Student Voice

The Wuersten Award is presented to the sixth grade student who has written the most insightful composition on the subject “What The John Thomas Dye School Means to Me.”
The compositions are written at school by any sixth grader who would like the opportunity to reflect on their years at JTD. They are presented anonymously to the faculty who read and vote on their favorite. The award is presented at graduation and the essay is read as part of the ceremony.

Dr. Helmut Wuersten, whose son, Eric, attended JTD, established the award many years ago. During a severe rainstorm, Eric and a group of fellow students worked all day to save the front driveway, which was in danger of being washed away. Dr. Wuersten saw this act as a true expression of the deep feelings these students had for their school and desired to honor a member of the graduating class who could best articulate those feelings.

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  • Winner of the Wuersten Award for the Class of 2020

List of 1 news stories.

  • Winner of the Wuersten Award for the Class of 2020

List of 1 items.

  • Aidan Romain '20

    What does the John Thomas Dye School mean to me?
     
    When asked this question, I realize that I have a rather unique perspective. Most of my classmates have been here for seven years, a handful for five years, a few for two, and then me, just one, for one year…sixth grade. My journey at JTD began nine short months ago, and yet, I have already experienced JTD’s philosophy of the 5Cs, what JTD stands for, and what its community strives to be. And although my chapter has been shorter than most, it is a chapter that has reshaped my story, and that I will reflect on always.
    Read essay ›

Wuersten Award Archive

List of 20 items.

  • Aidan Romain '20

    What does the John Thomas Dye School mean to me?
     
    When asked this question, I realize that I have a rather unique perspective. Most of my classmates have been here for seven years, a handful for five years, a few for two, and then me, just one, for one year…sixth grade. My journey at JTD began nine short months ago, and yet, I have already experienced JTD’s philosophy of the 5Cs, what JTD stands for, and what its community strives to be. And although my chapter has been shorter than most, it is a chapter that has reshaped my story, and that I will reflect on always.
    Read essay ›
  • Reina Hewes '19

    The moment I stepped out of my mom’s car onto the green lawn, I was scared. That first day of Kindergarten, the day that my journey began, I kept on asking myself the same two questions. “Will I make friends? Will I fit in even though I can’t speak English that well since it is my second language?” I got my answers a few weeks later. Soon, I had made many friends, and I fit in to the cordial community in which the John Thomas Dye School belongs in.
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  • Wyeth Renwick '18

    I have fallen in love.

    It is not the epic love that poets write long ballads about but the even stronger type, the type that runs through my blood and comes out in my every move, the type that will warm my heart even when I am eighty and my hair is turning silver. Unlike most others’, my heart will never shatter over my first love because my adoration will never die. For even if the bricks that make up JTD are torn to shreds, nobody can ever erase the spirit of it. 
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  • Margaret Morris '17

    “Most of the really exciting things we do in our lives scare us to death.” “They wouldn’t be exciting if they didn’t.” -Danny the Champion of the World by Roald Dahl.

    Beginning my life here at John Thomas Dye was one of the most frightening and exhilarating experiences of my life. Being the kind of child I was, I couldn’t stand the spotlight. Anything that challenged me to use my voice was out of the question. One would sooner spot pigs flying through a rainbow then watch me call attention to myself. The only quote in my dialogue was, “As long as I’m not the only new kid.” How would I survive the first day of school, let alone the entire year? Since I came from a public school, the world and atmosphere I was used to was completely different. Even raising my hand was a fear that seemed like a mountain I had to climb. And trust me, I was not the athletic type. That was the part that scared me to death. The exciting part was that I knew the outcome of my years here would alter the course of my life, and leave me a changed person.
     
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  • Jane Hamilton '16

    As we twisted up the hill, I felt a mix of fear and exhilaration. "Kindergarten" was a place for big kids, and now it was for me. When I stepped foot on the John Thomas Dye School campus, I felt completely at home. I could hear the exuberant laughter of kids ringing in my ears, and I could tell that there was a sense of family here like no other. It was the John Thomas Dye School that I have come to know and love. It was a place where I would learn and grow. Not only would I learn to read, write, and do arithmetic, but it would shape me into a better person with strong core values, just like the school, itself, had. Ever since my Kindergarten teachers taught me the 5 Cs, they have been permanently imprinted into my brain as a compass to navigate through life.
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  • Sydney Lichtenstein '15

    When I first came to the John Thomas Dye School in kindergarten, I was scared. I wasn't sure what to expect from my peers, teachers, and academic lessons. I didn't identify JTD as the beautiful, nurturing environment I think of it as today, but as a tall, looming mountain that I was afraid to climb.
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  • Amelie Zilber '14

    Love, Beauty, and Truth

    Six years ago, I nervously stepped out of my mom’s car and embarked on my journey at a new school. I asked myself, “will I fit in, will I make friends?” And how on earth will I ever learn the “Salutation of the dawn?” I secretly held a copy of the poem in my hands those first few mornings for reassurance. But, time passed quickly. I made friends, I fit in, and I finally left the piece of paper at home. I was a part of the John Thomas Dye community. 
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  • Kevin Chen '13

    A long time ago, in a memory lost to the infinite trek of time, I remember someone saying to me, “It matters not when you start or where you end. What mattes is the journey in between.” I was in Kindergarten when I first heard that saying, and I was probably too young to be thinking such deep and philosophical thoughts. Now, however, I can fully grasp the concept of the statement: to enjoy life to the fullest. There were many roads to take at John Thomas Dye, but, quoting Robert Frost, “I took the one less traveled by.”
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  • Alexa Frandzel '12

    As one enters John Dye Hall, they walk upon a brick path marked with the names of students past and present.  This is not any ordinary path because it leads to John Dye Hall, the heart and soul of JTD.
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  • Oliver Friedman '11

    John Thomas Dye. An academic foundation most could only longingly hope and dream for. A family that embraces strong core values and ideals that have subtly embedded themselves in my way of life. A sanctuary that somehow dissipates all feelings of negativity. The friendships that will endure for a lifetime. A precious pearl in our academic and social development. John Thomas Dye is the centrifuge that turns, orders, and readies for the future the children who are lucky enough to enjoy its nurturing grasp.
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  • Andrea Muñoz '10

    John…Thomas...Dye, well isn’t that a hard one. Just saying that one name is like a whole river of feelings flowing into me like a huge waterfall, and it makes it a hundred times harder to put the way I feel about JTD into words. The John Thomas Dye School has given so much to me that it does not feel like a school anymore, but it seems to be much more than that. Although I have only been at JTD for two years the amount of gifts and feelings it has given me is no less than those who have been here for six or eight years. John Thomas Dye has not only given me an education that one can only dream of, but it has given me compassion, desire, love, and most of all, hope.
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  • Shira Levin '09

    When I first came to The John Thomas Dye School, I soon realized that life was a race. It was a race, where I thought I had to be the first to finish. Throughout my years at JTD I have come to understand that life is not about the race itself, it is about how you choose to swim it. It is about noticing the little things in life and the small actions that put a smile on your face. It is seeing your friends Monday morning with open arms for you to run into. It is about looking down at the tiny marsh-mellow in your hand during the Candle Lighting Ceremony and seeing that bright little flame, knowing that you have never held anything more delicate and powerful. Or the feeling of apprehension and excitement before receiving back a graded math test, confident you will obtain a high mark. The special feeling of coming to school on your birthday and noticing that your locker has been decorated, knowing that your friends truly love and care about you. The tingly warmth at the pit of your stomach when you look to see where your basketball game will take place and it says home, because it truly is home. On Carols, the toasty way you feel in the arms of your friends standing by the warm flickering fire. It is giggling to yourself as you see the little first grade boy run across the field each morning during the Salutation of the Dawn. I have fallen in love with this school. Everything about it is unbelievable, but a school is not about its outer picture: it is the people in it that make it magnificent.
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  • Neidin Hernandez '08

    I can still remember the first day the bold yellow school bus pulled up to the pick up stop. My lips were raw from constant biting and the palms of my hands were drenched in perspiration. I can vaguely remember my mother wishing me good luck as I numbly made my way to the school. I sat down on the cold gray seats, tilted my head back and closed my eyes in a desperate attempt to calm my nerves. “Why was I so nervous?” I asked myself. After all, it was only a school.
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  • Katherine Ewell '07

    How to describe John Thomas Dye School? Surely not with words, for words are too small and confining to encircle the multitude of love that is John Thomas Dye. Maybe with pictures or sculpture we may grasp what JTD really means, but for now words must be sufficient.
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  • Caitlyn Gold '06

    Thank You JTD

    Skipping across the lawn with my friends, I pause for a moment to take in my surroundings, as a tree soaks up the sun. Before me lies the city, sparkling in the afternoon light. The ocean shines like a gem in the bright light, and the mountains beyond stand strong and proud. The sun’s rays shine down upon the ground as pools of molten gold. A light breeze blows by softly, brushing against my cheek like a caress. The laughter and chatter of my fellow students drifts past me, carried on the wind. The grass sways to and fro, to and fro, as a dancer does, and the trees in the canyon rustle their leaves in accompaniment. Above me, the king of the skies, a red-tailed hawk, soars overhead, a blur of feathers, wheeling, always wheeling. When the day is done, he will make his way to his cozy nest and settle for the night. Unlike him, even when I am not at my house, I am still at home, for you see, John Thomas Dye is my second home, a place where I can relax and be myself, a place where I am me. Life is good. I sigh a sigh of utmost contentment and continue along my meandering path down to the lower field. 
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  • Tiana Woolridge '05

    Ever since I first arrived at The John Thomas Dye School, it has been more than just a “learnatorium”. It is a place I wake up to every morning looking forward to attending, a place where I feel welcomed, a place like home. After having moved seven times and gone through five schools, John Thomas Dye has definitely become a home to me. Also, when I first came to this school, my mother was going through a very tough divorce. I was always mixed up and confused with what was going on, and sometimes I thought my parents were breaking up because of me. John Thomas Dye was a safe haven for me to escape to on the days when I was feeling sad, confused, and lonely. It also helped me to get past the gnawing pangs of sorrow I sometimes had. On the day I first came to the school, I was whole-heartedly welcomed and immediately guided down a path filled with long-lasting friendships, various adventures, and an education of which most could only dream. All of those aspects make JTD even more like a home.
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  • Annie McCarthy '04

    After spending nine years here at John Thomas Dye I am finally asked to share what my time here has meant to me. Looking back at what I have accomplished over these years, I feel a surge of pride, and I realize that I am leaving this school a completely different person. Many years ago or at least five, if you had asked me to write this essay I would have laughed and said that I am going to be here forever.  Why would I write about what it has meant to me as I am about to leave? In a sense I was right then. What John Thomas Dye has meant to me will stay with me forever. My time here has taught me that I am confident and I will always belong to the JTD family.
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  • Max Ritvo '03

    Utopia

    The John Thomas Dye School is a warm summer breeze. It’s the feeling you get when vanilla ice cream runs down the cone and over your fingers, caressing them in its icy grasp. It’s the sound of dozens of little voices straining to be heard over the rest at the Carols. It is a place where my peers and I can experience life to its fullest. It is where we can relish in the studying of everything, from mathematics to friendship.
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  • Nicholas Cuse '02

    My Second Home

    Every weekday morning I rise out of bed, put on my uniform, munch on a quick breakfast, and then head out to my car. Although it is filled with a myriad of children my age, my vehicle is completely silent, all childish energy subdued by the morning drowsiness. As the car rumbles and pulls out of my driveway, you might think I was leaving home, but for me it's not really like that. For me it's more like going from one home to another, because the place I am going still has familiarity, happiness, friends, and teachers. The place I am going also, like my home, means a lot to me. The place I am going it J.T.D.
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  • Greer Feick '01

    John Thomas Dye is a school where I was just as excited to go every morning in sixth grade as I was on those magical mornings in kindergarten. There was never a day when I didn’t want to go to school. I honestly couldn’t wait for each day to begin. You get to know every nook and cranny so well it’s like a second home. The teachers really know and care about each student. I’m still good friends with my kindergarten teacher. Most of all, I have so many memories of good times at John Thomas Dye. I remember the tree I used to sit on and giggle in in second grade, my hideout in the office next to my third grade classroom, the greenhouse in fourth grade where I grew the only carrots I ever liked eating, because I grew them, the tree I planted next to the art room at environmental club in fifth grade, and finally being the graduating class this year and getting to lead the school in The Salutation of the Dawn and The Pledge of Allegiance. Every time you take the two big steps and shout “I” or “Listen” you think about how much this school means to all of us and how sad we’ll be to leave it. Just thinking that John Thomas Dye won’t be my school anymore makes me sad. It’s not just a school, it’s a place for hugging, laughing, joking with friends, helping others, bouncing balls, learning about Headstart and One Voice and thinking about how I want to make a difference in the world. It’s a place for tromping through the canyon in science class, reporting for the Flare, performing without fear in front of a welcoming audience at Music for Lunch Bunch, outdoing yourself for a Halloween costume, and running a campaign for student council elections. Even when I’m not at John Thomas Dye I’ve seen people who go to our school or have gone and think, “Oh, there’s someone in the family.”
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Ready to apply?
Applicants for admission are accepted one year prior to the student's enrollment. If you have just found out you are moving to Los Angeles or if you have any questions, please feel free to call the admissions office for information.

The John Thomas Dye School


11414 Chalon Road
Los Angeles, CA 90049
Phone: (310) 476-2811
The John Thomas Dye School admits students of any race, color, religion, sexual orientation, or national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the School. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sexual orientation, or national and ethnic origin in the administration of its educational policies, admission policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic or other school-administered programs.

Located In Los Angeles, CA, John Thomas Dye is an independent school for grades K-6. Students benefit from a challenging academic program, fine arts, competitive athletics, and a wide selection of extracurricular activities.