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Building Bright Futures The Stage is Set

> Building Bright Futures Building Bright Futures: Investing in Excellence, Fulfilling the Vision............................. 4 Betty and Randy Marion Sr. and Family Name New Athletic Field House...................... 8 Building Bright Futures: In Their Own Words....................................................................... 9

CANNON MAGAZINE SPRING 2013 Cannon Magazine is published semiannually by the Office of Advancement. Send address changes to

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, Bob Aycock, Bill Diskin, Jay Edwards, Matt Gossage, Todd Hartung, Colleen Hurley ’15, Katie Maness ’13, Marie Morgann ’01, Leigh Northrup, Matt Rush, Tias Sen ’13, Barclay Sparrow ’13


Building Bright Futures Goes Public.......................................................................................13

> The Arts A Tale as Old as Time, with a Catch.......................................................................................14 The Future of the Arts at Cannon............................................................................................16

> The Big Picture The Promise of a New Day.........................................................................................................18

> Athletics Kick-Off to College.....................................................................................................................20 Winter Wonders..........................................................................................................................22 Follow New Athletic Director Blog.........................................................................................22 Offseason Dedication Pays Off for Cougar...........................................................................23

> Engaged Learning Being in the Middle.....................................................................................................................24 Our Future’s So Bright…We Gotta Wear Shades...................................................................26 Video Innovations.......................................................................................................................27

> Community

HEAD OF LOWER SCHOOL Michelle Alexander

Parent Ambassadors Go Beyond for Cannon School..........................................................28


> Alumni


Alumni Spotlight.........................................................................................................................30 Class Notes....................................................................................................................................31 Alumni Board Update................................................................................................................34


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In This Issue

Letter from the Head of School < < < < < < < < < < < < “It is clear I should express for all of us how grateful we are for those who have brought us to this exciting juncture in our School’s history.”

Dear Cannon Families, I love it when I can clearly see the responsibility that is mine and the part I am to play in a certain endeavor. I know as a member of a community of adaptive experts, I should relish the ambiguous and the messy, but I confess on occasions I love the clarity of “the cut and dry.” This publication of the Cannon Magazine is screaming for someone early in the issue to express gratitude to the individuals and key groups responsible for launching “Building Bright Futures.” You will have the opportunity to read about all that we will accomplish for our students in this campaign, along with stories from students, faculty, and staff that bring to life the values and programs that inspire us in this effort. It is clear I should express for all of us how grateful we are for those who have brought us to this exciting juncture in our School’s history. I begin by thanking Susan Schneider for her leadership of the Board of Trustees during the last two years. Our Board set the tone for this effort when it pledged $1 million in 2012. We are grateful to Kim and Jeff Burton for their willingness to answer yet again the call to assist Cannon by agreeing to be the campaign chairs for this effort. The bright future we want to build is literally right on the horizon because of the generosity of a set of parents and friends who have responded to the request to give in the “quiet phase” of this campaign. These parents and friends of the School have brought us to a total of $5 million pledged and have encouraged all of us to do what we can to complete the work. Cannon Connections, Cannon Advocates For The Arts (CAFTA), and Cougar Club have been a part of this early phase of giving as each organization has made a significant pledge to help us reach our goals. To all of these individuals and groups, we say thank you.

Matthew E. Gossage, Head of School

I close by thanking Beth Levanti, our director of marketing and communications for having the foresight and good sense to re-think this issue to focus on “Building Bright Futures.” Beth was right. Our community will want to know more about this initiative. And finally, I thank Todd Hartung, our director of advancement, for his tireless efforts in building relationships and demonstrating such a passion for Cannon’s mission. I encourage you to carve out some time to work your way through this issue. There is so much going on as we build bright futures together. Sincerely,


â&#x20AC;&#x153;Today, all of us involved with the Cannon community have the opportunity to do something significant.â&#x20AC;?


Auditorium and Performing Arts Center

Learn about the $7 million campaign that will develop our campus and our students.

Remembering Who We Are It might seem unusual to begin a story about a capital campaign named “Building Bright Futures” by talking about our history, but we believe it is worth reflecting for a moment on the mettle of which the Cannon community is made. If you look at Cannon School’s more than forty-year history, you would be able to point to quite a few milestones worth writing about, but something that strikes us in this moment is the Cannon community’s enduring commitment to the process of becoming. Just think about it. In 1969, the Cannon family opened the J.W. Cannon house on Union Street in downtown Concord to students, creating Cabarrus Academy. Then in 1994, the School moved from the 9,000-square foot house on Union Street to the sixty-five-acre campus on Poplar Tent Road. We changed our name from Cabarrus Academy to Cannon School in 1998, and we completed construction on the Upper School in 2008. These were bold actions taken by dedicated families, teachers, and School leadership. These were actions that took initiative, vision, and courage. And today, all of us involved with the Cannon community have the opportunity to do something significant. It is our hope that as you read on, you will gain a deeper understanding of what we are trying to accomplish for our students. If history is any indicator, we will fulfill our vision together with your unflinching support and partnership. Introduction As a junior kindergarten through grade 12 independent college preparatory school, we believe it is Cannon School’s mission to go beyond preparing students for college to something even more lasting and meaningful. Cannon’s learning community prepares young people to lead lives of purpose and selfless service as they confidently embrace the challenges of an ever-changing world. Our children’s preparation for the future takes place within a close-knit, caring community with many state-of-the-art facilities, and our campus must do many things. First, it must facilitate learning. Second, and just as important, it must provide the spaces in which our community can grow closer in support of Cannon students. Third, it must provide the fields and stages upon which children can develop lifelong skills and values like teamwork, positive self-image, creativity, and self-reliance.

Just as our teachers and students do every day, Cannon’s facilities must adapt to the demands of learning. Our School leadership has engaged the Cannon community in a conversation about whether our campus serves students well in the second decade of the twenty-first century. Focus group meetings with parents, trustees, faculty, staff, and coaches identified the strengths and limitations of the current academic, arts, and athletic facilities. The list of priorities for the Building Bright Futures Campaign emerged from these conversations. Our Needs Based on feedback from focus groups and parent meetings, School administration and the Campus Master Planning Committee identified three priorities for the $7 million Building Bright Futures Campaign: the arts, athletics, and the Middle School. A Stage for Excellence, a Place for Community The arts are a part of every student’s experience at Cannon School. Students in junior kindergarten through fourth grade receive extensive art and music instruction, while students in fifth through twelfth grades can choose from numerous choral and instrumental groups and visual arts, drama, and dance class offerings. While Taylor Hall has provided Cannon students with a stage to share their talents, and the School with a community meeting space for nearly twenty years, the current facility does not support a learning environment that thrives on innovation and excellence. Our new 450-seat auditorium and performing arts center will provide a gathering space for the entire Cannon community, including parent town halls and student meetings. Student artwork will be displayed in a light-filled gallery, which will also serve as a gathering space for events. The full stage, backstage, scene storage, and dressing rooms will provide the Cannon Theater Company with ample room to perfect their already stunning performances to even larger audiences. Stateof-the-art lighting, acoustics, audio, and video capabilities will display the talents of our musicians and provide an atmosphere to archive the works of our students for years to come. In addition, this center will serve as a collaborative learning space for students participating in chorus, band, theater, dance, and visual arts.


Building Bright Futures

Investing in Excellence, Fulfilling the Vision

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Building Bright Futures:

Building Bright Futures (continued) A Strengthened Athletics and Training Program As Cannonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s athletics program continues to strengthen its tradition of excellence and sportsmanship, the training facilities for our student-athletes must also continue to grow. Our current infrastructure offers limited strength and cardio training facilities and insufficient locker room space. Cannon School competes in a conference with the Charlotte regionâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s top independent schools, but our current facilities do not. Our expanded and modernized athletic facilities will include a new strength training and conditioning center, the new Randy Marion Family Field House, and renovated athletic locker spaces. These new spaces will enhance physical education for students in all gradesâ&#x20AC;&#x201D; from junior kindergarteners learning coordination and the importance of staying active, to varsity football players preparing for Friday night games while growing as leaders for their lives beyond Cannon. Student-athletes on any of the forty sports teams at Cannon will challenge themselves and their abilities in the new strength training and conditioning facilities. Cannon families and guests will also enjoy permanent facilities such as restrooms, a press box, and a concession stand in the Randy Marion Family Field House to be built at the Tysinger Family Track.

Randy Marion Family Field House 6 | CANNON MAGAZINE

Strength Training and Conditioning Center and Locker Spaces

Middle School Student Lobby

A Growing Middle School

Make No Little Plans

As we all remember from our own childhood experiences, middle school students are works in progress. Fifth through eighth graders’ growing need for independence, coupled with their still-developing sense of self-confidence, means that the middle school years form a critical bridge between youth and dawning adulthood.

As a parting thought, we hope you will indulge us in just one more nod to history as we share a quote from Daniel Burnham that we find inspiring. Burnham was an American architect and urban planner who lived from 1846-1912. He designed some of the world’s first skyscrapers and played a leadership role in creating the master plans for major cities like Chicago, Cleveland, San Francisco, and Washington, DC.

As Cannon School offers a middle school experience that recognizes the unique physical, intellectual, and emotional needs of preadolescents who are actively creating their identity, it seems only fitting that the Middle School itself should craft its own institutional identity. To achieve that distinguishing institutional identity, Taylor Hall will transform into four new classrooms, a student innovation lab, administrative offices, and a student lobby. A technology center will support an even more inventive middle school curriculum and teach our children to embrace the adoption of new learning tools. And finally, students and division leaders alike will be able to work and meet in spaces housed in the heart of the Middle School.

Burnham once said, “Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble, logical diagram once recorded will not die, but long after we are gone be a living thing, asserting itself with ever-growing insistence. Remember that our sons and grandsons are going to do things that would stagger us. Let your watchword be order and your beacon beauty.” The Building Bright Futures Campaign is no small undertaking. This latest transformation for Cannon School is big, and it will require everyone’s participation. We thank you in advance for making big plans with us, and for everything that you do to “build bright futures” for our School, and especially for our students. CANNON MAGAZINE | 7

The Marion and Mills Families. From left, Grant Mills, Betty Marion, Randy Marion Sr., Alexandria Mills, Vanessa Marion, Grey Mills III, Jennifer Mills, Grey Mills Jr., Victoria Marion, Melanie Marion, Randy Marion II, and Randy Marion III.

Betty and Randy Marion Sr. and Family Name New Athletic Field House Marion Family makes $500,000 leadership gift in honor of grandchildren. Cannon School is pleased to announce that Betty and Randy Marion Sr. and Family have pledged a leadership gift of $500,000 to name the new Randy Marion Family Field House as part of the $7 million Building Bright Futures Campaign. When we asked the Marion family what inspired this transformational gift, they explained that their commitment to Cannon School is a family tradition. Cannon School has been a big part of the Marions’ lives for ten years now, ever since their first grandchild, Alexandria Mills ’17, began junior kindergarten in 2003. “After Alexandria started at Cannon, we just couldn’t imagine our grandchildren going to any other school,” explained Betty Marion. And that’s not just lip service, because Betty and Randy Marion Sr. currently have five grandchildren attending Cannon and a sixth grandchild who looks forward to joining the family tradition next year. Randy Marion Sr. added, “We know that each one of our grandchildren is not only receiving a top-notch education that will prepare them for the world, but they’re witnessing firsthand Cannon’s core values that will help them make wise decisions in the future. Cannon is a special place. We hope our gift will help in some way keep it special.” If you ask any of the Marions and Mills how they feel about their commitment to the campaign, you’ll find that they want to tell you more about what Cannon School has given to their families than about the exciting gift that they have given to Cannon. “I will never forget the good feeling from the very first time I visited Cannon as a prospective new parent,” said Jennifer Mills, parent of Alexandria Mills ’17, Grey Mills III ’20, and Grant Mills ’24. “I knew then that Cannon was the place for us—not just for my children, but also for me and my husband, Grey. What makes Cannon special is its 8 | CANNON MAGAZINE

people. From Head of School Matt Gossage, to the faculty and staff, Cannon is blessed with great folks who do an outstanding job.” Randy Marion II, parent of Randy Marion III ’23 and Vanessa Marion ’25, shared, “Choosing Cannon was not an easy choice for me and my wife, Melanie. The commute from Mooresville to Concord weighed heavily on our decision. The public schools in our area were good, but Melanie and I knew the importance of a great education for our children, and we made a commitment to provide them with the best education possible.” After we insisted that the Cannon community would want to hear more about what inspired their naming of the Randy Marion Family Field House, Randy Marion Sr. explained, “Athletics are a big part of any school, and student-athletes learn so many lessons through competition. Whether we’re on or off the field, all of us in the Cannon family—students, parents, and grandparents—play a role in showing our Cannon pride at sporting events. We hope that everyone in the Cannon family will have an even better experience at sporting events once the new athletic field house is a reality.” Betty Marion added, “We feel excited to play our part and to give this gift in honor of our grandchildren.” Cannon School competes in a conference with the Charlotte region’s top independent schools, and the Randy Marion Family Field House will provide a permanent facility that welcomes both Cannon families and the community around us to experience the excitement of Cannon athletics. We are grateful to Betty and Randy Marion Sr. and Family for this meaningful gift that will enhance campus vibrancy for generations of Cannon families to come.

Building Bright Futures: In Their Own Words

“We are pleased to support Cannon’s Building Bright Futures Campaign because we know that it will advance Cannon to new levels of excellence. The campaign will bring to fruition the recommendations of a carefully researched plan that all of Cannon’s stakeholders had a voice in creating. We have only been a Cannon family for eighteen months. However, we realize our support shows our commitment to take ownership in an effort that will continue to shape and define Cannon as a premier independent school. How can we ask our students to go above and beyond in their efforts if we don’t do that ourselves?”

“We decided to contribute to the Building Bright Futures Campaign because of the planned improvements for the arts and academics. Our oldest daughter is currently in the Middle School, and the plans to provide the Middle School with their identity was appealing to us. Although Daphne will not be in Middle School when the project is finished, it will be there when our youngest enters school. We were also excited about the new performing arts center. We have attended several performing arts events in Taylor Hall, and the students always do a wonderful job. It will be nice to have a facility for performances that matches the Cannon brand—excellence, in our opinion.”

– Genevieve and Jeffrey Leck

– Kim and Jason Reynolds

“When our family joined the Cannon community in the fall of 2011, we immediately felt we had landed in the right place. Our kids, then in first and fourth grades, had just attended a private school in California where they had access to many opportunities for public speaking as well as the performing arts. When we found out that the Building Bright Futures Campaign was about to begin and that a new performing arts building was one of the priorities, we were thrilled! We strongly believe that this investment is critical not only to provide our children with more opportunities in the arts but also to help Cannon further differentiate itself from its competition by attracting more students with diverse interests.” – Laurie and James Cleveland


“Cannon School has been a wonderful environment for Jena and Tamer to grow and learn over the past eight years, and we wanted to help facilitate additional growth and learning not only for our kids, but also for all current and future Cannon students. We strongly believe that education that enables our students to be well-rounded human beings is critically important. With a focus on the arts, athletics, and academics, we believe the Building Bright Futures Campaign will allow all Cannon students to become well-rounded adults with an appreciation for a variety of disciplines.” – Maggie and Sharif Metwalli

“We are excited about the Building Bright Futures Campaign and what it will mean to Cannon students and parents. The new performing arts center will become the nucleus of our campus and our neighborhood with great acoustics, sight lines, and enough space to support our student body. The Middle School expansion will transform Taylor Hall into a space that will give our middle school students a real home. The new weight room, lockers, and field house will bring our most inadequate facilities up to the standards of our competition. Our children have become better people by attending Cannon, and we support this campaign so that we can do our part to leave Cannon a little better place because we were here.” – Portia and Steve McLeod

“Our family moved to North Carolina in 2006. After visiting Cannon, we knew that we found the nurturing, yet academically challenging environment that we wanted for our boys. Now that we have been at Cannon for seven years, we have experienced the Lower, Middle, and Upper Schools and still know that we made the right choice. When Matt and Todd approached us about the campaign, it was simple. We value education. We want Cannon to be here for future generations to benefit the way that our children have. The campus needs to continue to grow to stay relevant. The choice was easy.” – Megan and Tim Cindric 10 | CANNON MAGAZINE

“We have been a Cannon family for thirteen years. One of the features critical to our experience is how Cannon makes decisions. Regardless of the issue, all decisions are predicated on one question, ‘What is best for our students?’ There is great integrity in that guidepost. We believe it’s relationships that set Cannon apart. Our children are known. Cannon teachers and coaches encourage a balanced pursuit of students’ distinctive passions, understanding that extraordinary people strive for excellence in every area of their lives. What our children have received here at Cannon has impacted who they will be for the rest of their lives. How could we not give back?” – Kristin and Scott Baker

“We have been a Cannon School family for thirteen years. In that time, Cannon has helped to develop our children in mind, body, and spirit. The values instilled in the students at Cannon mirror those of our family. Our children have enjoyed the wonderful educational environment that Cannon offers, and when we learned about the vision to make Cannon even better, we immediately wanted to help. It feels so fulfilling to know that we will be able to enhance the Cannon School environment not only for our children, but for future Cannon School students.

“Our decision to support the Building Bright Futures Campaign was an easy one. Our children have attended Cannon since junior kindergarten, and we are huge believers in the power and reach of an excellent education. As attorneys, we understand the level of academic commitment and preparation we required to achieve our goals in life. We believe that the best way for us to assist our children in meeting life’s challenges and achieving their own goals is with an education and environment that only a school like Cannon can provide. We are thrilled to be a part of this amazing community and know that our contribution to this campaign will serve not only our children, but the entire Cannon family.”

– Kim and Jeff Burton, Campaign Chairs

– Ruth and Andrew Drucker

“The easiest way for our family to summarize ‘Why give?’ is ‘We believe!’ Our family believes in Cannon School. We believe in the core values—how Cannon teaches the core values and incorporates them into the spirit of every Cannon student. We believe in the collaborative spirit the Cannon teachers, staff, coaches, and administration put into the education of each student with their family. We believe in the priority of providing the best possible learning environment for Cannon students of today and tomorrow. We believe the need for more space at Cannon School is a great thing, and that the all-encompassing type of growth in academics, the arts, and athletics is an endeavor that has earned, warranted, and deserves your support.”

“We are supporting the campaign because our family loves the School. The teachers are great, and our daughters have enjoyed Cannon immensely. Both of our daughters have expressed interest in music and the arts. They have already started taking piano lessons and participating in drama programs at Cannon. We hope that this interest continues to grow as we believe that a well-rounded education is vital to a rewarding and successful life. We hope that the new state-of-the-art performing arts center will inspire our daughters to continue to want to learn more about music and theatre. This is a great investment for our family and our community!”

– Leane and Ron Turner

– Bianca and Jochen Wittgraefe CANNON MAGAZINE | 11

“Cannon School has been such a significant part of our lives for ten years now. The teachers, coaches, and staff at Cannon have played a big role in the development of our three kids

“We’ve had an opportunity to be a part of the Cannon School family for three years and have watched the positive impact the experience has been for our daughter, Madison. We have a deeply felt understanding that great things can be achieved when knowledge and goodness unite. Work of this importance requires substantial and ongoing support. Our decision to support the Building Bright Futures Campaign was simple; we believe in Cannon School and the opportunities it has, and the opportunities it will afford our children. We hope that our gift will inspire others to give and create an unrivaled student experience for each of our children.” – Reisa and Horace Bryan

over these years. When the opportunity arose for our family to support the Building Bright Futures Campaign, we jumped on it. We felt that this would be a great opportunity to ‘give back’ to the Cannon community that has been so important in our kids’ lives, while also playing a role in ensuring that Cannon School has the resources to continue this tradition for families in the future.” – Angela and Dave Edmondson 12 | CANNON MAGAZINE

“Our interest in Cannon School began when a very dear nephew enrolled in kindergarten. Now in the seventh grade, we have observed his progress along with the manner in which Cannon provides for the total growth of the students in all the elements of a great educational system. Improvements to the campus as envisioned by the Building Bright Futures Campaign are essential in allowing Cannon to continue achieving the high standards expected by parents, students, and the entire community. By including facilities for the arts, athletics, and Middle School, this program ensures that Cannon is providing for the critical areas where improvements are most needed. Please, let us all support this effort to the fullest extent possible.” – Opal and Fred Bryant

Building Bright Futures Goes Public Capital campaign enters the “public phase” with the support of Cannon community.

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

As I sat down to write this latest update on the campaign, Cannon’s campus was bustling with excitement and preparations for the public Kick-Off Party for the Building Bright Futures Campaign on March 16 at The Fillmore in Uptown Charlotte. I couldn’t help feeling energized by the outpouring of support from Cannon families and friends who have so readily embraced our vision to enhance Cannon’s campus and provide an exceptional learning environment for our children. In retrospect, the “quiet phase” of the Building Bright Futures Campaign has been anything but quiet thanks to a dedicated group of Cannon families, friends, and grandparents whose generosity has launched us into the “public phase.” From the very beginning, Building Bright Futures has been a campaign driven by Cannon’s Board of Trustees under the leadership of Board Chair Susan Schneider. First came the process of talking with Cannon families, architects, and the Campus Master Planning Committee to determine the need to enhance our arts, athletics, and Middle School facilities. And then, leading by example, our Board collectively pledged the first $1 million to jumpstart our efforts. Soon thereafter, we were delighted when Kim and Jeff Burton signed on as our campaign chairs. As parents of a daughter and son here at the School, Kim and Jeff are well-equipped to share their enthusiasm for how enhanced classrooms, performing arts spaces, and athletic facilities will enable current and future generations of Cannon students to “go beyond” in tangible ways, and we are grateful for their leadership. Then this fall, we were both humbled and inspired when a current Cannon School family who wished to remain anonymous, pledged a lead gift of $1 million to the new performing arts center. In addition to making an incredible impact on the future of the arts at Cannon, this family’s generosity created an unmistakable sense of momentum that helped us approach additional leadership donors.

already, I encourage you to read the article in this issue about this dedicated family and their special relationship with our School. By the time I wrote this article in mid-March, current Cannon families, friends, and grandparents had pledged an impressive $5 million towards our $7 million goal. Now, I know the question on everyone’s mind is, “What’s next?” Entering the public phase of the campaign is an important milestone that signifies the Cannon community’s ability and desire to finish strong in reaching our ultimate goal of $7 million. Over the coming weeks and months, we’ll be reaching out to all Cannon families with more information about the specific needs and goals associated with transforming our arts, athletics, and Middle School facilities, and we will be challenging everyone to continue the momentum created by our Board and early investors. We will also continue to update all Cannon families on our fundraising efforts and how those efforts will determine our plans and timeline to break ground on the teaching, learning, and athletic spaces that we believe will challenge and encourage Cannon students in new ways. As a start, we will break ground on the auditorium and performing arts center in June 2013, and construction on the strength training and conditioning center is slated for late fall 2013. It will take all of us to answer the call to action to “build bright futures” for Cannon School, and I look forward to realizing how this exceptional community will answer that call. $7 Million $6 Million $5 Million $4 Million $3 Million $2 Million $1 Million $0

Betty and Randy Marion Sr. and Family further fueled our efforts this winter with a pledge of $500,000 to name the new Randy Marion Family Field House in honor of their grandchildren. If you haven’t CANNON MAGAZINE | 13

“The great thing about the members of Cannon Theater Company is their undying creativity.”


By: Barclay Sparrow ’13 During the months from November to January, when most students finished their days by going home or to sports practices, I made the trek from the Upper School to the Middle School to end my days as a teapot. I am a senior in the Cannon Theater Company (CTC). Taylor Hall’s stage is a second home for me, as it is for many of my peers with whom I share it a few times every year. This past year has been one of change. On top of accounting for the actors and techies who we lost to graduation in 2012, we were getting used to a brand new director of theater arts, the talented Andy Macdonald, and adjusting to a new theater room that interfered with our old cast rituals. Who knows what we were thinking when we decided to take on our biggest production to date, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, the story of a prince who is transformed into a beast and must learn to love and be loved in order to save his castle of people-turned-objects. The planning for the highly anticipated winter musical began in June 2012, when the newly elevated theater seniors organized a Skype chat with Mr. Mac (as the students fondly call him), who was still living in Boston. The first thing we told him was that we had thought about Beauty and the Beast for our winter musical—but there was a catch. The great thing about the members of CTC is their undying creativity. It was obvious to us that if Cannon were to put on such a popular show, we would need to do something new with it. Austin Larkin ’13 (the Beast) explained, “The original idea for the show was to make a Beauty and the Beast that was darker and not necessarily ‘Disney.’ While we were going to use the Disney script and the show that Disney produced, we weren’t going to copy the movie on stage like you see so many productions do.” At first we had some doubts. Did we have enough talent? Could Taylor Hall even accommodate such a show? Would we have enough time? As it turns out, the answer to all of these is an absolute YES. But it wasn’t easy. One of Mr. Mac’s favorite things to do is remind us that theater never happens by accident. It doesn’t all come together magically during the last week of rehearsal. Our doubts were only fought away after months of careful thought and hard work from all four of the arts departments at Cannon—visual arts, dance, music, and theater. Beauty and the Beast was our first show that had a close collaboration among all of the arts directors, which included Mr. Mac, Mr. Rob Burlington, director of music arts, and Mrs. Belinda Armstrong, director of visual arts and dance. Ms. Melissa McDaniel, resident dance teacher, choreographed the

show. For the first time in the past several years, there was an armada of students not normally involved with theater who all came together to tackle costumes, set, and music for the show. I got to spend my mornings painting the castle walls of our set with my art class and my afternoons acting around them as Mrs. Potts. In fact, when I asked Mr. Mac what the most unexpected aspect of developing the show was for him, he said, “It was how beautifully the collaboration worked with all the people who were in charge of these various areas, and with the students…and how well this concept that the students introduced in June gained full life.” From early November to late January, the cast of Beauty and the Beast—about forty students not even counting our crew members—gathered in the chorus room to practice complicated ensemble numbers or in Taylor Hall to perfect the staging. Each day, it seemed like Elizabeth Lovett ’13, costume designer extraordinaire, had a new costume for someone to try, or another set piece would appear. Gradually with every weekday and Saturday rehearsal, it became clearer just what kind of show CTC would perform. On January 31, Beauty and the Beast opened to the biggest Thursday night crowd to which we had ever played. From mats on the floor in front of the stage, children could watch some of their favorite characters up close. The audience was laughing and cheering, and the actors were enjoying the storytelling just as much as our friends and families were enjoying watching our story unfold. The next day at school, there was a buzz among the students and teachers that confirmed the actors’ hopes that our show would be a memorable one. The following three performances, which included two more evening shows and a matinee, performed to sold-out houses. Our Saturday show doubled as Senior Night, and every senior in the cast and crew was honored with a headshot on display outside the theater where friends could write messages on appropriately star-shaped sticky notes. At the end of the show, three underclassmen took turns presenting each senior, and exchange student Sofie Roerig, with a rose before we took our final bows on Taylor Hall’s stage. Though it was a bittersweet ending, Beauty and the Beast was an experience unlike any other. The months of hard rehearsals, the sore throats, the gallons of tea, and the hours spent learning lines and choreography are not going to be forgotten in the years to come. I look forward to seeing where the Cannon Theater Company goes from here. All of the departing seniors are sleeping well knowing we are leaving our beloved family in capable and talented hands. “Certain as the sun,” as Mrs. Potts would say. CANNON MAGAZINE | 15

The Arts

Cannon Theater Company’s collaborative production that made Taylor Hall burst at the seams.

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A Tale as Old as Time, with a Catch

The Future of the Arts at Cannon Cannon’s arts directors share their collaborative vision for an evolving program.

By: Tias Sen ’13 New teachers. New collaborations. A new performing arts center on the way. It’s no secret that there are some major goings-on within the Cannon School arts departments this year, and there are three members of the Cannon community who are laying the foundation for success amidst these transitions—Belinda Armstrong, Rob Burlington, and Andy Macdonald—the directors of the fine arts. Belinda Armstrong, director of visual arts and dance, is the veteran of the group with thirteen years of teaching experience at Cannon. Mrs. Armstrong was first attracted to crayons and paint-by-numbers, and the rest is history. Her interest in art flourished at the West Virginia University College of Creative Arts. Obviously, Mrs. Armstrong

has a passion for her own art, but she educates as well in order to experience being a part of others’ artistic journeys. Mrs. Armstrong is responsible for leading a team of teachers from junior kindergarten through twelfth grade to create programs that match the visions of the different arts departments. While Mrs. Armstrong is experienced in leading the arts at Cannon, our community has also welcomed two new faces this year. Now, please allow me to introduce Rob Burlington and Andy Macdonald. Mr. Burlington is director of music arts at Cannon School, and he leads and coordinates the junior kindergarten through twelfth-grade music programs. His own experience with music began in third grade, when he started to develop his passion for singing. This passion grew in middle school as he attended St. Thomas Choir School in the heart of New York City. Mr. Burlington continued his journey with music to earn a master’s degree in conducting at Emory University, leading into his singing, teaching, and conducting experiences at independent schools and churches. Mr. Macdonald’s journey to director of theater arts also began with a love for music that originated with piano lessons in first grade, followed by drums and guitar lessons. Music continues to be an integral part of his life, but as a sophomore in high school, he realized his love for theater as well. It was at Wheaton College that Mr. Macdonald discovered theater as more of an art form than an extracurricular activity. With his passion for storytelling and becoming a better actor, he attended Brown University for graduate school and participated in the Trinity Rep Conservatory program for theater. New York City seemed like the place to be after graduation, so Mr. Macdonald worked there as an actor, but he found that a career focused exclusively on acting didn’t provide the artistic freedom he desired. He then tried a teaching path for theater in Lexington, Massachusetts, and teaching and directing became his primary focus, while continuing to grow as an actor and musician. After hearing about how they developed their own passions in the arts, I interviewed Mrs. Armstrong, Mr. Burlington, and Mr. Macdonald to get the inside scoop on their roles at Cannon School. Beauty and the Beast was a full-out collaboration among all of the arts departments. Can you talk about that experience?

Belinda Armstrong, Director of Visual Arts and Dance 16 | CANNON MAGAZINE

Mrs. Armstrong: I think that this was a wonderful opportunity for us as the leadership team to work on a project together, which highlighted our strengths and provided a lens into how each of us thinks, works, and processes. We established a deeper trust with one another by seeing this production through to the finale. My role as set designer required me to bring to the stage the visual concepts that Mr. Macdonald had shared verbally.

Mr. Burlington: It was great. I had done Beauty and the Beast two years ago at my old school, but it was the junior version, so obviously, this was a much bigger project. From the start, we knew that we would have to have everybody involved because it’s such a massive thing to do a musical well. But I was blown away by how well it all came together with all of the teams working together. It was a testament to what we are trying to do at Cannon—to break the walls down and integrate the arts more. In terms of the big picture, what do you envision for the arts at Cannon in the future? Mr. Macdonald: I have a passion for educating the whole community on the value of the arts, both academically and personally. I want audiences to have a sense that they are not coming to support the performers, but that they are coming to receive something from the performers. I want people who say that they go to Cannon arts events to enrich their lives. And, I envision a program where students feel like they are creating art that really matters. I want to break down the idea that this is only high school. Mrs. Armstrong: I envision creating a premier visual arts program which offers progressive studio arts and state-of-theart media arts instruction through expanding our exhibition venues and community involvement, implementing the latest technology, and activating our community in support and advocacy of the arts. Mr. Burlington: What I envision is growing in numbers, involving ourselves in the community, and helping students with their college processes. The vision really is about collaboration, growth, and passion. What has been your favorite arts experience this year?

Andy Macdonald, Director of Theater Arts

Mr. Burlington: One of the middle school students sang in the North Carolina All-State Honors Choir and that final Saturday of Beauty and the Beast. That Saturday, there was a great energy on stage because everyone was having so much fun. Mr. Macdonald: Finishing Beauty and the Beast! Not that I didn’t love it! No, but I would say my favorite experience was watching Beauty and the Beast grow over the four performances and seeing it really click into gear for people on Saturday. It has to do with seeing the effect an audience has on the actors; it’s like a give-and-take relationship. Mrs. Armstrong: Wow! That is tough. In 2012, the Mint Museum Uptown exhibition, Activating Creativity, Finding Voice, was our first time at the Mint Uptown, and it was the inaugural exhibit for media arts. Way cool! As for 2013, finding out that two upper school students received Honorable Mention in the Mid-Carolina Regional Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. This year was a year of change and a year of trial that went well for all of the arts departments. With their successes this year and their visions for the future, Mrs. Armstrong, Mr. Burlington, and Mr. Macdonald are well on their way to creating a powerhouse arts program at Cannon School fueled by their passion and experience.

Rob Burlington, Director of Music Arts


The Promise of a New Day “We have an opportunity every day to do something special in the life of a young person,” said Head of School Matt Gossage during his State of the School address. This amazing photo snapped by Leigh Northrup captures what our teachers think about when they arrive each morning. Every day provides us with new opportunities to “go beyond.”


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The Big Picture

“I have been fortunate to witness Blake’s growth as both a young man and as a football player.”


Blake Brewer ’13 commits to Charlotte 49ers football program. What is it about high school athletics that makes it so special? At Cannon School, we think it’s about community. It’s about watching student-athletes of tremendous character compete together in the spirit of hard work, dedication, and perseverance, and knowing that they’ll carry those values with them well beyond high school and into their college careers and adult lives. Blake Brewer ’13 is one of those student-athletes of tremendous character who we’ve watched proudly on the football field for the past four years. And on February 6, surrounded by his family, teammates, classmates, coaches, and teachers, Brewer took the next exciting step in his life when he signed a letter of intent to continue his academic and athletic pursuits at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Brewer shared, “I’m extremely excited to have the opportunity to play football for Coach Lambert and the Charlotte 49ers. I would like to thank my coaches, especially Coach Hayes and Dan Orner, my kicking coach, and my teammates. I couldn’t have accomplished anything without them. I’m also thankful to my parents, my Cannon classmates, and the faculty and staff for their support.” Brewer established himself as one of the top place kickers in the nation during his four seasons as a punter and kicker on Cannon’s team. Brewer was a team captain and Cannon’s leading career scorer with 136 points. During his last two seasons, Brewer had an 80 percent touchback rate on kickoffs including 93 percent touchbacks this past season. Brewer was named to the 2012 North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association’s All-State Football Team and competed in the 2012 Oasis All-Star Shrine Classic, where he was recognized as Best Offensive Player. “It has been a pleasure coaching Blake for the last four seasons,” said Donnie Hayes, Cannon’s varsity football coach. “During that time, I have been fortunate to witness Blake’s growth as both a young man and as a football player. Blake has been a hugely important part of our football program here at Cannon, and while we are sad to see him leave us, we are very happy and excited for him as he continues on to the next phase of his academic and athletic career as a 49er.” Cannon School’s growing football program, now just five years old, has sent several Cougars on to college to continue their athletic careers, and Brewer is the second football player

Blake Brewer’s signing day, February 6, 2013. Seated from left, Kevin, Blake, and Brenda Brewer. Standing from left, Caitlin Brewer, Coach Donnie Hayes, Coach Bo Dickens, and Assistant Athletic Director Rod Rachal.

to compete at an NCAA Division I school. He follows in the footsteps of Jason Willix ’12, who currently represents the Cougars proudly as a Stetson University Hatter. We asked Coach Hayes what these young men’s accomplishments signify for the Cougars’ growing football program, and he shared, “I am very excited about the future of Cannon football. We have achieved a great amount of success during our short time and look forward to continuing down the path on which we have started. The new athletic facilities that are in the works have generated a bunch of excitement amongst our athletes and will help us reach the next level of athletic performance. These new athletic training facilities will play a huge role in the continued and future success of our football program as well as all of Cannon’s other athletic programs.” It’s an exciting time for Cannon athletics thanks to studentathletes like Blake Brewer who conduct themselves honorably both on and off the field, and thanks to all the Cannon families, teammates, classmates, coaches, and teachers who encourage their efforts in the classroom, on the field, and most importantly, in their lives beyond our School walls.


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Kick-Off to College

Winter Wonders Eight senior boys and the girls’ varsity basketball team boost record and build friendships.

By: Katie Maness ’13 Basketball coaching great John Wooden once said, “Kindness makes for much better teamwork.” I think the girls’ varsity basketball team would not only agree, but that they would point to a group of eight senior boys who go by the name of “Winter Wonders” as the personification of this quote. The Cannon School girls’ varsity basketball team ended the 20122013 season with an improved record of 11-14, and that’s due in part to the Winter Wonders—Bradley Barnhart, Blake Brewer, Tyler Brown, Murray Farrington, Timmy Hennigan, Trevor McWilliams, Jeffrey Schachner, and Dominick Vaccaro —who have devoted themselves to practicing with and improving the girls’ team. Team Captain Leah Baker ’13 explains, “The Wonders work with us once a week for the whole practice and usually for a minimum of five quarters, which is longer than a game, to help condition us.”

take it seriously. They’ve been a great scout team and have taken no mercy on the girls, yet they’ve been very supportive.” Jack Warren, Cannon’s head coach for girls’ varsity basketball, summed it up when he said, “I like to think that the Wonders have started a culture of future groups of male athletes that will help develop our girls’ basketball program. It’s important to recognize these gentlemen for the sacrifice, friendship, and support they’ve provided to the girls’ varsity basketball program and its players.” This “wonderful” collaboration has boosted the girls’ season record, created new friendships, and exemplified Cannon’s core values, and for that we are all thankful to the Lady Cougars and their league of extraordinary gentlemen.

“Playing against the Winter Wonders has been a great and fun way for us to prepare for our difficult games this year,” contributed Team Captain Hailey Foreman ’13. “Our team has gained confidence from practicing against them because we have realized what we are capable of. The Winter Wonders have made this season really unique because we have been able to scrimmage them as a team in order to work on our plays and simulate game situations. As a senior, I hope that the coaches and players will carry this on in future years because it has been very effective, and it changes the pace of normal practices. All of the guys have been committed to coming to practices and helping us improve as a team.” Winter Wonder Trevor McWilliams adds, “Playing for the Wonders has been so much fun, and I am really glad that I did it. I have also made better friendships with people on both the Wonders and the girls’ team.” “These boys have done everything we’ve asked them to do in practices,” said Patrick Moyer, Cannon’s assistant coach for girls’ varsity basketball. “They support the girls, they play hard, and they

Girls’ Varsity Basketball Team and Winter Wonders. First row from left, Victoria Bliss, Hailey Foreman, Leah Baker, and Ellen Montgomery. Second row from left, Sophia Kalm, Emma Montgomery, Caitlin Brewer, Izzy Sofio, and Reed Harmon. Third row from left, Dominick Vaccaro, Bradley Barnhart, Tyler Brown, Jeffrey Schachner, Timmy Hennigan, and Blake Brewer. Not pictured here, Murray Farrington and Trevor McWilliams.

Follow New Athletic Director Blog Do you enjoy reading insightful perspectives on sports, teamwork, and leadership? Then follow Cannon School’s new Athletic Director blog! Scan the QR code with your smartphone, or visit Athletic Director Garth Adams believes that athletics are a means for teaching student-athletes the values of hard work, selflessness, and perseverance, and that athletics build confidence in students and develop their love of being active and physically fit. Adams’ blog offers insights that help student-athletes and Cannon community members alike reflect on striving for excellence each day and working to maximize our individual potential.


Offseason Dedication Pays Off for Cougar By: Jay Edwards, The Charlotte Observer When it’s too cold for most people to want to go outside, Will Gordon is a fixture on the practice range, putting greens or somewhere on the course at River Run Country Club in Davidson. If he isn’t there, Gordon is likely playing on a golf course somewhere, with his Cannon School team or on the junior circuit, no matter what time of the year it is. “I’m pretty much on the golf course every day unless it is unbearably cold or pouring and even that has to pretty bad to keep me away,” the 16-year-old said. “Golf is one of those sports that if you don’t love it, there is no point in pursuing it as your future. You have to be very committed and very patient on a daily basis.” That dedication is paying off for Gordon, as he already committed to play golf at Vanderbilt in November after taking unofficial visits to Alabama, Arizona State, North Carolina, Virginia and Wake Forest. “I really never imagined or planned on committing to a school and golf program this early,” Gordon said. “But once I visited Vandy, I just had a great feeling and I guess when you know, you know.” Gordon, a sophomore at Cannon, has proven that he is one of the best young golfers in the state, claiming All-Observer and all-state honors this past season. Gordon, who has nine top-10 finishes and a dozen more top-20 finishes in the past year and a half on the junior circuit, wasted no time in proving himself at Cannon for coach Pat Whisenant, coming in fifth at the CISAA conference championships and fourth at the NCISAA state tournaments as a freshman. He’s ranked the 16th best golfer in the class of 2015, according to He is also No. 30 in the state among junior golfers. The 6-foot-2, 180-pound standout averages 72.3 strokes per 18 holes. Gordon credits his golf coach, Kelley Phillips, for his recent success. He said that his coach has helped him fine-tune everything from straightening his drives to improving his short game to his conditioning. With Gordon’s college decision over, he can concentrate on getting better on the golf course. “There have been times when I was obsessed with results, results, results and I never really stepped back and focused on the process,” Gordon said. “My dad (Norman) and my coach have really hammered into me that I have to focus on each day trying to get a little bit better and work on the things that will help me do that. Once I started having that attitude and focus, I think everything started to fall in place for me.”

Sophomore Will Gordon. Photo courtesy of Will Gordon.

senior Grant de Gorter, Gordon said that every day at practice is not only fun, but also a challenge. “Having Will, Noah, Anthony and Grant to compete with each other, even in practice, makes them all even better,” said Whisenant, whose team finished third at state last year. “I don’t really have to motivate them a lot, because they want to beat each other.” After top-five finishes at the CISAA and state tournaments, Gordon has his eyes on the ultimate prizes, where he hopes “to do his part” by taking the conference and state titles. Whisenant and Gordon also note that Cannon wants to catch up with the Cougar girls’ team, which has won the last two state titles. “We hear about that at school all the time,” Gordon said. While Gordon is not trying to look too far ahead, he can’t help but think of a future that he hopes will have playing golf for a living.

As he continues to work on his game, Gordon is also getting ready for his sophomore season at Cannon. He has championship ambitions for both the Cougars and himself.

“Now that I’ve made my college choice, the next step is making sure I’m good enough to start and travel immediately at Vandy,” he said. “But ultimately, my goal and my dream is play on the PGA Tour. I’m going to do everything I can to try to get that opportunity.”

With sophomores Noah Edmondson, Gordon’s training partner who recently committed to Arkansas, and Anthony Perrino as well as

This article, published on January 8, 2013, is reprinted with permission of Cabarrus News, a Charlotte Observer publication. CANNON MAGAZINE | 23

“We have created a sense of family and our own identity that underscores the best this dynamic age group has to offer.”


By: Dr. Matthew J. Rush, Head of Middle School Remember when you were 12? If so, you’re likely to remember it in one of two ways. Either you loved it and have fond memories, or you hated it and are still blocking those awkward, tumultuous times. Seriously though. What’s so great about being a pre-teen or early teen anyway? And who in their right mind would either a.) want to go back to those days or b.) spend every day with kids that age? Moreover, who would want to help kids through a stage in their lives where things are constantly changing, awkward, dramatic, awesome, and terrible…all before first period even ends? Strangely enough, we do. Cannon’s Middle School is hopping—literally and figuratively. Students are fired up about iPads, about creating things, about seeing friends, about being ambassadors to potential Cannon students, and about performing on stages, and sport courts, and fields (oh my!). And while the tendency for judgment, uncertainty, self-doubt, and other rites of adolescent passage still exists, it is all done in the safe, supportive, and fun environment of our Middle School walls. One of the many great things about middle school students is that they are hungry for more intellectual and social challenges, but they don’t quite know how to handle it. On the same day a student is learning about slope-intercept form, debating the passage of a bill in congress, and writing sentences in Mandarin Chinese, they can just as easily cuddle up to you at night like they did back when they were babies —sweet and good smelling! We, too, love and appreciate the phenomenon in these developing creatures where one week our students are talking about changing the world and being serious about life and school, and the next week they are playing with Barbies and Legos again. Such is the way of a middle schooler. Remember that piece of outdoor recess equipment called the teeter-totter (maybe you called it a seesaw)? Middle School is akin to that in many ways. Yes, there is the obvious image of the bipolar nature of emotions that you see as a parent, but the equipment is also analogous to school itself. On one end, there is the foundation building years of elementary school, and on the other, there is the importance of high school as a highway entrance ramp to future success. But it is also important to remember the perspective of the rider. You see, middle school students are a lot like those who ride the teeter-totter. Sometimes they are way up, sometimes they are way down, but they are rarely in the middle of that action. Sometimes they push off too hard, sometimes not hard enough. Other times they try to hop off quickly to see how the other person will

react. It is not so much they are trying to be mean, but merely testing cause-and-effect. Regardless, the bottom line is that all of this is normal for a middle school child. If we extend the metaphor a little more, consider the key essentials to making that playground apparatus work: two people and a metal fulcrum. The need to have two people is obvious. In fact, we could easily suggest that one person is the student, while the other rider is the adult team in the child’s life (parent, teacher, advisor, coach, religious leader, etc.). But the not so obvious key is that metal fulcrum. I see that component as I see the middle school years in general. They are not particularly flashy, they come in any number of colors, and they have weathered various storms with “acne” marks of chipped paint. Do you remember the color of the fulcrum on your childhood playground’s seesaw? Either way, you probably don’t remember how important that fulcrum was at the time, and it’s easy for independent schools like ours to do the same with Middle Schools if we aren’t careful. It’s no one’s fault, really—it makes total sense. Middle School is caught between the nurturing, new life as a student Lower School, and the all-important, high stakes Upper School. Throw in the fact that most adults and children who are not 10 to 14 want nothing to do with these adolescents, and you can see why this phenomenon exists not only in our nation, but in particular at our schools. Cannon has not been immunized either. For example, when I came in 2008, we were already grappling as a School community to understand the Middle School’s unique place at Cannon, and that made sense based on the context in which our School grew. For a long time, Cannon was a K-8 School, and the Lower School already had an established identity. When we grew and moved to our current location, we trumpeted the arrival of the Upper School, and the Middle School had to reimagine our identity in this new landscape. Couple that with the physical proximity of the Lower and Middle Schools sharing hallways and even some classrooms. To the untrained eye, there was not a clear distinction between the two areas. Now, the Middle School is poised to be a leader in pedagogical techniques, employing the latest technology that supports student-centered learning and achievement. We need to continue to stay ahead on this front. Middle School has an opportunity to be an enticing draw for parents and students, embracing a “fun” atmosphere while simultaneously challenging and stretching young minds, but nurturing and supporting them as well. Whether we are launching pumpkins CANNON MAGAZINE | 25

Engaged Learning

Creating identity for the Middle School and our students.

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Being in the Middle

Being in the Middle (continued) on a crisp October day at lunch, posing for a Cougars in Action team shot, competing at mathematics, science, or robotics tournaments, hanging in the hallways working on an innovation project, parading on Mardi Gras, or making roller coasters, our Middle School is all about a mantra: “Play Hard, Learn Hard.” The Middle School has emerged from the historical shadow of the Lower School and Upper School, and sits eagerly anticipating a more clearly defined architectural identity with a new front door. The Building Bright Futures Campaign is also exciting for us because now that we have an internal identity as a division, our physical space must also be commensurate. The building’s redesign will continue to support the great teaching and learning that goes on in this division. Further, the adaptive expertise base from which we operate requires

more hands-on and experiential learning. The innovation lab, the open space, and the community areas will all connect our practical needs to those research experts on the age group suggest—that middle school students need tactile learning opportunities for true “transfer” of knowledge, and the new learning spaces created will only further that goal. To watch a middle school student develop academically, socially, physically, and emotionally over four years is a great joy for all of us in this division. These four years are an important transitional time that rarely attracts either glamour or positive media airtime. And while there are sometimes tough days in our own Middle School, we have created a sense of family and our own identity that underscores the best this dynamic age group has to offer.

Our Future’s So Bright…We Gotta Wear Shades Cannon School publicly kicked off the Building Bright Futures Campaign on March 16, 2013 with a celebration at The Fillmore in Uptown Charlotte. More than four hundred members of the Cannon School family were treated to videos produced by Leigh Northrup about our history and our vision for the years to come. Check out the videos and learn why our future’s so bright, we gotta wear shades! 26 | CANNON MAGAZINE

Video Innovations Cannon’s middle school director of academic technology inspires students to think outside the box.

By: Jessica Abel ’15 and Colleen Hurley ’15 Leigh Northrup has sparked innovation at the Middle School for years. His contributions to the Middle School have enhanced the technology used by both students and teachers. Among Mr. Northrup’s many exciting initiatives as Middle School director of academic technology are video projects such as Cougar TV and the morning announcements, which inspire students and challenge them to think outside the box. The day we contacted Mr. Northrup to interview him for this article, Cannon School was closed due to icy roads. But Mr. Northrup did not let that stop our progress. He recorded a virtual interview answering all of our questions, and posted it online. This gave us a personable simulation to an in-person conversation and demonstrated the very idea of using technology for creative problem solving. Here are some of the insights Mr. Northrup shared with us. Of which middle school video projects are you most proud? I would say the creation of the morning announcements, and the fact that we have a team of students who are very dedicated and excited to produce videos. They share these videos with the 270 students in the Middle School every single week. It shows a lot of initiative. What impact do the videos have on middle school students? I think that students are going to live in a very fast-changing world of media, and that in order to keep up, they need to be prepared for that sort of crazy world they are going to live in. I think that everything is going to revolve around streaming media in the coming years, so the fact that we are preparing middle school kids to edit, produce, and make their own videos—that is pretty neat. What were the inspirations for different video projects such as the morning announcements and Cougar TV? Cougar TV is pretty exciting because we started it when we had our very first varsity football game. Dr. Rush and I realized how exciting it was and how important it was to preserve it. We initially planned to do online radio, but then we decided to do TV, so we kind of dove into that world. Again, it is pretty great to have a core of enthusiastic students who want to help. I’m really excited when those students move on to cover basketball, soccer, and all sorts of other sporting events and kind of take that project and make it their own.

Davis Nelson and Karlie Redfern on a video shoot. Do you have any more projects in mind for the future? I don’t know where streaming video is going to go. I do know that we need to keep up. I want to continue to help teachers flip the classroom by using video to teach as a form of homework. I want more teachers to be able to use digital videos in the classroom, and I want to continue to support the seventh grade in their use of video through the Innovations Project. The middle school students are just as excited about video media being integrated into the classroom as Mr. Northup is to integrate it. “It is a fun and interesting way to stay in touch,” said eighth grader Christian Vallat of the morning announcements. Eighth grader Payton Ryan agreed, “It is a great way to start the week.”

Do you collaborate with the students?

The announcements span a wide range of information including sports, spirit days, advisory games, club announcements, fundraisers, and much more. Through these updates, the students are able to use creativity and ingenuity to inform each other of their most recent events and projects. “I like how the weekly video announcements inform me of everything going on in the Middle School,” said seventh grader Elizabeth Hurley. Eighth grader Cole Batchelor mentioned liking the current events and sports updates too.

A long time ago, maybe three or four years ago, I was doing a lot of the work, and the students learned from that process. Now there is definitely collaboration involved because the students are doing so much of the work. I’m helping and supervising, but we work together to learn new things and to push the envelope in different ways. I’m learning from them, and sometimes they come up with new ideas that I haven’t even thought of yet, so it is a lot of back-and-forth collaboration.

The video media that Mr. Northrup has introduced to his students is sure to serve them throughout their Cannon education and beyond. The collaboration between teachers and students brings a unique perspective to the classroom learning experience and will continue to evolve with the coming years. “I think there are a ton of different things that we are going to be able to do with video in the future,” said Mr. Northrup. “I just can’t wait to see what the world has in store for us.” CANNON MAGAZINE | 27

“An ambassador in its truest form is a messenger or a representative who spreads good will.”


By: William Diskin, Director of Admission and Financial Aid On a recent sunny Sunday afternoon, a dozen people gathered at the home of Sara and David DuMond. The aroma of fresh coffee and warm baked goods filled the air. The atmosphere was lighthearted and casual. The conversations at the DuMond’s kitchen table covered everything from the challenges of raising children in Manhattan to the best ways to organize a neighborhood car pool. At the heart of the discussion, though, was Cannon School. The DuMonds, members of Cannon School’s Parent Ambassador Group (PAG), were hosting their first neighborhood open house. Sara DuMond smiles as she recalls the experience. “I loved hosting a neighborhood open house. When you discover a gem like Cannon, you want to share it. Hosting a small, friendly open house at our home was an opportunity to let some friends and neighbors know about the gem that’s right in their backyards!” Thanks to the enthusiasm of parents like the DuMonds, Cannon School’s Parent Ambassador program has grown steadily over the past five years. It’s no coincidence that Admission Office activity—including numbers of inquiries and enrollment applications—has increased during the same period that parents have become more active as ambassadors. “Volunteer parents are crucial to supporting our work in the Admission Office,” says Nancy Rogers, Cannon’s associate director of admission. “We count on volunteers to help out at open houses, at off campus events, and to reach out to individual families to encourage them to visit or apply. Word of mouth is Cannon’s most important marketing tool.” The educational landscape in Charlotte is changing. Gone are the days when parents will settle for sending their children to their local public school without first exploring a variety of options. And these days, in addition to the neighborhood and magnet public schools, options include a growing number of independent, charter, and faith-based schools.

“Bailey Middle is a big school that can be intimidating,” O’Brien notes. “In addition, with several charter and private schools available, fifth or sixth grade is the time when Davidson Elementary families start to seek their own educational paths. On our street alone, we have middle school children at Cannon, Bailey, Pinelake Prep, Lake Norman Charter School, South Lake, Woodlawn, and First Assembly.” O’Brien has used this knowledge and her own experience as a parent to inform her work as an ambassador for Cannon. “I play on a tennis team with a prospective parent and started talking to her about Cannon a year ago,” she says. “Like me, she has two boys, and her oldest is preparing to enter fifth grade. We discussed my personal experience with sending our son to Cannon in fifth grade and what value we found in doing such a thing.” O’Brien’s tennis friend’s older son visited Cannon for the day and had a great experience. O’Brien is excited about the possibility that he will enroll. “I certainly will not take credit for her son potentially entering Cannon, but I do think the more people you know who are pleased with the program, the better!” “We like to say that every Cannon parent is an ambassador,” says Rogers. “We hear all the time from parents who let us know that they had a nice conversation with a family in their neighborhood or at their church. You don’t have to be a part of the formal ambassador group to be active as an ambassador for Cannon.” Some parents do go the extra step and join the Parent Ambassador Group. This year’s PAG Committee has more than twenty parents involved. “I was motivated to participate because I believe first impressions are very important,” says Maryanna Ter Poorten, Cannon parent. “More newcomers attend Cannon’s info sessions than I realized. Also, this was a way to give back to Cannon on the weekends since I work during the week.”

Amanda O’Brien joined Cannon’s PAG Committee this year. She sees clearly how parent ambassadors make a difference in her neighborhood. “Specifically in Davidson, the fourth-grade families are a great audience for parent ambassadors. Families in Davidson are relatively happy with the public elementary school education offered. Parents start to get concerned when their child is getting ready to enter Middle School.”

“An ambassador in its truest form is a ‘messenger’ or a representative who spreads ‘good will,’” says Reisa Bryan, Cannon parent. “When I think about the role of the parent ambassador, it embodies that definition. Our role is to spread the word about Cannon to family, friends, neighbors, and communities so that other children can experience what it means to ‘go beyond.’”

And it is at this critical juncture—as children prepare for the transition to Middle School—that many parents start to consider their school options.

Parents interested in getting involved as parent ambassadors should contact the Admission Office at 704-721-7199 or CANNON MAGAZINE | 29


Cannon parents are crucial to enrollment efforts.

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Parent Ambassadors Go Beyond for Cannon School

Jessica Ekstrom ’09

Alumni Spotlight Current location: Jessica Ekstrom’09 is currently a student at North Carolina State University. She founded Headbands of Hope, an organization that spreads hope in all girls and funds research for childhood cancer, one headband at a time. Tell us about Headbands of Hope and how you came up with the idea for the organization. In the summer of 2011, I did an internship at the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Every day, I got to wake up and grant the wishes of children with life-threatening illnesses. One day, I was pulling my hair back in a ponytail and thought about the hundreds of girls I encountered who lost their hair to cancer. Being a young girl presents many struggles with self-esteem already, and losing hair as a result of a life-threatening illness is traumatic. Not only do they have to face the risk of losing their lives, they feel that they’ve lost a part of their feminine identity. Therefore, I started Headbands of Hope! For every headband purchased, one is given to a girl with cancer, and $1 is donated to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation to fund lifesaving childhood cancer research.

Go Beyond Read the full interview with Jessica at

What were the most challenging and the most rewarding aspects of starting your own business?

Can you give any specific examples of how Cannon helped prepare you for college and starting your own business?

The toughest part of being a young entrepreneur is sometimes having to choose your business over going out with your friends or going to football games. In order for your business to take off, you have to give it everything you have, and sometimes that requires skipping activities you usually do.

Cannon created an environment that challenged me. It wasn’t easy to get a pat on the back, and I had to work hard to earn praise. Cannon taught me that goals shouldn’t be easy. If you’re still in your comfort zone, you’re not really going anywhere. This kind of atmosphere made it impossible for me to be satisfied with average work and mainstream goals. I saw my idea for Headbands of Hope as a challenge.

Of course, the best part of Headbands of Hope is being able to give back and to help these girls in the hospital while raising awareness for childhood cancer. Nothing compares to the smiles on those girls’ faces when they receive their headbands. But secondly, one of the best parts is having the power to inspire. The e-mails I receive saying that I inspired them to start something, or that I made them believe in themselves, makes everything worth it. What tips can you give to students or alumni who are looking to start a philanthropic organization? Be curious and explore what is around you. Whether you’re starting a company or a charity, find a gap or a need that you want to fill. If you find something that fuels your fire, no obstacle will be too big to conquer, and working won’t feel like working. There are so many opportunities to help and make a difference. But whatever your project is, go for it, and don’t look back! Understand that building something, no matter what it is, is a process. Find it in your heart to step outside your comfort zone and build an organization that changes people’s lives.


What is your fondest or funniest memory from your time at Cannon? I have so many wonderful Cannon memories! I loved going to basketball games and participating in all the events that make Cannon the school that it is. But most of all, it was my teachers and the rest of the faculty that I have the best memories of. They gave me the foundation to be who I am today and taught me to “go beyond.” Any advice for the Class of 2013? College is what you make it. There are so many opportunities that are made for college students and only college students. You only have four years to soak it all in! Whatever you do, enjoy it. Don’t wait until your senior year to try new things because hopefully, from reading this article, you’ve learned that great things can happen outside your comfort zone!

1989 (Cabarrus Academy) Michael Sellers has lived in Virginia for ten years, working as a mortgage lender. He is excited to now be moving home to North Carolina.


2001 (Cabarrus Academy) Chip Clark and his wife, Courtney, welcomed Mark Douglas Clark III to their family on August 23, 2012. Baby Mac weighed a healthy 8 lbs. and 4 oz. They currently reside in Concord, NC, where Chip is vice president of Allied Concrete Forming. Elizabeth Dusch graduated from Wake Forest University in 2005 with a degree in business and a minor in international studies. In 2005, she took an internship at Merrill Lynch Investment Managers in London while earning a certificate in international business practice through the University of Cambridge International Examinations. Elizabeth Dusch ’01 in Paris In 2006, she moved to Beijing, last spring. China to work and to study Mandarin Chinese, and in 2007, she began working with a Hong Kong newspaper as an international correspondent to produce business reports on Switzerland, South Korea, Norway, Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Malaysia. In 2010, she started her own firm with her best friend and business partner in collaboration with a mainland Chinese business newspaper to produce reports on the United States, Switzerland, Norway, Germany, Singapore, and Australia. In 2011, she founded Brazil Business Reports in partnership with a Brazilian business magazine. They have produced reports on Norway, the Netherlands, and Singapore. She is currently living in Singapore and recently traveled to her 43rd country. She is also working on running a marathon on all seven continents. Paige Little Johnson married her husband, Ross, on May 14, 2011. They currently reside in Concord, where Paige is a legal assistant at Moretz and Skufca, PLLC.

Mary Dudley Bertram Tramazzo ’05 with husband John and son Robert Charles.

Mary Dudley Bertram Tramazzo and her husband, John, recently celebrated the birth of their baby boy, Robert Charles Tramazzo, on July 26, 2012. They currently live in Ft. Drum, NY, where John is an Army JAG for the 10th Mountain Division’s 3rd Brigade.

2006 Ashlyne Reid completed the Master of Accounting program at UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School in May 2012. In October, she began working as a tax associate at the accounting firm McGladrey LLP in Charlotte, the fifth largest accounting firm in the United States. She is currently studying for the CPA exam and has passed two out of the four tests.

2007 Lindsey Dortch is living in Pittsburgh, PA, after attending the University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work for a master’s in social work. She is working as a research assistant to the dean, researching racial trends in Pittsburgh. Additionally, she works at the psychiatric hospital to help adults living with mental illness. She was recently engaged to Phillip Brock, and is excited for an October 2013 wedding in Davidson, NC. Will Sherrill is in his second year of medical school at the West Virginia University School of Medicine. He will be moving to Charleston, WV, in June to begin his third-year rotations.

2008 Katherine Brown recently graduated from NC State in May 2012 with a bachelor’s of science in fashion and textile management. During her undergraduate career, she studied abroad at the University of Manchester in Manchester, England. She was also a member of the NC State Club Swim

>Class Notes



Janet Ward Black resides in North Carolina, where she heads an award-winning personal injury law firm, Ward Black Law. Her firm has been ranked by U.S. News as Tier 1 for Personal Injury Litigation for Plaintiffs and Tier 2 for Mass Tort Litigation/Class Actions for Plaintiffs. Her firm was also selected as one of the Best Law Firms for 2013 by Best Lawyers. Janet was also the recipient of International Cooperating Ministries’ Rock Award this year.

Leslie Goers Keener and her husband, Matt, were thrilled to welcome baby Lilly Ann on October 11, 2012 (10/11/12!). Lilly weighed 6 lbs. and 9 oz. and was 19 in. long. Leslie Leslie Goers Keener ’01 with and Matt recently moved husband Matt and daughter Lilly. to Huntersville, NC, where they continue to run their successful photography business, Elizabeth Scott Photography.

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1977 (Cabarrus Academy)

Team, Chi Omega Fraternity, Raleigh Wesley Foundation, and Panhellenic Recruitment Counselors. She accepted a job with Kohl’s Corporate in April 2012, and she has been the production coordinator for Croft & Barrow Missy Wovens for the past several months.

as a mail clerk. She has served as a hall government judiciary board representative and has also served on the editorial board for the Journal of Undergraduate Research. In her free time, she takes part in a creative writing club.

Bethany Corbin graduated from UNC - Chapel Hill a year early, in 2011. She then received a full-tuition scholarship to Wake Forest School of Law, where she is now a second-year law student. Last summer, Bethany secured a prestigious 1L summer associate position at Bradley Arant Boult Cummings and also interned for the Honorable Richard Voorhees. Bethany is a member of the Wake Forest Law Review and the Wake Forest Moot Court Team. This fall, she was one of the top eight finalists in the Wake Forest Stanley Moot Court Competition. In the spring, Bethany will participate in Wake Forest’s Litigation Clinic, thereby having the opportunity to intern at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Greensboro. In the summer, Bethany will return to Bradley Arant Boult Cummings and will also work as a summer associate for Wyrick Robbins in Raleigh, NC.

Rianna Das transferred to Furman University her freshman year and is currently a member of the Delta Gamma Sorority. She plays club soccer, is involved with the College Democrats, and is both a research assistant and an admissions ambassador for Furman. She interns at Poplar Ridge Farm and at Gardening for Good. This summer, she will be researching soil sustainability on farms in Greenville, SC. She plans to do a May-mester study abroad in Italy.

Samantha Sarett recently graduated from Case Western Reserve University, where she received the Biomedical Engineering (BME) and Research Award for Outstanding Performance in BME Research and Academic Achievement. She has since moved to Nashville, where she is attending Vanderbilt on a Provost Scholarship to earn her Ph.D. in biomedical engineering. In her free time, Sammy still enjoys playing soccer.

2009 Trevor Bray will graduate from UNC - Wilmington in the spring of 2013 with a degree in communication studies, with emphasis in broadcast journalism, and with a minor in journalism. After a year at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, an internship with Clear Channel Radio in Charlotte, and an internship with the sports website Bleacher Report, Trevor is currently lead news anchor for UNCW’s student news station, Teal TV. She plans to advance her sports broadcasting career post-graduation with a job at ESPNU in Charlotte, NC.

Leah Davis spent last summer in Houston, TX, working in a procurement and supply chain management internship with BP. She will be studying abroad in Barcelona, Spain, for the spring semester to gain credit towards her international business and Spanish minors. She recently accepted another internship offer from BP to spend summer 2013 in Farmington, NM. Samantha Falewee is at American University. She is an editor for American Literary Magazine, is chapter leader of the non-profit React to Film, and is a member of Phi Sigma Sigma Sorority. She will be interning at the Cannes Film Festival this summer with the Creative Minds Internship Program. Megan Halloran volunteered with a lion conservation program this past summer in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. She is currently heading the planning of Greek Week at UNC - Wilmington. Jacquelin Harris is apprenticing with Ailey II, the second company with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. She is also performing Revelations: Cast of 50 with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater for their city center season.

2010 Patrick Beck is working part-time in an architectural office. During vacations from school, he works full-time building models and drawing architectural sketches. He recently bought a sailboat and devotes his free time to its maintenance. He plans to study in Rome for the fall 2013 semester. Cara Brock is currently studying political science and sociology at the University of South Carolina. She has been on the dean’s list every semester, and is now a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. She is a sister of Alpha Delta Pi Sorority and will soon be competing in the USC Homecoming dance competition. She is the president and co-founder of an organization called Project Dance, which is one of the most popular dance clubs on campus. When she is at home in North Carolina, she works at Foster Animal Hospital. Taylor Byrnes is attending the University of Notre Dame, where she is double majoring in English and Chinese. She is currently studying abroad at the School of Chinese as a Second Language at Peking University in Beijing. Prior to this semester in China, she was sponsored by the Kellogg Institute for International Studies to spend a summer in Hunan Province, where she taught English to primary, middle, and high school students through WorldTeach. She currently works at the Kresge Law Library as a student assistant and 32 | CANNON MAGAZINE

Lauren Hunstad ’10 in Spain last fall.

Lauren Hunstad recently changed her focus to a double major in Spanish and history and is currently having a fantastic time studying abroad in Salamanca, Spain. While living abroad, she plans to travel to Lisbon, Marrakesh, Paris, Madrid, Barcelona, Córdoba, Granada, Sevilla, Santiago de Compostela, and more.

Shahdi Montazeri spent the autumn 2012 semester in Sevilla. She is majoring in international and comparative political science, with minors in Spanish and sociology.

Ashley Rivenbark ’10 with her Tae Kwon Do students in Miyun, China last summer.

Ashley Rivenbark spent six months in China this past year through the UNC Weir Fellowship. First she spent four months in Beijing with the CET Mandarin Immersion Program. She then spent her summer months in Miyun, China, teaching Tae Kwon Do to young children through the NGO, Hua Dan.

leading a trip to India in May 2013, he will be interning with GE in the summer. Brianna Ratté is in her sophomore year at UNC. She is an RA this year in Hinton James and stays very busy keeping up with her hall of forty-seven first-year students. She is also involved with the Chapter Relations and Standards Board for Alpha Chi Omega.

Inaugural Alumni Soccer Match held August 11, 2012. Front row from left, Eric Rossitch ’12, Matt Sarett ’10, Brian Oke ’06, Jenna Sarett ’10, Matt Leach ’06, and Denny Alcorn ’08. Back row from left, Zack Tysinger ’12, Winston Felker ’11, Jackson Sipperly ’11, Zach Rossitch ’10, Baylor Koch ’12, Will Chirico ’06, and Dillon Freer ’10.

Jenna Sarett is a neuroscience major at Rhodes College. She is currently interning at Southern Oncology Associates for Genetic Counseling. She plans to continue her study of genetic counseling as a graduate student. Jenna still enjoys playing soccer. Matt Sarett is a double major in electrical/computer engineering and biomedical engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, and is minoring in computer science and business. He completed an internship this summer at McGuire Nuclear for cyber engineering. In his free time, Matt still enjoys playing soccer. Kate Sumner is studying at Smith University, majoring in the study of women and gender. She plans to add a history major and archives concentration to her current degree. She is working as head resident of one of the houses on campus, where she is responsible for building community and managing conflicts among seventy-five students. She also co-hosts a two-hour long radio show on WOZQ. Her AP credits allowed her to take last semester off, and she took the opportunity to travel throughout Europe, working various jobs. Kate’s jobs ranged from pony care in Scotland, to light construction in France, to garden work in Spain to organic farming in Italy. She ended her European tour in Berlin to visit her roommate. Sterling Swygert is a mathematics/chemistry double major at the University of South Carolina. He currently works as teaching assistant for an organic chemistry class. Sterling enjoys playing intramural soccer and sings in the USC Gospel Choir. David Waymer is at Northwestern University, where he is an international studies and psychology major. He is currently conducting in-depth research on forced migration for the Northwestern International Studies Office and for the Center for Forced Migration Studies on two private research grants. He is the social chairperson for Club Swimming, and he is involved with Habitat for Humanity, Red Cross NU, and the Outdoor Club. For the summer of 2013, Davey is planning to participate in an exchange program in France and to conduct research in Italy.

Eden Sipperly recently joined the first environmental honors fraternity in the United States, Epsilon Eta. She works at an Environmental Protection Agency lab, in the department that studies environmental medicine, asthma, and lung biology. This summer, she will spend eleven days in Costa Rica, where she will tour several sustainable energy plants. Carson Willoughby is a sophomore at NC State studying business administration with concentrations in supply chain and finance. This summer, he plans on completing an internship in the supply chain sector. He is a brother of Alpha Tau Omega. Raffi Yessayan is in his sophomore year at NC State, where he is a computer sciences TA and has begun coursework in nuclear engineering. He was pleased to share that he maintained a 4.0 GPA his freshman year. Over the summer, he interned at a data center in Charlotte, where he learned many new and useful things about computer networking. He is also in discussion with the VP of Areva Nuclear Power over an internship for the summer of 2013.

2012 Cassie Calvert is in her freshman year at Duke University, where she is a pre-med student minoring in Spanish. She is involved in Relay for Life and Crew. Jane Campbell is at Florida Southern University, where she is currently majoring in communications with a concentration in advertising and public relations. She is also pursuing a B.A. in fine arts. She is a member of Kappa Delta Sorority. Bryan Dobbs is currently studying at NYU as a pre-med student majoring in music. In conjunction with the America Reads program, he has been working as a third-grade teacher’s assistant at a public school in Manhattan. Bryan is hoping to join one of the Jazz ensembles at NYU. Matt Dockery is at Appalachian State, where he is majoring in sustainable development with a concentration in global, regional, and community planning. He is involved with an environmental club, a service club, and a music industry club.

2011 Madeline Hurley is a journalism/dramatic arts major at UNC. She was in two plays at UNC last year, and she is also a member of the UNC Walk-Ons, a co-ed a cappella group. Last summer, she interned at The Charlotte Observer, and this year, she is writing for The Daily Tar Heel newspaper. Graham Lombardi spent two weeks in Dubai last spring, and seven weeks in Denmark last summer. He is still at UNC, and after

Chris Pope ’12, Maggie Goode ’12, Tim Gruber ’12, and Kim Kleimeier ’09 share advice with parents and students at the annual Alumni Panel.

Tim Gruber is in his freshman year at the University of Richmond. He reports that his track and field and soccer programs were cut in September and shared a compilation that the Alumni Steering Committee put together concerning the University’s decision: CANNON MAGAZINE | 33 He looks forward to these sports programs being reinstated. He encourages interested parties to read the “Analysis of UR Athletics Reconfiguration Process” in the bottom left-hand corner of the website. Remy Hoffman is a freshman at Ole Miss, where she is a forensic chemistry major. In her free time, she volunteers for the Oxford Humane Society Animal Shelter, and she enjoys being a member of the Kappa Alpha Theta Sorority. Caroline Johnson is a freshman at East Carolina University and joined the Zeta Tau Alpha Sorority in the fall. Julian Núñez is a freshman at San Diego State University, where he is a member of the Air Force ROTC. He is currently majoring in biology.

Alumni Board Update By: Eddie Alcorn ’04, Alumni Board President During 2012, the Alumni Board had fantastic successes and made improvements with every activity and event. Some examples are given below, as well as our plans for 2013! Three Reunions – 5, 10, and 40 Years With great help from alumni and friends of Cannon School, the Alumni Board organized and celebrated three reunions this year. In mid-May, the Board held a Cabarrus Academy House Tour and is grateful for the generosity of Margaret West for opening her home to us. Following the tour, former Cabarrus Academy teachers and alumni from the Classes of 1972, 1973, and 1974 enjoyed dinner at Union Street Bistro. The reunion could not have been possible without the hard work and connections of Peg Morrison.

Mason McClanahan is at UNC – Chapel Hill majoring in biomedical engineering. He is a member of the club football team.

In early June, the Board hosted alumni from the Class of 2007 for a five-year reunion at Afton Tavern. Thanks to Board Member Will Sherrill ’07, who helped spread the word about the event to his fellow Class of 2007 alums.

Emily Ranson is now living in Gorkha, Nepal. She is teaching English for a school of the children of retired Gurkha militia officers.

In late June, the Board brought together alumni from the early years of Cannon’s Upper School to celebrate the ten-year reunion of the Class of 2002 at Mert’s Heart and Soul in Uptown Charlotte. Wilder Nutting-Heath ’02 and Jessica Peterson ’03 joined efforts to recruit attendees from their graduating classes. Thank you to everyone, especially Marie Morgann ’01 and Lynda Abel, alumni relations manager, who helped with the planning and execution of these events! Senior Lunch Send-Off Advancement staff members and Alumni Board members continued the tradition of addressing the graduating class during their senior lunch. This was a special time for Board members to share the importance of staying connected to the Cannon community through alumni event attendance and giving to the Annual Fund.

Scott Schachner ’12, Davis Gossage ’12, and Wil Safrit ’12 catch up with Upper School History Chair Laura Huffman at Homecoming in October 2012.

Scott Schachner is at NC State, where he plans to major in electrical engineering with a minor in chemical engineering. He is a member of the University Scholars Program and the Engineers Without Borders organization. Scott has enjoyed working on some particularly interesting engineering projects. He and some of his fellow students are building a hovercraft for an introductory engineering class, and he has helped to create a hypothetical company that seeks to design high energy-efficient, economical solar panel street lights. Cabarrus Academy and Cannon School alumni, we would love to hear your updates! Please send any news to Lynda Abel at or click on the “Alumni” tab on the home page of the Cannon School website, 34 | CANNON MAGAZINE

College Freshmen Care Packages In September, with a monumental team effort from Lynda Abel, Marie Morgann ’01, and Jessica Peterson ’03, the Alumni Board sent care packages to all newly-graduated members of the Class of 2012. These packages included sweets and a college survival kit. It was amazing to read the messages of appreciation from these capable college freshmen! They are a true testament to the outstanding quality of students that Cannon School produces. Maria DeHaas Memorial 5K and Homecoming In honor of the life of Cannon parent and former Cannon Upper School counselor Maria DeHaas, a memorial 5K run was held before Homecoming on October 6. Maria’s husband, Ryan, and her friend Emily Knudson gave stirring speeches celebrating Maria’s life and love of running. Board member Denny Alcorn ’08 won the race, and Scott Schachner ’12 finished in the top five. The Homecoming football game was very enjoyable, as many alumni returned to cheer their Cougars on to victory! Plans for 2013 This year, our Board is focused on growing attendance at the five- and ten-year reunions planned for early summer. We hope to continue the care packages project and expand our alumni electronic communication. Finally, we will begin a fundraising effort that allows alumni to give back to the institution that shaped our lives. Thank you to all of the alumni who attended events in 2012! Please contact if you are interested in getting involved with the Alumni Board. We look forward to seeing you all soon!

BUILDING BRIGHT FUTURES Investing in Excellence, Fulfilling the Vision Cannon School thanks these dedicated families, grandparents, and friends for stepping up as early investors to the Building Bright Futures Campaign to provide an exceptional learning environment for our students.

Anonymous (1) Doug and Lynda Abel Russ and Julie Andrews Scott and Kristin Baker The Balsbough Family Tom and Celeste Barone Michael and Lisa Bartelli Dr. Jason Batley and Dr. Elizabeth S. Morgan Eric and Debbie Bennett Dr. Michael and Mrs. Nikki Binder Alice and Benton Bragg Robert and Gail Bratton Whit and Heather Brown Horace and Reisa Bryan Fred and Opal Bryant Pam and Graham Bullard Jeff and Kim Burton Bret and Sarah Busby CAFTA (Cannon Advocates For The Arts) Keith and Ellen Calcagno Drs. Grant Campbell and Anita Sharma Paul and Margaret Campbell Cannon Connections The Cannon Foundation, Inc. Tim and Megan Cindric James and Laurie Cleveland Brian and Heather Coffey Cougar Club Rafic and Jill Dahan Bob and Betty Dale Dr. Ryan A. DeHaas Lance and Cathy Diehl Andrew and Ruth Drucker, Esqs. Stan and Sherry Dyl Edward and Ingrid Easton Dave and Angela Edmondson Ronel and Tina Enrique Becky and Shawn Ervin Linn and Blake Evans Jim and Sue Ferland Liz and Doug Fitzpatrick Jon and Jennifer Fromke Mark and Heidi Fromke Roy and Susan Goode

Dan and Linda Gordon Matt and Linda Gossage J. Michael Gray and Mary Bost Gray Greg and Linda Greer Chris and Dana Gruber Jack and Marcia Haddock Dave and Jan Hanby Mr. and Mrs. David R. Harmon Todd and Regina Hartung Dan and Brooke Hawkins Mariam and Robert Hayes Charitable Trust Scott and Stacy Hensley Dr. and Mrs. Mark Hnilica Reed and Lori Jackson Richard Jacoby and Maria Pelucio Tom and Felice Jenike Stephen and Susan Jones Tom and Lisa Kabasakalian Paul and Jennifer Kramer Jerry and Amy Kurtz Drs. Kurt and Rebecca Lark Jeffrey and Genevieve Leck Michael G. and Kelli Lee Blake and Rachel Lewis Brien and Laura Lewis Eric and Lisa Livingston George and Amy Lovett Randy and Melanie Marion Randy and Betty Marion Steve and Portia McLeod Larry and Linda McReynolds Randy and Estoria McVane George and Carole Mennen Sharif and Maggie Metwalli Dave and Jody Meyers Michael and Angela Micolucci Jim Michaels and Carolyn Lyons Grey and Jennifer Mills Dr. Vaughn Nelson and Dr. Eva Nelson Leon and Brenda Newman Daniel and Sarah Norton Adam and Connie Ortiz Jim Parenica and Carol Pontis Brian and Kim Peace

Mrs. Jane B. Peacock Hans and Siobhan Peterson J. D. and Ronni Phillips John and Shirley Phillips David and Liz Powell Trey and Jan Price Timothy and Trisha Proper James and Jana Ragnone Robert and Karen Ray Mark Redding and Andrea Igel Jason and Kim Reynolds John and Holly Robbins John and Cynthia Rossitch James and Susan Sanders Rich and Betsy Schachner John and Susan Schneider Sylvia H. Simard-Newman, PhD Mick and Kristin Slattery Edward and Robin Sofio Anthony and Nancy Sparrow David and Maureen Swink Ron and Leane Turner and Family Tim and Torey Tysinger Barney and Margaret West Diane Williams Eric and Dina Wilson Jochen and Bianca Wittgraefe Rick and Stacy Wood John and Sandra Wurzburger (As of March 18, 2013)

Join These Families and Friends Reaching our $7 million goal will take everyoneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s participation. If you are interested in supporting the Building Bright Futures Campaign, please contact Director of Advancement Todd Hartung at or 704-721-7178. CANNON MAGAZINE | 35


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Cannon Magazine | Spring 2013  

Cannon School's semiannual magazine

Cannon Magazine | Spring 2013  

Cannon School's semiannual magazine