Latest School Updates

Dear Western Families,

If you are a parent of a senior, you are probably wondering how we are already in February and why is the year going by so fast?  If you are a senior, you are probably wondering why is it only February and why is the year going by so slow?  Different perspectives for different people.

It’s been a few months since I last sent out a news blog so I wanted to get you caught up on news and information from the school.

All three comprehensive high schools are surveying their stakeholders to get their input regarding their particular schedules.  They want student, staff and parent input.  Please take a moment this week and complete the following survey.

I hope you find the information below informative and helpful.

See you soon.

Darah Bonham, Principal


Schedule For Week of Feb. 11

Here is the schedule for the week of February 11th due to 8 period day on February 14th for Singing Valentines at the school.

2/11-Monday-Odd Day
2/12-Tuesday- Odd Day
2/13-Wednesday- Even Day
2/14-Thursday- 8 Period Day
2/15-Friday-Even Day

Model UN Wins Top Honors

The Model United Nations club won top honors this weekend at AmeriMUNC VI, the conference held by American University in Washington.Our 25-member team was awarded “Best Large Delegation” for the first time in the club’s 8-year history at WAHS. The AmeriMUNC conference is unique in that it is a conference which connects all 22 committees along a common theme, which this year was the “Pacific in Crisis.”13 WAHS students won individual awards:

Best Delegate Awards went to:

Noa Kipnis and Fahim Mohi, representing the United Kingdom in the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space

Camille Kielbasa and Gauri Prakash (UK) in the United Nations Security Council

Outstanding Delegate Awards:

Francesca Gibson–Republic of China

Thomas Jackson–Philippine National Police

Isobel Williamson–(Brazil) in ECOFIN

Honorable Mention Awards:

Mahdin Hossain–(BBC) in Press Corps

Chloe Kienzle–Kiribati Evacuation Force

Ben Lenox—Russian Cabinet

Charlie Sewell—ExxonMobil

Kathryn Steenburgh—Tokyo Olympics

Verbal Commendations:

Addie Patterson (UK) in ECOFIN

In addition, the following students were also awarded the Diplomacy Award by their committees:  Noa Kipnis, Fahim Mohi, Charlie Sewell, Ben Lenox


Great Student Story

What a great story from NBC29 about our awesome 9th grade student Owen Mather and his team of support at Western. Click on link above to view.

Robotics Team Places 15th Out of 30 Teams at States

Congratulations to WAHS Robotics! The club is sending Her Majesty’s Engineers, one of its three teams to States on February 2nd. Loose Screws and Cable Management were competitive, positive teams and will work towards States next year. The FTC Robotics competition allows students to design, build and program a robot as a team and gives opportunities for students to work with mentors to learn the engineering process (including the hasty redesign in between competitions!). Students also practice sportsmanship (called gracious professionalism) and service learning by working with children to showcase STEM. STEM skills involve creative problem solving and team work, skills employers are looking for in today’s competitive job market. Club members meet after school for 6 months and will soon start training for next year’s competitions. New students don’t need skills, only interest, willingness to learn and to work with others. Contact Shelby Bowen, club sponsor, at for more information.

Spring Sports Information

Most spring sports begin on Monday, February 18th.  Click on this link for detailed tryout information.

Hero’s Journey Project

Ms. Phanthavong and Mr. Walsh created a very unique experience for their 9th grade global studies classes.  With the help of instructional coach, Amber Roberts, they created the following collaborative project with students in 3rd grade at Brownsville Elementary.

A Hero’s Journey,” is an interdisciplinary Project Based learning opportunity for students enrolled in the Global Studies program at Western Albemarle High School. In Ms. Phanthavong’s English 9 class the students studied the theme of a “hero’s journey” through specific readings and teachings about what makes a great epic journey in literature. On the history side, Mr. Walsh’s class was learning about the cultures and the histories of the first river valley civilizations. Combining these two themes and respective content the students created their own 3rd grade level story that incorporated the elements of a hero’s journey set in the time of one of the river valley civilizations. Students went through the entire story making process from brainstorming and multiple drafts to story-boarding, illustration and finally publication. 


Art Hall of Fame

The fine arts dept will open the submission process for its annual fine arts hall of fame.  Check the school website next week for more details.  Nominations will be due March 6, 2019.

Mini Med School

The WAHS Mini Med School completed its fourth session of hands-on exposure to careers in the medical field. This week students learned to suture and to do a tracheotomy with pigs’ feet and tracheas. They saw how a pig’s lungs inflate and heard many stories by professionals in the field. Several students said that this was their favorite session last year, so they were allotted more practice time this year.  Medical careers teacher Frank Lawson started this amazing program three years ago with help from UVA Doctor Kyle Enfield and other medical professionals and parents. We already know many students who are pursuing studies in the medical field and who chose to volunteer for the Rescue Squad as a result of his efforts.


News From ESA 

AP Env Sci classes all had showcase of their semester Eco reduction projects. (Malinda has some data), basically students chose an area of their lives that they would try and reduce their ecological footprints across 12 weeks. The first two weeks they collected baseline data and compared their consumption to the rest of the world, analyzed their lifestyle, and made a choice (each chose to challenge themselves on a level they could be successful at), and across the next 10 weeks tracked Qualitative and Quantitative data, and progress. They all completed lab reports (they were the experiment), and showcased their accomplishments to their peers in a gallery style with creative displays including as far as making cookies from crickets! This is an annual collaboration among all APES sections that the students get a tremendous amount out of personal growth and exploration.


Drama Updates

Both of our Drama 1 classes took their updated Aesop’s Fables over to Murray Elementary School and to Crozet Elementary School to perform for 2nd and 3rd graders, mid-January. The younger children had a great time and had the opportunity to do a Q & A after the shows with the older kids.

Our Musical Theatre Showcase was performed for classes Jan. 17, performing songs from many different musicals.


Kompelien’s English

Mrs. Kompelien’s English class just finished a research project on a figure of the Harlem Renaissance. They took a look at the overall impact of the figure’s work and beliefs on the movement and beyond and discussed how different subsections of the movement worked to affect change for the African American community.

EMT Class

Did you know we offer an EMT class in partnership with CATEC that takes place at Western?  Four students from the EMT class are heading to the SkillsUSA District Competition on Friday 2/8.  Virginia Clark, Lauren Tipton, Blaine Sandridge, and Jessica Walker.

Senior India Mawn 

Senior India Mawn was the youngest of 13 artists chosen to create artwork for the SIGNS OF CHANGE art challenge sponsored by the Fralin Museum.  India’s painting depicted an event in Charlottesville’s Black History; the razing of the Vinegar Hill neighborhood.  Her artwork was displayed at the Bridge Arts Initiative in January and was the only piece that sold. Congratulations India!

This is an amazing accomplishment for India. 


PVCC math students created and presented probability games this week.

AP Stats and PVCC math students are working on a vocabulary task now. The idea is to write a personal Valentine with as many mathematical words as possible from given units.

Also, PVCC students are going to the Manufacturing field trip to see how employers use math in modeling on February 21st. The event will feature panel discussions/orientation to the field, hands-on career exploration/demonstrations, and meetings with employers.

TV and Audio Classes

The TV and Audio Studio is in full swing and beginning to install the VR equipment. The Robotics class is continuing to program and code their video game projects and working to implement it in the VR system. Future VR opportunities will include the Architecture and Engineering classes where students will be able to walk through their designs.


-From the Twitter Feed












Helpful Links

* Subscribe to Zoe Padron’s “Thursday Round Up” by emailing her at  Mrs. Padron is our Gifted Resource Teacher at Western and provides  a great weekly resource for students and parents about college opportunities, scholarship info, and much more.  You can also access the Round Up through the link HERE.

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* School Counseling Link

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*Media Center  Link