The magazine of
PERSPECTIVES Summer 2011
From Ashley Hall to the Dominican Republic Lauren Widman â€™05
Compassionate | Independent | Confident
BOARD OF TRUSTEES 2011-2012
President – Malcolm M. Rhodes Vice President – Joseph (Jerry) G. Reves Secretary – Kaycee C. Poston Treasurer – Hugh C. Lane, Jr. MEMBERS-AT-LARGE Mary Gordon Baker ‘77 Sheppard (Shep) H. C. Davis Jr. Ann W. Dibble ‘70 Terry Becker Fisher Randolph (Randy) J.Friedman Brett Hildebrand Philip L. Horn, Jr. Elizabeth Rivers Lewine ’54 Elizabeth P. Lindh ‘67 Janet (Jan) Pearlstine Lipov W. Scott Parker Karen Jenkins Phillips ‘79 Anne Tamsberg Pope Roy Richards Jr. Emily Molony Swanson TRUSTEES EMERITI Mary Agnes Burnham Hood Martha Rivers Ingram ‘53 Patricia T. Kirkland J. Conrad Zimmerman, Jr. HEAD OF SCHOOL Jill Swisher Muti
172 Rutledge Avenue
Charleston, SC 29403-5821
Table of Contents 3
Headlines Jill Muti
Meghan Ward A Passion for Science
A Conversation with Jill Muti
Independent School Peace Fair
Prepared to Meet The Challenges
The magazine of Ashley Hall
The Education Issue EDITOR Catherine Newman GRAPHIC DESIGN Julie Frye Design, LLC CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Candy Treholm Anderson ’70 Nick Bozanic Elizabeth Foster Stephanie Hunt PHOTOGRAPHY Anna Murray PHOTO ADMINISTRATIVE TEAM ASSISTANT HEAD OF SCHOOL FOR ACADEMIC AFFAIRS Dr. Nick Bozanic ASSISTANT HEAD OF SCHOOL/ DIRECTOR OF INSTITUTIONAL ADVANCEMENT Cindy Hay Johnson ASSISTANT TO THE HEAD OF SCHOOL Elizabeth Gordon
Rebecca ’11 and Bess ’07 Rosen Harvard Times Two
Elizabeth Scarborough ’11 To the Beat of Your Heart
Faculty Excellence Innovative Assessment
Weasy Waring ‘06 Lauren Widman ‘05 Amy Faircloth Olsen ‘68 International Alumnae
EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT TO THE HEAD OF SCHOOL Amy Thompson CHIEF FINANCE OFFICER Audrey Tamekazu
Candy Trenholm Anderson ’70 Relive Your Life
Abigail Spratt ’09 A Semester in Patagonia
DIRECTOR, GRADES PRE-PRIMARY-K Dana Van Hook | Ross EEC DIRECTOR, GRADES 1-6 Lois Ruggiero | Lane and Pardue Hall ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, GRADES 5-6 Catherine Neel | Lane Hall DIRECTOR, GRADES 7-12 Mary Schweers | Jenkins Hall DIRECTOR OF ADMISSION Carolyn Newton DIRECTOR OF ATHLETICS Frances Slay DIRECTOR OF FACILITIES Fred Reinhard DIRECTOR OF FINE ARTS Judith Yarbrough DIRECTOR OF LIBRARY Cynthia Haviland DIRECTOR OF TECHNOLOGY Kevin Bourque ASSISTANT DIRECTOR OF INSTITUTIONAL ADVANCEMENT / DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS AND MARKETING Catherine Newman
48 Elizabeth Keith In Loving Memory 50 Alumnae Information and Class Notes
Class of 2011 Ashley Hall
The schools listed below offered the 29 members of the Class of 2011 over $2.2 million in merit scholarships.
American University | Auburn University | University of California at Santa Barbara | University of California at Santa Cruz | Carnegie Mellon University | Carroll College (Montana) | The Catholic University of America | College of Charleston | Clemson University | Clemson University (Honors) | University of Colorado at Boulder | Columbia College | Davidson College | Denison University | Drexel University | Duke University | Emory University | Florida State University (Film School) | Franklin and Marshall College | Furman University | The George Washington University | University of Georgia | Harvard University | High Point University | Howard University | Hunter College of the CUNY | Johns Hopkins University | Lake Forest College | Loyola University Chicago | Loyola University New Orleans | Maryland Institute College of Art | The University of Montana, Missoula | The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill | Occidental College | Oxford College of Emory University | Pace University, New York City | Parsons The New School for Design | Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts | Pennsylvania College of Art & Design | Point Park University | Presbyterian College | Rhode Island School of Design | University of Richmond | School of the Art Institute of Chicago | Sewanee: The University of the South | University of South Carolina | University of Southern California | University of St. Andrews (Scotland) | Tufts University | University of Vermont | Virginia Commonwealth University | University of Virginia | Wake Forest University | Washington and Lee University | Washington University in St. Louis | Winthrop University | Wofford College
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HEADLINES If the accomplishments of our students last year were the determinants upon which we graded our own success then Ashley Hall should be extremely proud! The 29 members of the small but mighty Class of 2011 were offered over $2.2 million in merit scholarships, including two Johnson Scholars at Washington and Lee, a Presidential Scholarship at the University of Southern California, and the Richardson Family Scholarship at Wofford. Ashley Hall athletes won 3 state championships in Tennis, Cross Country, and Equestrian Hunter/Jumper and two state runnerup titles in Volleyball and Track. Ashley Hall student artists were commissioned by a local business to create a mural and installation and others performed during Piccolo Spoleto. Ashley Hall student authors excelled in local and regional poetry contests, and our academics were recognized nationally by the Presidential, National Merit, and Fulbright Scholarship programs. Over the summer the Office of Institutional Advancement conducted a survey of our parent body. While there were clear areas of improvement identified by the shared insights of this community, we are pleased to report that 94% of our parents rated Ashley Hallâ€™s programs in the highest satisfaction categories possible. In this, the Education Issue of Perspectives, we share with you the methodologies and practices we have implemented to bolster these accomplishments. We introduce you to dedicated and passionate faculty; engaged, intelligent and curious students; a community that supports a continual quest for new knowledge; and our systems for evaluating existing and adapting new programs. Please take the time to read and consider thoughtfully the information in the articles in this edition. For as you will see, it is the combined efforts of many that creates and sustains this incredible learning laboratory we call Ashley Hall.
It is the combined efforts of many that creates and sustains this incredible learning laboratory we call Ashley Hall.
Jill Muti Head of School
Purposeful | Intelligent | Worldy
I can’t think of a more
Science than to have these
young minds embrace and engage so deeply with
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O L L A B O R AT I V E
MEET MEGHAN WARD
A Passion For Science A COMMITMENT TO GIRLS A teacher’s passion for her subject is central to inspiring and engaging her students in any subject she teaches but seems especially important when it comes to girls and science. A former research scientist herself, Meghan Ward’s lifetime love of marine biology and experience in the field provide Ashley Hall’s AP and Honors Biology and Marine Biology students with that perfect teaching combination. To speak with her about her field is to be inspired yourself. Meghan has always loved marine science and has made that passion her life’s work. She enrolled in the Florida Institute of Technology with one goal in mind, to obtain her degree in marine and environmental studies, and her course never wavered. Upon graduation she immediately began to work in the field, studying and evaluating the environmental impacts of Florida’s ecosystems. She also conducted scientific studies of water quality, oyster restoration projects, and was consulted on the permitting of docks and storm water drains and their affects on delicate marine ecosystems. Working in the field led
Meghan believes that science is best taught through experience and to that end takes her students into the scientific world and brings it into her classroom. Meghan to her first experiences sharing her love of science and knowledge with students when she volunteered with a sea turtle project and worked as an educator on various eco-tours. Realizing that teaching was as great a passion for her as her work as a scientist, she entered South Carolina’s alternative teaching program, PACE, an intense three year period that teaches best teaching practices to experts in critical subjects. After beginning her career at North Charleston High School and James Island Charter, Meghan joined Ashley Hall’s faculty in 2010. When she talks about the differences she sees in a singlegender classroom and her passion for engaging and inspiring future women scientists her enthusiasm is palpable, “This is the first time I really, truly feel I am teaching and getting students excited about science. The girls understand and embrace the concepts we discuss in class and are excited about their scientific observations outside of class. They share with me articles they read on their own and we discuss the implications and questions raised by this engagement. I encourage them to embrace their
Creative | Intelligent | Collaborative
big, beautiful brains, and they do! These girls are thinkers and questioners, they want to understand and are never timid about asking the hard or what in a mixed gender classroom might be considered the “embarrassing questions.” I never experienced this type of engagement from students in my mixed gender classes.” Meghan believes that science is best taught through experience and to that end takes her students into the scientific world and brings it into her classroom. Women scientists are often brought into her classroom demonstrating to students that there is no gender boundary in science or any other field. Dr. Rahna Hall, an oncologist at the VA Hospital and an Ashley Hall mom, is one such scientist. Dr. Hall joined the Honors Biology class during their study of cancer and the cell cycle to demonstrate that what the girls were learning about the cell cycle was what researchers are using every day in their fight against the disease. Dr. Hall accompanied the class on a tour of Hollings Cancer Center taking them through the mammography suites, the patient areas and the research labs. The students were able to experience firsthand all aspects of cancer research and treatment. “It was such an incredible opportunity for the girls to experience what it means to be a woman scientist.” Meghan shares. “The experience for them truly brought full circle that what they are learning in their Honors Biology class is being used every day by scientists right next door to save people’s lives.” This study of cancer also led to the students becoming involved in the Hope Lodge, a sister facility to the Ronald MacDonald House, for adult patients who are being treated in the Hollings Center. During their Winterim studies and Senior Service week students cooked nutritional meals for the residents and talked with them about healthy eating and lifestyle changes. The resources for scientific teaching in the Lowcountry and the partnerships that Ashley Hall has in the community are something else that Meghan gets excited about. “We have so
many incredible resources at our fingertips. My Marine Biology class has worked with the Department of Natural Resources on oyster restoration. We have studied coastal ecology and habitats on Bull Island. We hatched and raised shad fry for the National Fish Hatchery on Wadmalaw Island. All these experiences engage the students. I get messages on the weekends from students who have discovered something on their dock that they want to investigate or observed a shark that they want to identify. Girls who are no longer in my class contact me to share experiences that relate to things we learned in class and students are making science the focus of their Junior Internships and Senior Projects. This year alone Juniors tagged sharks, worked as educators on local eco tours and investigated nutrition and the sustainability of local agriculture. I can’t think of a more gratifying experience than to have these young minds embrace and engage so deeply with science.”
This year alone Juniors tagged sharks, worked as educators on local eco tours and investigated nutrition and the sustainability of local agriculture.
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Adeline Rawl ’13 and Ann Hill ’12 study the human brain at MUSC.
To become a participant in the Summer Neuroscience Institute students were required to submit an application essay and provide letters of recommendation for the 2011 program. The eight girls who were accepted into the program are juniors Julia Brown, Courtney Canton, Jane Gilbert, Jane Kucharski, Mary Carter Mullen, and Adeline Rawl and seniors Ann Hill and Katharina Koch. This year the program was available exclusively to Ashley Hall rising juniors and seniors but Meghan hopes to open future sessions of the Institute to other independent school students. She hopes to help develop a research methods class in partnership with MUSC to involve the girls in real time research. Meghan wants the girls to see that research science is not scary or overwhelming, and by involving them in the groundbreaking work being done in MUSC’s labs, inspire them to pursue a career in science. Meghan’s passion for science and quest to inspire her students of today to become the scientists of tomorrow truly make her an educator worthy of emulation.
The Summer Neuroscience Institute This summer Meghan debuted The Summer Neuroscience Institute in partnership with MUSC and the College of Charleston. The brainchild of Meghan and Dr. Patel, Chief Neurologist at MUSC, the Institute is an intensive two week study of the human brain and the many fields related to it including sleep and memory, psychology and depression, and basic brain anatomy, patterns and pathways. Students visited the College of Charleston to learn about the undergraduate work involved in the field and spent time at MUSC observing the application and expansion of this knowledge. In addition to lessons in Meghan’s classroom on “brain basics” and the nervous system, students visited the stroke center, sleep labs, and the College of Charleston’s electrophysiology labs. They dissected a sheep brain and eyeball, teleconferenced into actual brain surgeries, and attended one of the weekly conferences of neuroscientists at MUSC who present a current case and discuss it and its implications across all neuroscientific fields. At the outset of the Institute participants are given a case study and throughout the two week experience must apply what they learn to their particular case. At the end of the two weeks participants presented their case and findings to the group along with their recommendation for solution.
Courtney Canton ’13 undergoes a neural sonogram during the Summer Neuroscience Institute.
Creative | Intelligent | Collaborative |
A Conversation With
Over the summer of 2011 Ashley Hallâ€™s faculty and staff read Tony Wagnerâ€™s The Global Achievement Gap. In the book, Wagner, who is the co-director of the Change Leadership Group at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, shares his perceptions of the new survival skills needed by children to meet the demands of the global knowledge economy and how even the best schools in the United States are not teaching them. Recently Jill Muti sat down to share why Ashley Hall chose this book to read and what she sees as the most critical skills for students today. 8 | The magazine of ASHLEY HALL
e suggested The Global Achievement Gap for the all school read because the work that this entire school community has been engaged in for the last several years is reflected in what Wagner sees as the challenges facing 21st century schools and their students. The book gives each faculty member the opportunity to view and perhaps validate their work not just within the context of the Ashley Hall learning spiral but from a more global perspective. What Wagner defines as the new “seven survival skills” are in fact concepts that the school has been purposefully imbuing in its graduates for a century. The seven distinguishing hallmarks of an Ashley Hall graduate: Collaborative, Creative, Compassionate, Intelligent, Discerning, Worldly and Purposeful are realized only through the acquirement of Wagner’s proposed survival skills. The skills as he defines them are: 1. Creative Thinking and Problem Solving, 2. Collaboration Across Networks and Leading by Influence, 3. Agility and Adaptability, 4. Initative and Entrepreneurialism, 5. Effective Oral and Written Communication, 6. Assessing and Analyzing Information, 7. Curiosity and Imagination.
Academic rigor is the ability to define a viable question that creates interest and requires further research, then doing the research to obtain the knowledge necessary to answer the question or solve the problem.
While I agree with Wagner that these are vital survival skills for the 21st century, I also view them as layers or the building blocks of a fundamental education that culminates in the opportunity for a fulfilling life. Without curiosity why would you ask questions? Without effective communication skills how do you gather the information to be assessed? Without critical thinking skills you will never be able to properly adapt to situations by analyzing the relevant data. However, to fulfill Ashley Hall’s founding mission of creating an educated woman who is independent, ethically responsible and prepared to face the challenges of society with confidence the fostering and enhancement of each of these skills is necessary and has been since 1909. It is difficult to isolate each of these skills within our learning spiral and speak of them in their most teachable moments. The enhancement of these skills is ubiquitous in our classes from our 2-year-olds to our graduating seniors, but there are clear parallels that can be drawn to specific programmatic goals. The evolution of our community service program, from one of required hours to one in which girls find that their service experience is about their personal passions and no longer just a requirement. This change was intentional to teach the girls to lead by influence and collaborate across networks.
Discerning | Worldly | Purposeful |
Junior Internships and Senior Projects have been purposefully designed to enhance students’ entrepreneurialism and initiative. Our strong classical curriculum and recent implementation of the Harkness teaching method demand superior oral and written communication skills. The introduction of the Harkness method also clearly develops analytical skills as students read primary sources and learn how to analyze the information and see relationships between past, present and future. The materials the girls work through are incredibly challenging; however, the more they are exposed to challenging materials with the expectation that they will work through them, the stronger their ability to find the root information and form enlightened and defendable opinions. Participation in a Harkness class discussion is required with the expectation that a student’s opinions and observations are both salient and expressed clearly. While these clear parallels between specific program and the enhancement of Wagner’s survival skills are definable, for me, this type of discussion almost diminishes the depth of program at Ashley Hall.
One of the largest issues that I see facing all public educational systems is the need to find a system that works for everyone and then develop an evaluation tool that measures the success of that system. Ideally mission driven schools have the opportunity, because they are smaller, more agile, and in many ways control their own destinies, to be much more experimental in their programs and can more easily adapt and adopt new teaching methodologies. This also provides opportunity for a school to be much more introspective of its defining core. For example, for years academic rigor both in public and independent schools has been measured and defined by college entrance and AP testing, typically multiple choice testing, instead of open ended questions which allow the assessment of what a student actually knows. Academic rigor is the ability to define a viable question that creates interest and requires further research, then doing the research to obtain the knowledge necessary to answer the question or solve the problem. Our motto, Possunt Quae Volunt, implies the necessity of a strong work ethic, but what does that mean in our schools? Children today are extremely active; they get up early and go to bed late with each hour programmed in between. The skills our children need to achieve sustained work, to understand what it means to truly have a passion and work through any hardships toward achieving a specific goal or outcome are constantly being eroded in a culture that delivers its information in three minute sound bites. Twenty-first century life works against sustained or effective creativity and critical thinking-both of which require time and energy. This brings me back to Wagner’s first survival skill: Critical Thinking and Problem Solving. “Critical Thinking” has become a bit of a catch phrase recently. What is critical thinking? I believe it is the ability to ask good questions that in turn offer a higher level of thinking skills rather than just a regurgitation of an expected answer. These very concepts lie at the root of Ashley Hall’s foundational education and without them none of the other “survival skills” are possible. We know that the stimulus for lifelong learning starts at a very early age and has to do with a natural curiosity and inquisitiveness. Our Reggio-Emilia Program in the EEC and our inquiry based learning in Pardue Hall foster and enhance a student’s natural curiosity for the world around them and affirm their desire to seek out answers for the questions they have about that world. Consider any of the first grade’s projects last year, whether it was a study of Native Americans, butterflies or Japan, it all begins with a question and
ends with a synthesis and a deeper understanding of the material. Students then can actually have a discussion with you about their outcomes, rather than give you the memorized facts. This inquiry based learning stimulates a very natural process that happens for all of us. However as layer upon layer of objective information is required we often find that somewhere between 4th and 7th grade students lose that natural joy in learning. Learning becomes more about passing tests and giving the right answer; often students view the material as no longer relevant to them and their school work becomes drudgery. We are doing all we can in our lower grades to ensure this does not happen. Ashley Hall’s position as an independent school, as I mentioned earlier, has given us the opportunity to best shape those critical developmental years in a unique way and inspired the formation of our 5th and 6th grade Intermediate School. The adolescent brain goes through a natural change in chemistry that makes life much more difficult for the student. This change typically happens right before an adolescent develops the
ability to think abstractly and is a time developmentally when many skills need to come together for the student to master the next level of critical thinking. Ashley Hall’s Intermediate School provides the perfect environment for this critical time of growth and offers unique teaching opportunities as our understanding of adolescent girls brain development continues to evolve. I have heard our Intermediate School referred to as the school’s “think tank.” Because the program is so unique to Ashley Hall we have an opportunity to implement innovative program that will continue to stimulate students’ curiosity and joy in learning. As an example, over the last few years The National Coalition of Girls’ Schools and other independent and public school organizations have begun to herald an integrated teaching concept with the acronym STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.) By bringing together these already correlated disciplines, teachers are able to promote collaborative work and foster differentiated strengths with the hope that more students will pursue these disciplines as career paths. The national push for the program has been for upper level study, but innovative faculty
Discerning | Worldly | Purposeful |
at Ashley Hall have begun adapting the program for Ashley Hall’s Intermediate School. They have added the Arts as a component of the course integration and christened Ashley Hall’s program “STEAM.” Intermediate School faculty from each discipline Aaron Eastlack, Catherine Neel, Ashley Cook and Carol Wellein are working together to root the program’s outcomes in the fulfillment of our mission and adapting the best aspects of this program to their curricula for the 2011-2012 school year. In his book Wagner discusses the linear qualities of the current educational system and the flaws he finds in that approach. I agree with him that there is often a lack of depth of understanding when we are constantly pushing our students to “move up a level” because they can recite back to us the concepts of a previous level. Instead of approaching the gathering of knowledge as a linear path you almost need to “put in thick roots” to really understand the applications of the knowledge not just prove you have the knowledge. It is a difficult concept to put into words but consider that students need to master material well enough to really be able to manipulate it to understand how it is applicable. A constantly linear approach to education often makes it difficult to achieve that critical mass or mastery to really be able to analyze and think critically about the concepts you are learning. This is what we are addressing early in our Lower and Intermediate School math systems. Clearly some students reach this critical mass of understanding earlier than others and will be ready to move on to new or more difficult concepts. In our math cycles the accelerated students have the opportunity through our partnerships with Johns Hopkins and Stanford to challenge themselves with additional or higher levels of math. Some children get there earlier than others; however, the important thing to keep in mind is that the timeline for reaching that critical mass of understanding is not an indicator of a child’s ability to grasp these abstract concepts. Yes, students have to have some very concrete knowledge to be able to move on, but whether they are able to recite their multiplication tables at six, seven or eight years old doesn’t matter. There is important synthesis of information that has to happen for students to be able to analyze and think. Unfortunately many schools are still teaching math like it was taught thirty years ago. In some cases, the very same worksheets and workbooks are being used to teach math. But the world has changed and today a linear approach to education measured through skill memorization will not provide graduates with any of Wagner’s seven survival skills. Finally, I would like to add that while I am always open to innovation and embrace the necessary evolution of the educational process, in many ways I consider myself an educational conservative. I am cautious about the appropriate use of technology in
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Students need to master material well enough to really be able to manipulate it to understand how it is applicable. A constantly linear approach to education often makes it difficult to achieve that critical mass or mastery to really be able to analyze and think critically about the concepts you are learning.
and out of the classroom, and I believe that the humanities, languages and arts are all still today and always will be vital necessities in our culture and they need to be in our schools. They are a reflection of our society and how we as humans feed our souls and gain empathy and understanding of others. The humanities give a voice to our humanity and not providing students an opportunity to understand and appreciate them shortchanges their ability to synthesize all human experience and knowledge. Wagner is clear in his purpose to prepare twenty first century students for success in life, the workplace, and a democracy and his propositions for change are all critical to meet those success standards. Ashley Hall will prepare our students for fulfilled, engaged, fascinating lives where joy is found in discovery and success found in understanding.
The Independent School
P E A C E FA I R PQV to our Intermediate School students and their faculty sponsor Allison Sill for their groundbreaking event to raise money for girlsâ€™ education in developing countries. Recognizing that they couldnâ€™t do it alone, Ms. Sill and the Intermediate School girls recruited other local independent schools, Charleston Day and Charleston Collegiate, to hold the first annual Independent School Peace Fair! Students from all three schools sold their arts and crafts and baked goods to raise money for Girl Up, a program of the UN Foundation. They plan for the fair to become an annual event and hope to engage even more independent school communities in this fun, fundraising event in the future.
PREPARED to meet the Challenges Ashley Hall’s mission has remained clear and steadfast for over a century:
“to produce an educated woman who is independent, ethically
responsible and prepared to meet the challenges
of society with confidence.” In 1909 when those words were first penned, Ashley Hall girls wore long skirts, recessed for noon “dinner” and understood that their mothers and female teachers could not vote. “China” was what people ate on, not a global
economic competitor they worried about. Students were not uploading Spring Dance pictures to Facebook or texting Physics homework questions back and forth. Educated | Confident | Independent
Times have certainly changed; even so, it’s hard to argue that Ashley Hall’s patina-ed mission statement is not still relevant in the 21st century. But here’s an interesting twist: how does a school prepare her students for the “challenges of society” when those very same challenges are also calling into question the traditional academic paradigm and methodologies that once accomplished the mission? What exactly are today’s societal and educational demands? And how, in light of them, is a classic “old school” mission realized, and relevant, in a radically “new school” world?
Some Things Don’t Change
his new world is a flattened world, as Thomas Friedman has argued. Boundaries have become blurred and the rules have drastically changed. Information is open-sourced; jobs are out-sourced; financial and intellectual capital are crowd-sourced; meanwhile American high school and college graduation rates today are dramatically under-sourced. The 21st century frontier is increasingly globalized, hyper-interconnected and Tweet-full of distractions and opportunities, which means the skills and abilities that students need to be competitive in the new millennium are different from, say, memorizing the periodic table or mastering Latin declensions. The skills needed now relate to fields such as engineering and technology. Necessary abilities include being an innovative team player while demonstrating personal initiative and creativity. “Rote learning had, and has, a place, but now it’s probably more important to know where one can find information and know how to analyze and synthesize it than it is to be able to recite it,” says Lois Ruggiero, a veteran educator starting her 32nd year at Ashley Hall, now as Head of the Lower and Intermediate Schools. Ruggiero acknowledges that the education field has a long history of “reform du jour” and shifts and changes based on new trends or the latest research. “But some things don’t change,” Ruggiero says. “It will always be important for students to be able to communicate well, both orally and in writing, and that has always been a hallmark of Ashley Hall. Likewise, a classical education remains important. We still introduce Latin and Greek to our 7th and 8th grade students, in addition to a Romance language. But one big difference over the years,” she adds, “is that our instruction is now less teacher-driven, less lecturing, and more open to student-led initiatives. We place more emphasis on critical thinking skills and collaboration than ever before.”
Reggio-Emilia in the Ross EEC Promoting Risk Taking and Resilience in Learning Tomatoes and fresh herbs, strawberries and bright zinnias—this is the bountiful harvest of kinder-“garden” at Ross EEC. “This project grew from the children’s interest. Our teachers put the provocation out there, and the children were the ones who took ownership, who asked ‘can we create a garden?’” says Dana Van Hook, Director of the EEC and champion of Reggio-Emilia, a child-paced, child-directed learning philosophy. Reggio-Emilia harnesses a child’s natural desire to learn, which teachers support by customizing curriculum according to students’ needs and interests. “Our students pursue investigations they are curious about. Reggio-Emilia promotes risk-taking and resilience. When students confront obstacles in their search for answers, they learn to back up and try another approach,” explains Van Hook, who also appreciates the way Reggio-Emilia allows teachers to be “wildly creative,” infusing traditional language arts, math and science standards into innovative formats. Case in point: math lessons in the guise of produce sales at the garden project Farmers’ Market. From tallying tomatoes to identifying colors and shapes, what more natural way to learn than to plant seeds and watch the results grow and blossom? Educated | Confident | Independent
Responsive Classroom in Pardue Hall Promoting Collaboration and Responsibility of Self
“Responsive Classroom is
Morning meetings, setting personal learning goals, agreeing upon classroom rules—these are some of the practices rooted in the Responsive Classroom philosophy embraced in Pardue Hall. “Responsive Classroom is not a curriculum or a method; it’s more fundamental,” explains third grade teacher Annie Hartwell. “It’s an approach based on the principle that children learn best when independence and responsibility are fostered.” Teachers weave traditional curriculum standards into creative lesson plans, and collectively-decided classroom rules support girls in achieving their individual learning goals, which may run the gamut from “write a story for children’s magazine publication” or “learn about the Kiawah and Westo tribes.” Hartwell finds that Responsive Classroom’s emphasis on positive social interaction is particularly effective, especially the morning meetings. “It’s amazing how powerful it is simply to start each day with a consistent format and a friendly greeting,” she observes. “We can forget how intimidating it can be for a young girl to walk into a classroom. It’s hard to be open and receptive to learning if she’s preoccupied with whether a particular classmate likes her or other concerns. The morning meeting is where developing community in a classroom begins on a daily basis.”
not a curriculum or a method, it’s more
fundamental. It’s an approach based on the principle that children learn best when independence and responsibility are fostered.”
Educated | Confident | Independent
STEAM Program in Lane Hall Promoting Science and Math Education
The jobs of the future will be centered around science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) – the exact academic disciplines in which US students lag behind their international peers, especially those in Asia. This fact has garnered the attention and concern of corporate America, President Obama, Bill Gates and educators nation-wide. And the worrisome gap is particularly acute when gender is factored in—girls are notoriously underrepresented in STEM fields. At Ashley Hall, however, STEM and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) are front and center, and receive special focus in the formative Intermediate School years, leading to the engaging Future Cities project in the 7th and 8th grades. The project challenges students to work collaboratively to imagine and design a futuristic metropolis—using math, computer skills and engineering programs to create architectural drawings of their city, build it to scale, then use scientific inquiry and problem solving to address a health problem that their future city citizens might encounter. “Our STEM approach really just amplifies what Ashley Hall teachers naturally do, which is to align curriculums as much as possible,” says Catherine Neel, Assistant Director of the Intermediate School and leader of the Future Cities project.
In the National Engineering Future City Competition at the University of South Carolina, Ashley Hall 8th Graders won Best Use of Innovative Construction Materials and Technique and the award for Excellence in Systems Integration.
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The Four Cs
ndeed, Ruggiero’s observations reflect the current thinking of leading experts such as Tony Wagner, senior education advisor to The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and author of The Global Achievement Gap: Why Even Our Best Schools Don’t Teach the New Survival Skills our Children Need–and What We Can Do About That. Wagner’s book, which was required summer reading for all Ashley Hall faculty and staff, outlines seven survival skills for the 21st century, and chief among them is “Critical Thinking and Problem Solving” and “Collaboration across Networks.” The Partnership for 21st Century Skills, a national organization whose founding partners include the US Department of Education and leading corporations such as Dell, Cisco Systems, AOL, Microsoft and the National Education Association, identifies similar prerequisites for success: students (and the 21st century workforce) must be able to ask good questions, synthesize data and connect the dots; they must be able to work fluidly across boundaries and with teams, and understand and appreciate diverse cultures. The Partnership emphasizes the 4C’s (critical thinking, communication, collaboration, creativity) as necessary corollaries to the more traditional 3Rs.
“In striving to create continuity of purpose and practice at every level of instruction, from the Ross Early Education Center to Jenkins Hall, we have embraced an educational philosophy that might best be described as ‘a learning spiral’.”
It’s an interesting paradox that in this increasingly flat world, Ashley Hall’s educational philosophy has, over the past five years, become less flat, less linear, and more spiraling, to borrow a term and concept from Nick Bozanic, Ashley Hall’s Dean of Faculty and Assistant Head of School for Academic Affairs. “In striving to create continuity of purpose and practice at every level of instruction, from the Ross Early Education Center to Jenkins Hall, we have embraced an educational philosophy that might best be described as ‘a learning spiral,’” explains Dr. Bozanic.
Educated | Confident | Independent
his spiral begins at the heart and nerve-center of campus, physically represented by the Rivers Library and Science Center, and it winds upwards through the students’ progression and maturation to encompass all four schools – EEC, Lower, Intermediate, and Upper – in a cohesive commitment to nurturing self-motivated, self-directed, engaged learners. The centrifugal force within the spiral is the belief that questions are as important as answers and that the goal is for students to become independent learners: passionate curiosity lies at the spiral’s core. “It struck me as interesting when I came to Ashley Hall six years ago that a mission statement written over a century ago remains pertinent,” says Bozanic. “It reminds us that the essential objectives of any real educational
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program have not changed at all. What has occurred over the years (in education in general) was a narrowing of perspective regarding what the goal really is,” he says. “Educators became obsessed with specialization and began educating students to fill a role or a job. We lost sight of the fact that we are educating human beings to function in society as a whole. The world we now find ourselves in cries out for students who are possessed of an agile mind, who are able to not just acquire information but to assess it and to apply it.” To do this, Bozanic and his faculty colleagues continuously examine how the school’s curriculum and methodologies support an institutional culture that fosters a desire to learn, rather than one that dictates standards only. “We believe that how we teach becomes every bit as important as what we teach,” Bozanic affirms. Student-directed learning begins in Ashley Hall’s preschool, and spirals up through each stage of student development. For three-year-olds, it may entail children pacing themselves at activity centers according to their interests and modes of self-expression. For third graders, it may include girls setting individual learning goals that augment and complement the basic curriculum. For high school juniors, it encompasses girls deciding on a specific internship project that expands on their individual academic interests and pursuits. The methodologies that Ashley Hall teachers use to accomplish the overarching goal of self-directed learning have various names –Reggio-Emilia in the EEC, Responsive Classroom in the Lower School and Intermediate School (which also utilizes Everyday Math and the Siddons Spelling Program), Harkness Table techniques in the Upper School—but don’t get caught up in the terminology. “These names are shorthand we use in the community to refer to mutually reinforcing teaching principles that foster independence, confidence and individual responsibility,” explains Bozanic. “They may sound like new fangled programs, but they are about as ‘oldfangled’ as you can get.” Each is geared toward teaching traditional Language Arts, Science, Math and Social Studies curriculum, as well as 21st century STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, math, i.e. “the fields of the future”) in such a way that students become curious, creative, imaginative people. “First and foremost,” Bozanic adds, “a good student at any grade level must be an inquiring human being.”
Harkness Classes in Jenkins Hall Promoting Critical Thinking and Communication Skills
It’s impossible to hide around an oval table. Not that Ashley Hall upper school girls would ever try to hide in class, but incorporating Harkness Table techniques in upper school humanities classes means that every girl participates in this student-driven, inquiry-based discussion format. In a sense, the oval Harkness Table represents the pinnacle of Ashley Hall’s “learning spiral,” where independent thinking nurtured from EEC to Jenkins Hall culminates in non-hierarchical, collegial, open discussions about literature and history. “Students must come to the table prepared, listen intently, initiate and follow the discussion, assimilate and synthesize material quickly, and express themselves clearly,” says Chris Hughes, an English teacher and Senior Project Director, who, along with three other faculty members was specially-trained in Harkness Table methodology at Philips Exeter Academy. With Harkness, learning through self-discovery takes precedence over teachers imparting facts. “It fosters higher-level intellectual discussion, and breeds civility, which is wonderful,” Hughes says. The Junior Internship and Senior Thesis/Senior Project also challenge Jenkins Hall students to pursue independent research and their personal intellectual passions at a rigorous level. “The Senior Project in particular requires a lot of autonomy and self-discipline,” notes Hughes, who encourages students to dig deep on projects ranging from AIDS research in Boston to a Lego Robotics collaboration with Tufts University. “It’s impressive to see what our girls come up with.”
tudents must come to the table
prepared, listen intently, initiate and follow the discussion, assimilate and synthesize material quickly, and express themselves clearly.”
Discerning | Independent | Compassionate
Bess â€™07 pinned sister Rebecca â€™11 at the 2011 Graduation ceremony, welcoming her to the alumnae community. 4 | The magazine of ASHLEY HALL
F R O M A S H L E Y H A L L T O H A R VA R D YA R D
Times Two R
ebecca Rosen, Class of 2011, frames her shot, zooms in and focuses her lens. Click – a moment captured, an object interpreted. Then the fun begins. “I love being in the dark room, mixing the chemicals, printing the pictures the old-fashioned way,” says Rebecca, who became a shutter-bug while on an Ashley Hall choir trip to Budapest and Vienna. Her Senior Project involved researching the history of photography and culminated in an exhibition titled “Generally Out of Use,” depicting black and white images of obsolete items and machines. It’s summertime, but the recent grad is still busy in the Ashley Hall darkroom. “They’re letting me use it as my studio. The faculty has been so supportive. I just developed my first roll of film. We’ll see how it turns out!” Much is coming into focus for Rebecca, a budding neurobiologist, as she heads to Harvard University as a member of the Class of 2015, the second Rosen in four years to go from Ashley Hall to Harvard Yard. After taking eight AP courses at Ashley Hall, Rebecca feels prepared for Ivy-level academics, but still, she’s a little nervous. “Our Ashley Hall teachers really do take care of us. I’m a little worried about leaving that bubble, but on the other hand, they’ve also given me the confidence that I’ll need,” says Rebecca, who appreciates how Ashley Hall faculty go out of their way to accommodate student needs, making it possible for her to take higher-level chemistry at the College of Charleston her senior year, for example. “I was always encouraged to try new things and given the resources to do it,” she adds. Opportunities such as a sailing expedition on the Spirit of South Carolina, a choir trip to Europe while she was studying European History, a “rock solid” AP calculus class and playing on the Varsity soccer team, “even though I was really bad at it!,” were memorable Ashley Hall experiences that Rebecca will take with her to Cambridge and beyond. In the meantime, she’ll continue honing her passion for photography and appreciating the full picture of how a challenging 21st century education opens exciting new doors.
Rebecca’s older sister Bess ’07, has already been through some of those same doors that Rebecca ventures toward this fall. As Rebecca was waiting to hear from the Harvard Admissions office, Bess was finishing up final credits to graduate from Harvard with a major in Molecular and Cellular Biology. She credits her budding career in stem cell research directly to her Ashley Hall experience. “In the summer after my Ashley Hall sophomore year, my biology teacher created a Summer Science Program and encouraged me to do it. That changed my whole career path – it gave me the opportunity to do advanced research, and then to do a short internship at UVA the following spring,” Bess says. “It wasn’t so much that my Ashley Hall teachers simply stoked my interest, they really created it. They make sure Ashley Hall girls are not just afforded opportunities, but are pushed toward them.” While at Harvard, Bess was been active in the theater department and in the vocal arts, but science is still her first love. “I’d love to be a biology professor, and I find the field of stem cell research fascinating,” she says. “I love the science/academia lifestyle, being in the lab, designing experiments, staying up all night feeding and taking care of cells. I get excited by the thought that my work might really impact someone’s life one day.”
Intelligent | Purposeful | Creative
lizabeth was diagnosed with WolffParkinson-White Syndrome, a heart condition that causes a rapid, uncontrollable heartbeat, in the spring of her sophomore year and quickly underwent a life saving surgery. As she recovered from her operation she had time to reflect on the little things in life most people take for granted. She shares, “As I was contemplating what life meant to me, I realized that the only reason people live is because of other people. I live my life because of other people. I wanted to live for other people.” This realization, which came at the most difficult point in her young life, shaped the rest of her time at Ashley Hall, her Senior Project, and the young woman she is today.
To The Beat of Your “There are in my opinion at least two types of learning at Ashley Hall, intellectual learning and emotional learning. Intellectual learning is where you go to class and learn your science and math and learn how to write. There is an emotional learning that happens too, where you learn about yourself and how to love yourself and others. You learn that there is more to life than just getting the grades and going to class and getting awards. You learn that there is a life out there that you have to foster for yourself. Here at Ashley Hall it is important to make the grades and do well, but it is equally important that you know yourself. That you find out who you want to be, what your passion is, and how to love yourself. The combination of going through a life saving surgery and being a student at Ashley Hall where I was encouraged to take my experience and use it to learn and find my passion has made me who I am today and who I will be in the future.”
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When Elizabeth Scarborough ’11 talks about her years at Ashley Hall she speaks from the heart about what she has named her “emotional education” through a life threatening illness and the friends who have carried her through.
Heart An Emotional Education
Discerning | Independent | Compassionate
For her Senior Project, Elizabeth, a singer, songwriter and guitarist herself, combined her love of music and children and her deep gratitude to Dr. John Reed and the nurses and staff of MUSC’s Children’s Hospital. She planned a benefit concert which she named To The Beat of Your Heart. She invited friends and local musicians to join her to help raise money for the group that had helped to save her life. “I learned a lot about concert planning and music, but I also learned a lot about what it means to help people and how to push past obstacles in order to achieve something greater than yourself. So far, we have raised $4,400 for the MUSC Children’s Hospital, and of course we are always willing to accept more,” she says with a smile.
“The combination of going through a life saving surgery and being a student at Ashley Hall where I was encouraged to take my experience and use it to learn and find my passion has made me who I am today and who I will be in the future.” One would think that this experience would be the centerpiece of Elizabeth’s high school experience, but she is so much more. She sang in the Red Choir, competed on the state ranked cross country and track teams, claims the class Peace War and Defense as her favorite, and graduated with high honors. However the friendships she made during that time seem to be what she considers the most important of all. “The friends I have made at Ashley Hall are truly the best in the world. It feels like we are not only friends, but also a family, and depend on each other for everything. We spend so much time together. We don’t just go to school here, we live here, we grow up here. I am not just talking about friends in my class either. I have special connections with girls that are in kindergarten. I really know those girls and can tell you what is so special about them. I also have friends in their 50’s and 60’s: my coaches and teachers whom we depend on to teach us life lessons. It may sound
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silly to anyone who has not gone to Ashley Hall, but we forge such strong relationships with some of our teachers that it is almost like we forget we are going to class, instead we are going to see a friend who knows a lot about science and is going to share it with us.” She credits some of this as being fostered by the school’s single gender environment sharing that the closeness allows conversations and lines of inquiry to go anywhere. “There is no limit to what you can discover about the topic you are learning and about each other because there are no “embarrassing” questions when it is just your girl friends learning with you.” There are no limits on what Elizabeth will discover in the future either. She is creative, compassionate, and confident. Her “emotional education” will keep her grounded in what is important to her. Her curiosity and openness to new people and ideas will take her far.
Discerning | Independent | Compassionate
Faculty 30 | The magazine of ASHLEY HALL
P FACULTY BANDING INNOVATIVE SELF EVALUATION The fulfillment of Ashley Hall’s founding mission – to produce an educated woman who is independent, ethically responsible and prepared to meet the challenges of society with confidence – requires a mutual commitment on the part of both students and faculty to the principle of life-long learning. It is to endorse, support, and sustain the faculty’s commitment to this principle that the existing Professional Development and Evaluation program was instituted in 2005 under the direction of Dean of Faculty and Assistant Head of School for Academic Affairs, Nick Bozanic. Confident that each faculty member was the best judge of her or his own individual strengths and needs, Bozanic proposed an inclusive approach to thinking about professional development, one that encouraged considerable latitude in interpreting the implications of professional development for authentic life-long learning. “It was my disposition from the beginning to base faculty evaluation on professional growth rather than solely on the narrow and ill-defined concept of ‘classroom performance.’ At the same time, I wanted to shift the burden and responsibility of evaluation away from administrators and back to the teachers themselves.”
“It was my disposition from the beginning to base faculty evaluation on professional growth rather than solely on the narrow and ill-defined concept of ’classroom performance.’ At the same time, I wanted to shift the burden and responsibility of evaluation away from administrators and back to the teachers themselves.” - Nick Bozanic, Dean of Faculty
Excellence To devise such a procedure, a faculty committee was convened to address the pertinent issues and delineate a practicable policy. This faculty committee met regularly over a period of eighteen months and eventually produced a carefully crafted document which achieved the desired outcome: a faculty evaluation process based on professional development objectives and engineered to ensure that those criteria most important to teachers themselves would govern assessment of each individual instructor’s annual performance. The committee established Basic Expectations which every teacher must meet in order to maintain his or her
good standing in the professional community of Ashley Hall. It further required instructors, in consultation with their department chairs and division directors, to determine for themselves what they needed to accomplish to strengthen their command of instructional methods, course content, or contemporary currents in their respective areas of instruction. In short, the Professional Development and Evaluation procedure devised by the faculty sought to encourage – and demonstrate –those same habits of mind and practice associated with life-long learning in the faculty as they are charged with fostering in their students.
Purposeful | Collaborative | Creative
Having established the principles and procedures for this program, it remained for the committee to determine how to build in incentives to reward faculty endeavors. After careful review of incentive packages used at other independent schools (as well as universities and corporations), the committee voted to adopt, and adapt to Ashley Hall’s specific requirements, a system called “banding.” Banding creates opportunities for more elastic salary ranges across the fixed increments attaching to years of service. Thus, the committee designated four distinct bands to which faculty could aspire: these are Beginning, Experienced, Master, and Distinguished. Recognizing that faculty new to Ashley Hall would need time to establish themselves within the community – as well as to ensure their commitment to the school’s mission – the committee stipulated that no teacher would be eligible for banding until after her or his third year as a full-time teacher at Ashley Hall. Subsequently, teachers would be eligible to apply for a higher band every five years.
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Over the course of the banding cycle, the evaluating team will conduct formal classroom observations, confer, coach, and report to the banding teacher their recommendations and insights. The banding process itself is an extension of the annual professional development review which every teacher must complete. This review encompasses a set of clearly defined Basic Expectations in five categories: Professionalism, Classroom / Teaching Excellence, Contributions to School Life Beyond the Classroom, and Communication and Collaboration. Incrementally higher standards of performance are defined for each of the four bands. Consequently, given the additional demands of banding, teachers have a full year, from January to January, to complete this process. The first step is for the banding faculty member to select a team of two evaluators with whom to confer and consult as she works toward fulfillment of her professional development plan. This plan is determined by the instructor with the endorsement of the respective department chair, division director, and the Dean of Faculty, thereby ensuring that the plan meets both the teacher’s needs and is consistent with larger objectives – above all, the school’s mission. Over the course of the banding cycle, the evaluating team will conduct formal classroom observations, confer, coach, and report to the banding teacher their recommendations and insights. This formal interaction encourages a sustained and focused collegial dialogue. This collegial dialogue contributes directly to the creation of a banding portfolio which gathers together documentation of the teacher’s professional development plan and its execution. Central to this portfolio is a sustained reflection in which the teacher reviews and assesses the history of her own professional growth over the course of her career. This reflection encourages the teacher to investigate very deliberately where she is now as a result of where she has been. This, in turn, permits a more clearly defined sense of direction for future growth. Each portfolio, therefore, becomes a truly unique product of the individual teacher. As Bozanic says, “We deliberately avoided providing faculty with a prescribed format for the portfolio. We wanted each
individual teacher to take personal responsibility for its contents and the manner in which it would be presented. This way we get to see the teachers as they see themselves. The portfolio becomes a more revealing document than it would be if we dictated the format. A predetermined final product removes those distinctive features we were seeking to discover. This portfolio requirement has proven to be one of the greatest benefits of the banding process. It has given us a much better understanding of who our teachers are, where they come from, how they think, and how they see themselves as teachers and as members of this community.” The Professional Development and Evaluation procedures have also led to very concrete and enriching curriculum initiatives. The introduction of Reggio-Emilia methods into the Early Education Center, of Responsive Classroom strategies in Pardue, and of the Harkness Table practices in Jenkins have all come about because of individual instructors’ professional development projects rather than as administrative dictates. Each of these initiatives has been measured by their contribution to the fulfillment of Ashley Hall’s mission. The success of these programs has in turn become a measure of the effectiveness of the faculty-designed process itself. The community as a whole has benefitted greatly from the faculty’s commitment to continued professional growth – their manifest determination to engage in life-long learning. (left) Example of Art Experience – 2005 (below) Example of Art Experience – 2010
From the banding portolio of Andrea Dolan and Susan Nevers / EEC Primary
Purposeful | Collaborative | Creative
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R E AT I V E
Excerpts from the Banding Portfolio of Jane Pelland, Writing Coordinator
During the course of her banding year, Writing Coordinator Jane Pelland adapted and implemented the Lucy Calkins writing methodologies to Ashley Hallâ€™s Lower School curriculum. Her banding portfolio provides insights into her thought process surrounding the adaptation and implementation. It also shares her very personal reflection on her journey to becoming an academician and finding her passion to spark in others her great love of the written word. Her portfolio, so artfully written, is a prime example of the desired outcomes of the entire banding exercise and gives a clearer understanding of the process to the reader. Below are excerpts Pelland shared from her Banding Portfolio titled: To Live Like a Phoenix.
Until age five, my world was golden. Because my extended family exposed me to the world of learning in creative ways, I absorbed knowledge and concepts like a sponge; my brain captured and stored stimuli of every kind. Without realizing it, I had learned to read, write, and draw; I was familiar with the geography of the entire world; I devoured stories and books; I loved life. Then I went to school. My years in primary school were dismal by comparison with my early childhood learning experiences. Had I not been fortunate enough to be accepted in to an academic â€œmagnetâ€? school as a rising fourth grader, I would have faced dismal failure in a suffocating learning environment. From that time forward, I was one of the lucky students who was in the right place at the right time to have the best teachers and cutting-edge curricula. Here and there, I encountered a non-stimulating class, but by that time I had developed creative strategies to make any subject interesting. With each passing year, though, I began to worry about colleagues who seemed unable to learn in the classroom but who were good problem solvers outside of school. Furthermore, I became concerned about those students who were excellent test takers and who garnered all of the academic honors that existed yet were terrible at problem solving outside of school. With each passing year, a desire burned more intensely within: I wanted to do whatever I could to give others the same learning experiences that had illuminated my life.
Within her portfolio Pelland compares herself to the phoenix, considering her life experiences as her defining flights. She shares her excitement at the possibilities the new Writing Coordinator position offers her to inspire young writers. So it was when I erased the miserable years of primary school to attend an academic magnet, moved to a new town, went off to college, began to teach, got married, became a mother, returned to teaching, embarked upon serious painting, launched into the sailing world, moved to Charleston (The Citadel and Ashley Hall), where, most recently, I entered the most phenomenal realm of teaching ever imaginable. In this, my most fantastic flight so far, I infuse every particle of knowledge, skill, insight, technique, strategy, collaborative spirit, and creative spark to inspire young writers to formulate, organize, share their thoughts, and speak their minds. I had just left Nick Bozanicâ€™s office with my new job description: that I would work to strengthen the writing curriculum by working with Lower School teachers and students to implement a process created by Lucy Calkins, renowned founding Director of Columbia Universityâ€™s Teachers College Reading and Writing Project. How thrilling would that be? I could give beginning writers a great start. Yes, this would be the best new way for me to contribute my knowledge, talent and skills. I flexed my wings and vowed to embrace the new school year â€œthrough the eyes of a child.â€?
Purposeful | Collaborative | Creative
Overview of the Lucy Calkins Method and Its Adaption and Implementation for Ashley Hall’s Lower School: Jane Pelland
The Writer’s Workshop model I implemented in grades one-through-four was inspired by units of study and a vast body of resources developed by Lucy Calkins, Founding Director of the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project at Columbia University. The personal narrative genre, and the process delineated by Lucy Calkins, enables students to achieve the first goal of all good writing: the ability to describe what they know. This genre becomes the foundation for all future writing, as the skills they master eventually enable them to write competently and effectively in other genres and in any discipline. When writing my reflective document, I followed the Lucy Calkins format to detail those strands of my own personal narrative that contributed to my ability to teach. Having learned early in my career of the power of a visual image, I began the year with a “touchstone” activity, “Every Painting Tells a Story.” I projected Andrew Wyeth’s Christina’s World (1948) onto the screen of each class I visited. The work exudes an air of mystery and suspense, especially since the artist has hidden Christina Olsen’s face from view. Students immediately began to spin narratives about her, many in first person, as they began to enter the painting and join her struggle. In a collaborative effort, Carol Wellein devoted her art classes to enabling the girls to paint the face they perceived Christina to have.
by Je Written
In science, students learned the technique of keeping nature journals. A particular benchmark was the collected work of Beatrix Potter, better known as the author of the Peter Rabbit tales. Since childhood, this talented British naturalist sketched and painted the flora and fauna she encountered. Potter’s work guided Ashley Hall “naturalists” during their nature explorations on and off campus. In no time, writers discovered they had a treasure of resources from which to create powerful nature poetry. Whenever possible, I would integrate current teaching units into the writer’s workshop. For an entire week in Elsa Dixon’s classes, students wrote poetry inspired by classical music. When first grade studied Japan, writers created Haiku and illustrated them with Japanese brush painting. To enhance the second grade unit on lighthouses, writers kept lighthouse-keeper journals, wrote descriptive passages, and created poetry. In May, fourth graders researched and wrote their own scripts for the class performance, First Ladies: A Reunion at the White House. The ability to write well is an empowering skill that takes one confidently through life. It has been heartwarming to see so many young writers become inspired. It is indeed thrilling to see so many of the students carry their new love of writing beyond the classroom as they reflect in journals during evenings, weekends, and vacations.
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She continues her phoenix metaphor as she describes her experience adapting the Calkins method to her students needs. Here in the sky I soar once more. Purged of poor perspective, annealed and tempered, perching in my new lair, it is I who have learned the most from a fresh approach, from my colleagues, and above all, from my young writers. I have learned how much they love to write, how open they can be to suggestion, how eager they are to work when they have ownership of their material. As I began to work with students, I found that her (Calkins) process of introducing a concept or genre of writing – from mini-lesson to model (written by me in advance), to pairing, writing workshop, sharing, editing, conferencing, revising and “publishing,” worked like a charm – for the most part. What I detected early on was that in each class there were some students who struggled with topics and ideas. And that is why I decided to add a twist of Tolstoy. First of all, Calkins’ philosophy reiterates the maxim of all good writing: an author needs to write about what she knows. A child between the ages of six and ten has not lived long enough to house a full battery of experience from which to detail, but she does have some. The personal narrative enables even the youngest of children to recall small moments from their memory banks and create “seed” stories in finite detail, using lush vocabulary. I couldn’t help but recall Tolstoy, who championed the smallest, most ordinary experiences; he considered them the most explosive kernels of life’s great meaning. In fact, those of his characters who find fulfillment in the seemingly mundane and ordinary events are the ones who champion, endure, and prevail. Another gem from Tolstoy that fit perfectly into this approach was his essay, “What is Art?” Essentially, he determined that in order for a creative work to qualify as art, it had to stimulate the viewer to the point that it would inspire that viewer to think and act on a higher plane of existence. Therein lay my justification for incorporating art [and music] into this curriculum. Her portfolio closes with her reflection on the success of her methodologies of implementation and adaption and her desires for the future of the program. Through the course of this year I have observed students learning to enjoy writing and become enthusiastic about developing their skills. They can measure progress from “discovery draft through
“published” work. Conferencing, to me one of the most vital components of the program, encourages children to stay on track and not experience frustration. I am seeing steady growth at all grade levels. What I have infused into the process is the use of visual prompts when I know it will help to spur the thought process. Children, especially, respond to visual cues. Often I will use a work of art or a photograph to trigger memories or experiences. Occasionally I will use a work of music to evoke a mood, and a number of the teachers play music during writer’s workshop. In addition, I have use prompts from the natural world... It has also been energizing to apply the process to the existing curriculum; students have been writing in response to the core curriculum, as students respond to literature, social studies, and science. Since I began working with students and teachers at the beginning of the school term, teachers have found ways to include more writing time into their schedules. I am now in 3rd and 4th grade classrooms twice weekly for a total time of 90 to 120 minutes for each classroom; I am in 1st and 2nd grade classrooms for 60-90 minutes each. Next year I hope to work kindergarten into the program. When asked about her experience of the banding process Pelland shares, “Completing my professional review [banding] portfolio this past year was one of revitalizing reflection, as I not only revisited my long and enriching career but re-examined those early experiences that enabled me to accept the call to teach. Providentially, as it seems, the very curriculum I was asked to implement, a writing process developed by Lucy Calkins, in particular the personal narrative genre, afforded the scaffolding by which I could articulate those essential episodes in my life.” “It is a true gift to be able to teach. Teaching is not a job; it is a calling. It is an art. Anyone who has thought of it otherwise is destined for disillusionment and disaster. Unless one embraces the fact that true learning is caught, not taught, all efforts will be futile. A teacher is, at best, a guide, a mentor who nudges pupils in the right directions. Pupils teach themselves. Their brains select what they want to use and remember, and each year they build upon what they’ve taught themselves the year before. I know in my heart that all children can learn this way. The best teachers are those who set the stage for these miracles to begin. Finally, let us all remember the words of Leonardo daVinci: “Poor is the pupil who does not surpass his master.”
that takes one conÜdent ly through life. Purposeful | Collaborative | Creative
How a Life of Continued Learning Can Keep You Young and Make You Happy By Candy Trenholm Anderson ’70
When I was 55, I decided to learn to play the violin. I admit it was a pretty crazy idea - a total impulse decision. Having taught myself to play the guitar in seventh grade, I naively thought I could do the same with the violin. One week after the purchase, I realized I had met my match. I was going to need a few lessons. I went to the local music academy where all the kids in town took their lessons and I signed up. Four years later, I am still playing with the same amazing teacher, Elizabeth, who is a year younger than my second child.
NOW’S THE TIME TO
Relive Your Life We’ve been playing Bach’s “Double Violin Concerto” together for longer than my husband should have to tolerate, and I laugh every time I get a bill from the academy addressed, “To the Parent of Candy Anderson.” Yes, there are times when I feel as though I am living a Billy Madison moment, reverting to a child’s endeavor with a teacher the same age as my kids. I harbor no delusions, nor intentions of becoming an accomplished violinist; I do, however, imagine that one day I can fiddle to a Dave Mathews or a Mark Knoffler CD or just jam with my friends on a summer evening in the backyard. That is my dream. But more than my simple goal, this instrument is feeding both my soul and my mind. I can feel my neurons firing as my brain processes millions of multiple functions at the same time. I struggle with the bow and my fingers that are stubbornly committed to a guitarist’s form, and the fact that I absolutely cannot tolerate any imperfections in pitch. Yes, the
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banjo probably would have been a better choice, but I play this instrument. I play almost compulsively, with satisfaction and joy because Elizabeth keeps me strategically at the point where each musical piece is challenging yet attainable. It is what developmental psychologist, Lev Vygotsky, refers to as the zone of proximal development, or, the sweet spot of learning. The place that keeps me hooked. The phrase, life long learning, has slipped into the vocabularies of many mission statements and educational leaders these days. This notion that learning should not end at graduation has become a given. Whether it is due to the longer life expectancy we enjoy, the baby-boomers redefining middle age, or the economic restructuring and challenges we face in this age of information, virtually every nation is focused on continuing education as a means of economic and social stability and progress. So what are the ingredients in this recipe for eternal
growth? And what does continued learning mean for those of us who, years later, still have nightmares about that chemistry final or are just looking forward to a retirement of doing nothing? Why should anyone join this movement? Learning involves intelligence and motivation. These two concepts are highly correlated. Our perceptions about intelligence greatly influence our drive and whether or not we are intrinsically motivated to seek further knowledge. One common myth in the area of intelligence is the notion that we are provided with a fixed number of brain cells at birth. We are formally educated in schools to make the most of those cells, but eventually, as we age, we lose them. We have words such as “senior moments,” to express this so-called inevitable effect of the aging process. Contrary to this popular belief, however, neuroscience has debunked this myth. Yes we are born with brain cells, and it is true that as we age, we lose some of them. But the numerous studies in neuroplasticity reveal that our brains are constantly changing. Every time we learn something new, we grow a new neuron, or brain cell. If the learning is followed by movement and discussion, and especially down time for reflection and practice, and if we are not under stress, the cell develops more and more myelin (a coating that aids speed of processing) and becomes a member of the network for which it was created. If the cell survives, we remember what we learned. If the cell dies, we forget. In other words, learning is remembering. Carol Dweck, a cognitive psychologist at Stanford University, is a prolific author of numerous studies on motivation. In her book, Mindsets: The New Psychology of Success (2006), Dweck describes the differences between a person with a “growth mindset,” who believes intelligence is cultivated, and a person with a fixed mindset, who believes we are born with a finite amount of intelligence. A person with a fixed mindset worries about the ways in which her intelligence is perceived by others. On the other hand, the person with a growth mindset is intellectually curious and intrinsically motivated to learn new information, skills and professions. This person knows that learning and intelligence is a journey rather than a destination. This is the perspective that allows for more tolerant, supportive and collaborative encounters with others because this mindset knows that we are all somewhere on this learning voyage. These are the people you want to work with and for. These are the life long learners. But a growth mindset is not the only necessary ingredient for a life of learning. When I was in college, I went to the darkroom one wintery afternoon at four o’clock to print a few pictures. After a while, I grew hungry and thought it must be time for dinner. Finishing up, I shut the darkroom door behind me and
was struck by the closed cafeteria not to mention the veil of darkness and solitude that had come over the campus. I meandered back to my dorm to discover that it was 4 o’clock in the morning! I had clearly been, for the past twelve hours, in what Mihaly Csikzentmihalyi refers to as flow. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, architect and author of the idea and book, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experiences (1990), describes this notion as “a state of heightened focus and immersion in activities such as art, play and work.” This is the moment of absorption when we lose all sense of time. Think back to when you lost yourself in the garden when you only meant to do a bit of weeding, or when you perfected that stroke on the golf course, or stayed at the office well past dinner because you were engrossed in a particularly interesting project. In order to enter into flow, one needs to set a goal for a task or endeavor that requires
Movement enhances all other aspects of the brain during the processing of information. We think better when we move. In fact, some of us have to move in order to think.
some challenge. It needs to hover at the outer edge of that zone of proximal development but not exceed it. Flow is the “stuff” that fuels learning and intrinsic motivation. Without it, we are not inclined to persevere through our frustrations or engage in the work of the learning process. Flow is what brings us satisfaction. Flow encourages learning, and learning brings on flow. So what does learning do for your brain? Apart from the fact that you will grow your IQ score on an intelligence test, you will also reduce the risk of losing your retrieval of information, your spatial awareness, and your problem-solving and reasoning capacities. In other words, you stand a better chance of enjoying a life of participation and satisfaction rather than one of observation. Where the brain is concerned, the phrase, “use it or lose it,” is well documented. You will also increase your executive functioning. Executive functioning is for the most part, a frontal lobe activity, involving planning, setting and visualizing goals, initiating, persisting and completing tasks, being able to control one’s emotions, organizing one’s time and materials, self-monitoring one’s thoughts and behaviors (metacognition) and being able to fluently shift from one idea to another. These skills do not fully develop in most individuals until the age of 20 (25 in males). And sadly,
Intelligent | Creative | Worldy |
they begin to decline at about age 35 (Dawson, P. Oct. 2010). Yes, there is only a 10-15-year window of time when we are naturally at our optimum performance! When I returned to school in my 40’s, I discovered that it was not the memory or writing demands that would prove difficult for me but the ability to manage graduate school, a family and a job all at the same time. I was always pretty casual about time, and I was hopeless when it came to material management. Graduate school sharpened my executive skills to where they are better than they have ever been, including the time I spent in my twenties. Executive functions are important because they protect us from disappointments, both from others and ourselves. They allow us the time and opportunity to explore and indulge in all the new experiences we want to have, and they are the skills that allow us to produce. I believe that human beings are hard wired to produce. We get a feeling of accomplishment, pride and a sense of belonging when we create an end product.
Where the brain is concerned, the phrase, “use it or lose it,” is well documented.
Learning is also not relegated to just the arts, the workplace or the academic arena. I want to emphasize the benefit of acquiring a new physical activity, skill, or sport. Movement is a very important aspect of brain function and health. Think about it. Only organisms that move have a brain. There is a sea creature called a Tunicate, which, after finding the place to settle for the rest of its life, eats its brain, having no further need of it. Our brains and our bodies are wired to move. Movement enhances all other aspects of the brain during the processing of information. We think better when we move. In fact, some of us have to move in order to think. So what exactly is going on in my brain when I play the violin? My occipital lobe is processing the sheet music and the visual abstraction of the physical space between musical intervals. My motor cortex and parietal lobes are supporting my automa-
ticity with motor memory and offering me sensory feedback from the nerves in my hands and fingers to my brain. My right temporal lobe is checking on my pitch, while challenging me to distinguish between such differences as a minor or a major third. My left temporal and frontal lobes are using language to help me count while self-monitoring and analyzing any errors for a later discussion or practice. My limbic system, where memory and emotions are processed, is helping me to remember patterns, fingerings and bowings, while moving me emotionally. My frontal cortex is reminding me that I am playing with someone else, and that I need to count and listen; and my working memory, a frontal lobe activity, is helping me to hold all of these important aspects of playing in my mind at once, while my brain is awash with the neurotransmitter, dopamine, bringing me complete satisfaction. It is a total brain workout! According to John Field and Mal Leicester, authors of Lifelong Learning: Education Across a Lifespan, (2000) Learning offers excitement and the opportunity for discovery. It stimulates enquiring minds and nourishes our souls. It takes us in directions we never expected; sometimes changing our lives…. [it] contributes to social cohesion and fosters a sense of belonging, responsibility, and identity. (DfEE 1998 10-11) Lifelong learning creates neural growth, and enhances memory, attention, linguistic skills, motor function, visuo-spatial skills and executive functioning. It produces feelings of pleasure and self worth and a feeling a competence. But if personal satisfaction and keeping your brain young and vibrant are not enough to motivate you, then think about this: the real reason I took up the violin at age 55 was because ever since I was eight years old, I wanted to play this alluring instrument and never had the chance. A year into my studies, a friend told me of a woman who was celebrating her 100th birthday and was asked if she had any regrets. She said she regretted never learning to play the violin at the age of 60 because she could have been playing for the past 40 years! And so, I leave you with this: think about what you have always wanted to do or learn, and go after it. It’s never too late, and the old dog can definitely learn an infinite number of new tricks! It will make you happy. It will make you smart, and – it’s good for you!
Further Reading and Bibliography Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly. 1990. Flow: the psychology of optimal experience. NY: Harper and Row. Dawson, Peg. (2010, October) Executive Functions. Greenwich Country Day School, Greenwich, CT. Doidge, Norman,MD. 2007. The Brain that changes itself. NY: Penguin Books. www.youtube.com/watch?v=t3TQopnNXBU Dweck, Carol. 2006. Mindset: the new psychology of success. NY: Random House. www.youtube.com/watch?v=XHW9l_sCEyU Field, John., Leicester, Mal. 2000. Lifelong learning: education across the lifespan. Google eBook. Psychology Press. Zelazo, Phillip D. Executive function part four: brain growth and the development of executive function. Aboutkidshealth. Retrieved from www.aboutkidshealth.ca/En/News/Series/ExecutiveFunction/Pages/Executive-Function-Part-Four-Brain-growth-and-the-development-of-executive-function.aspx
5 I S F F " M V N O B F 5 F B D I J O H * O U F S O BU J P O B M MZ Choosing to teach abroad has a set of unique and special challenges all its own. We spoke with three alumnae who are teaching in very different parts of the world, in very different cultures and socioeconomic conditions, and in very different schools. Though the paths each took to a career in education is unique, their shared Ashley Hall experience is the tie that binds these women. The qualities of confidence, independence and a love of learning that came from that experience are reflected in each of their stories.
8 F B T Z 8B S J O H ´ Currently teaching in at the American School of Dubai (ASD) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Weasy’s journey into the teaching profession began over one summer in Charleston when she was working as a nanny. Daily trips to the Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry with her charges gave Weasy first-hand experience in the joy of learning, and she knew she wanted to be a part of that “lightbulb” experience for other children. She began to volunteer at the museum and eventually used her Ashley Hall Senior Internship to focus on teaching. Weasy credits Susan Robinson and Libby Russler, her advisor and Senior Internship mentor, with helping her to develop her passion for teaching and setting her on a career path that would take her around the world. After graduating magna cum laude from the University of South Carolina with a degree in Early Childhood Education, she began her quest to find the right school to begin her career. Luckily her aunt, Patricia Solomon ‘78, also an Ashley Hall graduate had a friend who was working for International School Services, a firm that places teachers all over the world. This lucky coincidence led to an interview with a principal from the American School in Dubai. Weasy recalls, “I remember thinking that the interview would be good practice, as I could never see myself living in the Middle East. A week later, following a frantic period of due diligence
Compassionate | Worldy | Independent
In a world where “the only thing constant in life is change,” it is
important to remember who you are and what you believe in, and to remain accountable and true to yourself during adversity. Translating accountability into 5-year-old language means taking responsibility for the choices you make and sticking to your word.
by my parents, I accepted a kindergarten teaching position at the American School of Dubai (ASD) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.” This next school year will be Weasy’s second at the school, and she loves it. Her classroom is filled with five-year-olds and six-year-olds from countries around the world including India, Canada, Indonesia, Egypt, Norway, South Korea, and of course the United States. She loves the challenge of living in Dubai and has fallen in love with the city and its inhabitants. She shares, “Dubai is a city of the 21st century–a group of small fishing villages turned into a mega-city overnight– which then crashed just as fast as it had risen. I have come to appreciate living in Dubai during this time of struggle and re-growth. It reminds me that all success is fleeting.” She credits Ashley Hall with giving her the confidence in her ability to handle such a challenge. “I went to work in a country halfway around the world that I had only envisioned on a map. I arrived in Dubai without knowing a soul. Independence, fostered during my years at Ashley Hall, was a necessity when navigating the completely foreign world in which I found myself. When you are teaching kindergarteners, ethics is a large part of the learning experience and something my lesson plans must include on a regular basis, and I give credit to Ashley Hall for requiring students to adhere to an honor code and cultivating my innate sense of right and wrong. Finally, confidence is a value that I have had to rely on most when interacting with parents of children from so many different cultural backgrounds, which provides unique societal challenges. Without confidence, I can assure you that my job would be almost impossible to accomplish! The bottom line is that I learned to live Ashley Hall’s mission while a student, and this has helped me immensely in my position.” Weasy plans to remain at the American School in Dubai for at least another year. She then intends to pursue her Masters degree in education and stay in the field. 42 | The magazine of ASHLEY HALL
-BVSFO8JENBO´ Currently teaching in Colegio Makarios near Puerto Plata, in the Dominican Republic. Lauren’s path to her school in the Dominican Republic began with her love of children and her strong faith and dedication to missionary work. After graduating from Ashley Hall, she attended Auburn University where she majored in Psychology and minored in Spanish. In her last two years at Auburn, her faith led her to international mission work and ways she could serve impoverished communities. Only two months after graduating from Auburn she packed up and moved to the Dominican Republic. “I realized the desperate need for education in many developing countries, paired that with my love for the Spanish language and little children, and began researching organizations and places that could benefit from the skills I possessed. I came upon the organization I now work for, Makarios, which is located in the Dominican Republic. It has been incredible for me and for the ministry I so strongly believe it. I am able to serve children living in poverty without access to education, and I get to teach in Spanish all day,” she
relates. Lauren’s school, Colegio Makarios, serves Dominican and Haitian children who otherwise would not have access to an education. Not only is the education that Makerios provides free, but they also supply the children with uniforms, books, two meals a day and a medical care plan. Last year she taught a mixed gender kindergarten class of 16 five and six year old students with a fairly even number of Dominican and Haitian children. The curriculum is much like an American standard class, but of course Lauren is teaching in Spanish. She teaches phonics, math, centers, art, and everything else that is incorporated into a kindergarten curriculum. She is also fulfilling her missionary calling by teaching a Bible lesson everyday during which the children sing songs, do crafts and learn more about Christianity and important moral and ethical values. Much like Weasy, Lauren credits Ashley Hall with the confidence and independence to move so far away from home and to pursue her passion. “The Ashley Hall mission certainly applies in the case of teaching internationally! I think the best way to explain it is to think of it in the reverse. If we all had not been independent, we would not have had the confidence to move our lives to another part of the world. If we had not been ethically responsible, we probably would not have had such a passion for lessening in some small way the critical need for education around the world. And, if we were not prepared to meet challenges, I can guarantee that I would have lasted about one day in the Dominican Republic! Independence is almost required when you pick up your life, move to a different country, learn a new culture, speak a new language, and make that place your home.” Lauren also has a deep commitment to ethical responsibility and it has become a major driving force in her life and career. She shares, “I feel responsible to respond, to do what I can, to care. I also laughingly say that I wouldn’t have lasted one day here if I couldn’t meet the challenges of society with confidence, but it is true!” In the fall, Lauren is headed to Wheaton College to pursue the doctoral program in Clinical Psychology (Psy.D.). She plans to incorporate research and private clinical practice to serve missionaries and humanitarian aid workers who are working in impoverished areas around the world.
I have only one lesson that I’d like to instill in my students to prepare them for success in this world, and that is to love. I desire to see them giving back to those in need, working to provide for others, using their education to love others by serving them, teaching them, and training them up. I desire to see my students be respectful leaders in their communities, caring for the people around them, and I desire to see my students rise above the current racial prejudice between Haitians and Dominicans and seek change by loving those who look differently than they do.
Compassionate | Independent | Ethical
" N : '" * 3 $ - 0 5 ) 0 M T F O ´ Currently teaching in the Copenhagen International School in Copenhagen, Denmark. A guest teacher position that Amy first thought would be just another “odd-job” in her adventures across Italy lit her passion for teaching. It was the 1970’s and her first foray into teaching introduced her to the best and the worst of educational challenges. “In the seventies, Italian English majors could convincingly dissect Shakespeare but found it challenging to carry on a simple conversation. I wanted the students to speak.” After an attempt at introducing an immersive and active exercise into her classroom which ended in what she describes as complete chaos, she had to change her path. “Teachers came running from other classes to control the children who were clearly not used to any deviance from the blackboard style. The principal did not ask me back. But what the experience had done was to pique my interest in the process of teaching and learning. And when an offer for a job teaching English at an experimental school in Denmark came, I packed my guitar and hopped a train.” Moving to Denmark required Amy to learn yet another new language and she immersed herself into an intensive program of memorization and repetition which she tried to use on the local Danes. Unfortunately for Amy, the Danes, who have excellent English skills, viewed her instead as the perfect way to practice their English. Amy decided to turn this around and brought humor into her classroom by turning the tables on her students. She relates, “I would on occasion exclaim to the students that they must be tired of all that English and wouldn’t they rather teach me Danish. They always would. The low gurgle you have to create in your throat is very difficult for non-native speakers and they found my attempts to master it hilarious. These were some of the best classes.” When the experimental school where Amy was teaching closed, she found herself teaching at the school where she learned Danish and her teaching methods stifled by the strict rote memorization methodologies. She had learned to truly love teaching at the experimental school and felt
this was not really teaching, that her students were only repeating back memorized statements. “This methodology had worked for me when learning Danish because I could walk right out the door and use it, I did not think it worked in English. After one too many pedagogical discussions with the Head of the School, I quit.” In the meantime two of her former colleagues from the experimental school had gotten jobs in the town of Greve creating teaching opportunities for teenagers who had been, because of behavioral issues, classified “non-teachable.” She quickly joined them and spent the next ten years teaching out of an old, donated farmhouse. “We not only taught these unruly and sometimes unhappy kids Danish, English, and math, we took them on survival canoe trips, got them out of jail, stood by them when their stepfathers beat them, and made sure they left us with secure plans for their future.” While teaching these young men Amy realized she needed better analytical tools and found them in anthropology which led her to get her masters/doctorate at the University of Copenhagen. “I saw this group of boys and their girlfriends as a tribe; some had group names, totems, secret coded language and the like. Their search for identity had wide social and cultural implications.” After she finished her degree she began a teaching job at the Copenhagen International School and for the last 23 years has been teaching Social and Cultural Anthropology in the International Baccalaureate system. When asked about how Ashley Hall had influenced her life’s path she shares, “I never took a teaching degree, never even had a course. The kids in Greve had been good teachers. There you had to be absolutely sure you understood the “classroom” atmosphere even when cleaning out sheep stalls. That intense connectedness that is so basic. It was at Ashley Hall I first felt it. It has now been over 40 years since I graduated from Ashley Hall and at this point in life understanding becomes a composite blur of events, places and people. Rereading the school’s mission statement lets me remember the warm and playful friendships, the brittle clear intelligence of Miss Keith, the Rear Admiral’s romping math class, the speeches I was asked to give, the songs to sing. I learned to love to learn at Ashley Hall.”
1. With knowledge as with life, be
curious, be generous. We must open in and open out to truly understand 2. Relax! You will never understand everything.
Amy now works primarily with The Talented Women’s Club in Ghana, a micro credit initiative she began eight years ago.
When Abigail Spratt ’09 decided to attend Washington University in St. Louis with a premed track in mind, she knew that one day the lives of others would be in her hands. What she didn’t realize was that before she even began her course work she would choose to challenge herself with an adventure that would demand she make decisions upon which others’ lives hung in the balance.
A SEMESTER IN PATAGONIA
Lessons for a Lifetime
uring the college selection and application process Abigail Spratt ’09 knew she wanted to attend Washington University in St. Louis. Her brother and her father had both attended: her father for medical school and her brother for his premed undergrad work. When she learned she was admitted as a January student, she was ecstatic. Of course that left her with nine months between her graduation from Ashley Hall and her first semester. For many, this additional time after graduation would seem a wonderful time to relax and perhaps work a bit before getting into the rigors of college. Not Abigail! Coming from a family of five children, raised by parents who are fervent in their belief in the importance of education and travel, and having just graduated from a school that instilled in her a sense of confidence in her own abilities, she chose instead to enroll in what is deemed one of the most challenging NOLS courses offered, the Semester in Patagonia. NOLS, the National Outdoor Leadership School founded in 1965, takes students of all ages on remote wilderness expeditions, teaching technical outdoor skills, leadership and environmental ethics in some of the worlds wildest and most awe-inspiring classrooms. The Semester in Patagonia course requires its participants to adapt to and operate in harsh weather and challenging land and seascapes. Leadership, teamwork, communication, and problem solving are deemed critical to the success of this expedition. For 82 days participants in the program hike and camp in Patagonia’s valleys and mountains and sea kayak through its archipelagos. The final phase of this adventure requires participants to plan and travel a route through the wilderness without any assistance from guides. Their fate lies squarely in their own hands. When asked why she chose such a difficult challenge for herself Abigail talks about her family’s commitment to education and to experiencing the world. She also credits Ashley Hall with preparing her to travel to the other end of the earth at only 18. “The maturity and confidence in myself and my
A shared cup of maté warms the soul and always brings out smiles. A campo near Rio Baker
abilities was something I developed at Ashley Hall. I also thought I had a pretty clear idea of who I was as a person, and I was ready to leave Charleston and challenge myself in a completely foreign way.” Challenge herself she did. The 82-day trip required her to cross glaciers and steep moraines, scale cliffs, and in the role as “leader of the day” determine for the group routes of travel and assume responsibility for the safety of every member in her group. Her most memorable experience as “leader of the day” was during the sea kayaking portion of the trip. “The day that I was leader during the sea kayaking portion was, of course, the day of the largest open water crossing the group would make. Starting at 4:00 in the morning I had to study the skies and the cloud patterns to determine if crossing was even possible that day. Once we set off we realized that boat traffic in this area was incredibly heavy and we needed to keep the group tight. It was a rough day for us but we made it and we all made it safely. Keeping watch over your fellow travelers and ensuring everyone was safe was very challenging. At any minute winds could shift or boat traffic could come through and kayaks could easily overturn or be pushed off course.”
For 82 days participants in the program hike and camp in Patagonia’s valleys and mountains and sea kayak through its archipelagos. The final phase of this adventure requires participants to plan and travel a route through the wilderness without any assistance from guides. Their fate lies squarely in their own hands.
46 | The magazine of ASHLEY HALL
When asked what she considers some of the most profound lessons she took from this incredible adventure Abigail shares. “If I have to pick just my top three they would be: 1. In order to lead, you often have to stand back and learn. In this environment not having a complete understanding or skill and trying to bluff your way through it or take the time to figure it out can get you or others killed. I had to realize that in some cases the most effective way to lead is to identify the person with the best skill set for that particular challenge and to let them take over that task while teaching me the best way. For a girl coming from Ashley Hall who was used to being so independent in finding answers and solving problems, this was a challenge. 2. The important things in life are found in the stillest moments of contemplation. While on this trip I learned so many things about who I am at my soul’s level that when I came back my priorities had really shifted. I had a much fuller sense of what was truly important to me, of what I want to accomplish in this life, and what the steps are I need to take to get there. 3. I think I am much more globally conscious as a result of this experience. At Ashley Hall we were abreast of current global events, but they seemed a little remote to me. My fellow participants were from all walks of life and our guides were from all over the world. You become extremely close to your fellow participants as you must rely on each other for your very existence. It was an eye opening experience to share, hear and feel how world politics and global environmental concerns impacted each of our lives in such similar yet vastly different ways.” Today Abigail is settled into academic life at Washington University in St. Louis and is considering a career in Obstetrics. When asked if she would do it again, her face lights up as she begins to plan future body-and-soul-challenging adventures. Educated, independent, and ready to face the challenges of society with confidence, that is Abigail Spratt ‘09!
Purposeful | Responsible | Intelligent
In loving memory
A Memorial to Elizabeth Keith
On March 8, 2011, Ashley Hall lost a jewel. Beloved faculty member, Elizabeth Keith,
passed away at the age of 99. Miss Keith was a fixture at Ashley Hall from 1956 through 1979 in the classroom as an English teacher, as well as on stage leading the Christmas plays and Shakespearean productions. She made a lifelong impression on the decades of students she taught.
While Miss Keith had an impressive career before coming to Ashley Hall teaching at schools such as Warrenton Country Day School, The Day School in New Haven, Connecticut, The Louisville Collegiate School in Louisville, Kentucky and at St. Catherine’s School in Richmond, Virginia; she found her intellectual home at Ashley Hall. She loved Ashley Hall and her students, and many of her students kept in touch with her long after her retirement in 1979 at the age of sixty-seven. Upon her death, Miss Keith’s great niece, Betsy Starr, related that the years at Ashley Hall were the best years of her great aunt’s life. At Alumnae Weekend in April, a memorial service was held for Miss Keith. It was a beautiful tribute to her memory, and our Humanities classroom building was named in her honor as the Elizabeth Keith House for Humanities. The memorial service was opened by Emmye Johnston, former colleague of Miss Keith and long-time Ashley Hall faculty and staff member, followed by comments by Elizabeth (Betsy) Kirkland Cahill ’79, former student of Miss Keith. Betsy remembered Miss Keith’s classroom as a wonderful environment, a place where she truly came to know that which is worth knowing. Betsy shared that Miss Keith made manifest the mutual relationship between rigor and aspiration. Betsy related, “When the mountain is tall, forbidding, and magnificent, you approach it with more determination than you would a lesser peak – and I think we would all agree that Miss Keith – tall, forbidding, and magnificent herself – was the Mt. Everest of teachers.” The service closed with heartfelt comments and memories from former students.
48 | The magazine of ASHLEY HALL
At the news of Miss Keith’s passing, the alumnae office was inundated with memories and comments from past students: “My classmates, class of 1958, and I rarely see each other that Miss Keith’s name does not come up. She had a profound influence on all of us which is carried on in our lives today. Having been in a leading role in the Shakespearean plays each year since 8th grade, I was a grateful recipient of her influence, knowledge and encouragement which follow me even now wherever I go. She will always be the torchbearer of education for so many of us. She will be missed.” “I absolutely adored her. We corresponded all these years, and I visited her once at her home, “Honey Pot Hill” at Dunnottar Farm. Dunnottar is not only the name of their family farm here, but also the Keith seat in Scotland. Her sister’s
house was right across from hers on the same hilltop, and you could see for miles across their farm from that location. She was an amazing lady in all senses of the word, a brilliant, talented, courageous, strong, independent, loving, Christian lady. I know some students would not think of her as loving because her standards were so high, and she was intolerant of laziness. But she came along when women did not have as many opportunities as we do now. So it was appalling to her that girls she taught who DID have those opportunities did not take full possession of them and maximize their potential. She profoundly influenced me and became a reference point; I still have all my notes from her classes and have referred to them many times. When we studied Shakespeare, Milton, the Romantics, G.K. Chesterton or any author’s works with her, we were there with them. She made it all come alive. I will miss her.” “She was an outstanding teacher who taught me British literature in the 12th grade. She was ramrod straight, tall and had a wonderful Virginia accent that was a mixture of American and British lit. I still remember her reading passages from Shakespeare which were spellbinding.” “She was the best teacher I ever had, anywhere. If I had to describe Miss Keith’s Junior and Senior English of 50 years ago, I would call it a “cardio workout” -- my heart began to race the minute she walked into the room.”
“I’m one of the many who benefited from her character, knowledge and passion. Because of her, I can still recite Shakespeare! She influenced my future and impacted my life. She cared about her students, her work, her theatre, and I’m a more aware person because she taught me.” The outpouring of affection for Miss Keith has been overwhelming, and Ashley Hall has set up a memorial fund to ensure that her legacy continues for the next generation. If you would like to participate, you may send your donation to Ashley Hall designated for the “Elizabeth Keith Memorial Fund.” We all share in the sadness of losing this amazing woman who touched so many lives.
Compassionate | Independent | Worldy
Alumnae Weekend ASHLEY HALL
APRIL 15-16, 2011
Jubilee Society Reception
The Class of 1961 was welcomed into the Jubilee Society at the annual reception on Friday afternoon of Alumnae Weekend. Jill Muti recognized each member of the class with a special Jubilee Society pin. After the reception, many alumnae were led on a tour of the building by historian, Ian MacDonald, and had the opportunity to see the wonderful restoration work on the house and relive school memories. Thanks to the hard work of Mary Luke Chapman ’61, who spent much time and effort planning the class party and reconnecting with classmates, the Class of ’61 had a wonderful 50th reunion!
Newest members of the Jubilee Society, the Class of ’61, on the McBee Porch include Mary Luke Chapman, Charlotte Webb Kendall, Molly Bryan Hull, Dorothy Jane Reeder, Mary Ellis Staats, Eleanor Hastie Parker, Sally McCrady Hubbard, and Marion Rivers Cato.
Cooking Demonstration by Caroline Ragsdale Reutter ’70
Ashley Hall was honored to have our own Caroline Ragsdale Reutter ‘70 of Caroline’s Cakes host the first cooking demonstration ever in the new Dining Commons. Caroline was joined in the dining servery by 30 alumnae and guests to experience her amazing culinary talents. Guests had the opportunity to sample her newest layer cake, the seven layer lemon cake. While Caroline is best known for her bakery items (particularly her caramel cake), she also prepares wonderful savories which she shared with the guests. In 20 minutes, she demonstrated how to prepare a luscious meal of veal chops, sauteed spinach, and cauliflower mashed potatoes for a family dinner. Look for Caroline at www.carolinescakes. com or at her new location in Spartanburg, SC.
National Alumnae Council
(left) Caroline Ragsdale Reutter ’70, and her mother Carol Schall Ragsdale ‘46 after the cooking demonstration (right) Caroline in action at the cooking demonstration.
Amy Jenkins ’82, Chair of the National Alumnae Council, opened the meeting with a welcome and introductions. Jill Muti gave a campus update, followed by a campaign update by Cindy Johnson. This year, the Council is working towards four main goals. They are: 1.) Keeping alumnae connected to the school by making connections with other alums to assist them with job searches, day care and school options, doctors, or real estate; 2.) Providing mentorship and/or support for internships or senior projects by offering advice, housing, and internship placement for current students 3.) Planning and strategizing regional campaigns and strategies for each geographic area 4.) Creating a young alumnae network for college students and young alums moving to new areas. In an effort to stay connected throughout the year, the Council will have three conference calls each year, culminating with a meeting each April during Alumnae Weekend.
Porch Party/Silent Auction
The porch of the new Dining Commons was the beautiful setting for the Friday evening Porch Party and Silent Auction. Over 130 guests attended and enjoyed reuniting with old friends and former faculty members under the stars. The silent auction, chaired by Frannie Baker Reese ’84, added more excitement to the evening with items to bid on such as beach houses, jewelry, artwork and spa treatments. The funds raised from the auction will allow the Alumnae Association to continue its work supporting Ashley Hall students and alumnae. Thanks to Marshall Ann Lynch ’81 for chairing the party committee.
Jane Ball and Gaillard Rogers Long, class of ’86, at their 25th reunion.
Ellen Neff, Jane Werrell, Jessie Brenner,Torrey Crawford, members of the Class of ‘06, are excited to attend their first class reunion
Former faculty members Catherine Jones, Margaret Tenney and Helen Watson reconnecting about their days at Ashley Hall.
Frannie Baker Reese ’84, Chair of the auction, and Elizabeth Felder McDermott ’84, Chair of Alumnae Weekend, enjoy the fruits of their labor once the party is underway!
Therese Trouche Smythe ’78 and Margie Davis Barham ’86, members of the Alumnae Board, enjoy the party.
Class of ’81 members celebrating their 30th reunion, Helen Turner Hill, Frances Buist Byars, Dallie Smoak Gaskin, Marshall Ann Lynch, and Kathryn Pearce Phillips.
Lilla Lane Clark ’01, Erin Stevens Tatum ’01, and Katie Gallagher Gay ’01 enjoy reconnecting at their 10th reunion.
Elizabeth Barkley Ravenel and Ann Bell Smith, both members of the Class of ’63, at the Porch Party.
Alumnae Weekend ASHLEY HALL
Saturday’s events began with a special memorial service for beloved former faculty member, Elizabeth Keith, who passed away in March at the age of 99. Former students and faculty members gathered in the Recital Hall to celebrate her life, share memories and dedicate the Humanities classroom building to her memory. (see page 48 for more on Miss Keith.)
Theodora Gregorie Warren and Anne Street Lautz, members of the Class of ’44.
Betty Wise Fernald, Debra Savickas Born, and Nancy Muller, classmates from the class of ’71.
Bloody Mary / Mimosa Reception
Although rain and high winds threatened, that did not affect attendance at the Bloody Mary/ Mimosa Reception. Everyone gathered in the McBee House to enjoy the tradition of the Saturday morning reception, taking class photos, and perusing old annuals.
Reliving high school memories in the annual is a highlight of the day for class of ’06 members, Kendall Williams, Torrey Crawford and Jane Werrell.
Anne Frances Bleecker ’76 and Nella Barkley Schools ’81 enjoying a moment in the beautiful McBee House.
The annual awards luncheon was held in the new Dining Commons, highlighted by a slide show of photos of the reunion year alumnae. Helen Turner Hill ’81, President of the Alumnae Board, welcomed the guests and introduced sisters Carter ‘17 and Anna ‘18 Bitter who led the group in the new Ashley Hall blessing. Ashley Hall Chef Stephen Boyle provided a delicious lunch followed by a tasty dessert of caramel cake, compliments of Caroline Ragsdale Reutter ’70 of Caroline’s Cakes. In her comments, Jill Muti cited Miss Keith as a role model for all and an example of how the power of one can truly change the world. Jill encouraged all alumnae present to be mindful of that and to speak for the school, for the girls, for the faculty; to be proud of the education that they received at Ashley Hall; to take advantage of opportunities to be heard; and to share the strength of character and the mighty voice granted by mentors like Mrs. Keith. She invited all alumnae to come to campus, to mentor the students, to share our stories in the community and use their power for the best interest of the school, which is still dedicated to producing educated women who are independent, ethically responsible, and prepared to meet the challenges of the world with confidence. Margie Davis Barham ’86, Vice President of the Alumnae Association, wrapped up the luncheon program by recognizing the recipients of the annual alumnae awards. (top left) Elizabeth Rivers Lewine ‘54 enjoys the program at the Alumnae Awards luncheon. (bottom left) Sisters Anna ’18 and Carter ’17 Bitter lead the alumnae luncheon guests in the new Ashley Hall blessing.
Alumnae award winners from left, Kathryn Pearce Phillips ’81, Doe Jenkins ’76, Angie Hewitt Chakeris ’89, and Merrie Koester Southgate ’73
Crandall Close Bowles ’65 Professional Achievement Award Given to an Ashley Hall alumna who exhibits outstanding achievement in her chosen profession. As Associate Professor of Pediatrics in the Department of Neonatology at MUSC, Dr. Dorothea Jenkins ‘76 has touched the lives of thousands of families and premature babies. During nearly 20 years at MUSC, she has received approximately $2.75 million in funding including grants from March of Dimes, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, and National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Her research has included neurological assessments of infants and pregnant women as well as a multicenter trial on hypothermia treatment for neonatal infants. Doe is widely respected as a teacher and has been nominated several times for teaching and faculty excellence awards by medical students and residents. She is the only person in recent history to receive both a teaching and research award in the Department of Pediatrics at MUSC. Doe’s daughter, Isabel, is carrying on the family tradition as a 7th grader at Ashley Hall.
Fern Karesh Hurst ’64 Community Volunteer Award Awarded to an alumna who exhibits outstanding volunteer and community service. As the mother of a twelve-year girl, Katie ’07, Kathryn Pearce Phillips ‘81 spent countless hours giving her time, talent and energy to Ashley Hall. In the wider Charleston community, Kat played an integral role with the transition of the Family Circle Tennis Cup from Hilton Head to Charleston in 1991 and stayed in that role for 10 years. Her work with the Hollings Cancer Center has been invaluable in both fundraising and increasing cancer awareness. Her community work has also included St. Phillips Church, Water Missions International, and the Ronald McDonald House
Martha Rivers Ingram ’53 Award for Distinction in the Arts Given to an Ashley Hall alumna who has been recognized by her peers for outstanding work in the performing or visual arts Over 20 years ago, Merrie Koester Southgate ‘73 researched and developed a program for teaching
Past recipients of the Dewar Gordon Holmes award, back row from left: Elaine Meyer Bergmann ‘78, Therese Trouche Smythe ‘78, Jenks McDowell Bailey ‘79, Cam Webb Stuhr ‘65, Boo Gibbs Townsend ‘66, Sally Aichele Rhett ‘66, Helen Turner Hill ‘81, Gail Townsend Bailey ‘63. Front row, from left: Karen Jenkins Phillips ‘79, Angie Hewitt Chakeris ‘89, Penny Davies Walker ‘51, Eunice Smith Logan ‘64.
science through literature and the creative arts. She was one of only a few educators nationwide advocating the arts as powerful media for the teaching of science. As a middle school science teacher at Ashley Hall, Merrie decided to employ the art of storytelling, and came in on a Monday morning with the first chapters of what became her first science education novel – about a science teacher named Agnes Pflumm, who hated science fairs, but whose job required her to take sixth graders through their first ever projects. Now nearly twenty years later, Merrie has written and illustrated four novels in the Agnes Pflumm series as well as a teacher/student website, www.agnespflumm.com, which are being used by teachers nationwide to bring students to science through literature and the arts.
Dewar Gordon Holmes ’26 Award Given annually to an alumna who personifies the characteristics of Dewar Gordon Holmes ’26, the first woman to serve on the Ashley Hall Board of Trustees, as well as a past faculty and staff member and a mentor for Ashley Hall girls. This year’s recipient is Angie Hewitt Chakeris ’89. Angie has served as president and vice president of the Alumnae Board as well as chair of the House Tour and Alumnae Awards Committee. She has also served in the role of Alumnae/Parent liaison, Centennial Committee member, and participates each year as a phonathon volunteer. In her role as an Ashley Hall parent, Angie just wrapped up her year as president of the Parents’ Association. Through her tireless dedication, positive attitude, high standards and commitment to the school over the years, Angie truly embodies the spirit of Dewar Gordon Holmes. Angie’s daughter, Mary Hope, a 7th grader, continues the family tradition as a 3rd generation Ashley Hall student. Angie’s mother, Josephine (Sissy) Hope Hewitt was a member of the class of ’67 and a former music teacher at Ashley Hall.
Alumnae Weekend ASHLEY HALL
Class of ’71
Class of ’61
Class of ’66
Class of ’86
Class of ’91
Class of ’81
Alumnae Weekend ASHLEY HALL
Class of ’96
Class of ’01
Class of ’06
Class Notes ‘43 Cordelia Lambert Stites recently celebrated her 85th birthday! The last of her seven grandchildren was just accepted at the University of Colorado. All is well, and she still loves Colorado! Jane Lucas Thornhill is President Emeritus of the Preservation Society, President Emeritis of the Carolina Assembly and received the Susan Pringle Frost Award. ‘44 Neva Johnson Herrington continues with her volunteer work and recently read from her book, Her BMW (2007, Pudding House Publications), at the Writer’s Center in Maryland. She keeps in close touch with family near and far and has four great grandchildren. ‘49 Hannah Withers Craighill enjoyed visiting with classmate Lindy Stoddard Roes last spring and is looking forward to seeing her again this year. Sally Thrower Plair lives in Brevard, NC, and is the editor for Retirement Home College Walk Periodical Mediator. ‘52 Libby Van Benschoten Buckley is still growing avocados commercially. She stays busy with golf, the Federated Woman’s Club, and a support group for the performing arts center. She also finds time to travel.
Ashley Hall alumnae, we want to hear from you! Please send any and all updates, announcements or news notes to firstname.lastname@example.org. ‘53 Gene B. Morgan reports that all is well from Baltimore, MD! Judy Webber Ross remains very busy with her hospital volunteer work, teaching the three year olds at church, and traveling. She enjoys reading the Ashley Hall Perspectives and keeping up on the news at the school! ‘55 Betsy Gilbreth Clawson has one “exquisite” great-grandchild and two more on the way! She reports that this is one of the positive aspects of growing old! ‘57 Kitty Bryan Forbes and her husband, Walter, traveled to the Holy Land (Egypt, Jordan, and Israel) in October 2010. ‘59 Wendy DeFoe Lane retired from active ministry as an Episcopal priest in January. For the past seven years, she served as Associate Rector at the Church of the Holy Spirit in Lake Forest, Illinois. Vida FitzSimons Robertson recently joined Carolina One Real Estate as an agent. ‘62 Kay Newsom Williams and her husband, Ray, are both retired and are enjoying traveling and spending time at their mountain house at Lake Lure, NC, and their home in Greenville. They recently
Duchess (Daisy) Fitch Crowley ‘61 recently received the Pace Award, given each year to one active duty officer and one civilian employee who has made a permanent impact on the Army. After 17 years as a Navy Employee, Daisy was invited to work for the Army to organize a program for injury compensation for its civil service employees. Daisy was instrumental in shaping and implementing several proactive human resources initiatives for the Army Workers’ Compensation Program. Her program development and management initiatives decreased costs by about $10 million. She was charged with reducing the costs and getting long-term claimants back to productivity. She created a network of local administrators at 99 Army installations around the globe; wrote an Army handbook for the administrators; and traveled the country providing small group training to the local administrators, Army physicians and nurses, and incoming garrison commanders. Her efforts are paying off as the number of claimants on the rolls came down from approximately 20,000 to 15,000 last year. Daisy relates that over her lifetime, she often hears Miss Pardue’s voice in chapel saying, “From those to whom much is given, much is expected,” and those words and her Ashley Hall experiences have been a constant inspiration to her.
Purposeful | Responsible | Intelligent
Beautsie Zahrn ’63, Report from the Sea Turtle Patrol Between my junior and senior years in 1962 at Ashley Hall while I was at Hilton Head, I was introduced to a new experience that would have a lasting importance in my life. Driving on the beach at night, for the first time I was able to watch a Loggerhead sea turtle come out of the sea heading to the dunes where I watched her lay her eggs, cover them and return to the water. What a wonderful sight! I saw that scene many times that year and later in the season had the fun of watching the hatchlings boil out of their nests and quickly scamper down the beach to the sea. In 1993, I bought a cottage on Seabrook Island and moved in full time in June. The one thing I knew I would do on the island was to become a member of the turtle patrol! The first year on the Seabrook Island Turtle Patrol I was a walker, going on the beach early in the morning checking for tracks of mother turtles coming up to the dunes to lay a nest, following those tracks, and finding that nest if she had left one. I would mark the nest and call the coordinator with the news. The second year I became one of the coordinators, and six years ago I became the project manager on the island. As project manager I hold the permit from the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to have a turtle patrol on the island, to organize and train the walkers, and to report the findings of our activities back to DNR. This past year we had 87 walkers walking 4 zones on the beach every morning from Mother’s Day until the last nest hatched in the middle of October. A
enjoyed a trip to England in May. She hopes to see her class of ‘62 classmates at the 2012 reunion! ‘63 Louise Mettler Blumenthal and her husband, Richard, have moved to the Boston area where he heads the International School of Boston. 58 | The magazine of ASHLEY HALL
walker picks a day of the week and a zone to walk for the season. If a walker finds any tracks they call me. My husband and I, or my assistant and her husband, drive onto the beach on our four wheel drive vehicles to help locate the nest, move it if it is too low on the beach and would be washed away, and then mark the location of the nest with a sign and take the GPS reading. We cover the nest with a screen to keep predators, foxes, raccoons and bobcats out, and put a crab trap next to the nest to trap ghost crabs. We had a busy year in 2010 with a record 68 nests. This year again working with DNR, we took an egg from each nest for a study to get the DNA of every mother that had laid a nest in NC, SC and GA. We are still getting the results of the study, and they will help us protect these wonderful creatures further by letting us know how many laying loggerheads
‘64 Stanley Smith Reahard and her husband, Ralph, are happy to be back in South Carolina for half the year after being away for almost 40 years. She hopes to see more of her Ashley Hall classmates now that she is back in town!
we have out there. In the middle of July the walkers start looking for hatchling tracks and holes on the nests indicating that a hatching has occurred. They call me with the news. Three days after a hatching we go into the nest to find out what has occurred. We count the egg shells, how many hatchlings have gone to the sea, how many unhatched eggs are left, any dead hatchlings and sometimes enjoy the fun of seeing live hatchlings that we help out of the nest. I report all these figures to DNR on their nest data web site. At the end of the year I file a final report with DNR covering all the aspects of the season. It is a lot of work and early hours, but there are great benefits. There are over 800 people in SC doing what we are doing on Seabrook Island. We are all doing this for the benefit of all, and we are making a difference for the sea turtles.
‘65 Alice Davidson Sims founded in 2002 “Art for the People”, a non-profit that send artists into senior facilities, homeless shelters and prisons to create art with the residents. This summer, she and her husband, Bill, took a 60-day camping trip around the country staying with old friends and in national parks.
‘66 Sara Karesh Benfield works with autistic and severe behavior students in Ashe County, NC, and is a National Board Certified Teacher. She is enjoying her 1 1/2 year old grandson! Heather McLaughlin works as a Kodaly music educator. Both of her children are in graduate schools studying music and technology. They are “bearing the fruits” of early Suzuki violin training!
‘68 Vance Bonner recently celebrated 37 years of teaching her body alignment, “The Vance Stance” in Oregon and also in the Washington DC area in the spring and summer. Contact her at email@example.com. Lynn Foskett Pierson is Chairman of the Board of Directors of Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art in Tarpon Spring, FL and enjoyed celebrating her grandson’s 3rd birthday in Boston in May! ‘70 Cherry F. Payne retired in September 2010 after 34 1/2 years as a public employee with the National Park Service. She is enjoying skiing, rafting the Colorado in the Grand Canyon and plans to climb Mount Ranier this year. ‘71 Barbara Tolbert McKinley recently attended the class of 71’s 40th reunion and had a great time! She says thank you to Betsy Wise Fernald ’71 for doing all of the driving!
‘72 Chardon Harrigan Jenks sadly reports that her husband of 30 years passed away in December 2009. ‘73 Carol Miller Lane is the proud aunt of Ashley Hall 11th grader, Jane Gilbert! Debbie J. Lee is a strategist for Western Washington University’s Center for Economic Vitality where she helps Washington state businesses optimize their export potential. She spends time working in Washington and commuting to Hawaii where her fiance resides. She has lots of frequent flyer miles! ‘75 Barbara Baker Pendergrast has completed her Master of Divinity degree at Emory’s Candler School of Theology and began an internship in January as a hospital chaplain. She and her husband, Tommy, have a daughter, Bissell, who graduated from the University of Georgia and a son, Thomas, who will be a senior at the Westminister Schools in Atlanta. ‘77 Virginia Stone Crutchley continues to play NSTA tennis and is a student of water color. Her husband, Todd, is Branch Manager of Stifel Nicolaus, Hilton Head/ Bluffton. Her son is with AT&T in Columbia, and her daughter is finishing her MFA and lives in Singapore with her husband.
‘79 Catherine Calcote Fischer reports that this has been a big year in her family! She turned 50, her mother turns 80, she and her husband celebrate their 25th anniversary, and her son graduated
from college!! In celebration of her 50th and their 25th, they plan to go to Italy first to visit with the family that her daughter lived with while being an exchange student in high school. After that they may see more of Italy or pos-
Atlanta Alumnae Gathering In April, alumnae from the Atlanta area were hosted by Claudia Poulnot deMayo ’73, and her husband, Richard, for a lovely evening with Jill Muti.
Atlanta alumnae party hostess, Claudia Poulnot deMayo ’73 (on left), and Jill Muti
From left, Susan Smith Perry ‘73, Caroline Simons Finnerty ‘77, and Harriott Johnson Kelly ‘73 enjoy catching up at the Atlanta party.
Purposeful | Responsible | Intelligent
sibly cruise around the Greek Isles! The summer began with a celebration of their son, Scott, graduating from Vanderbilt University. He will work in New York for Bank of America. Her daughter, Caitlin, will transfer to Appalachian State University for the fall, so she will be closer to home for her next three years. The first year of “empty nesting” has not been too bad. Catherine has been working on a pilot program for math tutoring in three local public schools. If the funding comes in, they plan to roll the program out to at least four more schools for next year. Her other “free” time has been spent on various committees at the church or entertaining their 10 year-old Beagle, Dobby. Her parents have moved into Bishop Gadsden (so back on James Island!), so Catherine gets down Charleston to visit a few times a year. ‘83 Caroline C. Lesesne and several members of the class of 1983 and 1984 were able to get together after Christmas. It was great to see everyone and get up to date on how everyone was doing. Not surprisingly, everyone looked EXACTLY as they did in 1983! Highlights were to see Catherine Dixon and Sandie Jackson, who were not able to make the last reunion, and to meet their wonderful children! ‘85 Susan D. Newman, assistant professor in the College of Nursing and College of Graduate Studies at MUSC, is a Liberty Fellow class of
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Pictured left to right are Jill Muti and hostesses, Tory Davis Champion ’79, Martha Pearce Armstrong ’78 and Sharon Pearce Wilson ’72.
Greenville Alumnae gathering The Greenville/Spartanburg area Ashley Hall alumnae gathering was hosted by Martha Pearce Armstrong ’78, Tory Davis Champion ’79, and Sharon Pearce Wilson ’72 at the home of Martha and Sharon’s mother, Betty Pearce. Guests enjoyed catching up with Jill Muti and hearing updates about the school.
2012. The Liberty Fellowship is a program that focuses on leadership issues in South Carolina. In addition to attending four seminars over the two-year period, including one Aspen Institute global seminar with leaders from around the world, each class member commits to completing a personal project that will have a positive impact on the state. ‘86 Laura Doty Adams’ book, Money Girl’s Smart Moves to Grow Rich, recently won the EIFLE (Excellence in Financial Literacy Education) 2011 award for adult books of the year in money management. The book is a guidebook full of tips and tricks that explain what you need to know about money without
bogging you down with what you don’t need to know. For more information, go to /www.financiallit.org/xpages/ conference/eifle.aspx
powerful is was to see how children could take ownership of such a huge project and realize that they are capable of making a difference to those in need.
Lara Allison has been a small animal veterinarian for the past 16 years and has recently become a Certified Matrix Energetic Practitioner to facilitate the healing and bonding that can take place between animals and people. Check out her website at www.healingandthehumananimalbond.com.
Beth Watson Walker is very proud of her 7th grade son, Wyly, who is working on raising $2,500 to aid in the Japanese Relief Efforts by making and selling 1,000 origami cranes. His website is http://www.1000cranestoheal japan.webs.com/ if you’d like to donate as well.
Margie Davis Barham’s daughters, Ellie ‘22 and Sarah (age 5), along with the Ashley Hall first grade, helped to raise over $3000 for Japanese Relief through the Red Cross by sponsoring a Non-Uniform Day. Margie relates how
‘90 Perrin Cothran Conrad recently had a book entitled A Quiet Cup of Tea published. It is available at Middleton Place Museum Shop, at www. mosquitocreekpress.com and several other locations. She
is due to release a collection of short stories this summer. Check out www.perrincothranconrad.com! ‘91 Laura McKinley Spriggs and her husband, Paul, are living in Atlanta with their daughter Ellie (3) and are expecting a baby this summer. She says life is good!
Creative Director for Green River Reserve. For the last five years, she was with Hallmark as a professional photographer. She plans to continue her photography with her freelance business, “Jane and Oliver.”
Caroline Gordon Perkins and her husband, Jonathan, live in Alexandria, VA, with their two daughters, Elizabeth (5) and Catherine (2).
‘99 Katherine MacGregor Gilbertson and her family are living in Germany. Her husband Michael is an Army JAG, and they are in Germany for three years where they are enjoying the opportunity to travel in Europe. They are living in a little German village, and their son, Logan, goes to a German kindergarten as only one of two little American children. Their son, Asher, is not in school yet.
‘98 Jane H. Izard recently moved from Kansas City, MO, to Asheville, NC, to serve as
‘00 Jacki K. Dixon left her job with the 9th Circuit Solicitor’s Office in April of this year
Sarah Chanler Ryan is enjoying life in Charlotte, NC with her husband, Kevin, and children Laughlin (9), Henry (8) and Maggie (6).
and is now Of Counsel with Miller Conway in Goose Creek. The practice handles criminal, civil, domestic, and corporate litigation. ‘01 Claire D. M. Selby graduated in January 2011 from the Staatliche Goldschmiede Hanau, a goldsmithing and metal working professional school in Germany, where she is currently working on jewelry book translations from German to English, as well as on and her own custom line of jewelry (www.claireselby.com). ‘02 Sarah L. Lowndes has been promoted in her job at Textron in Baltimore, MD to Senior Human Resourses Consultant. She will also be pursuing her Masters in Human Resourses at Towson State University.
Pictured left to right are Charlotte Morrow ’10, Kaetlin Collins ’09, Rachel Ellyn ‘09, Eliza Harrigan ’10, Sylvia Lee ’07, Lindsay Wilzbach ’07, Ellen B. Jones ’07, Dupre Moseley ’10, Susie Robinson ‘08, and Elizabeth Dougherty ’10.
Meghan K. Titzer graduated from Harvard Business School in May. She continues to enjoy playing the violin and is currently in several Bostonbased Baroque orchestras. She spent this past January hiking around the Himalayas in Nepal. Although Meghan left Ashley Hall in 1997, she still considers herself part of the class of 2002 and would love to keep in touch with everyone! ‘04 Lindsey King is an internal events coordinator for TPG Private Equities Investment Company in New York City. Sarah S. Evans lives in San Francisco, CA and received her Masters Degree in Forensic Psychology in May. She has applied for a doctoral program in San Francisco. ‘07 Gabrielle A. Lynch graduated Summa Cum Laude from The University of Arizona in May where she earned a B.S. in Retailing and Consumer Sciences. During her college years she interned in New York City with Jeffries and Hanky Panky. She will be entering the Buying and Merchandising Training Program with J.C. Penney at their corporate offices in Dallas, Texas. ‘08 Jennie Engel just finished her junior year at the College of Charleston where she is majoring in Physical Education.
Clemson Alumnae gathering In March, the Alumnae office hosted a pizza dinner at the Clemson Mellow Mushroom for Ashley Hall alumnae currently attending Clemson.
Purposeful | Responsible | Intelligent
Alumnae/Senior Luncheon Each year, the Alumnae Association hosts the seniors with a luncheon to welcome them to the ranks of the alumnae. The luncheon is also an opportunity for the students to network and meet alumnae and is highlighted with alumnae speakers who share their personal and professional paths since graduation. This year’s speakers were Cathie Jones ‘83 and Cashion Drolet ‘97. While Cathie’s initial career path took her in the direction of research in the area of endocrinology, she realized that her goals of healthcare were moving more in the direction of naturopathic medicine. Cathie followed her passion and went on to receive her doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine and masters in acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine. In 2006, she established her practice with offices in Mount Pleasant and West Ashley. Cashion earned a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and French from Davidson College. Her career began in Washington, DC, serving three years on Congressman Henry Brown’s legislative staff where she cultivated her interest in politics and public policy. She translated those interests into a career as a lobbyist and currently serves as Chief Lobbyist and Senior Vice President of Government Affairs for the South Carolina Realtors, South Carolina’s largest professional trade organization.
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Cashion Drolet ’97, on left, and Cathie Jones ’83, this year’s speakers at the Alumnae/Senior luncheon. The luncheon wrapped up with the seniors writing their 5 year goals and turning them in to be held in the alumnae office until their 5th reunion in 2016!
From left, Elaine Conradi Eustis ’84, Aimee Goedecke, and Kate Schuh White ’88. Women in Leadership: Women’s Health Issues Ashley Hall hosted a panel discussion on women’s health issues in February. Our panel of experts included Dr. Elaine Conradi Eustis ’84 (Ashley Hall parent), Dr. Aimee Goedecke (Ashley Hall parent), and Dr. Kate Schuh White ’88. They first spoke to the 8th – 12th grade assembly and covered health issues that relate to today’s teenagers. Then a panel discussion with alumnae and parents was held covering issues ranging from pediatrics to adolescence and child-bearing to menopause. There were plenty topics of interest for all ages of women who attended! Dr. Elaine Conradi Eustis ’84 –Elaine graduated from Ashley Hall and earned her BS in Biology from the University of South Carolina, Honors
College. She went on to earn her MD from Vanderbilt in 1992 and completed a four year residency in OB/GYN there as well. She stayed on faculty at Vanderbilt for three years while practicing as an OB/GYN. When her third child was born, her family moved to Kentucky, and she focused her practice primarily on gynecology. Most recently she and her family have moved back to Charleston, and she has opened a private practice, Coastal Women’s Wellness, specializing in perimenopausal and menopausal gynecology. Elaine’s daughter, Sarah, is carrying on the family tradition as an 8th grader at Ashley Hall. Dr. Aimee Goedecke, Ashley Hall parent – Aimee graduated from The Johns Hopkins University with a BA in Natural Science in 1993 and from MUSC with a MD in 1997.
She completed a Residency in Pediatrics at the University of South Florida in 2000 and served as Chief Resident at All Childrens’ Hospital in St. Petersburg, FL from 2000 to 2001. Aimee has been a partner at Parkwood Pediatrics since 2001. Her practice is focused on children from birth through adolescence. Aimee’s daughter, Erin, is an Ashley Hall seventh grader. Dr. Kate Schuh White ’88 – Kate graduated from Ashley Hall and earned her BA in English in 1992 from Drew University. She then received her MD from the Medical University of South Carolina in 1998 and completed her four year OB/GYN residency at the University of Texas. Since 2002 she has been at Lowcountry OB/GYN in Mount Pleasant with a specialty in obstetrics.
Purposeful | Responsible | Intelligent
‘86 Coco Dawson Tyburski and her husband, Dan, are pleased to announce the birth of their son, William (Will) Elliott Dawson on June 3, 2011.
‘54 Topsy Herrin Barone was married to Broadus Thompson on Friday, August 13, 2010.
‘95 Hunter McEaddy Dawson and her husband Will are thrilled to announce the birth of their daughter, Gretchen Caroline McCrary Dawson, on June 2, 2010. Gretchen was 8 pounds, 9 ounces and 20” long. Hunter, Will, Gretchen and big brother Hunter live in Charleston where Hunter works at the Architecture Firm VDL Associates, LLC, and Will is an attorney with Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, PLLC.
‘40 Bess Smith Burrows Charleston, SC • December 30, 2010 ‘46 Maner Sanders Drake Walterboro, SC • December 24, 2010 ‘50 Nancy Williams Deroode Venice, FL • December 18, 2010 ‘53 Choice McCoin Greenville, SC • February 15, 2011 ‘58 Rosie Smithy Bradham Oriental, North Carolina • May 18, 2011 ‘64 Alicia Middleton Glass New York, NY • January 5, 2011 ‘83 Catherine Gibbs Dixon Columbia, SC • June 17, 2011
64 | The magazine of ASHLEY HALL
‘83 Ann Gadsden was married to Edward Shimer on February 4, 2011. ‘97 Bonnie McBee was married to John Cooke on November 24, 2011. ‘99 Lauren Amiel Camp and Henry Saen Ravenel, both of Charleston SC, were married on May 14, 2011, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Charleston. A reception followed at The Carolina Yacht Club. Lauren earned a BS in Education from the College of Charleston and a Masters in Education in Literacy from The Citadel. She teaches 3rd Grade at Nativity Catholic School. The groom is a graduate of Christ School and Wando High School and is employed by Raymond James. The wedding party included Katie Ravenel Rudolph ‘95 and Lexi Tanenbaum Mansson ‘99. The couple honeymooned in Beaufort, SC and reside in Mount Pleasant. ‘00 Pauline Kessler Martschink of Charleston, SC and Christopher Michael McDowell of Greenville, SC, were married on June 11, 2011, at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Charleston. A reception followed at The Carolina Yacht Club. Peg earned a BS in Athletic Training and Exercise Science from the College of Charleston and a MS in Health Exercise & Sports Science from The Citadel. The groom earned a BS in Biology from The Citadel. He is a student at The Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine - Carolinas Campus. The bride’s attendants included Sarah Martschink Moore ‘02, Eliza Hutto Cantwell ‘00, Lauren Jenkins Sykes ‘00 and Allison Chamberlain Abramson ‘00. The couple honeymooned in Oahu, Hawaii and reside in Spartanburg, SC.
Carrie Lee Sasser and Jonathan David Whitaker, both of San Francisco, CA, were married May 28, 2011, in The Presbyterian Church on Edisto Island, Edisto, SC. A reception was held at Middleton Plantation. Carrie graduated from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill with a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication. Carrie is employed as an Account Director for The Barbarian Group in San Francisco. The groom graduated from Northwest Christian High School in Phoenix, AZ, and is currently attending the Academy of Art in San Francisco. He is employed at the City Church of San Francisco as the Director of Operations. Allison Chamberlain Abramson ‘00 was the matron of honor. The bride’s attendants included Mary Alexander Dingledine ‘00. A rehearsal dinner was held at Sunnyside Plantation given by the groom’s parents. The couple honeymooned in Costa Rica and make their home in San Francisco. ‘01 Erin Finch Stevens and Bryan Charles Tatum, both of Charleston, SC, were married on May 14, 2011, at the Legare Waring House in Charleston. A reception was held at the Legare Waring House. Erin earned a Bachelors Degree in English from Harvard University and Masters in Landscape Architecture from University of Georgia. Erin is employed with John Tarkany Associates, Inc. and The Art Institute of Charleston. The groom attended Francis Marion University and is currently studying business at Trident Technical College. He is employed by The Fat Hen. Jacqueline Anne Wezwick ‘01 was maid of honor. Megan Stevens Murph ‘98 was matron of honor. Bride’s attendants included Benedicte Audrey Boutrouille, Rachel Caroline Burriss ‘02, Sarah Runyon Condon ‘01, Elizabeth Ann Finch ‘05, Caroline Kornya Hebert ‘01, Martha Reagan Moseley ‘01, Katherine deMerrill King Oulla ‘01, and Susan Tatum Porter ‘98. The couple honeymooned in Roatan, Honduras and reside in Charleston, SC. ‘02 Crystal Michelle Adams of Daniel Island, SC, and Joseph Julian Strickland, Jr. of Mount Pleasant, SC, were married on January 29, 2011 at Mount Pleasant Presbyterian Church.
Lost Alumnae Reunion Classes 2012 A reception followed at Alhambra Hall. Crystal graduated from the University of South Carolina and is employed with Adams Insurance Company, Inc. The groom graduated from Wando High School and the University of South Carolina and is employed with Strickland Homes. Courtney McCall Adams ‘07 was maid of honor. The bride’s attendants included Ann E. Rice Ervin ‘02, Sophie Lane Martin ‘02, and Amanda Grace Oswald ‘02. The couple honeymooned in Palmetto Bluff, SC and reside on Daniel Island. Dorothy Elizabeth Wilkerson and Michael Chapin Merrill, both of Charleston, SC, were married on May 21, 2011, at Grace Episcopal Church in Charleston. A reception followed at the Charleston Place Hotel. Beth is a graduate of Charleston Southern University. She is a choral teacher at Summerville Catholic School and manager with Express Clothing in Northwoods Mall. The groom is the son of Ms. Christine Ann Morrow ‘75 of Charleston. He is a graduate of Porter-Gaud and Appalachian State University, and is employed with the City of Charleston. Amy Baker Wilkerson ‘04 served as maid of honor. The couple honeymooned in the Caribbean and reside on Johns Island, SC. Elizabeth Lawton Guerry and Jonathan Ray Shepard of Mount Pleasant, SC, were married on May 14, 2011, at The French Huguenot Church in Charleston. A reception followed at Hibernian Society Hall. Elizabeth earned a BA from USC. She is manager of Harbor Specialties. The groom is a graduate of The Bolles School and the College of Charleston. He is employed by SunTrust. Eva Boykin Ravenel ‘15 served as crucifer for the ceremony. The couple honeymooned in California and reside in Mount Pleasant. ‘03 Emilie Grace Neyle of Sullivan’s Island, SC and Benjamin Bostick Jeter, DMD, of Summerville, SC, were married on Saturday, June 18, 2011, at the French
Huguenot Church in Charleston, SC. A reception followed at Hibernian Society Hall. Emilie earned a BS in Business from Winthrop University and is employed by First Citizens Bank. The groom earned a BS in Business from Clemson University and a DMD from MUSC. He is employed by Jeter and Welch Dentists. Charlotte Neyle ‘10 was maid of honor. Bride’s attendants included Lacy Harrison ‘03, and Alex Glasgow ‘03. The couple reside in Mount Pleasant, SC. Amy Elizabeth McKinney and Dr. Matthew Scott Luff, both of Charleston, SC, were married on March 19, 2011, at First (Scots) Presbyterian Church in Charleston. A reception followed at The Carolina Yacht Club. Amy earned a BA degree from Furman University and is a Designer with Margaret Donaldson Interiors. The groom is a graduate of East Tennessee State University, Quillen College of Medicine and MUSC, where he is a Cardiology Fellow. Sally Anne McKinney ‘05 served as maid of honor. The couple honeymooned on Kiawah Island, SC, and in New York City, and reside in Charleston. ‘04 Margaret Patricia Sosnowski and Newman Huckabee Lawrence, both of Charleston, SC, were married on April 30, 2011, at St. Michael’s Church in Charleston. A reception followed at The Carolina Yacht Club. Trish graduated from Presbyterian College and attends MUSC College of Nursing. The groom graduated from Naples American High School in Naples, Italy, and The Citadel. Liza Sosnowski McDaniel ‘02 was matron of honor, and the wedding party included Cory Sosnowski Prescott ‘05. The couple honeymooned at Tybee Island and Savannah, GA, and reside in Charleston.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you can assist us with finding any of these alumnae whose reunion will be in April 2012. Class of 1957 Amber Rau Pam Tucker Sherrill Cathy Hayden Zelinskas Class of 1962 Mary Bland Durant Julie Jervey Mitchell Karen M. Scanland Class of 1967 Margaret Fair Devies Mary Markley Martha Skinner Class of 1972 Cathy Creel Baldwin Betsy Foote Ewer Kathy Fowler Nan Kavanaugh Karen Lovett Wendy Wofford McDaniel Sonja D. Mullinax Claudia Nichols Louise Palmer Nicklas Dottie Woodard Class of 1977 Caroline Hutson Weisemann Class of 1982 Sonya Johnson-George Lee Lucas Class of 1987 Becky Baker Constance Grady Class of 1992 Mary Elizabeth Bennett Sonja J. Oakcrum Suzy Pavone Class of 1997 Emily Baumil Emily F. Frampton Holly Tillman Gorman Racheal Parks Mena A. Suvari Brooke Zimmerman Class of 2002 Karen E. Tanenbaum
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Published on Sep 15, 2011