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Pittsburgh Parenting Blog by Sewickley Academy

Sewickley Academy: Resource Blog for Parents

The Gateway To The World

For more than a quarter century, well-respected architect Gregory Etter ’72 has been involved in construction projects across a broad arc of the globe. During many of those years, he designed and developed buildings in the Middle East and North Africa, all during a period of intense turbulence for that region. Working and traveling in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Oman, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, and Syria, he’s been an observant witness to the beauty and hardship of a fractured part of the world in the process of remaking itself. Along with his keen interest in language, Greg’s career as an architect continues to allow him to pursue his quest for lifelong learning, a passion he first acquired at Sewickley Academy.

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Topics: Alumni

Pittsburgh Proud: Reasons We Love Our City

As Pittsburghers, we are a proud people. As residents of the "burgh," we are thrilled to see our city receiving so many accolades on the news. Listed as one of the top places to live, work, and visit in the United States, Pittsburgh has achieved this status according to the likes of National Geographic Traveler Magazine, which ranked Pittsburgh highest in their Best Cities in the United States Top 30 List. TripAdvisor also touted Lawrenceville as one of the 14 coolest hipster neighborhoods in the U.S. in 2018.

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Explore the History of Pittsburgh with Your Teenager

Looking for activities to do with your teenager? Learn about the history of Pittsburgh one afternoon by visiting the Nationality Rooms at the University of Pittsburgh (Pitt) and then taking a ride on one of the two inclines. Both activities offer older children the chance to learn about the diverse history of the city and the determination of its inhabitants.

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Ways to Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Pittsburgh

Martin Luther King Jr. Day reminds us that history is often cyclical with moments where we move forward, stand still, and then return to the roots of our habits as a nation. 

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How To Entertain Your Sick Child Without Turning On The Television

In a perfect world, children are always at school when their parents need to be at work. But as every parent knows, the schedule almost never works out perfectly. On top of the long weekends and numerous national holiday breaks, there are also the days home with your kids that can't be predicted, sick days.

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An Entrepreneur and an Environmentalist

An environmentalist at heart, Dr. Robert “Bob” Hedin ’74 didn’t anticipate starting his own business. As a scientist, he was used to studying the environment and enjoyed working for the government. That was until he realized he didn’t want to just study things, he wanted to take action and build things. As one of the leading authorities on the treatment of mine drainage and the restoration of streams polluted by mine drainage, Bob took matters into his own hands and founded Hedin Environmental in 1994.

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Topics: Alumni

Exploring Sewickley: Helping Others Find A Place To Call Home

Making a house a home is never easy; it’s an ongoing process. Part of the “home” feeling comes from the town or village one resides in. So how do you market a town and make it feel like home? That’s where Jennifer Markus ’89, co-founder of Explore Sewickley, steps in.

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Topics: Alumni

Drexel University Goes Green

The very first morning after returning to Drexel University as a sophomore, I got up and went for a run. As I rounded the corner on 33rd Street to head down Chestnut Street toward the Schuylkill River Trail, I nearly ran into a group of freshmen standing in the middle of the sidewalk – as the story goes – and as I passed this group I noticed two of them holding reusable takeout containers. I thought to myself, “It happened. It really happened. They implemented one of my programs.”

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Topics: Alumni

Breaking All the Rules: Smith Brothers Agency

Ask the Smith Brothers about their approach to the advertising business and they’ll tell you it’s simple: you have to know the rules well enough to break them. Having returned to Pittsburgh from Manhattan to start their own firm back in 2002, their smart and provocative work (think “Making Bar Fights Safer” for Iron City Beer’s new aluminum bottles or “Fruit Undressed” for Del Monte’s Fruit Naturals) quickly set their clients apart from their competitors and their company on a path to becoming one of Pittsburgh’s most successful advertising agencies.

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Topics: Alumni

How to Make the Most Out of Shadow Days at Private Schools

Beginning the search for private schools can be daunting for families. First, make a list of all of the schools you want to research. Once you narrow down the list to a few select schools you are primarily interested in, it is time to schedule a Shadow Day, one of the most critical parts of the admission process.

Shadow Days work as a two-fold opportunity for a prospective family to gauge the overall fit of the school, or how well the student matches the mission of the school, and to ensure the school is the right place for your child to begin or continue their education. Students and parents should feel comfortable in asking questions and evaluating the school, as well. Most schools refer to a Shadow Day as a “true-to-life experience,” and highlights the school for prospective students and their families to encourage them to enroll.

So how do you make the best use of a Shadow Day?

For students, try to fully engage in the classroom and take advantage of opportunities that present themselves throughout the day. If you know an answer to a question in a class, do not be afraid to raise your hand. Students that engage with their peers and teachers stand out which could lead to a recommendation from an internal teacher and, in turn, help the student to receive a favorable admission decision.

Parents will also have an opportunity to engage with the school via a tour or conversation with an admission representative. Parents can take this time to ask questions that are important to them, which usually leads to a more meaningful conversation and the impression that the family has high interest in the school.

The most crucial part of a Shadow Day that often gets overlooked is the family debrief and discussion that evening. Parents may have questions prepared for their child about their experience, things that he or she saw or heard, how the student felt in the various settings of the school, etc. It is rare for a prospective student to have a negative experience, but not all Shadow Days go perfectly either. Having a plan on how to evaluate the experience as a family, while also comparing the experience to Shadow Days at other schools, is crucial to help determine the best fit school for your child.

Do not be surprised if you receive a follow-up call or email from a representative of the school you recently visited. If, as a family, you are really interested in a particular school, have your child send a thank you card or email to the school; it’s always a great touch. All in all, the Shadow Day process should be fun and should provide a great way to evaluate a school.

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