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Senior Trip to DC

April 08, 2024
By Greta Barvick

Last month, the senior class was delighted to depart on the second field trip of their high school career: a trip to Washington D.C., where they visited Capitol Hill and the Heritage Foundation. The students had the privilege of meeting Congressman Ben Cline, who was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule to answer any and all of their questions about his job, Congress, and the U.S. Government in general. The class then went on a tour of the Capitol, guided by two of Congressman Cline’s staffers, before heading to the Heritage Foundation for lunch and a couple of presentations on originalism and the Constitution. Senior Cecilia Lyons said that a highlight of the day was meeting a woman on the tour who had been working in the Capitol building during the infamous attacks of 9/11. A huge thank you to Congressman Cline, his staffers, and the Heritage Foundation for the warm welcome they extended and to Mr. Regnery, Mr. DeJak, Mr. Doak, and Mr. Schuttloffel for accompanying the students on their adventure!

Posted in Students

Chelsea Science Fair

February 13, 2024
By Eileen Peppiatt, edited by Simone Lash

The Chelsea Science Fair, an annual event that takes place early in the third quarter, was held on January 24th this year. High school freshmen and juniors as well as sophomores in honors are required to participate, totaling up to fifty students and filling up three classrooms! Displays featuring bright colors, photos of experiments, and data tables were read by students and parents as the participants waited nervously for the judging to begin. The judges, meanwhile, checked their schedules to find out which students they were judging.

The judging began promptly at 6:30 pm, and the rooms settled down as some students explained their experiments while others, waiting for their turn, gave their boards one last check or chatted with friends. Each student explained their experiment to three judges throughout the evening, then waited while the top ten science fair contestants were chosen.

At last, the results were announced by Dr. Shanahan, who had prepared the students for the last several months for the big day. Juniors– Patrick Anderson, Isabelle Schuttloffel, Jimmy Stanford, and Keira Thomas, sophomores– Ben Tapsak, Miriam Pilon and Anna Reeves, and freshmen– Marya Klassen, Jon Mahlum, and Paul Beasley were all included in the final top ten. Their topics ranged from filtering water to lactase to defrosting chicken! All the students in top ten have the choice to continue to the Shenandoah Valley Regionals Science Fair, held at James Madison University.  After the announcement, the other forty students were free to leave. The top ten contestants were judged again; this time by a group of judges all at once, so that the top three winners could be chosen from the group.

The next morning, the results were reported to the entire school. Applause filled the gym as the ten stood in front. The top three were then announced. In third place came freshman Jon Mahlum with the experiment “Extracting Strawberry DNA”. Sophomore Anna Reeves took second, displaying a project tracking the sugar levels of pasture grass. Winning first prize, with his experiment titled “Heavy Metal” was sophomore Ben Tapsak! 
The Chelsea community congratulates the top ten, and wishes them good luck as they advance to the Regionals Science Fair to represent our school. We commend all of this year’s participants, and thank all those who organized the science fair, especially Dr. Shanahan. Chelsea’s 2024 Science Fair was a success!

Posted in Academics

Spirit Week 2024

February 12, 2024
By Simone Lash, edited by Eileen Peppiatt

Spirit week at Chelsea Academy took place January 8th-12th this year and was filled with fun and school spirit! Traditionally, Chelsea holds spirit week during the first week of school back from Christmas break to give students something fun to look forward to due to the sadness of break being over. This year was no exception! We started out with a combined Twin Day and Sports Team Day on Tuesday, since school was canceled on Monday due to snow. Tuesday gave students the option to display their favorite sports teams and their cool gear, or to test student’s wardrobes to see how well they could match with a friend. It was Wacky Wednesday for the second day of spirit week, and Greta Barvick pulled out her knee socks, while Peter Aronhime shaved his head to match a monk’s tonsure. Decades Day was well done on Thursday with lots of flannel shirts and jeans from the 90s, letter jackets, and side ponytails. Gretchen Klubertanz dressed up with a beautiful dress and coat with heels representing the 60s, and Christopher Foeckler came in suit pants, a collared shirt, a cap, and a vest from the mid-1900s. The final day was School Spirit Day, and the whole school was decked out in blue and white to celebrate. When questioned about spirit week, Joe Akers, whose favorite spirit day is Wacky Wednesday, said “it’s a good way to come back to school,” and Maire McCarthy, along with many other students, said it was fun.

The Lower School students seemed to enjoy it just as much as the Upper School students, especially with a Decades Dance Party on Thursday with music from all the decades, so that they may appreciate the music of the time they represented. The song “Rock Around the Clock” by Bill Haley and His Comets could be heard from the high school locker room, which made many students smile.

A few teachers joined in the fun, including Mrs. Pelczar’s fun hippie outfit on Decades Day, and even Mr. McDonald showing school spirit on Blue and White day. On Wacky Wednesday, Mr. G. showcased mismatching shoes, and Mr. VanderWoude sported his green pants. 

That same week, the French exchange students, who will be attending Chelsea for the semester, arrived and were welcomed into the Junior class. Ivy Akers expressed how she is excited that they are here, and all the students seem to enjoy Maya and Louis very much. 

Spirit week seemed to be a big success and a much needed boost for the first week back to school. Hopefully the spirit continues in this next semester! Go Knights!

Posted in Students

Fall Sports Awards

December 22, 2023
By Declan Thomas

Like the beginning of this school year, fall sports seemed to fly by. Last Monday at the Fall Sports Banquet, Chelsea recognized all nine teams spanning from grades 4-12 in three sports: girls volleyball, boys soccer, and cross country. Each team made remarkable progress and had memorable season highlights, and each student athlete admirably represented the school, whether in local tournaments or state championships. Congratulations to all of our athletes and a huge thank you to the fans, parents, and especially coaches for their dedication to the athletic programs!

The team awards and season highlights are listed below:

Varsity Volleyball
Coach: Mrs. Becky Barvick 
Most Valuable Player: Greta Barvick 
St. Joan of Arc: Monica Lee 
Most Improved: Olivia Zepeda 
Highlights: the team boasted a 21-5 record and were runners-up for both conference and state tournaments. Two girls made first team all state and one made second team!

Varsity Cross Country
Coach: Miss Samantha Libasci 
Most Valuable Player: Gretchen Klubertanz 
Lionheart: Landon Barnett
St. Joan of Arc: Stevie Klubertanz 
Most Improved: Peter Cuddeback 
Highlights: Bryson Barnett was state champ by over 30 seconds. Landon Barnett, Stevie Klubertanz, and Eileen Peppiat received all-state honors. The girls team placed first in their conference and fifth in state!

Varsity Soccer
Coach: Mr. Jacob Guttierrez
Most Valuable Player: Vito Scotto di Clemente 
Lionheart: Paul Beasley 
Most Improved: Joseph Nolan 
Highlights: A fairly young and inexperienced team, the boys made it to the conference semifinals. The team they beat in the quarterfinals had beat the eventual conference champions earlier in the season.

Junior Varsity Volleyball
Coach: Mr. Josh Petersen 
Most Valuable Player: Marya Klassen 
Joan of Arc: Simone Lash 
Most Improved: Annabelle Kotulski 
Highlights: The girls were runners up in both of their tournaments.

Middle School Volleyball
Coach: Mrs. Mary Wingate 
Most Valuable Player: Malta Klassen 
St. Joan of Arc: Veronica Barvick 
Most Improved: Miriam Guttierrez 
Highlights: A team of mostly 4th, 5th, and 6th graders, one 7th grader, and one 8th grader, the girls mostly played teams stacked with 7th and 8th graders. In spite of this, they finished the season with a record of 19-3, and won second place in their conference in a 33-31 second set loss to Providence Academy.

Middle School Cross Country 
Coach: Mrs. Danielle Reeves
Most Valuable Player: Joseph Dejak 
Lionheart: Sam Barklage 
St. Joan of Arc: Elizabeth Lynch 
Most Improved: Katrina McFadden
Highlights: Everyone was able to complete a two mile run. In the conference championship meet, Joseph Dejak obtained 3rd place and every runner achieved a new personal record.

Middle School Soccer
Coach: Mr. Greg Lynch 
Most Valuable Player: Matthew Lee 
Lionheart: Frankie McCarthy 
Most Improved: Issac Fier 
Highlights: At the beginning of the season, the boys lost to Fairfax Homeschool 6-0, but they beat the same team 5-2 in the conference tournament. 

Posted in Sports

The Annual St. Cecilia's Day

November 21, 2023
By The Journalism Team

St Cecilia’s Day, an annual tradition that sends students off to Thanksgiving break, took place on the 21st of November this year! This event showcases the artful talent of the students while they compete for house points. Each house has twenty-five minutes to impress the judges with a combination of a skit, songs, poetry, instrumental work, and traditional dancing. Our fine judges this year consisted of our very own Mrs. Philbin, Mrs. Guttierez, and Mr. McCarthy, and the scores were calculated by Mr. Foeckler.

Our first performing house, Colet, showcased their talent through a group song of “When The Saints Go Marching In” with Max Eggzarian on the saxophone. A scene from Tom Sawyer starring Brooks Reuer gave the judges a smile. Two melancholic guitar pieces by Nate Snyder and Edmund Brugger were very impressive and well done. 

Second to perform was the house of Pole. They started with “Part of Your World” from The Little Mermaid by the Upper School girls, followed by “You Make Me Feel So Young” by Frank Sinatra sung by the Lower School girls. They also showcased Irish dancing by the MacDougall sisters, a skit from Emma by Jane Austin, and a violin piece: “A Million Dreams” from The Greatest Showman. 

Then the Fisher House impressed the judges through a fantastic scene from Henry V wherein the Lower School boys battled the Upper School boys. The piano piece “Whispers of the Wind” was played by Francis Foeckler. Then Finn McCarthy and Jack Stanford played instruments as Ken Furlong sang “Galway Girl” by Scythian. A powerful violin and cello piece by the Hechingers and “Dulce et decorum est” by the Stanfords topped off their performance.

Lastly, Roper house showed their spunk through a fun group song “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” and a Roald Dahl poem “The Pig” recited by Anna DeJak. Then Meg DeJak played “The Sailor’s Bonnet” on the violin, and a sweet version of “Edelweiss” was sung by the Lower School girls led by Mrs. McShirley and Maire McCarthy on the guitar. A skit from Pride and Prejudice starring Ivy Akers finished out the performance.

Results! The students patiently waited as Mr. Foeckler counted up the scores, while Mr. VanderWoude entertained the students with would-you-rathers. Finally, the results were in: 4th place was Colet, 3rd place was Pole, 2nd place was Roper, and 1st place was Fisher.
The blue and yellow boys of Fisher screamed and jumped for joy at their victory. All of the students are excited for Thanksgiving Break and proud of another St Cecilia’s Day done. Congrats Fisher! St. Cecilia, pray for us!

Mystery Solved? The Truth about Dr. Wheeler

November 09, 2023
By Belle Schuttloffel, edited by Eileen Peppiatt

     Dr. Wheeler was a beloved Chelsea teacher, well known for his Scottish accent and love of history. He came to the school in 2021 and quickly became a favorite of students and faculty alike, despite the fact that he hated Lucky Charms. In August of 2023, however, disaster struck. Innocent Chelsea students entered the history classroom on their first day, only to discover the resident Brit was missing! Furious and heartbroken, these Wheeler enthusiasts attempted to find out where their favorite teacher had gone, but the faculty was mysteriously tight-lipped about Dr. Wheeler’s absence. The students were eventually forced to drop the matter, settling into despair, but I - your courageous author - have chosen to step up, no matter what harm may befall me. I intend to uncover the truth: what really happened to Dr. Wheeler.

     Chelsea students usually know more than they let on, so first I went to Cecelia Lyons for answers. A loud sort of gal, she seemed sure of her theory and immediately replied, “He’s on a quest to the North Pole to try to fulfill his dream job of becoming a Santa’s elf.” This was a logical option because we know that Dr. Wheeler is, in fact, a leprechaun, so it would not be a difficult transition for him to become an elf - who knows, he may even return this December when Santa comes around. Next I interviewed Keira Thomas, a junior who was confident that the good doctor was working undercover as a Buckingham Palace guard so he could overthrow the British. A probable answer, because we all know how much the Irish (Scottish?) hate the Brits. Besides, Dr. Wheeler once darkly hinted that he had plans of that sort: “My career is built on murder”. Another student, Connor Taggert who is a senior, poor fellow, rumors that he got deported. Still not satisfied with the answers across the board, I cornered Ms. Garcia, a close friend of Dr. Wheeler’s. Keeping it short and sweet, though a bit suspicious, she simply replied “potato famine” and refused to elaborate. Mystified, intrigued, and still uncertain of who to trust with my burning question, I ventured down to Mr. DeJak’s office - who I was certain knew the truth since he’s at the top of the Chelsea pyramid. This, dear reader, was the end of the line for me. Either I would be dragged away in chains for my invasive and dangerous questions, or I would emerge victorious with the truth. Knees shaking but head held high, I knocked on the door and was quietly, kindly welcomed in by the headmaster. After listening politely to my question, he answered me with the most serious, straight-faced expression I'd ever seen. “I know the truth,” he said slowly. To my extreme surprise and delight, he proceeded to explain. “Dr. Wheeler,” he continued, honesty plainly written on his face, “joined the circus troop he used to perform for - they made an offer he couldn't refuse. So now he's traveling the globe, getting blown out of cannons.”

     As you can imagine, dear reader, I was in shock. Astounded. Flabbergasted. I felt that I, along with all Chelsea students, had been hornswoggled. Of all the theories I had heard, this was the most absurd. Yet I knew our trustworthy headmaster would never deceive me or lead me astray. So it is out of my own volition - not out of fear or coercion - that I set down my pen and conclude our journey. We wish Dr. Wheeler the best and hope he does well in the circus.

1 Yes, I know he’s Irish.
2  In his own words: “Lucky Charms are just diabetes in a bowl”.

Reaching Out To The “Poorest Of The Poor”, in Mouila, Gabon, Africa

March 08, 2023
By Mariana Valle, Journalist & Jude Lagarde, Editor

For two days, Chelsea Academy was blessed to welcome Canon Alexis Rouquayrol from his mission in Gabón, Africa. Canon Alexis came seeking help for his mission, which he recently took charge of, replacing Canon Fragelli. Founded in honor of St. Therese of the Child Jesus, the 9-year-old mission has continued to grow, recently adding the St. Francis de Sales School and the Orphanage Maria Bambina.

Chelsea Academy was Canon Alexis’ first stop on his journey in America. On the first day, he said Mass for the entire student body, afterward making his way through the upper theology classes, answering questions about living out our faith and what it's like bringing Christ to Africa. On his second day with us, Canon taught the Schola class new chant techniques, celebrated an additional Mass with the mothers of Chelsea Academy, and followed up with a presentation about the mission and their needs.

Christianity is fairly new to the village of Mouila, but the people are joyful to learn and hear stories, such as the life of St. Bernadette of Lourdes.Canon Alexis says that the Catholics there have a deep appreciation for their faith, showing fervent reverence and dressing in their best for Mass. He also expresses that the people’s love and dedication help him to realize the secret riches that surround him, making him truly feel like the “Father of the Mission''. He encourages us to see those “riches'' in our own lives. Comfortable in our own strong Catholic communities, it’s possible that we might take our faith for granted, forgetting about the mystical realities that encompass our deep beliefs. We can see by the example of these poor people that God is present everywhere, even in places where he may be unknown.
The village people that have converted show a great attachment to their faith and rejoice in the ability to express that faith in a community. Recently, Mouila’s Oblate community of altar boys gathered in a procession for Pentecost Sunday, preceding a village celebration in honor of that Feast. Last Easter, 12 students were baptized, receiving scapulars that they will cherish forever. Now, they are making preparations for more students to soon receive the sacraments in the spring.

The people of the mission are eager to learn and hear God’s word, but still have daily struggles in the poor village. They are expanding their school, and currently trying to build a library and dispensary, but are held back by poor machinery and insufficient funding. This makes it impossible to fully fix issues, such as their working bus that cannot move because it needs tires. In addition to financial struggles, we have heard that the mission is recently subject to a bad outbreak of malaria. They need our help now more than ever.

The little children appreciate even the smallest of treasures, such as simple crafts and paper dolls. Chelsea students recently sent handmade nativity scenes to Moulia, in addition to Christmas cards written in French for the children of St. Francis de Sales School. As Christians, we are called to take care of the poor. We have been asked by Canon to pray for those in his care and to give what we can. He encourages us to consider devoting some time to visiting as missionaries, just as Mr. Steve Lee and his family did last year. There are a few sponsoring opportunities, either for a specific project or a little child you may meet through their website.


Even if it is impossible to go ourselves, it is most important to be there in spirit through prayer. We can and must pray for our brothers and sisters in Mouila, through the good example of St. Therese of the Infant Jesus. Therese wished to become a missionary herself in Vietnam, but she found that it was not God’s will. Instead, she said, “I will be love,” and offered her life for missionaries through prayer. We learn that those prayers are answered through people like Canon, and even ourselves, who are all called to take care of the world's most in need. Above everything, pray the rosary, and offer it up for the Mission of St. Therese of the Infant Jesus.



See the Mission to donate or sponsor a child here

Learn more about The Mission of St. Therese of the Infant Jesus


Chelsea's St. Thomas More Chapel

March 07, 2023
By Declan Thomas, Journalist & Jude Lagarde, Editor

A highlight for Chelsea Academy this year has been the opening of the Thomas More Chapel, which lives tucked in on the second floor of the lower school Chelsea campus. Named after our patron saint, the St. Thomas More Chapel not only gives Chelsea students the opportunity to attend school-wide Masses, confession, and adoration but also gives the community a place to celebrate the Traditional Latin Mass.

According to Fr. Daniel Gee, pastor of St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, before the concept of the chapel came into existence, the plan was to use the school gym for whole-school Masses. “We would have Monday Masses in the gym, and then, with the Bishop’s permission, use a downstairs room to hold the Blessed Sacrament for adoration,” Gee said in an interview. 
This was the plan until restrictions came from the Diocese regarding the celebration of Traditional Latin Masses. St. John’s could no longer celebrate this mass in their main church, and their adoration chapel was not nearly big enough to hold the number of people who attended the Latin mass. After plans to use Christ the King chapel at Christendom College fell through, Fr. Gee found the only option was to use Chelsea Academy. Gee continued, “However, we realized we would not be able to use the gym, as it would be a hassle to transport the Blessed Sacrament, not to mention getting volunteers to set up and break down every Sunday - every Monday would be doable, but every Sunday would be a headache.”

And so the idea of the St. Thomas More Chapel came into being as Mr. John Dejak, headmaster of Chelsea Academy, collaborated with Fr. Gee over it. “I already had it in mind to convert that space into a chapel a long way down the road, but when Fr. Gee approached me about their need for a chapel, I sent a letter to Bishop Burbidge requesting permission to permanently store the Blessed Sacrament in our house,” Dejak said. Once the Bishop granted Chelsea permission, construction for the chapel began immediately, funded by parishioners from St. John’s and St. Peter’s, passionate about the continuation of the Latin mass. According to Gee, at least 50 people contributed, including Vincent Surmount, who constructed the altar, pulpit, altar rail, and the Stations of the Cross, all made from a combination of solid elder and heart pine.

Fr. Gee stated that, although he was unable to acquire a relic of St. Thomas More, he was able to obtain a relic of St. Edmund Campion, a martyr who lived just after the time of More. He lived underground, performing secret Catholic ministries to English Catholics living in persecution.


Overall, the construction of the chapel took place in just under 5 weeks.

Both John Dejak and Fr. Gee revealed that they both intend to expand the chapel, including adding balconies, to fit in more people comfortably for both Latin masses and Chelsea masses, but those plans are still in the development stage.

We are blessed with the St. Thomas More Chapel as it provides the ability to have whole-school masses every Monday, with our Schola performing every mass. Students also have the chance for adoration and confession, occurring every week after mass. The chapel also provides the opportunity to enrich classes, especially theology, with a visit to the Blessed Sacrament, but also as a place to put the heart and mind at ease during a busy week. Last but not least, the chapel serves as a center of the community, bringing hundreds of people together to celebrate the Traditional Latin Mass. We are extremely grateful to all those who put imponderable hard work into it, for without the efforts of many, the above would not be possible.

Kicking off the New Year With Spirit

January 25, 2023
By Patrick Philbin, Journalist & Jude Lagarde, Editor


The week of January 9th - 13th was Spirit Week at Chelsea Academy! The uniform-free week was an opportunity for students and faculty to show their creativity and enthusiasm in what would otherwise be a bland return to school after Christmas break. Each day, students dressed according to a different theme, with attire varying from Civil War uniforms to 80’s fashion.


In the much-anticipated return to school on Monday, students showed their spirit for Chelsea by wearing their uniform. A hugely popular choice!


The real spirit week began with “Twin Tuesday.”  This was an opportunity for students to practice their communication skills in an attempt to make their teachers think that they were one of their friends. Though that never happened (at least to my knowledge,) the assortment of matching outfits that came in was truly a wonder and a testament to the students’ creativity.



The following day was “Wacky Wednesday”, where people came to school dressed in the craziest and wackiest outfits imaginable. From outfits put on backward to shaved heads, this day was the most shocking and disconcerting day of the week.



Thursday was “Decades Day”, where everyone traveled back in time and wore the outfits of their favorite decade. These outfits made that week’s house activity, “Reindeer Games,” all the more amusing. Slightly concerning (at least for those who grew up in the 80s) however, was the similarity of the outfits on Wednesday and Thursday.      




On Friday, the entire school donned their white attire to show their spirit for the varsity basketball home games that evening. Both varsity teams pulled off huge upsets against Grace Christian School (Staunton) to round out the exciting week. Go Knights!


Thank you to all who participated in the fun! We saw some impressive and crazy outfits this year! Who knows what amusing regalia will dominate next year’s spirit week…

Posted in Students

A Glimpse Into Chelsea's New Lower School

December 19, 2022
By Declan Thomas, Writer & Jude Lagarde, Editor

        With the first semester of Chelsea Academy well under way, we had an opportunity to witness an exciting new feature to Chelsea: the addition of grades K-3. They, along with the fourth and fifth graders, make up Chelsea's Lower School. The Lower School has taken up residence in the new building on Progress Drive, formerly Virginia International Academy.

        Curious to see what the new lower-school students thought of their school, the journalism team took some time to ask them about their favorite parts of going to Chelsea.
        Immersed in a new curriculum that ranges from Music with Mrs. Schuttloffel, to French with Mrs. Lagarde, the lower-school pupils found it hard to decide on their favorite classes. Some of their top choices included Art and English, as well as Geography with the legendary Mr. Selner.  In Math, Mrs. Thomas helps all the younger grades, tutoring them in their weaker spots, and never forgetting to reward their hard work with candy prizes.

        The Lower School students encounter the Catholic faith in Atrium class. Here, they have the opportunity to actively pray and learn about sacred traditions, exploring the parts of the Mass, liturgical seasons, parables, and much more through hands-on activities involving an array of materials and resources. Many of the lower-schoolers enjoy spending time in the atrium and have said it is “hands-down one of the best parts of the day.” 

        The variety of classes in the Lower School provided a solid foundation for these students as they prepare for Chelsea’s rigorous curriculum in the middle and upper school.

        Outside of the classroom, the students enjoy participating in the school-wide House competitions and activities. These competitions not only boost school morale, but also give students a healthy competitive spirit and a sense of pride in their house and school.  Most importantly, participating in the House System gives the lower-school students an opportunity to be with their Upper School peers and build new friendships. 

        Because of the smaller class sizes, students have an easier time getting to know everyone well. To quote third grader Felicity Shuttloffel, “My favorite part of Chelsea is making friends.” This unity is harder to replicate at a larger school and is at the core of the Chelsea experience. 

        Overall the Chelsea Lower School is off to a wonderful start! With dedicated teachers, a solid curriculum, and roots in faith, the Lower School, like the rest of Chelsea, guides students in becoming confident, well-rounded people. 

Posted in Academics

Recent Posts

4/8/24 - By Greta Barvick
2/13/24 - By Eileen Peppiatt, edited by Simone Lash
2/12/24 - By Simone Lash, edited by Eileen Peppiatt
12/22/23 - By Declan Thomas
11/21/23 - By The Journalism Team
11/9/23 - By Belle Schuttloffel, edited by Eileen Peppiatt
3/8/23 - By Mariana Valle, Journalist & Jude Lagarde, Editor
3/7/23 - By Declan Thomas, Journalist & Jude Lagarde, Editor
1/25/23 - By Patrick Philbin, Journalist & Jude Lagarde, Editor
12/19/22 - By Declan Thomas, Writer & Jude Lagarde, Editor



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