Progress Reports – Trimester I

During the 2018-2019 school year, end of trimester report cards are communicated three times a year and progress reports are sent home at the midpoint of each reporting period. Report cards and progress reports will be posted to myMA, our online portal at Parents and students will need to log in to see the progress made during each reporting period. 

Progress reports will contain a personalized message from each teacher along with a grade. Comments will focus on the growth and development each student has made through the first half of the reporting period. Report cards will provide a list of grades for each student at the culmination of the trimester. Not all courses are graded in the Middle School. 

Trimester I progress reports will go live to myMA on Monday, October 15. Directions will be sent to parents at this time.

Jordan Sonnenblick Visit on September 28

Last Friday, Jordan Sonnenblick, author of 11 young adult novels including Drums, Girls, & Dangerous PieNotes From A Midnight DriverZen and the Art of Faking It, and Curveball: The Year I Lost My Grip, visited the Middle School. With both wit and wisdom, Mr. Sonnenblick shared stories about his life and his inspiration all of which touched upon our mission skills: creativity, curiosity, empathy, and perseverance. Beyond the underlying themes prevalent throughout his presentation, Mr. Sonnenblick specifically and intentionally encouraged all of us to “find something that you love to do; then, find a way to use it to help others.”

Following his presentation, Mr. Sonnenblick visited English classes to interact with students and teach about the writing process.

We’re grateful to Mr. Sonnenblick for sharing his knowledge and talents with us and we look forward to applying what we learned from him not only with regard to writing but also with regard to life and living.

Parent Conferences Are Filling Up Quickly

Book some time with your child’s teacher. This year, conferences will be held on Thursday, October 18 & Friday, October 19. Conference slots are filling up quickly.

Sign up information for parent conferences was sent via email on Thursday, September 27 to all middle school families. Please select an open time using the Sign Up Genius link included in the email. If you are unable to schedule a time on either day, please contact the teacher directly to set up a conference time on another day, to schedule a video call, or to schedule a phone call.

Students are welcome to attend conferences. 

Announcement Regarding Middle School Chapel

As we head into the month of October, an item to be aware of is that on S days we do not have Community Period. When an S day falls on a Wednesday, this means we will not have chapel. There are four instances where this will happen this school year. It just so happens, that two of these four will occur in October based on our rotation of COMENIUS letter days. Therefore, on Wednesday, October 3 and Wednesday, October 17, all middlers should wear their regular school uniform.

Middlers will be expected to wear their formal uniform for the two upcoming lovefeasts in October. Alumni lovefeast is scheduled for Friday, October 12 at 1:30 pm. Father’s Lovefeast is scheduled for Wednesday, October 24 at 9:30 am. Both lovefeasts will occur at Central Moravian Church.

Please contact the Middle School Main Office with any questions.

Guatemalan Exchange Student Arriving Soon

A warm BIENVENIDOS to Mathias from Guatemala who will be joining our Middle School community on October 16th. He will be hosted by an eighth-grader and his family. Mathias will be immersed in the life of a Moravian Academy student until December 9th.

The Middle School has been hosting students from Guatemala for the past five years through the Faces and Our Cultures program. This invaluable opportunity is available each year to families of our eighth-grade students. It is an enriching experience of cultural discovery and resulting friendships that broaden our view of the world.

UNICEF – Trick-Or-Treat

UNICEF is a fundraising organization that works towards protecting the rights of children around the world. For years, our Lower School has participated in the “Trick-Or-Treat For UNICEF” to raise money for children’s healthcare.

To spread more awareness this year, it will be an all-school event. Grades within each division – the Lower, Middle, and Upper School – can compete for a non-uniform day. There will be boxes designated for each grade in the Lower and Middle school lobbies and Upper School main office, where students can bring in what they collect. Individual boxes will also be given to each student in the Lower and Middle Schools.

All profits will go directly to UNICEF, and our goal is to raise $600. Boxes were delivered to each Middle School student during Wednesday, October 17th’s morning meeting. There will also be boxes around the Middle School.

Please join us in raising awareness and working towards protecting the rights of children by participating in Trick-Or-Treat for UNICEF!

Parent’s Night Follow Up

Last evening, the Middle School hosted our annual Parent Night, and it was great to welcome so many folks to campus. A hundred students were represented by a parent.

Thank you to those who made an evening of it, braving the stormy conditions around the Lehigh Valley! For those who were unable to attend, please contact your child’s teacher in order to learn more about the sessions that were hosted.

Here is the photo show from last evening of the first month of school:

Social Media and Middle Schoolers

Parents, I am asking for your partnership with an important item…cell phones and social media use. As you may have seen, there are a few Comenius Corner posts online sharing some information related to student cell phone use and social media. If you haven’t yet, I invite you to explore the blog.

I’d like to enlist your help by requesting that you check your child’s phones periodically and/or follow your son/daughter if you allow them to have a social media account. Please be involved in their digital lives and partner with your child(ren) as they learn about the power of these devices and how they can be helpful, but also harmful. Social media can be a very powerful and wonderful tool when used properly. 

This morning, Mrs. Riker, Dean of Students, shared with students that, “We all have a responsibility to continue to create a great Middle School community even when we’re not here at school. We all know that your social world in school continues to be active after school through your cell phones. Social media is a powerful tool, and when it isn’t used for good and instead is used to hurt and to cause conflict, although those actions take place outside of school they actually impact the real, daily lives of our students here at school.

We explore empathy and treating one another with kindness in our advisory programming, as well as in our Health and Wellness classes. Empathy is also a mission skill and is present in each academic class on our campus. You may recall the signs around the school during last evening’s Parent Night that ask you to think before you take action on social media. T-H-I-N-K: Is it True? Is it Helpful? Is it Inspiring? Is it Necessary? Is it Kind? The vast majority of our students are working every day to create a school where we can all feel safe, valued, and respected. 

The Middle School’s stance has been that when social media posts begin to impact the life of a student on campus that we will become involved. Both Mrs. Riker and I are eager to partner with you at any point as you navigate cell phones and student use. Safe practices on cell phones are important, and your partnership will be most helpful. 

Middle School Parent Conferences

Parent Conferences will be held at the Middle School on Thursday, October 18th (3:30-7:00 p.m.) and Friday, October 19th (8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. and 1:00- 3:00 p.m.). Families are welcome to bring their student(s) with them to each conference. 

We are using SignUp Genius to register families parent conferences. A communication will be sent Thursday next week to all families. There will be separate emails sent to each grade level. If you have students in multiple grades, please make sure to complete a sign up for each student. 

If you do not receive an email, please check your spam folder. If the email is not there, please contact the Middle School Main Office (610) 866-6677 or email Mrs. Morgan Wessel

Note:  You will be able to schedule and edit your conferences using SignUp Genius until Friday, October 12 though we recommend you choose your date and time well before the final deadline. The Thursday late afternoon/early evening slots fill up quickly. Conferences will be filled on a first come first served basis. 

Culture of Curiosity – An Alumni Perspective

This month, Head of School Zemsky and the Board of Trustees are rolling out the new Strategic Vision for the school. At the September Alumni Association Executive Board (AAEB), the other members and I had a chance to hear about the plan directly from the Head of School. On behalf of the AAEB, I’d like to share an alumni reaction and perspective to the newly unveiled strategic vision and creating a Culture of Curiosity.

When a new strategic plan is rolled out at your alma mater, the alumni want to know how the student experience will be affected: Will the things that made an impact on me and my journey still be there for future students? Will the principles of mind, body, and spirit still be held dear?

I was happy to hear that at the beginning of the process, the board and the school community affirmed their commitment to the mission. They also set a nice framework around the mission which identifies mission skills, set to be a focus of curriculum decisions and students’ personal learning commitments: curiosity, perseverance, empathy, and creativity.

They then looked at what would make future Moravian graduates “indispensable” in the uncertain and changing world we live in. In the research done on both education trends and the future of the job market, a few key things popped out: 85% of jobs needed in 2030 do not currently exist; 50% of occupations today will no longer exist in 2025; and the top ten skills according to employers has drastically shifted from hard skills 10 years ago, to more abstract skills, such as creativity, complex problem solving, and critical thinking. The school leadership wrestled with this: What implications should these findings have on how we look at educating the students of today?

Moravian’s answer is to create a culture of curiosity, where personal growth, discovery, and building habits for lifelong learning are emphasized. Mr. Zemsky said something that really caught my attention when we were discussing this point; “Learning shouldn’t be something that happens to them.” He introduced the “Journey of a Learner” framework  – generative learning that will help guide how students and teachers approach new concepts in the classroom, as well as how students will actively be involved in their own education, and develop the skills necessary to be indispensable once they graduate.  This framework encompasses not only the mission skill of curiosity but also perseverance and creativity.

The last mission skill that is emphasized in this plan is empathy, defined in this plan as the inclusion and exploration of different points of view that pushes our thinking to new depths of understanding. I truly think that this is one thing that sets the Moravian experience apart from other schools, and this has been true for as long as our school has existed. This skill has deep roots in the Moravian tradition when the Moravians realized they could really use the help of the Native Americans to make it through the tough winters in Pennsylvania with enough food.  Empathy is more than being kind; it is an appreciation of what you don’t know and recognition that everyone has something to teach you. The encouragement of learning from your peers, experiencing new things and new cultures, and expanding your circle sets Moravian graduates apart, and I’m glad to hear that this important pillar of the Moravian experience will not change.

In reflecting on this plan and how the student experience will be affected compared what I experienced, my main takeaway is that this: the school has taken what were some of the best and most impactful pieces of my educational journey and is bringing them to the forefront. Moravian is setting the stage to prepare students for the unknown. Through new initiatives, such as the FIRE (Freshmen Interdisciplinary Research Experience) program, students get a chance to develop the curiosity and the grit that will help them to move on to great things in our communities and the world.

The approach of mind, body and spirit is now more important than ever.

National Concussion Awareness Day: September 21st

Today, September 21st marks National Concussion Awareness Day. Recognized yearly on the third Friday in September, this day is intended to increase awareness and understanding of concussions and support those affected.

National Concussion Awareness Day was founded by New Hampshire student Brooke Mills, who suffered a concussion as a freshman in high school, in 2016.

Below please see an infographic, featuring facts and general information about concussions, provided by Upper School Nurse Mrs. Coleen Kenyon. To view the Moravian Academy Concussion Management Policy and Protocols, click here.

Holiday Hope Chests – Community Service Project

Holiday Hope Chests is a national project to help less fortunate children living in the Lehigh Valley. We will be distributing holiday hope chests during the holiday season. Last year, we donated 175 shoe boxes, and since 2000 the Middle School has donated 1,504!

At this time, we are asking for regular size shoe boxes to decorate and fill. Please note that shoe boxes with separate lids are the easiest to wrap.  Please do not send in boot boxes. Your middler can drop off shoe boxes to Mrs. Stoudt or Mrs. Long’s classroom. Thank you!


Fall Admissions Open Houses: Invite A Friend!

Our fall Admissions Open Houses are scheduled and we are busy preparing for many new faces on campus to learn more about our school and our culture of curiosity!

The dates are:

Upper School Open House
Saturday, October 20, 9 am – 12 pm
Moravian Academy Merle-Smith Campus
4313 Green Pond Road
Bethlehem, PA

Lower/Middle School Open House
Saturday, October 27,  9 am – 12 pm
Moravian Academy Church Street Campus
422 Heckewelder Place
Bethlehem, PA

We encourage you to invite a friend to these events. For personal invites or to get more information, please call 610-332-5200 or email

Dismissal and Parking Reminder

School begins every day at 8:10 am with a brief advisory period. Attendance and opening activities are completed during this time, allowing for students to get off to a positive start to their school day. Please do your best to have students arrive at school on time.

At the conclusion of school, students may not be picked up at the 7 East Building at the conclusion of school. Students may be picked up in car line, at the Devey Building or along the curbs along West Market Street. New Street should not be used for pick up at the conclusion of the day either.

Also, please do not park or use the admissions parking area next to the Devey Building. This area is reserved for our visitors to campus. We realize this is an adjustment and appreciate your ongoing cooperation and attention to the safety of all students and faculty members.


Health Records – Important Notice

Thank you to all of the families who have submitted their health records. Please note that all new families require a new dental and physical exam as well as their immunizations record from their previous school.

A physical exam is required for all sixth graders and a dental exam is required for all seventh graders.  Also, seventh graders also require 1 dose of tetanus, diphtheria, acellular pertussis (Tdap) and 1 dose of meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MCV).

Thank you for your attention and assistance in this matter.

Advisory Covenants and Flags

Each school year, all middlers are assigned to an advisory group. Morning advisory period is a very important time during the school day for both students and teachers. This time allows all of us to start our day in a positive manner. This advisory group is home base every morning for morning circles, discussion about a recent life event, and for students to build connections with a teacher. Advisory groups typically average between 9-12 students all of whom are in the same grade.

To build a stronger relationship with each group and between students, each advisory group designs their own flag and writes a group covenant (or group agreement) early in the school year. The advisory flag is then hung in the Cafetorium for the remainder of the school year while the group covenant is hung in the advisory homeroom location. A covenant is an agreed upon statement of expectations that all students in that group are expected to adhere to throughout the year.

Here are some examples of what the advisory groups have created this school year.

Further your Child’s Music Education through Private Study

Moravian Academy is fortunate to have two outstanding resources to further your child’s music education through private study.  The Community Music School offers after-school private lessons for many different instruments and voice and hosts these lessons in our own facilities on the Downtown Campus.  The Moravian College Music Institute also offers many different types of lessons including Suzuki instruction, and they are just a short walk away at the corner of Church and Main Streets.  Both the Lower and Middle Schools have Extended Session care in case there is a need before or after lessons.  Please see the attached informational brochures below.  We hope you’ll take advantage of these wonderful programs.

Community Music School

Moravian College Music Institute

Moravian Academy at Easton Farmers’ Market – September 22nd

Grab some fresh produce and stop by Moravian Academy’s Office of Admissions table at the Easton Farmers’ Market on Saturday, September 22nd. Spin our prize wheel to win free prizes! Invite your neighbors and friends.

The market runs – rain or shine – from 9:00 am – 1:00 pm in Easton’s Historic Centre Square. For more information, visit

Middle School Parents’ Night – September 26

Parents’ Night is an important night in the life of a school. It’s a chance to shine a light on programming, introduce new and returning faculty members, get to know what students will be exploring in their classes, and build relationships with everyone in our community.

We will officially begin at 6:30 pm on Wednesday, September 26 in the 7 East Cafetorium. For those able to attend, Mr. Zemsky will provide a presentation on the new strategic vision of Moravian Academy at 6:00 pm.


Parents should pick up a name tag at the registration table located in the foyer of 7 East. Parents should enter the door closest to the corner and traffic light. 

Student’s schedules will be available for parents that will include an S day schedule. The schedule will include a key that will have the teacher’s name, the course name, and the building and classroom where the course is taught.

Families that have students in multiple middle school grades will need to divide or determine which items they will attend.


6:00 Head of School Jeff Zemsky will present on the strategic vision of Moravian Academy (Optional)

6:30 Parent Meet and Greet; Refreshments will be available

6:40 Opening Remarks 

7:00 Class Visitations Begin

8:30 Optional Presentations

  1. Grade Level Off-Campus Trips (Grade Deans) *Gymnasium 7 East
  2. Moodle: What is it and how does the MS use it? (Alison Overdorf)  *Cafetorium
  3. Student Life in the Middle School (Laura Riker) *Student Center Devey Building
  4. Music Programming (Nate Diehl, Chase Morrison, Rich Fanning)  *Music Room 7 East
  5. Student Support Services (Carissa Casey, Elizabeth Zhe) *Dining Room Devey Building

*The bells will be used throughout the night to announce when to move from one location to another. Five-minute passing time is built into the schedule.

Student Leaders:

There will be a handful of students on campus to assist parents throughout the evening. Students will be positioned in both the Devey and 7 East Building.

Class Visitations:

Parents will be able to visit all student classes that occur on an ‘S’ Day. Each classroom visit will be 10 minutes. Parents will move around the campus similar to a student’s day. Please wear comfortable shoes. During class visitations, a teacher will explain his/her curriculum, provide a syllabus/course overview,  and discuss any special projects or events in the course. Contact information will also be provided. 

Time Period
7:00 – 7:10 Red Block
7:15 – 7:25 Orange Block
7:30 – 7:40 Yellow Block
7:45 – 7:55 Green Block
8:00 – 8:10 Blue Block
8:15 – 8:25 White Block


Optional Presentations:

There will be optional presentations for parents to attend beginning at 8:30 pm at the conclusion of the classroom visits. Parents may choose from five different presentations hosted by a member(s) of the MS faculty. Presentations should be 10-15 minutes with a little time for Q&A following.

Red and Gold Games 2018

Moravian Academy school spirit and camaraderie shined across all three divisions during today’s Red and Gold Games 2018!

Congratulations to the Red team, who was named the 2018 Red and Gold Games Champion! Thank you to everyone who made this event a success!

SAMS Picnic – Friday, September 28

Our next SAMS event is the Back to School Picnic on Friday, September 28 at Hanover Township Community Park at 3660 Jacksonville Rd, Bethlehem, PA 18017. Students will have the opportunity to enjoy the basketball and tennis courts, surrounding fields, and friends while listening to music and enjoying pizza and snacks. Students will be bused to the park from school, and pick-up is at 5:30 PM at the park. Please park and report to a grade level faculty chaperone along the path to sign out your student.

We are in need of some parent volunteers who are able to assist teachers in chaperoning this event. If you are interested, please contact SAMS co-chair Patty Cunningham at 484-560-0874 or

Join us October 13th: 5K Family Fun Run/Walk & Country Fair

On Saturday, October 13th, please join us for two favorite annual Moravian Academy events, the 5K Family Fun Run/Walk and Country Fair!

11th Annual 5K Family Fun Run/Walk

Athletic and Wellness Center, 9:00 AM

Adult Registration: $25/participant ($30 after September 25th)

Student Registration: FREE (T-shirt not included, but available for $15 if purchased by Sept. 25th. A limited number may be available for purchase on race day.)

First 100 runners will receive a t-shirt. (Late registrants may receive a t-shirt if shirts are still available.)

To register, click here.

50th Annual Moravian Academy Country Fair

Merle-Smith Campus, 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM

This fantastic community event features rides, games, crafts, food and retail vendors, a wide variety of performances on the Main Stage, and an antique car show. (Rain or shine!)

For more information and to purchase tickets or unlimited-rides wristbands, click here.

Common Sense Media – Social Media, Social Life: Teens Reveal Their Experiences

As you’ve seen with recent Comenius blog posts, social media dominates the lives of many teenagers. Common Sense Media recently released some updated findings on teens and social media use.

In the article, infographic, and video, teens reveal their experiences on social media.

September 11 Commemoration

The Middle School commemorated the men and women who lost their lives during the September 11, 2001 attacks on our country with a moment of silence following the Pledge of Allegiance today.

A handful of teachers embedded this historic day into their classroom lessons and invited conversation with students, including seventh grade American History, taught by Mr. Lucas, and seventh grade English, taught by Mr. Brennan. While in Washington DC in November, the eighth grade will also visit the Newseum and explore the 9/11 exhibit honoring the fallen, see artifacts from this fateful day, and explore this event and its impact on our country and the world.


Upcoming Concert Featuring Orchestra Director Chase Morrison

On Friday, September 14th at 7:30 pm, Moravian Academy Orchestra Director Ms. Chase Morrison will be playing her electric cello in Miller Symphony Hall’s performance of “Mike Krisukas & Friends: More Zen Music.” The performance is part of Miller Symphony Hall’s “Jazz Upstairs” series.

Ms. Morrison will be performing with:

This group of accomplished musicians brings an original music journey to the stage in every performance, challenging and invigorating audiences while leaving them thinking long after the show.

For more information and to buy tickets, visit here.

Red and Gold Games Day – Friday, September 14

The annual Red and Gold Games Day competition is right around the corner. This year, the games will occur on Friday, September 14. The Middle School will run a modified schedule on this day, including some additional time in advisory groups and grade level activities. All middlers will ride school buses to the Merle-Smith Campus and enjoy a morning of athletic games and lunch. Following the competition, all middlers will return downtown for a regular dismissal.

It is a non-uniform day, and students are encouraged to wear their team colors. Dress guidelines for the day are included here. We look forward to a great day of school pride!

Spring Break Trip to Canada – March 2019

We are very excited to announce a wonderful opportunity to travel to Canada during Spring Break 2019!

This trip is available for ALL seventh and eighth-grade students at Moravian Academy Middle School. The group will depart on Friday, March 8th and will return on Tuesday, March 12th. French and Non-French speaking students will use their language skills in real life situations and will have the opportunity to explore Canadian history and culture through a variety of activities. This trip will include visits to Old Montreal, Notre-Dame Basilica, Quebec City, the Plains of Abraham, Chateau Frontenac, Montmorency Falls, and attending a professional ice hockey match.

Here is a video from our trip last year:

International travel nurtures academic and personal growth. Being in a new place encourages students to explore their curiosities, to adapt to a culture different than their own, and to delve into other parts of the world outside the global language classroom. Cultural immersion tours are an excellent resource for learning.

Jumpstreet Tours is a reputable company, which we used two years ago on our first expedition to Canada. Below is some additional information from Jumpstreet Tours:

✔ Safely and securely traveled over 500,000 students
✔ Thrilling destinations and customizable student travel itineraries
✔ Elite Tour Leaders trained by us and available exclusively to you
✔ Online payment and registration services
✔ A dedicated healthy and safety team around the clock
✔ Trip-planning support that helps you boost enrollment
✔ $25 million in liability insurance
✔ Financially backed by Travelopia

Interested families, can begin the sign-up process by creating an account with Jumpstreet Tours, our tour company, at

The tour code is TD6MAMC. The cost of the trip is approximately $1200 with 20 students participants, which includes motorcoach transportation, hotel stays, admission fees, and most meals. Additional information can be found here, including the sign-up deadline, information regarding a passport, and a timeline of events.

For additional information about the 2019 Spring Break trip to Canada, please contact Mrs. Emily Quinn at

Moravian Academy at Lehigh vs. Villanova Football Game

Come stop by Moravian Academy’s Office of Admissions table at the Lehigh University vs. Villanova University football game on Saturday, September 8th. Spin our prize wheel to win free prizes and take a picture with the Moravian lion! Invite your neighbors and friends.

Tickets to the game can be purchased here. Kick-off starts at 12:30 pm at Lehigh University’s Murray H. Goodman Stadium.


Middle School Back-to-School Dance

Our Middle School students celebrated the start of the new school year with a Back-to-School Dance on Thursday, August 30th.

(Photo Credit: Joanne Daniels)

Students danced the night away, took silly pictures in a photo booth, and enjoyed pizza and other snacks. A fun time was had by all!

Parents – Thank you for your patience as we implemented some new dismissal procedures for our evening dance events. We are working on our safety measures for dismissal at social events to ensure a safe pick up for all students and all families. Our goal is always to provide a safe environment for each student and family. We learned a few items and will have them corrected for our next school dance on Friday, November 1.

Middle School Recess

Last week, our Middle School students took full advantage of their new post-lunch access to the gym.

Attend A “Culture of CURIOSITY” Event

Pick Up and Dismissal (Middle School)

With our ongoing efforts to ensure the safety and security of our community, we are making an adjustment to our student pick up procedures to ensure that every child is being picked up by an adult or person who has been approved by the parents. All student pickups at the end of the school day by parents or another family member should occur at the Devey Building, along Market Street in front of the Devey Building, or in the Lower School carline. The only students who will be dismissed from the 7 East building will be those students who ride the athletic shuttle to Glasser Fields. Students with an advisory in the 7 East building who go back to their locker at the end of the school day will need to depart from the Devey Building or be picked up in carline.

For the safety of everyone involved, please do not double park along Market or New Streets and also, please use the crosswalks designated for pedestrians. A crossing guard will assist with crossing students and families.

Thank you for your understanding and helping us ensure a safe campus.


Extended Day

The Middle School offers extended care each day school is in session. Mr. Brennan coordinates the Extended Day program. Pre-registration is not required. Students report directly to the Student Center at 3:00 and are expected to check-in and check-out when departing. Extended Day is open until 6:00 and parents will be charged an additional $35 late fee if pick up occurs after 6:00.

When parents or a caretaker arrive at the Devey Building (11 West Market Street) to pick up, they must report to the front door and ring the call box or call the Main Office phone number (610-866-6677). Please do not call or text your student(s) to leave Extended Day on his/her own.

If a student leaves Extended Day for tutoring at the Lower School, he/she will need to check out, and the tutoring teacher will need to pick up the student in the Middle School.

Safety & Security Update

A new feature that will appear once a month in Comenius Corner is a safety and security update.

As Mr. Zemsky mentioned in his back-to-school letter, safety and security are a priority for all of us, and as we go through the year, we want you to know what we are doing. We will be holding an information session in the future, but we wanted to update you on actions that are in process now.

In June, Bo Mitchell, President of 911 Consulting, conducted an assessment of Moravian Academy’s facilities, protocols and policies.  Last week, he shared his assessment with members of the Academy’s leadership team and provided an overview for members of the Academy’s faculty and staff.  We are now processing those findings and will develop a plan and timeline for moving forward on his recommendations.

As we are doing this, we have also set a few new protocols for this year that include the following:

Identification Badges:

This year, all Moravian Academy employees have been issued Moravian Academy badges that will be accompanied by a photo ID after picture day.  In addition, contractors, visitors, volunteers and trustees will also be issued badges to wear when they are in the buildings. We want people to know that anyone wearing this badge may be in a Moravian Academy building, but we are not to open doors for others to enter the buildings unless they have identified themselves.

Door Answering Protocol:

Anyone arriving at our buildings will be asked to identify himself /herself on the call box and on entering must sign in and take a badge to wear during the visit.  On exiting the building, individuals must sign out and return the badge. Please know that this is important as we are responsible for all individuals in our buildings during the day.  Should there be a fire drill or a reason to leave the building, we need to know that we can account for all individuals. Also, if someone answering the door does not recognize you or know you, you will be asked to provide some method of identification.

Students Passing Between Classes:

At the Lower School, teachers are accompanying their classes to and from all special classes that require movement from one building to another.


Two-way radios have been used at the Lower and Middle School since last spring and we will start to use them at the Upper School this fall so that office personnel can communicate with security personnel and for security personnel to communicate with one another.

Student Support Teams:

One of the strongest pieces of advice for safety and security is to know your students and know your staff.  While we do know our students well, the re-structure of the Student Support Team and the training our staff has had in Developmental Designs, should help to enhance our working relationship with students. The Lower and Middle Schools now have a Director of the Student Support Teams who is also a counselor for students in primer – grade 8.  Along with the School Psychologist and Division Directors as well as the Dean of Students and Academic Coordinator in the Middle School, the Student Support Teams will meet once in every eight-day cycle to review their work with teachers on learning strategies for students.

At the Upper School, the nurse, who is also a certified counselor, will bring additional expertise to the Student Support Team that includes the School Psychologist, Learning Specialist, Division Director, Dean of Students, and Academic Dean.


Middle School Picture Day: Wednesday, September 5

Christmas City Studios will be on campus on Wednesday, September 5th to take school pictures. An informational brochure was sent home earlier this week with your student(s). All orders are processed online.

Online ordering may be completed at The event school code is MORMS18. If you are unable to order online, you may call the Studio at 610-691-2109. Please print out your receipt and give it to your student(s) to bring with them to school.

Students should wear their formal uniform on this day. Pictures will be taken throughout the school day in the Student Center.

Moravian Connect

Moravian Connect is a great resource that gives Moravian Academy community members the opportunity to expand your professional network and share your expertise. With Moravian Connect, you can find alumni and parents in your profession or in your neighborhood, seek and offer career advice, become a mentor, post or view job opportunities, and much more!

Join today at!  Contact Tracy Bozik, Director of Alumni Relations, at with any questions you may have.

“Smartphones, Teens, and Unhappiness”

In March 2018, we shared a post featuring tips that parents should keep in mind regarding their student(s)’ social media use.

As a follow-up to this previous post, I wanted to share a recent article and associated podcast entitled “Smartphones, Teens, and Unhappiness,” published by Harvard EdCast, a weekly series produced by educational thought leaders.

In the article and podcast, psychologist Jean Twenge discusses the research she conducted, which examines how smartphones affect teens’ happiness. She also provides advice on how students and adults can use smartphones in the healthiest ways.

As families set up your new routines and expectations for the school year, consider what your cell phone or smartphone policies are at home. In addition to listening to the podcast, I encourage parents to review the infographic below entitled “10 Apps Teens Are Using That Parents Need to Know,” from classroom technology blogger Appsolutely April.

As Dr. Twenge says, “This is not about taking the phone away. They are wonderful devices, but it’s limited use…Make sure the phone doesn’t become an appendage.”

Moravian Academy Golf Outing – September 17, 2018

Join us for the Moravian Academy Golf Outing at Lehigh Country Club in Allentown, PA. Space is filling up!

To learn more about the outing and to reserve your place, please go to

For questions about the event or if you’d like to volunteer to help plan the outing, please email Jess McPherson in the Office of Institutional Advancement today.



Thank you for your support!

Opening Chapel

(Photo Credit: Tom Amico, Amey Owen & Stephanie Vasta)

At today’s All School Opening Chapel, Head of School Jeff Zemsky shared the following meditation on perseverance. At the conclusion of Chapel, all students and faculty gathered around the flagpole in front of the CE Building for our traditional flag-raising ceremony- led this year by senior Joe Z. ’19 and first-grader Mia S. ’30.

Let’s begin this year with some questions, shall we? And let’s step over the factual kind – the who, the what, the when – let’s start with the big, meaty questions that take up a lot of space – the why and the how? Here’s one: how do you prepare for the unknown? When you know that you don’t know what’s going to happen, how do get ready? Are you preparing to survive or are you preparing to thrive? Are you planning on “doing your best” or are you preparing to persevere and make your best even better?

Let’s think about a metaphor. When a gardener puts a seed in the ground, it does not look like much. The gardener may have researched this particular seed and the flowers and fruits it might produce, but the gardener does not know what will happen. All the gardener knows is what has worked in the past, and sometimes all the gardener knows is what did not work in the past. But still, the gardener selects some strategies: where to put the seed, when to plant, what to plant alongside it. The gardener studies what conditions a seed needs to grow into a successful, beautiful, and thriving plant.

Let’s think about you, when faced with the unknown, how do you prepare? Do you try to look ahead by asking an older brother or sister what 4th grade is like or asking a friend what the teacher is like? Do you look on the internet for information or secrets from others who have read this book or taken this course before? Or… or do you prepare by searching your past for similar experiences, by thinking about what worked for you last time? Do you seek to know yourself? In reality, we do both of these, but if you only had ten minutes: which is more important, knowing your future or understanding your past?

I read a book this summer that helped me find an answer to this question. Some of you know this book, too: Ghost, by Jason Reynolds. It’s about running. Who else chose this as a summer reading book? The story is about Castle Crenshaw, aka Ghost, a middle school student who experienced a very traumatic event as a young boy. This event shaped how Ghost lives his life; he’s become defensive and fearful of the world around him in his inner-city neighborhood, where he lives with his mother with barely enough money to make ends meet. Ghost is obsessed with eating sunflower seeds. He eats a pack every day, putting the whole shells in his mouth and separating them from the seeds inside with his teeth. Ghost makes one big mistake after another. It’s startling how many times Ghost, in big moments, make a wrong decision – he lies, he cuts school, he steals. When the track coach sees how fast Ghost is, the coach convinces him to try running on his elite track team. Ghost knows nothing about track but the coach sees something in him that Ghost does not quite see or does not understand in himself. The coach tells him he can be special if he starts making changes to his life.

As books do, this one made me think about my own past. For about 15 years of my life, I loved to run. I was not fast, but it made me feel great to go for a 3-5 mile run after school or when I needed a break, when I needed a quiet place. One day about five years ago I hurt my knee while I was running, it swelled up so much I could not walk. My injury was not traumatic, it was not a crisis, like Ghost’s, but it was definitely a setback. The doctor told me I would most likely need surgery as he drained the fluid from my knee with what he called two “Hollywood-sized needles.” I got over the frustration and I started exercising and healing and continuing. I was surviving.

But I was not thriving. After I stopped running, I started using a fitness machine that would put less stress on my knee. I stopped hiking big mountains in fear that I would be stuck hours away from help. I avoided activities, like soccer, that I knew might hurt. This summer I’ve stopped avoiding that risk, the unknown, and instead, I have been preparing myself for them. I have been running again, outside on trails. In July I set a personal goal and climbed the tallest mountain in New Mexico, which is a rocky, 5-hour hike to 13,000 feet and back, something I last did 18 years ago. Am I just being resilient and courageous in the face of my own fears? No, that’s not it. I’m doing things differently than I did before. I wear a compression sleeve on my knee. I go slower. I take smarter breaks: shorter, more frequent, and I keep moving. I stretch. I didn’t used to do that. If I had not experienced that setback I would not have learned these strategies. I’m really glad to be running again.

I think about Ghost, who had experienced a real crisis. When the book starts, he is surviving – it’s difficult and he faces a lot of challenges in life, but he is surviving. He knows how to go to school, to shield himself from things that hurt the most, to make a few friends, to trust his mother. He is not thriving, though. I won’t spoil the end in hopes that many more of you will read this wonderful book, but I will share with you what the author, Jason Reynolds, said when he was asked in an interview about why the crisis is important to the story. This is what the author said: “Trauma is real. And Ghost already knows how to run. He’s running from his past, his family, and trauma. Boys in the inner city already know how to play these sports, they know how to run. The trick is to learn the discipline of track, to learn how to breathe through the pain. My hope with Ghost is to figure out how to steer the narrative—of how to run from and run to the things in our lives.”

Then the journalist asked the author, “Ghost eats a lot of sunflower seeds. Like track and running, are the seeds and the art of eating them a metaphor for Ghost and his story?” Mr. Reynolds said this: “Of course! Everything is intentional. Ghosts says, ‘I’ve learned to crack a shell open.’ Ghost and his affinity for seeds represent the discipline and concentration needed to eat a sunflower seed. The reward is not in the actual eating, but in the process—the process of being able to do something right. It’s a feeling of completion and it’s all happening in his mouth. No one else sees this. He already possesses this skill set.”

What is this skill set? I think it’s the knowledge of how to turn a setback or a crisis into a revelation, a new power, a running strategy to use next time. This is the skill of perseverance. That is a word many people know but don’t think about too much. I invite you to consider it deeply. Perseverance is embracing the knowledge that overcoming setbacks, even failures, is the path to success. If you are not experiencing any failures, or if you are but are not learning new skills from your mistakes, you are probably surviving but not quite yet thriving.

And where do you find perseverance? It’s inside that sunflower shell, inside that seed, inside Ghost, inside you. It’s already in us. I want you to find it and then give it attention, bring it to the surface where you can use it to do new things. This takes time, perhaps years of experiences spread out over many years. This is why you are in school, though, and particularly why you are in this school: because we believe that it is our mission to grow your potential through a journey of mind, body, and spirit that lasts from childhood through adolescence and into adulthood

I see first graders and seniors and think about the journey between you. It’s not about any one book, one project, one exam, one course, one year. It is about the accumulation of experiences, and your ability to understand yourself as a learner. It is about having setbacks and learning from them, and ultimately it’s about your ability to show, not just talk about, but to show how you persevere, what you are curious about, why you use empathy, and what you create.

These are the mission skills of Moravian Academy: curiosity, creativity, empathy, and perseverance. The faculty and I, with the help of the Board of Trustees, have chosen to highlight these starting in 2018 because learning these skills brings our mission of mind, body, and spirit to the work you do every day. They make that mission real. And today you heard that these amazing skills are already inside you.

The mission skills are also an answer to the question we started with. How do you prepare for the unknown? If you seek to know your future, you may or may not be right, time will tell. If, however, you seek to understand your past, well, then you will find within yourself the seeds of your own strength: the perseverance and the Mission Skills you will use to overcome whatever you may face in your future, to help you thrive wherever God has planted you.

Launch Day 2018: Ready. Set. Go!

Welcome back to the 2018-2019 school year!

It was awesome having the students back in the buildings today! We opened our doors to 153 middlers many of them with smiles, eager to see their teachers and peers. It was great to hear their stories of summer vacations, learn about their new experiences over the past few months, and in general share in the fun and learning that was had this summer. The energy in our learning spaces today was terrific!

In our Middle School morning meeting, we explored perseverance, which was a theme of our summer readings and is a key Mission Skill for Moravian Academy. All students and faculty were in attendance and viewed a quick film about Kyle Maynard. Reading about perseverance and seeing what it looks like, will hopefully inspire our students to action and personal and academic sticktoitiveness throughout the school year. We also engaged in a turn and talk activity where we discussed a school goal with the person next to us, wrote them on an index card, and will soon post them to a wall in our Cafetorium. 

Following our opening meeting, students attended a few classes and then enjoyed a cookout for lunch in God’s Acre where students were able to reconnect with their peers and teachers, and also be introduced to some new friends. It was a beautiful day to eat outside and have a few extra minutes to play and enjoy our wonderful surroundings.

On Tuesday, all divisions will attend our annual opening school chapel in Central Moravian Church. This is a great way for our students to see teachers and students from all divisions and to celebrate the beginning of another school year, our 277th! Students should arrive at school in their formal uniforms though we are not requiring blazers be worn due to the high heat and humidity predicted. 

The opening day of school is a special time each year, and we are so thankful we get to enjoy it alongside the students. We look forward to a great school year.

Go Lions!

(Photo Credit: Michelle Leyesa, Amey Owen & Stephanie Vasta)

Moravian Academy Inspires Lehigh University Research Project

Julie Oltman, Ph.D., mother of Jackson Oltman ’22 and Joey Oltman ’24, was recently highlighted by Lehigh University for earning her Ph.D. in Teaching, Learning, & Technology. The story of her academic journey and her collaboration with Moravian Academy was shared in the following post on Lehigh’s website:

As director of technology at Lehigh University, Julie Oltman oversees everything from systems management and database architecture to choosing the best iPhone and video editing solutions for Lehigh’s football coaches. She and her student workers also troubleshoot technology problems within the stem.

When Julie became director, Lehigh University’s camp and clinic registration was all done on paper. “I had always been very technologically oriented, so I made it a priority to get the camps and clinics into the world of online registration,” she recalled. “That led to a recognition that my technology skills could be of service to the department. So then I held a hybrid position, still directing the camps and clinics and adding in the director of emerging technology piece. Eventually, technology overtook the whole job, which was great.”

It wasn’t long before Julie felt the itch for more formal education in her new field. But her journey had a surprising twist. “I went into it with the intention of getting a master’s degree in teaching, learning, and technology,” she explained. “But about three years into it, when I was two classes from finishing, my advisor took me out for coffee, and somehow I ended up in the Ph.D. program!”

Despite her concerns about research and writing at the Ph.D. level, Julie found a topic she was passionate about and took the leap.  “My youngest child had just finished second grade at Moravian Academy and so I saw the curriculum from a parents’ perspective. I knew that I wanted to study gaming as a teaching tool, and I knew that I wanted to work within social studies or history because that aligned well with my interests,” she said.

With the Moravian history of north Bethlehem all around them, Julie thought the school’s second grade unit on colonial history could be a great case study for game-based learning. She proposed embedding a game into the curriculum at Moravian Academy. The school’s administration and teachers agreed to allow her to pursue her research project in their classrooms. After considering multiple possibilities, Julie hit upon the idea of an augmented reality (AR) game that would overlay information and experiences onto the real world.

“Moravian Academy is literally in a historic district. Without even having to get on a bus or cross any major streets, through a game on their iPads, the students could visit 20 different historical sites and landmarks and talk to historical figures who lived 200 years ago,” she said. “The teachers have been my partners. They essentially became co-designers as we tweaked the game together.” Julie began testing the game with students four years ago. The data produced from the first two years of the project served as the basis of her dissertation.

Two years ago, Julie’s game became even more relevant to the students. “In the fall of 2016, the kids were really excited about the game. They all said, ‘This is just like Pokemon Go!’” In the end, her research found that students had deeper understanding and greater recall of the material from the curriculum that was integrated into the game compared to material that was only presented through traditional instruction.

Said Julie,”I can’t express how fantastic the Lower School faculty was in supporting my journey and teaching me so much about how children learn and how instruction really happens inside a classroom. I was so impressed with the culture of learning and innovation that is clearly embraced by everyone I worked with. It was also clear that the faculty felt they had ‘permission’ to be innovative and could use valuable classroom time to work towards a “better way” and try new ideas. I love that environment both as an educational researcher and a parent of students at the Academy.”

It took eight years, but Julie Oltman is now Julie Oltman, Ph.D. Using the Lehigh employee tuition benefit, she estimates that the cost of her degree was less than the cost of the cap and gown she rented for commencement.

“I’m better at what I do now because I’ve been able to advance my education by trying and learning new things,” she said. “Everyone should consider getting an advanced degree! Even if you don’t ‘need’ it for your current or future job, it makes you a better thinker and that will make you better at whatever you do.”

To read more about Julie’s story, visit here.


2018 Back-to-School Community Picnic

Thank you to all of our new and returning families who were able to join us at yesterday’s Back-to-School Community Picnic held at the Benigna House!

Attendees of all ages enjoyed delicious food, clowns, moon bounces, and other fun activities.

Welcome back! We hope everyone has a great first day back and a smooth back-to-school transition.

‘Twas the Night Before School Started

Historic Bethlehem’s Apple Days: September 8 & 9

Our friends at Historic Bethlehem Museums and Sites are adding some fall fun to your back-to-school activities with their 5th Annual Apple Days event, which will be held at Burnside Plantation on Saturday, September 8th and Sunday, September 9th from 10 am – 4 pm.

Highlights include:

For more information about the event, click here.

Middle School Closing Chapel Video

On Wednesday, June 6, the Middle School celebrated the final day of the 2017-2018 school year with a traditional chapel service. The video from the service is included below. Many thanks to the students, their families and the entire school community for a wonderful school year.

Middle School Closing Chapel

On Wednesday, June 6th, the Class of 2022, 2023 and 2024 were celebrated during Middle School Closing Chapel held in Central Moravian Church. A reception, which included a photo slideshow of the eighth graders through their years, followed the service in the 7E Cafetorium with refreshments for students, families, and friends.

(Photo Credit: Amey Owen and Lisa Molina-Cheung)

As part of the service, student speakers Jackson Oltman ’22 reflected on how responsibility is cultivated in the Lower and Middle Schools, while Priya Francis ’22 beautifully reflected on friendships during her years at Moravian Academy. Other students who served during the service included Balaji Marella ’22, Favor Ufondu ’22, Devon Pomeroy ’22, Spencer Simmons ’23, and Alicia Gordon ’24.

A “moving up” ceremony was led by the three grade deans of the Middle School, Mrs. Marcia Stoudt, Mr. Bud Brennan, and Mr. David Walp. Upper School Director Dylan Deal then welcomed the rising ninth graders to the Upper School. Each rising ninth grader was given a tile, made by art teacher Mrs. Jill Beil and technology coordinator Mr. Tom Olson, in recognition of students’ hard work, persistence, and dedication required to complete Middle School.

We wish all of the eighth-grade students all of the best as they transition to Moravian Academy’s Upper School or, for some, new ventures at others schools in the fall.

Summer at the Academy

Summer at the Academy is here with a full schedule of workshops and day camps held at the Moravian Academy Upper School campus.

Campers entering pre-K through 12th grade can enjoy fun-filled weeks of soccer, animation, robotics, art, math, immersion, science camps and so much more.

The summer offerings run on weekdays from June 11 through August 3. Students can participate in themed programs like “A Week in Japan,” increasing their foreign language competency, or design and create innovative projects in “Shark Tank for Kids.”

Please click here to explore the Summer at the Academy and give your child adventures from the dirt of the earth to the stars and beyond. Summer at the Academy is open to Moravian Academy students and the community, so bring a friend and make new ones.

Adventure starts here!

The Value of Free Play

As Moravian Academy and the Middle School have officially begun summer vacation and the academic year has ended, students now have much more free time on their hands. Summer vacation, however, doesn’t mean that all learning needs to end. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Summer is a wonderful time for learning and the acquisition of new or further developed skills to occur in a non-traditional setting. The next few months are a terrific time for middlers to play outside, to hike in the woods, to ride a bike, to be curious, or to try something new. Time to play is essential and can help students return to school having developed life skills that also have strong benefits in the classroom.

A recently read article originally published in The Atlantic in 2014 states, “unscheduled, unsupervised, playtime is one of the most valuable educational opportunities we give our children. It is fertile ground; the place where children strengthen social bonds, build emotional maturity, develop cognitive skills, and shore up their physical health.” The article goes on further to say, “children who engage in more free play have more highly developed self-directed executive function.” While this particular study was focused on younger aged children, it can be applied to middlers, too.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has also advocated for children to spend more time in free play. The AAP says, “Play is essential to development because it contributes to the cognitive, physical, social, and emotional well-being of children and youth.” Some of the benefits of free play discussed by the AAP include:

As students begin some well-earned time away from campus, please encourage your son/daughter to go outside, to unplug, to explore, to play. In doing so, your child is learning or further developing significant life skills that can pay dividends both now and in the many years to come.


Middle School Achievement Awards Ceremony

On June 5th, Middle School students were honored at the Middle School Achievement Awards Ceremony in the 7E Cafetorium.

Congratulations to the following awardees and all of the Middle School students for their achievements both in and outside of the classroom.

The Golden Paintbrush Award, given annually to students in each grade who demonstrate an academic rigor, quality of work and utilize superior crafting skills, was presented to:

The Gonda Award is given to an eighth-grade boy and girl on the soccer teams who best combine athletic ability with good spirit, good team play, good sportsmanship and scholarship. The award is given in memory of Michael Gonda who was an Academy alumnus and was a teacher in the Middle School. This year, the award was presented to Chloe Oudin and Sam Carter.


The Academic Achievement Award, given to honor eighth-grade students who achieve a ninety percent average for each trimester at the Middle School, was presented to:


• Samantha Abraham
• Jai Ailawadi
• Jamilie Atiyeh
• Will Bakos
• Isabella Bartolacci
• Maya Boulden
• Sophia Brands
• Grace Burcaw
• Veronica Burchielli
• Samuel Carter
• YiYi Chen
• Nicole Chiaradia
• Lily Eyvazzadeh
• Hailey Falzone
• Marina Falzone
• Priya Francis
• Soren Gandhi
• Eszter Hiscott
• Nicholas Holmes
• Eric Jackson
• Jay Jiang
• Ilyas Kose
• Sophie Lee
• Christian Manja
• Liam McCary
• Vincent Menichelli
• Treyton Messman
• Samit Mohapatra 
• Ava Perrucci
• Devon Pomeroy
• Katherine Shnier
• Favor Ufondu
• Divik Verma
• Jonathan Zhang


The Citizenship Award, given to an eighth-grade student who exemplifies the qualities we label as a decent human being. Involvement with the student body, the school, and the community is expected, was presented to Lily Eyvazzadeh, Grace Burcaw, and Vincent Menichelli.


The Faculty Award is given to honor an eighth-grade student who exemplifies excellence in academic achievement and leadership in the Middle School. This person exhibits consistent superior scholarship, expresses curiosity in class, works beyond that which is required yet is able to balance these achievements with an interest in classmates and a concern for the school and community at large. This year, the Faculty Award was presented to Samit Mohapatra.


The Heart of the Lion Award was given to Grace Caballes in recognition of her extraordinary personal growth during her years in the Middle School, her kind spirit and thoughtful ways, and her genuine acceptance of others.

Announcing: Middle School Faculty Appointments for 2018-2019

Familiar Faces in New Places:

Mrs. Alison Overdorf: Academic Coordinator

Mrs. Overdorf is a master teacher, having taught eighth-grade math in the Middle School for the past 20 years. Next year, Mrs. Overdorf will step into the role of Academic Coordinator, overseeing the academic programming of the Middle School, coordinating student assistance, and managing scheduling and course enrollment. Mrs. Overdorf has a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics from East Stroudsburg University and an M.Ed. in Mathematics from DeSales University. Mrs. Overdorf will continue to coach the math competition teams in the Middle School and serve as the math department coordinator.

Mr. Nicholas Lucas: Social Studies 7

Mr. Lucas is no stranger to Moravian Academy having taught sixth-grade social studies at the Middle School for the past five years. Mr. Lucas has a Bachelors Degree in history from Kutztown University and an M.Ed. degree from Moravian College. Prior to joining MA, Mr. Lucas taught history, English, and math at St. Albans School in Washington DC and also proudly served his country as a member of the US Navy. In addition to teaching, Mr. Lucas will also serve as the social studies department coordinator and the seventh-grade dean. Mr. Lucas looks forward to continuing the enriching curriculum around early American history and Moravians already in place in seventh grade.

New Faculty:

Mrs. Carissa Casey: Director of Student Support Teams, Lower & Middle School Counselor

Mrs. Casey will join the Middle and Lower School faculty having previously served as the Director of Learning Support, Counselor, and Learning Specialist at Malvern Preparatory School in Malvern, PA. At Malvern Prep, Mrs. Casey was a founding member of SEED (Seeking Educational Equity & Diversity) experiences, including designing and implementing a curriculum for middle school students and multiple experiences for faculty, staff, and board members. Mrs. Casey has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology with a concentration in education from Lafayette College, a Master of Arts in Developmental Psychology from Columbia University’s Teacher College, and a certificate in Advanced Educational Leadership from Harvard University.

Mr. Nathan Diehl: Music Teacher, Chorus and Handbells Director

Many may fondly remember Mr. Diehl from his time serving as Lower School music teacher for 11 years. For the past two years, he was the vocal music, music theory, and musical theatre teacher at Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Arts. Mr. Diehl has a Bachelors Degree in music education from Moravian College and a Master of Music degree from West Chester University. Mr. Diehl is also an Orff-Schulwerk certified music teacher.  He frequently conducts musical theatre productions for DeSales University and the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival and has performed with his band throughout the mid-Atlantic and Lehigh Valley regions.

Mrs. Michelle Leyesa: Science 6

Mrs. Leyesa will join the Middle School faculty having previously taught for 11 years at a handful of schools including Stevens Cooperative School, Stuart Country Day School, Ursuline School and Ethical Culture Fieldston School. Mrs. Leyesa has taught biology, life science, animal physiology, and physical science classes across multiple grade levels. In addition to teaching, she has also coached a forensics team, been a yearbook editor, and coordinated community science expos. Mrs. Leyesa has a Bachelor of Science degree from Villanova and a Master of Science degree from New York University. In her science classes, Mrs. Leyesa incorporates engineering/STEAM projects, makerspace activities, and project-based learning.

Ms. Rosemarie Martens: Social Studies 6

Ms. Martens is excited to join Moravian Academy having previously taught at Kennedy Middle School and Friends Academy in Locust Valley, NY. At Friends, Ms. Martens taught ancient world history and United States history, using project-based learning, hands-on collaborative activities, and individualized learning using technology. She also has expertise using interactive assessments tools. In addition to teaching sixth-grade social studies, Ms. Martens will also teach the debate elective. Ms. Martens earned a Bachelor of Arts from Marist College double majoring in history and Spanish and Latin American/Caribbean studies. She also holds a Master of Science degree in educational technology from Long Island University. Ms. Martens plans to enroll in the near future at a local university to pursue an additional masters degree in history.

Mrs. Andriana Turcotte: Math 8

Mrs. Turcotte will join Moravian Academy after seven years teaching at Newtown Friends School in Newtown, PA and four years at Krumbiegel Middle School in Hillside, NJ. Mrs. Turcotte is an experienced math teacher of students in seventh and eighth-grades. At NFS,  she also served as the Upper School Coordinator (grades 5-8) in which she assisted the Head of Upper School with administrative duties such as scheduling, communication, facilitating workshops on technology integration, and organizing standardized testing. Mrs. Turcotte earned a Bachelor of Science degree from The College of New Jersey doubling majoring in elementary education and psychology. In addition, she also holds a Master of Science degree in administration and supervision from Drexel University.

Vincent McEnroe: Middle School PE/Health & Wellness

Mr. McEnroe will join Moravian Academy having previously taught both middle and high school students in New Jersey. Mr. McEnroe earned a Bachelor of Health and Exercise Science degree from The College of New Jersey where he was also a member of the varsity soccer team. In addition to teaching physical education, Mr. McEnroe will also lead some sections of Health and Wellness for the Middle School.

Matthew McKay: Math 7

Mr. McKay will join the Middle School faculty having previously taught at Western Heights Middle School in Hagerstown, MD, as well as three years of teaching with Lehigh Valley Summerbridge. Mr. McKay earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Kutztown University and also holds a Master of Education degree from Lehigh University. Outside of school, Mr. McKay is a USSF licensed soccer referee for the Blue Mountain Youth Soccer Club. Mr. McKay will teach all sections of seventh-grade math.

Sonia Kelton: Spanish 6

Born and raised in Peru, Mrs. Kelton moved to the United States in 2001. She has a degree from Ricardo Palma University and a Spanish teacher certificate from Muhlenberg College. During the past four years, Mrs. Kelton taught Spanish to students kindergarten through eighth grade at St. Joseph Catholic School in Orefield, Pennsylvania. Prior to her time at St. Joseph’s, she served as a long-term substitute teacher in the Parkland, Pottsgrove and Whitehall School Districts.

Maternity Leave: 

Mrs. Emily Quinn will be having her second child this summer and will be off campus with her family throughout the first trimester. In her place, Mrs. Michele Fedorov will return to teach all sections of French having previously served in this same capacity two years ago. Madame Fedorov has a Bachelor of Arts degree in French from the University of Rhode Island and has completed courses to further her education at both Moravian College and Lehigh University. She has also worked full time as a French teacher in the Allentown and East Penn school districts. During her stints at these schools, Madame Fedorov taught French levels 1 through 5, led three trips to France, and co-led two trips to Quebec.

Lower & Upper School Faculty Appointments for 2018-2019

Middle School Summer Reading 2018

Get ready. Get set. Read!

Summer is a wonderful time to engage in exploration and new experiences outside the traditional classroom. One of the most important habits to develop is a love of reading; therefore, we feel it is vital for students to continue reading throughout the summer.

Research tells us that students need to read in order to maintain their independent reading levels. In the fall, the impact of a student not having read during the summer months, combined with the fact that many of his/her classmates did read, may result in a difficult transition into the school year. Summer reading is an opportunity for students to be curious about new topics, to dive into books, and to let their imaginations soar.

We expect summer reading to look differently for each individual student. We understand that students have a variety of interests and strengths when it comes to reading; therefore, as you can see below, we support student choice. Parents are encouraged to be actively involved in the book selection process and to read alongside their student(s).

The lists below include required readings and optional selections for each grade level. There are additional assignments at each grade level for these required reads which will be available on a teacher’s Moodle page throughout the summer and can be also found at the end of this post. 

Sixth and seventh graders are expected to read two books, while eighth graders are expected to read three books. Our hope is that students will blend individual reading and also have a communal experience with others who read the same book(s). A habit of “mind, body, spirit” is perseverance. As such, we have chosen some books tied to this theme for the second required read. These stories all touch on overcoming challenges. Early in the school year, teachers both in advisory programming and academic classes will host conversations around these books. 

Students will be given copies of their required read(s). For the student choice books around the theme of perseverance, we are asking families to acquire a copy of the chosen book online, through a local bookseller, or at a public library.

A printable copy of the lists of the books can be accessed by clicking here. Lists on Amazon have been created for each respective grade (Rising Sixth, Rising Seventh, and Rising Eighth). The reading lists will also be made available at Moravian Book Shop and local Barnes & Noble bookstores (Lehigh Valley Mall and Center Valley locations) in the near future.

Grades 6-8 Summer Reading Lists:

Required Reading

(Provided in Class)
Crispin (Avi)Freak the Mighty (Philbrick)The Giver (Lowry)


Nine Days (Hiatt)
Perseverance Reading

(Choose 1)
El Deafo (Bell)

Ghost (Reynolds)

Project Mulberry (Park)

A Handful of Stars (Lord)
Smile (Telgemeier)

Ghost (Reynolds)

Counting By 7s (Sloan)
Smile (Telgemeier)

Ghost (Reynolds)

Counting By 7s (Sloan)

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope (Kamkwamba)
Jordan Sonnenblick Selections

Dodger and Me (Series)

The Secret Sheriff of Sixth Grade

Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie

After Ever After
Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie

After Ever After

Falling Over Sideways

Curveball: The Year I Lost My Grip
Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie

After Ever After

Notes from A Midnight Driver

Falling Over Sideways

Curveball: The Year I Lost My Grip

In addition to the required summer reading, we encourage students to read other books that simply interest them. If they like sports, read books on sports; if they like mysteries, read mysteries; if they like non-fiction, read non-fiction. What is most important is that our students read.

For those students and families looking for additional book titles, here are a few recommended online resources:

Grade Level Assignments:

Happy reading, and have a wonderful summer!

Mrs. Bulman, Mrs. Riker, Mr. Brennan, Mrs. Siegfried, and Mr. Walp

Summer Community Garden Volunteers Needed

The Moravian Academy Community Garden, located on our Merle-Smith campus, is already growing many tasty vegetables thanks to students and families who participated in our spring Community Garden Day.

This summer, we are seeking volunteers to help assist with weeding and picking the garden’s ripe produce.

Our volunteers help ensure that students in our many summer camps can use the garden for educational and fun activities, and when school starts again in the fall, there are copious, healthy vegetables to taste and explore.

For questions, please contact Garden Manager Holly Haines at

2018 Moravian Academy Commencement

On Saturday, we invite you to join us for our 2018 Commencement ceremony.
The Class of 2018 is made up of accomplished scholars, talented artists, and successful athletes. We look forward to celebrating them one last time as a class before they head off to the next chapter of their lives.
2018 Moravian Academy Commencement:
Saturday, June 2nd
Jacob Lawn (Located behind Snyder House)*
Merle-Smith Campus
5:00 PM
If you are unable to attend the ceremony, we would still love for you to share in the celebration via USTREAM starting at 5:00 p.m.
*In the case of inclement weather, the ceremony will be held in the Athletic and Wellness Center. An announcement will be made on both the Moravian Academy website and via email at 1:00 PM.

Successful Launch of Middle School Student Mentor Program

Last year, one of the suggestions from Student Forum, a group of student leaders from each advisory group, was to start a mentor program to help new students transition to the Middle School.

Over the 2017-18 school year, we had a group of 17 eighth-grade students who served as mentors. The students gave tours and answered questions at orientation, were assigned to sixth-grade advisories and were active resources for new students throughout the year. We met with these students this week to express gratitude and receive some feedback on how to improve this new program.

We thank the 2017-2018 Middle School Student Mentors for their leadership this year: Samantha Abraham, Jai Ailawadi, Grace Burcaw, Veronica Burchielli, Sam Carter, Yiyi Chen, Olivia Crane, Cate Cyr, Hailey Falzone, Marina Falzone, Eric Jackson, Sophie Lee, Samit Mohapatra, Devon Pomeroy, Will Schmidt, Bruno Shannon, and Katy Shnier.

Although we say goodbye to these rising ninth graders, we are very pleased to announce the rising eighth graders who will serve as mentors in the new year. Congratulations to the 2018 – 2019 Student Mentors: Olivia Cunningham, Emma Hogan, Gracie Hylton, Rohan Mehta, Elena Tongg Weiler, and Elijah Zemsky. We look forward to another year of great leadership as we develop our mentor program for the benefit of our new students.


Middle School Closing Chapel – Wednesday, June 6

All Middle School families are invited to attend the end of year celebration of all middlers. Closing Chapel will be held in Central Moravian Church at 8:45 AM on Wednesday, June 6.

In this service, students and faculty will offer a few words to the community, and we will have a “moving up” ceremony for all students. All eighth-grade students will receive a tile for successful completion of middle school. There will be a receiving line and a reception in the 7 East Cafetorium for all eighth-graders at the conclusion of the service. Light refreshments and food will be provided.

Following chapel, all sixth and seventh graders will return to the Devey Building for final activities and break before a 10:45 AM dismissal. There will be no Extended Day provided, and all students must either ride the bus home or be picked up at 10:45 AM. The Middle School Main Office will close at noon.

Spring 2018 Moravian Academy Journal Hits Mailboxes!

The Spring 2018 Moravian Academy Journal hit mailboxes this month!

Don’t miss out on the stories and pictures inside, including…


Summer “Power, Agility & Speed” Program for Middle School Students

This summer, in partnership with St. Luke’s Fitness & Sports Performance, Moravian Academy is proud to offer a “Power, Agility & Speed” program for Middle School students.

The camp is run by Ashley Kratochvil, who is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (NSCA certification) at St. Luke’s University Health Network, and will be held on the Merle-Smith campus.

Cost: $70 for 1 session a week (Thursdays)

Summer Schedule 2018

For more information and to register, click here.

Project Rome Way!

This week in Latin class, eighth-grade students walked the red carpet as Roman gods and goddesses in “Project Rome Way.”

Dressed in togas and holding props, students took turns presenting researched information about their chosen god/goddess in first-person to witty guest teacher and student judges. After hearing all of the presentations, the judges selected winners for different superlatives (Best Costume, Best Props, Best Overall, etc.).

A comical (and educational) time was had by all who participated!

Below is a list of the award winners, videos & pictures from each class event:

Purple Block: Class 1 (5/23)


Award Winners…

Co-Curricular B: Class 2 (5/25)


Award Winners…

Best Characterization: Ryan Grossenbacher (Glaucus)
Best Costume: Will Bakos (Mercury)
Best Props: Owen Thierry (Harpocrates)
Best Info: Nicholas Holmes (Neptune)
Best Overall: Devon Pomeroy (Epona)

Green Block: Class 3 (5/25)


Award Winners…

Best Characterization: Soren Gandhi (Venus)
Best Costume: Grace Caballes (Silentia)
Best Props: Ilyas Kose (Neptune)
Best Info: Will Schmidt (Pluto)
Best Overall: Bruno Shannon (Cupid)


Nature Hut Dedicated to Eagle Scout Max Weiler ‘18

Over the last eighteen month period, lifer Max Weiler ‘18 worked tirelessly to renovate the Nature Hut, an outdoor structure on Moravian Academy’s Merle-Smith campus.

Throughout his project, Max was very proactive, communicative and effective. He arranged meetings to discuss his ideas with teachers, administrators and members of the Sustainability Committee.

Some of the many upgrades that Max and fellow scout volunteers implemented include:

Not only did Max’s improvement project finalize his application for Eagle Scout, but it made a huge difference for Moravian Academy’s outdoor education programming.

This week, in recognition of Max’s hard work, a dedication plaque was presented to Max and will be installed on the exterior of the Nature Hut. The plaque reads, “The Nature Hut… Renovated through the hard work, dedication and vision of Eagle Scout Max J. Weiler ‘18.”

Said Max:

“When I was a student at Moravian in the Lower School I remember traveling to the Upper School campus to visit the Nature Hut and learn about biology up close in a hands-on learning experience. It was truly one of my favorite experiences as a young child and really sparked an interest in the natural world for me. When I heard that the place I had loved so much was in a state of dilapidation, I was motivated to take action and renovate and repair the Nature Hut. I decided that it would be a perfect fit for my Eagle Scout project.

Due to the efforts and hard work of several incredible volunteers, we managed to restore the building into a working classroom condition and added in lights and access to electricity so projectors and other appliances could be used for supplementary educational matter. I am incredibly happy to see it being used by faculty, Lower School students, and Upper School students alike.”

Thank you, Max, for all of your efforts to improve this space for both current and future Moravian teachers and students!

Middle School Student iPads to Be Collected June 4th

On Monday, June 4th, the final day of the third trimester, student iPads will be collected, inventoried, and then prepared for our annual summer procedures to repair, replace and enhance for the following school year.

All students will need to return their iPad along with the case and the charging block and cord.

Items not returned or returned in poor condition will be billed to families in the summer.



Learn How to Ace Public Speaking with Summer at the Academy

Are you interested in learning how to pitch, speak and present well?

In “Public Speaking and Presentation Fundamentals: How to Give Effective Speeches, Pitches, and Presentations,” a one-week interactive and dynamic public speaking course, students entering 5th through 8th grade can learn practical and useful tips and tools.

This summer camp aims to help students reduce/manage fears and develop strong writing and organization skills for improved content memorization, demonstration, and visualization.

The camp is directed by Zaneta Bell, a 2016 graduate of Saint Joseph’s University who obtained her bachelor’s degree in business administration with a double major in international business and managing human capital. Zaneta has been a proficient public speaker for nearly 10 years and teaches public speaking and presentation. She was 2011 Pennsylvania High School Speech League State champion in prose and won many awards at the collegiate level for prose, poetry, and dramatic interpretation.  In addition to serving as content director for the online magazine and media company Diaspora Bell, Zaneta currently works at MarsWrigley Confectionary (aka M&M Mars).

This camp, exclusively open to students entering 5th through 8th grade, will run in two independent sessions:

Session I

June 18-22, 2018
4:00 – 6:00 PM

Session 2

July 23-27, 2018
4:00 – 6:00 PM

To register, visit here.

Should you have any questions about the camp, please reach out to Zaneta Bell at

More details about the camp can be seen here.

Middle School Chorus & Handbell Choirs Pay Tribute to Retiring Director

The Middle School Spring Choral and Handbell Concert, which took place on May 22nd, was an emotional night, as Moravian Academy said goodbye to Mrs. Patrice Kidd, who has served as Middle School Music Director for the past 37 years. Her retirement brings the end of an era in Moravian Academy history, one that the community will look back on fondly in the years to come.

The Handbell Choir, with members ranging from sixth to eighth grade, played several different contemporary and classical songs, such as “Lost Boy” by Ruth B. and “Count on Me” by Bruno Mars. The performances had a remarkable coordination, as the 6th and 7th Grade Handbell Choirs and the 7th and 8th Grade Handbell Choirs were split and played bells from different sides of the auditorium. The audience was in for a special treat when a small group of female singers performed a student-coordinated song with overlapping voice parts and a student pianist. The 8th Grade Handbell Choir created a beautiful harmony with sections of songs pertaining to eight different countries that sparked a feeling of wonder in the auditorium. 

The Middle School Chorus sang beautifully an array of songs, including “Jasmine,” a Chinese folk song, “City of Stars” from the movie La La Land, and “Alleluia” by Jerry Sinclair. Their performance featured a cappella, clapping intricate rhythms, and choreography. In their final act, the 7th Grade Handbell Choir and the Middle School Chorus showed their musical prowess as they brought the audience to their feet in a tribute to Mrs. Kidd, who was brought to tears as her students played for her, assisted by Mrs. Riker.

(Photo Credit: Kalli Miller ’19)

The concert was an achievement for all the groups showcased that night, but it was also an event that allowed for Moravian Academy to celebrate the career and legacy of Mrs. Kidd, who has left a positive impact on every student she’s worked with in her time here. 

Thank you, Mrs. Kidd, for all the hard work you’ve put into fostering a love of learning and music in the kids you’ve taught here at Moravian. We appreciate it more than you’ll ever know. We wish you the best in your life and hope you know you’ll always have a home here at the Academy.

Middle School Global Language Students Recognized Nationally

Congratulations to a number of global language students from Moravian Academy Middle School who attained national recognition for excellent performance. The following awards were announced and presented to students during an assembly on May 23rd.

2018 National Spanish Examinations

Sponsored by the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese, the National Spanish Examinations are online, standardized assessment tools given by over 3,000 teachers throughout the United States to measure proficiency and achievement of students who are studying Spanish as a second language.

Seventh and eighth-grade Spanish students earned a total of 12 gold, eight silver, and 15 bronze medals – along with 21 honorable mention awards – because of their high scores on the exams.

“Attaining a medal or honorable mention for any student on the National Spanish Examinations is very prestigious,” said Kevin Cessna-Buscemi, National Director of the exams. “The exams are the largest of their kind in the United States with over 150,000 students participating in 2018.”

Students from Moravian Academy Middle School have a history of high achievement on these exams. Students were taught by Mrs. Frazier and Mrs. Molina-Cheung. The student medalists include:

GOLD (95th – 100th percentile)

Eighth Graders:

Seventh Graders:

SILVER (85th – 94th percentile)

Eighth Graders:

Seventh Graders:

BRONZE (75th – 84th percentile)

Eighth Graders:

Seventh Graders:

2018 Le Grand Concours (The National French Contest)

The National French Contest/Le Grand Concours is an annual competition sponsored by the American Association of Teachers of French. Students of French in grades 1-12, in all 50 states and abroad, take a written test and compete against students with similar educational background for prizes.

On the test, nine Moravian Academy French students scored very well on the test and earned high honors for their achievement. The students were taught by Mrs. Quinn. The student medalists include:

Gold Medal Recipients

Silver Medal Recipients

Bronze Medal Recipients

Honorable Mention Award Winners

Middlers Perform Well at PJAS Competition

Twenty-three middlers recently traveled to University Park, PA, home of Pennsylvania State University and the annual PJAS (Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science) competition.

PJAS is a statewide organization of middle and high school students designed to stimulate and promote interest in science among its members through the development of research projects and investigations. Pennsylvania is divided into 12 PJAS regions with each region consisting of two or more counties.

Moravian Academy was well-represented with students earning four perfect scores, 13 first place awards, and five second place awards. Congratulations to all who attended. We are MA Proud!

Middle School Head Sacristans and Chapel Tech Team Announced

In the Middle School, there are teams of students who assist with our chapel services each week. This year, students completed a survey in May where they indicated if they had interest in serving as a sacristan or as a member of the tech team that assists with sound and projection. Seventh-grade teachers, the Chaplain, and the Middle School Administration then reviewed the survey results. 

The Middle School is excited to announce that rising eighth graders Anjali Shankar and Ben Edelman will serve as Head Sacristans, and Michael Yampolsky, Elena Tongg-Weiler, and Eli Zemsky will serve as members of our technology team next school year. Congratulations!

Season 2 of “Thirteen Reasons Why” Released Today

Season 2 of the controversial series, “13 Reasons Why” was released on Netflix today, Friday, May 18. We want the parents of our school community to know that this series contains content which may be disturbing to youth at any age, most especially those who are vulnerable due to their age or maturity level, pre-existing mental health conditions (for example, depression or anxiety), and/or previous life experiences (for example, grief and loss).

Themes projected for Season 2 include online and other types of bullying, suicide, sexual assault, substance abuse, and a potential school shooting. While Netflix and the series creators have reportedly taken into account the advice of experts in their creation of Season 2, concern remains about how the real-world problems of the characters will be portrayed.

We share the concern of mental health experts about the potential negative impact the series could have on our youth without guidance and conversation with parents and other trusted adults. Children and teenagers are impressionable by words and graphic stories, fictional or real, positive or negative, and therefore, the experiences of the characters can potentially influence youth. We do not recommend that students watch this series without adult guidance and support, and we strongly advise you to talk as a family about what you know of the series.

To aid you in this process, we recommend the following resources. Youth who feel suicidal are not likely to seek help directly, so we would also like to equip you with recommended educational resources about suicide risk warning signs and immediate actions to take when you recognize the warning signs.

We hope the popularity of this series results in productive conversations in your family, and that the popularity also heightens awareness to the importance of seeking support for ourselves and others in times of need. There is always help, there is always hope, and there are always people who care – you are crucial in our spreading of this message and we thank you for contributing to the wellness and overall emotional and physical safety our community.

Kona Ice Truck to Visit Middle School: June 4

As we have done for the past few years to celebrate the end of the third trimester, the Kona Ice truck will visit the Middle School at 2:00 PM on Monday, June 4.

Ice treats will be available for purchase for all students in God’s Acre.

Middle School Math Final Exams – June 1

The Math Department will be administering final exams on Friday, June 1.

All students in all grades will take their math exams from 8:30 AM – 10:30 AM.

Please make sure your student(s) arrive on time.  We strongly encourage all families to not schedule any morning appointments on this day.

Middle School Yearbook Distribution

Middle School yearbooks will be distributed to those students who ordered a copy earlier in the school year.

Students will enjoy these keepsakes complete with photos from the entire year over an outdoor barbeque in the back of the Devey Building on Wednesday, May 23rd.

Bidding Continues Long After Auction’s End

The Auction may be over, but the bidding still continues!

Be sure to check out this updated list of leftover items from the event available for purchase today.

If you are interested in purchasing an item, please email  Items will be sold on a first come, first served basis.

Thank you for your support!

Comenius Schedule 2018-2019 (Middle School)

In our first year of the Comenius schedule, we learned a few things and have planned some adjustments for 2018-2019. A copy of the master academic schedule is included here for your review.

Items remaining the same include: an eight-day rotation using the letters C-O-M-E-N-I-U-S; academic periods lasting 55-minutes; a morning break; core classes meeting six of eight cycle days; chapel remaining on Wednesday; two 30-minute lunch periods; dedicated advisory time; trimester electives (art, general music, health) meeting four of eight cycle days; and physical education meeting two of eight cycle days.

Adjustments for 2018-2019 include advisory beginning five minutes earlier at 8:10 AM; the addition of a “community period” that meets based on days of the week rather than cycle days; Electives, chapel and open meeting during community periods; music ensemble groups meeting in their own 55-minute block in the rotation; addition of new elective courses for all students; dedicated morning meeting time each week; and on ‘S’ day all blocks will meet for 45-minutes. Finally, as previously announced earlier in the school year, Thursday will also be 3:00 PM dismissal.

If there are any questions, please contact the Main Office at (610) 866-6677 or email


Submit Stories & Expressions of Gratitude for our Retiring Faculty Members

We are gathering stories and expressions of gratitude into special books for each of our retiring faculty members, who include:

  • Mrs. Vicki Beer, Homeroom Teacher, First Year at Moravian Academy 1996
  • Mrs. Debbie Bross, Physical Education, Health & Wellness Teacher, Field Hockey Coach, First Year at Moravian Academy 1981
  • Mrs. Pam Compter, Homeroom Teacher, First Year at Moravian Academy 1998
  • Mrs. Patrice Kidd, Music Director, First Year at Moravian Academy 1981
  • Dr. John O’Connell, Spanish Teacher, First Year at Moravian Academy 1978
  • Mrs. Kathleen Rohmann, Social Studies Teacher, Reading Specialist, First Year at Moravian Academy 1975
  • Ms. Diane Taylor, Homeroom Teacher, First Year at Moravian Academy 1984

The books will be a part of the Moravian Academy traditions that celebrate faculty retirees. These traditions invite us to think about the cycles of growth and change, in which greetings and farewells are forever intertwined.

We ask you to contribute your own reflections, which we are collecting at or to Moravian Academy Gratitude, 11 West Market Street, Bethlehem, PA 18018.

Thank you in advance for your contributions!

End of Year Calendar – Middle School

May is a very busy time in the life of a school. With the end of year events, such as concerts and assemblies, sports games, and final academic requirements for the school year, it can be challenging to align school and family schedules. To help alleviate some challenges, below is a list of events occurring in the Middle School during the remaining weeks of school:

If there are any questions, please contact the Main Office at (610) 866-6677 or email

Middlers Excel at Regional 24 Challenge Math Tournament

Balaji Marella ’22, Samit Mohapatra ’22, Isabella Bartolacci ’22, Rohan Mehta ’23, Anjali Shankar ’23, Okezue Bell ’23, Chessie Bartolacci ’24, Krish Gupta ’24, Aman Desai ’24, and Ryan Cheng ’24 represented the Moravian Academy Middle School at the Colonial Intermediate Unit 20’s Regional 24 Challenge Math Tournament last Friday. There were over 100 students participating in the competition.

(Photo Credit: Lisa Cheung & Colonial Intermediate Unit 20)

All of our students had an amazing day and played with lightning speed. Four sixth-graders, two seventh-graders, and three eighth-graders advanced to the semifinal round. Isabella and Krish won their table and advanced to the final round. Isabella placed third in the 7th- and 8th- grade competition and Krish placed second in the 6th-grade competition.

It was a wonderful day for Moravian Academy!

8th Grade Trip to Washington, DC

The eighth graders recently returned from an overnight trip to Washington, DC. While in our nation’s capital, students enjoyed the Newseum and the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, which is part of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum’s annex at Washington Dulles International Airport.

(Photo Credit: Lisa Cheung)

Strike Up the Bands Spring Concert 2018

Led by director Dr. Richard Fanning, the Fourth Grade Band, Fifth Grade Band, Middle School Concert Band, Middle School Jazz Band, Upper School Jazz Band, and Upper School Wind Ensemble all shined at “Strike Up the Bands” on May 11th.

Held at Dyer Auditorium, the concert featured fun and entertaining songs from “When the Saints Go Marching In” to “Rockin’ La Bamba.”

Student performers included…

Fourth Grade Band:

Celine Baki, Kyara Maeding, Arwen del Real Sobiech, Teighan Simmons, Shaan Ailawadi^, Aveer Chadha, Peyton Falzone^, Emma Grandin, Kaitlyn Hummers^, Taylor Lopez, Nikhil Skandan^, Josephine Zemsky, Chloee Dahl, Jack Davis, Lilah Sollott^, Faust Capobianco^, Alex Cyr, Qayn Jaffer, Shiv Patel, Arman Guarasi, Nicholas Rodney, Xavier Tongg Weiler, Camden Luftig, Parker Boschen^, and Caleb Greene^

Fifth Grade Band:

Miriam Mira, Rylee Simmons, Brooke Lopez, Ava Williams, Jackson Albert, Juliana Scott, Abigail Marsh, Grayson Bucher, Oliver Pervizpour, Jonathan Dai, Angie Perrucci, Jolie Eyvazzadeh, Christopher Burke, Jack Lu, Emily Amortegui, and Matthew Gulati

Middle School Concert Band:

Treyton Messman+, Priya Francis+, Nora Ronan+, Sophia Mangino+, Gia Gupta, Megan Dadio, Rayna Malhotra, Favor Ufondu+, Mona Ziabari+, Gianna Guarasi, Luke Pokojni, Sienna Powell, Hannah Puc, Mathew Hernandez, Joseph Phillips, Mikail Jaffer+, Krish Gupta, Sam Carter+, Arianna Matos+, Madeleine Golden, Adrian Vanegas, Nabeel Rifai, Paul Taylor, Jasmine Scott, Nico Colitas, Ben Edelman, Wisdom Ufondu, Jack Perrucci, Caden Cohan, Manny De Oliveira+, Arsh Kandola+, Ryan Stubblefield, Jeremy Holmes, and Kyle Bolden

Middle School Jazz Band

Vincent Menichelli+, Sebastian Malaver, Arman Desai, Balaji Marella+, Joseph Phillips, Sam Carter+, Jai Ailawadi+, Adrian Vanegas, Andrew Burke+, Manny De Oliveira+, Emma Derby, and Donovan Seeney

Upper School Jazz Band

Stephen Ender, Naveen Ailawadi, Elijah Stevens, Thomas Murgolo, Helen Hylton, Michael Derby, Alex Teleo, Neha Skandan, Dylan Carter##, Jack Lutostansky, Armaan Pandher, Nick Battisti*, Joey Zaladonis, Raymond Yedlock, and John Marmaras

Upper School Wind Ensemble

Nicole Masucci*#, Elizabeth Stifel, Gabrielle Udin, Michael Long, Milan Mahesh, Devorah Zambas, Stephen Ender, William McKay, Austin Recinos, Mr. Rob Riker, Roshaun Memon*, Michael Derby, Thomas Murgolo, Adam Boak, Alex Teleo, Neha Skandan, Dylan Carter##, Evan Edelman, Jack Lutostansky, Julius Ewungkem, Madeline Swan, Raymond Yedlock, Avi Singh, Cameron Rohatgi, Kavin Sampath, and Alex Lega

(^ Additional Fifth Grade Band; + Eighth Grader; * Senior; # District and Region Band Participant; ## District Jazz Participant)

(Photo & Video Credit: Kalli Miller ’19)

A big thank you to goes to…

….whose talents and hard work made this special evening possible.

Shark Tank 2018

Middle School students, following the model established by the popular television show Shark Tank,  recently prepared presentations in order to convince a small audience comprised of their peers and teachers to invest in their solution or product.

(Photo Credit: Joanne Daniels)

Students researched an environmental or ecology topic, some of which include sustainable agriculture, soil conservation, air and water pollution, alternative energy, invasive species, recycling and composting, and global warming. Then, through a short research paper that presents an overview of the subject, highlights a person working in the field, and public policy or civil action that has resulted to address the problem, they identify a problem related to the topic.
They then need to create an innovative, out-of-the-box solution to present to the ‘seventh-grade sharks’ using physical prototypes or blueprints/diagrams of their product solutions. This year, products included air and filtration devices, invasive species monitoring and reduction plans and devices, improved solar panel efficiency, energy reduction devices, personal energy devices, animal protection products and soil management tools.

Course Enrollment Forms for 2018-2019 Middle School Students

The Middle School course enrollment process for the 2018-2019 school year has begun. On this form, students will be selecting their Comenius Electives for next year, selecting their music performance groups, indicating which global language they will take and also which athletic teams (if any) they would like to participate in next school year. Please speak with your student(s) about which courses and activities they will be selecting. Parent partnership and engagement with the courses that students choose is important. All middlers should complete the online forms by May 25 at 4:00 PM.

Dr. Stephanie Palmieri, Academic Coordinator, met with the rising sixth, seventh and eighth-grade students on Friday to explain the process and answer any question(s) a student(s) may have. Students were sent a copy of the course catalog and a link to the online form. This information helps us to build academic schedules over the summer with each student’s requested courses. For those students who missed today’s sessions or were absent, Dr. Palmieri will meet with them early next week to review the form and course catalog.

There are many new electives being offered next school year, including “Mind. Body. Spirit.”; “Sports in Contemporary Society”; “Game Design”; “Geography and World Challenges”; “Fun with Math”; “Exploring Science and Engineering”; “MSBG (Middle School Broadcasting Group)”; “KivaU”; “Readers Group”; Latin; and conversational classes in Spanish, French and Chinese. Some other elective offerings will remain the same, including Art Studio, Digital Media, Robotics, Coding, Science Club, Handbells 6, Handbells 7, Mathcounts, and Debate.

For next school year, the performing music groups (Choir, Concert Band, Jazz Band, Handbells 8, and Orchestra) will be separated from the electives and in their own period, allowing all students to choose from the great selections offered. Those who choose not to participate in a performing music group will be assigned to SAT (Student Assistance Time) where most teachers will be available to provide enrichment opportunities or additional assistance.

For those who wish to explore Latin, multiple sections of the course will be available. Students may choose Latin during the music ensemble periods. If a student wants to take Latin but it conflicts with an ensemble group, Latin will also be offered during both Comenius Elective groups.

Should questions arise about course enrollment, please contact the Main Office at (610) 866-6677
or email

Music Performance Groups Shine at “Trills & Thrills” Adjudication

The Middle School Chorus, String Orchestra, Concert Band and Jazz Band all participated in the annual Adjudication Trip to Hershey on Friday, May 4th. Chaperones arrived at 7 East at 5:15 AM and students arrived shortly after. By 5:50 AM, all students and instruments were on three motorcoaches and on their way.

The “Trills and Thrills” adjudication performances took place at Cedar Cliff High School in Camp Hill, PA. Two judges for each performing group provided feedback and numerical scores, which is used to let the directors and students know what sounded good and what can be done to improve their performances in the future. Directed by Mrs. Patrice Kidd, the Middle School Chorus received an excellent rating; director Dr. Rich Fanning and his Concert Band and Jazz Band received excellent ratings as well; director Ms. Chase Morrison and her String Orchestra received the highest award, a superior.

After the performances, the students and chaperones returned to the buses and headed to Hersheypark for a full-day of fun! After a couple years of weather challenges, everyone enjoyed warm weather (85 degrees) and only a few drops of rain.

The students did great work at the adjudication and represented Moravian Academy well at the adjudication site and at the park. The directors and chaperones enjoyed the success of the student musicians at the adjudication, enjoyed seeing the students enjoy themselves at the park, and even enjoyed a few rides themselves.

The buses returned to the Middle School at 7:30 PM. It was a great day and a great way to celebrate the music we have made together this year.

Athletic Physical Exams to be Offered at Moravian Academy: June 7

St. Luke’s University Health Network will perform physical exams on the Moravian Academy Upper School campus for PIAA athletics. Moravian Academy will offer ONLY one (1) physical for student-athletes encompassing grades 5 – 12 (current grades 4-11).

This physical is valid for all Moravian Academy Athletics offered for the entire school year. These physicals will be offered at Moravian Academy Upper School in the Athletic Wellness Center (AWC) on Thursday, June 7th.

If your son/daughter will be participating in ANY Moravian Academy sponsored athletic program  at the Upper School and/or Middle School (Baseball, Basketball, Cross Country, Field Hockey, Football, Golf, Lacrosse, Soccer, Tennis, Track & Field, Softball, and/or Swimming and Diving, Volleyball, Wrestling) during the 2018-19 school year, we encourage you to have your child attend this physical. Here is the schedule for the physicals:

5:00 PM –  5:40 PM: Cross Country, Boys’ Soccer, and Girls’ Soccer

5:40 PM – 6:20 PM: Field Hockey, Golf, and Girls’ Tennis

6:20 PM- 7:00 PM: Football, Volleyball, and other sports that do not take place in the fall (Swimming, Basketball, Wrestling, Track and Field, Boys’ Tennis, Lacrosse, Softball, Baseball)

Prior to the examination, parents need to complete sections 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 of the PIAA Comprehensive Initial Pre-Participation Physical Evaluation (CIPPE) Form. As in the past, you may have your own physician give your son/daughter a physical using the CIPPE form. The Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) has approved this method and requires athletes to complete the CIPPE form and submit them to Moravian Academy Athletic Trainers office before participation in any athletic program. Please make note that this physical must be performed after June 1st, 2018.

All of the Moravian Academy Athletics documents can be found on our school website or copies may be obtained in the Athletic Training room of the upper school or through the Athletic Coordinator of the middle school. If either document is not received with the appropriate signatures, your son/daughter will not be eligible to participate in Moravian Academy Athletics.

For more information & a checklist of information needed, click here.

SAMS Picnic (May 18)

The last SAMS (Social Activities at the Middle School) event of the year is the End of the Year Picnic which will be held after school at Hanover Community Park. There will be a DJ, food, and time with friends enjoying the outdoors on the tennis and basketball courts, playground, and fields.

Students will be transported from the Middle School by bus. Pick up is at the park at 5:30 PM. It is a great way to end the week!

For the event, we are in need of some parent volunteers at the park, to ride buses from the Middle School, and to donate food. If you are able to help with this event, please contact Marie Messmer at or (610) 442-5656.

Social Media Resources

In early March, a post was shared on Comenius Corner on social media usage by teenagers, which provided some guidelines for parents along with some statistics. As a follow up to this posting, there are some additional resources shared below.

Popular App Guide for Parents and Teachers

Downloadable Resources from

Common Sense Media

Mothers’ Lovefeast

Today, Lower School students, Middle School students, and their mothers gathered in Central Moravian Church in celebration of the Mothers’ Lovefeast. Through prayers, readings and short speeches, students and faculty offered words of adoration and gratitude both to and about mothers.

The words of guest speaker Mrs. Amy Bucher, Moravian Academy mother and parent volunteer, were particularly powerful. She shared her personal journey of hardship after losing her three-year-old daughter to childhood cancer in 2008. Underlining the importance of empathy and resilience, she reflected on how being a part of a community of love and understanding helped play a major role in her and her family’s growth and healing. Stated Mrs. Bucher:

“It doesn’t necessarily take a tragedy to bring communities together. We have opportunities throughout the year to get to know each other better. Commitment to our children’s intellectual, physical and emotional growth – mind, body, and spirit — most certainly unites all of the Moms and other loved ones here. How fitting that these gatherings are called Lovefeasts!”

The service also included beautiful music, performed by the 8th Grade Handbell Choir, the Middle School Concert Band, the Middle School Girls’ Choir, and our Third-Grade Chorus. Notably, in the vocal performance of Moments Like These, our very own Moravian Academy mothers, faculty and staff members were featured as guest singers on stage.

…And, of course, no Mothers’ Lovefeast would be complete without the collective partaking of juice and cookies.

(Photo Credit: Amey Owen)

As Lily Eyvazzadeh ’22, one of the student speakers, said today, “there are no words to say thank you for everything a mother does.” However, the following testament shared by Lily during the service sums up just how powerful the connection between a mother and child can be:

“All children can be compared to bowls. We all have cracks in different places and places where there are bulges where we need more attention. Only our mother’s love can fill our bowls and mend our cracks. If other mothers tried, they would fail. Their love would come too short of fill the wrong places. Just like beauty is in the eye of the beholder, a mother’s love is in the heart of the receiver.”

Although one celebration to honor all our mothers will never be enough, we are grateful to have had the opportunity to recognize the mother figures in our lives– both here at Moravian Academy and in our wider community–through this special event.

Post Mothers’ Lovefeast Brunch in Benigna Auditorium

(Photo Credit: Bob Zaiser)

Middle School Dance 2018: Under the Sea

On May 5th, Middle School students celebrated the upcoming end of the school year with an “Under the Sea” themed dance at the Upper School campus.