Construction of Kirby Commons Aim to Improve Campus Life

 

By Todd Zhong ’18

Left: Construction underway at the Kirby Common site outside of the library Right: Concept design of the Kirby Commons (Photo courtesy of Sem Student Life Instagram account)

Since the beginning of the September, a group of workers has been working efficiently outside the Kirby Library. The project they are working on is the Kirby Common, an area for the student to hang around and to relax and to study. Wyoming Seminary President Kevin Rea said this project would “help to enhance the Upper School student experience at Sem and increase our students and faculty’s sense of connection to one another and the outdoors.”

The Kirby Common, just outside of the Wallace F. Stettler Learning Resources Center, is aimed to improve the campus life of all students of Wyoming Seminary both academically or just recreationally, as it both contains a beautiful new lawn and Sem’s second outdoor classroom. The would not only provide a place for student s to hang out but as shorten the distance for students from Carpenter Hall going to the Kirby Library as they could cut through the Kirby Common when the construction is complete.

President Kevin Rea revealed the origin and intended purpose of the Kirby Common. “A member of the Kirby Family approached us with a desire to enhance the existing Kirby Garden. That enhancement evolved into the Kirby Common. The Kirby Common will be an asset to the campus to be enjoyed by students and members of the Sem community as a gathering spot, an event spot, and an outdoor classroom. It will have six new Teak wood benches for seating. It will also have space for quiet reflection on the winding pathways amongst the plantings.”

Members of the Sem community responded very positively regarding the new feature on campus. Dan Krueger, a teacher of the Art Department and a longtime member the Sem community, said: “Before the construction, the area outside the library was underutilized and the Kirby Common would add more public seating and create more outdoor space for students.” Jeremy Diaz’ 18 believe that the Kirby Common “would be a great meeting spot for students after school and would make the dining hall and the library less packed during lunchtime.

The construction is expected to last the duration of October and students should be excepting the grand opening of the new common space, the Kirby Common, before the end of the fall term. President Rea said that the Sem community should be expecting substantial completion of the Kirby Common by the end of October. As the Kirby Common awaits its debut to the Sem community, we hope there would be more improvements like this on Sem campus in the future.    

 

Wyoming Seminary Is Putting up the First Student Art Show of the Year

By Lily Zhu ’18

Mr. Dan Krueger, the teacher of AP Studio Art and Photograph, is framing students’ works for the upcoming exhibition. (Photo Courtesy of Lily Zhu’ 18)

The Rusty Fleck Art Gallery at Wyoming Seminary Upper School is pleased to announce that the first student artwork exhibition of the 2017- 2018 school year opens on October 19. As a tradition, the exhibit accommodates different genres of art pieces done by students in Photography, Ap Studio Art, and Ceramic classes.

The gorgeous selection of artworks sprouts from the steadily accumulating effort made by the students and faculty members in the art department since the beginning of the fall trimester. For some student artists, it was actually their first time painting in acrylic, setting lens aperture on a camera, or shaping clay on a pottery wheel. In the past seven weeks, novice artists in Sem made their way through all kinds of obstacles and built up an impressive portfolio under the tutelage of teachers.

Before the art show, the air of excitement has pervaded the classes. “I feel both excited and nervous,” says Allen Wang’ 19, a junior student taking Ap Studio Art, “This is my first time to put up my paintings on an exhibition, and I don’t know how other people are going to think about it.” Just the second time holding a paintbrush, Allen did a lovely portrait of a Native American feather headdress. Like most student artists, though restless about the outcome of the display, Allen embraces it heartily. “Having my painting on the exhibition is definitely not a bad thing,” as Allen says, “because I love to share my art with people.

After carefully modified and framed by Mr. Dan Krueger, teacher of the Ap Studio Art and Photography classes, the 30 art pieces selected from the recent works of each student were hung in the Rusty Fleck Art Gallery on October 18 with help from Mrs. Ayers, the Ceramic teacher, and Ms. Alexandra MacNamara, the Theater Manager and Performing Arts Marketing Director in the Kirby Center for Creative Arts.  

The art show has long been a tradition in Sem, which used to behold in the hallway on the first floor of the Nesbit Hall prior to the establishment of the KCCA in 2014. The persistent effort to put up the exhibition indicates its indispensable role in the progression of individual artists and in the Sem community as a whole. Seeing their artworks framed and shown to their classmates and teachers and hearing comments made from various perspectives, art students gain a sense of accomplishment as well as the pressure to further enhance their skills. Ayers says, “The best part is the timeline, allowing us to see from the beginning of the year to the end of the year when there will be another art show. The personal growth for each individual artist is incredibly important.”  

According to Krueger, it is important for students in the community to see the students’ works as well. Art helps to enrich the campus and stresses Sem’s commitment to teaching students to strive for the true, the beautiful, and the good.

 

Sem Community Mourns the Loss of Sandra J. Kitchen

By Camryn Litjens ’18

Sandra J. Kitchen (Jun. 17, 1957-Oct. 6, 2017) passed away on Oct. 6, 2017. (Photo courtesy of Wyoming Seminary Yearbook 2002) 

The Wyoming Seminary Community suffered from the loss of kitchen staff, Sandra J. Kitchen. Kitchen of Wilkes-Barre died Friday, Oct. 6, 2017, at the age of 60. She passed away at home while asleep– the cause of death remains undetermined. The Sem Community takes this loss to come together as one to commemorate Sandy.

Sandra J. Kitchen (Jun. 17, 1957-Oct. 6, 2017) “was a wonderful, devoted mother, grandmother, friend and coworker”. Beloved by all, she left behind 17 years of hard and dedicated work. Kitchen’s contribution to the Wyoming Seminary Family will be cherished forever by students, staff and co-workers.  

The Wyoming Seminary Community honored Kitchen with a memorial on Oct. 7 led by Chaplain Charles Carrick. Molly Leahy ‘19 commented, “It was a short ceremony, but it was beautifully done.” The commemoration closed with the performance of “Amazing Grace” sung by the Wyoming Seminary Madrigals.   

The Wyoming Seminary Upper School Student Government donated $100 to the Kitchen family with funeral expenses. Bernard Frantz ‘19, a member of student government, brought in some of his magnolias that he gardened himself to celebrate the life of Kitchen.    

Elaine Barber, co-worker and friend of deceased, recognized Kitchen’s enthusiasm while working at Wyoming Seminary: ”She always enjoyed serving the students, faculty and staff. She was always helping others and volunteered her time. She helped wherever they needed her.” While Kitchen’s work ethic and zest were recognized, Barber emphasizes Kitchen’s impact as a member of the community but more importantly as a friend. “She will forever be in our hearts. As a parent and grandmother, you were loved and cherished. As a friend you were appreciated.”

The Wyoming Seminary Community continues to feel the impact of such a valuable member. Just the same, we continue to celebrate the great life Sandra J. Kitchen has left behind for us. Sandy will be missed dearly by the Wyoming Seminary Community.