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Pursuing Growth

Finding Gratitude



> Engaged Learning The Counselors Are In ................................................................................................................. 4 Faculty Focus: Stephanie Ranson............................................................................................... 8 The Cornerstone Project.............................................................................................................. 9


Cause for Celebration.................................................................................................................10


Exploring Gap Year Opportunities..........................................................................................11

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

From Cannon to College...........................................................................................................13

EDITORIAL STAFF EDITOR Beth Levanti Director of Marketing and Communications ASSOCIATE EDITOR Katy Rust Marketing and Communications Manager CONTRIBUTORS Jessica Abel ’15, Lynda Abel, Eddie Alcorn ’04, Rob Burlington, Jennifer Calvert, Grant Gossage ’14, Matthew Gossage, Todd Hartung, Anne Hoffman, Beth Levanti, Kristin McClanahan, Marie Morgann ’01, Patrick Moyer, Katy Rust, Caroline Schauder ’16, Anne Shandley, Jessica Peterson Sielen ’03, Megan Thompson, Mimi Wahid ’17


Commencing the Next Step......................................................................................................14

> The Big Picture Our New Front Yard...................................................................................................................16

> The Arts Big Voice in the Big Apple.........................................................................................................18 New York City, Thank You for the Music..............................................................................20 Cannon at the Mint....................................................................................................................21

> Athletics Cougars in College......................................................................................................................22 Leadership: Pursuing Our Best Together...............................................................................25 Cannon Spring Athletics............................................................................................................27

> Community A Commitment to Cannon Students......................................................................................28 Cannon School Set to Open with Record Enrollment.......................................................30

> Alumni


Alumni Spotlight: Justin Weaks ’08........................................................................................31


Class Notes....................................................................................................................................32


Alumni Board Updates...............................................................................................................37 Alumni Events Photos................................................................................................................38


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In This Issue

Letter from the Head of School < < < < < < < < < < < < â&#x20AC;&#x153;It is the commitment to causing internal growth that unites our faculty and separates Cannon as a school. â&#x20AC;?

Dear Cannon Families, As a child growing up, I would visit my grandparents in Nashville once or twice a year. Over time and with each visit, my grandfather built quite a ritual of things we would do with him at his home. One of my favorite things involved the trip to the garage to measure height. Each of us had a board in the garage. We would run to our board, and our grandfather, with a ruler, colored pencil, and the best printing I have ever witnessed, would mark our growth. Each of us could assess the tangible growth when he drew the line sometimes inches above the last line and entered the new date. There is real comfort and encouragement to be found in tangible growth. We love to be able to see and hold growth. Our school community experienced this year the encouragement and comfort to be found in tangible growth. Buildings popped up out of the ground and grew right before our eyes. Initiatives such as Adaptive Expertise Days in Lower School, Cornerstones in Middle School, and Winterm in Upper School presented tangible growth in our educational program. Our arts program traveled south and took over the Mint Museum Uptown on a Sunday in the spring. And our teams and athletes set records and won events and contests we have never won. This kind of growth is hard to capture with rulers and colored pencils. Not all growth is tangible. With each visit, my grandfather tried as best he could to understand if we had grown any inches on the inside. Did we appear to be kinder to one another? Did we demonstrate a stronger commitment to working harder? Did we talk about more mature friendships? However, it is this growth on the inside that captivates teachers and shapes a school year. It is the commitment to causing this internal growth that unites our faculty and separates Cannon as a school.

Matthew E. Gossage, Head of School

I encourage you to look for this commitment along with the evidence of this internal growth in this issue of Cannon Magazine. I think you will find signs of this special kind of growth in the pieces written by students and in the reverent ways teachers talk about their work with students. I want to thank all of you for this year of growth Cannon School has enjoyed. I hope this summer provides your family with ample opportunity to rest, restore, and grow. Thank you,


“Emotional health takes practice, and it is just as important as academic success.”


By: Jennifer Calvert, Megan Thompson, and Anne Hoffman, Lower School, Middle School, and Upper School Counselors If you were to sit down with Jennifer Calvert, Megan Thompson, and Anne Hoffman, Cannon’s lower school, middle school, and upper school counselors, you would find yourself engaged in conversation that is simultaneously collaborative, introspective, and punctuated with healthy doses of laughter. While each member of this dynamic trio has taken a unique path to focus her education and her career on counseling the specific age group about which she is so passionate, there are common threads that run through their experiences as parents to their own children and as counselors at Cannon. When we asked them what they most want parents to know about Cannon’s counseling program, Mrs. Hoffman, who has been Cannon’s upper school counselor for six years, began, “Parents can call us anytime to consult. They’re not alone, and there are other parents who struggle. I believe that secrets keep you sick. If children know that they have someone to talk to and that we will honor their confidentiality, that’s a great place to start.” Mrs. Thompson, who has served as Cannon’s middle school counselor for six years, explained, “My job is to keep a pulse on the student body, but if I don’t know what’s going on in the students’ lives, I can’t always support them to the best of my ability. Families are afraid sometimes to let us know what’s going on because they think we might judge, or because of cultural differences, or because they’re just so busy dealing with their children’s challenges. Don’t be afraid to open up. We’re not going to judge.” Mrs. Calvert recently celebrated her twenty-year anniversary as a counselor at Cannon. When Mrs. Calvert started at Cannon, she was the school’s only counselor for all three divisions, and she now serves as our lower school counselor. She summed it up when she advised, “Emotional health takes practice, and I preach that all the time. Parents and children don’t come with manuals, and sometimes we need to be taught strategies to pursue and practice emotional health, which is just as important as academic success.” As a resource for parents, we asked Mrs. Calvert, Mrs. Thompson, and Mrs. Hoffman to share some background and guidance related to the age group that each of them serves. The following pages only scratch the surface of what they had to share, and we encourage you to connect with the counselors and utilize the additional resources at the end of this article. The Lower School Years, by Jennifer Calvert The Lower School years are ones of rapid growth and development. Each new birthday brings tremendous change. I have highlighted some of the most significant at each age, up to ten years old. In addition, one of my favorite parenting

books is Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours: How to Bring Out the Best in Your Kids By Doing What is Best for Them. Five-Year-Olds Challenges: •  Poor group members •  Demanding •  Hit and push While five-year-olds might experience the challenges above in their relationships with their peers, they do enjoy group activities, show increased cooperativeness in their play, and are more sensitive to the needs and feelings of others around them. Fives enjoy planning projects in detail and are generally patient and enthusiastic about completing the work, even if the activity extends over several days. It becomes important to complete work that has begun. Five-year-olds also enjoy testing their muscular strength and motor skills. However, it is best if they compete with themselves as they are not yet ready for competitive contests. Losing can be a real blow. Six-Year-Olds Challenges: •  Asserting independence •  Boss and quarrel with siblings •  Fearful of things like death, monsters, ghosts, witches, or things under the bed At school, six-year-olds can exercise their own choices of friends. This is an important time in developing relationships outside the family, but friends are usually fleeting. In the classroom, six-year-olds learn about life in a group and how to relate to different types of people. Parents should provide their six-year-olds with encouragement, praise, supervision with minimum interference, and help in developing acceptable manners and habits. Sixes need plentiful opportunities for activities of many kinds, especially using their large muscles. Concrete learning situations with active, direct participation are essential. Give six-year-olds some responsibilities, but without pressures or rigidly set standards. Seven-Year-Olds Challenges: •  Moody •  Worries are exacerbated by TV, movies, and some books •  Not good at admitting wrong-doing Sevens are sensitive to the feelings and attitudes of both children and adults. They can be moody and feel that people are picking on them, sometimes saying, “Nobody loves me.” They might worry about everything from not being liked, to being CANNON MAGAZINE | SUMMER 2014 | 5

Engaged Learning

Cannon’s counselors share advice for parents at every grade level.

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The Counselors Are In

The Counselors Are In (continued) late for school, or being afraid of the dark. And when they engage in boasting behavior, this reflects their emotional need to be strong. At school, sevens might try to test their teachers with attentiongetting behavior. They may be full of energy sometimes, but then tire easily and become restless and fidgety. Parents should try to provide their seven-year-olds with the right combination of independence and support.

they accept the standards, attitudes, and values of the group as their own. This is a time of uneven growth of different parts of the body, and boys and girls are maturing at different rates. Parents should provide their tens with help thinking through their problems, understanding their physical and emotional changes, and talking about the values and standards they consider important, particularly their moral standards.


The Middle School Years, by Megan Thompson

Challenges: •  Often careless, noisy, and argumentative •  Sensitive to criticism •  Overestimate ability to meet challenges While eight-year-olds might struggle with the challenges above, they are also alert, friendly, and interested in people. They are still searching for that best friend, but they can hold onto friends longer than at six or seven.

Challenges: •  Puberty and cognitive development •  Self-conscious •  Asserting independence Middle school can be one of the most challenging times in your children’s lives as this period is filled with so many different and overwhelming changes that they need to learn to navigate. Not only are middle school children entering into puberty, where they are faced with changing bodies and fluctuating hormones, but they are also entering into a stage where they are very self-conscious, feeling as though everyone is looking at them. On top of these changes, many adolescents are fiercely trying to assert their independence from mom and dad, all while trying to fit in and not be different from their peers.

By eight years old, attention spans are getting longer. Eights find new challenges exciting, but they may overestimate their ability to meet these challenges. They recognize their mistakes and may be selfdisparaging, sometimes saying, “I never do anything right.” Eights need protection from both trying to do too much and from excessive self-criticism when they fail. They also require adult-supervised groups, planned after-school activities, and exercise. Nine-Year-Olds Challenges: •  Begin to pull away from parents •  Perfectionists •  Upset by failure Nine-year-olds are independent and pursue their own interests, and with guidance, they will assume leadership responsibilities. They can be perfectionists but lose interest or cry easily when they feel discouraged or pressured. While they are often out-spoken and critical of adults, they are still dependent upon adult approval. Nineyear-olds begin to reach out beyond their immediate environments to understand other lands, people, and events. Nines need to be part of a family group that accepts them, helps them keep their feelings within bounds, lets them make decisions within limits, and provides guidance when they try to do more than they can. They also need to learn how to accept people who are different and how rules help us live together. Ten-Year-Olds Challenges: •  Awkward and restless due to rapid, uneven growth •  Uncooperative •  Wide range of individual difference in maturity levels By ten years old, children are more poised, relaxed, and congenial. Tens enjoy creative companionship with their parents, and although they are inwardly pleased with praise from adults, they often shy away from demonstrations of affection. Ten-year-olds are intense and highly selective in their friendships. The opinions of their social groups are of paramount importance, and 6 | SUMMER 2014 | CANNON MAGAZINE

As children begin to enter into puberty, their bodies and physical appearances begin to change as they grow and develop. For many middle school students, this can be difficult as they do not want to stand out from their peers. Sometimes being the tallest girl in the class or the first boy in the grade whose voice has changed can be tough. Adolescents can be very self-conscious as the physical changes that accompany puberty are some of the most dramatic and rapid they will go through with the exception of infancy. At a time in life when a child just wants to be like everyone else, it is easy to see why a seemingly harmless comment about one’s appearance can ruin a middle school student’s day. Along with the rapid physical changes that occur during adolescence, a shift in cognitive development is also taking place. Adolescents begin to move from a concrete way of thinking to understanding things in more abstract terms, thinking about the future, and beginning to develop the ability to hypothesize and consider alternatives. One of the major developmental milestones for adolescent students is the push for more independence and autonomy. As teens begin to find ways to assert their independence such as choosing to wait until the last minute to study for a test, not wanting any advice on how to handle friendship issues, or not following the family rule of no cell phones after 9:00 p.m., parents and children may begin to butt heads. It is important to know that it is normal for children to find ways to “be their own person,” and they need to learn from their experiences—and often times mistakes. If they choose to wait until the last minute to study for the test even though you have been suggesting they study all week, they need to experience the natural consequence of not doing well on the test. Without experiencing mistakes, children will not learn how to best handle situations, how to make positive choices, and how to move forward in the most productive way possible. It may be hard as a parent to hold back from saying, “I told you so,” but children at this age need to learn these lessons on their own, with the support of their parents, and in a safe space.

Overall, adolescence is a time filled with contradictions, and it can be a challenge for parents to know how to handle the roller coaster of emotions and behaviors. Your children may be talkative one day telling you all about the latest “drama” at school, and the next day refuse to open up saying that everything is “fine” or that they did “nothing” at school that day. They may be happy and bubbly one minute and sad and moody the next. They may be best friends with someone one week and “enemies” the next. As parents, the most important thing we can do during adolescence is to love our children unconditionally and continue to support them. By continuing to be their parents, not their friends, and providing safe limits while allowing them to assert their independence (much like I am experiencing now with my two-year-old!), your children will know that they can come to you when they really need you. By listening without judgment and offering advice when asked, you can help your children navigate the ups and downs of middle school. The Upper School Years, by Anne Hoffman Challenges: •  Communicating and getting along with family and friends •  Asserting independence •  Making decisions and building confidence and resilience When considering how to best support your children’s emotional and social growth, to me, the essential parenting question is, “When am I doing too much for them, and when am I not doing enough?” We want our children to know they have our unconditional love (we can love them without loving their behavior!), and we want to honor who our children are and our relationships with them. Understanding them is a good place to start. One of my favorite books on understanding adolescents is 7 Things Your Teenager Won’t Tell You And How to Talk About Them Anyway. The authors advise having three general rules: Stay Safe, Stay in Touch, and Show Respect (to yourself and others). Discussing rules with teens ahead of time and allowing them to help determine consequences aids them in understanding family expectations and opens the lines of communication. With developments in understanding the brain, we now know that the frontal cortex, or decision-making part, does not fully develop until around ages 21 to 24. This can explain teens’ impulsiveness and help us understand their inability to look at long-term consequences and their tendency towards risky behavior. Developmentally for adolescents, taking risks gives them power. Allow them to have power in choices and take safe “risks” like going out for a new sport, auditioning for a play, or trying the latest fashion fad. If they take more serious risks like driving without a license or drinking at a friend’s house, try not to underreact or overreact. Many parents have found that immediate, short-term natural consequences are the most effective and least damaging to their relationships with their children. It’s not about trying to control them; it’s about helping them understand that choices have consequences. Also keep in mind that the adolescent mirror distorts. So when they say, “I have no friends,” they may truly believe that. Asking questions like, “What can I do to help?” or my favorite from Mrs. Otey, “Do you want my support or my opinion?” helps clarify what they are seeking. Often times, we rush to offer solutions when our children are really looking

for someone to listen without judgment. Depending on their reactions, try and affirm their emotion (you feel frustrated), but challenge them on evidence (you and Sally just hung out all day Saturday). Of course, parenting is not an exact science, and perfectionism is unobtainable. Encouraging your children to do their best and complimenting them on their efforts, not the outcome (you worked hard on your presentation, rather than, I can’t understand why you got a B), is good advice. However, if your child is a perfectionist, advising him or her to “do what’s reasonable” may be a healthier goal. The culture of perfectionism has set impossible standards for us and for our children and has contributed to the growing increase in anxiety, depression, and eating disorders in young people. If your children know that you care about them, and if you are forgiving of them, they will usually return the favor. For upper school children, “Trust but Verify” is important to remember. You want to trust that when they say their friend’s parents will be home, that they will be. But trusting without verifying could lead your children into precarious social situations (like an unexpected house party). So you follow up with the friend’s parents even if your children swear they will die of embarrassment. Being known as firm, or even strict, can offer your teens an easy out with their peers. Research affirms again and again that the number one reason most teens don’t engage in risky behavior is, “because my parents would disapprove.” Although teens want to fit in with their peers, they still care more about pleasing their parents than their friends. Having a sense of humor can also go a long way. Just about every family has their inside jokes or funny family stories; draw on these when confronted with serious topics. If we can simply admit that we are uncomfortable and don’t have all the answers, we go a long way in earning respect from our children. It’s not about providing the “perfect” or “happy” teenage experience. It’s about trying to raise an emotionally healthy child who will flourish and make good choices when we are not around to help them. In the nature versus nurture debate, it is widely agreed that children are born with their personalities. If they are more prone to perfectionism, anxiety, or depression and are exhibiting signs of difficulty, and if you are overwhelmed with how to help them, it may be time to consult a professional to find healthy ways to cope. Children may not have control over having these traits, but they do have control over how to manage them. If the essential parenting question is, “When am I doing too much for them, and when am I not doing enough?” perhaps the essential parenting answer is, “Love.” And when in doubt, consult with your counselor.

Interested in learning more? For more information, parenting tips, and recommended reading from Cannon’s counselors, visit counselors.


Faculty Focus:

Stephanie Ranson, Sixth-Grade History Teacher Teaching much more than just history. By: Mimi Wahid ’17 According to her résumé, Mrs. Stephanie Ranson teaches “sixth-grade history.” However, as a sixth-grade alumna, I can say with certainty that she teaches much more than just history. She creates globally aware students who aren’t afraid to confront challenges. She gives students self-confidence as learners, all the while encouraging them to be metacognitive with their thoughts and actions. Mrs. Ranson teaches kindness and understanding and said, “I hope my students have the confidence to be who they are, to take risks, and not just focus on the outcome.” Mrs. Ranson spent most of her childhood in Parkersburg, WV. After graduating high school, she moved on to study human development at Vanderbilt University. She then served in the United States Peace Corps in Cameroon, Africa for several months. When the opportunity came up to teach, she took it, and since 2004, Mrs. Ranson has been an integral part of our Cannon community. She and her husband, Tim, have two children, Zach ’17 and Emily ’12. In her ten years here, Mrs. Ranson has given more to our school than I could ever fit into one article. What makes her stand out is her genuine passion for everything she does, whether it is coaching the Robotics Team, organizing the annual Multicultural Day, or promoting adaptive expertise in her classroom. Mrs. Ranson takes initiative to improve Cannon students’ experiences and is especially passionate about doing as much as she can to help her students learn. She is currently studying learning styles and mindfulness and is making her classroom an environment that lets individual styles thrive. Mrs. Ranson attended a five-day course titled, “All Kinds of Minds,” and later co-led a thirteen-week program on the science of developing minds. Along with the rest of the sixth-grade team, she has already implemented several new ideas in her classroom to increase the level of focus she receives from her students. She explained, “We have found that incorporating more movement in class makes the transition between classes easier and the time in class more productive.” She has found that these programs have helped with the attention level of students, and students have become more aware of their own learning styles. Diversity is one of Mrs. Ranson’s lifelong passions. While at Vanderbilt, she noticed a lack of diversity and wanted to make a change. With a team of other students and professors, she helped create The Posse Program, which has now taken root in almost fifty universities nationwide. This drive to make a positive impact has transferred to her actions at Cannon. Mrs. Ranson is a key member of Cannon Cultures’ leadership team, and she played a vital role in the formation of this parent group, which is committed to supporting parents, teachers, and students who believe that diversity, inclusion,


Mrs. Stephanie Ranson and multiculturalism are essential to the quality of education at our school. She is able to recognize ways to improve everyday life at Cannon, and more importantly, she takes action. Her passion for diversity doesn’t end with the school day, either. Earlier this school year, she was selected to travel to Blake School in Minnesota to learn about their diversity and inclusion initiatives, and she is implementing new ideas with the goal of improving Cannon’s programs. Arguably her largest impact on middle school students is her work as the middle school diversity coordinator. Through this position, Mrs. Ranson leads the Diversity Club—a group of dedicated students who meet weekly to have open, honest discussions about diversity and inclusion. The group collaborates with other local schools by attending yearly conferences and is given the opportunity to lead their own fundraisers for organizations like Pennies for Peace, Red Cross, and Heifer International. For me, Diversity Club was where I began to view Mrs. Ranson as both a teacher and a friend; she became someone I could not only learn from and view as a role model, but also someone I could trust. Through this program, she creates a close bond with her students, and for many, her classroom is a safe space to talk long after leaving middle school. Mrs. Ranson’s favorite quote was said by Gandhi, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Mrs. Ranson lives this moral to its fullest. She takes initiative towards her goals and has a positive impact on everyone she meets. Cannon is truly lucky to have someone as hardworking, passionate, and caring as Mrs. Ranson in our community.

The Cornerstone Project

Eighth graders pursue authentic learning experiences that measure their personal growth. By: Katy Rust, Marketing and Communications Manager What started out as a simple exercise in an eighth-grade history class has become an ever-evolving discovery of passion and ability for Cannon middle school students called the Cornerstone Project. In 2012, Mr. Mike Hoffman, middle school history teacher, introduced his classes to TED Talks. After watching several episodes during the first two trimesters of the year, students were asked to choose topics that interested and excited them. Throughout the final trimester, students spent several days in class and during homework nights each week creating presentations that would inspire their classmates, utilizing the core elements of the TED Talks they experienced earlier in the year.

Reed Fisk and Whit Norton rescued sea turtles for their Cornerstone Project. Photo courtesy of Allison Conboy, Florida Park Service.

“The results were always surprising,” noted Mr. Hoffman. “Students who had flown under the radar all year in history produced moving presentations that showed they had really learned a great deal from the activities we had done in class.”

“You would have to hold them by the front of their shells and the very back of their shells,” remembered Reed. “You take them over and put them down gently onto the shore, right next to the water so they would be able to feel the water and get used to it.”

The Cornerstone Project provides a way for students to reflect on their personal experiences during their time at Cannon and serves as a measure of growth during their middle school years. The project choices vary with the students, and the depth of the projects span from simple presentations to hands-on research and volunteer ventures. As the project expanded this year, Mr. Hoffman teamed up with Mrs. Catherine Jones, middle school English teacher, to broaden the scope of the project to encompass both history and English classes.

Although this project may have been the result of good luck (and good connections), the boys worked tirelessly on writing their script and composing their video all the way to Florida and back. This exciting, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity motivated them to produce a quality final product, sharing what they learned with their classmates.

“I think the students very much enjoyed the challenge of the Cornerstone Project,” said Mrs. Jones. “They were excited, although I think they were unsure at first of how they might be able to apply the project in the larger community. I think it surprised them to see just how much a middle school student can actually do to make a difference in the world.” One stand-out project was completed by the team of Reed Fisk and Whit Norton. Their Cornerstone Project, entitled, Endangered Sea Turtles, resulted from a conversation with Reed’s uncle who works for the National Aquarium in Baltimore. Reed and Whit took a trip to Florida to witness and assist with the release of thirteen rescued Green and Kemp’s Ridley turtles on Amelia Island. The turtles had been stranded in the Northeast in low temperatures and were put into rehab to recover from cold-stunning, a condition that is often detrimental to sea turtles if not rescued.

“It was one of the most authentic learning experiences that I have witnessed,” noted Mrs. Jones. “They wanted to do it, and they wanted to do it well.” The Cornerstone Project also provides a way for Cannon teachers to gauge the readiness of their students to enter the Upper School. Substituting a project of this nature for an exam is practical. For English, the students are assessed on their writing. They are graded on the organization, content, and grammar usage within their scripts. Meanwhile for history, students are evaluated on their presentation skills and message delivery, as well as reflections performed after the conclusion of the project. Many of the students finished the project with a sense they had made a difference in someone’s life or discovered something about themselves. In other words, they left with something of more lasting value than just an A or a B.


Mrs. Carla Moyer, Dr. Matt Rush, and Mr. Matt Gossage at farewell celebration for Dr. Rush.

Cause for Celebration Cannon School celebrates Matt Rush and welcomes Carla Moyer as new head of middle school. On a sunny Wednesday, May 28, it was obvious that the Middle School and the entire Cannon School community had a lot to celebrate. Following the fifth- through seventh-grade awards ceremony, Cannon bid a bittersweet farewell to Matt Rush as he and his family prepared for their move to Bryan, Texas, where Dr. Rush will become the new head of school at Allen Academy. After thanking Dr. Rush for his six years of service at Cannon, Head of School Matt Gossage surprised the Rush family and the crowd with an announcement about a special project to honor Dr. Rush’s accomplishments as Cannon’s head of middle school and assistant head of school. Mr. Gossage explained that for several years, Dr. Rush had talked about his desire to improve the space that exists behind the Middle School and around the dining hall and bus circle. His vision had always been to create play spaces for students and to make this area one that prospective parents would want to see. And in gratitude for Dr. Rush’s gift of inspiring middle school students to find joy in learning who they are both inside and outside the classroom, Mr. Gossage shared that the Cannon community had decided to raise funds for and dedicate The Rush Zone in his honor. The Rush Zone will include a basketball shooting court, a GaGa ring, a four square and wall ball area, brick retention walls, grass, trees, plants, pavers, benches, gutters, rain barrels, and an entrance to the Middle School wing. Families who wish to learn more about The Rush Zone may visit


Following the big announcement, Cannon families, students, and teachers in attendance made their way to the baseball field to enjoy lunch and continue the celebration. This was also a time to look forward to another exciting step for the Middle School—Carla Moyer taking the reins as Cannon’s new head of middle school. Cannon families might recall that in February 2014, we were thrilled to announce that Mrs. Moyer had been appointed to serve as our new head of middle school effective July 1, 2014. Following a national search, it became clear that the right person for this important role was already here at Cannon. Mrs. Moyer has worked at Cannon for fourteen years. During these fourteen years, she has taught math and science in the Middle School, served as team leader for both seventh and eighth grades, handled the responsibility of scheduling classes for seventh and eighth grades, served on or led search committees for new faculty, defined the position of dean of the seventh and eighth grades, and co-chaired the school’s reaccreditation process in 2010. “Carla understands the hearts and minds of middle schoolers, believes in Cannon’s mission, and loves this community as much as anyone on our campus,” shared Mr. Gossage. “During the search process, she impressed all who met her with her clear sense of how the Middle School can become even more effective in reaching students and helping teachers to grow.” If you haven’t done so already, we encourage you to reach out to Mrs. Moyer and share your good wishes. Cannon Magazine looks forward to bringing you an in-depth interview with Mrs. Moyer in our winter issue.

Exploring Gap Year Opportunities A break from formal education can help students make the most of their college experiences. By: Anne Shandley, Director of College Counseling, and Kristin McClanahan, College Counselor

What do Harvard, Tufts, MIT, UNC-Chapel Hill, and Elon all have in common? Besides being institutions of higher education, they are leading the way in encouraging students to take a gap year before beginning college. A gap year is a structured period of time taken by a student to travel, work, and/or volunteer, and it often occurs right after high school as a break from formal education. Even though it seems like the growing interest in gap years is a recent phenomenon, Harvard has been supporting these experiences for more than thirty years, even proposing it to students in their letter of admission. This break has long been a tradition in Australia and the U.K., and the United States finally seems to be fully on board with the concept. Since 2010, attendance at gap year fairs has grown from under 1,500 students per year to well over 3,500 students (National Association for College Admission Counseling, 2013). Students elect to pursue gap years for a number of reasons including increasing career awareness, overcoming academic burnout, giving back to society, participating in extended travel, securing paid work, and exploring personal interests on deeper levels. In a poll of gap year alumni, the most often cited reasons for taking a gap year focused on de-stressing and self-exploration. After years of traditional environments, an opportunity to take ownership of decisions and to create unique, self-designed experiences truly does help a student to grow. A 2013 study of 300 gap year alumni completed by Haigler Enterprises revealed that 60 percent reported their “break” helped them find a career path, and 66 percent said they took their academic work more seriously after the gap year. The benefit is not dependent on any one specific activity that the student pursues; the greatest impact seems to come from students facing challenges and pushing comfort zones.

Once the money was raised, Emily set off for Nepal and worked with a non-profit company based in the U.K. While in Nepal, Emily taught English to classrooms of more than fifty students and connected with the people of Gorkha while becoming enveloped in Nepali culture. Emily had the opportunity to attend a speech by the president of Nepal, work alongside a Fulbright Scholar, celebrate countless holidays, ride elephants, nap in a Buddhist temple, and learn to kayak from members of the Nepali national whitewater team. Emily shares, “I was absolutely terrified to land in Nepal. We got off the airplane, and we were immediately surrounded by eager locals attempting to push their goods on us. Truly, I was in a different world! Living in a rural village was a challenge at times. Electricity and running water could be scarce, and the quality of medical care available would make most people cringe. However, the absolute most valuable skills I was able to practice while there were adaptive expertise and positivity. I learned to rely on myself, make the most of every situation, and open myself up to the world and the people in it.” Upon her return to the United States, Emily enrolled at Western Carolina University in the fall of 2013. As a first-year college student, Emily was awarded a position in the freshman leadership program and was the only freshman invited to attend a school-funded international leadership conference in Montreal, Canada. Emily was the single recipient of the Freshman Leadership Award and was awarded the Dean Martin Scholarship by the College of Business Department of Global Management and Strategy for her academic achievement and student involvement. She serves in an elected position with the Student Government Association and has been appointed to an executive position as Director of Inter-Club Council.

Choosing to follow a nontraditional path after high school takes an adventurous spirit and an adaptive nature. But it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. Consider what two recent graduates of Cannon School decided to do for their gap years: Emily’s Experience Emily Ranson ’12 went through the college search and application process along with her peers during her senior year of high school. But, Emily knew she wanted to take a gap year and says, “I decided to take a gap year for one main reason—I wanted to explore.” Emily wanted to spend several months volunteering in another country and build upon her independence before going to college. Emily and her parents spent quite a bit of time researching options and talking before making the decision to take a “year on” dedicated to her own personal growth. Emily knew that in order to achieve her gap year goal, she needed to raise the money for this experience. Emily worked retail and quickly gained the respect of her manager and co-workers. She was given a great deal of responsibility and worked long hours.

Emily Ranson ’12 (second from left) and her new friends in Nepal.


Exploring Gap Year Opportunities (continued) Emily’s parents, Stephanie and Tim, admit that they were nervous about allowing their daughter to take such a different path after high school, and Stephanie offers this advice for parents, “Truly listen with your heart to your child’s thoughts, ideas, and dreams. Students feel so much pressure to follow what seems to be the one and only path from high school to college, and many are ready for a little time and space to explore life outside the classroom. Having the courage to forge their own path takes independence of thought and imagination. Taking a year to gain perspective, become more self-reliant, and experience the ‘real world’ may be just what they need to make the most of their college experiences.” Mitchell’s Experience Mitchell Galloway ’08 deferred his admission to Virginia Tech to take a year to enhance his French, experience a new culture, and develop new skills. Mitchell did a tremendous amount of research and planning before coming up with a gap year that was divided into three- to four-month blocks with time to return home for holidays and family events. One experience he had was a homestay in the North African country of Morocco where he improved his French while also being exposed to Berber and Arabic in this rugged country of mountains and deserts. The second phase of his year was spent in the United States working with the Forestry Service maintaining the Appalachian Trail. For a third experience, Mitchell traveled through a National Outdoor Leadership School program that involved hiking and kayaking in the Chilean region of Patagonia. Mitchell enrolled at Virginia Tech in the fall of 2009, majored in international studies, and became a member of the Corps of Cadets. He graduated four years later in 2013. Mitchell’s advice for any student contemplating a gap year is to plan, plan, and plan some more! He says, “Seize this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn more about the world you were born into. Expand your horizons and challenge yourself.” Mitchell feels that the three keys to a successful gap year are: 1.) Get your parents on board. Educate them about the value of an experience like this. It does not need to cost a lot of money. The organizations that charge fees will often offer scholarships; 2.) Take the initiative to do the research well

in advance of the spring of your senior year. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail; and 3.) Keep a good list of contacts and resources. Talk to anyone who has done a gap year or who offers a gap year program. Keep an open mind about the possibilities. Know Before You Go If you are interested in finding out about the gap year option, the first point of reference should be the student’s college counselor. Pursuing a gap year does not mean a student avoids the college application process. College admissions offices expect students to apply, get accepted, and then request a deferral from the college they plan to attend. This benefits the student as well, as he or she gets access to the college counseling department, college representatives, transcript requests, and other necessary admission documents while he or she is still in high school. Although many students begin exploring gap year opportunities early in their high school careers, this process does not have to begin until the senior year. Once a student is serious about designing a gap year, he or she should set a budget. Students can include paid work experiences in their plan to offset the costs of a travel program. They can explore local options that meet their interests, and they can look into volunteer opportunities that include sponsorships. If a family does select a formal program to help with planning the gap year, it is recommended that they check online reviews and speak to alumni of the specific program about their experiences. Although students should create a schedule for the year, they should also be prepared to be flexible. Gap year alumni are more than ready for college with more than 90 percent attending college within one year of taking a gap year (National Association for College Admission Counseling, 2013). While parents may have concerns over having their 18-year-old child in charge of this unique post-high school idea, Holly Bull, president of the Center for Interim Programs states, “I do find that this is one of the most powerful aspects of the gap year—choosing it, owning it, and stepping into the world.”

Interested in learning more? For more information about how colleges are promoting gap year opportunities and recent research findings about the benefits of gap year experiences, visit www.

Mitchell Galloway ’08 on the Appalachian Trail. 12 | SUMMER 2014 | CANNON MAGAZINE

From Cannon to College The seventy-six students of the Class of 2014 were accepted to 117 colleges and universities nationwide including Boston College, Carnegie Mellon University, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Duke University, Georgetown University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Michigan, Stanford University, Vanderbilt University, and Washington University in St. Louis. Fifty-six percent of the class earned scholarships and more than $3.9 million in merit-based scholarships.

“The members of Cannon’s Class of 2014 are impressive,” said Anne Shandley, director of college counseling. “Not only have they gained entry into some of the finest institutions, but as individuals they are capable leaders with fresh ideas. They are caring citizens who are good people at the core. We are very proud of these graduates and their many gifts.”

Members of the Class of 2014 will attend the following colleges and universities in the fall: Appalachian State University

Stanford University

Auburn University

The Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina

Boston College

University of Alabama

California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

University of California at Berkeley

Carnegie Mellon University

University of Denver

Catawba College Clemson University Cornell University Denison University Elon University Emory University Furman University George Washington University Georgetown University Grove City College High Point University Ithaca College MidAmerica Nazarene University New York University North Carolina State University Queens University of Charlotte Samford University

University of California at Los Angeles University of Edinburgh University of Georgia University of Massachusetts, Amherst University of Miami University of Michigan University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill University of North Carolina at Wilmington University of Pennsylvania University of South Carolina University of Tampa University of Texas, Austin University of Virginia Villanova University Wake Forest University Washington and Lee University Washington University in St. Louis




the Next Step




1. Eighth-Grade Commencement 2. Ally Dressler ’18 receives diploma at EighthGrade Commencement. 3. Twelfth-Grade Commencement 4. Jake Flynn ’14 delivers valedictorian address.





5. Kindergarten Commencement 6. Ryding Stewart-Grounds â&#x20AC;&#x2122;26 receives diploma at Kindergarten Commencement. 7. Austin Ward â&#x20AC;&#x2122;22 receives diploma at Fourth-Grade Commencement. 8. Fourth-Grade Commencement



Our New Front Yard The summer is the perfect time to do a little yard work! If you havenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t been to campus since the last day of school, the construction site of the Central Green will make you do a double take. The Central Green will create one incredible lawn to unite all of our campus buildings and provide a much improved circulation route for families picking up their children. Work on the Central Green will continue over the summer along with a full landscape plan in the fall.


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The Big Picture

“I know whatever I decide to pursue in life is absolutely possible. ”


By: Jessica Abel ’15 I’ve been a singer since before I can remember. There’s a video from when I was three singing “The Little Unicorn” and dancing around the family room. Then again, in the third grade, there’s the one of my Taylor Hall debut—my best friend and I singing the national anthem for the Lower School talent show in matching homemade t-shirts courtesy of my mom. From there I sang anything and anywhere I could—classical in chorus, arranged pop in A Cappella, the “Star Spangled Banner” for football games, show tunes in theater, and folk songs with friends after school. But never had I imagined I would sing in the pinnacle of venues in the City of Dreams with studentmusicians from all corners of the world.

I had been to New York City before, but something was definitely different this time; I’m not sure if it was flying in alone and having to navigate the JFK terminal solo or the fact that this was my trip, my experience versus the usual family vacation, but the city seemed brand new. By the time the rumbling shuttle arrived at the Sheraton Times Square where we were staying, I had already met people from as close as New Jersey and as far as Alaska. Because the day had been largely devoted to travel, the only activity we had time for was a group dinner, which the chorus enjoyed at the Stardust Diner, where waiters dance on tables and Broadway stars are born; it quickly became clear we were in the right place.

The journey started with some bad news last summer; the honors choirs that I planned to audition for were doublebooked with the Cannon Theater Company’s fall and winter plays, Rhinocéros and Much Ado About Nothing. I also struggled with the idea of not being able to sing daily with the choir because of my junior year schedule, already booked with core classes. This problem led me, as most do, to the internet where I first found the Honors Performance Series at Carnegie Hall, an audition only, international program for high school musicians, and I knew I had to try.

Although the orchestra-level seats at Wicked and our short stint on the Today Show were endlessly fun, the real reason we had all gathered took the majority of our time in the city. We rehearsed an average of seven hours a day to prepare the seven pieces we would perform for the concert. Most of the rehearsal time was spent on rhythmic details and sectionals, where the sopranos and altos rehearsed their sections separately from the tenors and basses. Dr. Gackle was adamant about understanding the message behind the lyrics, whether Latin or Old English, Hebrew or contemporary. My knowledge of music theory grew exponentially as we sang in six-, eight-, and even ten-part harmony. On the day of February 10, it was time for our dress rehearsal and (finally!) the concert.

I first proposed the idea to my parents who were, of course, supportive, but also realistic. Ten thousand students were destined to apply; 300 would be accepted. I contacted Mr. Burlington, my chorus teacher, about the program, and he was immediately intrigued and willing to help with the application as well as recommending audition songs. I went through a decent repertoire to find something that highlighted my alto tone (lower than the traditional soprano melody that most hear naturally) and also wasn’t overdone (they specifically warned against auditioning with Bach, for good reason). I finally chose “Silent Noon” by Ralph Vaughan Williams, and to their chagrin, kicked my family out of the house for a Saturday of wandering from room to room looking for the best acoustics to record the audition. After seventeen frustrating takes, I ended up in the bathroom with my phone as the recorder and a stereo playing the accompaniment. I guess take eighteen was the lucky one. After I received the acceptance letter (it came during Rhinocéros rehearsal and resulted in a lot of screaming and crying with my best friends), the next few months flew by. There were flights to book, chaperones to meet, hotels to confirm, and most importantly, a repertoire to decipher. I learned most of the songs individually, including the Russian tongue-twister, “Veniki,” and the twenty-six-page monster, “Arise, Shine,” with help from the notes sent by our soon-to-be conductor, Dr. Lynne Gackle, who had just returned from the Australia All-Honors Choir. Once the songs were finished and the syncopation sorted for my section, it was time to pack.

Stepping off the bus into the snow and through the “performers only” entrance of Carnegie Hall felt like a dream. The narrow entranceway seemingly exploded into the grandeur of the stage, and gold ornaments decorated the iconic hall in which the acoustics are literally perfect. We practiced as the event managers secured the doors because of the sold-out crowd already eager to enter. As we waited to be announced, I spotted all eleven relatives, plus Mr. Burlington, who had made the trip to see the performance, excitedly chatting in the balconies of the hall. As we finally stepped on stage, I had the surreal revelation of how many greats had been there before me, who had followed their passion and cultivated their talents until they found themselves, unbelievably, on the polished wood stage of Carnegie Hall in the city where dreams really do come true. Since I’ve returned from the Honors experience, I’ve realized with more and more certainty that everything happens for a reason. All the little events, from my first time on stage or the day I decided to move from playing violin in the orchestra to singing in the concert choir, paved the road that I followed to Carnegie Hall. I still keep in touch with my roommates (we’re planning a reunion this summer!) and love looking through the pictures, but the most exciting part of that incredible journey is that now I dream even bigger. Performing will continue to be a part of my life, and although I don’t know if it will be my career going forward, I do know whatever I decide to pursue in life is absolutely possible. CANNON MAGAZINE | SUMMER 2014 | 19

The Arts

Jessica Abel ’15 shares her experience singing at Carnegie Hall.

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Big Voice in the Big Apple

New York City, Thank You for the Music Cannon’s Music Department immerses itself in the rhythms of New York City. By: Rob Burlington, Director of Music Arts The words “Thank you for the music,” from Mamma Mia are still ringing in my ears. The lyrics express the gratitude and spirit we felt following the Music Department’s trip to New York City in March. With twenty-two students and five music teachers, we set out to immerse ourselves in as many musical opportunities as possible above and beyond the typical tourist traps of the city. Because we had groups of students from band, chorus, and strings, our intention was to divide up for much of our exploration so the students could be exposed to their specific art forms. In addition to riding the subway, shopping in Times Square, eating delicious food, walking the Chelsea High Line, and exploring Grand Central Station, each group created its own musical path. After dinner the first evening at a rotating restaurant high above Midtown, chorus students hopped on the E train and headed to St. Thomas Church on 5th Avenue. I grew up at this church singing in the St. Thomas Choir in fifth through eighth grades, and it is always a thrill to return. On this night, it was even more of a thrill to bring my own students to a concert performed by a visiting boys’ choir from Spain. The music was beautiful, and the voices soared through the magnificent nave of the church. The highlight of the concert was a Spanish folk song about a bird. The boys circled the pews singing the haunting melody and made stunning bird sounds that echoed throughout the church. The following morning, the chorus group visited the St. Thomas Choir School, where we were treated to a tour, a delicious lunch, and an impromptu concert in the cafeteria. Two eighth-grade boys from St. Thomas sang for their classmates, and it was a truly touching moment.

Music students explore New York City. 20 | SUMMER 2014 | CANNON MAGAZINE

The orchestra students had a different path altogether that first evening. Their destination was Carnegie Hall to hear the Vienna Philharmonic, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Despite their seats in the upper balcony, the students enjoyed an amazing concert highlighted by the music of Haydn and Brahms. Mrs. Samuel, our orchestra director, described the evening as powerful and inspirational, and the students were thrilled to see such high-caliber musicians. The next day, the students had the unique opportunity of playing for one of Mrs. Samuel’s colleagues at the Manhattan School of Music. After playing a few of their pieces, they were given informative instruction, and they discussed what life is like at a conservatory like Manhattan School of Music. After their performance, the group had lunch at Monk’s Diner, made famous in the Seinfeld television series. Some tourist places are too good to pass up, and the pastrami on rye was a hit. As the chorus and strings players enjoyed their concerts, the band students had an amazing experience as well. Following their fearless leaders Mr. Davis and Mr. Knox, the group spent the evening at the Jazz Standard listening to the Ambrose Akinmusire Sextet. After the concert, many of them expressed that the performance was one of the most inspirational musical experiences they had ever experienced. They remarked on the artistry and the incredible partnership among the musicians. The next morning, the group ventured to Jazz at Lincoln Center, where they arranged a personalized tour of the entire facility. They were allowed to go on stage in numerous ballrooms, and they watched a rehearsal of a jazz flamenco group. In addition to the wonderful music experienced by the band students, they experienced the best food of the week. After dining at Carnegie Deli one day, they tried Sylvia’s in Harlem the next day and enjoyed legendary soul food. This group knows how to dine!

Cannon at the Mint The Spring 2013 issue of Cannon Magazine featured Belinda Armstrong, director of visual arts and dance, Rob Burlington, director of music arts, and Andy Macdonald, director of theater arts, sharing their collaborative vision for Cannon’s evolving arts program. When we asked about their goals for the future, one of their hopes was to share the collaboration, growth, and passion that characterizes Cannon’s comprehensive arts program with the larger community. And just one year later, Cannon School literally took over the Mint Museum Uptown on a beautiful Sunday afternoon with its Cannon at the Mint event.

Soaking in the sights. While the groups had unique musical experiences, three joint outings were also memorable. As we arrived in the city after our eleven-hour bus ride, our first stop was to tour Lincoln Center. The tour set the tone for looking at New York City through a musical lens. We walked through the main halls of Lincoln Center, including Avery Fisher Hall and the Metropolitan Opera. We learned about the inner workings of professional music companies and all that goes on behind the scenes. The second outing was a Q and A with Dom Amendum, a Broadway musical producer (and brother-in-law of Eric Ruddy, our upper school dean of educational technology), and his fiancé Vicki Noon, a Broadway singer and actress. They shared their stories with us, and it was an eye-opening experience for the students as they heard about the trials and tribulations of Broadway actors and musicians. Despite the glamour of Broadway, it is a hard life. Vicki sang a song from Wicked, and we were blown away by her expertise and generosity.

On April 13, 2014, more than 330 Cannon School students, parents, and teachers from the Lower School, Middle School, and Upper School brought the Mint Uptown to life with music, acting, dancing, and visual and media artworks to engage museum-goers with the Mint’s Modern and Contemporary Art Collection and the Cannon community. Visual arts offerings included the exhibition, Inspiration + Collaboration, a collection of fine and digital artworks produced by student-artists in the Star Gallery. In the main lobby, students created a work of art—from start to finish— using only glued sheets of cut paper, and visitors joined in on a hands-on art experience, all inspired by artworks in the Mint’s collection. In the auditorium, student-artists presented multi-media performances based on two studentwritten poems that integrated film, dance, theater, and music, followed by performances by the Concert Band and two A Cappella groups. As attendees explored the museum, they enjoyed the stylings of the String Quartet and the swing of Cannon’s Jazz Band.

Our final outing together was to see Mamma Mia. Amidst the glitz and glamour of a Broadway show, one of the main themes of the musical shined through:

Thank you for the music, the songs I’m singing, Thanks for all the joy they’re bringing, Who can live without it? I ask in all honesty, What would life be without a song or a dance, what are we? So I say thank you for the music, for giving it to me. We are grateful to Cannon for allowing us to take this memorable journey and for parents who share their children with us. We are grateful for the wonderful relationships strengthened on the trip. We are grateful for students who love music and want to soak in everything they can. And to New York City, thank you for the music. CANNON MAGAZINE | SUMMER 2014 | 21

Photo courtesy of David Harmon Studios.

“If you have a goal, make it higher. Even if you fall short, you still achieve greatness. ”


By: Beth Levanti, Director of Marketing and Communications There’s just something exciting about watching talented young athletes who possess the ability to progress in their sports and compete at ever-increasing levels. Michael Phelps, an eighttime Olympic gold medalist by the time he was just 23, once said, “You can’t put a limit on anything. The more you dream, the farther you get.” From the outside looking in, student-athletes who are about to continue their academic and athletic careers at the collegiate level embody the notion of following one’s dreams, and this is undoubtedly one of the factors that makes them so compelling for the rest of us to follow. And if you talk to the eight members of the Class of 2014 who are about to continue their athletic pursuits at college, they will tell you about their dreams, but you’ll find that they talk a lot more about the value of hard work and the ongoing challenge of achieving balance. The Roster The following members of Cannon’s most recent graduating class are taking the next steps in their academic and athletic careers at the following universities: Kate Collom – Golf – Samford University Rachel Dyl – Soccer – Denison University Anna Estep – Soccer – University of Pennsylvania Jonathan Green – Basketball – MidAmerica Nazarene University Philip Jewell – Basketball – Queens University of Charlotte Thomas Price – Football – Grove City College Matthew Randolph – Baseball – Emory University Maija Roses – Swimming – University of California at Berkeley

The Dreams When you talk to this elite eight about what excites them the most about their impending moves to college, they express humility about having the opportunity to play the sports they love while receiving an education; they share their nervousness and excitement about the unknowns; and they demonstrate an unmistakable drive to compete with the best. Maija Roses explains, “The idea of training with some of the fastest swimmers in the world is very exciting. In my eyes, if you want to be the best, you have to be around the best. That is how I came to my decision to go to Berkeley. The team has several NCAA champions, Olympians, world record holders, and Olympic gold medalists. The head coach, Teri McKeever, was also the head Olympic women’s coach in 2012 and will be the head coach of the Pan-Pacific Championship team this summer. I cannot wait to push the limits and hopefully make some of my crazy goals realities.” Beyond the thrill of competition, Rachel Dyl reflected on another transformative aspect of college athletics when she shared, “When I think about continuing my athletic career at Denison, I’m most excited about the opportunity to be part of a team that will become my family away from home.” The Preparation Racing great Bobby Unser once said, “Success is where preparation and opportunity meet.” While our eight athletes are too young to know Bobby Unser, they have spent a combined total of eighty-two years playing their sports, and they all shared their own versions of this philosophy when talking about an everpresent challenge for student-athletes—balancing academics with athletics and hopefully taking some time to enjoy it all. Matthew Randolph explained, “I think my biggest challenge at Emory will be finding a balance between my athletics and academics. Along with these rewarding opportunities also comes the struggle of finding the appropriate steadiness as a student-athlete. Just being a college freshman and adjusting to the transition from high school to college is a hard time. Combining this with athletics will make the transition even more difficult. But with the right attitude and planning, I believe that I will be successful.” Anna Estep shared, “Cannon has taught me a lot of things, but I think the biggest thing I have learned is balance. Staying on top of school work and making time for practice can be difficult, but after doing it for so many years at Cannon, I am more than ready to take on anything college can throw at me.”

Kate Collom ’14 and Maija Roses ’14 CANNON MAGAZINE | SUMMER 2014 | 23


Eight student-athletes from the Class of 2014 share their insights about competing at the next level.

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Cougars in College

Cougars in College (continued) Thomas Price agreed and said, “Cannon is difficult academically. Having college-level classes at an early age and in such a supportive environment as Cannon has helped me adjust to a difficult workload and not be intimidated by hard work.” The Players Become the Coaches When we asked our graduates to share advice with current Cannon students who want to continue their careers as student-athletes at the collegiate level, they reinforced that it doesn’t happen by accident, and there are a lot of choices to make along the way. Kate Collom shared, “I would say that when you’re deciding on a college, you shouldn’t just look at the athletic side. You should make sure that you pick a school you love and a place where you will be happy.” Rachel Dyl elaborated, “Start the process early. Talk to coaches, visit colleges, and go to camps and tournaments. Choose to look at schools that suit you both academically and athletically. It is so important to pick a school you would be happy at if you could no longer play your sport. To have the opportunity to continue your career as a student-athlete at the college level, you have to be intrinsically motivated, and you have to have a true passion for your sport. Your motivation is key to your own success. There may be times when people doubt your abilities or skills, but that should only motivate you to prove them wrong.” Maija Roses advised, “The academics are just as important as the athletics. Do not expect to easily fly through high school with okay grades and go anywhere for college. To be a well-rounded recruit, you need to be appealing not only to the coaches, but the admissions board at the college as well. They will be the ones allowing you to attend the school in the end.” Jonathan Green said, “If there are students who want to play a collegiate sport, I wish them good luck. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication, and you have to be willing to give things up, but in the end it all works out. The difference between those who make it and those who don’t is determination. If you have a goal, make it higher. Even if you fall short, you still achieve greatness.” Anna Estep shared, “I think the most important thing is to stay committed to your sport and continue to have fun and improve. Having a passion for your sport is a huge part of taking your game to the next level.” Matthew Randolph advised, “If you want to pursue an athletic career at the collegiate level, then continue to play your sport all year long. When the offseason comes, do not take time off, but instead continue to get stronger and practice where needed.” Thomas Price said, “Continue the work, and the offers will come. However, you have to go out and look for where you want to go, contact those coaches, and fill out their recruiting questionnaires.” And Philip Jewell, a man of few words, summed it up when he said, “Work hard every day, and it will pay off in the end.” Good advice for all of us to follow, and the entire Cannon community wishes these outstanding student-athletes the very best as they prepare for the next exciting steps in their lives.


Top: Anna Estep ’14, Rachel Dyl ’14, and Thomas Price ’14; Middle: Philip Jewell ’14 with Coaches Kelvin Drakeford ’08, Ché Roth, and Jason Wise; Bottom: Matthew Randolph ’14 with Coaches Rod Rachal and Joe Trojan.

Leadership: Pursuing Our Best Together Cannon’s Director of Athletics and two student-athletes reflect on leadership. By: Dr. Patrick Moyer, Director of Athletics, Caroline Schauder ’16, and Grant Gossage ’14 What is leadership? Ask ten people, and you will likely get ten different answers. Leadership styles among people are as different as snowflakes, but all snowflakes have the same effect and only exist under specific environmental conditions. The same can be said for leadership; it makes a team stronger and only exists if the environmental conditions are right. In athletics, we like to think of leaders as the team captains, but I believe every member of every team has to be a leader at different moments of the season. It is independent of skill level. As a coach, I didn’t designate team captains. I couldn’t articulate why; it just didn’t feel right to elevate the leadership roles of specific athletes. I felt as though the true team leadership would reveal itself if I let it happen organically. Team leaders reveal themselves without the need to wear the armband or the “captain” moniker. Again, this is a coaching style, and many coaches designate captains, which of course, has its own merit. Snowflakes. I like to think of team leadership like a Tour de France cycling race. The winning rider usually leads the race only at the end. He needs his teammates to take turns leading because it’s too difficult to ride to victory when you are the only leader. The winning rider needs all of his teammates to take turns leading. They take the lead when their own strengths are best for the team. They know they will not win the race. They know they will not make the newspaper or ESPN SportsCenter, but their leadership is critical to their team’s victory. Snowflakes. Leadership to me means trying to be positive and optimistic 100 percent of the time, investing with confidence in all of your teammates and coaches, and competing with integrity 100 percent of every minute of every practice and every game. Perhaps most importantly, leadership means doing the right thing all of the time, even if it’s not the easy or fun thing to do. A Cannon School education involves participation in athletics for nearly every student at some point in his or her middle school and

high school career. My vision for Cannon Athletics is that students own as much of this experience as possible. Coaches shouldn’t be the only ones demanding that athletes demonstrate maximum effort and attitude or commit to attending practice. I would love for studentathletes to join their coaches and parents as we all hold each other to the standard of excellence to which we should all aspire. I asked two of Cannon’s finest student-athletes and leaders, Carrie Schauder ’16 and Grant Gossage ’14, to reflect on what leadership has meant to them as Cannon Cougars. These two athletes hold records at Cannon, and they’ve won prestigious awards. What I love about these reflections is the complex revealing of how they serve as leaders at times with incredible resolve, while humbly looking to teammates for strength and inspiration at other un-choreographed times. These passages reflect a passion and commitment to all things Cannon that can only result in true leadership—the kind of leadership that is not reserved for just a few students or athletes, but rather the kind of leadership to which we can all aspire. It’s not about enhancing the résumé or the college application, but rather the altruistic pursuit of being the best that we can be together. An Unsuspecting Leader, by Caroline Schauder ’16 When most people think of leadership on athletic teams, they think of the team captains, the seniors, or the most experienced; however, leadership is arguably more powerful when it doesn’t come from them. There is one girl on our cross country team who decided to begin running a few days before the season began in her freshman year. She had recently dislocated her knee and lost a lot of muscle in the recovery process. Therefore, running was difficult for her to say the least. She wore a giant knee brace, and it stuck out so much that she had to change the stride of her healthy leg to avoid hitting the brace. Yet she came to every practice and worked her hardest. The meets were difficult for her, but for better or worse, she pushed herself

Meghan Hendry ’16 ( far left) is the student-athlete who inspired Carrie Schauder ’16 (third from left). Photo courtesy of Jane Nymberg. CANNON MAGAZINE | SUMMER 2014 | 25

Leadership: Pursuing Our Best Together (continued) through the pain each and every time. Her brace prevented her from moving as quickly as everyone else, and she often finished last, but it only propelled her to train harder. I had never seen such motivation and determination in one person. How can you run every meet knowing that you will be in pain and that you will probably finish at the back of the pack? It was a personal challenge. She did not care about other runners’ times or places, but instead she focused on what she could change. She decided to stick with running, and after the end of the season when most people hang up their running shoes and don’t take them down until next year, this young woman continued running every day, rain or shine. I joined her one day over Christmas break, and she showed me her usual loop, about five miles long. While we were running, she expressed her desire to run a half marathon one day, and in my head, I had no doubt that she would. Later, she put the same effort into the spring track season and the next cross country season in the fall. She still struggled with injuries but pushed through nonetheless. There were a few meets when she could barely finish and later found out that she was having muscle spasms in her lower back. But she kept going. She did all of this with a great attitude and a smile on her face. Every day I saw her push past her struggles, and it made me want to train harder. If she held herself to such a high standard, then why couldn’t I? I had no excuses.

This past May, to no one’s surprise, my teammate ran her first half marathon. In just two years, she progressed from running her first 5K to running a 21K. She is just one example that no matter your skill set, ability, or prior experience, you can make an impact. My teammate redefined success, not as winning the race, but as pushing herself to her maximum potential, which ultimately, should be any athlete’s goal. She ran simply to improve herself, and in the process, she unintentionally improved me. A Leader Rediscovered, by Grant Gossage ’14 When convincing wins are commonplace, shots find the net or fall through the hoop, when the baseball looks like a beach ball, or the body is fresh, it is so easy and almost natural to be a motivator and leader. But when losses pile up, teammates are divided, shots miss their mark, the bat cannot connect with the ball, or injuries occur, it becomes more difficult to be a leader. I admit that I struggled with this challenge throughout my athletic career. Athletics demanded so much of me. There were practices when I questioned whether I had the capacity to meet the expectations of myself and others. There were car-ride meltdowns and sleepless nights after failures. There was a constant, often overwhelming pressure to impress, to make the “easy play,” to win. There were times when I had to sacrifice summer vacation and holidays. Parting ways with my family for soccer two-a-days or leaving for a basketball tournament the day after Christmas was never easy to do. But I was committed to a cause without excuse. There was a responsibility for me to be with my teammates at each workout, practice, and game. Through this daily grind, I grew tremendously as a person and a player. But I continued to struggle as a leader when things were not going well. I lacked confidence. Because of this, I began to doubt whether I was a leader at all. But following an unfortunate break, and in the midst of total frustration, I made a positive impact during a personal low point. Late in our basketball season, a sluggish game in Asheville turned chippy. Every time I rebounded the ball, I prepared for an elbow or hand to strike me. I looked to the referees for some sort of help, but the abuse continued. In the third quarter, the third round of Fight Night, my opponent delivered a series of blows. I took one shot under the eye and another on the side of the head before a final MMA flying elbow crushed my nose. I fell to a knee beside my teammates. Bloodyfaced, I rose and turned to shake my head at each referee. In anger, I kicked the bench and later the training room door. With a ruined jersey and swollen face, I stomped back into the gym, my head down. I resigned to the thought that my varsity basketball career was over. When I visited the doctor, it was like a bad dream. He said I could have the surgery with anesthesia and be done for the season, or I could have the manual adjustment that day in the office and be back in a week or two. I feared both options.

Grant Gossage ’14. Photo courtesy of David Harmon Studios.


Eventually, I allowed the doctor to thrust my nose back into place while I was still awake. My eyes watered from the pain, and I shivered from that now familiar “crack.” But in the middle of such hardship, there was the resolve that I had desired. After pulling on the clear plastic mask that clung to the contours of my face, I, “Bane,” returned to practice soon after. And I will never forget the respect my team, “The League of Shadows,” showed me then.

Cannon Spring Athletics Congratulations to these student-athletes who earned all-conference and all-state honors and who distinguished themselves with excellence and commitment to their teams and to Cannon Athletics.

All-State (NCISAA) Matthew Randolph ’14 Baseball Noah Edmondson ’15 Boys’ Golf Danny Brenner ’15 Lacrosse

Andrew Redding ’17 Boys’ Tennis

Co-Most Outstanding Player Anna Estep ’14

Jena Metwalli ’16 Track and Field

Coaches Award Christina Stylianou ’16

Jordan Wallace ’15 Track and Field

Junior Varsity Girls’ Soccer

Spring Team Awards

Most Outstanding Player Paige Brenner ’17

Varsity Baseball

Coaches Award Amy Clark ’17

Kendall Thomas ’15 Girls’ Soccer

Most Outstanding Player Matthew Randolph ’14

Coaches Award Taylor DeBord ’17

Andrew Redding ’17 Boys’ Tennis

Most Improved Player Chris Batchelor ’14

Varsity Softball

All-Conference (CISAA)

Coaches Award Grant Gossage ’14

Anna Estep ’14 Girls’ Soccer

Chris Batchelor ’14 Baseball Cole Lippincott ’16 Baseball Matthew Randolph ’14 Baseball Noah Edmondson ’15 Boys’ Golf Will Gordon ’15 Boys’ Golf Anthony Perrino ’15 Boys’ Golf Danny Brenner ’15 Lacrosse Rachel Dyl ’14 Girls’ Soccer Anna Estep ’14 Girls’ Soccer Kendall Thomas ’15 Girls’ Soccer Alex Holloway ’17 Softball Taylor Marks ’15 Softball Leah Vail ’15 Softball

Most Outstanding Player Taylor Marks ’15

Varsity Boys’ Golf

Most Improved Player Caroline Campbell ’17

Most Outstanding Player Noah Edmondson ’15

Coaches Award Alex Holloway ’17

Most Outstanding Player Will Gordon ’15

Varsity Boys’ Tennis

Most Outstanding Player Anthony Perrino ’15

Most Outstanding Player Andrew Redding ’17

Varsity Lacrosse

Most Improved Player Jake Flynn ’14

Most Outstanding Player Danny Brenner ’15

Coaches Award Akash Kejriwal ’14

Most Improved Player Davis Nelson ’16

Varsity Boys’ Track and Field

Coaches Award Will Bost ’14

Coaches Award James Boyd ’17

Junior Varsity Lacrosse

Coaches Award Patrick Hunter ’15

Most Outstanding Player Chase Huseby ’17

Coaches Award David Shaw ’15

Most Improved Player Michael Dacus ’16

Varsity Girls’ Track and Field

Coaches Award Jakob Diskin ’17

Coaches Award Jena Metwalli ’16

Varsity Girls’ Soccer

Coaches Award Kristen Russell ’15

Co-Most Outstanding Player Rachel Dyl ’14

Coaches Award Dara Tokunboh ’15


Cannon Performing Arts Center

Randy Marion Family Field House

Strength Training and Conditioning Center


By: Todd W. Hartung Jr., Director of Advancement

Every corner of Cannon’s campus was literally animated and humming with the sights and sounds of construction when I wrote this update in late June. It was difficult to find the words to describe it all, but I kept coming back to the idea of “commitment.” If you look up “commitment” in the dictionary, it reads, “a promise to do or give something; a promise to be loyal to someone or something; and the attitude of someone who works very hard to support something.”

chair of the finance committee. “As a committee, we believe it is important to invest in our children and therefore, in our school, all while maintaining financial flexibility for the future. Despite having accessed debt in the past, we made the conscious decision not to rely on additional financing to fund Building Bright Futures even though banks were aggressively offering to lend us more money. We believe that maintaining a strong balance sheet positions Cannon to provide the best possible opportunities for our entire community to grow and prosper.”

From 2012 to 2014, more than 400 Cannon families, friends, Steve McLeod, chair of the campus master plan committee, trustees, alumni, faculty, and staff gave more than $7.4 shares, “After the Cannon community coalesced around million to the Building Bright Futures Campaign. They did the top six needs of our students and teachers, the Campus it because they are loyal to Cannon students and our school. Master Plan Committee worked with the administration And there’s no doubt to bring the best ideas and that the entire Cannon architect to the Cannon Board We knew our mission was to provide new community worked hard for approval of design and a opportunities for every student and family to bring us to this point building contractor. By using where the new Cannon in the Cannon community for years to come. a competitive model in each Performing Arts Center, step of the process, we helped Randy Marion Family Field House, Strength Training and stretch our funds while still demanding the quality product Conditioning Center, locker spaces and coaches’ offices, and everyone desired. We will continue to help manage converting Central Green will all be realities by the start of the 2014everyone’s outstanding financial commitment into the 2015 school year. facilities that will give our children a place to flourish.” But for this update, I want to spend a little time looking at the attitudes of several groups who worked very hard to support this outcome—Cannon’s Finance, Campus Master Plan, and Advancement Committees. In addition to the remarkable progress described above, a major factor that set the Building Bright Futures Campaign apart is that the Cannon community realized our goals without funding from tuition, and without incurring any additional debt for our school. Many private schools, even some of the most prestigious, rely on a blend of fundraising, tuition, and debt financing to fast track improvements to their campuses. But Cannon chose a more challenging path out of a sense of commitment to our students, and I asked the chairs of these committees to share glimpses into the work they carried out: “The Finance Committee is responsible for managing and guiding the financial resources of the school in a manner that provides the best possible educational environment for students, faculty, staff, and parents,” explains Sharif Metwalli,

“Charging the Advancement Committee with the goal of raising $7.1 million for Building Bright Futures was both scary and exciting,” explains J.D. Phillips, chair of the advancement committee. “The number was huge and had never been done before in Cannon’s history, but we knew our mission was to provide new opportunities for every student and family in the Cannon community for years to come. After the Board of Trustees pledged the first $1 million and several Cannon families pledged large leadership gifts, all with the personal endorsement of our Campaign Chairs Kim and Jeff Burton, an amazing thing happened—the hearts and philanthropic nature of Cannon parents, grandparents, alumni parents, faculty, staff, administration, and friends took over. The Building Bright Futures Campaign is actual proof that if the why is big enough, the how doesn’t matter!” Cannon School extends its sincere thanks to these committees and our entire school community for their commitment to building bright futures for Cannon students.



Building Bright Futures Campaign transforms Cannon’s campus without additional debt.

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A Commitment to Cannon Students

Cannon School Set to Open with Record Enrollment

The Cannon community looks forward to welcoming the largest student body in our school’s history. When Cannon families return to campus for the first day of school, the Central Green won’t be the only thing that has grown over the summer. On August 18, Cannon School will welcome 975 junior kindergarten through twelfth-grade students—the largest student body in our school’s forty-five year history. That number exceeds the enrollment target of 965 students that Cannon set for 2014-2015 and includes 160 new students from ninety new families. “Our enrollment has been increasing steadily since 2008,” says Bill Diskin, director of admission and financial aid. “It’s an exciting time to be part of the Cannon community!” Cannon’s enrollment was 905 in 2012-2013 and 940 in 2013-2014. Therefore, opening the school year with 975 students in the fall represents a continued and positive trend, which is no small feat considering the range of educational opportunities available to families in the surrounding communities of Concord, Davidson, Cornelius, Huntersville, Mooresville, Charlotte, and Salisbury from which Cannon draws students. “The opportunity to mature as a school the way we have is really a testament to the outstanding work that our faculty is doing with students,” Mr. Diskin says. “Matt Gossage and our division leaders have led the effort to articulate a vision for what great teaching and deep learning can look like—and our faculty has brought that vision to life.” Parents and students, in turn, have helped spread the word about their positive experiences at Cannon. “Everyone contributes—staff, parents, and students—when they share their stories about Cannon out in the wider community,” Mr. Diskin says. “So many of the


prospective families we meet tell us that they heard something great about Cannon from a current student or parent. Those testimonials are powerful.” Even the addition of new school options in the area offers Cannon’s Admission Office staff the opportunity to educate parents about the benefits of independent schools. “So far, the influx of public charter schools into the area has not had a negative impact on our enrollment at Cannon,” Mr. Diskin says. “We are opening with the highest enrollment in our school’s forty-five year history, and interest among prospective students and families continues to grow. Actually, the addition of new public schools offers us an opportunity to continue educating parents about the lifelong benefits for students enrolled in mission-driven, student-focused independent schools like Cannon.” Not surprisingly, Cannon’s long history is a big part of our current growth. “Cannon is by far the most established school in the area,” Mr. Diskin points out. “Our track record in terms of steady leadership, a solid educational philosophy, and outstanding college placement results puts us in a position of strength compared to the start-up schools. We don’t take any of that for granted, though. We owe it to our students and parents to keep moving forward to offer the best educational experience possible. Everyone at Cannon takes that mission very seriously.” If you know a prospective family who might be interested in Cannon School, share your family’s personal story and encourage them to contact the Admission Office at 704-721-7199 or admission@ to set up a campus tour. Or, families can stop by any Wednesday from 9:00 a.m. to noon for a Walk-In-Wednesday visit—no appointment needed.

Alumni Spotlight Justin Weaks ’08

Justin is a graduate of Greensboro College, where he earned a B.A. in Theater with an emphasis in performance. After traveling the country on a tour of Romeo and Juliet and Animal Farm and working with Shakespeare & Company in Massachusetts, Justin is currently wrapping up with Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park. What have you been up to since graduating from Cannon? Since graduating from Cannon in 2008, I’ve graduated from college and toured the country. I received my B.A. in Theater from Greensboro College in 2012 and have had the good fortune of working professionally in the theater since about my second year of school. From 2012 to 2013, I toured the U.S. as an actor and teaching artist with the National Players, the country’s longest running classical touring troupe. I’m currently finishing up a nine-month stay with Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park...and then, we’ll see! What was your favorite performance at Cannon and your favorite performance thus far? When I was a freshman, I played Truffaldino in The Servant of Two Masters by Carlo Goldoni. It was the spring play that year, and it was also the play the theater department took to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland. Visiting London and performing at one of the world’s largest theater festivals in Scotland was, to say the least, an unforgettable experience, but it was during the rehearsal process when I started to become more and more infatuated with the craft of acting. The work I’m most proud of is my final collegiate performance in a musical called Passing Strange. It was like a thesis project of mine. I had a big hand in putting the production together. I’m also just really in love with the story. What was the hardest part of transitioning from high school to collegiate theater and from collegiate to professional theater? When you enter college with the intention to become an artist of any kind, it becomes very clear, very quickly, how much of your time you do not own. It demands that you give a lot of yourself— mentally, physically, and emotionally. There will be many days when you’re in the theater for more than twelve hours, and you have to remain present, ready, and on your toes. As far as transitioning from collegiate to professional theater, when you’re in school, you’re pretty guaranteed to be working on something—scenes for class, a full production, a reading, something. Because plays close and filming shoots end, there’s always a time when the actor is out of work. The thing is that most people would love to earn a living as an actor, or a model, or an artist, but there are very few who put in the time and effort to be successful. By successful, I mean earning a living wage. It’s a craft, but it’s also a business. Funny enough, it’s not about how

Justin Weaks ’08

good you may be, but who you know. You have to handle yourself as if you’re a product and market yourself as such. The more people who see you and see that you’re working, the wider your network becomes. Where do you see yourself in ten years? Oh boy. Ten years down the line, I’d imagine I’d be living in New York and still working, whether it’s theater, film, or television. That’s the hope! What lessons from college have helped you the most in the theater world? I think the most difficult thing about being an actor is that there are tons of us. You’re told “no,” a lot more than you’re told “yes,” and that can really weigh your spirit down. Especially at this point in my life and career, the biggest lesson that I’m clinging to is: your job is not to get the job; your job is to create. Auditioning is a way for you to share your work with others, so approach auditions with that in mind. Never approach an audition trying to get the job. What advice would you give to students at Cannon who are interested in pursuing degrees or careers in the arts? Create. Create. Create. It’s one of the few things that we don’t need to ask for permission to do. Expose yourself to as much art as possible. Go see plays and concerts. Study films and go to museums. If you are interested in getting a degree, really research the programs you’re interested in. Research your faculty. But all in all, never stop creating art. It’s the most important thing you can do as an artist. Is there anything else you’d like to share? Cougars in the front, let me hear you grunt!


2004 Alissa Mroz is now a hospitality and workplace services representative at Ernst & Young in uptown Charlotte. She has previously worked for various nonprofit arts and cultural organizations such as the North Carolina Dance Theater, Blumenthal Performing Arts Center, and Discovery Place.

2006 Daniel Bongaard was recently promoted to information systems technician, petty officer first class (E6) in December 2013.


Daniel Bongaard ’06 (right), petty officer first class.

Lindsey Dortch Brock married Phillip Brock in October 2013. She graduated this April with a master’s degree in social work from the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Social Work. She and her husband will shortly be returning to the Carolinas with their 10-year-old rescue dog, Dexter.

Michael Elkins is currently living in Charlotte, where he rooms with fellow Cannon School alumnus Marshall Trull ’07. He works at Red Ventures, a marketing and sales company in Fort Mill, SC, where he is an SEM (Search Engine Marketing) analyst. David Gilmore has been living in Asia for three years, during which time he has worked in conflict resolution and prevention in Kathmandu, Nepal and in international development in Bangkok, Thailand. He will be moving to Boston in the fall to pursue a master’s degree in diplomacy and international relations at the Fletcher School at Tufts University. Megan Mazzarella graduated from UNCC in 2011 with a degree in biology. She made the Athletic Directors’ List all four years for her academic achievement while lettering in women’s soccer.

2008 Denny Alcorn graduated this spring with a master’s degree in health informatics from UNCC. He has been teaching public health at Kannapolis Middle School and assisting in a childhood obesity study for Cabarrus County. He is currently looking at various internship options in and out of state.

Cannon Alumni Take Action

Miles Brown ’10 and Jessica Ekstrom ’09 are making a difference—one band at a time. By: Lynda Abel, Alumni Relations Manager Six years ago, motivated by the desire to showcase local talent and raise money for the Davidson Volunteer Fire Department, Miles Brown ’10 along with his family and friends founded Barnstock, a non-profit music festival held at his family’s barn in Huntersville. That first year, the festival attracted a handful of local musicians and an audience of 300 people. With each passing year the festival grew, and in 2013, more than twenty bands performed for more than 1,000 loyal fans. Since its inception, Barnstock has raised much-needed funds for various local and national charitable organizations to the tune of $30,000. Meanwhile in 2011, while interning for Make-A-Wish Foundation during her sophomore year of college, Jessica Ekstrom ’09 experienced “the moment that completely wiped clean everything she thought she knew.” It was through her experience of granting wishes to young girls with cancer and a subsequent call from the mother of one of the girls who Jess visited, that she was struck by the realization that she could positively and directly change the lives of others. She began almost immediately to research and build a company that would have a significant impact, and in 2012, she founded Headbands of Hope—for every headband purchased, one headband goes to a girl with cancer, and $1 is donated to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation to fund life-saving childhood cancer research. Jess continues to motivate others to act on 32 | SUMMER 2014 | CANNON MAGAZINE

their own inspirations and recently delivered her first TEDx speech at the University of Akron titled, “Awareness into Change.” On Saturday, July 19, 2014, Miles once again hosted Barnstock at the family’s barn in Huntersville, this time partnering with Jessica to raise money, and yes, awareness, for childhood cancer. Geared to the 21 and over crowd, this year’s festival expanded to include music, games, and state-of-the-art sound and stage technology. Miles and Jessica have a lot in common; both grew up in Davidson, both graduated from Cannon School and went on to study at NC State University, and both continue to make a difference in the lives of others—one band at a time. For information about Miles and Barnstock, visit For information about Jessica and Headbands of Hope, visit

Ryan Tillis lives in Davidson, where he works for Serco through a boutique consulting firm on a contract for the United States Patent and Trademark Office. This contract has inspired him to start independent consulting, so he is in the process of registering an LLC for data analysis, database management, and IT consulting. Greg Wadsworth is working as a sales representative for VWR, a science equipment and supply distributor. He handles all NC State and UNC educational/medical research labs. He lives in Raleigh with his dog, Oakley.

2009 Trevor Bray works at ESPN as a production assistant. Molly Frowine graduated from Auburn University and has since moved to Birmingham, AL. She works as a field sales representative for Russell Stover Candies. Payne “Mack” Montgomery is a 2013 Stanford University graduate with a major in mechanical engineering. He leaves Stanford as an NCAA Division I All-American, an Academic All-American, and as captain of Stanford’s men’s swimming and diving team. He has taken a position with Honeywell International. Paula Peña is living in Los Angeles working as a publicity coordinator for Warner Bros. Marina Provenzano is living in Birmingham working for a nonprofit ministry. She is studying for a master’s degree in counseling. Katherine Vendley graduated from Clemson University in December with the Faculty Scholarship Award for maintaining a 4.0 GPA. She currently resides in Greenville, SC, where she has a job at Greenville Health System as a registered nurse in the neuro-trauma ICU. She hopes to apply to CRNA school after a few years of ICU experience.

Charlie Ambrose graduated from the University of Central Missouri in December. Shortly, he and his cat, Avett, will move to Colorado. There Charlie will be attending the University of Northern Colorado to work as a teaching assistant while he pursues a master’s degree in history. Last summer, he interned at the NCAA for Division II. He also wrote an article, which was published in their magazine last fall. Maddie Anderson graduated from Denison University in May with high honors and a B.S. in Economics as well as a B.A. in Communications. She is now working for Eaton Vance Investment Managers in Boston. Lyndsay Cooper graduated in May with a B.S. in Advertising with a minor in art. She is currently pursuing graphic design positions in NYC, DC, Charlotte, or Atlanta. She recently attended an awards ceremony in New York for being a finalist in a national advertising competition for an international brand’s logo design. Rianna Das graduated from Furman in May with a B.S. in Earth and Environmental Science and Political Science. This summer, she begins her graduate studies at the University of Louisville to pursue a two-year master’s degree in education to teach middle school science and social studies. Samantha Falewee worked as a program coordinator at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival this May. She returns to Washington, DC for a trainee position at the National Geographic headquarters in their digital media department. Chelsea Foxx graduated in May with a B.S.N. from East Carolina University College of Nursing. She is currently interviewing to work for the emergency department. The Foxx-Adams wedding is going to take place in spring 2015 on Hilton Head Island. Hunter Horton graduated in from UNC in May with a double major in Spanish and media production. She plans to move to Charleston in August to work in event planning. Lauren Hunstad graduated cum laude this May from Wake Forest University with a B.A. in History and Spanish. Next year, she will be attending the University of North Carolina School of Law. Melissa Marcantonio graduated in May. After a gap year, she plans to return to graduate school to become an occupational therapist.

>Class Notes



Heather Ekstrom graduated from UNC in 2012, after which she spent a year in Australia working for an outdoor education company. Since then, she has continued to work in outdoor education around the country. This summer she is in Alaska, and upon her return, she will be in North Carolina working with troubled youth in a wilderness therapy program. When she is not in the woods, she works as a pedi cab driver in Asheville and dabbles in Headbands of Hope. She is also training for the New York City Marathon.


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Dallas Disbro is loving life in Washington, DC, where he is a financial advisor at AXA Equitable. He recently returned home to North Carolina to celebrate his younger sister’s marriage.

Jacquelin Harris’ Dream Come True By: Lynda Abel, Alumni Relations Manager

Becoming a member of a world-renowned dance company is something to which many dancers aspire, but that very few accomplish—and Cannon’s own Jacquelin Harris ’10 is among the talented few. Jacquelin completed her B.F.A. in Dance in May from Fordham University while dancing with Ailey II, the junior company to the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. She recently completed their world and domestic tour and New York season and plans to stay in Manhattan as she was recently invited to become a member of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Since its inception in 1958, the Ailey company has performed for an estimated 25 million people at theaters in forty-eight states and seventy-one countries on six continents, as well as millions more through television broadcasts. Jacquelin’s journey has been both exciting and disciplined. She began her dance training at Dance Productions Studio in Charlotte, under the direction of Lori Long. In 2010, as a finalist for the National Foundation for the Advancement of the Arts, she received a Silver Arts Award and was a semifinalist for the Presidential Scholar in the Arts. She attended summer programs at Jacob’s Pillow and Joffrey Ballet School and has performed works by Robert Battle, Judith Jamison, Michael Leon Thomas, and Camille A. Brown. As Jacquelin reflected on her latest accomplishment, she shared, “Working with Ailey II has gained me world travels, professional experience, and growth in my artistry, and I expect nothing less than to continue to grow with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. It truly is a dream made into a reality.” Photo by Clark Scott.

2011 Lauren Propst graduated from Florida State University summa cum laude with a major in psychology and minors in biological sciences and chemistry. In the fall, she will begin a master’s program for genetic counseling at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. Jenna Sarett was named to the Dean’s List at Rhodes College for maintaining a GPA of at least 3.7 this year. Katherine Sherrill graduated from Appalachian State in May with a Bachelor of Music in Music Therapy. This summer, she is moving to the St. Louis Park area of Minneapolis to work with Park Nicollet Health Services in inpatient, oncology support, Parkinson’s support, and home care hospice/palliative care. After January, she will sit boards to become a board certified music therapist. Paige Sipe graduated in May with a B.S. in Biology with minors in chemistry and Spanish. She plans to return to Charlotte. Sterling Swygert graduated from USC this May. Next fall he will begin work on a Ph.D. in Pure Mathematics at UNC.


Crystal Bennett spent last semester studying community health nursing in Quito, Ecuador, where she worked in a free clinic, took classes in Spanish, and lived with a host family. She returned to Boston for the spring semester, where she choreographs tap dances and serves as costumes director for the Boston College Dance Ensemble. She also completed nursing clinical rotations at Brigham Women’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital. She loved working at the Brigham, and she was offered a summer job there as a PCA for post-op orthopedic patients. Jake Dailey is in his third year at Appalachian State University, where he has had many opportunities within the theater world. He has been cast in six ASU faculty-directed shows: Mother Hicks, The Illusion, Middletown, The Madwoman of Chaillot, Promises, and Love Labour’s Lost. He has also participated in two new plays as part of Appalachian State’s New Play Festival: The Birthright of Young Werther and Dead Hearts. He has been cast in two In/Visible Theatre productions, Glengarry Glen Ross and Kill Will, and he was cast as a dancer in a piece for the 2012 North Carolina Dance Festival and Horn in the West. He has stage-managed for The Appalachian Young People’s Theatre’s production of Beans Talk, and he works as a carpenter and an electrician in ASU’s Valborg Theatre. He has directed The Warehouse Theatre’s production of The Fantasticks and ASU’s New Play Festival’s production of Game for Pete.

Mackenzie Dickerman was selected as the logistics chair for UGA Relay For Life’s Executive Board for 2014-2015, which is the biggest student-run organization at UGA. She is taking the MCAT next month and will be applying to medical school in the fall. Madeline Hurley has been the president of the UNC Walk-Ons, an A Cappella group, since last May. They competed in their first ICCA quarterfinals this February, and their first album debuted in April. Last summer she worked as the marketing intern at Ars Nova Theater in New York for three months. She helped establish the Chapel Hill Rogue Players this March with an off-campus production of Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus. The Rogue Players are now a completely independent theater organization in Chapel Hill that produces one boundary-pushing play per semester in unconventional spaces. Madeline was the producer for the most recent production, Nicky Silver’s Beautiful Child. Andrew Powell is in his junior year at UNC, majoring in biology. He plans to attend dental school. Brianna Ratté started working part-time as a nurse aide last semester at UNC Hospital’s acute care wing. She thoroughly enjoyed working with the patients and the rest of the care team. This year, she has continued her studies within the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health with a focus in health policy and management. This summer, she will be in Charlotte for an internship with Carolinas HealthCare System in their undergraduate medical education department.

Rebekah Harmon was invited to be a member of the Honors College Program at NC State University. She was also recognized by the National Honor Society of Agriculture, Delta Sigma Gamma, which recognizes students who scholastically rank in the top 5 percent. She is preparing for her final cheer competition in Daytona as a cheerleader for the NC State All-Girl Cheer Squad. She is also involved with Campus Ministries Rebekah Harmon ’12 as a and the school’s dairy farm. The Wolfpack cheerleader. Wolf Pack Way continues for the Harmon Family, as her sister, Reed ’14, will join her in the fall. Mason McClanahan just finished his sophomore year at UNC studying biomedical engineering. For the first half of the summer, he will be working in a biomedical imaging lab through the physics department at UNC. For the second half of the summer, he will be participating in a music and arts study abroad program in London and will be traveling around Europe. Madison Miller is majoring in nutrition at NC State and hopes to go to PA school.

Stephanie Schauder just finished her junior year at Davidson. She studied abroad last summer and last semester in Denmark and Peru, respectively.

Will Nork is playing D1 football at Elon University. He is double majoring in marketing and entrepreneurism.

Maggie Warren just finished her junior year at NC State, where she is majoring in animal science. She currently works as a veterinary assistant in Raleigh, and she hopes to enter veterinary school upon graduating.

2012 Tyler Carson just finished her sophomore year at UNC, where she is majoring in global studies and linguistics with a French minor. She is a member of Sigma Sigma Sigma, where she was recently elected vice president of new member education. She is an RA in a freshman dormitory. Ryan Creuzberger transferred from West Carolina University to NC State. Hayley Dane just finished her sophomore year at UNC, where she is majoring in management and society. She currently teaches two yoga classes at campus rec, and she is interning at Career Services. Matt Dockery is majoring in sustainable development at App State. Maggie Goode is at St. Andrew’s University in North Carolina, studying mass communication. She spends a great deal of time volunteering with her school’s therapeutic riding program. Tim Gruber spent the semester in Paris studying French and history while living with a host mother who is a WWII Holocaust survivor. He has traveled around Europe throughout the semester, including taking a memorable backpacking trip along Loch Ness in search of the one and only Loch Ness Monster.

Paige Brown ’13, Rosemary Sirois ’10, and Madison Miller ’12 at the annual Women’s Alumnae Soccer Game.

Julian Núñez is at San Diego State majoring in computer science. He is a member of ROTC.

Derek Pace is a UNC honors student majoring in political science and global studies with a minor in Arabic. He will be an RA in a housing community for his junior year. He has been an admissions ambassador throughout his university career. Eric Rossitch is a sophomore at UNC. Eric and his brother, Zach Rossitch ’10, are members of the UNC club soccer team. They are currently helping to start a semi-pro soccer club, working on both business and the athletic components. Be on the lookout for Triangle Brigade FC in the Chapel Hill-Raleigh Triangle. Jake Vowell is currently working at The Daily Tar Heel as an account executive in the advertising department. He started working there in November of 2013. He will be in Dublin, Ireland from June until August for a study abroad and government internship program.

2013 Paul Anderson just completed his freshman year at Dickinson. Leah Baker just finished an amazing freshman year at UNC. She will be in East Asia for six weeks this summer.


2013 (continued) Bradley Barnhart was named to the Dean’s List and received semester honors at Purdue University for the fall 2013 semester. Bradley is in the Honors Engineering Program and plans to study biomedical engineering. During the spring semester, Bradley was accepted into the Purdue Student Engineering Foundation, an organization devoted Bradley Barnhart ’13 at the to promoting engineering awareness Neil Armstrong Hall of among youth, prospective students, Engineering at Purdue University. and the community. Outside of academic studies, Bradley has organized and participated in several competitive men’s and co-ed intramural soccer teams as well as Ultimate Frisbee, dodge ball, and softball. He also enjoys leading groups of volunteers in community service activities as a member of the Boiler Volunteer Network Student Leadership Team.

Stay Connected

New address? New e-mail? News to share? Update your contact information at www.cannonschool. org/alumni so we can keep you posted on upcoming alumni events. And don’t forget to submit your class notes and photos for an upcoming issue of Cannon Magazine.

Jenna Wagner just finished her freshman year at University of Alabama, where she belongs to the Kappa Delta sorority.

Emerging Actor Austin Larkin Pays it Forward In the summer of 2012, Austin Larkin ’13 produced what he thought would be a little musical called The Fantasticks at The Warehouse Performing Arts Center (WPAC) in Cornelius. The production featured a cast and crew of some of Cannon Theater Company’s star players and eventually became the focus of his senior Capstone Project. But The Fantasticks far exceeded the “little musical” that Austin had envisioned, and due to an overwhelming box office success, The Warehouse established the Austin Larkin Young Actors’ Scholarship, which would allow other students to produce their own work in the intimate black box venue. Austin explained, “Since then, The Fantasticks has funded several WPAC performances and workshops. This summer, I’m returning to The Warehouse as Ken in Red, a play by John Logan, in hopes of reestablishing the scholarship so that more students have the chance to learn the invaluable skills that my Capstone experience helped me acquire.” Red, winner of six Tony Awards in 2010, is a two-man show focusing on the painter Mark Rothko as he struggles with fame, fortune, and the quickly transforming American art scene of the late 1950s. The play centers around the relationship between Rothko and his young assistant, Ken, and the two years they spent together creating Rothko’s famous Seagram Murals. The production will run from August 14-23, 2014 at The Warehouse Performing Arts Center. For more information, visit or the Cannon Alumni Facebook page. 36 | SUMMER 2014 | CANNON MAGAZINE

Alumni Board 2014-2015

Alumni Board Update By: Eddie Alcorn ’04, Alumni Board President

Alumni Board Officers

Every year since our foundation in 2011, the Alumni Board has broadened its reach to alumni and helped them stay connected with Cannon. This past year, we again added members to our Board, increased the number and variety of our alumni events, and drew more alumni to our gatherings. Our alumni arts events and destination reunions are prime examples of our growth in attendance and fun!

Eddie Alcorn ’04 President

Jessica Peterson Sielen ’03 Vice President

Marie Morgann ’01 Secretary

Alumni Arts Events

Nominating Committee Eddie Alcorn ’04 Chair

Reunion Committee Jessica Peterson Sielen ’03 Chair

Denny Alcorn ’08 Jeremy Miller ’10 Will Sherrill ’07

Class Reporter Committee Marie Morgann ’01 Chair

Maddie Colcord ’10 Catherine Falkenbury ’06 Heidi Gruber ’10 Tim Gruber ’12 Krissy Harris ’03 Michael Pope ’13 Katherine Sherrill ’10 Rosemary Sirois ’10

Alumni Relations Manager Lynda Abel

Interested in getting involved? If you are interested in becoming an Alumni Board member and staying connected to your Cannon classmates, please submit a membership application, which can be found at Or contact Lynda Abel, alumni relations manager, for more information.

In June 2013, we hosted twelve Cannon Theater Company alumni at opening night of Grease at the Old Courthouse Theater. In December 2013, the Board set up a Jazz Café and Luncheon at Cannon where nine alumni came to play jazz with Mr. Brad Davis. The Jazz Café had the added bonus of thirty-four alumni attendees and many Upper School faculty and students in the crowd. Destination Reunion Gatherings Our destination reunion gatherings in Chapel Hill and Davidson were really successful as well. This past May, we caught up with thirteen alumni in Chapel Hill at TRU on Henderson Street, and four alumni in Davidson hung out together at the college in March. We really appreciate alumni making time for these events in the middle of mid-terms and final exams! Our Alumni Board also held several events that have become mainstays of the alumni calendar: Athletic Events With the help of Cannon coaches, we put together three soccer games, a lacrosse game, and a basketball game for alumni to play with current students. At the soccer games, we got a total of twenty-two alumni to play and had eleven more attend the games. We had eight lacrosse alumni attend the game last spring, and the basketball game drew nine alumni. Reunions and Holiday Events We celebrated the ten-year reunion of the Class of 2003 at Park Lanes in June 2013. Jessica Peterson Sielen ’03, vice president of the Alumni Board, was one of the eight alumni to bowl. The five-year reunion of the Class of 2008 at Fox and Hound in June 2013 drew ten, including Denny Alcorn ’08 from our Board. To prepare for Homecoming in October 2013, the Board sent care packages to the entire Class of 2013, and we had sixteen alumni attend the Homecoming festivities. In December 2013, we had more than forty alumni come to a holiday get-together at Fox and Hound. This holiday event has developed into one of the biggest alumni events, and we look forward to building on its success in future years! Big thanks to Lynda Abel, alumni relations manager, and Marie Morgann, secretary of the Board! They made sure that every one of these events was a success. We also really appreciate the hard work of other Alumni Board members and the alumni who catch up with us and stay connected with Cannon!

Every year since our foundation in 2011, the Alumni Board has broadened its reach to alumni and helped them stay connected with Cannon.


1. Marie Morgann ’01, alumni board secretary, Lynda Abel, alumni relations manager, and Jessica Peterson Sielen ’03, alumni board vice president, took a moment to strike a pose at the inaugural Jazz Café on December 19, 2013.


2. Alumni played and cheered in the stands at the Co-ed Alumni vs. Varsity Soccer Scrimmage on December 19, 2013. Front row from l-r: Caroline Coggins ’12, Eric Rossitch ’12, Scott Krusell ’12. Back row from l-r: Jackie Ramdin ’12, Jane Campbell ’12, Vicky Bruce ’12, Shelby Dyl ’11, Seve Gaskin ’10, Bryan Metz ’12, and Zach Rossitch ’10. 2

Interested in getting involved?


Alumni volunteers are always needed to help plan reunions and affinity gatherings, and to collect class notes. Alumni interested in joining the Alumni Board are encouraged to submit a membership application. Contact Lynda Abel for more information or visit


3. Soccer alumnae competed against Cannon’s varsity team on February 22, 2014 at the annual Women’s Alumnae Soccer Game. Alumnae pictured in the front row center from l-r: Rosemary Sirois ’10, Paige Brown ’13, and Madison Miller ’12. 4. Lacrosse alumni defended their title at the annual Men’s Lacrosse Alumni vs. Varsity Lacrosse Game. From l-r: Jake Marchant ’12, Jackson Sipperly ’11, Paul Anderson ’13, Westin Buchanan ’13, Trevor McWilliams ’13, Baylor Koch ’12, Blake Brewer ’13, Tyler Brown ’13, Sam Workman ’13, Eric Zelina ’13, Jameson Williams ’13, Matt Dacus ’13, and Eddie Alcorn ’04, alumni board president. 38 | SUMMER 2014 | CANNON MAGAZINE


1. Cannon alumni enjoyed a Mini-Reunion at TRU in Chapel Hill on May 3, 2014. From l-r: Madeline Hurley ’11, Brianna Ratté ’11, Meredith Parker ’10, Hunter Horton ’10, and Shelby Dyl ’11. 2. Cannon Theater Company alumni gathered at the inaugural Jazz Café on December 19, 2013. Front row from l-r: Lizzie Lovett ’13, Bruna Liborio ’13, Tommy Chepke ’13, and Jake Dailey ’11. Back row from l-r: Adam Swez ’14, Dana Norton ’13, Hannah Finch ’14, Tias Sen ’13, and Charles Sterner ’12. 3. Jazz alumni came back to campus to jam with Mr. Brad Davis at the inaugural Jazz Café on December 19, 2013. From l-r: Will Keenan ’12, Matt Dockery ’12, Kevin Ross ’12, Cameron Cook ’11, Mason McClanahan ’12, Mr. Brad Davis, Michael Pope ’13, Thomas Goode ’13, Dominick Vaccaro ’13, and Brett Morton ’13. Photo courtesy of Francie Davis. 2


Basketball alumni competed against Cannon’s varsity team on December 31, 2013 at the inaugural Men’s Alumni Basketball Game. From l-r: Zach King ’16, Danté Lowe ’15, Jordan Battle ’16, Chris Batchelor ’14 (back), Ryan Marks ’14, Eric Fromke ’14 (back), Myles Martino ’13, Brendan McWilliams ’11 (middle), Trevor McWilliams ’13 (back), Larkin Felker ’14, Jonathan Green ’14 (middle), Grant Gossage ’14 (back), Darren David ’13, Tommy Chepke ’13 (middle), Coach Kelvin Drakeford ’08 (back), Dominick Reid ’07, Kevin McManamy ’09 (back), Coach Ché Roth, Daniel Brown ’08, Myles Grier ’13, Lucas Anderson ’14, and Philip Jewell ’14.



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CANNON Get Ready for the First Day of School! The first day of school, Monday, August 18, will be here before you know it. If you are brand new to the Cannon community, visit our New Family Center at www. for helpful information and important forms and documents, all in one place. If you are a returning family, donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t forget to visit the Back-to-School Center at www., your one stop shop for resources and reminders to kick-off another year.

Profile for Cannon School

Cannon Magazine | Summer 2014  

Cannon Magazine | Summer 2014