Thursday, August 25, 2016

Dr. Sanville's Convocation Address to Staff - "The Power of Experience"

John Sanville
First Day of School
"Forty-something years ago Mom combed my hair, made sure my shirt was tucked in and that my shoes were shined, handed me my notebook and pencil case, kissed me goodbye and I left for the first day of school. Thus began my education and my experiences multiplied exponentially."

Dr. Sanville's Convocation Address to Staff
"The Power of Experience"

The following remarks were delivered to the UCFSD staff during convocation (the first day teachers returned for the start of the 2016-2017 school year).  The message (I think) resonates with all of us and sets a tone and theme for all stakeholders as we get ready for the "New Year"

Good morning and welcome back one and all! As I look out at you I cannot quite see the sand between your toes or the grass stains on your shorts or the sunburn/tan lines. Nor do I know what you have read, seen, done, or tasted lately. But I am certain that each and every one of you has a plethora of experiences from the summer and have brought them with you this morning.

The theme for this morning is the Power of Experience. Experience is the foundation upon which our lives are built - and it starts the moment we are born. Every new sight, sound, smell, and touch makes an impression and just like that – the newborn begins to recognize people and things - using those bits of information filed away.

Fast-forward a few years - and for some of us a few decades - and here we all are – a group of people shaped by our experiences – getting ready to teach and support students who are also shaped by their own experiences. This might just be a dynamic worthy of both closer inspection and reflection.

You have heard from Ken Batchelor, Vic Dupuis and Scott Broomall and their stories on experience – let me share mine. My parents were British - and both fought in WWII. Like many of the Greatest Generation they did not talk about what happened. As a curious kid I found my father’s uniform and flight helmet - and would put them on - pretending to be a Royal Navy pilot on the hunt - in the air - for Nazi submarines.

Dad’s real life adventures dwarfed anything I dreamt up - he was stationed on the HMS Victorious and was part of the sinking of both the Bismarck and the Turpitz- massive Nazi battle ships. When the US fleet was down to one aircraft carrier the Victorius sailed to the South Pacific and was temporarily renamed the USS Robin (as in Robin Hood). Dad flew under the stars and strips supporting US Marines before becoming a flight instructor for US Naval pilots - first in Pensacola and then in Willow Grove - which is how my parents ended up in Doylestown.

Mom was charming and doting and never said a word about her role in the war. I knew her to be funny and clever and cautious. But there was so much more. She was born into a military family - her father was a brigadier general in WWI and met his wife while in France.

Mom and her sister grew up bilingual and spent much of their childhoods in France. That much I knew…but it wasn’t until a visit to my uncle in England that I found out who Mom really was. During a dinner table conversation about the Sanville brothers exploits during the war - my Aunt Aliette interrupted and said “Ursula was the REAL hero” and proceeded to tell me the story. 

When the Nazis occupied France Winston Churchill began a top-secret program known as the Special Operations Executive whose mission was to train agents to work with the Resistance forces and create havoc for the Nazis. My mother was the perfect candidate – from a military family, bi-lingual and comfortable living in the country. After training she was parachuted into France and worked with the Resistance through D-Day. She was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for gallantry in the field in the face of the enemy and was promoted to Major on the battlefield. She was one of about 200 in this operation – most were captured and killed. Mom kept all of this to herself.

The complete silence by my parents about their WWII experiences became part of my experience. I did not question them because I did not know there was a reason to. What I always attributed to being British - the reserve, the glossing over of the war years, the quiet looks between them - was most likely partly due to PTSD - undiagnosed of course.

What does this mean? As the son of hidden heroes whose humility trumped egos I saw firsthand the enduring value of dignity. Their survival of wartime - including deprivation on the home front - instilled in me an accelerated appreciation of the little joys - the charm in a tea box, a watchband that fits just right, and strawberry shortcake. Their move to America - putting an ocean between themselves and their homeland - taught me that sometimes starting over is the best option.

Forty-something years ago Mom combed my hair, made sure my shirt was tucked in and that my shoes were shined, handed me my notebook and pencil case, kissed me goodbye and I left for the first day of school. Thus began my education and my experiences multiplied exponentially.

In a week families all over UCF will send us their children and we will share experiences and create new ones. Education at its best affords students multiple opportunities to learn and grow in many ways via numerous means. I know that we will provide every child with what they need so that their experiences become part of what they carry forward.

Earlier this morning we welcomed our newest folks to the team – in a few moments we will appreciate our most experienced members – and the rest of are somewhere in between – all of us with unique experiences – many known to just you. But this I know for certain -- our students entering our schools next week will have access to creative, informational, and uniquely wonderful experiences provided by the most talented and dedicated staff and faculty anywhere - YOU. And for that – I thank you.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Unionville graduate (2009) trains to become Navy pilot

Jack Pattie,  a 2009 Unionville High School graduate and Chadds Ford is a student pilot with the “Wise Owls” Training Squadron (VT-31), based in Corpus, Christi, Texas, that operates the T-44A Pegasus aircraft. 

Read more about Jack in the Daily Times

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Save the Date!!! The Unionville Community Fair Sept.30th, Oct. 1st & 2nd

From livestock shows to local food, live music and a rodeo, you can get a first-hand look at agriculture at the annual Unionville Community Fair.

The Unionville Community Fair and Farm Show has the largest display of community agricultural and home products, handcrafts and arts in Chester County Pennsylvania.Most exhibitors are local residents competing for ribbons and awards as they are judged by PSACF guidelines. 

Fair Entry Day:  Wednesday, 9/28, 2:00-9:00 PM
Denim and Diamonds:  Thursday, 9/29  6:30-10:00 PM
Fair Dates:  Friday, 9/30, 9:00 AM-9:00 PM; Saturday 10/1, 9:00 AM-9:00 PM; Sunday 10/2, 9:00 AM-5:00 PM.
Visit our website at :

Monday, August 15, 2016

UHS Measures Up in Newsweek Evaluation

UCF Community,

Many news organizations try to measure the success of public education institutions and our district usually achieves high marks.  This past week Newsweek published its findings for 2016, rating our program and student outcomes as among the best in the nation (49).

We are proud of our students and appreciative of the community's overwhelming support.  It takes the hard work and dedication of all of our staff to make this district the special place that it is.

To all stakeholders we say thank you.

The methodology Newsweek used can be found here
This is a link to the Newsweek website - Newsweek

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

UHS Student Pushes Hard for Delayed School Start Time

Matt Daniels,a senior at Unionville High School, is pushing hard to delay the start of school for those in high school and middle school. He said students should get a little more than nine hours of sleep to perform optimally, but often only get four or five hours.

Daniels has been on the forefront of the problem for several years. He, along with other members of the Chester County Intermediate (CCIU) Student Forum, have launched an initiative to study school start times at school districts in Chester County, and examine ways the school day can start later with minimal interruptions.

To read the full article from the Daily Local News visit-

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

UHS Student Andrew Binder Named Finalist in 2016 NASA Astrobiology Debates

Andrew Binder was named a finalist in 2016 NASA Astrobiology Debates Online Speech Competition. His speech was judged against dozens of others submitted from all over the US and he was ranked as one of the top three in the country. 

As a finalist, he will be recognized by NASA and his speech will be posted on the NASA Astrobiology Debates website.
Great job Andrew!!

Get your Hands Dirty at Patton!

Patton Pride Flower Gardens
If you love to work with flowers here is your chance to get your hands dirty at Patton. One chair and 3 other volunteers are needed to maintain the flower beds on Route 82 as well as the large bed facing the High School. A budget is provided by PTO to continue the efforts of Mrs. Ferron to create perennial/self seeding annual flower beds around our school. This volunteer opportunity requires weeding and planting for both the Fall and the Spring seasons. You can help make our outside space as beautiful as the inside of the building by spending a little time in the Patton Pride Gardens.