CA Magazine Fall 2020

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CA

CONCORD ACADEMY MAGAZINE

FALL 2020

CARING FO R A L L Young CA alumnae/i in emergency medicine respond to COVID-19

A L S O I N THI S I S S U E

W H O C O U N TS AS A M E R I CA N ? Making history personal


After a fully remote start this fall, CA transitioned to a hybrid learning mode, welcoming many students back to campus in October, as well as ensuring equity of access for students connecting from home.


FALL 2020

FEATURE S

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Editor

Heidi Koelz Associate Director of Communications Design

Aldeia www.aldeia.design

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Who Counts as American?

Caring for All

Through a project co-founded by Jessica Lander ’06, students around the United States are making history personal.

During the pandemic, as always, emergency medicine professionals are serving those in greatest need. Some young alumnae/i in the field tell their stories.

Editorial Board

Alice Roebuck Director of Advancement and Engagement

DEPARTMENTS

Hilary Rouse Director of Engagement Laura Twichell ’01 Interim Dean of Faculty Sarah Yeh

Concord Academy Magazine 166 Main Street Concord, MA 01742 (978) 402-2249 magazine@concordacademy.org © 2020 Concord Academy

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Message from the president of the Board of Trustees

Counting down to 2022

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Interim Head of School Contact us:

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Opening Remarks

An artist book by Alexis Fredericks ’20. See more student art on page 12.

Centennial Celebration

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Alumnae/i

Campus

Alumnae/i news and profiles, reunion

News about students, faculty, arts, and athletics

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The Big Picture

A glimpse at campus life this fall

Creative Types

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Then & Now

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End Space

History teacher Topi Dasgupta P’22

O N T H E C OV E R Compassionate medical professionals on the COVID-19 front lines. COVER ILLUSTRATION BY ANNA & ELENA BALBUSSO IFC PHOTO BY

M I SS I O N We are a community animated by love of learning, diverse and striving for equity, with common trust as our foundation. Honoring each individual, we challenge and expand our understanding of ourselves and the world through purposeful collaboration and creative engagement.

COLE + KIERA BACK COVER PHOTO BY KRISTIE GILLOOLY

We cultivate empathy, integrity, and responsibility to build a more just and sustainable future.


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I A L E T T E R F RO M BOA R D O F T RU ST E E S P R E S I D E N T FAY L A M P E RT S H U TZ E R ’6 5

We Meet This Moment Together

“ In looking toward a more just and sustainable future, I can think of no place in which I put greater hope than this school.”

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IN EXTRAORDINARY circumstances, the values that guide our actions become visible. The pandemic’s extended uncertainty makes our former lives feel as remote as dreams — this historic moment isn’t what we’d have chosen, but it is our moment nonetheless. Rising to meet each day’s demands, we give more than we thought we had. We pause, if we can, to savor the joys of learning something new or reaching out to friends. And we reckon with our history and act to end the inequalities in our society, striving for a more just and sustainable future. In looking to that future, I can think of no place in which I put greater hope than this school. We’ve seen, again and again, that how Concord Academy students learn — through inquiry, discourse, and debate, through projects with real outcomes at stake — motivates them to make a difference and empowers them to change the world. Our students’ role models for this engagement are their teachers and advisors and CA’s amazing staff. CA’s many mentors have the special abilities to truly see and inspire their students. Our community is founded on listening. (I hope the details of the Corinthians carvings on page 47 bring you the feeling of the Chapel — our treasured space dedicated to hearing the voices of our community.) And we share a commitment to the values of our mission: common trust, empathy, equity, integrity, and responsibility. These values guide our days. This year, to prioritize equity of experience for all of our students, CA shifted to a modular academic calendar. Classes are being held in six STACs (Short Terms at Concord) on a modified daily schedule designed to allow students far and near to participate synchronously. With fewer courses at once,

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students spend more time engaged in deep learning. This hybrid model offers flexibility to move between in-person and remote modes. The schedule offers weekly special programming, and time for meeting and collaboration. After an initial period of remote learning for all, October brought an opportunity for both day students and boarders to return in person, to reconnect with people and place. When you receive this publication, CA will have temporarily resumed remote learning, as have many independent schools, through the winter holidays. We look forward to welcoming students back to campus in January. I am immensely grateful for our students’ adaptability and the creativity and optimism of our student leaders; for the ingenuity and resourcefulness of our teachers, who reinvented their curricula in preparation for every scenario; for the tireless efforts of CA’s staff to prepare the campus and coordinate weekly COVID-19 testing and ongoing wellness programming; for the belief and partnership of CA families; and for the generosity of alumnae/i who are giving back to this community in so many ways. I am particularly grateful for the dedication of the Safe Return to Concord Academy (SRCA) Advisory Committee, a representative body of parents, students, faculty, staff, administrators, and members of the Board of Trustees, who helped forge a path for reopening for in-person learning. This fall, we have seen so many who are putting their intellect, empathy, and experience to work for the greater good of our school community. I invite you to visit www.concordacademy.org/ healthy-concord to see the detailed reopening plan and learn how a CA education to meet this moment is taking shape today.

P H OTOS BY C O L E + K I E R A


campus W E LC O M E , N E W ST U D E N TS!

Even during a pandemic, Concord Academy admissions remained highly selective. For the 2020–21 academic year, Concord Academy welcomed a diverse group of 106 new students, including five sophomores and 101 members of the class of 2024. They hail from nine U.S. states as well as Brazil, China, Mexico, South Korea, Thailand, and Vietnam. CA accepted

23%

of applicants.

37%

of new students identify as U.S. students of color.

11%

of new students are international.

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C O N G R AT U L AT I O N S

Class of 2020! Concord Academy’s 98th Commencement Exercises The presence of each member of the class of 2020 was felt at Commencement on May 29, though they were unable to attend physically. On the Chapel lawn, cardboard cutouts of every graduate faced the podium, from which Head of School Rick Hardy praised seniors for their unity, courage, energy, joy, and constructive approach to change. A livestream that mixed prerecorded video, live remarks, and synchronous recognition of students, who participated from their homes around the world, preserved CA’s distinctive tradition of recognizing every graduate with equal emphasis. Ahead of the ceremony, each senior had received a care package that included virtual reality goggles for viewing a 360-degree video of the Senior Steps. In recorded remarks, Student Head of School Vedika Sharma ’20 recognized departing faculty and staff, and Fay Lampert Shutzer ’65, president of the Board of Trustees, acknowledged the class’s unique place in history and its leadership throughout a difficult time. As she said, “The meaning of this day is not virtual.”

T H E SU P E R P OW E RS O F A DA P TA B I L I T Y A N D G R AT I T U D E Senior class officers Haley Wixom ’20 and Charmaine Ko ’20 proudly introduced the day’s speaker, Ambassador Samantha Power, who served as the 28th U.S. permanent representative to the United Nations and a member of President Obama’s cabinet. Acknowledging the difficulties seniors faced as graduation, Power praised their resilience. “You found new ways to socialize, to learn, to grow,” she said. “You did something even more extraordinary: You maintained a spirit of gratitude toward your teachers and toward others in the community. Instead of cursing the darkness, you found — and in some cases, you made — new light.” Transformational change, Power said, “most often comes about because individuals make lots of small changes, which add up.” She emphasized the individual’s role in changing the world for the better. Drawing on what she learned in her various roles as a war correspondent, a human rights activist, a White House advisor, a diplomat, a professor, and a mother, Power suggested that the new graduates rely on what she called their “superpowers”: the capacity to adapt and the discipline of gratitude. Her advice was simple, and profound: “Never forget the importance of individual dignity,” she said. “Do all you can in your lives to protect it and to promote it.”

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P H OTOS BY C O L E + K I E R A

“ Never forget the importance of individual dignity. Do all you can in your lives to protect it and to promote it.” A M BASSA D O R SA M A N T H A P OW E R


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COMMENCEMENT 2020

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Class of 2020

Senior Projects In a typical spring, Concord Academy’s senior projects presentation is a brief, intense event, as seniors armed with poster board, models, and PowerPoint slides pack into the Ransome Room or SHAC atrium, ready to share with faculty and fellow students what they have learned about topics like sustainable eating or mass incarceration. In spring 2020, when school went remote, seniors had to adapt their presentations for an online audience. For some, that meant out-of-the-box thinking, and videos instead of posters. For others, it meant a process — and final product — even better than they originally imagined. Ellen Jennings ’20 had initially planned to write a complete screenplay adaptation of one of her favorite novels, Tangerine, by Edward Bloor, about a middle school soccer player who is legally blind. But amid the shock of the spring lockdown, she says, she wasn’t sure she could complete the whole draft. So Jennings tried instead to take what she had and make her presentation — a “table read” of the work so far — as strong as she could. “I spent my energy assembling a cast, and that was awesome,” she says. “As my energy shifted toward trying to make something fun, rather than the whole screenplay, it opened up opportunities to incorporate more people.” In the online presentation, Jennings sits in her room in Concord, Mass., reading stage directions as others — teachers, her younger brother, her brother’s middle school teacher, Head of School Rick Hardy — portray different characters.

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Her project advisor, visual arts teacher Justin Bull, says the new version of her work ended up as strong as the original plan, and that the Zoom format allowed her and her classmates to create something that will endure from projects they felt passionately about in their final semester of high school. “She has it as a lasting artifact of the process,” says Bull. “It’s a strange, living yearbook of a time in her life captured with people she admires and loves in roles she wrote.”—Alison Lobron

Above: Ellen Jennings ’20 reading through her screenplay adaptation with CA faculty and staff members via Zoom. As they do every year, senior projects in 2020 spanned a wide range of topics and interests, including an exploration of global fermentation methods, a study of mass incarceration and its effects on women in Massachusetts, and a collaborative visual album with original artwork and music, to name just a few. This year’s virtual presentation format allowed students more focused time with their audience to share their work in vibrant ways. Learn more and see other 2020 senior projects at www.concordacademy.org/2020-senior-projects.


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2020 Edition

The Chameleon

MAPPING THE GROWTH OF THE AMERICAN CITY Two summers ago, CA history teacher Kim Frederick was a fellow with the Boston Public Library’s Norman B. Leventhal Map and Education Center, working to develop a map set for the center’s website for teachers. Those maps, which explore the interconnected ways that industrialization, transportation innovations, and westward expansion shaped the growth of cities throughout the United States in the mid-19th century antebellum period, are now available for educational use. See the maps at collections. leventhalmap.org/map-sets/532.

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C O N VO CAT I O N

In September, the Concord Academy community gathered to begin the 2020–21 school year virtually. Speakers highlighted the importance of listening closely and seeing one another fully.

“ In building community, we make ourselves vulnerable. The risk of exposure is inherent in connection.” L AU R A T W I C H E L L ’0 1, Interim Dean of Faculty Watch Convocation at www.concordacdemy.org/ convocation-2020.

This summer, an envelope arrived at the home of every Concord Academy student, teacher, and staff member. It contained a note with a link to a printable version of the 2019–20 student literary arts magazine, the Chameleon, along with a selection of stickers of student artwork — tangible objects chosen with care, which arrived unannounced during a time of isolation. As CA students and faculty prepared to resume classes after the spring recess under an emergency distance-learning plan, Kincaid DeBell ’21 took it upon herself to create a website for the Chameleon using the poems, short stories, and visual art by CA students that the committee had reviewed earlier in the year as well as a series called “COVID Creations” featuring paintings and drawings created during the lockdown. \ Work by other visual LEARN MORE: artists is also included See the magazine at cachameleon2020.wixsite. as inspiration for the com/cachameleon2020. CA community. “We could have simply published the magazine virtually, as many schools did, but the Chameleon staff were eager to supply the community with some physical tokens of the CA art scene,” says English teacher Abby Laber, the Chameleon faculty advisor. She calls the strategy that followed, to bring something of CA into each community member’s home, “truly a labor of love.” Kaylee Shin ’23 designed the envelope logo. Piper Gorden ’21 ordered the stickers, with artwork by her, Kincaid, ChaeWon Bae ’22, Darley Boit ’21, and Iris Ducker ’20. Kendall Bartel ’21 selected postage, organized materials, and then drove packets to student committee members, who stuffed and mailed envelopes. Their engagement and connection throughout the long process resulted in a delightful surprise for the CA community.

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Envisioning a More Equitable School How the new dean of academic program and equity aims to engage the whole CA community Robert Munro, Concord Academy’s dean of academic program and equity, stepped into this newly created role in July. He previously directed the global studies program at Middlesex School, where he also taught history. At CA, he is tasked with envisioning how equity, sustainability, and social justice can be woven into the fabric of CA’s rigorous academics; building institutional capacity among leadership, faculty, and staff around diversity, equity, and inclusion; and inspiring a community already engaged in this work to delve deeper. His challenge is to help CA evolve in accordance with its mission.

ongoing workshops. And we’re reaching out to alumnae/i and parents through reading groups and Zoom meetings. Even though it’s not all happening at the same time, we’re still doing this work together, so when students talk with their parents, we’re having similar conversations.

What drew you to CA? When I learned about this position, I thought, it’s like they’ve made a job explicitly for me — this is what I’ve been working toward, and that was exciting.

How did CA change academic structures to ensure equity during a period of distance learning? The readiness of

How is the mission guiding your approach? Missions are useless until

they’re mobilized. Making the mission work for the program will take time, effort, and, yes, discomfort. People are already doing the work of inclusion at CA in so many areas, and my task is to build on that foundation while working to break down the silos that are inherent in academic life. If we’re all cohering around the idea of equity, we will be more interdisciplinary and more inclusive. For a long time, a lot of diversity work has been seen as “that thing over there.” When it’s like that, there’s not really a foundation for it. But if it’s the work of everybody at the school, that’s where it gets legs.

Often independence and equitability are opposed, but we can bring them together. This involves equity in curriculum content, and in standardization of assessments and comments, without being rigid. It also involves developing anti-bias communication protocols. If something comes up, any sort of verbal inequality that people experience, students want to know that we’re taking it seriously, and faculty and staff need a process for that. How are you working with different members of our community? Already

dent schools because we want to teach independently, and we want faculty to try new and innovative things. Students also value equitability and transparency.

students have been reaching out to share their experiences and thoughts, and parents have been asking good and tough questions. Structurally, the Community and Equity Office will spearhead a lot of this work. In a traditional model, you have a program in, say, October and people like it, but they’re too busy to follow up. That model doesn’t offer sustainable growth in anti-bias work. Instead of focusing on separate programs, I’m trying to touch every constituency at CA. We began the year with training for senior administrators, trustees, and faculty and staff. Students are taking part in

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What does it look like for equity to infuse a curriculum? We work in indepen-

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faculty to be innovative and creative went into creating a new structure for this year. Lots of teachers have been excited by the new schedule we’re following, which was developed with significant value placed on equity of access for all students in a way that not every school is prioritizing. Our approach to structuring the school day and the year’s schedule balances the rigor of our academic program with health and wellness, collaboration, and support. There’s time set aside for memorable, out-of-the-box learning and enrichment programming, and opportunities for teachers and students to work collaboratively every week.


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CONNECTING CONCORD WITH LOCAL AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY CA student interns support the Robbins House

Why do you enjoy working with high school students? I was a terrible student through

high school. It was in college that I found my love of reading and learning and talking with faculty and being around intelligent people. I didn’t know I wanted to be a teacher, even in graduate school. I figured it out when I needed a job. When I taught at the college level, though, it seemed incredibly transactional. In contrast, what I like about high school-aged kids is that they’ll try things, ask questions without worrying about seeming naive, and they will find moments to learn when no learning is seemingly evident. I stumbled into this, but I’ve grown and learned as I keep doing it, and I’m so glad I found it. You consult about empathy, a quality seemingly in short supply in these difficult days. What perspective can you offer for CA? We

thought empathy was in short supply when I started researching that area five or six years ago. It’s gotten a lot worse. Empathy is not just abstract; it has real implications. We’ll do very well if we can remember that we should assume a small amount of risk and sacrifice for the greater community. “I can be comfortable being uncomfortable” is a saying I’ll probably have on my headstone when I’m buried, but that’s really my hope for the school — that we do that in increments, that we tell each other, “It’s not my idea, but because it will benefit the community, I will do it.” If we do it, we’ll be better off than most schools. W

LEARN MORE: Read Rob Munro’s letter of introduction to the CA community at www.concoracademy.org/munro.

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Over the summer and into the fall, three Concord Academy students completed internships at the Robbins House, a center of African American life and history in Concord, Mass. Amanda Shih ’21 says helping to plan collaborations with local organizations allowed her to “connect with Concord (both past and present) in ways that I hadn’t been able to before.” Her projects included organizing a virtual “Activism and Art” forum with Concord Art, a local center for the visual arts, to discuss Keith Morris Washington’s exhibition and activist art, gathering resources on activism and art for the Robbins House website, and coordinating the Robbins House’s exhibition at the Umbrella Arts Center. The Robbins House has been closed due to the pandemic, so Jared Rhee ’22 helped tell its story online, through virtual tours and educational videos. He learned a good deal while editing them. “A lot of the historical information about the Black residents of Concord who lived in this house I just didn’t know,” he says. “We usually talk about history on a national level, but there’s so much we can learn based on local history.” Both Jared and Isadora Goldman Leviton ’21 had taken a course in U.S. African American history taught by CA’s History Department chair Claire Nelson, which led to their interest in this internship. Isadora A display inside the Robbins House about some of the says, “Claire pushed me to think house’s former inhabitants. in depth about African American history, but also about how white people should be engaging with it.” Last spring, she studied global leadership and politics while in South Africa, where she says she was “forced to have conversations about how white people could unlearn a lot of the tropes we were educated with.” This summer, she was one of several CA students to organize weekly demonstrations at the Concord rotary in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. And for the Robbins House, she coordinated a social media campaign to engage local teens. Although she had attended Concord-Carlisle public schools, Isadora hadn’t known about the Robbins House, which sits opposite the Old North Bridge, before coming to CA. In creating social media posts, most of them educational and some aiming to spur young people to action, she particularly enjoyed learning about Susan Garrison, whose brother Peter Robbins purchased the house. The only woman of color among the charter members of the Concord Female Antislavery Society in the 1830s, Garrison risked her life to oppose the slave trade, also petitioning against the annexation of Texas and the removal of the Cherokees from their homeland in the southeastern United States. “There have been people pushing the boundaries for a lot longer than we know,” Isadora says.

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Two New Wilcox Fellows Join the CA Faculty CA welcomed two new Wilcox Fellows for the 2020–21 academic year. Begun in 2000, this fellowship program identifies and nourishes talented teachers from groups underrepresented on independent school faculties. Fellows are mentored by a colleague, and they workshop pedagogy with both experienced and new faculty members. Half-time teaching loads allow fellows to put energy into developing expertise and skill in their fields and engagements across school life.—Heidi Koelz

Zora Vermilya

Wilcox Fellow in English

“ I was telling stories as soon as I could talk.” ZO R A V E R M I LYA

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Writing is Zora Vermilya’s passion. “I was telling stories as soon as I could talk,” says CA’s new Wilcox Fellow in English, who studied writing and literature at Sarah Lawrence College. She advises the Black Student Union at the high school she attended in East Montpelier, Vt. “I really like working with students this age,” she says. “I love being in the classroom and exchanging ideas.” That student union didn’t exist when Vermilya was growing up in Montpelier; she struggled as the only Black girl in her class and one of only five Black students in the school. “I had a lot of classic anger, but it finetuned what I was passionate about,” she says. In college, she turned to creative pursuits like writing and performing in chorus, jazz band, and theater. Last year, she supported boarding students as residential faculty at Woodside Priory School in Portola Valley, Calif. But she missed the classroom and wanted to bring her perspective to teaching. “My passion for English was almost killed because there weren’t fun, creative ways to talk about books,” Vermilya says. “I want to come up with new ways to engage kids in works that are really lovely.” CA caught her attention because of the school’s commitment to pursuing

equity. Vermilya is co-teaching with English teacher Sabrina Sadique; this spring, she’ll focus on a favorite book, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, as well as Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. “I think that’s an important book for me to teach now,” she says. In her writing, Vermilya gravitates toward fantasy and science fiction, genres whose lack of diversity she has set out to address. “There’s not a lot of representation for Black girls or Brown girls, or anyone other than a thin, pale-skinned creature,” she says. “If we’re talking about magic, anything should be possible.” Shamime Shaw

Wilcox Fellow in Visual Arts, Film Wilcox Fellow Shamime Shaw faces no small jobs in her first year at CA. Students are working on a new feature-length film, and after assisting CA film teacher Justin Bull this semester, Shaw will take the lead in the spring. Preparing for the yearlong course involved more than the usual collaboration and uncertainty, as the pandemic forced faculty to plan for both in-person and distance-learning scenarios. Raised in Sacramento, Calif., Shaw attended St. Francis — the “Lady Bird high school,” as she says (it’s director Greta Gerwig’s alma mater) and studied


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arts “ Once you’ve taken a film class, you start seeing the world differently.” S H A M I M E S H AW

N E W FAC U LT Y A N D STA F F

cultural theory, photography, and moving images at UCLA. She moved to Boston to attend Emerson College’s film and media art graduate program, where her professor Marc Fields, who formerly taught at Concord Academy, alerted her to CA’s Wilcox Fellowship. Shaw hopes to teach at both the university and high school levels, and she says she was excited by the “community and closeness” she saw at CA. Over the summer, Shaw completed sound edits for her MFA thesis film, Vade, based on a true story of survival and hope, on which she had worked with as diverse a crew as she could assemble. “Having ethical, sensitive production values, from concept to completion, is

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hard to be conscious of the whole time, but I hope that over the next 10 years it will be more widely practiced,” she says. She has also been pitching series ideas. Creating a blockbuster has never been Shaw’s dream. “I would just like to have enough of a voice that I know I’m making a difference,” she says, and balancing filmmaking and teaching suits her well. In alignment with Bull’s approach, Shaw hopes CA students will learn “a technique that could become a passion or even a profession,” she says. “Once you’ve taken a film class, you start seeing the world differently. I want students to become more aware of how the world around them is a canvas for telling stories.”

In addition to its new Wilcox Fellows, Concord Academy welcomed several new faculty and staff members for the 2020–21 academic year, including Rob Munro, dean of academic program and equity (see page 8); and (at right, from top) James Booth, science teacher; and Hannah Dunphy, Merrill Genoa, and Maria LeBlanc in the Advancement and Engagement Office. Read about them at www.concordacademy. org/facstaff-2020-21.

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SPRING VISUAL ART SHOW In an online showcase in May, CA visual art teachers presented works by their students from the spring 2020 semester, many of them completed from home.

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1. Painting by Cozette Weng ’23 2. Painting by Phoebe Fritz ’23 3. Photograph by Matt Meagher ’20 4. Carved ceramic tile by Jhade Harris-Squires ’20 5. Fashion design by Shelly Liu ’20 6. Intaglio print by Claire Kelly ’21 7. Painting by Piper Franckum ’21 8. Drawing by Annie de Oliveira Castro ’22 9. Photograph by Gio Clark ’22 10. Photograph by Katherine Stirling-Ellis ’20, part of a departmental study 11. Photograph by Shanirah Rodriguez-Ponde ’20, part of a departmental study 12. Detail of a Drawing 3 collaborative class project

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SEE MORE: View more student artwork, among other year-end projects, at www.concordacademy.org/ 2020-end-of-year-projects.

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CA visual art teacher Chris Rowe had already begun recycling his earlier sculptures, from a series exploring the relationship between architectural form and surface texture, into a new body of work before the pandemic. Having to reconfigure his studio art courses for distance learning in the spring gave him an opportunity to show them to his students as works in progress. Rowe says, “While it was immensely sad not to have the MAC serving as a hive of creative activity last spring, the vacated space offered me a temporary home for this work, a space where I could step back and, in the words of that extraordinary CA history teacher and muse Janet Eisendrath, ‘look deeply’ at what I had been doing.”

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AT H L E T I C S

GO GREEN!

Fall 2020 on the Fields and Via Screens CA athletics offered remote and on-campus options this fall for both P.E. and team sports, following all of the school’s COVID-19 risk mitigation guidelines. The coaching staff helped students move their bodies, connect to community, improve their sport-specific skills, and expand life skills in what CA’s Athletics Director Sue Johnson calls “an overall atmosphere of fun and relentless positivity.” Another important theme that the coaches used to frame the experience for students was acknowledging the many losses of the season, caused by the pandemic, while trying to simultaneously feel gratitude for the opportunity to play sports together again.

A student enjoys a pickleball class, a new P.E. offering this fall. It’s one of the fastest-growing sports in the country!

SPRING 2020: UNDEFEATED

Spring 2020 Senior Ceremonies

In the spring, senior ceremonies took place with coaches, teammates, and supportive family members in the Zoom room. The virtual format was warm and well attended.

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Showing grit and resilience, CA’s spring 2020 teams moved their activities online. In their virtual meetings, they enjoyed team-building activities, reviewed game footage, and shared ways they were bringing joy to others who were struggling. In addition, to show solidarity during the distance-learning period, members of CA’s spring 2020 sports teams created designs for a T-shirt for all of the spring-season programs. The Student Athletic Council leaders chose the winning design: “Undefeated.” While the statement was loosely a fact, given that no games were played, it also, and more importantly, spoke to the ways in which team members supported one another during a challenging time.

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WHO COUNTS AS

AMERICAN? STORY BY HEIDI KOELZ PHOTOS BY PHYLLIS BRETHOLTZ, TAKEN FOR THE WE ARE AMERICA PROJECT

Through the

We Are America Project, co-founded by

Jessica Lander ’06, students around the United States are making history personal

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ome of the stories span a moment; others, a lifetime. The incident when a cashier mocked a Dominican-American teen’s accent. The 17 stateless years between a young woman’s birth in a Zambian refugee camp and her receipt of a U.S. green card. Encountering racism, losing a parent, embracing an ethnic identity, understanding an autistic sibling or a family member struggling with addiction, starting an organization to get teens into science, comparing the American Dream as seen from Brazil or Colombia or Iraq or Vietnam with the reality of life in the United States — these are some of the subjects that students at Lowell High School in Massachusetts developed into personal essays for a seminar on American diversity taught by Jessica Lander ’06. Their stories are now collected in print and as audio recordings on the website of the We Are America Project, which Lander and 18 of her former students co-founded. As more than a thousand students from secondary schools across the country add their voices, the project is sparking discussion about what it means to be American.

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LEARN MORE: Hear their stories at weareamericaproject.com.

These Lowell High School students had their photographs taken for the We Are America Project, co-founded by their teacher Jessica Lander ’06. Their portraits speak to their individual stories of migration, family, community, belonging, loss, and gratitude.

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The first integrated public high school in the United States, open to all since its founding in the 1830s, Lowell High School is exceptionally diverse. There, Lander teaches U.S. history and civics to 11th and 12th graders from about 30 countries, most of them recent immigrants or refugees. She co-designed the diversity seminar five years ago with a rising senior. Student-driven and collaboratively led, it focuses on the history of the American fight for equity and justice. In its first year, the class researched and wrote Defining Diversity, a book about the concepts, federal laws, and Supreme Court cases that have shaped the meaning of diversity in America, which is now used in a number of high school and community college classrooms around the country. The next year, the class created the book Achieving Equity to profile American changemakers, from Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman in the United States to earn a medical degree, to transgender activist Jazz Jennings.

Two years ago, says Lander, “It struck me that if we’re trying to understand the history of diversity in the United States, we have to understand individual stories. Schools tend to focus on big history — wars, movements, Supreme Court cases — which is incredibly important, but at the same time, big history is made up of individual stories. I wanted my students to understand their history as important to study — not only valuable, but essential.” Lander had noticed that many of her students, both recent immigrants and those whose families had lived in the United States for generations, didn’t really feel they were American, or that others saw them as such. “I wanted them to take ownership of their identities,” she says. So in the 2018–19 school year, Lander asked her seminar students to curate a series of personal stories.


From an early age, I heard many stories about the United States. Stories like how the U.S. was heaven on earth, how there was total equality, how there was literally money in the streets, and how there were only white people. E Z EQ U I E L N U N E Z , student co-founder

The students discussed, wrote, and edited, and a local photographer created striking black-and-white portraits to accompany their stories. “My students have shown such incredible perseverance, determination, humor, kindness, and generosity,” Lander says. “Their vulnerability and courage have truly been incredible.” One of the We Are America Project student founders, Safiya Al Samarrai, who at 11 became a refugee from Iraq, says, “In this class, most of the students were immigrants. We shared the same feelings and struggles.” Her classmates included a small number of white, U.S.born students. “I thought we wouldn’t have much in common, but I was totally wrong,” Al Samarrai says. “Ms. Lander

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built a relationship with each of us with trust and love. My biggest takeaway was that I’m not alone in what I have experienced.” Nicole Harrison, another student founder, says that at first she struggled to select her topic: being raised by a single mother. “Ms. Lander and I spent countless hours sitting down together and discussing any questions I had about how to move forward with my story,” she says. “I learned that everyone has a story, no matter how little or unimportant they may think it is. A story is part of you that makes you who you are.” Harrison was moved by her classmates’ contributions. “I learned more about them just reading their stories than I did spending months learning together,” she says. “When we all finished revising our stories, the class sat together in a circle on the floor and we rotated the stories for us to read. That was the most emotional part of this whole project. We laughed, we cried, we hugged. We were all blown away.” Expanding the Circle Lander led the semester-long seminar twice during the 2018–19 school year. As the first course concluded, her students began speaking about it on local radio and news stations. Gallery shows at UMass Lowell and the Harvard Graduate School of Education followed. Lander and her students started discussing the possibility of extending this experience beyond their school. Lander revised her curriculum for other teachers’ use and wrote fundraising documents and an application, and her students began dividing up responsibilities. One of the student founders, Katherine Huang, developed the We Are America Project website. Another, Julian Viviescas, helped adapt the book design for the series. The co-founders also formed partnerships with several nonprofits: Facing History and Ourselves, which empowers teachers and students

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Above: Lucie Rwakabuba, a We Are America Project student co-founder. Her story of immigration and of experiencing discrimination is recorded in English as well as Congolese Swahili.

We sometimes need to step back from our surroundings to better understand our experiences. The world may not be as we want it to

be, but we can take from it, learn from it, and then work to make it better. LU C I E RWA K A B U BA , student co-founder

to think critically about history and understand the impact of their choices; Re-Imagining Migration (where Lander is a fellow), which helps young people understand migration as a shared condition of the past, present, and future; and the Tenement Museum in New York, which celebrates the role of immigration in the evolving American identity. They launched the national project in July 2019, seeking educators for the 2019–20 school year. Within a week, 12 teachers had applied. Soon, that number quadrupled. “They kept coming in, and their applications were incredible — from those who taught recent immigrants and refugees, like me; from a teacher in Arkansas whose students, the teacher described, were low income and often felt that they didn’t count,” Lander says. “They shared so

many beautiful stories and wishes for their students.” In selecting partners, Lander and her co-founders look for teachers willing to go the extra mile through many rounds of collaboratively shaping and editing stories. “This work is hard,” Lander says. “It requires a lot of vulnerability from teachers and a great deal of support for students to feel the trust and security that are necessary for them to share the stories they want to share.” Under Lander’s mentorship, 14 of her former students now work in pairs to guide teachers in the program. As part of the self-sustaining model, partner schools receive curricular support for teachers, a stipend, and at the end of the semester, 100 copies of the book featuring their students. After the contributors get their own copies, the remainder are


sold within each community to help fund future versions of the project. Although the pandemic upended classrooms this spring, the founding team continued to support teachers and students across the country, from Alaska to New York, Illinois to Idaho, Massachusetts to Florida. A second cohort was accepted for the 2020–21 school year. The team now works with more than 50 teachers from 28 U.S. states, reaching, in turn, more than 1,500 students. The digital library of audio stories is growing, and some are now recorded in students’ first languages as well as English. “There’s a power in hearing the stories in students’ own voices,” Lander says. Al Samarrai, now attending Middlesex Community College, continues to mentor six We Are America Project teachers. “I’m overwhelmed by how the project has grown,” she says. Harrison, who is studying marine biology at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., has been working with teachers from Hawaii, Alaska, and Tennessee, as well as Cambridge, Mass., New York, and Chicago. “It’s astonishing to see something so small go big in less than a year,” she says. “I’m so proud to be able to be a part of this project and help take it to different states. It’s only fitting that it started here in this melting pot that is Lowell, Mass.” Meeting This Historical Moment Even in virtual settings, the We Are America Project curriculum, which builds a foundation for sharing stories one-on-one and in small groups, is creating community. “It takes a lot of courage to have difficult conversations with others, and with yourself, about what to share and how to understand where others are coming from,” Lander says. “To do that when you’re not together in person is doubly hard, but also so much more important.” The national protests against racial injustice have added to the historic nature of this moment. As Lander is aware, this is an exceptional time to be documenting.

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“As a teacher who is running this project in my own classroom this year, it’s really powerful to be doing this now,” Lander says. “For so long, our national narrative has actively shut its eyes to the country’s history. We’re a country created through genocide and built by enslaved people. Over the last century we’ve created laws that intentionally exclude many Americans, whether on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, or sexuality. I see the effects of that history and of intentional discrimination and racism in my classroom, and teachers and students around the country are seeing them in their classrooms. So many Americans have been actively told that they do not belong and do not count.”

While Lander isn’t sure what the next phase of the project will bring, she’d like to interest a publisher in an anthology that pulls together stories from around the country. “We are being ambitious and staying open to possibilities,” she says. Her hope is that this project will change how students understand themselves and help adults create space for all young people in the U.S. to claim their American identity. “This is one small way to help have an honest reckoning with our history,” Lander says. “It’s been really humbling and powerful for us to share tools to spark these conversations within communities.”

While a student at Concord Academy, Jessica Lander ’06 fell in love with writing in Sandy Stott’s creative nonfiction class at CA. That experience led her to study writing with John McPhee at Princeton, then to her career as a writer, education journalist, and teacher. Following undergraduate research in a school in Tanzania, teaching at Chiang Mai University in Thailand, and a fellowship spent mentoring Cambodian college women in Phnom Penh, she earned a master’s degree in education policy from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Passionate about advocating for marginalized people and supporting schools that serve all students well, she has taught at Lowell High School since 2015. A fellow with the California-based Emerson Collective, Lander spent the 2019–20 academic year researching and writing a book on immigrant education in the United States.

P H OTO BY J I L L A N D E RS O N , H A RVA R D G R A D UAT E S C H O O L O F E D U CAT I O N

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Caring for All

The coronavirus pandemic has made the U.S. health care

system’s faults

more visible, but young medical

professionals are redoubling their commitments to

On March 10 at Elmhurst Hospital in Queens,

serving those in

N.Y., Fred Milgrim ’08 swabbed his first

greatest need

patient suspected of having COVID-19. The following day, the emergency resident physician traveled to attend a wedding. By March 16,

STO RY BY H E I D I KO E L Z I L LU ST R AT I O N BY A N N A & E L E N A BA L B U SSO

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when he returned, the emergency department had been reconfigured: Multiple large areas had been walled off into airborne isolation units.

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ver the following week, the enclosures overflowed with patients who had the virus. Even with two-thirds of the emergency department filled with COVID-19 patients, Milgrim knew cases were slipping through the cracks — disguised as acute kidney failure, heart attacks, or arrhythmia. The disjunction between seeing New Yorkers out on sunny spring days as he bicycled to work and what he calls the “hellscape” that awaited him at the hospital was hard to reconcile. That’s when Milgrim, previously a journalist, sounded an alarm. “China warned Italy,” he wrote in an essay published on March 29 in the Atlantic. “Italy warned us. We didn’t listen. Now the onus is on the rest of America to listen to New York.” His article led to a CNN interview with Anderson Cooper, but Milgrim didn’t respond to other media requests. Instead, in June, he began editing for Brief19, a daily digest of SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research and policy started by a former colleague, helping to share authoritative information about COVID-19 with other doctors and the public. As a resident at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Milgrim rotates at two hospitals in Manhattan and at Elmhurst, in Queens, where he witnessed the disproportionate devastation of the Jackson Heights neighborhood. He considers Elmhurst “an incredible place to train and work.” It’s the clinical setting that most interested him when he was considering residency programs. When the media negatively compared patient care during the pandemic at Elmhurst, a public hospital, with private institutions, he took offense. “We have the same residents, the same capable doctors and nurses taking good care of patients, but the outcomes are different for so many reasons,” Milgrim says. “City hospitals are inundated with sick, uninsured people without access to primary care, affected by systemic racism, suffering from unequal wealth. We have such a robust emergency medicine practice in

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We have such a robust emergency medicine practice in this country out of necessity. The ER is our answer to public health — for a lot of people, we are it.”

F R E D MI LG RI M ’08

P H OTO BY J U ST I N J. W E E


Left: Fred Milgrim ’08 in March before his shift as an emergency resident physician in the Elmhurst Hospital emergency department in Queens, N.Y. He commutes by bike over the Queensboro Bridge. Center: Emergency physician Kara Huston ’03, her face marked by the personal protective equipment she wears in the ER in New Bedford, Mass. Right: Kimon Ioannides ’03, an emergency physician and fellow in the National Clinician Scholars Program at UCLA.

this country out of necessity. The ER is our answer to public health — for a lot of people, we are it.” A 2019 graduate of the Boston University School of Medicine, Milgrim belongs to a generation of young medical professionals who were just finding their footing in the chaotic world of emergency medicine when the pandemic began. He says being a first-year resident was “probably the best time” to encounter the turmoil: He had enough experience to meet the demands of the crisis, and he needed, and found, opportunities to improve his skills. “There weren’t enough hands to do critical procedures, so we got to be involved in a lot more than even more senior colleagues,” he says. The pandemic has tested what emergency medicine professionals can bear, even as they affirm their commitment to caring for all who come through the ER’s doors. In New Bedford, Mass., emergency physician Kara Huston ’03 works for Beth Israel, staffing the ER at St. Luke’s Hospital. She appreciates the “energy and teamwork” in the emergency department, she says: “I like building rapport quickly. I like taking care of people, and I like puzzles. It’s a hard job, but I find it very rewarding.” The U.S. health care system, however, leaves her baffled. Like Milgrim, she says emergency departments end up offering care that could be better provided elsewhere, such as for psychiatric patients. “There are so many smart, hardworking, caring individuals, but people in health care know that at every layer — not just insurance — the

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system is a patchwork that doesn’t work,” she says. COVID-19 exposed the gaps. Initially, Huston says, staff at her hospital were discouraged from using masks in an effort to preserve supplies. Slowly, it became clear that everyone interacting with patients should have an N95 respirator. But, as at hospitals across the country, St. Luke’s staff had to reuse them time after time. When Huston was provided gowns labeled “not for medical use,” she purchased her own personal protective equipment (PPE). “There’s a huge difference when a hospital is run by a physician,” she says. “Most hospitals aren’t, and their priorities are different than those established with a doctor’s mindset.” As traumatizing as battling the pandemic has been, Huston has been most affected by what she’s unable to do for non-COVID patients. New protocols to limit the spread of the virus include banning standard aerosolizing treatments, for example. This summer, rather than using a nebulizer as usual, Huston injected a woman with severe asthma with epinephrine — the treatment of last resort worked, but it was the first time she had ever attempted it. “It’s upsetting to have to just watch those patients who could turn around with everyday treatments that we’re now not allowed to use,” she says. “When you don’t feel like you know anything about a novel virus, it’s really taxing.” Collaborating has been made harder by the isolation emergency medicine professionals have had to adapt to at work. Doctors have been exchanging strategies over social media, but their in-person interactions with colleagues have been radically altered. Huston’s CA classmate Kimon Ioannides ’03, an emergency physician who works clinical shifts at multiple Los Angeles hospitals, says, “We don’t socialize in the same way now. We’re wearing masks

“ The core of emergency medicine is taking care of anybody — and for us, that has always been and will always be disproportionately folks with fewer resources. That’s what we’re passionate about. In some ways COVID is no different, it’s just more visible.”

KI M O N I OA N N I DE S ’03

throughout our 12-hour shifts. Now we go into a supply closet to take a drink, or out into the ambulance bay to eat a sandwich alone.” When the coronavirus hit, wellresourced UCLA didn’t have as much difficulty securing PPE as other hospitals where Ioannides has worked. Still, he’s concerned for the custodial staff who have to clean rooms right after COVID-19 patients leave. “I knew what I might get into if there were a pandemic, but they didn’t,” he says. “We know that disease, as well as instability of all kinds, affects people really differently. We see that every day.” Ioannides is a fellow in the National Clinician Scholars Program at UCLA, whose goal is to train clinical researchers

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to act as change agents to improve health care and reduce health disparities. He’s researching which health conditions were most exacerbated as ERs across the country experienced a steep decline in visits this spring. Knowing systemic change will take time, he focuses on what’s within his control. “I think about my biases when I’m seeing patients, and how they translate to other providers,” he says. “A lot of them come out in charting and notes, in ways we pick up on before even seeing patients.” The core of emergency medicine, Ioannides says, is “taking care of anybody — and for us, that has always been and will always be disproportionately folks with fewer resources. That’s what we’re passionate about. In some ways COVID is no different, it’s just more visible.” Nurses and other critical health care personnel are facing the same conditions as doctors on the COVID-19 front lines, though often with more limited protections and recognition. A nursing assistant at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey, Jazmin Londono ’12 works in a heart-failure unit that was converted to COVID-19 care in March, when PPE was in short supply, and she didn’t feel her safety was a priority for the hospital. Before it resumed its regular function in June, her unit cared for 26 COVID-19 patients at a time, with only two nursing assistants entering all 13 rooms. When travel nurses from other states arrived, she was grateful for their help but also conscious of how well they were being paid; Londono says she doesn’t earn a living wage. “I’m the person there to listen to patients’ problems, to help clean them, feed them, and talk with them when they’re not feeling well, and relay all of it to the nurse,” Londono says. She has also assisted with videoconference calls for families, so they have a chance to see their loved ones during their final moments.

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I function well in a state of high intensity. In the ER, I feel really comfortable — I know what I can do to help, and that’s how I always want to feel. I’ve learned so much watching ER physicians tackle the pandemic.”

LI N DSAY KLI CKSTE I N ’15


Clockwise from lower left: Jazmin Londono ’12, a nursing assistant for heart-failure patients in Hackensack, N.J., found herself working on a COVID-19 ward this spring; despite her exposure to the virus, Lindsay Klickstein ’15 finds her work as a medical scribe in a North Carolina ER good experience for medical school; Benchize Fleuraguste ’12 says health care is her passion, and the pandemic hasn’t changed that.

Many of her patients who have diabetes or heart disease lack the education or resources for eating well — and Londono says the vast majority of these conditions are preventable. “With good educators, patients can change their lives, but systemic inequality and oppression play a big part in their being sick in the first place,” she says. Londono wants to become a trauma nurse, and perhaps eventually train in psychology. “Patients are dealing with so much in this tragic time, not just with illness but with how to survive,” she says. “I want to be able to counsel people.” She takes pride in being able to use her Spanish language skills to put Spanish-speaking patients at ease, and she hopes for positive change in the medical system, she says, “for more empathy, because people becoming practitioners now are more educated and care more about a person’s whole well-being.” Starting their training at the low end of the hospital hierarchy may help future providers see that bigger picture. In North Carolina, Lindsay Klickstein ’15 works as a medical scribe, reviewing EMT records for doctors, writing patient records, and recording medical decisions. She moves among three UNC Health campus emergency departments, and she is also the emergency department site coordinator at UNC Health’s main hospital. Klickstein is a part of the medical staff more than she had anticipated, even helping to interpret imaging and lab results and assisting in response to strokes and traumas. Early in the pandemic, scribes weren’t issued masks, though now they wear them daily. The

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job pays minimum wage and provides no health insurance or paid time off. Already certified as a wilderness emergency medical technician, Klickstein trained as a scribe for two months before going solo on March 3, a week before the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. After one ward at UNC’s main hospital was converted to a COVID-19 unit, more than a third of the scribes on staff quit. Klickstein stayed. She’s applying to medical schools this year and considers her work excellent training. “I love emergency departments,” she says. “I function well in a state of high intensity. In the ER, I feel really comfortable — I know what I can do to help, and that’s how I always want to feel. It’s what drew me to search-and-rescue, too. I’ve learned so much watching ER physicians tackle the pandemic.” Benchize Fleuraguste ’12 also considers emergency medicine her passion. Since her first interaction with paramedics, who saved her mother’s life, she has wanted to work in health care. In the summer after her junior year at CA, she trained as an EMT. Now she attends a doctoral program in nursing while working as an emergency room nurse in the greater Boston area, with plans to specialize in MedFlight air transport critical care as well as to teach someday. Like Londono, she has found her facility with several languages helps reassure her patients. During the pandemic, Fleuraguste has observed that people of color have been scared to come to the ER for treatment. Though she understands that often economic pressure and lack of education make access to health care difficult at any time, she thinks having more providers of color would help. “Patients are more apt to trust individuals who look like them and understand their culture, who can educate them in the same way they have learned,” she says.

“ It’s what I trained to do, and I love helping people. Not being there is not an option for me. I can’t sit back and leave my colleagues hanging. And we’re supposed to advocate for everyone, from all walks of life — that’s something I learned from CA.”

BEN C H I ZE F LE URAG USTE ’12

Fleuraguste praises Massachusetts’ phased COVID-19 plan, but she’s incensed by the lack of U.S. leadership in a coordinated pandemic response. “This new virus is ever-changing, but we learned a lot from when Ebola hit and swift government action helped to tamp it down and prepare health systems,” she says. For her, the government’s failure is personal: She has lost family members to COVID-19. “My family is concerned about my exposure at work, but a lot of them understand it’s not just a job,” she says. “It’s what I trained to do, and I love helping people. Not being there is not an option for me. I can’t sit back and leave my colleagues hanging. And we’re supposed to advocate for everyone, from all walks of life — that’s something I learned from CA.”

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CH T EE N TBEI G N NPIIACT L U CA R EMIPA I G N

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Campus Life in 2020

CA’s campus reopened for several weeks this fall prior to Thanksgiving, in accordance with a pandemic-response plan that prioritizes the safety of students, faculty, and staff. HyFlex classroom technology and a modified academic calendar ensured access for all students, whether they were learning in person or remotely. Read more about CA’s plan at www.concordacademy.org/healthy-concord.

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C E N T E N N I A L CA M PA I G N

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Countdown to the Centennial Let the Countdown to CA’s Centennial Begin!

As we look forward to Concord Academy’s 100th anniversary, plans are underway for a full year of celebration. But we needn’t wait until 2022 to begin commemorating the history of the school and the qualities that make it unique. In our next several issues of the magazine, leading up to CA’s Centennial, we’ll share a few gems from our collection.

TREASURES FROM CA’S ARCHIVES The class of 1931 was “always a bit independent,” wrote Elizabeth Monroe Boggs ’31 when she donated her Concord Academy memorabilia to the school in 1994. Rather than the standard class ring, the seniors in her year had a class bracelet fashioned. All 12 graduating seniors in 1931 also received silver picture frames. Pictured is Wendy Morison ’32, who was one of Boggs’ roommates in her senior year.

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PLANS FOR CELEBRATING CA’S CENTENNIAL ARE UNDERWAY At the end of April, a committee of CA faculty and staff gathered in the Elizabeth B. Hall Chapel to lay the foundation for a meaningful 2022–23 Centennial celebration. In May, they began partnering with the Alumnae/i Centennial Advisory Committee to work on the plans. The combined groups form the Centennial Planning and Advisory Team, which is charged with creating memorable and inclusive experiences that will connect the CA community across generations and around the world, and with developing a plan to showcase the school’s history, people, and program. This group is committed to honoring all alumnae/i experiences while connecting graduates from every era to the school of today. One celebration won’t be enough! We look forward to a full year of Centennial commemorations beginning in spring 2022. C ENTENNIA L PL A NNING A ND A D V IS ORY TEA M M EM BE RS* Kitty Fisk Ames ’65, P’95 Former Board President and Life Trustee

CARTOONING IN THE CHAMELEON The earliest issue of the Chameleon in CA’s archives to feature the chameleon on its cover is from December 1942. In the 1950s, students took out advertisements in the school publication to boost their Red and Blue teams. Elizabeth “Ding” Hall Richardson ’55, daughter of former headmistress Elizabeth B. Hall, shared this ad for the Blues, which appeared in the 1955 Chameleon. Many of the early yearbooks also contained student-drawn cartoons, a tradition that continued through the 1960s.

Help Us Celebrate CA’s Centennial

We’re creating a book to document the character and spirit of Concord Academy throughout the school’s first 10 decades. In words and images, we’ll tell the stories of CA’s traditions, from the cotillions of the 1950s to the protests of the 1970s, up to the social activism of the present day. We also plan to share stories from every era in multiple media formats, including slideshows, videos, and audio recordings. We invite CA alumnae/i from all generations to contribute to this endeavor! Call for Submissions CA is known for fostering individuality and respecting differences in the service of creating a stronger community. If you have a story from your own CA experience that illustrates this dynamic, please let us know at centennial_project@concordacademy.org.

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Peter Boskey ’08 Visual Arts Faculty, Community and Equity Office, College Counseling Office Amy Cammann Cholnoky ’73 Former Trustee, Centennial Campaign Steering Committee Renee Coburn Student Life Office Jamie Wade Comstock ’82, P’17 Centennial Campaign Steering Committee

Wenjun Kuai Mandarin Faculty and House Faculty Karen McAlmon ’75 Alumnae/i Association President Laura McConaghy ’01 Alumnae/i Association President 2018–2020 Katie Pakenham ’88 Former Faculty and Alumnae/i Leader Alice Roebuck Director of Advancement and Engagement Hilary Rouse Director of Engagement

Ingrid von Dattan Detweiler ’61, P’95 Former Trustee and Alumnae/i Leader

Carol Sacknoff P’94 Former Staff and Alumnae/i Guru

Marion Freeman ’69 Former Board President and Life Trustee

Fay Lampert Shutzer ’65 President of the Board of Trustees

Merrill Genoa Annual Fund and Alumnae/i Programs Officer

Amy Spencer P’13 Performing Arts Department Chair and Dance Faculty

Max Hall Science Faculty

Lucille Stott Former Faculty, Centennial Book Author

Rick Hardy Emeritus Head of School

Kelsey Stratton ’99 Former Trustee and Alumnae/i Leader

Lara Jordan James ’80 Former Trustee and Alumnae/i Leader

Katie Wells Director of Head’s Initiatives and Campus Events

Sue Johnson P’20 Director of Athletics Martha Kennedy Library Director/Archivist Don Kingman Director of Campus Planning and Construction Heidi Koelz Associate Director of Communications

*As of November 1. This list will grow!

Tom Wilcox P’01 Former Head of School Linden Havemeyer Wise ’70 Former Board President and Life Trustee Sarah Yeh P’24 Interim Head of School

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D O N O R P RO F I L E S

CA is grateful to the many generous individuals and families who are committed to bridging the 10 percent budget gap between Concord Academy’s income from tuition and endowment and the total funds necessary to ensure the daily operations of the school — the actual costs of CA’s distinctive educational program. These donors explain why they continue to give to Concord Academy’s Annual Fund every year. BY ABIGAIL JENNEY

ALEX DICHTER ’85

MIRIAM PEREZ-PUTNAM ’12

Alex Dichter ’85 credits his Concord Academy education with laying When Miriam Perez-Putnam ’12 reaches out to new CA graduates the foundation for his success as a consultant with McKinsey & in her role as a co-chair of the Concord Academy Young Alumnae/i Company. “I owe a debt,” he says, “and I also know the challenges Community (CAYAC) Committee, she writes to them, “I stay in touch that schools like CA are faced with.” Dichter gives back for these with CA because it gave me access to teachers who cared about me, reasons, and because “I believe in CA, and I want it to continue to mentors who believed in me when I doubted myself, and lifelong thrive” he says. “As an alumnus, if not me, then who?” friendships.” Perez-Putnam adds that she gives back to CA, both As a student at CA, Dichter says he struggled as a volunteer and through “small financial gifts,” for academically: “I was a good listener, and attentive in the very same reasons, “and so that generations of class, but I didn’t do much else.” Despite his admitted new CA students will be provided the same thoughtful organizational and motivational shortcomings, he instruction that set me up so well for my future.” says, “my teachers always managed to find someAs a student at CA, Perez-Putnam appreciated the thing in me to be excited about, and worked hard to school’s community the most. From the outset, she felt bring that out. They had every right to give up on me, intrinsically valued by friends, house parents, and facbut never did.” ulty alike. “My peers and CA adults looked me in the Dichter’s path post-CA was different than most. eye, knew that I existed, and said ‘I’m going to be here Feeling unsure about next steps after graduation he for you through it all,’ and that’s held true,” she says. took a year off and sold cars. He then gave college a After graduating, Perez-Putnam attended Haverford try for a semester, quickly realized it was not the right College, a school she chose specifically because, fit, and ultimately fell back on his childhood passion: she says, “it felt like a slightly larger version of CA.” Alex Dichter ’85 aviation. After a few years working to complete variShe quickly noticed that she had arrived much better ous licenses, Dichter joined Continental Airlines as a prepared than many of her new peers: Perez-Putnam commercial pilot. “I didn’t want to be a pilot forever, immediately felt more independent, and she naturally but I was fascinated with the business of flying,” he relied on the solid foundation of confidence in herself says. Taking advice from several consultants he’d and her ability to effectively communicate — built at met, Dichter returned to college at the age of 26 and CA — when working with professors and other adults. earned his bachelor’s degree from Embry-Riddle She earned a dual degree in French and Middle Eastern Aeronautical University, completing three and a half studies from Haverford in 2016 before moving back years of study in just three semesters. Next, he set home to Pittsburgh. Since then, she has worked for a his sights on business school. With a clear career number of nonprofit organizations, most recently as path in mind — consulting for airlines as a part of a donor relations manager for Hôpital Albert Schweitzer large firm — he spent two years at the Tuck School of Haiti. She has also volunteered with several local politBusiness at Dartmouth and was hired by McKinsey ical campaigns, and is actively working with SisTers Miriam Perez-Putnam ’12 & Company upon graduation. Today, Dichter lives PGH, which she says is “a transgender centered in London with his wife and two daughters and is a drop-in space, resource provider, and shelter transitionsenior partner leading McKinsey’s Travel, Transport, ing program based in Pittsburgh.” & Logistics Practice. When describing Concord Academy to others, Perez-Putnam “I learned how to think and how to write at CA,” Dichter says, thinks back to Kim Crawford Harvie’s 2013 Commencement and communicating effectively has been central to his success as a address, specifically this remark: “You are loved, beyond measure. consultant. Dichter adds that CA’s curriculum “felt more like that of If you forget, … [c]ome home to Concord and we’ll remind you.” a university than a high school.” At the time, he thought this was That’s been true for Perez-Putnam in so many ways. “I made the how “good” high schools operated. Today, he says, “I can see that best friends of my life at CA, and I have continued to find new this is not common at all — CA is unique.” communities even after graduation, on the Alumnae/i Steering Committee, with my fellow class agents, and more,” she says. “And it is all because of the different ways I have come back to CA over the years.”

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Hope Is a Discipline A scholar’s impassioned message for her African American sons offers wisdom to us all

With last year’s publication of her sixth book, Breathe: A Letter to My Sons, Imani Perry ’90 is making the political personal in a way that her earlier scholarly works did not. But it’s a natural transition for a woman who is an academic, an activist, a writer, and a mother — and who has been contemplating how best to communicate about issues of equality since she was a teen. “As an African American student at an independent school, of course I faced challenges around issues of race and inequality,” says Perry of her years at Concord Academy. “But I always felt that there was space for me to raise those issues. CA was a wonderful place where a lot of value was placed on the life of the mind, on creativity, on individuality. Being able to speak honestly and push for more inclusivity while still a high school student was an important experience for my future as a scholar and as a teacher.” Born in Birmingham, Ala., to parents whom she describes as activists and political organizers, and raised in Cambridge, Mass., Perry says that as a young person she was interested in “the question of how we make society more just and equitable. All of my research and my study have been about the ways that inequality, whether patriarchy or racial inequality, works; how people have historically tried to undo that inequality; and why these issues still keep coming back.” As an undergraduate at Yale, she recognized that her interest was “not just at the level of laws and policy and social movement but also at the level of art and creativity and literature.”

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Those dual passions led to multiple postgraduate degrees: Perry holds a J.D. from Harvard Law School, an LL.M. from Georgetown University Law Center, and a Ph.D. in American studies from Harvard. Now a professor of American studies at Princeton, where she is also affiliated with the Gender and Sexuality Studies and Law and Public Affairs programs, she has authored several scholarly books, but last year’s Breathe is a departure from her usual academic writing in that it is personal and intimate. “Breathe is intended to draw on the best of the traditions and resilience of African American history for Black children who are growing up in a profoundly unequal society,” Perry says. “My sons are now 14 and 16, and they are coming of age in an era in which blatant, old-fashioned forms of racism have risen again, one in which they are inundated with the phenomenon of police killings of innocent African Americans. But this is also an era of social movement, where people are protesting and resisting. The book is an effort to demonstrate to the world that while there is a lot of unfairness, there is also a lot of beauty. I wanted to offer my sons and their generation ways of making meaning of their lives against this complicated backdrop.” Not all activism happens on the level of ideology, Perry points out. Practical resources matter too. “One of the things I have really been inspired by in response to both the pandemic and the series of deaths of African Americans has been the emergence of mutual aid organizations,”

“ Every social transformation we have witnessed has required people to believe something was possible that didn’t yet exist.” I M A N I P E R RY ’9 0

she says. Addressing the wave of political protests touched off by the killing of George Floyd, she says, “People are sharing food, water, emergency care. Even though it is critical that we push for good policy transformation, I’m pleased to see people modeling change in their day-to-day lives.” It is, says Perry, an ongoing effort — one that she writes about, teaches to her students, and discusses with her sons. She likes to say that hope is a discipline, something that takes intention and practice. “You don’t just look to the world and decide naively to be hopeful. You have to work at it,” she says. “You look for the moment where kindness and love shape what happens more than victory and greed and meanness. Every social transformation we have witnessed has required people to believe something was possible that didn’t yet exist. If you want to change the world, you have to invest in your imagination and your passion.” —Nancy Shohet West ’84



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YOU ARE PART OF OUR NETWORK by Karen McAlmon ’75, Alumnae/i Association president

I came to Concord Academy as an A Better Chance (ABC) student from Brooklyn, N.Y. CA changed my life! It gave me new perspectives on the world and opened many doors of opportunity. My experience as a student was wonderful academically. While here, I participated in many activities — including roles as business manager for the Centipede and head of house — however, my overall experience was mixed as a student of color in the mid-1970s. Over the years, I have reflected on that time and have engaged more and more with CA. In the end, I know life is a journey and I am proud to say that CA has been and continues to be a part of my journey. I value the love of learning and evolving commitment to issues of equity that CA embodies. After I returned to the Boston area for medical training, my nephew started at CA as an ABC student, and I got to know Tom Wilcox, the then headmaster. Tom was changing the social climate of CA into something that I fully supported and wanted to be engaged in. We got to know each other, and I was invited to be a member of the Board of Trustees. I served on the Board for seven years, including chairing the Board Diversity Committee. Later, I participated in Community and Equity (C&E) activities and subsequently served as co-chair of the Alumnae/i C&E Committee and a member of the Alumnae/i Steering Committee. My goals for the Alumnae/i C&E Committee included supporting students of color and facilitating networking among alums of color.

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In recent years, two wonderful things have happened due to my CA connections: A meaningful friendship has blossomed among classmates who were not connected as students, and we are now sisters in our wolf pack; and a group from my class of 1975 created the Concord Academy Opportunity Fund to support experiential equity for African American and Latinx financial aid recipients. As president of the Alumnae/i Association, my goals will include creating opportunities for connections such as these to blossom in many different ways for all alums. I will strive to engage all alumnae/i, especially those of color and those who have not been involved in the alumnae/i community in the past. As our Centennial approaches, I especially look forward to helping to plan and celebrate this milestone, and I know that we as alums will continue to support CA now and in our next century. In this letter, my first as president of the Alumnae/i Association, I am thrilled to share the inaugural Report of the Alumnae/i Association, developed by the Alumnae/i Steering Committee to reflect on the variety of ways that alumnae/i give back to CA. Each year, hundreds of alumnae/i contribute to the life of the school. They take time to speak with students, lend their materials and expertise to the curriculum, serve on their reunion committees, collect class notes, interview prospective students, and so much more. In addition, our incredible alumnae/i continue to impact our community — locally, nationally, and internationally — and have the potential to impact each of our lives in profound

CONCORD ACADEMY A L U M N A E / I A S S O C I AT I O N All Concord Academy alumnae/i are automatically members of the Alumnae/i Association. MISSION The Alumnae/i Association fosters lifelong connections between Concord Academy and its alumnae/i community. The association facilitates meaningful opportunities to preserve and promote a love of learning, service to others, and a commitment to diverse perspectives and backgrounds. Through involvement in the life of the school, within the community, and through service to the greater world, the association strives to renew and affirm the core values instilled while at CA.

ways. View the 2019–20 Report of the Alumnae/i Association at www. concordacademy.org/aa-report to see our activities over the past academic year and learn how you can get involved. The pandemic has challenged our alumnae/i community to connect in new and different ways. This past spring, more than 200 alumnae/i from around the world celebrated reunion online, which was unfamiliar yet surprisingly meaningful. (See page 40.) We explored CA’s virtual classrooms through the screen, heard from fellow alumnae/i, and, in true CA fashion, quickly adapted to this new form of communication, because it’s just that important to all of us. The Alumnae/i Steering Committee is thinking creatively about how to bring CA’s mission and values to life over your screen this year, and I encourage you to participate in the opportunities that lie ahead. Whether or not you have been active in the association in the past, we invite you to be a part of this network as we approach our Centennial celebration. Our voices, perspectives and experiences are part of what keeps the CA spirit alive and thriving.


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In May 2020, the Concord Academy Board of Trustees elected five new members. Jonathan DeSimone P’20 is a senior investment and financial management executive with more than 20 years’ experience leading alternative asset management and management consulting firms. From 2002 until 2019, he worked at Bain Capital Credit (formerly known as Sankaty Advisors) in Boston and London. In September 2020, he became the chief executive officer designate at Alcentra, a $40 billion alternative credit manager. Until 2019, he was a portfolio manager in Bain Capital Credit’s Liquid Credit business and a member of the BCC Credit Committee, working with institutional investors around the world to deploy capital into the high yield, leveraged loan, structured credit, private credit, and distressed and special situations markets. Prior to that he worked at Bain & Company from 1992 to 2002, supporting a variety of clients in the consumer, industrial, and private equity sectors. DeSimone earned a bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University and an MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College. He is a trustee at St. John’s Preparatory School in Danvers, Mass. He and his wife, Vicki, reside in Beverly, Mass. They have two sons, Brendan and Christian, and a daughter, Portia ’20. Lori Hick P’19 ’22 (ex-officio, president of CA Parents) holds a degree in economics from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and spent more than 10 years in human resources at several early-stage startups in the Bay Area. After moving to Concord, Mass., in 2007, Hick shifted her focus to community engagement, connecting people and resources closer to home. As a long-serving board member of her town’s elementary and middle school parent-teacher groups, Hick coordinated events and initiatives that brought families and faculty together beyond the classroom. She has been involved in various committee roles at Concord Academy. In the broader community, Hick worked with the International Institute of New England, tutoring newly resettled immigrants and refugees in English and job skills. She served on the board of directors of the National Charity League’s Middlesex chapter, mobilizing women and their daughters through over 3,500 hours of service each year. As a board member of

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the Concord-Carlisle Community Chest, Hick has co-chaired the allocations process, distributing an average of $500,000 annually to local organizations. She lives in Concord, Mass., with her husband, Karl; their daughter, Camille ’22; and their two dogs. Their son, Karl ’19, is enjoying college. Kerry Hoffman P’14 ’20 worked as a trial lawyer for the U.S. Department of Justice for 10 years, handling criminal antitrust cases in Washington and Atlanta. She holds a bachelor’s degree in history from U.C. Berkeley and a J.D. from U.C. Hastings. Since moving to New England, Hoffman has focused her volunteer efforts on the arts, education, and the environment. She was a gallery instructor at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston for five years, served as co-chair of CA’s 2017–18 Parent Annual Fund and as CA Parents president from 2018 to 2020, and is a member of the school’s Centennial Campaign Steering Committee. She also sits on the council for Earthjustice, a nonprofit environmental law firm based in San Francisco. Hoffman and her husband, Paul, live in Lincoln, Mass. They have two children, Martha ’14 and Samuel ’20. Steve Kramarsky ’85 is a commercial litigator who also advises clients on complex issues arising in the litigation and transactional context, with a particular focus on technology, complex financial instruments, intellectual property, and employment matters. He regularly practices before financial industry arbitral panels and represents clients in related state and federal court actions. Kramarsky also has an active intellectual property practice, and he has written extensively and taught continuing legal education courses on issues of electronic discovery and document management for large organizations in the litigation context. He writes a regular technology law column for the New York Law Journal and was recognized as an Elite Boutique Trailblazer by the National Law Journal in 2019. Before resuming private practice, he served as general counsel and senior vice president

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for applications development of the Gryphon Group LLC, an internet company based in New York City. Kramarsky began his career as a litigation associate at Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP, where he worked on antitrust matters, bankruptcy cases, and telecommunications litigation. Kramarsky earned a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University in 1989 and a J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School in 1993. He lives in New York City with his wife, Elise, and their two sons. Karen McAlmon ’75 (ex-officio, president of CA Alumnae/i Association) is a native of Brooklyn, New York. She attended Concord Academy on an A Better Chance scholarship and went on to earn degrees from Stanford University and Harvard Medical School. After pediatric and newborn medicine training at Boston Children’s Hospital, she became a staff neonatologist at Boston Children’s Hospital and a member of the Harvard Medical School faculty. Her career has included clinical work, basic science research, and administrative and policy work. McAlmon currently serves as the medical director of the Special Care Nursery at Winchester Hospital and medical director of the Beth Israel Lahey Neonatology Network, and she works both clinically and administratively. McAlmon has been a long-term, dedicated volunteer for the Concord Academy Alumnae/i Association, now serving as president of the Alumnae/i Association. As co-chair of the Alumnae/i Community and Equity Committee, she helped to imagine, create, and execute CA’s Alumnae/i and Students of Color Conference. McAlmon is also a trustee of The Governor’s Academy. She and her husband, Kwame OforiAsante, have two sons, Alexander and James. They reside in Lynnfield, Mass.

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A Community Changes the Odds In his latest film, a documentarian explores the enduring impact of the Harlem Children’s Zone Canada, a Harlem educator who more than 20 years ago envisioned a way to unite his community around education and make a better future for its children. His efforts resulted in a nonprofit called the Harlem Children’s Zone (HCZ). I became drawn to the idea of doing a documentary that followed kids through the system and showed their transformation. Working for the major networks, it was always a struggle to get stories about issues affecting people of color on air. I realized that the only way I could find a voice to uplift BIPOC [Black, Indigenous, and people of color], starting with the HCZ project, was to start my own production company. What interests you about the Harlem Children’s Zone in particular? In some

After a career of more than 15 years in network news, during which he produced award-winning stories for ABC, CBS, Fusion, Univision, and Dateline NBC, Rayner Ramirez ’88 started his own production film company, Tilt Shift Media. His inaugural project, Harlem Rising, a documentary about the Harlem Children’s Zone, premiered at the Pan African Film Festival in February and was nominated for best documentary. It was also screened at the American Black Film Festival, held virtually in August, and at DOC NYC, held virtually in October. When did your interest in filmmaking begin? My family immigrated to New

York from Manila when I was about 10, and over the next few years I participated in New York City’s summer youth

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programs. That was where I started doing photography. When I arrived at CA through the A Better Chance (ABC) scholarship program, I discovered its amazing film department, where I learned about the art of cinema and how to shoot and edit and make films. By the time I was in college, I realized that I couldn’t make enough money as an independent filmmaker and photographer, so after teaching and working as a human rights observer, I went to Columbia School of Journalism for my master’s, and from there to NBC News, where for 14 years I worked as a producer on Dateline.

ways, its story is also my story: The lesson is that education is the key to ending generational poverty. The ABC program helped me beat the odds by giving me the opportunity to be educated at Concord Academy. But the difference between ABC and the Harlem Children’s Zone is that HCZ is changing the odds for the whole community. After viewing more than 800 hours of archival film footage about HCZ, much of which was shot by kids in the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s, I was able to track many of them down and interview them about their current perspective. By intertwining the archival film with my interviews, we found our narrative thread — and realized we had the material for a feature documentary.

Why the change from news production to documentaries? Every day on my

What do you hope viewers of the documentary take away from the experience?

way to work, I passed through Harlem. At some point I learned about Geoffrey

I hope the message is that if the residents of Harlem could make a change in their


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community, then you can too. That was certainly the message I myself took from it! I live in Washington Heights, a working-class neighborhood that has been struck hard by the coronavirus pandemic. I contacted the Washington Heights Expeditionary Learning School (WHEELS), one of the six schools in my neighborhood, and asked what we could do. I was invited to speak with an environmental studies class, and the students then initiated a local beautification project. Coincidentally, we are collaborating with Street Lab, an organization founded by CA alums Leslie Taylor Davol ’87 and Sam Davol ’88. Since we began, the WHEELS students have attended community board meetings, met with politicians, and raised $65,000. As we speak in the middle of summer 2020, we are witnessing a national uprising in support of racial equity. Do you see positive changes ahead? As a news

producer, I’ve covered a lot of demonstrations and uprisings. I’ve talked to a lot of people out on the streets recently, and they feel like the current movement is different. They feel like the needle is moving. And that makes me hopeful. The energy is there, in the protests and on the streets. But at some point we all have to go home and see what changes we can implement locally. The challenge for each of us is when we leave the protests, to go back and engage our own communities. —Nancy Shohet West ’84

“ By intertwining the archival film with my interviews, we found our narrative thread — and realized we had the material for a feature documentary.” R AY N E R R A M I R E Z ’88

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Virtual Format, Meaningful Connections Although the pandemic prevented Concord Academy alumnae/i from returning to campus for reunion, it didn’t dampen their enthusiasm for reconnecting with classmates, faculty and staff, and fellow CA graduates. For the school’s first virtual reunion, more than 225 alumnae/i joined via videoconference over four days in early June as CA hosted three special reunion programs, including a talk by Anne Pfitzer ’85, the 2020 recipient of the Joan Shaw Herman Award for Distinguished Service (see page 42), the annual Alumnae/i Association Assembly, and 13 virtual class gatherings.

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Classroom Spotlight Alumnae/i got a glimpse into two of CA’s virtual classrooms from English teacher Ayres Stiles Hall P’23 ’24 and history teacher Stephanie Manzella P’14 ’17 ’18. Manzella also shared highlights of the New York Times Magazine’s The 1619 Project, an initiative to reframe U.S. history around the enduring consequences of slavery and the contributions of Black Americans, which she had used as a springboard for a seminar-style evening course at CA.

Reunion Weekend 2021

Look for more information on our next reunion in June 2021. We look forward to hosting special celebrations for class years ending in 0, 1, 5, and 6. As always, all alumnae/i are welcome to attend.

Alumnae/i Association Assembly During one of the first weeks of nationwide protests against racial inequality, CA graduates heard from school and alumnae/i leaders at the second annual Alumnae/i Association Assembly. Head of School Rick Hardy addressed the necessity of working to dismantle racism and described the school’s ongoing efforts to promote listening, foster dialogue, and support change. Karen McAlmon ’75, the new Alumnae/i Association president, moderated a discussion about how CA adapted to the challenges the pandemic posed during the 2019–20 school year and how innovations born of necessity could help CA support new and returning students in 2020–21.

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SA R A H Y E H , Interim Head of School:

“ We’re looking at how we can build into the schedule more opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration across courses and time for students to collaborate, and how we can make connections with institutions and organizations to really create a boundless campus across the globe.” Alumnae/i, would you like to share your expertise and connect with CA students? Contact Hilary Rouse, director of engagement, at hilary_ rouse@concordacademy.org.

Top row: History teacher Stephanie Manzella leads a classroom spotlight session; 2020 Joan Shaw Herman Award recipient Anne Pfitzer ’85 gives a presenation about her work; Spanish teacher Adam Bailey demonstrates how to make a CA Green Chameleon Fizz. Middle row: CA community members connect to the Alumnae/i Association Assembly virtually; screenshot from a video made for the class of 2020 and played at Baccalaureate and the assembly. Bottom row: More screenshots from the Chapel video; Brigid Williams ’70 connects with her classmates via a 50th-reunion virtual gathering.


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Visit www.concordacademy. org/2020-reunion-virtual to read more about the assembly and reunion events.

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The Joan Shaw Herman Award for Distinguished Service is the sole award bestowed at Concord Academy — not to a student, but to an alumna or alumnus. Established in 1976, the award honors Joan Shaw Herman ’46, who was paralyzed after contracting polio the summer after her graduation. Although confined to an iron lung, she worked constantly to improve the lives of people with disabilities. Each year, a CA graduate is honored with this award for service to others.

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Empowering Women This public health leader has devoted her career to improving the health of women and girls in some of the world’s poorest countries

On a CA reunion weekend upended by a pandemic, it seemed particularly fitting that this year’s recipient of the Joan Shaw Herman Award for Distinguished Service was an alumna whose work has focused on issues of global health. Although she couldn’t receive the award in the Chapel, Anne Pfitzer ’85 nonetheless held an online audience riveted as she described the particular challenges of her decades-long career in service to the well-being of women and girls throughout the world. Raised in Switzerland by parents who were themselves in the field of global development, Pfitzer, daughter of Katherine Motley Hinckley ’61, P’85 ’87, never thought she

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NOMINATIONS Do you know a CA graduate who embodies the school’s ideals of service and responsible citizenship? Nominations for the Joan Shaw Herman Award for Distinguished Service are welcome. Visit www. concordacademy.org/jsh for information.

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had much aptitude for the sciences while at Concord Academy. At Columbia, she majored in comparative literature, and in her senior year of college she moved to Kenya to teach English to children in a rural village. There, she witnessed firsthand the deleterious effects that substandard public health can have on the development of children and teens. Her students sometimes missed school for weeks on end due to malaria outbreaks. She

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encountered the stark reality of the particular problems for women in low-resource countries one afternoon when her students rushed to her, pleading that she help one of their classmates. Pfitzer found the young teen in a field, bleeding severely from a self-induced abortion; she spent the next

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several hours in crisis mode locating scarce medical services for the girl. After returning to the United States, Pfitzer thought more about a career in public health. “The ability of women to control what happens to their bodies has been something I’ve always cared about deeply,” she


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says. She used the next 18 months to try out a variety of temp jobs, including one in the field of public health that cemented her commitment to this area of study. From there, she enrolled in a master’s degree program at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. Drawn to the challenges of addressing women’s health in low-resource countries, particularly in regard to family planning, maternal-newborn health and survival, and HIV/ AIDS prevention, Pfitzer joined Jhpiego, a nonprofit affiliate of Johns Hopkins University. Her on-site international postings in the years that followed included Ethiopia and Indonesia, where her organization partnered with local organizations and universities to expand training, research, outreach, and education. Today Pfitzer lives in the D.C. area and leads the family planning team for USAID’s Momentum Country and Global Leadership project, led by Jhpiego, focusing on programming that provides women and girls in lowand middle-income countries around the world with accurate information about contraceptive choices and

pregnancy prevention after childbirth. In the current COVID-19 crisis, Pfitzer sees an opportunity for the general public to gain a better understanding of her discipline. “Epidemiology, understanding the way that transmission occurs, even the idea of flattening the curve: It’s like everyone on the street is now getting an education in Public Health 101,” she says. “What we knew about COVID-19 in August was different from what we knew in April. Every virus and epidemic is different, and public health experts have to accumulate evidence, question assumptions, and test the science. Hopefully that is what people are learning from this situation: that science can do amazing things, but it takes time to test hypotheses and assumptions.” Even as the pandemic rages on, she sees reason for hope in how it is affecting the world in terms of global participation. “The COVID19 situation has been very politicized, but the science is global,” she observes. “The level of collaboration and joint unity we are seeing in trying to tackle this problem is unprecedented. That is hugely encouraging.”

“ The ability of women to control what happens to their bodies has been something I’ve always cared about deeply.” A N N E P F I TZ E R ’8 5

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AT A TIME OF CRISIS, A NEW YORK STATE LEGISLATOR RESPONDS Even in the best of times, a young adult aging out of foster care might struggle to find housing or a job. But after the pandemic struck this spring, New York courts that could have extended foster care eligibility were closed for months. “COVID-19 rocked New York City, and kids without relationships to more stable family units were going to be left out on their own,” says Tremaine Wright ’90, a member of the New York State Assembly. “It was really important to me to make sure they could get the assistance they needed.” As chair of the subcommittee on foster care, Wright sponsored a bill passed in July that places a temporary moratorium on aging out of foster care during a state of emergency, which allows 18- and 19-year-olds to remain in their homes and continue receiving services. Over the summer, the assembly also enacted legislation extending rental assistance and allowing SNAP food assistance to be used to pay for grocery delivery. “A lot of our elderly, disabled, and those with compromised health couldn’t do that before, and they’re the exact people we want to stay home during COVID,” she says. Bills authorizing automatic voter registration and expanding access to absentee ballots also made voting easier during the crisis. Although she didn’t win the New York State Senate nomination she campaigned for this summer, Wright, whose term ends in December, is proud of what she has accomplished in her three years representing her Brooklyn district, which includes Northern Crown Heights and her own neighborhood, Bedford-Stuyvesant. After the death of George Floyd in spring 2020, that included dramatic legislative reform. As chair of the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic & Asian Legislative Caucus, Wright coordinated a statewide response: a 10-point proposal of police-reform bills that included banning choke holds, mandating body cameras for all New York State police officers, and creating an office for independent investigation of deaths in law enforcement custody. In an emergency session in June, the assembly passed nine of the 10 bills. “It was one of those moments that you just had to see,” she says. “Many of these bills have been championed in the state legislature for years, but this was the moment to get a positive response and get laws passed that will afford people much better protections of civil liberties.” Wright, who earned a J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School, isn’t sure what will come next for her. Her pro bono legal work has focused on incarcerated women, family law, and small-business support, but she has also operated a coffee shop and spent 15 years as a community volunteer. “I’ve had enough varied experiences to say, this is where I want to put my energy in this moment, and I don’t feel compelled to do it any one way,” she says. “I guess that’s me being a chameleon.”

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COMPILED BY LIBRARY DIRECTOR MARTHA KENNEDY

Creative Types B O O KS

Ryder, Sky, and Emmaline

Adam B. Ford ’83, illustrated by Cindy Zhi

H Bar Press, 2020

Scandal on Plum Island: A Commander Becomes the Accused

Marian E. Lindberg ’72, P’14

East End Press, 2020 In 1911, a West Point graduate and distinguished field officer of the Spanish American War took command of Long Island’s Fort Terry: Major Benjamin Koehler was selected for his aptitude for assessing military recruits and his strict adherence to the code of military discipline. After two disgruntled junior officers butted heads with their commander, they developed an elaborate scheme to smear the major’s impeccable reputation. At the resulting court martial hearing, Koehler faced his accusers, defending himself against charges of conduct “unbecoming of an officer and a gentleman.” Lindberg’s painstaking

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examination of the trial’s transcript, newspaper articles, and other primary sources sheds light on this troubling episode of military justice.

Joseph Brodsky, Selected Poems: 1968–1996

Edited by Ann Kjellberg ’80

Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2020

Using rhythm and rhyme, Ford’s picture book tells the story of three friends as they explore a local farm, pitching in on chores, tending crops, taking care of barnyard animals, and sharing earthly delights from the garden.

Women Writing War: The Life-writing of the Algerian moudjahidate Caroline Kelley ’92

Peter Lang, 2020 Kjellberg, editor of the book-review newsletter Book Post, worked with the poet and Soviet exile Joseph Brodsky during his lifetime and is now his literary executor. “Self-educated, intense, impulsive, unmoored,” and a “poetic virtuoso,” she calls him in her introduction to this new book of his poems; “he did things with Russian verse that no one had thought possible.”

Though few in number, moudjahidate, or women combatants, courageously fought alongside men in the National Liberation Front during the Algerian war for independence from the French. Moudjahidate delivered weapons and bombs in underground networks or served as nurses for the maquis, the resistance movement. Despite their acceptance on the battlefield, Algerian women did not realize sweeping social progress

in the years to follow. Using first-person accounts, women veterans extensively detail their wartime experience through memoirs, testimonials, poetry, and drama. Kelley examines the intersectionality of writing with resistance and political action, giving voice to those who fought for independence.

Why I Don’t Write and Other Stories Susan Minot ’74

Knopf, 2020 A relentless news feed challenges the ability of a contemporary writer to write. In Minot’s latest collection of short fiction, characters in pursuit of love, acceptance, and belonging find themselves in a state of intense loneliness, searching for connection in encounters where they are either powerless to resist the advances of others or blinded by


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P O D CAST

Nice White Parents

Reported by Chana Joffe-Walt; produced by Julie Snyder; edited by Sarah Koenig ’86, Neil Drumming, and Ira Glass

New York Times and Serial Productions, 2020 their own yearnings. These stories examine how we, in this chaotic time, struggle mightily to make sense of a world turned upside down, and how and why we long to relate to others. FILMS

Harlem Rising: A Community Changing the Odds Rayner Ramirez ’88 (director)

Documentary film, 2020 Weaving together over 20 years of archival footage and his own interviews, Rayner Ramirez ’88 tells the story of a second Renaissance in Harlem, after Geoffrey Canada and like-minded educators committed to revitalizing a community devastated by decades of neglect. In creating the Harlem Children’s Zone,

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they countered relentless challenges with a firm belief in rebuilding from within. The comprehensive approach includes included the transformation of public schools into community centers and the construction of Promise Academy charter schools, which offer 24/7 resources for all ages, including parenting classes and after-school and evening programming. These schools have raised their students’ SAT and Regents Examinations scores to New York State highs and empowered over 1,000 graduates to earn university degrees. (See page 38 for an interview with Ramirez about this film.)

Bekoji 100

Alistair Wilson ’11 (director) Julia Hanlon ’10 and Kaylan Nolan (executive producers)

In collaboration with Girls Gotta Run Foundation and Canopy Films. Documentary short, 2020 This 14-minute documentary about young athletes involved in the Girls Gotta Run Foundation in Bekoji, Ethiopia, won an award for the most inspiring film at the No Man’s Land Festival in March. After the pandemic canceled subsequent screenings, Alistair Wilson ’11 and Julia Hanlon ’10 decided to bring their passion project to a wider audience themselves. Learn more and watch the film at www.concordacademy.org/bekoji-100.

Along with so many listeners, since Serial first came out from Sarah Koenig ’86 in 2014, we have eagerly awaited new programs from this alumna’s creative team. A review in Mashable called this five-episode miniseries “a powerful, vital example of the anti-racist work white Americans need to be doing right now if we have any hope of even beginning to make good on our recent promises to support the equality of Black lives.”

[

CALLING ALL CREATIVE TYPES Have you published a book or released a film or an album within the past year? Please contact martha_kennedy@ concordacademy.org, and consider donating a copy to the J. Josephine Tucker Library’s alumnae/i collection.

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CHAPEL CARVINGS

In winter 1956–57, under the direction of woodworking teacher Molly Gregory (left, in 1984), Concord Academy students began the careful work of creating the first of several wood carvings installed in the Elizabeth B. Hall Chapel: the pine panels of 1 Corinthians, Chapter 13, v. 1-8. Modeling their design on Albrecht Dürer’s lettering, Gregory assigned 20 students one letter each to carve. Since the panels were hung in June 1957, the inscription has been the focal point for generations of CA students who have listened intently to one another in CA’s “house of stories.”

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&


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Now

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Though the panels have weathered, the 1 Corinthians carving, and the angels flanking it (completed the following winter, detail at right), clearly show today the marks of the hands of several CA alumnae from the classes of 1958 through 1961.

N OW P H OTOS BY SA L LY T W I C K L E R J O H N STO N ’9 0

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TO P I DAS G U P TA P ’2 2, H I STO RY T E AC H E R

02

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01

04 05

DURING THE SPRING, as we adjusted to teaching remotely, I set up this workspace in my living room. I used a standing desk on my dining table — I like to be able to move, and I gesticulate a lot when I’m speaking. This is what my students saw as my Zoom background through midfall, before I transitioned back to teaching in our HyFlex mode in the classroom. Although it is hard to teach from home — because we are energized by each other’s physical presence — we’re in a moment when we can conduct school through dialogue. With my students, with my advisees, I’ve seen how that connection can happen even when we’re physically disconnected.

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01. Munroe House: I live on campus, on the first floor of Munroe House on Main Street. Constructed in the Federal period, between 1805 and 1810, with later additions, the building is protected by the Concord Historical Association. As a historian, I like to know the story of my surroundings, and I love living here among writerly ghosts. This house has a particularly special history, because Henry David Thoreau lived here from 1827 to 1835, from the time

he was 10 to the time he was the age of our CA seniors. 2. Framed tapestry: 0 This tapestry is from West Bengal, where my grandparents had their home. I grew up in the Caribbean, in Jamaica, but I am steeped in South Asia — not only in terms of a bit of home culture but also in my academic studies. My dissertation focused on the early modern era in South Asia, and I have all kinds of artifacts from that era.

03. Goddess: This is a depiction of one of the local village goddesses, the goddess of the autumn festival, an important cultural and religious symbol across South Asia and East Asia. This many-armed goddess, riding on an interesting-looking lion, is one of the figures from the epic history from that early modern era. 04. Sculpture: Saraswathi is the Hindu goddess of learning, education, and music. She carries and plays a veena, an ancient Indian guitar-like

instrument. We have a lot of depictions of her all over the house. 05. Book: It’s the complete Oxford English Dictionary. I grew up on the dictionary. I was a total introvert. I keep a magnifying glass by it, and I do use it when I’m teaching and students ask me what a word means. It’s as much a ritual object as a used object, though, for me. It contains etymology, history, so much — the whole world. It’s mostly symbolic.


+$3.1

MIL L ION Additional costs for COVID-19 related expenses

2020–21 Budget: $30 Million

CA’S MISSION IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER CA’s strong commitment to its students, families, and community prevails. Your personal gift to the CA Annual Fund is the most effective way to maintain continuity and stability for our school. It is the essential fuel that keeps us moving, and teaching, and connecting, and serving our students every day. No matter what. Does your gift really make a difference? Absolutely! CA’s unique learning environment requires contributions from many, on and off campus, working together to support and advance learning and growth. We need your help.

Every gift makes a difference. Every dollar counts.

www.concordacademy.org/give ST AY C O N N E C T E D

$3

MILLION Annual Fund Goal

10+12+78A

WHERE THE DOLLARS COME FROM

12%

Endowment Draw

10%

Annual Fund

78%

Tuition and Fees

+571719A 52 WHERE THE DOLLARS GO

19%

Operating CA’s Campus

+ COVID-19 related expenses

52%

17%

Financial Aid

Salaries and Benefits

7%

General and Administration

5%

Materials and Tools for Teaching and Learning


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