Thrive Magazine Fall 2023

Page 1


p/10 —


p/26 —



p/4 —

Columbus Academy Magazine Fall 2023


FALL | 2023

I am partial to a midwestern sky. Sweeping views and clouds that billow – flashing their storms in the distance – are signature moments of summer. Like oceans on the coasts, they serve to remind us that our self-important endeavors are all in relationship to our surroundings. Where we can lose ourselves (like in the broad open sky) we can also, curiously enough, find our sense of purpose and meaning. My childhood in Kansas City offered lots of opportunities to be in awe of the weather. Dark, undulating clouds – my mother described them as the underside of egg cartons – moved ominously over the landscape during tornado season. Regularly, we would stay outside until the rain, wind and hail became too much for us. And while this felt like a typical way to welcome a change in weather, I learned later that crashing indoors to take shelter was a much more popular reaction to encroaching storms. Then, I realized, what a gift I had been given in my youth to buck the trend of panic for the chance to appreciate the grand power of the natural world. Being in nature is just one of a number of experiences that help human beings flourish, a fact we are attending to at Columbus Academy as part of our work with Research Schools International and the Harvard Human Flourishing Program. We are examining the school’s role elevating any number of flourishing domains (happiness and life satisfaction, physical and mental health, meaning and purpose, character and virtue, social relationships and sense of safety) through explicit and implicit factors. Researchers are finding that nature’s soothing, cognitive boost is essential to our brain function in a wired world. And while the results are no surprise, the examples are fascinating: hospital rooms with trees visible from the beds promote healing, dirt and microbes breathed in during forest visits help our health, and the awe created in moments like a summer thunderstorm in the Midwest can create positive mental shifts (similar to the overview effect experienced by astronauts) that lead to a greater sense of possibilities in one’s life and greater connectivity to others. How do you want to embed flourishing practices in your family? As a school, the Harvard study detailed in the pages that follow gives us a rare empirical look at how we are doing in this crucial area that is difficult to quantify. And it shows us where we have much work to do. We hope you join us in welcoming this challenge to further improve our students’ opportunities to truly thrive in this world. It’s likely what I’ll be contemplating the next time I take in a wide, beautiful sky.

Melissa Soderberg Head of School

Welcome to the inaugural edition of THRIVE. Our magazine’s new name and design showcases the people, places and programs that empower flourishing.

2023-24 Board of Trustees

President: Tanisha Lyon Brown P’20 ’22 Vice President: Bill Porter ’74 Secretary: Ramon Jones P’22 ’23 Treasurer: Christine Freytag P’18 ’20 ’22 Immediate Past President: Sandy Doyle-Ahern P’20 ’22 Kimberly Allison P’26 ’28 Ted Carlin ’89, P’17 ’22 Ching-chu Hu P’25 ’30 ’32 Karen Jennings P’22 Paul Judge P’33 ’36 Jamie Lewis P’33 ’35 ’35 Kevin Malhame P’28 ’30 Jessica Chi Nimjee P’29 ’33 Niles Overly ’69 Tom Rubey P’22 ’26 ’27 Michael A. Schlonsky ’84, P’17 ’19 ’25 Danielle Skestos P’29 ’31 ’31 ’33 Mary A. Smith P’24 Pankaj Tiwari, MD, P’22 ’25 Trevor Woods P’26 ’26 ’30 Patti Zettler ’98, P’32 ’35 Alumni Board Representative: Dr. Scott Gurwin ’82, P’14 ’25 PACA Representative: Gabriela May P’10 ’25 ’31






With Science and Heart

THRIVE magazine is published by Columbus Academy 4300 Cherry Bottom Road Gahanna, Ohio 43230-0745 Phone: 614-475-2311 Fax: 614-475-0396 Web: Editor: Bob Lee P’25 ’28 Contributors: Melinda Church, Erich Hunker ’81, P’16 ’20, Jeremy Morgan, Becky Barger-Amato, Melissa Clarke Beckett, Emily Campbell, Michael Haddock, Suzanne Lucas P’24 ’27 and Bryane Roberts P’28 Photographers: Cynthia Wilson P’87, Dr. Andy Morris ’85, P’16 ’18, Ralph Schudel and Colin McGuire Proofreader: Shannon Nelson Strategy & Design: VENN Growth Collective Printing: Kenwel Printers


GIVING BACK “Incredibly Rewarding” Class of 1971 Gift Benefits CA Students Forever



Thankful, Self-Aware and Ready for Next

p/28 A LIFE SHAPED BY CA Georgia Tuckerman ‘18

PASSION p/29 AFORSHARED HISTORY Student Interviews his Former Teacher


Alumni Updates & Happenings




With Science and Heart It’s 7:45 a.m. on a Monday in early September. The chilly air creates a thin sheet of fog over the warm grassy fields on Columbus Academy’s campus. At the Lower School, kids are beginning to arrive. Two sisters emerge from a car carrying posters and musical instruments. “Love you! Bye, Mommy,” they call out. Boys – some navigating with backpacks at least half their height – hold the school doors open for each other. They’re met by teachers and administrators, asking about their weekends and wishing them a good day. All across the school, teachers are in the hallways. In the Middle School, some are playing foosball with students. In the Upper School, teachers stand outside their classroom doors and greet students with a handshake, a smile and a look in the eyes – a quick check on their wellbeing. At Columbus Academy, a good day starts well. And school leaders and teachers are conducting research and working to ensure that Academy students’ days, and education, get even better.


THRIVE | Columbus Academy Magazine

“A teacher was kind to me and helped me through a difficult subject that I felt very behind on. It made me feel that they cared about me and my education and wanted to actually see me do well in life.” ~ upper school student


Columbus Academy is engaging in a two-year partnership

“They said among the students at the schools they’ve

with Harvard University’s Human Flourishing Program and the

worked with so far, it’s the highest flourishing score they’ve

affiliated Research Schools International (RSI), an organization

seen,” Melissa told a group of parents in September.

that works with schools around the world to foster learning and flourishing.

Other top-line findings:

The goal of the project is to examine student flourishing at

Social support – “One of the areas where the school really shines is social relationships,” says Christina. “If you look across academic literature on flourishing, probably the most important thing you can do is give kids the skills to build close social relationships.”

Equity in flourishing – Academy students thrive together. Researchers found no difference in flourishing among students based on race and culture or socioeconomic background.

Longevity bump – The study found that for every year students are at Columbus Academy, they have higher flourishing scores. However, “the kids who come in high school really take off here,” says Dr. Suzanne Ritter, CA’s co-director of student support services.

Kind, funny and active – Among the dozen flourishing practices measured, Columbus Academy’s three greatest strengths are humor, sports/exercise and acts of kindness.

Academy and to initiate new programs and best practices. As Head of School Melissa Soderberg says, “We wanted to understand the ways in which we were helping kids or thwarting kids from flourishing.” So, why does flourishing matter? “Research shows that flourishing and academic achievement are mutually supporting,” says Dr. Christina Hinton, founder and CEO of RSI and lead education researcher at the Human Flourishing Program. “Kids who are flourishing are also, on average, achieving more.” The RSI study uses quantitative and qualitative research to measure students’ self-reported thriving and their perception of 12 research-based practices that promote flourishing. (Think: wonder, humor, exercise, service, social support, etc.) Christina and her colleague, Ben Hill, presented their findings to Columbus Academy faculty and staff in August. The headline: CA starts from a position of enormous strength.


THRIVE | Columbus Academy Magazine

THRIVE | With Science and Heart Going Deeper: Study Details Last winter, 787 students in grades 4 through 12 answered a 15-minute questionnaire, and they responded to open-ended questions about their experiences at Academy. The study centers on two research questions:

“We found a real culture of kindness in the school.”


To what degree are Columbus Academy students flourishing? How do individual differences impact student flourishing?


Which research-based practices are Columbus Academy using regularly to support students’ flourishing?

~ Dr. Christina Hinton, Founder and CEO, Research Schools International

Columbus Academy teachers and staff are intentional

And now there’s Nelson, Academy’s new community dog. In

about kindness as a value; they promote it in the classroom,

a middle school hallway, two boys approach him slowly. “Can

extracurricular activities and through seemingly small details of

we pet him?” they ask, before patting his head gently. “It’s

daily life.

fascinating to see this community really rally behind having a dog,” says Melissa. “It’s way beyond the casual stuff. It’s

Let’s start with the faculty. “The students talked passionately

about the ease with which you can negotiate care and how

about the ways their teachers really supported them as well

that extends to other human beings.”

as their peers,” says Christina. As one upper school student reported in the survey, “A teacher was kind to me and helped me through a difficult subject that I felt very behind on. It made me feel that they cared about me and my education and wanted to actually see me do well in life.” Kindness is cultivated among students. For example, middleschoolers write thank-you notes and shout-outs to other students and drop them in a box in the hallway. The notes are read aloud at class meetings – and the smiles are huge. Programs like Senior-Kindergarten Buddies, among many others, build important connections across grade levels. “These are things that make it feel like a family and they instantly develop a sense of care, kindness and responsibility toward others in a community,” explains Melissa.


THRIVE | Columbus Academy Magazine

Humor plays a big role in students’ flourishing and success – particularly in forging strong student-faculty bonds and creating resilient, confident learners. “The researchers were surprised by how much our students talked about our teachers’ use of humor,” says Melissa. “When adults feel fully vested in the community, they can be here with a fair amount of ease, and they can be funny in front of the kids.” At Columbus Academy, humor is also a teaching strategy. Katie Castle, a middle school math teacher, often asks students: Who has the best mistake? “They laugh, and they learn it doesn’t mean the world is ending,” she explains. “They made a mistake. That’s okay. What can we learn from it?” That technique builds what the Harvard researchers call “growth“Every day at lunch, my friends and I always do a try-not-to-laugh competition. I always lose, but we enjoy it so much.” ~ middle school student

mindset learners.” It’s the opposite of students believing they’re either good at something or they’re not. “When students have a growth mindset, they achieve more academically, and they’re more resilient in the face of failure,” explains Christina. The goal, she says, is to help students perform at a high level and be robust when encountering new challenges.


THRIVE | Columbus Academy Magazine

THRIVE | With Science and Heart

“What can we do together to further promote flourishing at the school?” ~ Dr. Christina Hinton

“Kids lean on each other. They support each other and know when someone is down – from something as

As strong as Columbus Academy is, the status quo is not good enough. Results from last year’s study are informing small pilot programs that are being initiated this year. “Students are

simple as literally picking up a teammate when they get

giving us advice, and we’re listening. We are working on lots of

knocked down, or an opponent for that matter.”

things,” says Melissa.

~ Head Football Coach Robin Miller

During a workshop in late summer, faculty discussed ideas for new projects that build on existing strengths. One example: the

No question, sports promote mental and physical wellbeing, and students ranked this flourishing element as highly effective at Columbus Academy. “A lot of students found their participation in organized sports highly salient,” says Ben, Christina’s RSI colleague. “They talk about teamwork, productive struggle, resiliency and bonding together as a team.” Robin Miller, Academy’s football coach and a middle school physical education teacher, sees the positive effects of sports all day, every day. “Kids lean on each other,” he says. “They support each other and know when someone is down – from something as simple as literally picking up a teammate when they got knocked down, or an opponent for that matter.” This aspect of flourishing includes not only competitive athletics, but also students’ engagement in exercise and outdoor learning such as Forest Fridays, science walks and environmental writing classes. “One thing that Columbus Academy has as an asset,” Ben says, “is the natural space around the school that students can go out and explore.”


THRIVE | Columbus Academy Magazine

school psychologist is partnering with sixth grade teachers to incorporate research-based topics such as teamwork, gratitude, self-control and curiosity into a class. “It’s about students learning that they can manage their emotions, and they have agency,” Suzanne explains. Melissa describes Columbus Academy as having a long history of being aspiring-oriented, not driven by box-checking. “Our faculty don’t see children as needing to climb ladders. They see them as needing to develop a sense of self and a self-motivated way of looking at the world and what they want to do in it.” n By Melinda Church

“Incredibly Rewarding” Gift Benefits CA Students Class of 1971 Honorary Chair and Fund for Social and Emotional Health IN MEMORY OF BOBBY GREENTREE The loss of a classmate five decades ago spurred an exceptionally generous, and deeply heartfelt, reunion gift from the Class of 1971. Although their class reunion celebration was postponed a year

This past summer, Gerardina Garita was named the

because of the pandemic, initial brainstorming discussions

inaugural Class of 1971 Honorary Chair for Social and

about their gift moved quickly. The Gift Committee – Mike

Emotional Health. An upper school history teacher since

Crane ’71, Jeff Janata ’71, Robert McNamara ’71, John

2010, Gerardina was one of 11 nominees. Her letters of

Phillips ’71 and Bill Williams ’71 – sought to do something

support were filled with accolades, referring to her as an

that would be meaningful for their class and the school.

“unsung hero” for students. “For some kids, she is the most consistent presence at their extracurricular events and

“We knew that we didn’t want to do a plaque or a tree

they love her for it,” wrote one colleague. Another said,

or a bench,” says Mike. “One of our class members said,

“Gerardina makes lasting, meaningful connections

‘I wonder if we could do something in memory of Bobby

with students on a daily basis.”

Greentree.’ We all just stopped and said, ‘Yes, that’s it!’” The Class of 1971’s aspirational goal goes beyond just Bobby died in May of 1971, just before graduation. Class

endowing the honorary chair. Their fund also provides

members went different ways in the summer and then off to

resources for Columbus Academy to invest in student

college but never forgot their former classmate.

programs, research, curricular innovation and professional development/training in this critical area. School leaders are

Committee members discussed their idea with the rest of the

using the funds for several significant multiyear programs,

reunion committee and school leaders: an honorary chair in

including the student flourishing project with Research

Bobby’s honor to recognize faculty and staff members who

Schools International and the Harvard Human Flourishing

go above and beyond to support students’ mental health. The


committee learned about Columbus Academy’s numerous programs to help students develop social and emotional

Mike calls the reunion gift “incredibly rewarding.”

wellbeing. But it’s a topic needing continuous effort.

“Regardless of who your friends are, you have a definite bond with every member of your class,” he

Before the Gift Committee launched their effort, they reached

says. “Losing Bobby had a big impact on all of us.” n

out to Bobby’s siblings to be sure the family supported the concept. The idea also resonated with classmates, who donated nearly $1.2 million to establish the Class of 1971 Honorary Chair and Fund for Social and Emotional Health in Memory of Bobby Greentree.


THRIVE | Columbus Academy Magazine



“Everyone Sees the Entire Kid” WHETHER TEACHING GEOMETRY OR ART, FACULTY CONNECT WITH STUDENTS AND UNLOCK LEARNING “What do you think are common mistakes we might

…a moment of grace for a student

see with problems like this?”

who hasn’t worked through the entire problem.

It’s Monday morning in early fall, and Katie Castle’s eighth grade geometry class is presenting homework on the

After he explains his logic, she

whiteboard. Students write out their solutions and present

says, “I love your reasoning.”

their rationale. They are attentive, earnest, brave. Katie is energized, on her feet, and treats them with kindness and

Walking among the desks, Katie


leads the class through the solution. “Nod if you’re with me.” Then, more compassion for the student at the board: “You

A boy writes his answer on the board. Before Katie opens

did all the hard work. Nicely done.”

up discussion to the class, she says, “I think this one’s tough” and pauses…

Building thriving, resilient, curious young people Now in her 11th year of teaching at Columbus Academy, Katie has a boundless excitement about math. “My goal is to build them up,” she explains. “Math is so creative and collaborative. It’s the stuff your calculator can’t do for you. It’s beauty, patterns, fun.” Her method works. A few years ago, she started an after-school math club for middle school students. What might seem like a risky proposition – stay after school and talk about math! – was a hit. At the first meeting, 40 students showed up; the club now has more than 80 students and requires two teachers. Because he teaches art, David Block is unconstrained by “right” answers. “You can’t make a mistake in art,” he shares with his upper school students. Now being celebrated for his 50th year of teaching at


THRIVE | Columbus Academy Magazine

Columbus Academy, David is quick to give credit to his students and colleagues. “It’s all about the students,” he says. “Everyone sees the entire kid.”

Neither David nor Katie was surprised by the strong results of CA’s flourishing study (see article on page 4). In answering the study’s open-ended questions, students frequently cited their teachers’ caring, humor and passion. “The connection with teachers is so strong. That’s the magic of Columbus Academy,” explains Katie. One major attribute of student flourishing is having a sense of wonder – something David views as intrinsic to art. “Every individual thinks differently,” he says. “Art lets them be who they are, what they think and feel.” Every other year, he and some of his colleagues take students to Chicago for a two-day art trip. Students who’ve participated in the trip often call the experience

A place to devote your career

“transformational.” For the highly motivated teachers who characterize CA, this The schedule is packed. Students participate in workshops at

is an environment that addresses their needs – to challenge

the Lillstreet Art Center, and they visit as many museums as

themselves and grow as educators and to be immersed in a

possible. In the evenings, they attend performances.

supportive community. Here, faculty are given the latitude to innovate and lead.

“We take them on the trip to open up their perspectives,” David says. When they return to campus, students discuss

Katie says she’s thankful for the flexibility to test out new

the experience. He and other faculty members ask students:

ways of teaching. She tried out an idea for a creative way to

“What did you see? What did you learn? How can this affect

teach her sixth-graders statistics and to engage them in the

what you’re doing now?”

broader life of the school in the process.

Deep, lasting connections with students and alumni

A basketball fan, she partnered with the varsity basketball teams, their coaches and her fellow middle school teachers.

One of the advantages of a school with students ranging

She and her class attended games, cheered for the teams,

from 3 years old to grade 12 is the deep sense of community

and kept – and analyzed – statistics. For their language

and enduring relationships that develop over time. Faculty,

arts classes, the sixth-graders interviewed players and

coaches and staff, students and siblings, parents and alumni

wrote profiles about them. “It was kind of a risk,” Katie

– all are part of an extended family that reaches across

says, “but it went great, so we continue to do it.”

generations. For his part, David has been part of significant curricular “We hope that as a community we’re lifting them up,

innovation and expansion over the past half century.

supporting them,” says Katie. She remains in touch with many

When he first joined the faculty, he had 11 students, all

former students, including those who’ve graduated. She

upper school boys.

emails them, and they write her – sometimes to share the joy of earning a perfect score on their first college math test.

Knowing that some students wanted to dig deeper into different art forms, he successfully petitioned the

After five decades, David’s connections with former students

administration. The school soon began offering courses in

are broad and deep. One, who discovered a passion for

sculpture, pottery, photography and drawing, and the team

ceramics while at Academy, writes with occasional updates.

now includes several art teachers with different expertise.

Five years ago, the alumnus sent a photo of a piece he’d made at a local art center. “His experience stayed with him,” says

David talks obliquely about retiring but when asked about

David. “That’s the kind of thing I like.”

timing, he demurs. “One year at a time,” he says. “Academy draws you in. It’s a place to be that makes me fulfilled, and I hope I’m doing the same for kids.” n


THRIVE | Columbus Academy Magazine




Campus Highlights INTHENEWS


National Academic Honors for 22 Seniors In this year’s senior class at Columbus Academy, 22 individuals have been awarded national academic honors as National Merit Semifinalists, Commended Students or College Board Recognition Program Scholars. As announced earlier this fall, Irena Alahakoon, Sean Jackson, Jim Phieffer, Grace Philip, Mitch Rogers, Carey Yi and Abbey Zhao are among more than 16,000 National Merit Semifinalists who have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,140 National Merit Scholarships worth nearly $28 million that will be offered in the spring. Joining them as 2024 National Merit honorees are Annika Baking,

Earning national academic honors this fall were seniors (clockwise from upper left) Stavros Maish, Charlie Stoughton, Carey Yi, Henry Wood, Jim Phieffer, Mitch Rogers, Eliora Teferi, Edison Lin, Peter Tsung, Sean Jackson, Alaina West, Irena Alahakoon, Annika Baking, Joseph Sardo, Zoya Arnold, Akshaj Jagarapu, Abbey Zhao, Morgan Richards, Tanner Shah, Grace Philip and Ceci Reitter (not pictured: Will Zumberge).

Akshaj Jagarapu, Edison Lin, Stavros Maish, Joseph Sardo, Tanner Shah, Charlie Stoughton, Peter Tsung, Henry Wood and Will Zumberge. These Commended Students are recognized for exceptional academic promise after placing among the top 3 percent of all seniors who took last year’s PSAT. Also, five students – Zoya Arnold, Ceci Reitter, Morgan Richards, Eliora Teferi and Alaina West – are College Board Recognition Program Scholars for their strong academic performance in the classroom and potential for success in rigorous college studies based on their PSAT results. According to Head of School Melissa Soderberg, “If you knew each one of these students like our teachers do, you would understand how proud Columbus Academy is to have these wonderful citizens and scholars in our midst.”

Class of 2023 Celebrated at 110th Commencement On a cool morning under overcast skies on June 5, Columbus Academy graduated its Class of 2023 during the school’s 110th Commencement. Head of School Melissa Soderberg welcomed the audience with a story about a groundbreaking study on what constitutes a “good life.” She shared that in the results, one predictor stood out categorically: that happiness and health are inextricably mixed with good relationships.

“The study shows that close relationships are so protective for our bodies as they can actually prevent disease,” Soderberg stated, “but they are also protective of the brain

because if you feel you have people in your corner – no matter how hard things get – you are likely to survive through life’s inevitable ups and downs regardless of your earnings, your genes or your sense of achievement.” “In many ways, you have been raised by this community,” she added later.


THRIVE | Columbus Academy Magazine

“Don’t let your sense of ambition cloud how to live the rest of your life in the best ways.”

In her Commencement Address, Sarah Milks Bethel ’98 shared three pieces of advice with her new fellow alumni. “Regardless

of what path you choose, I’m going to implore you to have a sense of humor about yourself, I want you to be fearless about asking for help, and I want you to become great at saying thank you. I believe with this, you can navigate all the speed bumps you’ll have for the rest of your life.” Just prior to the Commencement Address, Alicia Deng ’23 delivered the Valedictory Address as this year’s recipient of the Andrew William Cary Cup. “Like the teachers who have taught

you during your time at Academy, I have full faith that all of us will discover our own passions, successes and joys,” she told the Class of 2023. “Do not wait for happiness, find it. And if you cannot find it, create it.” In her welcome, senior class president Megan Klingerman ’23 remembered a former Academy student who passed away in the summer of 2016. “Our hearts are also filled with thoughts for

Columbus Academy’s Class of 2023 matriculated to 60 different colleges and universities in 25 different states plus the District of Columbia and Canada.

beloved classmate Louie Becker, who left us at such a young age. Though his presence is deeply missed, his memory will remind us of the preciousness of life as we walk across the stage today.”

Grace Gordon Named State’s Environmental Educator of the Year Grace Gordon, who has been teaching in Columbus Academy’s Explorers Program since it was founded in 2018, was recently named Ohio Teacher of the Year for Environmental Education in a Classroom by the Environmental Education Council of Ohio. She was honored alongside her twin sister Mary, who won the equivalent award for teaching outside the classroom.

“I am passionate about getting children outside, and it felt amazing to be recognized in the field of environmental education,” Grace stated. “The night was made even more special because my twin sister won the same award for her work in informal education (i.e., nature centers). On top of that, my amazing Explorer teammates and my family surprised me at the ceremony. Sharing the evening with everyone was an incredible gift!” Explorer teacher Grace Gordon (center) with lower school colleagues after being named the state’s environmental educator of the year.

Grace and Mary are the daughters of Academy alumnus Chip Gordon ’68, and their great-great-grandfather Foster Copeland was one of Columbus Academy’s founders and the school’s first board president.


THRIVE | Columbus Academy Magazine

THRIVE | Highlights


Farewell to Longtime Faculty Members At the end of last school year, Academy celebrated 16 educators who were leaving its faculty and staff: Lloyd Cicetti (32 years at CA), Joel Davis (27), Stacy Nockowitz (20), Peggy Sutton (20), Scott Dillon (19), Laura Miller (16), Joan Young (13), Shaun Ditty (7), Rachael Gorsuch (7), Ann McCabe (4), Susan Brookhart (3), Chris Luzniak (2), Gabriel Paynter (2), Kathy Harrison (1), Molly Lausch (1) and Anna Shuff ’18 (1). In the closing weeks, students in Joel’s advisory led him to the dining hall where his upper school colleagues and the entire Class of 2024 surprised him with well wishes for retirement. Many were wearing a special t-shirt designed by Alicia Deng ’23 depicting Joel collecting specimens in a creek while holding a basketball and with ducklings following him. The shirts were printed by Homage, the vintage clothing store

Special chairs were gifted to four faculty members – (from left) Lloyd Cicetti, Joel Davis, Stacy Nockowitz and Peggy Sutton – who retired after at least two decades of service to Academy.

founded by Academy alumnus Ryan Vesler ’01, who was a former student of Joel’s.

Robotics Club Excels in National Challenge At the 2023 National Robotics Challenge, Columbus Academy’s Robotics Club placed second in the Micro Mouse Competition, captured both second and third in Combat Robot (3-pound class) and earned third place in Robo Hockey, which also yielded the Honda Innovation Award for just the second time in Academy Robotics Club history. According to club advisor and upper school science teacher Tom DeVore, the field of very competitive teams included students from middle schools, high schools and colleges across the country, Puerto Rico and three other countries outside the United States. He also noted that team members Saagar Arya ’23 and Jim Phieffer ’24 won the most individual awards in club history while leading the squad to these impressive results.


Robotics Club members Caroline Calodney ’24 (left) and Sydney Fortney ’24 at the National Robotics Challenge.

THRIVE | Columbus Academy Magazine

David Block Delivers Cum Laude Address at Honors Assembly In late May, year-end awards were distributed at Honors Assembly where longtime art teacher David Block delivered the Cum Laude Address. “To the Class of 2023, on behalf of your faculty,

coaches and staff throughout your formative years, our devotion to your development as a student and an individual will never end,” David said. “Needless to say, there have been periods of challenging times and stress during your upper school years, but you have answered them with numerous displays of strength, stamina and success. You have performed with determination and brilliance.” Recipients of the school’s most distinguished honors were Grace Luo ’23 (Hamill Award), Alicia Deng ’23 (Andrew William Cary Cup), Emily Motta ’23 (Faculty Prize) and Cory Wu ’23 (Alumni Cup). At the Middle School Awards Assembly, faculty members from each department recognized students for their achievements in fine art, performing arts (band, choir, orchestra and theatre) and technology, as well as core curricular classes in language arts, math, PE, social studies, science and world languages (Chinese, Latin and Spanish). Two special honorees were also brought to the stage as Max Berry ’27 received the Frank B. Rasor II Cup and Billy Griffith ’27 accepted the Robert Smith Character Award.

At the conclusion of his 49th year of teaching art at Academy, David Block delivered last spring’s Cum Laude Addreess.

Academy Math Teachers Earn Accolades Emily Dennett, Ph.D., and Kimberly Reiner were recently recognized as 2023 Ohio Council of Teachers of Mathematics Buck Martin High School Award recipients. Each year, OCTM honors the state’s most outstanding math teachers, and previous honorees include their Academy colleagues Chris Bolognese and Katie Castle. In her first year of guiding the school’s speech and debate team, Kimberly also was recognized as the Western Ohio New Coach of the Year by the National Speech & Debate Association. As a group, the team competed across five different states outside of Ohio in 16 Emily Dennett, Ph.D., (left) and Kimberly Reiner were recognized as recipients of the Buck Martin High School Award at the 73rd Annual OCTM Conference in October.

different events. Some highlights from the season included earning National Charter status, winning over 150 awards in 2022-23 which qualified for top-10% in the nation as a team, being named Best Novice Team in the Western District, receiving the Leading Chapter Award, 54 students being named to the Speech & Debate Honor Society and seven earning the national association’s Speaking and Service Award.


THRIVE | Columbus Academy Magazine

THRIVE | Highlights ALUMNI

Scott Neal and Dr. Michael Hallet ’70 Honored at Holiday Luncheon At the Holiday Luncheon last December, the Columbus Academy Alumni Association honored retired art teacher Scott Neal with the 2022 Alumni Service Award and Dr. Michael Hallet ’70 accepted the 2022 Distinguished Alumnus Award, the highest honor given to an alumnus/a in recognition of outstanding achievement in community or profession and loyalty to the school. At the end of his acceptance speech, Scott stated: “I enjoyed

driving up the long driveway each day of my 40 years at

Head of School Melissa Soderberg and Alumni Board President Dr. Scott Gurwin ’82 presented Dr. Michael Hallet ’70 with the Distinguished Alumnus Award and Scott Neal with the Alumni Service Award at last year’s Holiday Luncheon.

Columbus Academy, and I relished all the opportunities I had teaching many fine students. Headmaster John Mackenzie once said that teaching was accomplished by conveying information through one’s personality. I hope my former students knew that I cared about them not only as students but as people.” Dr. Hallet also remarked in his speech that: “I’m not sure how

deserving I am to receive this award as of December 2022, but I promise to earn this honor from this time forth and live my life so that anybody who checks the list of winners in the future might say ‘He sure wasn’t much of an athlete but he honored the school and did really earn this award.’ I never strove for this recognition but will strive to be worthy of it.”

Sammy Levy ’01 Accepts Young Alumni Award and Hosts Networking Panel Last spring, Sammy Levy ’01 accepted Columbus Academy’s 2023 Young Alumni Award in front of his family – who flew in from Paris, where he resides – parents, classmates, friends and former teachers. The healthcare entrepreneur, physician and private equity investor was grateful to receive the award after being introduced by Mandy Mallott ’03, president of the Columbus Academy Alumni Board. “Coming back to Columbus Academy and

spending time with this group reminds me that many of my core values were forged here,” Sammy said in his acceptance speech. “This is a truly great educational institution. It is

truly exceptional. I’ve had a chance in my life to attend a few great educational institutions, but for me this one was as formative as any others. This school gives students the opportunity to be ambitious in many domains, whether that’s sports, theatre, music, religious observance – Academy is an incredible platform to pursue excellence in a broad variety of ambitions.” Following the ceremony, he joined fellow Academy graduates Kathleen Brumm Davenport ’01, Ph.D. (Senior Director of New Product Planning at Surface Oncology, Inc.) and Vince Panzano ’00, Ph.D. (Senior Manager, Scientific and Competitive Analysis at Takeda Oncology) for an interactive discussion on Innovations in Healthcare that was moderated by Mandy. The group touched on Director of Alumni Relations Michael Haddock (far left) introduces the Innovations in Healthcare (from left) moderator Mandy Mallott ’03, 2023 Young Alumni Award recipient Sammy Levy ’01 and fellow panelists Kathleen Brumm Davenport ’01 and Vince Panzano ’00.

topics ranging from new technology being used in healthcare to navigating partnerships with colleagues/organizations in the field to advice for pursuing a career in medicine, even sharing some of their favorite Academy memories.

Trio Inducted into Athletic Hall of Fame “I can tell you that my successful careers at both Princeton and at Harvard Business School were possible and were enhanced by my total experience at the Columbus Academy,” stated Phil Carlin ’58 when he became the 46th inductee into the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame last December. “Anything I achieved in undergraduate and graduate

school was significantly due to the foundation provided by my Academy education and experiences, so thank you Academy for what you’ve given to me.” Andrew Dunn ’02 and Bob Kirk ’67 were able to join him in September when they were inducted during Alumni Weekend festivities.

“High school sports aren’t only about winning games or breaking records,” stated Andrew in his acceptance speech. “To me, they are

Phil Carlin ’58 (left) poses with Alumni Board President Dr. Scott Gurwin ’82 at last December’s Athletic Hall of Fame induction.

about personal growth, character development, learning about resilience and hardships. Columbus Academy stands for those same things and then some. Academy made me the person I am. It’s an honor to be able to see my kids attend this wonderful school, and I’m sure Academy will do for them what it did for me.” “(Coach Kirk) taught us to have a belief in ourself and others,” stated Jon Michael Hilsheimer ’12 in his introduction of Bob. “He taught us

to trust our teammates. He would coach us through stories of past Academy athletes, and he connected us to something bigger than ourselves.” During his acceptance speech, Bob shared several memories that stood out to him and concluded with “I thank the people who

supported me and didn’t doubt me and knew that I was good for something.”

Bob Kirk ’67 and Andrew Dunn ’02 stand alongside Head of School Melissa Soderberg and Director of Athletics Jason Singleton while being honored at halftime of a Vikings football game.


THRIVE | Columbus Academy Magazine

THRIVE | Highlights “Mr. Blob” by Alivia Schultz ’24 won a national gold medal.


THRIVE | Columbus Academy Magazine


Upper-Schoolers Win National Awards Alivia Schultz ’24 (art) and Max Zhang ’23 (writing) earned national recognition in the 2023 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. Alivia won a national gold medal for her ceramics work “Mr. Blob” after collecting a gold key at the regional competition. Max earned a silver medal for his short story “Closing Eyes” after being awarded a silver key and gold key in two separate writing categories at regionals. Both students were invited to the national ceremony at New York City’s Carnegie Hall in June. Also, three students – Cat Gerst ‘23, Katie Wu ‘23 and Ella Lowrie ‘24 – had works selected for the National K-12 Ceramic Exhibition, which is designed to showcase the best student ceramic work made in the country. The exhibition takes place in a different city each year in conjunction with the annual conference of The National Council on Education for the

“Sunday Morning Donuts” by Cat Gerst ‘23 earned the Laguna Merit Cash Award at the 2023 National K-12 Ceramic Exhibition.

Ceramic Arts (NCECA).

Scott Dillon Directs Final Fall Play The classic play “Little Women” graced the stage inside Schoedinger Theatre last November as longtime Technical Theatre Director Scott Dillon, better known to many in our community as “Dill,” directed his final performance after announcing his retirement at the start of the school year. The impressive cast and crew told the story of the four March sisters as they grew up, found love and discovered their places in the world during the height of the Civil War. After the group’s final performance, they invited Dill out front and center to receive kind words and his due recognition for 19 years of service to Columbus Academy. He also built impressive sets for the middle school production of “Aladdin Jr.” and the upper school’s musical “Something Rotten” later in the school year.

Scott Dillon (center) surrounded by the cast and crew of “Little Women” last fall.


THRIVE | Columbus Academy Magazine


Grace Luo Named Top Female Scholar-Athlete Grace Luo ’23 was named the Top Female Scholar-Athlete at the Central Ohio High School Sports Awards Show in June. Grace, who helped lead our varsity girls golf team to the program’s first-ever team state championship last fall, received the award from two-time Heisman trophy winner Archie Griffin. This top scholarship of $7,000 was part of $63,000 awarded by Encova Insurance and the Warren B. Sneed Memorial Scholarship for “students’ accomplishments in

the classroom and on the field of play, and as leaders in their school and community.” A four-time district qualifier in golf, Grace finished eighth at the state tournament individually as the Vikes won the title by 23 shots. Grace has been just as impressive off the course, finishing her prep career with a 4.62 GPA and a perfect score of 36 on the ACT. She is studying computer science at Stanford University this fall.

Two-time Heisman Trophy winner Archie Griffin presented Grace Luo ’23 with the Top Female Scholar-Athlete Award.

Eight Student-Athletes Sign to Play Collegiate Sports Academy’s Class of 2023 saw eight of its members sign to play collegiate sports over the course of the 2022-23 school year including Harold Hacker (rugby at the University of Tennessee), Charlie Heywood (basketball at Kenyon College), Jonathon Hammond (cross country/track & field at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology), EJ Jenkins (football at Washington University in St. Louis), Maren Lawrence (field hockey at Kenyon College), Dylan Ritzenthaler (baseball at Kenyon College), Sofia Slootsky (lacrosse at Saint Joseph’s University) and Gabe Eribo (track and field at the University of Chicago), who also received a $500 scholarship as the 2023 Wayne Roller Scholar Athlete for the Mid-State League’s Ohio In 2022-23, (clockwise of top left) Harold Hacker, Gabe Eribo, Charlie Heywood, Dylan Ritzenthaler, Jonathon Hammond, Maren Lawrence, Sofia Slootsky and EJ Jenkins made the commitment to pursue athletic careers on the collegiate level.


THRIVE | Columbus Academy Magazine


Life-Saving Heroics Highlighted Winter Sports Season Led by MSL-Ohio Co-Swimmers of the Year Andew Huang and Gavin Lewis, our AquaVike boys won their 15th league title and placed third at the state meet, tying the best finish in program history (also achieved in 2017 and 2018). Our girls, meanwhile, were led by MSL-Ohio Diver of the Year Elle Vahedian and the 200 free relay squad of Maddie Esposito, Ella Lowrie, Rene Fleege and Olivia Lewis that finished 11th in the state. In wrestling, Ceci Reitter and Nina Kim both qualified for the inaugural OHSAA Girls State Championship, where Ceci placed fourth in the state after winning a regional title. On the hardwood, Theo Falkenhain and MJ Jackson earned All-Ohio recognition as our boys shared a league title and were district runners-up with a 23-3 record while our young girls squad managed season sweeps of Wellington and Whitehall for their league victories. Columbus Hockey Conference All-Star AJ Bradley led our ice hockey squad, and our bowling teams were paced by all-league performers Tori Raiken, Jacob Mowery, Adi Sadana, Colin Harrison and Craig Edson. The highlight of the winter, however, occurred near the end of a seventh grade girls basketball game when referee Richard Roll collapsed on the court and was almost immediately attended to by members of Academy’s security and athletic department staff as

With members of his family and the media watching, Richard Roll (center) returned to the court where he collapsed during a sudden cardiac arrest to thank the Academy staff members and medical personnel who saved his life.

well as medical professionals who happened to be in the stands. Thankfully, our campus is equipped with 10 AED stations (with more on the way) and one was quickly brought to help with the resuscitation of this individual, who recovered at home and then visited two months later to thank our staff and others who helped save his life, which included Safety and Security Coordinator Ralen Cleveland, Head Athletic Trainer Jake Devlin, NCH Outreach Athletic Trainer Casey Lober, Director of Athletics Jason Singleton, Strength and Conditioning Coach Shelby Reichle, PE teacher and coach Claire Thompson and Academy parent Dr. Ritu Bakhru.

Vikings Claimed Numerous Spring Sports Titles In addition to our boys tennis team winning league and district championships on the way to finishing third in the state, a share of an MSL-Ohio title was garnered by our girls lacrosse squad, district crowns were earned by our baseball and girls track and field programs, and a Division IV state championship was claimed by our middle school boys lacrosse team last spring. It marked our third MS boys lacrosse state title and just the second district championship in girls track – matching the 2012 squad – as well as the eighth for baseball, which last reached regionals in 2018. All-Ohio recognition was earned by Dominic Dunkle and Theo Falkenhain in baseball, Alli Klinefelter in track for finishing fourth at the state meet in the high jump, Lucas Xue (singles), Rowen Lo and Nason Lo (doubles) in tennis, and Parker Knapp in lacrosse where his goalkeeping skills helped our boys squad beat Division I foes Pickerington North and Gahanna-Lincoln in addition to archrival Bexley. Also of note in track, our boys 4x200 relay team of Gabe Eribo, Charlie Brigdon, Carson James and EJ Jenkins were league runners-up, and our girls broke school records in the 300 hurdles (47.92 by Zoya Arnold) and 4x100 relay (51.82 by Irena

Our middle school boys claimed the school’s third state title in lacrosse since starting the program in 2011.

Alahakoon, Mila Balaloski, Caitlynn Hinds and Alli Klinefelter).


THRIVE | Columbus Academy Magazine


Academy Embraces a Community Dog The most popular new face on Columbus Academy’s campus this school year is the community dog Nelson, whose name pays tribute to the school’s original campus on Nelson Road. “The presence

of a dog can have a tremendously positive impact on the well-being of all members of the community” stated Head of School Melissa Soderberg. “Benefits for schools include

inspiring academic motivation at times when students feel low, reducing stress and strengthening camaraderie, school spirit and support for the ongoing development of social and emotional skills at all grade levels.” You can follow Nelson’s adventures on Instagram @nelsonthecommunitydog.

Nelson holding a stuffed lion in his mouth during the week of our football team’s game against Bexley, which the Vikings won 35-13 for the seventh-consecutive victory over their archrivals.

Mark Daubenmier Returns for Currier Lecture Series Columbus Academy’s Upper School recently welcomed back Mark Daubenmier as the 2023 Currier Lecture speaker. Mark joined Academy’s faculty as a math teacher in 1994 and founded our heralded computer science program shortly thereafter. In 2012, he moved his family to Africa to teach at Rift Valley Academy, where he soon became involved in an organization called Kenya Kids Can, which provides lunches and computer classes to students at rural schools. In his presentation, Mark shared his gratitude toward and admiration for the late Phil Currier, the former upper school head for whom the Currier Lecture Series honors. He also provided our upper-schoolers with a glimpse of what it is like to grow up in Kenya by sharing stories of students there while displaying photos and videos from the remote schools he visits.

“We are trying to do something big… through local, public Kenyan schools,” Mark said about Kenya Kids Can. “We help meet a low-level need of school lunches, and we help meet a high-level need of a computer education. Food is incredibly powerful in a school because once food comes to a school, Columbus Academy welcomed back former faculty member Mark Daubenmier as the 2023 Currier Lecture Series guest speaker.


THRIVE | Columbus Academy Magazine

it’s amazing the changes that happen. It draws kids to school, it keeps them in school and – as the Kenyan teachers say – it gives them energy to take their lessons so they can learn more.”

Successful First Year for Mountain Bike Club Last fall, 10 parent volunteer coaches and two staff members – Director of Technology Brent Halsey ’02 and Explorers teacher Grace Gordon – successfully started a Mountain Bike Club for Academy middle-schoolers. A total of 14 riders across grades 6-8 joined the team, and 11 of them competed against other students from schools across the state in the Ohio Mountain Bike League. The Vikings earned 10 podium finishes in five different races including one first-place finish, four seconds, two thirds, one fourth and a pair of fifths. The team also enjoyed two in-state campouts at Paint Creek State Park in Bainbridge and Camp Tuscazoar in Dover.

Members and coaches of the inaugural Academy mountain bike team celebrated a successful first race.

“The Mountain Bike Club’s first season was a huge success,” said Kevin Malhame, one of the team’s lead coaches alongside his wife Katy Malhame. “The practices and races were challenging and fun for riders of every skill level. It felt like an athletic team and an outdoor adventure combined. Most importantly, we were out in nature laughing and learning all autumn long.” The squad is off to a strong start this school year as well with over 20 competitors and numerous medals already won!

Chinese Embassy Officials Visit Campus In May, Columbus Academy hosted representatives from the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China including Minister Jing Quan, who is one of the highest-ranking Chinese government officials in the United States. According to middle school Chinese teacher Na Li, Minister Jing wanted to meet Academy students, who regularly excel in national Chinese speech and essay contests. “The

exceptional performance of our students in various national Chinese competitions has left a remarkable impression on the officials,” stated Na. “This event presented a great opportunity for our students to interact with the officials, exchange experiences and insights on Chinese language and culture, and gain valuable information about potential scholarships for studying in China during future summers.” After a brief welcome from Academy Head of School Melissa Soderberg and her leadership team, Minister Jing spent time with students in the Chinese language program, watched several performances and even joined them in the singing of a popular Chinese song. Then they all enjoyed lemonade and cupcakes followed by a tour of the school. Academy began offering Chinese Minister Jing Quan (center) and Na Li (far right) posed with Academy students who had excelled in recent Chinese writing and speaking contests.

language study in 1997 – many years before it became a popular educational trend – and CA’s program has since been emulated by numerous other schools. Prior to the pandemic, Academy frequently participated in cultural exchange programs. In 2019 alone, CA’s campus hosted a large group of students and teachers from Shanghai for a day, sponsored a teaching workshop for 62 Chinese educators from eight states, and Na was invited to showcase Academy’s Chinese program curriculum during a Chinese Language Day celebration at the United Nations headquarters in New York City.


THRIVE | Columbus Academy Magazine



Ask a few members of the Class of 2024 to describe their Columbus Academy experience, and you’ll likely hear stories with unique paths and details but similar contours. What is constant is this: deep bonds with classmates, teachers who care about students’ learning and about them as individuals, and gratitude for the opportunities Academy has provided them. Here are brief stories of three student leaders.

Savvy Seniors


Arya Chabria ’24 When Arya joined Columbus Academy in ninth grade, this became the fifth school she’s attended. A serious student and athlete, she sought – and found – a wide variety of courses, activities and people. This year’s captain of the varsity girls tennis team, she shares an anecdote about a big loss on the courts – one that had an even bigger, positive impact. As a freshman, she was playing in her last singles match at the state tournament. She focused and gave it her all but lost. Knowing that the loss was not only hers but also her team’s, she cried. Her team’s response meant everything: “My teammates came up to me and gave me a big hug and told me it was okay.” Arya’s desire to help others makes her a natural leader of the school’s Service Board. The group’s 140 upper school student members host events to help Academy students bond and to connect them with the broader Columbus community – from leading food and blood drives to serving dinner each month at Faith Mission, a shelter for homeless. There’s more: as a sophomore, she founded the Columbus chapter of ACEing Autism, a nationwide nonprofit that helps children on the autism spectrum to grow and develop social connections through tennis. What’s next? Arya is considering majoring in biology and hoping to play Division I tennis.

Ceci Reitter ’24 At first, Ceci’s easy laugh is tough to square with her famous competitive drive on the wrestling mat. And then there’s her love of Latin. And her service as co-president of United

Mikey Jauchius ’24 A student at Academy for over a decade, Mikey long had his sights set on serving as Student Council President, an honor he now shares with Angela Hu ’24. His interest was sparked at a Convocation ceremony many years ago. As he says, “I remember sitting there and thinking, ‘I want to be that person giving the speech.’” Mikey’s remarks to the student body at Convocation this August help to paint a rounded picture of him – and illustrate his values and those of the school. An excerpt: “Remember: be kind. Being kind does not take much, but it makes an impact on the people around you. Be open to new challenges. Each year in school presents you with new challenges, whether it is academic, artistic or athletic. Don’t be afraid to try something new and to step out of your comfort zone.” Last year, he lived his own advice and created the Shipmates mentorship program. Shipmates connects lower-schoolers with upper school students, who lead classroom activities each month. Some of his football teammates were the first to volunteer. They bring the team rules with them: “Play right, act right, and never let your teammates down.” Now, in the middle of college applications, he is quick to credit the school with easing the process. “Thankfully, we have some of the best college counselors in the country.”

CA, the board that coordinates student affinity groups. Let’s start with her laughter, which is at herself. It comes as she recounts playing the “world peace game” in fifth grade. “It was a multi-day simulation,” Ceci explains. “I got to be the prime minister of a country that started with the most money but ended with the least, so maybe I wasn’t very good at it!” Now for her wrestling, which has generated a large fanbase at Columbus Academy. She started in seventh grade when girls wrestling was relatively rare. “Back in Middle School, I was wrestling boys,” she says. “Now I mostly wrestle with girls.” She traces her fierce competitive spirit to a Jujitsu tournament she competed in when she was 10. “I lost every single match, and I thought ‘I don’t like feeling like this. I want to win.’” At last year’s state wrestling tournament – the first officially sanctioned for girls – Ceci placed fourth in her weight division. This fall, she is focusing her college applications on East Coast schools near her extended family. “I’m very grateful to the school for everything it’s done for me. It’s prepared me well.”


THRIVE | Columbus Academy Magazine



A life shaped by Columbus Academy GEORGIATUCKERMAN2018 From age 5 to 18, I grew up at Columbus Academy. For this experience, I am a better learner, worker, sister, friend and person. My last day of senior year at Academy, tears rolled down my face as I said farewell to my classmates. I shared the halls with my siblings and cousins. I felt protected and insulated within CA’s walls from the chaotic “real” world. I didn’t realize, however, that Academy prepared me to take on the next chapter of my life. When I arrived to Claremont McKenna College, my classmates stressed over their classes and questioned how they could possibly get their assignments done. Meanwhile, I was already a pro at time management. At CA, I woke up before school to attend my beloved journalism class with Ms. Hogan, took on the school day and played tennis into the night, just in time to start my homework. Balancing college tennis and classes felt like a breeze in comparison, and it was a blast, too. I just finished my first year in the “real” world, working as an investigative specialist at the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia. I carry the discipline and morals instilled in me at Academy into the office everyday – and will do anything I possibly can to support my clients. CA encouraged me to dream big and work hard, but it also gave my classmates and me the care and nurturing we needed to endure our growing pains. Teachers always had my back, whether it was with extra help on homework, friendship advice or an extra boost of confidence when I needed it most. And even though sports and college applications felt competitive at times, there was mutual support between my classmates and me. We all cheered on each other. Academy pushes students to pursue lofty goals, but with the supportive environment every child deserves. I imagine there are very few places in the world like it. I feel forever blessed to be shaped by Columbus Academy and its community.


THRIVE | Columbus Academy Magazine


Q&A ASHAREDPASSION FORHISTORY HENRY WOOD ’24 INTERVIEWS HIS FORMER SIXTH GRADE HISTORY TEACHER MATT CARTER ’00 What was your Junior Speech about? Was there a moment when you decided to teach history? I think the seed was planted when I did my senior project. I shadowed teachers in the Lower School. I taught sixth grade social studies with Mr. Mitchell, and we were covering the Middle Ages. My lesson probably wasn’t the best, but I really enjoyed answering questions from kids and seeing their excitement. In college, I majored in history. After I graduated, I got a call from Mr. Mackenzie [the head of school]. He said, “I understand you’ve graduated and are possibly interested in teaching. Have you ever thought about Columbus Academy?” I haven’t looked back since. Your sixth grade ancient history curriculum is famous among students. How did you create it? When I was hired, I was given one binder with a curriculum and a lot of pages missing. Mr. Mackenzie said, “Feel free to re-do this. I trust you.” I wanted to make ancient history come alive. How do I make ancient civilizations interesting and relevant for 11- and 12-year-olds? It took some time to come up with projects and assignments they would enjoy while learning something along the way.

My junior speech was pretty serious. My father passed away when I was five months old. I talked about what it was like growing up without a father, about things that most people likely overlook. We used to have a father-son picnic when the school was all boys. I was the only kid in the Lower School who didn’t have a dad. So I enlisted some high school seniors to step in for me at the picnic and to compete with me in the field events, and we ended up winning some of them. This year, you’ve moved to teaching in the Upper School. What has that transition been like? The transition has been phenomenal. It has been refreshing to see former students I had. It’s been kind of an out-of-body experience because they’ve grown a foot and matured. That’s been very fun and interesting. The upper school faculty has been beyond welcoming. It was something I was eagerly looking forward to and a tad nervous about, but it’s been great.





Alumni updates & Happenings THE 40s

THE 30s

Dr. Bob Turton ’47 is residing in Wilmington, North Carolina, with Earlier this year, the remains of U.S. Army Air Forces 1st Lt. George Winger ’36 were identified by scientists using forensic

been curtailed.

THE 60s

or “Fuzzy” as he was known by his

Don Casto ’62, partner at Casto, was named to the Columbus

classmates, died on August 1, 1943, while fighting in the European arena of World War II. According to a

Lt. George Winger ’36

The couple’s Caribbean winters, after many decades, have finally

analyze mitochondrial DNA. George,

anthropological techniques to

September story in The Columbus

U.S. Army Air Forces 1st

his wife Donna and is still practicing psychiatry several days per week.

Dispatch, his remains were not able to be identified after the war and were

buried as unknown at the Civilian and Military Cemetery of Bolovan, Ploiesti, Prahova, Romania in the Hero Section. After the war, remains at that cemetery were disinterred in hopes of being able to identify them. More than 80 people were still unable to be identified, and those remains were reburied at Ardennes American Cemetery

Business First “Power 100: People to Know in Central Ohio” list for 2023. He has been leading Casto real estate since 1971, and today the company develops and manages commercial, industrial and residential real estate in Columbus, across Ohio and in several other states. An article in the Columbus Jewish News last spring quoted Fred Summer ’64 and Jonathan Schwartz ’95, and highlighted members of the Lazarus Family who contributed greatly to the original construction of Ohio Stadium.

and Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery in Belgium. George’s name was listed at the Tables of the Missing at the Florence American Cemetery site in Impruneta, Italy, along with others who remain missing from World War II. A rosette will now be placed by his name to indicate that he has been accounted for and his remains identified, and he will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery on a date that will be determined later.


THRIVE | Columbus Academy Magazine

Chip Gordon ’68 (center) with members of Academy’s Writing in the Market class

Last winter, Chip Gordon ’68 visited campus to meet members of the Upper School’s Writing in the Market class. As owner of Whit’s Frozen Custard in Gahanna, Chip watched presentations by Academy students about how to more effectively advertise and promote his business. Local author Jim Leeke ’68 was quoted multiple times in a Columbus Dispatch article on the “Truculent Turtle,” a Navy Lockheed P2V Neptune twin-engine patrol bomber that landed at Port Columbus airport in 1946 after flying 11,236 miles nonstop from Australia. Jim’s book – “The Turtle and the Dreamboat: The Cold War Flights That Forever Changed the Course of Global Aviation” – tells the story of the flight.

THE 70s

Rob Ackerman ’76 (far left) celebrating awards at the Berkeley Springs Film Festival

After serving in 2022 as

Coach Jim Stahl (center) with Jake Will ’72 and Tom Hadley ’71

president of the Ohio Chapter

“Stargazer” – a film written and produced by Rob Ackerman ’76

of the American Board of

– made its Ohio debut on April 30 in front of a sold-out crowd at

Trial Advocates (ABOTA),

Drexel Theatre in Bexley. The movie tells the story of Cecilia Payne,

John Alton ’70 was elected

a forgotten genius of science, and has already won multiple awards

as membership chair of

at film festivals. According to Rob, “My Academy classmate Henry

ABOTA’s Ohio Chapter in

Hauser ’76 and his kids Willy ’11 and Sally were essential to the


production. And our lead Matt Bogart is a fellow Buckeye who

Members of the Class of 1971 and 1972 took legendary

Academy baseball coach and PE teacher Jim Stahl out for lunch at the Gahanna Grill last December. Those in attendance included Tom Hadley ’71, Anthony Gurvis ’71, Barth Kallmerten ’71, Dusty McCreary ’71, Kevin Kurgis ’72 and Jake Will ’72.

graduated from Cincinnati Conservatory and went on to become a Broadway star in Jersey Boys.” The film won five awards – including Best Feature – at the Berkeley Springs Film Festival in West Virginia while also making stops at the Big Apple Film Festival in New York City and the New Jersey International Film Festival among many others. The fall/winter newsletter

Jeff Brown ’72, local zoning attorney and partner at Smith & Hale

for the Western Neurological

LLC, was quoted in a Columbus Dispatch article in April speaking

Society announced Dr. Jay K.

to the identification of corridors for vertical expansion after years of

Morgan ’76, neurosurgeon

representing developers before Columbus City Council.

and managing partner of Sierra Neurosurgery Group,

Dr. Larry Turton ’72 is now an assistant professor of emergency

as its new president after he

medicine at the Ohio State Emergency Medicine Program. “Perhaps a

has served as a member since

step closer to finally retiring,” Dr. Turton wrote to the school, “yet still

1988 and was vice president

enjoying the challenges of the emergency room.” Scott Lawrence ’75 is the executive project manager of healthcare operations for Faithful+Gould and is the onsite project manager for

in 2019. Dr. Jay K. Morgan ’76

the $62 million initial outfitting project for the U.S. Army hospital under construction at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.


THRIVE | Columbus Academy Magazine

THRIVE | CA Alumni THE 80s

Kyle Katz ’80, owner of Katz Development, was named to the

Andy Buchanan ’84, director of public affairs for the Chicago

Columbus Business First “Power 100: People to Know in Central

Department of Public Health, was quoted in an online article by NPR

Ohio” list for 2023. In addition to being a partner in the Steelton

affiliate WBEZ Chicago on the city’s public health commissioner.

Village mixed-use development expected to bring 400,000 square feet of commercial space and 1,000 apartments to Columbus’ south

Andrew Romanoff ’84 married Nicole Flores on August 7, 2022,

side, he’s also behind the Versa coworking brand.

at a small ceremony in San Francisco also attended by Col. Darwyn Banks ’83 and Dr. Ramu Yeleti ’85. The couple resides in

An article in the Newark Advocate

Glenwood Springs, Colorado.

featured Todd Alexander ’81 opening The Yard at Newark Station, a

During Black History Month last February, E.E. Ward Moving &

“community hub” offering food, drinks

Storage – co-owned by Brian Brooks ’87 and his wife Dominique

and sand volleyball courts. Expansion

– was highlighted on The Columbus Foundation’s blog. The

plans are also in the works to include a

story traces the Ward family’s legacy and the company from its

pavilion for music and shows, with plans

start as a “local horse and wagon moving service and stop on the

for more including Earthworks Coffee &

Underground Railroad,” to its present-day operations as a “cross-

Goods along with 18 loft apartments.

country moving company” and the oldest Black-owned business in the country.

Todd Alexander ’81 in front of The Yard at Newark Station

Phil Cannon ’82 was featured on the cover of the 2022 Huntsman World

The new Rapid 5 nonprofit announced last December that Academy

Senior Games Results & Records book. Phil – who was inducted

alumni Jonathan Kass ’85, Michael Corey ’01 and Hannah

into Columbus Academy’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2019 – was a

Wexner ’14 were named board members. According to a Columbus

three-sport athlete in basketball and football as well as a standout

Business First article, MORPC, the Columbus chapter of the Urban

in track & field during his Academy career. He now competes in the

Land Institute and area design firms came together to develop a

Senior World Games, most recently in 2022 when he won the triple

plan to better connect the region’s waterways which resulted in the

jump and placed top five in the standing long jump, long jump and

visioning process and creation of Rapid 5.

50-meter dash in the 55-59 year-old age bracket. Phil commented on his appearance on the magazine’s cover saying, “With well over

Simon Horton ’86 competed

10,000 participants from

in and finished the 2022 Ironman

around the world, it’s an

World Championship triathlon

honor to represent active

in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, making

seniors while we’re still

it his 15th full-distance Ironman



Peter Korda ’83 recently

Brothers Robert Banasik ’86,

joined Crane Group Co.

Marcus Banasik ’90 and

as an operating partner.

Jason Banasik ’92 accompanied

An experience leader,

their father Bob to Maui, Hawaii, last

he works with Crane’s

October for a major milestone in which he completed the goal of

investment team to

landing an airplane in all 50 states.

identify, evaluate and operationalize potential acquisitions.


THRIVE | Columbus Academy Magazine

Phil Cannon ‘82

Simon Horton ’86

THE 90s

— George Skestos ’86 was elected to Ohio State University’s board

A pair of Academy Alumni Receptions took place in February in the

of trustees, announced in a Columbus Dispatch article in mid-May.

San Francisco Bay Area. The first was graciously hosted by Todd

George is founder of the investment firm Arcadia Holdings, LLC and,

Park ’90 and Amy Geng at the Palo Alto Hills Golf & Country Club

in addition to having served as a trustee for Columbus Academy,

for a night of fun, food and fellowship at the picturesque site. The

has also been on the board of Diamond Hill, COSI, the Columbus

following evening, Lindsey Kirk ’01 and Jeremy Summer ’01

Museum of Art and the Columbus College of Art and Design.

hosted alumni at their home for yet another enjoyable gatheting. At both events – which were also attended by Head of School Melissa

Glen Wilson ’87, son of school

Soderberg, Assistant Head of School for Development and

photographer and retired art teacher

External Relations Erich Hunker ’81, Director of Alumni

Cynthia Wilson, had a solo exhibition

Relations Michael Haddock, Director of Admissions and

of new sculptural objects at Various

Tuition Assistance John Wuorinen ’80 and Director of

Small Fires’ gallery in Dallas, Texas. The

Student Outreach Pedro Mena – alumni heard updates on

exhibition, which was on display for

how our staff and students have emerged from the pandemic

over a month, expanded on the themes,

with the passion to explore new initiatives and bring the

methods and visual language that have

school’s strategic vision to life.

been central to Glen’s practice in recent years, manifesting contemplations of place and home.

Glen Wilson ’87

John Hoberg ’89 and his wife Kat Likkel are the screenwriters for “Elemental,” the latest Disney Pixar animated film. The Los Angelesbased couple was featured in a recent Columbus Dispatch article on their life together as screenwriters “known for their TV and animation work.” The article notes how they are proud Midwesterners with John having grown up in Columbus and Kat in Michigan and Kansas, both landing jobs writing for kids’ TV shows.

Makéla Hughes ’16, Lottie Smith ’16, Pedro Mena, Otis Klingbeil ’16 and Jacob Taub ’17 at one of the San Francisco Bay Area receptions

Kat Likkel and John Hoberg ’89


THRIVE | Columbus Academy Magazine

THRIVE | CA Alumni Joel Pizzuti ’90, CEO of Pizzuti Cos., was named to the Columbus

former faculty members Larry Booth and Kevin Michael as major

Business First “Power 100: People to Know in Central Ohio” list for

influences in his life.

2023. As a developer, he is making progress on Astor Park – a mixeduse development around Field – as well as new housing

Tyler Denmead ’94, associate professor at the University of

in Shumacker Place and downtown by the Main Library among other

Cambridge, was nominated for Ph.D. Supervisor of the Year on the

local projects.

Postgrad Awards 2023 Official Shortlist.

Mark Ruberg ’91 served as coordinating producer in post-

Jen Burton ’95, partner at Seventh Son Brewing Co. along with

production for the 2022 FIFA World Cup on FOX. In that role, Mark

co-owners Collin Castore (attended ’90-’92) and Travis Spencer

oversaw all edited content in the pregame and postgame shows

(attended ’87-’92), were profiled by The Columbus Dispatch in April

around the matches during the 29-day tournament, supervising the

for the company’s 10th anniversary.

production of show opens, athlete interviews and special projects for the broadcast and managing a team of over 50 producers and

Laura Zagar ’95, managing partner at Perkins Coie’s San Francisco

editors. A highlight of the tournament was producing nearly 20

office, wrote an op-ed for in April discussing her

pieces with 16-time Emmy winner Tom Rinaldi including stories on

office’s historic achievement of a majority women partnership in a big

U.S. men’s national team players Tyler Adams, Brenden Aaronson

law firm.

and England’s captain Harry Kane. He also got the opportunity to travel to Qatar and film en route to Argentina’s epic win and helped

Meredith (Keeran) Kessler

broadcast last February’s Super Bowl in Arizona.

’96 was the focus of an article on

Ryan Huyghe ’92 was promoted to

last August where the 11-time

CEO of Crane Renovation Group after

IRONMAN Champion spoke

serving as president of Able/Mr. Roof

about her new opportunity to

since December 2020.

train safely in Master Spas swim spa while pregnant with her

Jim Merkel ’92, co-founder and CEO

second child.

Meredith (Keeran) Kessler ‘96

of private investment firm Rockbridge, was named to the Columbus Business

Ricky Joshi ’97, co-founder and chief strategy officer for Saatva,

First “Power 100: People to Know in

made a guest appearance on the “Beyond A Million” podcast in May

Central Ohio” list for 2023 and also

when he was interviewed by the host about his tactics used to build

discussed in a separate article his

one of the most successful direct-to-consumer mattress brands in

company’s vision for the “Future of

the world. Saatva most recently opened a brick-and-mortar store in

Downtown.” Jim’s latest Rockbridge


hotel, The Junto, opened at the John Wuorinen ‘80 and Ed Park ‘93

Scioto Peninsula over Memorial Day

Ada (Malinowska) Andruszkiewicz ’98 co-founded the


technology start-up, which develops AI solutions for customer service automation and recently raised $2.6 million for expansion.

Ed Park ’93 stopped by Academy’s campus in July to visit while in town for the opening

Samantha Hicks ’98 earned her Master of Public

of Columbus offices for Devoted Health, the company he is CEO of and co-founded with

Health from The Ohio State University on August 6,

his brother Todd Park ’90, who is also the


executive chairman. Director of Admissions John Wuorinen ’80 took time to show Ed around campus, including the Latin classroom


with Ed’s quote still on the wall. Ed cites John, Latin teacher Christy Bening and

THRIVE | Columbus Academy Magazine

Samantha Hicks ‘98

Carly Miller ’98 was recently promoted to chief advancement officer at Cristo Rey High School and was named to the Leadership Columbus Signature Program Class of 2023. A new 40,000-square-foot facility in Groveport, remodeled from the original Ricart Ford dealership by company president Rick Ricart ’98, recently opened on the mega mall’s property and features a Hyundai-specific service operation. Katie Rich ’98 was elected to the Board of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention in North Carolina. She is serving on the executive committee as secretary and also as the chair of the Circle of Hope Gala committee. Franklin County Auditor Michael Stinziano ’98 was featured on in July as part of its “Dine Like a Local” series where he provided his list of favorite food places for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert, along with other recommendations for special celebrations. Sheila Trautner ’98 and her husband Adam, best known in Central Ohio for their real estate development and hospitality services, acquired a 23,000-square-foot building off North Hamilton Road in Columbus where this past summer they opened REP Fieldhouse. The indoor sports venue includes quality hardwood courts, a turf field, batting tunnels for baseball and softball, plus training programs and the opportunity for court rentals. Patti Zettler ’98 recently earned the 2023 Early Career Distinguished Scholar Award from The Ohio State University where she is an associate professor at the Moritz College of Law. Patti is a nationally recognized expert on food/drug law and policy, and her teaching areas include torts, legislation and regulation, health law, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and drug policy. Stewart Miller ’99 married Alyssa Zahler of Port Washington, New York, in a ceremony in Montego Bay, Jamaica. The wedding party included Chris Reynolds ’99 as best man and Matt Miller ’92, Chris Lucas-Miller (who didn’t go to Academy, but was able to secure himself a “point” for being out of dress code while on campus) and Alex Miller (attended Academy in lower school) as groomsmen. Also in attendance were Dixon Miller ’65, Kenny Brown ’75, Brian Westwater ’99, Peter Meuse ’99, Amy (Westwater) Sullivan ’99, Harrison Westwater ’01, Will Westwater ’12 and Kelly Brown ’15.

Alyssa and Stewart Miller ‘99

THE 00s

Jessica Anderson ’00, president of Anderson Concrete Corp., was recognized in November 2022 as a Next Gen Leader at the 24th Annual Family Business Awards, presented by the Conway Center for Family Business. Axios Columbus featured Michael Corey ’01, executive director of the Human Service Chamber of Franklin County, for its February edition of “Best Day Ever” as he walked readers through how he would ideally spend time in and around Central Ohio. He also has been featured in a series titled “Whole Health Matters” published in several Columbus Business First issues. Ali Haque ’01, partner at the national law firm BakerHostetler, was the main source for comment in a January article published on in which he described the increased success of insurers in a variety of class-action cases, specifically ones related to COVID-19 business interruption lawsuits. Nick Jones ’01 was named vice president of community wellness at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, where he will focus on Columbus residents’ health through the Healthy Neighborhoods, Healthy Families program. Nick spoke to our upperschoolers on their annual Service Day last September, where he shared about his work which helps better kids’ lives in communities across the Columbus area. Nick Jones ‘01


THRIVE | Columbus Academy Magazine

THRIVE | CA Alumni Dr. Anay Patel ’01

Avishar Barua ’05, executive chef and owner of Joya’s Cafe and Agni in Columbus, was victorious after competing on the Food Network’s show “Beat Bobby Flay” on May 11. Avishar first had to out-cook New York-based sous chef Romain Paumier to advance to the finals, where he defeated world-renowned chef Bobby Flay in a challenge to make the best kati roll, an Indian street food dish. Avishar, who was also named the city’s top chef by, recently designed the food menu at the Escape Lounge located at John Glenn Columbus International Airport.

had the honor of officiating the recent wedding of his good friend and work partner Dr. Randy Luo to Chelsea Wong in Houston, Texas. Dr. Patel is ordained by The Universal Life Church. Dr. Anay Patel ‘01 officiating a friend’s wedding Lauren Templeton ’01, DO FAAHPM HMDC, has achieved the designation of Fellow of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine and serves on the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization’s Regulatory Committee as an industry expert. Ryan Vesler ’01 is engaged and recently was named Bowler of the Week in the I.M. Harris B’nai B’rith Bowling League.

Lynanne Gutierrez ’05 was a guest columnist for a Columbus Dispatch opinion piece in January regarding the importance of state investments for Ohio to become a “healthier, more productive, and economically vibrant state” to give children the best opportunities to reach their full potential. Lynanne is the chief operating and policy officer at Groundwork Ohio, a nonpartisan public policy research and advocacy organization that champions high-quality early learning and healthy development of children prenatally to age 5. In March, Stephanie (Iannarino) Seigla ’05 – also known by her stage name of Stephanie Lynne Mason – performed in the “Shanghai Sonatas” at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills, California.

Last February, Director of Technology Brent Halsey ’02 and his wife Lindsey (Griffin) Ryan Vesler ‘01

Halsey ’02 visited Lindsey’s brother Dan Griffin ’07 at one

of the breweries Dan manages in New Orleans, where he is the vice president of operations at Faubourg Brewery. In the annual look at the region’s best and brightest young leaders by Columbus Business First, OhioHealth physician Dr. Ben Bring ’03 was highlighted among the 2023 Class of 40 Under 40.


Lindsey (Griffin) Halsey ’02, Brent A article Halsey ’02 and Dan Griffin written by Matt Van Buskirk ’03 – co-founder and co-CEO of Hummingbird, a platform for managing anti-money laundering operations – featured his commentary on the effectiveness of government regulations on cryptocurrency.

THRIVE | Columbus Academy Magazine

Tracy Subisak ’05 recently illustrated the children’s book “This Book is Not for You!” by Shannon Hale, which was named an honoree for the 2023 RISE Booklist. Casey Berger ’06 released her debut choose-your-own-adventure (CYOA) book entitled “Sister from the Multiverse” this fall. Casey, a scientist and speculative fiction author who also wrote the adult space opera trilogy “The Resonance Saga” is currently an assistant professor of physics and statistical and data sciences at Smith College. According to the press release about Casey’s first CYOA novel, “it is a fast-paced sci-fi mystery where the discovery of a long-lost sister leads to a series of family secrets, including the truth behind Casey Berger ‘06 your mother’s science lab. Readers 9-12 will travel time and space, escaping dinosaurs and undercover operatives, to stop an evil scientist from using your mom’s technology to take over the multiverse.” Learn more at

Jasmine Bounds ’09 visited campus David Crane ’06 and his

in May with her 6-month-old daughter

wife Liz Dang welcomed

Charleigh to see her former advisor

baby boy Linden Khôi Dang-

Erich Hunker ’81 and former teacher

Crane on September 6,

John Street. She also was able to

2022, weighing 8lbs. 2oz.

Linden Khôi Dang-Crane

say hello to those in the athletics department.

Benjamin Williams ’06 has joined Colliers Mortgage as vice president of production. Ben is responsible for debt origination for all types of commercial property including multifamily, industrial, office, retail, hospitality and self-storage. He has expertise in underwriting, marketing, negotiating, structuring and originating capital for commercial real estate through a wide range of sources including life insurance companies, Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, FHA-HUD and local and regional banks. In early May, Elizabeth Ellman ’07 returned to campus as sustainability programs coordinator for the City of Bexley. She was joined by Bexley Mayor Ben Kessler and representatives from Bexley’s Recreation & Parks Department to check out Academy’s nature-based play areas and outdoor learning center. Explorers teacher Grace Gordon led the tour and answered their questions about building, maintaining and utilizing those spaces. They were greeted by Head of School Melissa Soderberg and her executive assistant (and Bexley resident) Shannon Nelson. Communications and Marketing Director Bob Lee, Director of Admissions John Wuorinen ’80 and

Brian Flaherty ’09 got engaged earlier this year and has been enjoying life in New York City since graduating from Ohio State University in 2013. In addition to working behind the scenes for Sounds Funny Radio improv group, Brian writes a newsletter and hosts a podcast called “My First Dungeon” about tabletop role-playing games. Kenny Jackson ’09, donor recognition senior associate at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, donated a kidney to his mom Doris in February. Both Kenny and Doris are doing well!

Jasmine Bounds ’09 with her daughter Charleigh and her former advisor Erich Hunker ’81

Doris Jackson and Kenny Jackson ’09

Jordan Rhyne ’09 is having a huge impact on the sport of ultimate frisbee in the Philadelphia community playing in his first professional season for the Philadelphia Phoenix while also recently becoming owner of the newest women’s team, the Philadelphia Surge. Jordan is a market lead of charging infrastructure for Tesla and is a graduate of Kenyon College, where he was president of the men’s ultimate frisbee team. Members from the Academy Class of 2009 gathered in New York City to celebrate the marriage of Ariana Todd ’09 and Shawn Ali ’09 on November 18, 2022.

Director of Facilities Harland Young also helped to provide them with information about the benefits of having these areas on our campus.

Posing in front of the Crane Outdoor Learning Center were (from left) John Wuorinen ’80, Bexley Mayor Ben Kessler, Elizabeth Ellman ’07, three members of Bexley’s Recreation and Park Department and Explorers teacher Grace Gordon

Academy alumni at the wedding included (from left to right) Dr. Anna Askari ’09, Laura Linkinhoker ’09, Eliza (Kelsten) Alford ’09, Zeshawn Ali ’09, Ariana Todd ’09, Melissa Vorenberg ’09, Chyna Johnson ’09, Kahlen Washington ’09, Saher Waseem ’09 and Natasha (Leickly) Johnson ’09

THRIVE | CA Alumni

THE 10s

Tim Leathery ’15 and

Marielle (Hoagland)

Dan Leathery ’12

Mack ’10 and her husband Ryan welcomed

In July, Dan Leathery ’12 and his brother

Genevieve Grace “Gigi”

Tim Leathery ’15 were among many

Mack on December 4,

Academy alumni who participated in the

2022, in Dallas, Texas.

inaugural Andrew Bowman ’16 Memorial

Gigi’s grandma (Academy school nurse Beckie Hoagland) is overjoyed! Marielle ’10 and Ryan Mack with baby girl Genevieve Grace

Pickleball Tournament in commemoration of the birthday for the event’s namesake who passed

Jeff May ‘10

in February. Funds raised support research and hospitals that are actively fighting Ewing

Jeff May ’10, owner of Axon Training in


Franklinton and the Fitness Loft in German

Village, was profiled on the

Emily Carlin ‘13 became blog in March

engaged to Matthew

when he took part in a Q&A about

Ellis in July at the Carlin

managing fitness centers and the

family lake house in

goals he has “crushed” in doing so.

Northern Michigan. Matt, a Maryland National

Eleanor (Rosler) Putnam ’10 and

Guardsman, met Emily

her husband Richard welcomed

when she got lost going

their first child, Henry Frederick

through checkpoints

Putnam, on November 13, 2022. Richard and Eleanor Putnam ’10 Danielle (Cannella) Ramos ’10

with baby boy Henry Frederick

and her husband Carlos welcomed baby girl Sophia Louise Ramos on September 1, 2022.

surrounding the U.S. Capitol Building.

Matthew Ellis and Emily Carlin ‘13

Eli Kroos ’13 proposed to Annie Lavin ’13 at Jeffrey Mansion on August 27, 2022. Eli works for Title First Agency in Westerville and attends Capital Law School’s

Rachel (Shnayder)

evening program. Annie recently switched

Prudhomme ’11 married

jobs from consulting at PwC to program

Alex Prudhomme ’11

management at Guidewire Software.

on June 25, 2022. The bridal party was made up of a lot of their former classmates in addition to Rachel’s sister, Jessica Shnayder, who is a current upper-schooler at Academy.

Alex Prudhomme ’11 and Rachel (Shnayder) Prudhomme ’11

Sophia Louise Ramos Eli Kroos ’13 and Annie Lavin ’13

Canvas print by SueSan Chen ’14 The 24th International Show at the Woman Made Gallery in Chicago featured artwork by SueSan Chen ’14 last spring. “Měi lán kào lì is a transliteration of ‘melancholy’ meaning to bloom in America requires strength,” noted SueSan in the artist’s statement

Evan Lane ’17 (far right) led his Varsity Four boat to second place in

on the gallery’s website.

the Grand Final at the IRA National Championships

SueSan is an engineer, designer and artist based in Chicago and currently works as a manager of branded environments at United

As a member of the University of California, Berkeley men’s


rowing team, Evan Lane ’17 was a Pac-12 Conference 2022 gold medalist and conference champion (Second Varsity Eight), 2021

Kelsey Sims ’14 appeared on the @watchintheknow Instagram

silver medalist (Varsity Four) and two-time Intercollegiate Rowing

account in March for a look at her life as a forestry technician living

Association (IRA) National Championships silver medalist (Varsity

out of a sparse tower with no electricity or

Four). To cap off his athletic career, his team won the 2022 IRA

running water. Kelsey has generated a big

National Championships and Evan represented Cal at the 183rd

following on TikTok the past few years,

Henley Royal Regatta at Henley-on-the-Thames, England. His

and you can get a firsthand look at her

four-man squad won every race throughout the week to earn a spot

unique lifestyle as a fire lookout from her

in the grand finals, where his boat finished second. Academically,

personal @kezleyyy account.

Evan was a four-time Pac-12 First Team All-Academic Scholar and three-time IRA Scholar-Athlete. He was inducted into the Big C

After stints as a flight instructor and

Society, the athletic organization honoring Cal lettermen. Evan

aerial tour guide in Maui and Kitty Hawk

earned his Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Cal in 2021 as well as

towing banners over beaches and flying for a regional airline, Atticus Lee ’16 lives in Pensacola, Florida, and is a pilot

an Innovation and Entrepreneurship Diploma from Cal’s Haas School Atticus Lee ‘16

with Southwest Airlines. “He is enjoying his

of Business in 2022. He completed his first year of law school at Wisconsin before transferring to Harvard Law School this fall.

dream job,” stated retired art teacher Scott Neal after visiting Atticus

As a fifth-year senior on the Ohio Wesleyan University women’s

in August.

track and field team this year, Khloe Dubenion ’18 shattered school

Lou Burns ’17 was the focus of a Johns Hopkins University news article in March as an “up-and-comer” now working as a legislative correspondent for U.S. Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD-02). He started his first internship on Capitol Hill in February 2021 less

records in the weight throw (55-¾) and hammer (172-8) on the way to individual All-Ohio titles and All-Great Lakes Region honors in both the winter and spring seasons. In May, she finished 19th in hammer at the NCAA Division III Championship.

than a month after the January 6 attack on Congress. According

Taylor McGowan ’18, a recent graduate of Emerson College, was

to Rep. Ruppersberger: “Lou is an incredible writer and has a gift

honored as a Distinction Winner in the fiction writing category for

for breaking down complicated policy

her essay “Sea Singer” at her academic department’s Senior Writing

into language that enables constituents


to better understand its impact on their everyday lives. In his roles, Lou touches just about everything our office does in terms of lawmaking, constituent service and outreach, and he brings a fresh perspective to all of it. He is indispensable.”


Lou Burns ‘17

THRIVE | Columbus Academy Magazine

THRIVE | CA Alumni Nick Robie ’18 traveled to the island of Saipan in March to conduct a grant-funded coral reef study for the Department of Fish and Wildlife where he analyzed data and took measurements while diving for research. Chris Boyle ’19 transferred

Sam Lichten ’20

from Brown University to Vanderbilt University for his graduate year and is playing tight end for the Commodores’ football team this fall.

THE 20s

Annalise Grammel ’20, a senior biochemistry major and member

Chris Boyle ‘19

Caroline Mallory ’19 was

of the DePauw University women’s soccer team, was selected as

selected for the Gaither Junior

North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) Midfielder of the Year, first

Fellows Program at the Carnegie

team All-NCAC, second team United Soccer Coaches All-Region and

Endowment for International Peace in Washington D.C. Caroline

Academic All-District in NCAA Division III. Annalise helped lead the

is majoring in international studies at Ohio State University with

Tigers to a 10-5-3 record as a junior last fall while pacing the team in

a specialization in security

goals (6) and assists (5).

and intelligence and minors in Chinese and geographic

Sam Lichten ’20 was honored with the Excellence in Leadership

information science. She hopes

Award by the National Psoriasis Foundation recognizing his years of

to work in the Asia Program

dedication and service to the organization. The honor was presented

focused on Indo-Pacific security.

at its annual Gala in Washington, D.C. The Lichten family – which

As an Ohio State student,

includes Sam’s parents Jason and Rachel, brother Jake ’23 and sister

she has been involved in the

Sophie ’25 – started the 5k to Cure Psoriasis in Columbus and raised

Collegiate Council on World

over $150,000 over the eight-year span of the event. Sam served as the event’s youth ambassador and then evolved his role at the NPF,

Affairs, worked as a research assistant for the Ohio Bee

Caroline Mallory ’19 was one of

which included lobbying Congress, speaking on podcasts, joining

Survey and studied abroad at

just 18 college seniors nationwide

virtual events all over the country and participating in volunteer

Universidad de Granada during

selected for this year’s James C.

leadership for the NPF.

the fall 2022 semester.

Gaither Junior Fellows Program In April, Kiersten Thomassey ’20 helped lead Team USA to the

Aylah Mendenhall ’19 earned her B.F.A. in Musical Theatre from

field hockey gold medal in the 2023 Junior Pan American Games

Kent State University in May. On graduation day, she was already

championship game against Argentina. She then visited the White

performing professionally (as Joanne Jefferson in “RENT” at the

House in mid-June with her

Palace Theatre in Manchester, New Hampshire) so her castmates

NCAA-champion University

surprised her backstage with a special cap and gown ceremony.

of North Carolina field hockey squad. The Tar Heels prevailed

Jordan Skilken ’19 of the University of Texas won a bronze medal

2-1 over the Northwestern squad

at the USA Diving Nationals in May.

of Academy alumna Regan Cornelius ’21 for their second

Harika Vandrasi ’19, a psychology and pre-med major, was

national title in three years.

inducted into Ohio Wesleyan University’s chapter of the Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society, the nation’s oldest academic honor society. Kiersten Thomassey ’20 (second


THRIVE | Columbus Academy Magazine

from right) a group of her USA teammates pose after winning gold medals at the 2023 Junior Pan American Games

Carter Warstler ’20 earned Defensive MVP honors following the two-day Al Van Wie/Wooster Rotary Classic last November as the Scots’ men’s basketball team went 2-0 with victories over Mount Aloysius and Ohio Northern. Carter also registered a career-best

Carter Warstler ‘20

25 points on 8-of-11 shooting, including six made three-pointers, against Oberlin College in February. Columbia University senior Chloe Gouhin ’21 was Second Team

Chloe Gouhin ’21 (far left) with two Columbia fencing teammates

All-Ivy League and an NCAA Northeast Regional bronze medalist last season in sabre for the women’s fencing team. Chloe, a computer science major, also won a silver medal at the Temple Open last October.

Katie Schiano ’21 helped the Bucknell University women’s soccer team capture the Patriot League championship in November 2022 following a 3-1 advancement on penalty kicks over top-seeded Army. As a sophomore for the Bison, Katie played in 18 games, making 13

During last fall’s eighth

starts, while averaging over 65 minutes per game.

grade trip to Washington, D.C., faculty chaperones

An opinion article by Russell Ahmed ’22 in the Daily Bruin was

were thrilled to see

published in January featuring his early experiences on the campus

Luke Nester ’21 while

of UCLA, where he is now a sophomore.

visiting the U.S. Naval Academy.

In her freshman year at Tulane University, McKenna Chow ’22 was one of 22 college students chosen by the Louisiana Wildlife Federation for the 2023 Edgar Veillon Conservation Leadership Corps. From January through April, McKenna participated in Luke Nester ’21 (center) with

case studies and collaborative activities to build knowledge in

faculty members (from left)

conservation policy while gaining skills in leadership and advocacy

Laura Miller, Beckie Hoagland,

from current and former natural resource professionals in the public,

Peggy Sutton and Matt McCue

nonprofit and private sectors. Johnny Hill ’22, a sophomore at Hobart College, hit his first collegiate home run against the University of Rochester on April 1.

McKenna Chow ’22


THRIVE | Columbus Academy Magazine

THRIVE | CA Alumni Autumn Lee ’22 has been selected to receive the inaugural

Eliza Freytag ’23, who is in her first

Virginia E. Newell Scholarship at Davidson College, where she is a

year at the University of Richmond,

sophomore. The scholarship is awarded to “exceptional students

was awarded a scholarship in May by

who have demonstrated a passion for art history and/or the visual

the Central District Girls Golf Coaches

arts.” Virginia “Ginny” Newell is an alumna from Davidson’s Class


of 1978 who shares with Autumn a mutual love for art and science. “This scholarship has made me feel more comfortable with my

As Central Ohio’s honoree for the First

passion for art and the idea of pursuing it as a career,” Autumn

Tee Scholarship Program, Stephen

stated in a news article on the school’s website. “Ginny has been a

Ma ’23 received up to $5,000 per year

wonderful source of support in more ways than she knows.”

Autumn Lee ‘22

Malachy Sullivan ’22, a sophomore public policy major at Duke

for four years, plus mentorship, during his college and career process at the University of Washington in St. Louis.

University, wrote an article in Echoes Magazine, a publication from Ohio History Connection, in the November/December 2022 issue entitled “Young Eyes on the Past” detailing “broken promises” from the 1868 Treaty of Fort Laramie. Malachy also penned three articles for The Chronicle, an online independent news organization, on Blue Devil athletics during the 2022-23 school year. Alexis Cunningham ’23 submitted an essay and was chosen as the first Columbus Academy student to receive a scholarship from Education First Credit Union, which awarded only five scholarships to deserving students in 2023. Head of School Melissa Soderberg, Alexis Cunningham ‘23 and Angie Freeman from Education First Credit Union

In Memoriam We are saddened to share this list of our alumni whom we learned have recently passed. Rev. James C. Slack ’55 David H. Canowitz ’56 James C. McAtee ’62 Dr. Alex Fernandez ’68 Charles “Chic” W. Ford ’68 James K. Estabrook ’74 Wayne S. Jones ’80 Dr. Matthew J. Kauffman ’92 Andy Bowman ’16 Jack Madison ’21 p/44

Also, please join us in sympathy for the families of these former faculty, staff members and friends. Liese Kuehn (teacher 1976-96) Kelly Moody (teacher 1973-2007) William G. Nicholson (teacher 1958-63)

Individual obituaries can be found in our alumni newsletters, which are archived at

THRIVE | Columbus Academy Magazine

By Erich Hunker ‘81

Remembering KELLYMOODY

Easy” device, he collected money from other upper school teachers and bought one for the alumnus, who says that Editor’s note: these remarks are excerpted from a eulogy delivered

day – and Kelly’s kindness – forever changed his life.

at the Celebration of Life for Kelly Moody on April 16, 2023.

I first met Kelly Moody in the summer of 1977 after my parents and I made the decision that I would attend Columbus Academy. I needed to take some “remedial” literature courses before starting ninth grade that fall, and little did I know at the time how fortunate I was to have Kelly assigned as my summer instructor and advisor for my freshman year. While helping me with my reading comprehension and critical writing over the summer and getting to know me better, Kelly one day asked me if I played any sports. I shared with him that I had injured my neck the previous year and how upset I was not to be able to play football any more. He asked if I would be interested in playing soccer, a sport I had never heard of. That fall, I decided to go out for the JV team, coached by Kelly, and the rest – as they say – is history. His coaching and encouragement that very first year helped me develop a love and appreciation for the game, which other alumni have said he did for them as well.

His classroom was about experiential learning well before this became a buzz term or a strategic vision initiative for schools. Field trips, movies, cooking crepes and Coq au Vin in class, learning about the cultures of other countries, and chaperoning multiple trips abroad were all part of his unique classroom community. You looked forward to his class at whatever time of day it was held, for you knew it would be enjoyable, interesting and lively – yet you didn’t know what you might learn. Kelly’s joy at seeing his former students – how they had blossomed and what they were doing with their lives 5, 10, 25 years later – was so genuine. If you were passionate or excited about what you were up to, he was pleased and equally excited for you. You would walk away from being with Kelly feeling great about yourself, and then you’d realize that you forgot to thank him for his impact on you and ask him how he was doing. For Kelly, it was never about him. It was always about you.n

Universally, former students would tell you that Kelly Moody was cool before cool was a thing. He exuded cool, and being cool was natural for him. If you had Kelly as a teacher or a coach, you wanted to be like him… but you never could get there. His rugged good looks beat most people at the starting line of their personal journeys to try to be like him, and his fascinating life and talents allowed him to pull away from the pack of followers. You just had to be happy to be around him and, if you were, he made you feel good about being so. As a teacher, first and foremost Kelly focused on you. He cared about you as a person. Relationships were much more important to him than how well you could write in French. One alumnus told me about his senior project, which was researching and learning about a new hearing device to help people who stutter. This alumnus had quite a prominent stutter and happened to have Kelly as his advisor for his project. Once Kelly learned more about the “Speech


THRIVE | Columbus Academy Magazine

Ready to thrive.

4300 CHERRY BOTTOM RD GAHANNA, OH 43230-0745 614.475.2311

Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.