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Parents' Association News

Programs and Events 2017-18

Persian New Year Celebration

Students celebrated Norouz (Persian New Year), which commemorates the beginning of spring. In the Lower School, third grader Tara Ghafouri gave a presentation to the students on the meaning of Norouz and the students enjoyed a performance on the santoor.  In the Middle School, Misha Ghafouri made a presentation during morning meeting, followed by delicious Persian snacks.  Thanks to all the families that assembled this delightful celebration! 

A Presentation by PCDS Alum Brian Snyder ‘01: Distracted Driving can change your life and countless others

Wednesday, November 15, at 7:50 - 9:00am in Burch Hall

Brian Snyder will discuss the impact of distracted driving.  Thousands of people have been killed by distracted drivers; hundreds of thousands more have been injured. Research shows that talking on a cell phone quadruples your risk of an accident (about the same as drunk driving). That risk doubles again, if you are texting. You can help stop distracted driving. Please join us for an honest, candid talk about how we can end distracted driving, and more importantly, how we can ensure that our children do not pick up this dangerous, prevalent habit.

Flamenco Dancer Visits MS Morning Meeting on Thursday, Oct. 5th 

The Parents' Association Enrichment Committee will be bringing a celebration of  Spanish culture to Middle School students during Morning Meeting on Thursday, Oct. 5th. Spanish explorers left their mark on the Southwest US beginning in the 16th century.  Several 8th grade students will make a presentation during Morning Meeting on the influence of Spanish culture in Arizona.  Students will be treated to a performance by Julia Chacón, distinguished dancer and founder of Inspiratión Flamenca, with guitar accompaniment. Special Spanish-themed snack served afterwards!

Parenting Round Table (New!)

Our first Parenting Roundtable was a huge success, with 40 parents joining PCDS counselors Michele Huskey and Kate Halsey for an open discussion on topics ranging from social media and college admissions to student wellness and peer counseling. The Parents’ Association will be organizing another one soon!

Sports Tech Entrepreneur to Speak to Upper School Students

On Monday, October 2, Curtis Smith founder of Handle Fitness will speak in Dorrance Auditorium (Upper School), 9:05 a.m. Learn how this creative entrepreneur combined his passion for basketball and his computer programming ability to invent a basketball training system that enables players to practice basketball drills effectively without always having a coach present. Curtis will be demonstrating his innovative device and discussing his path from idea to a product purchased by leading college teams and the NBA.

Back to School PA Kickoff !

PCDS Back to School PA Kick off meeting on Tuesday August 22 was a great success with all voluntees and participation opporutnies overwhelmed with interest and signups.

A great opportunity to meet new parents to the school and catch up with friends from prior years. Our 2017-18 school years is going to be packed with excellent events by our PA clubs, including Book Club, Hiking Club, Dad's Club to name a few and everyone is excited to engage in our newest addition - The FOODIE Club!

Programs and Events 2016-17

Olé!   Lower and Middle School students join in the Cinco de Mayo celebrations.

The PA Enrichment Committee recognized the Mexican holiday of Cinco de Mayo with a mariachi band at drop off and student-led presentation at morning meeting to educate fellow classmates of the true meaning of the holiday. Contrary to popular belief, Cinco de Mayo is not Mexican Independence Day -- in fact, it commemorates Mexico's unlikely victory over France at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862.  Celebrations continue with Mexican cuisine served in the cafeteria both on Thursday and on the actual holiday of Friday, May 5.   Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Poet Leah Marché Spoke to Upper School Students about Writing Poetry and Living Poetically 

In honor of National Poetry Month the Upper School Parents' Association Enrichment Committee hosted Arizona-based poet, storyteller, and journalist Leah Marché for a Writers Workshop. Ms Marché is a graduate of ASU's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and is the co-founder of BlackPoet Ventures, a valley-based performing arts company merging poetry and theater. Mehek Khandelwal, an 11th grader, introduced Ms Marché who recited several of her poems and talked about her career in writing, how to live poetically (Participate, Observe, Evolve, Teach, Inspired, Collaborate), and the importance of developing a manifesto to discover your passion. What a perfect way for students to celebrate National Poetry Month!

Lower and Middle Schools celebrate Norouz, the Persian New Year

Norouz, the Persian New Year commemorates the beginning of spring and lasts for 12 days.  An Iranian musician played before school. Then at LS Morning meeting, second grader Tara Ghafouri talked to students about the symbolism of the items on the Haft-Seen, a tabletop arrangement of symbolic items (for example, garlic for health and vinegar for patience in the new year).  This was followed by a student-led presentation at the MS Morning Meeting and Persian treats in the MS Courtyard.  To top it all off, students enjoyed a Persian-inspired meal at lunch. Happy Norouz!

Upper School Writers Workshop Welcomed Suspense Novelist Linda Castillo 

The international New York Times best-selling author Linda Castillo, the author of twenty-three suspense novels including Sworn to Silence, the first in a series starring Chief of Police Kate Burkholder, spoke to a lunch crowd of upper school students, faculty, and parents.  PCDS 9th grader Pietro Ori introduced Ms. Castillo who talked about pacing, the art of plotting, and the importance of conflict. Special thanks to Ms. Castillo for sharing her insight into the fundamentals of writing suspense!

Brad Edmondson Spoke about the Business of Ben and Jerry's and The Company's Social Mission

Journalist Brad Edmondson, author of Ice Cream Social: the Struggle for the Soul of Ben & Jerry’s spoke to the students about the company's three missions (product, economic, and social). At lunchtime the students enjoyed Ben & Jerry's ice cream in the US quad and Mr Edmondson gathered their ideas for new flavors, some flavors inspired by musicians in the spirit of Cherry Garcia. In the evening at the Parents' Association meeting, Mr. Edmondson addressed PCDS parents and alumni about Ben and Jerry's philosophy of linked prosperity, the challenges the company faced after being bought by Unilever, and how the company continues to be both profitable and a force for social change. Everyone even got a copy of Mr. Edmondson's book! Special thanks to Augustine Gomez '99, PCDS Alumni Board President who worked with the Parents' Association to bring Mr Edmondson to PCDS. These events were part of the BEAM programming:  Bridging Education, Ambition, and Meaningful Work.

Happy New Year or 新年快乐 / 新年快樂 (Xīnnián kuàilè)!!

The PCDS community began celebrating Lunar New Year, the Year of the Rooster, in the Middle School with a presentation by the 7th grade Mandarin students and a modern qiang wei dance performance by 10th grader Chloe Chodorow. The lower school commemorated the holiday with a traditional lion dance performance and a presentation by the 8th grade Mandarin students. Fun fact: the yellow lion represents health and longevity and the red lion symbolizes wealth and success. Best wishes to all for a healthy and prosperous year ahead!

Mystery Author Speaks to Upper School Students

At the January Writers' Workshop event, the Enrichment Committee of the Parents' Association hosted mystery/fantasy author Matt Bell. Mr. Bell is a creative writing instructor at Arizona State University and is the author of several novels and collections of short stories. He read short excerpts from two of his books and described his start as a fan fiction writer, the importance of having a constant influx of good art to stay inspired (he reads over 100 books per year!), and how poetry recharges his love of language. Thanks to Mr. Bell for engaging our students and for signing copies of 3 of his books for the Upper School library!

Traditional Japanese Musician Brings Taiko Drums to the Middle School

The Parents' Association Enrichment Committee hosted world-renowned Japanese musician Ken Koshio. Mr. Koshio is a native Japanese singer, songwriter, musician, and artist who travels around the world performing. He taught the students how to count to 10 in Japanese and played several traditional instruments including the taiko drum. The students then enjoyed mochi, a Japanese treat, on the lawn before their next class. What an exciting start to December in Arizona!

Diwali Celebrated with the Lower School

In November, the Lower School students celebrated Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights. The celebration included a harmonium player at drop-off in the LS Courtyard followed by a student-led presentation and Bhangra dancing at the LS Morning Meeting. A community rangoli is set up in the Lower School Courtyard for the students to contribute to throughout the day, and Indian cuisine will be served at lunch. Happy Diwali to all!

Senegalese Drummers Visits Upper School Quad for Lunchtime Fun

As part of the Enrichment program of the Parents' Association, PCDS welcomed Senegalese drumming group Ensemble Ndeye Soxna. This quarter played sabar drums, indigenous to Senegal, during lunch on the Upper School quad. This Culture on the Quad event provided an energetic start to Fall Break for both students and faculty. Special thanks to the US parents for providing treats for the students and to the musicians who played for us!

B Corp Employers Presented Examples of Socially and Environmentally Conscious Business

The Parents' Association Enrichment Committee presented the first program for BEAM: Bridging Education, Ambition and Meaningful Work. This program replaces our former Career Days program and brought B Corp employers (for profit companies that are socially/environmentally conscious) as speakers. Today's panel of local entrepreneurs/business leaders included PCDS parent Adam Goodman, President/CEO of Goodman's Interior Structures; Heidi Jannenga, Co-Founder/President of WebPT; Brian Mohr, Managing Partner of Y Scouts; and Daehee Park, Co-Founder of Tuft & Needle. They spoke to the students about profit & purpose: how companies can make a difference in the community, how you can find your purpose and your passion through your work, and how jobs can help you find personal meaning and satisfaction. Thanks to our speakers for demonstrating how you can express your heart and soul through your work!

Poet Discussed Powerful Messages in Poetry

In the Upper School, the Parents' Association Enrichment Committee welcomed poet and PCDS parent Sally Ball to the first Writers' Workshop event of the school year. Ms. Ball spoke on the topic of Poetry & Citizenship, and used the book of poetry Citizen by Claudia Rankine as an example of exploring race in today's world. She also gave students advice about becoming better writers: read everything you can, and observe and participate in the world. She read two of her own poems and concluded with a Q&A. Special thanks to Sally for educating our students about how powerful poetry can be!

Note to the PCDS Community

Special thanks goes to all of the guests who come to PCDS to enrich the students education and to the parents and PCDS faculty and staff that make these enrichment programs possible. Look for Enrichment events in The Latest, such as BEAM programs, Culture on the Quad sessions, Holiday Celebrations, Writers' Workshop discussions with authors from different writing fields, and the school-wide spring Arts Walk event. All students, parents, and alumni are always welcome to attend any event. If you are interested in helping to plan or if you would like to volunteer for future Enrichment programs, please contact Stephanie Ashman, VP Enrichment, at painfo@pcds.org. We hope to see you at upcoming events!