Page 1

brooklyn Friends School Newsletter

Vol. 9, No. 3 SPRING 2013

Checking in with the Merit Scholars


fter more than ten years as BFS lifers, ninth graders Anna Franceschelli, Abby Moore, and Henry Jacobs continue to find Brooklyn Friends an inspiring place to learn and grow.

Interviews with each student shed light on how these dynamic and motivated ninth graders feel about their first year in the Upper School as BFS Merit Scholars. Anna Franceschelli has a passion for the BFS community and its values. “I participated on the JV volleyball team, and the Dance Concert. I paint, I volunteer with children at the Family Center, and babysit a great deal,” she says, “and I am learning how to play the piano as well.” Along with her strong academic record, Anna’s active life is a big part of the reason why she was selected as Merit Scholar. “When I got the call offering me the scholarship, it was a happy shock and a relief,” said Anna, who entered BFS in kindergarten. “The workload has definitely increased, but it’s good to know that I am up to the challenge and capable of exceeding expectations.” Her classmate and fellow Merit Scholar Abby Moore feels much the same way. “As expected, new challenges come with harder work, meaning later nights and less sleep,” she said. “It’s rewarding, however, to see

all of my hard work amount to something good… I knew I had to step up my game because I had even more to work for.” She particularly looks forward to continuing to study French and history. “I like learning about people and culture… My instructors for these classes are also both really good teachers.” Abby entered BFS at age 18

months. She plays volleyball both on the varsity team and with an outside league. “My favorite part of being a ninth grader is getting a bit of a fresh start,” she said. “It’s nice to get to build relationships with new teachers and a new group of students.” Henry Jacobs, who started at BFS at age two, plays basketball, soccer, and baseball for BFS. He

From left, Merit Scholars Anna Franceschelli, Abby Moore, and Henry Jacobs

takes drum lessons on weekends, and counts Spanish as his favorite class. “My teacher Gorka Hernandez Ortiz makes class entertaining and interesting; this motivates me to succeed.” What are his least favorite and favorite parts of ninth grade year? “My least favorite is having to adapt to the new teaching styles. Some of the teachers expect you to do a lot of learning on your own. This was difficult at first, but it’s a good skill to develop. My favorite part has been meeting all the other Upper School students.” Contending for a Merit Scholarship is as much about academic rigor as it is about making a meaningful contribution to the life of the school. Upper School Head Bob Bowman praised the program for encouraging strong Middle School students to remain at BFS. “It’s always our goal to have dynamic, motivated students select our Upper School,” he said. “Anna, Abby, and Henry have had successful and exciting experiences here. I know their teachers, advisers and coaches are thrilled.” The Merit Scholarship is $10,000 a year for all four years in the Upper School. The Class of 2017 Merit Scholars, now finishing up 8th grade at BFS, are Hildagard Gabel and Philip Camposano. We’ll be checking in with the two of them next year as they conclude ninth grade at BFS and wish them all the best in the Upper School. –Jeffrey Stanley

PLEASE GIVE GENEROUSLY to the Brooklyn Friends Fund. Our fiscal year ends on June 30, 2013, and our goal is $925,000. Give online at

Message from Head of School Dr. Larry Weiss

A Service Learning Initiative at Brooklyn Friends


ommunity service has a long and rich history at BFS, stretching back well over 100 years, but our modern program really began in 1982 when BFS became one of the few schools to develop a

community service program and curriculum as a requirement for graduation. As community service became more accepted and widespread in education in the following decades, the BFS Upper School, like many other institutions, developed community service curricula requiring the fulfillment of specific hours of service each year. More recently, community service at BFS has been deepened and broadened to include intensive, multi-year group service projects, one of the most meaningful in St. Bernard’s Parish in New Orleans. Over the past year, we have begun to embrace a community service methodology called Service Learning. What is Service Learning? As defined by the National Service Learning Clearinghouse, “Service Learning is a teaching and learning strategy that integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities. If school students collect trash out of an urban streambed, they are providing a valued service to the community as volunteers. If school students collect trash from an urban streambed, analyze their findings to determine the possible sources of pollution, and share the results with residents of the neighborhood, they are engaging in service learning.”

Interestingly enough, the urban streambed example resonates with activities that Middle School/Upper School Science Teacher and Environmental Action Coordinator Janet Villas has incorporated into the BFS science and ecology curriculum for years. Now we seek to bring this process of combining educational inquiry, project planning, supervised active experiential learning, and structured reflection to all aspects of our schoolwide service learning program. To lead this ambitious initiative, we have appointed Natania Kremer to the position of Director of Service Learning. Natania Kremer comes to BFS from the Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services, Child Development Center in Manhattan, where she currently serves as Director of Early Childhood Support Services and Admissions. A graduate of Swarthmore College, Natania earned dual Masters in Social Work at the Columbia School of Social Work and in Early Childhood General and Special Education at Bank Street College of Education. In her application letter, Natania stated: “I am excited by the ways in which embracing service learning with integrity can continue to strengthen community and deepen BFS’ core values of respect, active listening, and peaceful resolution of conflict… I believe that service learning has the potential to

bring more equity to the school curriculum, to broaden student understanding of the richness and complexity of culture, to support grassroots organizing by both students and teachers, and to bring more diversity to the community as a whole.” It is perhaps not entirely a coincidence that Natania earned an International Baccalaureate Diploma as a high school student. While part of the IB Diploma Program’s Core Requirements, the IB’s mandatory CAS (Creativity, Action, Service) project became a graduation requirement for all BFS Upper School students, whether IB Diploma candidates or not, several years ago. The Creativity, Action and Service components can each be interpreted broadly, affording students the opportunity to develop their individualized program in accord with IB guidelines. As the IBO website states, “The CAS requirement is a fundamental part of the program and takes seriously the importance of life outside the world of scholarship, providing a refreshing counterbalance to academic studies… self-evaluation encourages students to reflect on the benefits of CAS participation to themselves and to others, and to evaluate the understanding and insights acquired.”

Over the past year, we have begun to embrace a community service methodology called Service Learning. For BFS at the present juncture, the CAS requirement has represented an important step in the direction of Service Learning and Community Service. As we take steps forward, I expect to be able to share the future accomplishments of our younger and older students with the wider learning community as they integrate their community service activities with instruction and reflection, with their teachers and the Director of Service Learning, to further enrich their learning experiences and to contribute meaningfully to the greater good in their communities. In friendship,

bfs PARTNERS with numerous local, national, and international nonprofits for our service learning programs. Learn more at

2 Brooklyn Friends School Newsletter SPRING 2013

around the school FAMILY CENTER

It is spring – a time of year that is all about growth. At the Family Center, the children began their immersion into the season by planting flower and bean seeds and watching what happens to those seeds over time. Next, tiny caterpillars arrived – we watched their growth and development firsthand, as they became chrysalis and then beautiful butterflies. Colors and shapes, another area of study, engaged the children as they gained new information. Each of these activities helped to extend the children’s knowledge of the world around them. Growth is taking place in other areas as well. At the beginning of the school year, the children stepped in the classrooms, ready in many ways, but not really sure what was ahead for them. Now they enter confidently and are excited to be in school. They have learned so much about themselves as independent, very competent individuals. They have learned to use their words and listen to each other, to share, and to be patient. When something is hard they don’t give up - they persist, ask for help, and help each other. When something is fun, they include one other. When someone is upset, they care and want to help them feel better. The children truly understand what it means to be part of a community, a community of friends who love to be together to play and work. – Sara Soll Director of Family Center


Most of the Preschool curriculum is the result of intentional planning. Some lessons however, may begin with a comment made in jest or a casual “what if”.... In one such instance, two of our classrooms teachers were smiling at some developmentally appropriate “bossy” behavior they were witnessing and

chuckling to themselves. They said, “What if we just put them in charge?” Knowing that their class had grown very strong in social skills, the teachers’ eyes met and they said, “Let’s do it!” Thus the notion for “Kids in Charge Day” was born! Kate Engle and Laura Obuobi of the Yellow Room Threes have instituted a weekly practice in which the children take on many roles of authority including “Storyteller,” “Clean Up Reminder,” and “Meeting Leader.” The most sought after position, however, is “Mediator.” The role of the Mediator is to help children who are in conflict to resolve their issues. “The mediators obviously have learned some things from us and will model us by asking each child to describe the problem and have the other child listen quietly,” the teachers said. “Other things are done very differently.” As Kate and Laura explain, the mediator might just give a command and tell someone to go first or to go play somewhere else and the problem is resolved really quickly. “At first it was hard for us to believe that all the parties were O.K. with the resolution,” Kate and Laura shared, “so we checked in with the children and they were happy with the outcome almost every time! They seem to take the direction from their peers very easily. Now even on a day when there are no official Mediators assigned, we see children working things out among themselves much more effectively.” Three and four year-olds as peacemakers and leaders of the future? You bet! – Maura Eden Head of Preschool

lower school

Every year the 4th grade’s study of the settlement of New Netherlands lends itself to another, very

From top, Family Center children tending to their plants; Maura Eden sharing classroom time with children in the Yellow Room; Fourth graders with visitor Manuel Mainardi, who came to talk about modern-day immigration to NYC.

personal lesson in the modern immigration experience. Fourth graders begin their study of the new world by examining life for those living in the Netherlands during the 17th Century. They explore the governance, trade, customs and religious practices of those settlers’ homeland, and learn of the costs and benefits

associated with the decision to leave one’s country of origin. By researching the different people and scenarios of the 17th Century New Netherlands, they decide which persons or groups could actually immigrate to the new settlement, generating much debate about how people’s

continued on next page

SPRING 2013 Brooklyn Friends School Newsletter 3

able to check out a World War II cypher machine that generated similar codes. Who knew math could be so much fun? Clearly, the folks at BFS and MoMath both did! – Rachel Mazor English Teacher

around the school continued from page 3

unique circumstances ultimately influence decisions. To gain a better understanding of the motivations behind moving to a new country, 4th graders conducted interviews with adults in our community who more recently immigrated to the United States. Small teams of students each interviewed one adult to understand the personal reasons, dreams, and challenges of starting over in a new place. Having been taught proper interviewing skills and different questioning techniques, students elicited thoughtful, comprehensive responses. In past years, students have interviewed faculty members Myriam Juarbe and Fanny Sosenke, in addition to countless family members, caregivers, and friends who have shared their fascinating and often moving stories with us. Similar conversations occurred this year with our students and interviewees, from a wide range of nations including France, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Korea, Slovenia, Sudan, Switzerland, and Wales. Many of our classroom visitors came to the United States as young children, while others were adults in

upper SCHOOL

The Middle School celebrates at an “Alice in Wonderland” breakfast.

search of new opportunities or seeking to continue their education. All shared their stories openly and honestly, an invaluable opportunity for students to learn first-hand the struggles, benefits and rewards of the often life-altering decision to leave one’s homeland. – Bea Bartolotta Fourth Grade Head Teacher

middle SCHOOL

Friday, March 15 was the most math-tastic day of the year for the 7th Grade. Hot on the heels of an epic Middle School Pi Day celebration one day earlier (3.14, for those who need a reminder), the 7th graders enjoyed a full day of math-centric fun, first at BFS

Caroline Bell Heller, visiting with fourth graders

4 Brooklyn Friends School Newsletter SPRING 2013

and then on their field trip to the brand-new National Museum of Mathematics, also known as MoMath. The morning started with a tea party to celebrate their reading of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. The math connection? As any BFS 7th grader will tell you, Lewis Carroll was the pen name of math lecturer Charles Dodgson, and his fantastical novel is filled with math puzzles and riddles. Before heading off to MoMath, they enjoyed Queen of Hearts Tarts and Dormouse Tea in the festivelydecorated BFS cafeteria. Several students got into the spirit by dressing up as White Rabbits and Mad Hatters, with Angelika Mincone – Middle School advisor, P.E. teacher, and Alice look-alike – dressed as Alice, in full pinafore and puffedsleeve dress. At MoMath, students (and teachers!) explored many handson exhibits, from a squarewheeled tricycle, to a massive String Product calculator that turns multiplication tables into art, even to a screen that turned their arms into fractals. Those in the “Enigma Cafe” worked furiously at Rubik’s Cubes, while others collaborated on Pentominoes and Tangrams. The students particularly enjoyed the code-cracking workshops taught by MoMath educators. As they discovered the science of cryptography, small student groups revealed secret messages in the tricky codes, and they were even

This year’s International Baccalaureate (IB) Visual Arts show represented a collaboration by talented students, their dedicated teachers, and a group of supportive parents. The presentation of work debuted on April 4 in a new location – the school’s library at Pearl Street. “We brought it over so more faculty, staff, parents and students could see it,” explained Visual Arts Chair, IB Visual Arts teacher, and art show co-organizer Yuval Ortiz-Quiroga. The move came at the urging of parents eager to see this profound student work celebrated more broadly in the school community. Mark Buenzle, who has taught art, history, and psychology courses at BFS for 25 years, teaches IB Visual Arts and co-organized the show. “The students seemed to have unique perspectives and practices. Each artist created a personally relevant body of work,” he said. “This individualized approach is the strength of the IB program.” Mark added that students explore their studio work through journals. “Understanding art’s historical and cross-cultural influences is an important component,” he said. Students have to journal at least two art history pages per week, in addition to the pages devoted to technical exploration and theme, and they’re required to make regular museum visits. Exhibiting is mandatory with the IB curriculum, and the work required of the 12 students artists is stringent. “The studio work is graded externally by someone not at BFS,” explained Yuval. “Students are required to mount an exhibition and submit recorded

interviews and artist statements in which they talk about their process and ideas.” The interview and artist statement are not graded per se but they are all required components. On inspiring students to create and display their art, Yuval explained, “We try to create ‘safe’ spaces for students to express themselves, experiment and ‘fail.’ We give them technical tools to be able to do so and learn from the process along the way. Few people – children, teens or adults – would refuse to engage within such a forgiving and nurturing approach.” Senior Jacob Reiben, who has been accepted to Bowdoin College and plans to avail himself of their darkroom facilities, had numerous photographs in the show. Are his pieces linked or connected? “In IB art, it’s not necessarily essential to have a theme,” he explained. “Instead it’s important to be conscious of the development of one’s work over time. For me, this meant exploring different framing techniques for my photos.”

His assessment of the twoyear curriculum is positive. “The freedom of being able to explore while having the art facilities and our knowledgeable and supportive art teachers was great,” he said. “The weekly four pages of required journaling also helped me reflect and analyze my progression over these two years–a skill which will undoubtedly be helpful even outside the realm of art.” Parent Elise Kaufman, a respected artist and university teacher, has been working closely with Yuval this semester to professionally display student artwork in the upper school hallways. “When we first spoke to him about it, Yuval jumped right on it. He’s a terrific organizer and administrator and loves the students. He’s one of the school’s gems.” Note: an expanded version of this article and images from the exhibit are on the BFS website: www.brooklynfriends. org/ibart2013 – Jeffrey Stanley Staff Writer

The Class of 2013: Who Recruited Them, and Where Are They Going? The following is a list of colleges that admitted at least one member of the BFS Class of 2013. Colleges where at least one student is matriculating are in bold. (In some cases, more than one student will be attending the same college.) American University

Hartwick College

Skidmore College

Amherst College

Haverford College

St. John’s University

Babson College

Hunter College

SUNY Binghamton

Bard College

Indiana University

SUNY Buffalo State

Bates College

Iona College

SUNY Geneseo

Boston University

Ithaca College

SUNY New Paltz

Bowdoin College

Johns Hopkins University

SUNY Oneonta

Brooklyn College Carleton College City College of NY Clark University Colgate University College of Wooster Columbia University Connecticut College Cornell University DePaul University Drew University Earlham College Eckerd College

Lehigh University Lewis and Clark College Long Island University Loyola University New Orleans Macalester College Manhattan College Maryland Institute College of Art McDaniel College

Eugene Lang College

Miami University (OH)

Evergreen State College

Mount Holyoke College

Fordham University

Muhlenberg College

Franklin and Marshall College

New York University

George Mason University

Occidental College

Georgetown University

Oberlin College Pace University Pitzer College

Gettysburg College

Pratt Institute

Goucher College

Queens College

Grinnell College

Sarah Lawrence College

Guilford College A section of the art work from IB student Misha Holzman ’13

Juniata College

Hampshire College

School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

SUNY Potsdam SUNY Purchase SUNY Stony Brook Swarthmore College Trinity College Union College University of Chicago University of Edinburgh (UK) University of Durham (UK) University of Pittsburgh University of Vermont University of Virginia (Jefferson Scholars) University of Warwick (UK) Ursinus College Vanderbilt University Vassar College Wagner College Warren Wilson College Wells College Wesleyan University Wheaton College Williams College As of May 1, 2013

SPRING 2013 Brooklyn Friends School Newsletter 5

alumni/ae class notes by Deborah Rosenbluth Weinstein ’84 Ertan Tezgor (visiting international student in 1965) lives in Ankara, Turkey where he just retired from his position as Ambassador to Georgia. Previously, he was a Diplomat in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Turkey. Stephen Wermiel ’68 is a Professor of Constitutional Law at American University. In March, he was featured on Morning Roundup with Chuck Todd discussing whether Congress can mandate Americans to buy health insurance or pay a penalty and whether or not this penalty is actually a tax. Amy Kantrowitz Roszak ’75 writes that she still has her Latin I book from her class with Martin Moore. Amy has been a math teacher, hydrologist, and now she is an inventor. She still remembers and loves grammar. Sara Horowitz ’80 was highlighted in the New York Times on March 24. The founder and executive director of Freelancers Union, Sara discusses the growing concerns of independent workers and how the union is addressing these concerns. Sara was recently considered for Time magazine’s Top 100 poll of the most influential people in America, receiving 9,536 votes. Nathanael (Nat) Seymour ’85 lives in Seattle, Washington and is transitioning from a 20-year career in aerospace engineering to that of a freelance photographer and photographic instructor. Nat wrote that it is a “steep learning curve, but if you consider I am currently getting all the forced learning of an MFA and an MBA, four years is not a dreadful timeline to be up and running – a pretty interesting journey, actually.” Nat sends a big hello to his ’85 classmates.

6 Brooklyn Friends School Newsletter SPRING 2013

Kyle Neptune ’03, who has worked in the athletic programs of Villanova University and Niagra University, has been appointed Assistant Basketball Coach for Hofstra University. Kyle was part of the 2003 State Basketball Championship Team at BFS and graduated from Lehigh University. Matthew Gentile ’08 is a filmmaker interested in all sorts of production and everything film, television, and theater-related. His film New Plan A was a selection for the New Film Makers Film Festival and was screened on May 15 in NYC. Matthew will relocate to Los Angeles this summer to begin his studies as a masters directing fellow at the American Film Institute.

From left, Edson Elcock ’03, Alap Vora ’03, Chad Levy ’03, Athletic Director David Gardella, Ian Thomas ’03, and Ryan Fischer-Werner ’04 at the state championship anniversary celebration.

BFS ’03 State Basketball Championship Celebration

Eighty five alumni, students, and current and former faculty, and staff gathered at BFS on Feb. 23 to celebrate the ten year anniversary of the BFS State Basketball Championship. The film Blue Pride, documenting the 2003 road to the state championship, was shown, and a reception followed. It was a great night of reconnecting and reliving fantastic memories.

Darrick Hamilton ’89,

a long-time supporter and former trustee of Brooklyn Friends School, has been drawing important media attention to the persistent state of racial economic inequality in the United States. Dr. Hamilton’s Ph.D. is in economics and he is an Associate Professor in the Milano, The New School for Management and Urban Policy at The New School. A stratification economist, he works on the causes, consequences and remedies of racial and ethnic inequality in economic and health outcomes, including the examination of identity, racism, colorism, and socioeconomic outcomes. Dr. Hamilton has been in the public eye for many years, but

his recent work has generated great national interest in these pressing concerns. Beginning with, by all accounts, an incredible keynote speech and enlightening workshop presentations at the White Privilege Conference in early April, Darrick was soon featured prominently in the April 28 New York Times article, “Wealth Gap Among Races Widened Since Recession.”

Dr. Hamilton was also interviewed on NPR by The Take Away’s John Hockenberry for “A Growing Wealth Gap,” and by Weekend Edition’s Scott Simon for “Fewer Jobs, Persistent Racial Disparity.” Going beyond the scholarship of economic equality, Professor Hamilton also suggests active and raceblind paths to solutions, including federal job guarantees and savings accounts granted to infants, begun with funds that would distribute greater sums to families of less wealth, and which could be used toward college or opening a business. As Professor Hamilton stated in his NPR interview on the Weekend Edition, “To deal with this dramatic problem, we need dramatic policies.”





James Lynch ’81

real estate and banking attorney, James Lynch ’81 is an Assistant Professor at Brooklyn College in the Finance and Business Management program. James has served as a consultant to numerous non-profit housing and community groups; his expertise is in corporate and personal finance, micro loans, and first time home buying. This dynamic legal eagle was born in Brooklyn, and his family moved to Cambria Heights, Queens when he was seven. “Cambria Heights was a fantastic neighborhood. People cared about their neighbors. Really, people would leave their back doors open, sit in the back yard, watch television and kibitz with their neighbors,” he recalled. “It was a middle class, working neighborhood where hard work was prized, and which was culturally and ethnically diverse.” James came to BFS as a 7th grader. “My mother, who was an educator, was focused on my receiving a values-based education which focused on the dignity and self-worth of the individual.” The culture at BFS was a shock to him at first, he now admits. “The amount of freedom that the students had was simply not considered in my old school. But I loved the change. BFS represented a kind of mental and spiritual freedom that I didn’t have. The Quaker focus on the inner light was really an extension of the beliefs that my family was practicing already.”

Teachers had a major impact on the young James. “Martin Moore saved me as a student and changed my future forever,” he recounted of one of his favorite BFS teachers. “He made me realize that no matter how many challenges I have I can make it so long as I apply myself. That advice was crucial when I was eventually diagnosed as having dyslexia.” Of his singing with the Boston Orchestra in the 1980s as part of an international choir, he thanks Marjory Duncalfe and Valerie Lindquist: “Both were important for my confidence as a professional singer.” James also credited Martin Norregaard and Richard Begelman for instilling in him a love of literature. Don Knies, Ron Patterson, and his former teacher who is now head of school Larry Weiss, continue to influence him every day. Lastly there was yet an earlier head of school, Stuart Smith, who “gave me a philosophy which I apply to this very day in every endeavor. He said, and I paraphrase him, ‘We don’t educate students for the way the world is but for the way the world can be.’ – that is how I live my life and it is a subtext to everything I do.” After BFS, James attended Brown University, earning his degree in Religious Studies, a passion he attributes directly to his experiences at BFS. His college admissions essays reflected his belief that, “While many people thought that societal problems could be separated into distinct categories, the essential question was, how are we as human

beings relating to one another? BFS influenced my entire experience while I was at Brown.” During his freshman year he cofounded a coed interracial fraternity, Delta Psi, after an attack on students of color occurred on campus. His continued humanitarian work eventually led to his decision to become an attorney. “I founded an organization dedicated to housing homeless women and children,” he said. “During my work I was surprised when several city and state officials asked for what amounted to little more than kickbacks. These requests strengthened my resolve, and my decision to go to law school. I realized that by learning the law I could develop skills that could be of value to those who were unable to adequately protect themselves.” James pursued his legal studies at SUNY Buffalo, focusing on Critical Legal Studies, which he described as “a philosophical approach which states that the law is not necessarily fair and balanced, but rather it is heavily influenced by the economics, business and sociopolitical realities in which laws arise.” Soon James was a novice attorney for a private practice, while also serving on the board of New York City-based Eviction Intervention Services, where he focused on the displacement of elderly residents of Eastern European descent. Not long after 9/11 he formed his own practice, focused on providing low- and moderate-income clients with legal representation. At Brooklyn College today, James teaches business law, ethics, crisis management, and, not surprisingly, spirituality and happiness in the workplace. When he’s not busy working, James is busy “working,” he quipped. “I have utilized my legal skills, when time permits, to advising the victims of the sub-prime lending scandal and working with building organizers to thwart hostile takeovers. Recently I worked with lawyers involved in obtaining social justice for the victims of Hurricane Sandy. I have also helped found a company dedicated to ensuring that doctors can maintain their individual and local practices.” His advice to the current generation of BFS students? “First, as Stuart Smith told me, BFS is not educating you for the way the world is, but for the way the world can be. Second – if you remember nothing else – use the concept and interaction with the inner light in every individual as a focus in your daily experience to cherish every encounter that you have. Third, the silence that you learned about while at BFS can be your secret room of respite that can carry you through life’s inevitable storms of strife and uncertainty.” – Jeffrey Stanley

SPRING 2013 Brooklyn Friends School Newsletter 7

BFS at WPC in Seattle, April 2013

Acknowledging Privilege and Creating Change


his year, Brooklyn Friends School sent a large contingent of faculty, staff, and students to the White Privilege Conference (WPC), held April 10-13 in Seattle, Washington. Hosted by the Northwest Equity Consortium, the 2013 Conference focused on the theme “The Color of Money: Reclaiming Our Humanity.” A BFS Upper School student, Jacob Swindell Sakoor ’15, and an alumnus, Darrick Hamilton ’89, were two of the conferences keynote speakers and addressed some 2,000 participants from around the world. BFS parent, Ron Lieber

also presented at the conference; Ron is the “Your Money” columnist for the New York Times. Founded in 1999 by Dr. Eddie Moore Jr., the Director of Diversity at BFS, the White Privilege Conference is an international gathering which offers participants a transformational experience based on three tenets: understanding, connecting, and respecting. The WPC has become a venue for fostering difficult and critical dialogues around white privilege, diversity, multicultural education and leadership, social and economic justice, and intersecting systems of privilege and oppression.

Participants took part in 200 workshops, some of them going late into the evening. The Youth Action Project, which 13 Upper Schoolers attended this year, was a separate event for high school youth to engage issues of race, oppression, privilege and what it means to be an ally. The workshops, youth led caucuses, race affinity groups, interactive activities, film, spoken word, Theater of the Oppressed techniques, and fishbowl discussions addressed issues of heritage, racial identity, language, labels, teamwork, and strategies for community action and social change.

A First-Time Attendee’s Personal Account by Mary Osorio


s a Latina, I was a person who once thought, “I definitely do not need to go to a White Privilege Conference (WPC), what can anyone possibly teach me that I am not already aware of?” Happily, I was deeply enlightened by my time at WPC, through what I experienced, felt, and witnessed. The keynote speeches were very moving for me, especially those from our student Jacob Swindell-Sakoor ’15 and our alum Dr. Darrick Hamilton ’89. Jacob’s poised, mature keynote, “Magnifying the Green,” explored the importance of our youth being educated early about financial matters, specifically the overuse of credit cards and the importance of saving money. Dr. Hamilton discussed how money matters when it comes to the color of your skin, that the little (or lack of) savings by people of color – as opposed to the larger savings of white people – places people of color at a huge disadvantage, that savings help sustain us through emergencies and states of crisis, a situation evident in these post-recession times. The four workshops I attended helped me become more aware than ever before: White

8 Brooklyn Friends School Newsletter SPRING 2013

America’s Islamophobia Profiteers; The Color of Money - Brown Skin: The Resiliency of Undocumented Immigrants; Cashing in on Skin - Get It Light, Get It Right; and Dr. Hamilton’s The Color of Success: The Role of Skin Shade in Determining Life Outcomes. Topics ranged from the easy road to negative judgment of those who do not resemble the white-anglo phenotype, U.S. economic dependence on undocumented immigrants, the media’s lightening the skin tone of people of color, and the negative difference in economic outcomes for darker skinned people of color. Each facilitator brought new and fresh perspectives to issues experienced daily by so many in the U.S. – the workshops were fabulous. The daily caucus for people of color was also extremely moving, and it exposed me to a world I am not familiar with. It was a great and safe space for people with daily life experiences similar to my own to openly discuss how the workshops and keynote speeches were affecting them. Many declarations from attendees were simply inspiring. If you have the opportunity, attend the next WPC, scheduled during spring break next year in Madison, Wisconsin. It was an unforgettable and important experience for me.

Jacob Swindell-Sakoor ’15: An Exemplary Communicator on Center Stage In the 14- year history of the White Privilege Conference, there had never been a student presenter, but that changed with BFS student Jacob Swindell-Sakoor ’15. Earlier this year, Jacob approached BFS Director of Diversity, Dr. Eddie Moore Jr., about presenting at WPC. After careful reflection, Dr. Moore agreed, provided Jacob come up with a topic that expressed this year’s theme, “The Color of Money: Reclaiming Our Humanity.” Jacob did just that and electrified an overflow crowd of over 2,000 people. Many say Jacob’s speech was one of the highlights of the conference. As his public speaking class teacher, I was eager to meet with Jacob and learn his perspective. – Larry Williams Larry: Jacob, I heard your speech. It was very impressive. You really had control of the audience. You were articulate, reflective and you used humor to great effect. How did you prepare for your speech? Jacob: I did a lot of research. I was the first youth speaker, so I had to know what I was talking about. I used the Internet and conversations with other teenagers. I also used a number of books and magazine articles. Larry: How did you choose your topic for your speech? Jacob: When Eddie Moore Jr. said that the theme was money, I gave it some thought and decided to do it on Teens and Money.

BFS Participants in WPC STUDENTS

Brittney Edmiston Mimi Goldstein Amara Granderson Nathan Josaphat Sayeed Joseph Brandon Lara Jared Long Jumoke McDuffie-Thurmond Jacob Reiben Olabanji Shoyombo Jacob Swindell-Sakoor Jose Umana Malik Walfall


A group photograph of more than half of the BFS participants in the White Privilege Conference. Dr. Eddie Moore, Jr., founder of the conference and Director of Diversity at Brooklyn Friends School, is standing at the far left.

Larry: How were you received? Jacob: People loved it. I love performing. It was the best performance I ever gave. I even had the audience laughing. One remark that got the audience was, “In schools around the nation, not having a financial literacy curriculum – that’s blatant institutional adultism.” It was not a humorous joke per se, but people clapped because of the way I put emphasis on my remarks. Larry: Tell me about the conference. Jacob: The conference was spectacular. The first two days were Youth Action Project centered. One of the highlights was the Hunger Banquet. Here’s how it worked: Of the 115 participants, 15 were upper class, they had plenty of food; 35 were middle class, they also had food. Then 65

were the poor. They stood in the doorway of the banquet hall and they were hungry. The test was to see what would happen. There was a riot. It made you think about world conditions. There was a great workshop, Black Wall Street. It told of how Blacks were forced out of wealth. We also heard about modern day gentrification, which is forcing people of all races into poverty and homelessness. As a facilitator, it was empowering to lead, but it was more powerful to listen to people talking about world topics. Larry: What did you think of Seattle? Jacob: I got there a day and a half early, but I was leading workshops and didn’t get a chance to see the city. I worked from nine ‘til nine.

Larry: How did it feel talking to over 2,000 people? Jacob: It felt natural. I based my talk on my small narrative of my life experiences around money and connected it to the larger human narrative of life. It was like I was having a conversation with everyone in the room. I lost my fear of public speaking when I told humorous stories in my Public Speaking class about my recent trip to China. Larry: You ended your speech as a call to arms for financial education for teens. What is the next step for you? Jacob: I think the next step for me is trying to create a fullfledged curriculum and propose it to the Math Department and get it out to other schools as well.

Sharon Carter Maura Eden Kate Engle Camille Fobbs Claudia Lewis Jazelyn Montanez Jules Skloot Jennifer Ferreira Sarah Gordon Peta-Gaye Grey Laura Leopardo Cordenia Paige Nancy Tanney Margaret Trissel Jeffrey Cox Sandy Hartmannsgruber Marna Herrity Laurice Hwang Jesse Phillips-Fein Vanessa Ehler Elizabeth Heck Kamauru Johnson Administration Karine Blemur-Chapman Eddie Moore, Jr. Mary Osorio Mary Ellen Ostrander Orinthia Swindell Alison Ullrich


Ron Lieber Mary Watson


Darrick Hamilton ’89 To learn more about the conference, read the BFS/WPC blog, which includes photos and observations by more than 15 of the BFS attendees. Go to for details.

SPRING 2013 Brooklyn Friends School Newsletter 9

Career Day at BFS – A Brooklyn Who’s Who “You are the masterpiece you are making with your life,” reflected popular TV host and veteran journalist Errol Louis in his keynote address at the Upper School’s Career Day on March 13. The 4th annual Career Day gave students an exciting spring break sendoff. Local luminaries graced the stage and our classrooms to talk about their childhoods, educational trajectories, and the paths they took to love what they do for a living. The event was founded by PAT Vice President Cassandra McGowen; this year parents Curt Beech, Mary Ann Adolf, and Sarah Ludwig assisted, rounding up more than 45 panelists who spoke in areas as diverse as law, technology, social services, communications, finance, health, non-profits and the arts. The list of volunteer guest speakers was impressive. Cinematographer Tim Ives is currently shooting for HBO on Girls and How to Make it in America. Music industry executive Jake Ottman spoke about his work as

It’s like putting the pieces of a puzzle together. Who do you want to be? Where do you want to go? How are you going to get there?” a senior vice president at Warner Chappell Music Publishing. EMT Nicola Williams works at the NY Presbyterian and gave an insider’s look at responding daily to life and death emergencies. Astrophysicist Katie Dupre spoke about her experience in an Engineering Leadership Development Program that provided multiple engineering jobs, leadership training, and coursework to complete an M.S. degree. “BFS Athletic Director David Gardella was instrumental in getting us the entire panel for sports careers,” said Cassandra. That panel included sports journalist Michael Bellamy, BFS’

Clockwise from top left, Mark Chin and Robin Weiss, Nicola Williams, Errol Louis, Judith Levinrad Norman ’84 at BFS on Career Day

10 Brooklyn Friends School Newsletter SPRING 2013

own Certified Athletic Trainer Don Hovey, Jamaal Womack, a basketball player/coach and director of college residence life; and Troy Bowers, a Community Relations and Field Marketing Specialist for the New York Knicks. Most of the workshops rotated, and students signed up in advance for two panels. Junior Clara Siegmund attended the Environmental and Performing Arts workshops. “Music is my passion and the field that I most likely want to pursue,” she said, explaining that she was also drawn to the environmental career panel due to her love of science class this year. Career Day’s keynote speaker was NY1-TV’s Road to City Hall host Errol Louis. A graduate of Harvard, Yale, and Brooklyn Law School, he has been a New York Daily News columnist and a radio host. Errol was named by The Village Voice as one of New York’s best newspaper columnists, and by New York Magazine as one of 10 New Yorkers Making a Difference. “Going off to college, you get to reset,” said Errol, who even worked briefly as a busker in Paris. “Re-imagine yourself. Go from nerd to jock. Learn Portuguese. Learn scuba diving. College is one of many opportunities to stop, think, and do. Take yourself seriously.” He advised students to learn other languages in high school and college, and to use their summers wisely by traveling abroad or seeking internships. “You are the masterpiece you are making with your life.” As for settling on a career, he called into question the old wisdom of settling on your passion and finding a mentor to guide you. “My take is, find multiple mentors. It’s like putting the pieces of a puzzle together. Who do you want to be? Where do you want to go? How are you going to get there?”

Thank you Career Day Participants Curt Beech Michael Bellamy Troy Bowers Hovey Brock Mark Chin Warren Cohen Deanna Culbreath Rick Daley Mark Doctoroff Katie Dupre Andrew Essex Todd Frances Mark Fuerst Laura Giadorou-Koch Peter Ginsberg Emily Gordon Ricardo Granderson Natasha Gray Robin Greenwald Eric Holzman Don Hovey Tim Ives Zan Jacobus Ty Kaul Corbin Laedlein Ben Leventhal Errol Louis Sarah Ludwig Lucas McGowen Barbra Mack Cathie Mahon Alisa Martin-Granderson Susan Matloff Laura Millendorf Jeff Moore Judith Levinrad Norman ’84 Karen Oh Jake Ottman Dave Ratajcak Michael Schulman Bill Siegmund Nancy Steele Andy VonSalis Robin Weiss Nicola Williams Jamaal Womack

Season of Accolades

Good news arrives every spring at BFS with special honors, awards, and achievements attained by our students and faculty. a complete immersion program where all communication, throughout the day – in the residence, in the classroom, during activities, during social hours, during excursions, with guest speakers – takes place in French.

n The Upper School Model UN n Elinor Hills ’14 and Clara

Siegmund ’14 were selected from thousands of students nationwide to participate in the New England Young Writers Conference (NEYWC) at the Bread Loaf Campus at Middlebury College, May 16-19. This premier conference provides high school students the opportunity to share each other’s work in an environment where writing is one of life’s outstanding joys. Brooklyn Friends has had at least two students accepted into the program every year for the past 10 years – a remarkable feat and wonderful testament to our English faculty.

n Cindy Chen ’14 was awarded

the Academic Achievement Scholarship, a grant in the amount of $7,595, to participate in a study abroad program in France this summer. During the month of July, Cindy will be attending the Académie de France program in Montpellier, France. L’Académie de France is

Team had great success this year. At the Ivy League Model UN conference at the University of Pennsylvania, Abraham Axler and Otis Hatfield received highest honors as Best Delegates, with Jacob Reiben and Sophia Stotch winning honorable mention awards for their work. BFS was named Best Small Delegation at the Dalton Model UN conference, and Otis Hatfield received Outstanding Candidate honors. Other participants in Model UN (not previously mentioned) are Marcus Adolf, Adam Bassiouni, Sam Botwin, Eve Bromberg, Daisy Feddoes, Ariel Goldner, Elinor Hills, Lucie Schwartz, Raphael Tenazas, Nick Ullman, and Sam Whang.

n Brooklyn Friends had a

notable showing in the 2013 Scholastic Art and Writing Awards (for grades 7-12), with seven gold key prizes, 13 silver keys, and 20 honorable mention certificates awarded to BFS students. Anna Emy earned four gold keys and one silver key in art; Elinor Hills had one gold and three silver keys in art and writing. Bianca Rhea won a gold key in memoir writing, Sam Miller a silver key for poetry, and Sarah Murray a silver key for photography. Middle Schoolers Hannah Berman, Sophia Lipkin, Sabina Marino, Tyler Roberts, and Lucy Smith received silver keys in writing, while Jesse Israel had a silver

key in drawing. Seventh grader Amanda Becker garnered a gold key for poetry.

n Brooklyn Friends students

received a total of 68 prizes in the 2013 National Latin Exam. Maya Kaul ’15 had a perfect score, for the fourth consecutive year, and four first-time test-takers, 7th graders Amanda Becker, Garrett Hall, Anna Resek, and Maddie Winter had perfect scores. Congratulations to all our Latin students and their teachers: Michael Kabot, Martin Moore, Marie-Christine Perry, and Dr. Stephen Wortman.

n Lower School teacher Chris-

tina Karvounis has been awarded a scholarship from the Hudson Valley Library Association (HVLA) to attend the American Association of School Libraries Conference in November in Hartford, CT. Upon her return, she will share her experiences with colleagues and write blog entries for the HVLA. Christina is pursing a Master’s of Library and Information Science at University at Buffalo Graduate School of Education.

n Middle School teacher Sarah

Schlein has been accepted into a 2013 Gilder Lehrman Teacher Institute. She will be studying the U.S. Reconstruction era at Columbia University with renowned professor and eminent American historian Eric Foner.

n Fifth grade teacher Laurice

Hwang will attend the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Summer Institute, “China and India: Comparisons and Connections,” July 1-19 at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York. Laurice was chosen, along with 30 K-12 educators from across the country, for a three-week scholarly exploration of China and India promises to be intellectually engaging, challenging, and beneficial to educating students about Asia.

n English teacher Rachel Mazor received a coveted place at the New York Public Library’s Cullman Center Institute for Teachers this summer. She will be attending, “Inventing Your Voice: A Creative Writing Workshop” with novelist John Wray in July.

n The art work of all seven

Upper School students in Tina Piccolo’s 2-D art workshop was submitted to “The Arts to End Violence” contest of the Crown Heights Mediation Center and was selected for inclusion in an art gallery and the center’s permanent digital exhibition. The students’ art was from two distinct projects ­– protest banners to honor the 100th anniversary of the birth of Woody Guthrie, and large black and white charcoal drawings in response to the global “One Billion Rising” movement to draw attention to the women and girls who are affected by violence. The student artists are, Cecilia Emy, Liza Kruth, Grace Morenko, Xiana Quadrozzi, Arden Restrick, Patricia Stortz, and Christeline Velazquez.

SPRING 2013 Brooklyn Friends School Newsletter 11

Non-Profit Org. U.S. Postage

PAID Permit # 79 S. Hackensack, NJ

Address Service Requested Vol. 9, No. 3, SPRING 2013 The Newsletter is published four times a year for BFS families, faculty, alumni/ae and friends. Joan Martin, Editor 718.852.1029

1867: Our Doors Open at 110 Schermerhorn by Susan Price ’86


rooklyn Friends School opened on the 9th of September in 1867 in the Brooklyn Meeting House on Schermerhorn Street, just nine months after the subject of adding a “Preparative Meeting School” was first broached by the Women’s Meeting of Brooklyn Preparative Meeting, the precursor of today’s Brooklyn Monthly Meeting. Certainly some Brooklyn Quakers sent their children to Friends Seminary before the Brooklyn school opened, but they wanted a Quaker school for Brooklyn. The idea was approved by Brooklyn Preparative Meeting, and this was followed by approval from Brooklyn’s “parent” meeting, New York Monthly Meeting, known since 1974 as New York Quarterly Meeting. New York Monthly Meeting not only oversaw preparative meetings in Manhattan, but it already had an experienced board of trustees for Manhattan’s Friends Seminary. Soon, New York Monthly Meeting united with Brooklyn Preparative Meeting, declaring that “Friends School at Brooklyn would operate under the same board of trustees as Friends Seminary,” becoming the “Schools Committee” of New York Monthly Meeting. The first BFS classrooms were located in the basement of the Meeting House on what is actually the ground level, the space known today as the Social Room. The costs of preparations and modifications ran to $942.52 and were paid by New York Monthly Meeting. Outdoor play was conducted in the yards on the east and west sides of the

tribute gifts

A Simple and Meaningful Way to Show You Care What is a Tribute Gift? A Tribute Gift is a special contribution to Brooklyn Friends School made in honor of another individual. Tribute gifts can acknowledge personal appreciation for a member of the school community, such as a teacher, advisor, coach, or mentor. Tribute gifts can also commemorate and celebrate an important accomplishment in the life of a BFS student – an academic prize or scholarship, an athletic achievement, or even graduation.

Brooklyn Friends School modified to show ca. 1867 view.

Meeting House, the undeveloped sections of the five lots purchased in 1856 on which the Brooklyn Meeting House was built in 1857. BFS opened with one teacher, our first Principal Mary Haviland, and our first students numbered 17 in September of 1867, but enrollment increased to 32 students by the end of that first year. The school’s enrollment grew to at least 48 students the following year, so Clara Lockwood was engaged as our second teacher and she became Principal in 1873 when Mary Haviland resigned. Both women were Quakers, as were approximately half of our students. This is part one of a Series on the “History of the Growth of Brooklyn Friends School” which we will publish as a prelude to the celebration of our School’s 150th anniversary in 2017. An expanded article, in 1857, can be read at our history blog, “The Blue and Gray,” at

What size donation do I need to make for a Tribute Gift? A donation of any size can be specified as a Tribute Gift. How will the person know I’ve honored them in this way? The recipient will receive a card from BFS with a message that a gift has been made in his or her honor. The card will not specify the amount donated. In addition, the gift will appear in a special section of the Annual Report which is mailed in the fall to the entire BFS community Is my Tribute Gift tax deductible? Yes, it is fully tax-deductible. You will receive a letter for tax purposes from the school acknowledging your gift. How do I make a Tribute Gift? You can make a Tribute Gift online by going to the Make a Gift tab within the Giving section of the BFS website. You may also make a tribute gift in person in the Development Office or make your tribute gift over the phone by calling Kathryn Collins, Director of the Brooklyn Friends Fund, at 718-852-1029 x243.


BFS Spring 2013 Newsletter  

BFS Newsletter for the Spring of 2013

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you