Enchanted Gala Program Book!

Page 1


Congratulations to
Austin, Emily, Trish and Jon!
Chip Bamberger & Martha Van Haitsma
Sponsors Program 2024 Gala Committee Letter from the Co-Chairs Trustees Ancona School Staff Head of School Note 2024 Gala Honorees Special Thanks Auction Guidelines Tributes and Advertisements 4 5 6 7 8 10 11 12 22 23 25 Table of Contents

Thank you to Our Sponsors

Gustavo Bamberger and Martha Van Haitsma

Austin Bartlett and Emily Chen

Keith & Natasha Bevans

Tammy Bradley | Luja Consulting

Ina Burd

Louis Hobson

Liz Iverson

Susan Rogers and Richard Stephenson

Joshua Schwartz


6 p.m. 6 p.m.

Cocktail hour & Hors d’oeuvres

Cocktail hour & Hors d’oeuvres

6:20 6:20 p.m. p.m. Welcome Welcome

7:15 p.m. 7:15 p.m. Dinner Opens Dinner Opens

7:30 p.m. 7:30 p.m.

Honoree Program Honoree Program

Carla Kupe, Maria Luna-Duarte & Carla Kupe, Maria Luna-Duarte & Shawn Rudder Shawn Rudder

Committee Co-Chairs Committee Co-Chairs

Liz Iverson - Head of School

Liz Iverson - Head of School

Presentation of the Spirit of Ancona Award to Presentation of the Spirit of Ancona Award to Emily Chen and Austin Bartlett Emily Chen and Austin Bartlett

Presentation of the Teaching Excellence Award to Presentation of the Teaching Excellence Award to Tricia Erington Tricia Erington

Jon Stoper Jon Stoper

8:05 p.m. 8:05 p.m. Dessert & Dancing Dessert & Dancing Heads or Tails Heads or Tails

9:05 p.m. 9:05 p.m. Auction Closing Auction Closing

9:30 p.m. 9:30 p.m.

Auction Checkout Begins Auction Checkout Begins

10:00 p.m. 10:00 p.m.

Thank you for Joining Us!

Thank you for Joining Us!

2024 Gala Committee

Carla Kupe, Maria Luna-Duarte & Shawn Rudder Committee Co-Chairs

Beth Albrecht

Angelica Maria Bautista

Genesis Bencivenga

Elizabeth Escobar-Wilson

Cindy Flemming

Nubia Henderson

Leah Hope

Louis Hobson

Martha Itulya-Omollo

Darilyn McClain

Jay Parker

Damaris Walker-Richardson

Leslie Browne

Angie Martinez

Welcome to a world of wonder! We are thrilled to celebrate with you at The Ancona Enchanted Gala.

As we gather under the festive lights in this magical environment, we celebrate the very essence of the Ancona School: a place where children blossom into critical thinkers, empathetic leaders, and champions for a just world. Ancona's approach is unique. Rooted in social justice and experiential learning, our Montessori preprimary program and Montessori and Progressive-inspired primary and middle school empower our children to become the innovators and problem-solvers our changing world needs.

The Enchanted Gala is not just a celebration, it's a chance to contribute to the magic Ancona cultivates. Funds raised will directly support Ancona's tuition assistance program: a vital component of the school’s long-standing commitment to diversity. The Gala is also a cherished time to celebrate esteemed members of the Ancona community, and we couldn't be more excited about this year's honorees!

Prepare to be transported to a world of wonder! The Gala promises an enchanting evening filled with fairy lights, captivating music, whimsical decorations, delicious cuisine, and a silent auction with unique treasures. It's a night to reconnect with the Ancona community, create lasting memories, and make a difference.

Congratulations to Ancona: children, families, faculty, staff, and the community at large as we continue celebrating the magic of Ancona in years to come!

Let’s go Aviators!

Carla Kupe, Maria E. Luna-Duarte, Shawn Rudder

The Ancona Gala Committee Co-Chairs

2023 - 2024 Board of Trustees

Radiah Smith-Donald

Ancona Board Co-President

Sibyl Day

Ancona Board Co-President

Elisa Reliford Board Vice Chair

Kapil Kumar Board Co-Treasurer

Eric Schneider Secretary

Tabitha Watts Committee on Trustees Co-Chair

Laura Staley Committee on Trustees Co-Chair

Gustavo Bamberger Trustee

Austin Bartlett Trustee

Keith Bevans Trustee

Lucila Espedido Trustee

Nanette Harris Trustee

Cari Hulings Trustee

Carmen Sallay Trustee

Ben Smith-Donald Trustee

Paul Watford Trustee

Jerome Weidner Trustee

2023 - 2024 Honorary Trustees

Joshua Schwartz Chair

David Bohan

Ina Burd

Patricia Cornelius-Woods

Evan Freund

Norman Harelik

Stanley Hill

Nancy Jacobson

Williams Lowry

Renetta McCann

Blanche Roberts

Susan Rogers

Jonathan Silverman

Alisa Starks

Christine Tompsett

2023 - 2024

Ancona School Faculty and Staff

Jacob Adams

Baba Adeyemi

Melanie Ahmad

Wayne "Mr B." Baldwin

Yaritxa Banuelos

Heather Black-Alexander

KaRon Brooks

Tayé Brown

Leslie Browne

Jessie Buckley

Desmond Cain

Gloria Carroll

Brenda Castillo

Ayrianna Coleman

Jen Coleman

Ernie Cotten

Barb Crawford

Jacelia Dukes Kelly

Lola Davis

Alex Dembowski

Devenia Doss

Tricia Erington

Rachel Esser

Ainsley Fleetwood

Cole Francis

Marc Furigay

Jerome Garner

Tony Gleason

Breanna Gray

Janet Gray-McKennis

Rachael Gruen

Elizabeth Hamlett

Meagan Harlow-Kuzucu

TJ Harris

Jenny Hempel

Juan Herrera

Jordan Hill

Robert Hurley

Liz Iverson

Awazi Jaafaru

Robert Kennedy

Kait Kumar

Meygan Lewis

Valerie Lowder

Isabela Marques

Taylor McPherson

Angie Martinez

DeAndre Miller

Michael Nance

Ashanti Nobles

Mary Nwabueze

Esther Okuro

Thank You So Much!

Margaret Patterson

Annie Pertner

JD Pirtle

Yma Plaskett

AJ Poremskis

Luca Prazeres

Yolita Ray

Ivan Rice

Jose Rodriguez

Keith Ross

Rene Sanchez

Emily Schuttenberg

Kiesha Shaw-Nobles

Nick Smicklas

Kurt Spieles

Marsha Stewart

Jon Stoper

Shalanda Stovall-Alexander

Alysia Tate

Ronda Tolbert

Kristal Torres

Chris Weber

Delia West

Jaida Williams

Rodney Williams

Karmin Wright

Thank you so much for supporting The Ancona School. Ancona is a vital and necessary institution. We are a community dedicated to equity. To inquiry. To empathy. To the genius of children. To the joy of learning. In my thirteen years at Ancona, I have been awed by the brilliance of my colleagues, the wit and insight of the students, and the dedication and compassion of our families. We have stayed true to our mission and continued to center culturally responsive instruction, student voice, and justice and peace.

Your generous support tonight helps us to create and sustain our hallmark programs. It supports tuition sustainability and assistance. It helps us to maintain our building and outdoor learning space. Your generosity is a gift to each of our students.

I am honored that you joined us tonight to celebrate creative problem-solving, confident risk-taking, and lifelong learning. Thank you for supporting an institution that means as much to me and to our community as Ancona.

2024 Honorees: 6-10p
Spirit Emily Chen Austin Bartlett

Emily & Austin (Spirit of Ancona Award)

Austin Bartlett and Emily A Chen have been a part of the Ancona community for over 10 years, and are parents to Jack (Ancona alum) and Julia (Ancona 5th grader) Emily is an integral part of Ancona’s parent volunteer community, and has stepped up time and again to ensure projects and events, big and small, go off without a hitch; Austin is an active member of the Ancona Board of Trustees and served for many years as the Board President through both peaceful and challenging times.

Emily is the child of Taiwanese immigrants who arrived in the United States in the 1970s. She was born in Ohio, but spent most of her childhood in Belvidere and Rockford, IL. Her father was a doctor practicing both Eastern and Western medicine, and her mother is a nurse and acupuncturist. She has one younger sister, Marian, and a younger brother, Jason. Emily’s parents encouraged her to study classical music from an early age first piano, then violin and viola and Emily still plays violin today with the Chicago Bar Association Symphony Orchestra.

There have been many great teachers in Emily’s life, but undoubtedly her greatest influences were her parents. Emily’s work ethic, values, and pride in her identity as a Chinese American all come from her mom and dad.

Austin was raised by a single mother and was the first person in his family to graduate college and law school He and his younger brother, Jonathan, grew up primarily in Lake Zurich and Rolling Meadows, IL, and attended high school in Elgin, IL His mother is an artist and supported the family by selling handmade ceramics and sculptures of dogs, especially for AKC dog shows She also worked for a large defense contractor as a technical illustrator. Sadly, Austin did not inherit his mother’s artistic abilities.

Many people have had a lasting impact on who Austin is today: his mother, Pat, and his Uncle Kevin; Dean Leonard Mandell of the Northern Illinois University College of Law; and John Adler, founding partner of Adler Murphy & McQuillen LLP, Austin’s first law firm.

The two met in 1998 while studying international law in France, and ended up attending the same law school. They got married and decided to settle in Hyde Park a place Emily had fallen in love with while attending the University of Chicago during her undergraduate years When they began looking for a school for their children, Emily and Austin chose Ancona because of its “academic excellence and because we wanted our children to attend a school with a diverse student population. We stayed because of the values, the community, and because we felt Ancona prepared our children to be citizens of the world.”

Their favorite memories of Ancona usually involve the Ancona Traditions: “The Peace and Justice plays, Mr. B’s incredible band concerts, Ms. Elizabeth’s piano recitals, and the graduate assemblies.” They also think fondly of the great field trips they’ve chaperoned, including this year’s visit to the Adler Planetarium to see the solar eclipse. Another lasting memory was when they invited Loyola University’s Lumos Quadball club to Ancona for a weekend afternoon to teach the kids how to play a certain game from a certain fictional wizarding school. (Yes, there were brooms involved; no, they did not fly.)

Emily and Austin started a law firm together in 2018, and are both exceptionally hard workers who give every project their fullest effort. If you get them on board, you will not get 50% from either one of them; you’ll always get 100%. As Emily says, “It is vital to know that we were both the firstborn children in our families. It explains a lot about why we are who we are!” She goes on to add that it “took a long time to learn how to balance all that hard-charging with not taking everything or ourselves too seriously. Classic firstborn children!”

In her spare time, Emily is very involved with her orchestra and the Musical Theatre Ensemble at the Old Town School of Folk Music, both of which allow her to express her artistic side in different ways Emily loves listening to show tunes and enjoys examining the scores of musicals and the classical works her orchestra is working on. She might also be found planning Disney vacations or perhaps doing some home organization, which is her “love language.”

Austin likes to hike, exercise (he has proudly accomplished a few triathlons, including the Chicago Triathlon, and aspires to do another someday soon), read about law and philosophy, accompany Emily to the theatre, and try coffee at as many new places as possible baristas at coffee shops all across the city know Austin’s order by heart: two cortados with whole milk He loves the music of the 1960s, as he has always been inspired by the social movements of that time. (Fun fact: Austin finds heavy metal very relaxing just before bedtime!) However, he is not all serious; he also enjoys laugh-out-loud comedies if it ends in a food fight, even better.

On a typical free day, after picking up his coffee, you will probably find Austin and the kids at the lakefront either at the Point or at the Montrose Bird Sanctuary, or in one of his favorite nature spots, like the Garden of the Phoenix in Jackson Park, Millennium Park, or Horner Park. They are both big foodies, and try to make time to savor special meals at their favorite places like Next and Virtue. As a family, they all enjoy La Crêperie, Mon Ami Gabi, and dim sum in Chinatown.

Our 2024 Honorees:

Teaching Excellence Award


Tricia Erington (Teaching Excellence Award)

Patricia Erington was a part of Ancona’s Business Office for over 17 years and served as the school’s Business Manager for the majority of that time. Tricia grew up in south Texas, in the town of Alice, about two hours from the Mexican border Her home was located just outside the city limits in a part of town that was considered "the wrong side of the tracks '' Tricia’s father was an auto mechanic and her mother was a former teacher As a child, you could often find her and her siblings “at Mrs Longoria's house eating freshly made tortillas or at Ms. Mary's listening to stories of her childhood when she picked cotton.” During the summer months, all the neighborhood kids would gather in Tricia’s family’s backyard under the trees to listen as her mother read them classic children's stories like Mary Poppins or Lassie Come Home.

Years later, Tricia married, and she and her husband worked together to start a school in Waco, TX. After years of teaching chemistry and math, her husband wanted a new challenge and decided he would like to teach in a more urban environment. They looked for a school in Chicago that could provide opportunities for them both and relocated here in 2006. Though they soon realized that the school wasn’t what they had hoped it would be, they knew they wanted to stay in Chicago. Tricia found her way to Ancona, where she was initially hired to assist with accounts receivable and order processing. How she ended up with all the other things on her plate is, as she says, “a long story. . . ”

Tricia is passionate about education and feels that her greatest accomplishment at Ancona was supporting the student-facing faculty. Whether it was through ordering classroom supplies, coordinating buses for field trips, processing reimbursements, or ensuring that benefits and salaries were allocated appropriately, she was driven by her goal to make life easier for Ancona faculty and staff

Her favorite memories of Ancona are when she could observe and interact with students as they participated in learning. As she says, “You might find them in the hallway working on a number line or measuring the hall benches.

Sometimes they would bring us soup that had been made in class because they were working on fractions You could find them under the stairs practicing their Spanish or reading to each other And after every Sandwich Shoppe, they turned in the cash that had been collected, ready to be deposited, all the coins and currency counted and sorted.”

Tricia has had many mentors along the way, one of whom is her husband. When they first began working together, he would say that "there are results and the rest is BS"—an attitude she’s adopted towards her work ever since.

In her spare time, Tricia enjoys walking and reading. While living in Chicago (and later, Seattle) she and her husband loved exploring the cities on foot. Her favorite spots in Chicago include the beautiful lakefront behind Adler Planetarium (Her tip: “If you walk all the way around the planetarium, you can sit on the wall looking out over the lake. The sounds of the city fade and all you see is the lake. This is also a great spot to watch the moon rise.”), the Hudson Chess Park with its Hansel and Gretel fountain, and, of course, Wrigley Field (“There's just no other place like that!”).

Our 2024 Honorees:

Teaching Excellence Award


Jon Stoper (Teaching Excellence Award)

Jon Stoper grew up in Oakland and Berkeley, California, with his parents both professors and his older brother, Greg, who is autistic. Jon joined Ancona in 2013 as the Technology Coordinator and now serves as the Director of Technology and Operations He lives just down the street from Ancona with his wife, Joanie, and their three children, Natasha (Ancona alum), Evan (Ancona 8th grader), and May (Ancona 2nd grader)

Growing up, Jon’s family was deeply steeped in social justice issues. His mother, active in the civil rights movement in the 1960s, is a published author on topics related to activism, politics, and women’s rights. His father a scientist and professor of experimental psychology—began his career as a computer programmer, and was the person that introduced Jon to computers. At 3 years old, Jon’s father set him up on their Apple IIe and a few years later taught him how to fix and upgrade computers. Jon also had very influential relationships with two family friends, Harold and Jim, who lived off-and-on with Jon’s family throughout his childhood.

Prior to Ancona, Jon worked at an independent school on the north side while his wife commuted to Hyde Park for her job at UChicago. Looking to move to the south side, the family began searching for a diverse school community where Jon could make a difference professionally and where their kids would get a great education at an institution that shared their family values. A family friend (and Ancona parent) told him that the Technology Coordinator role was opening up at Ancona, and Jon was blown away by how amazing it sounded. It seemed like fate when, in his final interview with Head of School Emerita Bonnie Wishne, they discovered that they share Oberlin College as an alma mater. It was then that he was confident Ancona was the right fit

Throughout his time at Ancona, Jon has completely rethought, revamped, and rebuilt the technology program from the ground up His proudest moment at Ancona was also his most challenging when, in 2020, the school had to very quickly switch to remote and hybrid learning.

Jon developed and executed a 1:1 technology program, trained teachers on how to teach hybrid classes, and put in place classroom technology to ensure that teaching and learning would still be possible While he admits there were some bumps along the road, he’s happy with what he executed so quickly. He’s also deeply proud of the students who rose to the occasion and produced creative work in such a challenging, tumultuous time.

Jon’s philosophy is that technology should not get in the way of teaching and learning. Instead, he believes that technology should augment analog learning, and come into play when it enables students to expand their creativity and make new modalities possible. When it comes to tech support, Jon leads with empathy and recognizes that not everyone’s best strength is being “techy.” He believes that technology should make things easier and more efficient, and a big part of his job is to “make sure people never see the frustrating side of things.”

Outside of Ancona, Jon loves to spend time with his family strumming on the guitar, cooking, playing board games, seeing plays at Lookingglass or Goodman Theatre, or simply enjoying each other’s company. He is an avid competitive tennis player and loves getting outside, particularly backpacking and biking. Oh, and if you happen to see flames coming from his backyard, don’t worry: Jon loves juggling and has also been known to juggle torches! Jon also volunteers for the Hyde Park Refugee Project, helping them with their tech needs He implores you to check out the work they are doing: https://hprpchicago org/

Thank you to all of our auction and raffle donors! Special Thanks

Auction Guidelines

Bidding and Winning

Ancona’s auction process is now online! To place your bid, please use your smartphone and follow the link texted to you when you registered. If you have any questions, please visit the registration area. Announcements will be made prior to the silent auction closing.

When you leave at the end of the night, stop by the checkout table to collect any certificates or physical items won. All sales are final.

Payment and Purchase Pick-Up

At the end of the evening, any items won will be added to your account under the credit card number that was given. Your card will be charged the next business day, and an invoice will be sent via email with the details of the charges to your account.

If you prefer to pay by a method other than the credit card linked to your bidding account, please alert the event staff before 9:05 p.m.

Auction Guidelines

Acceptable forms of payment include cash, checks (made out to The Ancona School), and all major credit cards.

Condition of Sales

All property is sold “as-is,” and the Ancona School makes no warranties or representations of any kind or nature, expressed or implied, with respect to the property. In no event shall the school be responsible for the conditions or warranty of description, authenticity, or condition of the property, and no statement in the catalog or made at the sale or in the invoice or elsewhere shall be deemed to be such warranty or representation or assumption of liability.

By their purchase, the winner waives any and all claims against the Ancona School, the donor of the property or services, and any agents or affiliates of the Ancona School and the donor relating to or arising out of their purchase.

Tributes and Advertisiments


Dear Delia, Mark, and Kurt (and Taye) -

Thank you for helping us reach new heights this year! We appreciate your energy, enthusiasm, bravery, and support, always.

-Your 7th/8th grade super fans

2-4-6-8 who do we appreciate! YARITXA! JESSIE! You are the BEST!

Kudos to our talented conductor, Mr B!

We continue to be dazzled by the magic you make with our kids.

Your dedication is truly appreciated!

Thank you for creating such a safe and nurturing environment for Desmond to learn and grow.

From the Truite Family

We are so very proud of you, Tim! Words cannot express our immense gratitude to every person in the Ancona community who has helped you to blossom into the wonderful young man that you are.

Team Tim forever!

Thank you, Yolita and Kristal, for such a wonderful year in Room 104!!

Room 104 Students and Families

Thank you, Alysia & Annie + Lola & Barb!!! --from Beatrice, Annie, & Eug en e

Tony and Meagan (and the entire Ancona staff),

Thank you for helping to smooth the path to learning for my son who came in after the pandemic needing to be reintegrated into the classroom. Thank you for the care and concern you have always shown as a group and as individuals.


You are out of this world! Thank you, Mr. Adams and Levatino for making Room 208 Grrr8!

Love, The Families of Room 111 Dear Ivan & Isabela, Thank you for all you do. You are the BEST!

Thank you, Kait, for keeping us healthy and safe.

With love and appreciation, The Ancona Community

Janet and Devenia, thank you for your partnership over the last two years in helping to raise our son. I know he will carry the lessons you two have taught him into adulthood and he is better for it.


Avery, you continue to grow into such a wonderful little girl. Thank you, Ancona, for all that you do for our beloved granddaughter!

JuanyEsther!Ustedes sonlosmejores!Gracias porTODO!

Angie, you are a bright light for Ancona. Thank you for everything you do to keep the Ancona community smiling! THANKYOU!

One of the things I feel very strongly about is if the people in the world were more like the people I knew from Ancona it would be a better world.
-Ina Burd

Dear Liz, Tayé, and Melanie,

Thank you for your fearless and compassionate leadership, your good humor and grace, and your willingness to get a little messy in the name of Ancona. You're the best!!!

Your very grateful 7th/8th grade families

Thank you, Ancona, for all that you doforourfamily!Weloveyou! Jay,Tabitha,Addison&Avery

garden requires patient labor and attention. Plants do not grow merely to satisfy ambitions or to fulfill good intentions. They thrive because someone expended effort on them.”

Thank you, Chris, for your patience, attention, and effort to help us thrive!


Thank you, Lola! You are the Queen of everything! We appreciate all that you do for all of us!

Thank you, Barb, for keeping us together everyday! We can’t do it without you!

We miss you, Baba! We can’t wait for your return. Much Love, the Ancona Students and Families

Taylor & the Ancona Auxiliary team are extraordinary, fun, and tireless. Thank you for sharing your magic with the whole community!

Thank you, Yolita and Kristal, for helping my granddaughter Avery be the amazing person that she is!

Sincerely, Sandra Watts

Thank you for all that you do for our families! Love, the Families of 104

Thank you for all you do every day to help make our kids the very best they can be!

Your grateful 5th and 6th grade families

at r Ra a & JD



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