Page 37

centennial campaign

“My time at CA was lifechanging. It’s where I learned that the quality of my work mattered.” — DANIELLE D’ONFRO-EPPS ’02

Danielle D’Onfro-Epps ’02 “It was an escape hatch and a launching pad.” That’s how Danielle D’Onfro-Epps ’02 describes receiving financial aid to attend Concord Academy. “I arrived at CA from an underperforming school system and found myself excited and challenged for the first time,” she said from her new home in St. Louis, which she shares with husband Dan Epps ’02 and their 18-month-old son, Oscar. “My mother was cleaning houses, and one of her Concord clients suggested she think about Concord Academy for me,” said D’Onfro-Epps. “My mother was a great believer in education, so she encouraged me to apply. My time at CA was life-changing. I learned that CA is a place where people trust and help each other. It’s where I learned that the quality of my work mattered.” D’Onfro-Epps went on to attend Columbia University and Harvard Law School and is currently a lecturer in law at Washington University in St. Louis, where Epps also teaches. Along the way, she served as a research assistant to thenHarvard Law Professor Elizabeth Warren and worked as a senior associate for the Boston firm of WilmerHale. “I still use so much of what I learned at CA,” she says. “George Larivee’s Statistics class not only helped me get over my fear of math but also became the driving force in my work in the law firm.” She also recalls her English teacher, former faculty member Andrew Watson, teaching her how to write a paper. “He helped me in ways no one ever has since,” she says. D’Onfro-Epps also considers her time in the dance and art studios as formative. “CA is all about abundance,” she says. “There’s so much to try. The school creates an environment that teaches you to get better by doing. You take that feeling away when you leave.” You also take the CA network with you, she says. “My CA friends are still my friends—I even married one! Every time we land in a new city, Dan and I find other CA grads who are always happy to connect. We love to spot that CA ring. These connections are a huge part of what makes CA such a valuable springboard. You always know they are there for you.”

35

602100txt26-37.indd 35

W W W . C O N C O R D A C A D E M Y. O R G FA L L 2 0 16

Lewis Salas ’09 Upon turning 25 last May, Lewis Salas ’09 decided it was time to fulfill a long-held dream: running the New York City Marathon. When he pinned on his number on November 6, he was also running to raise funds for TEAK, the New York City academic enhancement program that recognized his talent as an inner-city middle schooler and helped him sharpen his skills and find his way to CA, where he received a fouryear scholarship. Salas says he sensed when he first stepped onto CA’s campus that it was the school for him. “Here I was, this kid from Washington Heights walking into Concord,” he recalls. “But it was such a welcoming place, with a warm, family feel. I knew it would become a home away from home for me.” Salas credits Pat Dresden, his advisor and the wife of then-Head Jake Dresden, with helping him flourish. “She was my second mom,” he says. “She helped me with skills and challenged me in ways I couldn’t do for myself. She saw something in me and believed in me, and that helped me see that I could, in fact, do it. The Dresdens are still a big part of my life, along with so many of the friends I made there. At CA people accepted me for who I was and let me grow, and that’s something I still carry with me.” After graduating from Bowdoin College in 2013 and working in high finance, Salas realized he wanted to be part of a small team where he could have a big impact. So in 2015, he joined x.ai, a New York City-based tech startup that is designing an artificial intelligence personal assistant, called Amy. “I really love the work,” he says. “I’ve been able to use my technical skills but also those I learned in CA English classes — critical thinking and communication, all things I really enjoy doing.” As Salas trained for the marathon, he hoped his running would also allow him to have an impact on TEAK. “I learned at CA that I shouldn’t just live for myself but for the world around me,” he said. “So this is one way for me to give back.”

10/24/16 12:02 PM

Profile for Concord Academy

CA Magazine Fall 2016 Issue  

The fall 2016 issue of Concord Academy magazine features stories about CA Labs and commercial drones, as well as a preview of an innovative...

CA Magazine Fall 2016 Issue  

The fall 2016 issue of Concord Academy magazine features stories about CA Labs and commercial drones, as well as a preview of an innovative...

Advertisement