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American Heritage School Magazine Fall 2015

A YEAR IN

REVIEW

2014 - 2015 Academic

Excellence

Student Impact Throughout the World

HIGHLIGHTS

in Academics, the Arts, and Athletics


In Focus 2 | 2015

Akira Billie” | Grade 11 | “Through the Mirror” | Best Photograph

American Heritage School


A LETTER FROM OUR PRESIDENT FOUNDER Dear AHS Families & Friends, It gives me great pleasure to introduce this inaugural issue of the American Heritage School Magazine. This publication serves not only as a review of the highlights in academics, the fine arts, and athletics from the past school year, but it also provides in-depth accounts into the mindset and motivation of our teachers, students, and families, and captures moments in time around campus. The articles are meant to inform, educate, and inspire as they illustrate the excellence that is the true essence of our school. I am delighted to dedicate this first issue of our American Heritage School Magazine to all our students. Our children are the hope for our future. They have the tremendous responsibility of learning important values, and as they discover their passions and strengths, they continue to contribute to the well-being of our communities and our world. So I would like to say “thank you” to all our AHS students, alumni, families, faculty, and friends for inspiring life-long learning in us all. I invite you to celebrate our students and teachers as we read through the pages of this magazine and join us in the Patriot Pride that says this is American Heritage School. Regards, William R. Laurie President and Founder American Heritage School

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THE MAGAZINE STAFF Dr. Douglas Laurie Vice President Mrs. Melanie Hoffman Director of Public Relations & Advertising Mrs. Adrianne Shienvold Assistant Principal/Dean of Faculty Mrs. Denise Huntze Graphics

ADMINISTRATION Mr. William Laurie President & Founder Dr. Douglas Laurie Vice President Mrs. Leslie Wood Administrator Mrs. June Walker Chief Financial Officer Mr. Marc Shaw Admissions Director Mrs. Elise Blum High School Principal Mrs. Adrianne Shienvold Assistant Principal /Dean of Faculty Mrs. Anita LaTorre Jr. High School Principal Mrs. Melissa Becerra Assistant Principal Mr. Dean Nolle Dean of Students Mrs. Lauren Johnston Lower School Principal Mrs. Linda Hertler Lower School Assistant Principal Ms. Jacqueline Davis American Academy Principal Mrs. Deborah Lutchkus Curriculum Coordinator Mrs. Kelly Bennett Upper School Director of Guidance Mrs. Liz Shaw Lower School Guidance Counselor Mrs. Karen Stearns Athletics Director Mrs. Jessica Miliffe Director of Alumni Affairs

Special thanks to Print Dynamics

ABOUT US American Heritage School gives its students a rigorous, traditional education in a forward-thinking, technologically advanced, well-rounded environment. Our mission is to graduate students who are prepared in mind, body and spirit to meet the requirements of the colleges of their choice. To this end, we strive to offer a challenging college preparatory curriculum that serves students of bright average to gifted intelligence and aims to develop critical thinking skills, problem solving abilities and lifelong learning. American Heritage offers financial aid and academic and fine arts scholarships.

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American Heritage School


American Heritage School

Magazine

CONTENTS

FALL 2015

DEPARTMENTS 3 Letter from our President

58 Student Impact

74

FEATURES

Fine Arts

80 Athletics

86 Alumni News

94 In Memoriam

96 Archives

6

A Year in Review

Highlights of the 2014-2015 Achievements in Academics, Fine Arts, and Athletics

18

Finding a Cure

Heritage Research Institute Could Bring Breakthroughs in Medicine and our Environment

26

It’s in the Stars

AHS Student Stars in Hit TV Series

30

Nothing but the Truth

Top Trial Attorney Coaches Pre-Law Students to Victory

36

A Retrospective

AHS Alumni Achieve New Heights

42

Giving Healthy Doses of Happiness

AHS Pre-Med Students Bring Happiness to Children with Pediatric Cancer

SPOTLIGHTS

48

IN FOCUS

54

Young Scientist and Inventor

Fall 2015

AHS Student Travels to India and Empowers Youth Throughout the World

History in the Making

Students Uphold a Culture of Excellence

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The Fine Arts

Nationally-Ranked Program Inspires Creativity in Students

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Academic Highlights The students at American Heritage School are uniquely prepared to be leaders of the 21st century who embody knowledge, integrity, and compassion. Each year, students attend prestigious competitions and earn exceptional awards. Here are the highlights from the 2014-2015 school year.

#1 IN THE STATE OF

FLORIDA FOR HIGHEST NUMBER OF NATIONAL MERIT SCHOLARS

Ranked #12 in the nation out of 22,000 high schools for National Merit Scholars

50 SemiďŹ nalists 25 Commended Scholars 20 National Hispanic Scholars 6 National Achievement Scholars

$72 million in college scholarships offered to the Class of 2015 www.ahschool.com

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HIGHLIGHTS

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Academics

OUR

SILVER KNIGHTS The Miami Herald Silver Knight Awards is one of the most highly regarded student awards in the country. American Heritage was proud to have students nominated for 13 out of the 15 total categories. Three students were named Silver Knights, and three students received Honorable Mentions. Silver Knights - Lauren Goboff (English), Mayuri Viswanathan (Vocational Tech), Ian Olsson (World Languages); Honorable Mentions - Leah Ramsaran (Art), Alyssa Fantel (Drama), Jude Alawa (General Scholarship), shown here with Mrs. Adrianne Shienvold (Silver Knight Coordinator)

PERFECT SCORES ON AP EXAMS

AHS students earned a 92% passing rate on College Board Advanced Placement (AP) Exams – one of the highest in South Florida.

Three students received perfect scores on one of their Advanced Placement (AP) Exams: Benjamin Pollack, Class of 2014, currently attending the University of Pennsylvania, Francisco Rivera, Class of 2015, attending Harvard University in the fall, and Ian Olsson, Class of 2015, attending UC Berkeley. Only 285 students in the world earned every point possible on an AP Exam, answering every multiple-choice question correctly and earning full points on the free response section. Three of those students attend American Heritage School, which ranks Heritage as one of only ďŹ ve schools in the nation with three students with perfect scores. (For full article, please refer to page 24)

FUTURE BUSINESS LEADERS Four graduating seniors from American Heritage School competed at the FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America) National Leadership Conference in Chicago and placed 1st and 6th in the nation. In the Sports & Entertainment Management category, Victor Pires, Connor Kickhoefer, and Ean Schwartz won 1st place. Philip Vitus earned 6th place in the Computer Problem Solving category.

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American Heritage School


#1

private school in the nation in math competitions

High School Math Team scores big at the National Math Competition. Junior High Math Team came in 6th Place at the state MathCounts competition. Vlad Oleksenko, Trishala Kumar, Azzara Nincevic, and Hershey Rajpal. Shown here with advisors Mr. Rick Rovere and Mrs. Reny Ingraham.

#1

Middle School Geometry Team is throughout Central and South Florida.

8th graders rank in the top 1% of the nation for math. Vlad Oleksenko and Trishala Kumar are the ďŹ rst 8th graders in Heritage history to qualify for the AIME (American Invitational Math Exam).

Lower School Math Team is the #1 private elementary school in the state in math competitions. 1st place - 6th grade - Abdul-Jalil Dania, Anisa Haffizulla, Henry Ingraham, Gauri Kasarla (Alexander Solomon, alternate) 2nd place - 5th grade - Nicolas Fernandez-Baigun, Rohan Kumar Stephen Levine, Philip Nenov. Shown here with advisor Mrs. Reny Ingraham. www.ahschool.com

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HIGHLIGHTS

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Academics

SCIENCE

High School Science Bowl Team won the state championship.

#1 at Broward County Science Fair and top performing school in Florida 3rd place at State Science and Engineering Fair of Florida – Middle School level – awarded to Gauri Kasarla, 6th grade Junior High students competed at the Florida Junior Academy of Sciences and earned top awards. 1st Place - Antares Tobelem & Jonathan Mirchandani 3rd Place - Nithya Kasarla 4th Place - Hemangi Rajpal & Trishala Kumar 5th Place -Gauri Kasarla Francisco Rivera, Samir Khan, Philip Gaddy, Jared Shulkin, and Kwesi Levy

BRAIN BRAWL & QUIZ BOWL Quiz Bowl teams won 1st, 2nd, and 7th place at the National Academic Quiz Tournament Invitational at Ransom Everglades. Two of our teams qualified to move on to Nationals. Samir Khan won the highest average score for the entire tournament. (Shown below with advisor, Mrs. Krisynda Cicos)

Francisco Rivera, Samir Khan, Andrew Klauber, and Philip Gaddy

NHS Brain Brawl Team won the Broward County Brain Brawl championship against Stoneman Douglas for the second year in a row.

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American Heritage School


ENGINEERING FEATS

First place at the 2015 SECME (Science, Engineering, Communication, Mathematics, and Enrichment) National Competition was awarded to Barath Tirumala, James McLaughlin, and Ricardo Van Zanten. 2nd place in the Bionic Hand competition at SECME was awarded to Susanna Belt and Julia Haack, along with teammates not pictured Kirthika Ravikumar and Jimmy Mendoza.

ROBOTICS

– Ranked 16th in the World Known as Team 2383, “The Ninjineers,” our Robotics Team won 1st place in the Southeast Region of the U.S. at the FIRST Regional Robotics Competition and qualified for the World Championship in St. Louis. The Ninjineers won the Entrepreneurship Award for completing an outstanding business plan and implementing excellent strategy in management, funds, and communications. They were also named the winners of the entire event. Our Robotics Team is ranked 16th in the world and is supported by our Pre-Engineering Program.

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HIGHLIGHTS

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Academics

TOP IN STATE MOCK TRIAL # 1 in the State

High School Junior High Teams

&

State Champs 3 out of the past 5 years

Junior High Team

High School Team

Best in State Jennifer Friedman Best Attorney Sam Cho Best Witness awarded at the Mock Trial State Competition.

1st Place at Yale Mock Trial Competition Carine Ghannoum and Skye Summers Best Attorneys SoďŹ a Ubilla Best Witness

MOOT COURT State Champions Middle School Team

High School Team

Top Respondents in the State Plantiff and Defense Pictured with attorney Michael Lynch

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Matthew Soree and Spencer Krimsky pictured with the Supreme Court of Florida and Mrs. Adriana Alcalde, Mrs. Nadia Soree, and Mrs. Beth Krimsky American Heritage School


TOP IN NATION MODEL U.N. # 1 Private School in the Nation in Model United Nations Winner of Michael C. Coon Award for Excellence in Diplomacy and Representation at William and Mary Model U.N. Conference

Students receive Award of Excellence at the National High School Model U.N.

For full story please refer to page 54

(Pictured here with advisors Mr. Mark Gruskin and Mrs. Marjorie Milam)

SPEECH & DEBATE Top in the nation and Top 1% of all Speech & Debate programs in the country

16 students qualiďŹ ed for national competitions and earned over 240 individual trophies in local, regional, and national competitions.

Public Forum Champions Jacob and Brandon Becker at Grapevine Debate Tournament in Texas

Novice debaters captured state titles in not one, but two, events. Nicolas Fonseca earned State Champion in Congressional Debate, and David Min is State Champion in Lincoln Douglas Debate. www.ahschool.com

Jordan Parker, Nicolas Fonseca, David Min, Jonah Platovsky

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HIGHLIGHTS

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Academics

Yearbook

LITERARY PUBLICATIONS

#1

Newspaper

Spotlight Yearbook Patriot Post Newspaper Expressions Magazine

FIRST place from the American Scholastic Press Association

Magazine Expressions Literary Magazine wins All-Florida with Special Distinctions & First Class with Special Distinctions from the National Scholastic Press Association.

Broward County High School Literary Fair Winners: 1st Place: Claire Generato: Free Verse Taylor Ham: Poem for Two Voices Lauren Quintela: Rhymed Verse 2nd place: Asha Rampertaap: Short Story Lauren Waldman: Haiku 3rd place: Jordyn Fitch: Scene Writing

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Academics

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HIGHLIGHTS

BROADCAST MEDIA WAHS Broadcast News received 4 Emmy Awards • Public Service Announcement • Feature Package • News Feature Profile • Editing from the Suncoast Chapter of the National Association of Television Arts & Sciences

All-Florida rating for WAHS Broadcast News from the Florida Scholastic Press Association

KIDS BEHIND THE LENS Lower School students in grades 4-6 were winners of a “Kids Behind the Lens” digital photography contest and met National Geographic’s The Traveling Photographer, Richard Sobel, at an author visit in the Main Theatre.

38th Annual Fire Prevention Poster and Essay Contest Winners City Wide Winners: Best in School: 3rd Place Poster: Andres Aramuni Poster: Harlee Ross 3rd Place Essay: Rohan Kumar Essay: Soha Bhutta These students were honored at a Plantation City Council Meeting. www.ahschool.com

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HIGHLIGHTS

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National Scholarships

CHESS CHAMPS

The Lower School Chess Team won 1st place at Magnus Carlsen Scholastic Chess Tournament. 1st place: Ishaan Tyagi, Nicolas Fernandez-Baigun, Jacob Joffe, Ty HoliďŹ eld, grade 4, Allen Ting, grade 3, and Jake Joffe, grade 4, challenge each other to a game of chess.

2nd place: Rohan Kumar

NATIONAL SPELLING BEE

Trishala Kumar was the Spelling Bee champ in Broward County, and traveled to the National Spelling Bee in Washington, DC. She passed three rounds beating out top spellers from all over the world.

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HIGHLIGHTS

TOP SPANISH SCORES Spanish AP and Honors students attained national recognition for excellent performance on the 2015 National Spanish Examinations. Heritage students earned a total of 17 gold, 22 silver and 17 bronze awards along with 19 honorable mentions. Congratulations to all of the students and to their teachers, Mrs. Morenilla, Mrs. Mulholland, Mrs. Ramos, and Mrs. Silva.

AHS in NATIONAL NEWS CNN En Espanol called on American Heritage School to be a guest on the show Vive La Salud and speak about how we incorporate technology in our classrooms. Mrs. Paloma Murray was our bi-lingual spokesperson, and she sat alongside an expert from the University of Miami; Mrs. Murray was a natural and did a wonderful job speaking on international television for the very first time!

American Heritage School was one of eleven schools from all over the country featured in an Educational Insight report on Newsweek.com that discussed “What Makes Private and Independent Schools Special?”

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Gauri Kasarla uses the uorescence microscope to look at her C. elegans worms.

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HERITAGE RESEARCH INSTITUTE COULD BRING BREAKTHROUGHS IN MEDICINE AND OUR ENVIRONMENT

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itled the Heritage Science Research Institute, it is akin to what you may be visualizing with researchers working in labs finding solutions for issues in our world. The only difference is the researchers at this research facility are teenagers from 12 to 16 years old, who are students at American Heritage School, working alongside PhD’s to develop high-level research projects. “This is the first time this program is happening at this magnitude,” said Mrs. Leya Joykutty, AP Biology instructor and Science Research Director at American Heritage for the past 14 years. “Our labs are collegiate bio safety level 2 labs, the only of their kind out of any high school in South Florida, equipped with over half a million dollars of high-level research equipment,” Mrs. Joykutty said.

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Student research projects range from protein chemistry, and molecular and mirco biology, to zoology, plant sciences, and medicine and health, with the primary goal being to take these projects and be competitive at local, state, and international competitions, such as the science fair, the Florida Junior Academy of Science, and the Junior Science, Engineering, and Humanities Symposium at UF. In order to enter this advanced research program, students were nominated by faculty. Then they had to complete an application process. Upon acceptance, the students created a proposal based on an original research topic for which they would have to defend its feasibility and relevance. “The students are learning cutting edge lab techniques, accurate record keeping, computer skills, data analysis, and technical writing while they develop a team spirit,” said Mrs. Joykutty. “They also have to learn how to interact with

“It’s likely that some of these students’ works will end up with published articles in science journals.” – Dr. Radley Santos scientists who are experts in their field and conduct science seminars as they present their proposals and research findings to their peers. Our vision for this program is to give these students an authentic research experience and the opportunity to conduct university level research from a very young age while building their confidence and inspiring their interest in science. It is a very exciting time,” she added. Dr. Radley Santos, AHS ’98, MIT ‘02, science researcher and math team coach at American Heritage, and scientist at the Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies in Port St. Lucie explained, “Students are given a budget

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FEATURES

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Heritage Nithya Kasarla prepares her rice seeds to harvest protoplast for her genetics experiment.

to purchase certain materials in order to facilitate their projects, so finances come into play, which is a big part of the business.” “It’s quite impressive, the program we have here, and the range of equipment we have in our lab is unlike any you’ll find at other high schools,” Dr. Santos said, referring to the fluorescent microscope, UV/ Vis plate reader (a spectrophotometer), and a carbon dioxide incubator, among other things. “As for my role, because I do data analysis for non-profit research for drug discovery at Torrey Pines, I’m teaching the students basic stats and advising them on experimental design and how to analyze the data once it is here. One student is doing a pure math project, another student is working on a viral database project–the type of database a group of researchers in Zurich has been wanting for years–and others are doing data mining for new results,” explained Dr. Santos. “It’s likely that some of these students’ works will end up with published

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articles in science journals.” Dr. Santos, along with Dr. Stawikowski from FAU, and Dr. Ruth Ewing from NOAA, are mentoring the students on campus. The student researchers travel off campus, as well, to

Sean Robins prepares his TLC plates under the watchful eye of Mrs. Simi Matthew.

the microscope core facility at Jackson Medical School, the flow cytometry center at Jackson, and the Rosenstiel Marine School to observe the aplysia (sea slug) research facility. “We’re trying to give them the whole package–lab skills, and a taste of the real world,” said Dr. Diana Sood, Biology and Research Instructor in her second year at American Heritage School. “Their motivation is exceptional, they have that drive to succeed, and they all want to see something special in science so they are driven to make a difference in the future,” Dr. Sood said. Ramya Reddy, an 11th grader at AHS, is working on a database project in which she is comparing various viruses to come up with DNA sequences as a method to eliminate pathogens. “I find it fascinating when I apply my knowledge and research and get findings that I would not normally get out of a textbook,” said Ms. Reddy. “Our instructors have been very helpful, and if I find a DNA sequence, then new drugs

American Heritage School


Rishi Patel and Hemangi Rajpal prepare medium to grow bacteria, while Mrs. Leya Joykutty watches.

“They all want to see something special in science, so they are driven to make a difference in the future.” – Dr. Diana Sood

can be developed, and this would be a huge breakthrough in the pharmaceutical field,” she added. Ramya is in the Pre-Med Program at American Heritage and said she may want to be a cardiothoracic surgeon. Rishi Patel is a 7th grader at American Heritage and has been attending AHS for nine years since he was in PK3. His favorite subject in school is science, and Rishi explains he first got interested in science in fifth grade when he did his first science fair experiment. “I was very excited to be able to do my own research. My experiment was to determine the effect of sugar and salt on the boiling point of water. Even though my experiment was very simple, it showed me that there was much more that I could research in the future,” he said.

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His current project a year later is researching the effect of fullerenes on the environment using Alcanivorax borkumensis as his model organism. These are big names for this student who may be small in stature, but quite bold and full of knowledge, when it comes to these nano materials. “Fullerenes are nano-materials made up of carbon that are emitted when factories make products from graphite. Researchers have shown that fullerenes could be harmful to the environment in particular A. borkumensis, oil-degrading marine bacteria. These bacteria are helpful to the environment because they help remove oil from the water supply, specifically when there is an oil spill in the ocean,” Rishi explained. He picked his topic because of his interest in the environment and micro-

biology, and he narrowed down his experiment when he came across an article by a professor in Switzerland, Siham Beggah, who conducted a similar experiment with a genetically modified A. borkumensis. Rishi contacted Professor Beggah in Switzerland by email, and he beamed when he said, “She was actually able to ship this bacteria to me!” Rishi hopes to show that the fullerenes have a negative impact on the A. borkumensis because the destruction of the bacteria can lead to the destruction of the environment and potentially to humans. “A. borkumensis is a very helpful bacteria to our environment, and if it were to be destroyed by fullerenes, it would be very difficult to remove oil from our oceans,” Rishi said. “I feel lucky to have this science research program at my school, because it

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Rishi Patel with a top student award.

allows me to do a more complex experiment, and use the lab that allows me to conduct various assays and experiments that can really help people in our world,” added Rishi. Rishi’s other interests include music, and he has been playing the violin since first grade. He’s a member of the Florida Youth Orchestra and the American Heritage Orchestra. He was a member of the National Elementary Honor Society in 5th and 6th grades and held the position of treasurer. On Sunday mornings, he attends religious studies, and he belongs to a cultural dancing group, which performs an Indian dance at the annual Diwali Festival in Miami in the

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fall. He also enjoys volunteering on the weekends through Hands on Broward, playing basketball, and spending time with his family. Interestingly enough, Rishi’s experiments extend past the science lab into the kitchen in his own home. “I love to cook,” Rishi said. “I love to experiment with different recipes and spices with my dad on the weekends. When I grow up, I would like to be a wellrenowned chef. The college I would like to attend is Le Cordon Bleu in France to learn from chefs throughout the world.” Gauri Kasarla is also a 7th grader at American Heritage, who has been a student here since 1st grade. Her favorite subject, like Rishi, is science, “because I get to learn about nature and the world around me,” she said. Her interest in science began last year in the fall, when she was experimenting in the American Heritage Science Lab to find out whether fruits and vegetables have the ability to purify water for third-world countries. “My hard work and perseverance paid off because I got 1st place at the Broward County Science Fair, 3rd place in the State Science Fair, and I was nominated for a Broadcom Masters program in which the top 10% of students get selected,” Gauri explained. “My experience with

the science fair made me want to continue because it’s fun and exciting to find out something new,” she added. This year Gauri is examining the effects of various natural substances, such as pomegranates, mushrooms, and cherries, to combat oxidative stress, which can lead to deadly diseases like Alzheimer’s disease, Type II Diabetes, Atheroma, and Atherosclerosis. She is using the model organism, C. elegans, which is a microscopic nematode worm. “When you eat processed, highly cooked, or sugary foods, it causes oxidative stress, causing the body to degenerate,” said Gauri. “But I want to discover a way to prevent or inhibit this process.” “I hope to see that the natural substances can prevent oxidative stress, since natural substances that are found all around us are nutritious, vitamin rich, and full of minerals. If the substances have the ability to prevent, treat, or cure diseases, then the fruits will be looked at in a whole different way,” she explained. According to Gauri’s research, every day millions of people are diagnosed with Type II diabetes as the rate of obesity increases rapidly. People with hyperglycemia, or excess sugar in their bloodstream, have a higher amount of Advanced Glycation End Products (AGES) in their body. This is because whenever processed, highly cooked, or sugary foods break down, the protein molecule immediately bonds to the sugar molecule, causing AGES. AGES then elicit free radicals, which have an unpaired electron. When there is an imbalance of the body’s defensive antioxidants and the free radicals, oxidative stress is produced. “Oxidative stress causes deadly diseases, and if I can find a way to inhibit oxidative stress, I can find a way to prevent, treat, and perhaps in the long run, cure diseases caused by oxidative stress.” “The technologies available in our Biosafety level 2 lab are amazing, and the teachers dedicate so much time and

American Heritage School


Sisters and student scientists Nithya and Gauri Kasarla

effort into our projects. Mrs. Joykutty even opened the lab on weekends when I had to check on my project due to time constraint,” expressed Gauri. Gauri confided that her inspiration is her big sister Nithya. An AHS sophomore, Nithya created an experiment to find an inhibitor to cancer. “She went to the International Science and Engineering (ISEF) Fair in Pittsburgh, which is awesome. She always tries her hardest, and when something goes wrong, she does not take no for an answer,” Gauri said. Last year, Nithya’s project dealt with finding natural substances that could inhibit mutation and potentially serve as cancer preventatives. “My passion is to conduct unique research that has the power to benefit many others,” said Nithya. This year, her project focuses on genetically modifying plants using a new type of genome editing technology called CRISPR. “If I can successfully create ‘hypoallergenic’ plants, or plants missing allergen proteins, I believe that my research can serve to better the lives of those affected by peanut allergies,” she explained. CRISPR was originally found in bacteria, and it acts as a type of acquired immune system by destroying the DNA of viruses that try to invade and kill bacteria. Only recently, a few researchers have thought about using CRISPR to genetically modify plants. “I’m focusing on using CRISPR to take out allergen genes within plants. For example, most people allergic to peanuts are actually allergic to a particular protein within the peanut. If the gene that codes for this protein can successfully be taken out, then, in theory, hypoallergenic peanuts can be created,” Nithya said. Some of Gauri’s other hobbies are playing the violin, competing in math competitions, playing tennis both in and out of school, and spending time outside, fishing, and helping her

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dad in their fruit & vegetable garden. When she grows up, Gauri wants to be a cardiothoracic surgeon. “I want to attend Harvard, since that has been my lifelong dream,” she said. “I also want to design an invention that will be able to do heart surgery without making an incision. By scanning a person’s heart, the amount of cholesterol and fat in the plaque in their arteries will indicate if there is ischemic heart disease. I will then find an inhibitor to the plaque in the arteries, and I will inject the substance in the artery with my invention that does not require an incision to enter the person’s body. If I find out a way to do this, that will just be magical!!!” X

“If I can successfully create ‘hypoallergenic’ plants, or plants missing allergen proteins, I believe that my research can serve to better the lives of those affected by peanut allergies.” – Nithya Kasarla, 10th grade

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SPOTLIGHT

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Perfect Scores Rank American Heritage 1 of the Top 5 Schools in the World

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alt Disney once said, “It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.” Three students at American Heritage did just that, what some say is impossible. They each scored perfect 5’s on one of their Advanced Placement (AP) exams in 2014. Only 285 students in the world earned every point possible on an AP exam, answering every multiple-choice question correctly and earning full points on the free response section. American Heritage is one of only five schools in the world with three of those students. Benjamin Pollack, AHS ’14, a sophomore at University of Pennsylvania, and Francisco Rivera, AHS ’15, a freshman at Harvard University, were two out of 51 students in the world to earn every point possible on the AP Macroeconomics exam. Ian Olsson, AHS ’15, a freshman at UC Berkeley, accomplished the same extraordinary academic feat; he was one of only 91 students in the world to earn every point possible on the AP Spanish Language and Culture Exam. “Although I thought the test was very easy, having been extensively prepared by Señora Ramos, I did not fathom, by any means, that I aced the test,” said Ian. “I believed that I at

least had gotten the audio answering part wrong, which I thought was the most challenging part of the test. I therefore was extremely delighted and surprised that I had gotten a perfect score on the test,” he added. Ben had a similar reaction when he said, “I was sure I did well–I couldn’t imagine I got every question right, though!” Francisco responded by saying, “Coming out of the exam, I was confident I had scored a 5, and I felt happy with all of my answers. However, because AP exams have so many questions with some intentionally designed to be tricky, I don’t think I gave much thought to the possibility of having gotten them all right.” Both Ben and Francisco are grateful to their teacher, Mr. Torres, for his help and guidance with learning everything there is to know about macroeconomics. “He will definitely be a teacher I remember for a long time, not only for preparing me academically for economics, which is my major at Penn, but also for the way he connected to us,” said Ben. “I especially remember him implementing technology in his class as much as possible,” said Francisco. “For example, he would put his slideshows on our iPads with an app that allowed him to ask the class questions and monitor that everyone was on task.” Mr. Torres has been teaching at American Heritage for seven years. He teaches Honors and AP Economics, and he shared his secret

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American Heritage

Benjamin Pollack, Ian Olsson, Francisco Rivera

to teaching–Nearpod and Edpuzzle. com–two online apps that Mr. Torres explained require a large investment in time up front, “but I can’t stress enough how much I believe in the usefulness of both of them. I’m happy that I teach at a school that not only encourages, but actually makes it possible to take advantage of available technology such as Nearpod and Edpuzzle.com, by installing campuswide Wi-Fi and making tablets part of the curriculum.” Mr. Torres said he tells his students that tech-

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nology will continue to replace more and more jobs, but technology will also create new jobs. Ian’s AP Spanish teacher was Señora Judy Ramos, and he said, “from the first day of the school year, everything we did in her class was to prepare for the test. Throughout the year we read many texts, which was complemented periodically with practice tests and eventually listening and audio tests. Because of her, walking into the test was a breeze and just another day of class.”

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AP Exams are based on a 5-point scale. A 5.0 is equivalent to a grade of “A” in the corresponding college course. Benjamin, Francisco, and Ian took the exams in the spring of 2014 and received the top score of 5.0. More than 3,900 colleges and universities around the world received AP scores for college credit, advanced placement, and/or consideration in the admissions process, with many colleges and universities in the U.S. offering credit in one or more subjects for qualifying AP scores. “I am so proud of our students for scoring top in the nation!” said Elise Blum, Principal of the high school at American Heritage. “They are dedicated and hard-working young men who committed themselves fully to preparing for these difficult exams. I am also proud of our outstanding teachers who demonstrate the quality of education being offered at American Heritage. I applaud them for their ability to engage the students and enable them to thrive while studying at a college level,” Mrs. Blum added. Ben is studying Economics at Penn, and he shared, “My first year was incredible. Heritage definitely prepared me for college! A tough academic course load and the encouragement of personal responsibility, creativity, and forward-thinking proved so important in building an undergraduate. At Harvard, Francisco is planning on concentrating in Applied Mathematics with an area of application somewhere along the lines of operations research and statistics. He said, “I can’t wait to meet the inspiring people I’ll be surrounded by!” Ian will be studying Pre-Business at Berkeley and hopes to enter into the Business School his junior year. “I also will major in Russian Language and Culture, as I want to start a new, different language in college,” he added. “However, as I get accustomed to the college workload, I do hope to strengthen my base in Spanish at Berkeley, too.”

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AHS STUDENT STARS IN HIT TV SERIES

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he loves to laugh. “My personality is very funny, because sometimes I can be very serious and people think I’m 15; and other times, when I’m with my close friends, I’m so silly. As far as how people see me, I don’t pay attention. I like the person that I am and I also know the things I need to work on,” she says. Hailing from Merriam, Kansas, outside of Kansas City, Jacqueline Frazey–known to all as Jackie–is a 7th grader at American Heritage, whose favorite subjects are English and science. During her free time, she loves to do typical teenage girly things with her friends, like shopping, sleepovers, and going to the beach and movies. Yet Jackie is anything but a typical teenager, as she plays the role of another teenager, Melanie Miller, on the runaway hit TV

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series Every Witch Way on Nickelodeon. Jackie has always loved acting her whole life. “I was in awe of the idea of giving people a voice who couldn’t express themselves,” she said. She realized when she was cast in school plays and local shows that acting gives people that voice. Then, she was hooked. “I started acting by begging my parents to let me get an agent,” Jackie said. “After about two years of begging them, I said, ‘These are my God-given talents, and I need to use them.’” She got an agent when she was nine, started auditioning, and the rest is history. That was only three years ago. Since then, Jackie landed the role as Melanie on Nickelodeon’s Every Witch Way.

“I was so used to getting told no again and again. Then, I got a callback to audition in front of the production team. I was completely nervous.” – Jackie Frazey, 7th grade “The audition for Every Witch Way was a very heart pounding experience. I got a call to audition for the show as

Melanie, and I was like, okay, another audition. I was so used to getting told no again and again. Then, I got a callback to audition in front of the production team. I was completely nervous. However, once I walked in the room for my callback, all the nerves flew away. I knew I was going to be Melanie. About a month later, I got a call from my agent that I had booked the role. When my agent had told me I’d gotten the role I couldn’t speak. I was so happy that all my hard work leading up to this point paid off,” she expressed. Jackie is a Chambie Award nominee. The Chambie Awards are given annually to the best television and film actors and actresses under the age of 18. Jackie and her fellow cast members finished filming the fourth season of Every Witch Way near the end of June. “Being on a major TV channel is so surreal,” she shared. “Sometimes I actually have to remind myself that I’m on a Nickelodeon show, and then I’m like, ‘Wow that’s so cool!’ It’s all about keeping myself humble and remembering why I’m here today.” Not only is Jackie a celebrated actor, she is also a humanitarian and philanthropist. “Since her earliest days in acting, Jackie has been committed to support-

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Jackie is featured as “Melanie,” a cast member in Nickelodeon’s Every Witch Way.

“A s long as I can remember, she has wanted to be an actor. Nearly as long as that, she has talked about helping others.” – Louise Frazey, Jackie’s Mom ing charities,” explains her mother Louise. “As long as I can remember, she has wanted to be an actor. Nearly as long as that, she has talked about helping others. She truly loves doing outreach to those less fortunate than herself, and has even committed ten percent of her earnings to charity. She supports her church and various educational scholarship funds, but her main interests have been the House of Hope in central Haiti and Mary’s Pregnancy Center in Ft. Lauderdale.” Forty-one miles outside of Port-auPrince is the House of Hope orphanage where Jackie visited nearly 100 Haitian youngsters, delivering medical care and safety to some of the most challenged children in the Western Hemisphere. Even though she slept in 90-degree temperatures at night and walked to the orphanage every day on unpaved streets often made of mud; and even though she struggled through a couple days of the dreaded “Montezuma’s Revenge,” Jackie can’t wait for her next trip to the orphanage.

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Renel Noel, Mission Director for House of Hope efforts out of South Florida, said, “Jackie is a trooper. She is a role model for children everywhere. No one tells Jackie she cannot do things. She is already doing them. We love her and look forward to her joining us again!” “I am so humbled by the children in the House of Hope,” Jackie says. “They have so little and live such happy lives. Their lack of material things makes them so appreciative of the simplest things, like fresh water and basic food. Because they share a common existence with each other, they seem to care for each other and take care of each other. They inspire me!” Locally, Jackie coordinates food and clothing drives, and she also volunteers her time at Mary’s Pregnancy Center; helping babysit the youngest children while their mothers learn how to prepare for motherhood. The Center helps women who have made the choice to have a baby, but are homeless,

Jackie heads off to school at American Heritage this past school year as a 6th grader.

abandoned or cannot afford traditional maternity care. “Jackie is a 30-year-old philanthropist in the body of an 11-year-old,” said Yoi Reyes, Director of the Center. “She

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school year was fun!” said Mrs. Balzano, Jackie’s English teacher. “She shared her upbeat personality and cheery smile with everyone; she was very conscientious and did a fantastic job balancing her Jackie spreading joy at Haiti’s House of Hope school work and schedules. How does she fit her loves the little ones, and they can tell. acting schedule, schoolwork, and all of She loves humanity. And we love her.” With sincere eloquence well beyond her years, Jackie says simply, “What can “They have so little and I say? I love little kids and love to help live such happy lives. with their care. Sometimes it really gets to They inspire me!” me to know that a little guy may not have a home to go to. How can you not care?” – Jackie Frazey Back at home, Jackie enjoys life at her community service into her life? school. “American Heritage is spectacu“It’s very difficult,” Jackie explains. lar,” she said. “My favorite things about “When I’m working, our cast has a big AHS are that it gives me the opportutrailer with desks to serve as our ‘school.’ nity to explore and gain other interests, Then we have tutors who work with my the teachers are really great because teachers at AHS to teach us the work they get me excited to learn, and I have that we missed at our regular schools. a lot of my best friends going to school We usually have 3-4 hours to get homeat Heritage, so it’s always fun.” work done, be taught our lessons, work “Having Jackie in class this past

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on any projects, and study for tests.” But it’s worth it. And she says she has wonderful people who support her in her life–“my super close friends, my family, my castmates, and above all, God. These people are very special to me, and I know I can always count on them when I need help. They keep me positive and humble.” With regard to her philanthropic efforts, Jackie says, “I love charity work; it just makes me feel so happy.” You can follow Jackie’s adventures on Instagram and Twitter @jackiefrazey. X

Jackie Frazey and friend

Jackie says she is “inspired” by the children at Haiti’s House of Hope.

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TOP TRIAL ATTORNEY COACHES PRE -LAW STUDENTS TO VICTORY

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merican Heritage students are the future of Broward’s legal profession,” said Eric Schwartzreich, Esq., criminal defense attorney in the state of Florida and legal commentator for local news, CNN and Fox News. Mr. Schwartzreich is entering his 11th year as the Mock Trial Coach at American Heritage, where he has successfully coached the team to win the national competition three of the past five years. A native of New York, he was born in New Rochelle and raised in Rye Brook, a town in Westchester County, 30 minutes north of Manhattan. His grandfather and uncle were both attorneys, “although they ran the family frozen food business and never stepped foot in court,” Mr. Schwartzreich said. “They did, however, save our family a ton in legal bills,” he added. “In the dog days of summer in New York, I would work lifting pallets in the frozen food freezers. It was hard work; it wasn’t for me. I would imagine being somewhere else and doing something else,” Mr. Schwartzreich reflected. “When I was in high school, I participated in plays and decided I wanted to be an actor. I loved the stage, and I kept acting and even started writing screenplays. My grandfather, who was my role model and mentor, suggested that I use my acting skills as a trial lawyer. He was concerned that if I pursued my acting career, then I would end up as a career waiter. He wanted the best for all of his grandchildren. I also had a fascination “He was concerned that if I with legal novels, and pursued my acting career, everything about trials– then I would end up as a the witnesses and the lawyers who seemed career waiter.” larger than life standing, – Mr. Eric Schwartzreich, Esq. moving, dancing, and arguing their points in front of audiences. My grandfather convinced me that juries could be my audience,” Mr. Schwartzreich shared. Mr. Schwartzreich spent his high school years as a student at Kents Hill, a boarding school in Maine. He majored in psychology as an undergraduate at Muskingum University in Ohio, received his MBA from Nova University, and his JD from St. Thomas University in

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American Heritage

1996. Two short years later, he would found and manage his own law firm, Schwartzreich & Associates, a firm that specializes in all criminal law, state and federal. Mr. Schwartzreich has tried over 200 cases of which he has many memorable moments. “One of my favorite memories in a trial was when I was defending a woman in a homicide case, and I was arguing how gentle she was and that she could not harm anyone. As luck would have it, on the third day of trial, there was

a fly buzzing around us at the defense table. Instead of shooing the fly away or dodging it and acting scared of the little insect, she stood up, yelled, and smashed it against the defense table bringing the fly’s life to a crashing end. After this incident for the whole jury to witness, I was obviously precluded from arguing that this woman would not hurt a fly,” reflected Mr. Schwartzreich. “Somehow she was still found not guilty,” he added. Fast-forward to today, Mr. Schwartzreich shares his recollection

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with his students in his position as the Mock Trial coach at American Heritage School. He is joined by Mr. Michael Gilfarb, a federal prosecutor for the Southern District of Florida, and cocoach of the AHS Mock Trial team. Students in high school at American Heritage have the opportunity to explore the legal profession in depth through the Honors Legal Studies Program. This curriculum offers a unique college and law school level course of study pertaining to the meanings, values,

Thumbs up and all smiles after their rigorous trials at the national competition in North Carolina

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Jennifer Friedman, Jason Chukwuma, and Carine Ghannoum are prepared and confident about the case they are going to present at the national high school mock trial competition in North Carolina.

practices, and institutions of law, as well as the opportunity for a law-related internship rotation. The classes are all taught by attorneys and judges who are currently practicing law, and the internship rotation enables seniors to get hands-on experiences with different areas of the law. Students who participate in this program have a good idea before they graduate high school whether law school and a career in law is what they would like to pursue as a profession. Another major component of the Honors Legal Studies Program is the Pre Law Society, which provides community service opportunities, guest speakers with legal discussions, and several extra-curricular competition teams. These teams include Mock Trial, Model United Nations, and Moot Court. Additionally, there is also Speech and Debate. In Mock Trial, coaches meet with the students close to twenty hours a week, including weekends. Mock Trial is essentially a sim-

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ulation of a real trial. The students are given either a civil or a criminal case, and they take on the roles of lawyers and witnesses. They argue the cases against the best students in the country and in front of real judges and lawyers. “Competitions are intense, thoughtful, exhilarating,” said Mr. Schwartzreich. “The students come prepared and they come to win. We prepare by scrimmaging with other teams at other schools, and we practice practice, practice,” explained Mr. Schwartzreich. “We also watch a lot of tape, video of the best teams, and we learn from doing and watching,” he added. Our Mock Trial Team has earned three national championships in the past five years, as well as numerous accolades such as Best Attorney and Best Witness awards. Two of our students have also won scholarships from Florida Law Related Education Association. “We “Competitions are intense, now have students who are thoughtful, exhilarating. The in law school and who are students come prepared, and actually now practicing trial attorneys. I love that!” Mr. they come to win.” Schwartzreich relayed. – Mr. Eric Schwartzreich, Esq. “The Pre Law Program at AHS is truly

Mr. Laurie poses with our national award-winning Mock Trial team and attorney coaches Ms. Adriana Alcalde, Mr. Eric Schwartzreich, Mr. Michael Gilfarb and Ms. Nikki Laurie before they start their after school practice for the next big competition.

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amazing; there’s nothing like it,” said Carine Ghannoum, AHS senior and winner of Best Attorney Award at Yale’s National Mock Trial Competition for two consecutive years. “This progam has really helped me succeed at such a young age. Classes like Business Law, which I took my freshman year, helped give me an insight on the certain elements needed to prove breach of contract and public policy as well

“Classes like Evidence and Trial Advocacy really helped me understand the trial process, how it works, and the legal objections under the Federal Rules of Evidence.”

Eric Schwartzreich coaches students on how to be expert witnesses on the witness stand.

– Carine Ghannoum, 12th Grade

as the burden of proof in a civil case. Classes like Evidence and Trial Advocacy really helped me understand the trial process, how it works, and the legal objections under the Federal Rules of Evidence, which is always used in Mock Trial,” she said. “Being named Best Attorney at Yale served as a motivation for me to do better the next year and win once more. I am really blessed to have won such a prestigious award two years in a row and for that, I can only thank my amazing coaches who have worked tirelessly to help me, as well as my supportive teammates,” expressed Carine. She also credits the Pre-Law Program for helping her complete an incredible internship at an international arbitration law firm in Paris during the summer of 2014, as well as compete in the Florida Moot Court and national Mock Trial competitions. When asked how he inspires AHS students in the legal profession, Mr. Schwartzreich responds by saying, “I show

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Mock Trial team celebrates their big 1st place win at the Yale University National Competition.

them my passion and love for what I do. Students come to my office and intern, they watch real trials, some have even sat at the defense table during actual trials. We work hard. We play hard. We discuss real life cases and write openings, closings, directs, and crosses for our mock trials. The students are allinspiring. I hope I inspire students as much as they inspire me.” X

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Pre-Engineering Instructor Inspires Lifelong Learning Mr. Vermes greets NASA Astronaut Michael Massimino, the ďŹ rst person to tweet from Space and guest actor on the TV show The Big Bang Theory. Mr. Massimino was a guest speaker to AHS Engineering students about his space missions; he is a graduate of Columbia University, where he is currently a professor.

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and even a real astronaut who sent the first orn and raised in Budapest, tweet from space. Hungary, until the age of 13, Mr. Vermes shared his philosophy on life: “I he emigrated with his family believe that life is to be created and not inherfrom Communist Hungary ited or merely endured. We cannot anticipate to New York, where he gradwhat we will be served. We can only respond uated from Columbia Unito it with as much knowledge and grace as we versity in 1973 with a Bachhave been able to accumulate. Implicitly, we reelor’s Degree in Aerospace Engineering. He main students for our entire lives, learning and was married a year later and moved to South changing how we can respond to the future. Florida with his wife and two children 14 Therefore, I often propose that each student years later. Fast forward through a Master’s is privileged to be at this school; they need to Degree in Educational Leadership from learn as much as possible and take this all with Lynn University to 2009, the year Mr. John them, so that they can use their knowledge to Vermes began teaching at American Herirespond to an unknowable future.” tage School. When asked what experience at American Today, he is Co-Chair of the Pre-EngiHeritage stands out for him so far, he responded neering Department and teaches AP Physics in three’s once again. “Every time former stuI, AP Physics C, and Engineering Interndents come back to campus to visit me and tell ship. me how they now enjoy physics or engineering “Thankfully, I have three unique opin college, it is memorable for me. Every time portunities at American Heritage School to they tell me how they benefited from my class, inspire students,” said Mr. Vermes. “First, it is memorable for me. And every time a parent in my classes I have a chance almost every tells me that his child enjoys my class, it is memday to reference or chat about the realities orable.” of engineering, and often tell stories about “What I practice every day in the classroom my own experiences. We put into perspecis that the lesson plan is only the beginning and tive the role of the engineer and what they not the end. It is to be changed as needed to can contribute to life.” Second, Mr. Vermes serve the needs of the entire class,” said Mr. explained, he enjoys the task of organizing Vermes. and building our relatively new Engineering Teaching seems to run in his family; his two Internship Program. He meets with new and children are both associate professors, one at existing prospective internship companies, Lynn University and the other at the University and after he “brags” about our students, he of Florida. invites the companies to partner with American Heritage, which will add a unique component to our pre-engineering curriculum. Lastly, Mr. Vermes said, he has the privilege of heading the Pre-Engineering Society, which is a new organization this past year and already has over 130 student members. The society hosts guest speakers on campus, such as high Students in the Biomedical Engineering Program conducted thorough research in a Plantation Emergency Medical vehicle profile engineers currently which gave them the idea to design and create a more efficient stretcher system to help save lives. practicing in their fields,

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A RETROSPECTIVE:

AHS Alumni ACHIEVE NEW HEIGHTS Brothers Jonathan and Alan Noah-Navarro are among the country’s top architects and engineers

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hen we came to the states from Venezue-

la 30 years ago, we wanted to put the kids in a private school where they would learn English, be in smaller classes, and receive more attention; and then we planned to move them a few years later. But we found American Heritage, and we ended up staying because they were so happy and did very well,” related Brenda Noah-Navarro. “My husband and I liked the fact that our boys were always kept busy and out of trouble, they had lots of homework, more than in public schools, and they started the kids in sports very early at American Heritage unlike other schools,” she said. Their sons Jonathan Noah-Navarro, AHS ‘93, B.S.E., University of Michigan, ‘98, and Alan Noah-Navarro, AHS ‘95, B.Des. University of Florida, ’03, M.Arch., UCLA, ’10, entered American Heritage in 1984 when they were in 4th and 2nd grades. “Alan had dyslexia and had to work harder academically than his big brother Jonathan who was always in the 97% of his class. Their teachers were always there to motivate them both,” said Mrs. Noah-Navarro. Alan described his experience at American Heritage as “educational.”

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He explained, “I participated in many sports, but there was always some homework to be done and a test to study for. The teachers never let us off the hook, so you pretty much just came

“I had a lot of fun at AHS, but I didn’t realize how well-rounded my experience was until I got to the University of Michigan.” – Jonathan Noah-Navarro, AHS ‘93

in with the mindset that you were there to learn.” “Alan was very athletic, and being on AHS sports teams boosted his confidence and self-esteem, as well,” Mrs. Noah-Navarro added. “He helped the school get their first state title in football,” said Alan’s dad, Al Noah-Navarro. “I had a lot of fun at AHS, but I didn’t realize how well-rounded my experience was until I got to the University of Michigan,” said Jonathan. “AHS provided extra-curricular opportunities to the arts and sports, which I learned was not the norm amongst my peers at Michigan. From building theatre sets or

playing an apple tree in the Wizard of Oz, to playing soccer and spring football, it was good to have these experiences in my formative years, and now I enjoy both going to the theater and watching football on Sundays,” he said. “Both of our boys are very social because of their experiences at American Heritage. They have a network of friends throughout the U.S., and every time I call the boys, they are always with friends, having people over, they like to socialize a lot,” said Mrs. Noah-Navarro. Today, Jonathan and Alan are earning great success in their careers. After graduating from Heritage in 1993, Jonathan studied engineering in the University of Michigan Honors Program and completed a fifth year in the Engineering Co-op Program, which included an internship for one semester at Denso International America, Inc., a top mechanical engineering firm and one of the largest global automotive suppliers of advanced technology, systems, and components, in Southfield, MI. During the summers, he had internships with Motorola, FPL, and IBM. When he graduated, he received offers from several well-known companies, but he chose to go back to Denso where he has been working for over 16 years. Jonathan currently lives in Detroit, MI. His work always concentrated in

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The facade of 170 Amsterdam Avenue in Manhattan is crisscrossed by thick, angular concrete columns, breaking with local style. (Designed by Alan Navarro and his architectural firm, Handel Architects, New York, NY)

Brothers Jonathan and Alan together at one of Alan’s buildings he designed in New York City, 2014

the area of heat transfer, and he invented a mounting system for aligning and suspending an HVAC module onto a cross car beam that allows mechanics to install the heating and air conditioning in a car more efficiently, saving time and labor for the worker. His design and implementation of the device was patented in 2014. “He usually starts on a table with a bunch of drawings and lots of engineering brainstorming; Jonathan is an inventor, he is always very busy, and he just gets things done,” said Mr. Noah-Navarro. “In the last two months, he has traveled between Detroit, Beijing, Shanghai, Tokyo, and Australia. At Denso, which is a Japanese company, they don’t let people under 40 become managers or directors, but Jonathan became a director before he was 40. We are very proud of him for his great success,” he added. Jonathan attributes one of his teachers at AHS for being the reason he is an

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The roof deck of 170 Amsterdam Avenue near Lincoln Center in New York City

engineer. “In my entire scholastic career, I received exactly one ‘D,’” he said. “It was freshman year at AHS in algebra. Crazy, right? Algebra! If ever there was a course to deter you from a career in engineering, then it would have to be algebra. Engineers use algebra every day. So, yeah, I was not really thinking engineering going into my sophomore year at AHS. All of this changed in Algebra II, thanks to my teacher Mrs. Vintilescu. (We called her Mrs. V.) A short, skinny, Romanian lady, she was the toughest and most demanding individual I’ve ever met in my life. Yet she got me to not only enjoy math, but also excel at it. I had the highest GPA in math courses of my graduating class, and Mrs. V is the person who most inspired me; she is likely the reason I am an engineer today,” Jonathan reflected. Alan graduated from AHS in 1995

and studied architecture at the University of Florida. After graduation, he worked for two years at Handel Architects in New York City, which is the #2 architectural firm in the U.S., with offices in New York, San Francisco, and Hong Kong. He accumulated an impressive portfolio, which earned him an academic scholarship in the Master’s Program in Architecture at UCLA. So he jetted to the west coast for two years, caught the surfing bug in the waves of the Pacific, and returned to Handel, since they were holding a spot open for him. An avid surfer living in the Big Apple, Alan’s most recent project was featured in an article in the New York Times. He is the architect who designed a new Manhattan high-end apartment building in Lincoln Square that everyone is talking about. With X’s covering the facade of the 20-story, 235-unit tower, the design is anything but conventional. The Times writes, “In breaking with the local Beaux-Arts style–and the look of most apartment buildings, for that matter– Equity Residential, the developer, said

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Alan at the Florida State Track Competition

Jonathan receives his AHS diploma in 1993 along with a big congratulations from Ms. Butts, Principal.

it was trying to create more space in the ticed,” he added. apartments. By putting the building’s “So many of my teachers inspired skeleton on the outside, instead of the me, in particular, Mrs. Vintilescu (Mrs. interior, where it typically goes, the deV), Mr. Usher and Mr. Ricky,” recalled veloper was able to Alan. “Mrs. V give the units much taught my brother more space.” Alan and me math. She “I’m amazed at the growth also designed the was a great motiof American Heritage. Dream Downtown vator and would Mr. Laurie is the driving Hotel in Chelsea in always say to us (in New York. her Romanian acforce with vision where “Alan was born cent) when we were he was going.” to be an architect; slipping, ‘What is it – Brenda Noah-Navarro he is very organized with you? Do you and neat,” said Mr. want to flip burgers Noah-Navarro. for a living?’ Indeed “We are excited for him and couldn’t be I did not, but those comments - mosthappier about his hard work getting noly directed towards me, not my broth-

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Jonathan Noah-Navarro

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Alan Noah-Navarro


Jonathan in Jackson XHole, WY, where FEATURES they test the heating systems they install in new cars

American Heritage

Jonathan and his team designed and manufactured the HVAC systems for this car and many others. er - still motivate me to work hard. Mr. Usher was nothing short of awesome. He taught drama and English. The classes were always fun and highly educational; he taught me how to write

well, and I used his methods all the way happy to say they have done better than through graduate school. Most of what that; they haven’t asked us for anything he taught me was being introduced in since they graduated,” she said. English Literature classes when I ar“Mr. Laurie is the driving force. He rived in college. Mr. Ricky taught me had a vision where he was going with geometry...needless to say, I’m an the school; some people are born with architect now. so much drive. He had an inI’m amazed at the credible way growth of Ameriof explaining can Heritage now. “Mrs. V. was a great things that He puts good stumotivator and would say just made the dents, teachers, when we were slipping, class easy,” a whole team to‘Do you want to flip burgers gether. He has an Alan said. Mr. Nofor a living?’ Indeed I did not.” excellent curricuah-Navarro lum. I am in awe – Alan Noah-Navarro, AHS ‘95 summed it all of what drives him. up, “We are Many AHS gradproud of the uates have turned education that our boys received at out like Jonathan and Alan, and he Heritage because the boys are dohas to be proud of everything he has ing so well today.” Mrs. Noah-Nadone,” expressed a most grateful Mrs. varro added, “Our focus was always Noah-Navarro. X Alan supervising the building to raise our kids to be responsible construction in citizens and to contribute. We are New York.

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Overcoming Obstacles with an Organic Love of Learning

Mrs. Mikkelsen was Carolina’s ďŹ rst teacher, who helped her transition from her school in Puerto Rico.

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oming to American Academy makes me feel honored and proud,” said Carolina Mellado, AHS sophomore who first entered the school 7 years ago when she was 8 years old. “There have been obstacles in my life I have had to overcome,” Carolina explained. “School was an obstacle for me initially. When I attended my old school in Puerto Rico, I had a difficult time making friends and getting my work done. When I came to American Heritage, everything was different. The teachers welcomed me, and my peers accepted me. I began to grow in my self-confidence. I started to make friends and achieved greater success in my schoolwork.” She describes herself as a kind and generous person who is always willing to help others; happy and easygoing, strong and persevering, no matter how hard things get. “Carolina Mellado is our featured Academy student because she is determined to rise to every challenge, overcome every obstacle, and supersede every exception,” according to Jacqueline Davis, Headmaster of American Academy. “Her positive attitude, her striving for excellence, and her organic love of learning truly make this student a stellar superstar.” “I am always excited to come to school to learn something new,” Carolina shared. Her favorite subject is history, because she finds it fascinating and enjoys learning about the past and its impact through time. “The teachers and administrative staff are helping me thoroughly prepare for everyday life and the tasks that lie ahead in my future. So my work ethic is to stay focused and study hard,” she said. “I like to come up with different kinds of study techniques to help me memorize facts and information to make study time more fun. I usually spend 3 hours a day after swim practice poring over my textbooks.” When asked who some of her favorite teachers have been, Carolina replied, “One of my favorite teachers is Mrs. Mikkelsen from third grade. She helped me adjust after I just moved to the states from Puerto Rico, when it was a scary and difficult time for me. Mrs. Rollins from 8th grade English is a great person to talk to; she made class time lively and a refreshing break within my day. Mrs. DeCelis from 9th grade geography helped me through the tough times

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during her course. She was accessible Carolina is proud to be a student and remarkably easy to converse with. at American We had an instant connection because of Academy. our shared heritage.” “Carolina works enthusiastically on each assignment and purposefully on each sentence she writes. Journalism is very important to her, and she is utilizing all of her opportunities at our school to improve her investigative and writing skills. Carolina is that student who is Winning the Pinnacle Award chosen to be part of was one of each and every colCarolina’s most laborative because memorable moments in her she is a team player, life. She shared it reliable, and a rewith Mrs. Rollins, markable contribuone of her favorite teachers. tor,” Ms. Davis said. As an aspiring author, Carolina spends her free time reading fan fiction, taking writing courses, attending writing conferences, and publishCarolina getting ing online articles to Teen Ink Magazine. a congratulations She would like to write fictional books, perhug from Ms. sonal experience books, and hopes to inspire Davis after winning the people with her writing. “Maybe I will end Patriot Award up at Emory, John Hopkins University, or at MIT like my dad, which is ranked number During her free time, Carolina swims on four in the country for writing,” she said. the Heritage Aquatic Team. “Coach Carroll “When faced with adversity, she perseBullock is making me a stronger athlete. He veres. When faced with disappointment, trains us hard,” she said. Carolina also atshe finds the silver lining and shines. Her tends the Harry Potter Club meetings where rays are as powerful as the sun, as she turns they analyze Rowling’s literature by discussfrowns upside down and makes a difference ing themes, characters, and plot. They also everywhere she goes,” said Ms. Davis. Carorganize school events like Trunk or Treat. olina has never missed a high honors breakRecently she became a member of the Florfast, and is quickly becoming an integral ida Writers Association and will participate part of our speech and debate team. She has once a month at the writers club meetings represented the Academy as the Patriot and in Plantation. Her family has been a major Pinnacle Award winner. support in her life through the challenges “When I was given the Patriot Award she has faced, and they give her inspiration and Ms. Davis started to describe the perto succeed. She goes out with her family son who won the award, I began to feel this often to the movies or to lunch at Pei Wei excitement inside of me; I knew it was me or Chipotle. “We enjoy talking about things she was talking about,” Carolina rememthat are happening in our lives.” bered. “Once it was announced, I felt exu“Carolina has warmed my heart, along berant and a little shy as all eyes were on me. with many others, with her thoughtfulness On the day I received the Pinnacle Award, I and compassion. She has acted as a role felt honored and overjoyed. I knew that this model, displayed excellence in character, was one of the highest honors that I could and has made us smile,” said Ms. Davis. ever receive that year. I felt privileged and “This extraordinary student has accomelated to be awarded these distinguished acplished so much already and is building a colades. I felt extremely proud of all of the foundation here at the Academy to achieve schoolwork that I had accomplished. All so much more!” my hard work had paid off.”

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Heritage

AHS Pre-Med Students Bring Happiness to Children with Pediatric Cancer “The pre-med students volunteer tirelessly, putting smiles on the faces of children who are battling cancer. It’s truly life-altering for these students.”

Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders with AHS Cheerleaders bring holiday cheer to a cancer patient.

Laura Grau is cooking up a storm with Sandy, one of her best friends. That’s the gift Keira asked Santa for on Christmas!

– Dr. Douglas Laurie

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American Heritage School


American Heritage

Lauren Morris, Dalya Ackerman, and Nicole Duran volunteer their face painting expertise for the children at the holiday party.

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”G

oing to American Heritage School was the smartest decision of my life,” said Laura Grau, AHS Class of 2012 and a junior studying Psychology at Johns Hopkins University. Laura started Heritage as a freshman; she chose the school because of the Pre-Med Program. At the time, she wanted to be a vet, but in her sophomore year, she became involved in the Pre-Med Society, a community service club dedicated to helping children with cancer. “That’s when I learned about the psychological side of the medical field and how happiness is the best cure for everything,” expressed Laura. “Our Pre-Med Program was established 15 years ago and offers high school classes taught by practicing physicians and a curriculum at the same level of college courses found in top universities,” explained Dr. Douglas Laurie, Vice President of American Heritage School. “The students thrive both in and out of the classroom – they complete intensive internships that put them alongside surgeons and specialists right in the middle of ER’s and OR’s, and they volunteer tirelessly at the Pediatric Hematology and Oncology Unit at Broward Health Medical Center, putting smiles on the faces of children who are battling cancer. It’s truly life-altering for these students,” Dr. Laurie added. Dr. Carlos Pulido is the director of the AHS Pre-Med Program and advisor of the Pre-Med Society. He is a former trauma surgeon, who wrote a protocol for the evaluation of trauma patients, and he is highly regarded by the students at American Heritage. “Dr. Pulido is everyone’s biggest advocate,” said Laura, one of his former students. “He cares so much for people; he makes me feel like I can do anything, he’s so inspiring.” Laura recounted the story of Sandy, a girl she met when volunteering at Broward Health’s Pediatric Hematology and Oncology Unit, who at the time was 8 years old and would always have everyone in stitches

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from the hilarious jokes she would tell. Three years later, Sandy learned she had 15 weeks to live. “It was my senior year,” Laura said, “and I will never forget when Dr. Pulido knocked on the door of my statistics classroom and told me, ‘We’re going to give Sandy Christmas today.’” After school, 20 AHS students bought gifts and baking supplies, because Sandy’s favorite thing to do was bake. They wrapped all the gifts and threw a big Christmas party for Sandy in the middle of October. “Dr. Pulido always knows when someone needs a little bit of happiness,” Laura said. A few months later, Laura got the call. They didn’t know how much longer Sandy would live. Laura went to Sandy’s bedside, and they re-lived every moment of their friendship. They sang together. Laura told her she loved her, gave her a kiss, and Sandy closed her eyes and drifted away. “I’ve gone through all the different stages of what happened. Losing Sandy was tragic for me, but it was the single most motivating factor that made me realize death isn’t what matters to these kids. It’s about happiness and giving them the best childhood. That’s the most important lesson I learned at American Heritage,” confided Laura. The Pre-Med Society is comprised of approximately 200 students in grades 7–12. Their partnership with the Children’s Hospital at Broward Health started with an annual holiday party for pediatric cancer patients and has since evolved to include a pizza party in October, during which time the young patients write letters to Santa with their holiday gift wish list. Then, over the next two months, the premed students work tirelessly to fundraise for the money needed to grant all of the children their wishes. In December, a grand holiday party is held in one of the hospital’s event rooms on the first floor. The students go over on a bus after school the day prior and work until late at night transforming the empty room into a magical wonderland, filled with twinkling lights, balloon arches, festive decorations, and other fun surprises. When the kids come in, many straight

Dr. Pulido with Ashley Studnik and Lauren Katzell of the Pre-Med Society, greeting guests as they come into Broward Health for the holiday party

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Dr. Laurie and Dr. Pulido proudly accept a generous plaque given by the administrators of the Broward Health Foundation for all of the service the Pre-Med Society has given to their pediatric cancer patients.

from their hospital rooms, their faces light up, and for two hours they forget about everything and enjoy decorating and eating delicious cookies, making art projects, listening to the AHS a capella singers, meeting Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders and AHS Cheerleaders, and best of all, sitting on Santa’s lap and

When the kids come in, many straight from their hospital rooms, their faces light up, and for two hours they forget about everything. opening the gifts they wished for two months earlier. Miami Dolphins Cheerleader Brooke said, “This American Heritage Pre-Med Holiday Party is such an amazing experience! I love getting to know all of the kids and putting a smile on their faces. At many of the other events we attend, we usually just sit and sign autographs. But this is very heart-warming; we are making their day, and it means something to them and to us as well. I’d love to come back every year.” The President of the Broward Health Foundation, Dennis L. Stefanacci, shared, “This is one of the true

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and Broward Health Medical Center ten years ago, the hospital was building a unit for pediatric oncology patients, and the Pre-Med Society wanted to help. After exploring several different ways they could contribute, they selected one that the hospital imagined would take many years for the students to accomplish. But the Pre-Med Society raised the funds needed–$120,000– in just three years. A special playroom was built in the Pediatric Hematology and Oncology Center bearing the name of American Heritage School and filled with everything from 90-inch flat screen TV’s along with every movie and video game imaginable, to a fish tank, a Healing Garden, and a kitchen for the parents. The students raised the money by creating “5K For A Better Day,” a race that generated the initial funds for the playroom and which has raised more than $300,000 in the past ten years. Before the crack of dawn on a Saturday morning in February, 80 American Heritage Pre-Med Society students headed by Dr. Pulido, along with

highlights of the year for us. To see the students work all year long and culminate in an event like this is such an amazing experience. It’s wonderful.” “When I first started three years ago, I was scared to interact with the kids at the hospital,” confided Samantha Vincent, an AHS sophomore and cheerleader. “But the Pre-Med Program has made a difference for me, because now when I come here, I want to make the kids feel like they are normal and not in a hospital. It’s been a life-changing experiment for me, and playing with them makes me feel grateful for what I have.” “As a mentor, it’s amazing to see the results of our efforts and watch our premed students grow and experience firsthand how they The AHS a cappella singers serenade the children with can change lives and bring their favorite holiday songs. happiness to children with terminal cancer,” said Dr. Pre-Med students with volunteer Dolphin Cheerleaders and their program head, Dr. Pulido Pulido. “Med school is a sure thing for the students after they go through our program. It’s incredibly gratifying when they call me and scream, ‘I got accepted to Harvard Med School!’ At the time Dr. Laurie and Dr. Pulido established the partnership between American Heritage School

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American Heritage

Our AHS Cheerleaders give a big cheer for all of the amazing children who are battling cancer. Dr. Pulido and Sandy – Dr. Pulido with Sandy just weeks before she passed away–he always knows how to put a smile on someone’s face.

“Dr. Pulido always knows when someone needs a little bit of happiness.” – Laura Grau, AHS ‘ 1 2

Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders and 261 runners came out to Broward Health in support of children struggling with cancer. Over $25,000 was raised this year alone to benefit the pediatric cancer patients at Broward Health Medical Center. Sponsors for this year’s 5K For A Better Day were Herman

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Construction, Stonegate Bank, Keyes Realty, Miami Marlins, AXA Advisors, Classic Air, Inc., The Ross Group, and Merrill Lynch Wealth Management. “The energy of the students, the generosity of our donors, and the support from so many people in our community helped make this another successful 5K event, so we are really grateful and happy,” said Dr. Pulido. “The students work so hard planning this event all year, and then they come out here early in the morning and organize everything from registration and the start line, to mapping out the whole route with the police, cheering on the runners at the water stations, and helping at the finish line with all of the running stats that we post at the end. It’s all for those kids in the pediatric cancer unit, and we love to be associated with happiness for them.” “It’s really cool to be involved in this run as a student from Heritage, especially when you see a lot of friends out there from the Pre-Med Society cheering you on–it helps me get to the finish line and beat my time from last year,” said Aaron Sortal, AHS Class of ‘15 and former Executive Producer of the WAHS Broadcast Channel. “The 5K For A Better Day completed its 10th year this year, raising money to help us care for our children. I am always moved by the Pre-Med Society students’ dedication and passion for helping us make a difference every day. Every time we work with them, they make us want to be better, be more than we were the day before,” said Nicole Sant’Elia RN MSN ARNP CCRN, Nurse Manager of the Pediatric Hematology Oncology Unit at Broward Health Medical Center. “What I love about our Pre-Med partnership with Broward Health is, not only do we host our annual 5K event, but every week we volunteer at the Pediatric Hematology Oncology Unit at Broward Health Medical Center, so we’re there with the kids, we’re bringing them things, and we’re interacting with them one on one,” said Sneha Chaturvedi, AHS senior and president of the Pre-Med Society. “We are actually impacting their lives day to day, which is very important to me. Since I want to be a doctor, the knowledge I gained from the classes I have taken at Heritage, along with the connections I have made with the people I have met, gives me confidence that I can accomplish my career goals.” X

Pre-Med students cheer at the finish line. Saltenat Moghaddam, Lauren Katzell, Sneha Chaturvedi, Viktor Kurabo, Marc Kazdan

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SPOTLIGHT

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Fusing Technology and Education

Mrs. Holifield always has a smile on her face as she plans her programs for faculty and students.

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he was the Director of Reading and Director of Academic Coaching. This year she became the Director of Educational Technology. She has a natural talent for collaborating with teachers to create inspiring, informative, and interesting lessons; she also has a knack for engaging students and motivating them to achieve. And she’s a hoot! A book of the same name sits on her desk, Hoot, by Carl Hiaasen. Referring to an owl in the story, the Newbery Medal winning book is a summer reading selection for Lower School students at American Heritage. Homonymic no doubt, she has the wisdom of an owl and a fantastic sense of humor. Her wit not only gives her teaching and training presentations a spark, but it also helped her survive not one but two forms of cancer. She’s Mrs. Holifield–“That teacher who you always want to learn from, no matter your age, your level, or need,” said Ms. Davis, Headmaster of American Academy. “She is the one who lifts you up and gets you excited about learning; she defines knowledge, integrity, and compassion each and every day!” Growing up in the same Broward County zip code practically all of her life, Mrs. Holifield said she aspired to teach at American Heritage School since high school.

American Heritage School


American Heritage

Collaborating with Ms. Mayer on a new iPad app for PK3 and PK4 students

“It was a professional goal/dream of mine to be able to work at American Heritage because it had such a great reputation and so many amazing accolades.” She accomplished her goal and started teaching at American Heritage 16 years ago, in 2001, after graduating from Florida Atlantic University with a B.A.E. and Full Sail University with an M.S. She is currently working on her Doctor of Education degree in Curriculum and Instruction. “I can remember way back when I was a little girl in kindergarten, and my teacher was reading stories to us while sitting in her rocking chair. I would ask to sit behind her while she read. I said it was because I wanted to help rock her. But, secretly, I really wanted to be the first one to see the pictures in the book as she turned the pages,” Mrs. Holifield shared. “Unlike my friends who wanted to be ice cream truck drivers or astronauts, I always wanted to be a teacher.” Under her leadership and boundless commitment to the Reading Program at American Heritage, students have demonstrated enormous progress. Many AHS students have participated in her special brain-based, researched, and individualized reading program to aid in their educational needs, which not only helped them become better readers, but also cultivated an everlasting love of reading. What’s her secret to success? “Positivity,” said Mrs. Holifield simply. “I love what I do, the people I work with, and, of course, the students. Since each of us has a unique mixture of knowledge and personality, the common denominator for success, I believe, is a smile. I try and think of each learner (any age, any level) as the most important person in the world in any given learning moment.” Mrs. Holifield has also worked diligently over the past three years to develop our full-service Academic Coaching Program, which targets the executive functions students need to be successful in and out of the classroom. She designed teacher-training courses that highlight a variety of ways to use technology, such as the iPad, as an organizational and time management tool. The students work with their academic coaches on a regular ba-

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sis to help manage their workload, and they learn how to break down assignments/directions, manage homework/classwork, and sync personal and school calendars. Transitioning into her new role as Director of Educational Technology, Mrs. Holifield shared, “I like to think of my new role as the middle point of two crossroads–Education Street and Technology Avenue. I intend to provide the right tools for the tasks of our staff and students. I look forward to immersing myself into the ever-changing world of technology within the ever-changing world of education and to helping others succeed!” The teachers at American Heritage use technology in the classroom in many ways. From coding to classroom collaboration, from research/reference to reading readiness, technology tools help students and teachers maximize learning. Programs such as Google Drive, Google Classroom, Notability, and our school databases help our students communicate, think critically and creatively, and work collaboratively. “I have seen many technology transitions throughout my years here at American Heritage,” explained Mrs. Holifield. “The biggest has been in our current digital curriculum. Textbooks are read, highlighted, and written in, all in the students’ iPads. Students have the ability to dig deeper with just a tap of their finger, while the teachers can work to engage their classes with interactive tools. Being a mom, I can also appreciate how light my child’s backpack has become.” All of her years at American Heritage so far have given her a great sense of pride. “Pride in the success and support from each student, teacher, and colleague on our campus over the years; through each hallway, classroom, award night, performance, graduation, I have many favorite memories. You cannot explain Patriot Pride in words. It’s more than a feeling.”

Mrs. Holifield is all set and ready for her new teacher training presentation.

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Heritage

AHS STUDENT TRAVELS TO INDIA AND EMPOWERS YOUTH THROUGHOUT THE WORLD

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n an effort to fulfill his grandmother’s dying wish, Ashwin Mahendra, an AHS senior, traveled across the world to make a difference in the lives of visually impaired children in India. “My grandmother told my dad before she lost her battle with cancer that she always wanted to open up a hospital for the blind,” reflected Ashwin as he was holding what looked like a simple MP3 player. That small digital device proved to be the big answer to helping blind children in India gain independence. Ashwin’s knowledge of science played a large part in the success of his project. Four years ago, he did some research and discovered that of the 35 million people who are visually impaired in the world, over 15 million (or 40%) can be found in one country - India. Both his grandparents and parents were from Chennai, India, so his journey back to his heritage began. “My grandmother used to tell me that being blind and being female made girls the most disadvantaged among the community,” Ashwin recalls. With a strong desire to help, he initiated communication with the principal and teachers of Little Flower Convent School for the Blind, a girls school in Chennai. He learned that the children would take notes in Braille, painstakingly punching six dot combinations of holes in Braille per letter. This time-consuming task limited the amount of teach-

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“My grandmother used to tell me that being blind and being female made girls the most disadvantaged among the community.” – Ashwin Mahendra, 12th grade ing time in class. What’s more, Braille books are eight times as large as regular books, with paper costing 2 rupees and 50 paise a page. A thousand-page textbook would cost 20,000 rupees (over $300), factoring paper alone. Imagine searching for a page, feeling your way through the textured Braille in those goliath books; it requires so much time and patience. Ashwin learned that the students at Little Flower are heavily dependent on people they term “Readers” and “Scribes” to get through their lessons and day-to-day activities. Essentially, assistants would read to them

and take notes for them. “I wanted to change all of this and make the visually impaired students independent,” said Ashwin. How did he propose to do this? He developed a learning system based on current technology by integrating regular MP3 devices and laptop computers into classrooms at Little Flower Convent. His first trip to India to begin implementing this project was three years ago during his Thanksgiving Holiday, when he donated the MP3 players and a couple of computers to 70 students in 9th, 10th, and 11th grades. He spent a

American Heritage School


Ashwin captivates hundreds of students in India.

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easily by scrolling up and down. To take notes, the children record the lectures; to do their homework or study, they just listen to the recorded lectures. They can also now download several audio books and listen to them at their leisure independent of Readers and Scribes. For entertainment, they can listen to MP3 music or directly listen/ record FM radio to their device and easily search through all these recordings as the individual file names are voiced to them. The device is very robust, extremely portable, and expandable with no maintenance cost,” said Ashwin. Ashwin with the girls at the In total, he has doLittle Flower Convent School for the Blind nated 127 devices and two laptop computweek at the school training the teachers with funds that he raised using his ers and the students on how to use the devices. “The digital devices that are built for “I am amazed that someone the visually impaired are very expensive who is just my age has and not affordable by most of the chilmanaged to develop this dren and the schools in India. I solved this problem by presenting them first on his own.” with normal MP3 players, but then – Nivedita, student I adapted it by taking an inexpensive at the Blind School in India Sansa Clip Zip MP3 player that is built for the general population and modibirthday parties as fundraising events fied the original software by replacing in lieu of gifts, as well as earning from it with open source software. I also his parents $10 for every A+ scored on added voice files and customized it so a test totaling $1,400. That’s a lot of the menu can interact with the user,” A+’s! Ashwin explained. Ashwin’s hard work has certainly He visited the school a second time paid off. “Currently, not a single class last summer in August and took his in the high school at Little Flower upgraded devices with the voice feaConvent operates without a device, ture. “With this modified device, the and even more, it has improved the children could now hear the names 10th standard and 12th standard board of the files, options, and folders more

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exam grades immensely,” reports Sister Margaret, the Principal at Little Flower Convent School for the Blind. Several premier newspapers in India, such as The Hindu and New Indian Express, published articles applauding Mahendra’s contributions to society. In one of the articles, the reporter quotes Nivedita, a Class XI student of the school, “I love music, and besides lessons, I also use the player to listen to the radio and the songs that I upload on it. I am amazed that someone who is just my age has managed to develop this on his own.” Ashwin was also invited to Loyola College, one of the top institutions in India, where he gave a motivational speech to post-graduate students. His efforts have also been recognized by prominent corporations and government institutions in India. He was invited by Hyderabad Software Enterprises Association (HYSEA) to pitch his modified device to potential corporate sponsors, so he could fund more devices in more schools for the blind in India. This past year, a sponsor donated funds to procure enough devices at two schools in Hyderabad, India: The Devnar School for the Blind and the Spoorthy Jyothi School for the Blind. Here in Broward County, local children are also benefitting from Ashwin Mahendra’s humanitarianism and passion for the sciences. “By nature, every child starts life being very curious about the world around him or her, trying to make sense of everything,” Ashwin explained. “Prior to receiving any formal science instruction, children have their own understanding of how the world works. Therefore, each child, based on his or her experiences, may have a different understanding of the world before even setting foot in a classroom. I started the Science Demystified program that was born from these same ideals. Through science experiments and discussion, the program clears up any science misconceptions, or ‘demystifies’ any uncertainties that develop along

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American Heritage

the way,” said Ashwin. He started this science program in the summer before entering 8th grade. He tested several age-appropriate science experiments before he developed his program in the form of a book that consists of over 30 science experiments, each complete with four sections: Materials, Procedure, Explanation, and associated Sunshine State Standards for students in grades 3-8. Then, two summers ago, he traveled to India and tested the program at seven different schools. “The program was very well-received in India, and the children absolutely loved the experiments and the interactive elements of the program,” Ashwin related. “Then, with the help of Dr. Laurie and Mr. Maharaj at the Boys and Girls Club of Broward County, I was able to successfully bring the program to the De George Boys and Girls Club in the spring of 2014.” During the summer of 2014, he conducted two one-hour science shows every week; during the school year, he hosted a one-hour science show every Friday at the De George Boys and Girls Club. “The feedback I have received from both the children and the administrators at the Boys and Girls Club has been Ashwin’s Science Demystified show in India

Children in Broward County are benefitting from his humanitarianism and passion for the sciences. www.ahschool.com

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excellent,” Ashwin said. During Spring Break this year, he performed science shows at all of the 12 Boys and Girls Clubs in Broward County. This coming school year, 15 students in the Science Honors Club at American Heritage will help in this grand effort by conducting Ashwin’s Science Demystified program regularly on Fridays at all of the Boys and Girls Clubs throughout the county. Another venue where you can find Ashwin captivating children with science experiments is at the Museum of Discovery and Science in Fort Lauderdale, where he conducts stage shows in the theater and tabletop shows in the science lab. Ashwin has big plans for reaching out to even more children with his Science Demystified program. He is working on publishing “Science Demystified” as a book in print and online; he plans to expand the program to elementary schools, to science museums throughout the country, and to many more Boys and Girls Clubs throughout the region. If that’s not enough, Ashwin’s aspirations reach into the business world. “I am in the process of opening a science store on my website www. science2serve.org, where children can purchase the materials they need to perform the experiments that are part of my Science Demystified program.” X

Ashwin’s show at the Museum of Discovery & Science here in Fort Lauderdale


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SPOTLIGHT

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One Big Happy FAMILY The Holts on a family vacation in Santorini Greece

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he Holt Family came to American Heritage four years ago because the school offered a combination of challenging academics, highly competitive athletics, art and music programs, as well as a diverse community. Their two Lower School children enjoy math, science, Chinese, and specials, especially art with Ms. Travers. In Upper School, the other kids enjoy the freedom they have on campus and the wide variety of classes offered. The boys in particular also enjoy the athletics program to both participate in and support. So how many children do you count? There are four siblings in the Holt Family–Travis is a junior, Maya is in 8th grade, Jayse is in 4th, and Nina is in 2nd. Parents Kisha and Ron moved to South Florida from New York/New Jersey 18 years ago before they had their children, and they have lived in Plantation for the past 12 years.

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American Heritage

Kisha shared that she and her husband Ron looked at so many schools, both public and private, before enrolling their four children at American Heritage. “Most of them offer some really great things, and most of them have some things that are not so great,” she said. “You have to find the place that best meets the needs of your child and your family as a whole.” “We love the diversity of the students at American Heritage,” Kisha shared. “We also love the fact that the children are expected to speak in front of an audience on stage and that they regularly speak in front of their classmates on a microphone. One of the most important features we appreciate at AHS is the range of math classes the students can take starting as young as 2nd grade and then the other honors classes offered when they are in 4th grade. This always allowed our older children to be challenged in their strengths and work at a faster pace, or if they needed a slightly less challenging class in a different subject, then they would be placed in a more appropriately paced class. No matter what, we know that all of our children are being prepared so well for college.” Four kids bring so many different interests and hobbies, as well. Travis loves baseball and plays on the Heritage varsity team. Maya dances and plays the piano. She began both before coming to Heritage, and now she participates in both activities exclusively at school. Maya also has a wonderful blog for teen and tween girls - mayanicolebeauty.com. Kisha expressed that many of the writing skills she has learned at school have helped her in the blog’s development. Jayse enjoys playing all sports, especially baseball and tennis, he plays piano; and he also loves all things related to engineering. He took a coding class at Heritage this summer and plans to join the Robotics Club in the fall. And last, but certainly not least, Nina is a gymnast; she trains close to the school at West Broward Gymnastics for 12 hours each week. She also plays the piano. With four children, many may wonder how mom Kisha manages her time and manages to stay perky and happy all the time. “I am very organized, and I’m a great multi-tasker!” she said. “It is hard but my husband and I are a great team. We both go on the school’s portal to print the weekly lesson plans

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Family time is special for Travis, Maya, Jayse, and Nina Holt.

for our older children. This allows us to help make sure they are doing all they need to be doing. My children are my life, and I am fortunate enough to be able to stay home. Though it is still a lot of work, I am able to cook meals, prep lunches, pay bills, volunteer, and tend to other business during the day.” Kisha is involved in the PTO in both the Lower and Upper Schools. Each year she is a Room Parent for one of her children’s classes; she has volunteered in the Art Mania program; she is the committee chairperson for Heritage Has a Heart, which takes place around Valentine’s Day and helps provide needed items for children in Haiti. She also helps with Tastefest, Boosterthon, Spirit Day, Immigration Day, Career Day and more. “I love being involved in my children’s school; it helps keep me in the loop,” said Kisha. “I get to see who my children are associating with, who some of their parents are, and I get to know the teachers and administrators. I am always aware of upcoming events, activities and major assignments, some of which may have otherwise slipped right by me. It is also the main way I have made friends at the school. I get to help the school and hang out with my friends, so it really doesn’t feel like work most of the time!”

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STUDENTS UPHOLD A CULTURE OF EXCELLENCE

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he process is called “synthesis,” and it

is the key historical thinking skill in the newly redesigned AP US History course, also known as APUSH. It is considered an engaging lecture style, combined with student-led discussion and analysis, that inspires them to make important historical connections and extend the argument. APUSH is a college level survey course in American History created by the College Board. Students who pass the AP Exam may receive college credit and bypass the introductory level history courses in college. “I love teaching it [AP US History],” said Mark Gruskin, social studies instructor and Model UN Advisor. “I have taught it for 20 years, it is a very popular course, and we have gone from one section to seven,” he explained. His four sections are comprised of 150 students. “I think I inspire our students to love history by trying to immerse them in it. I try to make it come alive with stories, anecdotes, characters, etc. I also draw maps and murals, show great movies and videos, and fill my classroom with colorful historical brochures from all of the places I’ve visited,” he added. “We are really preparing the students for college. The APUSH course now places a much greater emphasis on thinking, writing, employing historical thinking skills, synthesis, contextualiza-

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tion, and people’s history. We have seen exam scores improve dramatically over the past seven years, since we have put a greater emphasis on the writing and thinking skills. I have also worked for ETS and the College Board as a reader for the AP Exam in Louisville, KY, for the past seven years. The experience of reading the AP exam essays has given me a unique perspective to pass on to my students,” Mr. Gruskin said. Mr. Gruskin’s passion for history truly inspires his students to have a long-lasting love of the history of our nation.

“We just really love what to do and it shows in our performance.” – Zachariah Chou, 12th grade

“I always loved history. I was born and raised in Mount Vernon, New York, (the same as Denzel Washington, if anyone cares). I attended Horace Mann, a private school in the Bronx, and it was there where I was inspired by my four history teachers. They were eccentric, fascinating, and interesting, and they became my role models. From that point on, I knew I wanted to be a history teacher. My father, who always shared my passion for history, yet preferred me to study law or medicine,

tried to discourage me from becoming a history teacher. In fact, when we were touring Ivy League colleges, he would say to me, ‘I’m not spending all of this money sending you to college for you to become a history teacher.’ But deep down I knew that my true passion was to become a history teacher,” Mr. Gruskin shared. He attended the University of Pennsylvania and received a B.A. and M.A. in Political Science. He started teaching at American Heritage 20 years ago in August of 1995. He has taught every course in the Social Studies Department, and currently, he teaches AP United States History; AP Comparative Government and Politics, a new course he introduced to our curriculum five years ago; and Honors Constitutional Law, which is part of the PreLaw Program. In the past, he has taught World Geography to freshmen for 10 years; the World Geography “Olympic Project,” which he created twenty years ago and is still carried on years later by our current geography teachers; Honors World History to sophomores for over 10 years; and AP Economics to seniors for many years. MUN. It’s another acronym that students know well and use like APUSH. It stands for Model United Nations, or Model UN, and it is a fantastic academic extracurricular activity that engages students in foreign policy, diplomacy, international relations, current events, and allows them to excel at public speaking and working with

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American Heritage School is the #1 private school in the country in Model United Nations.

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sit, how to perform, how to lead and orModel UN Conference; Outganize a ‘bloc’ within their committee, standing Large Delegation at and how to act diplomatically. They are Columbia Univeristy Model UN well-prepared, and it’s exciting to see Conference; Best Delegation them get up to speak in their committee along with 31 individual awards sessions. We also have great leadership, at the University of Chicago and there’s a tremendous group feelModel UN Conference. ing as our students coach, root for, and As the coach, along with Jude Alawa and Andrew Klauber support one another. Our experienced Mrs. Marjorie Milam, of our at the United Nations with their top award. members mentor the younger ones,” he award-winning Model UN added. team, Mr. Gruskin explains that other students. Basically, the students “Before traveling to conferences, we students prepare for Model UN do what the UN does. They represent often have meetings to talk about logisconferences by doing extensive research countries, participate in committees, tics; what time is the plane ride, where into their country or topic, working engage in mock crisis sessions, and we’ll go, etc.,” said Zachariah Chou, with their assigned partners, and enwork with delegates from other schools AHS senior, expert Model UN memgaging in practice committee sessions to try to arrive at resolutions. Students ber, and one of the team’s conference headed by our experienced members. are rewarded for how they perform and Directors. “During American Heritage address problems with committees, and those meetings, hosts a Mock Confor how well they work with others. So Mr. Gruskin also ference on a Satur“It’s awesome to see our diplomacy, “likeability,” or people skills, likes to remind us day here on campus, students take the lead in is just as valuable as competitive ability. about our (typiwhere over 150 stuModel UN emphasizes cooperation and dents are involved their committees. They are cally stellar) perworking together, and the Model UN formance at that as novice delegates, well-prepared.” Team at American Heritage attracts particular conferexperienced dele– Mr. Mark Gruskin ence in the past few students not only from Pre-Law, Mock gates, and organizTrial, and Speech & Debate, but also years while inspirers. “Many say our from Pre-Med, Pre-Engineering, math ing us to try to do mock conference competition, and journalism. even better during the coming conferhere on campus is actually superior, Our students on the Model UN ence,” Zach adds. from a substantive standpoint, to many Team are top in the nation. We are the “During conferences, he’s always of the college conferences we attend,” top-ranked private school and earned there for us, alongside Mrs. Milam, Mr. Gruskin said. the Award of Excellence at the National who is also part of the support system; Attending several national conferHigh School Model UN. The students she’s a great morale booster,” said Zach. ences throughout the school year, Mr. also won the Michael C. Coon Award “They both go around the commitGruskin relates, “It’s awesome to see for Excellence in Diplomacy and Reptees to watch us all. They are excellent our students take the lead in their comresentation at the William and Mary sources to us about what’s going on in mittees. Our students know where to United Nations

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our committees and, more importantly, they are always open for us to share what happened that day in session. I always like to let Mr. Gruskin know what went on and what I did during the day. I’ve also seen him work with students one-on-one before conferences to discuss strategy and the like.”

career,” expressed Mr. Gruskin. “Mr. Gruskin makes our trips fantastic,” said Zach. “He takes us on college tours, walks us to Magnificent Mile in Chicago, and even to the zoo. Because of him, we actually get to experience whatever city we visit. He’s a great guy. He also teaches us life skills like how to

National High School Model UN Competition

“We also have a great time on the trips. We travel to museums, historic sites, sporting events, malls, etc.,” said Mr. Gruskin. “The trips are really what the students remember. Particularly the great autumn trip we take every year to Williamsburg, VA, for the William & Mary Conference. We take about 25 kids, we win all the top awards, we really immerse ourselves in the historical, colonial environment, and we experience the amazing fall foliage. We play touch football, miniature golf, go to an arts film, eat in colonial restaurants. It’s a real bonding experience. Any student who has ever done the William & Mary trip considers it the greatest moment of his high school

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tip the bus drivers, the bellhops, etc.” “We prepare the students for college and beyond with the rigorous academic curriculum, the depth of material and knowledge we expose them to, and the skills of thinking, writing, analyzing, synthesizing, and contextualizing that we emphasize. We push them to perform at a sophisticated, mature level, but we also do it with a sense of compassion that makes them feel unthreatened in a comfortable environment.” “We just really love what we do and it shows in our performance. As a team, we know our place and know that we have to keep up our momentum,” added Zach. “We have a culture

of excellence and a desire for it to last longer than our own time at Heritage.” Here’s a little Did You Know? fact about Mr. Gruskin: He also coached Patriots basketball for 17 years. “A highlight for me was qualifying for states with a victory over Archbishop McCarthy in districts when I was varsity basketball coach in 2004-2005. At one point, I have coached every team in our boy’s program, from 7th grade to Varsity,” Mr. Gruskin said. Something would be missing from this story if Hudson was not mentioned. Hudson is Mr. Gruskin’s new and adored puppy who also joins everyone at the APUSH exam review sessions at Sawgrass Mills Mall. Those who knew Hudson’s predecessor, Brooklyn, who passed away this past December, can read about him in Mr. Gruskin’s newly-published book about his beloved dog. History in the making for sure. X

Hudson the dog

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Student IMPACT Villagers in Malawi using Solar Bags

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here is a small club called The World This Week that is doing big things. Club President and AHS senior Sydney Britton recently spearheaded a very successful campaign called Water 4 Malawi. Thousands of dollars were raised to help one small village in Malawi get the resources that would give them clear drinking water. They are an impressive group with about 20 members. A few months after The World This Week launched, the students sold raffle tickets at the Winter Holiday Bazaar and donated the proceeds to the Red Cross, an organization that aligns with their focus on international conflicts and events. The Water 4 Malawi campaign will continue to be their primary focus since 1.1 billion people in the world lack access to clean water. “We are focusing on raising money to send Solar Bags (water purifiers) to villagers in Malawi, one of the most water-depleted countries in the world,” said Sydney. “Commonly used by hikers,

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the Solar Bag is a sturdy plastic bag into which one pours three gallons of water from any water source. Then, the bag is left in the sunlight for three hours or under cloudy skies for six hours. Patented nanotechnology incorporates light energy to purify the water in the bag, making it safe to drink. Through numerous fundraisers, we were able to raise $2,000 and with the help of a matching donor, we were able to purchase enough Solar Bags for 100 families in Malawi,” Sydney Club members of the The World This Week explained. raise money for water purifiers in Malawi. Sydney participates on the Speech and Debate and Model U.N. teams, of people or competing, she wanted to and she started this club because she fill the void for a club that encouraged has always had a passion for current political discussion without the pressure events. When she found peers who of competition. shared her interest in politics, yet did The goal for The World This Week not feel comfortable speaking in front is to provide a platform within which

Students in The World This Week club pose with their advisor Mrs. Britton.

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perceptions, creative solutions, and political beliefs can be openly discussed. “This year, I am looking forward to joining forces with other clubs on campus to make the Water 4 Malawi campaign a Heritage-wide project,” Sydney said. “To help spread awareness, we are planning on filming a video purifying the water from the canal using a Solar Bag, and then we will invite volunteers from different groups on campus to drink the purified water.” Sydney has been attending American Heritage since 9th grade and has gotten involved in numerous clubs and organizations on campus. “Heritage has a superior academic environment,” she said. “It truly feels like an elite college campus, and I am extremely lucky to be surrounded by some of the brightest, most intellectually-stimulating peers. It’s a challenging environment, but one that I certainly appreciate and find refreshing.”

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AHS Students Making a Difference in Our World Jude Alawa and Kwesi Levy, both Class of 2015, were selected from an initial pool of 102,600+ applicants as semifinalists in the Coca-Cola Scholars Program to receive a $20,000 scholarship.

Tyler Flanzer and Carine Ghannoum

Lana Piwoni, AHS senior, was awarded a National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y ) scholarship for 2015-16. Lana studied Chinese in China during the summer, and she is one of only 620 competitively selected students from across the United States who will receive a scholarship to study Arabic, Chinese, Hindi, Korean, Persian, Russian, or Turkish overseas this year. This past summer, AHS senior Alex Lombo appeared on the Today Show and performed at Carnegie Hall with the National Youth Orchestra, and then he traveled through China playing flute with a hundred other high school musicians from all over the country. Zachariah Chou, AHS senior, is the co-recipient of the Lisle M. Ramsey Leadership Award. The recipients of this award are the International Leadership Network (ILN) Co-Leaders of the Year for 2015. He is one of two Leaders of the Year, and one of six recognized nationally. Carine Ghannoum, AHS senior, was awarded The Presidential Service Medal from President Barack Obama. Carine received the top recognition, a Gold Medallion, for her service as an 11-year Girl Scouts of America member. AHS sophomore Elizabeth Herrick’s film, “Home Cooking,” won Best Student Animated Film at the 2015 Bare Bones International Film and Music Festival. Tyler Flanzer and Carine Ghannoum, AHS seniors, graduated from the Youth Leadership of Broward Program– Develop. Connect. Impact. In February, Heritage Upper School students from Plantation and Delray campuses attended the Society of Women Engineers program at the University of Miami.

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Alex Lombo is interviewed in the band room by Kerry Sanders for NBC’s Today Show.

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Awards and recognitions for service to our community and world given to AHS students throughout the 2014 - 15 school year. Lorenzo Lamo, AHS junior, received the Volunteer of the Year award at the Heart of the Community Awards Ceremony in Broward. Lorenzo completed over 200 hours of community service through Hands On Broward and participated in many youth programs, including the Youth Leadership Academy, the Summer Service Camp, Youth Action Corps, and Teen Service Club. He served as Youth Project Leader at MLK Day, 9/11 Day of Service, and Family Volunteer Day. Aaron Sortal and Steven Smith from the Class of 2015 along with Luc Alper-Leroux, AHS senior, each produced a documentary that was recognized as ofďŹ cial selections in The All-American High School Film Festival. Justin Folks, 7th grader, was awarded the Pinnacle Award from the Broward County Non-public School Association in recognition of his leadership, academics, community service, and citizenship. Lorenzo Lamo

AHS students attend Society of Women Engineers program.

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hey wanted to help others, and they went from local to global practically overnight. Paola Ortega, an AHS senior, along with her brother, founded a non-profit organization seven years ago to collect and deliver gently used clothes, shoes, and toys to families in need throughout our community. Just this past year, they boxed up everything they collected, enough for at least a few hundred families, and they traveled to the Dominican Republic to deliver everything. “We usually go to the DR once a year,” said Paola’s mom, Gianna Ortega, “and my kids decided they would connect with an organization there and coordinate the event to deliver all of the donations in person. My son graduated two years ago and is in college, so Paola incorporated the help of some of her American Heritage friends, one of which went to the Dominican Republic with us to personally help during the delivery.” Paola, Maria Riillo, and Samantha Maurice, all AHS seniors, spent a lot of time collecting the items from family members, friends, and co-workers of their parents. Then they sorted, cleaned, and packed it all in 130 bags and boxes. Once they arrived in the DR, they delivered everything by hand to the families, one by one. There were over 500 people who gathered to receive the items. The event was in the town’s school, so everything had to be clean and just as it was when they arrived. “It is a lot of work–it takes a year to coordinate and collect enough items to bring to the DR–but the kids feel so grateful to be able to help others who are not as fortunate,” Mrs. Ortega said.

Paola and Maria give out donations in the Dominican Republic.

Setting everything up for distribution

Over 500 people receive donations from our AHS students. Paola and Maria work closely with the coordinators in the Dominican Republic.

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Yuanyi Yi | Grade 12 | “Captured” | Best in Show

In Focus www.ahschool.com

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Fine Arts HIGHLIGHTS

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HIGHLIGHTS

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Our AHS Thespians earned 11 Critics’ Choice Awards at the District Thespian Festival. Katrina Hickey and Diego De La Espriella

…and the South Florida Cappie Award goes to… Rachael Banach for her Sound Design on the one-act play Completeness Katrina Hickey for her performance as Best Comic Actress in a play, Completeness

Audrey Lugo, Felicia Wright, Valen-Marie Santos, Sofia Ubilla, Delaney Lovejoy, and Donna Alima, Diego De La Espriella, and Emily Grossutti starred in the one-act play Jake’s Women written by Neil Simon and directed by Christina Wright, AHS Director/ Choreographer and District 13 Thespian Chairman. The play won straight Superiors at District and State and was selected One-Act Command Performance at the Andrews Living Arts Center. Diego De La Espriella, Felicia Reich, & Donna Alima Valen-Marie Santos

Delaney Lovejoy & Diego De La Espriella

Best in Show

AHS Junior Thespian Troupe won Best in Show at the Junior Thespian State and District Competition. Their performance of Coffee with God, a one-act play, received a Superior rating. Congratulations to this past school year’s 6th graders, who received Superior ratings for their individual performances: Alex Solomon, Duet Acting, Ensemble Acting Cole Holifield, Duet Musical Synnove Mikkelsen, Duet Musical

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AHS Chorus was the Featured Choir at the National Youth Choir at Carnegie Hall in New York

Our AHS Chorus at Carnegie Hall

Our Chorus has been invited to sing at the Disney Candlelight Procession during the holidays in December for many consecutive years.

The Disney Candlelight Procession (photo courtesy of Disney World)

Superior ratings AHS student musicians earn Superior Ratings at State and District Music competitions for performances in Chorus, Orchestra, Guitar, and Band-Solo and Ensemble. Jeremy Ramanathan, 11th grader, practices for his Guitar V Honors class.

AHS 6th grade musicians perform at the Holiday Orchestra Concert.

Middle School (6-8) Orchestra received Straight Superior Ratings at the Florida Orchestra Association’s Concert Music Performance Assessment www.ahschool.com

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Otto Kraushaar Award

This award is only given to scho ols that have earned Straight Superior Ratings at all three of the following: Marching Band MPA District Concert Band MPA State Concert Band MPA

Young Musicians’ All County Honors Band 2014-2015 The following Lower School students were selected for this honor:

Nicolas Fernandez-Baigun Daxton Sagaro

Benjamin Abi-Rafeh* Carlos Cobos

Steven Mabrich* Matthew Rostock*

Mako Sakamoto* *second consecutive year

Army All-American Bowl

American Heritage School is the only school in the nation with five students selected to participate.

Aaron Sortal Newtek Video Production Crew

Alyssa Scrivner and Isabella Quiros Army All-American Marching Band Torrence Gibson and Tarvarus McFadden Army All-American Football Team

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

4 band students were selected among top high school musicians from all 50 states to participate in the Macy’s Great American Marching Band. Alexander Major Lauren Tannen Camryn Hatch Glenn Medina


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Sunny Li puts finishing touches on her canvas.

ART SEARCH 26 AHS students took 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place in the 2014 Art Search sponsored by Plantation’s Jr. Women’s Club. Congratulations to the following Lower School student winners. (Grade levels are indicated as previous school year.) Kindergarten: 2nd place: Arisa Porter 3rd place: Vid Yash

5th Grade: 1st place: Sarah Wang 3rd place: Sophia Curbelo

1st Grade: 2nd place: Karoline Sierra 3rd place: Karina Fernandez

6th Grade: 1st place: Daniel Haimes 2nd place: Enrico Coelho 3rd place: Emma Figueroa

3rd Grade: 1st place: Junyi Xiu 4th Grade: 1st place: Raphael Thorne

Most Promising Artist Juanita Casteneda, grade 8

Brianna Goldberg, current 5th grader, enjoys all aspects of the arts.

National Awards in Painting Photography

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Student Winners of the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards: Sunny Li, Silver Medal - Painting Valentina Gomez, Gold Medal - Photography Lilianna Harris, Gedenk Award for Tolerance (1 out of 7 in the U.S .) - Photography 2 Silver Medals - Photography Rikki Payne, Silver Medal - Photography

David Haimes, Grade 6

Awa rd of Excellence with Distinction Luiza Caltabiano Isabella Chinchilla Sunny Li Yanyun Liu Orli Maya

Gold Keys

Chandler Miller Emily Parente Laci Rae Pitter Kaiyuan Qian Yuany Yi

Vanya Kohlweg from the Florida Art Education Association.

Mr. Reid assists Christian Arencibia with his architecture assignment.

in Architecture Ceramics & Glass, Drawing, Painting, and Photography from the National Scholastics Visual Arts 2015

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t was spring, 2002. The lights dimmed. The music played. The curtain went up. It was a magical evening. The student cast charmed the sold-out audience with their performance of the Tony Award-winning Titanic. This musical about a maiden voyage was the perfect choice, since that night, April 24, 2002, was the grand opening– the “maiden voyage”–of the Main Theatre in the American Heritage Center for the Arts. It was the first of countless productions, from Cabaret, The Producers, and Medea, to Peter Pan, Phantom of the Opera, and Seussical, along with orchestra and choral concerts, dance performances, student presentations, guest speakers, special events, and so much more that would take the stage and enchant audiences for years to come.

The Center for the Arts The Center for the Arts is one of the signature colonial red brick buildings on the American Heritage campus with its grand white staircase and tall white pillars. Inside, the 850-seat proscenium theatre is akin to a Broadway theatre in New York, equipped with a multi-curtain fly system; an orchestra pit; state-of-the-art sound and lighting booths; scene shop; makeup, wardrobe, and dressing rooms. A working classroom at its finest, students in both Lower and Upper Schools have the opportunity to learn the inner-workings of the theatre world as if they were on a stage

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Ms. VanDerhoof and Mr. Moccia are at the Center of the Arts.

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dent of American Heritage School. “The strength of the deep-rooted program has been held up essentially by three pillars: philosophy, commitment, and leadership.”

Veronica Dotsenko carefully designs her ceramics masterpiece.

in New York or London. Flanking the theatre on both the east and west side of the building are two stories of classrooms where instruction happens every day in all aspects of the performing and visual arts, including dance, chorus, orchestra, band, ceramics, sculpture, painting, photography, architecture, and computer graphics. A Black Box Theatre houses smaller productions and also often serves as a student art gallery, displaying featured 2D and 3D artworks, drawings, and photographs. “To me, the AHS Fine Arts Building is a place where you can separate yourself from the world and just feel free when you sing, act, paint, do anything,” said 8th grader and aspiring actress and singer, Natalie Laing. “Even before our Fine Arts building was built, from the time the school first opened here in the mid-1970’s, a strong curriculum in the arts has always existed,” said Dr. Douglas Laurie, Vice Presi-

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Our Philosophy

“Our philosophy for the arts encompasses elementary school through high school students and embraces the fine arts for the educational value and the outcomes that are produced by each individual student,” said Mr. Johnpaul Moccia, Co-Chair of the Fine Arts Department. “We want to give our students the foundation of the arts, first by teaching the theory and fundamentals. Then, we build upon that when we give them the life skills to process and express

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themselves creatively and freely, resulting in a higher level of presentation.” Aligning with the college preparatory philosophy of the school, AHS fine arts students are fully prepared when they graduate and enter college. Our alumni have become notable actors and dancers, songwriters and composers, art gallery and studio owners. “I would describe the program as pre-professional, what with the level of productions we put on and the type of training we get from the teachers,” said Delaney Lovejoy, AHS senior, a theatre student and National Merit Scholar Semifinalist. “Our teachers keep it very real with us, telling us how things are conducted in the professional fine arts world, and we always hear back from AHS graduates that their teachers at college say they are so well-trained.” “The Fine Arts Department at Heritage helped me discover the best version of myself,” said dancer, singer, and National Merit Scholar, Chloe Nadon-Enriquez, AHS ’15, who is currently attending Northwestern University. Chloe trained in classical ballet for Dance students prepare for a big performance.

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10 years. “When I started at Heritage freshman year, I discovered different kinds of dance, and a whole new world opened up to me.”

Our Commitment Known throughout the world, the Fine Arts Department offers 80 performing and visual arts courses for students in PK through grade 12 and is a place where students discover their passions and uncover hidden talents. “Our commitment to arts education remains strong as we evolve the program regularly to reflect the changing times,” said Ms. Nina VanDerhoof, Co-Chair of the Fine Arts Department. “Once the foundation is set, the students are imbued with passion, and we begin to see how the younger students gain self-confidence, imagination, and creativity, while the older students acquire the ability to express themselves freely and to really move their audiences.” “The students learn to think outside the box, and that’s what makes a great leader–an individual with some kind of vision who can use his or her imagination and creativity–that’s invaluable,” expressed Dr. Laurie.

“It’s important to us that we embody the whole child disciplining both the right and left brain through teaching of the arts and helping students to become leaders in the community,” added Mr. Moccia. Studies have shown it’s important to develop both sides of the brain. The human brain consists of the left and right hemisphere. The left is used in logical and analytical thinking in school subjects

Students as young as 1st grade may learn violin as an elective course.

the orchestra program at AHS over the past twenty years has been both exciting and challenging. Since I am my own ‘feeder,’ I am constantly pushing the youngest students to achieve a higher level of performance. Students may choose to switch instruments after 3rd grade, and many who start on “I would describe the program as the violin begin playing the bass, celpre-professional, what with the lo, or viola. Our 4th grade orchestra level of productions we put on and students will accomplish more by the the type of training we get from the end of the year than the average 7th grade orchestra students at a public teachers.” school.” – Delaney Lovejoy This commitment to arts education at American Heritage expands to all the disciplines that are taught here–the visual arts, theatre, music, and like reading, math, and science. The dance. “Once the spark is ignited, it’s right side is used for more creative truly amazing to see how the students subjects like art and music. It has become dedicated and how they gain been shown that for the brain to be confidence and pride in their artistic most efficient, the two hemispheres ability. Many are selected to participate must work together. At American in national honors such as the NationHeritage, we think it’s important to al Youth Orchestra, the U.S. Army expose our students to various asAll-American Marching Band, and art pects of the arts at a young age. installations at the Smithsonian InstiBeginning in Lower School, tute and Rhode Island School of Deour students have the opportunity sign,” said Mr. Moccia. to sing, dance, and act in full musical Sunny Li, a 12th grader, has attended productions, audition for the dance AHS for eight years. Sunny is not only company, apply the art of drawing a National Merit Scholar Semifinalist, and painting, and learn how to play she is also on the Girls Golf team and the violin as young as age six. Mrs. an award-winning artist. “The Fine Arts Ellen Ways, the head of the AHS Department at American Heritage has Orchestra Program, said, “One of allowed me to experience so many differthe best things about my program ent things and expand my view of art. It is the privilege of working with Students in their drawing class begin with pencil sketches. has not only supported me in my artistic children in grades 1-12. It realjourney and given me the opportunity to ly keeps me on my toes! Growing

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Kevin Ledee develops his black and white photo in the classroom’s American Heritage X darkroom.

experiment with new techniques that I now implement into my paintings, it has also taught me new ways to approach art and continuously pushed me to be the best I can be,” expressed Sunny. “I now look at the world in black and white,” said Kevin Ledee, also a 12th grader who is a National Merit Scholar Semifinalist with a diverse resume of accomplishments, including the art of photography. “American Heritage has exposed me to a dying art, and I hope to continue my photographic endeavors as I study engineering and enjoy photography as a hobby.”

Our Leadership The philosophy of establishing a solid foundation for the arts, coupled with a strong commitment to formulating an all-encompassing arts education, is bound together by expert leadership. The fine arts faculty inspires the students to achieve greatness through their passion and their empirical knowledge of their craft. All teachers are specialists in their fields: former actors on Broadway, danc-

ers in National Dance Companies, musicians who have traveled the world, and artists with published works. They enable students of all ages and abilities in the arts to develop skills at their own pace and become masters of their trade. They know what it is actually like to succeed in the “business,” so they expect only the best as they train the young minds in lessons of humility, endurance, and perfection. “Our fine arts teachers are professional, yet compassionate,” said Ryan DelGaudio, a senior in the AHS a Capella singing group, a thespian, and a National Merit Semifinalist. “They act as mentors who help to hone each student’s skill set in preparation for college and beyond. There is an expectation of high achievement that inspires higher quality performance. A Capella goes the extra step by infusing musicality and expression into a song. Any choir can

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accurately sing pitches and rhythms; only the best of choirs can give music meaning. This crucial element is the reason that our chorus is chosen as the Featured Choir at Carnegie Hall.” “AHS prepares you for any dream you might have. I know I have become a better person and actress, and the fact that I can get a vigorous academic education at the same time that I get a truly extraordinary theatre experience is like no other school around.” The words of 8th grader Gabriela Coutinho truly sum up what our Fine Arts Program is all about: a place where students unveil their creativity and where dreams come true. Lower School cast members of My Son Pinocchio, Jr. put final touches on their costumes and makeup before curtain call.

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ZACKARY ZAMBRANO Chorus

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ver since he was young, he loved football. He started playing when he was in 7th grade because of his size–any earlier and he would have had to play with much older kids, which his parents wouldn’t allow. So he waited. And while he waited to suit up, he sang. Not just to pass the time, but because he really loved music. He started singing in elementary school; his favorite band was Coldplay and it was their song “The Scientist” that really spurred his passion for singing. He’s Zackary Zambrano, he’s a sophomore at AHS, and he relishes being part of the Fine Arts program. “It’s exceptional,” he stated matter of factly. “The teachers are amazing and extremely knowledgeable, and I have learned so much in just one year.” He said his whole experience here so far has been “everything I hoped for. The atmosphere is very accepting, and I found it easy to make friends. Most classes have been interesting, and the teachers do their best to keep the students engaged. I am grateful that American Heritage has made it possible for me to pursue both of my passions,” he expressed. On stage, he stands tall singing in the back row of the AHS Chorus as a strong tenor. On the football field, he’s #50 in the center, and he immerses himself in the day in/ day out practices and hard work it takes to be a better player and fight on the field with his teammates. He said his teachers and coaches alike have been very supportive and helpful. “They really put in the extra time to help their students succeed,” said Zackary. After he graduates from American Heritage, Zackary hopes to play Division 1 college football and graduate with a degree in life science. “I have aspirations to play in the NFL after college. After football is over, I would like to attend law school and practice environmental law.” No doubt, Zackary Zambrano will carry his tune with him everywhere he goes.

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CONNER MCLEOD Orchestra

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onner McLeod practices the viola every day. He finds music very soothing and feels happiness when he plays. He is really good. As a student in the Fine Arts Department at American Heritage for the past three years, he continues to learn valuable lessons every day that he will always take with him wherever he goes. “I know my teachers are experts–I am learning from the best– so I try to listen to everything they tell me to do,” said Conner. “The Fine Arts program gives me opportunities to improve as a musician. Although it’s a little stressful at times, it all pays off in the end, and it’s very rewarding.” This is Conner’s third year at American Heritage, and as a junior, he not only plays in the AHS and All-County orchestras, he also plays JV basketball, he’s treasurer of the Chinese Honor Society, and he writes for our Patriot Post newspaper.

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“I like to write; sports articles are my favorite,” Conner said. “It feels rewarding to send out a paper that everyone reads. You feel like a real professional. I am definitely learning a lot, especially through the copy editing process when my classmates and Mrs. Adams critique my articles,” he added. Conner enjoys Chinese because it is such a unique language. His hard work enabled him to be eligible for the Honors Society; he attends regular member meetings and helps coordinate efforts to raise money for a local orphanage and make a difference in our community. “American Heritage has opened up many options for me to succeed in music, academics, and so much more,” said Conner. “I know that Heritage is the best school for me. It pushes me to be my best in every area of life.” Conner hopes to attend a good college, to be a psychologist, and maybe become a music therapist.

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In Focus

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ongratulations to the Lower School students whose photos were selected as winners of the Kids Behind the Lens photo contest. The theme: “In Nature” These grades are reflective of the 2014-2015 school year.

Rachel Canton | Grade 4 | Flowers on Wood

Adam Beck | Grade 5 | Sheep In New Zealand

Adam Beck | Grade 5 | Fishing In India

Natalie Block | Grade 4 | Machu Picchu

Cady Hassan | Grade 4 | Golden Gate Bridge

American Heritage School


Trace Ritter | Grade 6 | Untitled

Olivia Malkin | Grade 6 | Sunrays Thru Clouds

Austin Bennett | Grade 5 Sunbathing Caterpillar

Ryan Seese | Grade 6 | Mountain View Telluride Colorado

Alexander Solomon | Grade 6 Navajo Falls at Reservation of Havasupai

Joshua Hoffman | Grade 6 | Fish

Rohan Kumar | Grade 5 | Lone Rangers

Faith Navarro | Grade 5 | Close-Up Flower

Rachel Canton | Grade 4 | Tropical Landscape

Natalie Block | Grade 4 | Landscape in Cusco, Peru

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HIGHLIGHTS

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Athletics

Athletics Highlights Many of our players and coaches were awarded highest athletic honors at Miami Herald’s and Sun Sentinel’s

Broward’s Best Annual High School Athletic Awards

Class 5A-1A Male Athlete of the Year: Torrance Gibson (football, track and field)

Boys’ Scholar-Athlete: Nicholas Peart

Nick Peart, AHS ’15, who played football in the fall and ran track in the spring, was named both the Miami Herald’s and Sun Sentinel’s 2015 High School Scholar-Athlete for Broward County. (Photo courtesy of the Sun Sentinel)

Miami Herald sportswriter George Richards presents the Class 5A-1A Male Athlete of the Year Award to Torrance Gibson during the Miami Herald’s annual All-Broward Athletic Awards breakfast presented by the Orange Bowl. (Photo courtesy of the Miami Herald)

Miss Florida Soccer: Melanie Monteagudo Melanie Monteagudo was named Miss Florida Soccer by the Florida Dairy Farmers for the second consecutive year. She is the award’s 3rd two-time winner, as she led the Patriots to a 22-1-2 season in the fall, 2014, marking American Heritage as the Class 3A state champs. Melanie is the 5th Broward County girls soccer player to win the award. One of our AHS alumni, Holly Ryder, was also named Miss Florida Soccer in 2002. (Photo courtesy of the Sun Sentinel)

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2014-2015 CHAMPIONSHIP TITLES DISTRICT CHAMPIONSHIPS Baseball Boys Tennis REGIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP Boys Basketball

FOOTBALL Offensive Player of the Year: Torrance Gibson Defensive Player of the Year: Tarvarus McFadden Coach of the Year: Mike Rumph All-Sports Award in Class 5A Division 1A: American Heritage School GOLF Boys’ Golfer of the Year: Jorge Garcia Boys’ Coach of the Year: Brandt Moser Girls’ Golfer of the Year: Andreina Merchan Girls’ Coach of the Year: Linda Sibio SWIMMING & DIVING Boys’ Coach of the Year: Nobutaka Tan GIRLS SOCCER Player of the Year: Melanie Monteagudo Coach of the Year: Cindy Marcial SOFTBALL Player of the Year: Jenna Goodrich

STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS Boys Golf Girls Golf Football Girls Soccer Softball Boys Swimming

JUNIOR HIGH TENNIS TEAM 1st place: Boys Tennis 3rd place: Girls Tennis Team MVP Award Gold Medal for singles and doubles: Adam Duan Gold Medal for doubles Silver Medal for singles: Oliver Dolabany Team Iron Patriot Award: Laura Mikkelsen Silver Medal for singles: Gauri Kasarla 6th Grade Team Participation Awards: Khang Nguyen, Corey Brand, and Caroline Greengrass JUNIOR HIGH GIRLS SOCCER TEAM Middle School League Champions: Synnove Mikkelsen, Rose Flinchum, Rebecca Marks, Molly Marks, Alyssa Arias, Julie Flinchum, Anabella Sassi, Jordan Mark, Janina Stone, Jasmine Dulay, Erica Wagner, Anna McNiff, Alex Tafeen, Chloe Trujillo, Jolie Kolassa, Jordyn McCullough

TENNIS Boys’ Player of the Year: Jordan Skalet Boys’ Coach of the Year: Tobias Croke

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ATHLETICS

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American Heritage

Ty never stops practicing his golf swing.

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Athletics American Heritage

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TY STRAFACI Boys Golf

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e grew up in a family of golfers and on a golf course, so ever since he can remember, golf has always been Ty Strafaci’s favorite sport. Ty is now a senior at AHS, and he is proud of the fact that he has been attending American Heritage since he was in PK3. “American Heritage has provided so many opportunities for me, and Mr. Laurie has been a great man to our family since day one,” Ty expressed. Playing golf on the Heritage team has brought many memorable experiences for Ty, such as winning the State Championship two times and winning numerous big tournaments as a team. “Playing golf at Heritage has developed me as a golfer and as a person,” said Ty, this year’s team captain. Ty has the utmost respect for his golf coach, as he said, “Coach Moser should be recognized as one of the best golf coaches in Florida high school history due to his accomplishments and also because he develops young men into great athletes and men. Over the past few years, I have played with a bunch of his former golfers, and a majority of them are married with kids now. Every single one of them said that Coach Moser was a great man who helped their life in some fashion. To me, Coach Moser has acted as a second father who has molded me into a much better person and has always instilled a sense of hard work and dedication.” Coach Brandt Moser’s first encounter with the Strafaci family was when their older son Trent started playing golf on the AHS team when he was in 7th grade. “This is the 12th year I’ve had a Strafaci, either Trent or Ty, playing on my golf

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Members of the AHS Golf Team after a tournament Coach Brandt Moser, Turner Grass, Adamo DiTullio, Ty Strafaci, Jonathan Cachon, Daniel Gonzalez Cuervo, and Jonathan Mourin.

team,” said Coach Moser. “They’ve been very supportive of the program in multiple ways, and both kids are phenomenal student athletes. Ty came on to the varsity scene as an 8th grader; he really started making a lot of noise and pushed the other kids to work harder. As a freshman, he qualified for the starting five for the state series, and I remember on the first day of the state tournament he had five very unlucky breaks and a bad score. But when Ty walked off the course, I was there waiting for him, and he said to me, ‘Everything that could go wrong did go wrong, but tomorrow is a new day, and I got all of the bad out of the way.’ The next day, Ty scored a 75, the 2nd lowest score of the day, which helped propel us to win the State Championship,” reflected Coach Moser. The 6-foot-2 student golfer has set high goals for his college career and beyond. Ty verbally committed to Georgia Tech in the spring of his sophomore year, and he said with conviction, “I will be going there to win a National Championship for Georgia Tech.” Personally, Ty’s goal is to become an All-American Athlete for all four years. “After college the only goal I have right now is to gain experience and become a very successful person either as a golfer or some other profession,” Ty said.

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The AHS Girls Soccer team poses for a photo after one of their games in Texas. Chyanne is pictured in the back row, 6th from the left.

CHYANNE DENNIS Girls Soccer

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Chyanne doing what she loves most – playing soccer with her AHS teammates

he started playing soccer when she was 4, and for the past 13 years of her life, Chyanne Dennis, a junior at American Heritage, hasn’t stopped playing her favorite sport. She has already verbally committed to USF (University of South Florida), so that’s most likely where she will be attending college. After college Chyanne said, “I want to go pro and play in England or Germany for the beginning of my pro career and then maybe move back to the U.S. a couple years after.” Chyanne has been attending American Heritage for two years, and she expressed that it’s very different from public school. “Just getting used to the change of environment was the difficult part; other than that it’s been good.” As for playing on the Heritage Girls Soccer team, she said, “It’s great playing on the team and with the other girls. The memories that are created not just on the field, but off the field, too, are unforgettable.” “Coach Cindy is a good coach,” Chyanne added. “When it comes time for practice and games, she expects nothing less

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than the best quality work, and off the field she’s the coach you can go to, to hang out with and crack jokes.” “Chyanne is the one I look for to control the game; she is my playmaker and goal scorer,” said Coach Cindy Marcial. “Chyanne is very fast with the ball and has a very powerful shot. She is definitely one of my super stars. She plays multiple positions–forward, midfield, and defense–depending on who we are playing and where she is needed, which is very unusual for a player to be able to do. The only position she won’t play is goalie!” added Coach Cindy. Chyanne is also in the running to be on the u17 Women’s U.S. National Team, which is a big honor and puts her in line to play for the USA Olympic Team and World Cup Team. She competes with every 17 year-old girl soccer player in the United States to make this team, and only the best of the best get this opportunity. “Hopefully, in the future, I will be on the full Women’s National Team,” Chyanne said with fingers crossed.

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CHRISTIAN RIFFLE Football

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tudying and football both come naturally to Christian Riffle, a senior at AHS who is a National Merit Scholar Semifinalist, and, according to Coach Mike Rumph, one of the best lineman he has ever seen play at Heritage. “My four years here at American Heritage have been some of the most challenging and yet rewarding academic years of my life,” said Christian. “The curriculum can be daunting at times, and comparing some of the more notorious classes against their counterparts at other schools can be frustrating, (cough) (cough) AB Calculus (cough) (cough). But, at the end of the day, you realize you are getting a next level education aimed at preparing you for college.” He remembered taking the tour of the school for the first time, and since he has a particular interest in the engineering field, he said he was blown away by the amount of facilities available in engineering and fine arts. “Those resources have only expanded since I’ve been at Heritage, and the technology at the school is also top-notch. I feel as though it’s used effectively to increase class engagement and plain fun.” When Christian is not studying AB Calculus or his other college-level classes, he’s outside playing Patriots football on the nationally ranked high school team. He started playing tackle football the summer between 5th and 6th grade. He realized he was fated to play football when he was racing with a friend who was a running back on a youth tackle football team. “I was bigger than he was, and when I knew I wouldn’t be able to catch him, I decided to tackle him instead.” Christian described playing Heritage football as amazing. “Everyone on the team is committed to the program, and it has become more and more of a family every season. Coach Rumph is the glue that holds the whole team together. As a coach, he is always calm and collected, and he knows how to handle any situation. He has also brought together an extremely talented coaching staff to fill every level of the operation. Whether it’s the offensive line coach, Travis Spiva, or the offensive coordinator, Mario Perez, everyone understands how Christian Riffle scholar and athlete

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Christian always has his head in the game.

to teach us to execute and get the most out of the players.” AHS head football coach Mike Rumph said that Christian gained 50-60 lbs. to play his current position as an offensive lineman, and he is a great mentor for his teammates. “I would describe Christian as a player who has set a higher standard at AHS,” expressed Coach Rumph. “I think that his extremely high accolades as a student have overshadowed how great of a football player he is. But, back to his academics, he scores high on the SAT and is one of the best students in his senior class.” Christian makes it look easy managing all of his classes with football, yet he confessed it has always been a tough balancing act. During the season, he said, “late nights are plentiful and the stress is real. But, and it may seem counter-intuitive, I’ve always found I manage to do better grade-wise during the season because of the tight schedule. In short, I can’t procrastinate.” He attributes his GPA to his dad, who, in elementary school would hold him “captive” until he could spell all of his spelling words 100 percent correct, 100 percent of the time. “So now, I naturally study hard...out of fear, I guess?” said Christian. In college, Christian plans to study engineering and business and said he hopes to use those two disciplines to enter the financial side of the engineering world. He just recently committed to Cornell University.

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Coach Karol shows Zachary how to fine tune his breast stroke after a race.

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ZACHARY SHEINFELD Zachary takes his mark.

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Swimming

achary Sheinfeld already knows he wants to double major in psychology and music in college next year after he graduates from AHS. His career goal is to be a psychologist. Zachary is a National Hispanic Scholar, and ever since he came to American Heritage six years ago in 7th grade, he has been a swimmer on the Heritage Aquatic team. “He has made great improvement in swimming skills, as well as with teamwork,” said AHS Head Swimming Coach Nobutaka Tan. “Zachary could give some insight into how a non-competitive swimmer becomes a committed swimmer for his senior year,” Coach Tan added. “Coach Tan is an awesome swim coach,” said Zachary.

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“He’s always pushing us to be better every day, and if you need assistance with any part of any stroke, he’ll help you. He’s also a person who would never put someone down if they make a mistake; he is always encouraging us.” Swimming is Zachary’s favorite sport, and he wants to continue swimming in college through intramurals or a swimming club. He said swimming on the Heritage team is always an adventure because, as he put it, “you never know what to expect each day and how hard the sets will be.” He considers his fellow AHS teammates to be very kind and genuine. “I love it here,” Zachary said. “The classes are good, and I’ve made friends that I think I’ll know for the rest of my life.”

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In Focus

Orli Maya | Grade 12 | “The Best Day” | Best Drawing

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ALUMNI NEWS

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AHS Class of 2005 celebrates

10-Year Reunion

Alumni from the Class of 2005 reunite.

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merican Heritage hosted our first ever alumni event that brought back to campus over 20 classmates from the Class of 2005 for a commemorative 10-year reunion. Events were planned through the weekend with many local alumni along with a few classmates who traveled back to Florida from cities throughout the U.S. The special alumni weekend kicked off on Friday evening in the American Heritage Upper School Library with a cocktail reception followed by a campus tour. Dr. Laurie, AHS ’88, spoke about the fast progress that has taken place in the past ten years and shared some of the future plans like relocating the pool and the gym and building a cafeteria and parking garage. “They all felt welcome back at their alma mater and enjoyed seeing some of their old teachers who attended the Friday night event,” said Mrs. Jessica Miliffe, Director of Student and Alumni Affairs. The faculty in attendance were: Ms. Adams, Mrs. Hurtado, Mrs. Vilela, Mr. Salafia, Mr. Martinez, Dr. Pulido, Mrs. Bennett, Mrs. Wood, Coach Loftman, AHS ‘05, Mr. Shaw, AHS ‘88, and Dr. Laurie, AHS ‘88. With 238 students in their graduating class, including Coach Seymour Loftman, several of the classmates have kept in touch with one another through the past ten years. Putting together a 10-Year Reunion was something they had been discussing for a while. “We procrastinated (like always) and decided to do this in a conversation one night with Rafael Aguirre around December, 2014,” said Daniel Radice, AHS ’05, Reunion Chairperson. “Setting up for this event was stressful, like a wedding, but in the end, it was definitely worth it,” Mr. Radice reflected. One of the highlights for the alumni was seeing Mr. Laurie driving in his golf cart while they were touring the campus. “Mr. Laurie looks great!” said Mr. Radice. “He hasn’t

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changed, and that man is as humble as they come,” he added. The Reunion continued on Saturday night at a restaurant near the beach, and by the end of the weekend, the members of the Class of 2005 captured some great selfies, AHS Alumni t-shirts, and unforgettable moments to add to the AHS Alumni Network memory books. Patriot Pride was going strong. “It was a weekend full of goose bumps with great memories shared; a weekend I will never forget, and everyone who was there would probably say the same thing,” Mr. Radice added. “I was most glad to be part of our first alumni event and felt gratification showing alumni how they should never forget their AHS roots...it is always a part of who they are,” said Mrs. Miliffe. Many of the alumni who were here, along with many others both local and out of town who could not attend the reunion, are planning to come back to campus again for Homecoming 2015 on Friday, October 23, 2015. Large numbers of AHS alumni from all different classes are expected back on campus and at our Homecoming football game. If you are an AHS Alumnus, please join our online American Heritage Alumni Network! Log in at: http://alumni.ahschool. com/home.php

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Alumni News American Heritage

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ALUMNI NEWS

The highlight for the alumni was bumping into Mr. Laurie on his golf cart as they were touring campus.

Ms. Vilela enjoyed seeing her former students.

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American Heritage

ALLISON KONNERS Class of 2011

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Making A Difference

HS is where she learned how to step Allison Konners on campus and on the out of her comfort zone and make production set at Penn State a difference in the world. “Even though I was just one student of This past year at Penn State, Allison, along with two other 40,000 at a large state university, I joined many students, entered a Shark Tank-like competition sponsored organizations to hopefully lead and inspire the future genby a Jewish organization called Aish HaTorah. Together, erations of Penn State,” said Allison Konners, AHS ’11 and they conceived and built a college campus-based social media graduate this past May from Penn State University, where she application for Jewish students that will be called Who Jew majored in telecommunications with a concentration in video Know. The goal of Who Jew Know is to create a platform for production. Jewish college students around the country to connect with “I don’t think I would be where I am today without the each other and strengthen Jewish communities on college opportunities AHS gave me,” Allison said. She first came to campuses. The app will include four distinct sections: a calenAmerican Heritage in 6th grade. She said she was very shy dar tab to show students what Jewish events are happening on and timid. Seven years later, when she graduated from AHS, their campus, a trading post tab serving as a virtual marketplace she was Student Government president and Executive Proalong with professional networking and tutoring opportunities, ducer of WAHS. a travel tab with rideshares, couch-surfing, and Birthright trip “AHS prepared me for college in numerous ways, ways sign ups. The last tab is where Who Jew Know comes to life with that were still applicable through my senior year,” Allison the Jewish Geography tab which shows users a visual web of said. “In regards to the amount of schoolwork and the high everyone using the app and how they are all connected. expectations AHS presented, I confidently walked into Penn “We were selected as one of the top 3 groups to present State ready to take on every opportunity. Not only that, but I our idea in front of 500 people and four donors who would wanted to make a change and make a difference. AHS taught potentially invest in our idea,” said Allison. At the Aish Inme to push myself as a student leader. I learned how to balternational Conference in Stamford, CT, they gave their ance extracurricular activities with academics, and I took this presentation and were awarded with $30,000 to help launch knowledge with me to Penn State to take on big leadership their app! roles and make a real difference at such a large university,” she She credits two teachers at American Heritage for helpadded. ing to shape who she is today. Mrs. Zanaska, her fresh“I took my experiences as WAHS Executive Producer and man English teacher and student government advisor for Student Government President, and I am extremely humbled two years, “really pushed me and taught me to question to say I became the Penn State Homecoming 2013 Producthe world around me. I took what she instilled and from tion Director,” Allison shared. “Being on the Homecoming there I didn’t settle with the status quo.” Ms. Molina chalExecutive Committee, I oversaw the largest student-run event lenged her in so many different ways, not just in video prowith over 300 students involved. As Production Director, I duction, but also in leadership. “Ms. Molina pushed me to was in charge of all videos, scripts, the DJ, and emcees for step out of my comfort zone and be the best I could be.” Homecoming 2013, and I managed a committee of videograAllison is intent on making a difference in the world and phers and scriptwriters. All the hard work was worth it when I continuing to challenge herself while questioning the world stood on the football field at the Homecoming game, where I around her. “I have no doubt that I will take everything I watched my video being played at halftime in front of 108,000 learned from AHS and Penn State to continue to give back to people.” Allison has worked for ESPN and has had summer others and make an impact,” she said. internships in video production across the world.

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KRISTINA PARDO

Class of 2010 Exploring the Universe at Princeton

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ristina Pardo graduated from American Heritage in 2010 after attending for four years. Her favorite subjects were band and physics, and she said, “Ms. Imerbsin was (and still is) a huge inspiration to me. She totally turned around a struggling music program. It’s Prospect Gardens, really amazing what she has been able to do with the band Princeton University program in such a short amount of time.” Nassau Hall, the oldest In addition to marching building at Princeton. (Fun fact: Another in the band, Kristina was inAHS alumnus took volved in as many of the inthis picture of Kristina.) strumental music ensembles at American Heritage that she could possibly join! She also played in the symphonic band, jazz band, symphony orchestra, and the pit orchestra for two of the musicals. “I basically lived in the band room,” said Kristina. Kristina hangs out with other AHS band “I know I was happiest alumni who are now at Princeton. (Left when I was hanging out with to right: Kristina Pardo, AHS ‘10, Alvaro Cuba, AHS ‘11, Bradley Snider, AHS ‘13, my friends–Marla, Angel, Danielle Taylor, ‘14 and Ben,” she reflected. “We extremely supportive, and used to do homework (or just I have had many great exprocrastinate) together in the periences.” She is currentband room every afternoon. I really miss them, and I will ally working on a project to find supermassive black holes in ways treasure the memories of the time I spent with them.” dwarf galaxies. This would give greater insight into supermasKristina shared that having the opportunity to enroll in a sive black hole evolution and their link to galaxy evolution. In great variety of AP classes at American Heritage gave her a addition, she recently had a proposal accepted researching the strong background in all the major subjects, especially math time on the Chandra X-Ray Observatory. Kristina explained and physics. Many times throughout her first few semesters as that the satellite telescope will be looking at two nearby galan undergraduate student at Furman University, she said she axies with huge (50,000 light years long!) gas bubbles that thought about how much easier it was than American Heriare believed to be powered by the central supermassive black tage. She added that American Heritage developed her writholes. ing skills and prepared her well for writing research papers. In her free time, she trains for triathlons and Half IronKristina just finished her first year as a PhD student in men, and she also enjoys attending the trivia nights hosted by the Astrophysical Sciences Department at Princeton Univerthe Graduate School at Princeton. She said her future career sity. She said, “The work is challenging, but the department is goal is to be a professor of astrophysics at a research university.

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American Heritage

MARISA MESSANA

Class of 2014 All-American Scholar and Golf Phenom at Clemson

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arisa Messana, AHS ’14, transferred to American Heritage in 7th grade with the idea if she was happy with her experience, she would stay for high school. She said she quickly recognized how many opportunities the school provided in order to develop well-rounded students, so she stayed for the next six years. Golf was Marisa’s main focus as far as sports. She also enjoyed soccer growing up, so she played at Heritage her first year until she decided it wasn’t a priority to her anymore. “I’m happy I played sports and got involved with clubs on campus, because it really enhanced my academic experience by learning how to balance my responsibilities while dealing with different types of people and situations,” said Marisa. “Heritage was very accommodating with providing me the high level experience I would have in college by allowing me to travel to tournaments and pursue my passion for golf even though others may have perceived it to take away from my academic experience,” Marisa explained. Yet she affirmed that academics were very important to her, and she proved it by working hard and maintaining a 4.7 GPA throughout her entire education at American Heritage. Selected on the Sun Sentinel All-County First Team in Girls Golf, Marisa said, “The AHS faculty was very dedicated to making sure I got the most out of the years I was at Heritage even if it made things more difficult for them. It’s really an amazing environment, because the administrators made sure we were surrounded by the best people with the best resources to maximize our potential.” This was especially helpful with becoming a student athlete in college, she explained. Marisa received numerous scholarship offers to colleges; she chose to attend Clemson University and is majoring in Communications. “I decided to go to Clemson because they have incredible resources and facilities available for the student athletes, and I knew I would be competing amongst the best in the nation,” said Marisa. “I wanted to make sure I would be continually challenged and learn from the best, and I couldn’t be happier with my coaches, trainers, and advisors. Clemson is also unique because they just started the Women’s Golf program last year, so I was

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Marisa Messana

really excited by the idea of creating history and a legacy for the future.” Marisa explained that when she travels to tournaments with her Clemson Golf Team, they are on the road for five days for each event. She managed to maintain a 4.0 her freshman year because of the experience she had at American Heritage, learning how to balance a varied schedule and missing school for high-level competitions. “I didn’t take shortcuts in high school, which seemed diffiNational Signing Day cult at the time, but it rendered huge benefits for me as many of my assignments and research required in my freshman year in college were exactly the same as assignments and databases we used at Heritage,” Marisa said. “I don’t expect my entire college education to be this consistent with the material from high school, but it definitely made it easier to acclimate to the many other aspects of college life. I definitely thank Heritage for preparing me so well.” Marisa’s hard work and determination resulted in being selected as an All-American Scholar. She proudly earned a 4.0 both semesters, and while she confessed she didn’t have a goal to obtain the title, she knew if she tried her best to learn as much as possible and do well in her classes then good things would happen. Now she has her mind set on becoming an Athletic All-American. “Both aspects are very important to me,” Marisa said. Her favorite memory at American Heritage? “I would have to say signing day was really special,” she shared. “The school put on a top of the line ceremony, and we had a ton of really, really talented athletes who were being rewarded by awesome scholarships for their achievements. Many of us were surrounded by our families and significant people who helped us with our accomplishments, and it was amazing to see Heritage students moving on to represent such impressive universities.” Marisa sent in a P.S. saying, “I just shot 71 yesterday to qualify for the 115th U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship which is probably the biggest amateur event in the nation. I’m very excited to compete in that this August in Portland, Oregon!”

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MATEUS FALCI Mateus is in the middle singing during the play 1969: The Second Man. He played the role of Apollo 11 command module pilot, Mike Collins.

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Class of 2010

Harvard Grad Changing the World

am immensely grateful for my time at Harvard, which I can describe as nothing less than phenomenal,” said Mateus Falci, AHS ’10. He graduated from Harvard in May, 2014, with a degree in Visual and Environmental Studies: Film/Video Production, a minor in Music, and a Foreign Language Citation in Modern Standard Arabic. Mateus shared that he spent every summer traveling abroad and making documentaries in Seoul, South Korea; Beirut, Lebanon; Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania; and throughout his home country of Brazil. “Studying at Harvard gave me the unique chance to travel to places I never thought I would see, while broadening my horizons and understanding of our world,” said Mateus. While on campus, he was a director of the Harvard Square Homeless Shelter and President of the Harvard Comedy News Show, “On Harvard Time”. He shared that both of

PEDRO FALCI

these roles were incredible learning experiences that taught him a great deal about leadership and collaboration. “It was not until the summer before my senior year that I decided to pursue music as a career–specifically as a drummer in a band,” said Mateus. “I spent my senior year playing in two successful on-campus bands, culminating in one of the bands opening for Janelle Monae at Harvard’s annual YardFest concert.” Immediately after graduation he moved to New York City to continue making music. He was fortunate enough to be the drummer and cast member of an Off-Broadway show that was written and directed by fellow Harvard graduates and close friends. “This was an amazing way to start off my life in the Big Apple,” added Mateus. When not working on music, Mateus tutors high schoolers in SAT/ACT prep. He said, “This is a good job that allows me to work part time and still afford life in New York City.”

Pedro gives presentations at Boston University’s Howard Thurman Center to an auditorium filled with incoming freshmen during Orientation.

Class of 2007

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Boston University Author and Speaker

t’s titled, “So You’re Going To College - Practical Tips to Help You Survive Freshman Year and Enjoy College,” and it’s a book authored by Pedro Falci, an AHS alumnus from the Class of 2007. “I think you will love it. It is short and sweet, certainly a great read for juniors, seniors and their parents,” Pedro said. Pedro graduated from Boston University in 2011 and moved to Los Angeles, where he worked for Fox Television Studios, a subsidiary of 20th Century Fox. He was a Film/ TV major in college and moved to L.A. to “test the waters and see if I’d like a career in that industry,” he said. Ultimately, Pedro realized that entertainment wasn’t the right fit for him, and he began considering a career in higher education. “As a student, I’d been fairly involved with on-campus activities and leadership roles and always enjoyed it, so the seed for working in student affairs had already been planted during my under-

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graduate years,” Pedro said. In 2013, he moved back to Boston after landing a job with Boston University’s Howard Thurman Center for Common Ground (HTC). The Howard Thurman Center is BU’s student center on campus and the department responsible for building community across campus through recurring programs, special events, guest speakers and lectures, etc. As he worked full time at HTC, Pedro also enrolled at BU as a graduate student and earned his Master’s Degree in Higher Education Administration. After finishing the twoyear program, Pedro said, “I was looking forward to not having class after a full day of work!” He has been working at HTC for over two years and he said he absolutely loves it. “My hope is to forge a career in student affairs (with the help of my graduate degree) and stay in the Boston area for the foreseeable future,” said Pedro.

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ALUMNI NEWS

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American Heritage

PRIYANKA CHHADVA

Priyanka with her sister, Neoshi, AHS ‘06, in Paris in 2012.

Class of 2007

“I

From Pre-Med to Ophthalmology

have nothing but appreciation for the education American Heritage provided me through the 11 years I attended, and I have the Pre-Medical Program to thank for the interest I have in my current career path,” said Priyanka Chhadva, AHS ’07. “The approach to education, personalized classes, dedicated teachers, and unique student body gave me a foundation that guided me toward success in my current academic endeavor.” She graduated from the University of Miami in 2011 with a major in microbiology and immunology and then continued on to medical school at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. After completing four years of medical school, including a fellowship at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, she is now applying for her Ophthalmology residency. “The rigorous coursework and excellent faculty prepared me for college and beyond,” Priyanka said. “Participating in the pre-medical track at AHS enabled me to explore my interest in a possible career in medicine. Taking classes such as anatomy and physiology and sports medicine, as well as completing an externship where I shadowed numerous physicians, solidified my interest in medicine and made me 100% certain that this was the career I wished to pursue. Then, I was able to get the most out of attending college and subsequently gain admission into medical school,” she added. Some of Pryanka’s dearest friends are ones she met and graduated with at American Heritage; some of her favorite memories are planting vegetable gardens during Ms. Abb’s science class in 3rd grade, winning awards for artwork made in Mrs. Price’s art class in 5th grade, and starting on the JV girl’s basketball team in 8th grade. “I truly cherish my time at AHS, and I’ve heard nothing but great things about the school since graduating,” said Priyanka. She has participated in community service throughout undergraduate years and medical school, including attending medical missions abroad in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, and India, as well as volunteering at local health fairs.

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Priyanka, Teena John, and Hasib Nasirullah (both AHS 2007 grads) in Miami

Priyanka is engaged; she met her fiancé during medical school, and he is an Orthopedic Surgery Resident at the University of Miami. Priyanka’s sister, Neoshi, AHS ’06, is a Senior Analyst at Tiffany & Co. in New York City.

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ALUMNI NEWS

Alumni Class Notes Class of ‘83 Liz Quirantes is an award-winning anchorwoman at CBS12 in Palm Beach for the 3, 5, 5:30, 6 and 11 pm newscasts. She is active in the community and was awarded the “Media Advocate Award” from Florida’s Children First for her work to raise awareness of foster care and adoption for children who need families. She is married to Craig Williams, her high school sweetheart from American Heritage, who is a long-time prosecutor with the Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office, and she is a devoted mother to son Casey and daughter Emma. Class of ‘88 Dawn Rubin Rostock is an investigator at an insurance company in downtown Fort Lauderdale with two sons at American Heritage, Matthew, grade 7 and Kyle, grade 5. Class of ‘91 Brett Tessler is a sports agent; he owns Tessler Sports Agency with a long client list of NFL football players. Class of ‘02 Michael Gulotta is an architect in California. Class of ‘03 Dana Colagiovanni is a professional actress. Class of ‘04 Patrick Watkins is a pop/R&B singer, songwriter, and composer, as well as a voice and acting coach. Class of ‘06 Joey Meyer is the owner of his own pottery studio. Class of ‘07 Alex Yost is an artist and author of The Art of Yost. Nick Hicks co-founded Elevate 954 Training and Fitness after earning a degree in Exercise Science and working as the head strength and conditioning coach at St. Thomas University. Michael Pilato is a professional actor starring in Broadcast national tours of American Idiot, A Chorus Line, South Pacific, and The Who’s Tommy. Class of ‘08 Santiago Jaramillo is founder of Blue Ridge Digital in Fishers, Indiana, and was featured in an article in Forbes.com. Andrew Blitman is the author of From the Blogosphere and Birthright 2012 – A Voyage into the Heart and Soul of Israel. Charles South is an actor and performed in the International Touring Company of West Side Story. Eric Hosmer is a professional baseball player for the Kansas City

ALUMNI who came back and now work at AHS! Robin Simmer Behar, 1984, Guidance Counselor Jay Cosby, 2004, Permanent Substitute and Assistant Football Coach Jacqueline Davis, 1991, American Academy Principal Dr. Naaz Fatteh, 1986, Science Teacher and Pre-Med Instructor Kurt Kinzel, 1992, Information Technology

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Royals and was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated in June, 2015. Nicole Kinzel is a professional actress; she performs throughout South Florida. Nicole Graziano is a film actress. Class of ‘09 Michael Kushner is an actor and performed in the U.S. Touring Company of American Idiot. Nicole Saunders is a law clerk for the Senate Judiciary Committee. Deven Marrero was the first round pick in 2012 by the Boston Red Sox, for whom he plays shortstop. Chloe Golden is an actress and voiceover artist in California. Class of ‘10 Jonathan Maisel is a full time manager at The Walt Disney Company. Allison Lockhart is a music therapist. Katrina Kiss is a professional actress in the Chicago area. Alec Clarke is a professional filmmaker. Class of ‘11 Ryan Nolan won the Gerald J. Pierri “Read and Lead” Award for Excellence in Academics and Intramural Sports Leadership at the University of Miami annual celebration of student involvement awards. Diamond Simmons is a music therapist. Alex Siegelman is a drum core performer, intour percussion teacher at Somerset Academy Dillon Montes De Ora is an admissions counselor at FIU. Class of ‘13 Bradley Snider is attending Princeton University and said, “I wouldn’t be at Princeton if it weren’t for American Heritage.” Stefan Laos is attending Swarthmore taking science courses such as modern astrophysics and statistical mechanics. In his spare time, Stefan enjoys playing the drums and playing chess. Stephanie Metz has art gallery showings across the USA. Chandler Morehead Lovelle is a professional actress and Princess Elsa at Walt Disney World. Class of ‘14 Hermann Lange is attending Fordham University in New York City and is on the pre-med track majoring in biology. He came back this past December to the Pre-Med Holiday Party for pediatric cancer patients at Broward Health.

To all AHS Alumni: We want to hear from you, too! Please submit any news to melanie.hoffman@ahschool.com. Dr. Douglas Laurie, 1988, Vice President Seymour Loftman, 2005, Lower School PE Coach, Junior High Football Coach Lori Matz Lombardi, 1985, Director of Admissions Melissa Pini Parham, 1995, 2nd Grade Teacher Jonathan Reid, 1998, Art Teacher Radleigh Santos, 1998, Math Competition Coach/Instructor Marc Shaw, 1988, Admissions Director Anna Silvera Trevino, 2002, Guidance and College Planning Coordinator

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In Memoriam Forever in Our Hearts

This past year, we were profoundly saddened when two of our students’ lives ended much too soon. The Classes of 2015 and 2016, along with the entire AHS community, came together during those weeks of unbearable tragedy to mourn the loss of our fellow classmates and dear friends. Sweet memories cling to their names. James Fuller and Liza Angulo will be forever in our hearts.

Liza Angulo Liza “laughed the loudest, loved the hardest, and gave the biggest hugs imaginable,” explained one of her classmates. A 2014 National Merit Scholar, she was intelligent and caring with a bright future ahead of her. Liza graduated from American Heritage with honors only ten days before her passing. She ran on the AHS Track team and was a key staff member on the Spotlight yearbook. She also spent her time making personalized birthday cards and baked goods for her closest friends on their birthday. Family and friends said Liza always put her friends first. Through the highest highs and the lowest lows, she was always there, usually with the best batch of brownies the world would ever see. Liza lived every day to the fullest, her true spirit and outlook on life indicative in the quote she chose for her senior page in the yearbook, “In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in those years.”

James Fuller James Fuller was 16 years old, a junior in the Pre-Engineering Program with aspirations to be an engineer and design the next space shuttle from Earth. He was a brilliant and meticulous student, with a quiet confidence and commitment to the highest standards that exemplified a degree of excellence in everything he set out to do. James was a member of the Broward County chapter of Mensa, a social group for people with high IQ’s that requires members to pass an intelligence test. He also enjoyed participating in the Boy Scouts and hoped to earn the rank of Eagle Scout. His service project toward that goal was a partnership with Tomorrow’s Rainbow, a nonprofit organization on a Coconut Creek horse farm that supports bereaved children and teenagers. James Fuller was recognized as a 2015 National Merit Semifinalist.

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American Heritage School


In Focus Rhys Castro | AHS ‘15 | “Vibrations” | National K-12 Ceramic Exhibition

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ARCHIVES

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American Heritage

ARCHIVES WHY IS THE QUAD CALLED “THE QUAD”?

E

stablished in 1974, the history of the American Heritage School campus here in Plantation has a vast evolution of building and development over the course of the past 41 years. The Admissions Office is located in the very first building on the property. Today, it serves as the central point on campus as new buildings housing classrooms and labs, libraries, fine arts and athletics facilities, an environmental center and offices have been constructed. “The Quad” is a campus term we may know; it is the area directly across from the clock tower in the space farthest west of the 9000 Building. It’s marked by a big white and gold striped overhang

DID YOU

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with tables and benches underneath, where students study, eat lunch, hang out with their friends, and wait to be picked up at the end of the school day. But why is it called the Quad, when “quad” means four? The Quad has an interesting history, actually. In the early 1980’s, it was originally structured in the middle of the 7000 Building into four classrooms separated by a collapsible wall. Hence, the name “quad.” Gradually, the collapsible walls were removed, and the large area became a cafeteria/theatre/multi-purpose area, where students would gather to eat lunch, watch plays being performed, and attend social gatherings. “It was the heart of the campus, the center of all social activity for a good 20 years,” said Kurt Kinzel, AHS ’92. “All of us on the football team would sit at the same table together and eat lunch, which was a lot of fun.” Once the gymnasium was built in the late 1980’s, things that were held exclusively in the Quad transitioned into the gym. Musicals, plays, and dance shows

were performed on a mobile stage, and students would eat lunch with their classes at long mobile tables with attached seating. The original “Quad” has undergone several transitions through the years. Walls were added to create actual classrooms. At one point, one of those rooms in the front was designated as the place where students would report after school to be picked up by their parents. The other front room was used to report to detention. At another point, the “Quad” became two rooms with one long dance studio on one side and an art studio on the other side. Most recently, the “Quad” became The Engineering Suite, equipped with two classrooms and a state-ofthe-art engineering prototyping lab and facility. So that’s the story of how one word meaning four rooms has become an outside area on the western edge of campus. The “Quad” is still a place where students gather, where they eat lunch, and where they get picked up by their parents at the end of the day. The Quad - Now

The Quad - Then

Upper School students enjoy meeting at the Quad for lunch.

One of the many uses of the Quad through the years...as a cafeteria and for stage productions.

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American Heritage School


In Focus Sunny Li | Grade 12 | “Just Dessert” | Best Painting

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Plantation Campus 12200 W. Broward Blvd. • Plantation, FL 33325 Phone: 954-472-0022 www.ahschool.com


AMERICAN HERITAGE SCHOOL MAGAZINE - Fall, 2015