The Optimist’s Creed

At assembly on Monday, Coach Matt shared with our students Christian Larson’s The Optimist’s Creed.  In his talk with the students he lead by example admitting that he made a mistake leaving the heat on all weekend in the gym, acknowledged that, asked for forgiveness and moved on to get a pie in the face from Johnny. Thanks, Coach Matt, for the words of wisdom and for being a good sport! Want to see Coach Matt get pied?

“Promise Yourself
To be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.To talk health, happiness, and prosperity to every person you meet.
To make all your friends feel that there is something in them.To look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true.
To think only the best, to work only for the best, and to expect only the best. To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own.
To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future. To wear a cheerful countenance at all times and give every living creature you meet a smile.
To give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others.To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.
To think well of yourself and to proclaim this fact to the world,not in loud words but great deeds.To live in faith that the whole world is on your side so long as you are true to the best that is in you.” – Christian D. Larson

Coding at Meadowbrook – a note from Domonique Wilson, technology teacher

coding1  Hello Parents!

Exciting news! Beginning in January, the students will be starting “Intro To Coding” as a new addition to the computer technology curriculum here at the Meadowbrook School. Students will learn the basics of pattern building and will create a series of commands for the computer to follow. We will have a chance to incorporate coding to do fun activities such as creating games and website building further down the line. There are even beginning concept activities provided to get preschool, pre-K and kindergarten students prepared for the future of coding and programming.
Also, for those interested and available, your local apple store will be hosting a series of free “Hour of Code” workshops for kids ages 6+. If interested in the Willow Grove Mall location, the upcoming and currently available workshops are on Saturday December 12th at 5:30 p.m. and Sunday December 13th at 10:15 a.m. To sign up or find out more information, check out and look for “The Hour of Code Youth Workshop.” The apple store will be using some of the same resources we will use here at Meadowbrook, so this may be a nice preparation as well as we enter into January. I am so excited, and I know the students will be too!

Perfect Gifts for your son or daughter

Your child may be begging for a Purple Sky mermaid tail or a scarab robot, but once the tissue paper is crumpled, you know these aren’t the things that will change their lives or really make them feel your love.

So how do you find that special gift for your child that actually means something?

If you know your child’s love language, you can use it to uncover the perfect gift. Love languages are how people express or experience love, according to family therapist Gary Chapman, bestselling author The Five Love Languages: the Secret to Love that Lasts. Here’s how he defines them:

Words of affection: Kind words, particularly praise, mean love to those who “speak” this language. Saying “I love you” (and why) matters.

Acts of service: Making life easier and being helpful represents love.

Physical touch: These people need human contact: kisses, hugs and handholding communicate love.

Receiving gifts: It seems obvious, but this is really about the thought and effort behind the gift. The gift says I’m thinking of you, I know you, and I appreciate you.

Quality time: Time and undivided attention let this person know they’re loved.

Gifts by language

Here’s how your child’s love language can inspire your holiday giving:

Words of affection — A note from mom or dad (or both) telling them all the things that make them wonderful could be something your kids choose to keep forever. Hint: Go deep. Talk about your daughter’s adventurous spirit that makes her explore caves, not just her cute smile. You might also consider a personalized gift. In addition to his name on a soccer ball for your sun, add those special words of love as well. Finally consider recording a special message — maybe sent to their new phone!

Acts of service — Create a coupon book for your child who sees love in acts of service. The coupon book could include doing those special things that make them feel loved whenever they need it: that special mac and cheese meal, the break from a dreaded chore, a special cup of tea in bed.

Physical touch — How do you wrap up a hug and kiss? Along with the hug or kiss, a massage, manicure or pedicure might thrill a teen, or a special dance night might be just the thing for your rambunctious little one. Give a young child a super huggable stuffed animal and tell them it is filled with unlimited hugs from you for them. For the older kid, you could give them a special throw blanket for watching TV together.

Receiving gifts — This should be easy. But if you really want to speak their language, remember that the gift is about knowing them and showing how much you care for who they are. Don’t get them something to change them, like an organizer, unless that’s their goal. This isn’t the time for the useful gift of socks, unless you knit them yourself. More than anything, this is a symbolic gift of your love. It might remind them of a special time you shared together. It might cost nothing — like an old necklace from your mother — but mean the world.

Another little thing about giving this person a gift: They usually appreciate the wrapping, so make it pretty.

Quality time: Where does your child like to go? Take her there. Special time with just you and you alone, and your child is going to feel the love. It’s okay also to take him somewhere new that’s special to you. This is the child who will appreciate that you want to share that with him.

A little warning: They’re still kids. They may not react with the same amount of joy as they will to a fancy toy. But the toy will be forgotten. Your gift has a chance of strengthening their spiritual and psychological core and live on in their memories.

By: S. Michelle Fry

9th Annual Philadelphia Metropolitan Chess Tournament

CHESSCongratulations to the students who participated in The Ninth Philadelphia Metropolitan Chess Tournament held at Meadowbrook School Saturday, November 14th.  The 6 Meadowbrook School students listed below competed against other students from Philadelphia and surrounding area schools. The 85 players, ranging from Kindergarten through High School, followed the specific regulations of the United States Chess Federation. As each student played 5 games of chess with different opponents, hard work and concentration were key elements of the day. Congratulations Team Meadowbrook!

In order for this event to take place we would like to thank several members of our school community.  Mrs. Grosso and Mrs. DiFelice created new street signs for our new guests to find their way to Meadowbrook School.  We appreciate Mr. Gaines and the 6th grade students for setting up the tables and chairs in the gym on Friday.  It was kind of Victor and Mr. Kasian to help Mr. Lakata set up the entire gym for the event Friday after school.  We thank Mrs. Kiefaber, Mrs. Brogan, Mr. Brogan, Mr. Loney, and Mr. Reeves for helping Saturday to sell the food to our guests.  We appreciate the efforts of Logan Keifaber to help to set up the Dining Commons early Saturday morning. Thank you Mr. Reeves staying after the tournament to help clean the Dining Commons and sweep the floor. After the event, Mr. Mosteller was kind enough to totally reorganize all of the tables and chairs in the storage room.  Mrs. Strother and the students in the Extended Day Program did a beautiful job decorating the Dining Commons with festive fall scenes. Mrs. Katona made sure all of the student’s art work was carefully displayed in the gallery for all of our guests to enjoy.

Now we look forward to continuing to build our chess skills with Chess Club for 3,4,5,6 grade students on Friday afternoons and K, 1, 2, 3 grade students which will start in January on Tuesdays after school.

Way to go Meadowbrook Chess Team!   Mrs. Mockaitis

Meadowbrook School Team

Hutch Loney, grade 1-Trophy for top 1st grader
Seamus Brogan, grade 4-tied top 4th grader
Logan Kiefaber, grade 5
Jacob Feiner, grade 6
Victor Kasian, grade 6
Liam Reeves, grade 6

Men of Meadowbrook Breakfast

pancake-breakfastIt’s that time of year again- the annual Men of Meadowbrook breakfast where a handful of fathers throw down to see who will claim the title of Best Chef! Last year’s competitors were Brian Brogan, Larry Cheifetz, Dan Loney and yours truly. After a heated battle and many full bellies, I was awarded the title of best pancake, thus relegating me to Chairing the event this year.

I would like to extend an invitation to anyone who would like to be involved, either in the preparation for the breakfast or to be one of the competitors on Saturday morning. Here is the timeline:

Friday, December 4th: We need volunteers to meet at the Meadowbrook School to help prep for Saturday’s event. This includes:
· Table/chair set up
· Cooking of bacon, eggs, sausage etc.

· Organizing the coffee, tables and such

· Having a few beers and a great time is a must!

We meet at the school at 6pm and usually go until around 10pm or so. If you can’t stay the whole time don’t worry-we appreciate any help we receive.

Saturday, December 5th: The breakfast starts at 8:30am so we need a handful of people to arrive around 8. This would include the cooks as well so they can set up their griddle’s and do any last minute prep work (It is a BYOG event). The breakfast and clean-up usually runs until about 11am.

Everyone is invited to attend this event (moms, grandparents and friends), so please download and return THIS form to the Main Office by December 1st so that we can plan appropriately for this awesome event.

I hope you can join us. Email me ( if you have any questions.

Thank you,
Andrew Pitcairn
Chair, Men of Meadowbrook Breakfast
and Father of Morgan ’20

Learning to Lead

20150928_135955Each day when we play in the classroom of Physical Education, I know there will be a lesson. Maybe it’s for me, the students, or for all of us. We have focused the last few weeks on spacing and sharing through soccer and handball. Spacing and sharing are really important sport concepts that are often difficult to learn, especially for younger players who tend to follow the ball. Your Meadowbrook students are learning how to move without the ball and communicate a ‘give and go’ to help them find success when they play.

Each level, from pre-school on up to six grade, is learning how to work together. Over the past several weeks, we have instituted captains for teams and to lead warm-ups and drills. The students are learning that being a captain doesn’t mean that your job is to tell everyone what to do. Being a captain is about leading by example, listening to others, and showing good sportsmanship when we win or lose.

Sportsmanship is something that we stress daily. Some of the classes are very competitive with one another, and a lot of that is good when channeled. Learning how to deal with those emotions when your team wins or loses is something that we all can attest can be challenging, especially when our point of view tells us that things are not fair. “Life’s not fair, nor are sports” is a good lesson that we preach daily. What we believe and stress is that all we can do is improve ourselves and impact our team in a positive way.

Sports and life will challenge us all each day. Consider talking to your child each day about your own challenges and what you are doing to lead in your own classroom of life. Leading is setting the example for those around us, especially our children who are watching us each day.

Coach Matt
The Meadowbrook School
PE Teacher
Athletic Director

Upcoming Basketball Programs at The Meadowbrook School

Third grade visits Redeemer Village for Halloween fun!

holyredeemer3Yesterday, our third grade class visited the residents of Redeemer Village in Huntingdon Valley, PA to celebrate Halloween.  Together, they decorated pumpkins, shared stories past and present, and enjoyed special treats.  The visit by the third graders is part of a year-long study of intergenerational relations, a successful and long-standing program that fosters empathy and a deeper understanding of what it  might feel like to be an older person in our society.  Over the course of the year, students visit Redeemer Village for special activities, and the residents of Redeemer Village visit Meadowbrook for special events.holyredeemer

The Meadowbrook School is grateful to the McKeown Foundation for their support of this unique program.

We are Lifesavers!

WP_20151027_001Meadowbrook’s annual Red Cross Blood Drive held on Tuesday was a success!

34 units of blood were collected, and each unit has the potential to help three people. Thank you to the faculty, staff, parents, alumni, and friends who gave their time and donated blood so that others might live.

This year’s group of student volunteers was terrific, and they received many compliments from the Red Cross personnel.  Thank you to sixth graders Sam Br., Tana, Laxmi, Kayla, Jacob and to fifth graders Najib and Kristopher for giving their time to work at the blood drive. Thank you to Xiani, Zoe, Sierra, and Sam B. for giving their time to make reminder phone calls.

WP_20151027_003Others deserving a big thank you are students who colored the posters that were used to advertise the blood drive, Mr. Mosteller for setting up the gym and for putting up directional signs, Mrs. Mockaitis for the use of the science room, and Mr. Maloney and Mr. Baldwin for providing dinner for the Red Cross staff. Thank you also to Mrs. Strother for graciously accepting additional students in Extended Day so that their parents could donate blood.

A very special thank you goes out to Terri Johnson for her tireless effort advertising the blood drive and recruiting donors to make this blood drive one of our largest.  Additionally, she provided snacks and a pizza dinner for our student volunteers, and she was a strong presence throughout the day of the blood drive.

WP_20151027_002Once again the Meadowbrook community lead by example and demonstrated our continued commitment to helping others.

Meadowbrook Memories

Carolyn Trost, Ken Garson & Jillian Katona
Carolyn Trost, Ken Garson & Jillian Katona

After attending the all school reunion on Friday, October 2nd, Ken Garson, 8th Grade Master and 5-8 English & Language Arts teacher at Meadowbrook from 1969 to 1973 shared with us the following:

“I was reluctant to step in front of the camera the other night, but being back at Meadowbrook brought back some memories that I had long forgotten. (I also am loath to sound like one of those old geezers who spout a tiresome “Back in my day …”)

While talking to some of my old students, I thought of some Hal Parachini anecdotes.

An important back story is that Hal had a large slob of a dog, a Great Dane named Sam.

In the winter of 71-72 there was a snow storm. Back then there was a phone tree for the faculty and staff, as well as the KYW number system. (I think the school’s was 363?) That morning I awoke, looked out at the white, icy landscape,  and turned on the radio to hear that many schools closing. I expected to get a phone call from someone and then to pass it along that Hal had cancelled school. KYW failed to list the school closing number for Meadowbrook. I received no calls, and so girded myself for winter.

I got into my school bus (#4), picked up the kids on my route, with some difficulty, since though it wasn’t exactly a blizzard, it was treacherous. Everyone arrived late—except those who decided to either turn back or just not even attempt it. The school day was ragtag, a shambles, of course, with few teachers, few students and more than a few disgruntled—some might say angry—parents. Hal Parachini was shamefaced and apologetic for his ‘missed call’. (Hal was a basketball player at Dartmouth and a local referee of some esteem; he was often called to work games at the Palestra.)

At the next chapel meeting of the entire school he admitted the mistake to the entire school body. One lower classman raised his hand and asked Hal how he made the decision to close school. Hal said that he let his dog Sam out into the snow. If Sam balked, he called school off. This particular day, Sam had taken off into the white, so school was on.

Another student raised his hand and asked: “Mr. Parachini, can you get a smaller dog?”

Hal Parachini story number two.

The school always book fairs that benefitted the library and, on occasion, opportunities to acquire things that spur some interests in kids. Exhibitors brought stamps, coins, science-related stuff, baseball cards et al. One of the exhibitors reported that some coins were stolen. Since this was for Meadowbrook students only, it was an embarrassment for Hal and the school. He held a special chapel meeting early the next day, a Thursday, usually the day when the teams played soccer or football or other practices.

Hal said that all games and practices that day were cancelled until the perpetrator confessed or was turned in by fellow students. We would stay in the classrooms until the guilty person was unearthed. Throughout the day everyone was grousing about missing their game or activity, groaning over the unfairness of punishing everyone for one person’s moral turpitude, and wishing to pummel the thief.

At 2:30 Hal announced that the game day would progress in its customary manner: all games to be played, activities to resume, etc. I met Hal in the locker room on the way to field.

“So did you find out who took the coins?” I asked.

“No. No one came forward,” Parachini replied.

“So why did you relent on your threat?” I thought it would be natural to follow through so as to appear resolute.

Hal shrugged his shoulders. “Something like this happened at Chestnut Hill Academy. Sometimes that tactic works, sometimes it doesn’t.”

I learned Hal did eventually find out who took the coins and everyone got to play their games.

Two lessons I learned from Hal Parachini: always admit when you’re wrong and sometimes it’s best to punt.

I wrote to Hal’s son recently to say that I was grateful his father gave me an opportunity to teach there, as unexperienced as I was. I did not come either from private school stock or from an Ivy League school.  I can say that I learned as much about myself from the students as they from me during those four years I was there.”