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FALL 2015

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2015–16 Events

Please join us in these events throughout the year! Athenian Art Exhibition

“Why Athenian?” Round Table #2

November 4, 2015

Tuesday, February 2, 2016, 7:00 pm

“Why Athenian?” Round Table #1

50th Anniversary Gala

Tuesday, November 10, 2015, 7 pm

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Young Alumni Owl Bowl

“Why Athenian?” Round Table #3

Thanksgiving, Thursday, November 26, 2015, 9:30 am

Tuesday, May 3, 2016, 7:00 pm

Alumni Symposium & Back to School Day Thursday, January 7, 2016

Regional Events



Oct 1 – London

Oct 26 – Taipei

Jan 30 – New York

Oct 18 – Shanghai

Oct 28 – Bangkok

TBA – Seattle

Oct 21 – Tokyo

Oct 31 – Hong Kong

TBA – Washington, DC

Oct 24 – Seoul

Dec TBA – Los Angeles

April 14 – Chicago

To RSVP and learn more, visit Buy your memorabilia: 2


TABLE OF CONTENTS Message from the Head of School . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 A Remembrance of Dyke Brown. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 A Sense of Time Passing. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Interdisciplinary Education. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 BlendEd . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Entrepreneurship . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 2014-15 Annual Report. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Off to College . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 Alumni News . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 Athenian History Factoids. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40



2100 Mt. Diablo Scenic Blvd. Danville, CA 94506 925.837.5375

925.362.7201 Judyth Collin Elizabeth Newey ’11 Allie Rowe Marci Scott Susan Zic


Eric Niles

Athenian Magazine EDITOR

Judyth Collin


Urban Bird Design—Walnut Creek PRINTING

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Printed on New Leaf Ingenuity made with 100% post-consumer waste

The Athenian Magazine is published annually by the Advancment Office. We welcome comments and suggestions

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Eric Niles Dyke Brown’s vision for Athenian 50 years ago was ahead of its time—innovative in placing emphasis on developing the whole person; innovative in an experiential and interdisciplinary approach to education; and innovative in incorporating the values of democracy, community service, equity and justice, international understanding, and environmental stewardship into the School’s culture. We remain innovative by always being open to student voice, and to improvement and change. These past 50 years have seen many changes at Athenian—people have come and gone, improvements to the facilities have been made, technology advances have steadily been incorporated—but our core values have remained the same. We continue to instill in each student the values of intellectual exploration and meaningful contribution in order to better our world. We remain innovative in developing new initiatives, classes and programs to better deliver our mission. As we gaze towards the future, we recognize that the skills our students need for the 21st century include: knowing how to work together collaboratively; knowing how to draw from interconnected and interdisciplinary learning; knowing how to connect with people who are different from themselves; and knowing how to be creative problem-solvers. Colleges are catching up to the type of teaching and learning we have been practicing for 50 years, just now establishing new interdisciplinary and collaborative programs and creating buildings to house those programs.



In the pages that follow, you will read about how we are anticipating the future through our new BlendEd program that combines online and in person classes, and our new Entrepreneurship program to help students develop the skills needed to launch their own start-ups and businesses. You’ll also read about how we continue to build upon our interdisciplinary legacy with new classes and approaches. Woven into these articles is the past, present, and future. Our history and founding vision are connected to our present-day, and will continue to influence the choices we make in the future. In this, our 50th year, please join us as we rededicate ourselves to our mission, honor what has come before, and imagine what lies ahead.

A Remembrance of Dyke Brown By Eleanor Dase I first met Dyke as a young, naïve candidate for a math position at Athenian. The last step of the process was to meet with him in his office on the backside of the Main Hall. He didn’t ask me anything about math, but launched into “other” expectations outside of class: Would I be an advisor and support students on an individual basis? “Of course,” I replied. Would I do community service projects with students? “Sure.” Would I be willing to be in the dorms one night a week and come to campus several weekends a year? Hmmmmmm…. “Yes,” I replied, though I was beginning to wonder if I could do all of this with a young family at home. Needless to say, I was intimidated by Dyke, but this conversation inspired my enduring priority to build meaningful relationships with students. The following year, in a less daunting conversation with Dyke, he shared a story from his youth, when his parents sent him to Schule Schloss Salem in Germany to study under Kurt Hahn. Upon arriving, he discovered that his bed was too short and went to Hahn, who was not at all sympathetic. Dyke repeated that he needed a longer bed, to which Hahn responded that Dyke needed to be resilient and resolve the issue on his own. In the end, Dyke realized the importance of his lesson in resilience from Salem, and also how valuable it was for our students to develop this trait.

grant for this research and was so articulate about his findings! He also felt that this quality was perhaps the most important one for us to foster in our students. Many a time I just sat and listened, so awed and inspired by this wise and insightful scholar. My last remembrance comes from Dyke’s final years. We had retained an oral historian to meet bi-weekly with Dyke in his living room, but with his health beginning to wane, and lonely from the loss of his beloved wife Kate, he wanted me to be present for each meeting. I would not trade this meaningful time with Dyke for anything, and after the project was completed, I found myself continuing the visits, to absorb as much as I could of this endearing, gentle giant. Dyke had an incredible impact on my life, but also on all of education. A trailblazer, his vision from 50 years ago has become a model of 21st century education, and the qualities he espoused then provide a poignant message to the Athenian community today: · Meaningful relationships with students become the catalyst for learning and living; · Resilience enables students to adapt and mature; · Inspiration fosters vision and creativity; and · Endearment will always build love and compassion.

After I had become Head of Athenian and Dyke was in his 80s, we met frequently for lunch and he would always update me on the research he was doing on the capacity of infants to develop empathy and compassion. He had received a Dyke Brown sits astride a tractor as the School is being built.

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A Sense of Time Passing By Dick Bradford I often introduce myself to prospective students and families by saying that when I arrived at Athenian in the fall of 1981, I was the youngest member of the faculty. “Now,” as I am fond of saying, “I am not.” What I am now is the person working on the Athenian campus who has been here the longest. Athenian is turning 50 this year – and now I have been here for 34 of those years. This is an interesting position for me; having worked with Eleanor Dase and Tom Swope for so long, I always felt like the new kid. Eleanor once said so aptly of our working together at Athenian that she had seen me grow up here – which was at once a compliment and testimony to her abundance of patience. Now I am seen as the keeper of institutional memory – at the same time being asked to help create a vision for Athenian’s future. I sometimes wonder if I have indeed grown up enough to have both of those responsibilities. As a “village elder,” I am frequently asked, “What was it like working at the real Athenian?” As if to imply that some previous iteration was in some ways more meaningful, closer to the heart of the School. I decided to address this question head on in morning meeting a couple of years ago to give the students a sense of what it was like when I first started working here, and what it was like for me to work here now. As I talked to the community about then and now, I realized Eleanor’s assessment of my time here applied to my own sense of the



evolution of Athenian – it was very much like watching someone growing up. While there are moments of joy and frustration in each stage, we need to remember that nostalgia has a way of softening the edges of concern and anxiety – whatever problems we had are not problems anymore because we solved/endured/ survived them. I see this every year when seniors in their second semester say that the place has changed so much from when they came here – which really isn’t true, but is a way for them to begin to let go of the reality of Athenian in order to begin to hold it as they wish to see it in their memories. What I was trying to impress to the community on that day was a sense of how we are all a part of Athenian’s growth. We all have had and continue to have our parts to play as members of this wonderful school. What we should revel in is that while Athenian continues to grow/mature/evolve – there are deep roots in the founding and the mission of the School that continue to connect all of us who have been here as students or as employees. Those roots have nurtured the trunk of the mission and the ensuing branches of the program, which continue to grow as we do.

In 1985, Dick Bradford and his advisory students built a swing for the enjoyment of the community. The swing still hangs from a tree overlooking the campus.

One of these connectors for students is AWE. I tell each group of nervous juniors the night before they leave on their course that they are not only fulfilling a graduation requirement at Athenian and intersecting deeply with the mission, but they are joining all Athenian alumni who have been through the same experience. So a member of the class of 2015 can talk with members of the classes down to 1968 about the details of their AWE course. In many cases, they could be talking about the same mountains, same solo sites, same night skies. Boarding is another connector and one that has indeed changed over the years. When I first arrived, this was clearly a boarding school. We had seven dorms, about 130 boarding students and maybe 50 day students. The action was on campus; day students were always finding ways to stay on campus and we had a tradition of having a closed campus, where we would invite the day students to sleep on the floors of the boarding students’ rooms. We would give the kitchen staff the weekend off and student and faculty would serve the community food – it was like a big family meal. We are a larger school with a smaller group of boarders now. We look to connect boarders and day students in different ways. One is to reverse the closed campus idea and have boarders stay with day students on long weekends. Interestingly, we have seen a growing interest in our boarding program. We added another dorm this year, moving us much closer to a goal of 60 boarders. We have also added five additional faculty homes on the periphery of the campus. When the community gathers for a holiday meal in the dining hall, there are about 100 of us sitting down to break bread together. Add to that the boarder buddy day students who are invited and the place is packed – and it feels like a big family meal. We also have the robotics students here until 9 or 10 pm during the build season, and the theater crowd as we approach productions. So, while we may not have the closed weekends of yore, there is still a lot of action here on campus.

Students have been traveling to the same mountains and the same valleys since 1969.

Run In has been a tradition since the 1970s.

In September, 2015, boarders and residential families went up to the swing and watched the eclipse to celebrate the mid-autumn moon. They ate moon cakes and had a great time!

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A Sense of Time (continued)

Speaking of the theater, this is something else that has evolved. In the good old days, we didn’t actually have one. All of our performances were in the Main Hall. I used to know the musicals by heart because they practiced right under the window of my office. Now we have a wonderful theater space in the CFTA (Center for the Arts), which for those of you who have been away for a while, is in the old library. Now we have advanced lighting, intricate sets and real theater seating. Also in the CFTA is a dance studio with a sprung floor, 2D and 3D art classrooms, and a new kiln. People love going to the CFTA as a dedicated space for the arts. The library (old Boys’ Dorm 2) has been transformed into the intellectual heart of the campus – something I would hazard to say it was not, in its years as a dorm.

built the Tim Holm trail, which originally was a circle leaving from the CFTA, going up past the Meditation Hut (yes, it is still there, along with a new mediation hut) then moving along the fence line before heading up to the swing (a shout out here to my advisee group who built it in 1985) before dropping down to the campus. We have the Sternberg Spur, which heads up to the back forty by the old tree house. The cross country team has built several different routes that go out and back beyond the softball and baseball fields, so we now have a full-length cross country course that is the scourge of our league, given the hills

We still have Tim Holm Day, in honor of Tim (class of 1971), where we engage in a variety of on and off campus service projects. Every few years we put that model aside and all climb different parts of Mt. Diablo. A few years ago on this day, we

involved (and one of the reasons for our recent rise to prominence in this sport.) In addition to the swing, there are a series of three benches on which to pause along the way of this new “Athenian Outback” – each has its own medium for recording thoughts and artistic expression. I will leave it to you to come back and see them. I started this paragraph mentioning Tim Holm who, among other things, built hang gliders to fly off the Athenian hills. I am waiting for a student to want to follow in his footsteps. In the meantime, we are building our third airplane.

Plays used to be performed in the Main Hall in front of the fireplace; today they are performed in the Center for the Arts, which previously was the library with stables underneath.



I would say this of Athenian as I look through the lens of my time here: Steve Davenport, through his vision of what was right for Athenian’s future, added a Middle School and saved us from our tightest spot financially in the 80s. Eleanor Dase, through her fierce determination and belief in the School, forged the

model that kept the spirit alive as we moved forward in academic stature in the eyes of the Bay Area and other Round Square schools. Eric Niles has kept us focused on a forward-looking vision of the School. The fascinating thing for me is that this vision of the future all started with a hard look at the past. We are on the leading edge of combining experiential and interdisciplinary education because that is how Dyke Brown imagined the learning taking place. When John Chubb, president of NAIS, showed two slides of Athenian in his opening remarks at the 2015 annual conference, lauding the virtues of AWE and its impact on our students before an audience of 5,000 educators, he was celebrating the future of independent school education by referring at once to Athenian’s present and past.

Me? I still teach Shakespeare in the fall and do independent study with juniors and seniors in the spring on topics ranging from The Odyssey to Anna Karenina to editing fiction. This year I am working with a junior who has written the first in a trilogy of speculative fiction novels. I still write some poetry on my own. And yes, every year, on the last day, I read to the seniors a poem I write about and for them. I still get tears in my eyes when I tell people about graduation. We still have a couple of faculty members speaking about each student in ways that are poignant, humorous, and creative­– certainly indicative of our faculty, but most important, letting each student who graduates realize in no uncertain terms that they are known and appreciated for being exactly who they are. For me, that is perhaps the most important enduring thread woven into our efforts to change the world – here at the end of the road in Danville, 50 years on.

Dick Bradford (right) goes biking with students in the 1980s.

Students carry the meditation hut up the Tim Holm Trail. Today, we have an additional hut nearby.

Tim Holm (center) hang-gliding with friends in the Athenian hills.

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Interdisciplinary Education

Back to the Future: Interdisciplinary Education in the Upper School When Dyke Brown gave the commencement speech in 1969, he talked about the many things he had learned since opening the School, as well as his dreams for the future of Athenian. “As always with dreams, transforming them into reality is something else again,” he said. One of his dreams included, “The exciting idea we have discussed for an interdisciplinary program in the humanities without class periods or separate subjects.” This idea has been part of the blueprint of the School since the beginning in the form of Dyke’s Mandala, where he sketched out a design for human learning that was interwoven among the disciplines to develop the whole person. Over the years, sporadic attempts were made to realize that dream. In 1973, an environmental studies course that combined history, ecology, sociology, writing, and photography was offered; as well as a field study Western American History course that retraced routes of pioneers and early settlers. In 1989, a new course offered to seniors was created that centered on human nature and combined science, art, history, and religious-philosophical ideas (now known as Humanitas, taught by Gabe Del Real, Bruce Hamren, and Adam Thorman. The original course was taught by Carl Frederickson, Joe Broyles and Virginia Mack.) In 2010, the Art and Science of Making class, combing those two disciplines, was offered as part of the Makers Studio.

This dream has not been easy to fulfill due to many factors – such as scheduling, class credit, graduation requirements, college requirements, class structure, and the challenges of having multiple teachers teach a single class. In our 50th year we are making that attempt yet again and will be offering two new interdisciplinary classes during 2015–16: The Politics of Disaster, drawing from humanities and science; and California Water, streaming together science, art, literature, politics, economics, and outdoor adventure. “If anything, we’re going back to the future, to the core of what Dyke envisioned,” remarked Eric Niles, Head of School. “In some ways, we have moved towards a traditional classroom experience, so we are wondering if the pendulum has swung too far and it’s time for a correction back to our roots.”

“The next wave of education will be entrepreneurship, enterprises, and an interdisciplinary approach to solving problems.” The Art of Science and Making class blends art, science, and the use of tools in the Makers Studio. Melina Gross ‘15 displays her articulated horse.



Certainly colleges are hopping on the interdisciplinary bandwagon – Stanford, MIT, Duke and UCLA are revamping their curriculum; and Cal State East Bay has plans for building a Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Collaborative Learning. “I think the next wave of education will be entrepreneurship, enterprises, and an interdisciplinary approach to solving problems,” said Eugene Mizusawa, who heads up the newly created Interdisciplinary and This class recreated an Athenian Gelede Festival as part of their World Cultures Unit on ceremonies. Experiential Education Task Force. “Currently Del Real, Dean of Upper School Curriculum and we have these separate humanities teacher. “And to be able to express their departments where what the students learn is difficult understandings not only in analytical writing, but in to apply in a different department. That’s not the way artistic expression as well, so that they know that as we live. Students need to know how to draw on and human beings they have the capability to understand synthesize from a variety of disciplines in order to the world from a variety of facets.” think creatively.” “We want students to take what they have learned in science and be able to apply it to a conversation they have in humanities, and vice versa,” said Gabe

According to Gabe, the Board spurred this initiative in order to have the School more fully embody its mission, which gave rise to the Campus Master Plan. “We wanted to make sure that we were clear on a curriculum before we started construction,” Gabe said. “We want to make sure that these new spaces will allow us to deliver the curriculum we have always wanted to deliver. We are now developing a cache of classes so that when we have the new buildings, we’re ready to roll. That is the impetus behind the task force. It’s not so much as doing a new thing as it is doing something that the time is now right for us to do.”

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Interdisciplinary Education

Moving with Soul: Dance and Social Justice “Stolen lives don’t have a voice,” said Laura Elaine Ellis, Upper School Dance and Choreography teacher. This was the impetus behind a dance piece performed by students in the Fall Music and Dance Concert, 2014. The timing of the piece aligned with the recent events in Ferguson and New York, where unarmed Black men were killed by police. “How can you create art that

Atiya Ziyad ’15 and Jordon Dabney ’17 present Atiya’s poem.

can provoke, challenge, question, and perhaps be a catalyst for change?” asked Laura, as she pondered the intersection between artistic practice and social justice. “Dance is an abstract form of storytelling and the power of it is that it’s nonlinear and not literal and can be interpreted in many different ways. But when you are talking about issues that deal with real lives and real people, you don’t want to be so abstract that you are not impacting the viewer. Storytelling through a number of elements, such as movement, sound and images, makes for stronger storytelling.” The result was a meaningful collision of dance, music, poetry, and multimedia, informed by collaborations between students and teachers, as well as in-depth discussions of crime, violence and criminalization, led by Kal Balaven, Dean of Equity and Inclusion.

thinking about injustices that have happened with gun violence, and it just came out,” said Atiya. “When I was writing, I was thinking about what I heard from the media, and what I heard talking with people, and reflecting on the past.” Her poem became the lens and the frame and the perspective for the performance. Laura happened across a song that became the basis for the choreography – Am I Wrong by Nico & Vinz, which expressed the feelings of standing up for something that is right. The working title of the piece was MOB – Moving Oppression Back. The shaping of the dance was based on how people come together as a mob, circumstances of mob creation, and reactions of mobs to what is going on in their community – going in the same direction, and going in different directions. The choreography was influenced by the poem, stories coming out of the press, West African dance, Hip Hop and Contemporary Modern. “We had all of these phrases,” explained Laura. “The gestural phrase of crying out was the beginning; the militant, no more, Hip Hop phrase was the guttural identity part; and the ending crawl section was based on images I was seeing on the news with people on their knees.” “Laura was teaching us about being able to express our feelings through movement, and vent our frustrations and anger in a healthy way,” said Avery Burrell ’16. “It was a positive experience.”

The performance began with a poem, Oh My, America, written by Atiya Ziyad ’15. “Laura wanted to do a dance for social justice and she asked me to write something,” said Atiya. “I spent my time late at night Courtney Curd ’17 performs in the dance.



In the middle section, the performers were in shadows as they mimicked gestures of the images projected above them. Laura chose the media images to reflect the fact that other cultures and other people across the world experience injustice and stand up to injustices – that it’s not just one person’s story. The students wore handkerchiefs as a two-fold message of protecting themselves and as a statement of “I can’t breathe.” The piece ends with a tribute recitation of names and circumstance of the death of unarmed people who have been killed in the last decade across the world by police and militia. Students were asked who they would want to pay tribute to and researched the names. Each student removed their handkerchief, let it fall, and walked off the stage as a name was read. “A family friend was shot and killed

by a police officer in Pleasant Hill a couple of years ago over a misunderstanding,” said Avery. “It was heartbreaking and his brother is still struggling to cope with it today. Hearing so many other stories like that can really weigh down on you.” “The piece provoked and I really give credit to the students for going so deep,” said Laura. “What they were portraying was so authentic and they were so committed.” “It was really great to raise awareness in a way that was unexpected,” said Avery. “To bring attention to the issue in a different platform rather than sitting in class discussion or having an UNCENSORED meeting. We were able to be creative and give it our voice in a way that people might be able to relate to it a little bit more.”

Oh My, America by Atiya Ziyad ’15 Deny it. Deny the existence of law then break every bit of it. Fail to give the innocent justice. Do they matter? Not really. Ouch. Then am I safe when the purge starts? I can lock my doors and windows but a gun can still enter so maybe I should stand out with a target painted on my chest. If I’m walking down the street with a can of coke in hand would I have to get on my knees? “Hands where I can see them!” but I’ve done nothing wrong “Hands where I can see them!” but I’ve done nothing wrong yet still a girl gets shot for nothing more than a no. “Hands behind your head, sir.” but he’s done nothing wrong.

Did you really think your taser was a gun or, wait, was it the other way around? Can’t I run to a house for help without worrying about whether I’ll be shot? Can’t I stand my ground and not be thrown in jail? No one was hurt! He came after me! And yet, because I needed a ride I’m taking the punishment. Burnt down the apartment surrounding my husband because he beat me and I’m done. I shot a school up then shot up another and another and another but guns are still not regulated. Shame. Gun rights are more important than human lives but wait guns don’t kill people people kill people but what is their instrument of choice?

I shot the president. I shot the president. So many presidents have been shot. I’ve mutilated bodies and blown up my enemies. I’m in a war in a foreign country and secretly in my own. I thought we had peace but maybe I was wrong because my neighbor was beaten to death and someone raped my kid. My protests, given with respect, are met with disdain and rubber bullets starting a riot no one wanted. Thank you for my black eye, my broken ribs, for my bleeding skull, my torn body, my tossed dignity; thank you. You’ve helped so much.

To see the performance, search for “2014 Athenian Dance Ensemble—Fall Concert” on YouTube.

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Interdisciplinary Education

Friday Focus Days: Interdisciplinary Education in the Middle School From Shogun Day to the Panathenaea, the Middle School has always incorporated interdisciplinary learning in its curriculum through Focus Fridays. The following is an article written by Chris McCulloch and Marilyn Nachtman, excerpted from the Fall 2002 Athenian newsletter. From our founding in 1979, the Athenian Middle School has been committed to offering its students a curriculum that is rigorous, interdisciplinary, and experiential. We have developed a weekly schedule that allows for a perfect blend of these three dimensions. Monday through Thursday, students rotate through a typical school day of eight class periods; Fridays, however, are geared completely towards hands-on, interdisciplinary learning. 7th grade Panathenaea Friday’s flexible schedule allows for a topic to be explored in breadth or depth. Calculating the volume of a pool can take the better part of a day; but a 15-minute chariot race can be just the thing to begin another grade’s Roman adventure. Sixth graders do intensive study of Japan that includes English, social studies, and art. In addition to completing a research paper, students learn brush painting in art, write haiku in English, and discover the social structure of feudal Japan in social studies. The unit ends in a Focus Friday called Shogun Day, an exercise in power politics where students are organized into clans, form alliances, and angle for the ultimate prize: the shogunate. Seventh graders take a similarly well-rounded approach with their study of Ancient Greece. Projects that begin in their English, art, and social studies classes converge in an event known as Panathenaea, named for a tributary path emanating in Athens and 12


6th grade Shogun Day

ending at the Acropolis. Students are grouped into several city-states and each group creates an altar to its patron god or goddess. They make their chitons, perform plays, and participate in the Olympic Games with discus (Frisbee) throwing, long jumps, and “chariot” races. In the eighth grade, students present their Pollution Papers, which involves science, English, and social studies. Students research a topic by conducting interviews with public officials, as well as through traditional means. In English, students learn proper formatting and correct citation of sources. In social studies, students write letters to public officials expressing their concerns. The event culminates when they present their topics to their classmates. Our faculty members constantly search for new ways to bring new perspectives into traditionally isolated units. We feel strongly that cross-curricular, experiential education creates a lasting impression on students. Creating interesting, fun, and meaningful Focus Fridays is central to how we teach.

8th grade Pollution papers

Cake Day by Sarah Freedman ’05 My first encounter with Focus Days was hearing my older sister replay “Cake Day” in the car after picking her up from school. Cake Day was a culminating 7th grade Focus Day where students represent a country they had chosen to study in their English and Social Studies classes; my sister, Emily Freedman ’03, chose Ghana. Emily explained as we drove home how delegates were seated in a room based on their country’s gross domestic product (GDP). The delegate for America sat with other world superpowers at a lavishly set table with cloth tablecloths and napkins, china plates, and cushy chairs. Second-world countries sat at card tables with no tablecloths, paper plates, and folding chairs. The poorest of the world’s countries were seated on the floor with no dishes, let alone a table. As the day concluded, they had their feast. Each delegate was awarded the amount of cake representative of their GDP. The American table had an entire sheet cake. One of the second-world tables had a cake to share. The closest table to my sister got one piece of cake to divide amongst themselves. My sister, sitting on a tarp as a representative of Ghana, got no cake at all. When my sister climbed into the car, she was outraged by the injustice of the day. The whole way home, she railed against the first-world countries who dumped their extra cake in the trash at the end of the feast. How could they let so much go to waste when people were starving? Why did they have so much? Why were world leaders letting this happen? Experiencing the disparity through her mere description of the day left a vivid impression on me. Even as a fifth grader, not getting cake was something I could understand. I started at Athenian the next year and participated in Focus Days as a student myself, though Cake Day had run its course. I remember the big, thematic, culminating Focus Days the best – the ones we worked on for a week or more beforehand, often in a number of classes in what I now know is the exemplar of interdisciplinary and experiential education. I remember writing a creation myth with my clan “Mush” on Island Day, practicing our roles for the To Kill a Mockingbird trials, creating an altar to Hephaestus for Panathenaea, and building a car that would protect an egg from impact during the Newtonian Olympics. Focus Days brought together our grade in a shared experience that fostered a sense of togetherness: we shared anticipation of what was to come, the emotional ups and downs of a challenging day, and the pride of accomplishment. I loved Focus Days. For me, Middle School was fun. I recently asked my sister what she remembers about Cake Day. She described in detail the seating arrangements and the corner of the room she sat in. But what she really remembers are the feelings and understandings she had about global inequality and economic disparity. Twenty years later, my sister explained her frustration because a delegate from a wealthy country wanted to share leftover cake with the poor countries, but were told they could not – mirroring the inequality in the real world. She remembers what it felt like to watch good cake go in the trash. Not theoretical classroom cake, but real, delicious, unattainable cake. The experience was so real that it has stuck with her all this time. My sister is now a pastry chef and you can bet that she does her best not to let any good cake go to waste.

Sarah Freedman ‘05 (right) performs during her 7th grade Panathenaea Day.

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Blazing New Trails with BlendEd Online learning blended with face-to-face meetings equals the Bay Area BlendEd Consortium, an innovative, new way of offering classes to students from five Bay Area independent schools. The Consortium is a collaboration between The Athenian School, The College Preparatory School, LickWilmerding High School, Marin Academy, and The Urban School, blending the best of online learning, remarkable teacher-student connections, experiential learning, and Bay Area resources. “Our schools are each unique,” said Eric Niles, Head of School, who was one of the originators behind the Consortium. “Yet we understand the powerful learning that can happen if we bring our students together to follow their passions, meet each other and new teachers, and better navigate the world of online learning through unique classes that can only happen if we share our resources.” The Consortium offered 10 classes, including two from Athenian – Field Study Photography & Bay Area History taught by Adam Thorman, and Beats, Rhymes & Life, An Exploration of Hip Hop, its History & Global Impact taught by Kal Balaven.

Photo by Sarah Newsham ’15



Adam teamed up with his sister, Miranda, who teaches at Marin Academy, to conduct an interdisciplinary class that combined field-study photography and Bay Area history. The class included a case study of the Mission District in San Francisco through inquiry-based research, online readings, a walking tour, observation, interviews, and photography assignments that viewed multiple objects through multiple angles. The final project for the class was a photography series and research paper based on the theme of the “Bridge,” which came from Sarah Newsham ’15. “Much of the Bay Area’s iconography centers on bridges, but I thought it would be interesting to look at other things that are connectors in the Bay Area,” she remarked. “For example, language is a bridge between people, technology is a bridge in that it connects us to each other and to people and events around the world, and immigration provides a bridge between different cultures. I think the idea of bridges and connections could be applied to a variety of photography projects.” Final student projects engaged themes such as technology, LGBTQ activism, fashion, neighborhood architecture, water, and the middle class. As a whole, the projects tell the story of the San Francisco Bay Area in the year 2014 and how each theme is a bridge that connects us to each other. “It was real, hands-on research,” said Adam. “They were researching things that hadn’t been written about much. They had to come up with an idea from scratch and work from a place of inquiry, using methodology and original research. Instead of coming up with a thesis and trying to prove it, they had to come up with a question and find an answer, and follow the line of inquiry. I based it on a class I did as a graduate student, so our students were doing grad-level work.”

“Though steel does not require harsh preservatives, the process of creating steel poles releases several toxins in the air.” – from a project by Nicole Thrower ‘15, The Technological Bridge: From Computers to Cell Phones.

“It was great to be able to see other student’s projects develop, because we could view them online,” said Sarah. “In a regular class if you are working on a paper, it’s usually just between you and the teacher. But with this class, I felt like I really understood everyone else’s project as we gave feedback to each other every week.” In Kal’s class, students studied history through the lens of Hip Hop. “Certain events needed to have happened in the Middle East, North Africa, West Africa and the Caribbean before we even get to the Bronx in 1972, which is considered the origin of Hip Hop,” said Kal. “I wanted students to realize that history is connected, and that Hip Hop has links to theology and religion and political unrest and the civil rights movement. I wanted students to walk away with the understanding that everything in life has a lot of depth to it, and if you really pause and look at it, you can see it.” Students also studied Hip Hop Regional theory to understand that different areas of the U.S. have their own type of Hip Hop music that was influenced by various people who came out of those areas. “For instance, the American South was influenced by Martin Luther King and Booker T. Washington, so the Hip Hop from that region is all about doing with your hand and doing for yourself,” states Kal. “In Oakland there’s a lot of political Hip Hop, which was influenced by the Black Panther Party. I wanted students to realize that there are layers of history and things woven into our culture and that we affect each other.” Students were asked to participate in Hip Hop culture and demonstrate their understanding of their research

Haley Carter ‘15 captured the recording studio in her song and video project, Coast to Coast.

by creating their own lyrical narratives in the form of a musical project. “Students were asked to research one of these figures or movements, look at the speeches and writing, see those messages echoed in different artists, then do an in-depth study of their music and see the parallels.” Each student recorded their song at a Bay Area recording studio with an iconic Bay Area engineer, and also created an accompanying video to enhance their storytelling. In addition, they collaborated on a song, Mic Shall Inherit the Earth, by creating their own verses in response to Kal’s beats and his first verse about the globalization of Hip Hop. The one thing that everyone involved has remarked upon was the opportunity to meet non-Athenian students and teachers. “There was nice comradery between the students; they were able to talk and relate, and friendships developed between students from different schools,” said Adam. “I was really impressed by the level of in-depth discussions we had and the way they connected to the material.” “I must have hit the lottery with that!” exclaimed Kal. “I was a bit skeptical at first, but I had awesome kids – just listen to their songs.” “I highly recommend taking a BlendEd class,” said Sarah. “I liked getting perspectives from students I hadn’t known before. It’s a great opportunity to learn about something you are passionate about, and because of the flexibility, it prepared me for the kind of independent work I am sure will be necessary in college.” To learn more, visit To see student photography projects, visit To hear the songs, email the Advancement Office for links,

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Alumni Profile Educational Entrepreneur At the age of five, Hansol Hong ’06 knew he wanted to be a businessman. “My brother, Sulbum “Stephen” Hong ’05, and I have been talking about business since we were very young,” he remarks. “I always wanted to be an entrepreneur and now I am enjoying my life working hard for my robotics education company,” he says. “My father is a serial entrepreneur, so it’s in the family.” Today he is founder of Robolink, a global company that teaches robotics and smartphone app development to students in grades 4-12. His company makes robotic kits and teaches students how to build and code robots using the kits. Hansol earned a BS in Management Science from UC San Diego, and also runs the San Diego Robotics club every week for local robotics hobbyists and professionals. He says he is working hard to assist Robolink students to become the Steve Jobs of the robotics industry. Hansol was born in Korea, came to Athenian in 2002 and did not speak any English. “Athenian helped shape me to where I am now,” he says. “Smart teachers, welcoming American friends, and Athenian families helped me settle in to America and opened my eyes to becoming a more global citizen.” Hansol’s first entrepreneurial experience was Hanoma, a car-washing endeavor he and his dormmate, Omar Mahmood ’05, started at Athenian. “We called it a company and many faculty members helped us earn a little money and get some entrepreneurial experience,” he says. “We did a horrible job in both sales and car washing, but faculty still supported us by being great customers.” (He gives a special shout-out to Michelle Park, JC (James Clontz) and Stephen Herrick.) He says his company is going great. They completed a Kickstarter campaign that raised $53,000 in a month, will be expanding their offices to Austin this fall, will be attending the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January 2016. Best of all, one of their 7th grade students placed 2nd in the World Robotics competition. “The greatest moments are when our students and parents thank us for doing what we do,” he says. “Although, we should thank them. It’s so fun and rewarding!” Kits are for sale on Hansol’s website at



New Ventures: Athenian Entrepreneurship Program If the terms product design, rapid prototyping, project management, qualitative and quantitative market research, financial modeling and forecasting, and website development seem a bit overwhelming, they are not at all daunting to students who have taken the plunge into Athenian’s Entrepreneurship Program. Taught by Laura Victorino, a Trustee and an alumni parent with startup experience, this new experiential course was inspired by Stanford’s Technology Ventures program and is designed to help students develop their own entrepreneurial skills.

Boris Korablev ’17 displays his Diving Camera Mount prototype.

“I did not know what entrepreneurship was, I did not know what it meant, I knew nothing about it,” said Boris Korablev ’17. “But I went to the first meeting and it intrigued me. Creating something from nothing, starting your own business, having the freedom to do what you want, and having this concept come alive was exciting.”

In the introductory class, students learn skills though the design of the Flare Chair, a new product concept for Birksun, the solar backpack company founded by Richard Highsmith II ’06. The product idea is a portable chair that has a canopy with solar panels so people can connect their various battery-powered devices when they are outside. “We wanted to make this as real for our students as possible,” said Laura. “So Richard came in and talked with the students – they are essentially acting as his interns – and their job was to determine if there is a market for this product. We painted a broad

picture of the chair concept and the uses for it, and their job was to rapidly prototype and get it out there and test it.” Students did market research and tested their products with parents and students at soccer games, asking questions and getting feedback. From this research, one team added a light to the chair (for reading in the dark) and another added a fan (for when it’s hot.) After they tested their product, students turned to the nuts and bolts of learning how to build an Excel spreadsheet. They had to think about how much the materials cost, how much the solar panels cost, how much the labor cost, how much they think someone would pay, and how many units they thought they could sell over time. The next step was to build a simple website to sell their product and tell a story to encourage their customers to buy. “I learned a lot about using Excel” said Boris. “Making business plans, having a project plan, knowing what that is and how it’s structured, and all of the steps it takes to create a business. How you need to have people skills to talk about your product, and how every little part is important, down to the smallest detail, like the font you use and who is your target audience – it’s just fascinating.” The ultimate goal of the class is to give students the skills to launch their own new ventures, and they have the opportunity to work on their own projects in the Independent Study course. “We encourage students to look around, to think about problems that are important to them, and to imagine new solutions,” said Laura. “We also encourage students to apply the entrepreneurship toolkit to solving social problems. What gets entrepreneurs through the tough times when people don’t see their vision or when it gets lonely or hard is to have a commitment to solving a problem they care personally about.”

Students show off their flare chairs in the Entrepreneurship class.

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New Ventures (continued)

Boris saw a problem when he was given a GoPro camera for his birthday, took a family scuba diving vacation, and noticed that his underwater videos were shaky. “With the currents, and all of the gear,

not to mention the mask, a hand-held camera is super jerky,” he said. “I thought I could make a device so that my videos came out clearer.” The result was the Diving Camera Mount, which he test drove with fellow students on the Interim trip to the Bahamas last spring. “Other students tried it out and thought it worked well. You can use it with two hands and loop it around your hand so it doesn’t get lost – it’s a lot more stable.” After testing the Mount, he realized it needed to be an inch or so shorter in width, and lighter, so he will make another prototype out of aluminum. “One of the important things about encouraging innovation is that it has to be okay to fail, to try something and not have it work,” said Laura. “Trial and error is the natural way human beings learn. Ideally, students will complete the course better equipped to take initiative if they want to create their own startups and make meaningful contributions to the world around them.”

Boris test-drove his camera mount on an Interim trip to the Bahamas.

Making Driving Safer Back in 1996 when Josh Switkes ’97 was a junior, he and classmate Davin Hsieh ’97 invented a “running crutch,” a gait-assistive device for people with walking disabilities. They developed a couple of prototypes, tested it, and said they learned a lot about the field of engineering, as well as how to use power tools. “This was a great project to gain perspective on real challenges beyond the classroom,” said Josh, who holds a PhD from Stanford University in Mechanical Engineering. “I majored in engineering because it allows an impact to be made on things that we use every day, and is a great multidisciplinary challenge.” Today Josh is Founder and CEO of Pelaton, an automated vehicle technology company that utilizes vehicle-to-vehicle communications and radar-based active braking systems, combined with sophisticated vehicle control algorithms, to link pairs of heavy trucks. The aerodynamic system improves



safety and saves on fuel. “The company is doing well,” he said. “We’ve seen very strong demand from major fleets, and just closed a very successful investment round from six fortune 500 companies.” Last Fall, he and several alumni shared their advice and experience on starting a business at the Entrepreneurship Symposium. “It was a great event,” he said. “So exciting to see the creative spirit from both alumni and students in the class.”

Alumni Profile Reinventing a Life Jackie Thomas ’82 and her spouse, DeeAnn McCoy, had very busy corporate jobs in marketing and advertising – Jackie was the Global Brand Director for basketball at NIKE and DeeAnn owned and operated her own advertising agency. But there was very little work-life balance and as they approached their 50s, they knew they wanted more for themselves. So they “retired” and moved to Palm Springs – not only to relax and golf – but to start a new business linked to their passion of midcentury architecture and design. “It was amazingly easy to start a company,” says Jackie about founding Thomboy Properties. “Since we both come from marketing and advertising, we had both spent many years writing strategic plans and briefs for creative concepts, so we were able to easily carry over those skills. In addition, we are both good at creating a vision where none exists and putting a plan in place to execute that vision, whether it’s a marketing campaign for a product or a house that is in disrepair. Our skills proved to be very transferable.” The company specializes in restoring mid-century modern homes to their original design, and has developed a reputation for putting out premium, beautifully designed products. The company’s philosophy is simple: respect the beauty and simplicity of design from the past and re-imagine it for the way people live today. Ensure that work which was authentic then, remains authentic now. “It has surpassed our wildest expectations and we are truly humbled by our success,” says Jackie. Reflecting on how her Athenian experience influenced her, Jackie says, “One of the greatest gifts Athenian bestowed upon me, in addition to the importance of community service and what it truly means to be a global citizen, would have to be my entrepreneurial skills. Athenian definitely taught me to be a self starter. I learned how to think for myself and to believe I could achieve anything I set out to achieve. Even though I worked in the corporate world for many years, the entrepreneurial skills I developed before going to NIKE and now subsequently, have served me well.” When asked what advice she would give to those wanting to start an enterprise, she says, “Chase your passion, trust your instincts, and appreciate that diverse teams are high performing teams. As the world continues to become more diverse, the ability for today’s entrepreneurs to create a culture that reinforces that everyone is welcome and all talents are appreciated and respected is not only powerful, but ultimately will lead to breakthrough ideas in all fields from science to technology to arts. I can’t think of anything more important.” Jackie served on Athenian’s Board of Trustees from 2002-2008 and was our keynote speaker at our Golden Jubilee Celebration Dinner. Visit to see the houses Jackie and DeeAnn have restored.

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Annual Report 2014–2015

Message from the Director of Development

Allie Rowe Last fall, when Athenian set out to reach a goal of 100% parent Annual Fund participation in 100 days, the question often came up—what if we don’t make it? Why the “lofty” goal?

Board of Trustees 2014-15 Wendell Arnold ’92 Andy Blick, Chair Beth Borchers Judy Carter Tom Caulfield Michael Connolly ’71 Kathryn Craft Rogers Steve Davenport Tony Dominguez Allison Fletcher ’96 Patty Frazer Josh Freeman Nicole Holthuis John Kohler ’88 Bill Miskovetz Eric Niles Sharam Sasson Ed Scherr Rob Shaw

Lisa Thompson Laura Victorino David Welsh Bea Winslow ’75 Monika Witte

Advisory Board Members Russell Patton ’07 Monica Streifer ’05

Honorary Trustees Mike McCoy Susan Nebesar Ted Urban

It was clear, however, that our generous and determined community was ready for the challenge. For the first time in Athenian history, an entire grade reached 100% parent participation (Class of ’20!), with two other classes right behind. Parent participation went from 76% to an impressive 85% participation. There was also an enormous increase in leadership giving, with over 90 members participating in the Head’s Circle level, many of whom were new families to Athenian. Our seniors followed in the example set by parents this year, reaching 100% participation in Class Giving, setting yet another Athenian record. The Class of 2015 generously decided to contribute that gift to Athenian Financial Aid, joining with other alumni this year who decided to make their gift to help ensure that others receive an education that shaped them so profoundly. The spring APA Auction, our largest fundraising event of the year, received record attendance and brought in over $250,000 for Faculty Enrichment, Financial Aid, and Athenian Innovative programs. That event, as well as many other APA activities throughout the year, was supported by a multitude of volunteers – Athenian community members who happily share the love they have for the School through gifts of their time and energy. We are so pleased that the Athenian culture of philanthropy is thriving. And we’re so grateful to all of the parents, alumni, faculty, staff, trustees, parents of alumni, grandparents, friends, and organizations who place Athenian among their philanthropic priorities year after year. Thank you for making meaningful contributions to our community and for your belief in the School’s mission and the rigorous, experiential education we deliver to our students. Athenian wouldn’t be the same without your support and generosity.



Annual Report FINANCIAL REPORTS Athenian Annual Fund....$1,035,461 (Including Financial Aid)


Designated Funds..............$120,340 Endowment.........................$13,900




Revenue And Expense 2014-2015 REVENUE


(Sources of Operating Cash)

(Uses of Operating Cash)

3% 2% 4% 80%


48% 4%


2% 12%



Tuition and Fees $16,982,287 Summer Programs $864,043 Auxiliary $477,137 Annual Giving $2,657,477 Endowment Harvest $353,826

TOTAL $21,334,770



Salaries and Benefits $10,351,468 Financial Aid $2,449,341 Academic Departments $930,207 Buildings & Grounds $1,276,044 Administration & Student Support $2,041,582 Summer Programs $369,681 Depreciation plus disposal $1,671,150 Capital Expenses $1,667,657 Addition to reserves $577,640

TOTAL $21,334,770

Unaudited numbers as of June 30, 2015.

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Annual Report 2014–2015

Athenian Annual Giving 2014–15

$1,099,483 Annual Fund (37% increase)

$9,268,808 Endowment Value

(as of 6/30/15)


111 329 83 Alumni



80 Alumni Parents



46 139

Foundations, Corporations, Businesses, Friends

Trustees, Faculty, Staff




100% 100% 85% 100% 100%



United Bahamas 3,969 Columbia Kingdom Argentina ALUMNI Germany




France Jordan South Africa

Number of countries students hailed from:




Australia Canada India Peru Scotland


128 Number of boarders and residential families on campus

aces R

Annual Report



at the

APA Auction: Night at the Races Thanks to all of the sponsors, donors, and volunteers that made the Auction such a huge success this year! Guests donned their racetrack attire, were treated to champagne and a delicious meal, enjoyed conversation and bidding, and tried their luck at the races. We are proud to share the results from the evening, which are a reflection of the generosity of so many.

Net Income: $257,700

The funds have been distributed as follows: Faculty Professional Development: $60,000 Financial Aid: $60,000 Innovative Programs (Auction Fund-A-Need): $137,700 AUCTION COMMITTEE

Auction co-chairs (from left to right) Julianne Gable, Jeanne Kaplan, and Caroline Gates.

Auction Co-Chairs: Julianne Gable, Jeanne Kaplan & Caroline Gates Corporate Sponsorships: Andie Weinstein Acquisitions: Carolyn Barr, Auben Elliot, Victoria Lewis, Marilyn McCurdy, Esha Ray

Racetrack Manager: Silvia Duchene Treasurers: Mani Peri & Nora McBryde Data Entry: Dawn Keller Design: Sarah Schwartz & AnneMarie Fernandez Audio Visuals: Marcela Alurralde Wine Coordinator: Martin Johnson

Save the Date! Don your party attire! SATURDAY, APRIL 9, 2016

This special APA Gala is a celebratory occasion for the entire Athenian community. This elegant evening will feature a seated dinner, performances, and dancing at Ruby Hill Winery in Livermore, CA. Proceeds from the event will benefit Athenian.

Dance, laugh, remember, and celebrate!

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CLASS OF 2015: Off to College While this most recent graduating class numbered 81 students, the list below includes the 161 outstanding colleges and universities to which our graduating seniors gained admission.

The Class of 2015 was a class known for their leadership, community spirit, and fun, light-hearted nature. Whether raising money through the Commons Café, planning their senior ball, or collaborating to pull off a class prank that would be both clever and appropriate, this class knew how to work together and support each other.

Allegheny College American University * Arizona State University Bard College Barnard College ** Beloit College Benedict College Bennington College Boise State University Boston College Boston University Brandeis University * Bryn Mawr College Bucknell University California College of the Arts California Polytechnic Univ., Pomona California Polytechnic Univ., San Luis Obispo California State Univ., Channel Islands California State Univ., Chico California State Univ., East Bay California State Univ., Monterey Bay Carleton College * Carnegie Mellon University Case Western Reserve University Chapman University * Claremont McKenna College * Colby College *



Colgate University * College of Wooster Colorado School of Mines Colorado State University ** Connecticut College Denison University DePauw University * Diablo Valley College * Dickinson College Dominican University Drew University Drexel University Elon University Evergreen State College Fisk University Fordham University George Washington University * Georgetown University * Gonzaga University * Goucher College * Hampshire College Haverford College Hofstra University Hope College Howard University Humboldt State University Indiana University Irvine Valley College * Ithaca College King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology Thonburi

Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology Lafayette College Lake Forest College Lehigh University Lewis & Clark College Loyola Marymount University * Loyola University Maryland Loyola University New Orleans Macalester College * Marist College New York University *** Northeastern University Northern Arizona University * Northwestern University * Oberlin College Occidental College ** Oregon State University Pacific Lutheran University * Pacific University Pennsylvania State University * Philadelphia University Pitzer College Portland State University Pratt Institute Prescott College Purdue University * Quinnipiac University Reed College ** Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Robert D. Clark Honors College

Rochester Institute of Technology Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology Rutgers University Saint Mary’s College of California San Diego State University San Francisco State University San Jose State University Santa Clara University ** Savannah College of Art & Design * Scripps College Seattle Pacific University Seattle University Seton Hall University Skidmore College Sonoma State University Spelman College * St. Olaf College Syracuse University Texas Christian University * Tufts University Tulane University Union College ** University of Arizona University of British Columbia * University of California, Berkeley * University of California, Davis *** University of California, Irvine * University of California, Los Angeles

Alumni Profile Going for the Gold “So there you are, 700 miles out in the middle of the ocean in a boat and all you have is you. No helicopters are coming to the rescue – all you have is a life raft if your boat sinks. You convince yourself there’s land just over the horizon. But if you go to the top of the mast, which is about 80 feet high, and look around – it’s just blue. As far as you can see. And you are just one tiny speck – it’s a very surreal experience.” So describes David Liebenberg ’10, about a time he was sailing in a race to Hawaii and heard a loud “thunk” as his boat hit a piece of debris, causing a crack in the bow. With ingenuity and resourcefulness, the crew was able to make a quick patch by removing a piece of the fake flooring, hacksawing it into the shape of the bow, and temporarily gluing it in place. They had been in 2nd or 3rd place, but slowed their pace so as not to sink, and actually ended up placing 11th out of 40 boats, even with the damage. David is part of the D & D Racing team, and is competing in regattas around the world in a 49er boat in order to qualify for the US Sailing team, compete in the 2016 Olympics, and earn a gold medal in the 2020 Olympics. “We are very confident we are going to do this, and failure is not an option,” he says. “An Olympic campaign entails fundraising, putting in the time and effort, sacrificing personal relationships, and traveling all of the time,” he says. David has teamed up with Dan Morris, who he’s known most of his life, and with whom he’s been sailing for five years. “Dan and I became very good friends because of how much we love sailing and we could tell how dedicated we both are, so that drew us together.” “I’ve been sailing my entire life and dreamed of doing an Olympic campaign for 10 years now – but I needed to go to school first.” David earned a BS in Mechanical Engineering at Tufts University, which came in handy when repairing that cracked bow. “I enjoy everything in regards to sailing,” he remarks. “To be out on the water is like home to me. It’s relaxing, it lets me focus just on the moment and let everything else go. Conditions can change in an instant, which requires mental and physical concentration. You are always challenged to get better, always improve, and that’s why I love sailing so much.” You can follow David’s progress at

University of California, Merced University of California, Riverside * University of California, San Diego University of California, Santa Barbara University of California, Santa Cruz * University of Colorado, Boulder * University of Delaware * University of Denver ** University of Hawaii University of Illinois, Chicago

University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign *** University of La Verne University of Maryland University of Massachusetts University of Miami University of Michigan University of Nevada, Las Vegas University of Nevada, Reno University of Northern Colorado University of Oregon *** University of Pennsylvania * University of Pittsburgh * University of Portland ** University of Puget Sound

University of Redlands University of Rochester University of San Diego ** University of San Francisco University of Southern California ** University of the Pacific * University of Utah University of Vermont * University of Washington *** Utah State University * Vassar College Washington College Washington University, St. Louis *

Wellesley College * Western Washington University ** Wheaton College Whitman College Whittier College Whitworth University Willamette University Williams College * Worcester Polytechnic Institute (Colleges in bold are where students chose to attend; * indicates how many students are attending that college.) 2 0 1 5 –2 0 1 6


2014–2015 Alumni Events

Community Service Day, March 28, 2015 at Alameda Point Collaborative. Left to right: Malia Quinn, Emily McDonnell ’04, John Kohler ’88, Angel Lewis ’92, Kerry (Marsh) Seo ’86, and Patrick Toohey Quinn ’84.

Owl Bowl, November 27, 2014. Left to right: Hannah Dubois ’11, Alec Solow ’08, Chloe Smock ’08, Jared Wiener ’08, Christian Lee ’13, David Kerns’ 13, and Ally Blick ’13.

Gathering at John Kohler’s on March 1, 2015.

Owl Bowl, November 27, 2014. Group of young alumni. 32


Entrepreneurship Symposium, Fall 2015. Left to right: Josh Switkes ’97, Patty Varellman, Richard Highsmith ’06, Mike Goldberg ’06.

Wine Country Barbecue, June 13, 2015. Left to right: Nate Nandha ’88, Chieko Sakurai ’88, Sushma Shah ’89, Craig Fraser ’88, Kenny Cheung ’88, and Joseph Wong ’88.

Wine Country Barbecue, June 13, 2015.

Wine Country Barbecue, June 13, 2015. Left to right: Patrick Toohey Quinn ’84, Sarah Freedman ’05, Andrea Quinn ’86, Kerry (Marsh) Seo ’86, and Angel Lewis ’92.

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Alumni Class Notes 1968


Andrew Sorokowski :: I have retired after 14 years at the Department of Justice in Washington. Current projects include preparing a history course that I plan to teach at a university in Ukraine this fall.

Mark Zemelman :: I’m a lot older than classmates will remember, but hopefully a bit wiser as well. Marriage and kids came late, and they are the best thing that has ever happened in my life. I’m the General Counsel at Kaiser Permanente, an exciting place, given the pace of change in health care these days.

1969 Stephanie Jurs :: I’ve been living in Italy since 1998, making large-scale mosaic artworks for public spaces with my husband (see twindolphinmosaics. com) and guiding walking trips in Italy and Europe. I have two grown sons and a sprawling garden. I’m one of the 13 who started in 9th grade Athenian’s first year, and went all the way through the first four years. Amazing times!

1971 Judy Lee Goldberg :: I am furthering the good work of youth engagement, media production and community exchange through an international project just launched, called Voces de Cañar. Our focus is on issues of migration – what are the impacts and how families and communities are transformed.

Alumni Council 2014-15 The Alumni Council has evolved as a dedicated group of alums committed to increasing alumni engagement and providing alumni perspective and input on issues going on in the Athenian community. As we celebrate our 50th Anniversary, it is a time for reflection and introspection, but also a time for galvanizing alumni participation as the School moves forward. We welcome alums from all decades to join the Council.

— Angel Lewis ’92, President Sarah Ames ’05 Sarah Freedman ’05 David Gaines ’83 Justine Jane’t ’07 John Kohler ’88 Marnye Langer ’81 Jamahn Lee ’94 34


Kerry Marsh ’86 Emily McDonnell ’04 Elizabeth Newey ’11 Matt Okazaki ’06 Patrick Toohey Quinn ’84 Bryna Winchell-Ross ’84

1973 Randy Kasten :: As the teenager who never uttered a word he didn’t have to, I became the world’s most unlikely litigator, a profession I’ve liked and disliked at various times, but have never found boring. I’m married and have a 25-year old son. My book, Just Trust Me: Finding the Truth in a World of Spin, was published in 2011. Currently I’m working on a book that was inspired in part by a great International Politics course Dave Murray taught at Athenian in 1973. Hiking and writing music, and occasionally performing, have helped keep me going.

1975 Deborah (Lieberman) Louria :: In my wildest imaginings, I never thought we’d be a two-generation Athenian family. Our daughter, Rena ’12, is currently at Queen Mary, University of London; and our son Noah ’14, is heading on to Brandeis. I continue to work in the Bay Area in the Jewish community, work I’ve been involved with since 1985. My husband Jordan and I just celebrated our 23rd anniversary and we are enjoying this new chapter as we watch our kids thrive as young adults making their way in the world. I think an Athenian education is one of the greatest gifts I have passed onto my two kids.

Bach in Time · By Andy Sorokowski ’68 This summer, I observed my 65th birthday by hearing Yo-Yo Ma playing a couple of Bach’s Six Suites for Solo Violoncello. This brought me back to 1966 or 1967, when I first heard these pieces played. It was in the garage of one of the faculty houses at Athenian. My classmate Carol Macmeeken ’68 had invited me to hear Tim Imlay ’69 play the cello. The whiny, wheezy instrument struck me as bizarre, and it would be some time before I got used to its peculiar voice – though having to hear Tim practicing his scales later when he was my dormitory neighbor, speeded the process. Although I never became a performer, music has remained an important part of my life. Music teachers Don Aird, Madi Bacon, and Mr. Neff, and math teacher and pianist Lester Henderson, contributed to my musical education. One faculty member even drove us to Sacramento to hear Hungarian cellist Janos Starker perform the Kodaly sonata. Another time we saw Igor Stravinsky conducting one of his own pieces in Oakland. Thus, the Bach suites take me back in time nearly 50 years to Athenian, and to some of my most formative experiences.

1980 Cassandra Beam :: I’m the CEO of a nonprofit agency that trains volunteers to become literacy tutors for adults who read at the lowest levels. My daughter is now 27 and my son is 24, both living in Oakland right now, while I continue to enjoy my turn-of-the-century farmhouse in upstate New York. Nancy Freire :: My partner, Graham, and I spent the greater part of May touring Chile, where we visited the wine-growing valleys of Casablanca and Maupo. I am celebrating my 13th year in the winemaking business in Northern California, specializing in Family/Estate winegrowing.

1981 Deborah Evans :: I am engaged and moved to Las Vegas in July. Marnye (Little) Langer :: I just finished as the United States Equestrian Federation National Reserve Champion Amateur Owner Jumper with LEGIS Rock Star. Super exciting and most of the riders I compete against are half my age!

Our insurance agency,, wrapped up its first five years and is one of the top equine specialist insurance agencies in the country. I also serve as the COO/CFO of Langer Equestrian Group, a horse show management, production, and consulting company. My 22 year-old son, Ian, was on my team at the 2015 World Cup Finals for Show Jumping and Dressage in Las Vegas in April.

1983 Jacqueline Liebman-Gentile :: After working in the film/ television world for 15 years, I decided to go back to school and get my masters in psychology. I love the work and can’t help but think back to my time at Athenian where I would encourage people to stop by my room just to talk about what was going on with them. It was the pre-internet days and I had a pad of paper on my door if I wasn’t there so they could leave a note. The pad of paper soon filled up as people stopped by to express whatever they were currently dealing with. At the time, many people said I should become a therapist, but I just laughed as it wasn’t a profession I was familiar with, coming from Apartheid South Africa. It’s 32 years later and I hope to be a licensed therapist before 2015 is done. Scott Galloway :: I live in Laguna Beach and currently teach high school in Anaheim, Ca. See my blues band at I remember when I and Teresa Hittson ’83 and Amy (Dennis) Pacholuk ’83 went “streaking” through the dorms! 2 0 1 5 –2 0 1 6


Alumni Profile Tesla Engineer If you happen to visit the Athenian Robotics team during build season, you just might see Lizzie Miskovetz ’10 pitching in just as she did when she was a student here. “The Robotics program is one of the most valuable experiences I had at Athenian. The technical skills, in addition to crucial soft skills like organization, team leadership, scheduling, and written and verbal communication, have served me well.” After majoring in Mechanical Engineering at Colorado School of Mines, Lizzie is now a Mechanical Design Engineer at Tesla Motors in Fremont, California. “It’s incredibly inspiring (and fun!) to work in such an innovative and fast-paced environment,” she says. “The best part about my first week was getting to jump right into important projects. I didn’t waste any time learning new skills, getting to know my team, and accepting new tasks and projects. It really made me feel like a valued engineer, and like a part of a larger team, which I appreciate.” Describing her work environment, Lizzie says, “Our workspace is very open – we all sit in the same area to help promote collaboration and teamwork.” She is part of the 12V Wire Harness Group, and since she works at the factory, she gets to see cars being manufactured every day. She spends her time designing parts, using software tools like CATIA (a 3D modeling CAD program) and says that one of the most useful benefits is being able to see exactly what she is working on by looking at cars on the production line. “There aren’t many women in a lot of the technical areas of the company,” she notes. “My group has three fulltime women, and one female intern. The women who work here are just like everyone else – they work hard and exercise their knowledge to the fullest every day. They are immensely successful and I admire all of them.” Regarding women in particular, she says, “Be confident and be dedicated! We need people like you in the field: people who can think big-picture, provide creative ideas, and be excited about their work. Never forget that you are as qualified as anyone to change the world, and if you work hard, people will show you the respect you deserve.”

1983 continued

Raju Mann :: I moved last year to Marin County from the East Bay. I have purchased a franchise called Menchies Frozen Yogurt, which we are hoping to have opened soon. With my fiancé, Deane, we just purchased another jet airplane that we are getting ready to modify and race at the Reno Air Races for the year 2016 with our female pilot, Rochelle Kimbrell, who is the first African-American woman to fly for the U.S. Air Force.

1984 Nick Rhind :: I am living in the Boston area with my wife, Lucienne Ronco, and our 9-year old son Anthony. I have been in the Biochemistry Department at 36


UMass Medical School in Worcester for 14 years, studying cell growth control and DNA replication in yeast. Science is still great fun, when I am not writing grants. I miss the mountains and beaches of California, but we make do hiking and skiing in Vermont and New Hampshire and sea kayaking in Maine.

1986 Amanada Michael :: I started a coffee shop in 2011, Jane on Fillmore, in San Francisco. We feature housemade baked goods, organic salads and soups, and tasty sandwiches. Stop by sometime!

1987 Craig Fraser :: Thanks to Athenian hosting a great alumni gathering in December, 2014 in San Francisco, I was able to reconnect in person with several friends and make a few new ones as well. That evening turned into a second event at our home in Sonoma county in June 2015, where we all gathered again. The boarding Athenians from the 80s are natural storytellers and lead interesting lives, with origins from many different countries, which were well represented.

1988 Danielle Glosser :: I have been in Washington, D.C. for 22 years now. The last 15 years have been in the same great house with the same great husband. We even added two kids along the way! Once our little guy started kindergarten this year, I was able to focus on going back to work. I recently started a business to help artists get more clients:

1992 Pavan Gill :: Thanks for the memories! I’m reaching out to you today from New Delhi, India, where I am currently posted.

1994 Amanda Malachesky :: I’m proud to officially announce the launch of Lost Coast Yarn, natural, hand-dyed farmstead yarn from Humboldt, CA. (www. We use Humboldt County-grown animal fiber, such as sheep and alpaca wool, to create a full line of knitting yarns in a variety of weights. Once the yarn is mill-spun, I hand-dye each batch at home using all natural dyes. I am looking forward to slowly expanding the business, providing locally sourced and locally made fiber to consumers.

1995 Kevin Morales :: I have an original television drama in development for HBO, and a comedy series shooting a pilot in September. In 2016, I am hoping to shoot a horror film that takes place on the Athenian campus.

1996 Dawn Alexander :: Truth is, my life hasn’t exactly gone as planned, especially these last five years. I’ve lost my job, my home, and my health. My journey of faith has made me stronger and I found a peace that I didn’t have when I had the job and my home and health. I have loving, healthy relationships with people and hope for the future. Jessica (Johnson) Bentley :: After working in NYC for the past 13 years, I have recently turned in my monthly train pass for a new car and a job in Stamford, CT. I am now the Client Market Executive for the Long Island, Connecticut and Upstate New York market on the U.S. Trust side of Bank of America. It has been a big adjustment to go from sitting on a trading floor with 250+ people to working in an office with about 35 people, but I am really enjoying my new role and am so happy to be closer to home. Stania (Boudnikova) Karolina :: After graduation from Athenian, I went to Chapman University in Orange, CA, and then sophomore year I spent in France. I returned to the Bay Area, where I finished college at UC Berkeley, majoring in French. After college, I returned to the Czech Republic (my country of origin), and then back to France, where I have been living for four years now. I met my darling man Bruno here, and I am now living in the French Alps, where I am passionate about fashion and sewing, so that is what I do.

1998 Rebecca Good :: I just ended a wonderful experience as the Principal at one of the highest performing charter middle schools in New Haven, CT. I am now moving into graduate school level work as the Dean of Relay Graduate School of Education’s Connecticut campus. To celebrate the transition and reflect on how far I have come, I brought my 6-year old daughter to visit Athenian this summer so she could see the place where my calling to fight for social justice through education was nurtured.

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2003 Adriana Streifer :: In May of 2015, I graduated with my Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of Virginia, where I specialized in Renaissance drama. After seven wonderful years in Charlottesville, I am moving to Los Angeles to work as a professor in the Writing Program at the University of Southern California. I am excited to return to California and begin this new chapter of my life, and I would be glad to get in touch with any LA area Athenian alums!

2004 Emily (Hansen) McDonnell :: After getting married in September 2014, Terry and I moved to San Francisco where I work at Remind, a startup that provides an easy-touse communication tool that helps teachers connect instantly with students and parents. This year, our travels will take us to Alaska and New York! Holly Stewart :: I’m in the third (and final!) year of my large animal surgical residency at UPenn, and was married in September.

2005 Monica Streifer :: I am finishing up my last year of graduate school, and look forward to officially completing my Ph.D. in Italian Literature from UCLA in June 2016. I’ve enjoyed living in Westside for the past six years, teaching UCLA’s fantastic undergraduates, and spending summers in Italy researching, exploring, and eating great food. I am delighted to be serving as an advisory member of Athenian’s Board of Trustees, especially as we celebrate our 50th anniversary and look ahead to the School’s exciting future.

2007 Emily Knell :: In the fall of 2012, I started my yoga and massage therapy business in Oakland, Ca (www. After taking all of my science prerequisites, I will be attending Samuel Merritt University for a 3-year Doctor of Physical Therapy program this fall. My fiancé, Shaffer Spaeth, has recently taken an accounting job at Ernst and Young in San Jose. 38


I recently returned from Thailand where I was undergoing continuing education with the yoga teacher I met in India when I was 20 years old.

2008 Jordanna MacIntyre :: I’m a few terms away from finishing my coursework at Birthingway College of Midwifery in Portland, Oregon. I deeply love the world of midwifery and find that it complements the other activist work I’m dedicated to. I volunteer primarily with Food Not Bombs and am involved in blocking some of the devastating Mt. Hood National Forest timber sales with an organization called Bark. Anyone is welcome to come visit this lush Willamette Valley anytime; I’ll take you out to tea!

2009 Blair Hanley Frank :: I joined IDG News Service as a U.S. Correspondent in May. In my new role, I’ll be covering Microsoft and its competitors in desktop operating systems, office suites and other markets. Most recently, I was the Bay Area Correspondent for GeekWire. This new gig is something of a homecoming for me, as I worked as an intern for Macworld, one of the News Service’s sister publications, during my time at Athenian.

2010 Kristiana Meyer :: I am currently finishing up my AmeriCorps year of service with City Year Boston, and will be starting at Boston University Questrom School of Business in the Fall! Jesse Rosenberg :: I am a director and cinematographer based out of New York City. My film, Life Sentences, is a short documentary about families affected by the incarceration of their loved ones. The film includes commentary from experts and activists such as Angela Davis. The film was a regional semifinalist at the 2014 Student Academy Awards and an official Selection at the St. Louis International Film Festival.

2011 Aaron Wiener :: I graduated with a BS in Business in Administration in Entrepreneurship from Sierra Nevada College, and was voted Student of the Year by the student body. I moved to Tempe, AZ, and am looking for jobs in event management companies.

In Memoriam Jane Holm ’72: Died on March 12, 2015 with her family by her side after a sudden brief illness. Jane served on Athenian’s Board of Trustees for several years. She received a BA in Art History and a teaching credential from Mills College and became a 6th grade teacher. She played cello, loved jazz, and supported and celebrated the arts in every way she could. She was an avid skier, and loved sailing, wind surfing, hiking, and mountain climbing. She will be remembered for her kindness and compassion to all those around her – always thinking of others, always going the extra mile. Donald B. Wooten ’72: Died on August 12, 2014. Donald is remembered as the only kilt-wearing Athenian, whose allegiance transferred later in life to baseball and to the San Francisco Giants especially. He was a Ph.D. economist in the service of the State of California. Charles “Chaz” Benedict ’76: Died of heart failure on March 17, 2015, just shy of his 57th birthday. Chaz came to Athenian in 1973, where his easy smile and long stride (he was the tallest person on campus) made him known to everyone. He was on the basketball team and was often seen biking or walking in the hills around campus. After graduation he majored in Chemistry at UC Santa Cruz. Chaz became a specialist to the brewing industry in the problems associated with oxygen in beer. Chaz had an infectious zest for life, a lifelong love of learning, and gentle and kind demeanor. He was well-known amongst his friends for his particular “snarky” brand of wit and humor, often bringing them to tears of hilarity. Stephen Stickler ’82: Died of colon cancer in July, 2015. Warm, funny, and always creative, we remember him in front of the Main Hall doing impressions of Steve Martin and Mick Jagger, sketching in class, and playing Neil Young’s guitar lead on the long throbbing “Cortez the Killer” with his band Mudslide. Above all we remember him falling in love with photography in Tom Swope’s class. We watched in awe as he went on

to live his dream: Stephen worked as an independent photographer for most of his career, shooting a number of well-known fashion campaigns, portraits and album covers. He remained grounded in his own life by his spirituality, and created art and music for himself and his friends. Christopher A. Lanfear ’89: Died on February 4, 2015 of a brain aneurysm. He received his BA from Tufts University and his MBA from Northeastern University and was a Sr. Analyst for Technology Business Research. Chris was a passionate volleyball player, coach and referee and an avid crossfit training enthusiast. His friend, Bill Hughes ’88, writes: While Chris was a somewhat careful/thoughtful guy, he had wit and a playful side that I really appreciated. We played on various woeful sports teams, enduring many long bus rides in defeat, did AWE II in Death Valley together (including spending two days alone in the wilderness together without food), and had many trips in his oxidized red Ford pick-up truck to get ice cream at Loard’s or Fosters Freeze or to get cinnamon bread (and a Koala 40 oz. drink) at Safeway, and every so often ditched class to hang out at his dad’s house complaining and talking about what teenagers complain and talk about. It was fun navigating life in those days with him. David Ruenzel: Two days before Thanksgiving 2014, David was hiking a trail in the Huckleberry Botanic Regional Preserve in the East Bay near his home when he was shot and killed. David taught at Athenian from 2001-2012. He was a compassionate, dedicated, and kind-hearted teacher, friend, and mentor. Throughout his years as a literature teacher and advisor to The Pillar, he touched hundreds of students’ lives with his sharp humor, honest feedback, and kind spirit.

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40 T H E


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PAID 2100 Mt. Diablo Scenic Blvd. Danville, CA 94506 925-837-5375 Address correction requested

The Athenian School site before it was built. The Founders Oak (middle) still stands.



Profile for Judyth Collin

Athenian Magazine Fall 2015  

Bay Area Independent School magazine celebrating The Athenian School's 50th anniversary.

Athenian Magazine Fall 2015  

Bay Area Independent School magazine celebrating The Athenian School's 50th anniversary.