Middle school morning meetings have included visitors like alumnus parent Miki Gotoh P ’20, a senior technical designer for Lane Bryant, who shared her poignant story of growing up as an Asian American in Columbus. Gotoh, with her friend Linh Ta, recently helped organize and host the Community Collective: Rally Against Hate Crimes in Columbus earlier this spring.
Prekindergarten parents Sharon Mao P ’34 ’35 and Ying Wu P ’34 visited Wellington to teach students about Chinese ink painting and calligraphy. Grandparent Radha Laksmi taught a virtual workshop on the history and tradition behind mandalas and kolam paintings from Southern India for middle schoolers. Fourth graders watched and listened to a Japanese Koto perform “Sakura” in music class and will be learning part of the song in Japanese.
This week, Wellington hosted an AAPI Excellence panel discussion with professionals from around the country led impressively by student moderators Sabrina Bong ’25 and Shivum Kalyanam ’25. The panelists included: Cynthia Owyoung, Robinhood’s Vice President of Inclusion, Equity, and Belonging; Dr. Desmond Thio, CEO of Discovery Genomics; Valerie Gordon, founder and owner of Valerie Confections in Los Angeles; and Barre Fong, San Francisco-based documentary filmmaker. Along with sharing their own personal experiences of either growing up in the United States or immigrating as a young adult, the conversation covered topics related to dispelling myths associated with the AAPI community, how their life stories inform the work they do today, and advice for Wellington students with AAPI heritage as well as those from different backgrounds. From speaking up and standing tall to doing more research into the stories of those who previously have been erased from history, the guest panelists encouraged their young audience to follow their passions while also developing a support system and using challenges as learning opportunities.
“Continue the dialogue,” Fong said. “Have more sessions like these.”
The upper school hosted an early ceremony for Chinese students graduating this year but returning home before commencement on June 4. It was a moving celebration in which faculty, students, and families watching via Zoom from China could all feel included in this important milestone occasion. See more photos on Vidigami here.
The special connection students feel for Wellington long after they graduate is never more apparent than when alumni return to share stories of their own personal journeys. The College Counseling Guest Speaker Series provides a wonderful opportunity for current students to be inspired and empowered by the successes and challenges their fellow Jags have faced. Recently, alumnus Chris Noble ’10, a founding member of the College Counseling Group, spoke with students over Zoom about the many ways Wellington prepared him for the rest of his academic career at UPenn and The Ohio State University Moritz School of Law and then his professional path from politics to regulatory counsel for Ohio credit unions. Noble, ever the committed Jag, also serves on the Wellington Alumni Relations Board and provides valuable mentorship in the Wellington Boys of Color club.
“The Wellington community you’re a part of now,” Noble said, “lasts a lifetime.”
Designing for the future can be found in every classroom at Wellington. Engineering Design and Robotics students are building and programming Arduino-based robots to compete in robot sumo. The robots use optical and ultrasonic sensors to detect the opposing robot, while trying to remain within the white circle around the outside of the competition board. The engineering design class gives students the opportunity to experience design and troubleshooting situations that they will face in college, internships, and ultimately in engineering jobs. Enjoy photo from the class on Vidigami here.
In the middle school dive Maker Club: Home Edition, students have been learning the engineering design process by building their own simple projects each week. They build simple projects such as catapults, rubber band propeller powered paper airplanes, and towers built from toothpicks and mini marshmallows. The hands-on design and troubleshooting skills they learn from these projects will serve them well as they move into advanced topics such as engineering and robotics. See more photos on Vidigami here.
Donned in togas and bringing their best elocution and enunciation to the stage, 9th grade English students performed scenes from William Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar.” As a culminating project after careful study of the text, students had fun inhabiting characters from the page with insider tips from teacher Drew Eberly P ’35, himself a professional actor, writer, and director. Learning to perform, as well as how to be a good audience member, brought to life the work of the Bard in an entirely new way for students. Enjoy photos on Vidigami here.
In the words of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, “Experience is the teacher of all things.”