Team WHS Blog

Season 2, Episode 6

“That’s no moon…that’s the new Team WHS blog!”  This blog continues to grow because we have so many good things going on.  Fall is in full swing now and so is WHS.  This week we welcome a guest blog by Mrs. Tirone and our World Language Department:

Italian students in Ms. Matthews’ and Ms. Wiener’s classes using our CTC to create music videos in Italian.  For my generation and older, think “We are the World” but an Italian love song.

We are the World Languages and Cultures Department, and we try to make a world of difference!  We enthusiastically welcome Madame Oussayef and Senorita (a.k.a Signorina) Weiner to our department. Madame Oussayef brings a wealth of experience and energy. She teaches French at McCall and at WHS. Senorita Wiener teaches Italian and Spanish at WHS. She graduated with a Masters in Teaching Spanish and brings new ideas to the department. She is also fluent in Italian. We also welcome Senorita Rigby, our student teacher in Spanish, from Tufts. These new additions complement and strengthen our team.

The World Languages and Cultures Department is very busy, in and out of the classroom. At the beginning of the school year, French, Latin and Italian teachers eagerly moved into their new temporary spaces in the new science wing, while Spanish teachers remained in the modular classrooms for another year.  A new and enriching experience for us has been sharing space with the Science Department in their new classrooms. Everything is bright, clean and new! We hope they will share their skeletons when we teach the body parts in the target languages. We will be happy to share our music and food!


The French Club will see the off-Broadway production of  An American in Paris on October 25 in Boston.  A trip is being planned for travel to Montreal and Quebec over February vacation.  Interested students should see Madame Anderson for more details.

Inspired by last year’s many achievements of both individual students (national and proficiency exams) and the entire Latin Club (second in the state), Mr. Garfall and Mrs. DeCamp are building on strengths and increasing the focus on spoken Latin. The Latin Club continues its monthly after school Latin introduction for elementary students at St. Charles School in Woburn.  On October 22, students will join in the Junior Classical League’s opening event in Williamstown, where catapults, quiz bowl and leadership workshops are the highlights.  Boston University will hold its annual Classics Day for high school students on December 1; this year’s theme is “Ancient Entertainment” and the WHS Latin Club will once again attend this exciting statewide event.  On November 15, Dr. Akira Yatsuhashi  (WHS ’88) will visit our Latin students to discuss the study of Classics and his work as a professor of Classics and English at SUNY College of Oneonta.


October is Italian Heritage month, and Winchester has many accomplishments to be proud of this year.


Congratulations to Olivia Hofheinz who was invited to the kick-off for Italian Heritage Month at the State House on September 30. She made Winchester proud as she received the Donato Fratarolli and Family award for excellence in Italian. Olivia spoke eloquently as she described the importance of her Italian Heritage in her life.  The College Board awarded us $1,500 for our strong AP Italian Program.  We have been very busy working with the Italian Consulate and making plans to enrich the lives of our students several activities. The first, the “Arduino Project,” will be held on October 20, 2016. Winchester has been selected to kick-off the “Arduino Project,” sponsored by the Italian Consulate and Arduino.  Domenico Teker, Minister of Education, and Nicola DeSantis will come to Winchester High School with engineering students from MIT. They will instruct our upper-level Italian students in engineering, in Italian, using Arduino kits. Each student will receive his or her own kit to build a project. Some may know this type of project as a “Maker” project.  All instruction will be in Italian. Science and engineering are one of the themes of the AP Curriculum. Italian has always had a connection to science and engineering, among other subjects. This opportunity allows students to experience this first-hand.  Italian teachers will be taking a field trip to the Science Museum on November 4. We will be visiting the exhibit entitled “DaVinci- the Genius.”  Professoressa Ferretto has been preparing for a visit from 21 students and their teachers from Venice. They will be arriving in November and will be staying with our host families.  Thank you to our host families for graciously welcoming the group.  In November, our Italian students will be involved in a collection of gifts for the Italian Home for Children in Jamaica Plain. This is a service activity that Winchester students of Italian have been involved in for over thirty years.


We are preparing for next year’s Spanish Exchange. In September, we expect a group of students and their teachers to come to Winchester and stay with our students. In April, our juniors and seniors will go to Spain to fulfill their part of the exchange.  Spanish Club students are excited about the famous “Burrito Crawl” in November, as well as the fall Annual Language Club Halloween Festivities.  In the classroom, senorita Wiener has introduced a speaking activity which engages the students in using Spanish in an enjoyable way. The activity is called “connessioni” or “conexiones.” This activity provides a safe space for students to say one or two sentences in the target language. This activity builds confidence, relationships and proficiency.

Mandarin is also offered as an online course of study through Middlebury College for our students.  We are looking to expand greatly on this program in the coming years.

Leadership in the Field

Winchester has a strong World Language Department. Last year, we lead the state in the number of students that earned the Seal of Biliteracy. We continue to examine our curriculum and stay current in our field.  The Winchester World Language Department continues to be in the forefront. Winchester will host two days of Core Practices workshops with the Massachusetts Foreign Language Association (MaFLA). The first will be in November and the second will be in the Spring.  The Annual American Council of Teaching Foreign Languages (ACTFL) Convention will be held in Boston this year. Teachers from our department will present, facilitate and attend workshops. Anna Tirone, a member of the MaFLA Board of Directors has been involved in the organization of the event and in reading and selecting proposals.

Other WHS News:

The Guidance MEFA Financial Aid Night

Here is a link to the video of the 2016 MEFA Financial Aid Night presentation from October 5th.   Visit for additional materials 

WHS Spartan Race 2016

Official sign-ups and registration for our WHS Spartan Race at Fenway Park can be found here:

October Learning Commons (Library Media Center) Newsletter

This is a great newsletter by our Learning Commons Staff.  We have a lot of student centered-programs happening here with so many opportunities to learn from experts or by doing hands on activities!

The Multicultural Network

This Tuesday, October 18th, at 7:30 pm, the Multicultural Network will be hosting “Signs on My Neighbor’s Lawn,”  a civil conversation about the hopes and fears of the upcoming elections.  This is not a night of political debate or candidate bashing.  The group “True Story Theater” will perform.  The evening will be held at The Griffin Museum.  Please see the link for more information.–abvxKIVpWVWVGbDd5dUtQWEtWV0ZuWWYzVGxaVllYQ3Vr/view?usp=sharing

Coalition meeting covering the 2015-16 Youth Risk Behavior survey

This Wednesday, October 19th, there will be a Community Dialogue to discuss the upcoming Marijuana ballot question, key findings from the 2015 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, the challenges of treating mental health and addiction and the stats and instances of risky behaviors in our community.  The panel presentation starts at 7 p.m. in the WHS auditorium, followed by a Q&A.  Come be informed.  See this link for more information:–abvxKIVpWdmRuYWNMOTVPU3k5cXFwUnlNX2RSVVBlUmpV/view?usp=sharing

Day of Dialog

The 5th annual WHS Day of Dialog event will be on Wednesday, October 19th during D block (3rd block of the day).  The conversation is sponsored by the Spectrum Club, Winchester High School’s gay-straight alliance.  The class of 2020 will be called to the auditorium to hear and discuss stories from their classmates and upperclassmen who participate in our Spectrum club.  

Our hope is that this type of discussion and assembly will lead to a more accepting and safe school community for everyone at WHS.

A form for parent/student opt-out has been emailed out.

Halloween expectations

Halloween is on a Monday this year.  Assistant Principals Chapman and Conis will be sending out our expectations this week in the morning announcements.  We will also make announcements in school and the Team WHS blog will be include the expectations next week.   

Parent Social Fundraiser and Silent Auction to benefit WHS Class of 2017!

This event will be held at Lucia’s Restaurant, on Friday, October 28th from 7:00 pm -10pm. Tickets are $30. This is open to EVERYONE in the community, not just Parents of WHS Seniors.  There will be raffle chances for Principal Mahoney’s parking space for month of November and for six front row seats at WHS graduation!!

A few of our Silent Auction items:
Patriots and Bruins Sports Memorabilia, Apple Watch Sport, Two Tickets to see the Red Hot Chili Peppers at TD Garden February 7th, Artwork by WHS Senior Winnie Li, Guest DJ along with 5 of your friends on Kiss 108 Top 30 Countdown with Billy Costa, Overnight Accommodations for Two at The Colonnade Hotel along with a $100 Gift Certificate to the award winning Top of the Hub Restaurant, Prom Package Tuxedo Rental and tickets to Prom, $50.00 Home Depot Gift Card, Dine Around Winchester Gift Basket, Two tickets to see Ariana Grande at TD Garden March 3rd, and MUCH MUCH more!!

To buy tickets or for further info please email: or

Parking update from the town

Please see the link below for an update from the town regarding parking permits and town lots.  Please contact the Winchester Police Department and Safety Officer Sergeant Groux should you have any questions.

Anti-stress initiative

Yoga sessions will start on 10/21 in the WHS gymnasium.  Each class will be from 6:30 am to 7:15 am.  Local parent and certified instructor Lauren Froeb will be teaching the class.   Yoga mats and blocks are preferred but not required.  

Crossfit-style classes will begin on 10/18 and will run every Tuesday and Thursday from 2:30 to 3:30.  Classes will be taught by McCall Middle School math teacher Mr. John Gill who is a certified instructor.  

Meditation classes will be on Wednesday from 6:30 am to 7:15 am in the auditorium.  These classes will begin on  10/19.  Local practitioner/instructor Vanessa Gobes will be leading these classes.  

All classes are open to all high school students. and no signup is required.  We will expand offerings as interest grows. 

Meet our newest Sachems:


Name: Mrs. Sofia Wiener

What do you do at WHS?  I teach Spanish and Italian.

Where did you grow up?  I grew up in the best city in the world: New York (I think New Yorkers are supposed to say that).  Boston has won my heart, but Brooklyn will forever be home.

Where did you go to school or college?  I went to Fordham University for my Bachelors, where I majored in Spanish Language and Literature and Philosophy.   Later, I went on to do my Masters in Modern Foreign Language Education at Boston University.

Why did you come to Winchester?  I came to Winchester because I wanted to teach in a community that I could serve and help grow and that would also help me to be better every day.   In the same way I believe students need a welcoming space where they can be themselves in order to take risks and grow, I believe teachers need a similar environment to strive.  Winchester is this kind of space for me.    

What is an interesting fact?  I am told that when I was three years old, I forgot how to speak English after spending the summer in Italy.   

What is your favorite quote or what was the last book you read?  “The only joy in the world is to begin. It is good to be alive because living is beginning, always, at every moment.” This quote by Cesare Pavese, an Italian writer, speaks volumes to me. It reminds me of the importance of always starting fresh and being patient and loving towards myself, and those around me.

Thank you all for reading and enjoy the week!

Dennis Mahoney


Fall Sports Schedule:

10/17 PFA meeting

Week of 10/17  Anti-stress initiatives begin

10/18 Picture Retakes:  There are two retake days, October 18th and October 25th.  The additional make-up day has been added out of respect for students who were absent for religious observances.

10/19 Day of Dialog

10/19 Voluntary faculty meeting, Hyper- viewing

10/19 Coalition meeting covering the 2015-16 Youth Risk Behavior survey

10/20 Math Olympiad

10/28 School Dance, Parent Silent Auction

10/31 Halloween

11/2 The Gift of Failure author and guest speaker Jessica Lahey will speak to our freshman students, in a program brought by our Coalition for a Safer Community.   Mrs. Lahey will then speak to parents and community members at 7 pm in the WHS auditorium.

11/4 Close of Quarter 1 grades

11/8 No School.  Professional Development for WPS staff

11/11 No School.  Veterans Day

11/13 Fenway Park Spartan Race community event

11/17 School play begins: Murder Mystery at the Murder Mystery


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