Collaboration is the Catalyst for Success

Among the many lessons I’ve learned about Moravian Academy this year, one that I keep returning to is how central teamwork is to our students and how they learn. I’ve seen them working hard together in classrooms and hallways, of course, but the real nuances come into focus when we notice that students choose to spend their precious energies most on the tasks that they know are valuable to their peers, when they feel inspiration from a teammate, and especially when they are working hard to directly benefit a classmate. When alumni gather, their stories return to how their peers at Moravian inspired them to be more creative, to focus longer, and to ask bigger questions. At Moravian Academy, I’ve learned, collaboration is the catalyst for success.
Growing up in a culture of collaborative learning—one where this is the expectation starting from the youngest grades—produces students with highly attuned listening skills, empathy, and, as I’ve noticed at Moravian, enhanced skills of synthesizing ideas together. These skills create the beautiful moments in problem solving when students realize that the idea they produced together is actually better—more efficient, more elegant, more sustainable, more profound—than any of the answers they made individually.

It is no surprise to see that the many accomplishments our students achieve, either by working directly as a team or, more indirectly, inspire them to be their best selves. A look back at just the last month’s milestones reveals this.
  • 65 Middle School students braved the stage in this year’s Talent Show, which featured an amazing 37 acts. They brought their best in singing, playing instruments, dancing, and even performance drawing and stand-up comedy.
  • After a tremendous showing at the District XI meet, our Upper School swim team won a total of four individual and team event medals, including a team silver. Two of our relay teams will be representing Moravian Academy at the PIAA State Championships at Bucknell University on Friday, March 17th and those team members cheered on Kyra Manson ’17 as she won the gold medal in the 100 Butterfly on Thursday, March 16th and placed 7th overall in the 100 Freestyle.
  • On February 25th, ten Upper School and 25 Middle School students presented their work at the regional meeting of the Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Sciences in Region 3. These students followed their curiosity in order to design and complete experiments in categories ranging from engineering to behavioral sciences. Many of our students also participated in the Lehigh Valley Science and Engineering Research Fair on March 10th (Upper School) and 11th (Middle School), and a team of 15 students went to the Science Olympiad on March 16th. Congratulations to all involved! Elsewhere in applied sciences, the Upper School Robotics Team, The Dark Byte, has been busy preparing for the FIRST Robotics Competition which will bring them to Chestnut Hill Academy this weekend.
  • In the Lower School, 16 fifth graders engaged in the Colonial IU20 K'NEX competition, working to demonstrate their engineering skills after weeks of practicing to solve practical problems. Our fourth grade students presented a fantastic evening of songs and introductions to famous people from our "50 Nifty United States." Behind the singing and smiling faces, students were learning separately and together in this program that integrates social studies and music. All first graders enjoyed collaborating with Upper School students on a storybook project—the Spanish Immersion class worked with students in Mr. Gonzalo del Real's Upper School Spanish class and the English first grade students worked with Dr. Catherine Moore's Creative Writing class. Speaking of teamwork, the students of the Lower School raised $662 in gym class by jumping rope to raise money for the American Heart Association during American Heart Month!
  • In another highlight of the past month, more than 55 students staged this year’s challenging and unique musical, “Urinetown,” to the delight of sold-out shows and area theater critics. The entire cast and crew worked for weeks to hone their craft and produced extraordinary acting, singing, music, choreography, staging, set design, lighting, and effects. As all who saw the show realized, each person—from the soloists to the entire dance ensemble, and from the pit musicians to the tech crew—contributed his or her best to produce a singular group effort.
  • Not to be outdone, the Parents' Association is adding to the teamwork theme in hosting what is sure to be an auction to remember! The committee has a wonderful evening planned with silent and live auctions, fine cuisine from Catering by Karen Hunter, cocktails, dancing, and cirque entertainment. Students have been working on beautiful artwork displays that enhance this year’s cirque theme. Don’t miss this event on April 1st!
Those of you who know accomplishments and teamwork also know that the greatest personal victories always come with the help of amazing supporters. This is true when facing even the biggest challenges. Our community has been reminded of this several times this year, as we’ve been amazed with the resilience, strength, and “relentless positivity” of those who are fighting cancer and other illnesses. We hope in some way that Moravian Academy’s culture of care and our belief that we can solve problems if we continually work together are helping to inspire their strength. Certainly we know that they are an inspiration for us.

Merle Smith Campus

Downtown Campus