— Service Learning

By Wendy Connolly, Seventh & Eighth Grade History Teacher

Service learning is an important component to the eighth-grade History curriculum. The theme this year is Hunger and Poverty. Students started out learning about causes of hunger, Federal poverty lines, state poverty lines and how that compares globally.

Eighth graders did their first service at the San Francisco Food Bank where they learned about the issues of food insecurities in San Francisco and how food banks help. Each year the food bank distributes over 48 million pounds of food to over 225,000 people in San Francisco and Marin. Our students worked for four hours separating oranges. In the end, we boxed 25,000 pounds of citrus. It was a wonderful feeling and we all had fun doing it. If you are interested in working at the San Francisco Food Bank, go to their website. Families with children as young as 5 can volunteer.

Coastside-HopeThe eighth graders are currently working on Coastside Hope, Adopt a Family program. This year Sea Crest is adopting 10 families that are in need of clothes, toys and household items for this upcoming holiday season. Each eighth grader is connected with a grade level class and an adopted family from the coastside. Students are responsible for setting up all the items being asked for, meeting with teachers and classes to explain the program and organizing the items to be taken to Coastside Hope.

Each year it is wonderful to see the generosity and support of Sea Crest families for this local, charitable program!



Eighth Grade Visit to Pomeroy Recreation and Rehabilitation Center

Last month, on June 9th, our Eighth Graders, now Middle School Graduates, went to the Pomeroy Recreation and Rehabilitation Center in San Francisco to play the PRRC Wildcats in a basketball game. They enjoyed the visit and came back fully energized after spending a beautiful morning with such a great community.

Photos courtesy of Deirdre Harger, Laurie Kehler, and Cindy Blackstone.

Sea Crest Basketball at Pomeroy Center - Athletics Sea Crest Basketball at Pomeroy Center - Athletics Sea Crest Basketball at Pomeroy Center - Athletics

Sea Crest Basketball at Pomeroy Center - AthleticsSea Crest Basketball at Pomeroy Center - Athletics

Sea Crest Basketball at Pomeroy Center - Athletics“Thank you so much for bringing your 38 students from Sea Crest School in Half Moon Bay to play the PRRC Wildcats in a basketball game! The comments I heard was that this was the best basketball game we have had in a long long time! It was a great game – lots of participation and lots of excitement. Please extend my thanks to all your amazing students, and to the parents who drove everyone up to San Francisco.”

– Cindy Blackstone of the Pomeroy Recreation and Rehabilitation Center

Sea Crest at Pomeroy Center - Athletics



Introducing Our New Director of Middle School

As Sea Crest continues to grow, it is vital to have an administrator dedicated to leading our Middle School. Following an extensive national search, we were fortunate to invite three highly qualified finalists to campus for two days each to meet with faculty, staff, students, and a small group of parents. We are now pleased to announce the appointment of Jessica Patti, who will join us this fall as Sea Crest’s Director of Middle School.

Jessica received her Bachelor of Science from Tulane University with concentrations in Anthropology and English Literature. She earned her Master of Education degree from Harvard University with a focus on School Leadership. Most recently, Jessica held the position of Dean of Students at Sacred Heart Schools (Atherton, CA), where she was responsible for staff supervision, curriculum development, student leadership, experiential education, and teaching history. Prior to that, she was the Upper School Dean of Students at John Cooper School (Woodlands, TX), the Director of Student Life at Quest Academy (Palatine, IL), and Program Coordinator of Diversity and Community Engagement at The University of Texas.

An avid outdoorsperson, Jessica has coached at the Middle School and varsity levels in boys’ crew, cross country, and track and field. She has led students on backpacking trips, been an on-site Wilderness First Responder, revamped outdoor education programs, and constructed K-8 service learning programs. She has also created leadership workshops for students and trained teachers to support authentic student initiatives. She has presented at The California Association of Independent Schools’ conferences on topics such as Honor Code, Student Discipline, and Student Club Moderation.

Those who know Jessica emphasize her collaborative style, warmth, deep knowledge of Middle School development, and high standards of integrity. She lives in Moss Beach with her two dogs and can often be found enjoying the outdoors with them.

8th Grade Student Honored by City for Leadership

In a ceremony on May 3rd, Eighth Grade student Thomas Hurrell received the City of Half Moon Bay 8th Grade Leadership Award. This award is granted to one Middle School student in the city who exemplifies work ethic, community service, and citizenship.

“I wasn’t expecting an award of any sort, and I was grateful,” says Thomas. “I am always thinking about how I can make a difference, and I think organizing is my strong point. I take on leadership roles because I enjoy them.”

Thomas is a First Rank Boy Scout, which means he is halfway to his goal of becoming an Eagle Scout. He volunteers at Table of Plenty in Half Moon Bay, a weekly supper for struggling families on the coastside.

“On the first Thursday of every month, we serve low-income families and homeless individuals in a restaurant setting. I’ve done that for the past three years at the senior center down the street from Sea Crest,” says Thomas. “I also enjoy volunteering at Mariners Church, where I help run tech for them in the summer.”

Thomas is a member of the cross country team and was one of the top runners at the recent Scholarship Run for tuition assistance. He also plays tennis and has participated in the Sea Crest leadership elective.

“Thomas can always be counted on to do the right thing,” says Michelle Giacotto, Director of Learning and Teaching. “He leads by example, and he does it in unassuming ways. He steps up quietly, and we’re glad to see him receiving this recognition.”

Launching Origami Rockets

Middle School students have been prototyping a standardized propulsion system for their origami rockets. Originally, students used lung power and plastic straws to launch the rockets, but they soon found there was too much variability in people’s lung capacity.

“We wanted to see if we could create a uniformly reliable way to propel the little rockets,” said Innovation Lab Manager Patrick Neary. “That way, the standardized propulsion would give us all a better idea about the aerodynamic properties of the individual origami techniques.”

To complete the project, students were given straws, recycled plastic bags, various sizes of plastic cups, masking tape, and (at a student’s suggestion) lemon juice and baking soda.

Origami Rockets

Sixth Grader Ryan Rose Grout measured and prepared baking soda and lemon juice to test a chemical propulsion for her origami rocket. “This was a great attempt to provide a more complex solution,” said Mr. Neary.

“At the outset, the students were pretty skeptical about how much they could actually accomplish with the basic materials that I provided,” said Mr. Neary. “However, just a few minutes into the class, all of the students were deeply engaged in figuring out how they could get their rockets to move. It was very gratifying to see that transformation, where the students became so completely focused on creating a solution to the challenge. Every student did successfully complete a prototype by the end of class, and some students actually created several variations following unsuccessful testing.”

Seventh Grader Cole Ramsey designed and prototyped a multi-chambered propulsion system. The chambers are intended to multiply the chemical reaction, producing a greater amount of gas than would a single, one-time mixture of baking soda and lemon juice.

Origami Rockets

Origami Rockets

Eighth Grader Jake Metz had multiple successful propulsion attempts using an inflatable plastic bag with multiple straws.

Origami Rockets

“The straws fed into a plastic cup, which concentrated the compressed air around the origami rocket contained within the cup itself,” said Mr. Neary. “A very unique and innovative solution!”

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