What began as a science lesson on native plants and pollinators and their importance to our lives and region quickly expanded as Birchwood’s fourth graders became captivated by the issue. They learned that according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), pollinators critical to our food supply like bees, butterflies, moths, birds, bats, and beetles are declining due to habitat loss, disease, parasites, and environmental contaminants. They also learned that the benefits of native plants expand beyond providing habitat for critical pollinators but also help our region hold up better to extreme weather events such as flooding, drought, heat, and cold.
On April 6, Birchwood’s district level winners participated in the regional Power of the Pen creative writing tournament at Villa Angela-St. Joseph High School. Abby Gemechu (7th grade of Avon) won 5th place overall and Best of Round 2 for her story, “Diving Boards and Other Mistakes.” Dhyani Nautiyal (7th grade of Lakewood) won 6th place overall and Best of Round 1 for his story, “A Little Break.” Congratulations to Abby and Dhyani who will compete at the state level on May 23-24 at the College of Wooster.
Birchwood is proud of all of the students who qualified for the regional competition: Eric Vaziri (8th grade of Westlake), Max Wang (8th grade of Avon), Sofia Boyd (7th grade of Cleveland), Camille Boyer (7th grade of Cleveland), Abby Gemechu (7th grade of Avon), and Dhyani Nautiyal (7th grade of Lakewood). The 7th grade team also placed 3rd at the district and the regional tournament.
On April 27, Birchwood students competed in the state level of National History Day at Ohio Wesleyan University. Students conducted in-depth research into a topic of their choosing on this year’s theme, Triumph and Tragedy in History. They presented their work through writing, performance, or other physical and electronic media. Their yearlong endeavors are often compared to college or even masters level research. Their hard work was rewarded with ten students winning awards and moving on to the national competition at the University of Maryland, June 9-13.
On April 12-13, Birchwood School’s Future Problem Solving team competed in the State Bowl at Solon Middle School. In preparation, the team conducted extensive research on the worldwide problem of stress and offered many creative solutions in competition. Their hard work paid off as nine students out of the twenty-three-member team of state qualifiers won awards.
On April 23, 2019, Birchwood School of Hawken co-founders, Chuck and Helene Debelak, traveled to Fenn Tower where they were recognized as one of Cleveland State University’s Fascinating Alumni. It is their dedication to each student “becoming” (a phrase often heard around Birchwood School of Hawken) and their commitment to providing Cleveland residence exceptional education at a reasonable cost that caused this spotlight to fall on them.
Ari Eman placed second in Ohio and was named as a finalist in the nation-wide Letters About Literature Competition. As a finalist, his letter is included in a special commemorative booklet and is invited to a special awards ceremony and luncheon to be held at the Main Branch of the Cleveland Public Library on Saturday, May 11. Additionally, Ari received a cash prize of $75.
Furthermore, eighteen Birchwood students were named semi-finalists. The fifth and sixth grade category, garnered over 400 entries and the following students moved past the first round of judging: Aanya Lakireddy, Alex Sideris, Eashan Kosaraju, Katie Leonardi, Ari Emam, Cadence Guo, Dilan Nadkarni, Jad Alsouss, Jennifer Song, Manan Raina, Nadine Nouraldin, Omar Issa, Sebastian Boyer, and Saumya Mahajan.
On March 11-14 eight Birchwood seventh and eighth grade students participated in the Northeastern Ohio Science and Engineering Fair at Cleveland State University. Out of the nearly 700 projects from over 80 schools, every Birchwood entrant received an award and many were also presented with additional special awards.
Birchwood students in grades 6-8 participated in a qualifying round of Future Problem Solving where after extensive research, they used a complex six-step process to outline the problem, solutions, and action plan regarding food waste and loss. Due to their outstanding performance, 23 students will be moving on to the state level competition at Solon Middle School on April 12th and 13th.
On Saturday, March 16, with cold temperatures and a brisk wind blowing, 54 Birchwood sixth, seventh, and eighth graders were undaunted as they competed at the district level of the National History Day competition held at Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland History Connection. With a mixture of nervousness and excitement, students presented their projects to a team of judges and were evaluated on the historical quality of the projects, the connection to the theme of Triumph & Tragedy in History, and the overall quality of the presentation. The results were outstanding, with 23 students advancing to the state competition with a total of 13 projects.
Three Birchwood students in grades 3-4 were delighted to learn that the transformation stories they submitted in the Cricket contest earned national recognition. Maliha earned second place for her piece entitled, “My New Hair.” Johnny, who wrote “Caterpillar,” and Caroline who wrote “Wiggle, Wiggle, Caterpillar,” received honorable mention awards. Congratulations writers!
Birchwood School of Hawken's MathCounts team placed 3rd at the state level competition on March 9th. Led by their coach and school co-founder, Chuck Debelak, students John Shin, Ehren Collins, James Mamone, and Aidan Berard proudly represented their school’s strong math program. John Shin finished in 12th place individually.
On March 2 the 25-member Science Olympiad team traveled to Case Western Reserve University to compete against 13 Greater Cleveland area teams. Each team is comprised of fourth through sixth grade students. The competition includes 25 events that test knowledge of various scientific topics and engineering skills. The Birchwood Team placed 2nd in Division A! Congratulations for this record winning performance!
On Saturday, February 23rd, Birchwood School’s MathCounts team placed first in the chapter round of competition at Cleveland State University. In one of four challenging levels, the countdown round (where speed and accuracy are tested), the team also placed first. In addition, three students placed individually: Ehren Collins placed 3rd, John Shin placed 4th, and Aidan Berard placed 6th.
MathCounts is a national competition that gives middle school students the chance to compete against their peers leveraging camaraderie and rivalry to make math fun. More than a quarter-million students participate each year with competitions held in all US states and territories.
Their coach and Birchwood’s co-founder, Chuck Debelak, attributes the team’s success directly to their hard work saying, “They have been practicing challenging math problems on Thursdays and Saturdays since mid-October.” The team has earned their place at the state level competition on March 9th.
Birchwood 7th and 8th grade students earned gold key, silver key, and honorable mention for in the 2019 Scholastic Writing Awards competition. Ehren Collins was given Scholastic’s highest gold key award for his fantasy, “One Giant Leap for Mouse-kind.” Eric Vaziri earned the silver key for his short story, “The Game.” The following students earned honorable mention: Joseph Dang for a short story entitled, “The Whiteboard”; Hope Ptacek for her short story, “My Pal”; Jaden Stainforth for his short story, “A Dog’s Adventure”; James Mamone for his science fiction, “He’s Here”; Qiwen Wu for her short story, “Therapy”; and Van Weinmann for his short story, “The Sneakers.”
The prestigious Scholastic Writing Awards has been celebrating students’ vision talent and creativity since 1923. Their mission is to identify teens with exceptional artistic and literary talent and present it to the world. We are so honored to have northeast Ohio students recognized in this way.
Six Birchwood students were awarded recognition in Cricket magazine’s September story-writing contest and were published in the January 2019 edition. This national competition invited children to submit a story about an act of kindness. Zain Daoud earned an Honorable Mention award. Mei-Li Mann won second prize for her story entitled “Hanging with My Cousins” about including family members in a gymnastics practice session. Ted Alten, Kartik Gulati, and Zain Abbas also received Honorable Mentions for their creative stories. Jonathan Samulak’s piece, “An Act of Kindness,” about being the recipient of kindness by strangers, garnered third place.
Birchwood students, Ehren Collins, John Shin, Samuel Pan, Aidan Berard, Angela Shang, and Rebecca Chin, finished among the top 5% of all math students in the US in the American Mathematics Competition (AMC 8).
Birchwood’s 4th grade class received the Team Achievement Award in the 2018 Noetic Learning Math Contest. This award is given to teams who place in the top 10% of participating teams. These young mathematicians also placed first out of all Ohio teams. Four students also earned National Honor Roll recognition: Manya Raina, Joshua Gordon, Ayat Jaffar, and Ted Alten.
PowerUp Puerto Rico! is now paying off for the students and teachers forced to restart after Hurricane Maria. An elementary school in San Juan, Puerto Rico recently installed new air conditioning units. Another elementary school in nearby Guaynabo is soon to build a new playground. Both improvements are the big imprints of Birchwood’s helping feet.
Six months ago, Birchwood students together took over half a million steps in their gym classes and raised $4,218.68 for Puerto Rican schools. The effort was muy grande, with 166 students participating. The average steps per student in a single gym period (as counted by pedometers) was 3,173. The giving of families was muy generoso, eventually tallying to $4,218.68. Que magnifico!
Congratulations to John, an eighth-grade student at Birchwood School of Hawken and resident of Richfield, for being named one of 2018 Top 300 Broadcom MASTERSfor his project on predicting Geomagnetic Storms with GPS. He was recognized on September 5th when The Broadcom Foundation and Society for Science and the Public announced the top 300 middle school students nationwide in the 8th annual Broadcom MASTERS, the nation’s most prestigious Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) competition. Winners were selected from 2,537 entrants who qualified by being among the top 10 percent of participants in Society-affiliated science fairs.
Birchwood School of Hawken students and parents gathered together on the morning of Wednesday, May 16 to celebrate the achievements they have earned throughout the 2017-2018 academic year and also to recognize the support each student has received from their family.
Congratulations to the members of the Birchwood Bach Quartet – Joseph D., Ehren, Hope, and John – on their third prize win in the 3rd edition of the global competition for young performers of The Music of Germany & Austria.
On March 17th a group of Birchwood School of Hawken students participated in the Western Reserve District 5 Science Day. This is one of 16 district fairs held each spring by the Ohio Junior Academy on Science. The five students who received a superior rating will be heading to the State Science Day in Columbus on May 12th: Joshua S., Praveen, John, Van, and Rohan.
Birchwood School of Hawken was represented by a group of seventh and eighth grade students at the Northeastern Ohio Science and Engineering Fair (NEOSEF) which was held on March 12-15 at Cleveland State University. Approximately 600 students from over 80 schools discussed their science projects with over 260 judges and competed for more than $20,000 in prizes.
Birchwood’s MATHCOUNTS team placed second in the local Chapter Competition on Saturday, Feb. 17. This placement entitled the team to attend the State Competition on Saturday, March 10 in Columbus. At the state level Birchwood’s team placed eighth out of 100 schools competing.
On Saturday, March 3, 38 sixth- through eighth-graders competed in the district level of the National History Day competition. Held at the Cleveland History Center and Case Western Reserve University, it proved to be an exciting day! With very strong competition this year, 19 students still qualified to advance to the state competition on April 21 at Ohio Wesleyan University.
The 2018 Scholastic Awards for middle and high school students recognizes writing that shows originality, personal voice, and technical skill. Out of all the grade 7-8 students who participated in the Northeast Ohio region, 10 Birchwood students were recognized.
A team of Birchwood students in grades 5-8 competed in the annual Young Astronauts Day at the NASA Glenn Research Center on Saturday, Oct. 28. Students were divided into two groups the Pilot Team and the Commander Team before spending the morning competing in hands-on activities related to engineering problem-solving skills.