Page 1

Journal SUMMER 2016

BFS Journal_Summer 2016.indd 1

8/29/16 11:45 AM


PERFORMING ARTS AT BFS The Performing Arts were in full bloom from January through June at Brooklyn Friends. Upper School thespians presented Lucky Number 11, Middle Schoolers staged The Witches, the Dance Concert featured more than 100 performers, and Spring Concerts highlighted the talents of chorus, jazz, and orchestra students.

BFS Journal_Summer 2016.indd 2

8/29/16 11:45 AM


Graduate Bakari Cunningham ‘16 with Dr. Weiss at Commencement

A MESSAGE FROM

Dr. Larry Weiss Head of School I am grateful for your steadfast support of the School and heartened by the efforts of so many individuals who strive every day at BFS to improve and to safeguard the education of our amazing students.

As 2015-16 came to a close, I was reminded of how much a school’s ultimate health and success depends upon the human elements that make up the beating heart of any educational institution. The best facilities, a challenging curriculum, and expansive programming may form the building blocks of education, but it’s the teachers, students, and the many other important people who make up and support the school community, who bring life to a school. In all the human dimensions, Brooklyn Friends is blessed beyond measure. To begin, our teachers seek to spark in their students a palpable enthusiasm for ideas and for “the life of the mind,” to deepen and expand their students’ knowledge and skills, and to develop a growing confidence among their students that what they are learning – academically, emotionally, and experientially – will help them to understand the ever-changing world. Most importantly, our teachers strive to build a deep and abiding confidence in our students’ self-perceived potential to make a positive impact on the world and its people.  The closing ceremonies and commencement that mark the end of each academic year intentionally put our students, the primary reasons for our existence, on center stage. The heart of each ceremony is the celebration of new knowledge and skills, personal growth and maturity, a growing awareness of individual identity and common humanity, and a sense of the joy that comes from working in a friendly, collaborative community. Our students’ talents, thirst for knowledge, and desire to connect and learn from their peers were clearly evident in each ceremony. Our parents are encouraged to be participants in their children’s education and play a supportive and active role in areas of the School’s operations that are relevant to their interests, skills, and expertise. This past year, working through the PAT as well as the Advancement Office and initiatives offered by each of the divisions, parents were able to interact with students, faculty, administrators, and with other parents in many ways that advanced BFS’ academic, artistic, athletic, curricular, diversity, service learning, and philanthropic programs.  This year we especially appreciated a growing presence of grandparents in our school community. Grandparent Bob Woodward’s outstanding April 19 presentation on the upcoming presidential election – moderated by BFS parent and broadcast journalist Bill Weir, was one example of such meaningful participation. Grandparents also had continues on page 2

Summer 2016  BROOKLYN FRIENDS SCHOOL JOURNAL  1

BFS Journal_Summer 2016.indd 1

8/29/16 11:45 AM


Message from Head of School Dr. Larry Weiss a notable and much appreciated role as major donors to the early phase of our Light the Way capital campaign. On a daily basis, I see many grandparents meeting up with their grandchildren at the end of the school day – signifying the multigenerational character of our school. Grandparents and Special Friends Day is always a highlight of the school year for me as well as for our younger students and their grandparents. Our Alumni form another very important constituency of our learning community. I was gratified by the turnout and the enthusiasm of more than 100 alumni who participated in our first Alumni Day at the Lawrence Street campus. I was especially moved by the involvement of our 50th Anniversary Class of 1966. More than half of the alums in this class participated in the reunion and a special dinner was held in their honor. Our distinguished 2016 graduation speaker and George Fox Award honoree Dr. Lawrence Madlock ’66 was a very active participant in the planning and follow-through of the Class’ celebrations that included a substantial gift to BFS. One of the greatest pleasures that I have is hearing from parents, students, and alumni about how meaningful their experiences have been with members of our faculty and staff. Sometimes these expressions are spontaneous, and some are detailed written acknowledgements. Praise might come after a performance or an award ceremony or as a reflection during a vacation. Occasionally, alumni will look back over decades to identify a teacher or staff member who had a deeply meaningful impact on their lives that only became evident decades after graduation. Such commentary is not limited to teachers. All of our teaching and learning community members – including administrative and support staff members, coaches, receptionists, maintenance, and cafeteria personnel – play key roles in making the school a welcoming, supportive, and collaborative environment in which students can learn, grow, and thrive.

continued from page 1

planning offered by Arthur Larrabee of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, for the all-school parent gathering on May 23, with a concern for diversity and inclusion. Working with our alum and former trustee, Professor Darrick Hamilton ’89, Arthur led a detailed and comprehensive discussion of a complex and emotionally provocative subject; it was the first time that many parents were exposed to Quaker-based facilitation practice. The continuing guidance, support, and leadership offered by the Board of Trustees were especially welcome in a year that featured the successful addition of our new Upper School facility that took more than a decade of concerted Board effort to bring to reality; the triumphant fulfillment of many important fund raising goals for annual giving and capital funds; and other pressing issues that required the Board’s wisdom and guidance. I believe it is especially important to recognize the unparalleled record of accomplishment and service established by Board Co-Chair Lara Holliday, who completed her third consecutive three-year term as a Trustee before retiring from the Board at the end of this school year. Lara’s initiatives in the areas of communications and website design; expanding Quaker presence and practice at BFS; fundraising and public relations; and visioning a bright and dynamic future for BFS in its next 150 years as leading Friends institution should be seen as path breaking efforts by a brilliant, eloquent, and friendly leader. Finally, thank you one and all members of the Brooklyn Friends School learning community. I am grateful for your steadfast support of the School and heartened by the efforts of so many individuals who strive every day at BFS to improve and to safeguard the education of our amazing students. In friendship,

In our 149th year as a Friends school, BFS continued to deepen its relationships with the Brooklyn Monthly Meeting and other Quaker organizations. I am particularly grateful for the clerking and organizational

2  BROOKLYN FRIENDS SCHOOL JOURNAL  Summer 2016

BFS Journal_Summer 2016.indd 2

8/29/16 11:45 AM


CLASS OF 2016

Is Ready to Take on the World with Courage, Confidence, and Clarity Overcoming fear, taking action, and making wise, informed choices were the consistent themes at the commencement exercises for the Class of 2016, held on June 14. Head of School Dr. Larry Weiss, Board Co-chairs Lara Holliday and Bradford Mulder ’83, and Upper School Head Sidney Bridges presided at the evening ceremony, which took place in the expansive and historic Concert Hall of the New York Society for Ethical Culture. “Before us is the lasting legacy, diverse accomplishment, eccentricity, superb athletic achievement, exceptional creativity in the visual and performing arts, fierce idealism, and courageous conviction of this Class of 2016,” said Upper School Head Sidney Bridges, opening the ceremony. “I applaud you for flipping the script on societal expectations,” he told the graduates. “You clearly got Toni Morrison’s memo to be wary of past and present danger.” The consummate English teacher, Sidney invoked Emily Dickinson, who wrote, “The soul should always stand ajar, ready to welcome the ecstatic experience.” The Quaker-educated Head of Upper School also urged the graduates to “take the spirit of meeting for worship with you.” As the activist allies and ambassadors for peace they have become at BFS, they should continue to “insist on respectful treatment of all persons.” The seniors selected classmates Sierra Vines Jones ’16 and Jade Hodge-Pollard ’16 as the class speakers. They each spoke candidly of their struggles

Head of School Sidney Bridges greeted every graduate with a hug.

as African-American young women both in the world at large and within Brooklyn Friends School itself. Even in this complex environment, however, each has become – in the words of their Head of Upper School Sidney Bridges – “principled, peaceful activists against injustice, indifference, invisibility, inequity, and intolerance.” A founder of the Human Rights Pen Pal Program at BFS in tenth grade, Jade has been a leader of the Youth Action Project and the Diversity Awareness Initiative for Students and was captain of the Panthers continues on page 4

C O V E R P H O T O , F R O M L E F T: Graduates Sierra Vines Jones, Charles Hills, Henry Killen, and Tatyana Rosenthal

BFS Journal_Summer 2016.indd 3

Summer 2016  BROOKLYN FRIENDS SCHOOL JOURNAL  3

8/29/16 11:46 AM


Class of 2016 continued from page 3 equipped to mold the world as an intelligent, artistically curious society for all people, no matter what gender, class, race, religion, socioeconomic status or any other intersectional identifier.” Sierra also shattered a popular cliché at the conclusion of her remarks: “We are not here simply to ‘make a difference’ because anyone can make a difference. We are here to innovate, change, feel, live, and most importantly, to love.”

Class Speakers Sierra Vines Jones (left) and Jade Hodge-Pollard (right)

Supreme Dance and Step Team for her four years in upper school. Sierra has been a delegate of the Student Diversity Leadership Conference and has created numerous forums for dialogue about self-acceptance and identity. She served as a class secretary, senator, and vice-president and made significant contributions to the basketball and softball programs. “I would like to take a moment and recognize that two intelligent, college-bound, young black women are the chosen speakers for this commencement ceremony,” said Sierra as she addressed the assembled guests. “The ticket was paid by our predecessors and because of their sacrifices I can stand before you today.”  She included praise for not only major historical figures, but also black women of inspiration in her immediate sphere, those BFS faculty who have had a direct influence on her. Sierra, a Prep for Prep scholar who will matriculate at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, characterized her classmates as “not being afraid to break the mold. Your minds are beautiful, your hearts are enormous, and your actions will make you prosper.” She continued, “The Class of 2016 is

Jade spoke of being a newcomer at BFS during her ninth grade year as an Oliver program scholar and the tremendous culture shock that came with it. “For someone living in a low income neighborhood, getting the chance to go to a private school is something many people don’t get to have.”  However, she told with bittersweet candor about her sense of exclusion and isolation she felt at times.  She spoke emotionally about the moments of depression and spiritual doubt she never imagined she would experience. She also spoke highly of her great moments and laughter, and about her formal education on such topics as institutionalized racism, human rights, and the privilege she felt at getting to meet the men known as the Central Park Five at a school event.  Jade, who matriculates at Syracuse University in August, advocated for the dismantling of “systems of power and privilege that create harmful dynamics.” She continued: “To those who feel lesser than what they are or feel overlooked, please know that you are so much greater and stronger than you may believe.” The seniors chose math teacher Ataa Addo as their faculty speaker, who admitted his surprise at the honor given his relative newness at the school.  He has been at BFS for two years but nonetheless during that time has taught every member of the graduating class. Selfdescribed as a lifelong learner dedicated to investing in the lives of others, Addo said his father taught him to seek and value wisdom always, and his speech to the graduates reflected just that. “Don’t just think about being free, but about freedom,” he told the graduates. He broke the word down into its

4  BROOKLYN FRIENDS SCHOOL JOURNAL  Summer 2016

BFS Journal_Summer 2016.indd 4

8/29/16 11:46 AM


1

2

5

7

3

4

6

8

9

1. Noah Walker; 2. Alessandra Pilkington; 3. Grace Morenko; 4. Patonya Parker; 5. Anna Franceschelli; 6. Kuan-heng Huang; 7. Omar Moftah; 8. Samuel Botwin, Liza Kruth; Xiana Quadrozzi, Samuel Horowitz, Cecilia Emy; 9. Henry Jacobs.

component roots. “Dom has to do with domination, dominion. So you are free to dominate with your skills. This is your chance to tap into all of your skills and gifts and to be master of yourself . . .. It’s not to dominate others; it’s to dominate you.  You have the power and the right to act.” He also addressed the anxiety and fear that he has overheard many seniors expressing this past year about world events and about their own futures.  “When fear kicks in, it’s not the time to stop, it’s the time to use wisdom...If your purpose is bigger than yourself, and involves other people, you will continue to move forward...Make something amazing of yourself.” The George Fox Award, which annually honors a distinguished alumnus/a, was presented to Dr. Lawrence Madlock ’66, a professor of medicine and psychiatry, an attending physician at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Memphis, TN, for 17 years and currently

Director of University Health Services at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. A precocious teenager, Lawrence had already graduated high school in Memphis when he was offered a scholarship to attend an independent school in New York City through the American Friends Service Committee’s Southern Student Project. He turned down a math scholarship at the University of Michigan to come to Brooklyn Friends in 1964.  A few years after graduating BFS, while a senior at Wesleyan University, the future Dr. Madlock was drafted. He returned to Brooklyn Friends as a teaching and maintenance crew intern to fulfill his service as a conscientious objector. He went on to earn an M.A. from Memphis State University and his M.D. degree from Baylor College of Medicine. “I did not go to a prep school,” Lawrence told the students.  “I went to a Quaker school. Prep schools prepare people for college. Quaker schools prepare students for life. When I was thinking about the events of the past week and me getting the George Fox award, I remembered that I had once thought about writing a paper about the relationship between George Fox, Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King. continues on page 7

Summer 2016  BROOKLYN FRIENDS SCHOOL JOURNAL  5

BFS Journal_Summer 2016.indd 5

8/29/16 11:46 AM


1

2

5

3

4

6

7

8

COLLEGE DESTINATIONS FOR MEMBERS OF THE CL ASS OF 2016 Bennington College – 2

Pitzer College

The Ohio State University

Binghamton University

Pomona College

The University of Arizona

Boston University

Quinnipiac University

Brown University

Reed College

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Colgate University

Rhode Island School of Design

Tulane University

Curry College

Rochester Institute of Technology

Guilford College

Sarah Lawrence College

University of California, Los Angeles

Ithaca College

University of Hartford

Kenyon College

Savannah College of Art and Design – 3

University of Maryland

Loyola University New Orleans

Skidmore College– 2

University of Richmond

Northeastern University

Smith College

University of Southern California

Northwestern University

Syracuse University – 2

Vassar College

Occidental College

The George Washington University

Wesleyan University – 3

Pace University

The New School – 3

6  BROOKLYN FRIENDS SCHOOL JOURNAL  Summer 2016

BFS Journal_Summer 2016.indd 6

8/29/16 11:46 AM


THE CL ASS OF 2016 Ashley Azeez

Sarah Glassman*

Diego Macurrulla

Xiana Quadrozzi

Zachary Benares

Kamal Goulbourne

Nicola Mocciaro

Arden Restrick

Samuel Botwin*

Isabella Guinness

Omar Moftah

Tatyana Rosenthal

Christopher Boyd

Charles Hills*

Meledi Montano

Sofia Paz Rothkegel

Maya Bushell*

Jade Hodge-Pollard

Abrielle Moore*

Lucia Steele

Caroline Campos*

Samuel Horowitz*

Grace Morenko*

Charlotte Strine

Bakari Cunningham*

Kuan-heng Huang

David Mounier Jr.

Tyler Vincent

Naya Cuprill

Henry Jacobs*

Shomari Munroe

Sierra Vines

Quran Davis

Na Yeon Kang

Patonya Parker

Maya Walfall

Brittney Edmiston

Henry Killen

Ruby Phillips*

Noah Walker

Cecilia Emy

Liza Kruth

Alessandra Pilkington

Olive Wexler

Anna Franceschelli*

Anna Levin*

Colin Pollard

*signifies students who entered BFS in first grade or earlier

1. Chris Boyd; 2. Tyler Vincent; 3. Ruby Phillips; 4. Anna Levin, Charlotte Strine, Nicola Mocciaro, Atta Addo, Colin Pollard; 5. Abrielle Moore and Ashley Azeez; 6. Olive Wexler; 7. Naya Cuprill; 8. Sarah Glassman. B E L O W : Maya Walfall and Meledi Montano O P P O S I T E PA G E :

Class of 2016 continued from page 5 middle of the Sahara Desert. Another guy and I literally were about to die. A man – I don’ t know his name, I’ve never seen him again – took us into his home and saved our lives. I said, ‘Yes, this is a Friend.’”

“Every now and then a person comes along and puts it all together,” he said, “a person who understands that we are all one, who understands that we should advance each other. George Fox was one of those people.”  He shared with the gathering that receiving the award alerted him that it was “time for me to rededicate myself, and for the Class of 2016 to dedicate themselves, to those principles – to go out into the world and do the next right thing.” He urged the students carry the spirit of Fox with them into their futures.  “I want you to remain Friends in every sense of the word.  You don’t have to be a Quaker to be a Friend.”  He recalled a particularly harrowing incident that befell him as a Wesleyan student studying abroad in Africa.  “There was a man – a man in the

His concluding advice to the senior class included five sage points: You’re never as smart or as dumb as other people say you are. Learn something every day. It’s all right to own things, but don’t let things own you. Service, service, service – that’s the true essence of everything that you were put here for. And lastly, “When you’re in college, never ever miss a party because of school work.” At that, the students erupted into shouts and applause, and Lawrence did his best to talk over them.  “But the secret is – what’s the secret? Get the work done first. Then you can go to the party.”

“Prep schools prepare people for college. Quaker schools prepare students for life.” D R . L AW R E N C E M A D L O C K ’6 6

Summer 2016  BROOKLYN FRIENDS SCHOOL JOURNAL  7

BFS Journal_Summer 2016.indd 7

8/29/16 11:46 AM


Showering GRANDPARENTS with Love, Gratitude, and a Sampling of Life at Brooklyn Friends School This year’s Grandparents and Special Friends day was held on May 26 for kindergarten, first and second grade students and their families. It was a busy and joyous time. More than 250 guests had breakfast in the cafeteria, enjoyed musical entertainment in the school meetinghouse, visited the all-school art show in the lower gym, and best of all – spent time with their grandchildren in their classrooms. “Grandparents have been such a vital part of the success of Brooklyn Friends School,” said Head of School Larry Weiss upon welcoming the group. “From the emotional support you provide to our students and their families – whether you are near or far – to

your financial support of both the Brooklyn Friends Fund and our capital campaign, you have a central role in the lives of our students and our community.” Dr. Weiss reported to the grandparents on progress of the BFS capital campaign. He said that 20 percent of the funds raised thus far had come from grandparents in our community and that grandparents Richard and Marsha Rothman had offered a matching gift challenge for their fellow grandparents to bring the campaign to a successful conclusion. Going forward until September 30, 2016, the Rothman Family will match every dollar given by grandparents to the

capital campaign – an important way to double the impact of their contributions to the school. When their time with the children came to a close, some of the grandparent guests went the extra block or two from Pearl Street to Lawrence Street for a VIP tour of the Upper School with Larry Weiss. It was there that they could envision their grandchildren’s future and see firsthand the impact of the capital campaign on the life of the school. To view more photos from the day and to make a donation qualifying for the matching gift to the capital campaign, visit the BFS website, brooklynfriends.org/grandparents.

8  BROOKLYN FRIENDS SCHOOL JOURNAL  Summer 2016

BFS Journal_Summer 2016.indd 8

8/29/16 11:46 AM


Summer 2016  BROOKLYN FRIENDS SCHOOL JOURNAL  9

BFS Journal_Summer 2016.indd 9

8/29/16 11:46 AM


10  BROOKLYN FRIENDS SCHOOL JOURNAL  Summer 2016

BFS Journal_Summer 2016.indd 10

8/29/16 11:46 AM


Spring

Bowl

Affording private school tuition, especially here in NYC, is no easy feat for any family, even the wealthiest. This is why, it is so incredibly important for each and every one of us to support financial aid at Brooklyn Friends, so that children and families from ALL walks of life, from any block in New York City, have access to an education that inspires creativity, questions the status quo, and sparks the next generation of critical readers, writers, scientists, historians and mathematicians.” Caroline Segarra, Lower School faculty member, addressing the guests at the Spring Bowl on Tuesday, March 1, 2016

In Strikes, Spares and Splits, Spring Bowl Added Up to a Successful Fundraiser for Financial Aid at BFS

For the third and final time, Brooklyn Friends School took over Brooklyn Bowl in Williamsburg for our annual fundraiser. And what a finale it was! The community raised $80,000 for the financial aid program by bidding and bowling with friends. Hosted by the Parents and Teachers Association and Spring Bowl Co-Chairs Monica Jonas and Lauryn Small, the celebration began with a 200-piece silent auction. Friends bid, socialized, and enjoyed food and drink by Blue Ribbon. Visits to the photo booth were accompanied by the music of the Jon Patrick Walker Band. Middle School teacher and auctioneer Jeremy Hawkins joined Jon for a number and then immediately jumped into the live auction of the collaborative artwork of our Preschool and Lower School students. Drama teacher Lorna Jordan took the stage with Jeremy to perform a tongue in cheek Broadway number – “Money Makes the World Go ‘Round” – complete with Cabaret-worthy costumes. The community came together in response and raised their hands to donate to financial aid at BFS. The night ended with bowling and dancing to the music of DJ Lumumba. With a third of Brooklyn Friends School students receiving financial aid, the Spring Bowl is vital to the strength of our community. As always, a committee of dedicated volunteers – led by chairs Monica Jonas, Lauryn Small and the Advacmenet Office – made the night a (pin)smashing success. Appreciation also goes to all the auction guests and the many parents, teachers, local businesses and other community members who donated items to the auction. Next year’s fundraiser for financial aid will move just a hop, skip and a jump from the school’s Pearl Street location – to Hill Country Brooklyn – on March 2, 2017. Volunteers are already organizing; please reach out to Emily Cowles (ecowles@ brooklynfriends.org) to help plan the best party of the year. Summer 2016  BROOKLYN FRIENDS SCHOOL JOURNAL  11

BFS Journal_Summer 2016.indd 11

8/29/16 11:46 AM


REUNITED

and It Feels So Good by Lekeia Varlack Judge ’99

There is something magical that happens when people who haven’t seen each other in years, or in some cases decades, get together in the very place where they’ve parted ways. It’s a joyous moment, wrapped in nostalgia with a hint of high school jitters. It’s the moment that friends who have become strangers, become friends again and old grudges fall by the wayside. It’s people sharing how they’ve grown since their teenage years while recognizing the growth of others. It’s the rekindling of old flames, and the sharing of new families. It’s our alums leaving with a newfound appreciation for their BFS education, in the memories they cherish and the friendships they forged. This undeniable magnetism that permeates the party is what makes Alumni Day such a special event, year after year.

This past June, alums from all classes gathered together to mingle with friends and revisit the part of their youth spent at BFS. Although the program is basically the same every year, starting with an alumni basketball game, followed by Quaker meeting and a tour of the school buildings, and ending with a reception, each Alumni Day has a distinct feel that cannot be duplicated. One notable difference this year however, was a tour and cocktail reception in our new Upper School building on Lawrence Street, that allowed our alums to connect the past with the present while getting a glimpse into the future of this beloved institution. Every Alumni Day, we are amazed by how dedicated and enthusiastic our alumni community is about Brooklyn Friends, even after all these years. With

PICTURED ABOVE:

Daphne Saget Woodley ’96, Oshadi Kelly ’96, Nadia Murray ’96, Nwamaka Ugokwe ’96, Catherine Sui ’96, Crystal Backus ’96 12  BROOKLYN FRIENDS SCHOOL JOURNAL  Summer 2016

BFS Journal_Summer 2016.indd 12

8/29/16 11:46 AM


Barbara von Salis ’07, Courtni Clark ’06, Anginese Phillips ’06 Brandon Lara,’13, Olabanji Shoyombo ’13, Danielle East ’13, Maddie Edwards ’13, Nicolas Edwards ’13

Alums Derek Lynch ’89 and Karim Camara ’88 are BFS parents as well.

an impressive turnout from our special reunion classes, we were able to celebrate our milestone years along with other alums and a few teachers who have maintained strong ties to our former students. In the midst of the cocktail reception, Head of School Larry Weiss delivered a slideshow presentation to drive home the importance alumni giving. Whether it is reunion giving in honor of a milestone class or making a donation to the annual fund, alumni gifts help to provide our students with the same wonderful educational opportunities that alums have received, while maintaining and expanding BFS’ alumni program. Offering our alumni access to events such as Networking Nights, Young Alumni Day and Alumni Day are sustainable only through the generosity of our vibrant alumni community. For questions about reunion giving, please contact the Director of Alumni, Lekeia Varlack Judge ’99 at lvarlack@brooklynfriends.org

Karen Bilsky ’66, Ellen Dresdale Ritz ’66, Ellen Chatin ’66, Jim McNeil’ 66, Lawrence Madlock ’66, Ted Steingut ’66, Ed Fields ’66, Charlie Alesi ’66

As always, the alumni basketball game was popular with both the players (pictured) and the spectators.

We hope that our alums continue to visit us to create those special moments with one another. In the meantime, stay connected for information about Alumni Day 2017 and always remember to celebrate your Blue Pride, until we meet again. Head of School Larry Weiss beginning a tour for alums of the new Lawrence Street facility

BFS Journal_Summer 2016.indd 13

8/30/16 1:00 PM


ALUMNI PROFILE:

Brad Albert ’86

Brad Albert ’86 lives in Hawaii where he harnesses the sun on a regular basis. An impassioned prophet of clean energy and self-empowerment for homeowners, he’s eager to expand into commercial and school projects through the company he founded in 2003, Rising Sun Solar. What started as a two-person operation has grown to a thriving business with 100 employees and 30 to 40 independent contractors.  Based in Maui, the company specializes in net metered systems, which Brad explained is a solar power collector installed on the home that works in tandem with a power company’s normal electrical supply.  “Today about 12% of Hawaii’s residential power use is solar, whereas nationally it’s more like .5%,” Brad said. He would love to see that dismal national number grow but in the meantime he remains focused on his own corner of the country. “The technology hasn’t changed much. It’s the financing and increased investor confidence in profiting from solar energy that have changed.  There’s little or no maintenance required, no moving parts.  Normally, any time you’re making electricity you’re spinning something, but not with solar cells. They degrade very little.  Over 25 years it will lose less than 20% of its output, that’s about it.”

“You can do whatever you want. You just have to try hard and do it.”

Brad grew up in Park Slope and came to BFS in first grade. “My mom was a hippie generation person and Quaker principles appealed to her,” he recalled. “She liked that I could be a conscientious objector. Being a parent now, I’ve learned you have limited choices of schools and you make the best choice for your child – BFS had the best philosophy for her.” Brad’s father owned Astroland Amusement Park in Coney Island.  “My parents were divorced and I was raised by my mom,” he stressed.  Some have suggested to him over the years that he learned about entrepreneurship from his father or perhaps inherited the genes for it, but he credits it more with his upbringing, and, to some degree, the freedom he found at BFS. “At BFS you knew everyone,” he said. And although he graduated as an honors student, Brad admits to not feeling like much of one while he was here.  “I wasn’t career-oriented. I was a competitive skier, which was weird for a kid living in Brooklyn.” Today he looks back in amazement at this unique experience “Teaching to the students’ needs’ sounds hackneyed but it’s true. There aren’t many schools that would allow you to fit competitive skiing into your program and at the same time have a vice principal sit down with you before school and tutor you in Latin.”

14  BROOKLYN FRIENDS SCHOOL JOURNAL  Summer 2016

BFS Journal_Summer 2016.indd 14

8/29/16 11:46 AM


Brad went on to the University of Vermont and finished his degree while being a professional skier on the US Freestyle Ski Team.  A friend asked him if he wanted to use his years of expertise on the slopes to become a sales rep for his budding snowboard company.  “So I got into this sales and marketing position.” The shift from being an athlete to talking and selling sent him into another unexpected career turn. “Oddly enough, I joined with a friend to start an ad agency. We were profiled in Paper magazine as this cool, alternative design firm,” he said.  When that company folded, a casualty of the dot-com collapse in the 1990’s, he was desperate for work.  “A friend was doing tiling in San Francisco, so I did that for awhile.”  Working with his hands at a construction job might have seemed irrelevant at the time but it would make a lasting impression on him. A snowboarding accident in Alaska meant the end of his professional skiing days and he needed to find another line of permanent work.  “I saw an ad in a yoga magazine for an alternative energy company called Green Mountain.”  On a whim he contacted them and asked if they needed any sales reps. Soon he was working for them, but he learned that rather than just talking and selling, he liked being on-site and involved with the actual building process.  He was itching to find work that would fuse his passion for nature and the outdoors with his desire to build. A friend lived in Hawaii building homes.  “He saw an open market [for solar energy], so we teamed up with an electrical contractor to install solar on a new home.  The business took off from there.”  He said he never imagined heading a company that had so many employees he doesn’t know all of their names.  “People say, ‘Brad, you’re so lucky, you fell into this.’  But I earned it. It’s been a long, long road to create the foundation for us to have a market like this in Hawaii.  There has constantly been a legal cap or an obstruction to do these systems.  There aren’t a lot of case studies on how to run a company like ours. We are the case study.” When he’s not working at Rising Sun Solar or the nonprofit he helped found – the Hawaii PV Coalition, a photovoltaic energy advocacy group – Brad enjoys Hawaiian life to its fullest. Snow skiing’s hard to come by so he sticks to surfing and paddle boarding with his wife, Amy, and 8-year-old son, Tosh. His message to today’s BFS students is firmly based on his experience:  “You can do whatever you want. You just have to try hard and do it. That wasn’t preached to us at BFS but it was there, not forcing anyone into a pigeonhole. You have an edge on the rest of the world that you don’t even know you have.”– Jeffrey Stanley

Brooklyn Friends School honors the life of one of our oldest and most distinguished alumni, Robert MacCrate ’39, who passed away on April 6, 2016 at his home in Plandome, NY at the age of 94. An iconic leader in the legal profession, Bob was a longtime Partner at Sullivan & Cromwell. He served as special counsel to the Army investigating IN MEMORY OF the MyLai massacre and was counsel to Governor Nelson Rockefeller. Bob was president of the American Bar Association (ABA) and published a report that revolutionized the practices of legal education. During his ABA tenure, he formed the Commission on Women in the Profession to identify and remove obstacles from women’s professional advancement in the legal field. His accolades include receiving the Gold Medal from the New York State Bar Association in 1999 followed by the ABA Medal in 2001 from the American Bar Association. Both awards are the highest honors from each association.

Robert MacCrate ’39

In addition to being an outstanding lawyer, Robert MacCrate was the patriarch of a large family. He is survived by two sons, one daughter, 10 grandchildren and seven great grandchildren. Connie, his wife of 69 years, died in January. Bob was generous alum who deeply appreciated his BFS education. His philanthropic efforts included yearly donations to the Brooklyn Friends Fund and contributions to the Brooklyn Friends endowment. During one of our most recent conversations with him, he credited Brooklyn Friends as an influential force for everything that followed in his life. Susan Price ’86, BFS historian, fondly recalled spending an afternoon several years ago visiting with Bob MacCrate in his office at Sullivan & Cromwell, where he was still active as senior counsel in his late 80s: “Bob and I sat side by side for much of that wonderful visit, reminiscing about BFS, sharing material from the BFS Archives and from Bob’s personal collection. I will never forget watching Bob make a point of acknowledging every single person he encountered in the halls of his firm, chatting and laughing with each for a moment, leaving every person smiling. Bob gave me a memorable, unintended and powerful lesson in leadership that day.” – Lekeia Varlack Judge ’99 Summer 2016  BROOKLYN FRIENDS SCHOOL JOURNAL  15

BFS Journal_Summer 2016.indd 15

8/29/16 11:46 AM


Remembering Bobby Flores Hello Bobby, can I go to the lobby? My friends and I would sing this to Bobby every time we stepped through those elevator doors and each time, he would reply with a smile. Even after a long, exhausting day of work, when the irksome chant might have driven the average person to scold us out of sheer annoyance. But not Bobby. He always treated us with kindness and remarkable patience. That is what made him so special to everyone who knew him in the many years he worked at BFS. Bobby Flores was more than a elevator operator, he was our very own ambassador to Brooklyn Friends who managed to make everyone feel welcomed and secure. He was often times the first person to greet you every morning and the last person you speak to before going home. His calming presence helped center us before facing another day of learning, and he always made the ride to our next destination pleasant, even if it only lasted a few seconds. Bobby performed his daily duties while quietly embodying the essence of BFS. Based on how he was loved by everyone, we could not have picked a better man for the job. Learning of Bobby’s passing in February garnered an outpouring of love from our entire community. Our alumni Facebook group was flooded with comments from alumni of different generations, all expressing their condolences and sharing fond memories. Katherine Ambía wrote “ He was the best part of every morning for me.” Becky Simon ’02 added, “ He showed endless love for the children and families of BFS.” Aleshia Anthony ’01 shared, “No matter what was going on in your day, once you stepped in the elevator you stepped out with a smile. He truly understood the magic of childhood.” These are just a small sample of the heartfelt messages that people left to honor him, but they all echoed the same sentiment of a beautiful soul who impacted everyone he encountered and who will be sorely missed.  – Lekeia Varlack Judge ’99

BROOKLYN FRIENDS SCHOOL

Journal

is published by the Advancement Office of Brooklyn Friends School for students, alumni, parents, grandparents, faculty, and friends. 375 Pearl Street Brooklyn, NY 11201 Tel: 718.852.1029 brooklynfriends.org

Guided by the Quaker belief

that there is a Divine Light in everyone, Brooklyn Friends School cultivates an intellectually ambitious and diverse community that celebrates each individual’s gifts. We challenge our students to value and embrace difference as they develop critical thinking skills and apply their knowledge and intelligence both in and out of the classroom. In this rich learning environment, we inspire all members of our community to voice their convictions, to discover and pursue their passions, and to seek truth. Our graduates are compassionate, curious, and confident global citizens who let their lives speak in the spirit of leadership and service.

Joan Martin, Editor Jeffrey Stanley, Staff Writer Gregg Martin, Photographer

16  BROOKLYN FRIENDS SCHOOL JOURNAL  Summer 2016

BFS Journal_Summer 2016.indd 16

8/29/16 11:46 AM


ANOTHER YEAR OF BLUE PRIDE Congratulations to the student-athletes, coaches, managers, fans, Athletic Director David Gardella and Athletic Trainer Don Hovey for a phenomenal 2015-16 year in interscholastic sports. BFS had a record of 156 wins, 78 losses and 5 ties.

SPRING TEAMS AND RECORDS Varsity Boys Volleyball. . . . . . . . . Varsity Girls Softball. . . . . . . . . . . Varsity Boys Baseball. . . . . . . . . . Varsity & Middle School Track. . Middle School Boys Baseball. . .

13-3 (ACIS Champions) 9-4 (ISAL Championship Finalist) 3-7 10 athletes ran and competed 9-1

GIRLS SOFTBALL

CHAMPS

BOYS VOLLEYBALL

CHAMPS

BFS Journal_Summer 2016.indd 17

8/29/16 11:46 AM


Brooklyn Friends School 375 Pearl Street Brooklyn, NY 11201

Non-Profit Org. U.S. Postage PAID S. Hackensack, NJ Permit # 79

Address Service Requested

THANKS TO YOU...

We’re moving into a new era of philanthropic support for Brooklyn Friends School.

$

1,000,000

raised for the Brooklyn Friends Fund in 2015-16

BFS Journal_Summer 2016.indd 18

8/29/16 11:47 AM

BFS Journal Summer 2016  
Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you