Western Wayne to Focus on Pride in Differentiation for 2018-19 School Year
“On the outside, always looking in/ Will I ever be more than I’ve always been?/ ‘Cause I’m tap, tap, tapping on the glass/ Waving through a window,” are the lyrics Western Wayne Senior R.J. Clemens sang at the first day of teacher in-service for Western Wayne faculty, staff, and administration on Wednesday, August 22.
R.J. sang “Waving Through a Window” from the 2017 Tony Award Winning musical Dear Evan Hansen at the request of administration as a closing piece of a presentation on Pride in Differentiation which is the district’s focus for the 2018-19 school year. The song fit the occasion because it centers on a socially awkward teenage boy who struggles to be recognized among his peers and adults. In relation to this, all Western Wayne educators are dedicating themselves to acknowledging each of their student’s unique learning strengths and weaknesses and are working to provide interventions and support necessary for academic, social, and emotional success.
Pride in Differentiation will be seen in action in all parts of the Western Wayne educational system with teachers, counselors, and administrators all working toward the common goal of enhancing the educational experience of each specific student who attends Western Wayne.
“I feel honored to have been asked to sing a song with such a meaningful message to my teachers for my senior year,” R.J. said. “I hope the message of noticing people around you who don’t really know how to interact with others resonates with them and helps to guide their planning for the new school year.”
Staff in attendance were also treated to watching a video presentation about how their efforts have affected Western Wayne students in a positive way in the past.
Senior Evan Coons spoke on the film regarding his many positive experiences at Western Wayne from his time in the school’s Early Intervention Program through his high school journey.
“I started out in Early Intervention at Western Wayne because I had trouble speaking well,” Evan explained. “Even then, I was told I had potential. Now I’m taking honors and AP classes and finding out that colleges are interested in me. It’s amazing what school can do for you.”
Evan went on to explain what he takes away from his educational experiences at Western Wayne thus far.
“Whatever I put my mind to I can do,” Evan said. “I am able to say that no obstacle is too big, and I want to say thank you to all of my teachers.”
Senior Rayiana Cook also shared her experiences with the faculty on the film.
She explained how she was born and raised in Philadelphia and went through many struggles in her life. Rayiana came to Western Wayne in May of 2018 and felt very welcomed into the community.
“I noticed that my teachers respected me and wanted to help me learn,” Rayiana explained. “They pointed out my strengths and told me I can do whatever I have to in achieving my goals. My teachers have given me confidence and made me feel that I am mature, very smart, and capable of doing anything I want with my life.”
Many student groups were present at the opening day in-service to inspire all present to think about truly seeing each student in their classroom just like Evan and Rhianna were. Athletes, cheerleaders, and students of all ages filled the aisles of the Western Wayne Auditorium as R.J. finished singing to surprise their teachers and get to see them a few days before the start of school.
Along with the singing and representation of student groups at the in-service, the group of about 400 professionals, who work at all buildings in the district, were then treated to an enthusiastic performance by the Western Wayne cheerleading squad. The Pride Presentation was then closed by the entire audience of adults and students singing the Western Wayne Alma Mater together led by High School Band Director Elaine Ort.
“It was very powerful to hear everyone in attendance that day sing the Alma Mater,” Ort said. “I think it really solidified how everyone will work together this year toward the goal of educating each individual student in their classrooms.”
Many Western Wayne Marching Band members performed at the Opening Day Presentation including from left: Damon Martzen, Lindsey Karwacki, Chris Wallace, and Bridgette Summers-Flannery.
From left: Sam Clemens, Ava Compton, and Brandon Davis, all members of the Western Wayne Drama Club, get ready to sing the Alma Mater.