2018 was a remarkable year among the scholars, artists, athletes, and leaders in the Prairie community.
Here are the top 10 highlights from last year.
10. Together as One
Third time’s the charm: having grown in scope and attendance each year since its inception, the 3rd Annual Multicultural Fair was arguably one of the Prairie community’s favorite events of 2018. This celebration, organized by a group of students and faculty, featured dance exhibitions, a community art project, ethnic cuisine, and more — highlighting many of the various cultures represented at TPS.
9. Wind Point Takes the Windy City
From June 19th – August 11th, the worlds of Wind Point and Chicago collided in a beautiful mosaic lighthouse handcrafted on Prairie’s campus. Spearheaded by Holly Wolf-Mattick, Glass Studio Manager, Our Treasure Trove was truly a team project – students and teachers from all three divisions loaned their talents and imaginations to this one-of-a-kind creation. The Lighthouses on Magnificent Mile was a public art display in the city of Chicago that ran June 19th – August 11th.
8. Inaugural Jazz Day
Led by instrumental music teacher Jamie Breiwick, Prairie hosted its inaugural Jazz Day in April. Middle and high school jazz ensembles and band students from area schools joined TPS musicians for a day of clinics, including a history session and masterclass, followed by a concert later that night featuring internationally renowned jazz artist and educator Jeremy Pelt.
7. Hardwood Heroics
2018 was a year of remarkable, program-wide accomplishment for Prairie’s basketball and volleyball programs: J.C. Butler ’18 became the first player in Racine County history to eclipse 2,000 career points; the boys’ varsity basketball team won the Metro Classic Conference with a 15-1 record; the girls’ basketball team went on a memorable late season run that resulted in a WIAA Division 4 Regional Championship; and girls’ varsity volleyball won the program’s first conference and regional titles en route to setting a school record for victories in a season (24).
6. Record Support for The Prairie Fund
In just a few short months, members from all corners of the Prairie community came together to break participation records for the Prairie Fund. 2018 marked the fifth consecutive year that 100% of Prairie’s full-time faculty members made a gift in support of the initiative — and current parents increased their collective participation by over 400% compared to the previous year, easily unlocking a $10,000 match courtesy of Jill and Chris Osiecki.
5. The Drowsy Chaperone Plays to Critical Acclaim
When it comes to the world of high school theatre in Wisconsin, there’s not much that tops your musical getting a Jerry Award nomination…unless it gets eleven. That’s exactly what happened this spring for Prairie’s US Players following their performance of The Drowsy Chaperone. The Jerrys recognize and honor high school musical theatre in Wisconsin
4. Bonnie Benes Retires
34 years: over three decades of impacting students and influencing the paths they would go on to travel not just in Upper School, but in their life after Prairie. In June, Bonnie Benes conducted her last Middle School Morning Meeting, concluding a brilliant TPS career that began in 1984. Her retirement party in June was celebrated in true Bonnie fashion – with a surprise appearance by the University of Wisconsin Marching Band.
3. Making Waves: New Athletic Teams Begin Competition
2018 marked the addition of two sports to the TPS Athletics roster. Prairie’s first ever Upper School Swimming & Diving teams — girls’ in the fall, boys’ in the winter — made a splash as members of the Southern Lakes Conference, led by Prairie parent and former Olympian Yoav Meiri. And Wrestling made a return to Prairie, as a co-op program with both Racine St. Catherine’s and Racine Lutheran High School.
2. Prairie Ranked Best School in Wisconsin
This fall, Prairie topped the lists of the Best Private High Schools and the Best Private K-12 Schools in Wisconsin, as compiled by the popular website Niche.com. The #1 rankings are based on analysis of data including academic achievement, student life factors, test scores, and user reviews.
1. Remembering Mrs. Johnson
In one of her final acts as Board Chair, Imogene PowersJohnson, Prairie’s founder, led the Board of Trustees in an updating of the school’s Mission in January, work that included the creation of a new Guiding Mantra and Inclusivity Statement.
Another highlight of the Board’s work was the Founder’s Intent:
“The Prairie School exists to enhance the educational options for Racine and surrounding communities, to provide an excellent independent ES-12th grade college preparatory educational institution and to serve as a key catalyst to make our community a better place to live, work and raise a family.”
Mrs. Johnson passed away on March 3rd at the age of 87. Her leadership, kindness, commitment, and desire will forever guide Prairie’s work of helping students become their best selves.