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Hawila shows tools of the weatherman's trade

“April showers bring May flowers,” as the saying goes.  April also brought WFAA Channel 8 News meteorologist Jesse Hawila to Shelton School’s Lower School Primary classes.  Hawila spoke to first and second grade students about different types of weather.  

Shelton students got all the answers right when asked to identify pictures of various cloud formations. Hawila gave students high marks and told them that he speaks to middle and high school students who cannot correctly identify the clouds.  He then spoke about the water cycle and how to measure weather using the thermometer and water gauge.  

He showed students how to be safe during a storm and involved them in demonstrations on stage.  Hawila is a storm chaser, and he shared some photos of storms and stressed that everyone should respect Mother Nature. He talked about lightning and thunder.  Using time lapse photos, he discussed how we see lightning and later hear thunder.  

Shelton students enjoyed the program and learned that they had sharp Weatherminds, just like Jesse, the tv weather guy.

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Shelton student delivers group toast-making process to class

Everyone hears about “designer” sunglasses, shoes, or jeans.  Over 50 high school juniors and seniors at Shelton School learned about a different designer concept – that of designing software.  Designer toast and concepts beyond were the topics brought to class by AT&T personnel who visited Shelton’s campus March 20. 

“If you can work together and design how to make toast, you might be on your way to designing a car, or designing software,” said Andrea Sutton, Vice President of Design Technology with AT&T.  Sutton and her AT&T colleague Lead Chief of Staff Nate Zager engaged students with an exercise to explore the process of making toast, ultimately moving the students from their individual ideas to a group think-tank collaboration that resulted in a refined process.  Discussions about toast were all over the map:  what kind of bread to buy, how many steps it requires, how long to toast the bread.  Most students talked about using a toaster to cook toast, but one lone ranger preferred a skillet.  Some students mentioned butter and jam for condiments; others liked cinnamon sugar.

“You cannot build software on your own,” said Sutton.  “You’ll find that your ideas expand when you talk with other people, just like they did with the toast-making exercise.”

Recognizing that she was in the largest school worldwide for intelligent students with learning differences, Sutton immediately connected with them on a personal level.  “I’m a world champion dyslexic who was not diagnosed until age 20,” said Sutton. “I used to be embarrassed by how long it took me to read, and I did things differently. I found a unique way to get out my ideas by drawing my notes, putting the central idea inside a circle.  I used to hide my drawings, but somewhere along the way, I learned that this was a part of my creative side.”  Today she reads 70 books a year, using assistive technology.  She still uses a notebook to draw her notes.

Sutton told Shelton students that AT&T needs employees who do things differently, and that the way they think is a valuable asset in today’s work environment.  She leads a team of 50 software designers. “We need people like you who can think outside the box as we tackle gnarly problems, improve products, and build better customer relationships.  Big companies are not designed for change. My job today is just to move rocks out of the way, so that change can happen.”    

Having fun with the toast exercise was the first interaction between AT&T and Shelton students, and both parties hope to create future experiences, including AT&T internships for Shelton high schoolers, summer jobs for Shelton students, and an ongoing presence by AT&T on Shelton’s campus. 

The AT&T collaboration originated with Ryan Stafford, parent to Shelton eighth-grader Ben Stafford and AVP Human Resources Business Partner for AT&T.  He connected Shelton’s administration with AT&T, which also led to involvement with The University of Texas at Austin’s Doreen Lorenzo, Assistant Dean, School of Design and Creative Technologies Professor of Practice.  Shelton faculty members handled logistics and communication for the Shelton campus visit.

“We love working with AT&T,” says Shelton Executive Director Suzanne Stell.  “We seek and value these partnerships for our students, because some of our sharp Shelton graduates will be working for them in leadership roles in the near future.”

AT&T has some 250,000 employees, 100,000 of whom drive around in trucks to customers’ homes to hook up equipment.  The process used to require seven devices, and now it just requires one app on a mobile phone.  Team collaboration made possible the improvement.

Once mentored by people who saw her potential, Sutton says, “Now it’s my turn to do for others, especially women entering the STEM arena.  I design momentum for others, and, at this stage in my career, I look to see how I can give it away.”

Asked one student of Sutton, “So, how do you like your toast?”  No answer was given, but it might just involve the lone ranger who made a different kind of toast in a skillet, instead of in the toaster.

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Quiz Bowl team displays trophy

Shelton School’s Quiz Bowl team took highest honors in the 20th annual Texas Quiz Bowl Association State Championship (Division II) hosted at Greenhill School in Dallas on March 30.  Eight teams competed, including Dallas International School, Fort Worth Country Day, Tompkins High School and Houston Memorial (Houston), two teams from Lamar Academy (McAllen) and Jasper High School (Jasper).

Shelton played 10 rounds undefeated to emerge as Division II State Champions. The team comprised Shelton seniors Evan Antich, Etan Cohn, Sean Heffernan and Kaitlyn Waters. Upper School faculty member Rosanne Brooks is the team sponsor.  Shelton students have participated in Quiz Bowl for six years.

“We love to see our students take a win,” says Head of School Linda Kneese, “and Quiz Bowl provides a great outlet for learning and team-building.” 

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Josie Hostin's self portrait

There’s no better feeling for teachers than to see a student’s creativity in full bloom.  That’s clearly the case with Shelton junior Josie Hostin. She’s an artist, a musician, and she has a technically creative side to her brain as well.

Josie’s art was especially noticed in February 2017, when she presented a framed sketch of President Abraham Lincoln to teacher LuAnn Dolly.  She and Mrs. Dolly had a thing about American history.  “Mrs. Dolly is passionate about American history,” said Hostin, “and I guess I caught it from her.”  Hostin made the sketch expressly for her teacher.  “I knew she would love it.”  Said Dolly, “I’ve had many wonderful gifts from students over my 26 years, but this one is truly precious to me.”

Josie, who studies art at Shelton and also privately at an art academy, says she started drawing at age three or four.  The same Lincoln sketch was one of 24 Shelton student artists whose work was showcased on Presidents Day 2017 at a private exhibit hosted by the Addison business, GlobeRunner.

This year Josie attended the regional Texas Visual Arts Scholastic Event (VASE) and won gold for her self-portrait oil painting titled The Colors of My Creativity. She’ll pack her bags for state competition in San Marcos in late April.

Josie also has musical talents.  She sings in Shelton’s choir and has studied voice privately with Blair King, Shelton’s vocal music instructor.  Says King, “Josie is developing an agile and powerful voice with an unusually high range for such a young singer, and she is successfully performing classical arias and arts songs that few high school singers have the range, agility, or breath control to attempt.”

In February Josie participated in the annual vocal solo competition offered by the Texas Private School Music Educators’ Association (TPSMEA).  Josie’s performance of Handel’s Care Selve ended on a high note, with Josie’s receiving a top rating and qualifying for state competition later this spring. 

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Shelton students welcome attendees

Shelton School presented its 19th Annual Ethics Symposium on February 6th.  High school students from six schools attended the day-long event, held for the second year at the Davidson-Gundy Alumni Center at The University of Texas Dallas, in partnership with UT Dallas’ Naveen Jindal School of Management.  Activities included guided discussions, small group exercises, and panel discussions with guest presenters. Keynote speakers and panelists engaged students with lessons learned from real-world professional experiences.  Each panelist came prepared with an ethical dilemma to share for dialogue with students.

Clint Bruce (CEO of Hold Fast and co-founder of Carry the Load Foundation) gave the charge for the day and spoke with students about finding their North compass point through ethics.  Keynote speaker was Bryan Kelley.  Denied parole 13 times, Kelley says he today sits on the other side of the fence as Chief Empowerment Officer with Prison Entrepreneurship Program.  Students resonated with his message about changing directions in life to become part of the solution, instead of remaining part of the problem.  Kelley shared with attendees his passion and commitment to restorative work with former felons.  

On the panel lineup were: 

ETHICS AND MEDICINE – Bill Henry (CEO, MHBT), Robert Kaiser (Clinical Prof. Healthcare Leadership and Management, UT Dallas) and Mari Lu Correa (Family Care Coordinator, Southwest Transplant Alliance).

ETHICS AND TECHNOLOGY – Theresa Brown ( Experience Director), Eric McGehearty (CEO, GlobeRunner) and Kalen Nelson (Quality Assurance Tester, Bottle Rocket).

ETHICS AND RELIGION – Heather Mustain (Minister of Missions & Advocacy, Wilshire Baptist Church) and Father Joshua Whitfield (Pastoral Administrator, St. Rita Catholic Community).

Zac Ladd, dean of students with Shelton’s high school, coordinated other activities led by Shelton ethics instructors Mary Bashara, Wil Matthews and Tobin Knox.

Says Shelton executive director Suzanne Stell, “I look forward to this event each year. I am always inspired to hear such in-depth discussion by our youth as they examine the choices required to develop ethical decision-making skills.  We were pleased to partner again with UT Dallas this year, since we are close neighbors and place a mutual emphasis on ethics with our curriculum.” 

Now in its 43rd year, Shelton has had an ethics curriculum and program since 1997. 

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Shelton Theatre Arts Department presents James Lapine and Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods February 14 – 17.  The musical production is a sophisticated dark comedy set in a magical world of fairy tales.  Everyone’s favorite storybook characters are brought together for a timeless, yet relevant, piece. The Tony Award-winning book and score are both enchanting and touching.  Every character’s wish is granted in the play, but the consequences of their actions return to haunt them later with disastrous results.  A classic case of “watch what you ask for … you might get it.”

Under the direction of Anné Hughes, Director of Fine Arts at Shelton, over 80 students will be involved as cast, crew or musicians.

Led by faculty member Clay Houston, students have entirely built the set, with assistance from volunteer crew members.

Students had an extra benefit from this production by working several days with renowned director Rod Caspers, recently retired from The University of Texas at Austin.  Musical director is Blair King.

Performances take place February 14, 15 and 16 at 7:00 pm and at 2:00 pm on February 17.  All performances take place in The Commons on Shelton’s campus, 15720 Hillcrest Road, Dallas, TX 75248. 

Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students (through grade 12). Tickets may be purchased online or at the door.  A pre-show dinner takes place Friday, February 15, 5:00 – 6:30 pm.  Tickets must be purchased separately  in advance for $10.

For more information or questions, please contact Anné Hughes ( or Debbie McCabe (



The newer notion of a high school graduate's waiting a year before entering college is of growing interest and appeal to many.  Come explore the concept of taking "time out" from traditional education and "time on" for experiential learning.  Opportunities include travel, cultural immersion, service, work experience, and mentorship. Shelton School, located at 15720 Hillcrest Road, Dallas, TX 75248, will have some 50 organizations on its campus Wed., Jan. 30, 6:00 - 8:30 pm.  Representatives will be available for face-to-face conversation with parents and students.

Program begins at 6:00 pm with a speaker, followed by the fair at 6:45. Come explore the many options.

Debbie Knox, Shelton's Director of College and Career Advising, is the liaison for the event. Contact Debbie Knox for more information.  Here's the registration link for the free event. 

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Byars ready for USA action

Shelton School sophomore Trinity Byars, age 15, has joined 20 other U.S. Under-17 Women’s National World Cup soccer team members in Houston, where they have gathered before departure to Colonia, Uruguay.  There they will compete against Cameroon on November 14. The game will be streamed at 1:00 pm CT on Fox Sports 2.  

The team later faces Korea DPR November 17 and plays against Germany November 21. Since April 2016, the U-17s have tested themselves against 15 different National Teams over the course of 17 training camps/events and have compiled a 23-2-6 international record.

Byars is the youngest team member who will represent the United States at the 2018 FIFA Under-17 Women’s World Cup event.   A forward hailing from Solar Soccer Club in Richardson, TX, Byars is accustomed to the role of being the youngest.  In 2016 she and another soccer teammate were the youngest ever to give a verbal commitment to play soccer at The University of Texas.  At the time, Byars listed her long-term goals of earning a starting spot as a freshman at UT Austin, winning All Region and Academic All American, and winning National Title championships for UT’s soccer program. 

In support of Byars and her USA team members, Shelton students will wear red, white and blue on November 14 and gather for a send-off cheer.

Says Women’s National Team head coach Mark Carr, “As with any American team, it's full of spirit, competitiveness, desire to improve and it’s ultimately designed to win at the highest levels.”

“Trinity is an amazing athlete,” says Shelton Director of Athletics Freddie Jones.  “We share her family’s pride as she represents the USA at this event.”

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World geography teacher Alisa LeBlanc (R) with three Shelton student ambassadors

Three sixth-graders from Shelton School attended a meeting of the Dallas Fort Worth World Affairs Council November 1 at the Hotel Crescent Court in Dallas.  The threesome - Charlie Raynaud, Jackson Galbraith and Ford Myers – accompanied by their world geography teacher, Alisa LeBlanc, were on hand to meet with His Excellency Daniel Mulhall, Ambassador of Ireland to the United States.  Ambassador Mulhall spoke on issues surrounding Brexit and the developing trade relationship between Texas and Ireland.  Ms. LeBlanc, a member of the Council, was pleased that the students could continue their study of Europe and Brexit through such a meaningful activity.  

Says LeBlanc, “Being able to relate their learning to real world examples, solidifies the students' understanding. These types of events allow for experiences that are incredibly valuable both in and out of the classroom.  I'm just thrilled to have had the opportunity to watch, first hand, how these students were making such profound connections to their world.”

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Shelton senior Etan Cohn has been named a semifinalist in the 2019 National Merit Scholarship Program.  Etan is one of 16,000 semifinalists announced September 12th by officials of the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC).

Over 1.6 million juniors in some 22,000 high schools across the nation entered the program by taking the 2017 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT / NMSQT®).  Etan and other semifinalists represent less than one percent of each state’s high school seniors.  Semifinalists may continue in the NMSC competition for 7,500 National Merit Scholarships totaling more than $31 million to be awarded in spring 2019. 

Typically, some 15,000 semifinalists will advance as finalists.  From these, Merit Scholarships will be awarded on the basis of these students’ accomplishments and abilities.

Three types of scholarships – National Merit $2,500 Scholarships, Corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards, and College-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards – will be announced this coming spring.  Every finalist will compete for one of the $2,500 scholarships.

“Etan is Shelton’s first National Merit Scholarship semifinalist,” says Shelton Executive Director Suzanne Stell.  “We have celebrated with Shelton students who were NMSC ‘commended’ recipients in the past, but we naturally are excited with Etan’s distinguished award.”   

“We are exceptionally proud of Etan’s honor,” says Head of School Linda Kneese.  “First, we recognize Etan’s unique accomplishments and academic success.  And, of course, as a school, we are undoubtedly pleased to have shared in his educational journey.”  

Etan has been at Shelton since 2006.  A versatile student, he has been actively involved in band, drumline and soccer. 

Etan is the son of Daniel and Deborah Cohn of Plano.  Together they and several Shelton administrators celebrated Etan’s honor in a private ceremony held prior to NMSC’s public announcement.