Page 1


Embracing Challenge

Growing Together



> Engaged Learning Dissecting Challenge .................................................................................................................... 4 Faculty Focus: Monty Coggins................................................................................................... 7 Leadership Lessons........................................................................................................................ 8


Grandparents and Special Friends Day..................................................................................... 9

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

> The Arts


EDITORIAL STAFF EDITOR Beth Levanti Director of Marketing and Communications

Cougars On-Site..........................................................................................................................10

Choreographing Confidence....................................................................................................12 A Teacher, a Student, and a Parent Walk into the Media Arts Lab...................................14

> The Big Picture

ASSOCIATE EDITOR Katy Rust Marketing and Communications Manager

Our Heads are in the Clouds.....................................................................................................16

CONTRIBUTORS Jessica Abel ’15, Lynda Abel, Eddie Alcorn ’04, Michelle Alexander, Ajia Caldwell ’16, William Diskin, Jay Edwards, Grant Gossage ’14, Matthew Gossage, Rachel Harris ’16, Todd Hartung, Colleen Hurley ’15, Amy Lovett, Kristin McClanahan, Marie Morgann ’01, Sarah Norton, Angela Poffenbaugh ’14, Katy Rust, Caroline Schauder ’16, Jessica Peterson Sielen ’03

Invest in Yourself and Your Team.............................................................................................18


Helping New Families Feel at Home.......................................................................................24

HEAD OF SCHOOL Matthew E. Gossage

Introducing Cannon Cultures..................................................................................................27


> Athletics The Road Less Traveled..............................................................................................................21 Cannon Girls’ Golf Team Plays at Another Level.................................................................22 Athletics Awards .........................................................................................................................23

> Community

The Future is in Sight. Have You Done Your Part?...............................................................28 Striking the Right Balance.........................................................................................................29

> Alumni Alumni Spotlight: Rob Vendley ’07.........................................................................................30 Class Notes....................................................................................................................................31 Meet Cannon’s Alumni Board Officers...................................................................................34 Alumni Events Photos................................................................................................................35


> > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > 2 | CANNON MAGAZINE

In This Issue

Letter from the Head of School < < < < < < < < < < < < â&#x20AC;&#x153;Challenge, when accompanied by a healthy degree of love and support, travels with an ever-present companion called growth. â&#x20AC;?

Dear Cannon Families, Challenge. This edition of Cannon Magazine focuses on the theme of challenge. Some of the articles and authors take on the topic directly. They explore the elements and benefits of challenge in a classroom. Some of the articles and authors circle around the topic and discuss how we challenge ourselves as a school and how we anticipate certain challenges and provide support and orientation in support of that challenge. The challenge in this introductory note is the challenge found in the dinner salad. I need to put together a little something that adds value and fits in with the larger endeavor and yet does not delay the entry into the feast. So here are just a couple of thoughts on the topic of challenge to entice you to find a quiet moment to read our magazine. Nearly every world-life view present today acknowledges that challenge will be part of the human journey. In turn, experience and research teach that our school-aged children benefit from being exposed to and supported through challenge. Life teaches that the greater the attempt, the more ambitious the goal, the greater the challenge will be. The ratio is true for a Middle School basketball team, for a teacher wanting to reach every student, and for a school working to provide meaningful experiences each day. And the piece we cannot forget: Challenge, when accompanied by a healthy degree of love and support, travels with an everpresent companion called growth.

Matthew E. Gossage, Head of School

Please know how much we cherish this communityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s healthy support of this school as we work daily to meet the challenge of realizing the fullest expanse of our vibrant mission. Thank you,


â&#x20AC;&#x153;Challenge allows children to grapple with information, confront their knowledge and understanding, and make new meanings based on their experiences.â&#x20AC;?


By: Michelle Alexander, Head of Lower School Challenge. There are so many interpretations of this term. It seems that it is being used more and more in the landscape of American education, particularly in the public school realm, as states around the nation incorporate the Common Core Standards in the hopes of providing more engaging and challenging curriculum to our nation’s children. However, we as an independent school are not exempt from the conversation. We, too, teachers and parents alike, are intrigued by this notion of challenge. For teachers, it is often expressed in questions like: what can I do to better challenge my students? Or, what do I need to put into place for students who need more challenge? Parents often ask the question: how will you challenge my child? It even comes up during tours when prospective parents state: it is important for my child to be challenged. Why? What is it about the concept of challenge that fascinates us? What is it about the concept of challenge that requires and rivets our attention? For many, I believe it grabs our attention because we want to be sure that our students will be successful as they get ready for the competitive nature of college admissions. There is no doubt that demonstrated academic rigor and challenge goes a long way in the admission process. However, there is more to it than that. There is a lot of information out there that says that a lack of challenge can be detrimental for a child in the classroom environment as it can lead to boredom, a sense of not needing to put forth any effort to be successful, as well as the possibility of acting out in a negative manner. For these reasons, there seems to be added pressure to ensure that challenge is taking place. My question is, though, what is challenge really about? What constitutes authentic challenge? What are its benefits, and in what kind of environment do children flourish when challenge is presented? Challenge: What It Is, and What It Is Not Let’s first consider the true meaning of challenge as well as dissect what challenge is, and what it is not. If we believe that challenge is simply extra work or harder assignments, we have a surface level understanding of its meaning. Authentic challenge is something much deeper. Have you ever taken a moment to look at the definition of the word “challenge?” According to the Merriam-Webster and Macmillan dictionaries, challenge is “something that by its nature or character serves as a call to special effort.”

It is “invitingly provocative.” states that challenge is “something that needs a lot of skill, energy, and determination to deal with or achieve.” I would add that challenge allows children to grapple with information, confront their knowledge and understanding, and make new meanings based on their experiences. If we relate this to the classroom, providing challenge is about giving students opportunities for learning that encourage them to stretch themselves, to look at material in new ways, to take academic risks, and to engage in activities that require higher level thinking. In addition, a challenge should grab a student’s attention, keep them focused on their academic endeavor, and even inspire them to go to deeper levels in their learning, which might incite passion to look for the answers to more complex questions. One Size Does Not Fit All Each student, from the student who struggles, to the most gifted, requires challenge. Although studies indicate that challenge has positive benefits for all students, there is also evidence that when curriculum is too challenging for a child, it can cause him or her to feel overwhelmed, which has negative effects such as the development of a dislike of school or even causing a child to shut down in the classroom. This means, then, that the concept of what it means “to challenge” is not a one-size fits all proposition. All students are, indeed, capable of challenge regardless of their abilities. The challenge may simply look different; however, it does not detract from its value. An academic challenge that best meets the needs of each student must be dependent on the individual student. It should be determined out of understanding who a child is, a child’s natural capabilities, his or her learning styles, and his or her interests. From this, a challenge can be created that is the best fit for the child. Creating Challenging Learning Environments As we think about appropriate challenges for our students, we also need to make sure that everything is in place for students to thrive when challenges are presented. Academic challenges that truly fit the definition noted above cannot take place in an environment where challenge is not encouraged and reinforced. The classroom environment and the mindset of the teacher play a vital role in giving students the challenge that they need. Studies indicate that academically challenging learning environments lead to higher engagement, a higher level of achievement, and encourage deep learning. In an


Engaged Learning

What is authentic challenge, and how do we help our children flourish in the face of it?

> > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > >

Dissecting Challenge

Dissecting Challenge (continued) academically challenging learning environment, teachers have high expectations and students are aware of these expectations. Each moment of instructional time is maximized and students are supported. In addition, there is a celebration of choice, academic rigor, autonomy of the learner, and active participation. A teacher who is effective in creating a challenging environment is one who has strong questioning techniques, who cultivates critical thinking, who provides feedback to his or her students, and who is effective in creating challenging tasks and interesting activities.

only challenge our students, but give them the support needed to take advantage of that challenge. As we continue to focus on differentiation, inquiry-based learning, and continue to investigate the best ways to create deep learning experiences through the study of Dr. Ken Bain’s books, What the Best College Teachers Do and What the Best College Students Do, we are cultivating an environment where students can thrive as they are appropriately challenged.

But what exactly constitutes a challenging task or activity? This should look different in each classroom. In addition, it should look different based on where each child is developmentally. The following is a short list of what a challenging activity might look like:

It would be remiss, though, to think that challenge is all about academics. There are many instances when this not the case. At Cannon, we are dedicated to educating and developing the whole child, meaning that not only are we interested in cultivating deep thinkers, but we want to develop children who are healthy physically, socially, and emotionally. For some students, a challenge within the school environment is learning how to work effectively with others. There is challenge as one begins to better understand what it means to be part of a community and a responsible citizen. For others, challenge is about breaking down negative concepts of self and rigid mindsets to free up the potential to truly embrace the challenge that the environment provides. For, as research also indicates, if a child’s mindset is such that he or she shies away from challenge, even when it is presented, the child will not take advantage of it.

•  It can be open-ended, which forces a child to investigate, manipulate information, and form his or her own conclusions based on evidence. •  It can encourage collaboration, where students must learn from each other, work together effectively as a team, and embrace different perspectives. •  It can also be an independent study or project based on a student’s personal interest or passion. •  Students may have a choice in how they demonstrate their learning, whether this be through writing, through artistic expression, through speech, or a technological presentation. In all of these cases, students take ownership of their learning, thus inviting greater engagement. We know when students are being appropriately challenged when they not only demonstrate their knowledge, but when they demonstrate a deeper level of understanding. The key here is truly tapping into where students are and their potential. Here at Cannon, we embrace challenge. We state clearly as prospective families walk through our doors that we love to not


Developing the Whole Child

As educators and parents, we must be willing at all times to consider the challenges that make sense for our children. We must think about what is realistic as well as what is necessary in the continued development of our young people. Sometimes the answer is clear. At other times, it is slowly revealed. We must remember that as our children grow and change, the types of challenges that they will need will also need to adjust. In many cases, finding the appropriate challenge comes from conversation and partnership, trial and error, feedback, making adjustments, and being flexible. What is most important for all of us to remember is that challenge is really about the student, his or her needs, and his or her growth.

Faculty Focus:

Monty Coggins, Upper School Science Department Chair The most important thing is the here and now. By: Angela Poffenbaugh ’14 Through thirty-four years of dedicated teaching, Monty Coggins has seen it all. “I never really wanted to be a teacher after I graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill,” he said. “I was a commercial fisherman for a while. I knew I didn’t want to do that forever, and I happened to know someone who was in administration in Kannapolis. He was a friend of my family, and he asked me to come in and take over a chemistry class for two weeks while he looked for a permanent chemistry teacher to replace a teacher who had unexpectedly resigned. I came in and stayed for two weeks plus thirteen years, and I just loved it.” Ever since August 2005, Cannon School has prided itself on having one of the best of the best teachers. Not only does Mr. Coggins have the experience to be an exceptional teacher, but he also has the passion. Before Cannon, Mr. Coggins taught at A.L. Brown High School, Mount Pleasant High School, Northwest Cabarrus High School, and Jay M. Robinson High School. He was recognized as the Cabarrus County Teacher of the Year in 1996-1997 and as the North Carolina Teacher of the Year in 1997-1998. Besides teaching classes such as Marine Science and AP Environmental at Cannon, Mr. Coggins also encourages students to learn yoga by offering classes during free periods. Why do you love teaching? There are a lot of reasons I love teaching. The biggest reason is the relationships I have with people and the opportunity I have to watch people grow and learn and gain a sense of confidence in their abilities. Teaching is a challenge; it’s a different challenge every day even though you’re teaching in the same place with the same people for a year. Every day is different, and I love that. I also love the fact that I get a reset every year, where I get all new students starting in August. What is your favorite part about your work at Cannon? I think it’s the fact that I get to work with a lot of smart, motivated people of all ages, and everybody is interested in education. I have a lot of autonomy; I have the ability to do here what I think is best for my students without having to fight a lot of bureaucracy. I am encouraged and enabled to grow as a professional. I’m challenged and stimulated by the ideas of my peers and colleagues. What do you like to do in your free time? I run a lot. I qualified for the Boston Marathon earlier this fall by running the first marathon I’ve done in nine years. So, I’m running Boston in April. I also teach yoga, practice yoga, and spend a lot of time with my family. I love live music. My family and I spend a lot of time going to music festivals, and we follow a band called Donna the Buffalo.

Mr. Monty Coggins Why do you feel it is beneficial to teach yoga to students? There are a lot of different reasons. I feel the most powerful one is that yoga forges a connection between the mind and the body, and it’s a connection that in Western society we don’t really acknowledge that much; so it’s an opportunity for discovery and to bring that whole physicality into learning. I also think it’s important to give students an opportunity to exercise in a way that reduces stress. Yoga is physically challenging and builds strength, but it’s also a way to focus and calm down. I think that’s important because even though we might have ‘down time’ in the day, we don’t really have the opportunity to get quiet and get things down to the elements of breath and movement. Students have the opportunity to practice yoga in my classroom during F period drops (and D period on Social Studies drops) and after school on Thursdays. It is remarkable to see the community that is building up around these practices. What is your favorite Cannon memory? I have a million. If I had to pick one, I’d have to pick two, and that’s when my kids graduated from Cannon. Actually not so much when they graduated, but when I got to spend time with them here and taught both Carson (Class of ’09) and Caroline (Class of ’12). What a gift to get to know them both as students in addition to knowing them as a part of my family. What is most important to me is not the memories, but the here and now. Right now, relationships are being formed and solidified. Right now, I’m learning and growing as are my students. CANNON MAGAZINE | 7

Leadership Lessons As the oldest students in Middle School, eighth graders learn leadership through trial and error. By: Colleen Hurley ’15 and Jessica Abel ’15 When thinking of Middle School, most people remember things like cafeteria food, their first dance, gym class, and lockers. However, when this year’s eighth graders look back, they will remember a very important lesson—leadership. Eighth graders, as the oldest students in Middle School, hold the ability to lead that division by example and to set the tone for the year. Teachers at Cannon make the most of that ability and encourage eighth graders to use leadership to leave a good legacy for themselves and others. Students are also given the chance to make mistakes. Leadership is not something that young teenagers can do automatically, and teachers understand that. To learn more about eighth grade as a year in which students have the opportunity to learn through trial and error, we spoke with Dr. Matt Rush, head of Middle School, Carla Moyer, dean of seventh and eighth grade, and the first Cougars of the Month for this school year, Nicki Cusumano ’18 and Anthony Muraca ’18. (Cougars of the Month is a program that recognizes students who have done a good job leading in the Middle School.) Getting eighth graders to think about leadership is a process that begins before the school year. Over the summer, Dr. Rush met faceto-face with each rising eighth grader to talk about his or her role as a leader in the Middle School, and how he or she would like to approach the upcoming year.

Dr. Rush explains, “I believe that eighth grade is a pretty awesome time in their lives because on one hand, they’re not kids anymore, and on the other hand, they’re not adults. Every eighth grader has had a little bit of experience in life—maybe they’ve lost a grandparent; maybe they’ve had a friendship go south; they’ve had academic highs and lows. They have enough of a world view to have intelligent thoughts on life, but they’re not experts on those things yet because they’re only thirteen or fourteen years old.” Muraca remembers from his summer meeting, “I looked at eighth grade as a step up. We’re at the top of the food chain in Middle School. We have to show leadership for the seventh, sixth, and fifth graders, and even the fourth graders since they’re going into Middle School next year. It made me want to go a step higher in leadership.” Cusumano adds, “In that conversation, Dr. Rush also asked about where I wanted to be next year and in twenty years. It got me thinking where I needed to start now to get there.” “We also talk about how in nine months you go from leading an entire division back to the bottom, only to get even more practice, because four years later, you’re seniors and leaders of the whole school,” says Dr. Rush. “So, eighth grade is a chance to practice, kind of mess up, and learn from it. That’s how life works. Eighth grade is really the first time that you learn about yourself as a leader.”

From left, Mrs. Carla Moyer, Anthony Muraca ’18, Nicki Cusumano ’18, and Dr. Matt Rush. 8 | CANNON MAGAZINE

Once the school year begins, eighth graders get a lot of support in taking their first steps as emerging leaders. Mrs. Moyer explains, “We want to empower students to handle things on their own, but also teach them how to ask for help. So, yes, you’re a leader, but leaders don’t always do it alone. We focus on confidence-building and self-advocacy because that will help them everywhere—in the arts, athletics, and the classroom.” “Eighth grade has been kind of unique just because you’re in another building (The Outback) with just your class,” Muraca notes. “It’s different from the seventh-grade routine where you just walk down the halls. You have to get a pass to go places. It’s a lot more responsibility.” Cusumano shares, “In terms of curriculum, it’s just like every other year. It gets a little bit harder as you progress. But the real difference is you feel a little more independent—like having to go between different buildings, and also because the teachers don’t coddle you quite as much. You have to be responsible for your own work.” And as Mrs. Moyer shares, there are many opportunities for eighth graders to embrace responsibility. “We ask students, ‘What mark are you going to leave on eighth grade?’ We have Cougars of the Month to recognize students who have done a great job leading. On family days, we have outreach where we talk about leadership development and the ninth-grade transition. Whenever there are any social issues or arguments, we like to ask students, ‘How could you have been a better leader about this?’ We also have a new project this year

called the Cornerstone. The Cornerstone will let students use their leadership skills and their passion and combine those two things into a presentation. It’s really about preparing them for high school.” Dr. Rush adds, “We focus a lot on teams and groups, and this year we created different committees like the T-shirt Committee and the Maroon and Gold Day Committee. Each group self-selected into their committee and has been doing work since. To me, that’s what school should really be about—developing yourself and your selfconcept.” “Anthony and I are both on the Leadership Committee,” explains Cusumano. “We plan fundraisers for organizations we want to work with for the year.” Muraca elaborated, “Last year the Middle School worked with the Boys and Girls Club. Now we’re finding different orphanages and hospitals we can help out with fundraisers.” Since Muraca and Cusumano are no strangers to reflecting on leadership, we asked what they think makes a strong leader. “Being responsible and helpful. Being able to help others,” says Muraca in a friendly way. “Someone who is courageous and willing to speak out,” says Cusumano with conviction. From the sound of it, the leadership lessons are working.

Grandparents and Special Friends Day

Grandparents and Special Friends Day is a memorable day at Cannon School when grandparents and special friends of our junior kindergarten through sixth-grade students visit campus to enjoy performances and spend time with their favorite Cannon students. If you would like to share photos and a video of the performances from this special day with loved ones, please visit CANNON MAGAZINE | 9

Cougars On-Site Cannon’s rising seniors experience the world of work and build community partnerships. By: Kristin McClanahan, College Counselor “Some people want it to happen, some people wish it would happen, others make it happen.” - Unknown There is a group of students at Cannon School who represent the latter. These students are risk-takers, explorers, and investigators, and they are anxious to take what they are learning in the classroom and find ways to test their knowledge outside of it. Cannon’s Office of College Counseling helps to make these connections possible through the Cougars On-Site (COS) program. Now in its fourth year, Cougars On-Site is a summer job shadowing and internship program open to rising seniors who are curious about the world of work. Beginning in the fall of their junior year, students elect to participate in a series focusing on career exploration. These sessions include résumé and cover letter writing, business etiquette, interviewing, and personalized career exploration and self- assessment sessions. Approximately 25 percent of the junior class traditionally participates and are able to be matched with area professionals. The sponsors provide opportunities for students to experience career fields they may be considering. While “on-site,” students get to shadow professionals, complete informational interviews, and participate in hands-on activities. These placements may last a few days or all summer. This program clearly provides students with new and unique challenges; whether calling a potential sponsor to set up an interview, coming to understand the meaning of “business casual,” or simply navigating downtown traffic, COS is helping students prepare for an ever-changing world. The Chronicle of Higher Education noted that employers seek “students who have the ability to apply knowledge and skills to real-world settings.” Likewise, college admission committees examine student applications searching for evidence of curiosity and accept students who will enrich their college campuses. The main goal of the Cougars On-Site program is to enable students to explore the world of work, and according to Dr. Charles Westerberg, associate professor of sociology and associate dean at Beloit College, these experiences should “either confirm or confound what is found in textbooks.” Students often come away from the placements knowing they are on the right path and eager to pursue their interests. Just as important, sometimes they discover that this area of study or type of work environment is not a good match. These short-term placements offer students safe places to explore their passions and interests prior to committing to a specific college, major, or career.

From left, Kristin McClanahan, Chris Batchelor ’14, and Maria Cunningham at the David H. Murdock Research Institute.

COS placements represent partnerships among our school, our students, and the community, and the feedback has been favorable. Sponsors describe Cannon students as “mature,” “exceeding expectations,” “curious,” “genuinely interested,” “professional,” “inquisitive,” “courteous,” “fun,” and “great ambassadors for Cannon.” Sophie Bitar ’14 at the Concord Downtown Development Corporation. 10 | CANNON MAGAZINE

Cougars On-Site students are a diverse group and have had opportunities to: •  Observe surgeries in ER units •  Develop marketing plans

Scott Dromms, a manager with Edison Nation, described Rai Swick ’14 as someone who “dove into projects where the scope of material being discussed was beyond her previous exposure,” and further commented that “her ability to take on projects that are ‘unknown’ is a great character builder.” What amazing evidence that these experiences provide students opportunities to not only explore career possibilities but to be risk-takers. The sponsors benefit too. Mark McClanahan, Ingersoll Rand executive, shared that having his team explain their roles to a 17year-old actually resulted in his team being re-enthused about what they do for a living. They got to “show off ” for the student and look at their roles from an entirely new perspective. He also felt that the greatest benefit for the student was “catching the passion around a specific career path.” These partnerships strengthen all involved: the school is able to expand its learning environment outside of the classroom; sponsors get access to bright young minds and have opportunities for mentoring relationships; and students become more self-aware and better decision makers.

•  Promote professional sports •  Contribute to think tank discussions •  Manage construction sites •  Interact with architects •  Prepare food at upscale restaurants •  Curate art for community galleries •  Handle heart catheters •  Explore multimillion-dollar engineering equipment •  Observe animal surgeries •  Implement social media campaigns •  Ride along with paramedics •  Counsel youth experiencing grief •  Publish articles for local media

Students return to school excited about what they have learned. Typically the students feel that their placements have exceeded their expectations. Megan Wellborn ’13 reflected, “Even if students have no idea what they want to do career-wise, the experience could help them narrow down their choices and will give them a great experience in the world of work.” The COS program is one way that Cannon School is providing opportunities for students to deepen their adaptive expertise skills and to be intentional about pursuing their passions. If you have questions about the COS program, or if you would like to host a student for the summer 2014 session, please contact Kristin McClanahan at

•  Develop business contacts •  Participate on creative design teams

Thank you to our past Cannon School Cougars On-Site Sponsors: Cabarrus Arts Council

David H. Murdock Research Institute

Hospice & Palliative Care of Cabarrus County


Ingersoll Rand

Cabarrus County Fair

Dressler’s Restaurant

Kannapolis Intimidators

Carolinas Medical Center Main – Department of Emergency

Edison Nation

Little Diversified Architectural Consulting

CBL Path

Family Foot Care

Cabarrus County Emergency Medical Services

Chief District Court Judge Charlie Brown Concord Downtown Development Corporation

Enventys Habitat for Humanity Hendrick Motorsports Highlands Pet Hospital

OrthoCarolina Sanger Heart & Vascular Institute Select Physical Therapy Turning Point Family Services


â&#x20AC;&#x153;Our dance classes allow us to transport ourselves beyond whatever is happening during the school day to a place where we have fun, learn new skills, and gain confidence.â&#x20AC;?


By: Ajia Caldwell ’16 and Rachel Harris’16 Since we’ve both participated in Cannon’s dance program since the seventh grade, the hardest part about writing this article was narrowing down everything that we want people to know about the program—such as the benefits that dance holds for students, how the program works, and how Melissa McDaniel, our dance teacher, makes it all possible. Because dance is one of our passions and something we enjoy doing, going to dance class during the day is stress-relieving. Especially when we have a lot of work, we can come to dance and forget all the things we have going on in school and socially. But even students and athletes who aren’t as into dance as we are learn that dance can help them physically— especially with learning coordination, how to be more aware of their bodies, and how to use certain muscles. Dance is so different from any other class that we have. And, it’s nice to have a good relationship with your dance teacher. While dance class is fun, Ms. McDaniel is straightforward, and she’s not afraid to be hard on people. Even though that makes her a demanding teacher, she’s one of the most caring teachers at Cannon because she pushes us past our limits. She wants us all to get better and take the most out of the class. That’s really to be admired in a teacher. But if you’re not directly involved with the dance program, you might not realize all the moving parts that make it work. Cannon’s dance program is a comprehensive program that educates students on many different forms of dance. The curriculum covers ballet, jazz, modern, contemporary, and hip hop. It is a multi-level program offered in Middle School and Upper School, and Ms. McDaniel tailors classes in a way that all students are challenged on a level that is suitable for them. More advanced students in their third and fourth years are given the chance to learn the basics of dance composition and have multiple opportunities to teach choreography to their peers and present their work to the community. Each year, Ms. McDaniel challenges her students on a personal level to be more present both inside and outside the Cannon community. Cannon’s dance program offers students several opportunities throughout the year to both perform and compete. Ms. McDaniel explains, “I believe students have more fun and more opportunities if the dance department is structured like a private studio within a school.” This year alone, students’ choreographed pieces were featured in Cannon Theater Company’s presentation of Rhinocéros, and dancers performed at the 85th Annual Concord Christmas Parade, the 31st Annual Christmas in Davidson, and Project Wrap-In. Future performances include Visual Arts Night, The Mint Museum, and the Annual Spring Dance Showcase.

Likewise, students participate in competitions adjudicated by professional judges such as the Starbound Regional Talent Competition and the Dance Machine Regional Talent Competition, where our dance program was the recipient of multiple recognitions including First Overall Teen Recreational Large Group 2012, First Overall Teen Recreational Small Group 2012, First Overall Senior Recreational Large Group 2012, and three Gold Awards for Teen Recreational Jazz Routines. The preparatory nature of Cannon’s program is very important as Ms. McDaniel explains, “Just like your mathematics class or your biology class, this program is made so that you can go on and do other things. It equips students for further dance education at studios, in college courses, on dance teams, and whatever they want to pursue.” Ms. McDaniel’s training and great dance experience puts her on track to prepare every student for future dance experience. Ms. McDaniel was raised in Charlotte, where she trained at Rhythm Dance Studio, and she attended Broadway Dance Center in New York during the summer. In college, Ms. McDaniel majored in communications at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She shared, “I got into communications because my mother told me ‘You’ll never make a living in dance.’ But dance was my entire life from three years old, so I always stayed involved with dance companies and taught dance at studios since I was 15. After college, I worked in corporate America for eight years, and I never thought I wanted to be a full-time teacher. But when the opportunity to teach at Cannon came up, I went for it, and I have been here for five years going on my sixth.” In addition to teaching at Cannon, Ms. McDaniel is the competition director for Next Step Dance Studio in Concord and created her own company called Turning Pointe Dance Creations. In addition to all the activities above, Cannon has also introduced two new opportunities for its dance students this year—the National Honor Society for Dance Arts (NHSDA), and membership with Carolina Dance Masters as part of Dance Masters of America (DMA). NHSDA promotes and honors outstanding dance achievement in middle and high school level students and encourages well-rounded dance artists to become leaders in their communities after high school graduation. Students inducted into the society must demonstrate collaborative teamwork, motivation, and participation in the many aspects of dance. Cannon dancers inducted into NHSDA receive public recognition, the NHSDA honor cord, and honor gold pin during their senior year. Inducted students can also CANNON MAGAZINE | 13

The Arts

Two students share their appreciation for Cannon’s dance program and their teacher.

> > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > >

Choreographing Confidence

Choreographing Confidence (continued) include their honor society membership in their scholarship packets and résumés for college. Likewise, DMA is a professional, certified membership organization of artists and educators committed to the elevation of the art of dance and to provide innovative artistic experiences for the advancement of dance worldwide. This program allows students to participate in conventions and competitions to further their dance education. In partnership with DMA, Cannon students are also eligible for multiple scholarships (including Rachel Harris ’16, who received an overall scholarship with Dance Masters of America and the titles of Teen Miss Dance of North Carolina, and First Runner Up, Miss Dance of North Carolina.) So as you can see, Cannon’s dance program is on par with programs at other schools and private studios, with many opportunities for students to learn basic technique, perform, and compete. But most importantly, our dance classes allow us to transport ourselves beyond whatever is happening during the school day to a place where we have fun, learn new skills, and gain confidence from a challenging and caring teacher who is a great role model. Ms. Melissa McDaniel teaching dance class.

A Teacher, a Student, and a Parent Walk into the Media Arts Lab

Cannon’s media arts students prepare for success in school and the work environment. By: Amy Lovett and Sarah Norton, Cannon Parents and CAFTA Members Halfway down the second-floor hallway of the Upper School tucked between two rows of lockers is a place where visitors can grab a chair, pull up to the counter, and log in. Most of the visitors are media arts students logging in on one of the twelve Mac computers that reside in this place—Cannon’s Media Arts Lab. As students log in, icons representing the Adobe Creative Suite products line up at the bottom of the computer screen. Students open programs and continue to work on multimedia projects. The Teacher Davíd Jean, Upper School media arts teacher is in the process of creating a twenty-first century learning environment where technology is the tool for learning and collaborative projects are the lessons. Mr. Jean’s vision for the media arts program is simple, “We offer students real-world work experiences using industry standard, cutting edge technology to develop critical thinking skills that will serve them well throughout their education and beyond.”

Mr. Davíd Jean working with David Gordon ’14. 14 | CANNON MAGAZINE

The program begins with semester-long classes in Media Arts I and II. Students are introduced to computer programs such as Photoshop, InDesign, and Premiere Pro, then organized into small groups to use these tools to deliver creative projects. As students develop technical

skills, they also practice project planning, time management, and collaboration—all skills critical to success in school and in professional environments and settings. The program continues with semester-long classes in Media Arts III and IV. Students in these classes continue to use technology as a tool for learning and explore collaborative endeavors to produce more personalized works of art. In their senior year, students are encouraged to pursue Media Arts Senior Seminar. This year-long class is the equivalent of an internship where students work with nonprofit organizations to develop media campaigns that support the organization’s mission or vision. The Student Senior David Gordon is one of those students who understands the use of technology as a tool for learning and the value of collaboration. He is one of four seniors pursuing Media Arts Senior Seminar along with Tanner Cindric, Sophie Bitar, and John Dockery. Gordon discovered his passion for media arts as a freshman at Cannon. Pondering what painting or drawing to produce for his final project in his freshman Visual Foundations class, he stumbled upon the computer program Photoshop. “I realized I could use this program to create a digital painting or drawing,” explains Gordon. “I worked for hours to create a digital painting of The Dunhill in uptown Charlotte and learned how to layer and which brush to use for the effect I wanted.” Wanting to learn more about this world of digital art, Gordon signed up for the media arts program, and he and his work have been in high demand ever since. The Parent Cannon Advocates For The Arts (CAFTA) is Cannon’s parent volunteer group dedicated to supporting and promoting the arts at Cannon. In need of a media service, CAFTA knew exactly what to do—visit Mr. Jean in the Media Arts Lab. After explaining that CAFTA was looking for a student-artist to produce the fine arts booklet—an informational booklet handed out to guests at arts events showcasing Cannon’s arts programs, teachers, and studentartists—Mr. Jean posed an innovative idea. Instead of producing a printed booklet, he suggested producing a digital booklet. And, he

had just the student in mind. CAFTA already knew about David Gordon and his talent. In the 2012-2013 school year, Gordon designed the front and back covers for the fine arts booklet. So when Mr. Jean recommended Gordon, CAFTA immediately made an appointment with him as his client for his Senior Seminar project. The Media Solution In July, at a mid-morning meeting at a Panera restaurant, Gordon shared with CAFTA his vision for the fine arts booklet and how he planned to achieve that vision over the 2013-2014 school year. First, he would create a video version of the paper booklet to show at school arts events as guests seated themselves prior to performances. As a supplement to the video, he would produce a digital magazine with more content in PDF form with a QR code that tech-savvy users would use to download the magazine to a device for viewing. And finally, incorporating knowledge and skill gained from AP Computer Science, he would make the PDF magazine interactive. Yes, CAFTA said, “Wow!” too. Gordon has delivered the video on time and well done. Soon he will begin work on the supplemental magazine. The Future When asked about the future of the media arts program, Mr. Jean talks in terms of next steps—getting more students taking media arts classes, finding more opportunities for students to exhibit their work within the school community and beyond, and collaborating with other teachers on interdisciplinary projects. Then he talks in terms of dreams—expanding the program to include an online, student-run broadcasting station, all the while holding to the foundational vision of offering students real-world experiences using state-of-the-art technology. As for David Gordon, he plans on pursuing an education in graphic communications. His vision is to attend CalPoly, earn a degree in graphic communications, and then polish it with a two-year intensive at an art institute. And CAFTA will continue to collaborate with, support, and promote the arts at Cannon, for it is clearly very rewarding and inspiring to help the arts teachers and students fulfill their creative visions.

View the fine arts booklet! View the fine arts booklet video! Scan this QR code or visit www. to view the digital fine arts booklet video designed by David Gordon ’14.

David Gordon’s digital painting of The Dunhill in uptown Charlotte. CANNON MAGAZINE | 15

Our Heads are in the Clouds We admit itâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;our heads are in the clouds. But as the metal superstructure of the new Auditorium and Performing Arts Center reaches ever upward, how can you blame us? It is a testament to the more than 300 Cannon families, friends, grandparents, faculty, staff, and alumni who are helping us close in on our $7.1 million goal for the Building Bright Futures Campaign. We are almost there!


> > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > >


The Big Picture

â&#x20AC;&#x153;Athletics provides us with the unique opportunity to invest ourselves emotionally, spiritually, physically, and mentally.â&#x20AC;?


By: Beth Levanti, Director of Marketing and Communications Dr. Patrick Moyer took the helm of Cannon School’s athletics program in June as another step in his longstanding relationship with the school. Dr. Moyer is the parent of a Cannon graduate and was the founding coach of the school’s varsity softball program. The softball team made the final four in 2010 and won the state championship in 2011. As director of athletics, Dr. Moyer guides all aspects of Cannon’s athletics program, including philosophy and goals, hiring and evaluation, scheduling, transportation, and facilities management.

As people and as athletes, we should challenge ourselves as significantly as we possibly can; we should develop strategies to achieve that success in a systematic way; we should own our responsibility towards that effort; we should take care of each other along the way; we should believe in each other, and encourage each other, and build each other’s confidence; and we should have fun. My hope is that passion, enthusiasm, confidence, intense competition, and love for each other become hallmarks of our athletics curriculum.

Dr. Moyer joined Cannon School’s administration after serving more than a decade as a professor of physics at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. During his tenure at UNCCharlotte, he was an award-winning professor, chaired the physics department, the undergraduate curriculum committee, the review, promotion and tenure committee, and served as a member of the chancellor’s committee on NCAA athletics.

What is your philosophy on coaching, and how does it focus your efforts and those of your coaches?

Dr. Moyer shared his vision for the program with Cannon Magazine, along with his thoughts on coaching, competition, and how our entire school community can get involved with Cannon Athletics.

Coaches should stress organization, teaching, competition, intensity, passion, and fun in practices and in competitions. Coaches should leave their players with the sense that they absolutely love what they are doing; that they love their players; that they believe in every one of their players; and that they are in control of making their players better every minute of every practice and every game. It’s a tall order, and it takes hard work and commitment, but that’s how we will become great, and how our students will become great long after their athletics careers at Cannon.

Tell us about your relationship with Cannon and how you decided to take this latest step in your career. My wife, Carla, has been a faculty member at Cannon since 2001 as a Middle School math teacher and Middle School dean. Both of my children came through Cannon (my daughter Mackenzie graduated in 2012), and I coached Middle School and varsity softball for six years at Cannon. I coached at Cannon part-time as I was a physics professor at UNCCharlotte for seventeen years from 1996 until 2013. Having the opportunity to be a part of the amazing growth at UNCCharlotte over that time period was exhilarating. I was ready for a similar challenge at Cannon. My own children were threesport athletes at Cannon, so the Moyer family has always been heavily invested in all aspects of the school. Hence, the decision to make this change results from a confluence of three things— my respect and admiration for all of the people at Cannon, my passion for athletics, and my intense desire to compete. I’m thankful for the support and opportunity that Cannon has given me to lead Cannon Athletics. What is your vision for Cannon Athletics? Athletics has been such a huge influence on shaping the person I am today and on all of the members of my family. As a professor and as a coach, I have always been driven to push students and athletes to achieve goals that they didn’t think they were capable of achieving. I want athletics to be a big part of Cannon’s educational curriculum that shapes students to become people who never look at any challenge as too big for them to achieve, or at least to embark upon.

As a coach and as a person, I always stress four things: taking care of each other, playing the game the right way by competing hard and stressing fundamentals, representing ourselves and our team community the right way, and having fun.

We are leaders, and I believe that anyone in life will follow people who show this kind of leadership. When we won our softball state championship in 2011, we were not the most talented team in the state. We had two very good all-state players, but we had a lot of inexperience. That team was the epitome of this philosophy, and as a result, we won seventeen straight games that year and won the state championship. That experience is part of each of those girls, and it connects us as a team for life. For student-athletes and parents already involved with Cannon Athletics, what is your advice for them to make the most of their experiences with athletics? We have incredibly invested families at Cannon School. I admire that about this community. In order to maximize our success in the spirit of our vision and philosophy, I would provide students with the following two pieces of advice, and I would ask parents to be supportive of these messages when interacting with their own children: invest in making yourself better, your teammates better, and your team better; and advocate for yourself and your teammates. Athletes understand how to make themselves better, and that’s very important. I would like for athletes to also think



Cannon’s new director of athletics shares his vision for the future.

> > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > >

Invest in Yourself and Your Team

Invest in Yourself and Your Team (continued) about how they are contributing to making someone else better and making the team better. Recognize what a teammate needs, whether it’s confidence or help with ground balls, or encouragement after making a mistake, or friendship and support if it’s his or her first experience on a team. Also, when any athlete, regardless of ability, is not at practice, the ability for a team to get better is compromised. Coaches prepare practice in detail, and when a player is not there, it throws off the entire practice. As a coach, I organized practice down to every player’s involvement, so it wasn’t easy to adapt when they weren’t there. Athletics is extremely emotional. Coaches, athletes, and parents are all invested in ways that are unique to athletics. I embrace this about athletics, but it also creates challenges. This is where students should advocate for themselves, and in some cases, for their teammates. I am working towards creating an environment and a culture in which student-athletes feel as though they can and should advocate for themselves, and in which coaches are receptive to and equipped to handle the manner in which athletes advocate for themselves. What do you believe young people learn from competition? Athletics provides us with what I call the ESPM of life—the unique opportunity to invest ourselves emotionally, spiritually, physically, and mentally. There is no better feeling than to drag yourself off of a field or court or track or course after having given all you possibly can in these four ways. Win or lose, it makes you feel like you’ve just experienced life to the fullest! We learn about ourselves in this adventure. We learn how to analyze what a team needs and how to muster up the courage, strength, and commitment to get better in order to help the team. If you can figure


out how to add value to your team, your boss, or your company, you will be successful for life. You learn how to handle adversity, how to handle failure with grace and humility, and how to encourage others through their own experiences in order to work towards a common goal. Students learn how to take huge challenges and break them up into smaller, manageable tasks that can help with progressing towards complex, long-term goals. My hope is that student-athletes develop a confidence in themselves and a high regard for others that last a lifetime. For students and parents who aren’t involved with Cannon Athletics, what do you want them to know about our program and how they can get more engaged? For student-athletes, the opportunity to participate in athletics is a gift. The relationships and friendships developed by sharing this adventure with fellow classmates and coaches are meaningful and lasting. The opportunity for parents to share this with their children and fellow Cannon families is equally meaningful. My own children are both away from home at schools in Arizona and New Jersey, and we are forever connected because athletics was and is such a huge part of our family fabric. Finally, we are always interested in Cannon parents and alumni who want to come back to help us with our coaching staff. People who understand the Cannon culture have made some of our best coaches. This year, one of our top new coaches is a recent UNC-Chapel Hill graduate who also graduated from Cannon—Shelby Mason ’09. Coach Mason was a volleyball and basketball player at Cannon, and she coached junior varsity and varsity volleyball this season and helped our team to a playoff berth and #11 ranking in the state.

The Road Less Traveled

Cannon’s cross country team adapted to changes in their course and improved as a result. By: Grant Gossage ’14 and Caroline Schauder ’16 Experienced runners stick to a routine. They eat certain foods, train on a certain schedule, and warm up a certain way. This summer and fall, the Cannon cross country team was challenged to adapt to a changing environment. On June 4, a groundbreaking ceremony initiated construction of the new Auditorium and Performing Arts Center on our school’s campus. Bulldozers soon leveled a knoll that was a significant loop of the cross country course. Coaches Russ Campbell and Dave Calvert began marking and clearing a new path through the forest that lines the front soccer field. During this time of transition, runners used local parks and neighborhoods to condition for the upcoming season. A string of rainy days in July turned compact dirt into churned muck. Progress halted on the parking lot and auditorium foundation. Meanwhile, Coach Campbell and Coach Calvert had literally encountered obstacle after obstacle. The chainsaw and machete had done their jobs, but storms made their work worthless. Heavy rain had washed brush and weeds back onto the trail. Afternoon lightning had splintered trees. The path was now bogged down and crisscrossed by limbs and trunks. Mr. Chepke, a parent of Cannon alumni and construction company owner, was unable to maneuver his machinery into the water-logged clearing. As a new school year approached, the team still had no completed home course. Members of the cross country team remained confident that everyone would be ready to go come late August. Runners completed their preseason intervals at Dorton Park, the King’s Crossing neighborhood, or Afton Village. Jena Metwalli ’16 later expressed that this day-to-day experience bonded the team together. “We had stories to tell about venturing too deep in the woods, falling into a mud puddle, finding new loops in neighborhoods, or seeing a snake.” Steven Bennett ’15 explained, “I simulated the incomplete part of the course and pushed myself on a similar incline and over wooded terrain. Our team met adversity head on.” By September 7, the date of the 15th Annual Cannon School Cross Country Invitational, Coach Campbell and Coach Calvert had to alter the course to accommodate for the still unfinished path. In athletics, there is no greater advantage than having the home field. The Cannon cross country team was competing in sight of familiar red brick buildings but was without this plus. The alternate course further challenged runners to adapt and persevere through early October when the course was completed, just days before the Cougars’ final home meet of the season. Throughout all of this change, with strong leadership, ingenuity, and togetherness, the cross country program embraced unfamiliarity and improved as a result.

Photos courtesy of Jane Nymberg. “Even though we didn’t know when part of our course would be completed, it never really affected the team’s spirit,” shared Caroline Schauder ’16. “Our coaches were doing their best to make it work, and despite the difficulties, our team still had an amazing season. Everyone improved significantly, and Jena even broke the Cannon record on our course! We were well-prepared for our season, and it showed in our times.” In the frank words of Coach Campbell, “What else can you do, other than suck it up and get it done?”


Cannon Girls’ Golf Team Plays at Another Level By: Jay Edwards, Charlotte Observer For most of this season, Cannon School’s girls’ golf team didn’t focus on their competition. Instead, Annie and Kate Collom and Anna Redding were competing with each other, as the trio led the Cougars to an unbeaten season and a third straight N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association state championship in the process. Cannon golf coach Pat Whisenant and his team didn’t just beat opponents; they dominated them. The Cougars won the state championship by 25 strokes (with a team score of 225) over runnerup Durham Academy (250). The Cougars’ closest match was an 11-stroke victory over Salisbury, the reigning 2A public schools state champion, 139 to 150. Cannon also won the Charlotte Independent School Athletic Association conference title for the second time in as many years, shooting a school-record 219. “We pretty much knew we were going to win the conference and state championships,” said Whisenant, in his second season as Cannon’s girls coach. “But our girls were motivated to be at their best. They all wanted to win medalist at conference and states. So they were competing with each other.” While senior Kate Collom led the team with a 36.8-stroke average per nine holes on the season, her younger sister, Annie (37.8 average) came away with the state medalist honors, shooting a 2-over-par 74, while Redding (37.0 average) won the conference title with a 2-under 71. Kate finished tied for second in both matches with a 74 at the conference tournament and a 75 at the state championship. While she would have loved to go out on top, she was happy for her sister and her team. “I knew she (Annie) had to par the last hole to win and beat me by one shot,” Kate Collom said. “I got to watch her par it and win it with my parents. It was really good to see her win.” Annie had a similar view. “I knew I had a good chance to be medalist, but it wasn’t going to be easy to beat Anna and Kate,” Annie Collom said. “But I’m not going to lie: To beat them to win state medalist was a great feeling.” The Colloms and Redding played at a high level all season, as the trio also set a school record with a nine-hole team score of 109 against Charlotte Country Day and Providence Day. Kate Collom shot 34, Redding 36, and Annie Collom 39. While they were happy with the record, their goal was to break 100 as a group. That didn’t happen, but they continue to set high goals for themselves and their teammates.


From left, Taylor Marks ’15, Anna Redding ’15, Kate Collom ’14, Annie Collom ’15, and Taylor Bunten ’14. Cannon senior Taylor Bunten and newcomer Taylor Marks also contributed and improved as the year went on. “I don’t think any of these girls are satisfied with what they accomplished,” Whisenant said. “They always want to be better. That is what makes them such a good team.” Cannon’s run also made an impression on their opponents. “At the state meet, Forsyth Country Day’s golf coach (Joe Dillon) asked me if there were any more Collom sisters,” Whisenant said. Whisenant laughed and said, “No, just Annie and Kate.” But he’s confident the team still has a bright future. Kate Collom, who has committed to Samford, and Bunten are graduating. But Annie Collom, Redding – who has committed to Virginia – and Marks are already talking about winning a fourth consecutive state title. Whisenant said they will need to add some players to help, but he’s not ruling out anything his team sets its mind to. His players are already focused on the task. “We want to win four in a row, and how cool would that be?” said Annie Collom, who is still considering her college choices for school and golf. “We know it’s going to be different (without Kate and Bunten), but that is what we are thinking about and shooting for now.” As Whisenant and the team look to next season, they also can’t help but try to put in perspective what they accomplished this season. “Our goal was to go undefeated, win conference and win the state championship, and that is what we did,” Whisenant said. “But it’s still kind of hard to believe we won three (state titles) in a row. It’s hard enough to win one, but three is very special.” Kate and Annie Collom said they will never forget it. “This is something that I will look back on the rest of my life and be proud to have been a part of making history,” Kate Collom said. “Winning three state championships is something we will always have, and no one can take it away.” Annie Collom said. This article, published on November 4, 2013, is reprinted with permission of Cabarrus News, a Charlotte Observer publication.

Thirteen Student-Athletes Earn All-Conference, All-State, and Charlotte Observer Honors

Varsity soccer player Nikolas Stylianou ’14 earned all-conference and all-state honors, while Grant Gossage ’14 and Larkin Felker ’14 earned all-conference honors. The Cougars completed an excellent season with eleven wins, five losses, and three ties as they fell to defending state champion, Wesleyan Christian Academy, in the state quarterfinal playoffs.

Congratulations to the thirteen Cannon School student-athletes who participated in fall sports and earned all-conference or all-state honors.

Patrick Hunter ’15, Steven Bennett ’15, and Caroline Schauder ’16 earned all-conference honors in cross country. Jena Metwalli ’16 earned all-conference and all-state honors in cross country. Jena finished a strong season breaking two school records.

As you read on the previous page, Cannon’s varsity girls’ golf team earned their third straight state championship this year. Three team members earning both all-conference and all-state honors were Annie Collom ’15, Kate Collom ’14, and Anna Redding ’15. In addition, the Charlotte Observer named Coach Pat Whisenant Observer Coach of the Year and Regional Coach of the year for girls’ golf. Following suit, Kate Collom was named Observer Player of the Year and Regional Player of the Year for girls’ golf, and Kate Collom, Annie Collom, and Anna Redding were recognized on the All Observer Girls’ Golf Team.

Kate Beckman ’15 earned all-conference honors in tennis, while McKinley Riley ’17 earned all-conference and all-state honors for tennis. In addition, McKinley Riley was recognized on the All Charlotte Observer Girls’ Tennis Team. Karlie Redfern ’17 earned all-conference honors in volleyball.

Cannon Fall Athletics Awards Congratulations to these student-athletes for distinguishing themselves with excellence and commitment to their teams and to Cannon Athletics!

Varsity Boys’ Soccer

Junior Varsity Volleyball

Varsity Girls’ Tennis

Varsity Cheerleading

Most Outstanding Player Nikolas Stylianou ’14

Most Outstanding Player Paige Brenner ’17

Most Valuable Player McKinley Riley ’17

Best Attitude Nicole Voulgaropoulos ’14

Coaches Award Jake Flynn ’14 and Grant Gossage ’14

Most Improved Player Ellen Gordon ’17

Most Improved Player Kendall McReynolds ’16

Best Jumps Joelle Parkin ’15

Coaches Award Alexandra Holloway ’17

Coaches Award Kate Beckman ’15

Best All-Around Kelli Baker ’15

Varsity Boys’ Cross Country

Junior Varsity Girls’ Tennis

Varsity Girls’ Golf

Most Outstanding Runner Steven Bennett ’15

Most Outstanding Player Mackenzie Hanby ’17

Most Improved Runner Aaron Foreman ’16

Most Improved Player Catie Kuralt ’17

Varsity Volleyball

Coaches Award Nick Tubbs ’14

Coaches Award Emily Jin ’17

Best Offensive Player Karlie Redfern ’17

Varsity Girls’ Cross Country

Best Defensive Player Jordan Wallace ’15

Most Outstanding Runner Jena Metwalli ’16

Coaches Award Courtney Nelson ’14

Most Improved Runner Anissa Burwell ’17

Junior Varsity Boys’ Soccer Most Outstanding Player Nick Parenica ’17 Most Improved Player Michael Sofio ’17 Coaches Award Jakob Diskin ’17

Coaches Award Julia Falewee ’14

Most Outstanding Player Kate Collom ’14 Most Improved Player Annie Collom ’15 Coaches Award Anna Redding ’15 and Taylor Bunten ’14


“We hear often of the lasting and close friendships that have evolved from the host family and new family match.”


By: William Diskin, Director of Admission and Financial Aid Each year, more than 100 new students enroll at Cannon. A devoted committee of Cannon parent volunteers welcomes the parents of each of these new students and connects them with a Cannon host family.

result of the tireless efforts of a committee of Cannon parent volunteers. Dana Gruber, parent of a seventh grader and two Cannon graduates (Classes of 2010 and 2012), has been active connecting Cannon families with new families since 2006.

One of the masterminds of the matching process, Cannon parent Dana Gruber, reflects on the importance of welcoming new families into the community.

“The New Family Connections Committee exists as a way to help new families acclimate to the Cannon School community,” says Gruber. “We believe that to continue building on the warm and welcoming community at Cannon, it is important that every new family have an easily accessible resource they can turn to for questions and support.”

Welcome to the Family! Darren and Meredith Biehler appreciate the welcome their family received when their daughter, Mia, enrolled at Cannon this year. They especially enjoyed meeting their Cannon host family, the Clevelands. “Having a host family really eased a lot of anxiety I had about not knowing what to expect,” says Meredith Biehler. “Before school started, we set up a lunch date with the girls, and it was a time where any and all questions could be asked. Information was shared, that if I did not have a host family, I would never have known.” And as Biehler recalls, many of her questions related to things that were not posted to Cannon’s online Back to School Center—or anywhere else for that matter. “They were simple things like, lunches, requirements for gym uniforms, what to do on orientation day, what time to get into carpool line, or how does the carpool line work,” Biehler remembers. “It was good for me because Laurie made me feel that any question was a good question, and I was comfortable asking her about small details that are not outlined in any document or manual.” For her part, Laurie Cleveland, parent of two Cannon students, has enjoyed being a host to the Biehlers. “Jamie and I remember when we were new to the Cannon community,” Cleveland recalls. “We definitely relied on our host family to steer us in the right direction at times. So, it made sense that we should volunteer to do the same for a new family. We’ve enjoyed every moment of getting to know the Biehlers and helping them make the transition to Cannon.” “It has worked out well for us,” Biehler says. “Our families both go to the same church, the girls participate in choir and youth group together, both live in Davidson, and our girls even take tennis together—which was not planned by us!” One Parent’s Lasting Contribution Successful host family stories similar to the Biehlers’ and Clevelands’ have become common at Cannon over the years. And while the connections that develop between families often seem like they were meant to be, they are more often the

Gruber recalls her initial interest in being involved with the committee. “I was interested in helping with the committee at its inception,” Gruber recalls. “Having moved our family here in December of 2004, I was anxious to feel more connected myself and to in turn help others going through a similar process. We have so many families who are new to the area as well as the school that I wanted those families, in particular, to have someone helping them get acclimated to the area as well as to Cannon School.” Gruber, who has chaired the committee for the past seven years, announced last summer that she was stepping aside to concentrate on other volunteer opportunities. Kate Weinstock, chair of Cannon’s recently reconfigured Parent Ambassador Network, will oversee the New Family Connections program going forward. “I am excited to contribute to the work of welcoming new families to Cannon,” says Weinstock, parent of three Cannon students (grades 10, 7, and 4). “Building on all the great things that Dana Gruber, Wendy Watkins, and a long list of parent volunteers put into place over the years presents a great opportunity for the Parent Ambassador Network. The idea of meeting a prospective family in the fall and supporting them all the way through the process of transitioning to Cannon is very appealing.” Enrollment Increases, Committee Expands With enrollment increases at Cannon in recent years, Gruber and the committee had to find ways to manage the growing volume of new families needing to be matched with hosts. Gruber looked to a fellow volunteer for a solution. “I credit Lisa Thomas, the co-chair at the time, with suggesting that we designate one person to be the coordinator for each division,” Gruber says. “With the growth of the school, and each division having an entry point grade that typically calls for a greater number of hosts, it made sense to divide the matching duties up so one person could focus on one division.” Thomas, who is now the committee’s Upper School coordinator, quickly turns the credit back over to Gruber.



Parent volunteers help Admission Office match new Cannon families with host families.

> > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > >

Helping New Families Feel at Home

Helping New Families (continued) “New Family Connections has been a huge success in part to the vision and commitment of Dana Gruber. She has been instrumental from the start in the development and comprehensive nature of the program. Dana spends hundreds of hours of time and energy each year. She works with the host families so that they understand their roles and can best help the new families. She meets with the Admission Office to discuss each new family and to make sure their needs are met and expectations exceeded.” In fact, according to Thomas, it is Gruber’s willingness to “go beyond” that leads to so many successful new family matches. “Dana is a vital resource for the rest of the committee as she has such a keen insight into the needs of the new families. We try to match families with children in the same grade, but Dana often can match other qualities or interests to enhance the connection between the families. We hear often of the lasting and close friendships that have evolved from the host family and new family match. That is a testament to Dana’s dedication and commitment to each family.” Laurie Cleveland can attest to the work Dana put into matching them with their host family. She remains close friends with the Komanduri family, the host family assigned to the Clevelands when they moved to the Davidson area from California. “It’s amazing, really, how Dana has been able to use her vast knowledge of the Cannon community to make these matches,” Cleveland says. “She has been a great resource and a great friend.” Just as important as Gruber’s knowledge of the Cannon community is her appreciation for the challenges of transitioning into a community. “We all have been ‘new’ at some point in our lives, so by working on this committee I hoped to help make that transition for all families seamless,” Gruber says. “I wanted parents and students to know that people cared about them during a potentially difficult time and to guide them through some of the unknowns that go with a change.” Reflecting on the hours and hours she has dedicated to the task of matching new families with host families, Gruber sees the value in the work of the New Family Connections Committee. “I am so pleased to be a part of the New Family Connections Committee, and I am proud of the work we have done to date,” Gruber says. “But I also recognize there is always more we can do to help make all feel welcome and a part of the community. For me, reaching out to someone who is new falls into the category of ‘doing the right thing,’ which is something I believe is important for our children to witness as well.” To learn more or to volunteer to be a new family host, contact Kate Weinstock at Bill Diskin is Director of Admission and Financial Aid. He can be reached at

The Matching Process “The Cannon community is a close group, and we want to introduce new families to the support, resources, and information that Cannon offers,” says Lisa Thomas, parent of two Cannon students. “It is important that new families feel welcome and included whether they are moving across the street or across the country. Each family gets at least one host family to help ease the transition to Cannon.” “As a committee, we do take time in matching our new families with an appropriate host,” says Dana Gruber past chair of the committee. “We first look at the grades and genders of the students enrolling as we want a host family to be able to answer questions related to that specific grade. At times, we have matched a new family with a host family that has already been through the grade of the incoming new family’s student. We also consider location with the hope that the two families will get together in person before the start of the school year.” “Though we try to consider the student’s interests, our priority is to have a parent connection,” Gruber explains. “We have a host family list of close to 200 families, so we have many wonderful parents we can tap. We are always elated to hear stories of relationships that have continued beyond the initial meeting or phone and e-mail conversations, where the families attend a school function together, or the host family student invites the new family student to a birthday party, or the families have been able to carpool together in order to help one another.” “We talk with the new families to find out if they have specific needs or concerns so we can best match them with a host family,” Thomas says. “Coming into a new school and community can seem overwhelming, and New Family Connections hopes to make each family quickly feel at home.” “We often find that parents who have had a good experience with our program tend to want to ‘pay it forward.’ So in turn, they are very willing to help another new family the following year,” Gruber says. “This is how our program grows each year.”



Cannon Cultures Cannon’s newest parent group celebrates the many dimensions of diversity. By: Beth Levanti, Director of Marketing and Communications This fall, Cannon School was pleased to introduce Cannon Cultures as its newest Parents At Cannon (PAC) group to join the ranks of Cannon Connections, Cannon Advocates For The Arts (CAFTA), and Cougar Club. I sat down with Deidra Murphy, president of Cannon Cultures, and Joan St. John, secretary of Cannon Cultures, to learn more about how Cannon Cultures came into being, and how this dynamic group plans to evolve in the future. Cannon Cultures is committed to the support of parents, teachers, and students who believe that diversity, inclusion, and multiculturalism are essential to the quality of education in school. As Deidra Murphy explains, “There are countless dimensions of diversity in addition to race and culture, and Cannon Cultures exists to educate our community and celebrate everyone’s unique styles and all the ways that we’re similar and different.” Joan St. John adds, “Schools are always faced with the challenge of keeping up with the world. I recently attended one of Cannon’s discussions about students’ healthy use of technology. There is no going back with technology, and it’s the same with diversity. We live in an increasingly diverse world, and our school community can only be enhanced by being sensitive and open to that.” St. John, parent of a Cannon freshman and senior, has been involved with various diversity initiatives at Cannon over the years. She explains, “Cannon has grown so much, and last winter when Matt Gossage hosted a series of discussions examining race relations in the South, it was a good time to think about getting a parent group together. As an Upper School parent, I really appreciate the fresh ideas that newer Cannon families bring to the table, and I began asking around about a Lower School parent who might be interested in leading a group like this. Deidra’s name came up, and when I asked her if she’d get involved, she said ‘yes!’” Murphy, parent of Cannon students in junior kindergarten, kindergarten, and the fifth and sixth grades, shares, “There is a lot of diversity at Cannon, but you might not see it while you’re waiting in the carpool line. When Joan asked me to get involved, I was passionate about the prospect of bringing people together.” And Cannon Cultures began bringing people together almost immediately. In September, the group hosted a meet-and-greet where parents could learn about the vision for Cannon Cultures and share their own ideas. At Homecoming, Cannon Cultures partnered with CAFTA on the Cougar Super Food Bowl, a cook-off competition and fundraiser. In late October, they kicked off the Cannon Cultures Diversi-Tea Series with a viewing of a video of a Nigerian author telling the story of how she found her authentic cultural voice,

From left, Deidra Murphy and Joan St. John of Cannon Cultures.

followed by a discussion in November of Susan Cain’s book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking. St. John notes, “What I’ve really enjoyed about our events is that they aren’t just about our children. Parents came out to talk about real topics that interest them as human beings. There were no right or wrong answers, and we were all learning together.” Murphy adds, “If parents are talking, the school community is talking, and communication is key! We want Cannon Cultures to be a resource for the entire school—parents, students, faculty, and staff alike. We look forward to serving as liaisons to as many departments as we can, such as helping with admission and retention efforts.” Right now, Cannon Cultures is busy planning more events for parents to enjoy in 2014 including a True Colors personality assessment. In addition, Cannon Cultures hopes to expand the scope of their events to include options both at Cannon and in the larger community. Murphy shares, “We’re very excited that Cannon and the PAC groups have embraced Cannon Cultures, and we look forward to many collaborations together. If parents want to get involved, they should know that there is no task too small or too big to take on—we have a place for everyone.” If you would like to get involved with Cannon Cultures, please contact Deidra Murphy at

Cannon Cultures 2013-2014 Leadership Deidra Murphy, President Georgina Sussewell, Vice President Joan St. John, Secretary Dr. Diane Gaskin, Membership Neena Duggal, Treasurer


All Cannon students signed their names to beams placed in the new Auditorium and Performing Arts Center.

The Future is in Sight. Have You Done Your Part? Cannon is closing in on $7.1 million to complete the Building Bright Futures Campaign. By: Todd W. Hartung Jr., Director of Advancement I am not a procrastinator by nature, but I will admit to putting off writing this article until the last possible moment—but for all the right reasons. You see, I track the total amount raised for the Building Bright Futures Campaign every day. On November 1, I was pleased that the Cannon School community had just $646,906 left to go towards our campaign goal of $7,119,863—still a considerable amount, but a great place to be after just eight months in the public phase of the campaign. By December 6, the Cannon community had only $377,047 left to go to reach our goal. And by December 17, we had $195,396 left to go. As the Campaign Steering Committee and I watched this positive end-of-year trend, you can imagine how our hopes turned to the idea that this article could perhaps become a celebration of the Cannon community hitting our goal by the holiday season! But since our magazine editor insisted that I could not wait any longer, I am instead using this article to ask you to reflect on our future and your part in it. As a community, we have accomplished so much already. As we can see each day, the metal superstructure for the Auditorium and Performing Arts Center is near completion, and it will begin to be enveloped by roofing, exterior sheathing, and walls over the next sixty days. Most recently, we have installed fencing and begun demolition as our first steps in the much anticipated construction on the Strength Training and Conditioning Center and the Randy Marion Family Field House. Over the next sixty days, you will see more demolition, poured foundations, and even masonry walls evolving to create these new and enhanced structures. And I look forward to keeping you posted on all the latest construction news in the coming weeks and months, including enhancements to our locker rooms and the expansion of


learning spaces in the Middle School. But this campaign is much bigger than what will happen in the next sixty days; it is about the legacy we leave behind as Cannon families, and it is about our children benefitting from that legacy and learning from our example. Just as the families who went before us and built this campus, it is time for each of us to ask, “Have I done my part?” While there are many elements of the campaign construction that make me feel both proud and humbled on a daily basis, two of my favorites are the white beams signed with brightly colored markers by every Cannon student that are still visible on the front of the new Auditorium and Performing Arts Center. They are joyful reminders of the students who are so excited about these improvements and who have inspired more than 300 Cannon families, friends, grandparents, faculty, staff, and alumni to act with such generosity and vision. Our students have signed their names in support of Building Bright Futures, and the Campaign Steering Committee and I are engaged in a concerted effort asking Cannon families and friends to do the same by giving to the campaign for the first time or by increasing their giving to push us over our goal by the New Year. All Building Bright Futures donors will be listed on a plaque in the lobby of the new Auditorium and Performing Arts Center, and I hope you will seize the opportunity to have your family name included on this important piece of Cannon School’s history. We find ourselves at this exciting juncture where we can picture Cannon School’s future with clarity and confidence because of your support. We are almost there—let’s prove to ourselves and to our children that the Cannon community can accomplish anything when we pull together.

Striking the Right Balance Cannon’s Corporate Partnership Program benefits students, parents, and local businesses. By: Katy Rust, Marketing and Communications Manager Cannon School has always been blessed with passionate parents; parents who volunteer their time to support students and faculty; parents who raise money to cover costs that aren’t covered by tuition; parents who care about Cannon and want to leave it a better place than when they arrived. In the spring of 2011, three parents formed a team to kick-start the Corporate Partnership Program, a program that would help Cannon parents worry less about the funds they needed to raise, and focus more on their organizations’ missions—to provide the quality events, activities, and supplies needed for a well-rounded student experience. It all began with a conversation between Todd Hartung, Cannon’s director of advancement and parent volunteer Kelley Cooksey. Juggling all of the small fundraisers throughout the year and planning bi-annual auctions was absorbing the majority of the Parents At Cannon (PAC) groups’ time. “We didn’t want parents to become burned out on fundraising,” said parent volunteer Amy Lovett. “We wanted parents to be able to focus more on helping teachers and doing events for students.” They envisioned a way to take the already existing company sponsorships (i.e. yearbook and athletic program ads) and streamline efforts to increase benefits to both the school and the companies involved. Taking Todd and Kelley’s fundraising experience and looking to other independent schools for inspiration, the idea for the Corporate Partnership Program was born. The Corporate Partnership Program is designed to offer businesses valuable opportunities to market their products and services to the Cannon community while supporting Cannon students throughout the year. Partners at the Gold, Silver, or Bronze level are recognized as donors in the Annual Report; with banners at athletic events; with ads in the yearbook, athletic program, visual arts booklet, and on the website; and at the annual PAC Golf Tournament. Although the vision for the program was clear, the challenge was in the execution. The coordination and partnership among all of the groups would take some work. The pricing, division of funds, and

Cannon School’s Corporate Partners for 2013-2014.

promotion to prospective partners would take a talented team to successfully roll out. “The success of this program is the result of the parent volunteers who stepped up to make this program work,” said Hartung. “The volunteer team in our inaugural year of Kelley Cooksey, Amy Lovett, and Stacy Hensley was the key to the success of the program.” With the hard work and dedication of these parents, the Corporate Partnership Program brought in $56,000 in its first year. These funds were split equally among Cannon Connections, Cougar Club, Cannon Advocates For The Arts (CAFTA), and the Annual Fund, and were used to carry out projects like Arts Jam, science lab supplies, and equipment for athletic teams. In the three years since this program was implemented, Cannon has raised nearly $186,000. “We have grown every year and are very proud of that,” said Hensley. “We keep tweaking the program and making it better as best we can.” Beyond the funds raised for each PAC group and for the school, the Corporate Partnership Program exemplifies the power of collaboration and teamwork. Many of our corporate partners are also Cannon parents. Other partners see the benefit in supporting and reaching the Cannon community. “Cannon is the ideal organization for our company to be affiliated with,” said Dan Davis, vice president of Davco Roofing and Sheet Metal, a second-year corporate partner. “The school program has strong values that are centered in educating students to be outstanding members in our society. We are proud to partner in that.” The Cannon community looks to corporate partners when in need of products and services. The program delivers value to the local businesses that support Cannon. In this way, Cannon has truly partnered with and supported the communities in which our families live. Interested in joining Cannon’s Corporate Partnership Program? Visit to find out more details about joining or call Todd Hartung at 704-721-7178.


Alumni Spotlight Rob Vendley ’07

Current location: Rob recently returned to North Carolina after serving as an intelligence officer for the Sixth Squadron, Eighth Cavalry Regiment, Fourth Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Third Infantry Division, serving in Logar Province, eastern Afghanistan. He served an additional duty as the day battle captain for the Squadron’s Tactical Operations Center, where he controlled and coordinated all ground and air assets to include Attack Weapons Teams, Close Air Support, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (drones), artillery, and mortars. How did your experience at Cannon prepare you for the rigors of Wake Forest and army life? One thing I learned from my time at Cannon was time management. This made my transition to Wake Forest and the Army much easier. When you get to college and serve in the Army as an officer, no one is going to tell you when to eat, when to sleep, and when to study. It’s up to you to have the discipline and foresight to manage your time as effectively as possible. This not only allowed me to juggle ROTC and a rigorous course of academic study, but also to have time for the fun that college had to offer—joining a fraternity and going to football and basketball games. What about life as a deployed officer has most surprised you or changed you? As an officer, you are expected to uphold the highest standards and use your brain to tackle complex problems. This can be a real challenge, because despite your best intentions, you do not know very much when you first show up to your unit. But at the end of the day, you are still the deciding authority for a variety of tasks. You’re expected to lead. I guess the word “humbling” best comes to mind when I think about life as a new lieutenant. But that’s precisely why the Army has noncommissioned officers (sergeants, etc.)—they are the backbone of the Army and are there to help shape you as an officer. I owe a huge debt of gratitude to the NCOs that I’ve worked with over the past two years. Being deployed in a combat zone makes the job much more real, and the decisions that you make all the more serious. It’s easy for people to forget that we’re still at war, but I can attest to the fact that there is definitely still a war going on over here. You get reminded of that sobering truth every day. I think the thing that has both surprised me and changed me is witnessing the resiliency of the human spirit, particularly when dealing with tragedy. When my unit lost one of its soldiers, it was truly remarkable for me to see his platoon members pick themselves up and continue to their mission without hesitation, despite the loss of their friend.


Rob Vendley ’07 in Afghanistan. What has been the most interesting thing you have encountered in the Army? The people. You get to meet folks from all different walks of life, each with unique stories and reasons for serving. Despite the many differences, every soldier still puts the uniform on one leg at a time. And it’s been a real pleasure being able to lead them in a deployed environment. What advice do you have for current Cannon students about pursuing a path like yours? Start exploring your options now. Do you want to go to a service academy, or would you prefer a more normal college experience through ROTC? As our time in Afghanistan draws down, the Army is going to get smaller, and therefore more competitive. So continue to work hard in school, as well as in extracurriculars. And start preparing yourself for Army physical training (PT) sooner rather than later. What are some of your favorite memories from your years at Cannon? Winning the state championship in men’s basketball my junior year was definitely a highlight. My good friend Tyler Lockney screaming in the hallway. Watching the Fish Tank Club get founded and evolve over time. Playing in my rock band with fellow Cannon alumnus Henry Royal. Any advice for the Class of 2014? A quote I heard sums it up best, “Life is relationships. The rest is just details.” In other words, we’re here to serve one another.

1996 (Cabarrus Academy) James “Hunter” Morrison and his wife, Sarah, have two beautiful daughters. Grace is now a junior kindergarten student at Cannon, and Eliza, 7 months old at the time of this note, has been a wonderful new addition to their family. They are excited to become part of the Cannon community from a parent standpoint.

2002 Josh Boone (attended Cannon 1994-1996) is currently licensed to practice law in New York, Virginia, and Washington, DC, having graduated from Albany Law School in 2010, following his graduation from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2006. He is currently serving as general counsel and regulatory analyst with State Analysis, Inc. (d.b.a. StateScape), a legislation and regulation tracking corporation in Alexandria, VA. Additionally, he volunteers as the legal advisor for The Can Kicks Back, Inc., a Millennial-driven campaign dedicated to fixing the national debt.


Jamey Falkenbury ’03 with Lt. Gov. Dan Forest.

Jamey Falkenbury has been director of operations for Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest since the Lt. Governor took office in January. As director of operations, he has a lengthy list of responsibilities. For the previous two years, Jamey worked for Republican Sue Myrick in Washington, DC, where he was her office manager until she retired.

Kristine Loo graduated from the Illinois College of Optometry in May 2013. She has accepted a residency at the W.G. (Bill) Hefner VA Medical Center in Salisbury, NC, where she will be specializing in primary care, low vision, and specialty contact lens.

The Rosen children – Marley and Zayne Alexander.

2004 Anthony LeBaron is in his second year of a Ph.D. program in civil engineering at Montana State University. He is studying the microscopic fracture processes that initiate snow avalanches—definitely the “coolest” work he’s ever done!

2005 Graham Boone (attended Cannon 1994-1998) is currently working at Williams & Connolly LLP in Washington, DC, as the firm’s athlete representation specialist in its representation of NBA players. Graham is a licensed agent with the National Basketball Player’s Association and works with fourteen current NBA players. Prior to his employment, Graham was a Morehead-Cain Scholar and graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2009.

2006 Ashley Brown graduated from Miami University and is currently living in Washington, DC, working as field marketing coordinator for Stanley Black & Decker. She is engaged to Matt Manning, who is from Washington, DC, and who graduated from the University of Colorado.

Madison Cloninger ’06 after graduation at Colorado State University’s School of Veterinary Medicine. Madison Cloninger graduated with honors as a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Colorado State University’s School of Veterinary Medicine in May. She was awarded a prestigious year-long internship with Fairfield Equine Medicine in Newtown, CT. Following the completion of her internship, Madison plans to open a large animal medical practice and hospital in Savannah, GA.

>Class Notes



Janet Ward Black was awarded the 2013 North Carolina Bar Association (NCBA) Citizen Lawyer Award in June. Each year, the NCBA honors lawyers “who provide exemplary public service to their communities.” In July, she received the 2013 Thurgood Marshall award which was established “to recognize extraordinary and selfless service to the people of North Carolina in keeping with the legacy of Justice Thurgood Marshall.” Janet is the principal owner of Ward Black Law in Greensboro, NC.

Sarah Brown Rosen and Jonathan Rosen (attended Cannon 1999-2002) welcomed their second child, Zayne Alexander, in January. He joins big sister Marley, born in 2006.

> > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > >

1977 (Cabarrus Academy)

Catherine Falkenbury finished her teaching certification at UNCCharlotte in December. In January, she was hired as an interim sub at Concord Middle School, and in August she was hired at Salisbury High to teach world cultures. She is enrolled in the graduate program at UNC-Charlotte and is currently the secretary of the Greater Cabarrus Reading Association.

2007 Robert Adams is engaged to Chelsea Foxx ’10. He graduated from Pfeiffer University and is currently a medical student at Campbell University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine.

2008 Katie Brown graduated from NC State with a concentration in textiles and is living in Milwaukee, WI, working in product development for Kohl’s.

2009 Ross Adams graduated from East Carolina University in 2013 with a degree in criminal justice. He is currently an intern with Cabarrus Teen Court and is working at the Cabarrus Courthouse. Elizabeth Hyde was awarded the Most Outstanding Senior award by the American Pre-Veterinary Medical Association at the American Pre-Veterinary Medical Association annual national symposium. Elizabeth Hyde is attending NC State She was recognized for University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. her assistance in creating NCSU’s Pre-Veterinary Medical Association’s partnership Canine Assisted Rehabilitation for the Elderly (C.A.R.E. NC) and the SPCA of Wake County. This partnership among these three entities has pre-vet students work with dogs from the SPCA to train them as therapeutic visitors for the assisted living facilities of Wake County. Elizabeth graduated in May as a valedictorian from NC State as a member of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Honors Program, a member of the University Scholars Program, and a member of Phi Kappa Phi Honors Fraternity. She will be attending NC State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine this fall. Mack Payne is a 2013 Stanford University graduate with a major in mechanical engineering. He leaves Stanford as an NCAA Division I All American, an Academic All American, and captain of Stanford’s Men’s Swimming and Diving Team. He’s taken a position with Honeywell International. Sara Wheeler graduated this May with honors from the Terry School of Business at the University of Georgia with a major in finance and a minor in fashion merchandise. Sara was a member of the Gamma Phi Beta sorority all four years. She is moving to New York, NY, to enter the executive development program at Macy’s and will begin work as an assistant buyer at the completion of the program.


2010 Brandee Branche was named to the Dean’s List with distinction at Duke University for the fall 2012 semester. She is majoring in international comparative studies. Chelsea Foxx got engaged on May 10 to Robert Adams ’07. She is a senior at East Carolina University where she joined the Zeta Tau Alpha Sorority and East Carolina Association of Nursing Students. Chelsea is currently enrolled in the College of Nursing and will be graduating in the spring of 2014. She hopes to get a job in an intensive care unit once she graduates! This summer, she was a nanny and took online classes. Kate Sherrill spent the summer with a group of six Appalachian State students studying how music can affect social and political change. The group studied with choirs from universities in South Africa and rural townships to see how music is based off of socioeconomic status. They are researching the music that surrounded the end of Apartheid and how it affected the revolutionary groups and racial tensions. They also worked with a school for children with developmental disabilities, instructing them in music. Rosemary Sirois completed her third year at Rhodes College. In spring 2014, she will graduate with a business degree with a concentration in accounting. She spent the summer in Cape Coast, Ghana, working with a microfinance firm sponsored by Kiva.

2011 Madeline Hurley spent the summer in NYC as a marketing intern with Ars Nova theater near Times Square. Ars Nova is an OffBroadway, non-profit theater that develops and produces theater, comedy, and music created by artists in the early stages of their careers. Avery Olearczyk is studying abroad this fall in Yungaburra, Australia. She will be living in the remote rainforests of Northeast Queensland to study rainforest ecology, and help with local reforestation efforts. She also plans to spend January 2014 in Northwoods, MN, researching the endangered gray wolf. Avery is a biology and environmental science double major at Guilford College in Greensboro, NC. Brianna Ratté spent the summer working as a nurse assistant in the infirmary at Camp Merrie-Woode in Sapphire, NC. She also spent a week as a counselor at Camp Kesem, a camp run by UNC–Chapel Hill and Duke students for children with parents struggling with cancer. This fall, she is studying in the School of Public Health at UNC–Chapel Hill, majoring in health policy and management with a minor in biology. She will continue working as a nurse assistant with the UNC Healthcare System.

2012 Cassie Calvert worked in Honduras this summer with the Christian organization Predisan in a medical clinic in Catacamas, Honduras. She worked alongside a doctor and lived with a host family. Following her mission trip, Cassie participated in the Duke Arts and Media Program in New York City where she was a production intern at MNA Productions, assisting actor Tony Lo Bianco with his current and upcoming projects. While in NYC, Cassie attended a taping of Katie Couric’s talk show, and had the opportunity to speak with Katie after the show about her aspirations in the field of journalism. Now starting her sophomore year at Duke University, Cassie is the student

Rachel Holyfield is doing great at USC. She made the Dean’s List for the first semester of her freshman year and as of this note, is on target for the second semester as well. This is another aspect of Cannon School’s influence!

Cassie Calvert and Katie Couric on the set of Couric’s talk show.

host for Coach Cutcliffe’s Duke Football Show on the Durham TV station as well as for the Duke University Broadcasting Company. Jane Campbell spent her summer working at Camp Hollymont in Asheville for the second year. There she taught volleyball, archery, swimming, and photography. Davis Gossage was part of a student team at Duke University which designed an application during the 2012-2013 school year that makes ePrint available to the Duke community from iPhone and iPad. The application, DevilPrint, won $3,000 in the Duke Innovation Co-Lab’s inaugural challenge. The application was submitted to the App Store and is now available as a free download. Over the summer, Davis was given funding through Duke’s Student Innovation Program to work with students from Duke’s Fuqua School of Business, on a startup called CrowdTunes, an interactive mobile jukebox that allows users to bid on music. Tim Gruber spent ten days in South Korea in May with the University of Richmond’s Chaplain’s Office exploring the relationship between Christianity and Buddhism in South and North Korea and the tensions between the two. They visited the Demilitarized Zone, Seoul, and stayed in a Buddhist monastery for two days. Upon his arrival back to the United States, Tim headed to Estes Park Colorado (7,600 feet altitude) for the remainder of the summer to work at a YMCA as a maintenance/housekeeper with his roommate. But more importantly to Tim, he and his roommate were “out there running their tail ends off.” Rebekah Harmon finished her freshman year at NC State in May. She made the Dean’s List and is double majoring in animal science and biological science with a molecular and cellular development concentration. She is minoring in nutrition. She has delivered piglets, explored inside the stomach compartments of cows, and castrated a goat! To Rebekah Harmon at NC State. say Rebekah is a huge WolfPack fan would be an understatement; she does not miss a sporting event! She is an integral part of Campus Crusade (CRU) and Habitat for Humanity. This summer, she was the pool manager at the neighborhood swimming pool where she has worked as a lifeguard for the past four years through Charlotte Swim Club. Rebekah was accepted into the Honors College at NC State for demonstrating academic excellence and integrity as a WolfPacker!

Connor Lippincott is at the University of Pennsylvania where he is a member of the inaugural class of the Vagelos Integrated Program in Energy Research (VIPER). He plans to obtain a B.A. in Environmental Science and a B.S.E. in Chemical Engineering. He spent the summer of 2013 at UPenn where he will be conducting research in rare earth separations using chemical reactions to affect the structure of oxidizing ligands. Outside of the classroom and lab, Connor has enjoyed playing intramural football, basketball, and ultimate Frisbee. He also volunteers as a science tutor in local Philadelphia elementary schools. Mason McClanahan is currently studying biomedical engineering at UNC-Chapel Hill. At Chapel Hill, Mason is a member of the Sigma Nu Fraternity, Club Rugby Team, and BME Organization. Over the summer, Mason assisted with biomedical research at UNC-Charlotte where he completed experiments and examined data to increase the availability of cryopreservation of body tissues and organs. Lisa Olearczyk is in her sophomore year at UNC-Wilmington; she is in their nursing program. Lucie Randall spent the summer working as a graphic design assistant for the Wellesley College Public Affairs Office. If you ever had a Coke this summer, Emily Ranson played a part in bringing you that wonderful experience. She worked as an internal operations consultant at Coca-Cola this summer. Though he may look like a lumber jack, if you ever visited the U.S. National White Water Center, you may have been fortunate enough to have Kevin Ross as your raft guide. He spent the summer at the WWC rafting, rafting, and did we mention, rafting? Eric Rossitch spent the summer interning with the Exercise and Sport Science Department at UNC, all the while training with the UNC women’s soccer team. Wil Safrit was named to the Dean’s List at Duke University for the fall 2012 semester. He was among 1,488 students at the University who achieved that honor. To make the Arts & Sciences Dean’s List, students must rank in the top third of their academic class. Scott Schachner spent the summer in Raleigh doing a research project at NC State on discovering an efficient method for generating electricity using magnets. Katie Shaw spent the summer interning with Visit Lake Norman, which serves to promote travel and tourism in order to stimulate economic growth and development in Davidson, Cornelius, and Huntersville. Charles Sterner spent the first part of his summer working at his brother’s antique business where he cultivated a passion for polishing silver and categorizing various types of antiques. He has transferred to USC and is now in his sophomore year. Hailey Wade was on the Chancellor’s List at UNC-Charlotte in both the fall and spring 2012-2013 semesters. She has transferred to UNC-Chapel Hill and is in her sophomore year.


Emily Wheeler completed her freshman year at UNC-Chapel Hill where she is majoring in environmental science with a minor in mathematics. She participated in the Burch Sustainability Field Research Program in Germany, Denmark, and Sweden this summer studying sustainability, renewable energy, and city planning. She is a member of Zeta Tau Alpha Sorority and also joined Ep Eta Environmental Honors Fraternity.

2013 Tory Foster accepted the Outstanding Student Philanthropy Award at the National Philanthropy Day Awards Luncheon hosted by the Association of Fundraising Professionals in November. The audience, made up of 550 members of Charlotte’s philanthropic community, cheered on Tory for utilizing her artistic talents to create awareness of and raise funds for victims of sexual trafficking in collaboration with the non-profit organization, Compassion First.

Meet Cannon’s Alumni Board Officers

Eddie Alcorn ’04, President Eddie just finished a dual master’s degree program in public health and business administration at UNC-Chapel Hill. During the past year, he led community service activities to help low-income neighborhoods in Chapel Hill and managed the finances for a student-operated free health clinic that provides care to under- and uninsured patients. Last October, he completed a Tough Mudder in South Carolina with his brother, Denny. He and Denny also attended a health informatics conference together in March 2013 in New Orleans, LA. After graduation, Eddie started a position at UNC Health Care in the strategic planning department as a strategy consultant. He’ll be working primarily with three newly-affiliated hospitals to find out how they can operate best with UNC Health Care’s resources and other hospitals.

Jessica Peterson Sielen ’03, Vice President Jessica inked a three-book deal with Berkley (an imprint of Penguin) for her tentatively titled Regency-set romance, The Hope Diamond Affairs. The books detail the theft of the Hope Diamond and the unexpected romances that blossom in the search for its recovery. The first book is due out summer 2014. For more updates about Jessica, check her website at

Marie Morgann ’01, Secretary Tory Foster and her mother, Megan Foster ’89, after the National Philanthropy Day Awards Luncheon.

Former Headmaster of Cabarrus Academy, 1981-1988 Charles Elbot and his wife, Barbara, live in Colorado. In Denver, Charles has served as a school principal in both independent and public schools. He wrote a book, Building an Intentional School Culture: Excellence in Academics and Character, which led to speaking engagements around the country and abroad. Currently, he is involved with leadership coaching. His older son, Jason (Class of 1999), who had Gay Roberts as his first-grade teacher, works as an engineer and enjoys the outdoors of Colorado. His son, David, who was born at Presbyterian Hospital in Charlotte, was a two time high school All American in lacrosse and then played lacrosse at Colgate. His wife, Barbara, retired as a high school counselor and volunteers as a docent at the Denver Art Museum. Charles sends his congratulations on all of the great growth that continues to happen at Cannon School.


Marie is starting her eighth year of teaching French and Spanish at Cannon School. It is also her third year as department chair of Middle School World Languages. She is continuing her post-graduate education by taking summer and distance courses on international politics and history with St. Anthony’s College at Oxford University. Most of Marie’s service to the community involves freelance interpreting in the six languages in which she can converse, and she works as a volunteer at the LDS Temple in Columbia, SC. She is also currently enrolled in independent study programs to maintain fluency in Mandarin, Italian, and Latin. Marie still dons the Cinderella dress throughout the year to teach proper comportment and ballet to the little princesses in her mother’s etiquette classes. In her free time, she travels extensively and loves to cook for family and loved ones scattered across the globe.

Alumni Board 2013-2014 Nominating Committee Eddie Alcorn ’04, Chair Clare Faggart ’72 Katie Wells ’04

Reunion Committee

Jessica Peterson Sielen ’03, Chair Denny Alcorn ’08 Jeremy Miller ’10 Will Sherrill ’07

Class Reporter Committee Marie Morgann ’01, Chair Maddie Colcord ’10 Catherine Falkenbury ’06 Heidi Gruber ’10 Tim Gruber ’12 Krissy Harris ’03 Michael Pope ’13 Kate Sherrill ’10 Rosemary Sirois ’10

Alumni Relations Manager: Lynda Abel •


1 Men’s Alumni Soccer Game against Cannon’s team in August 2013. First row (from l-r): David Sirois ’12, Sam Camut ’11, Eric Rossitch ’12, Eddie Alcorn ’04. Second row (from l-r): Leah Baker ’13, Winston Felker ’11, Patrick Murphy ’11. Third row (from l-r): Zack Tysinger ’12, Scott Krusell ’12, Denny Alcorn ’08, Bryan Metz ’12, Patrick Murphy ’11, Paul Anderson ’13, Baylor Koch ’12, and Zach Rossitch ’10. 2 Inaugural Women’s Alumnae Soccer Game against Cannon’s team in February 2013. From l-r: Rosemary Sirois ’10, Maddie Colcord ’10, and Vicky Bruce ’12. 3 Alumni Lacrosse Game against Cannon’s team in May 2013. Alumni players included Pat Hennigan ’10, Baylor Koch ’12, Connor Larkin ’11, Kevin Leach ’10, and Brendan McWilliams ’11.



Inaugural Cannon Theater Company Alumni Reunion at Old Courthouse Theatre in June 2013. Front row (from l-r): Dina Ibrahim ’13, Tory Foster ’13, Tommy Chepke ’13. Second row (from l-r): Vanessa Vacarro ’12, Megan Wellborn ’13, Jake Stewart ’13. Third row (from l-r): Mr. Andy Macdonald, Barclay Sparrow ’13, Charles Sterner ’12. Fourth row (l-r): Lizzie Lovett ’13, Megan Foster ’89, Marie Morgann ’01, and Eddie Alcorn ’04.

Class of 2008 Reunion at the Fox and Hound in June 2013. First row (from l-r): Hillary Gruce, Kathryn Harris, Matthew Keeler, Katie Regnery, Cameron Cruz. Second row (from l-r): Marie Morgann ’01, Kelsey Willoughby, Julia Simonini, Katie Fink. Third row (from l-r): Eddie Alcorn ’04, Colin York, and Denny Alcorn. Class of 2003 Reunion at Park Lanes in June 2013. (From l-r): Katie Johnston Pethel, Kristy Kelleher Moser, Shannon Lawrence, Sarah Brown Rosen, Mandy Cormier, Jessica Peterson Sielen, and Catherine “Katie” Price Barr.

Interested in getting involved?

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



5801 Poplar Tent Road Concord, NC 28027

CANNON Coming Soon!

Shop the Cougarsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Den online! Stay tuned for announcements about our new online school store that will launch later this winter. Now you can order your favorite Cannon apparel with just a few clicks and have it mailed to your door, sent home with a student, or picked up in person.

Profile for Cannon School

Cannon Magazine | Winter 2013  

Cannon Magazine | Winter 2013