Strength | Spring 2018

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STRENGTH The Magazine of Annie Wright Schools | Spring 2018

COLLEGE process


how to plan, test, choose, pay, talk about it & more

1940s students



Contents Director of College 6 Meet College Counseling 12 Admissions 101 Scottie Hill

22 Perspectives

& Get Ready for 34 Empathy Community for Life 42 May Day


Class Notes

STRENGTH Spring 2018

Senior Leadership Team Christian G. Sullivan, Head of Schools Susan Bauska, Assistant Head of Schools & Director of Upper School for Boys Jake Guadnola ’90MS, Director of Upper School for Girls Bill Hulseman, Director of Middle School Victoria Ball, Director of Lower School Mike Finch, Director of Athletics Mary Sigmen, Director of Finance and Operations Jennifer Haley ’89, Director of Institutional Advancement Rex Bates, Director of Business Development Board of Trustees John Parrott, Chair Michele Cannon Bessler, Vice Chair Kelly Givens, Secretary Tom Hanly, Treasurer Percy Abram Sally Atherton ’66 Sarah (Kaiser) Brand ’93 Cathy Close Stephanie Cook ’88 Robert Crist Jim Defebaugh Laura Edman Tony Escobar Judith (Yengling) Forkner ’63 Lisa Hoffman John Lantz John Long Marcia Moe Jamie Murray Chris Sakas Pamela (Hyde) Smith ’63 Aliya (Merani) Verali ’96

Editor Lisa Isenman Graphic Designer Cristiana Ventura Photographer Oona Copperhill Contributors Margaux Arntson ’14; Phoebe Brown, Class of ’18; Tenley Cederstrand; Gary Connett; Lauren Cook, Class of ’23; Keyariee Cooks-Nixon, Class of ’18; Courtney Cureton ’17; Harmeet Dhami, Class of ’18; Mike Finch; Jeff Freshwater; Abby Givens, Class of ’20; Genevieve Grant ’17; Sofia Guerra, Class of ’23; Dara Hanson ’17; Scottie Hill; Lisa Isenman; Amethyst Kettrell, Class of ’18; Iris Li, Class of ’18; Gail Smith; Maddie Strate, Class of ’23; Christian Sullivan; Nancy Waters; Stephanie Whittle; Sasha Zhang, Class of ’23 Submissions Strength is published twice a year by the Annie Wright Schools communications office. Submissions of story suggestions, articles and photos are always welcome and may be sent to Please submit class notes and photos to or Annie Wright Schools 827 North Tacoma Avenue Tacoma, Washington 98403 P: 253.272.2216 F: 253.572.3616



from the Head of Schools Dear Annie Wright Community, Being the parent of a senior last year certainly sharpened my understanding of the college application process. Somewhat naively, I believed that my limited professional experience was adequate. Well, did I get a wake-up call! The college admission issues are varied and complex. Here are a few that I have grappled with as a parent and as a head: Fit vs. Prestige There can be a tension between two approaches to college admissions: students gaining the right “fit” with a college and students striving to gain entry into the most competitive colleges they can. Parents and students want a college where the student will be content, but there is also a pull to colleges with names we all recognize. According to former president of the National Association for College Admission Counseling Frank Sachs, “College is a match to be made, not a prize to be won.” “Fit” may be a cliché, but families disregard it at a student’s peril. Students who choose a school based on factors other than fit are not necessarily going to thrive. So many factors play a role: cost, size, location, programs, student life and more. Name recognition inevitably plays into desirability, but it should not be the driving force. Ambition Having said that, a prestigious school with a strong academic program is an excellent fit for numerous Annie Wright students, and we have many students who apply and are accepted into the

most competitive colleges. Indeed, I have discussed with my colleagues whether we should ask AWS parents and students to be slightly more ambitious with their initial college list in order to ensure that they have as wide a choice as possible in the end. Highly selective colleges can be a good fit too. Value proposition The value proposition of gaining a degree is tricky. Colleges whose brand names roll off the tongue certainly offer prestige, but long-term value is a more complicated algorithm. The difference over four years in the annual total estimated cost at the University of Washington ($26,595 in state) and Princeton University ($70,010) is significant, even for families with means. Defining the benefits that accrue that are worth a difference of $173,000 plus over four years is difficult, especially when so many of our students require graduate degrees for their high level professional careers. Starting off right Gaining admission is only the start! Course selection is a critical component of setting a student up for success. There is a marked difference between how challenging and time-consuming courses are, even at the same college, and even for the equivalent number of credits. Research beforehand can pay huge dividends. Other areas of college

life – a new social life, keeping a budget, living away from home, and navigating life’s inevitable ups and downs – can all be challenging, but a very demanding course load in the first semester, even for our very-well-prepared graduates, can be overwhelming. And by the way, check out how many credits you will get for IB. It can make a very significant and helpful (educational and financial) difference! Excitement Having said all this, I do not want to take away from the anticipation and excitement for college. It is an exceptional time for growth and an opportunity to form lifelong friendships. I hope all readers, whether a student or graduate, or whether a parent, grandparent, relative or friend of a college-bound student, will find wisdom, warmth and humor from the array of people in our community who contributed articles. Even having just gone through the process with our daughter, and now being in the middle of it with our son, I am grateful for these perspectives and still have much to learn.


Christian G. Sullivan Head of Schools THE MAGAZINE OF ANNIE WRIGHT SCHOOLS


The Changing College Landscape by Scottie Hill My work is never boring. As a college counselor, the ground constantly shifts under my feet. Teens grow and change a lot as we work together, but I also need to stay on top of demographic, economic and political changes impacting higher education. These shifts mean it’s harder to get into college than it used to be, and the process is more complex. This doesn’t surprise or worry me. I’d like to explain how we got to such low acceptance rates and tight deadlines, and the opportunities for our Annie Wright graduates. More students are headed to college than ever before, because a bachelor’s degree is needed for a middle-class lifestyle. Also, high level professional careers are no longer available just for a certain segment of the population. This is good news! We should fill every profession with women and men of diverse backgrounds to help solve problems in an economy that is increasingly based on collaboration, creativity and analysis. With more applications for bachelor’s degrees, but the same number of classrooms and dorms, many colleges and universities are forced to accept fewer students. In addition, more of the college-bound are applying to multiple colleges. Students log on to online applications and can spend an hour filling out one form to apply to dozens of schools – from the University of Oregon to Colby College – with just a few clicks. Due to sheer volume, colleges will inevitably deny more applicants, driving those acceptance rates down even if the academic profile of their average student hasn’t changed. Lastly, the college-bound come from around the world now. I’m not a fan of the US News and World Report as a tool (the methodology is deeply flawed and the true purpose is to sell magazines – in my profession we call it the US News Swimsuit Issue!) but it does expose students to all their options. American students consider leaving their comfort zones and attending college across the country or even abroad. Globally, parents recognize the tremendous advantage of an American degree. Every college wants to put together an incoming class that is interesting, diverse and representative of our global society. Why wouldn’t a university delight in applications from all over and choose as diverse a class as possible? We hear a lot about our polarized nation "Nothing makes me happier and global divisions. One of the best ways to than seeing bright, capable, dismantle these tensions is to make it easy for motivated students excited young people of different backgrounds to spend about their plans." four years living and learning together. (Many of our boarding students already do this important work as teenagers!) One of the reasons I love working at Annie Wright is that I see our graduates making choices to challenge themselves with new experiences. They make me hopeful for the future. 6


To help our global citizens approach the future we spend a lot of time helping them identify the best college “fit.” (I mentioned applying to University of Oregon and Colby College with one application, but they are such different schools – location, size, structure, focus, social scene, cost – they are rarely on the same list.) Some families mistakenly assume selectivity is a proxy for quality in all things, from great teachers to delicious food to even future salaries. Some students have an idea of where they should go based on an idealized version of future selves. If they pause and really think it through, they will be able to articulate their unique strengths, and what they brought to Annie Wright that no one else could. It’s a great way to view a high school career, beyond grades and test scores. Only once we have established this holistic perspective can we talk about strategy. Strategy is important because in addition to lower acceptance rates, deadlines have gotten earlier. Most private high school students will apply to their top choice(s) by November 15 – that’s months earlier than their parents needed to have their acts together! Even with these pressures, we don’t rush or strip away a student’s agency with cynical calculations. We narrow thousands of options to a few equally great choices, and empower students with information. Nervous seniors only think about “getting in” and forget colleges are worried about “making the class.” More applications means that colleges are faced with many applicants who will have several other choices. They worry about their yield percentage. It’s not just about numbers; everyone wants to enroll students who will be excited to be on campus and become loyal alumni, not merely attend classes before moving on. Knowing their goals and gifts, students are well-poised to take advantage of colleges and universities who are seeking to add certainty as they build a class. It’s not unusual for a college to find certainty by filling half their next class through ED or EA applications. (See the glossary my colleague Jeff Freshwater put together on pages 14–15 for details of these terms.) We factor that into any conversation about the application process.

College acceptances c. 1950 THE MAGAZINE OF ANNIE WRIGHT SCHOOLS


A sampling of our college program by Scottie Hill In addition to the wonderful wellness curriculum embedded throughout the four year Annie Wright Upper School experience, here is a sampling of the collegerelated workshops, presentations and activities provided by the college counseling department. Grade 9 • Presentation: GPA game to introduce concepts important to the process

Grade 10 • Presentation: maximizing free time • Passion Projects in advisory • IB/College Night for students and families

Grade 11 • College and university visits to Annie Wright

• Wright Connection college fair and • • • • • • • •

case studies IB Creativity, Activity, Service projects in advisory Monthly college planning curriculum in advisory SAT & ACT practice tests College trip One-on-one meetings Family meetings as requested Test prep workshops Essay workshops

Grade 12 • College and university visits to • • • •

Annie Wright One-on-one and family meetings College week: application, essay and interview workshops Financial aid evaluation as needed Celebration of every success!

Did you know?

Annie Wright sets aside a whole week for seniors to work on applications, essays, interview skills and more. 8


Here’s an example: Let’s say a student knows she will be best served by attending a small liberal arts college with a strong science program before heading to medical school. We might suggest she research Connecticut College, and even visit the campus. We’d suggest the student meet with the director of West Coast recruitment when he comes to visit Annie Wright in the fall. (He’s a lovely man, who can calm any nervous student.) If “Conn” becomes a favorite option, we’d talk about if an ED application would be helpful given a student’s current academic profile and her family’s financial priorities. If that’s a go, we’d suggest reaching out to any former Gators on the campus, setting up an interview with the admission office, and making sure that she writes about Connecticut College’s beloved honor code in her application, all before November 1 of senior year. This is to show the admissions office that our student is a great fit and will enthusiastically attend if admitted. While nothing is guaranteed, the demonstrated interest I’ve just outlined, including an ED application, can greatly help a student's odds of getting admitted. This strategy isn’t for everyone. It’s not a good idea to be locked into one option before seeing the financial aid package if overall cost will be a deciding factor. Applying ED – or not – can be a great opportunity to discuss practicalities and financial responsibility. The cost of college has outpaced inflation for years now. Difficult labor markets greet college graduates. Research going back over a decade shows that, for many students in the middle class, a college’s selectivity has no impact on future earnings. Families are now more open to talking about these specific issues and interested in minimizing the cost of an undergraduate degree in general. It’s prudent to look at the cost of any college, even one with a very recognizable name, and ask if it’s equal to the value.

"When they step across

Colleges use other tools to add certainty to the stage to get the process and enroll diverse classes, and their diploma, all the they can advantage students who care about statistics on global cost. Institutions leverage the money they have in endowments for scholarships to make demographics or news about changing it possible for students of all socioeconomic backgrounds to attend. In reality, very few pay deadlines what’s called the “sticker price,” or the full are forgotten." published price of attendance, but very few pay nothing. That same student who is excited about Connecticut College might decide to not apply ED, but instead regular decision in the hopes that she will be offered a scholarship based on her family’s financial need or her academic accomplishments, or both. We’d suggest other wonderful liberal arts schools with equally impressive medical school acceptance rates and significant scholarship programs for EA applications, allowing the student time to compare financial aid offers before deciding where to enroll for her next four years of education.

That is the ultimate goal: a good choice for the future. Nothing makes me happier than seeing bright, capable, motivated students excited about their plans. When they step across the stage to get their diploma, all the statistics on global demographics or news about changing deadlines are forgotten. For a moment the ground is not shifting under my feet. I’m right there with them as they imagine a brighter future, one that’s been built on good decisions despite all the complexities. If I’ve done my job well, they will say that the college admission process was a wonderful opportunity for self-reflection, meaningful family conversations and healthy decisionmaking that left them feeling empowered to handle bigger life choices in the future.

Scottie Hill, Annie Wright Schools’ Director of College Counseling, grew up in Colorado and went to Mills College in Oakland, California. A work study position in the admissions office at Mills later turned into a full time job after graduation, followed by a stint at a satellite campus of Carnegie Mellon University, also in the Bay area. She segued to college counseling, first at the all-boys Bellarmine College Preparatory in San Jose, then at the Archer School for Girls in Los Angeles. Pursuing her dream of working in the Pacific Northwest, Scottie moved to Tacoma last summer with her husband and began working at Annie Wright in July.

Q&A with Scottie Hill,

Director of College Counseling



Strength: How do you find the parents you have worked with so far at Annie Wright? SH: Jake was very clear in the interview process that Annie Wright has amazing parents. “You're going to think I'm lying when I tell you that they are relaxed and trusting and really wonderful,” he said. “But once you get here you're going to see I'm not kidding. The parents are great.” He was right. I think Annie Wright over the years has built up a tremendous amount of goodwill, and for good reason. I find that when I'm talking with parents, they are comforted by the fact that Annie Wright is involved in their college process. There's a base level of appreciation and trust that makes everything easier.

Strength: Working with boarding students, whose parents are not physically present, is new for you. What sort of challenges do you anticipate in helping these families with the process? SH: That's the piece where I have the highest learning curve. I've been asking other counselors: What are your best practices? How do you make sure that you're communicating with parents when there is either a logistical or language barrier? What I would say is that it seems like these parents already trust the school, as well as their kids. They already have their kids do a lot for themselves, and are asking them to take on more responsibility in the college process. I'm always for that. I think it’s appropriate and our students are more than capable. It is really nice to see when the family has said, “This is your future so you need to be invested in this.” As a result, I find when I have meetings with boarding students and come up with three or four action items, they do them. They don't need me to check in on them.



Strength: What are some of the opportunities and challenges for girls applying to college at the moment? SH: The beautiful thing right now is that if you are a woman interested in the sciences or another field in which women are underrepresented, more and more places of higher education want to rectify years of bias. You have tremendous opportunity as a female student. The hard part is that there are more women going to college than men, so it's harder to be a girl just in general in the college landscape, particularly if you want to go into the humanities.

Strength: What about boys? SH: The same thing is true for boys, in terms of being at an advantage in fields where they are underrepresented. If you have a son who's interested in the humanities, he's going to be at an advantage, but acceptance into a STEM program will be harder. Boys also have different challenges. Young men by and large mature more slowly than girls, particularly in their ability to picture themselves in the future, imagining who they want to be and the steps that will get them there. Girls are often better at long term planning. The girl has probably color coded her application deadlines in her planner, and the boy will not necessarily be there. He'll know that college is something that he’s supposed to do but won't really grasp the specific steps that it takes to get there. That’s not to say every boy or every girl, but developmentally boys and girls are usually different.

Strength: How does this typically play out? SH: I just was at a conference in Tennessee about how to counsel boys in the process, and something that we were wrestling with is as deadlines get earlier and earlier,

we are forcing a young man who's not developmentally ready into a process. The consequences of things like grades don’t really register when they begin high school. Then somewhere in junior year – I've heard this from so many parents – it clicks and they say “I wish I had done things differently.” But they weren't ready. It's not fair. On the other hand, colleges do understand boys’ tendency to mature later, and that’s one area where gender bias plays out. There's a tremendous advantage for a young man who has excellent counseling to take advantage of the early admissions process, because if you're a young man who is on top of it enough to be applying early it can really help you. So biology and pedagogy and good parenting and deadlines can all come together. If you're looking at all of it, you can give a child a tremendous advantage. At the same time, it’s also frustrating, and it isn't fair.

Strength: What about opportunities and challenges for people of color? SH: When I have a student of color who is really wrestling with whether she checks the optional box about her race and ethnicity, it gets tricky. There’s a lot of misinformation out there about whether that comes with advantages in the process. We talk about stereotype threat, and about different perspectives on affirmative action – big ideas – but it’s still a really personal process.

Strength: Do you think colleges are paying more than lip service to diversity? SH: Most colleges really want to include a range of people in their student body. They want to bring a bunch of people together who can look at the same thing from 15 different places, because that's how we end up solving problems. A student, for example, who looks at a building very differently because he has a mobility issue is going to bring a lot to a team who's designing a building, as opposed to someone who's

completely mobile and has always been mobile who wouldn’t think in the same way. I genuinely think that institutions of higher education are really trying to put together classes that will create better citizens. Nobody wants to go to a college where everybody looks like them. Particularly this generation. So the colleges are paying attention to diversity of all kinds.

Strength: How important is your or Annie Wright’s relationship with the colleges for getting kids in? SH: I think that when parents ask if we have a special relationship with a college, what they are thinking of is what we called the “placement model” that used to exist, where spots were actually reserved for certain schools. But there is no horse trading going on. That's not how it works now. I go to national and regional conferences, and I sit on panels with my colleagues, and we work together. I have been invited to see college campuses and get to know people. I invite them to come speak to my families, as we do with our Wright Connection program, and over time we just keep running into each other and we know that we're good people and we are friendly enough that I can pick up the phone and say, “Hey, a student of mine has a really unusual story that doesn't fit into the application,” or “A student of mine has had a real change to her situation that I want you to know about,” or “Oh my gosh, that student I was telling you about just did an amazing presentation!” It’s a constant conversation. The college counseling and college admissions community is a small, friendly world. It is never a relationship based on “you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours.” It's a relationship based on how you give the best information possible to your peers and so they can make the best decision possible.



101 College Admissions

The TEST | The LINGO | The FINANCING The athletics route | The essay | The conversation



The test ACT vs SAT

by Gail Smith Standardized testing becomes a major focus for college-bound students in their junior year. Both the ACT and SAT test scores are accepted at just about every US college and may be used not only for admittance, but also for freshman class placement and to compete for valuable college scholarships. Students and parents often wonder about the differences between these two tests and if one test is better than the other. Most students can perform equally well on either test, but often one test is preferable based on a student’s strengths and weaknesses.

for instance. The SAT on the other hand, gives 35 minutes for 44 questions. In the reading section, the SAT provides 65 minutes for 52 questions while the ACT allows 35 minutes for 40 questions. The essays are designed to assess different skills. The ACT is looking for the student to develop an opinion and support it, while the SAT wants the student to make a critical analysis of a speech or document. The ACT test seems a little more straightforward, aligned to classroom learning with fewer traps, while the SAT has a few more questions designed to lure the student into picking the wrong answer.

I highly recommend that students at least take a practice test for both the SAT and ACT to determine if there are significant score differences. By looking at the score report detail with a counselor or trusted tutor, students can then follow a course of action to maximize their potential to achieve the best possible outcome.

The main differences in the tests include:

• •

The SAT has a "Math Without a Calculator" section that can be difficult for even a top math student in a high school calculus class. Many students are not used to doing math by hand and have forgotten some of the more basic math from prior years. The ACT has a science section that is well suited for a student who both excels at science and is a strong reader, able to interpret information from charts and graphs. Students need to work faster through the ACT. A student has 45 minutes to complete 75 questions in the English section,

How would YOU do? Here are two of the more straightforward type of questions on the math sections of the SAT and ACT. How quickly and accurately can you complete them?

ACT Abandoned mines frequently fill with water. Before an abandoned mine can be reopened, the water must be pumped out. The size of pump required depends on the depth of the mine. If pumping out a mine that is D D feet deep requires a pump that pumps a minimum of 25 + 4D – 250 gallons per minute, pumping out a mine that is 150 feet deep would require a pump that pumps a minimum of how many gallons per minute?

At Annie Wright, all Grade 11 students try both the SAT and ACT in fall semester, so they can plan ahead to take either test once or twice in the spring of Junior year.

Gail and her husband Dave, parents of David Smith ‘08MS and Tori Smith ‘16, own and operate seven Sylvan Learning Centers in the South Sound area. Gail serves as the center director of the Tacoma Sylvan.

SAT The first metacarpal bone is located in the wrist. The scatterplot below shows the relationship between the length of the first metacarpal bone and height for nine people. The line of best fit is also shown. How many of the nine people have an actual height that differs by more than 3 centimeters from the height predicted by the line of best fit?


Height of Nine People and Length of Their First Metacarpal Bone Select an answer:


A. 362 B. 500 C. 800 D. 1,250 E. 1,750

A. 2


B. 4


C. 6 D. 9

165 160 155 4


5 Answers: ACT is D and SAT is B

Select an answer:




The lingo

A glossary of college terms and acronyms by Jeff Freshwater, Associate Director of College Counseling & Upper School for Girls Social Studies Teacher

ACT (American College Testing)

D1, D2, D3 Classifications for college

One of the two standardized college admission tests, along with the SAT, that every college accepts. Sections include English, math, reading and science, along with an optional writing test.

athletics in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). “D” stands for “division.”

Coalition App A standard online

application form for a group of around 130 colleges and universities across the country. Common App A standard online

application form for a group of more than 700 colleges and universities across the country. CSS Profile An online application for

non-federal student financial aid. Used by nearly 400 colleges and universities, its mission is to “enable colleges and universities to see a true picture of a family’s financial need and supports the mission of making college affordable.” The CSS profile looks more holistically at a family’s financial status than the FAFSA. It is not free.


the largest universities and compete in a minimum of 14 sports for both males and females. These schools attract top athletes, often with significant scholarships. •• Division 2 schools are smaller than D1 schools, and studentathletes usually finance their education with a combination of athletic and educational scholarships. •• Division 3 schools are the smallest of the NCAA institutions. D3 schools are not allowed to offer athletic scholarships. EA | Early Action A method of

student applies, deferred can mean the student is converted from the ED/ EA pool to the regular decision pool, or it can mean the school desires more information before making a final decision.

applying early (usually by November 1) to obtain an earlier decision. Schools typically notify the applicant in December rather than March or April. If admitted, the student has no obligation to enroll. Restricted or single-choice early action is an early action admission option in which a student may not apply early action to another US college except under certain circumstances.

Demonstrated Interest Behaviors

ED | Early Decision A method of

exhibited by an applicant that show the college admissions office authentic interest in the school. These may include interviews, visiting campus, applying early, detailed communications, and demonstrating that, if admitted, the applicant is likely to enroll.

applying early (usually by November 1) to obtain an earlier decision. Schools typically notify the applicant in December rather than March or April. A student may only apply ED to one school, and if admitted, the student has an obligation to enroll.

Deferred Depending upon when a


•• Division 1 schools are typically

FAFSA | Free Application for Federal Student Aid A program under the

auspices of the US Department of Education. Students and parents fill out this form to qualify for need-based financial assistance from the federal government to help pay for college. First GEN | FIRST Generation Describes

a college student whose parents did not complete an undergraduate degree. This is often considered an admissions advantage as colleges look to increase social mobility and improve outcomes for disadvantaged students. Fit How a student feels emotionally,

academically, geographically and socially at a college or university. The aim of finding a good “fit school” is to assess the totality of the student’s interests and match them with the totality of a school’s offerings to ensure the ideal social and academic environment. HBCUs | Historically Black Colleges & Universities Institutions originally

established to serve African-American students before the Civil Rights Act of 1964 outlawed racial discrimination. Legacy A college student who has a

relative who graduated from that college. This is often considered an admissions advantage, especially if it is an immediate family member. Likely A college in which the applicant’s

grades, standardized test scores and other criteria match or surpass the college’s admissions profile and the student is likely to be accepted. (See Match and Reach).

Match or Target A college that reflects

Regular Decision The standard

a strong similarity between the applicant and the college’s admissions profile in terms of grades, standardized test scores and other criteria. (See Likely and Reach.)

method of applying by a college’s regular deadline (usually January 1– March 1) and receiving a decision between midFebruary and early April.

Naviance Software that collects

Rolling Admission A process in which a

college lists, letters of recommendation, transcripts and counselor recommendations and serves as a conduit for college counselors to send the required materials to colleges on behalf of the applicant.

college accepts applications during a large window of time and makes decisions as the applications are submitted rather than assessing them at the same time following a hard deadline. SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) One of

Need Blind Describes a college that

makes admissions decisions without considering the student’s ability to pay. Most institutions that are need blind have significant endowments or sources of funding that allow for students to attend regardless of their financial situation. PSAT | Preliminary SAT A standardized

test for high school juniors to measure readiness and practice for the SAT, as well as to recognize eligibility for the National Merit Scholarship Program. Reach A college in which the applicant

has a lower profile in terms of grades, standardized test scores and other criteria than the college’s admissions profile. (See Likely and Match.) Recommendation Letter A reference

drafted by a teacher, counselor, coach, spiritual advisor, community leader or other non-family member who has had a significant influence upon the applicant’s life and can speak to his or her qualities and abilities.

the two standardized college admission tests, along with the ACT, that every US college accepts. Sections include reading, writing & language, math and an optional essay. Supplements Additional requirements

within a college application including essays or written components, or any documentation that can accompany an application, including student work, audition materials or documentation required for specific programs. WASFA | Washington Application for State Financial Aid A similar program

to FAFSA, designed for students who hold HB-1079 or DACA status to apply for financial aid. This application will enable a student to be considered for the Washington State Need Grant and for aid awarded by the college. Waitlist To be waitlisted means that a

college or university is finished reviewing an application and has opted to give priority to other applicants. Depending upon the yield of the admitted students, waitlisted students may be offered admission, but it is unlikely.



The financing Ways to pay by Gary Connett While my daughter, a high school junior, is narrowing her list of possible colleges, I am considering the projected expenses. By the time we add tuition, room and board, books and supplies, expenses to travel home periodically, spending money, and other incidentals, the bottom line can be daunting. Here are some ideas that may help to fund the college experience:

Starting early: 529 Plans Qualified Tuition Plans, commonly referred to as 529 Plans, are state-sponsored income tax advantaged savings plans that are intended for education expenses. They are typically funded with after-tax money, but subsequent earnings in the account will not be subject to federal income tax so long as withdrawals are used for qualified education expenses. 529 Plans work best for people who can invest some amount on a regular basis, starting early in the student’s life, so that the tax advantaged benefit of compounding can work its magic over time. There are two different types of 529 Plans: education savings plans, and prepaid tuition plans. Each state has its own version of at least one type of these plans. Washington State uses a plan referred to as “GET” (Guaranteed Education Tuition), where investors can purchase credits that protect against anticipated increases in college tuition costs. Other states have plans that allow investors to invest in stocks for appreciation. Most plans allow for the money to be used for tuition at schools in other states. As much as possible, it is important to plan for the anticipated costs, because if a 529 Plan is funded with more than needed for qualified expenses, there can be penalties and taxes associated with spending the money for purposes other than education. Visit the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's informative website about 529 plans by searching 529 on Another website for research about 529 plans is



Bring in the grandparents: direct gifts In most circumstances, gifts greater than the annual exclusion amount (currently $15,000 per person, per year) must be reported, and will use some of the estate/gift tax exemption (currently in excess of $11 million per person). One exception is for gifts intended to pay for education that are paid directly to the school. As long as the gift is delivered to the school and not given to the student to pay his/her own expenses, there is no limit to the amount of the gift. This can be a very simple, effective, and helpful way for grandparents and other extended family members to contribute to college costs.

Not just for the rich: trusts A trust is simply a set of instructions that appoints a trustee and instructs him or her about what to do with the assets that are gifted to the trust. Trusts for college funding are excellent tools to prescribe when, how much, and under what circumstances the student can access funds in the trust. These instructions can provide incentives and rewards for college success, as well as for the financially vulnerable time after college. Trusts can also be structured to provide estate tax planning benefits for the donors, and are another good option for grandparent gifts.

Give me a break: grants and scholarships All parents hope that their student will achieve academic, athletic and/or personal success that will result in a financial gift to attend college. Many private colleges and universities have endowments intended to financially

support students who have demonstrated need, have already achieved some success, or who show promise. Grant and scholarship money is available from many sources and for many reasons, and is sometimes coupled with a work-study program. It is a good investment of time to research this option and to speak with an experienced college counselor about these opportunities.

What’s all the FAFSA about?: student loans The US Department of Education and the Office of Student Aid administer the federal student loan program. The process begins with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Information about student loans can be found at and Being informed about these options can make financial planning for college less overwhelming. Bottom line: if your student has the benefit of a generous family of means, or is that budding Nobel or Heisman winner, then you might consider maximizing your resources with the benefits of structured gifting, creative trusts and scholarships. For most of the rest of us, 529 Plans can be wise investments in a child’s academic future. T. Gary Connett is an attorney at PPA Law Group in University Place, Washington. His law practice has provided clients with estate planning advice for 25 years. His daughter, Elizabeth Connett ‘15MS, was an Annie Wright student for ten years.

Financing resources • • •

• •

For US citizens, a forecaster on the FAFSA website estimates your expected family contribution. The CSS profile is another form used by independent schools to apply for non-federal aid. College Board’s Big Future site has specific school financial aid profiles. Click the “paying” and “aid by the numbers” buttons to get detailed information about aid – how much and in what forms – each school offers. Scholarship clearing houses like RaiseMe, Chegg, and FastWeb will send you a lot of email, but they can be useful. is a go-to for articles on this topic and detailed instructions for filling out the FAFSA. -Scottie Hill



The athletics route by Mike Finch, Director of Athletics Collegiate athletics can open doors for students beyond academics alone. If a student shows interest and aptitude in a competitive sport early in high school, it is worth having conversations with the athletic director and college counselor about the college process for athletes. During senior year, the student can then decide if he or she wants to walk through that door or simply apply as a regular student.

Nurturing young athletes Many parents believe that specializing early will lead directly to a D1 scholarship. Physical education teacher and personal trainer Emil Verbovski has studied the development of athletes for all of his professional life. Coach Emil and many others in this field of study believe it is important for children ages four–nine to focus on fundamental movement skills such as manipulation, locomotion, balance and body management. In around third or fourth grade, it is our philosophy



that students can begin to put those fundamentals to work so that they can advance into sport-specific skills. In most cases, it is best to wait until after puberty to specialize a child within a particular sport. After puberty, the body can best adapt to the physical and emotional stressors that come with specialization. Specialization prior to age nine may also increase the likelihood of injury at younger ages. Colleges are looking for great athletes they can mold into their style of player. It’s rare for a high school athlete to play the same position in college that he or she played growing up. Having the physical and emotional flexibility as an athlete to adjust to the college’s vision is extremely important.

The divisions The National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA), the organization that oversees college sports, divides colleges into three divisions: D1, D2 and D3 (See the glossary on page 14 to learn more). In terms of recruiting, the D1 and D2

processes are similar. The D3 experience is vastly different. D1 schools start recruiting athletes early on in high school. For most fall season sports, the D1 coaching staffs have solidified their recruiting classes by November of the students’ senior year. For winter and spring sports, those recruiting classes are solidified much earlier and are typically based on performances from the athletes’ sophomore and junior years of high school.

A value-added experience

The D3 experience is different for two main reasons. D3 schools do not give athletic scholarships, so they must wait for a student to be accepted into the institution and complete the financial aid application process prior to solidifying their rosters. D3 schools also wait until later in the recruiting process to seek their recruiting classes, often until the D1 process has finished so they know whom is still available. D3 coaches will recruit athletes similarly to D1 coaches, but they are less aggressive since they cannot entice the student with an athletic scholarship and students must meet the college’s (not just the NCAA’s) academic profiles.

Playing college sports can be draining as well. The time commitment forces studentathletes to plan ahead and budget their time. For this reason many collegiate athletes are attractive to employers, who are aware of the dedication, discipline and commitment necessary to both play a competitive sport and excel in the classroom.

"Colleges are looking for great athletes they can mold into their style of player. It’s rare for a high school athlete to play the same position in college that he or she played growing up." Despite these differences, some D3 coaches have significant influence on their admissions departments and can prompt them to accept a strong student-athlete. Other D3 programs have “bands” by which the coaching staffs are allocated a certain number of recruits each year based on GPA and SAT. The Ivy League schools, despite being D1, take this approach with their larger sports programs such as basketball, hockey, track & field and football. If a recruit fits within a band and the school still has openings within that band, then the student may be admitted with the support of the coaching staff.

Similar to being a part of a team as an incoming ninth grader, joining a college team is great because it immediately integrates the student-athlete into a social group. The teams typically provide tutoring services and other academic support as well. Many athletics programs have strong networking opportunities for juniors and seniors to seek summer internships as well as post graduate employment.

Approaching the process Students should set a meeting with the college counselor and the athletics director to express their potential interest in playing a college sport. From there, either the coach or the athletics director should contact the head coaches of the programs that the student has identified in colleges of interest. Neither the student nor the parent should contact the college directly. The high school coach will provide an academic profile of the student (GPA, SAT, etc.) and athletics profile (stats, height/ weight, honors, etc). The student should then fill out the recruiting questionnaire on the website for that school of interest. In the summers before Grades 10 and 11, it is important to not only tour the schools and meet the coaching staffs, but also to attend camps so that the college coaches can see the student-athlete compete. This is called “passing the eye test,” and most college coaches will want to see the athlete in person before offering a scholarship or roster spot, or going to the admissions board to fight for their admittance. Each year, Stanford will hold huge sports camps where they invite over 100 colleges across the country to attend. If a student is interested in Princeton,

we would identify which summer camps the Princeton coaching staff will attend and then encourage the student to go to those camps. It’s likely that the student can attend two camps over the course of a summer and meet with more than 25 coaching staffs from schools of interest. When meeting with the college counselor and athletics director, it is also important to be open to various college options. A student interested in attending MIT to run cross country should also be open to speaking with the coaching staffs at other schools such as Harvard, Tufts, Bowdoin, Washington University, Harvey Mudd, Case Western, etc. This opens more doors, preparing for the possibility that MIT does not pursue the student. It also allows the student multiple opportunities to practice speaking with and writing to colleges (without any cost!). It can be intimidating to high school students to speak with a college admissions officer or a college coach; the more colleges they connect with, the easier it becomes.

What Annie Wright Schools offer At AWS, Scottie Hill and I are available and eager to help student-athletes better understand college choices and best navigate through the process. Upper School students who have an interest in competitive athletics should schedule a meeting with the two of us to identify possible ways to open doors by the time she or he is in Grade 12. If the student is in Grade 12 currently, it is likely too late to start the recruiting process, but once admitted into a college, it is not too late to contact the coaching staff to express interest in walking onto the team upon enrollment in the fall.

Mike Finch played football for four years at Harvard University. See pages 30 & 31 for perspectives from current D1 & D3 athletes.



The essay

What makes you tick? Many colleges are moving away from essay questions that ask students to showcase their accomplishments and toward questions that highlight their individuality. Here are some great long- and short-answer prompts for...

The Activist UVA students paint messages on Beta Bridge when they want to share information with our community. What would you paint on Beta Bridge and why is this your message? - University of Virginia

The Aesthete In keeping with Rice's long-standing tradition (known as "The Box"), please share an image of something that appeals to you. - Rice University

The Brooder The late New York Times photographer Bill Cunningham once said "Fashion is the armor to survive the reality of everyday life. I don’t think you could do away with it. It would be like doing away with civilization." Tell us about your “armor.” - University of Chicago



The Inquirer If you could pull together any two living people and listen to their conversation, who would they be and why? - University of Washington Honors

The Journalist You have a popular podcast. What’s the title? What’s the topic? - Wake Forest University

The Minimalist Hashtag to describe yourself - University of Southern California

The Professor You are teaching a Yale course. What is it called? - Yale University

After a few of those encounters, it was as if I memorized a monologue. Anytime a college question would come up, I knew my exact answers to avoid further questioning. I feel like most high school seniors have nailed down their monologues by the end of Thanksgiving break. To some extent, I understand where these questions are coming from. College is an exciting experience that invites growth. The college application process, however, is surprisingly daunting. It involves a pile of essays where you have to explain how “special” and “different” you are compared to everyone else. For every school, you have to embody a different motto. You have to flaunt without being selfabsorbed. And that is just the application, not the financial aid, scholarships, SAT score or interviews. There are so many moving parts to the process that detract from the excitement and anticipation of the new chapter in our lives.

"Try asking more questions like 'How is the college process going?' "

The conversation

How to talk to high school seniors about college by Harmeet Dhami, Class of ’18 Every high school senior has those anxietyproducing moments when adults ask, “Where are going to school next year?” In the first few encounters, you just kind of stand there with a blank look on your face, thinking, “That’s a good question.” I remember one time I was at my local coffee shop and someone behind me in line overheard that I was a senior and asked, “So, what are your plans?” I could feel myself getting nervous because I honestly didn’t know what my life was going to look like in the next year.

The excitement gets replaced with unpredictability. Part of this can stem from applying to schools in November and, for many of us, not hearing back until March or April. These four months are steeped in uncertainty. You think about whether you applied to the right batch of colleges, or whether a college will be disappointed by your mid-year report, and so on. When someone asks, it may highlight your feelings of insecurity based on this uncertainty. I understand the questions my parents, family and other adults ask. Many are excited or simply curious. I suggest people put less emphasis on the future institution and acknowledge what the student is experiencing. Try asking more questions like “How is the college process going?” so the conversation is led by the student and feels less like a judgment or critique. Even well meaning adults should remember, when asking these seemingly innocent questions, that they can word them in a way that is less demanding so they do not add to the pressure of the college process.



Perspectives Seniors | counselor | parent | Athletes | internationalists



12th Graders' Perspectives major in something related to wildlife biology and environmental science, so that similarly narrowed my options from the beginning.

Choosing something unexpected by Phoebe Brown At the beginning of the college process I was really set on studying wildlife biology at the University of Montana. Until late October I actually didn’t plan on applying to any other school. I narrowed down schools from the get-go with really specific geographic features. I needed mountains and skiing close by, I didn’t want to live in a big city, I wanted to be relatively close to family, and I wanted a place with all four seasons. So right away I was limited to the western mountains and New England areas. I also knew I wanted to

From there, I figured out where I wanted to apply largely based on visiting. I visited four colleges during junior year and six as a senior. I found this was really helpful and chose not to apply to many colleges after visiting. I also decided to apply to Middlebury, even though I thought I really wouldn’t like it and only visited because my mother dragged me east. For me, it was really about which campus, community, and culture I could see myself belonging to. At times the process was frustrating. It felt like there was about a year-long period where most adults in my life would ask about my college process and would proffer their own opinions about what I should do. I had to learn to take a step back, and I kept a journal where I organized all my own ideas about what I wanted out of college and why I was going in the first place. This helped me separate my own thoughts and feelings from those of adults around me.

into place. I tried to keep this idea close during this process. There is an element of faith and confidence in yourself that helps narrow down choices and stick to your guns through this process. I personally relied more on gut feelings during this process more than probably ever before.

"I had to learn to take a step back, and I kept a journal where I organized all my own ideas about what I wanted out of college and why I was going in the first place." I ended up applying early decision to Middlebury College, which was absolutely a last-minute decision made largely on a whim. I partially applied because I wanted to challenge myself, and I really didn’t think I would get in. When I checked my portal on the day decisions came out, I pretty much fell off my dorm bed, I was so shocked. I’m still a little unconvinced about living on the east coast, but I am so excited to meet people there and to experience a new part of the country.

I have a mentor who once told me that if you do what you are enthusiastic about and you work hard at it, things will fall THE MAGAZINE OF ANNIE WRIGHT SCHOOLS


category, specifically the University of Miami. Everyone else around me told me that I shouldn’t worry, and that I would have a great experience no matter where I went, but being so early on in the college process, I wasn’t so sure. I remember receiving my first acceptance to Washington State University; I was elated. Even though I knew I did not really want to attend school in Washington, the fact that I had actually gotten into college took most of the pressure off.

Gaining confidence through the process by Keyariee Cooks-Nixon At the beginning of the college process, I hoped that colleges would see me as a unique applicant and accept me for my distinctiveness qualities. I knew nothing about how the college process would work and was overwhelmed with figuring out the terminology, preparing for testing and researching each school. As I began to pull things together during our college week (a whole week set aside to help us with the college process), I found that although there were many components to the college process, it was manageable, and most definitely worth putting 100% effort in during that essential week. I narrowed down the list of schools I chose based on price, program, place, diversity, study abroad programs, and other factors to help me choose the next huge chapter in my life. Once I found out which schools could be the best for me, I made a list of nine, ranking them in order of preference. This was also the order in which I applied for the schools. The challenges I faced during this process were putting the schools into the different categories of “reach,” “match,” and “likely” because most of the schools I wanted to attend were in what I viewed as the “reach”



"I narrowed down the list of schools I chose based on price, program, place, diversity, study abroad programs, and other factors to help me choose the next huge chapter in my life. " After that acceptance, I received three more, including the University of Miami. Getting into my top school made me see things differently, and made me realize that I should never doubt myself or get discouraged, because you never know what the outcome could be. I also found that I began to take a bigger interest in the schools where I got accepted. I went on tours and found that there are a number of potential places for me to further my education. Now that I have done more research, the choice is becoming more difficult. In the end, I hope that no matter where I go, I will be able to convey my unique qualities and become a great addition to that school. In addition to furthering my education, I hope to become a sports medicine doctor, but equally importantly, to challenge myself and explore life in a new setting.

exactly where you need to be,” is what she said to me. It seems so simple, reflecting on what she said, but hearing her reassurance gave me the boost I needed. Ms. Hill recommended amazing schools for me. I ended up with 20 schools on my list which I had to reduce to nine. For me, it was not the worst thing, but it certainly took a long time. My main criteria when choosing the schools were tuition lower that 50K, criminology as a major, strong reputation, medium size and general appeal.

Sharing my heart by Amethyst Kettrell In all honesty, I didn’t have a lot of hopes and dreams at the beginning of my college process. I felt underprepared, unworthy and scared of what would happen after I left Annie Wright. Most worrisome was that part of me seemed not to care. I’ve now realized that I cared an absurd amount about needing to feel motivation to move forward in the college process. I just didn’t understand why I seemed to be the only one lacking it. I remember looking around at my fellow Red Ties and seeing them so excited for college, picking out their dream schools and just wishing for time to go by faster while I wanted everything to freeze. “I just need a moment to breathe,” I kept saying to myself. I was the first student Ms. Hill met with when the school year started. I told her about everything I was feeling and how I felt behind in the whole process. “You are

I love criminology. I love learning about it conceptually and figuring out how everything connects. I was able to strike some schools off the list that didn’t have this major or at least concentration. For the schools that fell under my criteria, the final decision came down to this: Could I see myself walking in the halls? Did the student interviews on the website speak to what I want and who I am? Could I see myself as a Gopher, a Badger, a Bulldog, or a Sea Hawk? Would I be happy there?

"I’ve learned to trust that my experience is right for who I want to become and that expressing my true self was the only way for me to be confident in my applications and in my college process." Unfortunately, I was not able to visit any of the schools I applied to (I highly recommend that students do visit if they can), so I had to go with my gut feeling and talking to whatever representative I could find.

I was really nervous when it came to actually applying, but the strong support from Annie Wright, especially during college week, pushed me forward and got me through it. The hardest part of the entire college process for me, however, was the personal essay. I had probably started my personal essay more than ten times and revised it twice as many. I stared at my screen, just begging for something good to magically flow out of my brain and onto the empty document. I ended up writing about something that was a major part of my life and that I needed to let out, using it almost like a journal. Doing this was the only way I felt confident in my essay, because I knew that what I wrote was true and honest and that I have strong emotional ties within it. Hitting the submit button for my application with the essay I poured my heart into felt like I was sending a part of who I am to my colleges. After that, I felt so much motivation and inspiration to work harder and to believe in myself and my abilities. I’ve learned to trust that my experience is right for who I want to become and that expressing my true self was the only way for me to be confident in my applications and in my college process. As of now, I have heard back from six of the nine schools I have applied to and have been accepted to all of them. I’m still waiting on three. I couldn’t be happier with all the support that I have and the newfound strength I have in myself through my college process.


25 25

that I had to fight hard for. There was my art coach in China, who encouraged me to hone my artistic talent in the next four years. There was also me, who was constantly changing my mind about what I wanted for myself.

Managing expectations by Yuqiu "Iris" Li At the start of the college process in the fall of my junior year, I had my heart set on a dual degree program between Brown University and Rhode Island School of Design. I had been struggling with the decision of going to a traditional college or an art school. I knew I desired both a strong academic experience among peers who desire knowledge as I do and a rigorous artistic training. The Brown/RISD program, though very competitive, seemed to provide a perfect combination of both of my aspirations. I attended the Brown Environmental Leadership Lab, a summer program which included both environmental education and leadership training. This program made me excited about college life, but I also realized that my college didn’t have to be Brown to make a happy four years. I still loved the idea of pursuing both academics and art, but I knew that I wouldn’t be brokenhearted if I didn’t get in. I also felt conflicted by different expectations. There were my parents, who didn’t encourage me to apply to any “reach” schools so that I wouldn’t waste too much time and end up disappointed. I appreciated their concerns, but I couldn’t help feeling that they never expected me to be a top student or aspire to something



With that uncertainty, my parents took me to visit a number of schools starting from sophomore year. Chronologically, we visited Stanford University, UC Berkeley, UCLA, USC, George Washington University, Georgetown University, NYU, Columbia University, Brown, RISD, Boston University, Boston College, and School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts. Emory University didn’t come onto my list until the last minute. My mom really liked Emory, and she tried hard to sell it to me. “I don’t understand why you don’t like Emory,” she said. “It meets every single one of your criteria: actual campus, small class size, low student to faculty ratio, not too big, not too small. If you applied ED to Emory, I think you’ll get in. Then you are done!”

"I still loved the idea of pursuing both academics and art, but I knew that I wouldn’t be brokenhearted if I didn’t get in." Last October, therefore, my parents came to the US again to take me on my last college trip. On this trip we visited Emory, UVA, and the University of Michigan. You’d think I would have had a clearer idea about what I wanted after all these visits, but I didn’t. I did, however, realize that many colleges are similar. I got tired of college visits and became immune to individual schools’ charms. As for Emory, maybe it is because students were on fall break or because I was tired, but it didn’t knock the Brown/RISD dual program out of first place for ED (to be considered an applicant to the program, I had to get in to both schools).

I applied to Brown ED1. On the set date for acceptances, I woke up 8:00 am in Beijing (during winter break) and checked my status. The answer was no. Then, I went back to sleep for another four hours. After I woke up again, I read the decision letter three additional times, but I didn’t cry. I wasn’t even sad. I almost felt relieved, like some idealistic fantasy was finally taken off my shoulders. Life went on and the process moved on. My mom insisted that I apply to Emory ED2, but I wasn’t sure I liked it enough to apply with a binding contract, so I applied but did everything at the last possible minute, without throwing my heart into it. On February 16, the designated day for acceptances and the first day of the Lunar New Year, I clicked on my application update, with my heart not even beating faster than usual. I was pretty sure I was going to see “Dear Yuqiu, I’m sorry to inform you...” but instead the bold “Congratulations” caught my eye. I went blank. “What?” My feeling of disbelief stayed with me for a whole day. In the Chinese tradition, elders give children lucky money for the new year. I felt as if I had just doubled my lucky money. I couldn’t believe the process just ended there. It felt good though. I have a whole life to discover who I am and what I want, and it doesn’t have to all revolve around my college choice. As for art, I’ve been to different schools that have not focused specifically on art training, but I still managed to keep doing art and challenging myself with different media. Today, I decide to prioritize academics over art, but it doesn’t mean I have to give up art completely. I went online and found Emory’s motto, and realized maybe I was accepted to a place where I could fit in. It is “Cor prudentis possidebit scientiam“ or “The prudent heart will possess knowledge.“

A Counselor's Perspective Coping with rejection by Nancy Waters, Upper School Counselor It can be challenging to know how to support young people during the rollercoaster of emotion that comes with the college application process, especially when they experience rejection. Here are some suggestions to help them through:

Anticipate emotions Firstly, it’s important to remember that due to their cognitive and hormonal development, teens feel their emotions more deeply than they ever will again. This means that sadness, fear, anger, frustration and disappointment can feel very overwhelming. Anticipating these emotions and helping to identify ways of managing them could be very helpful. Some examples include exercise, mindfulness, journaling, playing music, or other personal coping strategies that have proven successful during other emotionally trying times. Dusting oneself off after rejection is a part of every adult’s life, so finding ways to cope is an essential life skill.

Proclaim the positives Secondly, I like to remind young people that ultimately their college experience has much more to do with how they expand into their role at college than the college itself. Will they have a chance to show their skills, shine, excel, lead and grow? Some of these goals are more easily achieved by being a bigger fish in a smaller pond. Additionally, some students do not thrive when they are immersed in a very competitive environment. It might not be in that student’s best interest to attend the most challenging academic college on her list.

Share stories Storytelling can also be an excellent tool to use with teens. Sometimes our journeys are not linear. It can be helpful to tell stories of people you know who did not get into their top choice schools, and still have led amazing and fulfilled personal and professional lives.

Listen and love Lastly, as any adult should do consistently, often and with sincerity, be there to listen and empathize. Brene Brown, a research professor at the University of Houston, has spent the past 16 years studying courage, vulnerability, empathy and shame. Her research shows that rarely can a response alone provide comfort; rather it is the connection with the person that improves a situation. Your ability to feel with someone, without judgment, and truly listen is the most healing thing you can offer.



A parent’s perspective by Tenley Cederstrand The college selection process can be exhilarating, agonizing, sobering and exhausting, but by the end it is an exercise in growth and bonding. We attacked the process with planning and purpose. Geography: Where do we want to visit? Weather: How sunny is it in winter? Sports: Which has the best tailgate? Finances: It costs HOW much? And most importantly, academics: Which of the thousands of colleges would give our children the education best suited for them? We outlined our goals, argued over which college is the best choice, listed the pros and cons, compared programs from one institution to the next, and cajoled the kids into visiting our alma maters, the colleges we wished we attended and the colleges we secretly wished they would attend. We encouraged them to “find their people” in the one-to-two hour campus tours. We reviewed the plan with former college counselor Zach Hansen and developed a list of 15-20 prospects. Ready to launch! My husband and I took circuitous routes in our college paths. We both started at our dream schools, left said schools, got jobs, decided we needed more education for better jobs, and completed our degrees at second and third institutions six years after starting. We wanted a different, better planned pathway for our children. We wanted a more in-depth decision process to assist in finding the best school to fulfill their academic, athletic and social goals.

We were so excited when our kids got to the age when we could right the wrongs of college past and really help them find the perfect spot. After all, we went about the selection process without guidance, and now we were armed with the dreams of hovering helicopter parents and the power of the internet. Perfection awaited, and we were going to find it together. I don’t want to describe our process as overzealous, but on one east coast college trip, just ONE, my husband and daughter visited 14 schools across six states. And this was not the only trip. We had follow-up visits, interviews, meetings with coaches and final decision visits. We were determined that the perfect combination of right curriculum, high ranking, perfect size and geography would come together in the kismet of campus life. Our daughter, a member of Annie Wright’s Class of ‘17, had a strong profile as an academically ambitious athlete, welI-rounded with scientific smarts and community activism, fleshed out with a sprinkling of theatre. The Ivy League beckoned, and the big schools reached out to her with a breadth and depth of choices, the thumping anticipation of parties, football games and sorority sisterhood. All along our calm, collected college counselor assured us that our daughter would find her fit, that she would land in the right place for her and that the right college would bubble its way to the top. I confess, waiting for that was really hard. After much consideration we threw ourselves into the path of one of the Ivies that expressed interest, convinced that after all her hard work she “needed” to compete with the “best.” The school wanted her for athletics, she fit the academic profile, it was near an urban

Tenley’s daughter, Annika Cederstrad ’17, found her best fit in the University of Wisconsin. 28


center where her parents wanted to visit (yes!) and it had the big game on a small stage feel. We found our fit.

"After all, we went about the selection process without guidance, and now we were armed with the dreams of hovering helicopter parents and the power of the internet. Perfection awaited, and we were going to find it together." But…after visiting and meeting, it wasn’t her fit. She did not like the campus; it did not feel like home. Crestfallen, we regrouped and reconnected with the next Ivy that expressed interest in her becoming part of their team. It was so much fun running around the college campus, dreaming about the next phase of her life, picturing her there as a smiling, ambitious student.

She seemed to like this campus and could picture herself here in the pods that would become her school family. We went all in, early decision, finances be damned. We waited, semi-confident that she had a hook and they would see past the thousands of other talented kids with exceptional profiles and see her: special, talented, my little dreams personified. We waited, never anticipating the depth of disappointment that getting waitlisted, and then…denied, would bring. Wow… Thank goodness we visited so many other schools so we could start over with the decision making process….in APRIL! Fortunately, the calm cool college counselor had anticipated our every move and had persistently encouraged her to apply to other schools, several of which accepted her. We went back through these acceptances and campus visits, again, to search for more of her fit and a little less of our fit. One of those schools, a big school, with great academics and big athletics with a small town feel had accepted her into one of their top programs. And on a Monday in mid-April, with the May 1 final decision day looming like a tipping concrete truck on the overpass of life, the coach from this school called about her. He had an unanticipated opening on his team. She didn’t need the team to complete her process but it assured her of a built-in family to navigate the huge campus, allowing the parents to let go just a bit. We visited at the coach’s request and had the time of our lives! Although it wasn’t the fantasy WE had planned and anticipated for her, that would undo all the mistakes we made in our own paths, it was absolutely the best spot…for her. The sage, patient college counselor was right. She landed in the right place, challenged but not overwhelmed, pushed but not crushed. Her spot, her choice…with HER people.

Top five tips from one helicopter parent to another •

Be open to the list developed by your student and college counselor.

Travel and visit as many of those schools as possible, request a private tour with a student, attend a class or two, and hang out in the dorm or cafeteria. Your student’s perceptions may change dramatically.

Remember, there are thousands of colleges. Which ONE will your child attend?

Breathe! The right school will find your student, and it may not even be the first or second choice.

Know that wherever they choose they will be ready. Annie Wright has prepared them to advocate for themselves, to live big on their own terms and to accept challenges with confidence and purpose.

Tenley Cederstand, mother of Avery ’11MS and Annika ’17, was an Annie Wright parent for 15 years, serving as AWSPA president and auction chair. THE MAGAZINE OF ANNIE WRIGHT SCHOOLS


athletes' Perspective pros, cons and advice

Courtney Cureton ’17, D1 rowing, University of San Diego One of the best opportunities for college athletes is being part of a close team. My teammates have already turned into sisters. Working out for 24 plus hours per week gives you so much more than teammates; we eat together, study together, train together, and at worst times cry together. I’m really grateful for them. Another opportunity is the academic support. We get an academic counselor who meets with us between once a week and four times a semester. They help with course selection, getting the right credits, recommendation letters and more. We also get free tutors to help with any class. Some other perks are the food (student-athlete breakfasts are $5 and unlimited) and the gear (it’s pretty empowering to represent your school in Nike logo gear). The challenging part is balancing academics, sports and a social life. It’s hard to make the mental shift from long, hard practices right before or after a class or exam; this is a big adjustment from high school to college. We also have to fulfil mandatory study hours or we are not allowed to practice with the team. Student-athletes seem to fulfill the stereotype of being constantly on the go, either going to practice, at practice, leaving practice, studying,



eating or sleeping. It’s pretty hard to have a social life with sports.

"It’s hard to make the mental shift from long, hard practices right before or after a class or exam; this is a big adjustment from high school to college." My advice to high school students is that if you truly love your sport and believe you can do it for another four years in college, go for it. It’s a huge commitment for a 16- or 17-year old to figure out alone, so asking your coaches, family and any student-athletes in college can help you gauge the commitment level and how to start the recruitment process. Courtney Cureton, a freshman at the University of San Diego, was captain of the Commencement Bay girls’ crew team, where she rowed for four years during high school. At Annie Wright, she served as ASB Vice President and founded the Black Awareness Club. She plans to major in psychology with a focus on sports.

I lean on them for support when school gets hard or one of life’s many roadblocks presents itself.

Margaux Arntson ’14, D3 volleyball, Claremont McKenna College Long before I stepped onto the volleyball court at Claremont McKenna College, I knew it was a privilege to play a sport at the collegiate level and something I never wanted to take for granted. I, like many other young women, had dreamed of playing at the collegiate level for years but was uncertain about my chances. Now, four years later and at the end of my college career, I can look back so fondly at the memories I’ve made as a student-athlete at a competitive liberal arts college.

"In the process, I discovered a better understanding of myself and the interests I hold dear." There were many highs, such as winning the NCAA Division III National Championship this year and cementing CMS Volleyball’s spot as the best D3 volleyball team in the nation. In addition, playing at the collegiate level has allowed me to connect with a unique group of students with the same passion for the game as me. The relationships I formed with my teammates extend well beyond the gym, and

That being said, there were also times when I questioned my place on the team and my ability to make a genuine impact. Spending so much time in the gym meant it was harder for me to connect with my classmates who weren’t athletes. In addition, there were times when professors were unsympathetic to classes missed because of game-day travel and other athletic commitments. These tougher times challenged me to find a healthy balance between school and sports. In the process, I discovered a better understanding of myself and the interests I hold dear. This is my advice to anyone who is thinking about joining a collegiate athletic team: look at college sports as the icing on the cake. Find a team that complements the academic experience you want to have in college, has a strong culture that you enjoy, and is made up of coaches and players you admire and can rely on. Successfully doing so will allow you to tap into an incredibly powerful network, one that will hopefully support you well after practice ends and the net is put away. Margaux Arntson ’14, who played varsity volleyball for four years at Annie Wright Schools, will graduate from Claremont McKenna College with a bachelor’s in International Relations this spring. Margaux was named D3 All-American first team, and her Claremont-Mudd-Scripps volleyball team won its first ever division title last November.

Virginia Miller ‘17, a freshman at Stanford University, won the javelin competition in her collegiate debut at the season opener in March. Read more on page 46. THE MAGAZINE OF ANNIE WRIGHT SCHOOLS


Internationalists' Perspective Annie Wright's community and IB programs inspire students to think internationally: to develop friendships with students from other cultures, to study abroad during high school and college, and to become global citizens. Annie Wright Schools are proud to both bring the world to Tacoma and to send Tacoma into the world. Below, two alumnae from the Class of ’17 share how, inspired by their Annie Wright experience, they chose international options for college.

A new version of myself by Genevieve Grant ‘17 Plenty of undergraduates spend a semester in France. I decided to go for two years, and an entire degree. I didn’t decide on France to get out of the US, or to get away from my family, or even to be original. In fact, I never thought I would want to live in France. When making my college decision, I wanted to take a route that would challenge my ways of life, thinking, and learning. My stateside college options seemed more likely to craft versions of myself that I already knew. I could imagine who I would be after four years at each one, and while they were all people I could look up to, I did not want to lock myself into these molds. I ended up in France in particular because of a unique opportunity to study for two years at a world class institution for political science, Sciences Po, then return to the US for two years to earn a second bachelor’s degree at Columbia University in New York. My experience so far has been a wild ride. While I have gotten the opportunity



to meet students and intellectuals from around the world, I have had to deal with French bureaucracy in many forms. There is a running joke among the international students of my campus that a flood better come soon to get rid of the visa offices. Nothing is ever open, and if it is, it is never open on time. That being said, there have been unforeseen benefits of my international experience. For one, the community is unmatched. My program focuses on the Middle East, North Africa and the Mediterranean region, so it naturally draws many candidates from that region. As for the rest of us, many have already honed their focus on the region, and sometimes their governments have as well. As a result, many in my cohort are here on military or government scholarships to learn about the region to become members of the intelligence or foreign relations communities. As someone who has similar goals, I have found myself sitting in class and imagining our future selves, having impromptu reunions at conferences for humanitarians or G20 summits.

"What I loved about Annie Wright was that it provided me opportunities to become who I wanted to be." For many students in my program, going abroad was the preferable or even only option. My dual bachelor’s degree program seems to attract a certain type of student. I have met very few students with only one country of citizenship, and I have classes where I am the only American. In class I hear French spoken with Kazakh, German and Romanian accents, allowing me to catch certain nuances in the French pronunciation simply because all of our attempts sound

so different. This diversity enriches the comparative politics, history, and economics courses we take as well. Having lived abroad, I took an interest in global issues at an early age, and as a result I was fairly internationally-minded before I got to Annie Wright. What Annie Wright and the IB program gave me, however, was a strong vocabulary and framework through which I could articulate and look at my own perspective. I remember discovering what my identity meant to me among a range of unique girls, including some who had always lived in Tacoma and others who had just arrived for the first time. Courses like IB English Literature made me question who I am and why. Global Studies and Global Politics made me look at this question on a different level, in terms of nationalism and the governments under which I grew up. What I loved about Annie Wright was that it provided me opportunities to become who I wanted to be. As a freshman, I saw the Red Tie seniors above me growing into accomplished young women. When I heard their May Day bios I could have told you what I wanted mine to say about me: not about where I was going to college, but what I had accomplished while at Annie Wright, who I was during my time there, and what my goals were for the future.

While my program attracts a specific type of 18-year-old at the time of application, it does not tell us who we need to be by the time we leave it. At entry, we were mostly the type of freshmen that the Annie Wright community knew me as: internationally-minded, politically focused, impassioned orators and opinion holders. By the time we complete our two years at Columbia, we will continue to be all those things, but we also get to be physicists, mathematicians or musicians. For the first two years, I can focus on becoming the political scientist my fourteen-year-old self knew I wanted to be, and in the years after that, I can become whomever I want.

Genevieve Grant is a freshman in a dual BA program between Sciences Po in France and Columbia University in New York.

From Strength to Strength by Dara Hanson ‘17 The beginning notes of the Alma Mater on the organ signal a scramble of students from their seats. As the anthem continues, you can see some students hiding their flashcards in their pockets or sneaking a glance on their phones. Some have the hymnals out, trying to remember the words. Some aren’t singing at all. The school motto, embedded in the final lines of the chorus, generates the most participation: “On from strength to strength!”It’s one of those things you say, but don’t really understand. The song ends and chapel begins, amidst hush whispers and fidgeting fingers.

"If a prospective student asked me to describe Annie Wright’s greatest strength as an institution, I would say this: Annie Wright is a community that enables self-awareness."

If you were like me, one of those mumbling the words to the Alma Mater on an early Monday morning, the idea of “Strength to Strength” may have seemed one of those nice slogans that you put on a banner. Yet, as I sit here, a few months and thousands of miles removed from my high school experience, I find myself questioning what brought me to the hot, humid, diverse culture of the Singaporean topics. I believe the answer lies within our motto. If a prospective student asked me to describe Annie Wright’s greatest strength as an institution, I would say this: Annie Wright is a community that enables selfawareness. It was a night that many would describe as shocking. On an early November evening of my senior year, I stood in the middle of a Seattle ballroom, watching blue banners being taken down, wine glasses clinking as they were stacked into crates, and the last remaining stragglers descending the stairs. Only a few hours before, the place had been lively, everyone cramming into the space to see the votes of the U.S. Presidential election being tallied. I was a witness to dismay and shock and many tears at the outcome.

Annie Wright’s halls, these were all places that begged the question “Why do you believe what you believe?” I haven’t fully answered that question, but the answer is becoming clearer. Annie Wright asked me questions I wasn’t able to answer, but I wanted to find somewhere I could. I took a risk because I wanted to be exposed to ideas that made me uncomfortable. It is a risk that was well worth taking. Today, I don’t read current events articles or debate international policy like I used to. Instead, you’ll likely find me trying to understand the neuropsychology of consciousness or debating the Buddhist theory on the absence of the self. In a new liberal arts institution with intentional Eastern and Western outlooks, I have been challenged to stretch beyond what I believed to be right. “From Strength to Strength” is not a paraphrase of “From Success to Success,” but rather a trajectory of where Annie Wright students can go if they use their diverse community to cultivate their personal beliefs.

Dara Hanson, far left, is a freshman at Yale-NUS, a collaboration between Yale University and the National University of Singapore.

As I drove home that night, I wondered why I was more fascinated by the reactions than the outcome of the vote. It wasn’t the first time at Annie Wright where I wondered what I accepted as truth. In Global Politics debating about the “English Only in Public Spaces” policy, in the student lounge hearing about the latest protest everyone was attending, among classmates outside



Empathy & Community for life Students who engage in their communities in meaningful ways are not only embodying Annie Wright’s and the International Baccalaureate’s missions, but also are creating compelling college profiles. From a young age Annie Wright students learn, in developmentally appropriate ways, to look beyond the classroom, develop empathy and become creative problem solvers. Following are a examples from the four divisions.

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As part of the new Grade 1 communities unit, Luke Guadnola picked up trash at Owen Beach in Point Defiance Park.

Lower School Little People Make a Big Impact

by Stephanie Whittle, Grade 1 Teacher This year our first-graders put learning into action in a new unit of inquiry about communities, which fits into the transdisciplinary theme of "Who We Are." Through this unit students as young as six learned first-hand that they can make a difference in their communities. Our central idea was “People have many roles in a community.” As we planned this unit, we wanted it to be more meaningful and actionoriented than the typical early childhood study of communities where students learn about the people (eg “firefighter”) and their jobs (eg “put out fires”). We wanted to emphasize that not only do we live in a variety of communities, but also that within these communities everyone has multiple roles. We began by discovering that in all communities, our roles include living, learning, playing, working, caring, eating and celebrating together. We began by looking at our immediate community – our school – and ended by looking at our larger community – the world. We read a wonderful story called The One Day House by Julia Durango, in which a young boy and his neighbors help an elderly woman repair her home and yard. We then looked around our community to see what sorts of things we could to do help. Students walked the grounds looking for things to repair, change or simply clean up. One student wanted to organize the books in the library that were not shelved properly to help others find books more easily. Another wanted to fix the fireplace in the dining hall so we could enjoy its warmth while eating.

As we moved on, we talked about how our actions can make big differences and little differences. We read another book called Because Amelia Smiled by David Ezra Stein, in which one little girl’s smile set off a chain reaction of good deeds around the world and eventually came back again. As we came to the end of the unit, students realized that they too could take real actions in their own communities, whether they be at AWS, in their own neighborhoods or in a nearby community. We decided that each student would come up with an action to make the community a better place. We were amazed and delighted by our first graders’ original and thoughtful ideas. One student made hot cocoa and coffee and gave it away for free in a local park simply to spread happiness. Another student cleaned his local storm drain so it would not flood if there was a big rain storm. Another student delivered homemade brownies to a neighbor who was going through cancer treatment. Developing a plan and following through with these actions showed our young students that even six-year-olds play an important role and have the power and ability to make a positive difference in their communities.



Middle School Documentary Films Inspire Philanthropy

by Lauren Cook, Sofia Guerra, Maddie Strate and Sasha Zhang, all Class of ‘23 In Grade 7 Design class, we aim to turn learning into meaningful action. One fun unit this year involved creating promotional films about nonprofits. There were multiple steps we had to take before we could use our new skills to impact our community. Below, we reflect on our experience in this project. Making initial contacts The first step in creating our films was finding a nonprofit organization that we were each interested in. I decided to base my documentary on the Tacoma Broadway Center. Since I attend their summer camp every year, I already had a few connections which made reaching out to them an easy process. Although my correspondent was extremely accommodating and accountable, some of my other classmates had trouble finding interviewees that suited this project. Because some people’s correspondents were located far away, they also had to interview through Skype and phone calls. Even though these problems did prove challenging, the first step in this project still provided a great opportunity for self-advocacy and for reaching out to the community around us. – Sasha Zhang The interview Before my interview at Childhaven, a nonprofit that helps children who experienced trauma in early life, I had butterflies in my stomach. When I met the person I would be interviewing, however, I was able to relax. My interview ran smoothly on the whole, despite minor difficulties. In addition to gaining information for my video, I learned lessons. First, interviewing someone is not as scary as I thought it might be. I also learned that preparation can go a long way. By writing down questions 36


I wanted to ask beforehand, I received answers I could use in creating my video. This was a good experience for me because I am not very comfortable talking to strangers, and this assignment forced me to take that risk. – Maddie Strate Filming For me, filming was slightly difficult, but still fun. My organization, Metro Tacoma Fencing Club, is a nonprofit organization that teaches the sport of fencing. To get footage of my own class, I needed to run back and forth in between exercises. It was a stressful experience, but being flexible allowed things to go as smoothly as possible. Filming the other classes was easier, and within a few trips I was finished. Fencing can be pretty unpredictable to film, but I learned to just grab my camera and record whenever some drill or bout looked interesting. – Sofia Guerra Editing Throughout this process we acquired many skills, and the main skill I learned was editing. One important thing I learned was that after a while, the audience becomes bored of one angle, so it’s very important to cut to different angles. Our class learned

how to utilize titles, transitions, and music and how to adjust light, filters and sound. Thanks to these skills, my final video turned out pretty well. Inevitably, however, I did face some obstacles along the way. I had some trouble with sound quality, for example, and ultimately had to reshoot some clips of my video. The biggest challenge my classmates and I faced was glitching. Precision in cropping and clipping bits of film was important, because if one thing was changed, the whole film could be thrown off. Without these skills, our films would not have turned out nearly as well as they did. – Lauren Cook Through this experience, we learned lots of important skills. First, we learned to manage our time wisely and produce a competent result within a set period of time. We also developed our communication skills through reaching out to and interviewing adults in positions of authority. Some of our videos were actually used by the organizations, which showed us that even seventh graders can use their knowledge and skills to change the world.

Grade 7 students work with teacher Kyle Price to produce their nonprofit public service announcements.

Ayiana Honeysuckle-Heimbuch to provide instruments and music lessons for local students in need, and Sarah Peng to provide learning opportunities for Annie Wright students interested in STEM. Below these students describe their aspirations for the future of their projects.

laboratories in UW for my STEM club members. Also, I have invited professors from UPS to give lectures and share their experience as women in STEM fields.

GIVENS: What have you done so far in terms of your project?

Hong: I basically just hope that children, no

Hong: So far I’ve looked at some schools

Upper School for Girls Grants for Passion in Action

by Abby Givens, Class of ’20 As part of the Grade 10 advisory program, students learn how they can identify an authentic passion and translate it into action. Once they discover a need or issue that they feel strongly about, they develop a plan and then pitch it to their advisory groups. The top three strongest pitches in the grade receive a small grant to support their projects. Last year, the first year of the program, three project ideas received grants: Chanthen Hong to provide supplies to schools in rural Cambodia, Gloria Qi and

that really need supplies and are lacking resources. I’ve looked at remote areas in my hometown and I’ve reached out to some organizations that are already doing the work, because I don’t want it to be just a one-time thing. I want to create a system so that it will continue to work and have an effect. Currently I’m still reaching out to them and finding the logistics, like where should I get the books from and what kind of things I should give to them. Honeysuckle-Heimbuch: We started out

by researching which schools needed the funding the most. So we left classes a few times last year, maybe five classes, to go visit the schools and see which looked like they were the most high need for an introduction to music. It would be ideal if we could get it going by the end of this year. We still need to talk to colleges and get actual volunteers. Getting the students that want lessons is a lot easier than getting people to teach them. Peng: I have reached out to about 90

professors from UW and UPS to seek opportunities for Annie Wright students who want to get more insight in the STEM field. Even though there have been some difficulties in scheduling and organizing, I have made a plan for field trips to some

GIVENS: What are your hopes for the future of your project?

matter rich or poor, can get an education that could help them in the future, because a lot of children in Cambodia do not have access to a good education, partly because of our education system and also in remote areas there are really old schools with no real teachers; they just turn up whenever they choose. I would like to change that. I just hope this project will make a slight change in that and inspire other people to work toward a similar goal. Honeysuckle-Heimbuch: We hope that in

the future we can talk to schools like SOTA or UPS and see if there are any students there that would interested in getting experience by volunteering, without being paid, so that we can use the money to afford the instruments. And then potentially influence a lot of children’s lives and help show them music. Peng: I wish for this club to inspire and help

Annie Wright students discover more in the STEM fields. If possible, I would also like to expand the club to include the Middle and Lower Schools and potentially some other high schools in Tacoma.

This article first appeared on, the Annie Wright Upper School student newspaper.



Upper School for Boys A Tiny House to Build Skills & Community by Lisa Isenman In December the Upper School for Boys launched a six-month project to build a tiny house for a community in Seattle. This design-build experience, part of their Architecture & Design class, is a collaboration with the nonprofit Sawhorse Revolution, Nickelsville Georgetown Tiny House Village and Mithun architects. The boys began by studying the factors that lead to homelessness and elements of the homeless experience. After exploring priorities for shelter, for example climate, privacy, safety and comfort, they visited Nickelsville Georgetown Tiny House Village in Seattle to learn about the community and gain some understanding of needs and best practices before they began the design build process.

Their tour guide, resident and community leader Andrew Constantino, explained the structure of the community and priorities for tiny house architecture including simplicity, built-in storage, physical accessibility and sound construction. The boys also learned about aspects and challenges of communal living with close proximity to neighbors, portable toilets and a shared kitchen and water source. Next the boys studied architectural elements of built tiny houses and discussed the relationship between structures and emotions. Finally, based on their multipronged research, they developed a design, including dimensions, elevations, layout, interior elements, storage and more. The process included taping out the dimensions in their downtown classroom space to imagine the usage and constraints of their plan.


The architects had lots of questions and constructive suggestions involving materials, placement of windows, pitch of roof, built-ins, and flexibility and variation of storage. Incorporating these critiques, the boys revised their original plan before beginning construction in early March. Construction will continue, under the supervision of their teacher, Joe Romano, and contractor Tyler Kolbo, with plans to deliver the finished tiny house to Seattle in June. Visit for updates.

At the end of February, the students traveled to the Seattle office of Mithun architects, the firm that is designing their new Upper School for Boys building, to get feedback on their drawings. In a style similar to Mithun's own informal

Upper School boys toured Nickelsville Georgetown Tiny House Village in Seattle to better understand needs, challenges and priorities for residents. 38

presentation and critique process, the boys pinned their drawings to a wall in a central meeting space of the open-plan office and talked through their plan, which maximized the allowed space of a tiny house and included a small porch, built-in platform and loft beds, a built-in desk and plenty of cubical storage.

Diego Chavez and Mac Bryant present their class’s proposed tiny house designs to architects at Mithun in Seattle.

Some of our best students come by word of mouth from our alumni and families. Know a great kid who would be a fit for Annie Wright Schools? Contact Joy Phelps for Preschool to Grade 8 at or 253.284.8602 or Alyssa Harvey for Grades 9-12 at or 253.284.8600.

NOW ENROLLING FOR FALL 2018 boys & girls

in select grades only




supports students & creates community


Annie Wright families, faculty, staff, alumni and friends gathered for a fantastic auction weekend on March 9 and 10. Thank you to all the sponsors, donors, volunteers and guests for a successful auction. All of the proceeds from these events help ensure that our students have the facilities, faculty and resources they need to succeed.






Superhero-themed Family Night featured a silent auction and raffle in addition to a superhero training course, mask making, games, selfie station and more. 40


Sparking Science Sparking Science an inspirational lab for Middle School

an inspirational lab for Middle School

Guests donned their bow ties and big hats and enjoyed mint juleps, southern fare and live country music, along with an exciting live auction, at the Kentucky Derby Gator Gala.

This year's Fund-A-Need, Sparking Science, raised more than $100,000 for a complete redesign and renovation of the Middle School science lab.

With your support, the 2018 Fund-A-Need will help finance:

With your support, the 2018 Fund-A-Need will help finance:

• a complete redesign and renovation of the Middle School science lab

• a complete redesign and renovation of the Middle School science lab THE MAGAZINE OF ANNIE WRIGHT SCHOOLS


MAYunDioAnY Re D N E K E E W

June 1-2, 2018. d n e k e e w n io n u all u at May Day re o y g in e e , we encourage s 8 d to n a rd a 3 rw in g fo k in o d n We lo or the classes e n o h y ll ia c e p s e While we . alumni to attend

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May Day Checklist View our newly updated guide to area restaurants, museums, outdoor activities and more at Prepare for the Pacific Northwest elements: bring both umbrella and sunscreen! Show your love for Annie Wright Schools by making a gift to the Annual Fund at

Schedule of Events

Contact the alumni office for any assistance. We would love to hear from you.

Friday, June 1 1:30–3:15 pm May Day festivities on the front lawn 4:00 pm Campus tour 5:00–7:00 pm Alumni cocktail party, $35 Saturday, June 2 9:30–10:30 am Chapel service 10:30 am–12:00 pm Brunch and reunion class photos, $35

CAN'T MAKE IT? There are many ways to connect with the school. Visit Annie Wright to see IB learning in action (contact Jennifer Shafer at 253.284.8611 or to arrange a tour), host an alumni gathering in your home city or country or share your recent news at

r Shafer e if n n e J t c ta n ayday or co m / rg .o w .a w w at w y May 16. b rg .o w a Register online @ r fe a nnifer_sh je r o 11 6 .8 4 8 .2 at 253 THE MAGAZINE OF ANNIE WRIGHT SCHOOLS


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class notes 1930s

Anne (Murray) Barbey ’38 Anne (right) and her daughters Anita Murray Barbey ’66 (left) and Helena (Barbey) Lankton ’68 (center left), had lunch with Head of Schools Christian Sullivan and his wife Lisa Isenman in Palm Springs in March. Anne plans to attend her 80th and Helena her 50th reunion at May Day this June.


Velma (Snellstrom) Goodlin '46 I was a student at Annie Wright for one year (1944-1945) and a member of the Class of 1946. I did not return as my father’s health was poor and mother was frail. I enjoyed my year there and admired Ruth Jenkins very much. Life has been good to me! My husband of 67 years is now ill so I am not able to attend the Portland Alumni Event. I do thank you for the invitation.


Betty Lou (Ervin) Broderick '53 The Upper School Model UN/Global Action activity group visited Anchorage in February, where they had dinner with Betty Lou. She regaled the girls with stories of the early development of Anchorage, from a town of a few thousand to the now bustling commercial center of Alaska. A true pioneer, Betty Lou traveled down to Annie Wright during her school days via cargo ships and freight planes, a journey that took at least 24 hours. She certainly inspired this group of adventurous students to keep chasing the horizon!

Merrill (Wagner) Ryman '53 From May 3 to May 5, Merrill, based in New York City, will be the featured artist of Galerie Zürcher at this year's edition of Frieze New York. Merrill's quadriptych "Untitled A, B, C & D" (1977) was recently acquired by The Metropolitan Museum of New York. In celebration Galerie Zürcher is presenting some of her pieces in a group show that will be on view until April 27 at it's location on 33 Bleecker Street.


Susan (Fairbourn) Batzle ’64 I'm still in touch with a few of my classmates. I was lucky to have been at Annie Wright during the World's Fair. The space needle is what really stood out – no long lines like I've heard about today to go up. Can't believe I have nine grandkids... don't feel old enough for that! 44


Sally (Peterson) Atherton ’66 On a flight to Hong Kong, Sally, a current AWS board member, was chatting to a flight attendant and told him she had just attended a board meeting at an independent school in Tacoma. He asked her if it was Annie Wright Schools, and then introduced her to his wife, Cristina Walters ’82, who was working the same flight. "Annies are everywhere!" said Sally. Cristina also met two Annie Wright students last year on a flight from Beijing to Seattle.


Maren Palmquist Armour ’78 To get the ball rolling for those Annies who may not have been in touch recently (or ever), I thought I’d send a little update. I’ve been living and working in San Francisco for quite some time and am now starting to enjoy the freedom that comes with being an “empty-nester.” Work permitting I’m making frequent trips to Seattle, Phoenix, New York, and best of all, I will be heading to Paris in a few weeks. I would love to hear from any current or former AWS students who may visit or live in the Bay Area! I can be reached at or (415) 922-2444.

an LA story Samila Ardalan ’78, Shawna (Krantz) Poliquin ’93, Ramona Smart ’93, Stacey Yeh ’11 and Leslie Bauska ’13 gathered in Los Angeles with Annie Wright Philanthropy Director Grace Finch and Assistant Head of Schools & Director of Upper School for Boys (and Leslie’s mom!) Susan Bauska for dinner. They shared stories of boarding (Samila from Iran, Ramona from Alaska), family and careers, and learned about the continuation of beloved traditions as well as exciting innovations at Annie Wright.


Laura Bales ’85 After more than nine great years in Singapore, we moved back to the Pacific Northwest in August 2017. We love being closer to family and friends, wide-open spaces and the neverending views of mountains and water. Plus, I am thrilled that my boys are able to call Annie Wright their own with the opening of the Upper School for Boys. Eli, a Yellow Tie like me, is in 9th grade and Seth is in 7th grade, a future green tie. Reconnecting with the school, including teachers and classmates, has been an amazing journey down memory lane, while getting to know the current parents and staff is really fun. Geoff is still with Microsoft and I started a development role at the Museum of Glass in April.

Merrill (Wagner) Ryman '53 Anne (Murray) Barbey ’38

Cristina Walters ’82 and Sally (Peterson) Atherton ’66 an LA Story

Laura Bales '85





Misa and Nami, whose friendship spans 30 years, met for dinner with their families in Kyoto.

Geneva returned to Annie Wright to speak to Upper School students about her experience working as an engineer at PATH, a Seattle-based international non-profit focused on global health innovations, and her most recent experience traveling to Kenya to implement some of the tools she worked on. Geneva studied mechanical engineering at George Washington University before going to work at a medical device company outside DC designing instruments and implants for spinal surgery. She returned to the Pacific Northwest a year and a half ago to PATH, where she works in product development on tools such as coolers to keep vaccines safe during long outreach sessions, diagnostic devices, and products for improved detection of polio.

Misa Furumoto ’92 & Nami (Yoshida) Ogawa ’92

Christy (Smith) Griffiths ’95 Christy and her husband Jason visited Annie Wright in February, where they toured the school, learned about new facilities and programming, and met with administrators and teachers. In early April Christy hosted a gathering for Portland area alumni at her home.

Kate Dorr ’96 Kate, whose son Leland is in Grade 3 and daughter Gwendolyn is in Kindergarten at Annie Wright Schools, recently published Speaking Out: Twenty-One of Tacoma’s Social Justice and Civil Rights Champions for the Tacoma Historical Society. In March, she spoke at all-school chapel with Jim Walton, the first black city manager for Tacoma and one of the people profiled in the book.

a San Francisco treat Maren Palmquist Armour ’78 (back row fourth from left), Shannon Grant ’96MS (front row center), Amy (Anton) Loehrer ’97MS and Virginia Miller ’17 (right) had dinner with Philanthropy Director Grace Finch (front row left), Girls’ Business and Entrepreneurship Program students and their Program Director Sandra Bush (taking the photo) in San Francisco. Amy took students on a tour of Google, and Shannon, a micro fund manager in San Francisco, is mentoring an Annie Wright junior on a business project.

Amy (Anton) Loehrer ’97MS Amy (far right), a recruiter for Google, took students from Annie Wright’s Girls’ Business & Entrepreneurship Program on an extensive tour of the Google campus in Silicon Valley.

Kate Monthy ’99 & Haley Parks ’13 Kate choreographed and Haley designed the costumes for the Upper School production of Guys and Dolls, directed by Liz Gettel, in February.


Alison (Pascoe) Ambauen ’02

Geneva Goldwood ’10

Hanna Park '12 I recently graduated from George Washington University in DC with a Civil Engineering BS and MS degree and relocated to Seattle for a job in a structural engineering consultant company called PCS Structural Solutions. I'm working as a design engineer, designing structures of schools, houses, and medical buildings.

Tori Smith ’14 Matt proposed on Saturday the 24th of March and I said yes!

Jeeyoung Kim ’17 Jeeyoung, a freshman at Emory University, was accepted into Phi Eta Sigma National Honor Society. Founded in 1923 at the University of Illinois, Phi Eta Sigma is the nation's oldest and largest honor society for first-year college and university students in all disciplines. Students eligible for induction at Emory needs to have a first semester GPA of at least 3.9 with good standing.

Virginia Miller ’17 Virginia, a freshman at Stanford University, recently won the javelin competition in the final throw at the Hornet Invitational track and field meet in Sacramento. She achieved 162-8 (49.59 meters), beating her previous personal record going into the competition by 21 feet. Virginia is now number seven in Stanford's top ten and the fifth-longest throwing freshman in Stanford history.

Alison and husband Dylan welcomed their daughter Holly Irene on January 22, 2018.





Kate Dorr ’96

Misa Furumoto ’92 & Nami (Yoshida) Ogawa ’92

A San Francisco treat

Kate Monthy ’99 & Haley Parks ’13

Amy (Anton) Loehrer ’97MS

Geneva Goldwood ’10 Tori Smith ’14

Alison (Pascoe) Ambauen ’02

Virginia Miller ’17



In Memoriam Marian (Pierce) Slade '44

George Ann (Thompson) Reinholt '53

Diana Cookingham '45

Hedda (Schafer) Shepherd '59

Flavia (Gierin) Roach '50

Nancy (Collins) Krueger '59

Karen Lavery '53

Deborah Doman-Peri '74

Shirley (Willis) Bushnell (Annie Wright trustee, parent & grandparent) Terrance David Hamilton (Annie Wright parent)

Shirley Bushnell Shirley Willis Bushnell, 88, longtime Tacoma and Vashon Island resident and former Vice President for University Relations at the University of Puget Sound, passed away at her home in Puyallup. Shirley was born in Aberdeen, Washington, in 1929 and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Washington in 1951. Having joined the Kiwanis Club of Tacoma shortly after women were accepted into membership, Shirley became the first woman to serve as club president, and received the club's prestigious Hixson Award. She later became a master fundraiser at Stanford University and served for 20 years at UPS, where she headed a $45 million capital campaign. Shirley maintained a fundraising consulting firm for many years into her retirement, with clients including Tacoma Community College, Clover Park Technical College, the Franciscan Health System, the YWCA of Tacoma and Pierce County, and the statewide organization of the American Red Cross. She also led campaigns for a new building for The Humane Society for Tacoma and Pierce County and for a home for the Vashon Community Care Center. Shirley served on a number of boards, including Annie Wright Schools 19982004, where she was chair of the development committee. Her daughter Poppy Bushnell ’74 and granddaughter Shawna (Krantz) Poliquin ’93 are both Annie Wright alumnae. Always an adventurer, Shirley was one of four members of the Pi Beta Phi Fraternity for Women who cycled from Tacoma to Los Angeles in the summer of 1951. The trip generated national publicity and a meeting with Kirk Douglas on location while filming the Western film The Big Trees. The four women later wrote a book about the trip. Shirley is survived by her daughters Beckie Krantz, Kim Laderriere and Poppy Bushnell, six grandchildren and six greatgrandchildren.



From the 1912 Yearbook...

Annie Wright Seminary Tacoma, Washington


The Rt. Reverend Frederick W. Keator, Bishop of Olympia, President, Ex-Officio

BEAUTIFUL LOCATION: healthful and refined home life; gymnasium;

out-of-door sports; preparation for all colleges; a broad and thorough general education; superior advantages in music and art.

For illustrated catalogue containing full particulars, apply to the principal.

Class of 1912 Annie Wright Seminary Tacoma, Washington



827 North Tacoma Avenue Tacoma, Washington, 98403

New Specialties June 18 – August 10 | Boys & girls from any school Age 3 – Grade 8 | 7:00 am-6:00 pm

>> Swimming, rock climbing & a daily specialty for all campers >> Pricing starts at $275 per week

Outdoor Play

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NEW IN 2018 All campers will enjoy a daily specialty! Choose from coding, art, cooking, STEAM, urban farming, sports, language & more.

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