Ross joins math department

 

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Ross teaches a math class

By Sandra Koretz ’21

Gregg Ross has stepped into the role of a middle school math teacher. In late June, he moved with his family from Texas, where he had been living for the past 12 years. He had spent those years teaching at of St. Stephen’s Episcopal School in Austin. The other five years he spent teaching at Greenhill School in Dallas. He teaches Pre-algebra and Geometry 9.

“I love the innocence and energy of the incoming seventh graders and their excitement and also having the ninth graders, who some might say are a little jaded, but I just like to say have matured in their thought process, it’s a lot of fun because they are getting into the math that really starts to get interesting,” Ross said.

Ross said that he has been adjusting well so far because he spent some time in California previously. Ross received his M.B.A. at UCLA Anderson School of Management and said that he is happy to be back on the West coast.

Ross’s wife, Laura Ross, is the Head of Upper School and his daughter, Casey, is a seventh grader. Ross also has a son named Graham who attends the Laurence School.

Ross said one of his favorite things about the school is that students have free periods since he enjoys meeting with them.

“But far and away, the best thing so far has been the people that I have worked with as well as the students that I have taught,” Ross said.

Ross’s students seem to enjoy him as a teacher.

“Mr. Ross’s class is actually one of my favorite classes I have during the day. He is such a great teacher,” Adison Gamradt ’23 said.

 

 

Lieberman returns full time

 

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Lieberman poses at his desk.

By Mohona Ganguly ’21

Eli Lieberman has joined the middle school faculty as a new math teacher, teaching Geometry and Algebra I classes. Lieberman has been a part of the middle school math department since Nov. of 2016, serving as a substitute for Algebra and Geometry teacher Regan Galvan while she was on maternity leave. Before coming to the Middle School, Lieberman taught at the Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies. Lieberman said that he decided to become a math teacher because of his 11th grade Algebra II teacher.

 

“Before I was in her class, I didn’t understand anything. But,as soon as I had had her class, everything made perfect sense. It was so enjoyable to me, to understand what was going on. So, I want to share that,” Lieberman said.

 

In his free time, Lieberman enjoys dancing, karaoke, playing guitar and listening to the radio.

Lieberman said that his favorite aspect of teaching is being with his students.

 

“I love working with kids. I love being able to joke around with kids. And, I love being able to share math, and to watch a student grow,” Lieberman said.

Lieberman offered advice for middle school students.

 

“Never stop trying. In life, you’re not going to be able to get to do what you want to do on the very first try. That doesn’t mean you’re bad, that means you didn’t get it the first time. If you’re persistent, and mindful of what you’re doing, then you can do anything. Just, don’t give up,” Lieberman said.

 

 

Wang steps in as new science teacher

By Khyra Stiner ’21

Biology teacher Leslie Wang joined the Middle School faculty after being a substitute science teacher for Alex Ras while she was on maternity leave last year.

Wang returned to work part-time, teaching two classes instead of the average five. This allows Wang to be able to take care of her two young children.

“I can’t afford to be here more than part-time because I have two young kids to care for. As it is, I feel like I’m working much more than full-time. I was giving 100 percent of myself as a full-time teacher, and now I feel like I’m giving 60 percent here, 60 percent there and rapidly overshooting 100 percent. With that said, it’s just so enjoyable. It’s hard for me to leave each day to go pick up my kids,” Wang said.

Wang has been teaching and working in the science field for most of her career. After researching in Marine Biology, she came to work at the Middle School from 2006 to 2009. Wang said that she enjoys teaching because she gets to know her students. However, Wang said that she wishes that even working part-time, she had more opportunities to do so and to be a more available resource for her students. Students said that the amount of time Wang spends on campus does not make a difference in their learning.

“I don’t think it makes a difference because she is still a great teacher, and I am learning a lot,” Christian Becerra ’21 said.

 

Ellingson joins science department

By Eugean Choi ’21

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Ellingson poses by her desk in the science office.

Daniele Ellingson recently joined the middle school community as a science teacher. She has been teaching for eight years at three different schools: UCLA, Markham Middle School and Alliance College Ready Middle Academy #8, making this her ninth year of teaching.

“I was teaching for about five years at UCLA, mostly freshman classes in history and science, and then after that I taught for one year in LAUSD and then two years at the charter school,” Ellingson said.

Ellingson has said that the Middle School is a new change for her since it is different than most of the schools that she has taught at.

“I was really happy at my last school, but I felt that I just needed a change, and the opportunity to work here just came my way, and I wanted to work at the best school I possibly could,” Ellingson said.

Ellingson attended UCLA for undergraduate and graduate school, majoring in physiological science and History of Science, she then taught at UCLA for five years. Ellingson said that her favorite subject in school was science, which may have resulted in her being a science teacher.

“I was kind of a very studious nerd; I liked all my classes. I enjoyed science a lot, I guess that would be my favorite class,” Ellingson said.

Ellingson said that she enjoys doing many activities during her free time.

“I like hanging out with my husband and my dog. We go hiking and kind of being a tourist in Los Angeles. I’m from here, but just to see things I haven’t seen: different museums and different neighborhoods. So kind of exploring Los Angeles,” Ellingson said.

Ellingson’s students said that they enjoy her class and that she is a great teacher.

They have also said that although this is her first year at this school, she is able to keep up with the pace at the school.

“Mrs. Ellingson is a really nice teacher, and she really spends time with us to help us understand the material,” biology student Kylie Azzizadeh ’21  said.

 

Thompson joins science department

By Emma Limor ’21

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Thompson teaches a lecture in a ninth grade class.

Margaret Thompson entered the middle school community as a seventh and ninth grade science instructor.  She is currently teaching Integrated Science I and Biology Honors.  A science teacher of six years, Thompson said she is excited to continue her career in education at the Middle School.

Coming from Foothill Country Day School in Claremont, California, Thompson is teaching ninth graders for the first time.  Thompson said her transition from Foothill Country Day School to the Middle School was large, because there are great differences between the two.

“Students have a lot more freedom here.  There is an intensity, and people take education seriously for sure.  I have never had a team of teachers to work with, so I am getting used to working best with my team,” Thompson said.

Having studied both chemistry and religion in college, Thompson has a different perspective on teaching and has set new goals for this year.  She said that she would like to find the best way to teach her curricula and share information while also figuring out how to work with students with the right amount of student independence.

Thompson said that she has enjoyed her experience at the Middle School so far. She has met many new students, as the Middle School has more students than her previous school.

“My most enjoyable part of my experience at the Middle School so far are my students, for sure. Students seem genuinely interested in learning new things, and everybody seems to always try their best.  We can also joke around as well,” Thompson said.

Not only has Thompson said that she enjoyed her experience here so far, but her co-workers have also said they enjoy her addition to the science department.

“I can already tell within the first week that Thompson is incredibly attentive to her students.  She is really attentive to the members of the team as well and helpful during our meetings.  She is responsible, replies to emails promptly and asks great questions,” Alex Ras, Head of Middle School Science Department Head, said.

Students said they have found their class time with Thompson enjoyable, as she brings a positive energy.

“She always comes into class with a smile on her face and is personable even during technical lectures,” Alon Moradi ‘21 said.

 

Tyson becomes new science teacher

By Laura Kors ’21

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Tyson poses at his desk.

Iain Tyson joined the science department this year, teaching Biology and Integrated Science II classes.

Tyson has taught for 27 years across the United States and Europe. He was most recently a faculty member at the Los Angeles International Charter High School in Pasadena and before that the Phantom Valley School in Arizona.

Tyson said he is amazed by the number of resources available to students on campus and that once he settles in, he would like to start a club. Tyson said he also enjoys teaching science.

“[My favorite part about teaching science is] seeing the excitement when students actually understand something they thought they couldn’t or would never understand…. But it’s normally accompanied by a really bright smile of ‘Ah, I get it now, I can do that now’ and that joy of success. That’s what drives me,” Tyson said.

Tyson grew up in a small town outside of Oban in northwest Scotland. When he was 12, he moved south towards Liverpool. He lived in Los Angeles previously and moved back this year to be closer to his daughter and teach at the Middle School. Tyson was a member of the Royal Air Force as a fighter pilot.  Outside of teaching, he listens to hard and progressive rock and watches concerts. His other hobbies include motorcycling, rock climbing and kayaking.

Students said they enjoy his class as well.

“I think he is an amazing teacher with creative teaching styles. He uses day to day information and what’s going on to fit in our curriculum,” biology student Natalie Phillips ’21 said.

 

Calderon begins as Middle School Athletic Trainer

By Jane Hamilton ’22

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Calderon poses in the Marshall Center

Alex Calderon joined the school as the middle school athletic trainer. Calderon grew up in La Crescenta, California. He attended California Polytechnic State University as a computer engineer major but had a change of heart and transferred to Chapman University in Orange, California where he earned his degree as a trainer.

“I wanted [to do something with] more meaning,” Calderon said.

Prior to joining Harvard Westlake, he worked as an athletic trainer at the University of Florida and Curl and Jobe, an orthopedic clinic in Anaheim, California.

Calderon’s day usually consists of arriving on campus between 8 and 8:30 to work out before students arrive.

Working out allows me to get ready for all the students and athletes that come into my day,” says Calderon who usually stays down stairs in Marshal until sixth or seventh period.

About two to five athletes come in his office each period the heavy periods being third through seventh when students are in PE. “There isn’t period that I don’t like,” say Calderon although his favorite part of the day is lunch.

Outside of his job, Calderon enjoys the outdoors, hiking and trail running.

The students also seem to be really happy with Calderon.

“He is really nice and friendly, and I always feel welcomed when I come to his office,” Kate Hassett ‘22 said.

 

Crelling joins Athletic Department

by Jake Verny ’21

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Director of Sports Performance Jeff Crelling

Jeff Crelling joined the school’s strength and conditioning program as Director of Sports Performance. He is currently working with the boys basketball, baseball, girls soccer and girls volleyball programs and splits his time with the middle and upper school.

Crelling attended Virginia Commonwealth University and competed in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and Muay Thai. He has been in the strength and conditioning field since 2004, mostly at the Division 1 level. Prior to coaching at the school, he was the Director of Sports Performance at California State University, Northridge.

“[I would like] to provide our student-athletes with the tools necessary to realize their highest level of skill development, and to prepare them for their life-long journey toward health and fitness,” Crelling said.

Athletes shared what it is like to work with him and his extensive knowledge of training.

“He is always so helpful and has taught my team and me so many new exercises. He is very knowledgeable, and there is always a purpose behind every exercise we do. I cannot wait to get stronger with Coach Crelling,” volleyball player Lucy Ingold ’21 said.

 

 

Spirit Week and Homecoming begin

By Paisley Kandler ’22 and Frances Ross ’22

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Kayla Choi ’22 and Elise Chen ’22 pose for a picture on Twin Day during Spirit Week.

Students have been participating in various dress up days this week in honor of Spirit Week. Spirit Week started on Monday and ends on Friday, with Homecoming on Saturday. This year, students have been participating in Decade Day, Twin Day, Character/Celeb Dress Up Day, East Coast Prep Day and, as is tradition, Spirit Day.

“I twinned with Lana Lim [’22] and Kaelyn Choi [’22]. We decided to wear all black because black is one of the HW colors, and it was really fun because we got to show school spirit with friends. I’m also excited for Spirit Day on Friday,” Casey Weisman ’22, who participated in this year’s twin day on Tuesday, said.

On Spirit Day, an all-school assembly will be held in Saperstein Theater. This spirit assembly will let students and teachers alike play various games and also include a dance-off between students and teachers.

During the assembly last year, the event that received the loudest cheers was the HW spirit contest.

“I remember that there was a very fun costume competition, and there was one girl in our grade… who made a dress completely made out of red and black duct tape,” Alon Moradi ’21 said.

After the assembly, students gather around Sprague Field, buy various treats and play some games.

The Saturday after Spirit Week ends is Homecoming, which will showcase various athletic contests at the Upper School. During Homecoming, members of the school community can ride carnival rides, eat food and play fair games. Some of the games and rides this year will include a rock climbing wall, a bouncy house, a Ferris wheel and a dunk tank.

Students said that they really enjoyed last year’s homecoming.

“It was so fun to hang out with my friends and show off my school spirit!” said Hannah Yanover ’22. “I can’t wait for Homecoming this year!”

 

Field Hockey Teams Train Hard

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Field hockey player, Erin Lee ’18 lunges in to get the ball.

By Lucas Lee ’21

The varsity field hockey team is undefeated with a 8-0 record.  They are undefeated and haven’t given up any points this season.  The team has had numerous shutout games but are still trying to make improvements.

The Wolverines play in the Sunset League in which they play league teams twice and non-league teams once.  After a successful six games in non-league, they are preparing for league.

“We are undefeated because we work really hard, we care about improving every game and we don’t care about individual stats,” Goalie Caitlyn Dovel ‘21 said.

The junior varsity team is 3-3-1.  They are happy with their performance but want to do better.

When it came to making improvements midseason.  “We are practicing to do better and I feel like [the team is] motivated to do better,” Forward Penny Juarez ‘21 said.

Practices involve drills on passing and cardio.  They are working on ball movement because it is key to their offense and scoring.  “The most difficult part of practice is running,” Mid Sarah Maniscalco ‘21 said.

Despite the arduous practices, she said, “I have fun learning from older people on the team and learning their skills…. We are focused and really care about each other.  We have fun nicknames like T-sway, Twilight and Nicolee-Olee-Olee” Mid Maniscalco said.

“The team is very upbeat, bright, and extremely, energetic.  Most of the team is very big on dancing and blasting loud music wherever we go, and there is always a good atmosphere around us.  I’d also say that we are one of the closest teams on and off the field; we’re all pretty good friends, so we work really well together on the field,” Defense Iris Huang ‘21 said.

The freshman team is 0-2.  Despite the rough start they are working on improvements.  The young team is growing and gaining experience.  The atmosphere is different than the middle school setting, but they are adjusting to it.

“I really enjoy the team.  I feel like I thrive in the team atmosphere.  The coaches are also really caring and are there for me.  In all, it is very supportive and I love the facilities.” said Midfielder Scarlett Heyes ‘21