These are photographs from our bi-annual musical, "The Magical Land of Oz" which was performed at the Eastside Theater on April 11th and 12th. Directed by our outstanding music and drama teacher, Mrs. Emilee Getter, with costumes designed and created by Veronica Elias, the performance was successful in every way. We saw amazing acting, heard delightful singing, and watched dancers move in unison all against the backdrop of a beautifully constructed set. For those of us who work at Beechwood, we know that none of this would have been possible without a total team effort involving staff, parents and students. Rehearsals, makeup, costumes, set construction, hair, transportation, lights, sound, casting…it is a huge undertaking. All of which is well worth it when you see how proud the students are of what they have created. Bravo Beechwood! Photos taken by Beechwood's own Lewis Hughes (click on a photo to see the full picture).
Master storyteller Jerry Falek recently spent four days working with all of the students at Beechwood. In addition to storytelling, he taught them folkdance and movement. What a gift it was for our students to work with Jerry. He brought out the best in them and helped to instill the values we hold dear: cooperation, kindness, creativity, discipline and the willingness to try new things. Here are 10 photos of the culminating event where our eldest students shared their stories with our youngest students. The rapt attention of the young ones is testament to the older students ability to engage them with details, gestures and warmth. It was the kind of magical moment that teachers live for. Great job kids! Thank you, Jerry.
Each year local law firm Gunderson-Dettmer sponsors a Christmas Card contest at Beechwood. The students create original holiday art with the best designs being selected to go on Gunderson-Dettmer's company Christmas Cards. In addition to having their art distributed world wide, the winning students receive a framed copy of their card and a gift certificate to a local bookstore. Scott Dettmer came to Beechwood to personally deliver the awards. We appreciate Mr. Dettmer and everyone Gunderson-Dettmer who has supported our school for these many years.
Beechwood has an outstanding drama program lead by our Drama and Music teacher, Mrs. Emilee Getter. Recently, two productions were put on. First we had the 4th and 5th graders who performed "Tattybogle" and then later the 2nd and 3rd graders entertained us with "It's Saturday". The sense of pride that the students take in these performances is impressive. It takes a lot of time and effort but it is all worth it when you see what can be accomplished. We are proud of all of our students for being brave enough to get up on stage to sing, dance and act.
Visitors to Beechwood often comment that our school feels like a big family. Never is that more evident than during our yearly Thanksgiving celebration. 12 families are formed with at least one child from each grade level. The 8th graders serve as "grandparents", collecting the children, gathering them at the table and leading the group in an art project. It is heartwarming to watch the way the Middle School students care for the younger ones. Beechwood parents donate, prepare and serve a traditional Thanksgiving feast to all the students to end the day. This is a great tradition that embodies the true spirit of Beechwood.
Our Librarian, Eric Getter, has been encouraging all families to get library cards for the Menlo Park Public Library. After getting over 100 families to obtain them, the next step was to get them into the Library and start checking out books. Friday we celebrated all those who went to the Library and used their cards by making healthy smoothies for them. A delicious, nutritious reward!
Beechwood took twelve wrestlers to Riordan High School in San Francisco for the Peninsula League Championships and came home with eleven medals. All the kids wrestled hard and represented Beechwood well. The middle school team took 5th place out of twelve schools, despite having only nine wrestlers (points are counted for the top twelve wrestlers for each team). Our elementary team of only three wrestlers - Angel Vargas, Mikael Billingsly and Anthony Sanchez - took 2nd place out of nine teams. Bianca Vargas gave up a chance to win the individual girls division championship because she wanted to wrestle in the boys division to help the rest of the team get team points. She beat two boys on her way to 4th place. She almost took 3rd in a very close, tough match. Read the article about the team published in the Menlo Almanac >
90 lbs. Anthony Sanchez
100 lbs. Alex Ruiz Sanchez
152 lbs. Casey Hall
123 lbs. Jordan Palacios (lost in the championship match to a Judo National Champion)
99 lbs. Angel Vargas
110 lbs. Raul Ponce
130 lbs. Mikael Billingsly
95 lbs. Bianca Vargas (beat two boys, pinning one of them)
119 lbs. Ruben Ponce
145 lbs. Aji Akinola
99 lbs. Quinnton Allen
Miguel won a match but did not get a medal. He wrestled hard and has improved tremendously this year.
Many thanks to Coach Nathan Pantoja for putting his heart and soul (and time) into making this a great first year! Watch the video here that tells the story.
Some bold and adventurous athletes have started Beechwood’s first ever wrestling team this year. It is easy to be inspired by these students who have taken the risk to try something new and be pioneers for a program that will hopefully be around for years to come. Coach Nathan Pantoja works to instill in them teamwork, self-confidence, discipline, and hard work. Although you are part of a team, when it comes time to step out on the mat, it is just you and the other person - no pressure compares to that. These students have practiced hard, given up many hours, and pushed themselves beyond their comfort zones. The team has been to tournaments all over the Bay Area, from Vacaville to Oakland and from San Francisco all the way down to Santa Cruz. We have won and we have lost, but no matter the outcome, all the kids have competed wholeheartedly and have shown great sportsmanship.
Here are photos from a recent match against Jane Lathrop Stanford Middle School in Palo Alto. Click on each thumbnail image to see the rest of the photograph.
The Beechwood staff was recently treated to a special lunch put on by our Parent Advisory Team. Great food, a really fun raffle and, most importantly, a chance to get off campus and enjoy each other's company. Our school is so blessed to have parents who truly appreciate the teachers and show it with the effort that they put in volunteering their time at the school.
Click on small images to see full photograph.
Beechwood recently completed Community Service Week and it was a big success. Highlighting the projects was the canned food drive which was organized by the 7th grade. With the help of their teachers Mrs. Tang and Mrs. Connolly, they urged the entire school to bring in food for people in need. We collected over 2,000 cans for The Food Closet in Palo Alto! Awesome.
• Kindergarten - Our mail carrier Doug received thank you cards from the children
• 1st Grade - Walked to the Fire Station to deliver Valentines to the fire fighters
• 2nd Grade - Took public transit to the Police Station to say thank you to the police
• 3rd Grade - Made craft kits for cancer patients at Lucille Packard Hospital
• 4th Grade - Went to Belle Haven School and read to the Kindergarten
• 5th Grade - Participated in Save the Bay with Trinity School penpals. Cleaned the baylands and planted native plants.
• 6th Grade - Cleaned up at the Onetta Harris Community Center
• 7th Grade - Aforementioned canned food drive
• 8th Grade - Made puppets for Kindergartners
Beechwood School has a heart. When we serve, we help others and it feels good.
Beechwood’s 2010 Holiday Program was a thing of beauty. When you look at these photos you will see brave children, proud to be performing for their parents, friends and teachers. In many ways, this year’s program was one of our greatest accomplishments. Without a space to perform on campus, we used a vacant office building donated by the Bohannon Development Company. It required everyone to walk one mile each way for rehearsals. In true Beechwood fashion, we took the challenging circumstances in stride. The extra effort was well worth it as each class performed brilliantly and our community came together to celebrate all that is good in our lives.
Click on small images to see full photograph.
Beechwood has many community partners who contribute in a variety of ways. Local law firm Gunderson Dettmer has been one of our most faithful contributors over the years. Each year they sponsor an art contest for our students. The children who produce the best holiday drawings have their images used for the Gunderson Dettmer’s company Christmas card. In addition, the winning artists’ card is mounted on a plaque and they receive a gift certificate to Kepler’s books. Congratulations to this year’s winners: Thomas Delgado (KP), Jaime Ochoa (1st grade), Alexis Delgado (3rd Grade), Folashade Akinola (4th Grade), Hanako Ruiz (6th Grade) and Adriana Contreras (7th Grade). Beechwood appreciates Gunderson Dettmer and all they have done for the children of Beechwood School.
Beechwood Middle Schoolers were recently visited by author Inara Scott. Kepler's Books in Menlo Park arranged for her to come and talk about her first published book, Delcroix Academy: The Candidates. Ms. Scott also shared with the Beechwood kids the story of how she became an author. She encouraged all of them to work hard in school, to practice writing and most importantly to never give up. Ms. Scott told the students how she had two books rejected and and also received a number of rejection letters for her now-published work. Perseverance is what it's all about and Inara Scott is living proof of that. Beechwood appreciates her for making time to come to our school and to our community partner Kepler's Books for including Beechwood on Ms. Scott's book tour.
Each Summer teachers at Beechwood create week long themed classes for our middle school students. This year we had classes on Lacrosse, Nutrition, Team-Building and Italy. Our Music and Drama teacher, Emilee Getter, created a class called "Street Art" which the students enjoyed tremendously. The class culminated in the design and painting of a new school mural which has beautified our campus. We are proud of the students and the instructor for doing something truly creative and working together to accomplish a goal.
Beechwood School endeavors to educate the whole child. In doing so, we strive to expose our students to the performing arts through field trips, music classes, musical productions and visiting artists. Recently we had two outstanding groups come to Beechwood to perform for our students.
Through Stanford Lively Arts, we were able to arrange a performance from renowned percussionists So Percussion. They performed for the entire school and did a special class for our 5th Graders. Here's a clip of that class:
We also were treated to a performance from the Saint Michael Trio, who are resident artists at Menlo College. The children loved the music and asked great questions of the musicians who patiently answered each of them. Here's a clip of the Saint Michael Trio:
Beechwood values creativity and Beechwood values the arts!
Beechwood was fortunate to have been involved in GoogleServe this year. With the help of HandsOn Bay Area, 20 outstanding Google employees spent an afternoon at Beechwood where they helped facilitate our annual "Field Day", and then stuck around after to tackle some much-needed painting jobs around campus.
The 3rd 4th Grade Camping trip was filled with numerous banana slug kisses, giant redwood trees, and hot dogs on a stick. The students hiked nearly 5 miles, went swimming in the icy cold river, and sang campfire songs. It was a great trip, and they look forward to doing it again next year.
Every other year, Beechwood puts on a musical production. This year we did Aladdin, Jr. and it was amazing. Our outstanding Music and Drama teacher, Mrs. Emilee Getter, called upon every ounce of her talent and energy to direct and design this year's production. We also greatly appreciate the many members of our school community who gave of their time and talent to make this happen for our kids. Most impressive was the way that the children formed themselves into a team where each member was valued and appreciated. The two performances were stellar because of the commitment to excellence by all involved.
Our first-ever outdoor Holiday Celebration was a great success - what an amazing evening it was. The campus looked beautiful with all the lights and decorations. The performances were inspired and fun. The audience was attentive and appreciative. Most importantly, the success of the evening was a true community effort with contributions from the Board of Directors, the staff, the parents and the students.
On Wednesday, November 25th, the Beechwood extended family gathered for the annual Thanksgiving Feast. The children form into mixed-grade groups with the 8th graders serving as the leaders of the families. Once formed, these groups of about 15 students go to their dining room (classrooms) where they do a craft project, set the table, say what they are thankful for and dine together using their best table manners. The teachers take a back seat during this event, letting the older children practice being leaders. The parents donate all of the food and the time required to prepare and serve it. It is one of our greatest traditions and a great way to start the holiday season
Beechwood's 7th grade students recently returned from a kayaking trip to Angel Island. 18 students, 3 teachers and an outstanding team of volunteer guides from Environmental Traveling Companions made the 90 minute trip from Sausalito to this island in the middle of the bay. Once there, we set up our bunks in the historic Quartermasters House which once housed Civil War soldiers. We cooked dinner on a woodburning stove and watched the deer grazing in the fields. At night we hiked to the top of Mt. Livermore under the light of a spectacular moon. From the top of the Island we were able to see an amazing panoramic view of the Bay. After our paddle back to Sausalito, the group was exhausted but we felt proud to have taken on this challenge and seen it through. Outdoor education at Beechwood School is one of the many things we do to give our students the opportunity to experience all that life has to offer.
Beechwood families celebrated the opening of the 2009-2010 school year with our annual Back to School Picnic. What a great time we had! Emy Walton (Johnny, 8th Grade and James, 6th Grade) brought the volleyball net and a rousing game took place on our newly planted playing field. Thank you to our generous donors for funding the new field and to Francisco Tamayo (Emmanuel, 8th Grade) who did great job re-grading the field and planting the sod. During the picnic, we had much help from parent volunteers and surprise visits from our recent graduates who are now in high school. The year is off to a great start!
Beechwood showcased its many talented students (and faculty!) during its third annual Beechwood Talent Show on April 23rd. Everything from music to magic, dancing to drama was represented on stage. We're so proud of our talented Beechwood kids!
The fruit sale was about helping the school eat healthy and to sell fruit to the kids. How we set this up was that we made some ballots and the kids had choices of what they wanted to get in their fruit salad: apples, oranges, bananas, or grapes.
After everyone voted and turned in their money, we bought the fruit and then we had to peel and cut up the fruit. Doing that was fun. We set up a table with all the fruit, and we were ready to go. The students came and we had a list of names so we knew what kind of fruit to scoop into everyone’s bowls.
It felt good because the lower graders were getting a good healthy treat. This was important because some kids might not eat healthy snacks and we wanted to help them to eat healthy. That’s why the Beechwood School Student Council Fruit Sale was a great thing!
Written by Student Council Member, 8th grader Luis Gracian
The Beechwood Holiday Show was a rousing success once again this year. Thanks to our talented Music teacher, Emilee Getter, our talented students and so much help from parents and teachers, we were once again able to have all of our students perform Holiday songs for an appreciative audience. What a great way to celebrate!
In 1993, Beechwood School had its first Thanksgiving Celebration. Here we are 15 years later, and though the celebration has changed, it remains one of the most important and uplifting days of the school year. All of the essential components from the first Thanksgiving Celebration are still in place: fantastic parent involvement, student leadership and the celebration of Beechwood School as a family unto itself.
Fright Night! was an outstanding event on so many levels. Our Parent Advisory team did an amazing job of mobilizing the parents to donate food and to give their time to make the event a success. The students had a fantastic time, dressing up in costume and visiting the activity booths. The haunted house was very popular and a big thanks goes to Mr. Getter for making it scary (but not too scary!). Over 300 people attended and the event raised over $2000 for Beechwood. Good times were had by all. Congratulations Parent Advisory Group for another job well done!
Beechwood School held its first annual “Speak Out Beechwood”, a celebration of public speaking. Each class from Kinderprep on up to 8th grade participated by featuring a different aspect of public speaking. Group poetry, individual poetry recitation, original poetry recitation, persuasive speech, Spanish poetry and historical speech all were on display. The audience was attentive and appreciative, especially when 7th grader Johnathan Piper made his persuasive argument for less homework! We are so proud of our teachers and parents who helped make this happen. More than that, we have great admiration for the brave souls who got up in front of the whole school to “Speak Out Beechwood”.