Weekly Notes from the Head of Upper School, 5/9

Dear Upper School Families,

This week I have the pleasure of welcoming Mr. Rich Zinman as our new Palm Valley School Athletic Director for the fall.  Many of you know him as our current Middle School Athletic Director, Physical Education teacher, and coach of many sports.  Mr. Zinman joined the Palm Valley School community this school year from the Timberline Middle School in Utah. Prior to that, Mr. Zinman served as a History and Physical Education teacher, and coach, at several independent schools in Southern California.  Mr. Zinman has a Bachelor’s degree in History and a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership.

We are sad to say goodbye to Mr. Jack Makkai at the end of this year.  Coach Makkai has been with Palm Valley School for 10 years as a Teacher, Coach, Athletic Director, and parent.  He says, “The PVS students, their families, and our staff have filled me with so much pride while working at this amazing institution and I am very thankful. I will begin a new chapter in my life this summer, but I look forward to sitting in the stands as 'just' a parent alongside my wife while screaming our heads off for our children and the rest of the incredible FIREBIRDS!”  Coach Makkai’s enthusiasm for students and athletics will be missed.

We also welcome Dr. Kurt McLachlan who will be joining us this summer as our new Director of College Counseling. Dr. McLachlan is already a member of our school community, as a parent of two Lower School students.  Dr. McLachlan has a rich educational background in teaching and administration, in both independent and public schools.  Dr. McLachlan has a Bachelor’s degree in English and Spanish, a Master’s degree in Education from UCLA and a Doctorate in Education from USC.  Dr. McLachlan is thrilled to be continuing on his Master’s project work in “building the college-bound mindset.”

We will be saying goodbye to Mr. Zachery Hewitt, our Director of College Counseling.  While he’s only been with us for two short years, he has done much to develop college counseling in the Upper School, and integrate it into our new advisory program.  Mr. Hewitt says, “I would like to express my deep gratitude for my colleagues – faculty, staff, and administration - who have helped me grow during my time at Palm Valley School. My thanks especially to Ms. Steinman and Ms. Rice for their faith in me, their support of the college counseling office, and their mentorship. I will work diligently to make this transition as smooth as possible for the Class of 2019 and their peers.”

We wish both Mr. Makkai and Mr. Hewitt the best of luck!

Poetry Week
The English Department, Publications Club, and Blog Class sponsored the second annual Poetry Competition in the Middle and Upper Schools. A gallery of Humanities teachers culled the nearly 60 poetic entries down to 12. Then, those 12 finalists went to final judge, Mr. Sarkis, who decided upon a 1st place, 2nd, 3rd, and Honorable Mention. All 12 finalist poems were displayed on the bulletin board in the Upper School Lobby.  Student finalists included First Place winner, Peter Kadel, who won a $25 Amazon gift card,  second place winner, Doreen Yuan, third place winner, Ben Snyder, and Honorable Mention recipient, Jessica Denyer.  Additionally, Sophomore World Literature and Mrs. Deshpande's First Grade had a poetry exchange. The first graders brought up their original poetry--with illustrations--and read their poems to the sophomores. Then, Luke Langlois, a finalist in our April Poetry Madness (think NCAA basketball brackets with poetry) stood up and read William Ernest Henley's "Invictus" to both classes. Our portable poetry winners were Charles Schnell and Peter Kadel for the award-winning, chocolate-winning word combination of "Orwellian colonoscopy"; and Renée Vazquez, Shelby Armor, Doreen Yuan, and Bella Bier for "Grotesque apathy, wonderful empathy."

Special thank you to Dr. Tonya Carr, Ms. Susie Zachik, and Mr. Chris Griffin for encouraging and supporting our students in poetry appreciation!

Upper School Prom
Tickets are NOW ON SALE!  Prom is on Saturday, May 26th at the Palm Springs Air Museum in Palm Springs. Starting at 7:00 pm, there will be cold drinks and dessert, as well as photos and dancing!  $55 for a single and $90 for a pair. Come join us!

Melanoma Awareness Project
Melanoma Awareness Project, in partnership with Dr. Timothy Jochen, are providing a free skin cancer screening at Contour Dermatology in La Quinta, this Saturday, May 12 from 9am - 1pm.  Screenings are by appointment only, please call 760-423-4000. Students who are interested in volunteering at the screening should contact Mrs. Tammy Lavin at 760-861-0677.

Spring Choir Concert
Please join the Palm Valley Choirs for a concert featuring songs of Spring. The concert is presented for two nights, Thursday, May 24th, and Friday, May 25th at 7:00 pm in the MPR. Featuring our Middle and Upper School students in Vocal Music Elective and Select Choir. Tickets are General Seating: Adults $10.00, Students $5.00. Purchase your tickets here.

Important Dates and Reminders:
5/7-5/18 - AP Testing
5/15 - Disney Grad Nite - Seniors
5/17 - Screening of the documentary “ANGST” and discussion - 6 pm - MPR
5/18 - Alumni Mixer - 5 pm - Draughtsman
5/18 - Senior College Shirt Presentation at All School Assembly - 8:20 am - Gym
5/18 - CSF Kayaking
5/22 - Fullerton Follies - 6:30 pm - MPR
5/23 - Sports Awards - 6 pm - Gym
5/25 - Flapjacks for Families - 7:30 am
5/26 - Prom - Palm Springs Air Museum - 7 pm
5/28 - Memorial Day - NO SCHOOL
6/1 - Volunteer/Donor Breakfast - 8 am - Gym
6/5 - CSF Banquet
6/7 - Graduation at JW Marriot Springs 6 pm
6/8 - EOY Awards/Slideshows - 8:30 am - Gym

Ms. Steinman
Head of Upper School