The Annual Fund Your gift supports our mission to prepare students for lives of meaning and accomplishment.
Letter from the Head of School
Every One, Every Year! Ahead of every young person looms the mystery of their future. I know that was true for me. When I was 10 years old in 1970, Life Magazine published a feature story on the year 2000, imagining a distant future of unisex clothing, fantastic transportation options and really cool design. While all of that fascinated me, I most wanted to see the year 2000 because it would reveal my own future. Surely by age 40, all would have been revealed in a future version of myself. What would I be doing for a living? Where in the country would I live? To whom would I be married, and would I have a family? Every young person wonders this: “How will my life become my life?” Will it be because of some master plan that one envisions and executes well through one’s education and early career? What part will luck and serendipity play? I know that these questions persist well into the 20s for many, including myself and many of our young alumni. Many years ago, I heard Steve Cary — “weighty Quake,” as they say — speak to high school students about the path his own life had taken. A reluctant conscientious objector during World War II, he served for years in work camps during the war when he longed to be fighting alongside his peers in Europe. As a young man in his 20s, Steve went on to lead significant efforts in rebuilding Europe with the American
Friends Service Committee. At an hour of great discouragement in a small office in northern Europe, he and his colleagues received a knock on the door in 1950 with the news that they were to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for their work. Steve went on to be a significant leader in civil rights, an interim president at Haverford College and a deeply respected writer on Quaker thought and civil disobedience. What he told the students, as he recounted his story late in his life, is that he didn’t set out to do great things. He simply made one decision at a time, choosing each fork in the road based on what seemed right and important, often with uncertainty about where each decision would lead, but with a conviction that he needed to do what was called for each step of the way. I thought this was wonderful advice for young people. As I reflect on my own life’s journey at 56 years old, I can now see that one’s life is most persistently, silently shaped by the things we value most highly. What we treasure becomes a strong gravitational pull over the arc of our lives. My life is filled with the world of books and ideas, family, diversity, community, music, spirituality and education, not because of a master plan, but because of the deep attraction they forged over time. In turn, our lives reveal what Scripture tells us: "Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
In this issue of Oak Leaves, we lift up students who are finding and pursuing things of deep value in the life of school, things that may well power a lifetime of fulfillment and accomplishment for them. Our vision as a school is based on the idea that education needs first to be meaningful in and of itself, preparatory not so much in the accumulation of skills for use in a distant future, but in laying a foundation of joyful exploration and continual learning. I hope that their stories inspire you as they do their teachers and me. I know I can’t wait to see the things that will fill the wonderfully promising lives ahead of them.
Rich and Robin Nourie in their mid-20s, at the start of their future together.
Please make your gift today: abingtonfriends.net/giveonline 3
oak leaves fall/winter 2016
FALL/WI NTER 2 0 1 6
in this issue 4
COVER STORY: THE SPIRIT OF DISCOVERY
CLASS OF 2016 REFLECTIONS
A L U M N I DAY 2 0 1 6
YO U N G A L U M N I S U R V E Y R E S U LT S
DEDICATION OF TWO NEW CAMPUS SPACES
ANOTHER ANNUAL FUND SUCCESS
IN MEMORIUM Dear readers, As you read this issue of Oak Leaves, you’ll notice that we’ve taken a few steps toward what eventually will be a complete redesign of the AFS magazine. We have in mind an approach that more closely mirrors our redesigned website, which we introduced last spring. This issue of the magazine, with its cleaner lines, a new font and a more creative use of white space, is a good start down that path. This issue was designed in partnership with King Design, the same creative firm that refreshed our website and has taken the lead in recrafting the look of all our printed and online materials, including brochures, newsletters and information sheets. We think a more unified look for our strategic communications and marketing campaigns will tell our story with more impact. I'd love to hear what you think about the changes we’ve made so far. And feel free to suggest any improvements you’d like to see in any part of Oak Leaves. After all, we are creating this magazine for you. Lillian Swanson, Editor email@example.com Oak Leaves is a publication of the AFS Communications and Development offices. Richard F. Nourie, Head of School Devin Schlickmann, Assistant Head of School for Institutional Advancement Lillian Swanson, Director of Communications Gabrielle Giddings, Director of Marketing King Design LLC, Publication Design Cover Photo by Ryan Samson ’07. Photography by David DeBalko, John Flak, Ryan Samson ’07, Maria S. Young and Lillian Swanson. Abington Friends School main switchboard: 215.886.4350
On the cover: Junior Madison Tillmann, a devoted runner, says her success in the sport has spilled over into other aspects of her life. “It has shaped me, making me more confident and more motivated all around.”
oak leaves fall/winter For 2016more photos and AFS news visit us online at abingtonfriends.net
During the first week of school, we opened the new Class of 1957 Headwaters Discovery Playground and then extended the celebration with our First Annual Backto-School Family Barbecue. About 700 community members gathered on a hot summer night to enjoy delicious barbecue and to listen to music, play oldfashioned games and watch youngsters delight in getting their faces painted. Later in the month, U.S. Rep.
Brendan Boyle was among the dignitaries who helped us dedicate the rain garden that was constructed last April, with help from the Tookany-Tacony/Frankford Watershed Partnership. Not long after that, we learned that our new arboretum of 300 trees was granted a special status, becoming the first high school arboretum in the country to win accreditation from ArbNet, an organization of tree professionals that sets the standard for public arboreta.
Scrapbook QUAKER VISITING DAY
Inventive Kids! Third graders use pulleys, paint brushes, axles and inclined planes to create something from scratch for the second annual Invention Convention at AFS. Students from Penn Charter and Plymouth Meeting Friends School also joined in the fun. Among the student projects on display were height-adjustable monkey bars, a hamster wheel for humans and an automatic tire swing.
Members of the School Committee and Abington Monthly Meeting tour the School on April 13. They joined Upper School students in Meeting for Worship. In the Faulkner Reading Room, a handful of students talked about their classes and their college aspirations with, from left, Amy Brantz Bedrick, Marc Berman, Bet Conover and Kimberly McGlonn.
KILN ON WHEELS Students in all three divisions take turns firing their clay pieces in a kiln set up outside the cafeteria. The kilns, capable of heating the pieces to 1,850 degrees, turned the students’ artwork, including dragons, bowls and conch shells, into finished pieces with shiny glazes.
Rain Garden Planting Lower School students follow instructions from AFS Outside Director Rosanne Mistretta about plantings that will help contain water runoff. The rain garden helps to filter pollutants and improves the water quality in Jenkintown Creek.
A SPRING LOVEFEST Members of the Chorus and Chamber Singers from the Class of 2016 perform their senior song, “Somebody to Love,” during the Upper School Spring Concert. Choral Director Jayne Swank Borras accompanied them on piano.
‘PIPPIN’ CARAVAN CART Technical Theatre Director Seth Schmitt-Hall builds a caravan cart that opens up like a blooming onion and reveals a stage for actors to perform. “Pippin,” the Upper School spring musical, was a delightful mix of singing, dancing and circus fun. Here, the cart provides the backdrop for the action as Eli Russell ’16 (right) and Drew Jacobson ’18 spin a magical tale.
oak leaves fall/winter 2016
IT’S GOOD TO BE KING Students in Teacher Mark Smith’s sixth grade classes act out their parts in a medieval African Sitting Ceremony. Mark told the students that the ceremony was an opportunity for the king to hear the wishes and concerns of those in his kingdom. Afterward, the students talked about the roles they had played and the way guilt or innocence was determined for those charged with a crime.
RESCUING A ROCKET After a student rocket fired from Smith Field gets caught atop a 50-foot-tall tree along Greenwood Avenue, multiple attempts to retrieve it with a drone prove to be mission impossible. Leave it to Mother Nature to come to the rescue. A rainstorm filled the rocket’s parachute with water, the rocket came tumbling down on its own and the data from a dozen flights stored on its altimeter was intact. Here, from left, Munir Kreidie, Garrett Weinstock and Devon Gratson, all Class of 2019, hold their rescued rocket.
The second annual celebration of the environment features dozens of outdoor activities on campus for students and parents. Volunteers were everywhere, helping children build forts and fairy houses, creating sun prints and insect mazes and weaving colorful art on a loom. Community members who needed to rid their homes of unwanted items found e-cycling, recycling and shredding trucks on hand. Adding to the fun, the “Two of a Kind and The Give ’em a Hand Band,” with Middle School Teacher Justin Solonynka on box drum, played some very danceable tunes.
oak leaves fall/winter 2016
Science Night usually draws a huge crowd to AFS, and the 2015-16 year was no exception. The School was packed with AFS community members as students explained the results of their experiments. In the Lower School, the event — recast as STEAM Night — included an Academy of Natural Sciences demonstration of live animals. In another classroom, Nicholas Davatzes P’27 and P’23 explained how earthquakes happen. In the Stewart Lobby, seventh grader Sophie Peterson showed the results of her experiment using a balsa wood glider. After dusk, Upper School students fired their rockets from Smith Field as a large crowd watched the action.
S cra pb o ok
S cra pb o ok
SERVING UP ‘HOT CROSS BUNS’ Fourth graders brought their violins, violas and cellos to the Stewart Lobby for a rousing noontime concert on May 25. The Lower School audience, seated on the rug, cheered loudly for “The Dreidel Song” and “Hot Cross Buns.”
Each of the Lower School classes take a turn in the spotlight on the Muller stage, singing and dancing in a spring program written and directed by Music Teacher Keisha Hirlinger. The magical tale, “The Great Wood,” ended with all the students in the division singing this together: “May you find the strength to know that you are part of something beautiful.”
Pursuing Personal Interests The Class of 2020 gathers outside the School before Eighth Grade Independent Study Night (EGIS) on May 5. After performances by about a half dozen students on the Muller stage, the students continued the program inside Hallowell Gym. There, they stood next to display boards and explained their yearlong projects. Among the personal interests pursued were rock climbing, building a remote-controlled car, baguette baking, Japanese screen printing and mastering card tricks.
A FOND FAREWELL Middle School Director Rachel Kane says a few heartfelt words as the division’s spring concert draws to a close. Rachel often has accompanied the students on piano during their performances. She began a new job as Middle School Principal at Sidwell Friends School in July.
A POETIC VOICE When Yolanda Wisher, Philly’s Poet Laureate, held a master class on the Muller Auditorium stage on May 6, she urged students to be in touch with the reasons why they write and to be open “to allow those reasons to change.” During a student assembly, Yolanda read nine poems she had written, each of them springing from personal experience.
KNOWING OUR MUSLIM NEIGHBORS The Susan Salesky Rudin ’57 Distinguished Visiting Professorship Lecture series brings a panel of Philadelphia-area Muslims to campus on May 18 for an Upper School forum. The program was aimed at reducing misunderstandings about the religion. Malik Mubashshir (center), a West Philadelphia imam and longtime Friends educator, also led classroom discussions as an AFS scholar in residence for two days.
oak leaves fall/winter 2016
‘BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS’ Lindsay Smelcer ’16 (center) holds a “Best Supporting Actress” award for the role she played in the fall 2015 Upper School production of “Secret in the Wings.” She was honored by the Cappies, which recognize the best in performance and technical achievements in regional high school theater. The entire AFS cast and crew of “Secret” attended the Cappies’ gala awards ceremony on May 15.
S cra pb o ok
oak leaves fall/winter 2016
S cra pb o ok
Rain and unseasonably cold weather played havoc with Arbor Day 2016, first prompting a postponement of festivities and then the scheduling of an insideoutside celebration. Seniors and their first-grade pages held hands as they sang and marched into Hallowell Gym together. A lively program of music and poetry, hailing the beauty of springtime and the love of trees, entertained the all-school audience. Then, parents and Upper and Middle School students headed outside for the traditional tree planting and maypole dances. While the seniors and first graders turned over spadesful of earth on yoschino cherry trees, the Lower School students remained inside the gym to listen to a concert.
S cra pb o ok
S cra pb o ok
5. SIGNED ON Asia Turner ’16 on June 8 signed a letter of selection from Long Island University-Post, indicating her intent to join the roster of the Division II women’s basketball team during the 2016-17 season. Asia thanked the many coaches who had helped her over the years and especially her mom, Stacy Smith, who joined her daughter at the signing ceremony in the Faulkner Reading Room.
Return Mail 6.
1, 2. MERIT SCHOLARSHIP WINNERS
In early June, Chelsea Alexander ’16 opens a letter she wrote to herself during one of her first few days in Upper School. At the time, she and other ninth graders were asked to write about who they might be and what they might be doing four years later when they were about to graduate. Classmates Ona Hoxha (left) and Asia Turner look on.
Lucy Silbaugh and Makarios Chung, both of the Class of 2016, won recognition in the spring as National Merit Scholars and each was awarded a $2,500 scholarship from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. They were among 10 AFS students to be named earlier in the year as Merit Finalists or honored with letters of commendation.
3. ‘EXEMPLARY TEACHER’ Rosanne Mistretta, currently Director of Experiential Learning, was chosen by the Montgomery County Science Teachers association for its Elementary School “Exemplary Teacher” award.
4. 24 CHALLENGE MATH
Fourth graders staged a fair in Hallowell Gym to raise money to help support their many field trips. A magic-trick booth, face painting and sack races were among the activities offered to fellow Lower School students.
Ronen Rabinowitz ’23 won third place in the 24 Challenge Math tournament held May 12 at the Montgomery County Intermediate Unit. Ronen and five other Middle School students took part in the regional contest that drew 85 students from across the county. Fifth Grade Math Teacher Anne Fields said it was the first time AFS had entered the tourney. Ronen went on to compete in the state tournament in Harrisburg in June, where he won a bronze medal for being the highest scorer at his table.
5. ‘OUTSTANDING SCHOOL’ AFS is named the 2016 Outstanding School in the Senior Division in a statewide National History Day competition. More than 50 high schools from across Pennsylvania competed. Eli Russell ’16, Kaiya Case ’18 and Leila El-Dada ’18 won first-place prizes and Jayne Pardys ’17 won a second-place prize.
6. ENVIRONMENTAL PARTNERS The Tookany/Tacony-Frankford Watershed Partnership honors Abington Friends School for its environmental leadership during an awards ceremony on May 25. AFS was given TTF’s “Non-Profit Steward” award. The school and TTF have worked together on several projects to restore Jenkintown Creek, which flows across campus.
oak leaves fall/winter 2016
SPARTA! ATHENS! Fifth graders dressed in homemade tunics celebrate on June 3 at the end of the "Olympic Games" that are a part of the annual Greek Day festivities. The students spent the second semester reading Greek mythology and studying ancient history.
S cra pb o ok
S cra pb o ok
Thode Awards in Athletics The Thode Award was created in the early 1970s in honor of the late Edward G. Thode Jr., a Middle School administrator and a great champion of athletics. The award, bestowed for sportsmanship, attitude, effort and consistency of performance, is the greatest honor an AFS varsity athlete can achieve. Alexa Middleton '16, at left, was among this year's honorees.
A Special First Day of School
On September 7, the first day of this school year, Lower School students learn how to ask a question in class, Middle School teachers dance on stage to encourage students to take risks, senior Louis Platt introduces new Upper School Director Dominique Gerard in a video created over the summer and Upper School students share a laugh in the Stewart Lobby.
2016 THODE AWARD WINNERS:
Boys’ Soccer: Alex Graul and Jacob Agoglia Boys’ Cross-Country: Louis Platt Girls’ Cross-Country: Lena Shally Girls’ Soccer: Paige Osborne Girls’ Tennis: Daniella Nichinson and Taylor Plenty Girls’ Basketball: Alexa Middleton Boys’ Basketball: Jordan Baker and Tahir Andrews Wrestling: Tommy Yick and Scott Chhay Boys’ Swimming: Evan Steinberg Girls’ Swimming: Paige Stanton and Lauren Bloom Girls’ Indoor Track: Paige Osborne
oak leaves fall/winter 2016
Boys’ Indoor Track: David Naitove and Noah Rosenfeld Baseball: Louis Platt and Jake Gaev Golf: Josh Diamond Softball: Anna Guaracao and Katie Botak Boys’ Track and Field: Sydney Smith and Noah Rosenfeld Girls’ Track and Field: Madison Tillmann and Paige Osborne Girls’ Lacrosse: Danielle Thomas and Emily Israel Boys’ Tennis: James Green and Eric Kong Ultimate Frisbee: Dan Rothberg and Sam Kleiner
Retreats Build Community Students in grades four through 12 get together early in the school year for grade-level retreats that provide plenty of time for community building. Here, fourth graders take a walk in the woods at Cape Henlopen State Park and eighth graders enjoy the sunshine at their camp in the Poconos.
It's all for fun
On a picture-perfect fall day, students from all divisions competed in the annual Blue vs. White games, cheering on their classmates and testing their own athletic skills. Overall, more than 100 Field Day games were played, including friendly contests of flag football, pickle ball, capture the bacon, soccer and relay races. The teams were tied through most of the day, but in late afternoon the Whites pulled away to notch a 511-505 victory over the Blues. This year, an energetic faculty team beat the mighty seniors in the ever-popular “tug of conflict.”
IN THE NATIONAL SPOTLIGHT AFS’s diversity program shines at the Future of Diversity Symposium in Washington, D.C. In a speech at the conference, Rachel Yakobashvili ’16, talked about how the School’s 10th grade seminar, which focuses on diversity, identity, Quakerism and service, expanded her societal awareness and aided her personal discovery. Shown here, from left, are Rachel, Toni Graves Williamson, Assistant Head of School for Equity and Inclusion, and Tatiana Lee ’13. Toni and Tatania facilitated the student portion of the three-day workshop.
oak leaves fall/winter 2016
The hallways at Abington Friends are brimming with students who are on a journey, exploring fresh ideas and pursuing deep interests as they search to find their places in the world. Their eyes shine as they talk fervently about wanting to learn all they can in a field of academics, athletics or the arts. The hard and sometimes solitary work required is a price they are willing to pay. Some of the students profiled said they discovered their passions back when they were very little. A little spark inside them was ignited and the years that followed have only fanned the flames. For others, their fascination with a subject or a sport emerged only recently, and now inspires them to follow a path unfolding in front of them. The students you’ll read about here were among the many who were recommended by their teachers as examples of the “discoverers” on our campus. Together, they represent all the young explorers in our midst, and are by no means the only ones. As you read their stories, see whether you, too, are inspired by their words, their promise and their courage to tackle with open hearts what truly matters to them.
THE SPIRIT OF DISCOVERY JAYNE PARDYS H I STO RY
For JAYNE PARDYS, a passion for history arose all of a sudden last year when a course she was taking during her junior year on “Philadelphia History” led her to a project that hit very close to home. Jayne created a prize-winning documentary on the role that the Germantown Jewish Centre played in halting white flight in the early 1960s and promoting the successful racial integration of West Mt. Airy, the neighborhood where she lives and the place where her family has deep roots.
“I was able to reflect and to really understand the culture around me and how West Mt. Airy became known as one of the most diverse neighborhoods in Philly. I’d always known there was something unique about where I had grown up, but I never really understood it. “That’s what pushed me to continue my project, this discovery of my own self, my own history, where my parents grew up, where my grandparents lived in this neighborhood. I was really passionate about this project, which made me love history even more. I could see how I could use history to understand who I was,” she said. Since then, Jayne has been a champion of connecting history to current events. “By using history, we can ask, how can we learn from this? How can we change the future? How can we do better?” she said. “You can learn a lot from history.”
BY LILLIAN SWANSON
Jayne has come late to this passion. She fell in love with another deep interest — dancing — when she was just 4 years old. She found that the habits and skills she has developed over the years as she pursued ballet and modern dance — time management, dedication and hard work — also helped her with the National History Day project, which went on to win first place in the region and second place in a statewide competition. In college next year, she hopes to find a program that will allow her to combine her two passions. She expects to major in history or gender studies. After that, she wants to be able to travel the world and help support women in societies where their rights are more limited than in our own. “I want to keep learning,” she said. “I want to connect them all — history, social issues and current events. I want to be part of the world that’s changing. I want to use my voice.”
oak leaves fall/winter 2016
(Brian Wang cont.) on different characters, at least while he is on stage. “Everyone has a personal identity and you usually don’t change much,” he said. “In theatre, everyone acts. You try on different personalities and can experiment.”
PO ETRY As a little girl, SARIA ROSENHAJ would make up stories as she walked through the woods with her cousin. They had made a deal that as long as she was talking, he would keep walking. But it wasn’t until ninth grade, when Saria discovered the power of poetry, that her conversations turned inward, creating characters and storylines that helped her make sense of her experiences. “It’s a way of me finding these truths, and these ways of processing experiences,” she said. She finds that she learns a lot about herself when she’s writing or rereading something she’s written. “Oh, I did have a hard week!” she
He finds playing a part on stage and getting into a character beneficial in other parts of his life as well. “You can understand other people better,” he said. said, with a laugh, thinking about how surprised she had been to realize that about herself. For her, writing “feels like this constant state of wonder” as she excavates ideas in the world she encounters. Saria has found an equal measure of joy in “the visceral experience” of acting in the theater and painting, and wants all three art forms to always be a part of her life. “I can’t function without those things,” she said. “And when I’m doing those things, it shows in the rest of my work.
I could ace a biology test if I’ve just come out of a great day of rehearsal.” This year, as a senior, she started the Creative Café, a club designed to get the writing juices flowing, that has attracted about 10 students to its weekly meetings. It’s a space for students to explore writing loosely and develop their voices. “It’s really just an exquisite and subtle way of making a new community,” she said. Asked if there was anything more she wanted to say, this came tumbling quickly out of her mouth: “Ironically, I think the power of words is indescribable.”
BRIAN WANG THEATR E The theatre bug bit BRIAN WANG back in elementary school in China when he performed in a chorus, but now that he’s a junior at AFS, it’s become a full-fledged fever. Why is he so passionate about theatre? It gives him a way to try
oak leaves fall/winter 2016
In the Upper School fall play, “Sense and Sensibility,” Brian was awarded a
significant role as Sir John Middleton, a man who likes to have dinner with friends and gossip. He played the role with gusto.
AFS, he had a better sense of how to read a script. Now, when he goes to see professional plays, he’s looking at the work differently.
“I calm myself down and get into character,” he said.
“When I see a play, I focus on how the actors express their lines, how they use their bodies to express themselves. I feel I learn a lot from them,” he said.
Not long after he first arrived at AFS as a sophomore, he asked Theatre Teacher Megan Hollinger to recommend 20 plays that were must-reads for him. Since then, he’s been cutting through the list, and attending professional theatre in Philly. After taking Megan’s Acting I class at
What does the future hold for Brian? He’s pretty sure he will pursue an academic route in college, which is what his family expects of him, but he also hopes that acting and the theatre can still be a part of his life, even if only as an avocation.
REBECCA MACEY AC T I VI SM REBECCA MACEY, a senior who leads the Gender Sexuality Alliance, would be the first to admit that she has strong opinions about everything, and she isn’t afraid to express them. “I love being an activist,” she said. “I love being outspoken. I love when people argue with me because I love having an opinion and feeling like my opinion is the truth, but knowing there are other truths out there.” It was not always that way. Rebecca came to AFS in ninth grade after attending public schools, where she felt the questions she was asking herself about her sexual orientation could not be said out loud. At AFS, she found a safe, open and supportive environment, and wants to make sure that inclusive opportunity is available for everyone at the school. Rebecca describes herself as “queer” and embraces it as a term
“to describe all people who are gender nonconforming or on the sexuality spectrum.”
all different kinds of diversity at our school.”
“I got involved in GSA at the end of my freshman year when I came to the club after a realization of my own queerness and a need for a place where I could have a voice in this community,” she said. “It gave me a voice in the GSA, but it also encouraged me to start doing diversity work and learn about
Now, as clerk of the club, she has made the availability of resources and information a priority this year. “I want people to have a place they can go to when they feel like they are unheard or feeling a sense of discomfort in the community related to their sexual orientation or their gender identity.”
(Rebecca Macey cont.) What is it about activism that appeals to her? “I think everybody deserves a voice. Because I think sometimes in the queer community, people feel silenced, and that’s not okay,” she said. The GSA this year has grown to about 25 active members. Though she’s
grateful for the inclusive environment at AFS, she sees a need to do more. Rebecca hopes to push for more inclusion of different gender and sexual orientations in the school’s health curriculum and the literature that is being read in classrooms. It’s all about helping students who are questioning their own identity to know that “gender and sexuality are things
that are fluid, and you can be any way you want, and that’s okay.” Her parents have suggested a career in politics is ahead for her, but for now, Rebecca is thinking of studying psychology in college. “I really want to help people and better understand their situations and what they’re going through,” she said.
CHRISTINA JUSTE SC I E NC E When junior CHRISTINA JUSTE is sitting at her desk in her honors biology or AP chemistry classes, she often has a super focused look on her face. That’s because she’s consuming all the information she can. “I have a lot of questions,” she said. “And I feel like science is a good way to get my answers.”
V I S UAL A R T S
Senior DESMOND DANIELS has found a special kind of freedom in creating art, unconsciously developing a comic style that feels right to him. “I love art. It gives me the ability to be creative, to get my thoughts down on paper in a visual way. It just allows me to be free,” he said in his quiet, thoughtful way. At first, Desmond struggled with art in Upper School, trying to get the details down right. Then, his teacher, Amy Diaz Newman, told him art didn’t need to be realistic, and it was okay for him to develop his own unique style. That opened the floodgates. “I used my own creative style to make what I wanted to make,” he said. When assigned to take a historical piece of artwork and add something to it, Desmond chose a 1936 painting by Archibald J. Motley Jr. called “The Liar.” The scene depicts a group of African-American men sitting around a table at a club, listening as one of them tells a whopper. Desmond added wolves to the scene, giving it a more comic feel. But there are times, too, when his art is nothing but serious. When the art teacher asked students to represent someone meaningful to them, Desmond immediately thought of his mom, Daisy. He made a print/collage with a flower — a daisy — in the center and one special word printed all around.
Christina feels especially drawn to the way science is built on a foundation of evidence and proof along with organization and classification of information. And then there is the joy of putting on her goggles in chemistry class “and feeling so sciency and professional.” “I just love science because you are learning something new every day,” she said, breaking into a large smile. Christina first realized that science was important to her during a trip to a creek in eighth grade, while she was a student at Cedarbrook Middle School. “We went to watch animals, and it was so interesting to me. There were all these different types of life that were living in one ecosystem,” she said. That fascination, along with the fact that several members of her family are in the medical field, has led her to say about science: “This is the thing I want to do.” Christina, who enrolled in AFS in ninth grade, has needed to spend many extra hours studying for her AP chemistry class, but she’s up to the challenge. “Even though AP chem is the hardest class I’ve ever taken in my entire life, I will sit in my room for hours and hours until I get it,” she said. “And the fun part of science is that no one really gets it. We’re all working together to try to understand how the world works,” she said. Christina’s parents were born in Haiti, and as a first-generation American, she speaks Haitian-Creole as well as English. She’s hoping to take a pre-med course in college and minor in Spanish “because a trilingual doctor would be amazing and could reach and help more people.” Christina is outspoken about the need for more women to be involved in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) research. “I want to break those boundaries. I’m all about breaking those boundaries,” she said.
“I chose sacrifice,” he said.
oak leaves fall/winter 2016
MADISON TILLMANN AT H L ETICS
Junior MADISON TILLMANN began running as a way to get herself ready for the rigors of her freshman soccer season, but now she’s found great joy and personal reward in pursuing running for its own sake.
COMPUTER P R O G R A M M I NG
“Once I get good at something, I just want to keep getting better and better,” she said.
When freshman JOSEPH ROTELLA talks about his fascination with computer programming, it’s easy to sense his quiet intensity as he thoughtfully explains his reasons. But what takes a while to discern is that he also has a big heart — for helping his peers learn how to control computers, too.
between her freshman and sophomore years, she ran six times a week in Hallowell Gym, trying to meet her coaches’ challenge of running a seven-minute mile. “In the winter of my sophomore year, that’s when the love of running started coming out,” she said. Madison was drawn to the fact that a combination of running techniques, endurance and mental toughness was paying off.
“I’ve always had an interest in math and science,” Joseph said. “Computer programming and computer science, in general, is a good amalgamation of them both. There is an abstract, theoretical component to it as well as a very practical, hands-on aspect, where you can make whatever you want. You are limited only by what you can think up.”
“Once you put in the work, you’re going to get the results you want,” she said. By the spring of her sophomore year, Madison was running fast enough to place third in the 400 meters, her specialty, in a Friends Schools League meet. Ever since, she has considered running her full-time sport. Along the way, she has learned that “50 percent of all track is mental. That’s half the challenge, telling yourself you can do it,” she said. At her last track meet, she ran
oak leaves fall/winter 2016
the 400 meters — 61 seconds, a personal best. Madison is the first to give credit to her coaches and to her teammates for their role in helping to motivate her. “The people who surround you are so important,” she said. “They give you motivation. I’ve never been part of a family so much before. We have good vibes, good energy.”
She said that her success in running has spilled over into other aspects of her life as well. “It has shaped me, making me more confident and more motivated all around.” Madison expects to keep running in her collegiate career, whether at a D-I or D-3 college. “I’ll be honored to run anywhere,” she said, “as long as I can keep running.”
He is attracted, too, to the analysis required. “How do I go about solving this problem?” he said he asks himself. “What is the most efficient way, the cleanest way, the most elegant way to accomplish this task? That kind of analytical thinking really drew me in.” He tries to make applications that simplify tasks, like an app he created that stops a computer from falling asleep before the user wants it to.
in collaboration with other team members. Until then, most of his learning about programming had taken place on his own, as he studied online tutorials and documentation. “Getting to be a part of the robotics team and working with people like Henry Pitcairn, who knows so much more about this than I do, is something that really helped me and was a unique way to learn,” he said. Last winter, Joseph gave back to his community when he and Social Studies Teacher Mark Smith ran a Middle School Programming Club. He enjoyed the opportunity to introduce his peers into the world of programming. “To be able to instruct somebody in a way that’s easy to follow and just teach other people something was an experience that helped me grow,” he said. “I do enjoy helping people to do it. I think it’s just such an important yet underrated skill in this day and age. Being able to control computers is as fundamental as being able to read or write.”
“It’s been very exciting,” he said, “with lots of opportunities to learn about programming” as he works
Life will be challenging. But you have everything you need — and more.
- RICH NOURIE, HEAD OF SCHOOL
oak leaves fall/winter 2016
The lovely Grove, a tree-laden bowl that graces the front of the Meeting House, was the setting for commencement exercises held on June 10 for the 319th graduating class of Abington Friends School. As proud parents and other family members snapped photos, the Class of 2016 marched down the aisle to take their places on a stage. Once again, a procession of first-grade pages and chains of spring flowers, made that day by members of the junior class, added poignant touches to the tradition-rich ceremony.
Commencement speaker Camille Coleman ’96, who helps children who are afflicted with sickle-cell anemia, told the graduating class, "Only you can define whether you are successful. Only you can determine what makes you successful. Never compare your journey to anyone else's."
When I look at all of you, and see the hope and ambition in your eyes, I feel optimistic for the future of our generation, our communities and our world.
oak leaves fall/winter 2016
- JOSHUA DIAMOND ’16
end of the day, I formed friendships that made my friends seem more like family and I loved it.
C L A SS O F 2016
Jacob M. C. Agoglia I am not sure I would be who I am today if I had grown up at a different school. The people and connections I made here are incredibly important to me, and I will always value Abington Friends for what it has offered me. Chelsea Alexander I would like to say thank you to all of the teachers at AFS for always pushing and encouraging me. And to the students still at AFS, be encouraged and finish strong.
Emily L. Israel I’m going to miss this place and my friends especially. Jacob E. Jacobson Enjoyable and essential to developing myself. Emrakh M. Karimov Stay thirsty, my friends. Chandarith S. Chhay It taught me to broaden my scope and open myself up to the possibility of the world. Samantha A. Chisholm It was great. I love everyone.
Tahir S. Andrews Stay true to yourself. That’s what makes us all special.
Makarios Chung Goodbye, AFS! Thanks for the education. Good luck, everyone else!
Grace C. Armstrong I’m thankful for the community that has helped me grow as a student and a person.
Jenna M. Cohn To 319: I’ve loved every minute with you.
Olivia S. Avery I'm so grateful to have spent my life at AFS and leaving is a little bit terrifying, but I know that I’ve been well-prepared. Emma F. Bisbee It’s been 14 years and it’s been great! Elizabeth Bolger AFS has given me opportunities that I had never known were available. Like, SDLC and the Diversity Program and becoming so close with my teachers. Kaitlyn E. Botak Gotta love Jenny B. Sophia A. Cameron The last three years have been the best of my life. Thank you for all the memories and time to reflect. Anni R. Campbell AFS has had an amazing impact on my life, and I encourage everyone to make the most of their time here!
oak leaves fall/winter 2016
Anthony C. Crosby Love you guys. Qi (Stella) Dai You all are the best! Joshua M. Diamond The friends and faculty I have been surrounded by here are world class. The education I received was insightful and intense, it was one of a kind. Here, students can really shine.
Jake C. Gaev Thank you for helping me become a better person and a better student. Corey S. Goulden Naitove AFS is an incredibly special place. It’s the people — students and faculty — that make it so special. I spent 13 years here, and I wouldn’t change that for the world. Alexander R. Graul Thanks to everyone who contributed to my life-changing time at AFS. I love you all. Shoshana I. Greenberg My time at AFS since first grade has been truly wonderful. I wouldn’t be the type of person I am today if it weren’t for the friends I’ve made and the teachers I’ve learned so much from. Lev A. Greenstein It’s been a wonderful, maturing experience that I wouldn’t trade in for the world. The way the community supports everyone within it really makes me happy.
Kyle J. Edwards Met a lot of people who changed my life. Learned a lot inside and outside Nina C. L. Harrod the classroom. Shout out to AFS and everyone here for being dope and for affecting my Lucia M. Finney growth as a person in such a big Enjoy your time and work hard, but way. Peace. don’t forget to put your personal health before your academic Matthias C. Hausman performances. It has been great to go here for 15 years and to learn so much, but it is Alexandra Gaev good to move on. I was challenged academically, became a better writer, and enjoyed Ona Hoxha participating in clubs and sports. It had its ups and downs, but at the
Samuel B. Kleiner The class of 319 and the faculty in the Upper School made my time here fantastic. I’d love to stay in contact with everyone, and I hope all of you have success in whatever you pursue. Annabelle (Baiyi) Kong I’ve grown a lot through my three years at AFS, and I gained a deeper understanding about diversity, freedom of voice. I try harder to stay true to myself. Eric B. Kong Thanks to everyone who helped me get this. “In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” — Abraham Lincoln Kerry M. LeCure Honestly, I’m proud to have been a part of this school for so long. It’s a quality education and such a warm, welcoming place. Alexa C. Middleton I met many people who are different than me and what I’m used to. Elena S. Moreno As my 15 years at AFS ends, I feel I have been rounded and molded by this great community, and I am forever grateful for this opportunity. Daniella Nichinson My time at AFS has been very special, since I have been here since first grade and have developed close relationships with both the students and teachers. It taught me how to speak my mind and be myself.
Matthew A. Norden I think one of the best aspects of AFS are the student-teacher relationships.
supportive people and interesting things to do and learn. When I look back on my time in high school, I am amazed by how happy I was at AFS.
Daniel F. O’Connor Had fun the whole time, and allowed me to become who I am today.
Lucy Silbaugh You guys rock :). Keep in touch!
Jed M. Pancza Has prepared me for the world. (Well, I will see.) Matthew S. Pohubka Thanks to everyone who helped me through the good and bad times at this school and for always believing in me. Evan K. Prakhin Had a great six years, learned a lot about inclusion and being aware. Daniel F. Rothberg It was awesome. I learned a lot, stepped into discomfort, made some close friends. Elias W. Russell AFS is home! I appreciate that the school has placed me on a path not only to be a better learner, but also to be a more creative thinker and more compassionate community member. Maya R. Salvacion It was good! Matthew T. Sessa Best years of my life so far. I have been prepared for college really well. The teachers here are more than just teachers. They are “friends.” Lena A. Shally I loved my time at AFS! Meeting for Worship was a lovely part of every week for me, and I will miss it. Jordan N. Shepherd-Baker I’m grateful for everything over my time at AFS. Being in this environment with all my friends and teachers has helped shape me into the man I am today. Anne Silbaugh I was always surrounded by
Lindsay V. Smelcer I’ve been here since first grade and my experience has been that teachers are friends for life. It has been the most comfortable and loving environment, despite the academic rigor. AFS is a home in my heart. Paige K. Stanton A day without sunshine is like, you know, night. Find the humor in things and live life the way that makes you happy because it will define you. Jade H. Swisher I not only received a great education, but I also have grown a lot over the years. I made many friendships that will last a lifetime. I am very thankful to be a part of this caring community! Loghan Thain The people here, both teachers and students, have made my experience amazing. Emily P. Thomas My time at AFS has been nothing but incredible. The staff has been the best. They are always there to help you out with work, or just to talk. (A super great relationship.) Asia M. Turner Fun and annoying. Kathryn E. Wellhofer I grew a lot at AFS due to the wide variety of opportunities that the school presented to me, and I will always be grateful for those memories and experiences. Rachel S. Yakobashvili You guys are the bomb. We are all gonna go far & wide. Can’t wait! Love y’all.
Alumni Day 2016 The Meeting House was abuzz with hugs and laughter on Saturday, April 30, as alums and their family members from across the country arrived for an afternoon of celebrating friendships old and new. Alumni Day 2016 was especially important for the Class of 1966, celebrating its 50th reunion, and the Class of 1986, which was honoring its 30th reunion. The retirement of long-time faculty members, including Debbie Stauffer and Carol Palmer, also was a big draw for former students who wanted to thank the educators in person for being good mentors. The day began with a reunion luncheon and remarks by Head of School Rich Nourie in the John Barnes
room. Then it was time for Meeting for Worship in the same sacred space where the alums had worshiped every week while they were students at the school. A series of class photographs were taken to ensure a permanent memory of the day. Then the alums were off on a tour of campus to see the many changes that had occurred since they were students in the school. For some, the Triangle Building was the only classroom building they had known, and this was a chance to see the modern and expanded campus. In the evening, groups of alums and family members gathered with their individual classes at restaurants to extend the fun.
On the day before Alumni Day, about a dozen members of the Class of 1964 gathered in the John Barnes Room for a presentation about the new arboretum on campus and the Class of ’64 Tree Tour that they had funded. The tree tour is a mile-long loop of 30 significant trees that are part of the 300-tree arboretum. Alum Sally Goldschmeding Branch of Dallas rallied her former classmates to donate $11,622 for the Tree Tour. After the presentation, the alums met with Middle School students who have been active in gathering photos and information about the trees and uploading the data to a new website, www.abingtonfriendsarboretum.org.
Class of 1966 photo
Class of 1986: Front row, left to right: Pam Hamburg Helzner, Wendy Goldberg and Jenny Bornholdt Hammond. Back row, left to right: Chris Cantley, Jeff Hoffman, Jeanie Englebach and Brad Kovnat.
Class of 1964 with Middle School students and Teacher Mark Smith, who have been gathering data on the trees for a new website, abingtonfriendsarboretum.org.
oak leaves fall/winter 2016
2016 College-Age AFS Alumni Survey
During the spring of 2016, we launched our second collegeage alumni survey. The survey, which repeats every three years and measures many facets of college life, helps us to understand how well we have prepared our graduates for their college careers. Here is what they told us:
“ AFS taught me how to be an
individual among different people. It taught me how to stand out in a crowd and be independent.
83% of our college-age alumni plan to pursue an internship or externship
52% hold a leadership role in a club, activity or student government
of our college-age alumni plan to graduate within four years, almost two times the national four-year rate.
Compared to their peers, more than 90% of AFS college-age alumni say that they: Are more open-minded Can solve problems with greater ease Have more finely tuned critical-thinking skills Are more resourceful Have a greater capacity for creativity and innovation Have a stronger sense of ethics Are more accomplished researchers Have superior writing skills Make better leaders Are more skilled at collaborative work Have an easier time navigating complex social issues Are more skilled at presenting complex information
"There is no school that will prepare you better for what is to come. I definitely had a leg up on other students." "If you want to be exposed to a wide range of people of different personalities and backgrounds and learn how to coexist with them, while also learning from passionate and engaging faculty, go to AFS."
13% play on a varsity athletic team and 33% play on a club or intramural team 66% of survey respondents reported being recognized for academic or extracurricular activities 96% of graduates say they have a B average or higher 66% plan to study abroad
96% of AFS college-age alumni agree that they are as well or better prepared than their peers.
D on or G i f t s
A beautiful spot with a special charm THE MARIE-LOUISE JACKSON COURTYARD IS DEDICATED
In a simple but poignant ceremony, the Marie-Louise Jackson Courtyard was dedicated on September 14 in memory of a woman who was remembered for her love of family and her countless good works on behalf of others. After saying a few words about Marie-Louise’s abundant generosity, Head of School Rich Nourie invited family members and friends gathered at the courtyard to offer their reflections. Her daughter, Susan Tressider, spoke first, noting the setting. “She was a teacher. She loved gardens. She loved her grandchildren very, very much. I think this is a very appropriate, beautiful spot to dedicate to her,” she said. Ever since the courtyard, located between the Upper School and the swimming pools complex, was opened this past spring, it has been a popular gathering spot. The five wooden picnic tables with their
poppy-colored umbrellas are often packed with students eating lunch together, stretching before a team practice or hanging out. For one of them, junior Cara Tressider, the courtyard with landscaped green bushes and a rock inscribed with Marie-Louise’s name, holds special meaning. Cara, who is Susan’s daughter, told the small crowd, “I like seeing my grandmom’s name on the rock every time I sit out here, which is really nice.” Also attending the ceremony were Susan’s husband, Rich, and Rich’s parents, Gwen and Ed Tressider. They were joined by a handful of Marie-Louise’s close friends, including Carol Kodsi, her next-door neighbor. “There are some people who come into your life and you’re never the same. She was one of those people,” Carol said.
PERCENTAGE OF ALUMNI RESPONDING TO THE 2016 SURVEY: 54% 34
oak leaves fall/winter 2016
D on or G i f t s
The Annual Fund Surpasses Its Goal Once Again
A NEW PLAYGROUND FOR DISCOVERY AND FUN On September 9, School Committee Member Susan Salesky Rudin dedicated the new Headwaters Discovery Playground at Abington Friends School to her fellow students in the Class of 1957. Susan and her husband, Jack, were big supporters of the new play space that expands the School’s innovative footprint in hands-on learning in the outdoors.
Two checks, each made out for $16.97, arrived in the AFS Development Office during lunchtime on June 30, the final day of the School's fiscal year. The amounts reflected the year AFS was founded and helped to ensure that the 2015-2016 Annual Fund campaign would once again meet its goal.
In turn, Susan’s fellow classmates sent a thank you letter, which Head of School Rich Nourie read to the large crowd assembled for the ceremony. It read, in part, “Susan, you have been a classmate and friend to all of us since you came to Abington Friends in third grade. You were our senior class president and continue to lead us with grace and loyalty to AFS in your generosity.
Kathleen Coleman, who is Operations Manager for the school’s Admission Department, sent the two checks upstairs to her colleagues in Tyson House in honor of her daughters, Grace and Maura, who are enrolled in the school.
Dr. Mark and Colleen Mele, P’21, P’19.
Those who donated $1,000 or more were thanked personally at a Leadership Reception held November 3 in the Rydal home of Dr. Mark and Colleen Mele.
“Now, you will have an impact on the children who use this Headwaters Discovery Playground area to play freely, engage with nature and learn how it sustains us all in body and spirit.” Rich called the new playground "a dream come true," and Susan talked about what the School has meant to her. “I can’t help but think of the little School I went to across the street in the Triangle Building and how much the School has changed. In this very complicated world, one thing that never changes at AFS is its deep concern for the students’ inner sense. “This is at the core of what I learned at this school. And this is at the core of what I carried with me” through the years, she said.
oak leaves fall/winter 2016
Though the goal of $550,000 was reached, the fundraising ran into the night as students and parent volunteers continued to solicit donations from the AFS community. When the books were closed, the final tally was $553,738 from 1,068 donors, a record number of supporters. It was the fourth consecutive year that the Annual Fund had surpassed its goal.
Class of 1957
Louisa Friedrich Buck Elizabeth Cobourn Cole Kris Kuhnle Cryer Carolyn Parry Decker Constance Mertz Freeman Gwen Gehring Shirley Pearson Goldsmith Judith Hawley Hughes Virginia Wriggins Hochella Shirley Whittlesey Kuhn Marian Johnston Matheson Beverly Hartman Montgomery Gabrielle Tubach Diana Post Joan High Putney Nanci Lindig Quillen Susan Salesky Rudin Sigrid Wasum Russell
The AFS Annual Fund is the School’s top priority for charitable giving, as gifts to the campaign support every aspect of the extraordinary education offered to students. Donations are used to help AFS attract and retain a top-notch faculty; provide innovative programming and support excellence in the arts, athletics, technology and other aspects of the program. The goal for the 2016-2017 Annual Fund, which runs through June 30,2017, is $575,000. To make your Annual Fund gift, please contact Devin Schlickmann, Assistant Head of School for Institutional Advancement, firstname.lastname@example.org or 215.576.3956.
Deborah Bernstein Silver writes from Delray Beach, Fla., "I'm well, and happily celebrated my 95th birthday with members of my family and a few friends. I’m still able to drive (in daylight) and enjoy attending three series of classical music. I also enjoy many lectures at Florida Atlantic University. Fortunately, there are no exams or “papers.” The only sad part of my life is that there are so few people around whom I used to know and love. However, I realize how lucky I am, and I am very thankful. Hopefully, I’ll travel north one of these days, and one of my spots to visit will be AFS. It’s a marvelous place.”
Barbara Cleeland sent in this photo of several members of the Class of 1947, who met for lunch at Maggiano’s Little Italy restaurant in King of Prussia, Pa.
Pictured, from left, are Beatrice (Trautvetter) Foedisch, Maple Glen; Dolores (Ballentyne) Smith, Jenkintown; Barbara Cleeland, Camp Hill; and Barbara (Kaiser) Henderson, Ocean City, N.J. Barbara writes that another class member, Joan (Drummond) Humphries, Glenside, was unable to attend.
oak leaves fall/winter 2016
Eleanor McFarland and her husband, Pete Strimer, share a lobster roll on Bailey Island, Maine.
Eleanor McFarland sent in this note: “Move over Anthony Bourdain. Retiring early in 2015, El McFarland and husband, Pete Strimer, have been traveling ever since. Their East Coast tour took them from Savannah, Ga., to Orr’s Island, Maine, visiting Judy Chestnut Fuss (Williamsburg, Va.) and Linda Friedrich Fogel (Huntingdon Valley, Pa.) along the way. A West Coast tour explored National Parks and Native American heritage sites from their hometown of Seattle, Wash., to Santa Fe, N. Mex., visiting Alice Atkinson Christie in Flagstaff, Ariz. Broadening their horizons in 2016, they cruised from Istanbul to Venice, then explored Italy, living two weeks in a small hill town on the eastern coast. Winters find them in Sarasota, Fla., joining these other Class of 1963 snowbirds: Mary Lou Hay Gallucci (St. Petersburg), Linda Friedrich Fogel (Anna Maria Island) and Cindy Ervin Beshel (Marco Island) and permanent Florida resident, Anne Ebert (Jacksonville). Mark your calendars, Class of 1963, for our Asheville Adventure, October 16-18, 2017. Betsy Mayers (Asheville, N.C.) has reserved a BnB, and together with Linda Fogel and
Judy Fuss, is planning activities from the enlightening (The Biltmore) and arty to delightfully bizarre, as only Asheville can provide. Email Judy if you are interested in attending: email@example.com.”
Virginia Guckes Dalton writes, “Happy Birthday, Girls of the Class of 1964. So we are all 70 this year . . . quite a milestone, but I still feel 16. I called my sister about eight months ago and told her the clock of life was ticking and asked if she was interested in sailing to Australia. We decided to meet up in Vancouver and take off for Hawaii, Pago Pago, Fiji, Australia and New Zealand. We will be gone six weeks. Meanwhile, we sold our house up in the Poconos and bought one in Linville, N.C., about an hour northeast of Asheville. The area is full of folk artists and the creative spirit is contagious. I put away canvas and oils and began painting on board with acrylics. For you painters, Cheap Joe’s outlet store is about 15 miles away in Boone. If you are in need of barbeque (bob-que), a beer, and some really nice people, c'mon down, we've got plenty of room. That said, in the winter I'm still warming my bones in Florida. Yes, you’re invited. Love you all.” Gee Gee.
Becky Van Buren writes, “I have made a change in my life path and, beginning this fall, I am moving in a new (and exciting!) direction. In June, I left my art teaching job (which I’ve loved for 30 plus years), and I have returned to college, where I am studying to be a veterinary technician. My inspiration has been my wonderful Boston Terrier, Bella, who fought lymphoma for 10 months, ultimately succumbing after a brief decline in early October. Along the way, during her weekly chemo treatments, I met so many kind and compassionate vets and vet techs. They have also inspired
me that it’s never too late to follow a new dream. I have always loved animals, and here’s to being a lifelong learner!”
Robin Becker was one of the featured poets at the 2016 Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival in Newark, N.J., in October. Robin also writes, “This summer, Laura Conkey, Bart Hemmerich and I met up in Concord N.H., for dinner. We discussed our work, our retirements, our children (and grandchildren), our hiking and biking, our travel plans — and toasted being together. We look forward to gathering with all far-flung classmates soon.” Bart (Nancy Barto) Hemmerich writes about the same dinner. She says, “I had a most enjoyable dinner with Laura Conkey and Robin Becker (and Robin’s friend) and a few days later kayaked with Robin near her summer residence on a beautiful New Hampshire lake. I am now midway around Mont Blanc — a totally epic hike. Ironically, I think I am handling the intense physical challenge better than I would have 10 years ago as I’m in better shape and stronger, thanks to using a personal trainer for the last year.”
Eileen Terry Dunkleberger writes that she and Kathy Lanning Saporito ’72 celebrated the marriage of Eileen’s daughter, Kristen, to Chad Knight on March 13, 2016, in Las Vegas. Eileen’s son, Dan, and Kathy’s daughter, Jaime, were also in attendance.
From left, Kathy Lanning Saporito and Eileen Terry Dunkleberger.
Leeanne Rebic Hay writes, “My freelance writing has been very rewarding over the past few years. I am doing what I have always loved, yet only dared to dream about when I was younger. In July, my nonfiction story, “The Children Left Behind,” won third place in the Reported Narrative Category of the Mayborn Nonfiction Literary Conference in Dallas, Texas. The Mayborn conference is a nationally recognized annual ‘forum for journalists, writers, educators and students to be inspired by and practice their craft at the highest possible level.’ The story will be published later this year and is about children who are the unintentional victims of their parents’ prescriptiondrug deaths and arrests.” Leeanne’s website is www.LeeanneRebicHay. weebly.com.
Leeanne Rebic Hay Heidi Levine Morein writes that her son “Julian has been politically active in our community, serving as a docent for the Quaker homestead The Wall House, and is currently a Fellow, helping to run the Hillary Clinton campaign office in Elkins Park. Last year, he and his brother were interns for the Montgomery County Commissioners Josh Shapiro and Dr. Valerie Arkoosh. This past summer, we took trips through New England, and for the first time in 30 years (!) got to spend time with Jen Mentzer ’76 in Wellfleet on Cape Cod. We had so much fun! I am finishing my education grad degree at Arcadia, and leading an afterschool program and camp for children and teens. Local NPR station
Heidi's son Julian with U.S. Senate candidate Katie McGinty. WHYY 91 FM ran a story on this program a year ago (8/13/15) and it can be found on newsworks.org under their Arts and Culture section. I have been doing research on and designing a visual-arts curriculum for children and teens who are on the autism spectrum. I have been in touch through Facebook with many fellow students, but nothing beats a visit so I’m hoping to see more of my fellow AFSers one day soon.” Peter Taylor and his husband, Roger Saint-Laurent, have presented their model of SE-Informed Group Psychotherapy nationally and internationally, most recently in São Paolo, Brazil. Their article, “Group Psychotherapy Informed by the Principles of Somatic Experiencing: Moving Beyond Trauma to Embodied Relationship,” will be published in the International Journal of Group Psychotherapy in early 2017.
Dr. Clifford Hudis writes “after 28 years on the Breast Medicine Service at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and 18 as Chief of the Service, I stepped down to become the CEO of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. This is the largest professional society in the world for cancer specialists, with over 42,000 members. We support research, education and quality cancer care around the world. Every year, in early June in Chicago, we hold the largest global meeting of oncology professionals.
We fund cancer researchers across all diseases and at all stages of their careers. At the same time, we advocate for access to care and for public policies that enable the highest quality of care possible. I continue to see patients with breast cancer at Memorial Hospital on a limited basis.”
Andrew Pritzker writes, “I’d like to announce the completion and launch of my new sci-fi short film, “E.P.G.,” into filmfestival competition for the 20162017 season through my company, Qikfinger Films LLC. Shot in the sub-basement of the NelsonAtkins Art Museum in Kansas City, “E.P.G.,” a 23-minute, sci-fi tale about two professors inadvertently trapped in a wormhole, has been submitted to 12 festivals, including Sundance, Tribeca, Atlanta, Philadelphia, SXSW, and AFI. To view the trailer and find out more, please visit EPGmovie.com or Qikfingerfilms.com.”
and herself while contributing to society to make our world a better place. We couldn’t be more proud of both of them. I have been working as an HR Manager for Benjamin Obdyke Inc. in Horsham for the past 14 years. I feel fortunate to be working for a great company, where I actually like going to work every day! In addition to my family, my two other primary passions in life are, number one, spending time at the Jersey Shore, where we plan to retire and, number two, I’m a somewhat fanatical Bruce Springsteen fan. I was the one lucky person at a concert in 2014 to be pulled up on stage to dance with him. That pretty much catches you all up on the 34 (ouch!) years since our AFS graduation. I also occasionally bump into other AFS alumni and keep in touch here and there with a few
Heidi Miller Garnick writes, “I love reading about alumni from my class and from other classes, but I haven’t given my own update in a VERY long time… so here goes. I have been married to my husband, Rob, an attorney in Philadelphia, for 27 years. We live in Lower Gwynedd, Pa., and have two (now grown) children — Dan, 26, and Allie, 23. Dan is a graduate of Pitt and now lives in NYC, where he works as a media strategist and basically just loves life. Any AFS alumni who know me would recognize him as my kid immediately. He looks just like me! Allie recently graduated from the University of Delaware and is taking a gap year before attending Penn in 2017 for her master’s degree in social work. During her gap year, she is spending significant time in Africa, India and Israel, where she is learning about the various cultures
oak leaves fall/winter 2016
Heidi Miller Garnick and The Boss.
Heidi’s son, Dan, and daughter, Allie. as well. I’d love to hear from any of you and look forward to our next reunion!”
Wendy Goldberg writes “In May, Jeff Hoffman and his son, Trevor, surprised my third grade students with healthy lunch bags to take home at dismissal. Trevor was doing a project to get healthy food to people in need. My kids loved getting them, along with the inspirational notes that were inside. I had just seen Jeff at our reunion on a Saturday, and there they were on Monday at my school!”
daughter is embracing her AFS education as a sophmore in the Upper School. It was wild to have Carol Palmer as her math teacher last year, when I had her as my advisor from 1984-1988 and Benji had her as a gym teacher in kindergarten. After 10 years away, in Latin America and Boulder, I cannot believe my life has come full circle back home. We have fun juggling the worlds of real estate, social media and parenting.”
Jennifer Bornholdt Hammond writes, “During my annual visit to Minnesota, Melissa Dreidink Grossman ’87 and I met for breakfast! Our friendship was forged during the musical production of “Working,” based on the book by Studs Terkel and directed by Bill Bair. This was the first time we’d seen each other in 30 years!” Jennifer also writes this about the Class of 1986’s 30th Reunion on April 30. “We started out at AFS for Alumni Day, where there was a luncheon, Meeting for Worship and tour. We ended at Bar Ferdinand — more food and drink. It was great to see Chris Cantley, Pam Hamburg Helzner, Jeff Hoffman, Jeanie Englebach, Wendy Goldberg, Brad Kovnat, Dawn Weiss Penner, Binnie Shusman Kaffrisen, Jackie Schultz, Peter Murdock, Marc Seidman and Margie Levin Fischman. Be sure to visit the 'AFS-1986' Facebook group! On a more personal note, I was able to go to Cuba in July with the Smith College Alumnae Chorus. I traveled with a group of 83 people. We were singing and sightseeing, what could be better? Viva Cuba!”
Wendy SchwartzBarnett ’88, who is married to Benji Barnett ’85, both P’19, writes, “Life is good. We have three amazing kids and four loving dogs. Our oldest
would get the best education, and I keep remembering that moving is only temporary. School started in mid-August, and I am so, so happy with the new school, and can’t wait to bring a whole new set of healing tools to the yoga community when I am done! It’s a very exciting time.”
Amanda Scheiner McClain writes, “May Zoe McClain (above) was born on May 6, 2016. Big brother Jasper, 3, is not impressed. The rest of us think she’s pretty cute, and obviously a genius. Thanks!”
David Ahl has started a new job as an Associate Platform Director at AOL in Washington, D.C. He writes, “I’m working with the politics team, managing political data for digital advertising campaigns.”
Jeffrey Greenhouse is living in Hoboken, N.J., and working in Manhattan as Director of Marketing & Analytics for Scripps Networks Interactive. He and his wife, Crystal, welcomed their second son, Leo, (above) into the world.
Hal Lublin continues to tour with both “Welcome to Night Vale” and “The Thrilling Adventure Hour,” plus his own show, “We Got This,” which performed in New York City on October 9. He’s recurring on the new Cartoon Network series “Mighty Magiswords” and co-hosts the podcast “Tights and Fights” for the Maximum Fun Network. Basically, he spends as much time as possible talking into microphones. He's in constant communication with classmates Jennifer Hurvitz Burbine, Lauren Robinson, Damian d'Entremont, Jesse Benner, and almost-alum Jon Furlong. They all say hi.
Laura Zingle writes, “My first-born son, Liam, will be 1 year old in October, and I’ve been busy working as a stage manager in San Diego for the Old Globe Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse and the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus. I also recently stage-managed the U.S. premiere of Helmut Lachenmann’s opera, “The Little Match Girl,” at Spoleto Festival USA in Charleston, S.C. This fall, I am also a visiting lecturer at U.C. San Diego, where I received my M.F.A.”
Ari Halbert writes, “By far, my most exciting adventure this summer was a yoga retreat to Africa that I co-led with the amazing Amanda Dee Smith. It was a blast, replete with picturesque sunsets and a plethora of wild animal sightings. The other big news from this summer is my decision to move out of Philly and back to New York to complete my education in Chinese medicine. It was a hard decision that I had been mulling over for many months, but in the end it felt right to move to where I knew I
Russell with wife, Tara, and son, Ari, who turned 1 on August 30. Russell Nadel continues to teach music in the Middle School at The Potomac School in McLean, Va. This summer, he completed two commissioned compositions — one for solo cello, and the other for flute and piano — both of which will be recorded in professional studios for release on commercial CDs later this year. For more information, please visit www.russellnadel.com.
Lindsey Kuperstein DeLuca and Scott DeLuca welcomed to the world their first child, Aidan Henry DeLuca, born September 15 in Boston, Mass.
fancy variations of county fair food, such as corn dogs, poutine, fresh cheese curds and funnel cake. It will be called Fox & Son Fancy Corndogs.”
Michael Cohen and his bride, Niki, (above) at their wedding this summer, surrounded by his fellow classmates from AFS. “We all are still great friends,” Michael writes.
Alana Blumenthal writes, “I have two exciting events to report this year. In May, I attended Cory Luquet's wedding, along with Adam Leader-Smith, Claire Kaplan and Luke Arendasky (all ’05). In July, I left my job in Virginia and made the 5,000-mile, nine-day drive to my new home in Alaska. I am now the Curator of the Kodiak Historical Society/Baranov Museum on Kodiak Island. It is very beautiful here, and I encourage my AFS friends to come visit!” Martin Sinel has received a master’s degree in urban planning from the University of Texas at Austin, where he was also editor of the scholarly journal “Planning Forum.” He now works with the Blackland Community Development Corporation, a nonprofit, affordable-housing organization in East Austin. He plans to pursue doctoral studies within the next few years.
Rebecca Foxman writes, “I am opening a new restaurant at the Reading Terminal early next year that will be selling
oak leaves fall/winter 2016
Joshua Bohn writes, “I can't believe how quickly time flies! In August, I finished a judicial clerkship with a New Jersey Superior Court judge. I have recently been sworn in as a Deputy Attorney General for New Jersey, and I am already preparing for my first appellate argument. I hope all of my AFS friends and teachers are doing well!”
Alec Peabody writes, “Take the time to remember small moments from high school that shaped who you are today. Whether they are good or bad, they can help remind you of your purpose on this earth and show you why you are where you are today.”
Saiounia Hughley writes, “I recently landed my newest internship with NPR/PBS local affiliate WCVE. I've had the chance to interview some pretty cool and important figures in the Richmond community.”
Rachel Jakubowitcz sent in this photo, taken at the wedding of Lindsay Sandmeyer ’08 and Kevin Stauffer, who were married at The Samoset Resort in Rockport, Maine, on July 30, 2016.
Callum “Cal” McEwen is in his senior year at Brevard College in North Carolina. He continues to ride for the college’s mountain-biking team, which last year came in second at the USA Cycling National Championships in collegiate mountain biking.
From left, Meredith Dixon, Rachel Jakubowitcz, Lindsay Sandmeyer and Sarah Churchill. All are members of the Class of 2008.
Lily Roth writes, “Hey 317, I have a super busy year ahead. I got accepted into the University of Pittsburgh’s Emergency Medicine Program and in May I will be getting certified as a paramedic while still earning my bachelor’s degree. I am currently doing clinicals with the City of Pittsburgh EMS, which is super exciting. I am so thankful to AFS for not only giving me the skills to succeed academically, but also for the skills to show empathy, kindness and compassion to complete strangers.
Martin Greenberg writes, “I just moved to Seattle and started working as a software engineer at Amazon in July.”
Elizabeth Gurin says, “Hello, friends! After graduating from Brown University this past May, I’ve started working as an R&D Engineer at Becton Dickinson, Advanced Diabetes Care in Andover, Mass. Let me know if you are in the Boston/ Northern Massachusetts area and would like to catch up!”
Jessica Williams writes, “I began a photography project called SAD GURLZ and it’s taking off throughout New York City. I have been published in a lot of different art and photography magazines and websites and I self-published my first book about the project!”
In Memoriam Joan Schneiderwirth Daw ’52, who passed away on May 22, 2016, dearly loved her time at Abington Friends School and often told her family about those years. She attended a reunion at the school in 2004. Joan Helen Schneiderwirth was born to Florence Helen Chamberlain and Herman Joseph Schneiderwirth on June 6, 1934. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Mount Holyoke College in 1956, and a master’s degree in Art History/ Art Therapy in 1979 from George Washington University. She is survived by four children and 10 grandchildren from her 20-year marriage to Allan Price Daw. Art, poetry and a love of nature were the threads that wove the underlying pattern of her life. Her travels led her to Denmark and the Middle East, where she painted her experiences on canvas and captured them, too, with words. In nature, she found both delight and endless metaphors for the human journey. We often gathered for Christmas at her mountain home in Santa Fe, N.M., where she lived for the past 36 years and worked as a realtor. Bright decorations, delicious food and colorful books for the grandchildren always welcomed us at her doorstep. She had lifelong friends, quietness and joy. —Submitted by her daughter, Sonya Daw.
Cynthis "Cindy" Post
Cynthia "Cindy" Post ’60, 73, died on July 11, 2016, at the Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor
after unsuccessful treatment for pneumonia and congestive heart failure. She is survived by her sons, Brendan and Liam Goodman; her daughters-in-law, Vicka and Theresa; her grandchildren, Graham, Gabriel and Bella; her sister, Diana Post-Hall, and her brother-in-law, Cliff Hall. Cynthia was born in Philadelphia in October 15, 1942, to Edith and Joseph Post. During her early years, Cynthia enjoyed spending time with her Irish grandparents, Margaret and George Wilson, who were devoted to her. Cynthia remembered and spoke of their loving kindness throughout her life. Cynthia was educated at Abington Friends School, where the Quaker values of compassion, love of learning and independent thought remained with her throughout her life. She came to enjoy working with children as a result of helping out at the family's nursery school, which was located in their home on Cheltenham Avenue. A slender girl, Cynthia first studied ballet and then modern dance. She excelled at choreography and performing while in high school. After graduating from AFS, she briefly served as a teaching assistant in the modern dance department at the University of Pennsylvania. She then moved to New York City at age 17 to work at a magazine and study dance under the legendary dancer Martha Graham. In 1970, Cynthia married Dr. Paul Goodman while living in City Island, N.Y. The couple had two sons, Brendan and Liam. In 1981, the family moved to Hancock, Maine, where Cynthia resided the rest of her life. Cynthia and Paul separated in 1983 and were later divorced. While raising her sons as a single mom and briefly caring for her ailing mother, Cynthia worked as a substanceabuse counselor. She soon earned degrees in Movement Therapy and Counseling Psychology from Antioch Graduate School, College of the Atlantic, The New School and the Laban Institute of Movement
Studies. In 1992, Cynthia began working as a Child Protective Case Worker for the State of Maine and also served as an adoption worker and supervisor until her retirement in 2011. Always gregarious and witty, Cynthia was a free spirit who loved taking classes, listening to music and playing the bodhran. She acted in several plays with the Penobscot Theatre Company and the New Surry Theatre and continued to dance throughout her life. She also had a soft spot for animals and often took in stray dogs and cats. Cynthia had a penchant for social justice and an innate compassion for all people who crossed her path. Upon her retirement, she became very involved with the Community Union of Ellsworth, whose goals include raising the minimum wage and fighting inequality. Additionally, Cynthia was a regular volunteer for the Welcome Table soup kitchen and the Democratic Party of Hancock County. She was a fervent defender of the needy, an open-hearted soul and a lover of life itself. To honor her life, a Quaker meeting and dance party (as per her wish) was held on July 23 at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Ellsworth. In Cynthia's memory, friends may send donations to The Welcome Table soup kitchen, c/o First Congregational Church of Elllsworth, P.O. Box 12, Ellsworth, Maine, 04605. — Bangor Daily News Susan Keim Eichelberger ’61, 73, passed away on November 2 after a brief battle with cancer. Susan and her husband, Marty, celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in April. She is also survived by a daughter, Katie, and her husband, Allen; a son, Dan, and his wife, Rebecca; three grandchildren, Davis and Grady Clarke and Benjamin Eichelberger, and a brother, Terry, and his wife, Agnes, and many nieces and nephews. Born on May 12, 1943, Susan was preceded in death by her parents, Gordon and Karol
Keim, and a sister, Judy. Ever humble and selfless, Susan was a voracious reader, a lover of birds and flowers, and would play bridge at the drop of the hat. She also was known for an unwavering sense of humor. She was a graduate of the Pennsylvania State University. After raising her children, she was the guiding force
education for students everywhere. She also observed the difficulties faced by teachers in an era of ever-shrinking art budgets and was determined to do something about it. Art4Moore was her answer, a foundation dedicated to her mother, which provides art supplies and resources for teachers, students of all ages, the elderly and the disabled through a grant-making process. Stephanie spent time in San Francisco, New York and Paris, and was always accompanied by
Rebecca D."Becca" Gerrity '97, 36, of Elkins Park, died on May 23, 2016, after years of struggling with chronic illness. A graduate of Villanova University School of Law, Becca was an advocate for social justice. Survived by her mother, Patty Gerrity; her father, Bradford Wayland; stepfather David George; stepmother Virginia Wayland; brothers Eric Watral and Alex George; sisters Tamara Wayland, Laura Wayland and Brittan Auletto; cousins Randa and Tiffany Ross; nieces and nephews. A Memorial Meeting for Worship was held at Germantown Monthly Meeting on June 4. Donations in her memory may be made to Germantown Meeting or to Holy Redeemer Hospice.
Susan Keim Eichelberger
in helping her husband to build the LeTort Trust, an independent investment trust company located in Camp Hill, Pa. Some of Susan and Marty’s best afternoons were spent driving through the countryside with the top down on their convertible, discovering new places. In lieu of flowers, donations in her memory may be made to the American Cancer Society, the Audubon Society or to an organization of your choice. Susan's life will be celebrated with family and friends at a later date. — Adapted from The Patriot-News Stephanie Brooks Dains ’65, 69, passed away on June 28, 2016, of injuries suffered when she was struck by an SUV as she was crossing a street on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. She was a dear friend, a teacher, a generous philanthropist and a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis, where she and her husband, John Dains, met and were major benefactors in recent years. As an art therapist and teacher at the California School for the Blind, Stephanie understood on a very personal level the importance and liberating potential of arts
oak leaves fall/winter 2016
Stephanie Brooks Dains with husband, John
her beloved dog, Tulip. Nothing pleased her more than sharing a glass of champagne with friends or shopping for wedding dresses with her friends' children as her engagement gift to them. She is survived by her husband; a brother, Theodore Brooks; a sister, Cheryl Antonacio; a niece and nephews and cousins, including Joni Brooks Wallace. She did not have children of her own, but she counted the children of her many friends as her own and was loved and admired by them. A celebration of life memorial was held at the Graham Chapel at Washington University on October 30. Donations in her memory may be made to Art4Moore, P.O. Box 641558, SF, CA 94164, or the SPCA. — The San Francisco Chronicle and New York Daily News R. Gary Strauss '83 was a friend to all, and is remembered by classmates for his warm smile and generous heart. The AFS community belatedly mourns Gary’s passing in 2012, and extends its deepest condolences to his sister, Vicki Strauss Slinger ’80.
Do you know a family who should be considering AFS? Invite them to an upcoming admission event. WALK-IN WEDNESDAYS Every Wednesday at 9 a.m. Join us for a light breakfast and tour of our campus and facilities. No RSVP required — just stop by! Tours meet at Tyson House.
STEAM & ROBOTICS INFORMATION NIGHT Wednesday, January 18, 2017 6:30 to 8 p.m. Parents and students are invited to drop by for an informative session about the AFS Robotics program.
OPEN HOUSE AND CLASSROOM OBSERVATIONS Rebecca D. "Becca" Gerrity
Andrew Daythal Kendall '00 of Lampeter Township near Lancaster, Pa., died of natural causes on June 17. Andrew, who was a lifer at AFS, was born on January 19, 1982. He died at the age of 34.
Tuesday, February 14, 2017 Campus tours begin promptly at 9 a.m. Experience a typical school day on a guided tour that includes classroom visits and an opportunity to see students and teachers in action. Students and parents can choose to visit our Lower, Middle or Upper School.
OPEN HOUSE Saturday, March 18, 2017 Tour the campus and hear from students and faculty. Welcome and refreshments at 12:30 p.m. in the Muller Lobby. Program begins promptly at 1 p.m. Call 215.576.3950 or visit us online at abingtonfriends.net/VisitAFS
NON PROFIT ORG U.S. POSTAGE PAID Bellmawr, NJ Permit #280
575 Washington Lane Jenkintown, PA 19046
AlumniDay Come back home!
Saturday, May 6, 2017 Abington Monthly Meeting House
EVENING COCKTA IL RECEPTI ON
Alumni Day is a celebration open to ALL alumni, and classes ending in ’2 and ’7 will celebrate milestone reunions. Please visit the AFS website, abingtonfriends.net, for additional details and make plans to come back home! Questions? Please contact Lisa Budd, Director of Alumni Engagement, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 215.576.3968. Have you joined the Facebook Group “Alumni of Abington Friends School”? Join today!