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Randy Bertin


Oliver Cornell


Randy Bertin Michael Biermann Dan Call Eric Chambliss ‘57 Oliver Cornell Dave Cosby Tod Cossairt Isaiah DuPont '17 Dana Dwire Kevin Henschel ‘93 Chris Hutchinson Juana Juarez Kristen Kaschub Susan Klipp Brook Masters Media Team Megan Walton Marion Weil ‘60 Kathy Zotnowski

On the Cover

Zalk Theater with Mustard Flowers Photo: Oliver Cornell

Besant Hill School

of Happy Valley

8585 Ojai Santa Paula Road Ojai, CA 93023 805-646-4343

Alumni Address Changes

A Message from the Head of School 1 Visual Arts 3 International Week 9 Experiential Learning 17 Environmental Sustainability 27 Spring Variety Show 33 Coyote Athletics


College Update 45 Spring Arts Weekend Schedule 47 Performing Arts 48 Annual Fund Update 49 Lee Sanders Aquatic Center 51 Hosting the SBSA Conference 55 From the Kitchen 59 Open House 61 Summer Institute 62 Creative Writing 63 Faculty Spotlight 65 Rio Gozo Farm 69

The mission

HOWL Alumni


Alumni Connections 76

of Besant Hill School is the development of each intellectual




Through awakening the spirit of inquiry, we encourage each student to pursue integrity and excellence. Our noncompetitive community builds honesty, respect, compassion, and responsibility. Our goal is to develop a lifelong habit of learning as embodied in our school’s motto:

Aun Aprendo, “I am still learning.”

Distinguished Speakers Series 71 100 Nights 73 Alumni Visits 75 In Memoriam 77 90’s-ish Reunion 78 Aerial Photography 79 Alumni Spotlight 81 Message Board 87 70 Year Celebration 88 Student Government 89 Birthdays 90 Calendar 91

A MESSAGE FROM THE HEAD OF SCHOOL It has been a record-setting spring semester so far! A 70-year dream was realized with the completion of the Besant Hill pool, and our campus was beautifully showcased to educators from around the world when we hosted the Small Boarding School Association (SBSA) conference. College acceptances are pouring in for our students, and the results are better than ever! This is proving to be a truly transformational year to remember at Besant Hill School.

land being the “birthplace of a new civilization” to teaching students “how to think, not what to think,” all members of our staff know they have one primary job—to support student learning. Consistent attention is directed toward the intention of our school, and these original objectives are being fulfilled even more now than at any time in recent memory. We are continuing to flourish as an organization, yet we have kept the spirit of Happy Valley alive.

It is particularly fitting that all of this remarkable news coincides with the 70th anniversary of our school. As I reflect on the vision of our founders in 1946, I cannot help but to feel proud of each and every employee and the individual contributions our team has made, helping to achieve a portion of the original vision. From the prediction of our

With these recent successes, I am reminded that our work is never truly completed. We must always strive to do better, not only for the students we currently serve, but also for those who will enter our doors in future years. Much work remains to be done in every area of school life—from the academic arena to residential life, facilities, and operations—to

Randy addresses those attending the farm-to-table dinner during March’s SBSA Conference. (see SBSA, page 55)


ensure that Besant Hill School is on the map as a premier small boarding school in the country. As we incorporate the best practices and thoughtful change into our efforts, we will not lose the vitally important spirit that makes our community unique. With this exceptional start to 2016 and a plan to grow even stronger as a school, it is essential to become a part of what is happening on campus. An abundance of work over the past few years has come to fruition with the construction of the swimming pool, continued facility improvements, constant attention to the academic program, and positive college acceptances; we are in great shape. Our next steps are going to include

even bigger challenges—of which we are certainly capable and will achieve. We are grateful for the past, present, and future support of our external community to partner with us in these endeavors. I look forward to a bright future and to continued cooperation from our many supporters in the months and years to come. Aun Aprendo,


Michael Hopkins '16 gets lost in the crowd at L.A.’s Broad Museum. artwork: Thomas Struth’s “Audience 5” photo: Chris Hutchinson


An Exciting Year for Visual Arts by Curtis Singmaster, Visual Arts Chair

Visual Arts students at Besant Hill School of Happy Valley have had an exciting year so far. After completing a semester-long drawing class that was inspired by architecture, the Studio Art class is now focusing on threedimensional art and design. Students recently completed a design project informed by seedpods from nature, and they are currently building sculptures inspired by the work of artist Claes Oldenburg. Advanced Art student Daisy Liu '16 was accepted into a juried gallery show that showcased the works of five emerging artists from the town of Ojai. The advanced class has taken advantage of

the numerous galleries in Ojai by attending shows and talking with the gallery owners and curators. We are planning a trip to The Broad museum in Los Angeles in the near future. The lower campus ceramics studio continues to be popular among students. Students are starting to create pottery on the wheel, after spending the majority of the first semester working on hand-building techniques. Senior artists are starting to receive college acceptance letters. Daisy was granted a full scholarship to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and Simeon Hu ‘16 was accepted at NYU. More acceptances are sure to come.

A study in color: Jamie Chen '19 and fellow students create colorful mosaic collages that recreate Van Gogh paintings.


Art History Gallery Show by Chris Hutchinson, Art History, Digital and Multimedia Arts Instructor

This semester, the Applied Art History class embarked on their newest challenge, the gallery unit. Students began this semester by studying the process of curating a theoretical thematic gallery show of their choosing. Students chose themes ranging from twin cities to Beyoncé and were asked to create threedimensional models of their spaces and install their art in their designed spaces. During this unit, students attended several galleries in Ojai, including galerie102 and Porch Gallery, to meet with curators and gallery owners to discuss the process of designing and installing a gallery show. The class also took a field trip to The Broad, the newest contemporary art museum in Los Angeles, where they examined how a museum approaches display, art management, and storage.

The class then, for the second time in the history of Besant Hill School, came together to work on a juried show of artworks submitted from the entire community. Works included in this year’s show range from current students and faculty to former staff. The students selected from a myriad of different works, and narrowed the selection down to a final grouping of sculpture, photography, painting, and more. The Art History class then challenged themselves by installing the chosen art in the Beatrice Wood Art Center’s gallery, working hard to balance the works and create a sense of unity amongst the range of pieces. The works were on display in the gallery throughout the first week of March, and the class had an official opening for the show on March 5. It was a great success, and the class thanks all of the artists who submitted their works!

Students under LA artist Robert Therrien’s “Under The Table”


Above Exploring how artwork is stored and displayed at the Broad. Below Students install chosen work at the Beatrice Wood Center for the Arts.


Simeon Hu ‘16 Gallery Show Featured Artists: Peter Fox, Curtis Singmaster, C M Hutchinson, Daisy Liu ‘16, Michael Hopkins ‘16, Simeon Hu ‘16, Elizabeth Snett ‘16, Ryan McNamara ‘16, Dan Tu ‘16, Sheldon Lin ‘17, Nadin Nassar ‘17, Toby Zeng ‘18, Clayton Weisberg ‘18, Jamie Chen ‘19


Toby Zeng ‘18

Daisy Liu ‘16






by Shannon Rowan, ESL Instructor, Director of International Student Programs


Chinese New Year For many years, Besant Hill School has devoted a week in February to celebrating cultural narratives from around the world. Students, teachers, and staff rally together to pause from the regular schedule and illuminate stories, traditions, current events, and recipes from students’ home countries. The annual tradition is a sincere demonstration of our school’s motto, Aun Aprendo, and with this year’s theme of Global Citizenship supporting its intention, it turned out to be an all-inclusive week. To keep up with Besant Hill School tradition, festivities kicked off on Monday with the annual Chinese New Year parade and celebration. Staff and teachers assembled in red for a dragon parade in which drums, cowbells, and triangles clamored together in honor of the New Year. The parade was followed by students from Cultural Geography and Language Acquisition Through Community Learning classes who gave an informative presentation that paid special tribute to the Chinese Zodiac and other annual Spring Festival traditions.


In an effort to deepen the connection of the week with the year’s Global Citizenship theme, the AP Human Geography class hosted a schoolwide viewing of Girl Rising, a 2013 documentary by Richard E. Robbins. The film outlines the challenges faced by girls in developing nations throughout the world and sparked school-wide dialogue about global responsibility, education, and privilege. Casting the sails of cultural creativity, the Performing Arts department showcased music, dance, poetry, and prayer from across the globe. The Wednesday assembly exposÊ revealed the traditional talents of our students from Malaysia, China, Burkina Faso, Panama, and America.

Documentary: Girl Rising

International Music 11

International Week included traditional instruments, song, dance, readings and other special presentations.


“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.” - Nelson Mandela Nelson Mandela wrote, “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.” There wasn’t a more heartfelt sight during International Week than the one of 11 rooms filled with 11 students teaching 11 different languages. Students gathered to learn from their peers over 16 terms related to everyday clothing in Arabic, Malay, German, Thai, Mandarin, Cantonese, French, Spanish, Russian, Mongolian, and Vietnamese.

Student-Led Language Classes 13


International Dancing

To pay tribute to Besant Hill School of Happy Valley’s folk dance history, International Week culminated with an all-school dance activity. This year’s dances were primarily student-led. Teachers and students were divided into groups and learned traditional dances from Russia, Malaysia, Latin America, China, Africa, and America. It was an entertaining afternoon and a wonderful way to end the celebratory week.




Just off the subway navigating Manhattan’s East Side. photo by Dan Tu '16


Model United Nations

by Cheryl MacPherson, Social Sciences Instructor

“A constructive approach to diplomacy doesn’t mean relinquishing one’s rights. It means engaging with one’s counterparts, on the basis of equal footing and mutual respect, to address shared concerns and achieve shared objectives.” - Hassan Rouhani, President of Iran

Model United Nations is a geopolitical simulation widely practiced on high school and college campuses throughout the world. The objective of Model United Nations is to afford young men and women opportunities to understand the functions of the United Nations, simulate coalition building and diplomatic efforts at compromise, and assume various perspectives on world issues by serving as delegates of foreign nations in a mock assembly. Model United Nations is a powerful and engaging avenue for our Besant Hill community to model global citizenship.

The Besant Hill delegation tours the Security Council’s permanent residence in New York. The first session was held on January 17, 1946 in London.


This year’s delegation, comprised of 13 students, represented two countries at the Ivy League Model United Nations Conference hosted by the University of Pennsylvania: the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Guatemala. Head delegates Lude Rong ‘16 and Chris Escobedo ‘16 helped navigate this entirely new experience for our delegation during our time in Philadelphia, PA. During our six days in downtown Philadelphia, we enjoyed many meals from famed Reading Terminal as well as multiple late-night pizza deliveries to fuel the busy delegates. Over the four active days in conference, delegates participated in six committee sessions to draft resolutions addressing a range of topics including currency stabilization and global instability. The committee led by Maria José Perez Moreno ‘17, for example, tackled indigenous people’s rights to free and informed consent prior to infrastructure development in rural Brazil. Dan Tu ‘16 reported that the three-hour committee sessions were exciting Below Model United Nations opening ceremonies at the Sheraton Hotel in Downtown Philadelphia.


when the parliamentary process took hold and delegates lost themselves in caucus, coalitionbuilding, and the madness of drafting working papers. Many delegates, like Lude and Samantha Zhou ‘18 dedicated hours outside of committee sitting in the Sheraton Hotel in Downtown Philadelphia to prepare and collaborate with delegates from other schools.

Left Head of School Randy Bertin United Nations General Assembly Hall helps students understand the difficult concepts in AP Economics. Right Dan Tu '16 graphs it out.

In addition to their hard work in committee sessions, the BHS delegation made time for plenty of enrichment in both Philadelphia and New York City. Ryan McNamara ‘16 enjoyed the massive Philadelphia Museum of Art with Cate Steward ‘17 while Georgii Chichua ‘18 and Ryan Wang ‘18 perused the Philadelphia Auto Show. On Monday, February 1, the entire BHS delegation went to New York City. We started the day with a fascinating tour of the United Nations and luckily were able to visit all of the different committee rooms, including the Norwegian-designed UN Security Council and General Assembly Hall.


After visiting the UN, the BHS delegation ventured downtown to Freedom Tower, the former site of the World Trade Center. Multiple delegates, including Yiyi Zeng ‘17 and Shivani Vaswani ‘18, joined Kristen Kaschub, BHS Director of Admissions, and me in our visit to the powerful 9/11 Memorial Museum. Built underground in an area excavated after the 9/11 attacks, the museum provided our delegates not only with a detailed explanation of the attacks and their motives, but an understanding of the victims and their sacrifices on that fateful day almost 15 years ago. Before returning home to Ojai, the BHS delegation made sure to pay our respects to our founding fathers with a visit to Independence Hall and the National Constitution Center. Many of us enjoyed the interactivity of the Constitution Center, as Jacob Gray ‘16 took the presidential oath of office, and we all admired the bronze statues of the 42 men present at the signing of the U.S. Constitution in 1787. Former and current U.S. History students could not help but be in awe of one of the 12 remaining copies of the original Bill of Rights on display at the Center.

photo by Yiyi Zeng '17


The BHS delegation returned to campus both exhausted and enlightened by our six days in Philadelphia and New York City. Cate Steward and Prithraj Punia ‘18 were already mentioning strategies for next year’s delegation, including finding an additional conference on the West Coast to attend this fall for further program development. As faculty advisor, I look forward to collaborating with these enthused future diplomats and activists to foster our Model United Nations program here at BHS.


Italy, Que Bella! by Brook Masters, Director of Experiential Education and College Counseler Over Spring Break, Besant Hill School’s Experiential Learning Program sent twenty-three students and three faculty members on a journey through the ancient and revered sites of Italy! This trip was offered in partnership with Sofia Travel, a nonprofit educational organization that promotes historical travel and appreciation. Sofia Travel is a longtime friend of Besant Hill School, having led our trip to Greece a couple years back. The adventure commenced in Florence, Italy, where we began with a cultural orientation and language lesson before exploring the beautiful Renaissance streets and grand Duomo. Michelangelo’s David and Ghiberti’s Gates of Paradise transported us back in time to the inception of Renaissance sculpture. From Florence, we traveled to Pisa, famous for its Leaning Tower, then on to Lucca for a bike ride along the perimeter of this walled Renaissance town. Cinque Terre was our next destination, where we hiked the stunning coastal path between the five villages. Our trip rounded out with a day in Assisi and two days spent exploring Rome and the Vatican City. This was an unforgettable and inspirational trip!

“After two long flights, all twenty six of us arrived in the Florence airport, and were greeted by our tour guides, Adam and Blake. Adam taught us our very first Italian word, “Andiamo!” Or “let’s go!” And he continued to teach us stories and phrases all throughout the trip.” - Emily Kuhn '18 23

Photos by Jacob Gray '16. Click here to see more photos from Italy.


Big Bear Ski Trip 2016 by Monika Rostocki, Outdoor Education Coordinator/Assistant to Student Affairs This winter season brought plumes of snowfall to Big Bear Mountain, and students from Besant Hill School were there to take full advantage of the great winter conditions! From beginners to well-seasoned skiers, nine students spent the weekend shredding black diamonds and bunny hills, swapping stories on the lifts, and preparing meals together in the evenings at our mountainside cottage. We capped off our trip with a night ski session and explored Big Bear Lake the following morning before our return to Besant Hill. Here’s to a great trip and to our adventurous, enthusiastic students!

Chaperones: Monika Rostocki/Brian McColgan Students: McCoy Chandler ‘17, Amka Badamkhand ‘17, Nick Daugherty ‘19, Nic Rosen ‘19, Selena Nguyen ‘19, Lambert Li ‘18, Kieran Schweitzer ‘17, Cobin Hixon ‘18, Georgii Chichua ‘18


Dos Pueblos Jazz Festival By Dave Cosby, Music Department Chair It was 7:00 on a chilly Saturday morning, and Advanced Band members Michael Anekwe ‘18, Cobin Hixon ‘18, Ruby Jane Sizemore ‘17, Cate Steward ‘17, Shivani Vaswani ‘18, Bruce Wang ‘16, Jocky Yang ‘17, and Yiyi Zeng ‘17 loaded into the Sprinter and we were on our way to Dos Pueblos High School in Goleta, California, for the Dos Pueblos Jazz Festival. After quickly warming up, we were escorted to Dos Pueblos’ 700 seat theater. The band started out with a traditional jazz piece by John Coltrane entitled “Mr. P.C.,” named after his famous bass player Paul Chambers. The arrangement featured a unison melody by Jocky and Shivani, and strong chordal support by Yiyi on piano. The soloist on this song was Bruce on guitar, and there was the unusual touch of added vocals by Cate. The second song of the set was “Catch the Feeling” by Mitch Frohman, an Afro-Cubanstyled salsa-based song that featured a hot Latin piano intro by Yiyi, and an improvised solo by Bruce. The third song, “Buffalo Head,” written by legendary music educators Dean Sorenson and Bruce Pearson, is a funk-based jazz tune that featured an intricate melody by Jocky and Shivani and a great guitar solo by Bruce over a heavy funk groove by Ruby, Yiyi, and Cobin. The last song of our set was one that we performed for the Fall Concert, our interpretation of Robert Johnson’s “Sweet Home Chicago” featuring vocals by Cate Steward. Bruce was again our featured soloist over a shuffle groove by Michael on drums, Ruby Jane on bass, and Yiyi on piano. At the conclusion of our performance, we had a short clinic with the festival director,

Advanced Band Member Yiyi Zeng ‘17 really appreciated meeting and hearing feedback from festival director Les Rose.

Les Rose. It was a wonderful chance to get some immediate feedback on our ensemble work, and it provided some great tips about both what we are doing well and what we still need to work on as an ensemble. At the conclusion of our clinic, we went to hear one of the other high school bands. The Dos Pueblos festival gave us a chance to perform music we were working on for the Spring Concert over a month before the concert, and to get positive feedback from an objective professional adjudicator. All of the students were so excited by the experience, and we are hoping to perform in another Jazz Festival before the school year is over! Congratulations to the Advanced Instrumental Music Ensemble for their hard work, dedication to getting better as young musicians, and their true commitment and embodiment of our school’s motto, “Aun Aprendo-I am still learning!”



The BHS Bio-Swale Project is a new landscape design in progress to transform the existing degraded and eroding slope above the Doornink Grove into a comprehensive, esthetic, and productive relationship with nearby elements that are functionally in place. At the heart of the project design is a strategic 200-foot-long earthworks bio-swale on contour to capture the extensive rainwater runoff coming from the paved campus surfaces that are upslope.

Bio-Swale/ Water Catchment Earthworks Project 28

The BHS Bio-Swale Project owes its design origins to the independent study of BHS alumnus, Jacob Whyte ‘15, and has been incorporated into the work of our Applied Principles of Sustainable Agriculture course as a part of our study of Permaculture Design and Regenerative Agriculture. Bio-swales are being increasingly used in “dryland” or arid landscapes where average rainfall is minimal, and frequent and prolonged droughts are common. They are particularly effective at slowing, storing, and sinking water runoff and allowing the captured water to continue to travel underground by gravity

trees that are indigenous to this Southern California climate region and are known pollinator attractors. A cover crop of perennial bunch grasses and wildflowers upslope of the swale will be used to slow runoff and guide water into the swale. These soil-building bunch grasses and wildflowers were once the dominant grasses of the grassland savannas in this climate region. The south-facing slope of the swale will be planted with riparian herbaceous natives that favor the drier creek side banks, while the north-facing slope of the swale will be planted with herbaceous natives

“Permaculture design encourages a ‘big picture’ approach to interconnect nearby elements into meaningful interaction.” downslope to areas that are strategically planted to take advantage of the retained water. Bio-swales are also known to be effective at purifying water as the water travels underground through the plant biology downslope. For example, a joint venture between Ventura County Watershed District and the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy has recently completed a project at Besant Meadows (former site of Happy Valley School in Meiners Oaks) to build a bio-swale that will biologically treat water runoff in the meadow before it enters pre-existing drainage culverts. It is worth noting that for the BHS BioSwale Project, we have chosen to populate the swale and surrounding landscape with perennial native grasses, herbs, shrubs, and


that thrive under the more lush conditions beneath the canopy of the riparian woodland overstory. The crest of the berm downslope of the swale will be a mix of native bunch grasses and native shrubs known to grow under drier, partially shaded conditions. Finally, for this project, a diverse selection of soil-building riparian trees have been chosen to enhance the area downslope of the swale and berm. Although the BHS Bio-Swale can be seen as a stand-alone landscape feature, permaculture design encourages a “big picture” approach to interconnect nearby elements into meaningful interaction. The BHS BioSwale Project is actually a component of a larger design that is intended to connect the inhabitants of Doornink Grove into an enhanced relationship with the productive natural environment that surrounds them.

Green Cup Energy Challenge The eighth annual Green Cup Energy Challenge took place this year from January 21 to February 17. After seven years of participating in this sustainability competition, Besant Hill School has shown a 24% reduction of energy use compared to the first year we jumped into this challenge with other member schools of the Green Schools Alliance.

This year we were able to continue our trend to reduce our energy use during the monthlong Green Cup Energy Challenge. All of our dorms, and nearly all of our campus facilities, showed consistent reductions throughout the month that led us to an overall energy reduction of 5.4% for the school compared to the previous three years.

Each year it should become more and more “challenging” to demonstrate energy conservation during the competition, but each year our community has found ways to work together to reduce our energy consumption primarily by increasing our awareness of the way energy is used in the dorms and on campus.

After eight years, it is truly amazing that we can continue to show such significant reduction simply by making an extended community effort. We have every reason to celebrate this accomplishment, especially Phoenix Dorm, who will be holding the “Green Cup” for the third year in a row until the 2017 Green Cup Energy Challenge gives us an opportunity to sustainably compete again.

“Don’t Be Wasteful” A Media Team Film Don’t be wasteful. It’s a simple concept. At least, that’s what Ben thought. Little did he know he would soon be accused of participating in a world where lights and thermostats are left on, where electronic devices are constantly draining energy, faucets are left running, and candy wrappers litter our beautiful earth. In the end, it proves to be too much for this environmentally conscious student to take.


Waste Not March “Waste Not March” included “No Waste Wednesdays” where our lunchtime food waste was divided up between students and faculty, weighed, and recorded. Creating a baseline measurement is a way to calculate real reduction in consumption and raise general awareness. Like the Green Cup Challenge, competitive sustainability is a way to have fun while doing the right thing. Assemblies during Waste Not March included short presentations by students and Director of Environmental Sustainability Tod Cossairt, addressing specific materials and their effect on the environment. Click here to watch videos. Effects of Mining on the Environment Everything we use comes from nature. A lot of what we use starts as raw material dug up from the earth. A special assembly addressed the adverse effects of mining on the environment. Reducing Food Waste Much of what is grown for food is wasted, which means the water to grow that food has also been wasted. What can we do to reduce food waste? Proper Recycling The proper recycling of plastic, aluminum, and glass are ways to reduce these products from endangering our environment. But reducing our use of certain materials, especially when it comes to “single use” products like plastic water bottles and plastic shopping bags, can have a huge impact. We all bring reusable bags to the grocery store and have reusable water bottles, right?


Tod demonstrates proper recycling.

The Happy Valley Cultural Center Presents

Chamber On The Mountain An extraordinary musical experience in a setting of extraordinary beauty

Nikki Chooi & Timothy Chooi Violin Duo with Robert Koenig Pianist

Sunday, May 1, 2016 3:00 pm / Logan House

adjacent to the Beatrice Wood Center for the Arts in Upper Ojai

Program: Prokofiev - Sonata for Two Violins in C major Ravel - Sonata No. 2 in G Saint-Saens - Sonata No. 1 in d minor Sarasate - Navarra Encore: Monti Czardas for two violins

Meet the artists! Reception will follow the performance. General Admission $25com For more information and to purchase advance reservations CLICK HERE Âť visit Chamber On The Mountain | 8585 Ojai-Santa Paula Rd. (in Upper Ojai) | Ojai, CA 93023 | (805) 646-9951


By Dave Cosby, Music Department Chair Excitement was in the air as the audience gathered in Zalk Theater for the 2016 Besant Hill School Spring Variety Show. This variety show featured three new hosts who, for the first time in recent memory, are all international students. The hosts were Kimberleey Frank ‘18, Shivani Vaswani ‘18, and Simeon Hu ’16. Although they were new to hosting the Variety Show, they all did a great job, especially considering there were 22 different acts!


First-time performer Ryan Wang ‘18, along with Lambert Li ‘18, and Jamie Chen ‘19, performed an instrumental version of Imagine Dragon’s “Demons,” during which Ryan displayed a flair for the musically dramatic, while also showing off some impressive piano-playing skills. A few days after the show, Ryan reflected on his experience by saying “(the) Variety Show at Besant Hill School provides a great platform for young musicians to share their talents and efforts to a close-knit community. Through performing experiences, we learn, enjoy, and become better. No matter if you are a performer or in the audience, on this stage you will realize that people are awesome.” Michelle Levinson ‘16 was the second performer of the evening. Her piece was a humorous and entertaining monologue called “Holy Water and Armadillos,” which the audience thoroughly enjoyed. Next up was another first-time performer at the Variety Show, Ruth Furman ‘18, who showcased a wonderful dance to the Flume song “Never Be Like You.” Ruth displayed precise skill and agility as she performed her dance routine, clearly a result of her three years of formal ballet study. Already a Variety Show veteran, freshman Emmy Hilgers ‘19 was the next performer of the evening. Emmy picked an R&B classic, “Fallin’” by Alicia Keys. Emmy left the audience wanting more, as she sang a stunning interpretation full of blues inflections and runs that would make Christina Aguilera jealous.


“...getting to sing my favorite song with my best friend here was the perfect way to start saying goodbye to a program that has given me so much.” - Madi Kish '16


Richard Ellwood, BHS Director of Technology, and Clay Weisberg ‘18 continued their shortskit theme from the last Variety Show. Their 20-second performance featured Richard acting as if he were driving. When Clay hits the buzzer noise, a constant in their act, Richard crashes his car and falls to the ground. The brevity and uniqueness of their skit brought thunderous applause. Seniors Bruce Wang and Andrew Yu were up next to sing a unique acoustic cover of a Drake song. They were assisted by Naphat Na-Nongkhai ‘18 on vocals and me, Dave Cosby, on guitar. The performance started off with some now-legendary beatboxing by Andrew and was followed up by a solid R&B groove and smooth vocals. More vocals and guitar were to follow as Madi Kish ’16 and Katie Beasley ‘17 were next to take the stage and perform their interpretation of the Lumineers’ “Dead Sea.” Unbelievably, this was Madi’s first time playing guitar in public, and she did a great job. Their performance also featured beautiful vocals and harmonies by both Madi and Katie. Thinking back on her performance, Madi said, “As a senior, it was kind of bittersweet getting to perform in my last Variety Show. However, getting to sing my favorite song with my best friend here was the perfect way to kind of start to say goodbye to a program that has given me so much. I know a lot of the other seniors were feeling the same way that night, and I think the feeling of saying goodbye through our performances made it a really memorable show for all of us.” Instrumental Jazz was to follow Madi and Katie, as Shivani Vaswani ‘18 took to the stage with her quintet featuring Bruce Wang on guitar, Majo Perez Moreno ‘17 on piano, Greg Weiser on drums, and me on bass. The quintet took a decidedly funky-oriented approach to Herbie Hancock’s “Cantaloupe

Island,” which featured solos by both Bruce and Shivani. Both musicians showed considerable growth from the Fall Variety Show. After Shivani’s group, Nadin Nassar ‘17 vand Kianna Gonnella ‘16 performed a haunting version of ”Daughter” by Youth, which featured Kianna on piano and Nadin on vocals. After their beautiful duo song, Wenqi Zhang ‘18 changed the energy of the room 180 degrees, as he performed a breakdance-influenced dance routine to high-paced and high-energy speed metal. As it was Wenqi’s first time in a Variety Show, students were very excited to see Wenqi perform and were very supportive of his performance. A Variety Show regular, Cate Steward ‘17 and her band, closed the first set with a groovy interpretation of the Zombies’ “Time of the Season” which featured Aaron Bernhard ’16 on bass, Greg Weiser on drums, and me on guitar. Cate’s interpretation was respectful of the original version, yet was uniquely


her own. The last announced act for the first half was Randy Bertin singing “Rolling in the Deep,” but it was just a joke by Simeon. After a short intermission, Naphat was next to the stage to sing a beautiful interpretation of Christina Aguilera’s “Contigo en la Distancia” in Spanish, accompanied by me on guitar. Naphat’s voice was beautiful, and her hard work on Spanish pronunciation was clear as her Spanish was exceptional, considering she does not speak the language. Helen Chen ‘18 and Rosalyn Fong ‘16 came to the stage next and performed a beautiful vocal duet in Chinese. The English title of the song was “Only You.” This was their first time singing in a Variety Show, and their performance was absolutely wonderful. Following Helen and Rosalyn, Ziqi Zhou ‘19 took to the stage to perform a snare drum duet with me called “Twinsday” that showed off Ziqi’s skills as a snare drum player. Ziqi did a great job! After the snare drum duet, one of the show’s hosts, Kimberleey Frank ’18, and Naphat came to center stage. Soon the Latin sounds of “Limbo” by Daddy Yankee started playing and Kimberleey and Naphat launched into an amazing synchronized choreographed dance routine that matched the energy and excitement of the music.


After that exhilarating dance routine, Jennifer Liang ‘18 slowed things down a bit, playing a moody jazz guitar duet interpretation of the Brazilian Jazz classic, “Manha de Carnaval” by Luiz Bonfa accompanied by me on guitar. This was Jennifer’s first time playing and improvising in this type of format in public, and she did an amazing job. About the experience, Jennifer reflects,“Playing in the Variety Show was one of the best experiences ever in my life! It was so much fun and I learned so much throughout the process of getting ready for my performances. To be honest, I wasn’t very nervous during the show because the confidence everyone gave me was uplifting enough to not be so nervous. I think that the best thing about the entire Variety Show is that you realize that everyone here at Besant Hill will always support and help you no matter what and the most important thing is to always enjoy it.” From the response of the audience, it seems as though they really enjoyed it as well.

“I think that the best thing about the entire Variety Show is that you realize that everyone here at Besant Hill will always support and help you no matter what and the most important thing is to always enjoy it.” - Jennifer Liang '18 Kicking it up a notch after Jennifer was an electronic music composition and light show by Salim Ingram ‘17. Salim is new to Besant Hill this semester, and we were really glad that he decided to participate in the Variety Show. His composition “Nothing Else Matters” was an upbeat dance tune with some unusual twists and turns in the composition that made for interesting listening. Performing Anna Petrovna’s monologue from Wild Honey by Anton Chekhov was Madi Kish ’16, who is known as a great actress at Besant Hill. Madi delivered her monologue with sincerity and passion. Following Madi was an amazingly delicate and tender interpretation of Taylor Swift’s “Safe and Sound” by Cate Stewart, Jennifer Liang, and Bruce Wang. Featuring intricate guitar work and stunning lyrics, “Safe and Sound” was a true show stopper.


Salomon Cuba ‘19 presented an original spoken-word piece next entitled “One Day,” which was a powerful piece about personal growth and growing up. Last Variety Show’s co-host Emily Kuhn ‘18 took center stage next to sing Christina Perri’s “One Thousand Years” with me accompanying her on guitar. Emily’s interpretation was delicate and beautiful, and it was the perfect song to follow Salomon’s powerful piece. Bringing this year’s Variety Show to a close were Bruce Wang, Simeon Hu, and Andrew Yu, performing a salute to their fellow seniors. Their performance featured original lyrics by Bruce that were translated from Chinese to English, and a beautiful photo show. Of the experience Bruce wrote, “Performing in front of people has not always come easy to me. It is becoming harder and harder as I become older. Performing in the Variety Show means a lot to me, especially my last year in high school. Other than just wanting to be involved with the school activities, showing my appreciation through my performance stands out more than anything else. Furthermore, performing in a Variety Show helps me to develop great stage ethos and also challenged me psychologically. As a musician, I want to take all the opportunities I have to improve both my performance techniques and the ability to control the stage. The Variety Show has benefited me in various ways, and I encourage students who are afraid of standing out of their comfort zone to take this unique opportunity and challenge themselves. It will be an unbelievable experience.” Bruce, Andrew, and Simeon’s performance was the perfect way to end this year’s Variety Show, for it captured so many ideals that we value at Besant Hill School: Community, Compassion, Respect, and Fun.


Congratulations to all of the participants in the 2016 Spring Variety Show. This show certainly ranks among the best we have had in recent years.

“I encourage students who are afraid of standing out of their comfort zone to take this unique opportunity and challenge yourself. It will be an unbelievable experience.” - Bruce Wang ‘16




Ruby Jane - taking the shot.

Girls Basketball by Michael Biermann, Athletic Director It was wonderful to see fifteen girls on the basketball court for the first day of practice. Their enthusiasm to learn the game never left them, as they proved with their dedication to improve each day. For most of the girls, it was a new sport that proved challenging to learn. They learned to approach the challenges one small step at a time. Each small accomplishment brought smiles to their faces and, because of that, their confidence began to grow. When it was time to play in a game for the first time, they were nervous and excited. The hard work during practice started to pay off with every game they played. Mistakes made early in the season were fewer, and they gained more confidence in themselves that they could compete and have a chance to win each time they stepped on the court. Head Coach Mike Biermann said, “It was a pleasure to coach this group of wonderful girls. They were playing a sport that proved very challenging, but they had fun while working to learn the game and improve each day.�


Boys Basketball by Kevin Henschel, Boys Varsity Basketball Coach, Development Officer The Besant Hill boys’ basketball team concluded its season with a 38-36 loss to Desert Christian in the second round of the Division 6 CIF Southern Section Championships. This marks the eighth consecutive year that the boys’ varsity has made the playoffs. After finishing third in Condor league play, it was going to be a long shot to make an extended run in the playoff. That being said, the team brought its best efforts of the season in its two playoff games. In the first-round match, they beat Santa Maria Valley Christian by one point—50-49. The program is saying goodbye to three seniors: Bruce Wang, Greg Schur, and Felix White. We wish them the best! Felix will not be going too far away, as his playing career will continue at the Division 1 level as a member of the University of California, Santa Barbara Men’s Basketball Team.

Toby - for the three.


The process of becoming a team is about learning to work hard, work together, and be singular-minded in the pursuit of becoming better than you were yesterday. This is hard for even the best athletes in the world, and I am so proud of our guys who buy into that process each day. Success is a matter of your personal expectation and looking within your heart and asking, “Did I do my best to which I am capable of becoming?” I believe it was a successful season.

Soccer….down in numbers, high in spirit! by Michael Biermann, Athletic Director The boys’ soccer team (actually, co-ed soccer team) of 2015-16 faced many challenges throughout the season; the main one was having only eleven players. They also had to travel to play every game. It’s not easy playing competitive matches against teams with up to 24 players on the sidelines, but the Coyotes went into each match willing to work hard to try and overcome the odds. All of the players performed with high intensity and a desire to compete. “The players worked hard each practice and game to improve their skills. Not having substitutes during games was difficult, but each player stepped up for the challenge,” said Coach Curtis Singmaster. “I am very proud of how they competed and represented the school with pride.” The players came away from each game with a sense of accomplishment, knowing that they did their best every time they stepped onto the field. It was a pleasure to watch this group of hardworking student-athletes.

Shige - full speed with grace.


by Brook Masters

Director of College Counseling

Congratulations to the Class of 2016 for the following college acceptances! Aaron Bernhard: Savannah College of Art and Design ♦ San Francisco State University ♦ Western Washington University ♦ University of San Francisco Natalie Cahill: Cal State University, Los Angeles ♦ San Francisco State University ♦ University of Oregon ♦ Seattle University ♦ The New School - All Divisions Travis Chan: Boston University ♦ University of California, Davis ♦ University of California, Irvine ♦ University of California, Riverside ♦ University of California, San Diego ♦ University of California, Santa Barbara ♦ University of California, Santa Cruz ♦ MCPHS -Massachusetts College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences Will Costello: San Francisco State University ♦ Cal State University, East Bay ♦ Cal State University, San Bernardino ♦ Cal State University, Chico ♦ California State University, Northridge Chris Escobedo:

California Polytechnic State University ♦ University of California, San Luis Obispo ♦ University of California, Berkeley ♦ University of California, Davis ♦ University of California, Los Angeles ♦ University of California, San Diego ♦ University of California, Santa Barbara ♦ Hamilton College - NY ♦ New York University ♦ Occidental College ♦ Prescott College ♦ Reed College ♦ San Francisco State University ♦ Stanford University ♦ Wesleyan University ♦ Williams College

Rosalyn Fong:

California State Polytechnic University, Pomona ♦ San Francisco State University

Kianna Gonnella:

San Francisco State University ♦ California College of the Arts (San Francisco) ♦ San Francisco State University ♦ Whittier College

Jacob Gray: Evergreen State University ♦ Green Mountain College ♦ Savannah College of Art and Design ♦ Juniata College ♦ Hendrix College ♦ Sarah Lawrence College ♦ Seattle University Nile Hendrix-Whitmore: Marquette University ♦ Fairleigh Dickinson University ♦ University of Puget Sound ♦ State University of New York, Albany ♦ Adelphi University

Michael Hopkins: Bard College ♦ Bennington College ♦ California College of the Arts (San Francisco) ♦ Cornish College of the Arts ♦ San Francisco State University ♦ Sarah Lawrence College ♦ Savannah College of Art and Design Simeon Hu:

School of Visual Arts ♦ New York University*

Rex Jiang: California State Polytechnic University Pomona ♦ California State University, Fullerton ♦ University of California, Merced ♦ University of California, Riverside ♦ University of California, Santa Cruz ♦ Loyola Marymount University ♦ San Diego State University ♦ San Francisco State University


Madeline Kane:

Marymount California University ♦ Cal State University, Channel Islands ♦ University of Arizona ♦ Pace University ♦ DePaul University

Madelyn Kish:

AMDA - College and Conservatory of the Performing Arts ♦ California State University, Chico ♦ California State University, Fullerton ♦ California State University, Northridge ♦ Columbia College Chicago ♦ Marymount Manhattan College ♦ Pace University, New York City

Michelle Levinson: Baldwin Wallace University ♦ Columbia College Chicago ♦ Drew University ♦ Juniata College ♦ Pace University ♦ Savannah College of Art and Design ♦ AMDA - College and Conservatory of the Performing Arts Yi Liu: Maryland Institute College of Art ♦ School of the Art Institute of Chicago ♦ School of Visual Arts Ryan McNamara: California College of the Arts (San Francisco) ♦ Columbia College Chicago, Honors College ♦ Syracuse University ♦ Parsons Paris, The New School - All Divisions Sabrina Qiu: California State University, Long Beach ♦ University of Minnesota, Twin Cities ♦ Pennsylvania State University ♦ University of Colorado at Boulder ♦ University of California, Riverside ♦ University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign Lude Rong: Claremont McKenna College*♦ Case Western Reserve University ♦ University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign Elizabeth Snett: California State Polytechnic University, Pomona ♦ Kent State University ♦ San Francisco State University Dan Tu:

Northeastern University ♦ Hamilton College* ♦ Bard College

Danila Volosnikov: California State Polytechnic University, Pomona ♦ California State University, Los Angeles ♦ Marymount California University ♦ University of La Verne Bruce Wang:

California State Polytechnic University, Pomona ♦ Cal State University, Northridge ♦ University of La Verne ♦ University of California, Santa Cruz

Felix White:

University of California, Santa Barbara

Shigeaki Yoshida:

Wentworth Institute of Technology ♦ Marymount California University ♦ Cal State University, Los Angeles ♦ Savannah College of Art and Design

Andrew Yu:

California Lutheran University ♦ California State University, Chico ♦ California State University, Los Angeles ♦ University of California, Riverside ♦ University of California, Santa Cruz ♦ University of the Pacific ♦ San Diego State University

Kelu Zhao: University of California, Irvine ♦ University of California, Riverside ♦ University of California, Santa Cruz ♦ San Diego State University ♦ San Francisco State University ♦ Syracuse University ♦ University of Washington

Click here for more college news » 46



2:00pm - 5:00pm Opening Welcome Reception for the Alumni-Student Art Exhibition Logan House

11:00am - 12:30pm Alumni Brunch The Ojai Retreat -- Shangri-La Garden 160 Besant Road, Ojai

5:30pm Current Family Celebration Dinner Student Commons

1:15pm - 2:30pm Campus Tours

6:30pm Special Alumni Dinner Reception 202-B Cañada Street, Ojai (entrance on Matilija Street) 7:00pm Spring Musical “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” Zalk Theater

3:00pm - 4:00pm Spring Concert - Zalk Theater 4:30pm - 5:15pm Memorial Sculpture Garden Induction Ceremony John Gorsuch - Memorial Sculpture Garden 5:30pm 70th Anniversary Celebration Dinner Student Commons Lawn 7:00pm Spring Musical - “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” Zalk Theater 47

9:00pm Dessert Under the Stars Campus Green

by Dan Call, Performing Arts Chair Earlier this Spring, we announced our cast of students for the upcoming musical production of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. The show, based on the 1988 film of the same name, tells the story of Lawrence, a wealthy, seductive con man in the South of France who makes a living talking rich, single women out of their money; his rival Freddy, less than courteous to start, a swindler of the lowest order who preys on the ladies’ sympathy; and Christine, heiress to the Colgate dynasty. What begins as a bet between Lawrence and Freddy soon turns into an odyssey of hilarious lies, assumed identities, tricks, and along the way—oddly enough—love. The score, composed by David Yazbek (The Full Monty), is a wonderful mix of styles from jazz to country, with some of the wittiest lyrics you’ve ever heard. Also coming up during Spring Arts Weekend will be a Saturday Spring Concert featuring a variety of music from our Chamber Singers and Advanced Instrumental Ensemble.



How Green Is Our Valley?


Spring is here, and it’s extra green in Happy Valley. Thanks to showers of donations from our generous parents, alumni, faculty and staff, and Happy Valley Foundation trustees, we are very close to reaching this year’s Annual Fund goal. Our Parent Team captains are busy calling and emailing their fellow parents, trying to win the special off-campus event for their respective student’s class. It’ll be a hot time later this spring for the lucky class that wins this year’s Participation Promotes Education II: Contest between the Classes. If you haven’t made a contribution to the Annual Fund yet, please consider that every dollar is used within the current school year. This money fills the “gap” between what tuition and fees cover and what it actually costs to provide our students with an exceptional educational experience. Funds go toward experiential learning, athletic gear, additional art, music, theater supplies, and more.


Every dollar matters, since participation is key for securing grants from foundations and granting organizations. Every gift is received with much gratitude.

Your Annual Fund Team: Randy, Kathy, Kevin, and Marion







Lee Sanders Aquatic Center Opens by Randy Bertin, Head of School

Students, faculty, and staff got their first chance to enjoy the $2 million dollar aquatic facility, which includes a 25-meter seven-lane competitive swimming pool, a 20-foot by 25-foot shallow recreation pool area, and plenty of deck space to take in the Southern California sun (with sunscreen applied, of course). The pool is also regulation water polo size, allowing it to be flexible for many potential uses in the future. A changing and restroom building located just off the pool deck gives students the convenience to change and use the restroom without having to return to their dormitories to prepare for swim activities. Wonderful views of the Besant Hill campus, the Topa Topa Mountains, and the Ojai Valley can be seen from every area of the pool deck, as the placement of the facility is perfect for maximizing the natural aesthetics. “Students have been dreaming about this facility for a long time, and over the past four years we have gotten very serious about reaching this goal for our community,” said Head of School Randy Bertin. “The time has come for there to be a pool in Happy Valley—seeing our students enjoy it today is certainly a moment to remember.”


The Aquatic Center brings all of the school’s fitness and sports activities into one corner of campus. It is surrounded by the basketball and tennis courts, weight training areas, and soccer and other playing fields. Today’s grand opening was the culmination of the pool construction project, which broke ground in September, 2015. Bertin added, “The past few months have quickly brought about this new facility to the campus, and McGillivray Construction certainly deserves kudos for making this happen, but a huge amount of credit goes to Besant Hill Business Officer, Alex Smith, who was on the job site daily and involved in every step of the process making sure that every detail was attended to—Alex deserves big thanks for his work on the project.”

Lee Sanders in 1961

“This facility is uniquely Besant Hill, as its design ties into the rest of our campus, while still allowing for maximum functionality,” said Bertin. “We are excited to officially open the aquatic center gates for the first time and give our students a new pool facility that will serve their recreation and fitness needs for many years to come.” The Lee Sanders Aquatic Center was named for Happy Valley School Alumnus Lee Sanders ‘61, who recently included the school in his estate. Lee was one of the first members of the school’s Heritage Club, which is made up of individuals who make planned gifts to Besant Hill School of Happy Valley as part of their estate planning. Lee passed away in September 2014 and will be remembered for helping to make the dream of a pool on the school’s campus a possibility.





by Kristen Kaschub, Director of Admissions and Summer Programs Besant Hill School was selected to host the Small Boarding School Association’s (SBSA) Conference, which occurred on campus over spring break, March 16-18. To be selected to host the conference, a small boarding school must meet SBSA’s criteria for providing a venue that “promotes personal and professional dialogue among small boarding school educators and educational consultants.” Besant Hill School hosted over 200 participants from across the globe in this year’s conference. Educators on a national level were exposed to all of the wonderful opportunities that Besant Hill students have on a daily basis. Our school has experienced a period of tremendous growth over the past four years, not only in


the many construction projects and facilities upgrades that we have had on campus but, more importantly, in our academic curriculum. This conference offered our community the opportunity to showcase this work to all of the participants. The success and reputation of quality associated with Besant Hill, combined with the school being known as a leader in small boarding schools, environmental sustainability, and visual and performing arts, may have been an important factor in being selected to host the conference. The SBSA conference has traditionally been hosted on the East Coast and has garnered solid attendance. This year marked the first-ever West Coast conference.

The entire team at Besant Hill made a concerted effort to establish connections with local businesses to allow the event to benefit not only Besant Hill School, but also the greater community. The vast majority of attendees stayed at the Ojai Valley Inn and Spa, and we partnered with other local businesses for the various events that took place, including Rio Gozo Farms, Ojai Alisal Vineyard, and Watkins Ranch, to name a few. Due to the notoriety of this event, Besant Hill was able to coordinate expert speakers for the conference, including Dr. Robert Sapolsky, an acclaimed author, stress expert, biologist, and neuroscientist from Stanford University, and Dr. Christopher Thurber, psychologist, author, and consultant in the world of education. In addition, Besant Hill faculty members, including Randy Bertin, Kristen Kaschub, Megan Walton, and many others attendees, led several of the breakout sessions with topics including “Running An Effective Summer Program,” “Teenage Brain and Executive Function Skills,” “How to Change Problem Behavior with a Single Talk,” and “Successfully Bridging the Gap between High School and College.” Since 1987, SBSA has been THE gathering place for small boarding school professionals and educational consultants to share their expertise and insight, their recommendations and contacts, their network of resources, and their wealth of knowledge. This year, conference attendees were educators and educational consultants from all over the world and included representation from throughout the United States, Canada, Switzerland, Taiwan, and Colombia. During the event, the campus was in full bloom, and the weather, perfect. The facilities and dining staffs made Besant Hill shine throughout the conference. It was the largest event on our campus, besides graduation, to date. Participants attended breakout sessions in our classrooms, toured the campus, and enjoyed getting to know our community. The conference included a sunset cocktail reception on the deck of our new pool, and a well-orchestrated Farm to Table Dinner held in the farm surrounded by a field of mustard. Educators and consultants alike were impressed by our campus, facilities, faculty, and professionalism in hosting such a large event. Hopefully, this will not be the last SBSA event on our campus, since it was such a success.





by Juana Juarez, Executive Chef

Topa Topa Tortas were a big hit at the SBSA Conference farm-to-table dinner. photo: Chris Hutchinson


Topa Topa Tortas Roasted Eggplant and Zucchini Torta with Tomatoes and Goat Cheese

Zucchini ....... 4 (medium-sized) Eggplant ....... 2 (medium-sized) Extra Virgin Olive Oil ....... 2 Tablespoons Garlic ....... 3-4 cloves (minced) Tomatoes ....... 3-4 (blanched) Fresh Basil ....... 3 tablespoons (minced) Goat Cheese ....... 2 1/2 cups (crumbled) Parmesan ....... 1/2 cups (finely grated)


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Trim zucchinis and eggplants and cut lengthwise into 1/4� slices. Lay slices on a parchment lined baking pan. Brush both sides of slices with three tablespoons of olive oil. Salt and pepper to taste. Use additional baking pan if needed. Add to oven.

2 3

Add to oven and bake for 25 minutes or until edges of slices start to turn golden. When they are golden, remove pan from oven and let cool.

While vegetables are baking, heat one tablespoon of oil in a medium saucepan and sautĂŠ the garlic until golden brown. Chop the tomatoes and add to saucepan. Simmer for approximately 15 minutes until thick and reduced to about 1 1/3 cups. Add basil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside to cool.


Brush bottoms and sides of six to eight, four ounce ramekins with the remaining oil. Line the bottoms of the ramekins with Zucchini slices. Cut the slices as necessary to cover the bottom of the ramekin. Do not overlap the slices. Spoon approximately two tablespoons of the tomato sauce over the zucchini and sprinkle two tablespoons of goat cheese and one tablespoon of Parmesan cheese.


Repeat the process, this time with the eggplant. Finish with a layer of zucchini, sauce, and cheese. Bake ramekins in oven, at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese is golden brown in spots. Remove and let cool for 15 minutes before unmolding from ramekin. Serve tortas warm or room temperature.


by Kristen Kaschub, Director of Admissions and Summer Programs

The Winter Admission Open House on January 18 was a huge success. Families had a chance to speak with administrators and tour the campus, while students visited classes. Many even stayed to enjoy a fabulous lunch. The day was chilly, but the Beato Atelier was alive with an early welcome reception. The campus looked great, and our special assembly honoring Martin Luther King Jr. allowed our 20 visiting families to experience why Besant Hill School of Happy Valley is such a special place.




institute noW accepting y boarding & da r e g is t r a t io n s


besanthill .org/summer

have a Great time... getting a head start on next year!

SUMMER PROGRAMMING: July 3 - August 6 English as a Second Language (ESL) An immersion journey in speaking English, getting to know the BHS campus, and exploring Ojai and California. Click here for details »

July 10 - August 6 SAT Prep and College Essay Writing In-depth overview of all three sections of the SAT test, including discussions about format, content, and overall strategies. Click here for details »


July 10 - August 6 STEM Program An intensive, four-week experience that immerses students in hands-on engineering design and problem-solving strategies. Click here for details »

Download our Summer Brochure ▶ Visit Summer Institute Online ▶


By Tyler Turner, English Instructor In May of last year, I happened upon two beautifully crafted poems in my beloved Sun magazine. A fiercely satisfying smile settled on my face as I read the name of the writer. I believe the smile arose from the pride we often find in the accomplishment of a friend. I brought the magazine to class the following morning and shared the poems with my English students. The gentle power of the poetry inspired two students, Michael Anekwe ‘18 and Lu Rong ‘16, to let the poet know how they were affected by his words. Emails from the students to the poet planted the seed for Besant Hill’s budding friendship with Teddy Macker. Teddy lectures on creative writing and poetry in the College of Creative Studies at University of California, Santa Barbara, practices the elusive art of poetry, and lives with his wife and two daughters on a ranch in Carpinteria. His recently published book of poems, This World, portrays the rare and timeless beauty that words can make of our often absurd and intangible lives. Lu’s letter last year initiated an intimate visit from Teddy to our English class, followed by a reading to our entire community in the Zalk Theater this past January. In a world succumbing to the robotic numbness of cyber language, Teddy’s human presence and wizardry with words switched our rails and grounded us. Teddy reminded us of the importance of the momentary pause to reflect on our fleeting presence in the present.


Special guest: Poet Teddy Macker read from his recently published book of poems This World.

This April marks the 20th anniversary of National Poetry Month, which was inaugurated by the Academy of American Poets in 1996. Over the years, National Poetry Month has become the largest literary celebration in the world with schools, publishers, libraries, booksellers, and poets celebrating poetry’s vital place in our culture.

Student Poem Reflects on Mourning “The painting is by Edwin Elmer. It portrays himself, his wife and his daughter shortly after their daughter’s death. I think the main significance of the painting is about having their daughter in the light of the sun while the rest of the family is sitting in the shade. The name of the painting is Mourning Picture.” The perfect little girl. Staring up at the world . A doll in her hand, And two people watching from behind. Her mom and her dad. She wonders, “when will I go?” “When will I be gone from this place?” But you would never know. Because theres no emotion on her face, Just a blank stair. Nice clothes and braided hair. Behind her back, The sky cracks. Dry and flat. But no one cares.

- Isaiah DuPont ‘17

Mourning Picture painted by Edwin Elmer in 1890 now hangs in the Smith College Museum of Art in Massachusetts


Faculty Spotlight By Oliver Cornell Design & Marketing Coordinator


have to admit: I love eavesdropping on Dave Edwards’ math and physics classes. We’re separated only by a wooden door, stucco wall, and the click-click tap-tap of my keyboard, so my ear is easily bent, and with guilty pleasure I turn at least part of my attention to Dave as he launches into a classic conversation starter, a story, a question, or an antidote. Genuinely thrilled to share an interesting story and listen to student feedback, it only takes a minute or two before everyone, including me, is engaged. And then comes the abrupt “Okay, so...” and off they go into the lesson of the day. And back I go to the task at hand, but not before sharing a chuckle with my officemate, Athletic Director Mike Biermann, another big fan of the Edwards approach.


To know Dave is to know he loves to drive. As a teenager, the moment he could motor his way out of his Palos Verdes neighborhood, he was barely ever home. This lifelong passion for cars and motorcycles recently fueled an extra-special semester for him and his physics students, symbolized by a half-eaten motorcycle in the corner of his classroom. Though the donated motorcycle may never run, it took an entire class on an unexpected journey, exploring new things with the spirit of Aun Aprendo. The year is going by fast, so we’ll shine our faculty spotlight on Dave Edwards to get a quick glimpse before the next adventure begins.

Faculty Spotlight

Why use a motorcycle to teach physics? Well, during the first semester, we did the classic stuff: mechanics, Newton’s Law, ball rolling down a ramp, things getting thrown around, the basics. Second semester is when we would focus on electricity and magnetism. So I wanted to get a circuit board, turn on light bulbs—but that seemed very static. When I saw this old motorcycle on my friend’s ranch, I thought, “Hey, if we want to make stuff light up, why not on a motorcycle?” Were you able to get the lights working? Well, like everything else in life, it took a completely different course than the one I had imagined. The electrical was shot, and it turned out

the kids had no idea about how engines work, so we went into the mechanics we had learned. Many of the students hadn’t used tools before. I found that really interesting. Were there hopes of getting it running? At first, yes. But it became clear, pretty quickly, that the bike was trashed mechanically and electrically. So the experiment was simultaneously totally wonderful and a complete failure! But watching the students exploring the motor, taking things apart, learning that a motor and how it works is not as mysterious or complex as they had imagined, was for me, a “BOOM, VICTORY!” moment.


Obviously you have a great connection with your students and really enjoy teaching. Did you always want to be a teacher? I was working with Lamborghini, federalizing cars (making them street legal). But I got tired of supplying guys with nice cars so they could pick up girls. I thought, “There must be more to life than this!” I explored the idea of going into geriatric care, being a paramedic, or teaching. I tailed people in a retirement home and in a public school, and right away, the one that felt right was teaching.

Faculty Spotlight

Did you have to go back to school? Yes. I had my business degree from USC, and though I passed the placement tests to teach math, I did get my teaching credential. I had been teaching for about six years before going back for my master’s degree in math. Prior to teaching, how were you using math? I was using math to run a business, running the numbers. Also, I was racing motorcycles and figuring out what was going on with the suspension, that sort of stuff. But where I really got my start with math was playing baseball as a kid. Thinking about stats, batting averages, how far the bases were from each other...I realize now that I was using a lot of math to work all that out.


This is your second year at Besant Hill; how did you end up teaching at this school? After many years teaching at Ojai Valley School and living in Ojai, of course I knew about Besant Hill, but didn’t have much experience with it. While tutoring a BHS student who I really liked, he mentioned that his teacher was leaving. Later, in a call to Portia (Academic Dean) Lake Como, Italy 2015to see if there was anything I

could do to help get this student past the finish line, I inadvertently asked if the position had been filled. It was only then that it dawned on me to look into the job myself. What were some of your first impressions when you joined the faculty at Besant Hill? I was impressed with how programs were put together and how hardworking the teachers and staff were. Also, I was impressed with how nice the students were. They’re nice at OVS, too, so nothing really different there, but maybe they seemed a bit more relaxed here. Also, it was actually less “artsy” than I thought it would be, and a little more academic than I expected.

very “student-centered” approach. And it’s funny...when I decided to teach, I was not necessarily thinking math. But I see a great need for math teachers who don’t scare people away from math. Okay, so... here’s a statistic: 90% of adults say how bad they are at math and how much they hate it. So, I realize you really have to sell this stuff. Is it a tough balance sometimes? I’m not a whip-cracker; it’s just not who I am. And though sometimes I wonder if I could get better short-term results with a more traditional and rigorous approach, I don’t think I’d get the long-term results I’m after. So, I may err on the side of ”Hey, let’s make this a fun experience!” This isn’t me being mentally lazy; I’m really trying to stuff in as much as I can, and I want it to stick and to leave a good...flavor. Good flavor? Long-term results? That tastes like Aun Aprendo (with a hint of gear oil). Thanks, Dave!

Did you have a high school teacher who influenced you in a positive way? Yes, my high school German teacher, Kermit Olson. Kids came to class happy; everyone wanted to be there, learn, and have a good time. He varied things, joked around with us, and then he would be serious and really teach us. I remember thinking, ”Geez, why aren’t all of my classes like this?” Sounds familiar! I think he was a really big influence. Kermit was way ahead of his time, I think. He had a


from Rio Gozo Farm in Happy Valley By Oliver Cornell, Design & Marketing Coordinator In addition to the Circle Garden and our many fruit trees, maintained by Director of Environmental Sustainability Tod Cossairt and Besant Hill students, the campus farm has been a source of fresh, organic produce for our school kitchen. It has also provided educational opportunities for students. In recent years, our partnership with Ojai’s Rio Gozo Farm has yielded amazing results. This spring, the salad bar has been noticeably full of fresh lettuces, spinach, beets, carrots, and many other straightfrom-the-farm vegetables.

Hill’s executive chef Juana Juarez and points out that Besant Hill has the advantage of not being an Italian restaurant or Taqueria. With such a varied menu, and international student body, Juana can push her horizons and really take full advantage of everything grown on the farm. That, in turn, results in John pushing his horizons about what to grow. With the kitchen and farm in such close proximity, daily communication is convenient and can be made together about things to grow, or recipe possibilities.

In addition to providing great produce to A chef himself, and someone with a deep Besant Hill, Rio Gozo Farm has a thriving CSA passion for cooking and forming relationships program with Thursday pick-up points in Ojai with local restauranteurs, farmer John and at Ventura’s Patagonia headquarters and Fontayn has appreciated working with Besant weekly drop-offs to local restaurants.


Fortunately, farm-fresh produce in school kitchens is not as unique as it used to be, especially in Ventura County. With programs like Farm to School and Food for Thought Ojai, healthy school programs have taken root and are proving to be a great success. Students not only eat healthier at school, but they learn where their food comes from and to appreciate the difference in taste between freshly picked produce and that found in a grocery store, which had to travel great distances to get there. This will result in more young adults who prefer farmers market vegetables, enrolling in a CSA program, and sharing home-cooked meals with friends and family. Though often glamorized in foodie magazines, enjoying locally sourced produce is not a romantic idea, difficult to obtain, nor is it extra expensive. It’s not about being a vegetarian. It’s about appreciating better-tasting food, improved health, and nurturing relationships with friends, family, and our community. And there are times when even the hardcore food

advocates will have to resort to a ready-toserve bag of greens or an In-N-Out burger, and those choices should be enjoyed. But as John points out, “As long as your baseline is full of fresh, organic, local stuff, you’ll be healthier than the average bear.” And healthier people also result in a healthier environment overall. If we choose to purchase food from local farmers who practice sustainable agriculture, we take smaller bites out of the environment. As Tod explained during the recent Waste-Not March event, “Each purchase we make is also a vote for something and has an impact.” Therefore, increasing our use of locally sourced food is a vote for our environment, our students today, and the adults they will grow into tomorrow. Having Rio Gozo Farm on campus -- it doesn’t get more local than that! Learn more about Rio Gozo Farm at


H WL ALUMNI NEWS On January 22, Raymond Neutra, ’57, returned to the campus to speak at the Distinguished Speaker Series. Last time Raymond was here, he spoke to the school about his travels to Bhutan. This time he spoke about how the modernism movement in architecture arrived in California. Raymond’s father is world-renowned architect Richard Neutra, who, along with several of his European contemporaries, changed the way homes, offices, schools, virtually every new structure was reimagined. Raymond’s slide presentation showed the progression of architectural history from Japan to Europe to the United States. His talk even involved some school history involving Krishnamurti, the Rajagopols, and his father. All in all, it was a fascinating and informative speech that was much appreciated by all in attendance. Many thanks to Raymond for making the effort to share with us his time and insights.


Distinguished Speakers Series with Binh Pho Binh Pho is a critically acclaimed artist, known for an expansive approach to work in wood and glass that includes painting and a unique exploration of positive and negative space. The works feature a highly personal iconography, with imagery that relates to Asian culture and the natural world. The story of his journey from an idyllic childhood in Vietnam, the rise of Communism and his escape to the United States is shared in the

book River of Destiny: The Life and Work of Binh Pho, published in 2006, in conjunction with a retrospective of his work at the Long Beach Museum of Art. Binh Pho is in demand as a lecturer and demonstrator and his work is exhibited internationally and in the permanent collection of numerous museums. More about Binh Pho can be found by visiting his website at



ONE HUNDRED NIGHTS As the sun was setting on the evening of February 21, the Class of 2016 took a class photo on campus and then traveled to Azu Restaurant in downtown Ojai for the annual 100 Nights dinner. After more picture-taking and a delicious dinner, Randy Bertin, Head of School, spoke about their remaining 100 nights at the school, taking the time to be mindful of their experience here and savoring the remaining days. Alumnus Yannick Atanga ’10 spoke eloquently about his time at Besant Hill and how it prepared him for college and life ahead. He went on to tell the seniors how wonderful it is to be at Besant Hill School of Happy Valley, a school where he had such meaningful and lasting relationships with fellow students and teachers. He stressed the need to finish the next 100 days with strength, to be ready to start the next adventure. After a song by music instructor Dave Cosby and senior Madi Kish, Director of Environmental Sustainability Tod Cossairt spoke about legacy, and the seniors wrote their legacy notes. Legacy notes are testimonials about lessons learned, wisdom gained, and memories cherished to share with future generations of BHS students. As the evening concluded with a moment of silence, the seniors reflected on their school experience, and how they will carry Besant Hill into their futures.



Visits To Campus Abound

We’ve been fortunate to have had the following Happy Valley School and Besant Hill School of Happy Valley alumni visit the campus this summer and fall including: Yannick Atanga, BHS ‘10 Ilis Geronimo-Anctil, BHS ‘15 Gerald Howze, former HVS faculty 1970’s Anja Johnson ‘15 Ivan Matip, BHS ‘10 and new wife, Yvette

Amanda Nelson, HVS ‘93 and daughter Raymond Neutra, HVS ‘57 Briggs Yahn, BHS ‘15 Roxanne Quan former HVS student ‘00 Francois Tchoyi ‘11 Sisters Anja Johnson '15 and Sienna Johnson ‘17. Anja visited with her family during January’s Open House. Asher Johnson will be enrolling next year as a ninth grade student!

Recent graduates Illis Geronimo & Briggs Yahn visited friends and faculty, toured the nearly finished Lee Sanders Aquatic Center, and Briggs performed in the Zalk Theater during assembly.

Former student Roxanne Quan ‘00 was thrilled to walk the campus with her pup. . It was Quan’s first visit in over 15 years!

If you visited the campus and you’re not listed here, it means that we missed your visit! Please let us know by e-mailing your Alumni Liaison, Marion “Ruth” Weil, at alumni@ To ensure that you’re included in future editions, please check in with the Main Office and get your Visitor lanyard.

The More The Mary--er Head of School Randy Bertin visited alumna Mary Myers, HVS ’57, at her home in New York City in January. Right after one of the worst snowstorms to hit New York City, they braved the cold and dined at one of Mary’s favorite Indian restaurants. Good conversation and stories about Happy Valley then/Besant Hill now filled the evening and left Mary looking forward to visiting the campus in April for the 70th Anniversary Celebration. She can’t wait for the Ojai Valley warmth and sunshine. We can’t wait to see her again!

Alumnus Atanga Plays BHS Hoops Again November brought alumnus Yannick Atanga, BHS ‘10, along with his five years of Division 1 college basketball experience from Santa Clara University, back to our little outdoor court. He spent the week working out the team, teaching them ball-handling and shooting skills, while also imparting wisdom learned at the next level. Effort and attitude are what he preached, and the guys took it to heart. We were also lucky enough to have Yannick join us for the last two games of the season, as the team started its playoff run. Yannick is a true friend to the school, and we are so grateful for the time he has taken out of his life to give back to the current students. We wish him the best as he starts his new job at Google!

Head of School Randy Bertin and Yannick Atanga ‘10.


Neutra Knows How to Inspire As many of you know, the Oral History Project (OHP) was launched during the 50th-ish reunion in 2011. Since then, we have had several opportunities to tape alumni and have been grateful for the wisdom and reminiscences that they have shared. These recordings will culminate in a section of our website that Marion Miller Martin, HVS ‘57 named “The Digital Yurt.” This will be a page where you can view thumbnails of your fellow alumni and follow links to brief and more in-depth interviews of your classmates. Development Associate Kevin Henschel, HVS ’93, had the pleasure of recently taping a comprehensive interview with HVS ‘57 alumnus Raymond Neutra. Raymond spoke with great passion about his experiences and lessons learned from a lifetime of relationship with Happy Valley. There wasn’t a dry eye in the audience when the interview finished. You’ll be able to view Raymond’s interview and more when The Digital Yurt goes live this summer. Time allowing, we are attempting to interview all alumni aged 65 years and older for the Oral History Project. Look for updates on upcoming tapings in your area in Aun Aprendo, or contact Kevin Henschel at or (805) 646-4343 ext. 344.

In Memoriam: Former Student, Kent Chapman Former student Kent Chapman passed away on July 23, 2015 in his monastery in the South of France. He had been diagnosed with cancer and made the decision not to pursue any further medical procedures and, instead, concentrate on his spiritual path. Shortly before his death he told former classmate Vasanti Ferrando Fithian, HVS ‘54, that although he was very weak, he was still able to sing in the choir, which he did joyfully while sitting down. The Abbot communicated his death to those friends who Kent had been in contact with and said his passing was peaceful. Vasanti shared, “I feel a real loss even though it had been some years since I had seen him. I rejoice that for over 20 years he was in such a safe place!” Kent attended HVS from 1953-1954.


June 17-19, 2016 Take part in this special opportunity to come together again. Enjoy our opening of the new pool, sit in council, reminisce over a slideshow or have a jam session under the gazebo. All meals provided for those who would like to stay in the dorms on campus for the weekend, and lunch and dinner for those staying off campus. Come walk down memory lane with a campus tour of the familiar spots and the new additions. This is a very special weekend planned for you to connect to old friends, the land, distant memories, and to come together as a community again. Given it will be Father’s Day weekend we will provide family friendly activities and childcare. We hope you can come! 78

Kaplan Alumni Duo Give Birds Eye View of Campus

One weekend in April, alumni duo Jesse Kaplan ‘01 and Bill Kaplan ‘63, along with video assistant Alexi Sciutto, were on campus shooting aerial footage of the campus and surrounding valley. Earlier this year, Jesse was featured in our Distinguished Speaker Series and spoke about his career as a photographer and videographer and how he uses drone technology in his work. You can see more of Jesse’s work by visiting



ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT: Eric Chambliss, HVS '59


My parents were actors and former members of the Chekhov Theatre Studio in England. One former member, Iris Tree, was an English actress and poet who came to Ojai to follow the teachings of Jiddu Krishnamurti. Iris also had in mind to organize a theater company in Ojai using former Chekhov actors, many of whom in 1938 had moved from England to Connecticut, U.S.A., to escape World War II. Several came to Ojai, including my parents, when I was less than a year old. They formed the High Valley Players and put on a number of plays at the Ojai Valley Art Center. (Both my parents had other “day jobs,” since actors normally don’t earn much.) In the late ‘40s, they also performed in their own theater, a converted schoolhouse across Hwy 150 from the present campus of the Besant Hill School of Happy Valley. Despite my father’s subsequent film roles in

Hollywood, my parents lived in Ojai until they passed away. I grew up on McAndrew Road across from Arya Vihara, the estate where Krishnamurti lived when in Ojai. Two doors down, Beatrice Wood had her ceramics studio. Iris was a fan of Krishnamurti and in 1942 took my mother to one of his Oak Grove talks. She became an avid follower herself and never missed an Oak Grove talk until his death in 1986. I did not particularly distinguish myself in the Ojai public schools and by the time I completed junior high school, my parents had decided that I might do better in the noncompetitive and nurturing environment of Happy Valley School. And indeed, I did do much better there. In addition to academics, I performed small parts in plays directed by Franklin Lacey and even attempted

some of the folk dances taught by David Young. I was a day student at Happy Valley for all four of my high school years, 1955 – 1959. My younger brother Peter also attended HVS (class of ‘61). During those years, the Civil Rights Movement was becoming more and more visible in the public media following the Supreme Court decision in 1954 in Brown v. Board of Education, which held that segregation in public schools was unconstitutional. In the former slave states, segregation was widespread in the schools and public places. In 1957 I closely followed the daily TV coverage of the crisis at Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. The all-white school was ordered to accept nine black students who were juniors and seniors like I was. Governor Orval Faubus deployed the Ar-


“The spectacle of mobs of white students, my age, and other demonstrators screaming and spitting at the black students appeared on TV for days. This was when I really became aware of the Jim Crow system of segregation and discrimination in the South, and I found it very unsettling.”

The “Little Rock Nine” are escorted inside Little Rock Central High School by troops of the 101st Airborne Division of the United States Army. kansas National Guard to block the black students from entering the high school. Eventually, President Eisenhower used the U.S. Army to enforce integration. The spectacle of mobs of white students, my age, and other demonstrators screaming and spitting at the black students appeared on TV for days. This was when I really became aware of the Jim Crow system of segregation and discrimination in the South, and I found it very unsettling. I graduated in 1959. With the encouragement of fellow day student Dennis Poplin (class of 1957), I followed him to Utah State University to move away


from home and thought I would major in Wildlife Management. After a bit of a rocky start there, I found that my interests lay more in the field of psychology so I changed my major to that subject. Following my sophomore year, I transferred to San Francisco State University, which had a substantial psychology department, and graduated in 1963 with a major in psychology. During my senior year at San Francisco State, a fellow psychology major told me he was going to go to law school. That got me thinking about law as a profession and the more I looked into it, the more appeal-

ing it became. I was accepted to Boalt Hall, the Law School at the University of California, Berkeley, and enrolled in the fall of 1963. For the next three years, I studied harder than I ever had as an undergraduate. I found law to be a fascinating subject and one for which I had the most aptitude of any I had previously experienced. I graduated from Boalt Hall in 1966 and took and passed the bar exam that same year. During my first year of law school in 1963, I joined the Law Students Civil Rights Research Council, a national law student organization, which was preparing to participate in the civil

rights activities being planned for the summer of 1964. I was selected to go to St. Augustine, Florida. St. Augustine, the nation’s oldest city, founded by the Spanish in 1565, was also one of the most segregated and bitterly divided cities in the South. The civil rights movement had begun to heat up there in 1960 when students from Florida Memorial College, a black college, launched a sit-in at Woolworth’s Lunch Counter. Other lunch counter sit-ins occurred, and there were night marches to the Plaza de la Constitución, also known as the Old Slave Market. In 1960, an African American dentist, Dr. Robert B. Hayling, established his practice in Lincolnville, a black section of St. Augustine, and soon became one of the leaders of the lo-

ins, hold demonstrations, and picket various segregated public places. In early June, Dr. King was arrested for seeking service at the Monson Motor Lodge Restaurant, the only time he was arrested in Florida. Demonstrations, night marches to the slave market, and swim-ins at the white beach continued. All this was met by organized violence from Ku Klux Klan and By March 1964, little progress Klan-sympathizing terrorists. had been made, so Dr. Hayling The day I arrived in St. Augusand several other local civil tine, on June 25, a swim-in at rights leaders met with Martin the white beach was underway Luther King Jr. and the Southand a night march to the slave ern Christian Leadership Conference to ask them to assist in market took place. Both were the struggle against segregation met by mobs of white racists who inflicted numerous injuries in St. Augustine. SCLC mobion the demonstrators. I was not lized their forces and succeedphysically involved with these ed in capturing national attenevents, because I was engaged tion. During spring break 1964, college students from the North that day with working at the and other activists arrived in St. local civil rights headquarters. The local civil rights headquarAugustine to participate in sitcal civil rights movement. The demonstrations for civil rights led by Dr. Hayling were met with mass arrests, fire bombing of the homes of black activists, Ku Klux Klan rallies, and Klan-oriented local terrorists driving through Lincolnville and shooting into people’s homes, including Dr. Hayling’s.

Press conference, 79 Bridge St., St. Augustine, June 1964 Left to right Andrew Young, Dr. Martin Luther King, Dr. Robert B. Hayling


“ experiences in the summer of 1964 as a law student working on the Civil Rights Act cases in St. Augustine were the most rewarding legal work I had throughout my career...” ters and law office was situated in Dr. Hayling’s dental office building at 79 Bridge Street. For two months I stayed in St. Augustine and worked out of Dr. Hayling’s dental office. On July 2, the 1964 Civil Rights Act was signed into law. After that I spent most of my time assisting volunteer attorneys with lawsuits brought under the Civil Rights Act against restaurants and motels that refused to desegregate. We sued 17 restaurants and motels along with several hundred terrorists. When I left at the end of August, the defendants were complying with the law and serving African Americans. One of the more memorable things I did that summer occurred on the night of August 5, 1964. Martin Luther King Jr. had been in town to participate in a press conference announcing a favorable court decision we had received under the Civil Rights Act. He needed a ride to the Jacksonville Airport some 40 miles away and I was asked to drive him. The trip to the airport was uneventful but I was very concerned that I might be stopped by the police, whose sympathies lay with the Klan terrorists.


Throughout my college career I had been receiving student deferments from the Selective Service System. My deferment allowed me to complete the bar exam in August 1966, but then I was informed by the Local Board that I would be drafted within the next three months. Brother Peter was already in the Army and serving in Vietnam. He advised me to apply to Officer Candidate School (OCS) and thereby enjoy the advantages and perquisites of being an officer. I did, and after enduring eight weeks of Basic Training, eight weeks of Advanced Infantry Training, and 23 weeks of OCS, I was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant. The remaining two years of my service were spent at Brooklyn Army Terminal. While in New York, I studied for and passed the New York Bar Exam and was admitted to practice in New York.

worked in many different fields of public law including public assistance, land use, and environmental law. I retired in 2005. I met my first wife, Marilyn, in 1966 while studying for the New York Bar Exam. When our two daughters were in elementary school, Marilyn, who had a B.A. in Sociology from Berkeley, commuted from our home in Fremont to San Jose State to complete a second B.A. in Psychology, and subsequently traveled to Stanford to earn a Doctor of Education. We married right after I finished OCS, and the marriage lasted 28 years. We have two lovely daughters and four grandchildren. The marriage dissolved in 1995. Shortly thereafter, I met my current wife, Lizette, on a Sierra Club hike. We live in Fremont.

The impetus for sharing this story with Aun Aprendo came from an experience I had last When I was discharged from September when I was invited the Army in 1969, I went to work to come to St. Augustine and in a small civil law firm in Oakjoin an event to recognize those land, lots of probate. I left the who participated in the 1960s firm in 1973 and spent the next civil rights struggles. I’d not 32 years practicing local pubbeen back in 51 years. The denlic law in the Alameda County tal office building that served as Counsel’s Office. It was an inthe civil rights headquarters is teresting and fulfilling practice. I now the ACCORD Civil Rights

Museum ( and it was the hosting site for this celebration. Several of the civil rights volunteers with whom I had worked were there, including Dr. Hayling, who was 85. For me he was a truly great, fearless, and dedicated civil rights leader. So I was delighted to have had the chance to visit with him and listen to a wonderful speech he gave

at the event. Sadly, Dr. Hayling died suddenly on December 22, 2015.

riences and, in a way, brought some closure to those events and led me to share them in this article.

In retrospect, my experiences in the summer of 1964 as a law stu- If you’d like to reach me I’m at: dent working on the Civil Rights Act cases in St. Augustine were the most rewarding legal work Eric Chambliss HVS '59 I had throughout my career. Going back to revisit the sights in 2015 underscored the expe-

Remembrance event, 79 Bridge St., St. Augustine, Sept. 18, 2015 Dr. Robert B. Hayling & Eric Chambliss HVS '59


Oral Histor y Project Alumni aged 65 years and older: look for updates on upcoming tapings in your area in Aun Aprendo, or contact Kevin Henschel at or call (805) 646-4343 ext. 344


cte e n n o c y sta

sure e k a m e Pleas your e v a h we mail & e t n e r cur ess! r d d a g mailin i Liaison s to Alumn e t a d p u d n e S , HVS ‘60: Marion Weil ant alumni@bes

ews & n i n m u get al tes online: upda mni

ill.or besanth



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JULY 17-18-19

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70th Anniversary Celebration Spring Arts & Family Weekend April 22-23, 2016 Friday, April 22

Special Alumni Dinner Reception

Saturday, April 23 Alumni Brunch

202-B CaĂąada Street, Ojai 6:30pm

The Ojai Retreat -- Shangri-La Garden 11:00-12:30

It’s going to be a weekend to remember, April 22-23, when we gather to celebrate the arts, family, and 70 years of our Happy Valley and Besant Hill community. Plan to gather with current families, faculty, staff, and alumni from as far back as the first graduating class and as recent as last year, to remember, reflect and share.

See the complete schedule and RSVP. 88

BESANT HILL SCHOOL STUDENT GOVERNMENT TEAM Hello from Nile, Michael, and Simeon! This year we’ve been working hard on lots of different projects around campus. Most recently, we worked with the rest of student government and the faculty to create a new technology policy, specific to cell phone usage on campus. We worked together to create an effective and fair policy for both students and teachers. We also worked with Administration to get new water fountains installed on campus. The fountains have an option for filling up reusable water bottles, so as to reduce the amount of plastic waste from “one-use” cups at water coolers around campus. We have a couple more projects up our sleeves for the end of the year, and we are also getting excited about planning and fundraising for prom! We look forward to finishing out the year strong. ~ Simeon, Nile and Michael


March 4 8 11 18 19 31

Battulga Nina Sabrina Sean Andrew Ben

Birthdays April


3 Elizabeth 4 Parker 4 Kieran 5 Isaiah 12 Yiyi

7 Valentina 9 Lydia 11 Amka 20 Michelle 22 Shanice 23 Jovie 23 Eli 28 Emily


Calendar APRIL 4-8 STEAM Week

MAY 2-20 Senior Capstone Projects

APRIL 22-23 Spring Musical 70th Anniverary Spring Arts Celebration Family Weekend

MAY 12-13 Junior Retreat

APRIL 23 Spring Concert APRIL 28 Prom APRIL 29 Beach Day

MAY 20-22 On Campus Weekend MAY 23-26 Finals/Assessment Week Senior Retreat MAY 27 Commendations & Torch Ceremony MAY 28 2016 Commencement Ceremony






AUN APRENDO RECEIVES CASE SILVER CASE (Council for Advancement and Support of Education) recently announced the winners of its prestigious 2016 Awards of Excellence, which included a Silver Medal to Ojai’s Besant Hill School of Happy Valley in the “Digital Magazine” category. The annual awards program showcases best practices in alumni relations, fundraising, public relations, advancement services, special events, and communications. More than 500 entries were received and evaluated by a team of peer judges. The digital magazine category also included Silver Medals to Santa Clara University, and University of California, Davis. Bronze Medals were awarded to Harvey Mudd College, University of California, San Diego, and University of Southern California. No Gold Medals were awarded in this category. Read more.


Besant Hill School, Seasonal Magazine, Spring 2016  

A premier, small boarding school on over 500 beautiful acres in Ojai, California, Besant Hill School is a caring community that focuses on t...

Besant Hill School, Seasonal Magazine, Spring 2016  

A premier, small boarding school on over 500 beautiful acres in Ojai, California, Besant Hill School is a caring community that focuses on t...