THE ALLEN-STEVENSON SCHOOL
THE ALLEN-STEVENSON SCHOOL
Communications Team Sarah Woods Director of Communications Louisa Wells Associate Director of Communications Lily Miller Communications Manager Contributing Writers Lorenzo Bellard Cate Campo Jack Cooley Stephen Krawec Susan Lukas Silvia Rodríguez Samara Spielberg David R. Trower h’95 Jenn Zimmermann Jennifer Ziplow
Head of School’s Message
Supporting the Whole Child— Opens Them Up to Deeper Learning Parents Association
Welcome New Siblings
New Trustees and Board of Trustees
Faculty and Staff News
New Faculty and Staff
Photographers Lily Miller Al Pereira Audrey Rasch David R. Trower Andrea Voorhis Louisa Wells
Designer Mase Kerdel-deMarco
Front cover photo: Fourth grader Sawyer Kaplan shows true determination while testing his uniquely designed stomp rocket in science class.
Out and About
Back cover photo: Second graders enjoy PE class outside this fall.
The Allen-Stevenson School admits students of any race, color, religion, nationality, or ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the School. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, nationality, ethnic origin, or sexual orientation in the administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, employment policies, financial aid program, or any other programs administered by the School.
QR Codes: We’ve added a few QR codes through this issue so that you can listen to alumni speak and sing or chat with Mr. Kersey.
The Lamplighter is published biannually by The Allen-Stevenson School and is sent to alumni, parents, and other friends of the School. Printed on paper containing 20% post-consumer recycled content.
H E A D
S C H O O L ’ S
M E S S A G E
Being Somebody Who Makes Everybody Feel Like Somebody As I am writing this message, it is a few days before our hotly contested national election. The coronavirus is raging across America and many parts of the globe, and the critical implications of the world’s climate crisis and our country’s racial reckoning are growing more evident every day. Emotions are running high, and it feels like everyone needs to take several In his influential book Emotional Intelligence: very deep breaths and get a grip before 2020, Why It Can Matter More Than IQ, the author this memorable year, comes to an end. Dan Goleman wrote, "Self-absorption in all its forms kills empathy, let alone compassion. Often in the last few months, I have thought When we focus on ourselves, our world about an article I read last March in the contracts as our problems and preoccupations Harvard Business Review. It was called “That Discomfort You’re Feeling Is Grief.” Drawing on loom large. But when we focus on others, our world expands. Our own problems drift to the the work of Elisabeth Kübler-Ross about the periphery of the mind and so seem smaller, stages of grief and loss, the article’s author Scott Berinato describes the uncertainties many and we increase our capacity for connection— or compassionate action." people have been feeling about the future. He calls this “anticipatory grief” and suggests that This issue of the Lamplighter includes several naming such emotions is the first step in feature articles about SEL, or “social and managing them. emotional learning,” which the WSJ columnist Julie Jargon defines as “the process by which children learn to understand and manage feelings, develop empathy for others and acquire problemsolving skills.” She says that, because of the combination of pandemic and distance learning, SEL has never been more important or more difficult. Faculty at Allen-Stevenson have been using the framework from the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) to help students develop healthy identities, manage emotions and make responsible
Mr. Trower greeting boys as they arrive at school
and caring decisions. As shown in the circular diagram on the next page, the CASEL 5 competencies are:
SELF-AWARENESS (The abilities to understand one’s own emotions, thoughts, and values and how they influence behavior across contexts.)
SELF-MANAGEMENT (The abilities to manage one’s emotions, thoughts and behaviors effectively in different situations and to achieve goals and aspirations.)
SOCIAL AWARENESS (The abilities to understand the perspectives of and empathize with others, including those from diverse backgrounds, cultures, and contexts.) RELATIONSHIP SKILLS (The abilities to establish and maintain healthy and supportive relationships and to effectively navigate settings with diverse individuals and groups.)
RESPONSIBLE DECISION-MAKING (The abilities to make caring and constructive choices about personal behavior and social interactions across diverse situations.) These competencies help our students develop the resilience and confidence they can exercise throughout their lives. Using A-S Bridge 2.0 this fall, our AllenStevenson learning community has opened school with remarkable confidence, energy and
optimism. We are talking about the theme of Passionate Learners, Compassionate Achievers in describing the special work and deeper learning that Allen-Stevenson does with boys. Deeper learning gives students the tools to master academic content and apply the skills and knowledge to real-world situations. By now, you may have wondered what the title—Being Somebody Who Makes Everybody Feel Like Somebody—for this message means. More likely, you have figured it out! It’s captured in the Allen-Stevenson 20/20 Vision, where we describe the educational goals for our boys: “We expect him to be active and engaged in his own learning, so that he becomes intellectually, socially and emotionally strong. We help boys learn that they can make a difference, that is, to make the world a better place.” Undoubtedly this starts working to be somebody who makes everybody feel like somebody. In closing, I would like to thank the contributors to this issue of the Lamplighter and wish each of you success in working together to meet the challenges we all face. Fortiter et Recte!
Upper School summer reading group discussion
S U P P O RT I N G T H E W H O L E C H I L D — O P E N S T H E M U P TO D E E P E R L E A R N I N G At Allen-Stevenson, we have always supported our students' social-emotional growth, recognizing that a boy who understands who he is as a learner and who he is as part of a community makes him open and available to new and deeper learning. Now more than ever, our boys' social-emotional well-being is a priority, and the School has adapted to meet the needs of our students.
Our goal is to help the boys to function to the best of their ability in their day-to-day life. The teachers are very focused within their subject curriculum on building the skills boys need to maintain a connection to the community and growing the skills that underlie being a socially and emotionally regulated person. We help the boys to develop empathy, so that they can build stronger relationships with peers and teachers, so they are better able to understand themselves as learners.
“Learning to advocate for themselves and learning to ask clarifying questions helps a boy to focus and to attend to their learning,” said Anne Meyer, Director of the Learning Resource Center. “Once they can do this, it means they can delve into their learning to gain a deeper understanding, on their way to becoming passionate learners and compassionate achievers. It is important that children develop the language they need to ask a question, or to talk about or show what they know, then they can move ahead with their learning.” “We work towards the boys speaking up for themselves, by having them ask good questions and by giving them the skills they need to follow through with—grit, persistence, stamina, attention, and a will about themselves. This helps them experience what comes their way,” said Dr. Michael Schwartzman, Consulting School Psychologist. While social-emotional learning is interwoven throughout the curriculum at Allen-Stevenson, the pandemic has made it especially important for us to focus on the whole child and support those who influence their lives. How we use technology to teach and engage in dialogue has also been a significant consideration. We are taking more moments in the classroom to cultivate social comfort and connectivity. We’ve created smaller homerooms and advisories, called each family before the start of school, incorporated additional time with teachers for the students, rethought content for our Monday Morning Meeting and Lower School community gathering times, offered summer training for our faculty by faculty to give them the tools they need to use best practices, planned extra parent connection meetings, and are building in chat time for parents with the Head of School. To explain how we’re developing these social and emotional skills and content, we’ve used the framework set out by the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), a trusted source for knowledge about high-quality, evidence-based social and emotional learning (SEL). CASEL suggests that an SEL program should foster the development of five interrelated sets of cognitive, affective and behavioral competencies, which are essential for both school and life success and include: selfawareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills and responsible decisionmaking. Following are examples of how AllenStevenson incorporates SEL around these five competencies:
FACULTY- & STAFF-LED PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT SUMMER SERIES These summer workshops followed three threads: Community & Student Well-Being, Technology Tools & Remote Learning Strategies, and Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion. • Using Emotional Literacy and Student Agency to Build Confidence, Community and Communication • Empowering Student Voice Through the Arts • All Community & Relationship Building Toolkit • Wakelet Resources from Research-Based Strategies for a Calm & Connected Classroom • Make It Interactive: Slides, Videos, and Assessment that Engage Students • Developing Executive Function Skills in LS Students • Developing Executive Function Skills in MS and US Students— in the Classroom and Online—to Promote Student Success • Sample US Advisory Presentation • Multiple Technology Trainings—with a Focus on Canvas • 13th Viewing and Discussion • White Anti-Racist Educator (WARE) Presentations on Anti-Bias, Diversity and Power, Talking About Race with White Children and More.
Allen-Stevenson helps the boys recognize their emotions and thoughts and how this can affect their behavior. By developing their self-awareness, they can better assess their strengths and limitations, acquire a positive mindset and
Expressing Emotions in Kindergarten to Open Up for Further Learning
Drawing of a color monster
To begin each school year, the kindergarten teachers talk to the boys about showing their emotions and how facial expressions play a role. This year, the conversation was more important than ever given that while many boys were happy to be back in the school building, others were anxious. Reworking how the teachers would introduce this unit was necessary because of mask wearing. So, the teachers decided that one way to explain different expressions and bring them to life would be to use books and videos. “I’ve also used puppets to aid in our conversations about emotions,” said Jesse Montero. “The boys relate well to the puppets, and it helps to affirm what we are talking about.”
W H AT C O L O R D E S C R I B E S YO U R E M OT I O N ? Art Department Head Tara Parsons spent part of the fall focused on how to use color to express emotion in the first-grade art curriculum. The boys began by describing how colors might make them feel in different ways. They took the color yellow, for example, and discussed how it made them feel: Happy? Excited? Mellow? The boys were able to practice using descriptive words to talk about their feelings. The lesson showed that one color doesn’t have to mean the same thing to everyone, and as an artist, they get to explore those feelings for themselves. Ms. Parsons then went on to explain that artists use color to express emotions in their work and showed them some examples. She pointed out that an artist might also use one color in many different ways. For example, they might use blue to show sorrow in one instance and show calm in another. The boys viewed the work of various artists, including staples such as Georgia O’Keefe, Pablo Picasso,
To begin the discussions around emotions, the classes started the year by role-playing to demonstrate how one might show emotion and respond to it. Together as a class, they read Sometimes I'm Bombloo and The Color Monster, which describe expressing one’s feelings with color. For example, The Color Monster cleverly incorporates illustrations of monsters in single colors and what that color might represent in terms of their emotion. Discussing this book gave the boys the chance to talk about a specific color they felt at the moment. They really connected to this idea. Following the reading, the boys illustrated how they were feeling by creating with their own color monster. The class also went on to talk about how feelings can change. “I can sense our conversations are working,” said Jennifer Phillips. “The boys are not hesitant to share how they are feeling at this point in the year.” The kindergarten teachers know that the boys must feel good about themselves before tackling more challenging tasks like writing.
Henry Gershuny shows off his drawing and Vincent Van Gogh but also the work of more contemporary artists such as Pat Steir and Joy Labinjo. After talking about color, the boys were asked to choose different art materials to create their own work, but they were to stick with the same color family for the whole piece. As always, once finished, the boys were given the opportunity to share and reflect on their work via Zoom with their classmates.
possess a well-grounded sense of self-efficacy and optimism.
> First Grade Revamped SEL Program
The First Grade Teaching Team met during the summer of 2019 to talk about first-grade social-emotional learning (SEL) to make it one consistent program. While social-emotional skills have been taught at Allen-Stevenson for years, recent research has made it clear that the team needed a structured, cohesive approach to teach these skills. They decided to use their first social studies unit of the year for teaching SEL because they felt that there is nothing more important than social-emotional growth at this age. If there is anything that the teachers want the boys to learn, they would have the boys relate it to themselves. And while nobody could have anticipated the pandemic, this curriculum has proved invaluable with the advent of remote learning.
Starting at the beginning of the year, the boys spent time getting to know each other by sharing their summer journals. They talked about themselves over Zoom and in breakout rooms where they played games with the information they’d written in their journals. For example, a question game might include: Who has a new puppy? How many learned to surf? The classes used their summer reading book Toys Go Out, by Emily Jenkins, to bridge between summer and school. They talked about how the animal characters in the book treated each other and how they felt. The lesson concluded with a Huggy Animal Day, which gave the boys the chance to share their favorite huggy animal and describe how it makes them feel. Expanding their sense of self, the boys then learn what makes them special while discussing how everyone is different. The classes do this through a name study, framed around books about being unique that the class reads together, such as Elmer, by David Mckee, The Name Jar, by Yangsook Choi and Elephants Cannot Dance by Mo Willems. The boys go on to create self-portraits. Once the boys are aware of their own and others’ unique qualities, it is time to establish who they are within their community.
Ms. Shindler’s class with their huggy animals
W R I T I N G TO F I N D ONE’S VOICE Our Third Grade Team has developed a social-emotional learning (SEL) curriculum that helps our boys become self-aware through identifying their own emotions and understanding how they connect to behaviors and actions. Developmentally, Third Grade is an age where our boys become more aware of themselves and others, allowing them to empathize and comprehend others’ perspectives. Journal writing is a powerful way for the boys to learn about themselves, explore emotions, and develop an extensive vocabulary that empowers them to find their voice. This year, the first assignment was adjusted for the times and focused on the pandemic by having boys reflect on COVID. They wrote three separate entries: What was hard about COVID? What were some silver linings of COVID? What Super Powers did COVID give you? For another early journal project, third-grade boys write down their hopes and dreams for the year. The writing process makes our boys pause, reflect, and organize their thoughts. For this assignment, this process helps boys conceptualize what their main goals are for the year ahead. Throughout the year, boys work on larger writing units simultaneously to these journal entries. During their first unit, students wrote a piece on “What I Wish My Teacher Knew.” The boys pick something about themselves that they wish their teacher knew and explain why it’s important for them to know this fact.
Christian Loucopoulos with his journal
Topics ranged from “I have ADHD” to “my shower door is broken at home” to “I wish I had a baby brother.” It’s a good way to start the year modelling that the more we know about people, the more we can respond to them with empathy.
A conversation starter
Developing a Growth Mindset in the Upper School Upper School advisories have devised creative ways to get the boys to recognize how they feel and share their emotions. Each advisory is structured a little differently to meet the particular boys' social-emotional needs in that advisory. It’s a chance for the boys to be given a voice and understand that they have one. Advisory lessons also help the boys to develop a growth mindset.
Vikram Seth’s special place with that place and what emotions and feelings come to mind. This process encourages boys to look inward and selfreflect on what brings them joy in life. Writing also plays an integral role in social-emotional learning in third-grade Spanish lessons. In one unit, boys learn about the fictional character, Sergio, who has a fixed mindset. Together they talk about how Sergio can move to a growth mindset. The boys qualify the statement “Estoy ____ porque _____,” which translates to “I am ____ because ____.” The group develops a vocabulary list of emotions—in English and Spanish—and discusses how to recognize these emotions and the root cause of these feelings. Our Spanish teachers also have their students describe and assess personal strengths related to an accomplishment and contemplate how emotional states contribute to or detract from problem-solving.
In Kim Sklow’s 8th Grade advisory, she has check-in times built into each week. The boys can use journaling to express themselves or share how they feel with the group through discussions by commenting on Padlet or creating memes. The boys might be asked to respond to questions such as: How are you feeling today? What’s on your mind? What is causing this feeling? What is happening in your body, mind or environment? The boys might watch a TED talk, after which they are asked to respond to prompts such as: Can you relate? What is your biggest distractor? What can you do this year to improve? Samara Spielberg’s advisory developed a conversation around Lin Manuel’s character in the musical Hamilton, Alexander Hamilton, who had a strong
belief in himself and used positive self-talk. The boys were asked to think about and respond to the question: What are some of the affirmations he says about himself? The boys then went into breakout rooms where they had to choose four positive affirmations that he says. They had to talk about what we say is not ALWAYS really what we’re thinking or feeling. They also had to answer the question: What do you believe the character is actually thinking when he says those things? Then they had to put their responses in thought bubbles. As each week draws to a close, the boys are often asked to reflect on the week through GLOW and GROW and by sharing an example of a success, a challenge or a potential. In addition to activities that help the boys learn about themselves, there is time built in for play. Ms. Sklow, for example, structures her week’s advisory lessons around the difficulty of the days, ensuring that there is one advisory simply for play that falls after the week's more stressful days. Ms. Sklow said, “I enjoy coming up with creative games for us to play because the boys need to have downtime to help manage stress, as well as for them to understand that it is important to make time for play in their lives.”
In their second writing unit, boys journal on “My Special Place.” Students begin the writing process by brainstorming what location comes to mind when they imagine the space that makes them the happiest. After choosing their special place, they jot down notes about what memories they associate
Allen-Stevenson boys graduate prepared with essential
self-management skills like executive function, stress management, self-care, perseverance, and agency. These skills help us to plan, focus attention, remember instructions and multi-task.
Boys Develop Goal-Setting Skills and Strategies Through Individualized Learning Plans
What’s the Healthier Option? Essential Life Skills Prepare Sixth Graders to Make Informed Lifestyle Decisions
Sixth graders in Maya Jourieh’s Health and Wellness class learned essential tools for self-care and self-management to maintain a healthy lifestyle during a creative Halloweenthemed lesson. Boys were tasked with researching healthier alternatives to Halloween candies and presenting their findings to the class. In their presentations, the boys had to display both wrappers and walk the class through the labels, explaining why one is preferential in terms of ingredients and nutrition facts. Ms. Jourieh explained the goal of the project by saying, “The key points I would love for the boys to take from this activity is to learn about their options and understand that moderation goes hand-in-hand with a healthy lifestyle. The goal of this is not to limit them, but rather to develop a confident sense of self-awareness.” These important life skills help our boys make informed lifestyle choices, change problematic dietary behaviors, and set them up to meet nutrition goals later in life.
Trey Patrick with a healthy option
At Allen-Stevenson, we are incredibly fortunate to have a robust Learning Resource Center, a vital resource to support our boys’ varied learning styles. Our Learning Specialists work one-on-one with our boys to develop selfmanagement and stress-management skills by helping them recognize their particular learning style, set goals, and advocate for what they need to be successful. “Learning Resource Center Director Anne Meyer often uses the phrase ‘point of need,’ which is really the key to the Learning Resource Center,” said Learning Resource Specialist Venesha Cashdollar. “We identify our students’ unique, individual needs and provide the appropriate support by meeting them where they are and helping them set clear, achievable goals.” This approach to creating individualized learning plans provides boys with skills and strategies to help them navigate both their curriculum and the stress and anxiety that can come when they feel lost or overwhelmed on class assignments or concepts. At Allen-Stevenson, our entire faculty and staff make a conscious effort to know each boy as a unique person. It’s part of what makes us such a special community. It’s also what makes us so successful at identifying their needs and creating a learning plan. These relationships let our educators go below the surface to really know and understand our students. This, in turn, allows our students to develop a strong self-concept and hone executive functioning skills that are directly tied to successful self-management. Our Learning Resource Center places huge importance on executive functioning skills. Starting in Fourth Grade, we teach direct study skills classes where we teach explicit executive functioning skills to all the boys. There are eight executive functioning areas on which we focus: impulse control, emotional control, flexible thinking, working memory, selfmonitoring, planning and prioritizing, task initiation, and organization.
P O S I T I V E AT T I T U D E , E F F O R T, T E A M W O R K : T H E R E C I P E TO S U C C E S S I N A - S AT H L E T I C S
At Allen-Stevenson, success is not defined by a series of wins or losses. Instead, our coaches teach that having a positive attitude and effort, teamwork, and perseverance are the keys to success regardless of a winning outcome. We stress the importance of viewing the bigger picture and considering how one can employ self-management skills to accomplish goals one has set out. However, there is an inherent level of competition in athletics and life, and our coaches teach students how to win and lose gracefully. Competition means building your teammates up, not knocking them down. Teaching our boys how to be good competitors will set them up for success on the playing field and beyond. Physical Education and Athletics Department Head Rich Alifano stressed this by saying, “Just about everything in life is a competition. Getting a job is a competition.You have to compete against other applicants to get interviews. So, how do we prepare our boys to navigate these daily ins and outs of life? We stress that winning or losing isn’t the important part of competition. The important thing is to be prepared, give your best effort, and have a good attitude. If you do that, you can move forward with pride because you know you gave it your all.”
Instrumental Music Lessons Foster Responsibility, Autonomy, and Time-Management Skills In Second Grade, our boys are working on self-management skills, and learning an instrument plays a vital role in developing responsibility and timemanagement skills. At the beginning of every school year, our second-grade boys meet with the instrumental instructors to learn about the myriad of choices they have when it comes to selecting the instrument they would like to learn how to play. This year, our Music Department has impressively adapted to meet the realities of the global pandemic. All instrumental demonstrations have taken place in Zoom breakout rooms where our boys can hear all the instruments and meet our instructors. In addition, instructors sent Director of Instrumental Music Claire Schlegel demonstration videos that she has placed in a fun, interactive Bitmoji classroom. Students autonomously “walked around the room” to watch videos demonstrating the many diverse kinds of music that each instrument can play. This information gives our boys agency to choose which instrument they would like to dedicate time to learning. “When a student picks the instrument that he really, really loves—the one that speaks to him—it fosters agency and motivates him to be independent, to persevere and practice and enjoy playing this instrument,” said Ms. Schlegel. “Everyone wants to do things that you choose, not things that are imposed upon you.” After selecting an instrument, Head of Lower School Stephen Warner and Assistant Head of Lower School for First and Second Grades Jennifer Zimmermann have each student sign an agreement that affirms they will be solely responsible for carrying this instrument back and forth to school and will be responsible for managing their own time to remember their lesson schedule. Their homeroom teachers will not remind them, but the information is posted clearly in numerous places for their reference.
Christian Young (Third Grade) tried out a flute
“This starts a process of being a responsible boy and being responsible for themselves,” said Ms. Schlegel. “The boys really take it seriously. It gives them more ownership and responsibility for what they’re learning. We explain that to the boys as they choose an instrument.”
Regulating emotions and behaviors to collaboratively accomplish goals is foundational to Allen-Stevenson’s Physical Education and Athletics philosophy. We value being responsible, being respectful, working hard, being committed, and persevering. These skills are built into both our physical education and athletics programming, with the added component of competition in athletics.
Escape the Aztec Temple! Students Uncover Essential Technology Skills Through Engaging Spanish Class Scavenger Hunt
The Spanish Department’s first focus of the year was simple: How can we help our boys develop self-management skills that will set them up for success during A-S Bridge 2.0? Students need to know how to navigate the many aspects of technology that our faculty will be using to engage them this year. The second focus: How can we connect this to content and build community? Teachers let the boys uncover these skills for themselves through an engaging scavenger hunt. After learning about the ancient Aztec city and the mighty struggle with Hernán Cortés, the boys learned some troubling news: Moctezuma wanted revenge and locked the Spanish Department in a hidden temple! They would need the boys to gather tools to get them out! For every challenge completed in teams, boys received a necessary tool to escape. Tasks were varied and leveled for
developmental needs, requiring students to navigate several online educational platforms that will be important in the coming year. Some tasks included: using Flipgrid to record a video complimenting a fellow classmate; using Google Jamboard to practice gratitude; writing a properly formatted email to a teacher asking for help this coming school year; creating a collaborative Google slideshow highlighting their strengths as a student; participating in a discussion on Canvas about their dream destination; and navigating Padlet to post uplifting quotes and growth mindset mantras and, of course, a team selfie. The boys then shared these Padlet posts with students in other sections and pods, further bringing our community together. They also learned what the expectations are for the year ahead and how to use online dictionaries in Spanish.
T H E I M P O R TA N C E O F S T U D E N T A G E N C Y : U P P E R S C H O O L B OY S S E T G O A L S , R E F L E C T, A N D E F F E C T CHANGE Student agency is rooted in the belief that students have the ability and the will to influence their own lives and the world around them positively. It centers on the idea that students have the ability to set a goal, reflect on it, and then effect change. Upper School Advisory serves as a space where our boys can exert agency over their schoolwork and lives. In this small, close community, boys set individual goals and work with advisors to accomplish them. So, what does this goal-setting process look like? First, our boys choose a goal that centers on their own personal interests, tied to class learning outcomes. Next, advisors sit down with boys to help them initiate action using the 4 T’s: Time, Task, Technique, and Team. Most importantly—after accomplishing their goals, boys self-reflect and internalize their self-efficacy and gain a sense of empowerment. Impressively, Upper Schoolers extend this process of self-refection to Parent-Teacher Conferences and lead their conferences, putting together a PowerPoint, highlighting aspects of their schoolwork, in which they feel successful and others that they are working on. This ownership over their work and progress leads to a growth mindset and encourages boys to be self-driven and self-motivated learners. This is more important now during the era of COVID-19 than ever before. When students develop a sense of agency, with support from their educators, they become more independent and autonomous learners because their experiences and choices are self-driven and self-motivated, instead of just going through the motions of school assignments. Spanish Teacher Stephen Krawec explored developing student agency through his research with the International Boys’ School Coalition action researchers, using his advisory space to explore this concept. For his research project through IBSC, Sr. Krawec tasked the boys with creating a student “survival guide” that had to be wholly planned, designed, drafted, and published by them. Through this research, Sr. Krawec was able to connect better with all learners, bolster emotional intelligence, and build a resilient, supportive learning community in his classroom. “This project has empowered my students to take ownership of their own learning and has been a great way to make an impact on the well-being and development of my students,” said Sr. Krawec.
Our community at Allen-Stevenson fosters social
in the boys by encouraging perspective-taking and empathy and highlighting the important role that every member of our diverse world plays in our global community.
Our Spanish Department incorporates social-emotional learning into the fabric of each unit. The one about “Pip the Seeing Eye Dog” unit takes boys on a journey with a puppy working his way through guide dog school. Pip develops a growth mindset to help him overcome obstacles, recognize his strengths,
Collaborative English and Theatre Department Monologue Assignment Fosters Empathy
Chase Myers giving his monologue
and use them to succeed. Ultimately, Pip wants to help others and make the world a better place. Boys learned vocabulary to pad their emotional lexicon and used it to practice emotion recognition and connect to themselves. How do you feel when something seems too difficult at school? What words do you tell yourself when you don’t immediately achieve your goal? These reflections segued into
conversations on the importance of growth mindset and positive self-talk. The unit was so powerful and representative of the WHY behind Spanish as A-S. “This is the way we want our boys to approach Spanish,” said Spanish Department head Samara Spielberg. “They are going to encounter obstacles and we want them to know that there are many ways to get to the same goal. When we change our mindset, perceived impossibilities become fun challenges.”
When eighth-grade boys completed an assignment developed collaboratively between English Department Head Susan Lukas and Theatre Director Julie Robles, empathy was the desired and achieved result. Sandra Cisneros’s “Salvador Late or Early,” a vignette from Woman Hollering Creek, is a short character study in 3rd person using a variety of extraordinary figures of speech to enrich and enliven meaning. Students read and studied the piece, identified its figurative language, and developed an understanding of Salvador’s life based on this exploration. Learning about monologues and soliloquies with Ms. Robles was the next step, after which students wrote and performed a monologue that they videotaped and presented for their on-line English class. Writing the monologues encouraged students to take on the character’s emotions and to transition from a state of sympathy to empathy. In order to imagine how Salvador was feeling, the boys practiced perspective-taking by considering such questions as: Why has he decided to speak now? What prompted him to say what he is about to say? Since in the original vignette Salvador is silent and unknown by teachers and other students, creating answers to these questions became crucial to each student’s rendering of their Salvador. “As a class, we talked at length about how they could not do this assignment without getting inside of Salvador,” said Ms. Lukas. “They had to put themselves in his shoes, and that was hard for many of them. Connecting empathetically was essential to the success of their work.” Ms. Robles added to this by saying, “When one becomes socially aware at a young age, acting with empathy as an ally to others becomes natural over time. The bigger picture is that they will become kind humans and will carry that on with them after Allen-Stevenson.”
Spanish Department Incorporates Social Awareness into Unit on Seeing Eye Dogs
F I F T H G R A D E P E AC E P RO J E C T I N F O R M S B OY S O N H U M A N R I G H T S A N D I N S P I R E S S O C I A L AWA R E N E S S Every year, fifth graders embark on an educational journey, studying human rights and global citizenship through an education program called The Peace Project. This program bridges important historical events to modern-day circumstances to teach students how the past impacts our present, and how activism influences people’s lives. The Peace Project is an NYC-based organization that provides human rights and global citizenship education programs that inform, inspire, and ignite students to address human rights issues. This wonderful unit helps our boys understand how the past impacts our present and how activism influences people’s lives.
Windows, Mirrors, and Sliding Glass Doors: How Books Provide Opportunities for Perspective-Taking
The sessions collectively speak to the concept that every single person plays an important role in our society and encourage our boys to imagine what it would be like to experience the world through another’s eyes.
For example, during one session the class explores the topic of “women’s rights are human rights.” The boys discuss the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), which is an international bill of rights for women that was adopted in 1979 by the United Nations but has yet to be signed by the United States. The boys discuss what the world would look like if gender equality existed everywhere. The partnership culminates in a field trip to the United Nations, which will be a remote field trip this year. They receive a fascinating, educational tour of the building, including a visit to the General Assembly Hall.
The Fifth Grade at the UN in May 2019
Last year’s Adi’s Challenge top readers Avid readers across our Middle and Upper School participate each year in Adi’s Reading Challenge, named to honor the life of Aditya Srinivasan ’19. Throughout the Reading Challenge, boys read books from a list curated by our Library Tech Commons team and submit a response form. Once done, boys who read the required number of books to qualify (seven books for Fourth and Fifth Grades and five books for Sixth and Seventh Grades) are invited to join a set of voting parties to select their choice for the ALA’s Newbery Medal and discuss whether the titles might win other ALA awards as well. During the book parties, the boys reflect on what kind of book wins the Newbery award. With Adi’s Challenge and other events orchestrated by our Library Tech Commons team, we look for books that provide opportunities for our boys to develop empathy through perspective-taking.
“We talk about books being windows, mirrors, and sliding glass doors,” said Teacher Librarian Liz Storch. “Books create connections for our boys. Children can see each other and themselves mirrored in the characters in the books they are reading. So, it’s extremely important for everyone to be represented in the books we choose to have the boys read. They can also be windows into lives and cultures that are much different from their own. All of these books allow students to identify with the characters. This fosters empathy and understanding of the world. It allows students to step through a sliding glass door into another world and get to know different characters as humans. Then, when a character faces a problem in the book, our students can think about what they might do in that particular situation. It helps them take the perspective of the characters and develop empathy for them.”
A - S C O M M U N I T Y U N P A C K S W H AT S O L I D A R I T Y L O O K S A N D F E E L S L I K E
This year, First Grade Teacher and Community Life + Diversity (CL+D) Co-Director Sophy Joseph spoke about the importance of being an ally with Lower Schoolers during Community Time by talking them through I Walk with
Using Science Curriculum to Foster Social Awareness, Relatable Connections Between Our Boys, Their Community, and the World
Vanessa: A Story about a Simple Act of Kindness by Kerascoët. This book encouraged the boys to take the perspective of a young girl who is just starting at a new school and has trouble fitting in. Boys were asked what they would do in this situation and how they could be kind allies to a classmate in need.
have been doing on parts of their heritage to discuss and share with the group. Eighth grader José Valentín presented on the Chicano
During Middle and Upper School Monday Morning Meeting, boys viewed Disney’s Out. In subsequent discussions boys empathized with the characters from the film and talked about what actions we could all take to be an inclusive, welcoming community.
Movement in the 1960s and 1970s, tying it to how many activists’ lives work provides excellent examples of solidarity.
Upper School Boys of Color at Allen-Stevenson (BOCAS) tied Solidarity Week into a series of research presentations they
“It’s good when we amplify each other,” said CL+D Chair Jennifer Vermont-Davis, “It’s good when we speak out and
let one another present information and appreciate the work people have done.” The week’s program concluded with a powerful address to the Upper School by transgender rights advocate Alex Myers, the first openly transgender student at Phillips Exeter Academy and Harvard University, and Kendall LaSane, husband to Allen-Stevenson’s Assistant Director of Admissions and CL+D Co-Director Devin LaSane. Mr. Myers and Mr. LaSane shared their experiences as transgender men and answered our boys’ questions. Solidarity Week is a great example of how we continually strive to be a more educated community of allies and socially aware, good human beings.
Allen-Stevenson’s Science Department fosters social awareness by opening our boys up to thinking outside of their own experience and viewing the world from a broader lens. Hands-on projects focusing on real-world scenarios use a social justice lens to provide students with the necessary tools to become informed and active global citizens. Each year, Science Teacher Silvia Rodríguez explores volcanoes and rock formations with the second graders. This year, boys will learn that there are small communities settled very close to active volcanoes. They will discuss how concepts like cost of living, poverty, and access to healthcare and education might lead someone to live in such a dangerous location. Ms. Rodríguez will empower the boys to create educational posters and evacuation maps to assist in the evacuation plan of a community. The class will also contact the Costa Rican Comisión Nacional de Prevención de Riesgos y Atención de Emergencias (CNE) to learn how they implement emergency plans to evacuate communities if a volcano increases in activity or erupts. Science Teacher Jeffrey Herschenhous includes an interesting discussion on the nonexistence of race in his evolution unit. Mr. Herschenhous explains how differences in the amount of sunlight that can penetrate the skin explain how skin color has evolved to different climates. This unit incorporates numerous discussions on the societal concept of race and how it is used to disadvantage certain groups throughout history. When safe to do so with regard to the COVID pandemic, our eighth graders will be looking at the air quality in New York City during an environmental justice unit. Students will use devices to collect air quality, break it down by kind of pollutant, and discuss what levels of which pollutants are dangerous by EPA standards and from where the pollutants they find originate. As the culmination of the unit, boys will hopefully present their findings and offer potential solutions at a conference that, if the global pandemic allows, will be run by the Children's Environmental Literacy Foundation (CELF). “The idea is to have an action piece at the end,” said Science Department Head Jack Cooley. “We will go over action items with them, like writing letters, educating their communities at A-S and beyond, getting involved in a project or organization, and how to volunteer their time. We want to empower the boys and show them that their voices matter and can be heard. We will teach them how to speak compellingly to public officials and their communities.”
Each year, our community dedicates a week to celebrating our ongoing efforts to become a more socially aware, empathetic community that emphasizes belonging. Throughout this week, known as Solidarity Week, students across divisions engage in ageappropriate conversations unpacking what solidarity and allyship look like. We discuss different family structures, gender stereotypes, and gender identities and how allies can work with other underrepresented communities to amplify those voices.
Through collaboration with peers, Allen-Stevenson boys learn how to communicate clearly, listen actively, interact cooperatively, negotiate conflict constructively and seek help when needed. Learning these relationship skills will help them be more self-confident and relate well to others.
MAKING CONNECTIONS IN SECOND GRADE
To get the school year started, Second Grade Teacher Alice Heminway had her boys participate in a “getting to know you” activity to build community and foster social-emotional learning.
Each boy had to create personal bags containing five items that let their personalities shine and applaud their unique interests. Boys included items ranging from flags representing their heritage to musical instruments and math workbooks. Ms. Heminway also used these items to help the boys see what they had in common by recognizing that there might be several boys who like math or a specific color. “Bonding activities like this create a productive work environment in the classroom because everyone feels more comfortable sharing ideas and participating in the class,” said Ms. Heminway. In the Second Grade, Morning Meeting and Closing Circle, which occur every day, provide an important time for the boys to make connections. The meeting might begin with the whole class before breaking into smaller groupings, so the boys can get to know each other on a more personal level.
Alice Heminway shares her personal bag
Ms. Heminway explained that she might provide prompts for these smaller group discussions, with “Would you rather?” questions or by asking: “What’s something you’ve learned that you feel you’re good at?” and “How did you become good at that thing?” The boys take turns sharing. Sometimes the boys come back to the group and share on behalf of their classmates, which also encourages the boys to become active listeners. “Being an active listener is something we discuss early on in the year,” said Ms. Heminway. “We talk about the importance of eye contact and looking at the speaker, which is harder on Zoom. I let the boys know we need to see their face on the screen.” To help develop these listening skills, the boys might play games on Zoom that require them to be looking and reacting to another person in a follow-the-leader type of game. “We also use our classroom meeting times to talk about being a quiet listener and giving feedback non-verbally,” said Ms. Heminway. “I’ve had the boys use hand motions when they want to agree with something, which has been especially useful during Zoom meetings.” Despite having to work on relationship skills via Zoom this year, these same conversations equate to those that would take place in-person and reflect the same in-person learning values.
Pandemic-Related STEAM Challenge Requires Teamwork
Fifth Grade Teacher Maurice Hicks sets each of his students up with a point person for reasons of connection and support. This year, given the unusual circumstances, he has created small groupings of three or four boys to provide them with additional peers to turn to while maintaining accountability. “It is especially important at the moment that the boys have a team to work with, as well as someone other than their teacher with whom they can speak to and check in with,” said Mr. Hicks. Mr. Hicks helps the boys make the initial connections between point persons. If the boys were in the school building during a typical year, they would have the independence to walk and talk on the 5th floor while getting to know their point person.Virtually this year, the boys have met in breakout rooms on Zoom. A reality that presents several challenges attached to appropriate distancing yet provides the guidance, structure, and openness to growth attached to learning. Mr. Hicks might provide them with a prompt to get their conversations started. Then he asks the groupings to create a 15-minute presentation in Google slides on ‘What is Friendship?’. The boys are responsible for coordinating meetings, creating conversations related to the topic, and planning how they can keep each other on task. As they move
through the school year, they can choose whether to use their meet up times to chat or study together. A goal is for the groupings to encourage each other and establish that they should commit to deliberate practice or review if they are meeting to study, not utilize the enrichment opportunity as a potential playdate. Working in this group setting will help them learn to advocate for themselves and understand the value of screen time. An outcome of interacting within various group settings, varying perspectives, and growing bonds is that they grow to understand what type of friend or friends they are to others. As a class, the boys discuss how difficult it is to be everything to everyone and that they can’t expect to get everything from one person. Accountability and interdependence are connected to time spent together while embracing similarities and differences. Sharing various personal goals, both academic and general, with their point person or persons provides an additional support system to help each boy reach those goals that he has set for himself. Committing to these moments of honesty and vulnerability highlights this relationship's intention and the value of how important working in a group can be. How many authentic bonds or connections do you have with people who may not be like you? Here’s to space and opportunity.
The problem identified for the challenge was related to the pandemic and affected the boys’ well-being. Since last March, it has become difficult to play games with your friends in person because they may be in different parts of New York, other states, or across the globe! Some people are near each other, but they still have to maintain social distance rules. The problem is, how do you play a sport or game when friends can’t share equipment and can’t get close? To solve this problem, the STEAM V teachers challenged the boys to design a sport that could be played while maintaining social distance. They had to create an inclusive high-interest game that combined technology with physical movement. The game had to be fun, active, and awesome, and be played with their friends six feet apart or further. The game had to include: a goal/objective, a point system, have several rounds, at least two players, a mascot or logo, positions and physical movement, physical environment combined with technology, dimensions, four items at least from the STEAM supply bag provided, equipment (new ideas), and have rules. The game had to be able to be played by everyone…fully inclusive! For the first step, the boys met to create a plan before designing a blueprint and then building their prototype. They worked collaboratively through video conferencing and Google docs using the EDP. As the last step in the process, the boys were required to create and present a video tutorial on how to play their virtual game. The boys’ reflections about this project had each team member describe their role in the team and which skill sets they brought to the project, allowing them the opportunity to recognize their strengths as well as to identify how and when they can draw on support.
Understanding the Value of a Team and One’s Role Within It
The Fifth Grade STEAM teachers, Lisa Anderson, Dr. Rob McCallum, Peter Fletcher and Alex Exposito, set a new STEAM challenge at the beginning of this school year that introduced the fifth graders to the Engineering Design Process (EDP). This process requires collaboration and teamwork, whether brainstorming, designing, building or communicating results to draw on multiple skill sets.
BE KIND AND DO
For many years, the sixthgrade class theme has been “Be Kind and Do Your Best.” Sixth Grade English Teacher Pete Haarmann, along with a former colleague, decided that instead of an exhaustive list of class rules, a more effective way to get the boys to think about themselves, and how they act toward their classmates, is to have them write about being kind and doing their best. Weaving the theme for the year into a writing assignment also creates a sense of ownership. Mr. Haarmann begins each year by talking to the class about what it means to be kind. He asks the boys, “What does it mean to go out of your way to be kind? Isn’t kindness more than just common courtesy?” “Simply doing the expected thing isn’t enough. You need to go another step, and another step,” explains Mr. Haarmann. This conversation leads to the second component of the theme: Doing Your Best. For this, Mr. Haarmann has the boys consider that being kind is how
YO U R B E S T you act toward others, while doing your best demonstrates the steps that can be taken to make the most of the talents and curiosities each possesses. He intentionally chose the word “do” instead of “try” because it is more purposeful. After talking about the theme, the boys are asked to construct a heartfelt fourparagraph essay based on the two major components. The first paragraph serves as an introduction. The second centers on “Be Kind,” while the third paragraph focuses on “Do Your Best.” For both the second and third paragraphs, the boys have to give two or three examples of how they will be kind and do their best. They have to show what actions they will take, not merely talk about what each means. For the
concluding paragraph, Mr. Haarmann talks to the boys about three different approaches. They can either rehash what they intend to do, which is good. They can introduce a new idea, which is better, or they can add a new idea and subtly ask the reader what they are doing to improve their lives and the lives of those around them. This would be the best option. This commitment to the theme provides a helpful focal point for studentteacher discussions as they move through the year. Mr. Haarmann reminds them about the beautiful things they wrote that state they are going to make particular changes. Usually, these essays would be hung on a bulletin board with the large letters —A-S— across the top, bordered with blue and yellow paper to signify the importance of their efforts within the School community. It may prove a challenge this year to display the themes in the usual way. No matter how their work gets shared, the boys love their ownership of the class theme and the impact of their commitment throughout the whole of Sixth Grade.
Doing your best is something that makes someone a finer and sturdier student.This year I am going to do my very best by starting my assignments the day they are assigned and use my work time more efficiently. Also, doing my best means being “before time” to classes, and being focused during them.This means I will be ready for classes and pay very close attention to any instructions or assignments given to me.
Doing your best does not mean showing up with a little, it means showing up with a lot. —Henry Cheng
At Allen-Stevenson, our faculty invites students to partner with them in the classroom in making responsible decisions. By giving them agency and empowering them to think about the choices they make, our boys learn how this valuable skill can be carried with them beyond the walls of the schoolhouse.
Fourth Grade Civilizations Unit Teaches Boys Deeper Understanding of Societal Structures In fourth-grade humanities class, Fourth Grade Teachers Sarah Luposello and Lorenzo Bellard encourage their students to go deeper with their learning. Mr. Bellard “wants them to understand that civilizations exist because certain things need to be in place, but we let them figure it out on their own. It sticks in students’ minds when they make the connections through their own research. It gives them pride over their learning.” Giving the students this agency empowers them to question “why” and draw conclusions on their own from their research. He says that in class, “we focus on specific roles.
Collaboration on their project
Each student has an opportunity to play each role during the simulation. Initially, they all want to be the “ruler,” but then they realize that the “artisans” have a really important role to play too because they make things. Then begins the conversation about whether or not value and social class are the same. We go on to tie this into our current civilization, talking about teachers, medical responders, plumbers, farmers—they’re the foundation of our society, and that’s an important concept to learn.”
Map discussion with Lorenzo Bellard
Kim Sklow’s Bitmoji classroom
In Music Class, responsible decision-making is encouraged and explored from the very beginning. Music Department Head Michelle Demko and Lower School Music Teacher Ian Taggart encourage students to create and explore self-expression in class, which helps them learn more about who they are as students and musicians. In class, boys are invited into a partnership with the teacher, for instance, by getting to choose instruments and sound effects for themselves and then demonstrate their knowledge after learning a song in the way that works best for them. Ian Taggart explains that co-collaborating with the boys and giving them choices “helps them feel like valued members of the class and feel that they are directly having an impact on the music they’re learning about and making.” Representation in music is also at the forefront of their minds, and Michelle Demko explains that this builds trust in class, allowing boys to feel comfortable making choices that are best for them. They are constantly looking for ways to give boys various opportunities to grow in this way.
Learning recorder with Michelle Demko
An election year is a great opportunity to encourage students to participate in the art of civil discourse and teach them about the responsibility of their decisions. In History, Department Head Kim Sklow’s eighth-grade history classes, students learn what it means to have a voice, the power their voice has, and to understand how their opinions are often formed. By creating an interactive Bitmoji classroom, students are invited to take a deep dive into bi-partisan politics in America and understand how biases are portrayed in the media. In groups, she has boys discuss, “what characteristics a leader should have, which is more important—character or issues, and, if they could vote, which issues would be most important to them. Overall, she wants them to “see that there is always room for open discourse and it’s okay to be uncomfortable.” They all have a “responsibility to actively listen and make choices based on their own opinions and experiences.”
M U S I C - M A K I N G : A C O L L A B O R AT I V E P R O C E S S AT A L L E N - S T E V E N S O N
Ian Taggart incorporating movement in music
Civil Discourse and Respect are Paramount in Ms. Sklow’s 8th Grade History Class
Ethics class with Aidan Fennelly
M AT H C L A S S N O R M S S E T T H E T O N E F O R G R E AT E R S U C C E S S I N T H E C L A S S RO O M Math class may seem like an unlikely setting to introduce social-emotional learning (SEL), but Upper School Math Teacher Robin Keats feels it is just as important here as in any other subject. At the start of each new class for the year, he gives the boys agency by encouraging them to set classroom norms themselves. He invites them to make responsible decisions when it comes to supporting their classmates and creating an environment where each boy feels welcome. He poses questions like: “What should we do if a boy gets a problem wrong in class? How would you want your fellow classmates to react?” By helping them decide how they want the class environment to feel, they are actively making decisions that benefit not just them, but their classmates’ overall success in math as well.
Upper School Students Discuss Ethics and History to Learn More About Themselves and the World Around Them The Fortiter et Recte Ethics class held by Upper School English Teacher Aidan Fennelly in the Upper School provides both seventh- and eighth-grade students with a look into the three main types of ethics: value-based, Kantian, and consequential. With an introduction to ethics in Seventh Grade and a deeper exploration into the ethics of social justice in Eighth Grade, boys are encouraged to understand why people make the decisions they do and how they can apply these same principles in their own lives. Additionally, in Facing History and Ourselves, students study the choices people have made throughout history and how that has caused a ripple effect throughout time. Boys are able to study pivotal moments in history and learn from them, so that they too can make informed and responsible decisions throughout their lifetime.
A discussion with Robin Keats
C L A S S R O O M N O R M S F O R O N E M AT H C L A S S These are the norms you generated and agreed to on your first day of class: Don’t say “No. That’s wrong.” When someone makes a mistake. Instead say, “I disagree,” “Have you considered…” or “I see what you did, but I tried this…”
Everyone listens when others are speaking. Respect others’ opinions. (Which means think about what they said and try to empathize even if you ultimately decide you still think they are wrong.)
Don’t fool around online. Don’t search for things or watch things during class. Pay attention. Respect the teacher. Work productively in Break Out Rooms.
Always raise your hand. Don’t call out. Support each other. Cheer people up when they are down. Take care of your materials.
P A R E N T S A S S O C I AT I O N
Keeping Us Connected The Parents Association (PA), strongly supported by its PA Executive Board members, has continued to find ways to keep the community connected despite everyone being physically distanced.
Lamplighter: PARENTS ASSOCIATION
As PA President Audrey Rasch said in her welcome back email:
“This school year, no doubt, will be different. We will continue to preface every event with the word ‘unprecedented’ and experience mixed feelings of appreciation for time spent with families counteracted by the nagging craving for elusive normalcy. Through the ambivalence, my hope is that we remain a caring, compassionate and connected COMMUNITY of Parents…A-S Strong through it all!” To further set this tone for the school year, the PA kicked it off with a largely attended welcome gathering via Zoom so the whole community could come together as one. At this event, Audrey Rasch shared a heartwarming video to highlight the PA volunteers and their impactful involvement in the School. Updates from Board President Metin Negrin, Head of School David Trower, Director of Security Chris Acerbo, and School Nurse Caroline Gwin followed. Winnie Barnes, Director of Organizational Initiatives, shared upcoming plans for the Building Project as well. Together with school administrators, the PA also helped arrange an early round of Parent Connection meetings. These meetings are for parents in each grade to meet with the Division Head and the consulting School Psychologist, Dr. Schwartzman. They continue to provide a useful space for parents to address topics of child development, as well as social and academic issues. Having this place to learn how to meet the demands of raising and schooling a child during this difficult time is very important. Plans are in the works for double the usual number of such meetings this school year in response to the increased levels of concern parents may be facing.
Class Representatives (Reps), who work closely with PA Class Rep Coordinator Jennifer Sossen, continue to further strengthen the A-S community connection by serving as critical conduits in helping bridge communication between the School and the parent body. They’ve provided timely reminders, hosted virtual coffee and cocktail gatherings, socially distanced playdates and highlighted time-sensitive details now that there is more information than ever for families to review, organize and digest. The PA has also connected to prospective families while working with PA Engagement Coordinator Simran Singh and Admissions to host events showcasing our incredible A-S community. A-S parents graciously volunteer to share touching stories and insights via Zoom to help interested parents navigate the process. Of course, there are other needs that the PA has helped to meet, as exemplified in its response to the parent community request for uniform items. Since the PA School Store could not physically open, Jennifer Ceccarini, PA School Store Manager, and Kerry-Ann Evans-Thompson, PA Vice President, along with Audrey Rasch and A-S Communications, figured out a way to set it up online! They have been hard at work fulfilling the many orders for uniform items and other A-S branded goods. Everything is personalized and bagged so parents can simply pick up items outside the front of the schoolhouse! Go A-S Pride! Furthermore, in an attempt to address needs outside the A-S doors, the PA connected with Middle School Division Head Kim Kyte to facilitate a virtual collection of items to help food-insecure families and undernourished neighbors. The generosity of our community remains strong. Unequivocally, one of the A-S community highlights this autumn has been Halloween! The PA gave every family
a bucket of Halloween cookies to decorate, whether their sons were learning at school or remotely, so they could participate in a virtual cookie decorating event, accompanied by a book reading with Lower School Librarian Maria Paz Alegre. Faculty and staff members were given a cookie and thank you note too! PA Logistics Coordinator Andrea Voorhis customized buckets with creatively themed labels. Lower School Science Faculty and Chair, Community Life and Diversity Jennifer VermontDavis helped manage prizes for the winners to the evening’s Kahoot. The energy was indeed positive as this autumn activity allowed everyone to share a festive “normal” moment together.
Overall, as one reflects on the school year thus far amidst all the unpredictability in the world right now, it is incredibly comforting to know that the A-S community remains predictably warm, caring and compassionate…and that the PA is keeping us CONNECTED.
2020-21 PA Executive Board:
Audrey Rasch President
Kerry-Ann Evans-Thompson Vice-President
Jennifer Ceccarini School Store
Simran Singh Community Engagement Coordinator
Jennifer Sossen Class Rep Coordinator
Andrea Voorhis Logistics Coordinator
Outside the Teaching Greenhouse
The new North Gym and Teaching Greenhouse are nearing completion.
The North Gym floor is down, and the scoreboards and the basketball hoops hung. On the roof, the Teaching Greenhouse peaks up above the building boasting a nice view of the Upper East Side.
The Performing Arts Studio now has barres and curtains, and the classrooms on the 4th and 5th floors have updated carpeting and furniture. Scaffolding at the front of the schoolhouse will be down soon.
Performing Arts Studio outfitted with ballet barres and black curtains
Looking south from inside the Teaching Greenhouse Looking down at the Greenhouse from above North Gym
Logo in the center of the North Gym floor
Inside new fourth and fifth floor classrooms
Finn Baker (Fifth Grade) and Jake Baker (Third Grade)
Charlie Bernfeld (Second Grade) and William Bernfeld (Kindergarten)
Sammy Erbst (Third Grade) and Oliver Erbst (Kindergarten)
Nicolas Espinel (Second Grade) and Sebastian Espinel (Kindergarten)
Fox Fiszel (Kindergarten), Henri Fiszel (Fifth Grade), and Leo Fiszel (Seventh Grade)
Nico Gelber (Kindergarten) and Gabriel Gelber (Fourth Grade)
Owen Klaff (Kindergarten) and Blake Klaff (Fifth Grade)
Magnus Klauer (Kindergarten) and Alexander Abeliovich (Fourth Grade)
WELCOME NEW SIBLINGS
Rowan Mufson (Third Grade) and Julian Mufson (Kindergarten)
Drew Plasse (Fourth Grade) and Robbie Plasse (Fourth Grade) Winter 2020
Brooks Moolenaar (Third Grade) and Carter Moolenaar (First Grade)
Silas Rivlin (Fourth Grade) and Oliver Rivlin (Sixth Grade)
Brody Schwarz (Kindergarten) and Charlie Schwarz (Third Grade)
Truman Terwilliger (Kindergarten) and Teddy Terwilliger (Second Grade)
Miller Walby (Second Grade) and Reed Walby (Kindergarten)
Will Sossen (Kindergarten) and Charlie Sossen (Sixth Grade)
WELCOME NEW TRUSTEES
Amy Peck (Parent, 4th Grade)
Amy Peck is the Chief Culture Officer at CIVANA, a new concept in wellness resorts & spas. The first location, nestled in the Arizona Sonoran Desert, just opened in mid-September. Amy also sits on the board of UrbanStems.
Obsessed with helping make organizations better, Amy is a tenacious problem-solver and motivating communicator who is deeply invested in making Geoffrey, Mickey, Amy and Fisher companies successful—and believes that taking care of employees is an integral part of success. Prior to CIVANA, Amy spent several years working with companies to help build, grow and maintain internal and external culture and community, as well as improve customer experience, training, hiring and communications. With a passion for hospitality, Amy was the first employee at SoulCycle. For more than a decade, she helped build SoulCycle from a start-up with a single NYC studio to one of the country’s leading boutique fitness companies with almost 100 studios and 25,000 riders a day. Amy worked in virtually every department in the company before becoming Chief Culture Officer. Before joining SoulCycle, Amy worked at Condé Nast for almost ten years in public relations at GLAMOUR and domino magazines, where she received several awards and accolades. She began her career at NBC in New York City. Born and raised in Houston, Texas, Amy received her BA in Communications from the University of Texas at Austin. She lives on the Upper West Side of Manhattan with her husband, Geoffrey and their two sons, Mickey age 9.5 and Fisher age 3.5, and welcomes you to come try CIVANA any time you’re ready!
Chris Jones P’09 After graduating from Cambridge University, where he was a Scholar of Selwyn College, Chris spent 24 years in the advertising industry during which time he became the worldwide Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of J. Walter Thompson Co., one of the world’s biggest international advertising groups. He was the youngest person and first
Sara Everett, Gus and Chris Jones non-American to hold this position in the company’s 140-year history. In 2001, after a serious illness, Chris retired from the advertising business. He left New York City in 2002 and returned to live in England. Based in the United Kingdom in the past decade, Chris has developed an extensive range of business and not-for-profit interests around the world. In financial services, he has been an advisor to the Partner Board at Motion Equity Partners, a pan-European private equity firm based in Paris. He was a non-executive director of Central Trust PLC from 2008-2011. He was the Non-Executive Chairman of the Richmond Group from 2012-2015. He is the Chairman of Results International Group, a global M&A advisory house specializing in marketing services, healthcare and technology. In healthcare, he is a member of the Board of Becton, Dickinson and Company, a $68 billion listed company which is a world leader in the manufacture of medical devices, diagnostic equipment, and bio-science technology. He is a member of the Executive Committee of that Board, Chair of the Nominations and Governance Committee and a member of the Compensation and Management Development Committee. He also served for seven years on the Audit Committee. He was the Senior Independent Director of Xenogen Corporation of Alameda, California from 2001 through its flotation in 2004 until its acquisition by Caliper Corporation in 2006. He was Chairman of the Pavilion Clinic, a joint venture between BMI and Global Health 2009-2015 and was an advisor to the Oxford Musculo- Skeletal Clinic. In technology, he was Chairman of the Board of Freedom Holdings which owns one of the largest independent digital marketing companies in Europe from 2008 until its sale in 2015. He was advisory board member and investor at Webs Inc. which was acquired by Vistaprint NV in 2012. He is an advisor to Nardello & Co., a leading United States based investigative firm specializing in due diligence, asset recovery, litigation support and FCPA/Bribery Act matters. He was a director of Commarco, Germany’s leading independent marketing services firm from 2003 until its sale to WPP in 2011. He is Chairman of Cello Health PLC, an AIM-listed marketing services company. He also served as a Director of
De Beers Diamond Jewelry, the joint venture between De Beers and LVMH from its formation in 2001 until 2009. He was a member of the Advisory Board at Marakon Associates, a management consultancy.
He is a governor and immediate past Chairman of the Dragon School, Oxford. He is Chairman of Governors at St. Edward’s School, Oxford. He led the formation of The Blackbird Academy Trust, an academy with responsibility for three primary schools with 1,250 pupils on the Leys Estate, a part of East Oxford with extensive social problems. He was Chair of the Academy Board for five years until its merger with United Learning.
Educator Colm MacMahon, Head of School, Rippowam Cisqua School, Bedford, NY Colm has been the Head of School at Ripposam Cisqua in Bedford, NY since 2015. Founded in 1917, Rippowam Cisqua is a co-ed pre-K through 9th grade school with 350 students. Recently, in 2018, the School finished the construction on their Upper School Campus which encompassed major additions including a new main entry, media center, dining hall,
BOARD OF TRUSTEES
Neve, Kara, Colm and Ciaran classroom addition, renovated science labs and art classrooms and an innovation lab that opened into a courtyard amphitheater. In November 2019, the Board voted to unite the two campuses for the start if the 2020-21 school year at 439 Canitoe Street in Bedford. As part of the unification of its two campuses, in September 2020, the School will open a new Early Childhood Center which will house Junior pre-K and Senior pre-K students. Colm grew up in New York City and attended St. David’s School and Loyola School. He is a 1997 graduate of College of the Holy Cross and received a M.A. from Columbia Teacher’s College in 2005. Prior to his post at Rippowam Cisqua, Colm was Assistant Head at School of the Holy Child, Admissions Director at Berkeley Carroll School, and a teacher at Marymount School. Colm’s nephew, Noel Mac Mahon, graduated from AllenStevenson in June 2020 and received the Robby Zuckert ’84 Honor which recognizes a boy exemplifying high moral character, possessing a strong sense of right and wrong, and encouraging loyalty, authenticity, kindness, empathy, courage, determination and thoughtfulness among his classmates at The Allen-Stevenson School.
In not-for-profit, he is a Trustee/Visitor of the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford University, Chair of the Advisory Board at the University Library at Cambridge and an ex-officio member of the Library Syndics. He is a member of the Health Advisory Board at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health in Baltimore. He is also a Trustee and Treasurer of the International Institute for Strategic Studies and a Trustee of the Lasker Foundation in New York City. He is a member of the Board of the Pew Charitable Trusts based in Philadelphia and Washington D.C., famed for its extensive global work in environmental conservation, public health, government performance and public attitude and opinion research.
F A C U LT Y A N D S TA F F
Lower School Teacher Librarian Maria Paz Alegre presented at The NAIS People of Color Conference (PoCC) again this year! She spoke about the Filipina/o/x collectivist approach of kapwa, Tagalog for a shared sense of inner belonging, as a meaningful framework to disrupt individualistic thinking and to liberate the promise of community-wide collaborative problem-solving. She, along with other Filipina educators, facilitated an analysis of how kapwa can create more inclusive communities of belonging, including in pre-k-12 independent school communities. Ms. Alegre is also in her second year as a committee member for ALSC, the Association of Library Services for Children, a branch of the American Library Association. She will be judging and awarding the most distinguished example of American Digital Media for Early Education. The winner of the award will be announced in January, alongside other the ALSC awards including the Caldecott Award and the Newbery Award.
Physical Education Teacher Jon Burgos took time during quarantine to complete a virtual yoga training with the Yoga Alliance. Aside from learning postures and adjustment to become a Certified Yoga Instructor, Coach Burgos also studied mindfulness and meditation, which he hopes to gradually introduce to the boys.
Science Department Head Jack Cooley’s nonprofit organization, The Community Bots, held a Comedy Night Fundraiser on October 22. The Community Bots provides training and resources in STEM-robotics to middle school girls and their teachers in underserved communities in New York City.
Spanish Teacher Stephen Krawec’s Action Research report, “We Are Family: Using Student Agency to Build Positive Community in a Grade 7 Advisory” was selected as a top 3 report for the International Boys’ Schools Association. As an honoree, he was interviewed by Bruce Collins, IBSC’s Director of Membership Engagement, for the Exploring Boys’ Education podcast along with the other two top honorees. Sr. Krawec will be headed to Barcelona to present his research next summer at the IBSC’s Annual Conference and will also be presenting a second workshop on building classroom community with Spanish Department Head Samara Spielberg. Spanish Teacher Stephen Krawec and Spanish Department Head Samara Spielberg created a week-long workshop this summer for the Massachusetts Foreign Language Association. The workshop focused on using interpersonal speaking and writing tasks as a conduit for building community and developing emotional literacy and empathy. Sr. Krawec’s very own eighth-grade Spanish teacher was in attendance during the online sessions!
Art Teacher Julia Kunin’s solo exhibition at McClain Gallery in Texas will run from mid-November through midJanuary.
School Nurse Meghan Little and her husband Sean welcomed Seamus Kennedy Little on September 4, 2020.
Communications Manager Lily Miller married Edoardo Migliori in front of a Zoom audience of family and friends on July 4, 2020. They look forward to holding their Italian wedding reception at a future date, when the pandemic allows.
New Faculty & Staff
Caroline Gwin R.N., C.P.N.P. School Nurse Caroline Gwin received her bachelor’s degree in Nursing from Penn State University before going to New York City where she worked at Weill Cornell Medicine in the General Pediatric Unit. Nurse Gwin went on to Columbia University to become a Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (C.P.N.P.) with a focus on primary care. Nurse Gwin is an independent school parent as well.
What inspired you to become a Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, and what was it about working in a school setting that appealed to you?
Trumpet Teacher Thomas Verchot was commissioned to make a video of solo trumpet music for the Ostrava Center for New Music in Ostrava, Czechia. Thomas has been associated with this center since 2008. This video was published on July 29, 2020 and was recorded at home. In the video, Mr. Verchot narrates a description and performs four pieces composed by major avantgarde composers of the 20th/21st century: Giacinto Scelsi, Stefan Wolpe, Olga Neuwirth, and Elliot Carter.
I’ve always wanted to work with children in some capacity. I thought I wanted to be a teacher. Throughout adolescence, I realized that I’d like to follow in my grandmother’s footsteps and become a nurse. My grandmother was instrumental in my life in many ways. I love everything about pediatrics. I love relating to children. We focus on developmental components, growth, and the bonds developed between parents, kids, and their primary care providers. Developing a healthy relationship is so important because so much is built on trust and rapport.
Keisha Lavia Kindergarten Teacher Keisha Lavia went to school in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, where they use the British educational model, and started teaching right after her A Levels. After teaching at her former high school for two years, Ms. Lavia migrated to the United States where she worked as a nanny for many years. It was this work with children that inspired her to return to school to pursue a career in education. Ms. Lavia subsequently received her associate degree in early childhood education from the Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC) and her bachelor’s degree in sociology from Lehman College. Ms. Lavia is currently pursuing her master’s degree in childhood education from The City College of New York.
Why do you enjoy teaching kindergarteners, and do you have a particular lesson you enjoy teaching? Kindergarten is the threshold into formal education, and it is such an important year for students. The children are
building skills that they will carry with them throughout their educational journey. It is satisfying for me to see them begin to develop into themselves and grow over the year. Watching them grow is incredible—it is just an amazing time developmentally. I love teaching social studies because this is how students relate to their community and society and the world around them. This curriculum helps them become more thoughtful individuals and more responsible citizens. I think that is key. We have to teach these lessons early so they can develop and grow and be successful in all things later in life. Social studies opens our boys up to be more thoughtful and compassionate people. These lessons teach them empathy … and we all need that in this world. In teaching my lessons, I try to get a lot of feedback from my children. I put out a question and ask them what they know about it. I get them involved and participating and encourage them to research on their own—maybe ask mommy or daddy when they get home and report back on their findings the next day. I do not like to feed students information in the form of lectures only because I want them to take ownership of their learning and seek information. I want them to enjoy learning and have fun.
Spanish Department Head Samara Spielberg and Spanish Teacher Camilla Iturralde are giving a workshop this February for the Foreign Language Educators of New Jersey titled “Inspiring Changemakers: Intentional Empathy & Intercultural Competence through Storytelling.” Srta. Spielberg and Srta. Iturralde will discuss human connection as a tool to combat self-promotion and superficial relationships and how to cultivate caring changemakers of tomorrow.
Our work as nurses is about education, prevention, treatment, and caring for children and their families while celebrating growth. Doing all that in a school setting is so important and even more so in the context of this pandemic. At AllenStevenson, we are all learning and implementing best practices in how to keep the boys who will be in the schoolhouse healthy and safe.
Upper School Community Gathers for Memorable Closing Exercises
Our graduating eighth graders and their families came together remotely over Zoom with faculty and staff for our Upper School Closing Exercises on June 12, 2020.
school’s history. We are incredibly proud of what our boys have accomplished. They have proved themselves to be compassionate, resilient, adaptable, and incredibly resourceful young men.
This year’s celebrations were truly like none other in our
Attendees were welcomed to the virtual ceremony by Head of School David Trower. “On behalf of the whole Board of Trustees, I would like to welcome you to the Upper
Pierce Van de Rhoer performed “Humoresque” by Antonin Dvorak on the flute.
Jamie Resurreccion played “Shenandoah”, arranged by Paul Basler, on the French horn with Aleeza Meir on the piano.
School Closing Exercises. This has been a remarkable year for Allen-Stevenson… We would like to start by thanking all of you for your good will and good cheer during this unusual and unprecedented time created by the pandemic. To the Upper School boys: you have done a really good job with your work. We celebrate you as eighth-grade graduates of A-S today. It’s probably not the way you would have chosen to finish the year or your time at A-S, but I think when you look back you will realize that this time was unforgettable.”
The featured speaker for the morning was alumnus Christopher Weitz ’84, an American film director, screenwriter, and producer. Mr. Trower announced the winner of this year’s George Kellner Great Teacher Award: Assistant Middle School Head and Sixth Grade History Teacher Ben Neulander. We are so grateful to Mr. Neulander for continuing to provide our boys with a joyful learning environment, and for his invaluable role in running the Middle and Upper School Morning Meetings. Keeping these meetings going during this period of remote learning was all the more important in keeping us connected, and we are grateful for his determination, creativity and resourcefulness. Jeremy Negrin gave the Eighth Grade Farewell. “This is the end of a chapter of our lives and also the start of a new one,” said Jeremy. “We have all accomplished so much… We are all different, yet we all share the fact that we are all part of the Allen-Stevenson community. And although we are moving on, we will always be part of this community and will carry the memories we have created here in our hearts.”
“What happened to you at Allen-Stevenson, what you made happen at Allen-Stevenson, will determine just what kind of person you are for the rest of [your life].”
—Chris Weitz ’84
Christopher Weitz ’84 Chris Weitz was born in New York City, the son of actress Susan Kohner and Berlin-born novelist/fashion designer John Weitz (born Hans Werner Weitz). His brother is filmmaker Paul Weitz. He is the grandson of agent Paul Kohner and
Chris was educated at The Allen-Stevenson School in New York and St Paul’s School in London and went on to graduate with a B.A. and M.A. in English Literature from Trinity College, Cambridge. Chris began his film career as a co-writer, along with his brother Paul, of the 1998 animated film Antz. In 1999, he and Paul directed and produced American Pie, which became a major box office success. In 2002 the brothers co-wrote and directed About a Boy, which earned them an Academy Award nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay. Chris went on to direct several other feature films, including the 2007 adaptation of Philip Pullman’s bestselling fantasy novel, The Golden Compass, and the second film installment in
the Twilight series, New Moon. His 2011 film A Better Life garnered an Award nomination for its lead actor, Demián Bichir. He most recently directed Operation Finale (2018), starring Oscar Isaac and Sir Ben Kingsley. More recently, Chris has written several feature films, including Cinderella, for Disney, and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, for Lucasfilm. Chris has produced a number of films through his and Paul’s company Depth of Field, including Tom Ford’s A Single Man and Peter Sollett’s Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist; Columbus, starring John Cho and Haley Lu Richardson, which premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, and The Farewell (2019), written and directed by Lulu Wang, for which Awkwafina won the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife Mercedes Martinez and three children.
Awards were presented to the following boys during the Closing Exercises:
Hold your phone’s camera over the QR code to listen to Alumni Speaker Chris Weitz.
Desmond Cole Fortiter et Recte Award
Athletic Award Sebastiano O. Williams
Julian D. Sandoval
The Robby Zuckert Honor
Charles E. Horman Award
Noel Mac Mahon
Skyler R. Brozyna
Dylan Samuel Collins
The Kellner Great Teacher Award was initiated by a gift from George and Bicky Kellner, parents of Peter ’84. It recognizes outstanding achievement by an AllenStevenson teacher. The 201920 recipient of the award was Ben Neulander, Assistant Middle School Head and Sixth Grade History Teacher. “On the morning of the Upper School Closing Exercises, I was sitting in Carl Schurz Park, socially distanced from another A-S family, wrapping up my 20th year of teaching at AllenStevenson. After sharing the building with my son for 9 years, he was graduating from A-S, and we had just finished two and half months of remote teaching. For so many reasons, it was a bitter-sweet moment. With all of these things running through my head, the Kellner Great Teacher Award was not on my mind, so hearing my name read by Mr. Trower was unexpected to say the least. After receiving the congratulations from the people I was with, sitting on my Allen-Stevenson picnic blanket, all of it—the 20 years, my son leaving, the exhaustion of teaching remotely—came flooding out in a wave of tears. I am truly humbled and honored to have my name added to the list of those who have been granted this award. I owe so much to the people who took chances on me, those who directly helped me grow along the way and those who simply provided examples of what great teaching looks like. Being recognized by people I hold in such high esteem is a wonderful feeling, but winning this award also is a challenge to continue to learn and grow and teach in a way that will demonstrate that I truly am worthy of the honor, and I will continue to do so as I move forward at Allen-Stevenson, strongly and rightly.”
Mexican actress Lupita Tovar on his maternal side. His grandmother, Lupita, starred in Santa, Mexico’s first talkie, in 1932.
Lamplighter: FOUNDERS DAY
Happy 138th Birthday, Allen-Stevenson!
This year, Allen-Stevenson turned 138 years old on Founders Day, when the community celebrates the School’s birthday with shared activities and an alumni speaker. This year’s alumni speaker was Tim Maloney ’04. On Friday, October 9, 2020, boys began this special occasion in their homerooms and advisories, and morning meetings focused on what a founder is and why we celebrate Founders Day. Middle Schoolers enjoyed competing with faculty and staff during a challenging Allen-Stevenson history Kahoots! quiz. Next, Middle and Upper Schoolers joined Lower School sections to lead our younger boys in a fun social-emotional learning (SEL) activity on hearts, inspired by an A-S
tradition: Hearts for Hearts. Alumni co-founders of Hearts for Hearts, Baylin Goldstein ’21 and Luke Sarsfield ’21 returned to A-S virtually to educate our boys on the inspiration for this project. Three years ago, a group of Allen-Stevenson students, including Baylin and Luke, came together to discuss how they could help people in the Carolinas and Puerto Rico after hurricanes swept through and devastated the regions. The boys decided to make and sell origami hearts to raise money for causes they felt would directly assist those in need and named their unique program Hearts for Hearts. Boys came together during Founders Day to fold hearts to sell. This year, the activity was adapted to work
virtually. Our older boys led a read-aloud of the book My Heart, by Corinna Luyken and maturely guided our younger boys through a discussion on hearts. When you see a heart, what do you think of? Did you know you can feel your own heart beating? Does how slow or fast the heart is beating give us clues as to how someone feels? After engaging in these candid discussions, boys made hearts in a myriad of ways, from drawing them on paper to cutting them out of construction paper to learning how to make an origami heart using a YouTube tutorial.
Founders Day concluded with an All School Assembly where boys heard from Head of School David Trower and alumnus Tim Maloney. As in past years, Head of School David Trower opened by showing everyone Mr. Allen’s original desk from the School’s first year, when the enrollment was only three boys, and spoke on the history of our wonderful school. During this speech, Mr. Maloney closed out the day’s activities by regaling us with fond memories from his time as a Unicorn and passing along sage words of advice to our boys.
“There are lessons in every interaction you have with people. Keep learning, think outside the box a little, and be creative in how you experience things.Try to learn lessons that go beneath the surface and then try to apply these lessons elsewhere.” —Tim Maloney ’04 Tim Maloney ’04 is a co-founder and the Chief Investment Officer at Roundhill Investments. He founded Roundhill in 2018 under the premise that the “traditional” investment industry was leaving younger investors behind. Roundhill is the advisor to a suite of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that appeal to these investors, including one focused on the video game industry. Prior to founding Roundhill, Tim worked in investment management and sales & trading at Wells Capital and Morgan Stanley, respectively. Tim attended Fieldston for high school, followed by Vanderbilt University for his undergraduate and master’s degrees.
We extend our heartfelt congratulations to the Allen-Stevenson students who were accepted to 54 different schools this spring. As of this fall, Allen-Stevenson is currently represented at these high schools.
Members of the Class of 2015, 2016 and 2017 are attending the following colleges, among others.
Private Day Avenues: The World School The Berkeley Carroll School Brooklyn Technical High School The Browning School Calhoun School Collegiate School Columbia Grammar & Preparatory School The Dalton School Dwight School Dwight-Englewood School Ethical Culture Fieldston School Fordham Preparatory School Friends Seminary Grace Church School Hackley School Horace Mann School The IDEAL School of Manhattan Iona Preparatory School The Kew-Forest School Léman Manhattan Preparatory School Loyola School LREI The Packer Collegiate Institute Poly Prep Country Day School Regis High School Riverdale Country School Rye Country Day School Rudolph Steiner School Saint Ann’s School Trevor Day School Trinity School Xavier High School
Boarding Asheville School Avon Old Farms School Berkshire School Blair Academy Brooks School
Canterbury School Choate Rosemary Hall Church Farm School Deerfield Academy Eaglebrook School Groton School The Hill School The Hotchkiss School Interlaken Kent School The Lawrenceville School The Loomis Chaffee School Millbrook School Milton School Phillips Academy Andover Phillips Exeter Academy Pomfret School The Putney School Salisbury School St. George’s School St. Mark the Evangelist School St. Paul’s School Suffield Academy The Taft School Trinity-Pawling School Westminster School
Public School Baruch College Campus High School The Bronx High School of Science Brooklyn Technical High School Frank Sinatra School of the Arts Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts Murray Hill Academy NYC Museum School PACE High School Repertory Company High School for Theatre Arts Special Music School Stuyvesant High School
American University Babson College Barry University Bentley University Brown University Claremont McKenna Colgate University Columbia University Cornell University Dartmouth College Duke University Emory University Fordham University Georgetown University Harvard University Lehigh University Michigan State University Middlebury College New York University Northwestern University Parsons School of Design Princeton University Stanford University SUNY Albany Syracuse University Tufts University University of Chicago University of Michigan University of Pennsylvania University of Richmond University of Southern California University of Wisconsin Vanderbilt University Villanova University Williams College Wake Forest University West Point Yale University
If you have not updated the Alumni Office about where you attend college, please send us an email at email@example.com.
Allen-Stevenson students are always well served in the secondary school application process. The goal of the process is to find the right “match” for every boy. Each boy should be looking for the school that will best serve his needs as he moves onto high school, inspiring him to grow and develop into the best possible student and person. For some boys that is a boarding school, for others a day school with a campus, and for others a more urban setting. Some of the factors that boys consider when looking at schools are size, location, academic program, extracurricular offerings, and approach to teaching. Our boys are known for their range of interests and their willingness to contribute to a wide variety of school activities. As such they are highly sought after by ongoing schools. Below is a list of high schools that last year’s graduates are attending as well as colleges to which our graduates have been accepted over the past three years:
Founders Day is an annual occasion when the whole school honors its founders, Mr. Allen and Mr. Stevenson. This year, we thought it would be interesting to hear from some of our alumni who are founders in their own right. Jennifer Ziplow, Alumni Relations Associate, interviewed several alumni to discover how Allen-Stevenson helped them develop the skills and passions that played a part in starting their particular businesses.
Jon Block ’89
Lamplighter: ALUMNI FOUNDERS
Tell me a little about yourself and the businesses you have founded.
After Allen-Stevenson, I went to Choate Rosemary Hall then on to college at the University of Montana in Missoula. I think the decision to head out West was entrepreneurial in a sense and definitely honed my appreciation and love for the outdoors and a good sense of what a work life balance would be. I also got into construction which helped pay for much of my college costs plus having extra money to spend. This made me realize early on that I was an entrepreneur. I liked the business aspect and saw that whatever I put into construction I could get back out of it.
Jon Block ’89 with his family. I returned to New York during the internet boom. My Allen-Stevenson and Choate friends were on Wall Street and a part of the dot-com world which caught my attention. I found my way into recruiting for dot-com companies,
which got me involved in the industry without having hard skills in technology or engineering myself. It set the course for the present. I operate two companies today. The first is Botsford Associates, which I describe as a boutique consulting and strategic staffing firm. We focus on helping mostly financial services companies and banks figure out risk, regulatory and compliance challenges. I started Botsford Associates in late 2009. Prior to that I was a partner in another firm that didn’t survive the financial crisis. After the credit crisis in 2008, I started Botsford Associates after moving to Vail, Colorado, but our biggest areas geographically speaking in the U.S. and Canada are Chicago, New York, Toronto and London. We have over 120 consultants globally. The other company I co-founded, Petabloc, was started almost three years ago. My partner, David Peterka, and I, have known each other for over 15 years. We knew we could create a value-driven consulting company to help organizations across various industries move seamlessly into more modern technology. Often, we’re moving organizations out of physical servers into a public cloud environment like Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform. We have over 25 mid- to-senior level consultants who are able to both advise and implement solutions for organizations big and small.
The two companies share clients, so if they are facing regulatory or compliance challenges, they may also need help with cloud consulting, or vice versa. We can help them on all fronts.
What inspired you to start your own company and this particular business? I think having control of my work situation and being able to create a work life balance, which I value, is important. During the financial crisis, I took a trip out to Colorado and realized I could run my existing business from there, which gave me the idea to move to Vail, Colorado where I started my family. I have two boys, Stevie (8) and Lucas (6) with my wife Danielle. We have lived together in Vail, NYC and now Rincón, Puerto Rico... And this is all possible because of the way I set up my companies.
How did Allen-Stevenson influence where you are today? I don’t know why I have this in my head, but our head of school at the time was Desmond Cole. He was a character. He really made it okay to be what was called a ‘rascal’ or troublemaker. Now, as a parent, I’m struggling with my son who really does not like to be told what to do. He wants to do exactly what he wants to do. The more you push against it, the worse it is. And I think about how good Mr. Cole was at redirecting that energy towards something fun and productive. And there’s something that I think fits well from an entrepreneurial perspective— that mischievous thing. You have to figure out how to push the boundaries and Allen-Stevenson was a safe place to do that.
Do you have any advice for someone looking to start their own company?
Peter Bloeme ’71 Tell me a little about yourself and the businesses that you have started (Skyhoundz, Hyperflite, Atlanta Rocks!). Well, I've had an amazing life of highs and lows starting with growing up in The Dakota where I experienced the NYC blackout, watched the filming of Rosemary's Baby and met John and Yoko Lennon, to attending Allen-Stevenson from grades one through six. I won the Men's World Frisbee Championship in 1976 and the World Canine Disc Championship in 1984, with my dog Wizard, among many other titles and world records. I am proud of my appearances on The David Letterman Show and the Disney movie “Flight of the Navigator.” After that, I became the director of the largest canine disc competition series in the world, which led to my starting to make professional discs for dogs and an international disc dog competition.
Peter Bloeme ’71 Some professional highlights include performing in Hiroshima at the Japanese baseball all-star game in front of 40,000 fans with four Japanese frisbee dogs during the seventh inning break for 10 minutes and opening for Queen at Earl's Court in London. My partner and I performed human frisbee freestyle for the audience as they arrived. I also met Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter after attending his "Sunday School" service in Plains, Georgia. My other business venture, started because my good friend Jeff Perry owed me $200 and he paid me back with climbing gear. We traveled for work together and often visited indoor rock climbing gyms. There wasn’t an indoor climbing gym in Atlanta, so we decided to open one there. We opened our first gym in 1995, and another larger one in 1999. At the end of 2008 we closed the first gym and at the end of 2018, we closed the second, but we very much enjoyed them!
What inspired you to start your own company and these particular businesses? My dad was an entrepreneur, having started his own PR firm in New York City, and I think I got that from him. He passed away just before my sixth year at Allen-Stevenson. Now my son Wesley (25) is running his own pressure washing business, WiseGuys Pro-Wash in Atlanta. He took it from a summer job to put him through college to a $1,000,000 business in revenue in 2020.
How did Allen-Stevenson influence where you are today? While I can't say I was the most dedicated student, I gained my love of photography, carpentry, music (orchestra), and sports at AllenStevenson. I didn't enjoy writing lines, but I remember fondly getting my first SLR camera and learning to process and print black and white film. I remember playing violin and conducting the orchestra for our most famous piece: "The Stars and Stripes Forever." I remember building a bench without any hardware. I remember being delighted to see a back cover photo of me stealing home plate in the A-S newsletter. A-S was a wonderful experience and set standards and goals for me to continue to strive for the rest of my life. And, my classmates were awesome: Alexander "Sas" Peters ’71, Jeff Beers ’71, Joe Kearing ’71, Peter Hollender ’71, Mitch Powers ’71, Al Lewis ’71 to name a few. I love those guys!
Do you have any advice for someone looking to start their own company? In my life, I've held normal jobs and worked for other corporations. I hear so many people complaining about having to go to work, upset with their jobs and praying for retirement. I have always felt that work was interesting, challenging, educational, and fun. One of the great things about owning your own business is that while you work hard, you are also able to take time off when you feel like it.
The advice I give myself every day is that you really have to build trust. It’s all about finding people who are better than you at what you’re doing and to trust them. It’s tough being able to get things going by yourself. You have to figure out how to scale that by finding the right people and bringing them together. And then, knowing when to step away and let people run with it. For me, I have been in this awkward zone of being the only sales guy getting clients, now I’m developing people who have taken over from me. Now I have 5 salespeople who are doing a better job than I could do. A part of what I do is trusting that—and being able to adapt and grow in a new role. I think you really have to be someone who is looking to grow, who can take constructive criticism and always learn how to be better. It’s exhausting. But I think that is the key— surrounding yourself with people who also really care about growing individually and collectively.
Lamplighter: ALUMNI FOUNDERS 36
A L U M N I F O U N D E R S ( C O N T. )
The Faherty brothers
I was able to travel with my kids for various athletic competitions and vacations during the summer while other parents were having to work. My work involves traveling throughout the world, so I was able to see, experience, hear, taste, and drink things that I wouldn't have been able to do any other way.
Evan R. Goldfischer ’81
So, I guess my advice is, and I know it may sound corny, but follow your dreams. Do what you want to, go where you want to, as long as you can do so responsibly. Never give up learning and experiencing life. We all experience highs and lows in this life, don't get too high or too low. Whether for work or play, pursue your passions whatever they may be and don't let people tell you that anything is impossible. Keep learning, keep experiencing, keep growing, find mentors, set goals, live, love, cry, and grow. Don't be afraid to make mistakes. My life and goals have never been focused on money, but to live life to the fullest and leave this world a better place in one way or another. I want to go out having won life!
Alex Faherty ’98 & Mike Faherty ’98 Tell me a little about yourselves and Faherty Brand. I am Alex. I’m 37, with two kids, 4 and 2, and live in Cobble Hill in Brooklyn. I went to Yale, where I played varsity football and started for three years. I then went on to a career in finance, working at Greenhill & Co and Cerberus Capital. I am Mike, and I’m also 37. I have a newborn child, and I live in Dumbo, Brooklyn. I went to Washington University in St. Louis, where I played varsity basketball and was captain of the team my senior year. Today, we both serve as CEOs of Faherty Brand. Faherty is a lifelong dream of ours that we started eight years ago. The brand is about creating the highest quality, most comfortable men’s and women’s clothing in an innovative and conscious way. Ecommerce is our largest
Tell me a little about yourself and the businesses you have started.
business, but we also have 16 retail stores across the country (including 3 in NYC, Sag Harbor, Nantucket, and Martha’s Vineyard, among others). We also sell in other retail stores, including nationwide at Nordstrom. It’s a family business. Alex’s wife, Kerry, and our mother, Ninie, are also co-founders and executives of the company.
What inspired you to start your own company and this particular business? We loved the idea of creating a brand that was our own that made products that we want to wear. And as twins, having a business together was always the dream. Specifically, Mike wrote his college application essay about starting the brand, then studied fashion at Washington University in St. Louis. He went on to a design career at Ralph Lauren.
How did Allen-Stevenson influence where you are today? We learned more in the four years at Allen-Stevenson than at any other institution. The love of learning was instilled in us during those years, which has carried us through the rest of our life.
Do you have any advice for someone looking to start their own company? Learn as much as you possibly can about the industry and what will make you successful before jumping off. Take your time and play the long game. Starting a company that you love and love working at is the most important thing.
I graduated from Allen-Stevenson in 1981. I went on to Phillips Exeter Academy for high school, then to Tufts University. Although I knew I wanted to be a doctor, I majored in history. I think a significant influence was my liberal arts background from A-S. After Tufts, I attended Cornell University Medical College, followed by the University of Chicago for my internship in General Surgery and a urologic surgery residency. After that, I was a fellow at Long Island Jewish Medical Center. I trained with Arthur Smith, who founded endourology, that is operating through telescopes. I specialized in kidney stones. I’ve written a book on kidney stones called Even Urologists Get Kidney Stones. In 1998, when I finished my fellowship, I came up to Poughkeepsie, New York. There was no one in this area doing endourology, and I joined a small private practice. In the early 2000s, it became clear that hospitals were buying up medical practices and forming big health networks. My practice realized that this wouldn’t work for us – we wouldn’t be able to survive. The group recommended that I go back to business school, so I went to the University of Massachusetts and got my MBA. Once I graduated, I took our small urology group and founded a multi-specialty practiced called Premier Medical Group of the Hudson Valley. I ran that group until 2015. I grew it to over 60 providers, and now I think there may be over 100. In 2015, our National Trade Organization LUGPA (Large Urology Group Practice Association) asked me to be on the National Board. Two years ago, I was elevated to Physician Secretary, and have just been nominated as PresidentElect of the Board.
Evan Goldfischer ’81 with his family. reviewed medical journals. I have visited all seven continents, lectured on six continents and performed surgery on six continents as a visiting professor. I was also Editor-in-Chief of a 368page book called Urology Practice Management which was published in 2017. A second edition, which should be out by the end of the year.
What inspired you to start your own company and this particular business? Given all of the changes in medicine over the past two decades, it is hard to exist as a small medical group without joining a hospital network, which requires you to follow hospital rules: how many patients to see, what equipment you’re using, what procedures you can do. That’s not why I became a doctor. I became a doctor to have some sort of independence and to be able to provide care to my patients without corporations dictating care based on finances. A doctor must always work on behalf of
the patient, not a hospital or corporate entity. In order to stay independent, we had to become a doctor run multispecialty group. We went into full operation in 2010, and here we are in 2020, still in business. There’s another part of my brain that loves doing research. Typically, research is done through big academic institutions, but we were able to get creative and figure out a way to do it through a private practice. We live about 70 miles from New York City, and, previously, a lot of patients would have to drive all the way there if they wanted to enroll in a clinical trial. We realized we could do this in Poughkeepsie. Our patients have access to these treatments three to four years before the general public. It keeps us a step ahead.
How did Allen-Stevenson influence where you are today? I think Allen-Stevenson instilled in me the key values of hard work, diligence, loyalty, and compassion. We also had some great teachers. I seemed to be scientifically oriented back then and love of science continued with me in high school and college and landed me in medical school, while also instill in me love of the art, theater, and music. I credit John Pariseau, David Kersey, Stanley Gauger, Ann Koppel, and Bill Landis for helping to instill these passions. I think AllenStevenson also provided a great support network for me that continues to exist to this day. I’m still very close with
Fred Isquith ’97
so many members of the Class of 1981. It’s an amazing class—and I call many of them, regularly, and we always pick up right where we left off.
Do you have any advice for someone looking to start their own company? Firstly, I think the most important thing is that starting a company requires an amazing amount of work, so you really have to be passionate about it. Secondly, do as much research as possible and talk to as many people as you can in the same field or a related field. Find out all of the mistakes they made, so that you can avoid making them. You’ll still make your own mistakes, but it’s all about planning. Also, don’t try to do it all yourself – assemble a team of great people. Try and find people who are smarter than you or who possess knowledge in fields that you are deficient in. Lastly, make sure that the company’s mission, at its core, resonates with the people you’re surrounding yourself with, so that everybody is buying into the mission. They understand it’s not just about making money and selling the business. It’s about building something that you’re really proud of and invested in. That will create a healthy and successful company.
Fred Isquith ’97 Tell me a little about yourself and Isquith Law PLLC. I have spent most of my academic career studying public policy, with a focus on economic and social welfare policy. With those areas of study in mind I received my B.S. in public policy from Cornell University and a Master in Public Administration from the Maxwell School. While at the Maxwell School, I also received my J.D. from Syracuse University College of Law. Since I concentrated my studies around economics and its intersection with law, my career after graduate school focused on a class action litigation that would protect
I still practice medicine—I started a research program here in 1999. I have served as principal investigator for over 400 clinical trials. I’ve overseen a lot of drugs for prostate cancer, erectile dysfunction, overactive bladder, and enlarged prostates come to market as a result of our efforts. I’ve published over 100 abstracts and articles in peer
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Lamplighter: ALUMNI FOUNDERS
investors and maintain fair, orderly, and efficient markets. Now, after ten years of practicing class action litigation, I have opened Isquith Law PLLC. While I will certainly continue to have a class action litigation practice, it is my hope that Isquith Law will allow me to return to my academic roots and help individuals and different classes of people. Isquith Law will be a diverse practice allowing me to service individuals and provide social welfare at a granular level.
What inspired you to start your own company and this particular business? I have been practicing law for about a decade focusing primarily on class action litigation. While I enjoy the complexity that goes along with class action litigation, and I continue to have a class action practice, I was encouraged by friends and clients to diversify my practice. Opening my own practice has given me the flexibility and ability to help my clients in the many facets of their lives. Diversifying my practice has re-energized my career, and I have assisted individuals and businesses, as well as an unnamed class member.
How did Allen-Stevenson influence where you are today? My time at Allen-Stevenson taught me to have confidence in my ability to run a practice. Allen-Stevenson also taught me the importance of helping others who may need help, and to not be afraid to ask for help if I need it as well. This has been an important lesson as I reach out to new clients and learn new areas of the law. It is okay to ask for help, even when the business may be on your own.
Do you have any advice for someone looking to start their own company? While starting a new enterprise can be a time of uncertainty and fear, make sure to embrace those feelings. First, they can be used to your advantage as motivation to succeed. Second, have confidence in yourself and with those with whom you
are working. If you are at the point where you can start your own company, you have already developed the skills required to succeed. Be confident in those skills, and you will do fine.
Derrick Ko ’01 Tell me a little about yourself and Spin. Spin is a leading micromobility company in the US and Europe, providing shared electric kick-scooters to communities around the world. We started Spin in 2017, and in 2018 were acquired by Ford to be its micromobility unit. Since then, we have built up a global team, scaled to over 60 markets, and are looking forward to expanding to New York City next year. I'm the co-founder and CEO of Spin. After Allen-Stevenson, I went on to get my undergraduate degree in Computer Engineering from Purdue University, before doing stints at Microsoft, Pivotal, and various startups. I first entered the shared mobility space in 2014 as a growth product manager at Lyft.
What inspired you to start your own company and this particular business? Before I started Spin, I observed that cars —even through rideshare—weren't the problem of congestion in our cities. Traveling a mile in New York City or San Francisco takes more time than it should have to, regardless of the mode of transportation you decide to take. We started Spin to give people the freedom to move using micromobility, which provides people a much more efficient, environmentally friendly, and affordable way to get around.
How did Allen-Stevenson influence where you are today? Allen-Stevenson's approach to education exposed me to technology at a young age, and I'm thankful for that. I remember first learning to code in Logo during computer class, which had such a lasting influence on my career. Having spent very formative years in New York City also heavily impacted my start of
Derrick Ko ’01 Spin. Growing up, we depended on the public transit system, which shaped my perspective that people don't need to depend on cars in urban areas with a robust transportation system.
Do you have any advice for someone looking to start their own company? Find a problem that you really want to solve and find the best people you can work with to do it with you.
David Luria ’51 Tell me a little about yourself and the Washington Photo Safari Program. My name is E. David Luria, Class of ’51. I was born in Germany to Jewish parents during the Nazi era. Fortunately, I escaped the Holocaust and arrived in New York City in 1938, where I was raised and attended The Allen-Stevenson School from 1947 to 1950. After graduating from a Quaker boarding school in Pennsylvania, George School, I attended and graduated with honors from Amherst College in 1958 where I majored in political science, international relations and modern languages. After spending three years in Germany with the United States Army Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM) during the Cold War, I began a 34-year career in the non-profit international development and citizen exchange field. During this time, I spent six years with CARE International in Colombia and Panama and 28 years as a senior executive with other organizations such as Partners of the Americas, Friendship Force, and World Learning, becoming fluent in French, Spanish, and German.
Then in 1999, at age 63, I decided to try teaching other people how to use their cameras, just as the digital age was beginning. I created a small business known as Washington Photo Safari. In that first year I had all of 72 clients. In the ensuing 21 years, Washington Photo Safari has become one of the largest photography instruction programs in the country, with 11 instructors training David Luria ’51 over 39,000 amateur photographers from 50 states and 53 countries on 5,800 photo excursions in 186 locations in 11 states, 30 cities and 8 countries. The program has received hundreds of 5-star reviews on Trip Advisor and other review sites, plus a high degree of customer loyalty. At 84 years of age, I am still running the business and teaching photography several times a week in the Washington, D.C. area.
What inspired you to start your own company and this particular business? Very simply, I needed the money. I still had a daughter in college when I lost my job in 1995, plus very limited retirement funds from my non-profit career. Necessity being the mother of invention, I became an eager student of photography, even taking a 6-week course in Paris with the Parsons School of Design, working with a protegé of famed French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson.
This has been a very happy second career for me. I love being my own boss and greatly enjoy helping thousands of other people experience the joy of photography.
college after joining Hamilton's Campus Activities Board. As the club's concert coordinator, I worked with artists including Galantis, Charli XCX, A$AP Ferg, Jesse McCartney, Lupe Fiasco, and SHAED.
How did Allen-Stevenson influence where you are today?
I have also toured the country twice, first with EZI and platinum artist MAX, and later with country superstar Luke Bryan.
Allen-Stevenson had a great influence on where I am today. My English language training, particularly in grammar and its usage, was superb. This has been a great help to my writing skills throughout life and in marketing my business. The appreciation of history and culture that I got during my Latin, Spanish, and French classes and from history classes at A-S has helped me become the internationalist and world traveler that I am today. I got the sense at AllenStevenson that education is both a serious and most enjoyable business, giving me the self-confidence to become a successful teacher myself.
Do you have any advice for someone looking to start their own company? Absolutely. The business you start must be in a field you love. That is the only thing that gets you through the hard times, the disappointments, the mistakes, and the refusals: you have to thoroughly enjoy what you are doing. It is that sense of self-confidence and enjoyment, conveyed to your customers, that will make you a success.
Josh Rothstein ’12 Tell me a little about yourself and Up All Night Music Group. I'm a member of the Allen-Stevenson Class of 2012. I later attended Riverdale Country School and graduated in 2019 from Hamilton College. Although I have been a lifelong music lover, I first learned about the music industry in
After I finished the Luke Bryan tour, I started Up All Night Music Group. Up All Night is an NYC-based concert promotions company. We handle all aspects of putting on a show, from booking talent to securing a venue and creating and executing marketing plans. At the moment, we're focused on virtual events due to the pandemic. We've booked/promoted events with Chelsea Cutler, SHAED, and EZI, among others. Outside of Up All Night, I've had the pleasure of working with Jack White, The Marley Family, Bishop Briggs, WALK THE MOON, and Willie Nelson.
Josh Rothstein ’12
What inspired you to start your own company and this particular business? Going to a concert will always be my favorite way to spend a night out. There's nothing like the magic of being in a room waiting for the headline band to come on and feeling goosebumps when the lights go down and the music begins. I knew I wanted to be a promoter and started Up All Night after losing a job with a top promoter to an internal candidate. I decided in that moment that if they didn't want to hire me, I'd hire myself.
In 1995, my job with a governmentsponsored non-profit in Washington, D.C. was eliminated due to budget cuts. So, I took up my hobby of photography and made it my profession, specializing in architecture, events and restaurant photography. Becoming an artist was not an easy transition. In only eight years as a self-employed photographer, I was earning as much as it had taken me in 34 years to earn as a salaried executive, all while pursuing a personal passion.
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How did Allen-Stevenson influence where you are today?
Lamplighter: ALUMNI FOUNDERS
Allen-Stevenson helped foster my love of music. My family introduced me to music through Broadway, the New York Philharmonic, and plenty of Billy Joel CDs, but it was at Allen-Stevenson where I learned that the study and profession of music could be fun and fulfilling. Although I am not a performer, I give lots of credit to the incredible Robelyn Schrade-James, Randolph Schrade, Michelle Demko, and Diane Chaplin for my path in the music industry.
Do you have any advice for someone looking to start their own company? My advice would be twofold. First, take your shot. There will never be a perfect time to start a business and you will never know everything. Second, it's okay to ask for help. I asked four of my best friends to join me when starting the company and am very lucky to have them on the team. Our success is collective and having a dedicated team around me makes everything more enjoyable.
Delius Shirley ’84 Tell me a little about yourself and your businesses. I attended Allen-Stevenson for 7th and 8th Grade. After graduating, I landed at Phillips Academy—Andover with my best friend from A-S, Robert Zuckert ’84. I then went on to Colgate University. Once I graduated from college, I started a job in Washington, D.C., as a financial analyst. I disliked it, for all 11 months, so I decided to join my mom in Jamaica to help her run her restaurant there. She was known as the Julia Child of Jamaica. After 18 months of working together, I was still there and loving it! I was regularly flying back and forth to Miami to pick up our food inventory because it was cheaper than purchasing it from Jamaica. All this took place in 1994, when Miami Beach was becoming a really hot tourist destination. I met my partner
in crime, Cindy Hutson, in Miami and we decided to open a restaurant there. With my partner as the chef, I opened up my own restaurant on Lincoln Road in my mom’s name, calling it Norma’s on the Beach. She didn’t even know what a chef’s jacket was, but her cooking was amazing! After about six months, an article came out in the lifestyle section of USA Today, calling our restaurant ‘a little gem of the Caribbean in Miami.’ From that point on, it was history. Six months later, we met a gentleman who was a fan of our restaurant. His name was Robert Johnson and he’s the co-founder of Black Entertainment Television (BET). He asked us if we were interested in consulting with him on a few restaurants, which, of course, we were. After Delius Shirley ’84 that, we opened up some restaurants together in Las Vegas, Washington, D.C. and Pleasure Island. We also opened up our own restaurant in Coral Gables, Florida, called Ortanique on the Mile, with Robert Johnson’s help. This restaurant received an award as one of the top ten restaurants in America in 1999. When Robert sold BET to Viacom, he offered us the opportunity to take over the restaurants we had worked on together. We took over the restaurants in Las Vegas and D.C., changing their names to simply Ortanique. From there, Cindy and I branched out to open a few of our own concepts, including restaurants in Baltimore and Destin, Florida. We’ve sold several of our restaurants since then. Now, Cindy and I travel a lot—we’re asked to cook around the world. At first, our restaurants were primarily Caribbean cuisine, but our menus now highlight foods from all over the world. We’ve also been consulting on restaurants for others, as well as opening a few new concepts with hotels, including a restaurant in The Cliff Hotel in Jamaica and one in the Cayman Islands. We’re also enjoying hosting cooking classes for university students.
What inspired you to start your own company and these particular businesses? I have been involved in the restaurant industry since I was young because of my mom, Norma. It’s in my blood. In 1992, after college, when I went to Jamaica, my goal was to get my mom out of the red. After a year and a half of helping her and making sure her business was running smoothly, I felt that I could go out on my own. I am so lucky to have my partner Cindy. She brought her skills in the kitchen to our business, and I was able to combine that with my business savvy. I’ve been very lucky in the people who have supported me and who have brought opportunities my way throughout the years.
How did Allen-Stevenson influence where you are today? During my time at Allen-Stevenson, the teachers were demanding of me. They had high expectations and encouraged me to try lots of new things, from being on stage, and working hard in the classroom, to playing sports. I appreciate that experience and think that it helped shape who I am today. In fact, I think A-S had a greater influencer on me than Andover or Colgate.
Do you have any advice for someone looking to start their own company? Although I’ve had great success, I would say don’t ever open a restaurant! Of course, I’m joking, and I never followed my own advice. That being said, to start any company, you need to be passionate. I firmly believe you should chart your own course and follow your passions wherever they lead you.
alumni NEWS Alumni Spotlight J A I S O N S P A I N ’ 9 7 A N D T R I S TA N H O W A R D ’ 9 6 Interviewed by David Kersey h’98
have with us two of our alumni: Tristan Howard ’96 and Jaison Spain ’97.
So, Jaison and Tristan, you were both at the School at the same time and have been friends for a long while. Would you guys tell us what you’ve been up to since you were singing and dancing on 78th Street during your time at Allen-Stevenson? Tristan Howard ’96: Well, I wound up doing a bunch of comedy and theater after I finished school, but ultimately shifted away from that. I now work in experiential marketing trying to do live events—which at the moment is a little difficult. I work with a great agency called Jack Morton Worldwide. Jaison Spain ’97: At first, I really wanted to continue performing, so I joined a rock band freshly out of college. We actually did a bunch of shows opening for lots of wellknown musicians like Kendrick Lamar and KRS-One. We traveled all over the East Coast. Eventually, I decided to come back to Allen-Stevenson, and I’m still here.
DK: So, you carried on with your interest in music and
theater for quite a while—through high school, college and beyond? JS: Absolutely. TH: I think A-S really cemented my love for theater and music, which ultimately led me to dance as well. Shakespeare and Gilbert & Sullivan were such a staple in my experience at AllenStevenson. When I applied to colleges, I even asked if they performed Gilbert & Sullivan. Sadly, most of them did not.
Hold your phone’s camera over the QR code to listen to an interview with David Kersey, Tristan Howard and Jaison Spain.
Tristan Howard ’96 (left) as Col. Calverley, Midhat “Mokey” Serbagi ’97 (middle) as Major Murgatroyd, and Jaison Spain ’97 (right) as The Duke of Dunstable, in the 1996 production of Patience.
DK: And how often have you two performed together? JS: We’ve shared the stage on several different occasions. At Allen-Stevenson, we did Chorus together in addition to theater. TH: Yes, we did a lot of chorus-related performances together at A-S. Not only did we do Gilbert & Sullivan, but we also acted in some Shakespeare plays together. I know we were both in Measure for Measure and Pirates of Penzance. Jaison, you were the Pirate King’s right-hand man! He was so good in that play; he mastered a solo where he handed out crowbars to his fellow pirates. We also both ran track back in the day.
DK: That’s one of my favorite parts of the show. And you
have been pals ever since I guess? TH: Yes, and we’re both new dads, so we’re going through that together.
DK: Do you remember the first time you were in Gilbert &
Sullivan? Were you fifth graders? Did you play female roles? Tell us about that. JS: I remember mine very clearly. I was a fifth grader in Iolanthe. I had to make sure my mom got my purple tights to match my green wings because it made the background look great.
David Kersey h’98: Good afternoon, gentlemen. Today we
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Tristan Howard returns to A-S in 2000 to step in as the Pirate King in Pirates of Penzance.
DK: You were Iolanthe herself? JS: No, I was one of the fairies, but I needed to be front and center. I think Jason Farkas ’97 played Iolanthe. TH: We had some great guys in each of our grades. There was Jason Farkas ’97, Laurence Freedman ’97, Ashley Springer ’97. I don’t know that I’ve ever heard a kid hit those soprano notes as Ashley could.
TH: I certainly liked
JS: When I first returned to teach at Allen-Stevenson, we were still performing The Mikado and I got to play the Mikado. I have done all of the shows at Allen-Stevenson in one way, shape or form.
sports, but I think the type of energy, or the creative juices I had, were much better served in theater. Getting up there and creating a show was so much fun and, I mean, the costumes— wow, the costumes. We have incredible production value. Getting dressed up, along with the fantasy and the theater around it, was really exciting. I also liked being able to interact with boys from all grades, especially as a younger student. It was nice to look up to the older students who were playing the lead roles.
DK: And you were the best Mikado. I think G&S at the
DK: There is a kind of growing up that happens during
School goes back to 1945. I’ve been here since 1969 and I can’t remember a time when they weren’t performed. I certainly wasn’t a big musical theater guy before I arrived, but from the beginning I was completely taken up by these operettas and how the whole School threw itself into their performances.
Gilbert & Sullivan, isn’t there?
DK: I know teachers aren’t supposed to have favorites, but
I’ll tell you, the way Ms. Demko speaks of the Class of 1997, that was quite a talented bunch of kids. Especially when they opened their mouths and sang or acted.
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TH: I was very fortunate to be at the School at the same time.
My first G&S performance was The Mikado. I was a geisha girl, one of the lovely maidens who runs in. The Headmaster was the Mikado that year. Most of the teachers back then were playing a lot of those roles. They were always the police in Pirates of Penzance too.
Do you remember why you auditioned for G&S? What drew you to it? JS: For me specifically, I had never heard any music like that before, and I was so into trying all different types of music. I was also in the Orchestra at A-S, but I had never realized that this music was something I could do at a young age. It was the way the music would resonate in my brain. I would go home singing it. DK: Would you talk a little more about the variety of
music you were exposed to at the School and how it affected your music later on as adults? JS: You know, I was only a lead in one of the shows. I actually preferred to be in the Chorus because I could do so many different things as a choral member. I was able to jump into so many different parts and help out. It was always something that I never imagined that I could be a part of. To then come to the School and be in these performances was so much fun for me.
TH: There definitely is. I did G&S starting in the Fifth Grade. Once I moved up to be that older student in the Eighth and Ninth Grades, I gained such a sense of accomplishment and growth. I loved looking back at the fifth and sixth graders and remembering what it was like to be them. I loved stomping on the stage in a crowd together and knowing all of the same cues, like when the Pirate King lifts his sword, everyone knows to yell ‘hurrah!’ It was just so exciting. I also thought it was cool to have rehearsals on the weekends.
Jaison Spain singing with the Upper School Chorus in January 2018
JS: On those weekend rehearsals, we would have alumni come back to watch us and regale us with stories about which parts they played in their Gilbert & Sullivan performances. I loved that level of tradition, as well as the connection and camaraderie you had with people you didn’t know. Knowing that we were also passing down the torch to those boys below us as we were performing in the shows was amazing.
We’re coming up to a production of Patience. You were both leads in this show before, right? Which parts did you play? JS: I was the Duke. TH: And I was Colonel Calverley. DK: The other day I was thinking about Gilbert & Sullivan
is that it attracts boys with such diverse interests. You will see star athletes who you wouldn’t expect to see as actors on stage right alongside boys who are passionate about singing and acting. It really brings students together. One moment these boys would be trying to pin someone to a wrestling mat, and the next moment you’d see them hitting high notes as a maiden or a fairy or a Japanese schoolgirl. TH: I mean, honestly, it was incredible how people could transform into new characters and get out of their normal day-to-day selves. I remember Ashley Springer ’97, who loved playing Magic: The Gathering—a quiet, reserved kid—sang Mabel and he was incredible! It was fun to see people enjoying themselves. I don’t think there was one person who did Gilbert & Sullivan, who wasn’t having fun or who was upset about wearing a skirt in the female roles.
JS: For that little bit of time, it was always about embodying a character on stage. It was really ‘1, 2, 3’ act, and then once you were done, you can go back to playing dodgeball or hockey. TH: It’s really fun to get the people who love to play sports and maybe the people who don’t together. There’s still such a camaraderie and pride singing as one.
in terms of its vocabulary. I don’t know if you remember it this way, but I always thought it was a great English lesson. Gilbert uses such wonderfully sophisticated vocabulary. In Yum Yum’s great feminist anthem in The Mikado, she rhymes “indulgent” with “effulgent.” Wow— and both new words to most seventh graders. TH: I also want to point out, DK, that during rehearsals, you used to quiz us on that vocabulary. Who knows what peripatetic means? Who knows what a pipkin is? I remember we would get bonus points if we actually understood the words we were singing. I really appreciated that.
DK: Do you have any advice for the modern AllenJS: Take your audition piece and make it your own. It’s important to make your own character on stage. Be as confident as possible and give it your best.
DK: You know, what I love about G&S at Allen-Stevenson
TH: There are so many wonderful songs and new words, so
Stevenson boy as he auditions for Gilbert & Sullivan?
I think it’s important to put meaning behind the words. The characters are all so fun, so really lean into it. That can make the difference. A lot of people have nice voices, but if you can really understand what you’re saying, it makes a difference.
DK: Yes, I think that’s something that can’t be
overemphasized and something that first struck me about the School. I came from public schooling where there was a pretty big divide between those who played sports and those who did theater. That was never the case at Allen-Stevenson. I think that divide starts once you go to secondary school. JS: It really does. DK: My favorite was Sebastian Tiger ’85, who was the
goalie on the hockey team. He was a big Montreal fan and loved wearing his Canadiens shirt. One day he was dodging hockey pucks - which he enjoyed immensely—and the next day he was singing the jilted bride in Trial by Jury. I thought what a great school that gives students that range of experience.
Jaison Spain getting ready to be a pirate in the 1995 production of Pirates of Penzance.
Tristan Howard in Patience
DK: Is Gilbert & Sullivan a part of your Allen-Stevenson
experience that you talk about with fellow alumni? JS: Yes! It always comes up in a conversation. Gilbert & Sullivan is so much of a tradition at Allen-Stevenson. Even if you were not someone on stage, you might have helped out in technical theater. It’s also so nice to remember the different shows with fellow alums. TH: To me, it’s something I remember best from my time at
DK: What are your memories of former G&S director John
Doyle? He was a real theater guy.
Lamplighter: ALUMNI NEWS
TH: Thank you for bringing him up! Even his presence in the rehearsal was incredible. He has this theater stature and was so passionate about it, which bled into the students. The blocking and the staging were great. No one was just standing and singing. For example, when the fairies enter the stage in Iolanthe, you’re not just shuffling in. You’re fairies; you’re dainty; you’re light.
DK: Could you talk about some of your fondest memories
the School. Of course, I got an exceptional academic education, but I also think fondly of the extracurriculars, especially in the arts, where we had these opportunities to share moments with students from other grades. Like Jaison, I remember in Measure for Measure by Shakespeare, there’s a bar scene where I sat at a table with Jaison. I remember we were pretending to have an ale in the tavern. I think back and remember I was having so much fun at School.
DK: Tristan could stand up on a table at any alumni event
and sing “For I am the Pirate King” and everyone there would answer “You are! Hurrah for our Pirate King!” JS: It’s true.
on and offstage? JS: As kids offstage with our friends, I know it must have been
DK: I think theater, including musical theater, provides an
crazy to keep us quiet.
opportunity for boys who don’t shine elsewhere to shine like crazy. I think that makes all the difference to a child’s life.
DK: It was. It was horrible. JS: Now that I have that job of managing the boys backstage, it’s been nice to have little moments with the students. We’ll do trivia sessions or play quiet games offstage. But we still have to remember that as soon as it is time, we get right back on stage and get into acting mode. I always remember that from G&S.
TH: I would say a very fond memory is from when I had a solo as the Pirate King in Pirates of Penzance where I had to hold out a note. I would play with Ms. Demko, who was the conductor, to see how long I could hold this note. The cue for the Chorus to start was when I flipped my saber down. During one performance, I flipped it right into someone’s forehead in the Orchestra. I felt really bad, but it was certainly memorable. During another performance, I forgot about that bit completely! I went right into the rest of the song and caught Ms. Demko completely off guard. But, in pure Demko fashion, she went right back into the rest of the song. I’m so glad Allen-Stevenson is still doing Gilbert & Sullivan because those performances are some of my greatest memories. I still sing “Hail Poetry” in the shower…
TH: I think A-S always held the arts in such high esteem and made it a part of the School so well. It’s one of the best parts, I think.
Tristan Howard and David Kersey in October 2018 before Tristan gave the Founders Day speech.
OUT AND ABOUT
This past spring, the Alumni Office helped to bring graduates and teachers together for virtual class socials with over 120 alumni participants. Some of the socials are highlighted below. In addition to these pictures, the Classes of 1951, 1964, 1975, 1976, 1994, 1999, 2014 also hosted virtual socials.
Class of 1997: April 28, 2020
There were 17 participants for the 1981 Class Social hosted by Eric Rothstein ’81.
The 1997 Class Social was hosted by Jaison Spain ’97, with a special appearance by David Kersey h’98.
Class of 1981: May 3, 2020
Class of 1996: May 6, 2020
Class of 2000: April 28, 2020
There were 17 participants for the 1996 Class Social hosted by Tristan Howard ’96 with a special appearance by Head of Upper School, Steve Cohen.
The Class of 2000 Class Social was hosted by Kerim Eken ’00.
Class of 2012: April 10, 2020 There were 10 participants for the 2012 Class Social hosted by
Class of 2015: April 30, 2020 The 2015 Class Social was hosted by Daniel Belfer ’15.
Lamplighter: ALUMNI NEWS
Cameron Koffman ’12 and Nick Hershey ’12.
Class of 2013: April 23, 2020
Class of 2019: April 25, 2020
There were 14 participants for the 2013 Class Social hosted by Matthew Schnitzer ’13.
The 2019 Class Social was hosted by Sebastien Chesse ’19.
Class of 2020: May 2, 2020 There were 25 participants for the 2020 Class Social hosted by Richie Heller ’20 and Jack McGovern ’20.
alumni NEWS Call for class reps! Are you interested in becoming a representative for your class. If so, we’d love to hear from you! Please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ted Grozier ’92 showcased his vintage Allen-Stevenson gear on his daughter Matilda in May.
2000 Alumni and political editors, Benjy Sarlin ’00 and Will Rahn ’02, spoke with Upper School and Middle School students in October about the upcoming election.
In March, alums visited Allen-Stevenson for the Gilbert & Sullivan Pirates of Penzance dress rehearsal. While at the rehearsal, Bob Freedman ’51 sang “The Pirate King” for all of the students.
2001 Hold your phone’s camera over the QR code to hear Bob Freedman sing.
1984 On April 25, Peter Kellner ’84 and his wife Meredith welcomed baby boy Grayson Bicknell Kellner. Congratulations to the growing Kellner family!
1981 Nick Kotsonis ’81 thanks his classmates for their support on the passing of his mother Penelope Kotsonis. She loved the School so much, and the boys. She especially enjoyed dressing performers in the Gilbert & Sullivan productions.
1987 Pete Conlon ’87 worked on the title designs for Patton Oswalt's new Netflix special, Patton Owswalt: I Love Everything. Be on the lookout for the special at the end of 2020.
Freddy Gonzalez ’01 was featured on KNKX, Seattle's local NPR station in June. He was interviewed about teaching his students the history of protest music.
2002 On Monday, April 20, Upper and Middle School students were joined virtually by Matt Levinson ’02 (Stage Name: Matt Butler), who spoke to them about the importance of staying connected and performed a few of his songs.
alumni NEWS 2004 Nick Flickinger ’04, currently serving as an Associate Teacher at Parkside School, was recently commended for his teaching skills showcased by the immense reading progress of his students.
Jack Klein ’18 and Jordan Wasserberger ’19 mentored a group of Upper Schoolers on the fundamentals of parliamentary debate during their A-S Summer Bridge Debate Program.
Lamplighter: ALUMNI NEWS
Max Esterson ’18 was featured this spring in The Wall Street Journal for his car racing simulation program, iRacing.
2020 In April, Lawson Wright ’20 won first place at the Museum of the City of New York's NYC History Day for his first solo documentary on Apollo 11. Congratulations, Lawson!
Manton Metcalf, III ’38
Samuel Stevenson ’51
Carlos Davis ’64
Sean Konecky ’64
Manton Bradley Metcalf, III, known as an iconic old-time gentleman for his warmth, humor, and generosity, passed away on July 17, 2020. Manton served in the Navy in World War II on a destroyer escort in the Asia Pacific. He worked at the Smith Barney investment firm as a Vice Chairman.
Samuel Stevenson passed away on February 15, 2020. He served in 18 years in the U.S. Marine Corps and was awarded the Bronze Star Medal with Combat “V,” Meritorious Service Medal, Navy Unit Commendation, National Defense Service Medal; Vietnam Service Medal with 4 stars; Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Silver Star.
Carlos Davis, writer, producer, husband, father of James Davis ’07, and fast friend to all he met—passed away on September 24, 2020. His life centered on his beloved son James, his many dear friends the world over, his other dear friends Pinot Grigio and Rosé, and long dinners at his favorite restaurants.
Sean Konecky, beloved husband, brother and friend, passed away on May 15, 2020. Sean was an extremely intelligent man, with a good heart, and a wonderful sense of humor. Everyone who knew him at all recognized all these qualities and loved him.
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