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Looking Back Looking Forward



> Student Life A Path to Purpose.......................................................................................................................... 4 Student Life: Programming ........................................................................................................ 6 Student Life: The House System .............................................................................................. 8


Cannon Magazine is published semiannually by the Office of Advancement. Send address changes to

The Middle School Advisory Program: a Culture, Connected ......................................... 9

> Engaged Learning Commencing the Next Step ....................................................................................................10


From Cannon to College .........................................................................................................12

EDITOR Beth Levanti Director of Marketing and Communications

Mind the Gap: Making the Most of the College Experience with a Gap Year .....................................................................................................14

ASSOCIATE EDITOR Amy Reiss Marketing and Communications Manager CONTRIBUTORS Sarah Allgood, Matt Gossage, Todd Hartung, David Ibsen, Beth Levanti, and Amy Reiss


> Athletics A Game Plan for Success: Spotlight on Cannon’s Athletic Department...................................................................................................................15

> The Big Picture United in Spirit ...........................................................................................................................18

> Arts Music, Memories, and Musings ..............................................................................................20 Fringe Benefits .............................................................................................................................21

> Community Camp Cannon .............................................................................................................................22 What Did You Do this Summer? ............................................................................................24 Imagine Tomorrow: Thank You ..............................................................................................26 Imagination Becomes Reality ...................................................................................................28

> Alumni Alumni Spotlight: Eric Rossitch ’12 ......................................................................................29 Class Notes ...................................................................................................................................30 Alumni Corner ...........................................................................................................................32 Alumni Events .............................................................................................................................35

COVER: Cannon School celebrated the graduating Class of 2017 on May 19, and we look forward to what they will accomplish beyond our school community. Photo courtesy of Emby Taylor Photography. Cannon Magazine thanks Emby Taylor Photography for capturing images of the Cannon School community in action throughout the school year.

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In This Issue

Letter from the Head of School < < < < < < < < < < < < “This moment is a perfect merging of moments in time and perspective. Those gathered in front of me, I believe, see their graduate on stage and recall the daughter as a toddler or the son as an infant along with all that has led to this moment. Those behind me, the graduates, are literally sitting in their chairs on the balls of their feet poised to bounce into a future that can only exist in that abandonment of limitless possibility.” Dear Cannon Community,

There are many things I love about my job at Cannon. Some occur daily, such as student drop-off in the morning, shaking hands with Earl Beaver, navigating the major highway of the Middle School with students heading to their first class, listening to the fragments of conversations of Upper School students hustling to lunch, and trailing behind Lower School students making their way to a co-curricular. They literally help define my day. Some occur once during the year; and they literally help define the year for me. One of my favorite annual occurrences is the responsibility, which is truly a privilege, to stand on the stage at Cannon’s Commencement exercise and take in the view in front of me on the Bryant Central Green. Each year I think I am prepared. And each year when I first stand, I catch my breath at the scene of easily 1,000 people dressed with purpose gathered to express love and support staring into the sun just appearing over rooflines. I always try to look back over a shoulder at the graduates to see their faces and to center my thoughts. This moment is a perfect merging of moments in time and perspective. Those gathered in front of me, I believe, see their graduate on stage and recall the daughter as a toddler or the son as an infant along with all that has led to this moment. Those behind me, the graduates, are literally sitting in their chairs on the balls of their feet poised to bounce into a future that can only exist in that abandonment of limitless possibility. I feel the pull and power of those two mindsets; and the challenge of encouraging everyone to focus for a few moments in a present of stuffy robes and blinding sunlight is interesting to say the least. But in one sense, the pull and power of the past demanding a revisit and a future yet unclaimed can be present in every moment in a school day, in the home, or in the office. The challenge often is to find ways to focus on the present and to be present in the present, while acknowledging what has come before and what is right around the corner. Our community focused on the present on May 19 by being present and attentive to the 102 graduates who walked across the stage completing 102 different stories at Cannon. I greatly appreciate that this edition of Cannon Magazine captures that moment on May 19 and invites us to hold the power and pull of the past and future in our hands as we look at the “comings and goings” of individuals in our community who have made or will make us a better place. I encourage all of us to find a moment this summer, dwell on these stories, reflect on growth achieved this year, and look ahead to the better that is yet to come. Sincerely,


A Path to Purpose How Cannon’s Student Life Program Prepares Our Students When Mrs. Ashley Shaefer (née Owens) was married, her advisees celebrated the special day alongside her. (Photo courtesy of Amy Kolodziej at Sunshower Photography.)

When asked to reflect on the most important lesson she learned during her time at Cannon School, Julia Dunn, a member of the graduating Class of 2017 and Head Girl of House Integritas, didn’t miss a beat in answering. “At Cannon, I had the opportunity to learn about myself and become a leader,” she said. Julia’s answer reflects how many of our alumni feel. The Cannon School experience is more than just academics; it’s learning and living in places other than the classroom. Our Student Life program focuses on Upper School students understanding who they are as individuals and utilizing that knowledge to become the best versions of themselves. This self-awareness will allow them to better relate to others, ultimately preparing them for the adventure that is life.

The Advisory System Cannon’s advisory system is the backbone of Student Life, providing a foundation for students the moment they step into the Upper School. When Dean of Students Tom Booker arrived on Cannon’s campus nine years ago, advisories looked markedly different than they do today. Back then, Upper School advisories were mixed grade, mixed gender. Dean Booker saw an opportunity to better serve students and initiated a single grade, single gender advisory system that took the advisor-advisee relationship to a new level. Before the start of ninth grade, the Upper School Dean Team (Deans Tom Booker, Joe Trojan, Sue Ramsey, and Michelle Zelaya) work with

Cannon’s Student Life program has been recognized as a progressive model for other schools, consisting of thoughtful programming and a host of leadership opportunities, including a House System which serves as a leadership laboratory. Students participate in a game of “Heads Up” during a FacultyStudent Olympics challenge. 4 | SUMMER 2017 | CANNON MAGAZINE

Unlike other independent schools where faculty teach five sections in the Upper School, Cannon’s teach four, plus have an advisory. Advisories meet for ten minutes each morning, allowing for daily check-ins and sharing. (In addition, advisories attend Student Life programming together and compete as part of the same team under the House System.) Over the course of four years, students grow incredibly close—with each other as well as their advisor. Upper School Math Teacher Danny Scurlock has experienced acting as an advisor for two groups, guiding each through their high school experience.

“There may not be a better experience as a Cannon teacher than the one I have with my advisees on graduation day,” Mr. Scurlock continued. “The lifelong bond we know we will all share is clear on that day as we all gather to say ‘good bye’ to one another. The advisor-advisee relationship is the glue of the Upper School culture.” “While teaching is the most important part of my job at Cannon, my role as advisor has easily generated the longest lasting relationships with students,” he finished. Dean Booker said, “Our advisories are a safe place where our young people can be themselves with advisors who recognize who that child is and watch him or her grow. Often, at the end of the four-year experience, that advisor and advisee are almost best friends.”

“Every four years, I have the opportunity to go through a cycle with a group of young men that affects me profoundly as I watch them change and grow,” Mr. Scurlock said. “From scared

Mrs. Julie Reulbach’s advisory celebrates Halloween as a team.

Members of House Integritas cut up donated jeans to send to a company that makes denim shoes for people in need.

Mr. Brandon Herder’s advisory gathered for their first picture for their first day in the Upper School in August 2013. The boys graduated this past spring. CANNON MAGAZINE | SUMMER 2017 | 5

Student Life

“We’re a relational school, so the advisor-advisee relationship is hugely important. Having the student and the family have one person who is their umbilical cord to Cannon School is essential,” said Dean Booker.

and nervous to confident and capable, every one of my advisees has changed for the better over their years in Cannon’s Upper School.”

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Head of Middle School Carla Moyer and her deans to handpick an advisor and advisory group based on each student’s needs and personality. Students stay with their advisor and advisory throughout all four years.

Student Life: Programming The heart of Student Life is quality programming that helps our students better learn who they are as individuals and how that understanding can help them grow and evolve as people. When Dean Booker came aboard nine years ago, he saw the need for a change because the program in place didn’t allow for the opportunity to dig deeply into issues facing today’s teens. “We wanted to cover fewer things and go deeper, rather than cover many things but not well,” he said. “We also wanted to address behavior in terms of character, and having that much time in the schedule offered us the opportunity to really reinvent how we did Student Life.” Student Life block now usually occurs twice a week, for an hour at a time.

By the time each student graduates, he or she has developed a deep relationship with at least three adults here at Cannon—his or her advisor, dean, and college counselor. Class and Advisory Meetings Most of the Student Life programming occurs as class meetings with single grades converging together to tackle a developmentally-appropriate topic, or as advisory meetings during the block time (as opposed to the morning check-ins). “We wanted to do something specific for every grade based pedagogically on age and experiences,” said Dean Booker. Therefore, each grade’s programming focus is theme-based—freshmen: responsibility, sophomores: balance, juniors: ownership, and seniors: awareness. Topics can range from how to write a thank you note to a teacher to how to deal with issues like alcohol. Ample time is allowed for questions and discussion, and students walk away with a deep understanding and comfort level in tackling different adolescent concerns. Community Meetings Community meetings happen twice a month and are an opportunity for the entire Upper School community to come together in the same place at the same time. They serve as a venue for sharing messages from which the entire community can benefit. There is no “typical” community meeting, but they may involve faculty speakers or serve to recognize students with ceremonies or celebrations. This past year, Dean Booker said Student Council members approached him to ask about “injecting some energy” into the meetings. The answer? The Faculty-Student Olympics, with competitions that included minute-to-win-it games and headstand contests. “Unfortunately, the students finished the year winning 9-8,” said Dean Booker. Next year, expect the teachers to come back intent on victory!


College Counseling – Partners for Life During some of the Student Life blocks, college counselors introduce age-appropriate programming aimed at helping students better understand their strengths and interests. Freshmen take a learning styles inventory, gain understanding of why it’s important to explore their interests (and how to do that), and bust some of the myths associated with the college admission process. Sophomores will learn about how to stay focused, how to decide on future courses, some of the college lingo, and how to explore career interests. Junior year is often the most intense year for students, so the partnership programming picks up during this time. “The goal is that every junior will be able to tell his or her story by reflecting on their experiences and the inventories they’ve taken,” said Mrs. Kristin McClanahan, Associate Director of College Counseling. Therefore, much of the time is spent understanding, writing, and presenting those stories. There are workshops about financial aid, scholarships, researching postsecondary opportunities, and panels with admission representatives. Senior year is an exploration of application procedures (and how to remain mentally healthy during this stressful process), as well as polishing an “elevator speech” to present to college reps. Of course, this partnering with Student Life is just one aspect of the college counseling process— one that plays well into Cannon’s philosophy that all students have a deep understanding of self to make the best possible future decisions.

Deans – What Do They Do? When most people hear the word “Dean,” they conjure images of a stern authority figure, dispensing discipline and invoking fear. That’s not the case at Cannon, where each class is assigned a dean for all four years. (Dean Booker oversees the Class of 2018, and Dean Zelaya oversees the Class of 2019. Dean Ramsey oversees the Class of 2020, and Dean Trojan will oversee the incoming Class of 2021.) “Our goal is to catch the kids doing the right thing,” said Dean Booker. “Typically, deans of students are deans of discipline. That is not how we see ourselves. We spend very little time on discipline and far more time on helping students grow as leaders and as people, and celebrating them for great things.” The Upper School behavior system is modeled on the premise that people respond to positive reward rather than negative punishment, which plays well into Cannon’s

core value system. (Cannon’s core values include courage, integrity, passion, respect, teamwork, and kindness.) Students are given “core values” for anything from picking up trash left behind to pointing out that a teacher marked an answer on a test right—when it was actually wrong. Dean Booker said that while there were infractions given this past year for issues such as dress code violations or “smarting off,” there were 300 core values handed out—far more than infractions. “That’s 300 times we’ve seen our students doing the right thing,” he said. “A trip to the dean’s office doesn’t mean you’re in trouble. Here, it means you are learning a leadership lesson. It’s my job to help students realize their dreams, thrive on their journey, and realize their hopes.”

Houses compete to move a giant beach ball downfield in the final event of House Games. CANNON MAGAZINE | SUMMER 2017 | 7

Student Life: The House System

Members of House Impetus eagerly await the final House Games results.

What do Harry Potter and Cannon School have in common? (No, it’s not an evil half-blood wizard named Voldemort.) It’s the House System! Modeled on a structure like Hogwarts, Cannon’s House System serves as a leadership laboratory, offering students yet another opportunity to grow as people. Houses compete against each other throughout the year in pursuit of the esteemed Gossage Cup by collecting points through accumulation of core values, service hours, leadership projects, and points earned at one of the most popular days on the calendar—House Games! The four Houses are named for core values (Animus, Humanitas, Impetus, and Integritas), and each has a unique culture and spirit. The system came to fruition five years ago, when Dean Booker realized that some stratification had occurred when the new advisory system hindered intergrade connections. “I wondered if we could solve that problem and have some fun in the process,” said Dean Booker. Houses are mixed grade and mixed gender, and advisory groups always stay together and belong to the same House. (Each House consists of one boy and one girl advisory from each grade level.) Students belong to the same House for all four of their Upper School years. Each is led by a Head Boy and a Head Girl, a coveted role decided by application and an interview and appointment process conducted by the outgoing House leaders. Also appointed are four prefects, each with a specific job. The Social Prefect oversees planning House Games and is responsible for meeting each new member. The Academic Prefect provides in-House tutoring and learning support. The Service Prefect plans all in-House service projects, and the Archival Prefect records and keeps track of all earned points.

Once the Head Boy, Head Girl, and Prefects have been selected, they spend the year “rallying the troops,” so to speak, to acquire points and win the Gossage Cup. The process is especially beneficial for the leaders, who learn as much from the failures along the way as from the successes. “The most challenging aspect was getting full house participation—at times I felt like a standup comedian with a dead act,” said Sam Norvell ’17, outgoing Head Boy of House Humanitas. “However, this gave me the push that got me to exercise communication in an effective way, as well as an expectation about enthusiasm.” Working to unite a large, diverse group of people is destined to incite some strife. “The House System highlights the human nature that comes out in conflict and progress. This process was revealed to me, and the more I examined it, the more I could appreciate it. Basic human behaviors in leadership taught me that it’s good to compromise and even better to learn from failure,” Sam said. So, what were the lessons learned as Head Boy? “The most rewarding aspect was the ability to communicate and compromise over opposition,” Sam said. “This is something that occurs in real life, not just leadership, so it is a tool I will always be thankful for.”

“We have a lot of different types of leaders and a lot of doers at Cannon, but not enough electable positions within Student Council for them to be recognized. The House appointment process is powerful for both the students conducting the interviews and those interviewing, who are conveying their vision for the House. The process is about finding all different types of leaders,” said Dean Booker. House Humanitas celebrates winning the 2016 Gossage Cup. 8 | SUMMER 2017 | CANNON MAGAZINE

The Middle School Advisory Program: a Culture, Connected Eighth graders vie for points at this spring’s Advisory Games.

Ask adults to describe their middle school experience, and you’ll inevitably hear words like “awkward,” or “difficult.” Our Middle School administrators and faculty understand that grades 5 through 8 can be a challenging time, but their approach to Student Life and the advisory system is specifically designed to help students not just survive these years—but thrive. Advisory Groups Advisory groups are created long before students step foot in a classroom in August. Each June, teachers and deans get together to decide “best fit” situations, in which students are paired with an advisor who will be a good match. Teachers also work to ensure that the overall chemistry of the group works. Grade-level teachers are matched with advisories of students at that grade level. Mrs. Carla Moyer, Head of Middle School, finds that this strategy ensures advisors really know advisees. “The majority of our advisors will teach their advisees at some point during the day,” she said. “They get to know each one as a student, as a person, as a friend, as an athlete. As an advisor, you have intimate understanding of the day-to-day of that child.” Each year, the entire Middle School rallies around a theme which informs much of the programming. In the past, themes have included United We Stand (working together to achieve great things), Stay Driven (overcoming obstacles and setbacks), and #gamechangers (making a difference).

Fifth and sixth grade advisories are mixed gender, while seventh and eighth grade move to a single gender system. Advisories meet each morning and are a combination of business (announcements, upcoming calendar dates), conversation (often tying in character development and core values or exploring different topics related to health and wellbeing), and fun (Friday morning trivia).

one of the most rewarding and meaningful things we do each day.”

“Advisor-advisee bonds last far beyond the middle school years,” said Mrs. Moyer. “Middle School advisors attend Upper School events, host reunion breakfasts, and even follow former advisees’ college careers. As teachers, we believe this relationship can be

“While advisors are typically the ones in the nurturing and encouraging role, we also find that the advisory group, including the parents, can be just as supportive to teachers through challenges and celebrations as well. It is truly special,” said Mrs. Moyer.

The bonds with each other also grow throughout the year. Advisories often get together for lunch and do outings off-campus. Each September, grades 5 through 7 will take overnight trips, quickly strengthening friendships.

Advisory Games – Competing for Fun Punkin Chunkin’, Big Wheel Relay, Doughnut Duel—they are all part of Middle School Advisory Games, a fun way for students to engage in friendly competition. Every few weeks, during lunch, advisories work together and compete in a series of fun, minute-to-win-it games, all with the hopes of earning points and being crowned as the girl and boy advisory champions at year’s end. There’s a kick-off day in the fall and a final game day in the spring (resembling The Amazing Race), offering a fun academic break while promoting bonding and team spirit! CANNON MAGAZINE | SUMMER 2017 | 9



the Next Step







Page 10 1. Twelfth Grade Commencement 2. Eighth Grade Commencement 3. Fourth Grade Commencement 4. Kindergarten Commencement Page 11 5. Eighth Grade Commencement 6. Kindergarten Commencement 7.Twelfth Grade Commencement 8. Twelfth Grade Commencement


Engaged Learning




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From Cannon to College Congratulations to the 102 members of the graduating Class of 2017! They were accepted to more than 145 colleges and universities and awarded more than $6.4 million in merit-based scholarships. We wish them well as they attend the following schools this fall: Appalachian State University

Furman University

Pennsylvania State University

Auburn University

Hampden-Sydney College

Pfeiffer University

Baylor University

High Point University

Rhodes College

Birmingham-Southern College

Houston Baptist University

Rice University

Brown University

Indiana University at Bloomington

University of Richmond

University of California, Berkeley Catawba College Central Arizona College Central Piedmont Community College College of Charleston Clemson University University of Dayton University of Delaware Denison University Duke University East Carolina University

University of Kentucky Lee University Liberty University Massachusetts Institute of Technology University of Michigan University of Mississippi Montreat College Muhlenberg College University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

University of San Diego School of Visual Arts Sewanee: The University of the South University of South Carolina Southern Methodist University Spelman College University of Tennessee, Knoxville Texas Christian University University of Vermont Virginia Tech Wake Forest University

Elon University

University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Emory University

North Carolina State University

Washington University in St. Louis

Flagler College

University of Notre Dame

Western Carolina University

Florida State University

Oxford College of Emory University



Three members of the Class of 2017 are set to begin gap years. Ryan Emerson and Zach Ranson will both teach English in China (though in different locations), before returning home and entering Bennington College and Appalachian State University, respectively, in the fall of 2018. Catherine Livingston will join the Boston Ballet II for their 2017-2018 season before studying mechanical and aerospace engineering at Duke University. Ryan will be staying in Luzhou, China, learning Chinese and teaching English at Cannon’s sister school, Tianli. He arrived at the decision after traveling to Luzhou in 2015 with a Cannon group, which he described as, “The best time of my life.” “I really wanted to go back, and I was also looking for gap year ideas, so Ms. Wang helped me start setting up this arrangement my junior year,” he said. “One of my biggest passions is Chinese, and the best way to learn is to immerse yourself, so I decided that spending a year in China would really help with my Chinese language ability, and teaching will keep me busy.” “I think that being able to take a step away from school and gain some perspective, and hopefully some maturity, will be really helpful in college when I’m swamped with work. I think I’ll develop a better work ethic and be able to deal with the stress better,” Ryan said.


Mind the Gap:

Making the Most of the College Experience with a Gap Year This year, 102 of Cannon’s graduating seniors committed to colleges across the country.

acts as the gap year liaison within Cannon’s College Counseling Department.

But three of those college-bound graduates won’t step foot on campus this fall.

Cannon’s College Counseling Department’s philosophy centers on exposure to best-fit secondary opportunities. “We don’t want our students to think that college right after high school is the only option,” Ms. Mann said. “Planned time away with a focused goal can be productive and allows students time to invest in something they are really interested in or passionate about.”

These three alumni—Ryan Emerson, Catherine Livingston, and Zach Ranson—are instead electing for a gap year. A gap year is defined as a structured break between high school and college that could include travel, work, volunteering, or an internship before continuing academic studies. The classroom hiatus has become an increasingly popular trend, with students opting for programs that range from learning about sustainable food practices in Central America, to interning with a tech company, to working with blind children in India. Studies have shown that students who opt for gap years go on to perform better than non-gap-year classmates, in part because of their more mature world view (U.S. News & World Report). Colleges and universities nationwide are increasingly encouraging the practice, understanding that the students who arrive on their campuses are often more engaged in their education as a result. “Choosing to take a gap year is not choosing to forgo college. It is about identifying other interests and seizing an opportunity to explore those interests more deeply,” said Associate Director of College Counseling Amelia Mann, who

If students are interested, the college counselors usually begin to explore options with them during their sophomore and junior years. They are treated as college-bound students who apply, get accepted, decide, and then defer the acceptance for one year. “Gap years are breaks with purpose, and students often return home with a renewed sense of self and maturity,” said Ms. Mann.

From l-r: Zach Ranson, Catherine Livingston, and Ryan Emerson are pursuing gap years before starting college in 2018.

It’s a typical morning in early May, and Cannon’s athletic offices are buzzing with energy. It’s tournament season and the day before several of our teams advanced in the NCISAA playoffs. Our Athletic Department—Director of Athletics Pat Moyer, Assistant Director of Athletics Rod Rachal, Head Strength and Conditioning Coach Shawn Powell, and Athletic Assistant Becky Ervin—gather together to run through a logistics laundry list. Are we good on buses? What about officials? Is the grass cut and are the fields lined and prepared? What about the radar—how does the afternoon weather look? Such is a morning in the life of the people who make our sports programs happen—and logistics is just one small aspect of their day. Below, we invite you to get to know the folks who pull it all together.

Pat Moyer, Director of Athletics This will be Dr. Moyer’s fifth year at Cannon. Before that, he spent seventeen years as a professor in the Department of Physics and Optical Science at UNC Charlotte. In addition to what’s listed above, tell us what your day-to-day looks like. There is no way to tell a little bit about the typical day of an AD. After making sure the logistics for the day are organized, I try to connect with a few coaches just to touch base with them and their teams. Coach Powell and I talk every day about his world since he connects with pretty much every athlete a few times per week. Almost every day is a conversation with the athletic trainers about who is hurt or banged up—I like to keep on top of all of the injuries. We all spend a lot of time on upcoming seasons—interest meetings, spirit packs, physicals, and communicating with athletes and parents. I also like to spend a lot of time in strategic planning, leadership development of athletes, and making sure the vision and mission of Cannon Athletics is continually articulated to athletes and parents. Early afternoon is about making sure everything is set up for the day’s home events. Then the games begin, and I try to get to see some home games or observe practices. I enjoy spending some time with members of our community such as parents, visitors, and officials. After the games, everything gets put away, lights turned off, and home in time to sleep.

What makes you smile on a daily basis? I love almost everything about my work, but the two things that bring me the most joy are: 1. Seeing our athletes and coaches working hard together with energy and enthusiasm and taking care of each other brings me the most pleasure. Seeing our athletes walking off a field or court after practice drenched in sweat and smiling and joking with each other. That’s a good day for me.

2. The opportunity to work with such a great immediate team as Becky Ervin, Rod Rachal, and Shawn Powell.

How has Cannon’s athletic program changed during your tenure? The biggest changes are the work ethic and leadership of the student-athletes and the coaches. The culture on most, if not all teams, is that hard work is not an option. The leaders have really stepped up their commitment and accountability for their own success and that of their teams. There is still work to do, but this work ethic and leadership has translated directly to overall success on the scoreboard for most of our teams. It’s been fun to observe, but we’ll have to keep it up if we want to continue to improve.

When senior athletes graduate, what do you hope is their number-one takeaway? I hope they have a belief in themselves that they can overcome any challenge life throws at them by focusing on the grind of the process and not on the result. That process includes taking care of and believing in each other, a commitment to fundamentals and doing things with integrity, and finding the joy in what they do. 15 | SUMMER 2017 | CANNON MAGAZINE


Spotlight on Cannon’s Athletic Department

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A Game Plan for Success:

Rod Rachal, Assistant Athletic Director This fall will mark Coach Rachal’s sixteenth year at Cannon. Prior to Cannon, he worked at Wingate University as the Assistant Director of Housing and the Intramural Director. His day-to-day includes scheduling events, ordering uniforms, tackling equipment needs, managing outdoor facility use, and working with maintenance on field usage. “It’s all about positive thoughts and communication in my day!” he said. How has Cannon’s athletic program changed during your tenure? Well, in fifteen years we have added more teams to the count as well as a baseball field, softball field, two new practice fields, and three tennis courts. We added a new floor in the Blue Gym (we used to have a blue sport court in there, hence the name “Blue Gym”), along with a new eight-lane track, bleachers, lights, a field house, locker rooms, and a strength training center. In my time, I’ve been involved in the transition from 1A to 2A and 2A to 3A. It’s been a fun journey to get to this point.

Do you have a favorite moment from your time here that you can share? My best coaching moment was on Monday, May 12, 2014, when we


beat Greensboro Day 1-0 to win our first-ever varsity baseball playoff game. Those kids had been through a lot, and for them to come together and achieve—that was a moment I will never forget.

What advice would you have for new, incoming athletes? Utilize the resources provided by the Cannon Athletic Department, commit to the process, and don’t be afraid to challenge yourself and your teammates.

Shawn Powell, Head Strength and Conditioning Coach This will be Coach Powell’s fourth year at Cannon School. Before Cannon, he spent five years at Penske Racing as the Head Strength and Conditioning Coach and eight years as an Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach with the Carolina Panthers. Since Cannon’s strength training and conditioning program began, athletic injury treatments are down 60%. When senior athletes graduate, what do you hope is their numberone takeaway? I hope they leave with the knowledge of how to work out for the rest of their lives, and that they will love doing so. If they are lucky enough to go on to play a sport in college, then I hope that I have prepared them for what they are about to be a part of at the next level from a strength and conditioning standpoint.

Are there any misconceptions you’d like to clear up about strength training and conditioning? One of the biggest misconceptions about strength and conditioning is that athletes need to be doing “sport specific” strength and conditioning. High school athletes need basic, general physical preparation and need to master the basics of physical literacy before moving on to more advanced S&C movements. This is not just here at Cannon, but with every high school and middle school student-athlete.

What three words would you use to describe Cannon athletes? They have character, integrity, and are respectful.

Becky Ervin, Athletic Assistant Mrs. Ervin is heading into her seventeenth year at Cannon. Prior to joining the school, she worked in athletics at Davidson College and taught physical education in Vance County Schools. What does your day-to-day look like? My role is that of support for the coaches and teams. There’s lots of computer work. I’m primarily responsible for the athletics portion of the website. I also schedule officials for home contests and help schedule transportation for away contests.

What makes you smile on a daily basis? No rain, no bus or driver problems, and officials showing up early.

What do you enjoy most about working with Pat, Rod, and Shawn? Mainly that we work well as a team! We all bring something special to the mix and work to provide a good experience for the studentathletes. Each day is challenging and fun. 17 | SUMMER 2017 | CANNON MAGAZINE

United in Spirit This past spring, Lower School celebrated Olympic Day, an annual event in which all grades gather for an exciting morning filled with fun and friendly competition. Ahead of the games, classes learn about different countries, then represent them in the Opening Ceremony Parade. Pictured here, students anxiously await the ceremonious lighting of the torch.


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The Big Picture

Residents at Taylor Glen and Activities Director April Weddington enjoy a hymn sing led by Head of Upper School Deb Otey.

Music, Memories, and Musings Cannon shares a musical connection with The Gardens at Taylor Glen Retirement Community. Mrs. April Weddington, Life Enrichment Program Coordinator and Activities Director at The Gardens at Taylor Glen Retirement Community in Concord, remembers when Mrs. Helen Morrison (great-grandmother of nine current students at Cannon) told her about Cannon’s Director of Music Arts Rob Burlington. “Helen told me about Rob and that I should contact him to maybe perform some music programs here. So I e-mailed Rob, and ever since then, he’s been bringing the Middle School Chorus every May and December.” Mr. Burlington recalls, “Then about two years ago, April told us about Taylor Glen’s lifelong learning program, and we discussed having a few music classes in the evenings.” Faculty members from Cannon’s Music Department jumped at the chance to meet the residents at Taylor Glen. Mr. Burlington taught about Romantic symphonic music, and Mrs. Lu Jones sang and taught about holiday songs around Christmas. Mr. Brad Davis offered a jazz class, and Mrs. Anne Marie Samuel brought student string quartets to perform with her. Mrs. Aimee Pfitzner has led several drum circles, and Head of Upper School Deb Otey has hosted regular hymn sings. “I think it’s a really neat relationship,” said Mr. Burlington. “We get out in the community, and the teachers have really shared their time and their love of their topics.”

residents who can’t tell you what they did this morning can tell you about a hymn or an old song.” The drum circles led by Mrs. Aimee Pfitzner offer a unique and exciting experience to residents. “I facilitate drum circles every few months. Participants play drums or shakers to accompany and create music pieces,” explained Mrs. Pfitzner. “I love seeing the light in their eyes as they connect with their drums. I have seen non-verbal residents sing, and residents who do not interact with others join in playing with a group.” And Taylor Glen resident Mrs. Joyce Newton reminded us about yet another meaningful aspect of their musical connection with Cannon—the students. “To me, anytime students sing, it’s special,” said Mrs. Newton. “I think with young people, you never hear anything good anymore. And then you get to see some of these kids who will spend time doing something over here with us, and who are so positive and happy, and I don’t know—it just makes you want to do things.” That’s music to the ears of Molly Morrison ’21 (Mrs. Morrison’s great-granddaughter) who shared, “It means a lot to me to perform at Taylor Glen because I see how much my great-grandmother enjoys it. And it makes me happy to offer entertainment and bring a smile into the lives of the residents there.”

Mrs. Agnes Whitesell, a resident at Taylor Glen agreed. “Well, I love it when Debbie comes over and does the hymn sing.” Mrs. Otey enjoys it too. “I love playing piano and singing old hymns. I started by just offering a one-time hymn sing. The sixty minutes flew by the first time, and now I go every month,” said Mrs. Otey. “I think the residents and I appreciate the experience for the same reasons. It reminds us of a special time and place in our lives.” Mrs. Weddington shared, “Especially for our Memory Enhanced Unit, music awakens our brains and brings back memories. Some Mrs. Anne Marie Samuel leading a past student performance. 20 | SUMMER 2017 | CANNON MAGAZINE

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is the self-proclaimed, “single biggest celebration of arts and culture on the planet.” With 50,266 performances of 3,269 shows in 294 venues in 2016, they back up that claim—and this August, four performances by Cannon Theater Company (CTC) will be counted in their numbers. From August 4 through August 28, the city of Edinburgh, Scotland, welcomes performers and theater goers from around the world. Cannon Theater Company is seizing this once-in-alifetime opportunity as part of the American High School Theatre Festival (AHSTF), which runs in conjunction with the Fringe. The AHSTF is extremely competitive, and school programs must be nominated and apply to participate. Having made it through the rigorous application process, thirteen members of CTC, along with Mr. Andy Macdonald, Director of Theater Arts, and Mrs. Lu Jones, Middle School Theater Teacher, will leave on July 29 to begin their journey. Mr. Macdonald shared, “We’ll tour London first, and then we go to Scotland, where we’ll perform four times. Most of the trip will be going to see theater.” When they take the stage, CTC will perform The Sneeze, an assemblage of short plays by Anton Chekhov, translated and adapted by Michael Frayn. “It’s Chekhov’s earlier work, which is surprisingly funny,” explained Mr. Macdonald. “It’s a collection of short plays he wrote and short stories that have been turned into plays. This helps us because we can rehearse with

groups of kids separately over the summer, and then pull it all together with the entire cast the week before we leave.” And what does Mr. Macdonald want the students to learn? “I really want their imaginations to explode when it comes to what’s possible in theater,” he said. “And I look forward to them being inspired by people who have committed their lives to creating art and creating something meaningful. I also look forward to how much this will spill into Cannon Theater Company when we come back.”

Bess Bryant ’21 shared, “I am so excited to be able to travel to another country with people who share the same passion as me. I am most excited to see the different performances and to grow stronger relationships with people in CTC as I move into high school.” Megyn Diehl ’21 captured the group’s feelings of elation best when she explained, “I’m extremely excited to see all the shows and witness all that talent in one place. I’ve never been to Europe, and I’m psyched to have the chance to experience it all. You don’t go to a foreign country with just anyone—you go with people you love, and CTC is really a family.”

Members of the cast agreed. Jackson Welsh ’18 shared, “It will be interesting to compare Cannon’s theater program to those from around the world. I hope to learn about other theater programs, to see what works and what doesn’t, and bring that back to Cannon.” Hallie Isom ’18 explained, “I am most looking forward to experiencing all types of art from all around the world. I want to learn more about myself as an artist. It is also exciting to know when we are performing that there will be people from all over the world in the audience.” Pictured here and above is CTC’s production of Cinderella. 21 | SUMMER 2017 | CANNON MAGAZINE


Members of Cannon Theater Company look forward to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

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Fringe Benefits

Camp Cannon brings together students from the community and from Cannon School in the pursuit of fun, knowledge, and growth. Each year, new and exciting camps pique students’ interests—but it’s the relationships that keep them coming back.

“This is my seventh year at Camp Cannon. I just love the wide variety of camps and how they change every year. And I really love the environment here. The counselors and junior counselors are just really open and caring.” - Brandon Bartelli ’23

“It’s my third year at Camp Cannon, and I never get bored. We do all different kinds of things. Like in Flight School camp, we learned about aerodynamics, flew drones, made rockets, and even went to a museum.” - Devin Bell ’25 “I love seeing old and new friends each year, and I’m more willing to try new camps each year.” - Hailey Safranek ’25 (right) 22 | SUMMER 2017 | CANNON MAGAZINE

“Some campers have been with us for so many years. I have watched them grow up, bring their siblings to camp, and even become junior counselors, using their skills in new and different ways. It’s really fun to see.” - Marcia Brashear (right), Camp Director

Page 22 Pictured with Hailey is Zeke Hernandez ’25. Page 23 (from top) Pictured with Keenya is Dylan Herlocker and Katie Jones. Marcia smiles with Paul Borowicz, Assistant Camp Director and Fifth Grade History Teacher. Lucas Lopez ’28 is on the ropes. In this row, we see Nathan Campbell ’22 with his drone and Oscar Hernandez ’29 teaming up with Sarah Dinges ’28. 23 | SUMMER 2017 | CANNON MAGAZINE

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“No matter how much you know when you start camp, by the end of camp, you always learn more new things.” - Keenya Western ’28 (center)

What Did You Do this Summer? Four Cannon faculty members share their adventures. It’s inevitable. The lazy days of summer will slip through our fingers, and when school begins, we will all be asking each other, “So, what did you do this summer?” And let’s admit it. We all want to have really cool answers. Always the overachievers, these four faculty members will have fun and meaningful stories to share. From meeting their idols, to giving of themselves, to jamming on stage, we could all take a page from their book. Mr. Mark Kmidowski, Upper School Librarian Anyone who knows Mr. Mark Kmidowski knows he is a man of many interests and talents. But you might not know he’s in a band named 2DrChickenCoupe. (That’s pronounced: Two-Door Chicken Coupe. And that’s “coupe” as in the car, not “coop” as in chickens.) Mr. Kmidowski explained, “My neighbor Paul Maraio has been a musician all his life. He grew up in New York City and played the club scene in the 80s. He came up with the idea of starting a blues band, and it’s not your typical blues.” He continued, “Our motto is, ‘We don’t play no Mustang Sally.’ We play North Mississippi Hill Country Blues like you would find in a juke joint. We play the music of R.L. Burnside, Mississippi Fred McDowell, and Junior Kimbrough.” Mr. Kmidowski plays bass in 2DrChickenCoupe, and the band debuted in July 2016 at Barnstock—a homegrown music festival founded by alumnus Miles Brown ’10 and his family nine years ago. Mr. Kmidowski laughed when he recalled, “I reached out to Miles and said, ‘Hey, if you’re looking for talent on the No-Talent Stage, we’re available.” 2DrChickenCoupe played the Coffee House Stage at Barnstock that year, and Mr. Kmidowski said, “Students I hadn’t seen in a couple of years saw me on stage, and they were surprised. It was just fantastic to reconnect with students and hang out with them.” When we interviewed Mr. Kmidowski, the band was getting ready to play at Barnstock 2017 on the Over the Hill Stage along with Mr. Brad Davis and the Cannon Jazz All Stars, who we will tell you about next. Mr. Brad Davis, Director of Upper School Bands, Jazz, and Piano Lab This summer marks Mr. Brad Davis’s third year playing Barnstock with the Cannon Jazz All Stars—an ever-changing lineup of Cougar alumni who jump at the chance to jam in the summer heat with their favorite music teacher and Cannon’s own ambassador of jazz. Mr. Davis explained, “The Cannon Jazz All Stars are people from way back. The funny thing is that with some of them, we haven’t played together in years, but then we get together, and it’s like not a day has passed.” Not surprisingly, Mr. Davis enjoyed riffing about his students, “My kids—a surprising number of them are still playing. A bunch of them have played at the college level. And some of them are true professional musicians now.” He continued, “Last year, Chris Pope ’12 and his band, Unaka Prong, were on tour, but he made sure to come to Barnstock so he could make the scene and play. And Cameron Cook ’11 wanted to make it too, but he was on tour.” And what did Mr. Davis think this year’s gig at Barnstock might bring? “Mark Kmidowski’s band and our band will play back-to-back, so that’s a nice little Cannon show there. Then Unaka Prong and Fireball Coma (Miles and Dan Brown’s band) will play.” He continued with a smile, “Miles and Dan were both in the band and were students of mine. When they started the festival it was super small, and year after year, it’s blown up.” 24 | SUMMER 2017 | CANNON MAGAZINE

Mrs. Laura Huffman, Chair of the Upper School History Department When we interviewed Mrs. Laura Huffman, she was preparing to attend a teacher seminar being presented by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of New York City and being held at the National World War I Museum and Memorial in Kansas City, where Mrs. Huffman has spent summers as a Teacher Fellow and Expert Educator. In and of itself, a seminar hosted by the Gilder Lehrman Institute is a highly competitive program and enough to make any history teacher swoon—but it’s especially meaningful for Mrs. Huffman. “Here’s why it’s huge for me,” Mrs. Huffman explained. “Back in 1996, I had just started graduate school in history at UNCC. I hadn’t even started teaching yet, and PBS did a series called The Great War and the Shaping of the 20th Century, which I watched on my thirteeninch TV in my studio apartment in Charlotte. And I loved it so much, I took my birthday money that year, and I bought the VHS set—which I still have.” She continued, “That series was based off a book of the same name by a historian named Jay Winter. He was one of the talking heads in this video that really started my fascination with the First World War.” After a pregnant pause, Mrs. Huffman smirked and continued, “Jay Winter is the scholar who is teaching the Gilder Lehrman Institute this summer! I feel like history is cyclical, and my life has come full circle that twenty years later I get to learn from this man. I just want to meet him. I want to shake his hand. I want to take a picture with him.” (Mrs. Huffman did meet Jay Winter just before Cannon Magazine went to press. Here they are pictured together at the start of the seminar on July 16.)

Mr. Mike Hoffman, Chair of the Middle School History Department For more than fifteen years now, Mr. Mike Hoffman has been involved with HUGS Camp—one week each summer when campers with special needs are paired with one or more “helper” campers, who assist the special-needs campers with all their activities and adventures. HUGS Camp is hosted by the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina and held at The Summit at Haw River State Park. Over the years, Mr. Hoffman has been a leader at HUGS Camp, serving in roles ranging from Board Member, to Camp Director, to Chief of Staff. “It’s one of the highlights of my year,” explained Mr. Hoffman. “I enjoy the planning process and the week itself. Typically, we have thirty to forty HUGS Campers who are as young as 8 and as old as 38. And then we have another forty to sixty Helper Campers.” Under Mr. Hoffman’s leadership, a close connection between Cannon School and HUGS Camp has also developed, with several Cannon students serving as Helper Campers and staff members each year. But Mr. Hoffman didn’t want to talk about himself. Instead, he shared what he wants people to understand about HUGS Camp. “It is a spiritual experience as well as an emotional experience,” he said. “We like to point out the Helpers—the high school students who pay to come to camp, but who are doing nothing for themselves. It’s almost 100 percent about being there for someone else. It’s one of the first times in a lot of these kids’ lives where they understand—the more you give, the more you get. It’s just the way the world works. It is selfless, but you get such residual back.”



Anonymous (4) Dr. Mark Aldous and Mrs. Cari Aldous

Dr. Alan Chiemprabha and Mrs. Catherine Chiemprabha

Mrs. Joy E. Anders

Mr. Steve Christman and Dr. Kimberly Christman

Mr. Michael Ankrom and Mrs. Joan Ankrom

Ms. Lori Clay

Dr. Denis Arnold and Dr. Sara Arnold

Dr. Robert Collins and Dr. Amy Boardman

Dr. Claxton Baer

Mr. James Combs and Mrs. Lisa Combs

Dr. Scott Baker and Dr. Kristin Baker

Mr. Nathan Conklin and Mrs. Tanya Conklin

Mr. Matt Barr and Mrs. Gwin Barr

Mr. Jody Grose and Mrs. Claudette Grose Mr. Christopher Grouse and Mrs. Holly Grouse Mr. Christopher Gruber and Mrs. Dana Gruber Dr. Raymond Haigney and Mrs. Kimberly Haigney Mr. Robert Hammock and Mrs. Caroline Chambre Hammock Mr. Vikas Handa and Mrs. Mona Handa

Dr. Edward Bell and Dr. Jessica Bell

Mr. Timothy Cooksey and Mrs. Kelley Cooksey

Mr. Matthew Bentley and Mrs. Terry Bentley

Mr. Michael Coppa and Mrs. Theresa Coppa

Mr. James Hartsell and Mrs. Leah Hartsell

Mrs. Johanna Benz Dr. Michael Bitzer and Ms. Andrea Anders

Mr. Patrick Coughlin and Mrs. Melanie Coughlin

Mr. Todd Hartung and Mrs. Regina Hartung

Dr. Kathleen Boyd

Mr. Trey Davis and Mrs. Cate Davis

Mr. Larry Haynes and Mrs. Sandra Haynes

Mr. Benton Bragg and Mrs. Alice Bragg

Mr. Bryan Delaney and Mrs. Holli Delaney

Mr. Bill Heisel and Mrs. Domineec Heisel

Mrs. Katherine Bray

Mr. Paul Denby and Mrs. Tracy Denby

Mr. Scott Hensley and Mrs. Stacy Hensley

Mr. Whit Brown and Mrs. Heather Brown

Mr. Charles Dimond and Mrs. Susan Dimond

Mr. Michael Hoffman

Dr. Robert Harley and Dr. Justina Clemons

Mr. Michael Dinges and Dr. Stacy Dinges

Dr. Alexander Horowitz and Mrs. Madeline Horowitz

Mr. Bill Diskin and Mrs. Nicole Diskin

Mr. Andrew Hudson

Mr. Jonathan Dry and Mrs. Erin Dry

Ms. Candace Hudson

Dr. Bryan Edwards and Mrs. Julie Edwards

Mr. David Ibsen

Dr. Jennifer Ellington

Dr. Glenn Jaffe and Mrs. Tami Jaffe

Mr. Robert Burlington and Mrs. Laurie Burlington

Mr. Linn Evans and Mrs. Blake Evans

Mr. Andy Jones and Mrs. Kelly Jones

Dr. Mark Fromke and Mrs. Heidi Fromke

Dr. Tom Jones and Mrs. Teri Jones

Dr. Bret Busby and Mrs. Sarah Busby

Mr. Lonnie Galloway and Mrs. Winslow Galloway

Mr. Walter Joyce and Mrs. Nancy Joyce

Mr. Horace Bryan and Mrs. Reisa Bryan Mr. David Bryant and Mrs. Nicki Bryant The Budd Group Mr. Graham Bullard and Mrs. Pam Bullard Mr. Craig Burlington and Mrs. Addie Burlington

Mr. David Butow and Mrs. Johanna Butow Rev. Peter Bynum and Mrs. Stephanie Bynum Mr. Jason Cagle and Mrs. Holly Cagle Mr. Chris Cagnina and Mrs. Christine Cagnina

Mr. Travis Geisler and Mrs. Carrie Geisler Mr. Jonathan Gibson and Mrs. Jessica Gibson Mr. Chris Gilligan and Mrs. Amy Gilligan

Dr. Brian Cain and Mrs. Karin Cain

Mr. Ryan Goldsberry and Mrs. Kenya Goldsberry

William Coltrane and Norma Craft Cannon Charitable Trust

Mr. Matthew Gossage and Mrs. Linda Gossage

Mr. Jason Carlock and Mrs. Heather Carlock

Mr. William Grady and Mrs. Veronica Grady

Mr. Yin Chen and Mrs. Vivien Su

Dr. Lisa Graybeal-Ziebell Mr. George Griffith and Mrs. Leigh Griffith


Mr. Tom Kabasakalian and Mrs. Lisa Kabasakalian Mr. Ross Kellman and Mrs. Maya Kellman Dr. Jess Kirby and Dr. Kim Kirby Mr. John Kirk and Mrs. Arina Kirk Mr. Paul Kohlhepp and Mrs. Gretchen Kohlhepp Dr. Christopher Kroll and Mrs. Michelle Kroll Mr. Michael Kruse and Mrs. Lauren Kruse Mr. Gerald Kurtz and Mrs. Amy Kurtz

Dr. Kurt Lark and Dr. Rebecca Lark

Mr. Knox Morrison ’94 and Mrs. Betsy Morrison

Mr. Alan Springate and Mrs. Tori Springate

Mr. Todd Morton and Mrs. Michelle Morton

Mr. Bryan Stephens and Mrs. Kristen Stephens

Mr. Jeffrey Leck and Dr. Genevieve Leck

Mr. Dilip Movva and Mrs. Krishna Nagalla

Mr. Mark Swartz and Mrs. Lauren Swartz

Mr. Paul Leonard and Mrs. Kristi Leonard

Mr. Michael Nelson Jr. and Mrs. Kimberly Nelson

Mr. David Swink and Mrs. Maureen Swink

Mr. Britt Leatherman and Mrs. Kimberly Leatherman

Ms. Beth Levanti Mr. David Lewis and Mrs. Susan Lewis Mr. Blake Lewis and Mrs. Rachel Lewis Mr. William Lisk and Mrs. Nicole Lisk Dr. Andy Little and Dr. Jen Little Mr. Victor Lopez and Mrs. Stacy Lopez Mr. Cary Majors and Mrs. Jen Majors Mr. Timothy Marburger and Mrs. Debbie Marburger Mr. Michael Marvin and Mrs. Linda Dahlin-Marvin

Mr. Christopher Newton and Mrs. Cinnamon Woods Mr. Leigh Northrup and Mrs. Elizabeth Northrup Mr. John Olguin and Mrs. Marisa Olguin

Mr. Knox Teague and Mrs. Heather Teague Dr. Jon Ter Poorten and Dr. Maryanna Ter Poorten Dr. Nehal Thakkar and Dr. Sheetal PatelThakkar

Dr. Adam Ortiz and Mrs. Connie Ortiz

Mr. Paxton Thurman and Mrs. Laurie Thurman

Mr. James Parenica and Mrs. Carol Pontis

Mr. Matthew Timmes and Mrs. Lisa Timmes

Parents at Cannon Golf Tournament

Mr. Derek Titus and Mrs. Laurin Titus

Dr. Ashesh Patel and Mrs. Nancy Patel

Mr. Kenneth Tompkins and Mrs. Liz Tompkins

Dr. Paresh Patel and Dr. Manisha Patel

Mr. Patrick Tracy and Mrs. Gena Tracy

Mr. William May and Mrs. Dianne May

Mr. Derick Pegram and Mrs. Heather Pegram

Mr. Benjamin Maynor and Mrs. Beverly Maynor

Mr. Todd Pelow and Mrs. Jodie Pelow

Mr. Scott Trufant and Mrs. Sally Trufant ’84

Mr. Benjamin Peterson and Dr. Porter Peterson

Mr. Stephen Turbyfill and Mrs. Donna Turbyfill

Mr. David Peterson and Mrs. Mary Peterson

Mr. Tim Tysinger and Mrs. Torey Tysinger

Mr. Hans Peterson and Mrs. Siobhán Peterson

Mr. Robert Van Epps and Mrs. Natalie Van Epps

Dr. Andrew Phillips and Mrs. Paula Phillips

Mr. Abe VanWingerden and Mrs. Cindi VanWingerden

Mr. Robert McCreary and Mrs. Michelle McCreary Mr. Michael McDermott and Mrs. Kate McDermott Mr. Harry McKay and Mrs. Andrea McKay Mr. Steve McLeod and Mrs. Portia McLeod Mr. Josh Meeks and Mrs. Barbara Meeks Dr. Michael Meighen and Mrs. Tammy Meighen

Mrs. Marianne Pinto Mr. Homar Ramirez and Mrs. Kim Ramirez Dr. Adam Ravin and Mrs. Blake Ravin

Mr. James Michaels and Ms. Carolyn Lyons

Ms. Geeta Reid

Middle School Faculty and Staff

Mr. Ernest Remmey and Mrs. Virginia Remmey

Mr. Paul Mierzwa and Dr. Amy Mierzwa Dr. Matthew Miller and Mrs. Kelly Miller

Mr. Peter Riemersma and Mrs. Robin Riemersma

Mrs. Sarah Miller

Mrs. Patricia Rutemiller

Hon. Grey Mills and Mrs. Jennifer Marion Mills

Mr. Diego Sanchez and Mrs. Maria Zeolite

Mr. Donald Moore and Mrs. Mandee Moore

Mr. John Schneider and Mrs. Susan Schneider

Mr. Harris Morrison ’92 and Mrs. Kate Morrison

Dr. John Selden and Dr. Kym Selden

Mr. Holt Morrison ’91 and Mrs. Anne Morrison ’90 Mr. Hugh Morrison and Mrs. Helen Morrison

Ms. Andrea Trembath

Mrs. Elizabeth Ventura Ms. Rebecca Wampler Mr. Jonathan Ward and Mrs. Shannon Ward Mr. Ferris Way and Mrs. Elizabeth Way Mr. Bart Wellborn and Mrs. Gayle Wellborn Mr. Todd Wells and Mrs. Chrissy Wells Mr. Scott Wickerham and Mrs. Rebeccah Wickerham Mr. Thomas Wickwire and Mrs. Jeanne Wickwire Mr. Jochen Wittgraefe and Mrs. Bianca Wittgraefe

Mr. Michael Serulneck

Dr. Nathan Woolwine and Mrs. Amy Woolwine

Mr. Ron Setterberg and Mrs. Lorie Setterberg

Mr. Victor Yang and Mrs. Pamela Yang

Mr. Alan Shaw and Mrs. Anne Shaw

Mr. Hunter Morrison ’96

Mr. Lonnie Shiffert and Ms. Karen Shiffert

Mr. John Morrison Jr. and Mrs. Peggy Morrison

Mr. Norman Shue and Mrs. Deanna Shue

Dr. Michael Yu and Dr. Wei Huang Ms. Pamela Zamora Mr. Hans Zandhuis and Mrs. Terri Zandhuis

Mr. Charles Spiggle and Mrs. Kelly Spiggle CANNON MAGAZINE | SUMMER 2017 | 27


Rendering of Seventh and Eighth Grade Building. Final design to be determined.

Aerial view of Seventh and Eighth Grade Building. Final design to be determined.

Year after year, I am amazed by Cannon School’s culture of giving—especially this year as we celebrated surpassing our goal for the Imagine Tomorrow Campaign. And as I sat down to write this reflection, I became curious about how we as a society define the idea of “culture.” After reading various definitions and articles, here are my key takeaways that I believe describe Cannon’s culture of giving to a tee:

the Middle School World Language Program, a library and media center, and plenty of space for collaboration, meetings, and activities for Middle School students. Construction will continue through the 2017-2018 school year and summer. When the new building is complete, the Lower School World Language Program and the AfterSchool Program will move into dedicated classrooms in our existing Middle School. Then in the summer of 2018, we will transform the Outback into a state-of-the-art Upper School technology space. We cannot wait to celebrate the grand openings of these new spaces with you in the fall of 2018.

Culture is about our shared experiences and goals. Culture is about nurturing our values into action. Culture is about belief. And most importantly, culture is about sharing knowledge with future generations. Cannon’s culture of giving remains strong, and our school community’s response to the Imagine Tomorrow Campaign is the latest illustration of this. From the beginning, Imagine Tomorrow was a family-driven initiative, and more than 190 families helped us raise in excess of $3.8 million. On behalf of Cannon’s administration, faculty, and staff, we are humbled by the generosity of everyone who rallied around this effort—parents, grandparents, friends—even parents of the Class of 2017 and alumni parents whose children will not directly benefit from the new spaces. We also extend sincere thanks to our Steering Committee. Their leadership and tireless efforts to engage everyone with this campaign achieved this latest success for Cannon. In addition, we thank our Parents At Cannon groups who supported the campaign by directing the proceeds from their annual golf tournament, luncheon, and silent auction to benefit the new Upper School technology space. And now, we can begin to watch imagination transform into reality as we break ground on the new Seventh and Eighth Grade Building, which will house seventh and eighth grade classrooms as well as 28 | SUMMER 2017 | CANNON MAGAZINE

At Cannon School, we believe the best way to predict the future is to invent it. We are deeply grateful to everyone in our school community whose support makes our forward-looking approach possible. Your response to Imagine Tomorrow will infuse our learning environment with even more creativity, collaboration, and real-world problem solving. These are gifts that Cannon students will remember for years to come as they learn to discover their own passions for improving their school community and their world.

In addition to our successful Imagine Tomorrow Campaign, the Cannon Fund achieved 608 donations totaling $449,891. Thank you to our families, grandparents, alumni, alumni parents, faculty, and staff for your participation!


Eric Rossitch ’12

Eric graduated from the University of North Carolina with a bachelor’s degree in exercise and sport science. He is currently a Digital Content Producer for Atlanta United FC, a Major League Soccer club that began play in 2017. Can you share the path you’ve taken after Cannon? I attended the University of North Carolina, where I majored in exercise and sport science with a focus on sport administration. I was heavily involved with the soccer community, playing for the Men’s Club Soccer Team and being a practice player for the Women’s Varsity Soccer Team. I started working at SOCCER.COM my sophomore year as a social media intern, and that grew into a year-round, parttime position where I worked as a Digital Content Producer. I was able to meet a lot of accomplished and great people along the way, which led to my opportunity at Atlanta United after I graduated. What made the position with Atlanta United FC attractive? What made the position attractive was not only the type of job and field of work, but the fact that I could help develop the soccer culture in this country, which has always been one of my life goals. Major League Soccer (MLS) is growing and evolving so rapidly, it’s a very exciting league to be involved in. To be part of something from the ground up has been an absolutely incredible and unique opportunity. Can you familiarize us with Atlanta United FC? Atlanta United is an MLS expansion club that was founded in 2015 and is currently competing in its inaugural season. We are playing our home matches in Georgia Tech’s Bobby Dodd Stadium until our true home at the new MercedesBenz Stadium is finished in downtown Atlanta (which will also house the Atlanta Falcons). From draft, to preseason, to championship, the MLS season runs from January until December, so it’s essentially a year-round league. Soccer is the fastest growing sport in this country and not just because of the competition on the field, but because of its distinctive culture. It’s a global sport. It brings together people of all ethnicities, races, cultures, religions, and, languages. As a club, we don’t just strive to be a team that wins championships. Our goal is to be this symbol of strength, passion, and energy that our city and our people can rally around, no matter the result of a match. What has the process entailed so far? When I arrived in Atlanta in May 2016, our staff was no more than fifteen to twenty people, and now we’re around seventy-

Eric Rossitch ’12 five. For my digital team and me specifically, it’s been a lot of educating, engaging, and exciting our fans through means of videos, photos, articles, and multimedia. The reason I love my job is the fact that we get to tell the story of our club. It was pretty incredible to see the amount of anticipation and interest for the team, even before we took the field. To continue to build on that fan base and create this—it’s something that gets me out of bed every day. The city of Atlanta has absolutely blown away everyone from MLS to leagues around the world. There were 55,000 people at our first-ever home match, officially recorded as the fourth largest soccer match in the world that weekend. We’ve completely sold out seven straight and plan to continue that run. The fans are incredible—everyone stands, cheers, and sings through the full 90 minutes. What is the best career advice you’ve received? The best piece of advice was from one of my professors in college. “It’s not about who you know. It’s about who knows you in a positive light.” It’s true. Life is about networking, especially when it comes to the sport industry. But if you just try to shake the hand of everyone you see, and you’re only doing it for selfish reasons, everyone will see right through that, and you won’t get very far. Be genuine, be considerate, and show you can work hard. Prove that you can be a good teammate. What is your advice for current Cannon students? Explore every opportunity that you can. Don’t be afraid to take chances. If for some reason you fail, or you make a mistake, or you don’t enjoy the experience, all these things are what make you a better person and will help you find what you love to do. I would also recommend reading. Read for pleasure, read for growth, read for learning. It can be news, a magazine, a book, anything that piques your interest. Knowledge and communication are so important in life, and if you read, I promise you won’t regret it. Work hard and be nice to people, and I guarantee you will find yourself surrounded by amazing people and incredible situations. 29 | SUMMER 2017 | CANNON MAGAZINE

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Alumni Spotlight

the EPA’s Local Food Local Places grant this year)! His main focus is Drew Farm, where they produce over 20,000 pounds of organically produced food for the student meal service and community farmers’ markets run by paid high school students learning entrepreneurial and agricultural skills.

2001 Marie Morgann is going into her twelfth year of teaching world languages at Cannon School and her seventh year serving as Middle School Department Chair. She is continuing her studies at Oxford University, working on a graduate degree in archaeology. She is happy to continue her role as Alumni Board Secretary for the seventh year and loves reading through everyone’s class notes!


Kevin Newman is currently working on his Master of Education at UNC-Charlotte, specializing in Lower and Middle School. Upon graduation, he plans to work in Middle School education. Marie Morgann ’01 is going into her twelfth year of teaching world languages at Cannon.

Jamey Falkenbury is in his fifth year working as Director of Operations and Press Secretary for Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest. In August, he is marrying Amanda Styron in Charleston, SC, at the Aiken House.

Colin York and his wife, Katherine Fink ’08, are expecting a second daughter in September 2017. Colin began working as a Channel Sales Representative at Sealed Air Corporation in October of last year and teaches rowing classes at Lake Norman Indoor Rowing on weekends. Katherine recently graduated from UNC-Charlotte with a Bachelor of Fine Arts and will enjoy raising their two girls before she pursues a career in teaching art.


2004 Eddie Alcorn was accepted to the Master of Social Work distance education program at UNC-Chapel Hill. He’ll be pursuing his interest in counseling with the three-year program. He and his wife, Sarah, celebrated their first wedding anniversary with a camping trip at Smith Mountain Lake in Virginia.

2008 Denny Alcorn has been working with Mercy Ships in Benin for the last nine months, and he’ll be returning very soon. Once he gets back, he’ll be moving to Mercy Ships’ headquarters in Texas to continue working on a couple of research projects for around a month. Matthew Hargis works in Detroit, MI, on “food systems change” within the Detroit Public Schools Community District. He is employed by the Office of School Nutrition, which feeds more than 40,000 students every day. They serve sixty percent clean label foods and forty percent local food. He serves as the Matthew Hargis ’08 is Senior Garden Senior Garden Manager, Manager with the Detroit School Garden dealing with any growing at Collaborative. the Detroit School Garden Collaborative including seventy-six school gardens and larger sites like Drew Farm or Mackenzie Field (which was a site recipient for

Carson Coggins ’09 married Allie Elbeery in March.

Carson Coggins married Allie Elbeery (now Coggins) at Fearrington Village, NC, on March 4, 2017. His father, Monty, officiated. He and Allie just moved to Raleigh, where Carson is working for the Department of Health and Human Services in GIS. He just started a master’s program at NC State in GIS.

2010 Seve Gaskin is now a Senior Consultant with The Advisory Board Company, a research, technology, and consulting firm that partners with leading healthcare organizations, higher education institutions, and K-12 schools. Last fall, Seve was selected and appointed to the Advisory Board for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s undergraduate honors program. He is currently implementing a young alumni mentoring program to connect current honors students at UNC with recent graduates of the program. He resides in Washington, D.C., and lives in close proximity to Jenya Gaskin ’02 and Deeona Gaskin ’04.

>Class Notes 30 | SUMMER 2017 | CANNON MAGAZINE

Meredith Parker graduated in May 2017 with her J.D. from Campbell University School of Law in Raleigh, NC. She will remain in Raleigh and begin practicing at a family law firm in August.

took more courses towards her graduate degree, but in her rare free time, she enjoys mountain hikes.

2011 Nicole Newman Bubash married Caleb Bubash, a Lieutenant in the Marines, on May 20, 2016. They recently moved to Pensacola, FL, where Caleb is training to be a pilot in the Marines. Nicole is currently earning her certification as a CrossFit personal trainer.

Meredith Parker ’10 at her graduation from Campbell University School of Law.

Davis Gossage graduated from Duke in 2016. He is living in San Francisco and working at Apple as a Software Engineer. Barry Hawkins graduated on May 13, 2017 from the University of Tennessee–Knoxville, cum laude, with a bachelor’s degree in sociology. He will be attending the University of South Carolina School of Law in August of 2017 to pursue a Juris Doctor.

Barry Hawkins ’12 at his graduation from University of TennesseeKnoxville.

Kaitlyn Konefal just graduated from Loyola University Chicago, where she earned two bachelor’s degrees, one in psychology and one in criminal justice. She is currently enrolled at Penn State to earn her doctorate in criminal justice.

Nicole Newman ’11 married Caleb Bubash in May 2016.

Madeline Hurley recently moved to New York City to begin a new job as Marketing Associate for Roundabout Theatre Company. Roundabout is one of the nation’s leading nonprofit theatre companies, producing shows both on and off-Broadway. Madeline is excited to join the Broadway theatre market after spending the past two years working at Virginia Repertory Theatre in Richmond, VA.

2012 Cassie Calvert has been hired by the Baltimore Ravens as their new Social Media Coordinator. Jane Campbell has been back in Charlotte for a year now. She works for an IT staffing firm in Uptown Charlotte, where she is currently an Account Manager for TIAA (Teacher Insurance and Annuity Association). She is looking forward to celebrating her five-year reunion in the fall and seeing all of her classmates! Caroline Coggins spent this last year in Denver, CO, working as a Kindergarten Enrichment Facilitator. In August, she is moving to Raleigh, NC, to take a similar job in an elementary school. Caroline Coggins ’12 working as a Kindergarten Enrichment Facilitator.

Alyssa Dorfman is enrolled in graduate school at UNC-Charlotte studying counseling. This summer, she

Hans-Christian Lauer graduated from the University of IllinoisChicago with a B.S. in Finance, a minor in business analytics, and a certificate of entrepreneurship. While attending UIC, HansChristian was a member of Hans-Christian Lauer ’12 at his the Honors College and graduation from the University of Illinois- a member of the Business Chicago. Scholars. In addition to his academics, he was a member of the varsity basketball team for five semesters and a volunteer for two nonprofit organizations—SPARK and the Greenwood Project. Hans-Christian will begin work as a floor trader at the Chicago Trading Company in August. Emily Ranson graduated from Western Carolina University, magna cum laude, with a triple major in management, law, and finance. She accepted a position with Bank of America (where she interned last summer) with their OMAP Program in Charlotte. In addition, she is working on an advocacy project to incorporate financial literacy courses into university liberal studies requirements.

Emily Ranson ’12 at her graduation from Western Carolina University.

Kevin Ross finished his first year teaching history in the Upper School at Cannon School. He rock climbs every weekend, preferably near the Blue Ridge Parkway or in Asheville. This summer, he 31 | SUMMER 2017 | CANNON MAGAZINE

Alumni Corner Dear Cannon Alumni,

I will never forget one of the first comments someone said to me during my initial days as a Cannon School staff member: “This really is a great time to be at Cannon.” Those words have rung true all year, especially in the Alumni Relations Office. What a time to be part of this Cougar family! Including our newest graduates from the Class of 2017, the Cannon School Alumni Association has reached more than 1,000 members. As our number of alumni continues to grow, we have more opportunities than ever to reconnect with former classmates, faculty, coaches, staff, and friends.

Sarah Allgood, Alumni Relations Coordinator

In addition to crossing the 1,000-strong milestone this May, we will celebrate our first 15-Year Class Reunion this December, and we have a new roster of Alumni Board members. I am so grateful for the Alumni Board and President Eddie Alcorn ’04, who have helped guide me in my first year. The Alumni Board meets three times a year to discuss ideas, challenges, and opportunities for Cannon School alumni related to participation at events, giving, and networking.

In the coming years, expect to see more alumni events, celebrations, and avenues for you to stay connected or re-engage. Whether it is attending your class reunion, visiting campus for Homecoming, speaking with current students about your experience after Cannon graduation, or seeking advice from someone in the Cannon community for professional networking opportunities—I look forward to getting to know each one of you. As alumni, you are our greatest assets! We hope you will continue to show your Cougar pride, and we thank you for being allies and advocates for Cannon’s mission beyond our school walls. Sincerely,

Sarah Allgood Alumni Relations Coordinator When the Class of 2017 graduated, the Cannon School Alumni Association reached more than 1,000 members.

P.S. 704-785-3540

Alumni Parents, we want to see you too! You will always be part of the Cannon family, and we look forward to staying connected with you no matter how many years have passed since your children’s graduations.


Meet the Alumni Board Officers

Eddie Alcorn ’04, President Isabelle Powell ’08, Vice President Marie Morgann ’01, Secretary

Board Members 2017-2018 Kaitlyn Abromitis ’06 Jane Campbell ’12 Hillary Gruce ’08 Erin Mason ’16 Jeremy Miller ’10 Ashley Rivenbark ’10 Jessica Peterson Sielen ’03 Juliana Sirois ’14 Rosemary Sirois ’10

competed in all of the Aqua Rock Deep Water Solo competitions at the Whitewater Center. Charles Sterner had the opportunity last summer to work with the Baltimore Ravens as an athletic training intern during training camp. He has recently earned his athletic training certification after completing his Bachelor of Science at the University of South Carolina. He will attend West Chester University, outside of Philadelphia, in the fall for his master’s degree in exercise physiology. Jason Willix graduated from Stetson University in May 2016 on the Dean’s List with a 3.7 GPA. He played running back there for four years and was able to score a touchdown at his senior homecoming game. After graduation, he accepted a Running Back Coach and Ninth Grade Special Teams Coordinator position at Richmond Senior High School. He also started as a math teacher at Ashley Chapel Educational Center in Richmond County. He has just accepted a position at Orange High School. He will be teaching Foundation of Math 1 to the ninth graders. He will be the Varsity Running Back Coach and JV Offensive Coordinator! Go Panthers!

Jaclyn Konefal is a senior at NC State. She will graduate in the fall with a bachelor’s degree in nutrition and a minor in exercise science.

2014 Taylor Bunten finished her junior year at NC State, where she is majoring in communication with a double minor in Spanish and international studies. She spent last semester studying in Barcelona, Spain, and this summer she interned at Husqvarna. Ben Dorfman is a junior at NC Wesleyan College in Rocky Mount, NC. He is the tight end for the football team, and was last measured at 6’5”. Eric Fromke completed his junior year at UVA, where he is a biochemistry major. On campus, he is involved in Reformed University Fellowship and intramural basketball. He is currently applying to medical school. Grant Gossage will start his fourth year at UVA in the fall. He is majoring in creative writing, politics, and government. He was home for the summer, working part-time and doing some writing. Jonathan Green is at MidAmerica Nazarene University in Olathe, KS. He is majoring in early elementary education and plays on the basketball team. Andrew Newman is a senior at Appalachian State, where he is completing his degree in environmental science.

2015 Ben Campbell is a rising junior at UNC-Chapel Hill. His areas of focus are communication and entrepreneurship. This summer, he worked at Apogee Adventure in Maine with their Leadership Program. He keeps in close touch with his fellow Cougar alums from the Class of 2015 and enjoys spending time with them when he is at home. Colleen Hurley is a rising third-year cell/molecular biology major at Appalachian State University. She loves the hiking and outdoor activities that Boone offers and has also been a member of the ASU a cappella group, OneAcchord, since she was a freshman. She spent the summer in Boone as a Research Lab Assistant in a water conservancy lab.

JD Wimbish is a Satellite Telecommunications Specialist in the United States Army. He is stationed at Fort Stewart, GA. His brigade recently got back from a six-month training deployment to Germany. It has been a pretty cool experience, and he has learned so much since being in the Army. JD attended NC State University and intends on finishing his bachelor’s degree this year. He shared, “I love Cannon, and I will always appreciate the values that were instilled in me during my time there—and I still think about them every day I put on this uniform!”

2013 Olivia Knox got engaged to Logan Ruffin following her graduation from USC. They took a trip to Paris to celebrate, but little did Olivia know, Logan was planning a proposal with the help of their friends and family. While a photographer was taking their picture in front of the Eiffel Tower, Logan proposed. They are so excited to start this next chapter together!

Olivia Knox ’13 celebrated a surprise engagement to Logan Ruffin. 33 | SUMMER 2017 | CANNON MAGAZINE

Taylor Marks did some serious traveling in 2016. She went to sixteen countries while abroad! She lived in Spain for eight months and London for three. She has been back in the U.S. for nine months and completed her sophomore year at Florida State University. She is studying exercise physiology.

Taylor Marks ’15 (right) visited sixteen countries in 2016.

Uday Uppal finished his second year as a computer science major at Carnegie Mellon University. This summer, he spent twelve weeks in Menlo Park, CA, working for Facebook as a software engineering intern. He will be working on their newly launched Facebook Spaces project, which is a way for people to connect socially through virtual reality. Darby West finished her sophomore year at the University of Notre Dame, where she is focusing on visual communicative design and sociology. Darby was in South Africa studying cultural, historical, and social psychological analysis of racism in South Africa. She went on excursions to Soweto, the Apartheid Museum, Robben Island, Kruger National Park, and an UNESCO World Heritage Site. She engaged with the South African people through service projects and activities including sports programs and spending time with the children at the local orphanage. After a month at home, Darby was selected to travel overseas to Ahmedabad, India, and attend the National Institute of Design as part of a grant to exchange design concepts and coordinate an integrated project with students there.

Darby West ’15 (left) in South Africa.

2016 Austin Coale completed a very successful freshman year at the University of South Carolina. He served on the Freshman Council and was involved in Club Swim Team. This summer, he worked for AmeriCorps at the food bank in Columbia, SC.


Sydney Green played on the volleyball team at Mars Hill University in North Carolina this past year. Rachel Harris finished her first year at the University of Southern California. She had the honor of being invited to join the Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society as well as participate in numerous student and professional pieces by some of the most accomplished choreographers in the dance industry. She looks forward to her next year at USC! Fight On!

Sarah Miner ’16 finished her first year at Appalachian State University.

Rachel Harris ’16 dancing at University of Southern California.

Sarah Miner finished both semesters of college at Appalachian State University with all A’s. This year, she was involved as Budget Chair with a campus wide event entitled Equity in Action. In her role, she recruited sponsors, ordered food, and created the budget for the conference. She was offered a job this summer as a Certified Nursing Assistant and Mission Medstaff. She looked forward to getting patient clinical hours that she will need when she applies to physician assistant school.

Thank you to the Cougar Alumni who participated in the inaugural Alumni March Madness giving challenge. Congratulations to the winners, Team Evens, alumni from even-numbered class years who gave to the Cannon Fund. Way to go Cougar Alumni!


Alumni Events 1

1. Members of the Alumni Board at their summer meeting 2. Alumni Lacrosse Game in May 3. Atlanta Alumni Flashback event in April 4. Charlotte Alumni Flashback event in April

Upcoming Events


August 5 – Alumni vs. Varsity Co-ed Soccer Match October 13 – Homecoming October 14 – Homecoming 5K and Fun Run December – Class of 2002, 2007, and 2012 Reunions. Visit alumni for updates. December – Alumni Jazz Jam. Visit alumni for updates.





5801 Poplar Tent Road Concord, NC 28027

Cannon School welcomes more than 135 new students this school year.

New families come from as nearby as Concord, and as far away as South


There are countless ways for new families to connect. Visit

Profile for Cannon School

Cannon Magazine - Summer 2017  

Cannon Magazine - Summer 2017