The Delphian Fall 2020

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The Delphian

FALL 2020


The Delphian FALL 2020


Letter from the Head of School


On Target: Curriculum, Teaching, and Learning

Our Mission Annunciation Orthodox School, having grown from a ministry of the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral, celebrates the diverse and individual qualities of all children and their families.


A Visit from Bishop Neophytos




Closing the Distance with Fine Arts Week


AOStudios Makes Its Debut

AOS provides a superior education in a secure and stimulating Christian environment which encourages the individual child to achieve academic, spiritual, emotional, social and physical excellence, and to become a responsible member of our society.


My Father’s Daughter with Joni Zavitsanos


Congratulations, Class of 2020!


A Year in Review: Special Events


Introducing AOS Grandparents & Special Friends Club


Alumni Spotlight: Katherine Noble ’04


Class of 2016 College Choices


2019-2020 Alumni Events


Alumni Committee


Alumni Class Notes

The Delphian is sent to alumni, current parents, grandparents, and friends of the school who wish to receive it.

Cover: Ella S. ’20 enjoying the graduation parade


Dear AOS Community,


As I entered my second year at AOS, I did so with sure footing and a solid framework. Our academic team had identified two school-wide priorities—student engagement and community strengthening—to set the course of what was sure to be another remarkable year. Our faculty and staff embraced these priorities and sought new ways to inspire our students in their learning. As a community, we explored new ways to strengthen and grow our bonds with one another. We engaged in many new styles of instruction and held some fantastic events during the first eight months of the year. Our school year started with many special moments and initiatives. We received a visit from Bishop Neophytos of Kenya, our P.E. department launched the #aoshealthinaction initiative to motivate families to stay active on the weekends, and our art teachers organized a “Meet Me at the Museum” event with former AOS teacher Joni Zavitsanos. Dr. Ivy Ruths, Middle School Counselor, spearheaded a brand-new initiative called “Wellness Wednesday,” which focused on specific social-emotional topics with presentations from industry professionals; and Heather Haas, Head of Middle School, completely reshaped our “Heading for High School” program. Many of our fall and winter season athletic teams made it to the conference playoffs, and our football team took home its second consecutive championship trophy. As we ended spring break, our remarkable year took on new meaning as we transitioned into emergency distance learning with the onset of the COVID-19 global pandemic. As alumna Katherine Noble ’04 illustrates in her article, we were all caught flat-footed with a world state most of us could never have imagined. But in true AOS spirit, we adapted and accomplished some pretty amazing things— we turned our Fine Arts Week into an online experience, a studentcreated podcast helped keep us connected across divisions, and our graduation ceremony was reimagined into a joyous end-of-year parade. As we continue to journey through this time of social distancing and extreme societal change, I would not want to do it with any other school community. I am deeply grateful for the love and support that our parents, students, faculty, staff, and greater AOS community regularly display. This is a special place, and I look forward to the year ahead.

Dr. Samuel V. Fragomeni Head of School


On Target: Strategic Imperative #4

CURRICULUM, TEACHING, AND LEARNING Evaluate the curriculum, its continuity, delivery, and effectiveness and the balance between traditional and innovative teaching. By: Dr. Samuel V. Fragomeni, Head of School

Annunciation Orthodox School has a strong history of academic excellence. This was very apparent to me during my interview process and throughout my first two years at AOS. Our classrooms are filled with passionate, caring, and masterful teachers. I couldn’t ask for a better group of people to work with as we seek to continually improve upon all that we do for our students. After a full year of evaluating our curriculum, exploring how comfortable our faculty is with traditional and innovative teaching methods, and measuring the effectiveness of our overall delivery, the academic team and I plotted out a course of action for the 2019-2020 year. The primary objectives of this plan were: instituting two school-wide priorities, launching an academic coaching program, redesigning our professional learning communities, and expanding the academic support team. However, like most schools, we had to halt our on-campus learning in March of 2020 due to COVID-19. This forced us to “hit the pause button” on several of the initiatives outlined here, but we continue to develop many of these ideas for the 2020-2021 school year. We are excited to pick up where we left off.


School-wide Priorities We started the year by introducing two school-wide priorities: student engagement and community strengthening. The majority of our academic work with teachers centered on our student engagement priority, which led to various new initiatives and methodologies being introduced by our teachers. For example, some teachers introduced the Harkness method of instruction, while others had students research and teach topics to their peers that had previously been taught through direct instruction. On the whole, this priority led to a wide variety of shifts in many teachers’ instruction because we clearly identified a need to increase student-centered learning, while providing room for teacher autonomy and innovation.

Academic Coaching

Academic Support Team

In order to support teachers with these new priorities, we assigned a member of the school’s administrative academic team to each teacher as an academic coach. These coaches met with teachers multiple times through the year and tailored programs according to each teachers’ skills and needs. Coaching included activities such as unit development, lesson development, observation and feedback, and connection to outside professional development resources.

AOS also hired its first math coordinator prior to the 2019-2020 school year. This person worked directly with math teachers to identify our most pressing needs with regard to mathematics. Our math coordinator assembled a team of faculty to examine options and ultimately select a new math curriculum. Teachers piloted lessons from multiple curriculums and traveled throughout the country to speak with educators about various curricula. The team landed on Math in Focus, which is based on Singapore Mathematics and is widely used across the United States.

Professional Learning Communities In addition to this support, teachers also all participated in professional learning community (PLC) meetings every Tuesday morning during our school’s “late start” day. Twenty teachers received training during the summer of 2019 in preparation for leading their respective PLC groups. These groups all focused on aspects of our student engagement priority. Examples include groups that focused on project-based learning, authentic engagement in mathematics, math & science “play” in early childhood, and elevating student work.

Above: 2nd-grade students engaging Kelley Elliott, Assistant Head of Early Childhood & Lower School, in their project-based learning assignment.


THAT IS HIS NATURE: A VISIT FROM BISHOP NEOPHYTOS By: Connie Koinis, Early Childhood & Lower School Religion Teacher and Christina Papazis, Middle School Religion Teacher

Bishop Neophytos, Bishop of Nyeri and Mount Kenya, came to Houston last September to visit Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral. AOS was fortunate to also have him preside over one of our chapel services and share his love and wisdom with our entire community. He began his homily the same way he begins with the children at an orphanage school in Kenya by saying:

God is good all the time, And all the time God is good. That is His nature. WOW!


The students remember his warm smile and strong accent but also the story he told them about when he was a young boy. He said that sugar was expensive, and they did not have it very often. His mother always kept the sugar on a high shelf. One day she left the sugar on the table and told him not to eat the sugar. He was very tempted and ate it even though his mother told him not to eat it. To make the sugar bowl look like it was still full he put salt under the sugar in the bowl. When she came home she asked him if he had eaten any sugar, and he said no. His mother could see sugar on his lips and could have become very angry at him but instead showed him love and forgiveness. She told him, “I pray you love God as much as you love your sugar.”

Bishop Neophytos’ wisdom was embraced by all members of our community, and you could hear children reciting his greeting in classrooms throughout the first eight months of the school year. However, none of us could have guessed how much we would need this reminder and guidance as our world turned upside down with the sudden onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. With our campus closing, we lost the capability to gather and worship together as a community. With this new world of social distancing, we truly had to turn inward to find God’s strength and love where we were reminded:

God is good all the time, And all the time God is good. That is His nature. WOW! Having His Eminence speak to the entire school was truly a blessing. Our students and faculty were able to hear from someone worthy of the title of Bishop who came from the humblest origins just as our Lord did. Hearing about the challenges he faced as a child, such as not having a pair of shoes until he went to high school, and the challenges the people in his flock face on a daily basis in remote villages of Kenya, caused one to reflect. Yet he was full of such pure joy and happiness. His abiding love in Christ radiated throughout his entire being, and everyone left the room feeling uplifted and with gratitude for the blessings we have to be here in the United States. Bishop Neophytos left a lasting impression with a motto that is inspiring in any circumstance. Children in an orphanage school in Kenya say it every day, and children at Annunciation Orthodox School say it as well. This is such a beautiful connection between children of God an ocean apart.

“I like how he used repetition to get his point across. I like how he used the word ‘WOW’ to describe how great God’s love is. He seemed so full of love and eager to share that with us.” Robert W. ’20

Opposite: Bishop Neophytos educating 8th-grade students in their religion class. Above: Bishop Neophytos sharing his message with the AOS community in a chapel service.



Dear AOS Community, Let me begin by saying how honored I am to be joining the AOS community as the new Athletic Director. AOS and the AOS Athletics program have a tremendous reputation. During my 23 years in education, I worked five years in Alief ISD and the past 18 years at St. Francis Episcopal School. While at St. Francis, I served as an elementary teacher for six years, Assistant Head of Lower School for two years, and physical education teacher, coach, and athletics administrator for 10 years. Athletics has always been an important part of my life. I competed in basketball and golf into my early years in college. I have coached volleyball, basketball, and lacrosse for the past 18 years.

In December, I will be celebrating 23 years with my beautiful wife Candi. We have three children: Charli (11), Gage (8), and Scout (8). I am blessed to now be a Dolphin! I am excited about becoming a part of this great school and family. I do not take lightly the opportunity I have to serve your children and to ensure they have the best possible athletics experience. Thank you, and here’s to the 2020-2021 school year! Go Dolphins!

Ron Robinson Above: Ron Robinon, Athletic Director, with his wife Candi and children Charli, Gage, and Scout.


#AOSHEALTHINACTION By: Scott Cunningham, Communications Coordinator

The P.E. Department started the new year with a challenge: Post family photos of healthy activities to social media with #aoshealthinaction so that every child can feel happy and excited about healthy living. Whether it was a ski trip back in January, a family bike ride during quarantine, or an obstacle course of activities for the Olympics at home, AOS families rose to the challenge! Enjoy a few of our favorite photos here, and be sure to search #aoshealthinaction on our Facebook page to see more of the great things our families have done.


CLOSING THE DISTANCE WITH FINE ARTS WEEK By: Joan Lange, Director of Libraries

In a time of quarantine, people are starving for stimulation and connection. A feeling of ennui can overshadow us, and a sense of isolation can harm bonds within communities. Our school found a way to reach out to our community and close the distance through a virtual celebration of fine arts. Why are fine arts so vital to a school community? A university art professor once explained to me that to better understand aesthetics, consider the opposite, anaesthetics. Anaesthetics deaden the senses, while aesthetics awaken the senses. We can use fine arts to shake us from our deflated moods, enliven our sensibilities, and strengthen a feeling of connectedness. Each year, our Fine Arts Week includes music, choral, and drama performances, and the library contributes by hosting a Poetry Slam that showcases creative writing pieces selected for our literary magazine. Faced with school closure and distance learning, our Fine Arts Week was “reimagined” through a series of digital portals to sample fine arts offerings. Several tools were used to feature daily events:

• FlipGrid–a free

resource for educators, curated individual student videos for both the Poetry Slam and pop-up performances. The individual videos were assembled in interactive grids so that families could sample performances.

• A digital flipbook software converted the pdf of our Lit Mag into an interactive view of the featured writing and art.

• Vidigami was used to create a virtual art

gallery, with folders of artwork sorted by grade level.

• Spotify playlists provided music for

students to enjoy during breaks in their school day.


• Adobe Premiere Pro was used to set up

grid views of multiple video clips, so that choral students were able to be heard singing individual parts in unison.

• Recordings of student theater

productions became encore performances that families could view to enjoy memorable moments from our school musicals and one-act plays.

Originally published on Association of Independent School Librarians, AISL Independent Ideas

Bharatanatyam in a split-screen view. Choral performances were synced in a grid view so that individual voices sang in unison. In the virtual Poetry Slam, a range of student voices were on display: whether travel writing (sharing the excitement of a trip to New York or cultural connections with families in Greece or India); nature writing (sharing the curious wonders of the Bayou); science writing (celebrating the discoveries made possible by the Hubble Telescope); fantasy (a shrinking curse plagues the royal members of a castle); science fiction (unknown terrors lurking in a trip through the Bermuda Triangle); or through personal essays (do you identify yourself with Gen Z or as a sixty-year-old man?). Musicals lit up computer screens in the evening as families gathered to watch videos of student performances.

Closing the Distance

Range of Ages, Cultures, and Voices Seeing the range of talent from grades K-8 was heartwarming. In the virtual Eikon Art Show, a Kindergartener’s colorful collage sparked joy while colorful landscapes by 7th and 8th graders evoked moods of calm in a field of flowers or sunsets or celebrated the power of nature in vibrant scenes of mountains and seascapes. Pop-up performances showcased the enthusiastic talents of young pianists as well as displaying the astounding musical prowess of an 8th grader’s rendition of Haydn’s Sonata. Families and cultures were also featured as a trio of siblings sang a Broadway tune, and an 8th grader, her mother, and grandmother performed the

This time of social distancing provokes a range of concerns. Some thoughts expressed in Zines by 7th graders described the sense of living in a “Backwards World,” the strange sensation of attending school on a computer screen and dreading the long summer, rather than looking forward to it. One student mentioned the mundane repetitiveness of life, that life is without “flare,” while another student expressed a sense of longing—she could “see” her friends in GoogleMeet but had to “mask” her sense of loneliness. Our Fine Arts Week was an opportunity for students and families to experience how art in all its forms can close the distance, stir the emotions, celebrate our creativity, and affirm that we are a community that can connect, even in times of isolation.

Opposite: Artwork by Lily S. ’20 Left: Artwork by Alexandra M. ’20


AOSTUDIOS MAKES ITS DEBUT By: Scott Cunningham, Communications Coordinator

Grady M. ’21, President of the A/V Club, wanted to make a podcast to bring people together. “[Podcasting] is a great way of creating and connecting the AOS community by creating content that everyone from parents and students to teachers can listen to and enjoy.” Mr. Seth Rowoldt, Lower School Music Teacher, (affectionately known as Mr. Row) was first approached by Grady early last year with his vision for a podcast at AOS. Interested in helping students explore digital media, Mr. Row agreed to be Grady’s staff editor and help get things off the ground. They submitted a proposal prior to the Christmas break of 2019, and they received approval to start AOStudios shortly after their return. The duo quickly went to work, creating a small recording studio in a storage room on the third floor in the lower school building. Mr. Row offered technical assistance when needed, but he knew his only student editor would take the project and run with it.“He’s a wonder star student of the year,” Mr. Row explained. “Grady’s that kind of kid.” AOStudios distributed new episodes to parents via email, offering three different programs: “Corona Cast”, which asked teachers how they were coping with the spring 2020 quarantine; “Sports in Motion”, which gave post-game interviews with AOS coaches; and “Trendy with Teach”, which investigated how teachers felt about the latest trends of Grady’s generation, including Tik Toks, Yeet, OK Boomer, what they all meant, and who they annoyed. 10 ANNUNCIATION ORTHODOX SCHOOL

“It just caught on fire,” Mr. Row said. Even when COVID-19 forced AOS to close its campus, Grady continued the program by conducting interviews over the phone and assigning interviews to students in other grades and divisions. Grady’s project has brought connection to the AOS community in a time of crisis, but Mr. Row also sees an opportunity for the long term. He hopes to convince other A/V Club members to follow Grady’s example and explore media like music, video, and graphic media production. Grady agrees: “The possibilities are endless with new technologies. There are so many amazing things that could allow students to become more involved at AOS and become more educated with technology.” Even when Grady moves on from AOS, Mr. Row thinks AOStudios will have a lasting impression.

Grady M. ’21 recording at his home studio.


MY FATHER’S DAUGHTER with Joni Zavitsanos

Former AOS religion teacher and daughter of renowned iconographer Diamantis John Cassis, Joni Zavitsanos opened My Father’s Daughter at Midtown Arts & Theater Center Houston in January. Zavitsanos describes this special exhibition as a chronicling of her father’s work side by side with her own by recreating the ancient imagery of the Byzantine era with a modern statement. Art Teachers Amy Ailor and Meredith Wise organized a Meet Me at the Museum which allowed a special opportunity for AOS students to view Zavitsanos’ work and speak with the artist directly! Meet Me at the Museum provides AOS students the opportunity to meet their art teachers at specially selected exhibitions for a come-and-go opportunity to engage with and learn more about the thriving arts scene that Houston has to offer.


Top: Maryn ’22 and Ava ’25 W. enjoying Meet Me at the Museum with Joni Zavitsanos and Art Teachers Amy Ailor and Meredith Wise. Above: The Sweet Kiss That Humbles The Proud & Pierces The Soul (2016), Joni Zavitsanos Opposite: Mystical Supper (2014), Joni Zavitsanos


Congratulations to the

CLASS OF 2020! Episcopal High School 23 Students Strake Jesuit College Preparatory 14 Students St. Agnes Academy 10 Students St. John’s School 8 Students St. Thomas High School 5 Students Awty International School 4 Students Kinder High School for the Performing and Visual Arts 3 Students The Kinkaid School 3 Students Lamar High School 3 Students St. Pius X High School 3 Students The Post Oak School 2 Students Houston Christian High School 1 Student Memorial High School 1 Student Phillips Academy Andover 1 Student Second Baptist School 1 Student Summit High School 1 Student



Class of 2020

PARTING THOUGHTS from our virtual Recognition Ceremony

“The AOS Graduating Class of 2020 had some amazing moments, but moments only make for funny stories. Memories consist of people. Our grade has some of the most memorable people I’ve ever met… All of us are going places, big places. And although we may be going separate ways here and now, I’m sure we will hear about each other on the news some day and think of all of the memories we share.” Dimi B. ’20 16 ANNUNCIATION ORTHODOX SCHOOL

“We have had too many firsts, taken too many tests, made too many friends, and learned too many lessons at AOS for the school not to be a part of us forever… Of course we have learned invaluable academic teachings here at AOS, but along the way we came across another sort of lesson: the kind that defines who we are and the sort of life we want to lead, and each experience here has taught me something new.” Ella Piper C. ’20


Class of 2020


“The memories are what get me. I wish I had all the time in the world to try and relive every single one before I go.” Kamiya B. ’20

“My teachers and grade as a whole. I will miss the school and how kind everyone is there.” Jamie D. ’20

“My friends and the comfort and familiarity of a loving and nurturing community” Henry L. ’20

“My friends - they have been a huge part of my life. It will be hard to be with only a few of them for the next four years.” Ada Kate M. ’20


“The friendly community that was always there to help me.” Nadiya N. ’20

“I will miss the Olympics! I enjoyed AOS sports in general, which taught me about hard work.” Logan P. ’20

Class of 2020


“Most of all, I am going to miss the sense of community” Sam P. ’20

“Friends, Coach Carr birthday parties, library time with Ms. Schumacher, and the old Jones Center will always be in my heart.” Murphy V. ’20


Congratulations to the

CLASS OF 2020! AOS faculty and staff cheering on the Class of 2020 for completing their 8th-grade year Justin B. ’20 enjoying the graduation parade with his family members Mike Stovall congratulating his son William S. ’20 on graduating from AOS Eva R. ’20 excited to see her teachers in person one last time after a few months of distance learning


2019-2020: A Year in Review


1970 Circle Reception Annual Fund Chairs Diana and John Tully and Tara and John Ivascu at the 1970 Circle Reception in November 2019. Donors who give $1,970 or more to the Annual Fund are invited to a reception with Dr. Fragomeni. This year’s event was held on the rooftop garden on a beautiful fall evening. Back to School Breakfast Over 800 people were in attendance at this annual, welcome-back event. Pictured here, Jaxson S. ’24 with his father Jonathan Sprinkles and AOS dad Kris McGinty are enjoying the party. Book Fair & Spaghetti Dinner Daphne S. ’25, CeCe M. ’26, and Isabelle S. ’26 find a spot to eat on a lovely evening outdoors. Mrs. Nikkie’s spaghetti is always a school favorite. Panos Georgiou Memorial Golf Tournament Mike Stovall, Paul Posoli, Coach George Turley, and Brad Sanders enjoy a beautiful morning of golf with over 75 other AOS dads, friends, and faculty at the BraeBurn Country Club. This year, the Dads Club dedicated this tournament in the memory of former Dads Club President Panos Georgiou for his service to the school. Grandparents & Special Friends Day AOS welcomed over 500 grandparents and special friends to campus this year. Pictured here, Luke L. ’23 and his grandparents, Elizabeth and Ray Cook, check out the middle school classrooms. Sporting Clays This AOS Dads Club fundraiser is always a hit! Tracy Hale, Coach Amit Shah, Celina Stabell, and Kris McGinty enjoyed the afternoon shooting clays and visiting with nearly 50 other participants. 24 ANNUNCIATION ORTHODOX SCHOOL




AOS grandparents and special friends are an integral part of our school family. The AOS Grandparents & Special Friends Club is a way for grandparents and special friends to support AOS through a financial gift and to be more involved with our school. All donors who join this club will be recognized at Grandparents & Special Friends Day and will receive information on various ways to connect with AOS. To become a member, make a donation in any amount to the 2020-2021 Annual Fund or to the AOS Endowment.

• Gifts can be made online at aoshouston. org/grandparents or by mailing in the enclosed response card with your gift.

You will receive:

• Recognition on Grandparents & Special Friends Day

• Information on volunteer opportunities (stay tuned for details as we begin to reopen our campus!)

• Special invitations throughout the year AOS is so grateful for the role grandparents and special friends play in the lives of our students, and we can’t wait to connect with you!

A.J. P. ’22 and his grandmother visit his classroom during Grandparents & Special Friends Day.


Alumni Spotlight:

HEALTH CARE by Katherine Noble ’04

Few subjects have escaped becoming politicized, polarizing, and polemic in 2020. When at home, without new television episodes or restaurant reservations, there is little to do to avert one’s eyes from the parade of news updates. In March though, when COVID-19 became an unequivocal public health crisis looming long over each city in the country, the valor of one vocation could not be sullied or spun: healthcare workers. The week before spring break, I was on the very top of the South Rim in Big Bend when I received a string of text messages. My friend, a writer completing a fellowship at Stanford University, had received a positive COVID test. She told me, far too apologetically for someone who would soon be placed twice in the ICU for 28 ANNUNCIATION ORTHODOX SCHOOL

respiratory failure, I needed to self-isolate. We had shared an Airbnb the previous weekend. Unfortunately, on top of the mountain with me were 30 of my eighth-grade students. I walked down the mountain in a daze and at a distance, watching the sun soften after baking us for six hours. We offered stubborn students our last water bottles, nut-free granola bars, and sunscreen they only obliged to apply once embarrassingly burnt. I abandoned the trip quickly, afraid to expose anyone to the virus I could be harboring. My students immediately spread a rumor that my boyfriend had left me to explain why I headed home in a hurry. I love middle schoolers. Opposite: Katherine Noble '04 delivering food to frontline workers.


The following weeks eddied past in a way that only writers, new mothers, older folks, and summer-stranded children are used to. Afternoons stretched and shrunk as seen in a fun house mirror. Meal times felt irrelevant, as did changing out of one set of clothes and into another, only to finally return to pajamas without having left the house. I waited for symptoms, scrambled to find a thermometer, was fine. I passed the exposure period unceremoniously. As we all quarantined through March and April, I, with the rest of the world, saw the indefatigable healthcare heroes reusing their PPE, then strapping on Glad bags. We watched affected families hold signs up to the ICU window in which their loved one resided. The drive-by last good-byes. Beleaguered Italians with their balcony operas and precariously shared wine from neighbor to neighbor. The body bags with carnations placed on top. Then, John Prine passed. His oeuvre gave voice to the isolated, the audience-less in society. It seemed unfair for him to die without ceremony, without audience. But, this prohibitive way of passing has certainly felt unfair to over five hundred thousand people who have left the world this spring, and I am only writing in June. My friend survived. And when she re-emerged, she said that the COVID nurses demonstrated an unconditional love she had never witnessed before. They were risking their lives to not only provide care but also peace. They told her stories to keep her mind occupied; they snuck in baked goods on days when it had been difficult to eat; they changed her clothes and bedding when her fever broke in her sleep; they brushed her hair and reassured her she would live to finish her novel; they calmed her mother, stranded across the country. When it got very bad, they only told her to keep breathing. With this personal story and so many similar anecdotes in mind, I felt motivated to raise some money to bring large-scale meals to healthcare workers in ERs and ICUs in Austin. In three weeks, people donated over $17,500. It was a community-wide effort, fueled by the immense generosity of friends, strangers, colleagues, and families at the school where I teach. I sourced the food from struggling local 30 ANNUNCIATION ORTHODOX SCHOOL

restaurants, trying often to purchase from immigrant-owned establishments that might be particularly hard-hit during this season. It was a double win— I could provide tacos, sandwiches, shawarma, bagels, pizza, and pastries to overworked hospital units, while also putting consistent money in the hands of small business owners. The funds were immediately spent; the need was great. Offering food to healthcare workers— and a moment for staff to come together to eat, talk, and take a breath— felt like the least I could do. I hope everyone will consider a specific way they can help to alleviate the weariness of essential workers as they continue to serve our society. And arranging food with the hospital was much easier and safe than I anticipated: just call the main line and let them know that you are wanting to deliver a meal to the most affected units. When I think about the Christian gospels and the ethics instilled during my time at AOS, I think specifically of agape and how contrarian Jesus’ view of humility feels: to serve while actively anticipating nothing in return; to love as an action unregulated by the reaction; to pledge that no circumstances will

be too egregious or unsanitary for grace; to put others’ wellness above your own. When I consider the saints surfacing during this pandemic, I think of the doctors and nurses at the end of their shift, washing their hands, taking off their masks, heating up a meal and putting up their swollen feet; many are even maintaining distance from their families in hope of keeping them healthy. These are good and faithful servants in the purest sense; we owe them our lives.

Katherine Noble ’04 is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York. She is a recent graduate of the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas, and she just finished teaching middle school English at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School in Austin. She has been the winner of the Keene Prize in Literature, the George H. Mitchell Prize, and the Roy Crane Award for Creative Achievement. Her poems have been published, or are forthcoming, in West Branch, Colorado Review, Crazyhorse, Beloit Poetry Journal, Pleiades, Electric Literature, Southword, and elsewhere. You can read more of her work at


Class of 2016 College Choices

OH, THE PLACES YOU’LL GO Auburn University Sophia Liollio Academic Charter Scholarship Baylor University Marina Cimino Carson Craft Moriah Feng Blinn College Olivia Cusack

Brown University Rosalind Coats Cal Poly, San Louis Obispo William Flood Case Western Reserve University Ryan Doughty University Scholarship Dimitri Triantaphyllis University Scholarship

Boston College Kate Foshee

Chapman University

Boston University Clara Haymon

Colorado School of Mines Peter Wade Provost Award

Catie Beck


Cornell University Reeti Mangal Phi Beta Kappa Scholarship Davidson College Charlie McGee Duke University Trey Hewell Fordham University William Johnston Fordham Loyola Scholarship Fordham Tuition Award Georgetown University Mia Hewell Mia Murillo

Harvard University Sofia Castore Field Hockey Kansas State University Katie Allen Kansas State Ad Astra Award Kansas State Founders Non-Resident Merit Award Kansas State University Wabash Cannonball Scholarship Louisiana State University Camden Collings Merit Non-Resident Award Lacrosse Cooper Edwards Flagship Nonresident Award Shell Honors Student Leaders Award Tiger Alumni Legacy Scholarship Rugby Catherine O’Brien Tiger Alumni Legacy Scholarship Tiger Excellence Scholar Nonresident Award Miami University Pyper McKay RedHawks Excellence Scholarship University Academic Scholarship New York University - Shanghai Persephone Boyd-Fossi Northeastern University Katie Kuykendall Rice University Pierre Loch-Temzelides Sophia Pamphilis

Savannah College of Art &Design Vinny Marchese

Academic Scholarship

Southern Methodist University Annabelle Cokinos Marco O’Malley

Second Century Scholarship

Syracuse University Liam Griffin

Newhouse Leadership Scholarship

Texas A&M University Ryan Disch Stephen Kelley Luke Poirot

Chevron U.S. REACH Scholarship Texas A&M Opportunity Award Scholarship

Jay West Trinity University Dillon Smith

President’s Scholarship

Tufts University Maxwell Shellist University of California, San Diego Janna Aboudaher


University of Oregon Abigail Craft

Apex Scholarship

University of Texas at Arlington Sam Kinder University of Texas at Austin Conner Adzgery Will Arntzen Pola Aronowski

Hildebrand Department of Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering Merit Scholarship

Wilson Grant Jainali Hira Faris Husain Dylan McIntyre Brinkley Morse Katherine Thompson Austin Wrubel University of Texas at Dallas Stephanie Buitrago University of Texas at San Antonio Sophia Gazis University of Virginia Anabel Kirton UTSA + UT Austin CAP Olivia Mustachia

University of Houston Ellie Ledet

Vanderbilt University Brooklyn Clark

University of Oklahoma Mac Aulbach Christina Plaskett

Washington and Lee University Maggie Foshee

The Academic Achievement Scholarship

Lexi Teague Irene Zavitsanos

Washington University in St. Louis Coco Hawkins THE DELPHIAN I FALL 2020 33



Night at the Astros AOS alumni reconnected with old and new friends at a private happy hour at Minute Maid Park for the Alumni Night at the Astros event in September 2019! To make the night even more special, the Middle School Chorus put on a wonderful performance singing the national anthem before we all cheered for the ‘Stros! College Alumni Holiday Fiesta Lunch AOS college-aged alumni caught up and enjoyed a festive fiesta lunch in December 2019 over their holiday break! Many of them got the chance to reconnect with their former Chapel Buddies and teachers. We love when our alumni come back to campus to visit! Class of 1999 Reunion The AOS Class of 1999 celebrated their 20th reunion in September 2019 with a dinner in Montrose at Vinoteca Poscól. Thank you to our event hosts Keefer Lehner, Winnie Simmons Phillips, Lauren Garson Sanders, and Aron Will for making this memorable night such a success!

Right (top to bottom): Holly Hughes ’04, Alex Venzke ’00, James Brooks ’01, and Janikka Bratton ’00; Chapel Buddies Christina McGee ’13 and Allie W. ’20 Opposite Top: Luke Williams ’15, Sophia Solé ’13, Christina McGee ’14, 4th Grade Teachers Adam Flores and Rhonda Brooks, AnnaClaire Solé ’15, and Ben Riddle ’14 Opposite Middle (left to right): Emmy Davis, Meghan O'Shaughnessy ’04, Natasha "Tashi" Stolte ’05, Chris Monegan, and Bailey Teas ’04; Keefer Lehner ’99 and Matt ’99 and Liz Yale Opposite Bottom: Graduates of the AOS Class of 1999 and their guests



ALUMNI COMMITTEE This year, we expanded our Alumni Committee to include an Alumni Council comprised of five working groups of AOS alumni to help the Advancement Office connect with and engage our alumni in various ways. These working groups are in addition to our Alumni Class Representatives and, together, form the AOS Alumni Committee. The working groups include fundraising, communications, reunions and events, the 50th Anniversary, and young alumni. We are excited to welcome such a dynamic group of alumni to our first Alumni Council and we are eager to see the unique and creative ways they help us continue to connect with our alumni of all ages. 50th Anniversary James Brooks ’01 Melissa (Marsac) Semmler ’97 Ashley (Waters) Trauber ’05

Communications Jackie (Effenson) Cowherd ’97 Kaitlin (McGlaughlin) Necas ’02 Homa Shalchi ’09


Kelli Lilienstern ’96 William Venzke ’03 Trevor Konopka ’06

Reunions/Events Grace Gibson ’02 Nina Masterson ’02 Charlsie Neutzler ’06

Young Alumni Wilson Bailey ’19 Arianna Doss ’19 Evan Ecklund ’18 Ella Kalapatapu ’17 Isabella Posoli ’17 Naya Rhemtulla ’18

Class Representatives Kelli Lilienstern ’96

Jackie (Effenson) Cowherd ’97 Emma (Simmons) Anselmi ’98 Lanier Brooks ’98 Janikka Bratton ’00 Megan (Kaldis) Williams ’01 Michael Kelly ’02 William Venzke ’03 Ashley (Waters) Trauber ’05 Erin Granberry ’09 Riley Calkins ’11 Tatum Dutherage ’17 Jessica Harris ’17 Sophie Butler ’18 Thierry Chu ’18 Margaret Hammond ’18 Michael Posoli ’18 Olivia Chapman ’19 Landon Foltz ’19 Bond Hassen ‘19 Annabeth Kalapatapu ’19


ALUMNI CLASS NOTES Kelli Lilienstern ’96 and her husband Carl Hennagir welcomed their daughter Cecelia Jeannine Hennagir (Cece) on April 6, 2020, weighing 7 lbs., 1 oz. and measuring 20 inches. Having a baby during a global pandemic was a strange experience, but Kelli and Carl were thankful for all of the doctors, nurses, and members of the medical team that made it a safe and smooth a delivery! Big sister Penny (a new AOS Delphi student) was thrilled to meet Cece when she came home, and they are so happy to be a family of four! Becky (Moriarty) Davis ’97

married fellow AOS alum Greg Davis ’98 at McGovern Centennial Gardens on December 22, 2019, with none other than Mark Kelly as the officiant. Following their wedding, they honeymooned in Argentina, Uruguay, and Chile and ran into AOS alum Liz (Furlow) Malpass ’05 who was also on her honeymoon. Since returning, Becky has been enjoying her sustainability consultant position at GreeNexus Consulting, living in the Montrose area with her two dogs and one scrappy cat (as well as the occasional foster animal), learning how to be a “bonus mom” to Greg’s beautiful daughter, Madison, and training for her next running event!

Katie (Hall) Schexnayder ’97 and her husband recently moved back to Houston. Katie has made a career change from social work into real estate and is now a licensed realtor at Greenwood King Properties at the Kirby office.

In the summer of 2019, Niki Angleton ’98 was moved by her company to London to work on a technology partnership with the Premier League, the greatest football (soccer) league in the world! She has since been granted settlement status in England and plans to live in multiple countries before returning to the US (if ever). Cheers, mates!

Emma (Simmons) Anselmi ’98 and her husband

live in Boulder, Colorado with their two children, Elias (3) and Thea (2). During the quarantine, Emma has enjoyed Zoom calls with many of her AOS classmates where it has felt like no time has passed since they were all together!

Marc Feder ’98 created a Want your teenager to live a free online enrichment productive and enjoyable life? course called the 30Day Ikigai Challenge to help teenagers discover their passion and purpose in life. This course combines the Japanese concept of ikigai with positive psychology to help teenagers (and 🙌🙌 their parents) create a mental framework for how to achieve a productive and enjoyable life. Find what they love…

…and what they’re good at.

Discover their passion and purpose in life.

Sign up for the FREE 30-Day Ikigai Challenge and we’ll give your teen a guide to explore what makes their soul smile.

It’s the perfect foundation for college and career planning.

Kate (Bourne) Doke ’02 joined Greenwood King in the beginning of 2020. She is excited to combine her passion for people, service, and real estate!

Maggie (Reich) Manus ’02 and her husband, Neil, welcomed their daughter, Eloise Claire Manus, to the world on March 9, 2020. Jake Delouche ’03 has been living in New

Orleans since 2013 after graduating from Loyola Marymount in 2011. After graduating, he completed two years (post-college) in Strake Jesuit’s Alumni Service Corps and 🙋🙋 then served as a City Year corps member at an elementary school in Los Angeles. Most recently, Jake taught history and religion for two years in New Orleans Catholic schools before beginning his current role as Director of Religious Education at Divine Mercy Parish in Kenner, LA. Outside of work, he enjoys tennis and running, serving on the YCP New Orleans Leadership Team, visiting sites in New Orleans, and being part of his Mardi Gras Krewe. (Hail Okeanos!) 🤗🤗

Sign up for free at

After 14 years of teaching elementary grades at The Kinkaid School, Meredith (Steele) Kottler ’98 is taking time to stay at home with daughters Aliya (7) and Caia (4) and explore what’s next. She continues to be so grateful for her AOS experiences and lifelong friends!

William Venzke ’03 and wife Chrissy welcomed their first child, Lily Eugenia Venzke, on December 31, 2019.

Matt Yale ’99 began a new job at Pershing Middle School where he teaches 8th Grade History. His son Luke is beginning his first year at AOS as a new Kindergarten student! THE DELPHIAN I FALL 2020 37

ALUMNI CLASS NOTES Heather (Scruggs) Waters ’03 and her

husband Matt welcomed their daughter, Caroline Christine Waters, into the world on April 6, 2020. Big brother, Henry (2), is excited to have a baby sister!

On January 10, 2020, Gus Amann ’05 and his wife, Olivia, welcomed their first beautiful baby girl, Lucrezia Estelle Amann, into the world. Lucrezia is a happy baby that already keeps mom and dad on their toes. They cannot wait to see what amazing things this little one will accomplish! After receiving a BFA in 2D Animation from Savannah College of Art and Design, Cameron Loucks ’05 went into the oil and gas industry as a salesman. After a few years, he then tried the restaurant industry, but during that time, an opportunity presented itself for him to work in South Africa and conduct wildlife research and conservation. After a couple years of bouncing around between the U.S. and South Africa, he has decided to settle back in Houston and start working in residential real estate. It’s been a wild ride, and he looks forward to seeing where life takes him next!

Despite a crazy 2020,

Landi (Lausen) Lutz ’05

got married on April 4, 2020 to her husband Kyle at her parents’ Austin lake house. Even though it wasn’t the 250-person wedding they had planned, it was just as beautiful with the presence of their parents and siblings. Landi’s husband Kyle grew up in Houston and owns an industrial electrical company with his family, and Landi started her own interior design company. The couple bought a home in Briarcroft last year and are so happy to start their lives together!

Liz (Furlow) Malpass ’05

married her law school sweetheart, Mason Malpass, on November 9, 2019. AOS alumni

Caroline Boerwinkle ’05 and Camille Tallichet ’05

were maids of honor and Liz’s brother, John Furlow ’01, was a groomsman. Liz and Mason honeymooned in Argentina where they went wine tasting in Mendoza and fly fishing in Patagonia!

Tina Taylor ’05 married Silas Adams on March 14, 2020. Other AOS Alumni in attendance included Natasha Stolte ’05, Emmy Davis ’05, and the officiant, Stuart Makris ’04. Silas and Tina met at Texas A&M University while playing on the respective Men’s and Women’s Club Soccer Teams. Tina is currently a physical therapist living in Reno, Nevada.


Tony Knapp ’06 is happily

engaged to Helena Van Told!

Gaby Oyer ’06 provided AOS with updates on several of her closest friends/classmates: Katy (Leven) Kimmel ’06 and her husband, Matt, just

celebrated their first wedding anniversary and welcomed their first child (a baby girl) in July. Olivia Anderson ’06 got engaged in June. She and her fiancé, Dan, met at Trinity College in Connecticut and currently reside in New York City. Taylor Anne Adams ’06 moved back to Houston and is working as Director of Strategy and Business Development at the Cannon. She and her boyfriend, Jesse, are new “pawrents” to a rescue pup named Sookie who loves all the quarantine cuddles! Irene Logothetis ’06 and her pup, Wiley, recently moved back to Houston where she is pursuing a physician assistant program at Baylor University. Since returning to Houston, Irene has taken great pleasure in sailing and spending time at the beach in Galveston! Helen (Frierson) Taylor ’06 got married to Kirby Taylor in November 2019 and the two are “pawrents” to a beautiful silver lab named Tuve.

In Fall 2020, Erin Granberry ’09 will be returning to school to pursue her Masters of Business Administration at Southern Methodist University with a full scholarship as a Cox School of Business Distinguished MBA Scholar.

Mariam Qazilbash ’09

graduated from Yale University with a Masters in Public Health. She is currently pursuing a career in hospital administration.

Julie McLamb ’12 graduated in May 2020

from the University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree. In June, she passed her NCLEX (nursing board/ licensing exam) and is officially an RN! In July, she began working as a pediatric registered nurse in Austin at Dell Children’s Medical Center in their respiratory unit. Julie is so excited to help children and families.

Cara Cancelmo ’09 graduated

in May 2020 with a Masters in Global Policy Studies from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin. She was also a Cybersecurity Fellow at The Robert Strauss Center for International Security and Law. In 2017, Cara earned her bachelor’s degree in International Relations from Claremont McKenna College. While at CMC, Cara played four years of lacrosse and went to the NCAA DIII tournament two times. She received first team IWLCA honors in 2017.

Tatum Dutherage ’17 and McKenna Whitney ’17 met the Jonas Brothers in New York City.


ALUMNI CLASS NOTES Helena Tsigos ’17 was elected Treasurer of Lamar High School’s National Honors Society organization (the largest chapter in the US.). In Summer 2020, she worked at Atlas Scholars, which is an energy and finance-focused internship program. It was Helena’s second summer in what is a three-year program. Daniel Colson ’18 and his family have a new pet kitten named Rocket!

Dylan Wilson ’18 is now a professional operatic lyrical soprano and actress! She has had the amazing opportunity to perform on some of the most incredible stages in the world including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and the National Opera Center.

Matthew Held ’18 achieved highest honors during the second semester of his sophomore year at Strake Jesuit. Joseph Wyble-Ceno ’18 received an award at

Strake Jesuit for outstanding accomplishment in communication and fine arts, and he also recently got his driver’s license.

Michael Posoli ’18 is a member of the National Honors Society, as well as Strake Jesuit’s Crusader Crew (Freshman Retreat Leader), and is the Junior Class Director for Strake Jesuit’s Key Club. He has been a member of Strake Jesuit’s basketball and baseball teams since his freshman year. Ethan Rowell ’18 transferred from Lamar High School to Strake Jesuit. He has been training every day at the Houstonian for track and recently got his driver’s license!


Olivia Chapman ’19 won MVP for the Junior Varsity Basketball Team at Episcopal High School (EHS) during her freshman year. She also received several photography awards including “Best in Show” at the EHS Fall Art Exhibition (pictured here), “First Place” in a beginner dark room print contest by the ATPI, and “Outstanding Emerging Photographer” in the Art Pillar Awards at EHS. It was an exciting first year of high school for her! Landon Foltz ’19 received a 4.0 GPA during both semesters in the 2019-2020 school year at Strake Jesuit while taking AP World History.


Fall 2020

Senior Editor

Isabelle Dom

Contributing Editors

Jill Buja and Katherine (Koinis) Monk ’01

Graphic Design

Danielle Garbouchian


Christopher Spicks and AOS Faculty and Staff

Special thanks to

Jeri Lodato

Administrative Team Head of School

Dr. Samuel V. Fragomeni

Director of Extended Day Center

Emily Benton

Director of Advancement

Jill Buja

Head of Early Childhood & Lower School Sharon Corbett

Director of Communications

Isabelle Dom

Assistant Head of Lower School Kelley Elliott

Director of Curriculum & Instructional Support

Alisa Eng

Director of Information Technology

Patrick Foye

Head of Middle School

Heather Haas

Director of Admission

Molly Khalil

Director of Finance & Operations

Bryant Richardson

Athletic Director Ron Robinson

Assistant Head of Middle School Roxanne Szumilas

Assistant to the Head of School Colleen Wade



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