Wild Cat Blog
The latest and greatest from the Weller community
At Weller, we have so many great volunteers helping make us successful. To highlight their efforts and help you get to know them better, we are going to interview them so you can learn more about who they are and how they help. This post will focus on Karyn Baskette who is bringing creativity and flair to the PTOs flyers, logo and website this year.
I've been doing graphic design for almost 20 years and have owned my own company, Yondee Designs, for the last 11 years. I work with corporations and associations and my focus area is primarily anything print. I graduated from JMU (Go Dukes!) with a BA in Media Arts and Design. When I'm not designing for the corporate world, I also have an Etsy shop, Yondee Celebrations, and love creating whimsical pieces for personal needs like custom invitations, holiday cards, wall art, baby and bridal pieces. My husband Steve and I are busy raising our three boys Brody, 6 (first), Bryan, 8.5 (third) and AJ,11 (sixth). On any given Saturday, you'll find us running from game to game on the soccer field. In our down time, we love game night, dance parties or doing an art project. It's awesome to see my boys have a passion for art like me! You can check out my website at yondeedesigns.com or my etsy page at www.etsy.com/shop/yondeecelebrations.
You're fairly new to Weller, what are your impressions in the last year?
We came to Weller from another Ashburn school so the transition was easy for my boys. The school itself was very similar, in fact the layout is even the exact same! One thing I felt was missing was the sense of community. I think our challenge at Weller is that families are spread across many neighborhoods and it would be great to somehow have more of a community feel. Teachers and kids have all been great, but would I would love to see more events like Muffins with Mom, Donuts with Dad or activities like Parents Night Out where you can get to know more people. The more people you know, the more connected and engaged you feel. All of that to me, leads to more involvement and morale for the school.
How did you get involved with the PTO?
I have never been on any PTA or PTO before. I've always given my time to my child's classroom and helped individual teachers. But, last year I was new and really didn't know a thing about Weller so getting into the PTO made sense to me. Also, my friend Heidi had signed up and asked if I would work on her committee. I work full-time so felt uneasy about how much time I could give, but ultimately realized it was a wonderful decision to jump in and join a committee with a friend. I committed to helping her with any graphic visuals she would need since that is my area of expertise. We have all strengths and gifts and I encourage everyone to jump in and find a way to get get involved. I've only been involved for a short time, but really have enjoyed giving back.
What was your inspiration for the re-branding of the Weller logo?
I loved working with the logo! This summer as I was creating the corporate sponsorship materials, I realized Weller didn't have a true logo. We have a beautiful custom artwork of the wild cats created by our art teacher, Mrs. Galvin. I wanted to keep her vision and wild cats, but add typography to it to create a strong brand for our school. The shield was a perfect shape for the artwork and symbolized strength and safety within our school. The wild cats come out of the shield just a bit to add depth and movement symbolizing our school not stuck in a box, but always growing and pushing the limits for our children. The block lettering is also strong and bold which is easy to read on many mediums.
We are so excited to welcome back returning and introduce new families to Weller. Last year, Weller celebrated its 10th anniversary marking the culmination of a decade educating our children. This year, we begin to look ahead to the next ten years with several important goals; improving communication, investing in capital projects to improve the school and building a lasting Weller community.
The PTO has spent most of the summer laying the groundwork to achieve these goals. We believe the efforts will have a sizable impact on Weller this year (and beyond).
But most importantly, let’s have a fun year. What an exciting time to be a parent, student or teacher in Loudoun County!
Welcome to the #Next10,
Your Steuart Weller PTO Board
This year, Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) will be investing heavily in technology with students in third grade and above getting individual Chromebooks and younger students getting shared access to tablets. This decision rendered the existing Computer Lab redundant.
But Mrs. Fahim didn't want to let the space go to waste so she devised a collaborative space where students could interact with technology and each other! The long term vision for the space will be a maker haven where students work together to create, problem solve, and use technology to augment social relationships.
There was just one snag in Mrs. Fahim's plan - funding.
Not one to be deterred, she created an excellent presentation (attached below) highlighting her vision for the space. She then worked with Principal Burton and the PTO to begin soliciting the $10,000 needed to fund the furniture and equipment. We expected the fundraising effort to take several months which would have left the students without an Innovation Lab for a good portion of the year.
However, The Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), based in Reston heard of the mission and agreed to make a one-time donation to cover the entire cost of phase 1. Thanks to GMAC's generosity, Weller students will have their Innovation Lab shortly after school commences in August.
The donation provides an amazing jumpstart on the year for Weller and is a great reminder of the generosity of local companies. So, if you work for a company that values supporting educational initiatives, it's always useful to ask for their support. You never know what might happen.
We will provide additional updates on the build-out of the innovation lab but in the meantime, get your children ready for an amazing, innovative and creative year under the tutelage of Mrs. Fahim in the new Innovation lab.
You can follow Mrs. Fahim on Twitter @MrsFahimIFT