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The mission of The Benjamin School is to provide a challenging college preparatory education to a diverse student body in a structured, nurturing community environment. The School motivates students to master the skills of learning, communicating and evaluating choices, and encourages them to grow intellectually, socially, morally, aesthetically, and physically to their fullest individual potential. Benjamin inspires its students to develop a coherent set of values that includes love of learning, personal responsibility, self-motivation, concern for others and a commitment to serve society.

Rooted in Character “Academic excellence is of paramount importance. But, in addition, the School is intensely concerned with the total development of the student - his or her character, personality and general outlook on life.� Marshall Benjamin, December, 1974











Lower/Middle School Campus

11000 Ellison Wilson Road North Palm Beach, Florida 33408


Upper School Campus

4875 Grandiflora Road North Palm Beach, Florida 33418




Dear Members of The Benjamin School Community, The arrival of The Buccaneer magazine at your doorstep signals the official close of another Benjamin academic year. This annual publication chronicles for its readership the highlights of many remarkable opportunities impacting our students from August through May at TBS. I am always overwhelmed as the moment arrives when I am asked to contribute to this compilation my own closing thoughts for the year. Since I have been a member of this school community, the whirlwind is still spinning in June as I unsuccessfully attempt to grab aimlessly at the multitude of fresh memories marking competitively high achievement academically, athletically, artistically, musically and in every other way that brings pride to the adults in our students’ lives. As an especially fine independent school in this country, TBS shares with our peer group excellent teachers, strong programming, impressive college admissions, competitive athletics, thrilling theatrical performances, abounding opportunities for foreign travel, superior results in academic and artistic competitions, top awards in written and video journalism, and on and on. Traveling through my long career in independent education, I have been blessed with good fortune as I progressed from one professional opportunity to another. With each landing, I was certain that I had discovered the best possible school in which to grow and learn. The Benjamin School, however, for one very important reason, exceeds any and all expectations I have ever held. Our community upholds ten essential virtues and defines them, placing them one after the other, as the path to humanity, civility, grace, competence and success as educated and enlightened human beings. For decades, Benjamin students

have been viewed as recognizably “special.” The exciting career paths open to them as young adults have demonstrated to all of us that they are, indeed, special. Our alumni who return to TBS in professional capacities speak openly and appreciatively of having been immersed not only in rigorous academics presented with high expectations, but of having been escorted through their youth in becoming the best possible versions of themselves — most notably kind, helpful and accepting toward others. The children in our charge, regardless of grade-level, learn lessons of Respect, Courage, Morality, Kindness, Fairness, Integrity, Compassion, Acceptance, Forgiveness and Responsibility. These character traits become our core values as they are woven into the curriculum and daily lives of Benjamin students. The newest wave to hit the American educational shores is that of SEL, or Social-Emotional Learning. The Benjamin School, by many decades, was a forerunner in this right-brained emphasis on building character as well as intellect. Intelligence without compassion has shown itself throughout history to be man’s undoing. Yes, I have found my professional home in a school that esteems the life of the intellectual mind in tandem with, and never to the exclusion of, humanitarian core values. If you champion our mission to improve the society in which your children will become adults, we have found each other! In partnership, Robert S. Goldberg Head of School




Dear Members of The Benjamin School Community, It is with great enthusiasm that I am writing you to announce important news regarding the appointment of a new Chairman of the Board of Trustees for TBS. Effective July 1, 2017, Ari Zur has been selected by the Board of Trustees to serve as my replacement as outgoing chair. We are so fortunate to have Ari take the helm, as he and his wife Niki are seasoned Benjamin School volunteers who have been helping the School on many different fronts for several years. Since Ari joined the Board of Trustees in 2014, he has served as Chairman of the Advancement Committee. In that role, he has been extremely involved in all aspects of Friendraising and Fundraising for the School, overseeing initiatives and events including BASH, Grandest Friends Day and Annual Fund, to name just a few. Ari is currently a Partner at Brockway Moran & Partners, a growth-oriented private equity firm, where he has worked for the last 15 years. The firm partners with management teams and entrepreneurs of healthy companies to drive performance, growth and transformative improvement.


Ari is also President and owner of Via Motif International, a manufacturer of finely handcrafted hospitality guest room, guest bath and public space accessories serving fine hotels and luxury resorts around the world. Ari oversees all aspects of the business, including sales, customer service and operations. Ari is a graduate of The University of Pennsylvania dual degree program, where he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree as well as his Bachelor of Science in Economics from The Wharton School. He received his MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. Ari and Niki have been parents at TBS for the past 10 years. Their children, Skyler, Jake and Chase are in ninth grade, eighth grade and fourth grade, respectively. It has been an honor to serve as the Chairman of the Board of Trustees. I take this moment to thank all of those with whom I have had the privilege of working so closely over the past three years, including all my fellow Trustees, and of course, our Head of School, Bob Goldberg. I have been extremely humbled by the amount of time, energy and tireless support that I have both received personally and seen dedicated to the ongoing success of The Benjamin School.

Warm Regards,

Raymond E. Graziotto Past Chairman, Board of Trustees

Board of Trustees 2016-2017

Front Row (Left to Right): Ellin Miller, Krista Nicklaus, Sandy O’Connor, Lynda L. Jacobs, Sheree Davis Cunningham, Shannon Smith Second Row (Left to Right): Michael Bracci, Ray Graziotto, Head of School, Robert S. Goldberg Third Row (Left to Right): Ari Zur, Eric Silagy, Nate Dalton, Kelly Perkins Back Row (Left to Right): Vince Marotta, Joseph Zaluski, Jack Nicklaus II, Chris M. Tighe Jr., David McAuliffe, Euclid Walker, Al Hoffman, Jr., Sal Tiano, Brian Waxman Not Pictured: Chris Sorenson, Thomas Frankel, Bob Martin, Dirk Ziff


Gridiron Girls: 8th Grade Girls Tackle Football

‘Mockingbird’ Comes to Benjamin

TBS Harnesses Election Fervor

STEM Continues to Grow at TBS

Black Hawk Down’s Eversmann Speaks to Students About Leadership

World-Renowned Cellist Performs at Benjamin

Benjamin Community Bands Together In Wake of Devastating Tornado

GRIDIRON GIRLS 8th Grade Girls


FOOTBALL PIONEERS. GAME CHANGERS. TRAIL BLAZERS. All of those labels are probably accurate descriptions of Benjamin eighth graders Madeline Hart and Emma Shirzad, but they’re both too modest to admit it.

“The kicker Emma, she’s great, she hasn’t missed a field goal!” It’s not just under the lights that the girls have excelled, they’re both conscientious and are taking high school level math classes, said Hansen. “They are both intelligent and goaloriented. I believe the girls have proven that all students have the opportunity to try anything in the Middle School, as long as you bring a positive attitude, put forth 100 percent effort and show that you have the grit to persevere,” said Hansen.


such a long way. She’s the most improved player out there,” Mike Durrette, former 49ers lineman, affectionately known around campus as “Big Mike,” said.

When asked whether she sees herself as a role model, Hart is too humble to say yes. Pioneers. Game changers. Trailblazers. All of those labels are probably accurate descriptions of Benjamin eighth graders Madeline Hart and Emma Shirzad, but they’re both too modest to admit it. “I guess too many people just said I couldn’t,” Madeline Hart said, when asked why she wanted to play on Benjamin’s eighth grade football team. “I was nervous on my first day of practice, but so were the guys. To be completely honest, my mom was more nervous than I was,” Hart said. Shirzad said she didn’t know what to expect and was nervous and afraid of how everyone would react. Hart and Shirzad were both members of this year’s eighth grade boys football team. But they weren’t just on the team. “They’re bruisers,” Middle School Math Department Chair Cathy Hansen said. The two eighth grade girls spent this season on the gridiron, holding their own among a team full of male football players.

Greg Keller, who coaches the eighth grade team, said that other than separating their locker rooms, the girls were treated like everyone else. “You never know what to expect when someone who has never played the game comes out, but they have both done quite well,” Keller said. Hart and Shirzad join a small handful of women across the country who are playing on predominantly male football teams. According to the National Federation of State High School Associations, just over 1,000 girls in the U.S. are playing football at a high school level. Although that number has steadily grown in past years, it’s a sample size that’s less than half of the freshman class admitted to Harvard. This makes the two young women part of an elite group, especially as they started playing football even before high school. “They’re awesome. They catch on pretty quickly. Maddie is just unbelievable. She’s really good. Technique-wise she’s come

“All I did was be in the right place under the right conditions. I hope I’ve blazed a trail that other girls can follow and expand upon,” she said. Shirzad says it’s important not to let anyone tell you no. “If you want do something like this, go for it! I didn’t join the football team because other people wanted me to. I did it on my own. Girls are tougher than you think,” she said. Next year, the girls will be facing down another potentially daunting season: freshman year of high school. But no one who knows them seems worried about the transition. Hansen encourages them to continue their journey in both life and football, while Coach Keller says he’s just a phone call away. “Big Mike” wants the girls to know that they can do anything they put their minds to. “Overcome fear. Continue to be brave. That’s what you’ve already done.”

“A lot of the boys were surprised at first, but overall they were welcoming and supportive,” Hart said.


“When Maddie and Emma joined our team I was a little surprised at first, but then I was very proud of them. It takes a lot of guts for them to step onto that field. This sport is known to be just for men. They broke that barrier this year,” said fellow player Cole Jernstedt. “We still have a great time all together, and we treat them with respect because they are our friends and teammates,” said Jernstedt. “I’m really happy they joined the team.” 9

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‘Who Will Go For Us?’

It’s a theological question that many of our veterans have answered with a resounding, “send me!” First Sergeant Matt Eversmann (Ret.) heard and answered the call during his two decades of military service. Eversmann spent the morning of March 29 speaking with Benjamin students as part of the upper school’s Leadership Speaker Series. When you google Matt Eversmann, he comes up as a fictional character played by actor Josh Hartnett. But Eversmann’s the real deal, and Hartnett his fictional counterpart. Hartnett depicted Eversmann’s experience trapped in a hostile district of Mogadishu by an angry mob in the film “Black Hawk Down.” The silver screen edition, according to the retired first sergeant, is about 80 percent accurate.

Eversmann says certain leadership values he learned during his time in the service translate well into civilian life. Among them, he cites three core principles: selfless service, courage and duty.

“The common denominator is people. Certain qualities, like mental toughness, translate into civilian life. We live in difficult times. There are going to be significant challenges in your life. Those who are trained will prevail. The lemmings will not succeed. It’s so easy to stand up here and be self-righteous and tell you need to do these three things, when many times I can’t myself. But we’re all in it together.”

For Eversmann, the smell of Mogadishu still lingers.


“It smelled like burnt sulfur — like a garbage dump burning,” he tells students. Eversmann remembers the oppressive 127 degree heat — a temperature so hot it “makes your nose hairs burn.” Eversmann, who now wears two hearing aids as a direct consequence of hearing loss during his time in Somalia, says the sound of battle was so loud it made your teeth hurt. “I almost feel unworthy to share the story with you,” he says to the captive audience in Benjamin Hall. “We are still a nation at war. We are able to do anything we want to because of our courageous veterans . . . They’re kids from right next door. No one wears a red cape and changes in a phone booth — they’re just like me and you,” he says.


TORNADO Recovery

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Benjamin Community BANDS TOGETHER In Wake Of

Devastating Tornado 12

“These proposed projects are no longer options, but necessities in order to keep Benjamin a world-class independent school. Investing in ‘Leaps and Bounds’ will have an immeasurable impact on students now and into the future,” said Fanjul.

The Benjamin community banded together in the wake of a devastating tornado that touched down on the Upper School campus the night of January 22. The storm caused roughly $2 million in damage to the Upper School athletic facilities, tossing bleachers across the street like ragdolls, ripping down tennis court fences, plowing straight through the turf and track fields and uprooting scoreboards. But the storm was no match for the tightknit Benjamin community that came together in its wake. The Greene family, whose children Josh and Lexi are in the Upper and Middle schools, respectively hosted an informal cocktail reception at their home in Palm Beach Gardens to discuss the future of Benjamin’s athletic facilities. The event served as a way to update families on the tornado damage and explain how insurance wasn’t going to cover the entire cost of the damaged playing fields. Jodi and Sean Greene welcomed over 40 guests, many of whom have children on various athletic teams, to their home before introducing Head of School Bob Goldberg, who told of the harrowing night the tornado touched down. Goldberg told guests of how he received the dreaded 2 a.m. phone call from the police department, alerting him that the School’s bleachers were jettisoned into the middle of the street. Goldberg, though dismayed by the damage, said he was certain everything will be replaced.

new home as the perfect venue to gather with families interested in our exciting plans for new athletic facilities on the Upper School campus. Coupled with an extremely generous gift to assist with the rebuild of our decimated athletic facilities resulting from the recent tornado, the Greenes provided TBS guests with hors d’oeuvres, cocktails, music and fellowship on a beautiful Florida spring evening in their backyard paradise. The event under the stars could not have been more joyful or celebratory,” Goldberg said. Athletic director Ryan Smith ‘93 spoke to guests about what items are currently being replaced and the timeline for future improvements. Chief Development Officer Juan Carlos Fanjul ‘93 told guests about the projects planned for the upper school as part of Phase II of the ‘Leaps and Bounds’ Capital Campaign. Among the proposals is the Varsity House, which is a $3 million complex that houses bleachers, a press box and additional

Sandy O’Connor Krista Nicklaus Jodi Greene

Franklin & Kelly Harris

Head of School Robert Goldberg

“It is not often that one of our families steps up so generously without solicitation from us to offer the School an opportunity to have a voice with our parents,” Goldberg said. “Sean and Jodi Greene contacted the administration to offer their magnificent

Sean & Jodi Greene

Tony & Tammy Preddy Travis

Mike & Kelly Wiener 13


locker rooms. Other projects include the Aquatics Center and Fieldhouse — a major addition to the gym which would feature three basketball courts, a weight room and provide for an air-conditioned practice environment for all sports teams.

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Lower School students focused their study on the process of how someone becomes a presidential candidate and how the electoral college works. “It was fun for all of us and opened up a lot of discussion, particularly because in our history to date there were four elections in which the electoral college and not the popular vote determined the president. The kids were shocked that a person could actually win the popular vote but not the electoral college and therefore actually lose the election,” said fourth grade teacher Sheree Friedlander, who spearheaded a project about the electoral college for her class. Friedlander said the goal was to give students a better understanding of the election process and how the constitution works. The fourth grade class finished their study with a mock election in which each student cast an anonymous ballot for their candidate of choice. Donald Trump took home 51 percent of the vote, Hillary Clinton 45 percent, while another 4 percent of voters were undecided. “My teammates and I were shocked that the results were so close — Trump actually won by three votes,” Friedlander said. Benjamin Upper School students also participated in a mock election. Assistant Head for Academics Ken Didsbury and his journalism students set up mock polling stations and precinct boxes, divided by grade level, where students could submit their anonymous ballots.

“My sister and I are Gary fans,” 11th grader Will Ziff said. Robert Rubin, a 10th grader, said one of the reasons he found Johnson appealing was his promise to solve issues at a state level. “I’m the only Gary Johnson supporter in my family,” said Rubin.

“But I don’t feel like I’m wasting my vote because I don’t want to be limited to voting for two parties. We need to show that there are third party options available. I think the mock election has raised more awareness for a lesser known “To respect the office and the government candidate,” said Rubin.

of which the presidency is a part, we also need to seek civil debate in which we focus on the issues. We can disagree and we should disagree, but the important thing to remember is that we have an obligation to have a respectful conversation. We need to talk to each other and not at each other. We need to put past name-calling behind us. We need to rediscover the power and importance of compromise. Standing our ground and screaming at each other will achieve nothing. Because you will be the stewards of America, you need to look to that common good. The continued petty strife will only demean the best of America.” Assistant Head of Academics, Ken Didsbury

in a powerful speech to the Upper School student body urging students to be effective stewards of democracy.

Didsbury said the mock election was an important civics lesson for students, and he was pleased to see how enthusiastic they were about casting their ballots. Upper School students were divided, with votes being cast for both major parties along with third party candidate Gary Johnson. 15


The 2016 presidential race was a historic ideological battle in the eyes of many voters. Although most Benjamin students were too young to cast a vote, all three divisions harnessed the election fervor as an opportunity to teach important civics lessons.

In the Middle School, students used election season to participate in a mock presidential debate, coordinated by Head of Middle School Charles Hagy and Social Studies Department Chair Marshall Mullnix. The debate focused on both domestic and foreign policy, with teams presenting arguments from both the Republican and Democratic party point of view. The students, selected after winning an essay contest on the importance of casting a responsible vote, were randomly assigned a political party to represent. “One of the most important rights the people of the United States have also gives its citizens great power to protect our democracy: this is the right to vote. However, before we can cast a responsible vote, it is our obligation to learn everything possible about the issues involved,” Hagy said, as he introduced the debate.

Each side started with opening statements, followed by questions on wide-ranging topics from immigration to trade. Both sides, made up of six students in both seventh and eighth grade, offered up proposals consistent with their party’s platform. Debaters on the GOP side were: seventh graders Ella Pierman, Grace Kearns, Demi den Bakker, Shang Wang, Camilo Saiz and eighth grader Carter Stewart. The Democratic side was made up of seventh graders Andrew McDonough, Sadie Burns, Emeline Smith, JohnVincent Janin and eighth grader Michelle Pfeifer. 15

Dr. Barbara Hodges, Executive Director, FCIS and Head of School Bob Goldberg

Head of School

Co-Chairs FCIS Convention

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Head of School Bob Goldberg was tapped by the Florida Council of Independent Schools to co-chair this year’s convention. The organization, founded in 1954 by a small group of independent school leaders, has grown to be one of the largest conglomerates of independent schools in the United States. Goldberg not only cochaired the event, but engaged TBS faculty and administrators to develop this year’s theme. “The notion of the fixed vs. the growth mindset has been prominent in the literature of education over the past several years. That is, how do we help our students stretch to believe that they can grow beyond a limiting self-definition and explore beyond the parameters they have mistakenly placed on their ability to learn in certain areas of study? After much thought and exploration, and through collaboration with North Broward Preparatory School, our Convention co-chair school, we developed the theme of ‘‘Cultivating Growth - a Mindset for the Future,’’ Goldberg said. Benjamin teachers were also present at the conference, including a set of faculty 16

presenters who spoke about STEM in early childhood education and a pair of presenters who spoke about the importance of “close reading.” Goldberg said he left the convention with confirmed respect for Benjamin’s partner schools all over the state of Florida. “The very best opportunities for students to develop a ‘growth mindset’ while breaking down the walls of a debilitating ‘fixed mindset’ which confines one’s options for

expansion, happens at independent Florida schools like Benjamin,” Goldberg said. “TBS encourages every student to participate, explore, ponder, question, stretch and be fearless in his or her quest for the broadest and deepest understanding of the subject matter at hand. At Benjamin, students’ interests can be ignited and converted to passions by helping them build bridges to places they may have otherwise believed impossible to reach,” Goldberg said.

Even if you’re tired, you have to play. That was the advice Israeli cellist Amit Peled gave to Benjamin strings students during a recent trip to campus. Peled, acclaimed as a profound instrumentalist, started out as a basketball player.

The strings class then traveled to the Barker Performing Arts Center where Peled performed a concert for the entire Middle School. The father of three, who served in the Israeli army and calls Baltimore

home, said he will be headed abroad to Israel, London and Istanbul, all in rapid succession. Travel, he says, is very expensive: the cello gets its own airplane ticket.

“I love basketball. You can be a cool kid who plays sports but also plays music,” Peled said. Standing at 6’5, Peled has been called “larger than life” while playing his cello. Benjamin students spent the afternoon with the soloist who has played in the world’s major concert halls including Carnegie, Alice Tully and Wigmore Hall. Peled led music teacher Andrew Winters’ strings class through a series of instrumental pieces, pausing to joke and interact with the students. Music, Peled said, should be fun. “Not boring. Boring doesn’t exist. If you do boring, I stop playing,” Peled said to sixth grader Eric Levine with whom he performed a duet.

‘Mockingbird’ Comes to Benjamin

“I’ve been to a lot of schools, but none quite like this,” Marja Mills said, as we cut through the Lower School campus on our way to the Barker Performing Arts Center. Mills, journalist and author of the memoir “The Mockingbird Next Door,” visited The Benjamin School in November to share her experience researching and writing the book, which offers an unparalleled glimpse into the life of Harper Lee, the author of “To Kill A Mockingbird.”

Mills took part in a host of activities, coordinated by Middle School Academic Dean Dr. Tina James. Seventh grade English students started the day by presenting an academic conference on all things Harper Lee. Students held conference sessions that covered a range of topics from the relationship between Harper Lee and author Truman Capote, to the motif of the recluse, as seen in “To Kill a Mockingbird.” Mills was offered a quick glimpse of each conference session before students were ushered into the Barker Center

where they heard Mills speak about her time as a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist at the Chicago Tribune.

“Here at Benjamin, particularly in the Middle school, we like to pride ourselves on being a ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ think tank . . . This year’s 7th grade has done themselves proud as Lee and Mockingbird scholars with their intellect, perseverance and grit. They have studied the book in depth, and have supplemented their reading with Marja Mills’s memoir describing her friendship with Lee. They have come up with insights that amaze us,” said Dr. James.

Students and faculty were asked to make an item that was inspired by a direct quote or indirect allusion in “To Kill a Mockingbird” or “The Mockingbird Next Door.” Students came up with a variety of eclectic and delicious dishes from tea cakes to “fishing polls” made out of twizzlers and pretzels. The evening concluded with a talk by Mills about her memoir to a packed audience of students, faculty and parents.

The highlight of the day-long event was a potluck dinner filled with ‘‘Mo c k i n g b i r d’’ inspired dishes. 17


World-Renowned Cellist Performs at Benjamin

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TedX at TBS


Reine fielded audience questions at the conclusion of her talk about acceptance and forgiveness, including a question from three-time Peabody Award-winner Hockenberry. “When did you realize that you’re not your face,” Hockenberry said.


“I had things thrown at me . . . kids would tease me . . . I was told it looked like I had been hit by a Mack truck,” Reine said. With the help of multiple surgeries, Reine’s outward appearance is now that of a beautiful, poised woman, but it took time for her self-image to match the image she was projecting to the world.

Reine paused, meditatively, choking back tears.

Benjamin Students, Guest Speakers Share ‘Soul Stories’ at TEDX Talk What is your “soul story” and how will you tell it? That’s the question that The Benjamin Middle School’s TEDX talk sought to answer. The theme for this year’s TEDX talk, held on March 24 in the Barker Performing Arts Center, was Muthos, which is the Greek word for public authoritative speaking that has the power to effect change. Program coordinator Dr. Tina James welcomed the audience of students, faculty and guests to the talk. “It’s not always easy, even if you’re an adult, to exhume from your soul that which you truly need and want to say,” James said.

“It was hard,” she said. “If you face your fears little by little you usually overcome them. You learn not to focus on the piece that’s missing, but instead on all the pieces that you do have.”

“People’s soul stories are all very different. Some soul stories are indeed very dramatic or tragic, but still others are funny or quirky and just make you think. But it is incontrovertible that everyone in this audience today has a soul story that needs to be told,” said James. The talk, emceed by middle school teacher Nick Crisafi, was a celebration of the voices of 27 middle school students, speaking on everything from having big hair to living with the eye condition nystagmus. Muthos also featured a handful of guest speakers from a variety of disciplines, including Emmy Award-winning journalist John Hockenberry and aerialist Tina Reine.

Seventh grader Sophia Liporace won first place in the National Speaking Week’s competition in the category of “Best Speech/Podcast” for her TEDX talk “Couldn’t Ask for More.” Sophia spoke at “Muthos” about living with the eye condition nystagmus. Head of School Bob Goldberg said he is proud to have Sophia representing the School at such an impressive level.



Reine, who started her aerial career at 43, was the first guest speaker to take the stage. The lithe blonde began by telling the story of her childhood in Evansville, Indiana. Reine, born with severe facial deformities, was the subject of merciless bullying by her classmates for the entirety of her childhood.


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“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal . . .” Head of Middle School Charles Hagy was honored to recite the famous words from The Declaration Of Independence during a Fourth of July celebration at The Flagler Museum in West Palm Beach, FL. Hagy provided an introduction and historical perspective of the document before his recitation. “Saying the Declaration at the Fourth of July event was one of the thrills of my career,” Hagy said. He shared the stage with Damba Koroma, one of the victims of the decade long brutal Civil War in Sierra Leone. “I was proud to share the stage with this young lady who embodies the values

articulated in the Declaration,” Hagy said. Member and Visitor Services Director Allison Goff said Hagy has been a valued member of The Flagler Museum for some time. “His passion for education appealed to us as far as putting someone at our podium who would embody the meaning of the Declaration Of Independence for our audience. His name came to the top of our list,” she said. Hagy was the first local educator tapped to recite the Declaration as part of the museum’s inaugural Patriots Club. Hagy will be charged with choosing next year’s inductee. All members of the Club will be responsible for reading the Declaration during their given year at the Fourth of July festivities. In order to become an inductee, you must be appointed by your predecessor and share a passion for education.

“We encourage educators, but the inductee could be a politician or community organizer, who is committed to pushing forward the message of American values and character as it touches back to the Gilded Age,” Goff says.




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Pre-K Students Undertake STEM Projects

Third Graders Compete in STEM Rocket Challenge

Middle School Hosts Lego League Tournament 22

Five Seniors Receive Inaugural Engineering Certificate

Fourth Grade Students Compete in STEM Challenge


STEM Curriculum Continues to Grow at TBS With New Building Planned Benjamin students across all three divisions are diving into the exciting world of STEM. The acronym stands for science, technology, engineering and math and offers a studentcentered approach to learning these four key disciplines. Our youngest Buccaneers begin their STEM education in Pre-K3 and continue to build on their knowledge all the way through high school graduation. “Through hands-on and engaging lessons and activities, the STEM curriculum in WOW (Pre-K3) is meant to be the first step in teaching students higher level thinking skills. The teachers break away from passive instruction and allow opportunities for more playful investigation, to start building our youngest Buccaneers’ foundation in STEM,” WOW teacher Jeaneen Garcia says. The advances in Benjamin’s STEM curriculum coincide with the School’s plan to break ground on the Maglio Family STEM center later this year. The world-class center has been made possible by a $2.5 million lead gift by the Maglio Family and The Berlin Family Foundation. Chief Development Officer Juan Carlos Fanjul ‘93 says the Maglio Family STEM Center will set Benjamin apart as an independent school “that invests heavily in the facilities and technologies needed to propel STEM education to the next level.”

“While we have a generous lead gift from the Maglio family, we are still looking for more than $1 million in additional funds to fully pay for this transformational building,” Fanjul says.

Lower School science coordinator Susan Bickel says the planned STEM center represents an exciting time for science at Benjamin. “Not only do we have terrific programs already in place, with the new facility, we have the opportunity to push forward even more. Our students are exposed to handson science from age three through senior year in high school. That’s rare,” says Bickel. Bickel has led her students in a host of STEM activities throughout the year, including the construction and launch of rockets using a 3D printer. Bickel has been working closely with each grade level to find ways to implement STEM activities into the Lower School curriculum. In Pre-Kindergarten teacher Joanie Garrettson’s class, students spend their Friday mornings with a new STEM lesson. The young learners have worked on 3-D trees, ladders, bridges and racecars as part of their STEM education. The goal of the program is to teach students to collaborate, problem-solve and discover new challenges on their own, with little teacher interference. Garrettson says that the fundamentals of STEM must be taught at an early age. “The traditional approach to teaching topics in isolation does not always support the ways that children learn best. As teachers, we have learned that by asking the right questions we help stimulate collaborative problem-solving, which leads to incredible discoveries,” Garrettson says.


PRE-K STUDENTS UNDERTAKE STEM PROJECTS Pre-Kindergarten students at The Benjamin School are spending quality curricular time learning STEM disciplines. The program, spearheaded by Pre-K teacher Joanie Garrettson, coincides with the School’s plans to break ground on a STEM center later this year. “To keep our program competitive nationwide, it was imperative that we devoted more time in our PreKindergarten curriculum to STEM studies,” Garrettson says. “STEM really is a philosophy. It’s a way of thinking about how educators (and parents) should be guiding children in integrating knowledge across disciplines, encouraging them to think in a more connected natural way,” Garrettson says. Pre-Kindergarten students at Benjamin spend their Friday mornings learning a new STEM lesson. The students have worked on 3-D trees, ladders, bridges and racecars as part of their STEM education. Garrettson says the STEM program shows that success in learning requires the learner, or student, to be at the center of the experience. “Just as we construct the foundation of a building first, we must begin building a foundation in STEM beginning in the early years. It is not difficult to teach STEM to preschool age children - during this time of development their brains are capable of much more than many adults think is possible. They are perfectly able to learn and apply concepts that once waited for much later years to be taught,” says Garretson. Pre-K students will continue their STEM projects throughout the year, including work with pendulums, levers and catapults.

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“We hope our students will continue applying their knowledge both on-and-off campus,” Garrettson says.


THIRD GRADERS COMPETE IN STEM ROCKET CHALLENGE Third grade students took part in a STEM straw rocket challenge earlier in January. Each student in the third grade received a straw, white copier paper, index cards, scissors and scotch tape and set to work trying to build an aerodynamic rocket. The goal was to make the most stable, streamlined rocket possible with the materials given to them. The student in each third grade class with the rocket that flew the farthest was a winner. Third grade teacher Susan Keller said she found the idea on a science website that offers hands-on engineering projects. “Seeing the students enthusiasm for the activity and listening to their thoughts and ideas on design choices such as rocket nose shape, what diameter the body of their rocket should be, where they should place tape or what fins they should add definitely made the project exciting for all the third grade science teachers,” Keller said. Keller said she hopes the project sparked an enthusiasm for engineering in her students. “Learning to keep testing and trying out ideas without fear of failure is important,” Keller said. “Creativity, curiosity and analytical thinking are essential tools for an engineer. Projects like this are designed to foster those traits.”

Fourth grade students were hard at work during a recent STEM challenge, led by teachers Mr. Griffis and Ms. Boykin. The groups of three to four students headed out to the basketball courts with pipecleaners in hand. Their goal was to create the tallest free-standing structure possible.

the challenge. They create a plan and work as a small group to implement the plan. Then they have the opportunity to adjust the plan as they learn about how the materials perform and how they can construct something that will achieve the goal they have been given,” said Griffis. Griffis said the best part of STEM projects is that the students really enjoy them.

MIDDLE SCHOOL HOSTS LEGO LEAGUE TOURNAMENT The Middle School hosted the First Lego League Qualifying Tournament for the South Florida Region on Sunday, January 22. Benjamin students took home best Project at the event. The team competed against thirteen other schools for four seats in the regional tournament. The team, led by teacher Gabriele St. Martin, competed in three challenges: the Robot Game, the Project and Core Values. The challenges included programing a robot using Lego Mindstorms technology to autonomously drive on a themed playing field and researching a real-world problem and developing a solution. “Our students learned a lot this year and for them to be awarded best Project as a first-year team is quite an accomplishment,” St. Martin said of the middle school team. The Tournament is intended to develop critical thinking and team-building skills, while implementing STEM education.

“I love that STEM projects allow for our students to be creative and learn to brainstorm ideas with their peers in a fun and exciting learning environment. These projects utilize hands-on learning and exploration which allows students to shine,” said Boykin.

“If students enjoy an activity, they will remember what they did and assimilate the skills or understanding in a deep and meaningful way.”

“In this project, the students learned that there is more than one solution to any real-world problem and working as an effective team makes all the difference,” said Boykin. All of the teams were able to make a free-standing structure, and the three winning teams were within just centimeters of one another. The first place team included: Maddox Hoffman, Cooper Sukhu, Wilhelmina D’Loughy and Jessica Baklayan. “STEM projects are central to the kind of learning our students do at Benjamin,” said Griffis. “It presents a question to the students and gives them materials they can use to answer or solve the question. They have to use what they know to explore 25



Five Seniors Receive Inaugural Engineering Certificate Five graduating seniors were inaugural recipients of Benjamin’s new Engineering Certificate. The certificate program started three years ago and serves as the culmination of an academic course of study for students interested in STEM. Faculty advisor Dr. Darryl Martino explains that the curriculum consists of classes designed to provide students with exposure to the fields of engineering and design as well as provide an opportunity to learn from experts in those fields. Students in the program have made everything from simple gears/levers to spaghetti towers, white board dividers, scale model houses and full scale geodesic domes that stands 16 feet tall. “Anyone is welcome to pursue the certificate,” says Dr. Martino. The most difficult aspect, he says, is the six required semesters of extracurricular activity. Martino says the certificate was designed to take advantage of the class offerings already in place while pushing students into further areas of discovery. Junior Noelle Matese, who is pursuing the certification, started an all-girls makers camp in hopes of attracting more young women to the field of engineering. Currently, there are only young men who will be receiving the certificate for the 2017-2018 school year, but that will change with the junior class. “In two years we will have more young women in the program than men. I hope the program continues to grow and that we consistently get more women involved. Currently, the dynamic is roughly a 60/40 ratio. I’d like to get it to 50/50,” says Martino. Martino says he helps brainstorm ideas with seniors for their capstone projects, but ultimately it’s their work and their designs.

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“The classes are very much focused on creating products. They’re much less content driven and there’s a lot of failure involved in the class. Students have the opportunity to overcome their mistakes and iterate. They have the freedom to fail early so that their final project is well done. The students get more fearless as they go along,” Martino says.


Below are the five seniors who received the Engineering Certificate along with their capstone projects. Griffin Bracci: Worked to design and 3D print two national award winning (Ten80 nationals) car body designs using SolidWorks design software. He ran over 70 hours of wind tunnel simulations on his designs. Geoff Moody: Worked with Drs. Kwon and Jung in a Behavioral Lab at Max Plank. There he studied the brain chemistry behind simple memory and learning processes. Geoff designed, built and tested a new floating ball maze mechanism, allowing researchers, for the first time ever, to view the actual real-time neural processes behind touchbased learning and memory. Kole Rosin: Worked internationally with a sister school in Australia to tackle water resources issues. Kole’s video produced for Earth Day and Water Resources Day were recognized by the United State’s Department of State as best in the United States. Kole, after changing his focus, worked with researchers from Columbia University in a program called, Explorations in Genetics and Molecular Biology. During the program, he participated in lectures and laboratory experiments that sought to explore how DNA works and how scientists can alter DNA for a variety of purposes. John Toothman: Worked on development of hydrofoil technology while earning his United States Coast Guard Captain’s license. Alex Weinstein: Worked at ShowMotion Inc., in Milford, Connecticut. ShowMotion is a company that designs and builds sets for Broadway shows. He worked primarily in the area of electrical and computer engineering testing and repairing motors. He wrote the program that tested ten motors by lifting and softly placing 2200 pounds of bricks 15 feet up at different speeds in order to find and fix any oddities in set changing procedures.


Benjineers Capture First Place Finish

11 Seniors Inducted Into TBS Cum Laude Society

BTV N3WS Program Awarded ‘Best Newscast’ in Florida

Upper School Music Director Awarded High Honor

Spanish Team Takes First Place at State Conferencia

ASPA Crowns ‘The Pharcyde’ Nation’s Best High School Newspaper

BENJINEERS CAPTURE FIRST PLACE FINISH Upper School engineering club The Benjineers secured a first place finish in the Ten80 Miami Spring Invitational. The team showcased their engineering enterprise and robotics skills at the competition held March 7 in Miami. Patrick Cullinane, faculty advisor to the Benjineers, said the day was filled with highs and lows after the team’s cars kept breaking and they were docked with a five minute penalty in a 10 minute race.

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“As the day progressed, the stress piled up like quicksand,” Cullinane said. “But as the coaches were ready to toss in the towel the kids rallied a comeback.” The Benjineers took home a 6th place finish in the 10 minute race, 4th place in the drag race and 3rd place in the endurance race to finish the day. The team took home 1st place trophies for data-driven design and the business team. All the scores combined led the Benjineers to another first place finish. 28

The Benjineers also competed against teams across the country in a year- long engineering competition called the Ten80 Nationals Points race where they completed tasks and submitted them online. They were then awarded points based on their work. The team collected 7,000 points, winning a 2nd place overall in the competition. The team was invited back to Nationals this year in New York.


11 SENIORS INDUCTED INTO TBS CUM LAUDE SOCIETY Eleven members of the senior class were inducted into the Cum Laude Society during the 2016-2017 school year. The eleven students were inducted into the prestigious society during a ceremony led by Head of School Robert Goldberg and Head of Upper School Fletcher Carr in Benjamin Hall. Carr praised the senior academicians during the fifth annual ceremony on April 18, while highlighting the importance of humility in the face of great success. “It’s okay to be great at something as long as you bear that greatness lightly . . . Humility should allow you to state your arguments with force, clarity and belief. At the same time, humility dictates that you put yourself in the position to understand those with whom you disagree, “ Carr said. “The ability to shift into someone else’s perspective allows you the opportunity to experience the ways in which you may differ. And that understanding makes you a more complete person. And like negative spaces in art, such differences can actually highlight your shared similarities.”

List of Inductees:

Christian Cropp, Jonah Goldberg, Grayson Kahle, Arianna LaBarbiera, Jakob Lazar, Geoffrey Moody, Kole Rosin, Brittany Silvester, William Smithy, Alex Weinstein, Zuyi Zhao



The National Honor Society welcomed 39 new members into The Benjamin School Chapter during the 2016-2017 school year. The annual fall and spring candlelight ceremonies were held in Benjamin Hall. The following new inductees were elected into the Chapter by the TBS Faculty Council for their demonstrated excellence in scholarship, character, leadership, knowledge and service:

List of Inductees:

Sydney Burnett, Joanna Delgado, Sophia DeRosa, Stephen Gardner, Jingyi “Clairey” Ling, Isabelle Michelon, Sarah Stamp, Alyssa Suarez, Amanda Viola, Xike “Coco” Yue, Andrew DeFerrari, Joshua Greene, Jack Goetschius, Rachel Haselkorn, Anthony Kearns, Benjamin Lesserson, Noelle Matese, Emily McFarlane, Cameron Pirozzi, Robert Rubin, Sophie Smith, Samantha Sweeney, Claire Donnelly, Katherine O’Connor, Katy Blain, Samantha Fried, Olivia Gruner, Varun Hariharan, Kendall Harrow, Susan Hollenbeck, Nina Houri, Matthew Kaneb, Reese Kline, Alexander Lappin, Matthew Lopes, Margaret Mahon, Emily Primm, Emma O’Hare, Roya Shirzad



BTV N3WS PROGRAM AWARDED ‘BEST NEWSCAST’ IN FLORIDA The Florida Scholastic Press Association has named BTV N3WS the “Best Newscast” in the state of Florida. BTV N3WS is produced on the Upper School Campus by students in the Television Broadcasting program led by faculty member Ken Archer. The team also received “Special Distinction” in the categories of Talent and Audio. “I’ve judged your school before and have a good idea what to expect from the BTV N3WS crew. And you did not disappoint. Everybody was well trained and performed at an exceptional level. You cover your school well and keep the student body, as well as the local community, informed on what is going on at The Benjamin School,” said one judge.


The American Scholastic Press Association named The Pharcyde the “Best High School Newspaper for Schools with Under 500 Students” in its national journalism contest. This is the third consecutive year The Pharcyde has earned that honor. In addition, Pharcyde staff members were honored with numerous awards at The Palm Beach Post Excellence in High School Journalism Awards luncheon celebrated April 26 in West Palm Beach, Florida. “Expository writing, which is the class that produces The Pharcyde, is largely student-run. As such, the editors take full ownership for the production of seven editions. As the advisor and classroom teacher, I help them by teaching the writers how to be better editors of their work. For me, this class is an enriching experience because the level of student engagement is extremely high and because the students are fully invested in producing a top-notch paper,” said faculty advisor Ken Didsbury, Assistant Head for Academics.

The following journalism students took home Palm Beach Post awards: The Buccaneer

Arianna LaBarbiera - 1st Place, Photography, William Ziff - 2nd Place, Sports Writing Chris Kaneb - 2nd Place, Cartooning/Illustrating Madeleine Dalton - 3rd Place, News Writing, 3rd Place General Excellence Seamus Coffey-Gallagher - Honorable Mention Column Writing Jack Spingarn - Honorable Mention News Writing The Pharcyde - 3rd Place, General Excellence - Newspaper



SPANISH TEAM TAKES FIRST PLACE AT STATE CONFERENCIA The 16-member upper school Spanish World Language Team won first place in the state of Florida at the 2016 Conferencia tournament held March 9 through the 11th in Orlando, Florida. The Conferencia team competed with Spanish students throughout the state in several individual events, taking home a total of 22 trophies in categories including impromptu speeches and poetry. Upper school French students took home a second-place finish in the 4A division state competition held in Orlando.

UPPER SCHOOL MUSIC DIRECTOR AWARDED HIGH HONOR Dr. Nicholas Lockey, new director of the Upper School Music Program, was honored with the opportunity to update a key source for information on composer Antonio Vivaldi. Oxford University Press has asked Lockey to edit and update the list of compositions for their Vivaldi article in the Grove Dictionary Of Music. The Dictionary is the number one source for anyone seeking scholarship on almost any topic in music. “New Vivaldi pieces turn up every year, so it’s time to update the list. When I first saw the list in 7th or 8th grade I never imagined I would one day be asked to update it,” said Lockey. The organization contacted Lockey based on recommendations from his previous work. Vivaldi, one of Lockey’s favorite composers, was also his research specialty. Dr. Lockey wrote his master’s thesis and doctoral dissertation on Vivaldi’s music and published several reviews of Vivaldi-related books. The average Grove Dictionary article is updated only once a decade, making Dr. Lockey’s invitation to edit so unique. Dr. Lockey said there is plenty that Benjamin students can do now to set themselves up for a similar opportunity in the future. “Develop strong communication skills (especially written), begin exploring topics and periods that might be of interest . . . develop good time management skills and study habits, and learn to at least read comfortably in another language (or two),” he advises. “If a book, a sculpture or a piece of music intrigues you, try to find out more about it . . . you never know when you might stumble upon a question that no one has yet answered. You could be the person to finally answer that question.” 31

Benjamin Faculty Pursue Passions Outside the Classroom A day in the life of devoted Benjamin teachers doesn’t end after 3 p.m. dismissal. In fact, many of our talented faculty are pursuing passions outside the classroom that have earned them awards and accolades. Across all three divisions, Benjamin teachers are embracing and embodying the School’s “second to none” motto in their personal pursuits.

Kathy Bailey Student Services - Grades PK3-3

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• • •

Inducted into the Ithaca College Swimming Hall of Fame Swam for Ithaca from 1989-1993 Advice to students considering swimming at the collegiate level? Go for it!

Nathan Ginnetty Middle School English Teacher • • •

Ginnety is an Indie Singer/Songwriter Learned to play the piano and sing through his church choir Has played headlining gigs throughout the area

“My swim team and coach became like a family.”

“My music is most closely defined as singer/songwriter. To this end, two of my primary influences are recent Nobel Laureate Bob Dylan and Jim Croce.”

Heather McKinstry

Carol McGrath

Grade 5 Teacher

Upper School Math Teacher

• • •

Competed in the National Barrel Horse World Championships The world show is held in Perry, Ga. every October Started riding when she was 14

“I got my mare I run now (her name is Sassy) six years ago as a graduation gift from my husband and mom. I trained her for barrels myself, and in a short three years of running, we qualified. Even though I didn’t make it the finals the chance to go on a horse I trained myself was such a blessing.” 32

• •

Competed in two Ironman Triathlons: 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike and 26.2 mile run Race starts at 7 a.m. and athletes must finish by midnight Lower School art teacher Ro Sammis and Middle School math teacher Erica Lazarus have also competed in the Ironman distance

“I’m not fast, but I have great endurance and a friend suggested I go long. I did. A little nutty.”


Kristen Sheehan

Chuck Maddox

Head of Lower School

Middle School World Language

• • •

Elected as the Elementary Representative at large for the National Council of Teachers of English Has Served on their Executive Committee for three years

“I am honored to represent elementary literacy educators across the country as the Elementary Representative at large. It’s exciting to be a part of cutting-edge research and have access to the most up-to-date resources that I am able to share with The Benjamin School.”

Has led mission trips to multiple countries Has been on 10 mission trips throughout his life Will serve as the Assistant Director for his church’s annual mission conference in Pennsylvania

“I’ve fallen in love with service work and helping other people. God has blessed me with so much — the least I can do is give back to others.”

Ryan Smith

Ami Reece

Director of Athletics

Administrative Assistant, Lower School

Was named to the Board of Directors for the Florida Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association Will be working to mentor new Athletic Directors while representing District 14 on the FIAAA board

“It was mentioned multiple times that the average athletic director leaves the job or profession after three years due to long hours, stress and difficulty managing family/personal life with the job. It is my hope that through FIAAA I can help new athletic directors manage their careers.”

• •

Qualified for the National Team to compete at the ITU Multisport World Championships in Penticton, BC She competed in the Aquabike event (swimming and biking) in August Placed 14th in the world!



THE Second Grade Music Students Shine in Winter Performance

Upper School Drama Club Wows TBS Audience With ‘Lord Of The Flies’ 34

Kindergarten Class Treats Audience to ‘An All American Holiday’

Benjamin Students Win 60 Scholastic Art Awards


‘Beyond Brushstrokes’ Showcases Lower School Student Art

Student Artists Shine at ‘Eye Cue’ Exhibit

Student Directors Take the Stage in Benjamin Hall

Second grade music and strings students took an audience of parents, friends and their peers on a musical journey to meet 12 famous composers through music and song. The program, directed by faculty music teacher and choral director Carolyn Montini, entertained the audience assembled February 8 in the Barker Performing Arts Center with a host of musical selections. The chorus sang numbers about composers from the 1600’s through the 1900’s, ranging from Frideric Handel, to Frederic Chopin and Claude Debussy. “Congratulations to all of our second grade violin students who worked so hard to perform in this beautiful concert together with our second grade choir students,” Strings Program Coordinator Belen Clifford said. “I am thrilled with how promptly they learned this new repertoire after our Holiday Concert in December. I would also like to congratulate our parents, who showed great support and were a beautiful audience during our program.



Many thanks to all our second grade teachers and everybody involved in this program for providing a warm and supportive environment for all our second grade students.” The second grade string ensemble is the largest strings group in the Lower School, with a total of 27 students. Most string ensembles, according to Clifford, have an average of 15 students. The second grade musical has been an annual tradition for many years, with a new theme and music arrangement each year. “This year for the first time we combined the string and the choral students in highlighting the music of the masters,” program coordinator Carolyn Montini said. “The string students beautifully played their violins and the choral students sang arrangements of well-known works with words that taught everyone about the lives of Handel, Haydn, Mozart and Tchaikovsky to name just a few. The memorization task was huge and the children rose to the challenge. The children were the teachers, educating everyone in the audience during the three performances. I am so proud of my choral students. Where words fail, music speaks,” said Montini.


FOURTH GRADE PERFORMS ‘CINDERELLA’ Fourth grade band, strings and choral students transformed the Barker Performing Arts Center into Cinderella’s castle on the evening of March 2. Their musical performance of ‘Cinderella . . . If the Shoe Fits!,’ led by faculty director Carolyn Montini, entertained the audience with hits like “Once Upon a Time,” performed by a cast of music students. The cast of characters included Athena Lekkas as Cinderella and Chester Coles as the prince. The music students were joined by the band, directed by Bruce Huber, who treated the audience to an instrumental concert performance. Belen Clifford, director of the string ensemble, led the students in classics from Handel to Bach.

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KINDERGARTEN CLASS TREATS AUDIENCE TO ‘AN ALL AMERICAN HOLIDAY’ The Kindergarten class, directed by faculty member Carolyn Montini, delighted an audience of Lower School students, parents, grandparents and guests at the annual kindergarten music program. The talented performers presented “An All-American Holiday” December 16 in the Lower/Middle School gymnasium. The young performers sang a wide variety of songs including ‘‘Yankee Doodle Santa,’’ ‘‘We Wish You a Merry Christmas’’ and ‘Hannukah Song’.’ The audience enjoyed instrumental selections performed by the Middle School Performance Ensemble. The Ensemble, directed by faculty members Bruce Huber and Andrew Winters, played numbers ranging from “Winter Holiday” to “Patriotic Bits and Pieces.” The musical, a holiday tradition at Benjamin, serves as a capstone before the Winter Break.

___________ ‘BEYOND BRUSHSTROKES’ SHOWCASES LOWER SCHOOL STUDENT ART An eye-catching display of Lower School artwork transformed the Fine Arts building into an art gallery at the annual “Beyond Brushstrokes” student art exhibition on May 2. The exhibit showcased a display of more than 1800 pieces created by Benjamin students in Pre-K through grade 5. TBS students, parents, faculty and staff enjoyed the exhibit from 3 to 5 p.m. “A big thank you to all the many families who took time from their busy afternoon schedules to come celebrate creativity in the Fine Arts Building this year! It is rare that families actually come in to visit our building, and to have the chance to cover the walls with a mosaic of joyful, expressive artworks to welcome them was a labor of love from both Renee Coviello and myself,” art teacher Ro Sammis said. By the time the show opened at 3 p.m. there was a line outside to the football field.

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“It was moving swiftly enough and as families entered the building almost all expressions shifted to awe at the first glimpse of the expanse of really good art that students have created this year! I heard so many people comment on how happy it made them feel to view the artwork. Being able to see the progression of skill, technique and imagination that flowed from PK - Grade 5 widened many eyes,” Sammis said. “Art is never created in a vacuum, each work contains historical, cultural and personal interpretation of the lessons taught. Bringing the art show ‘Beyond Brushstrokes’ into the Fine Arts halls and classrooms provided our youngest Benjamin students an environment where everyone is an artist! The pride and joy I saw in the faces of each of our Lower School students filled me with joy. The praises moms, dads, and families had for our work with and from the students spoke volumes about the importance of the arts at The Benjamin School,” said Sammis.

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The 2017 Eye Cue art exhibition, featuring Middle and upper school artwork, debuted to a full house the evening of April 19. Visual Art Department Chairs Nancy McAllister (Middle School) and Melissa Ford (Upper School), joined upper school art teachers Sara Davis and Petra Osborne in greeting guests for the opening reception held in The Gardens Mall. Head of School Bob Goldberg greeted parents, students and guests as they milled about, previewing an impressive collection of student artwork. The seventh annual exhibit, showcased in Bloomingdale’s Court, included music selections presented by the divisions’ instrumental students.



An art student decorates Benjamin’s design tree for ‘The Festival of Trees’ at the Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens. This year’s theme was “Celebrating Design Through the Decades.” ‘The Festival of Trees’ at the Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens is one of the holiday season’s premier events

The upper school drama club performed a gripping adaptation of “Lord of the Flies” for TBS audiences and guests April 28, 29 in Benjamin Hall. Upper School drama teacher Tom Bazar directed the production written by William Golding. “This production of LOF is the culmination of an exciting season for the Drama Club . . . We continue our tradition of tackling plays that are part of our English curriculum by staging one of the most fascinating and powerful novels ever written. I had my reservations of tackling such a demanding work, but when I found the stage adaptation by Nigel Williams, I thought we might have a chance,” Bazar said. “Once again, you will see Benjamin students and actors showcasing the spirit of creativity, collaboration and risk-taking,” Bazar said. Senior Brealauna Leassear acted as the assistant director for the production. Jill Nicklaus ‘89 was in charge of choreography and performing arts department chair Sara Salivar was responsible for set and costume design.


Cast: Kole Rosin, Robert Chalres, Alexandra Denholtz, Jonah Hasson, Kristine Hewitt, Andrew DeFerrari, Dean Silvers, Isabel Samarias, Ben Myers, Ben Smithy, Vinny Amato, Nicky Amato, Ethan Waxman, Elena Ippolito.




STUDENT DIRECTORS TAKE THE STAGE IN BENJAMIN HALL Upper School drama students took to the stage of Benjamin Hall for an evening of student directed one act plays. “The Revolutions Festival,” hosted on February 10 and 11, featured student producers, directors and actors in six one act plays. “Most of these plays were created over a course of months in an English elective titled Page to Stage, which we offer in the fall. We also decided to give other students outside the class the opportunity to write and submit plays for our first ever Revolutions Festival,” said faculty supervisor Tom Bazar. “Watching the students, from the early drafts of the play, to auditions and rehearsals, rekindled my passion for what the theater and the arts can do. I saw a different level of ownership, dedication, purpose and collaborative effort from these youngsters that is truly revolutionary,” said Bazar.

YOUNG ARTISTS FEATURED AT SUNTRUST BANK Benjamin Lower School artists in grades 1 through 5 participated in an art competition at SunTrust Bank the night of January 17. Young artists and their family and friends viewed art from each grade level during a reception hosted in their honor. Ten pieces of art from each grade were chosen to be displayed in the North Palm Beach bank branch for a three-week long exhibition. The works were then judged by artists in the community. The winning work from each grade was chosen to be professionally framed and hung in the local SunTrust branch for the remainder of the school year.

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“The Benjamin School Young Artist Competition was a wonderful connection between the SunTrust Bank, our school and the local community. The exhibit showcased outstanding artwork created by students in the Benjamin Lower School. The artwork shared a glimpse into my classroom and insight into the children’s creative perspective,” art teacher Ro Sammis, coordinator of the event, said. “Every work at the SunTrust Bank exhibit exemplifies the extremely high level of accomplishment that our youngest artists are capable of. The grade level projects incorporate many diverse ideas, materials and processes to create art!”

Congratulations to our young winners: 1st grade - Branson Smith 2nd grade - Grace Zebrowski 3rd grade - Caroline Groffman 4th grade - Rachael Schenk 5th grade - Tallie Miller


Plays: Topo Gigio by Michael Acierno. Directed by Alexa McAvoy Cast: Jonah Hasson, Ben Myers, Jasua Samuel, Michael Yancey Final Dinner by Shane Campbell. Directed by Brealauna Leassear Cast: Jonah Hasson, Isabel Samarias, Justin Stohlman From Desperation to Liberation by Sydney Pincus Directed by Kole Rosin Cast: Robert Charles, Katie Hewitt, Caroline Moody, Matthew Sproger

Forgotten Child by Lukas Lasher Directed by Robert Charles Cast: Ben Myers, Kole Rosin Delusional by Justin Stohlman Directed by Nicholas Nielsen and Jonah Hasson. Cast: Katie Hewitt, Elena Ippolito, Etoile Gelman, Cameron Pirozzi, Isabel Samarias, Matthew Sproger, Michael Yancy C’est La Vie by Kailey Graziotto. Directed by Kaily Graziotto Cast: Caroline Moody, Ben Myers, Cameron Pirozzi, Kole Rosin, Isabel Smarias, Justin Stohlman


BENJAMIN HALL HOSTS SPRING MUSIC FESTIVAL Benjamin school musicians dazzled the TBS community with an outstanding concert performance presented in Benjamin Hall the night of April 6. The fine arts students entertained guests during the Spring Music Festival with an exciting mix of vocal and instrumental pieces. Conductors Dr. Nicholas Lockey, Andrew Winters, Bruce Huber and Belen Clifford directed their sections in a wideranging mix of numbers from “The Bare Necessities” to “Eleanor Rigby.” The audience was treated to musical performances by members of the following groups: Lower School String Ensemble, Upper School Chorus, Middle School String Ensemble, Middle School Performance Ensemble and Honor Band, Middle School Musical Theatre Chorus, Upper School Chamber Ensemble and Upper School Concert Band.

Kristine Hewitt earned second place for the 2017 Young Artist Vocal Competition with The Choral Society of the Palm Beaches


BENJAMIN STUDENTS WIN 60 SCHOLASTIC ART AWARDS Congratulations to Benjamin art students for winning a total of 60 Scholastic Art Awards this year, including: An American Vision Award (Best in Show), 15 Gold Keys, 13 Silver Keys, and 32 Honorable Mention Awards. Students excelled in many different categories, such as Drawing & Illustration, Painting, Digital Art and Photography. Sophia DeRosa and Kylie Kempe earned Silver medals for their photographs. Madeline Horowitz was a Gold Key and American Vision Award recipient.

Kylie Kempe

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Sophia DeRosa

Madeline Horowitz Gold Key and American Vision Award Recipient


A talented cast of Benjamin singers, dancers and instrumentalists entertained a rapt audience in Benjamin Hall during the 21st annual Variety Show. This year’s theme, Spirit of America, took audiences on a musical journey from the days of Early America, through the 50’s, to present day. Each era showcased various musical acts from that period. Audiences heard everything from Neil Diamond to Etta James, Bob Dylan, and Darius Rucker. The January 14 matinée and evening audiences enjoyed traveling through time with music and dance, framed by background information about each time period displayed on the theater’s side screens. The show included captivating performances by the Middle and Upper School dance teams, the Upper School Strings Ensemble, the drama club and PFP. Variety Show guests also heard numbers by alumni Jessica Armstrong ‘14, Jill Nicklaus ‘89, Rachel Rudner ‘04 and Dr. Andrew Moffitt ‘86. A beautiful display of artwork created by Lower, Middle and Upper School visual arts students was showcased in the lobby of Benjamin Hall.



21st Annual Variety Show Captivates Audience



Benjamin’s Annual BASH Gala Raises $530,000

Lower/Middle School Students Welcome Grandest Friends

MOB Hosts Father/Daughter Dance

Reception Welcomes Head of Upper School Fletcher Carr

Matthew W. Brannon is the Chief Financial Officer & Managing Partner of Prosperity Land Title, an attorney-owned real estate title company; Senior Broker Associate, and former Director of Business Development for Illustrated Properties. Prior to founding Prosperity Land Title, he merged his real estate company with Illustrated Properties in 2011, after working in commercial real estate development and leading several non-profit organizations. Mr. Brannon currently serves as President of The Benjamin Alumni Association, a member of the Advancement Committee, and as founder of The Benjamin Student Ambassadors. Mr. Brannon received a B.A. in Organizational Communication from Rollins College and a Master’s in Entrepreneurship from the University of Florida..

Jill Fried is a former marketing executive who has held senior positions at Macy’s, Black and Decker and Florida Power and Light. She has always been actively engaged in the communities in which she lives and has made significant contributions to Habitat for Humanity, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Girl Scouts and Place of Hope. Jill and her husband, Steve, have two daughters in 8th and 11th grade who have attended the Benjamin School for 10 years. During this time Jill has been a dedicated volunteer who has contributed a great deal of time and effort to benefit the school and its community. She was the President of the Benjamin Parents Association for the 2016-2017 School year. Jill holds a B.A. from Brandeis University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Jay C. Horgen is the Chief Financial Officer of AMG, a global asset management company with over $700 billion in assets under management. Mr. Horgen joined AMG in 2007 as Executive Vice President in charge of the Company’s New Investments effort, and became Chief Financial Officer in 2011. Prior to joining AMG, Mr. Horgen was a founder of Eastside Partners, a private equity firm. From 2000 to 2005, Mr. Horgen was a Managing Director at Merrill Lynch where he specialized in mergers and acquisitions in the Financial Institutions Group. Prior to that, he worked in the Financial Institutions Group at Goldman, Sachs & Co. Mr. Horgen received a B.A. in Economics and Mathematics from Yale University. Jay’s children Emily ‘20 and Jack ‘22 both attend The Benjamin School.

Barry Postman is a Board Certified Civil Trial Attorney. He is the managing partner of the West Palm Beach office of Cole, Scott & Kissane, P.A. He has overseen the growth of the office from six lawyers to over sixty in the past ten years. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and American Studies from Brandeis University and a Juris Doctor degree, cum laude, from the University of Miami School of Law (1993) where he was the recipient of a merit scholarship. Mr. Postman is a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA), and has been named a Super Lawyer, a Top Lawyer and a member of the Legal Elite by various legal publications. He was recently appointed by Florida’s Governor Rick Scott to the Judicial Nominating Committee of West Palm Beach. Barry’s children Matthew ‘22 and Ryan ‘18 both attend The Benjamin School.



Our New Trustees 2017-2018

Benjamin’s Annual BASH Gala Raises $530,000

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The Benjamin School’s annual BASH Gala held April 1st at Trump National Golf Club, Jupiter, raised $530,000 for the School. More than 300 parents, friends and supporters of the School donned “Havana Nights” themed attire to celebrate the evening.


Benjamin parents Michelle and Chris Grande and Tammy and Josh Crossman (above photo) co-chaired the 32nd annual gala that featured a cocktail reception, dinner and live and silent auctions. Krista and Steve Nicklaus served as honorary chairs for the School’s single largest fundrasing special event.

ADVANCING THE MISSION Bill and Madeline Maglio Back Left: Ryan and Danielle Jenkins Back Middle: Chris and Michelle Grande Front Right: Nicole Bessette

Sierra Lowe

Susy Benjamin ‘83 & Daughter Chloe Bieber ‘12

Liz Simon

Jack & Barbara Nicklaus 45

BPA Hosts Exciting Evening Of All Things ‘Big’ The Benjamin Parents’ Association hosted a night of all things “big” on February 3. The All-School Community Event, dubbed “The Big Event,” had something to keep the whole family entertained. TBS families enjoyed fun oversized games, interactive sports challenges including a football toss and photo ops on an oversized inflatable chair. Benjamin students and parents came clad in orange and blue to cheer on the boys varsity basketball team in their last game of the season, which took place simultaneously.

The Benjamin community was treated to a delicious cookout provided by Cheney Brothers and finished the night with a movie under the stars. “The BIG Event was my favorite event,” said BPA Community Event Co-coordinator Willa Cohen, who organized the night along with Denise Caruso. “Everyone had a fabulous time, and it was nice to see all three divisions take part in such a fun evening.”

The Benjamin Parents’ Association 2016-2017 President������������������������������������������������������������������������� Jill Fried President-Elect������������������������������������������������������������� Amy Zito Vice-President�������������������������������������������������������� Willa Cohen Secretary����������������������������������������������������������������������Kari Small Treasurer������������������������������������������������������������������ Genie Smith Joy Motto, Past President (ex-officio)

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Maria McCraney, Upper School Grade Liaison Coordinator Dawn Crawford, Middle School Grade Liaison Coordinator Amy Zito, Lower School Homeroom Ambassador Coordinator Amine Aghzafi Denise Caruso Catherine Cornett Elaine Cotronakis Dawn Crawford Donna Feldman Jodi Greene

Michelle Grande Maria McCraney Kim Odom Christina Preston Kori Searcy Megan Smith

Susan Poncy, Student Services Representative 46


MOB Hosts Father/Daughter Dance Benjamin dads and daughters gathered in the Healey gymnasium on April 23 for the Men of Benjamin Daughter Dance. Nearly 200 dads and daughters dressed in cocktail attire enjoyed a night of fun, dancing and games. “It was so much fun — we had such a blast. We’ve hosted the dance now for four plus years and it’s really turned into a Benjamin staple. Every year it’s something we look forward to,” coordinator of the event and TBS parent Vince Marotta said. Marotta said he has mothers emailing him early in the school year to make sure their husband’s travel schedules don’t conflict with the MOB dance. “It’s really a special moment that creates memories for a lifetime. I’m really proud to be a part of it.”



Lower/Middle School Students Welcome Grandest Friends Benjamin Lower and Middle School students welcomed hundreds of grandparents and grandest friends to campus the week of March 6. The honored guests joined their grandchildren and friends on their respective Grandest Friends’ Day where they enjoyed breakfast together in the gymnasium.

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The special breakfast was hosted by the Grandest Friends’ Day committee led by BPA members Denise Caruso and Willa Cohen and a dedicated team of parent volunteers. Jill Fried, president of the BPA, welcomed campus visitors before Head of School Bob Goldberg and Division Heads Kristen Sheehan and Charles Hagy greeted the grandest friends.


Lower School students and their grandest friends took on a grade level specific STEM project. The projects included building a clay boat that would float and carry weight without sinking. Eighth graders displayed their Monument Projects on the quad for their grandest friends to see. The projects, through various artistic mediums, told the stories of individuals who perished during the Holocaust.

“The children were overjoyed to have their grandest friends visit their classrooms and eat breakfast with them. The faculty and staff are still talking about how much fun they had watching the generations interact while doing the STEM projects. We all will have many fond memories of these special times with these equally special friends,” said Head of Lower School Kristen Sheehan.


Benjamin Welcomes New Head of Upper School Head of Upper School Fletcher Carr was welcomed to the Benjamin family during a reception on September 22 in Benjamin Hall. Carr most recently worked as Head of the Upper School at Episcopal Collegiate School in Little Rock, Arkansas. Carr’s independent school experience includes serving in various capacities across the nation, including Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, University School in Cleveland, Ohio, Milton Academy’s Mountain School Program in Vershire, Vermont and Bridgton Academy in Maine. Carr holds a B.A. with Honors in History from Williams College and an M.A. from Case Western Reserve University. “I am delighted an individual of such fine character, proven ability and exceptional background has joined our school family in this senior leadership position,” said Head of School Bob Goldberg. “Of over 100 candidates showing interest in our opening, Fletcher catapulted to the very top of our national search. We were determined to pursue his experience, intellect, education, professional talents and genuine concern for children for this top leadership post in our Upper School. We are thrilled the Carrs have joined our school community, as well as their two children, son Lowell (grade 10) and daughter Wells (grade 9), who are members of our Upper School student body.”



Eighth Graders Host 15thAnnual Friendship Games

Benjamin Students Aid Haiti, Bahamas

Seniors Welcome HHRC, Lake Park Students for Annual Bunny Hop

Benjamin Community Embraces Spirit of Giving

Freshmen Perform for Local Seniors

Benjamin Middle Schoolers Host Colombian Exchange Students


Eighth Graders Host 15TH Annual Friendship Games Dozens of students in exceptional education programs throughout the Palm Beach County area traveled to the Benjamin Upper School for the 15th annual Friendship games hosted by the eighth grade class. It was a heartwarming day on Theofilos Field and the Upper School Campus, filled with field day events and a ceremonial lap around Reback Track. Benjamin eighth graders cheered on their guests as they walked around the track with their teachers and chaperons for the opening ceremonies.

The full day, led by teacher Kathleen Devine, is the eighth grade level service project. Benjamin students helped their guests with relay races, ball tosses, face painting and crafting. Each competitor was awarded a medal for their participation after enjoying a pizza lunch served by Benjamin parent volunteers.


Benjamin Community Embraces Spirit of Giving

All three divisions of the Benjamin community undertook numerous school-wide service initiatives throughout the school year to benefit Lake Park Elementary School. The school, less than five miles away from Benjamin’s lower school campus, serves an underprivileged population that’s in desperate need of everything from socks to food. Several service projects were adopted by the Benjamin community during the school year that have made a positive impact in the lives of Lake Park Elementary School students and their families, including:

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• Lower school students collected close to four thousand pounds of food • Senior class donated Thanksgiving meals to the maintenance staff • Third graders collected an astounding 221 costumes which will be used by Lake Park’s music and drama department • Benjamin’s administrative team donated 500 children’s books • Benjamin moms donated close to 100 pairs of much needed socks and underwear

“It was a pleasure to watch our students interact with the Lake Park Elementary students. The experience of reading to the Elementary students was rewarding for both parties. Truly a ‘Random Act of Kindness’ that will always be cherished by all.” Marshall Mullnix, Middle School Social Studies Department Chair 52

• Benjamin’s annual toy drive, orchestrated by the lower and middle school divisions, collected over 800 beautiful toys • The Gelnaw family, whose twins are in second grade, donated hundreds of Hess trucks. • Lake Park Elementary teachers attended Benjamin’s professional development day in January • Third graders read to Lake Park students • WOW students held their annual trike-a-thon, collecting hundreds of dollars worth of school supplies for Lake Park


Seniors Welcome HHRC, Lake Park Students For Annual Bunny Hop

Benjamin seniors invited preschoolers from the Hispanic Human Resources Council Child Development Centers and Lake Park Elementary to TBS for the annual Bunny Hop celebration. The celebration was the final community service event of the year for the HHRC and Lake Park children. More than 100 students and their teachers arrived on the Upper School Campus on March 30 to enjoy the morning of festivities. Seniors entertained their special guests with a handful of outdoor activities, including an egg hunt, pony rides, a petting zoo and two bounce houses. The students also enjoyed activities in the gym and a photo with the Easter Bunny.

Benjamin Middle Schoolers Host Colombian Exchange Students Middle School students from schools across Colombia traveled to the Benjamin School on February 3 for an immersive experience in American culture, customs and academics. Travel for the mission group, “Gente del Futuro,” or “People of the Future,” was coordinated by middle school world language teacher Diana Rios. Rios’s nephew, Sebastian Diaz Rios, was part of the nine student group who spent the day at Benjamin. “Es muy organizada y muy bonita,” Sebastian Diaz Rios said of the Benjamin campus. (Translation: It is very organized and pretty).


Benjamin students took their Colombian visitors on a bilingual tour of campus where they practiced their Spanish speaking skills. After sharing lunch together, the students took turns giving presentations in both English and Spanish in front of their peers. Rios says seeing the excitement of the Benjamin students was the highlight of the day for her. “This was a wonderful experience for me and I hope it was for the students as well.” 53


Benjamin Students Aid Haiti, Bahamas Middle School Spanish teacher Mr. Maddox and his advisory group collected canned goods, water and other nonperishable items for those in Haiti and the Bahamas who were devastated by Hurricane Matthew. “After seeing the mass devastation in Haiti and the Bahamas, I knew I had to do something,” said Maddox. “The flooding and destruction they experienced could have easily happened to us if the storm didn’t change paths. Mr. Hagy mentioned the importance of helping those who were impacted by Hurricane Matthew, so I “They really need our help,” said Sydney Fox, also part of spoke with my advisory, and we decided to collect items to Maddox’s advisory group. help those in need.” Eighth grader Kayla Williams said it’s important to help “My church works with Nancy Anderson on a project others and work together, because you never know when called ‘Hands Together With Haiti,’ so I knew a little about you might be the one who needs help. the country before the Hurricane, but they were really devastated so we wanted to help,” said eighth grader Crystal “I hope my students never take for granted the blessings Pauldo Devine, a member of Mr. Maddox’s advisory group. they have and that they always have a heart for service,” said Maddox. She said Mr. Maddox was the first to get the ball rolling and brought in some canned items himself.

Freshmen Perform for Local Senior Citizens

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Freshmen students performed in the first annual “Freshmen Got Talent” event Wednesday, October 21 in Benjamin Hall. The audience, made up of senior citizens from local retirement communities, was treated to a variety of performances from the talented group of Freshmen. Highlights of the show included vocalist Kaylan Arnold’s rendition of Amy Weinhouse, a duet by sisters Kristine and Katie Hewitt, and dancer Megan Nee’s performance of “Knocking on Heaven’s Door.” David Silvers brought down the house with his “Element Song.” Student-faculty band PFP, led by English Department Chair Perry Feyk, closed out the show with their rendition of Bruce Springsteen’s “Independence Day.” The event was hosted by Caroline Moody and Rigby Peckham.




All Area Players/Coaches

Benjamin Student-Athletes Compete Internationally

FHSAA Team Championships

ALL-AREA PLAYERS OF THE YEAR Palm Beach Post or Sun Sentinel

Hannah Foster Golf

Alessandra Baldari Swimming

ALL-AREA COACHES OF THE YEAR Palm Beach Post or Sun Sentinel

Wesley Logsdon Girls’ Golf

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Shane Rye Boys’ Lacrosse


Alex Clarke Girls’ Volleyball

Christian Cropp

Kylie Kempe

Academic All-State Team Palm Beach Post Scholar-Athlete Julian Reynolds Career Athlete 2017 FHSAA Academic All-State Team

Girls’ Lacrosse Academic All American

Nina Houri

Carolyn Rose

Girls’ Lacrosse Academic All American

Girls’ Lacrosse Academic All American


Girls Volleyball

Boys Tennis

Boys Varsity Lacrosse



Girls Basketball


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Girls Lacrosse

Girls Cross Country

Girls Track

Girls Tennis

Girls Varsity Golf


Student-athletes Alessandra Baldari and Ben Lubarsky have one more stamp on their passports after traveling abroad to compete in their respective sports. Lubarsky, a junior basketball player, competed in The Maccabiah Games in Israel. The Games feature nearly 10,000 athletes from 85 countries competing in 45 sports. The event is the third-largest sporting event in the world, trailing only the Olympics and World Cup in size. Among the spectators during the opening ceremony in Jerusalem was Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “The experience of playing in Israel was unreal. I learned a lot about the people and everyday life in Israel and I realized what a beautiful and nonviolent place it actually is,” Lubarsky said. Lubarsky’s love for basketball started when he was just five years old and his neighbors put up a basketball hoop in their driveway. He has been playing for Benjamin since seventh grade. His ultimate goal is to play basketball for a Division 1 college. Baldari traveled to Italy this past April where she competed in the Spring Nationals swim meet. Baldari, who holds dual US and Italian citizenship, has competed a total of three times in Italy, including during the Summer Junior Nationals. “At my most recent Italian meet, I had to adjust to jet lag, as I landed only two days before my first event. I was extremely tired the first few days of competition, but as the meet progressed, I adjusted better to the time difference, and I swam much faster,” Baldari said. “ Aside from the jet lag, competing abroad was one of the best experiences I’ve had through swimming. I met an entire new group of people I have been in touch with for years, and it has opened an opportunity of swimming for Italy in the future.” Baldari started competitively swimming at the age of 10 and has been on the Varsity swim team at Benjamin since eighth grade. “As someone who is planning to swim at the Division 1 level, I have learned that hard work and dedication to your sport are keys to achieving your goals . . .Try to see everything as a learning experience and focus on what you need to do to improve,” she said.




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Olympic Gold Medalist Ryan Berube ’92 Visits Upper School

‘Top Model’ Whitney Cunningham ‘03 Named 2017 Distinguished Alumna

Welcome Newest Alumni Class of 2017

Alumni Events 2016-2017

Photo Credit: Henry Fong ‘05, Professional DJ


CLASS NOTES Eleanor S. Schlechter ‘03 Eleanor has recently graduated from Elon University and has accepted an offer from Fidelity Investments in the research triangle of Raleigh, North Carolina as a data engineer.

Chelie Stingel Casey ‘80 Chelie resides in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. She is cutting back on her elder care advocate business to play more tennis. Chelie serves on The Benjamin School alumni council as a volunteer and is actively trying to get more alumni involved. Teresa Thebaut Bonder ‘83 Teresa recently moved from Atlanta to San Francisco with her family. She works for national law firm Alston & Bird. Scott Arnold ‘88 Scott recently founded TechFulcrum, which consists of a team of entertainment professionals providing design, engineering, consulting, technical direction and project management for the technology of entertainment. Shannon Skemp ‘92 Shannon and her husband have written a book about the founding of their vineyard/ winery Notaviva in northern Virginia. The book, “Dream Build Believe” is available in Barnes & Noble and on Amazon.

Kristin Aiello ‘04 Kristin was recently promoted to the position of Director of Communications for The Preservation Foundation of Palm Beach. The Foundation is dedicated to the historic, architectural and cultural heritage of Palm Beach, Florida. She previously served as their Programs Coordinator for two years.

Samuel A. Raia ‘93 Samual A. Raia received the Patriots Award from US Special Operations Command for his work with Homes Fit For Heroes. The project was founded in 2009 in response to the attacks that occurred on September 11. The project was founded in honor of Benjamin classmate and friend Patrick Aranyos. Homes Fit For Heroes provides free, fully furnished apartments to US Special Operations servicemen recovering away from their home base and additional transition support. The organization has supported over 150 Special Operations servicemen and their families, including Congressman Brian Mast. The organization has provided over $3 million in benefits. Megan McLaughlin ‘00 Megan McLaughlin received her Masters degree in Architecture from The University of Miami. She and her husband Juan Mullerat own urban design and planning firm PlusUrbia Design, which they founded six years ago. The firm is currently designing new cities in China and working in partnership to preserve the Miami neighborhood of Little Havana. The couple have two girls, Margarita (5) and Rose (3). RaeAnn Mitrione ‘00 is the godmother of Margarita. You can reach Megan at:

Mallory McRoberts ‘05 Mallory is raising her three sons, Clark Davis (4), Charlie Ford (3) and Carson Hayes (1) with her husband Nick Chason. Nick works in finance.

Henry Fong ‘05 Henry lives in Los Angeles, California, where he is growing his DJ career. He has played major dance music festivals including Ultra and Electric Zoo and done official remixes for Calvin Harris, Rihanna, DJ Snake, Skrillex and Shaggy. He has over 30 million streams on his music and digital platforms. He is married and has a two and a half year old son, Oliver.

Michelle Lopata ‘06 Michelle lives in New York City where she is a producer at NewsmaxTV. She has worked as a producer on a number of daily live and pre-taped political commentary shows, Election Night specials, and news packages. She currently oversees all live news hits out of their New York studio and helps coordinate their radio simulcasts. When she’s not busy working, she enjoys traveling, exploring The Big Apple, and going home to Florida to visit family and friends.


Kim A. Hamill ‘06 Kim was recently selected as a fellow in The Florida Bar Leadership Academy. The Academy selected 30 attorneys in the state for the 2017-2018 class.

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Chris Bedoya ‘06 Chris graduated from New York University College of Dentistry in May 2017. He will continue his training in a General Practice Residency at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.

Liz Motta ‘06 Liz received her Master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling from the University of Miami and is currently working as a Florida Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern. Liz has worked as both a Clinical Recovery Coach and a Primary Therapist at Oliver PyattCenters in South Miami, a comprehensive eating disorder treatment center for women working to overcome eating disorders and other co-morbid diagnoses. Liz is now a full-time staff member with the Alliance for Eating Disorders Awareness, a non-profit organization in West Palm Beach dedicated to advocacy, outreach, education, and early intervention for all eating disorders. In her current role, she presents on eating disorders to local schools and organizations, provides support and referrals to individuals in need of care, and attends community events and conferences. Liz also facilitates pro-recovery support groups at the Alliance that are free and open to the community. 62

Marti Lotman ‘06 Marti is the new Communications and Publications Manager for The Benjamin School. She comes to Benjamin from Newsmax Media, where she worked in various print and broadcast capacities. She and her finance Dale Alexander, owner of Synthetic Turf International, reside in Palm Beach Shores, Florida with their one and a half year-old daughter Ava Alexander.

Alexandra Taylor ‘08 Alexandra was sworn into the Florida Bar on April 15, 2016. She is a new Associate at Maxey Law Offices, PLLC, an intellectual property law firm located in downtown St. Petersburg, Florida. She started with the firm in 2014 as a law clerk and is now an Associate/ Intellectual Property Attorney. Santiago Zindel ‘09 Santiago has completed his first year of his Masters of Environmental Management at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. He has been accepted and will be enrolling in a joint degree for an MBA with the Yale School of Management.

Reid Schupp ‘07 Reid Schupp ‘07 and his wife Lotte welcomed their first-born son, Liam Everett Schupp on August 2. Reid and his wife Lotte were married in 2015. Alums Nate Hay ‘07, Colin Hickey ‘07, Grant Gyland ‘07, Hunter Parker ‘07, Lindsay Noga ‘07 and Luke Davis ‘07 were in attendance. The couple reside in North Palm Beach, Florida. Lotte works as a loan officer at Valley National Elise Pitcairn ‘11 Bank and Reid works for Florida Power and Light Elise is working with a San Francisco based nonprofit, Mama Hope. The organization is on their Business Development team. committed to changing the traditional power structures and narratives of international development by implementing human centered development. Elise will be working in Kisumu, Kenya for four months on intergenerational sustainability projects, which include building a home for orphans and training widows with income generating projects. Christine Casey Magee ‘11 Christine currently resides in West Palm Beach, Florida with her husband Ryan Magee. The couple married in July of 2016. Christine works as the Web Content Producer for Palm Beach Atlantic Ryco Newton-Block ‘07 University and has started her own photography Ryco is the founder and producer of the Dead business, Christine Magee Photography. Jester’s Sketchy Comedy Podcast on iTunes. He lives in Manhattan where he works as a stand-up comic and contributing writer to Total Frat Move.



Maren McRoberts ‘11 Maren McRoberts ‘11, Collin McRoberts ‘08 and Connor McRoberts ‘10 just returned from a trip to Amsterdam and Norway. Will Saybarac ‘11 Will resides in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. He works for Brown & Brown Insurance in West Palm Beach, specializing in commercial asset management for the influential middle market business owner. Adrienne Propp ‘13 Adrienne graduated from Harvard College, Magna Cum Laude in Applied Mathematics. In October she will be starting an MSc in Mathematical Modeling and Scientific Computing at Oxford (Corpus Christi College). The course involves taught components, as well as research projects with the faculty members. She hopes to pursue a PhD in mathematics and climate change. Ross Sanford ‘13 Ross and his wife Elizabeth graduated from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. this May. Ross graduates with a Bachelors in Civil Engineering and will be joining ADC Engineering, Inc. in Charleston, South Carolina as a Project Designer. Ross and his wife welcomed their first child Clementine Louise in June.

Chris Salivar ‘01 and Emily Georgia Salivar Welcomed their baby girl, Etta Jean Salivar, on June 1, 2017. Lisa Benfante Lally ‘08 and her husband Billy Lally welcomed their first child, Lauren Lally, on April 26, 2017. The couple reside in Jupiter, Florida.

Jennifer Kochman ‘09 Jennifer Kochman’s son, Jason Thomas Smith Jr. was born on July 10th.

Rebecca Patton Kah ‘14 Rebecca is a junior at CU Boulder and an EBIO major. She worked with Benjamin School seniors in the 2017 school year on a project that focuses on the demographics of cyberbullying. She plans to look into how social media platforms and schools can help prevent this type of bullying. Maria Maciejko ‘15 aka “Meresha” performed at Sunfest on May 6. Meresha bills herself as a young indie singer, multi-instrumentalist and producer “creating eclectic digital pop.”

Brooke Grogan ‘05 and Brennan Grogan ‘02 Welcomed Vanna Marcile Grogan on September 11, 2016.

Tracy de Lemos ‘04 Tracy Randall de Lemos and her husband welcomed their first baby, Cooper de Lemos, on January 3, 2017.

Cara Scarola Hansen ‘97 Cara and husband Patrick welcomed Henry Patrick Hansen to the world on March 21, 2017. Henry joins Big Big Big Brother Jack (8), Big Big Sister Cecilia (6), and Big Sister Mary Grace (2). The Hansen family lives in North Palm Beach with full and happy hearts.

Ryan Patten ‘03 Ryan and his wife Andrea welcomed their first born, Fitzgerald Barr Patten on October 18th, 2016. (20.5 Inches tall, 6lbs 9 ounces) He was baptized at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church on April 23rd. The couple recently moved from Chicago, IL to Tampa, FL. Ryan works for Salesforce in the Healthcare and Life Science group.


Lindsay Reddington ‘11 and Dylan Nugent ‘10 married on February 4th, 2017 in Palm Beach.

Kaci Lynch ‘02 Kaci and her husband Michael welcomed their second child, Jackson David, on September 10th, 2016. He joins his older sister, Lilly. The family resides in the Belmont Shore neighborhood of Long Beach, California. Chris Holmes ‘07 and Chelsea Rogers married April 22, 2017 in Palm Beach Liz Gordon ‘07 and TJ Strunk ‘07 “We started dating our senior year of high Gardens, FL. school and have been together for 10 years. My ongoing joke with him is that after 10 years he finally thinks I’m the one haha! TJ popped the question the day after Christmas in Ocean Reef Key Largo. He also organized to have my family come down so both of our families popped out right after he proposed to celebrate. We are planning on getting married in Nantucket, MA in September 2018!” Dr Michelle Carrillo-Massa ‘97 and Brett Massa ‘98 welcomed their second child Isabella Mimi Massa weighing 8lbs 5oz and 19 inches on April 28th 2017. She joins Sebastian Fernando Massa, who turns five in June. Michelle has recently opened her own Integrative Family Medical Practice in Jupiter called Advanced Natural Medicine and Brett has been developing one of the fastest growing craft breweries in the country: Founders Brewing Co. in Florida!

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Juan Carlos Fanjul ‘93 Juan Carlos Fanjul ‘93 and Dr. Helia Fanjul married on March 18, 2017 in West Palm Beach. Helia, who is a chiropractor, owns Jupiter Family Chiropractic. Juan Carlos recently joined Benjamin as Chief Development Officer. 64

Tiffany Geiger ‘08 and Cory Chaplin ‘08

Tiffany Geiger ‘08 and Cory Chaplin ‘08 became engaged in Sandy Hook, NJ on March 4, 2017 and are getting married in November 2017.

Quinn Myers ‘06 married Melissa Hinkley January 30, 2016 in San Diego, California where they both pleasantly reside. They first met at a beach volleyball tournament in Baja Mexico in 2013. Alumni in attendance

were: Anne Myers ‘04, Rob Hayden ‘06, Alex Basse ‘06, Chris Bedoya ‘06, Brendan McNaboe ‘06, Clay Damon ‘06, Conner Kempe ‘08, Karley Myers ‘13.

Lauren Sachs ‘05 and Robert Gordon Lauren Sachs ‘05 became engaged to Robert Gordon, a former Benjamin student, in April. The couple reside in New York where Lauren is an account manager at Day One Agency. Robert is studying at Pace Law School and recently finished a legal internship at Goddard Riverside law project. Talbot Sutter ‘07 Talbot Sutter ‘07 and Adriana Pero married on October 22, 2016 in Highlands, North Carolina. Matthew Bideau ‘07 and Sarah Bideau married September 22, 2016 in Delaware.

Welcome Newest Alumni

Michael Acierno

Nicolas Althammer

Timothy Alvarez

The University of Tampa

University of Florida

Hobart & William Smith Colleges

Taylor Barnett

McKenzie Benz

University of Colorado at Boulder

University of Miami

Griffin Bracci University of Southern California

Jonathan Chait Southern Methodist University

Jessica Anzalone

Kaylan Arnold

Union College

Loyola University New Orleans

Madeline Black

Griffin Bowie

Jack Boyland

Pennsylvania State University

Bellarmine University

Elon University

Denis Cabrera

Sarah Campanella

Sophia Campanella

Shane Campbell

Concordia College New York

Syracuse University

Syracuse University

Bryant University

Robert Charles

Christian Cropp

Madeleine Dalton

Claire Donnelly

Wake Forest University

Yale University

Boston University

University of Central Florida


Class of 2017

Blakeslee Erdmann

Nicole Ferruggia

Isabella Gaeta

Trinity Pawling School

University of Miami

Auburn University

Casen Gavidia Auburn University

Isabella Gikher

Jonah Goldberg

Christopher Habib

Cameron Hanna

Jonah Hasson

Indiana University at Bloomington

University of Michigan

Santa Fe College

Georgetown College

Brandeis University

Peyton Hendricks

Kristine Hewitt

Caroline Hirsch

Jacob Jacknin

Stetson University

James Madison University

Madeline Horowitz

University of Miami

University of Southern California

University of Miami

Hanna Jacobs

Madeline Jezerinac

Rainey Johnson

Jason Judge

Indiana University at Bloomington

University of California, Los Angeles

University of Michigan

Villanova University

Caroline Jacobs University of Missouri, Columbia


Katherine Garcia Florida Atlantic University


The Benjamin School

Grayson Kahle

Ryan Kelly

Victoria Kihlberg

Georgetown University

University of Colorado at Boulder

LIM College

Indiana University at Bloomington

Jake Kleinfeld

Arianna LaBarbiera

Lukas Lasher

Jakob Lazar

Brealauna Leassear

Dartmouth College

Clemson University

Harvard University

Loyola University New Orleans

Rongyang Li

Christopher Lytal

Charlotte Mack

Ian Macpherson

University of Connecticut

Tallahassee Community College

University of Miami

Tallahassee Community College

John Marasco

Marisa Marino

Madison Maxwell

Regina McCann

Southern Methodist University

Boston University

University of Colorado at Boulder

Salve Regina University

Hannah Krul Pennsylvania State University

Jake Lewis Holy Cross College U of Notre Dame Gateway

John Mahon Indiana University at Bloomington

Caroline McCraney The University of Georgia


Class of 2017

Jordan Mendelsohn

Chiara Micchelli

University of South Florida, Tampa Honors

Clemson University

College of Charleston

Leo O'Brien

Christopher O’Connor

Joseph O’Connor

Katherine O’Connor

Kelly O’Leary

Boston College

University of Southern California

The University of Georgia

Loyola Marymount University

Ricardo Perez Vargas

Boston College

Austin Michels

Geoffrey Moody University of Miami

Luke Phillips

Sydney Pincus

Jacklyn Potts

Florida State University

University of Miami

University of Florida

Northeastern University


Zackery Quinn

William Randolph

Peter Reed

Anna Roberson

Elon University

The University of Georgia

College of Charleston

Southern Methodist University

George Moss Santa Fe College

Olivia Powell The George Washington University

Kole Rosin University of Virginia


The Benjamin School

Zackary Rubiano

Velvet Sahm

American University

Palm Beach Atlantic University

Florida State University

Indiana University at Bloomington

Zara Seabridge

Lucas Seger

William Smithy

Austin Spingarn

Alex Stohlman

Olivia Thompson

University of Florida

The University of Texas, Austin

Purdue University

Villanova University

John Toothman

Nina Villablanca

Abigail Walczak

Ethan Waxman

Wake Forest University

Auburn University

Southern Methodist University

University of Vermont

Shawn Wheaton

Emily Young

Tallahassee Community College

College of Charleston

Grace Young Auburn University

Brittany Silvester University of Florida Honors

Nicholas Tiano Furman University

Alex Weinstein Wake Forest University

Zuyi Zhao Stanford University


Miami Alumni Reception

Senior Lake Jump

February 23, 2017

April 28, 2017

Wine By The Bay

Upper School Campus

The Benjamin School

Alumni Networking Breakfast

Alumni Luncheon & Distinguished Alumnus Award Presentation

October 26, 2016

May 18, 2017

Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island

Benjamin Hall

Alumni Holiday Party

Atlanta Alumni Reception

December 22, 2016

January 26, 2017

Dirty Martini Palm Beach Gardens

SweetWater Brewing Company

Alumni Events 2016-2017

Alumni Tent at Homecoming Football Game

Class of 2006 10 Year Reunion

October 21, 2016

December 17, 2016

Alumni Tent

Square Grouper Jupiter

KINDNESS ‘TOP MODEL’ WHITNEY CUNNINGHAM NAMED 2017 DISTINGUISHED ALUMNA Former ‘America’s Next Top Model’ contestant Whitney Cunningham ‘03 was named the 2017 Distinguished Alumna by the Alumni Council at the annual Alumni Luncheon hosted May 18 in Benjamin Hall.

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Head of School Bob Goldberg welcomed the audience, followed by English teacher Mary Ditaranto who joined Alumni Association president Matt Brannon ‘03 on stage and presented Cunningham with the 2017 Distinguished Alumnus Award. “Sometimes there’s one student who stands out and Whitney was one for me. She was and is one of my all-time favorite students . . . one of my most favorite memories was her reading ‘The Color Purple.’ She was almost finished reading the novel so I left the classroom and I came back in and she flipped to the last page. I said, ‘Whitney, are you done?’ She said, 72

‘I’m crying. . .’ So while Whitney is strong, smart, dedicated - above all she has a heart,” said Ditaranto. Cunningham, a graduate of Dartmouth College, spoke to students about her marketing career at Sean “Diddy” Combs’s The Blue Flame Agency where she rose in rank from a marketing assistant to an Associate Director of Brand Marketing. She praised the class of 2017, saying their skills and character are in high demand. “I had the chance to come to school and catch up with some of my old teachers, and I asked about

you seniors. From Dr. Taylor to Mr. Anderson to Mrs. Ditaranto, what they all said about you guys is that you’re kind. That is who you are. And believe it or not, that makes you different, because a lot of people in the world aren’t kind. So I encourage you to take that torch of kindness into the world, light other people’s paths with it. Clear out the darkness with it. Who you are is kind. So be that now and be that in the future.” Cunningham joins the ranks of previous Distinguished Alumnus award recipients, including Olympian Ryan Berube ‘92, Congressman Tom Rooney ‘89 and filmmaker Mark Swift ‘88.

Berube retired from professional swimming after the Atlanta games, but says he still enjoys the sport recreationally.

OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALIST RYAN BERUBE ‘92 VISITS UPPER SCHOOL Olympic gold medalist Ryan Berube ‘92 paid a visit to his old stomping grounds to speak with Benjamin upper school students in Ms. Misselhorn’s history class about his athletic career.

Berube ‘92 became a nationally ranked swimmer while attending Benjamin, where he was coached by Richard Cavanah. Berube won state titles in the 200 yard individual medley and 500 yard freestyle. Berube’s swimming career led him to the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, where he took home gold for the 4X200 meter freestyle relay.

“The Olympics was the culmination of 17 years of my swimming career, but I would be just as proud if I never made the games.” he says. Berube and track star Julian Reynolds ‘95 were inducted into the Palm Beach County Sports Hall of Fame on Sunday March 19.



“The Olympics are an amazing thing to bring people together in a peaceful way that blends life together in a unique fashion,” Berube told the audience, as he passed around his Olympic medal. Berube praised Coach Cavanah for taking his career to the next level, and acknowledged his family for the many sacrifices they made in support of his swimming career.

ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT “TV legal analysis is fun because it allows for a completely objective and unbiased application of the law to the facts. I find the intellectual side of the law deeply satisfying, and I think this is what attracted me to TV analysis,” she says. Of her many career highs, De Sellier fondly remembers running through the Detroit airport and seeing herself on a giant TV screen on ABC World News.


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When she’s not working at her fulltime job, transactional attorney Brianne (Garrettson) De Sellier ‘05 is busy paving her way as a nationally recognized legal analyst on TV. A position, De Sellier says, for which she had to fight. “I cold called producers until someone gave me a chance,” she says. “After a couple of appearances, it was easy to leverage those to secure additional appearances. Once I had enough experience and exposure, the tables turned, and now producers typically reach out to me for analysis. However, I still pitch topics to the networks sometimes if I’m not busy at work and it’s a topic that I am passionate about.” De Sellier says the life of a TV legal analyst is exciting and fast-paced. She says in practice, you don’t get to choose your client or your side of the argument. That’s not the case for TV. 74

“I actually had provided the commentary the prior day for Good Morning America and had not heard that the segment got picked up for ABC World News that night, so I was totally surprised to see it,” she says. De Sellier credits The Benjamin School for providing her a foundational skill set that has been instrumental in her professional career.

“Writing is a very important skill to have in business and in the practice of law. All of those times that Mrs. Ditaranto and Mrs. White picked apart my writing during high school (and the B’s and C’s that came with it) made me one of the best writers in my law school class, as well as at the firm where I work. “I get compliments on a weekly basis from firm partners on my writing style and abilities, which I developed primarily while I was at TBS. Equally as important, TBS does a nice job at developing softer skills like work ethic, critical thinking, and leadership skills. These are critical skills to have in a modern business environment, and skills that I have noticed to be underdeveloped in many of the new hires coming out of school.” Brianne wants to hear from you! Contact her at:

GREG NORMAN JR.’S SHARK WAKE PARK OPENS IN SOUTH CAROLINA Shark Wake Park, a full-size cable watersports park, is the brainchild of Benjamin grad Greg Norman, Jr. ‘04. Norman, a wake boarder and kite boarder says he was inspired by his father, golf legend Greg Norman, to open the park. “I have been able to witness and learn directly from the source on how to turn an athletic career and love for your sport into a thriving business,” Norman says. “He has been labeled as one of the most successful athletes turned entrepreneurs in history, so I would have been a fool not to pay attention.” Shark Wake Park in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina has been fully operational since June 2016. Norman has plans to break ground on another location in Palm Beach County in 2017. Norman says the Florida location will have two full-size cable systems, beginner two tower systems, a Pro Shop, Shark Shack for concessions, floating inflatable obstacle courses and an adventure ropes course.

Norman says his life has always been balanced between two worlds: sports and business. He says that balance was something he juggled during his days at Benjamin and then at the University of Miami. “Benjamin taught me how to write proficiently, read with intention and speak articulately. I never realized it at the time while attending, only later when I went to college did it really become apparent when college seemed almost easy,” says Norman. “These skills were imperative when it came time to step into the big leagues of business. When I was searching for my first location to build a park, my job was to go into government and pitch them. I had to convince a group of politicians that leasing their land to me to build a wake park was a good idea. I had to be able to articulate my intentions, think about all possible questions they would have for me and how to respond to them, write a business plan, and read up on as much as I could about how public/private partnerships work.” Norman says the life of an athlete can change in a heartbeat, which is why it’s important to always be running parallel strategies. “While I was in sports, I was learning from the industry and

working on building something out of those teachings. This is what my dad did. He knew that his time as a competitive golfer would come to an end. The secret is understanding and applying that knowledge on how to leverage your current position to make something that can far outlast being a sportsman.” So what advice would Norman give to current Benjamin students or alumni with entrepreneurial ambitions? Learn how to fail successfully. “Learning a new trick hurts, but it takes many crashes to finally stick something new. I’ve torn my ACL, MCL and meniscus. Broken my collar bone, femur and tibia. I have had a far too many concussions. On the same side of a different coin, being told no at a pitch meeting or seeing numbers fall in revenue really hurts. Hurts your ego. Hurts your motivation. Sounds cliché, but learning how to take each one of the beatings, getting back up, understanding where you went wrong and attacking it again is the whole battle. “That is the secret that any entrepreneur or athlete will tell you. It doesn’t matter what sport or business you are in; you won’t make it unless you can take a beating, learn from it and go head first in again for what could be another crushing blow. The knowledge and skill sets on how to win are only learned this way. No business class or coach can tell you the winning recipe. It will all come down to how badly you want it. But when you finally win that tournament, land that new trick or new contract - all that pain becomes completely worth it.”



“We wanted to create a facility where all can participate and have a blast. The two full-size cable systems will allow multiple riders to wakeboard, waterski and kneeboard all at one time without the need for a boat. The Aqua Park is great for teambuilding, exercise or just a fun time on the water on a hot summer day for all ages.”

If you followed the 2016 campaign trail closely, you may remember a pair of pranksters who trolled presidential campaign events, carrying out headline-making pranks, like trying to perform an exorcism on Ted Cruz. Selvig was one half of that comedy duo. Selvig says his most memorable moment involved Rick Santorum and a campaign event at a gun range in Iowa. “When he entered I shook his hand and told him we had to take a gun safety course. From that point on he thought I was in charge. So we sat together for a safety video, chatted and then we went to the shooting range. I’ve never fired a gun in my life and Rick Santorum is loading a semiautomatic pistol for me. It was a surreal experience to say the least. While I was firing the gun next to him, I was thinking ‘Don’t drop this gun. Don’t accidentally kill a presidential candidate.’ Luckily I held on to it, but I thought if this is any indication, this film is going to be nuts.” he says.

acting teacher in Sandra Tepper to keep me focused,” Selvig says. “I owe a lot to her, along with Sara Salivar and Perry Feyk. They all really Jason Selvig says his acting bug started gave me the confidence and knowwhen he was a student at Benjamin. how to audition for college acting programs.” “I always loved acting in plays and cracking jokes in school (I’m pretty You could say Selvig never grew sure my senior superlative was class out of that senior superlative, as clown),” Selvig says. he parlayed the fundamentals he learned while at Benjamin into a “I was lucky enough to have a successful comedy career. demanding and incredibly supportive

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Selvig has done everything from taking a shirtless selfie with Hillary Clinton to accusing Marco Rubio of stealing his girlfriend. So what’s his next move? Selvig is now putting a television pitch together and working on his next film project. “The country is so divided now and we want to explore those divides in a hilarious, non-partisan way.” he says. Jason would love to hear from you! Feel free to reach out at:


Anderson says “Cuffed By Nano” draws inspiration from people’s street style and seeing how “big trends translate to what and how people are wearing them.”

Nano Anderson — accomplished athlete, Duke University graduate, and part of a close-knit family of seven children, can now add successful entrepreneur to her growing list of achievements.

Anderson says she had outstanding math and economics teachers at The Benjamin School and applies some of the principles she learned in high school to her business on a daily basis.

“Cuffed By Nano,” a jewelry line that started as a side project while working at Abercrombie & Fitch’s headquarters in 2016, has transformed into a fulltime job for Anderson in just under six months.

“Cuffed By Nano” partners with Hands Together of the Palm Beaches, a non-profit organization that Anderson’s mother founded 12 years ago. Hands Together works with the Haitian community in South Florida

and in Haiti with everything from helping the immigrant population transition to living in the United States, to aid in education, health care, language and access to food. “Their work in Haiti, which is where Cuffed has gotten involved, aims to build sustainable programs surrounding nutrition, clean water, health care, education, employment and social programs. It’s an amazing organization that never stops finding new ways to help the forgotten and poorest of the poor,” Anderson says. “Our partnership with them is a #buyonegivetwo model, where with each item purchased, we donate two meals to students in two different schools down in Haiti. In less than a year, we’ve already donated over 2,000 meals, which I’m grateful everyday to my customers for!” You can follow Anderson’s brand on Instagram @cuffedbynano or online at



“I’ve always loved doing arts, crafts, painting, etc. as a hobby, and that’s how Cuffed started. For the months prior to finding suppliers to make my product, I was making everything by hand and watching YouTube videos to learn how to execute different ideas I had,” Anderson says of the inspiration behind her popular jewelry line.

PHIL STAIMAN ‘11: VICE MEDIA PRODUCER Pay close attention to the people around you. That’s the advice that Benjamin graduate Phil Staiman ‘11, a producer for VICE News, would give to an aspiring journalist. “You’d be surprised to know how many people have interesting stories to tell,” Staiman says. “. . . Most of the time, it’s the people with the smallest voices that have the most incredible stories to share. It’s a journalist’s job to bring those stories to life.” His story begins at his alma mater TBS, where his love for journalism first grew. “TBS played an instrumental role in helping me develop my abilities as a storyteller. Mr. Didsbury always pushed me to find compelling stories (he rarely ever approved my initial pitches that I thought up the night before class) and he encouraged his students to pursue additional opportunities outside the classroom,” Staiman says.

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Staiman, who considers himself more of a filmmaker than a journalist, started working for VICE in 2014 as an intern. He recently worked on content for the International Olympic Committee that gave him the opportunity to travel to four different countries. Two of the films he made are now touring in film festivals around the country. Staiman says his long-term dream would be to work on photo assignments for National Geographic. Phil wants to hear from you! Connect with him at: 78

COMING SOON: BENJAMIN CONNECT Our new alumni website and app will be coming soon! Benjamin Connect is a new, social network exclusively for TBS alumni that will allow you to re-connect with old classmates, enable you to expand your professional network, advance your career through inside connections, network, as well as introduce, employ, and offer to mentor younger alumni. Stay tuned for details about the launch!

Robert S. Goldberg, Head of School


Marti Lotman ‘06 Publications & Communications Manager

Contributing Photographers Douglas Benedict Photography Enduring Impressions Moya Photography Julie O’Brien Photography Erica Sousa W Studio

Photo Submissions

Nick Crisafi, Jeaneen Garcia, Jeff Johansen, Jessy Fulford Padon ’01, Jenna Smith '07, Rhonda Thomas

Advancement Office Staff Marketing Jessy Fulford Padon ‘01 Director of Marketing Marti Lotman ‘06 Publications & Communications Manager Rhonda Thomas Web Manager

Development Juan Carlos Fanjul ‘93 Chief Development Officer Stephanie Crawley Development Database and Donor Services Manager Donna Minard Director of Annual Giving and Special Events Jenna Smith '07 Alumni Relations and Special Events Manager


The Benjamin School strives to attract and support a diverse and talented student body, faculty, and staff. Applicants for admission or employment will not be denied based on race, creed, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation or disability.

The Benjamin School Buccaneer Magazine 2017  
The Benjamin School Buccaneer Magazine 2017