Gyroscopes – November

Video created and submitted by WGHS senior Emily Rapp, as part of the Breakthrough Junior Challenge.

Our Story

This year, I’ve had the opportunity to get to know Emily Rapp, a WGHS senior who is completing a marketing internship this semester in our district’s central office.  In addition to being a true delight, we are continually impressed by Emily’s contributions to our district work.

One day about a month ago, Emily shared the above video with me and told me about the Breakthrough Junior Challenge.  Needless to say, I was quite impressed.  Winning this competition would award her a $250,000 scholarship, her science teacher a $50,000 prize, and the school $100,000 toward a science lab.   I told her that I was going to feature her in my next blog post and asked her if she would mind sending me some information.  Here is an excerpt from what she wrote:

“I found gyroscopes interesting because when reading about complicated physics topics, I read that most professors gloss over gyroscopes because they do not want to go into the lengthy mathematical reasons for their occurrences. This fact motivated me to learn why gyroscopes work and to be able to explain the concept concisely to people without need for mathematics, although I do love math. Also, I was incredibly intrigued by the spinning bike wheel and desperately wanted to find out why it did what it did. Personally, my worst conceptual understanding in physics was rotational motion, specifically moment of inertia. This video not only allowed me to learn about mind-boggling actions that take place in rotating bodies, but also it made me confident in my understanding of moment of inertia and rotational motion.

I would like to pursue biochemistry or chemical engineering in the future because I find the elements and the reactions they have simply mesmerizing. To think that the entire world is made up of 118 elements blows me away. 

Dr. David Schuster, my AP Physics I and AP Physics II teacher, has consistently fueled my learning of physics. His class is extremely intense, and it pushes me past my limits. I learn things I never expected to understand, and I am a better student because of it. He is extremely excited about physics and being in his presence inspires me to continue my study of physics outside of the classroom. He is kind, generous, extraordinarily intelligent, and a fantastic teacher. My goal in life is to be as passionate about my future career as he is about his current one.”

While Emily has already made it to one of the later stages of the competition, moving to the next phase was dependent on the number of Facebook “likes” and comments her video received.

If you “liked” or commented on Emily’s behalf, thank you for supporting her and all those, including Dr. Schuster, who have supported her along the way!

Each child, Each day…John



  • Over 525 community members participated in the 2016 Ivory Crockett Run for Webster!  Thanks to the WGSD Foundation, PE teachers, and everyone else for helping make this the largest Run turnout on record!
  • Avery School hosted a “Pajamas for Police” day that raised $1,345.66 for BackStoppers in support of Police Officer Blake Synder’s Family.
  • The district’s YouTube channel and home page will feature videos about staff members this year, called In Focus. The first person in this series is High School math teacher Eric Dunn. You can see the video here:
  • Congratulations to WGHS Girls Volleyball Coach Molly Dean, on being named coach of the year in the Suburban South Conference.
  • Congratulations to Jeanette Hencken, Margaret Skouby, Nicholas Kirschman, and the Statesbots for hosting the US FIRST FTC Robotics competition on Saturday.  As a result of their scores in this meet, the Statesbots Teams are now ranked 2nd and 6th in the state out of an estimated 250 teams in Missouri.  The teams will host a second meet on November 19th.



  • To promote digital citizenship and Internet safety, the district has deployed desktop backgrounds (some student-created) to every K-8 student computer.  The images and accompanying suggestions for use with children are part of the district’s effort to promote positive and safe use of technology.


  • The WGSD Foundation has launched a campaign to support Funding Innovation in the Classroom through support of Makerspaces.  To learn more, please go to:
  • Dr. Denbow, assistant superintendent for learning, shared the “Student Success” report with the board of education at the last board meeting.  To view the report, click here:
  • Curious about the Science Fair? Wondering what’s required? Get your questions answered at the Science Fair How To Night on Tuesday, Nov. 29 at 6:30 p.m. in the Edgar Road Elementary library.
  • Prior to the Turkey Day Game at noon on Thanksgiving Day at Moss Field, the district is hosting the annual Chili Fest Competition on Wednesday, November 23 from 5-7 pm at WGHS.  Come and sample chili from local restaurants and non-professional entrants such as graduating classes!  Click here for more information and to buy tickets online: