Foxcroft Magazine (Fall/Winter 2018)

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FALL /WINTER 2018–19

Women Who

Dare & Do

Foxcroft’s tradition of trailblazers, risk takers, and changemakers

This year we ask you to remember Foxcroft during the season of giving. A gift to The Foxcroft Circle not only recognizes the role that the School played in your or your daughter’s life, but also helps ensure that every girl at Foxcroft has the opportunity to explore her unique voice and develop the skills, confidence, and courage to share it with the world. The Foxcroft Circle supports 7% of the daily operations of our School. Previously known as the Annual Fund, this vital fund significantly impacts each and every aspect of the School, whether it be classroom materials and technology, professional development opportunities for faculty, or basic necessities across our campus. You can direct your support to one of four funds within The Foxcroft Circle by choosing the area that is most meaningful to you.

MENS SANA Our Healthy Mind Fund

CORPORE SANO Our Healthy Body Fund

Thank you for supporting the next generation of Foxcroft women by making a gift to The Foxcroft Circle.

GROUNDS & GARDEN Our Campus Maintenance Fund

WHERE IT'S NEEDED MOST Our Unrestricted Fund

Gifts can be made online at or by contacting the Office of Institutional Advancement at 540.687.4510 or



Women Who

Dare & Do Trailblazing Women 8 Women Who Dare & Do 10 Off to the Races 13 An Epic Journey

Special Features 17 20 26 28 40

Student Standouts PEAK Learning at Foxcroft They Did It Their Way High Honors Homefield Advantage

In Every Issue

Fear Factors by Shelly Betz


2 From the Head of School 3 Notebook 30 From the Parents’ Association 31 From the Alumnae Council 32 Out & About 34 Gone Away 39 Milestones 41 Forever Foxcroft

Foxcroft School is accredited by the Virginia Association of Independent Schools. Foxcroft School admits students of any race, color, religion, national, and ethnic origin. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national or ethnic origin in the administration of its educational, admission, or financial aid policies, or in any school-sponsored programs.

This magazine is printed on FSC-certified 10% post-consumer waste recycled paper.

Catherine S. McGehee Head of School

Produced by the Office of Marketing and Communications:

Marion L. Couzens Director of Institutional Advancement

Shelly Betz Director of Strategic Initiatives & Marketing

Courtney M. Ulmer Assistant Head of School for Academics

Cathrine Wolf Director of Communications

Emily F. Johns Assistant Head of School for Student Life

Bethany Stotler Multimedia Communications Associate Design by Raison

Karla Vargas Director of Enrollment Management Address inquiries to Editor, Cathrine Wolf at, 540.687.4511, or P.O. Box 5555, Middleburg, VA 20118 ON THE COVER: After four months on the Appalachian Trail, Ellie Meyer ’11 reached McAfee’s Knob, some 3,197 feet atop Catawba Mountain in Virginia. Cover photo by Griffin Haywood Additional photos: Julie Fisher (Michelle Poler), The Adventurists (Mongol Derby), Ellie Meyer & friends (A.T.), Lauren Ackil, Kristen Franklin, Peachie Robinson, Marett Rose, Bethany Stotler, Bob Updegrove Mission Statement: Foxcroft’s mission is to help every girl explore her unique voice and develop the skills, confidence, and courage to share it with the world.

Fall 2018 1

From the Head of School Catherine S. McGehee

This past summer, I hiked in Glacier National Park, logging 65 total miles and gaining nearly 10,000 feet in elevation during our seven incredible days out West. The hikes were not technically challenging or particularly dangerous; I was not literally blazing trails that no one had traveled before, but I certainly did challenge my middle-aged body as I witnessed the wonders of our shrinking glaciers and of the ecosystems that make up one of our nation’s great national parks. I had time to reflect, center, and recharge on the trail. My vacation seemed appropriate ahead of this school year’s theme, "Trailblazing." At its most basic level, our theme helps us learn more about important female trailblazers as we seek to expand our knowledge of women’s history. Most of us are well versed in the importance of female role models to inspire young women to pursue their goals. Part of our goal is to expand our curriculum to include diverse voices, and especially women's accomplishments in history and government, literature, STEM, global affairs, and the arts. Our all-school summer reading selection of Visionary Women: How Rachel Carson, Jane Jacobs, Jane Goodall, and Alice Waters Changed Our World by Andrea Barnet tells the story of four remarkable women, not linked by their professions or age, but by what Barnet calls their “monumental cultural impact.” We selected this work, not only because it tells the story of remarkable women who changed the course of history and whose work seems as relevant today as it did a half century ago, but also because it reflects important educational initiatives at Foxcroft and kicks off a year of speakers and experiences we hope will inspire our students to new heights. In this issue you will learn about our own faculty who are helping Foxcroft be a trailblazer for girls’ education in general and for our students’ learning experience specifically. I also hope you will enjoy learning more about Foxcroft’s trailblazing alumnae, including Nicolette Merle-Smith ’05 and Ellie Meyer ’11, who embody a sense of adventure and courage as they undertake epic physical and mental challenges. We also hope this issue encourages you to share stories you know about other Foxcroft women and their accomplishments. As each student starts her journey at Foxcroft, we encourage her to blaze her own trail, literally, as she hikes or rides on miles of pristine wooded trails on campus, and figuratively, as she explores her unique voice, discovers her interests and talents, and advocates with confidence and courage for positive changes in her work and community, and in the world. This, indeed, is Foxcroft’s mission in action, and I like to think our founding trailblazer, Miss Charlotte, would be very proud.

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A Day in Court Explores Bias

JOINT EFFORT We the People leaders Courtney Bartlette ’20 and Bella Smith ’20 (lower right) posed with administrators, students, and actors after the presentation.

Foxcroft Notebook

Foxcroft Notebook

Students and faculty comprised a very large jury on October 18, when a riveting courtroom drama came to FoxHound Auditorium. The case presented explored issues of race, class, religion, gender, and the law — and after both plaintiff and defendant had rested their cases, the judge led the audience through a 20-minute deliberation and then took a vote that determined the verdict. It was all part of a powerful presentation called The Defamation Experience, which included a facilitated discussion after the verdict was announced. The actors were more than impressed with the articulate thoughtfulness of the Foxcroft girls. “We’ve been playing at a lot of colleges, and you all are amazing,” said the discussion facilitator. “You are making all the key points before I even get to them.” “The Defamation Experience was informative, thought provoking, and overall amazing,“ said junior Bella Smith, one of the leaders of Foxcroft’s diversity and inclusion club, We The People. “It was amazing to listen to what other people thought about the case during our jury discussion.” The discussion continued after the presentation as students and teachers gathered in dorm lounges and other meeting places over lunch to share their reactions to the program and their own experiences of discrimination, stereotyping, and living in homo- and

heterogeneous communities. They were well-prepared for sometimes sensitive topics because Bella and other leaders of We the People, Global Cultures Club (formerly International Club), and Handin-Hand (the LGBTQ-Straight Alliance) had organized several activities in the previous week, including a “Silent Exercise” at Morning Meeting, lunchtime discussions of key terms, and fishbowl conversations on related experiences at dorm meetings. “Our girls truly set the tone for how to explore and consider new ideas,” said Assistant Head of School for Student Life

Emily Johns, “and how we acknowledge, affirm, and learn from our experiences of living within a diverse community.” The Defamation Experience fit well with the month’s focus on pushing oneself to take small risks. “In the name of stretching our comfort zones, we have delved into understanding human differences from multiple perspectives,” said Johns. “We all need to stretch our comfort zones more. By facing low-stakes challenges, we learn how to navigate more complex situations and gain courage to take on the unfamiliar and how to live with greater ease in a global community.”

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Fabulous Faculty Feats Mais Oui!


On October 29, the Virginia Association of Independent Schools (VAIS) presented its Innovation in Education Award for upper school teachers to Foxcroft French teacher ANNE MUELLER, PH.D. (1) (aka “Madame”). In concert with the theme of its annual conference, Better Together, which focused on what educators are doing to build connection, cohesion, and community in their schools, this year’s awards highlight teachers who are building those bridges and inspiring students, teachers, and community members to connect anew.

Also at VAIS EMILY JOHNS and COURTNEY ULMER, Assistant Heads of School for Student Life and Academics, respectively, presented on Foxcroft’s “Secret Sauce” of Student Support—its Guidance Team, and the trio of Currier Library Director MARIA SOGEGIAN(2), Archivist KERRI GONZALEZ (3), and History Department Chair and Director of Educational Technology ALEX NORTHRUP offered a session about using the School’s history and archives to teach primary source analysis and make authentic connections with historical eras such as World War II and school desegregation.

Also presenting this fall . . . Fine Arts faculty AMY ASBURY and ERIC DOMBROWSKI, on “collaborative music making” at the VAIS Festival of the Arts, in Richmond.


ALEX NORTHRUP, on bringing 3D modeling and printing into the Humanities classroom, at the Virginia Technology in Education Conference in December.


Head of School CATHY MCGEHEE and Assistant Head for Student Life EMILY JOHNS (3) are both facilitating online conversation and networking series for the National Coalition of Girls’ School.

Media Moments Two Explorations in Engineering course projects were highlighted on the Smithsonian’ National Zoo website and newsletter this fall. The assignments, from the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, VA, were to create lifelike replicas of a pangolin’s scales and a scimitar-horned oryx’s horn that could hold GPS devices that might someday help eliminate illegal trading

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and poaching of these critically endangered species. Seniors Grace MacDonald and Lily Fortsch reported on the two projects. Director of College Counseling BARBARA CONNER was a featured guest on VoiceAmerica Talk Radio’s weekly show “Destination: YOUniversity,” in September. The show is carried by the leading online broadcaster of original live radio programming.

Eight field hockey players appeared on Fox 5 in early August when the network’s morning show made a “Zip Trip” to Middleburg. Senior co-captains HALEY BUFFENBARGER and GRACE MACDONALD (above) were interviewed by Tony Perkins as part of the threeminute “Hometown Team” piece.

Foxcroft Notebook

Meet Kristine Varney Director of STEM Education HOMETOWN: New Cumberland, PA EDUCATION: BA in Physics, with Teacher Education minor, Middlebury College; MA in Teaching, Duke University; M.Ed. in Administration & Supervision, University of Houston EXPERIENCE: 10 years of teaching at Brooklyn, NY, public schools and an independent school in Houston, TX

Meet Peachie Robinson

PETS: A beautiful kitty named Luna

Residential Life and Athletics Assistant

NOT-SO-SECRET TALENTS: Loves to sing (currently, with Voce Chamber Singers); plays the viola

HOMETOWN: Culpeper, VA

FREE-TIME FUN: Learning Spanish; taking yoga classes DID YOU KNOW: Kristine is super competitive and loves board games

EDUCATION: BS in Athletic Training, Roanoke College EXPERIENCE: 13 years at independent schools in Virginia FREE-TIME FUN: Reading FAVORITE MOVIE: Anything by Pixar

Speak to Me A variety of visitors have enlivened a busy fall on campus. In addition to 63 college admission officers, 51 prospective students, and 206 Parents’ Weekend guests we welcomed in the first two month of school, these eloquent guests spoke. Read more about them on the Visiting Speakers page of our website.




Andre Bradford, a.k.a. S.C. Says

Nigel Mould

Slam poetry performer and open mic emcee Activities Committee guest

CEO, StackCare, (and father of Cecilia '22)


“STEM Presents. . .” speaker


Michelle Poler

Clark Hansbarger

Maria Furtado

Founder of “Hello Fears”

Writer, musician, songwriter, and erstwhile teacher

Executive Director, Colleges That Change Lives

Helen C. Niblack ’42 Arts Lecture Series

College Counseling event

Alison Harrison Goodyear ’29 Fellow

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Meet the Board We welcome six dedicated volunteers who have joined the Foxcroft School Board of Tr ustees in 2017 and 2018.


ELEANOR KAYE DURHAM ’81 (4) is president of Dallas-based Durham Designs, LLC, which sells luxury women’s clothing from Worth New York. A graduate of the University of Texas, Kaye (pronounced “Coy”) has served as class annual fund chair and representative since 1981. She also has held leadership and fundraising roles at the Episcopal School of Dallas, St. Michael and All Angels Church, and the Junior League of Dallas. Her daughter Mary Park is a member of the Class of 2017.


LAURA RHODES FORTSCH ’87 (5) is the Director of Development for Stratford Hall, the historic home of the Lees of Virginia. She previously served as Director of Development at Grace Episcopal School in Alexandria and worked in development, communications, and/or admissions at The Smithsonian Institution, The Langley School, Savannah College of Art and Design, and Foxcroft. Laura, who earned her bachelor’s degree at Duke University, has two daughters at Foxcroft, Lily ’19 and Amelia ’22. ELIZABETH “LISA” KNOWLES (6) is returning to the Foxcroft Board of Trustees, having previously served from 1978-81. A Duke University graduate, she has worked in marketing, real estate, and retail. Clearly, Lisa knows how to get things done: She served as office manager of an international marketing consulting firm for 13 years — and was also client manager at a career coaching startup during three of those years! Lisa lives in Gallatin, TN, with her husband, Dan, and has three grown children. An Austin, TX, resident, DAVID M. LEE (7) is chairman and CEO of Sentient Ventures, an investment company, and Allegiance Mobile Health, provider of medical transportation and 911 emergency services. He has served on more than a dozen for-profit boards and currently chairs the boards of two software companies. He also has served as a trustee and committee member of several nonprofits focused on education and entrepreneurship. David’s daughter, Kayla, is a senior at Foxcroft.

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A 2017 addition to the Board, KATHERINE “KATE” C. HASTINGS ’78 (8) is a leader in the field of family offices and wealth management. Currently a vice president of Fidelity Investments in the New York tristate area, she was previously Managing Director of Private Wealth Management at JP Morgan Chase & Co. Kate, who holds a B.A. degree in the History of Art from Hamilton College, has served on the Planned Giving Advisory Boards of the Museum of Modern Art, the New York Public Library, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. STEPHEN SCHULTE (9), who also joined the Board in 2017, is a well-known developer in the Northern Virginia area and has been the executive vice president of Brambleton Group and Soave Real Estate since 1999. The father of Charlee ’17 and May ’19, Steve also has served on the Affordable Dwelling Unit Advisory Board of Loudoun County, which has built hundreds of affordable rental units, since 2004. Steve is a graduate of Virginia Tech where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering.


We would also like to extend heartfelt thanks to those who have left the Board since 2017: JOHN CUNNINGHAM, JOHN DURRETT, DEDE PICKERING BOSSIDY ’71, PATRICIA SIFTON-MUNRO ’76, NAN STUART ’71, and MISSY TOCHTERMAN ’88. Your hard work and dedication have made a difference for Foxcroft girls now and in the future.

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Foxcroft Notebook

Look How We've Grown



Here’s a quick look at our student body this year compared to last year.

18 23 Total students

States represented

66 69 Need-based aid recipients

Do you have Foxcroft Wedgwood plates? The plates, which date back to the mid-20th century, depict campus buildings and some of Miss Charlotte’s favorite horses. Please contact the Office of Institutional Advancement at 540.687.4510 or if you have any to donate for use at events held at Covert.

17 20 Merit scholarships recipients

2017–18 2018–19

Do you know a potential Foxcroft Girl? Alumnae, parents, and friends are a valuable part of our admissions process, telling prospective students about Foxcroft and telling us about them. If you know a prospective student, please contact the Admission Office at: Foxcroft School, P.O. Box 5555, Middleburg, VA 20118 540.687.4340 Fall 2018 7

Alicia Patterson Guggenheim ’24

Women Who

“You can be anything you want and you can do anything you want. But to get the best, you must give the best.” — Charlotte Haxall Noland

Dare & Do


“At Foxcroft, bold people like me were not squashed or punished for it. Anyway, I wasn’t.” — Anna C. Roosevelt, PhD ’64

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Foxcroft School was founded by a risk taker — a young woman who had little experience in school administration and even less in business; who didn’t like schools (at least, the ones she attended); and who had no guarantee that girls would like hers. But Charlotte Haxall Noland was an independent — unconventional might be a better adjective — woman, unafraid of forging her own path, willing to speak her mind, and happy to make her own rules about what school should be and students should do.

Annie Yeager ’11

Women Who Dare & Do

Natalie Harris ’16

A Tradition of


The tradition of Foxcroft women as pioneers and changemakers started early


s it any surprise that the school she created has produced — and continues to graduate — a multitude of independent women who are unafraid of forging their own paths and willing to speak their minds? In both actions and words, Miss Charlotte shared her approach to life with her students.

“Miss Charlotte said, ‘You can be anything you want and you can do anything you want. But to get the best, you must give the best,’ ” recites Pickett Randolph ’56, who took that advice and joined the CIA, which sent her to the Naval War College (its first woman) to earn an MA in National Security — as one of only eight women and two civilians in a class of 360 students. In her address at Foxcroft’s 100th Commencement, Waddell (Dell) Hancock ’71 surmised, “Sometimes I think Miss Charlotte must have poured a fertilizer on the soil, never to wash away, that makes Foxcroft girls a little different and — of course, in our mind — a little special.” Before she enumerated the key ingredients in that fertilizer, such as passion, hard work, integrity, fun, and compassion, Dell added, “Someone once said to me, you can always tell a Foxcroft girl, but you can’t tell her much.” That got a good laugh. There is, indeed, a core of confidence, autonomy, and fortitude that seems to come with a Foxcroft diploma, even half a century after Miss Charlotte’s departure. Faculty, administrators, alumnae, and students have continued to nurture an environment that tends to create “women who will never be afraid to climb higher,” as Lilly Potter ’15 put it. “By the time we leave [Foxcroft],” Lilly asserted shortly before she graduated, “we leave knowing what we are passionate about, knowing we are entitled to an opinion, and knowing we have the power to do whatever we choose to do.” From Kay Sage and Nancy Lancaster, trailblazers who graduated with the School’s first class in 1915, to 2016 graduate Natalie Harris, Foxcroft women have been sharing their passion, confidence, and points of view bravely with the world. In professional, civic, educational, and service communities, as well as on a personal level, they challenge themselves and others as they take risks, break barriers, and transform lives. We hope you enjoy an introduction to some of these trailblazers!

KAY SAGE TANGUY ’15 was one of the few female painters to embrace and impact Surrealism in the 1930s and 1940s. After graduating with Foxcroft’s first class, Kay studied at the Corcoran School of Art in Washington, DC, and her works were exhibited in the best galleries in Paris and New York. NANCY PERKINS LANCASTER ’15 and DOROTHY KINNICUT “SISTER” PARISH ’28 virtually reinvented home decorating in the 20th century ago. Nancy pioneered the popular English Country House style in the 1920s, replacing the stuffy Victorian standards with a combination of elegance and comfort. In the ’60s, Sister added homey hooked rugs, patchwork quilts, and more to create the American Country look. Working for the Office of Strategic Services (later, the CIA), GERTRUDE SANFORD LEGENDRE ’20 became the first American woman captured in France during World War II. She escaped after six months and was nearly shot by a German guard in the process. An explorer and big-game hunter, Gertrude also contributed rare specimens from Africa, India, and Asia to museums. “I don’t contemplate life. I live it,” she said. ALICIA PATTERSON GUGGENHEIM ’24 was the 10th woman in the U.S. to earn a transport pilot’s license. Her real impact was as longtime editor and publisher of Newsday, a Long Island, NY, newspaper that she built from nothing into a major metropolitan success. In 1954, after Newsday won a Pulitzer Prize for public service, Alicia appeared on the cover of Time magazine. MILLICENT FENWICK ’25 was first elected to the U.S. Congress in from New Jersey in 1974, at the age of 64 (“a geriatric triumph” read one headline), but the most surprising ballots cast were hers: During her four terms in the House, she voted against her Republican colleagues 48 percent of the time and earned the epithet ‘Conscience of Congress.” Garry Trudeau based a character in his Doonesbury comic strip on the colorful, pipe-smoking erstwhile model and etiquette expert. CONTINUED ON PAGE 11


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Off to the


PICK A HORSE At each station, Nicolette had to chose another mount from a collection of semiwild Mongol horses.

By Cathrine Wolf, Director of Communications

WHAT’S THE HARDEST THING YOU’VE EVER DONE? How about riding a succession of small, semi-wild horses for 1,016 kilometers across Mongolia, in weather conditions that can range from heat-stroke hot to hypothermia-risking cold? Spending your days in the saddle for upwards of 12 hours and your nights sleeping on the linoleum-covered ground of a yurt-like structure called a ger? Nicolette Merle-Smith ’05 did just that last summer as a participant in the Mongol Derby, the longest, toughest horse race in the world


odeled after a pony express-type system created by Genghis Khan in 1224, the Derby route through the Mongolian Steppe covers varied landscape, including mountain passes, floodplains, sand dunes, and wide-open grasslands. Riders must adjust to the horses, which they pick pretty much at random, at each of the 26 horse stations along the course. “People asked me, what do you get if you win?” she laughs. “The answer is nothing. You are paying money to do something that is entirely insane, where you risk getting severely hurt, or dying — and you are doing it just for the experience of having done it.” Why would Nicolette (or anyone) do that? “I’ve grown up doing stuff like that my whole life,” she says. “The first time I ever rode a

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horse, I was two weeks old, in my dad’s belly pack, and we went foxhunting. I hunted on a lead line when I was 3,4,5 and trained my first pony at 8. By 9, I was jumping wires.” Nicolette’s dad, Grosvenor, has been Master of hunts in Ireland and Virginia. He is also Charlotte Haxall Noland’s grand-nephew — the son of her niece “Miss Kitty” and Van Santvoord Merle-Smith, who succeeded Miss Charlotte as Head of Foxcroft in 1955. Oh, that’s another reason for taking on the Mongol Derby, Nicolette says. “My family is just adventurous people,” she says. “It took my father breaking his neck for him to begin to think, maybe I shouldn’t be so fearless. His parents had six kids and were guardians of five more; they would go off on adventures with the whole group.

When my dad was 10, they spent the entire summer in the Middle East. “Miss Charlotte was a risk taker. She was 26, I think, when she decided she would start Foxcroft. She was like ‘I want to have a school for girls.’ Well, okay! Go ahead. I kind of think it’s in our blood.” There is one more really good reason for doing the Derby: Nicolette and her riding partner, Joel Scholz, had plans. “The Mongol Derby is absolutely the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” she says. “People talk about getting discouraged, feeling the lowest you’ll ever feel, and wanting to give up, but for me there was no option: If we don’t make it, how are we going to get married at the finish line? We have to make it.”

THE DERBY FIELD included 44 intrepid riders from around the world.

Joel and Nicolette had been dating for less than a month in August 2017 when they went to the American Eventing Championships and heard about the race from a friend who had just done it. “She started telling us about the amazing highs and the horrible lows, and she said ‘I think you can do it and I think you should do it,’” says Nicolette. So they decided, then and there, that they would. The wedding part came later. After they got engaged in October, a horse vet/ friend suggested they get married while they were in Mongolia, and they thought, why not? So, in August 2018, the couple spent eight days galloping 620 miles across the Mongolian steppes, followed by an impromptu Mongolian wedding, and called the race their honeymoon. They also held an American wedding in October, in Louisa, VA, and told everyone invited to give to Cool Earth, a nonprofit dedicated to land conservation, because each Derby participant must raise at least 1,000 pounds for charity, per the Adventurists, an English company that runs the race. Then Nicolette and Joel had to figure out how to prepare for the race. A professional eventing rider, Nicolette also runs Merle-Smith Sporthorses with her parents. Raising, training, showing, and caring for horses kept her busy, in Virginia all fall and in Ocala, FL, through the winter. She barely had time to think about the Derby until March, when things calmed down. She and Joel then went riding out west with Park Forward Hound Trial Tours, which consisted of endurance rides from 15 to 30 miles. “That sort of got us back into the endurance riding. It’s a similar

type of riding — just galloping and trying to avoid holes,” says Nicolette, who noted that years of foxhunting really helped. “But there is really no way to prepare for the Derby. You can do all the endurance riding you want and there are things that are bound to happen and there’s no way to prepare for them.” Figuring out their gear was another big challenge. “We had never done any real endurance riding so we didn’t know what kind of footwear or clothing you need.” There are limits on how much a competitor can take, so you must choose wisely. ‘Personal weight” — the rider, her, clothes, boots, helmet, anything she will be wearing all the time, and her empty water hydration kit — cannot be more than 75 kilos (176 pounds). Race organizers provide saddles, and other “horse-wear,” plus one saddle bag for all your supplies, which cannot weigh more than 5 kilos (about 11 pounds). “My cell phone alone weighs a half pound,” Nicolette says. “You don’t take anything that you just kind of would like to have with you.“ As a salesman for a medical tech company, Joel has access to doctors. One who works with endurance athletes told Joel and Nicolette that the most important thing would be keeping their caloric intake up — especially since they would have no time to eat because they would be riding all the time. The doctor also suggested protein gel packs, electrolyte pills, and salt tablets; some painkillers and other basic medications (Nicolette was nursing a back that she had strained a month earlier, so she took some muscle relaxers and a back brace as well.) Nicolette also ordered one of the unique saddles used in the Derby so she could get used to it. “By the last couple of weeks, you just have to kind of realize, Okay, I guess I’m ready,” admits Nicolette. And then the race starts, and you realize that you aren’t. “Let me tell you: There is no is no way to prepare for the amount of pain that you will be in about a third of the way through the first day,” says Nicolette. CONTINUED ON PAGE 12


a tradition of trailblazers Environmentalist pioneer FRANCES STEVENS REESE ’35 co-founded Scenic Hudson, which worked to halt the unchecked development of the Hudson River Valley. The group’s successful fight to keep a power plant from being built on Storm King Mountain in the 1960s established the principle that citizens could intervene in court cases affecting the environment even if they were not in danger of sustaining property damage. WYNNE SHARPLES ’41 trained at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons to become pediatrician when only six percent of working physicians were women. She did important work treating and raising awareness of Cystic Fibrosis, which affected her two children, and founded what became the National Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. When EMILY “PADDY” V. WADE ’42 matriculated at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), she was one of seven women in a class of 728. Two years later, MARY FRANCES PENNEY WAGLEY ’44 followed, one of just 12 women in hers. They later became the first women to sit on the MIT Corporation (governing board) and serve as Alumni Association presidents. A woman of many “firsts,” ANNE LEGENDRE ARMSTRONG ’45 broke the gender barrier as U.S. ambassador to the United Kingdom, counsellor to the President, chairman of the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, and keynote speaker at the Republican National Convention. A fierce advocate of equal rights, she founded the White House Office of Women's Programs. “Foxcroft had a lot to do with my success, I think,” Anne said. CONTINUED ON PAGE 15


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Women Who Dare & Do

Nicolette and Joel were among 44 entries from 12 countries and every continent except Antarctica competing in the 2018 Derby. Riders ranged in age from 18 to 70 and while most were competing for the first time, some were back to try again, having failed, or failed to win, in previous starts. It’s easy not to complete — in 2017, a broken collarbone, cracked rib, sprained ankle, hypothermia, concussions, and more took out half the Americans entered.

Sore, and exhausted, Nicolette was ready to get to the next horse station and settle down for the night. The station was on the other side of this “sort of old, dried-up lake.” “Joel says, “Oh, look the line (official route) has us going all the way around this, but there’s the station right there. We can go right across and it will be grand!

FOR BETTER AND FOR WORSE After a grueling eight days in the saddle, Nicolette and Joel tied the knot, Mongolian style.

“That’s when you ask yourself, What was I thinking? Why did I decide this was a good idea? Your feet fall asleep no matter what kind of nice, squishy stirrups you are using. You get chaffing on the inside of your knees, no matter how many pairs of pants you are wearing and your knees are killing you no matter what length your stirrups are.” The horses are semi-wild and very different. “They haven’t had any outside breeding, so they are the same horses that Ghengis Khan rode in the 12th century. They are only about 11-13 hands tall. They have great conformation,” said Nicolette. “but there’s nothing to emulate riding these short, narrow horses with your feet practically dragging on the ground.” Derby contestants are allowed to ride from 6:30am to 8pm. On Day 1, Joel and Nicolette arrived at a station around 6:30pm and decided that was enough. “By the end of the first day, you can’t feel your backside; it’s completely numb,” she says. “I got off my horse the first day and fell to the ground. I couldn’t hold my body up.” Joel and Nicolette are apparently the first couple to make the Mongol Derby their honeymoon. Some people suggested that it might not be the way to start their lives together. “If they can survive the next 10

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days as a couple, surviving a lifetime of matrimony should be a piece of cake,” joked reporters covering the race. Sure enough, three days into the competition, in the midst of this most unfamiliar of circumstances, Joel and Nicolette encountered one of the most familiar sources of friction among couples: directions. “The lowest point in the entire race had to be when I made Joel give up his GPS privileges,” says Nicolette. Joel kept ignoring the route that they had been given and trying to take a direct line to the next stop — and it often did not end well. The straw that broke the camel’s back came near the end of a long day that had already featured a nasty run-in with four aggressive guard dogs. “We were trotting along the trail and all of a sudden these dogs start charging us. We start galloping to get away from them and yelling to scare them off, but they are still coming straight at us and they look like they want to eat us,” says Nicolette “Then my horse spooked and ran right into a huge dog. It was a total accident, but Joel is yelling, ‘Yeah! You did it! You chased those dogs off!’ Meanwhile, I almost fell off my horse, I lost my stirrup and I’m crying because I am in so much pain.”

“So we get well out into this lake and we come across these things called doh-dohs that are like snow moguls, only they are made of thick, sticky mud. The only thing you can do is slow way down and let your horse pick his way up, down, and around them. It took hours and the whole time your horse is going up and down, up and down. By the time we got to the station, I was so tired and hurting. I think that was the most pain I experienced during the entire race. That’s when I took the GPS from Joel.” Even if, like Nicolette, you have a lot of good reasons for doing something this hard, you still have to find the strength each day to go on. How did she do it? “I will tell you, humans don’t like to be alone,” she says. “Most of us who do the race latch onto other people, people we like to be around, the ones who make you laugh. I was fortunate, I went into the race with one of those people at my side.” On August 16, eight days after starting, Nicolette and Joel crossed the finish line, well back of the victorious pair from Australia, who crossed the finish line more than 30 hours earlier. Next came the wedding. Some 24 hours after they completed the “longest, toughest horse race on earth,” Nicolette and Joel got married — in traditional Mongol garb, with Mongolian wedding rings, and a local gentleman, drafted by Mongol Derby race manager Kate Willings, officiating. Weren’t they exhausted? “By the time we got to the finish, we were fit, we were strong, we were in good spirits,” says Nicolette. “We were so pumped, we were talking about doing it again.” And why not?

Women Who Dare & Do


Epic Journey ON TOP As an Appalachian Trail SoBo, Ellie had to scale Mount Katahdin on the first day of her trek.

By Cathrine Wolf, Director of Communications

On June 12, 2018, Ellie Meyer ’11 awakened at 4:45am, ate nearly nothing for breakfast (on account of the butterflies in her belly), rode from the Appalachian Trail Lodge in Millinocket, ME, to Baxter State Park with lodge owner “Ole Man” Renaud — and embarked on the hike of her life.


llie had traveled for nearly 24 hours by car, train, bus and shuttle, to reach this northern entrance to the Appalachian Trail. She had traveled a lot longer — more than half her life — to reach this day.

a daily occurrence. When she was in middle school, she learned about thru-hikers — people who walk the entire 2,190 miles of the Trail in one 12-month period — from a video she watched with family friends.

Ellie, 25, has been thinking about the Appalachian Trail (AT) since she was about 11 years old and her family moved to Berryville, VA, where driving over the Appalachians (the Blue Ridge segment) was

“It was just a hodgepodge of a documentary,” says Ellie. “But I saw it and I was hooked. I thought it was so cool that people would just leave and go hiking for however long it takes, and be out in nature for all that time.”

In recent years, Ellie’s dream of doing a thru-hike became a goal, and in August of 2017, she started planning in earnest to make it a reality. She was starting a yearlong position at Foxcroft, working with the Office of Student Life and Athletics, that included dorm parent duties, allowing her to save money for trail expenses — and have the big chunk of time needed when school was out in June.

Fall 2018 13

RAIN, RAIN . . .The gray and wet days kept coming, making life on the Trail miserable.

Ellie knew she was taking on an epic challenge. Of the more than 3 million people who visit the AT annually, about 4,000 attempt a thru-hike, and only about 25 percent of those complete it. The entire length of the trail is mountainous with endless ups and downs; the total change in elevation is about 464,500 feet, the equivalent of hiking up and down Mt. Everest 16 times. The path is often rocky, root-filled, or muddy; it crosses streams and becomes a long puddle from the rain. And thru-hiking the AT isn’t something that you can just endure for a week or two and be done with. Hikers average about three miles an hour, so even if they can put in 40-hour “walk-weeks,” a thru-hike takes four and a half months. Most hikers spend five to seven months. That is a lot of walking. “I wanted to do it because I thought I could do it,” she says, “and I wanted to do it because it felt like it was made for me to do.” Ellie prepared well, reading books, gleaning tips from thru-hikers online, and learning everything she could about the trail, gear, and challenges involved. She even took a Wilderness First Responder course. “Since I was hiking alone, it was important to me to be prepared for emergency situations,” she noted. Because she couldn’t leave until June, Ellie changed her original plan to take the northbound route from Georgia to Maine which would put her in New England in November, and became a SoBo

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(southbounder). This made an already tough challenge even tougher. Going south is harder and far fewer thru-hikers even attempt it — through September 30 of this year, only 417 started in Maine, compared with nearly 4,000 in Georgia — because, among other factors, the weather, insects, and snow melt-fed stream crossings of Maine in June are awful. Plus, SoBos face really hard terrain at the very the start, before they have a chance to find their trail legs. First day: Mount Katahdin, which features the greatest sustained ascent on the entire AT. Second day: 100-Mile Wilderness, which is as intimidating as it sounds. No matter. Ellie was so excited to see her dream coming true she could barely contain herself that morning at Katahdin. “I was getting ready for the really hard bouldering field,” she wrote in her blog on the hike. “I met this guy Griffin, and I was like: HI! I’m going on a hike! He must have thought, What is with this girl?. . .” What was “with this girl” is Ellie being Ellie. She is one of those wonderful people who oozes enthusiasm and energy, who makes you smile and embrace whatever lies ahead — even if it’s a bit daunting. Katahdin was daunting. “It is only a 5.2 mile hike up to the top, but don’t be fooled, two of those miles will put you in a time warp, you will feel like you have gone nowhere,” Ellie wrote, after pulling herself up, over and around boulders, and spending about 10 hours on the mountain. “But it was such a fun place to start and it was a beautiful day.”

MIDPOINT MADE Ellie was only the 99th SoBo to reach Harper’s Ferry.

Next came the 100-Miles Wilderness, the longest stretch without access to roads, towns, or supplies. You have to carry everything you need, including several pounds of food per day. There were a lot of toppled trees and the going was tough. “I crawled, fell, went underneath trees and was thinking, this is not what it’s supposed to be. I expected there to be a trail and there was a trail I just had to go over trees and under trees to follow it,” says Ellie. “But it was so beautiful and I felt good — tired but good. Plus, I was meeting people. That was very affirming. I felt like, Yes, I am supposed to be here, on the trail and I am not alone, which was one of my big fears.” As an extrovert, Ellie knew that the alone time one spends on the AT would be difficult for her mentally. Happily, she connected with others early and easily, and ultimately formed a “tramily” (trail family) with Happy, a fellow who was making his third attempt at

The thing about the Appalachian Trail is that it starts out hard, and it gets harder. In Vermont, it began to rain; it barely stopped for the next three weeks. Ellie was learning things about herself everyday. After going eight days without a shower crossing the 100-Mile Wilderness, she realized that her mood is affected by her cleanliness. After living in the rain for a month, she realized that she didn’t really mind being wet; it was when everything she owns was wet that got to her emotionally. “Life on the trail is beautiful, but when it’s constant, it can be hard,” says Ellie. “Some people go to the woods to figure things out, but if you don’t feel the need for that, and your life is hiking, getting to a campsite, sleeping and finding water, you need distractions. Usually, I love my hiking alone time and I’ll do a weekend in the woods without technology, but when hiking is all you do, it can be overwhelming.” So when the Gentlemen Hikers both had to get off for a period of time, one for a wedding and one because of injury, it became really hard for Ellie. “Even if we didn’t hike together the whole time, we had people to talk to at the end of the day.” Ellie hiked New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania by herself and mostly alone because the hikers who had all been in the same general vicinity up in Maine were now spread out all over the trail. Extroverts draw energy from being around others; being alone so much was draining Ellie’s tank. Then the rain returned, and stayed. Discouraged but unbroken, Ellie trudged on. Those following her trek online were in awe. “Ellie, we are with you cheering you on, especially in the rain! So few people in life have the courage and determination you are demonstrating,” wrote her former English teacher Stewart Chapman Herbert ’77. But Pennsylvania was not fun. “Up north, the wonderful views really kept me going when I was tired or hurting. But, in Pennsylvania, the Trail doesn’t go by any of those and the terrain’s pretty awful,” Ellie says. “That’s when it got bad.” Perhaps the most amazing thing about Ellie Meyer’s AT thru-hike attempt is that after “it got bad,” after she called home crying and her parents asked her if she wanted to quit (The answer? An emphatic NO), after most of us would have been long gone, Ellie hiked another 600 miles. She changed things up, wisely. After crossing the 1,000-mile mark, she “slack-packed,” spending her nights at home and days working her way along the trail. Some of her hiking friends from earlier turned up, and on September 21, they reached the AT Conservancy Headquarters at Harper’s Ferry, WV (mile 1166.8). Ellie was the 99th CONTINUED ON PAGE 16


a tradition of trailblazers HELEN “HELENITA” KLEBERG GROVES ’45 was the third woman inducted into the National Cutting Horse Hall of Fame, having been a champion competitor, top breeder/ trainer, and leader of the sport’s association. After learning ranching on the King Ranch in Texas, she established her own successful quarter horse and cattle breeding operation in Virginia, made a name in thoroughbred racing, and was named to the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame. In the 1970s, MARY MCFADDEN ’56 shook up the fashion world with her exotic clothing designs that drew on ancient and ethnic cultures from Greece and Byzantium to South America and China. Called a “oneperson conglomerate” by the New York Times, Mary created her own fabric (Marii) and built a business empire that sold jewelry, perfume, and home furnishings as well as numerous clothing lines. One of the few women to cover the Vietnamese War, FRANCES FITZGERALD ’58 wrote Fire in the Lake: The Vietnamese and the Americans in Vietnam (1972), a bestseller that won the Pulitzer Prize, Bancroft Award, and National Book Award. Her book on the end of the Cold War was a Pulitzer Prize finalist and this year she won a National Book Award for The Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America. ADA GATES PATTON ’61 was a debutante, Broadway dancer, and fashion model before she went to farrier school, the only woman among 49 men. She later became the first woman licensed to shoe thoroughbred race horses and was inducted into the International Horshoeing Hall of Fame in 2010. ANNA C. ROOSEVELT, PHD, ’64 challenged basic assumptions about the evolution of human society with her research. She overcame limits on digging and other barriers to excavate archaeological sites in Brazil that showed people had been in the Amazon as long as most places in the Americas—not just for 1,000, as widely believed. “I would never let someone’s wrong ideas prevent me from doing my thing,” says the anthropology professor and MacArthur “genius grant” recipient. “There is always a way to reach your goals.” JOY SLATER ’71 made sports history in April 1980 when she became the first woman to win the Maryland Hunt Cup, one of the world’s most challenging steeplechase races. Joy, who won many more races before a bad fall, now competes in show jumping as a high amateur. DEBBIE ATKINS ’73 and VEDA HOWELL ’73 were the first African-American students to graduate from Foxcroft. They broke the color barrier when they arrived in 1970 with three other AfricanAmerican students, all of whom left before graduating.



Women Who Dare & Do

a thru-hike, and the “Gentlemen Hikers,” Griffin and Eric. They mostly hiked together, shared the expense of the occasional hotel room, and watched out for each other. “Even on the worst day, I was able to look at the beauty around me and be surrounded by friendly faces,” says Ellie.

a tradition of trailblazers her hiking partner as herself. “Griffin was amazing, encouraging me, helping me, but that’s not fair. I was not being the friend that he needed. I had lost the reason I was doing the trail.” After reaching mile 1600 on the AT, near Bland, VA, Ellie made the courageous choice to leave the trail. “The single hardest decision I had to make was to stop my hike, but I made it with thinking about all the other difficult and beautiful parts of the trail,” she says. PEOPLE PERSON The “Gentlemen Hikers” and other companions helped Ellie a lot.

SoBo to reach the unofficial halfway mark this year. Then she took few days off and came to campus to share her adventure with students and faculty. “It is really important to realize that your body needs a break,” she told the girls, “and that your brain needs a break, because there’s a lot of emotional work on some of the sections. Because you’re hiking every day.” The Gentlemen Hikers had caught up, but Eric was hurting again, so Ellie and Griffin took off through Shenandoah State Park. About a week later, Ellie went to the wedding of a friend from college. “Getting back on the trail was hard after that,” Ellie says. “The wedding was so much fun, catching up with people I had not seen in so long. But I thought I could push through.” At mile 1,477.8, Ellie and Griffin reached the glorious heights of McAfee’s Knob, some 3,197 feet atop Catawba Mountain (see cover). “That was exciting and the weather was treating us pretty nicely,” says Ellie. They continued on, but it was late October; the days were getting shorter and the weather colder. After spending a night with a friend in Roanoke, Ellie realized she wasn’t having fun anymore. Worse than that, she wasn’t herself anymore. “I was being super negative, which is not me,” says Ellie, who (typically) seemed as concerned about

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Ellie did not give up her dream of completing the Appalachian Trail, though. She changed her status from thru-hiker to LASH (long-ass section hiker). A “sectionhiker” completes the entire AT in chunks over a period longer than one year. Ellie hopes to hike the remaining 590 miles over the next few years, as time and weather allow, but as she will have to regain her trail legs each time. “I’ve been hiking for months now, so going 25 miles in a day is nothing. It’s a long day but you can do it. When you are on and off, it’s really hard,” she says. When all is said and done, she is asked, what was the was the best part of her experience? “I'd have to say just doing it, attempting to thru-hike,” she says. “Even though I struggled and did not complete 2,190 miles, I got out and tried to do something that I wanted to do, and I did it for longer than was comfortable and I pushed myself.” Foxcroft Head of School Cathy McGehee is full of admiration. “She is a tremendous role model for our students both in her pursuit of a very challenging goal and in her decision to modify how she would complete her goal when she realized she needed to make a change. She inspires us to realize there are many ways to get to the finish line." The best perspective of all comes from Ellie’s mother, Terry Meyer (aka Foxcroft’s Assistant Director for Stewardship), who wrote: “Our only request to Ellie when she left on this adventure was: Come home. Mission accomplished.”

ANDREA REID ’80, MD has been one of very few black women in the room for most of her career. When she entered Harvard Medical School in 1984, only 7 percent of all U.S. medical students were African-American and men outnumbered women 2-to-1. Andrea became Director of the Gastroenterology Program and an award-winning teacher at Massachusetts General Hospital, and an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School. Journalist RASHA ELASS ’87 went undercover and snuck into Syria from Lebanon at great risk to verify rumors of a terrible massacre during the Syrian Civil War. She made it to the village, talked to a survivor, and wrote a story that the nonprofit organization Human Rights Watch used in its report on the armed conflict. BETSY BOYD ’92, a commercial airline pilot, is among the five percent of women pilots with major and regional airlines. In 2013, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) included her in the prestigious FAA Airmen Certification Database, which recognizes pilots who have met or exceeded high educational, licensing, and medical standards of the FAA. In November, LIZ HANBIDGE ’00 became the first Democrat elected to the Pennsylvania General Assembly from House District 61 since the District was created in 1969 — an historic milestone. TSELMEG ERDENETSOGT ’05 blazed a trail simply by coming to Foxcroft: She’s the first and only (we think) student from Mongolia to attend the School. Tselmeg worked in the President of Mongolia’s office, where she served as an assistant to the mineral resources policy advisor and foreign affairs officer. ANNIE YEAGER ’11 had never seen a steeplechase race until she attended the Gold Cup as a senior at Foxcroft. Four years later, she won the Grand National and Benjamin H. Murray Memorial steeplechases on the same day. In five years on the international steeplechase circuit, Annie won more than 30 races and was Champion Female Jockey in three straight years. NATALIE HARRIS ’16, a junior at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, made a film called Metamorphosis that has been featured at film festivals on both coasts this year. Natalie made several films and founded the diversity club We the People at Foxcroft.

Student Profiles


Taking Aim at Gun Violence By Shelly Betz, Director of Strategic Initiatives & Marketing Chloe Green ’19 is a young woman on a mission to solve the problem of gun violence in schools. Armed with her personal motto of “Inventing today; changing tomorrow,” she is working with sophisticated technology to create a smart gun magazine that addresses the senseless mass killings occurring in America’s schools. She calls her invention, which she first developed four years ago, gUNarmed™. For those of us old enough to remember the 1999 Columbine High School massacre in Colorado that killed 15 people and seriously injured more than 20 others, the notion that the horrific incident was not an aberration, but a scene that would become all too familiar over the following decades was unimaginable. Yet, that is our reality.

person using it, Chloe says, it protects both gun owners’ rights and the lives of innocent people. The name gUNarmed™ was chosen, she adds, because it “conveys the balance between preserving the rights of gun owners and creating a gun-free zone in places such as schools, where guns should never be used.”

The mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL, last February is lodged at the forefront of Chloe’s mind. In the aftermath, it was those students who took action, advocating for sensible gun laws, and Chloe was moved by them. “Participating in the March for Our Lives in Washington, DC (February, 2018) and watching the Parkland students raise awareness about gun violence and advocate for gun safety has encouraged me to bring gUNarmed™ to fruition,” she says.

gUNarmed™ uses satellite data as a signal to activate a jamming mechanism in gun magazines when they are in places where guns are not allowed, such as schools and government buildings. Gun owners can program the technology to control where their gun can and cannot be used. In addition, a specially fitted, highly sophisticated microchip inside the gun magazine renders the weapon incapable of being discharged and alerts law enforcement officials and others in the area that a gun is in the building.

Chloe is keenly aware of the political hotbed around restricting an individual’s First Amendment rights. “My grandfather was a teacher, a gun owner, and a member of the National Rifle Association,” she says. She believes, though, that there’s a smart approach to a very complicated issue. Because her technology focuses on the place a gun can be used, rather than the

“I am convinced that most American gun owners would be willing to take steps to prevent their guns from ever being fired in a school if they had the choice to do so,” Chloe says. An outstanding student and talented musician — she teaches at the Catoctin School of Music in Leesburg and is a

member of the Kennedy Center’s Youth Council — Chloe is mindful of her status as a female in a male-dominated STEM industry. When she was awarded a $10,000 grant for her smart gun project through the Smart Tech Challenges Foundation Firearms Challenge in 2014, she was both the youngest and the only female among the 15 innovators granted funds. “At Foxcroft, I am lucky to be surrounded by female role models who unapologetically pursue their passions. Our ideas have value,” says Chloe. “By ‘blazing a trail’ towards improved smart gun technology and gun safety, I hope to encourage others to become involved with this important issue.”

“ Inventing

today; changing tomorrow. ” Fall 2018 17


A Creative Mind By Bethany Stotler, Multimedia Communications Associate

“Solving a math problem can be creative, right?” Senior Lu “Sylvia” Yuan asks with a smile. She’s absolutely right, of course; solving mathematical problems does involve a level of creative thinking — a level that some find daunting, but Sylvia sees as a challenge she is happy to accept. Since coming to Foxcroft from Zhejiang, China, as a freshman, Sylvia Yuan has explored her love for mathematics and all things STEM. She joined Math Club after her first Activities Fair and is now the head of it. She competes in Math League, a national competition for high school students, and is often a top scorer among students across Virginia. Having already aced both Advanced Placement Calculus courses, she’s currently excelling in Multivariable Calculus. Also, when Foxcroft participated in the Team America Rocket Challenge for the first time last year, it was Sylvia’s design that was chosen by the team to build. It should come as no surprise that Sylvia is among the first class of STEM students in the new Academic Concentrations program. One of the program’s requirements is to design and execute an independent study (IS). Sylvia has given herself quite a lofty challenge — one not typically included in any high school math course. She is studying Number Theory, a form of pure mathematics focused on the study of integers. Since educating herself on the basics of Number Theory over the summer, Sylvia has worked through assessments with her IS mentor, STEM teacher Matt Mohler, to deepen her understanding of the subject. She is now on a quest for the “perfect proof” for an infamous unsolved problem — the magic square of squares. What? Imagine the shape of a square and place nine perfect square numbers (22 or 32, for example) inside the shape. Now make the sum of every diagonal, column, and row total the same amount. The problem has been deemed unsolvable, yet Sylvia is compelled to try to solve it.

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Once Sylvia’s quest for the one “perfect proof” concludes, she plans to publish a paper introducing her findings. Becoming a published author at such a young age is quite an accomplishment, but it’s old news for Sylvia. During her sophomore year, a Hong Kong publishing house published Feathers of a Raven, a fantasy novel about monster hunting that Sylvia wrote over three years. She’d like to write another book “when I have the time!” she said. Sylvia’s writing endeavors are currently split among her independent study, college applications, class assignments, and submissions for Chimera, Foxcroft’s online literature and arts magazine. As editor-in-chief, Sylvia and managing editor Grace Chen ’19, solicit submissions and then sort, select, and edit the content. Sylvia sees big benefits in this work, too. “I think editing someone else’s work also improves my own writing,” offered Sylvia. Sylvia’s creative expression extends into the art studio as well. She is taking “The Artist’s Portfolio” class and is learning how to paint with oils and acrylic, working with Foxcroft’s Fine Arts instructor Jackie Jouvenal Washam. Innovation and creative thinking are clearly intertwined in all aspects of Sylvia’s life. Exploring her passion for science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics, Sylvia has identified her own interests and strengths — “I really like creative things” — and is beginning to understand how she can contribute to the Foxcroft community and beyond. Her drive and creativity have taken her far, and future possibilities seem limitless. She is “perfect proof” of that.

Many Paths By Beth O’Quinn, Experiential Learning Coordinator

Taking an entrepreneurial route to having a positive impact on the world

Senior Anne Kickert began blazing a trail when she was just 10 years old. As a fifth grader, she organized the Sweets For Our Soldiers campaign, a service project to supply candy and cards to U.S. troops overseas. In the eight years since, Anne’s campaign has grown exponentially. It now involves about 10,000 area students, in part because it has been incorporated into the Loudoun County Public Schools’ project-based learning curriculum. Last year (Anne’s first at Foxcroft), the Athletic/Student Center served as a staging area, where volunteers sorted and packed hundreds of boxes of treats that were shipped to the troops before the holidays. “The idea for Sweets for Our Soldiers came to me in fourth grade, when I donated my leftover Easter candy to deployed soldiers and saw what a great impact something seemingly trivial could have on the lives of others,” says Anne. “After seeing how much my one small gesture could do, I knew I needed to find a way to harness the widespread desire to give back that was around me, in Loudoun County.” In May of 2018, the Sunshine Brigade, a nonprofit organization that she created to support Sweets For Our Soldiers, received its 501(c)(3) status from the IRS. Care packages now include books, dental kits, toiletries, and batteries; shipping by FedEx and grants from Hasbro and Disney have helped underwrite the initiative. In October, Anne secured a partnership with Oath (formerly AOL) and the USO to send 2000 packages to soldiers this fall. No surprise, then, that Anne was recognized as Loudoun County’s Outstanding Youth Volunteer of the Year. Another trail Anne has lit up is in the world of music. An exceptional young flutist, she has been a member of the American Youth Philharmonic Orchestra Flute Ensemble and the Loudoun Youth Symphony Orchestra. She performed twice at Carnegie Hall with the Flutopia Wind Ensemble and at the Kennedy Center with the Cappies Gala Orchestra. Last year, she was one of nine high school flutists from across the country selected for the Honor Band of America, which performed at the Music For All National Festival in Indianapolis. As if these two accomplishments were not enough, Anne forged an entirely different path last summer when she attended MIT’s LaunchX program. A highly selective startup accelerator program, LaunchX

guides 80 teens from around the world through the process of starting a company. Anne and her team created ORCA, “to provide convenient methods of attaining sustainability through smart technology,” and began developing a smart HVAC system. LaunchX culminated in a pitch event held at MIT, attended by venture capitalists and CEOs. “My team (pictured above) was awarded a grant to continue prototyping to bring the product to market,” says Anne, adding that the startup’s LLC filing is almost done. So many trails Anne has blazed, each demanding passion, hard work, and commitment to service. How long can she continue to tend to them all, along with a heavy academic load and, soon, college? “Instead of shying away from perusing so many paths,” says Anne, “I have decided to take a more entrepreneurial route that allows me to combine my varied interests in a way that supports my underlying goal of having a positive impact on the world.” Indeed, different as they are, all Anne’s paths lead to making the world a better place — a trail worth blazing indeed.

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Student Profiles


“PEAK” Learning at Foxcroft


s part of our strategic plan to strengthen our pedagogy for teaching girls the way girls learn best, Foxcroft faculty have been exploring ways to expand experiential learning and provide real-world problem solving in their curriculum. This summer, Foxcroft faculty read Ted Dintersmith’s What Schools Could Be (Princeton, 2018) and discussed what Foxcroft is already doing to create what Dintersmith calls “PEAK” learning experiences — experiences that provide students with a purpose for their learning; help them acquire essential skills and mind sets for innovation; give them agency over their learning; and generate deep and retained knowledge of the subjects they study. Here are a few examples of how our own teachers are blazing trails as educational leaders. — Cathy McGehee

Passionate Learning By Anne Mueller, Ph.D.

It is truly humbling to see what can happen in a classroom when students tell you what you can do better. Last winter, I was frustrated by my usual methods of teaching French. I wanted the students to be as inspired by the language as I am, but I knew I wasn’t giving them what they needed to feel that level of investment. After hours of contemplating options, I decided to give Project-Based Learning a shot in my immersion French II classroom. At the same time, I was watching the Olympics with my colleague Dr. Meghen Tuttle, and we were both gripped by the urge to use the games as part of our curriculum. For hours, we chatted and researched, and eventually we both came up with fascinating projects. Meghen’s biology students were to “Build an Olympian” for a specific Winter Games event by learning how various body systems work and which aspects of each system the specific event requires. My French II students were to pitch a location in France as the site of the next Olympics. While it was a challenge to sit back and let the students run the classroom, it was well worth it. Within weeks, my students — who had taken French for less than two years — stood in front of a room of French-speaking students, faculty, and staff and made their case as to why the Olympics should be held in Normandy, Marseille, or Alsace. They integrated interactive maps into their presentations, offered lists of pre-existing stadiums and fields, highlighted the cultural features of their region, and so much more — all in French! With the success of that project, I felt the confidence to try another, so I asked students to create their own non-governmental organization (and to learn the subjunctive tense along the way). This time, however, my collaboration came from an unexpected source: my students! Alex Van De Water Kosan ’19 and a few others came to me and articulated all the questions that had been percolating in my mind. In particular, how do the students learn new grammar and take tests in the traditional way, while still participating in the passion- or project-based classroom? I knew I would give some grammar lessons, practice worksheets, and quizzes — but how did this align with my project-motivated classroom?

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When Alex came to me, she went beyond her questions and offered a suggestion: She asked if I could build an online resource center of grammar and practice exercises that the students could refer to whenever they needed. With the help of a Kenan Summer Grant from Foxcroft, I spent the break building that resource center, using a web-app for classrooms called GoFormative. In June, I was also inspired by colleagues at the National Coalition of Girls Schools’ Global Forum to implement formative-based assessments, which evaluate how a student is progressing as they work through material, and rely less on the traditional testing that I feel conflicts with passionate learning. Fast forward to this fall, with the same amazing group of experimental, courageous students now in French III. For

Dr. Mueller’s French II students made passionate presentations about their NGOs — en Français!

our first unit, I laid out learning objectives and five summative assessments through which students could prove mastery of those objectives. These assessments, while including a few grammar quizzes, mostly stray from the traditional model of testing. They include debates, presentations on news articles, and written justifications of opinions. I had clear rubrics for evaluation

and high expectations — and these students blew me away again with their demonstrated excellence! Passion-based learning reminds me of the doors that studying a language can open, but it also shows me different doors for learning — through the curiosity and interests of my students.

Mixed Vegetables: Growing an Interdisciplinary Project by Meghen Tuttle, Ph.D.

Last year, I was asked to help chaperone a U.S. History field trip to Mount Vernon, George Washington’s home, as most of my biology students were attending. We added a science component to the already interdisciplinary project the students did on-site, which was to take photographs of objects and plants that had been important to the historical role that the student was assigned, be it an enslaved field worker or Martha Washington herself. The project provided connection and perspective to the trip, and worked quite well, so we decided to elaborate on the project this year. Over the summer, History Department Chair Alex Northrup and I composed a list of history-infused background questions

for biology. These questions addressed colonial and Native American gardening and farming practices, home gardens versus cash crops, and how to maintain and quantify plant and soil health. This was relevant to our trip because George Washington was an avid cultivator of many varieties of crops, and kept a greenhouse as well as experimental gardens at Mount Vernon. Alex’s U.S. History lessons created more connections. In September, for instance, students learned how the biological properties of tobacco, combined with high demand in Europe, drove English settlers in Virginia into lands held by Native Americans and expanded the practice of slavery.

I divided each of my three biology classes in two and charged the six groups with answering the questions Alex and I had devised and with applying that knowledge to design an experiment that uses both our indoor aquaponic gardens (acquired during the 2015 renovation of the Stephanie Briggs Bennett '64 Biology Lab) and our outdoor community garden, which was built this summer. CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE


Fall 2018 21

The groups wrote research proposals and filmed three-minute videos, which were reviewed by a panel of faculty members. All three classes then viewed the top three videos and voted. The winning group produced a creative, funny, and very persuasive video that proposed to plant the Native American-inspired “Three Sisters” crops of corn, beans, and squash and the Three Brothers (radishes, beans, and sugar snap peas) under three different conditions: (1) outside, under stress (being planted out of season); (2) inside, under stress (abnormal lighting), and (3) inside, under normal conditions. As the group’s outdoor planting was hypothesized to fail, I offered several outdoor beds to our second-place team, which proposed planting a “winterized (hardy) version” of the Three Sisters (cabbage, beets, and cauliflower) and several floral species, which they planted together in groups and separately in rows. All three biology classes have participated in the planting, care, and data collection of the gardens. We planted the outdoor gardens in late September and the indoor gardens in mid-October. Thanks

to some unseasonably warm weather, we saw almost immediate growth in the outdoor gardens, even though those crops are traditionally planted in the spring. Students are gathering data weekly on plant growth, plus plant and soil health, and will do so for as long as growth continues. Ultimately, they will write reports and make presentations in Morning Meeting. This project has prompted the girls to think about the scientific method, biochemistry, photosynthesis, weather, and climate — as well as the interactions between humans and the natural world, and the social and historical effects of that relationship. It also made this year’s field trip to Mount Vernon a richer and even more valuable experience. Students visited the gardens and greenhouse on Washington’s estate armed with more knowledge and specific concerns. They continued their examination of the human-botanical world connection by researching an historical figure from Mount

Trailblazing Approaches to the College Process By Barbara Conner, Director of College Counseling Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Don’t go where the path may lead; go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” That is what we are doing in the College Counseling Office at Foxcroft. We are blazing new trails — trails that are not so much responding to trends in the ever-changing world of college admissions, as they are focused on strategically anticipating how to best position our girls ahead of the curve in this very selective environment. Here are three recent innovations that forge new paths:

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In late September, Dr. Tuttle’s biology students got their hands dirty getting their garden going.

Vernon and a plant that played an important role in their life. Perhaps most importantly, the interdisciplinary nature of the project helped students see and appreciate the interconnectivity of the diverse disciplines they encounter in school and gave life — literally — to their study of 250-year-old history.

ESSAY WORKSHOP WITH EXPERTS. The most daunting and time-consuming part of the college application is writing the essays. Our girls are strong writers and have been taught well to write academically. Writing college essays, however, is completely different. It is personal. It is in the first person. It puts a spotlight on what makes an individual distinctive, special, or unique. Each spring, juniors spend time brainstorming ideas for their essays, and we talk about voice, making sure that the essay really, truly sounds like them. I realized that students might get this intellectually, but they needed to internalize it and understand what was needed as they crafted their essays. So, I brought in experts! Our Essay Workshop with College Admission Officers program begins with the typical panel of professionals discussing the best and worst essays they’ve ever read and what admission committees are looking for. But they don’t end there. Seniors bring their essay drafts to the session and, following the panel, they meet in groups of 5-7 students with one panelist. The admission officers personally review the students’ essays and each senior has the opportunity to sit oneon-one with that professional — who reads college essays for a living — to get direct feedback, suggestions, and encouragement on her essays.

This program proved so productive that I now offer it to juniors each spring. Without exception, the admission officers report that they enjoy meeting our girls and learning their stories through the essays and they ask to be invited back. For our students, receiving this personalized feedback while they are still in the editing phase is priceless! SPECIALIZED COLLEGE TOPIC VISITS. Another novel twist on an old standard — the college admission visit — was introduced last year. In the fall, admission officers visit dozens of high schools and attend college fairs to reach prospective students. I noticed that fewer and fewer students were attending these school visits. Building relationships with colleagues on the college side of admissions is an integral part of my college counseling career so I worried: If students stopped attending the visits, would admission directors shrink travel budgets or cancel travel entirely? Having the college representatives come to us is incredibly important. Not only do their visits provide current information about the various colleges, but they allow students to meet the person most likely making the admission decision. Also, these representatives learn more about Foxcroft and the environment our students have been immersed in, which can provide helpful context.

In order to grow student attendance, I created Specialized College Topic Visits. I still offer admission representatives the opportunity to host a traditional college visit (30 minutes discussing the specific college campus, programs, social life, etc.), but they are also invited to consider presenting on a special topic which would be of interest even to students who do not know that particular college. Many took me up on the offer and we’ve hosted some wonderful sessions on topics such as How to Ensure Success in Your First Year of College, Experiential Learning Opportunities, Maximizing Your College Visit, and Creative Careers: Art School Portfolios, among many others. These sessions have become popular with students and I’ve discovered another benefit: girls hear this important information in another voice and from another perspective. As with the Five First-Choice Colleges approach for the admission process that I created some years ago, these programs break new ground. We are, as Emerson urged, going “where there is no path,” and the trail we leave — I am convinced — raises the engagement and success of our girls in the unpredictable world of college admission. Happy trails to you, my students.

Sitting down with a college admission officer to review her college essays — before she submits them — is an amazing opportunity for senior Megan Pumphrey.

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"PEAK" Learning

SENIOR SEMINAR. Finding time to focus on the college process during a senior year already full of challenging classes, engaging extracurriculars, and leadership roles is a challenge. “I don’t think I have any extra time for the college process. I guess I just won’t sleep, ” students would tell me. So I instituted Senior Seminar, which literally gives seniors the gift of time. Working with the Academic Office, we designate one free period per week in each senior’s schedule as her required weekly Senior Seminar. This is not a class; it is designated, intentional time for her to spend in the College Counseling Office, completing her Common Application, researching scholarships, or editing essays. The vast majority of seniors appreciate having compulsory time carved into their weekly schedules and use it wisely.

1 Fear Factors Goodyear Fellow Michelle Poler Inspires Foxcroft Students and Facult y with Self Empowerment Project By Shelly Betz, Director of Strategic Initiatives and Marketing


ou don’t have to be fearless to be a trailblazer, but it helps. En route to accomplishing something you have never before done, you will most likely face some fears along the way. So, with “Trailblazing” as a schoolwide theme this year, Foxcroft could not have welcomed a more appropriate Alison Harrison Goodyear ’29 Fellow than “Hello Fears” founder Michelle Poler. Poler, our keynote speaker at September’s All-School Leadership Day, shared her inspiring journey to rewrite her personal definition of fear. She jumped right into her purpose, immediately engaging the students, staff, and faculty that filled Engelhard Gymnasium, dancing and waving her arms to the beat of high-energy, Latin-inspired music. As she weaved her way down the aisle, she high-fived students and encouraged them to overcome their self-consciousness and discomfort to join her freestyle fun. Thus began Poler’s presentation: Inspiring Students to Redefine Fear and Live with Courage.

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In July 2015, Michelle Poler set out to conquer 100 fears within 100 days. Her list of fears included such things as dancing in the middle of New York City’s Times Square, eating oysters, handling a tarantula, skydiving, and singing on stage, just to name a few. She was facing her fears and feeling brave, for sure. On Day 40 of her “Hello Fears” project, Poler was discovered by the media and catapulted to international fame for doing something that nobody else had done — identifying and conquering her fears, one at a time — and documenting it all for the world to see.

Born into a family of Holocaust survivors and raised in Caracas, Venezuela, Poler was used to living with fear. The decision to move to New York City to pursue a master’s degree, however, quickly revealed that it would be impossible to succeed in an environment of fear. A grad school assignment was the catalyst for the “Hello Fears” project. Poler explored her fears in a way that inspired others to consider theirs. As the “Hello Fears” movement went viral and spread across the globe, she received thousands of messages and emails from

“One of my biggest fears is public speaking and talking in general,” said Ify. “At times, I get so comfortable with being silent that I never really get the chance to express myself the way that I should.”

Goodyear Fellowship


Poler shared a quote from noted 20thcentury psychologist Abraham Maslow: “Step forward into growth or step backward into comfort,” and challenged her Foxcroft audience to think about the things that keep them from pursuing their dreams. Story after story, she connected with the students and encouraged each of them to look within for inspiration. Many girls did.

1. INSPIRED Students were captivated by Poler’s presentation and rushed to pose for photos with her. 2. A CHANGE OF PERSPECTIVE Poler put a different spin on a familiar question. 3. GO FOR IT Facing fears and taking appropriate risks help individuals grow, as Michelle well knows.

Sophomore Julia Garrison already has a plan for what she will focus on. “I would like to try to be my best self and express myself fully,” she said. “This may not seem like a fear, but it is an obstacle that I plan to conquer by practicing self-love and striving to treat others the way I wish to be treated.”

people — including such Hollywood A-listers as Ashton Kutcher and Sofia Vergara, and rap artist Lil Wayne — who were motivated by her courage. At Foxcroft, students had the opportunity to hear firsthand how Poler transformed her life by facing her fears as she led them through an array of adventures from her 100-day challenge — as well as the thoughts, emotions, and reactions that accompanied them. Asked which of Poler’s challenges was the most memorable, senior Ify Nwaonyeneho cited the dance in the middle of Times Square. “To see another human being who's touched a lot of hearts talk about doing something really hard for her is amazing,” said Ify. “It shows me that even role models have their fears. What counts is actually facing those fears.” Junior Larisa Bierman had similar takeaways from Poler’s visit. “I learned that if I do not experience my fears, I will regret not trying, whether or not I end up liking it in the end,” she said. “Anything is possible if you go out and try to achieve the goal.”

Of all the fears that occupied her life for 100 days, Poler says one ranks above them all: the decision not to return to her job as art director after earning her master’s degree, but to pursue her passion as an inspirational speaker instead. To that we say, good decision. Mission to inspire accomplished. “My hope is that girls begin to see that stepping outside their comfort zone, facing a fear, or taking a risk is a growth opportunity — not a limitation. It is about cultivating curiosity; it is about living fully and joyfully; it is about connecting with the world — people, places, and experiences — in a profound and exciting way,” said Assistant Head of School for Student Life Emily Johns, who planned the Leadership Day and brought Poler to campus. As Poler concluded her remarks, she returned to the high-energy music that she played at the beginning of her talk and asked everyone to get on their feet and “dance like no one is watching.” We all did, and the room was overflowing with positive energy and intentions to go out and say “Hello” to our own fears.


Offered through the generosity of family and friends of Alison Harrison Goodyear ’29, the Goodyear Fellowship program brings individuals who have achieved renown in the arts, humanities, science, or public affairs to campus to participate in discussions and seminars with students.

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1 They Did It Their Way A spirited and independent group graduates at 104th Foxcroft Commencement By Cathrine Wolf, Director of Communications


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s Foxcroft School’s 104th Commencement unfolded last May, a clear theme emerged regarding the Class of 2018. Head of School Catherine S. McGehee referred to their “wonderful feistiness.” Senior Class speaker Trinity Patterson claimed that they had “made our own decisions without regard to any class before us and any class coming after.” And featured speaker Patty Boswell shared a story from her first encounter with the group, when she was charged with trying to get them to sit still during McGehee’s installation as Head of School early in their freshman year. “That was my first clue that you were an independent group,” said the longtime registrar, dorm parent, and Hound Backer. “I remember thinking that, if this is how it is after you have only known each other a very short time, then we had better buckle up, because we were in for quite the ride!”

As usual, Bos was right. The 33 girls who received their diplomas from Board of Trustees Chair Anne Michele Lyons Kuhns ’87 in Miss Charlotte’s Garden May 30 definitely took us all on a remarkable ride. “I have loved watching you on your journey,” said McGehee, who presented the Head’s Award to the Class, which arrived when she did, in 2014. “From petitioning me to change the dress code or to hold the first prom in recent history, to the more serious work of researching, drafting, and implementing an Honor Pledge, you have been girls who dare and do. It has not always been an easy journey. . . but through it all, you have persevered personally and as a class, and you have shown Understanding Hearts along with some wonderful feistiness.” These comments echoed Boswell’s earlier words: “Throughout your years, you always seemed to choose to do it your way,” she said. “I must admit there were many times when we all wondered how that was going to work out, but you managed . . . You excelled academically, on the athletic fields, in student leadership, and in your personal goals.”

It is true. The Class included one National Merit Scholarship finalist and one Commended Student, six Cum Laude Society members, and a slew of AP Scholars — as well as a teenage doula, a Division I athlete, two jawdropping musical talents, and a girl who was featured internationally on Spanish-speaking TV (Telemundo) for starting her own nonprofit. Collectively, the class members were offered more than $1.4 million in merit scholarships and 128 offers of admission from 82 colleges and universities, including Colgate, Emory, Parsons School of Design, University of Southern California, Texas, Vanderbilt, and Virginia. Both Patterson and Boswell had good advice for the graduates, and Trinity’s closing remarks were right on; “No matter what the next step for you may be, put your best foot forward, and strut like [model] Naomi Campbell through the streets of life,” she said. “Class of 2018, Class of Pride, let’s be unforgettable.” That should be no problem.

2018 Commencement


4 1–2. A JOYFUL NOISE Whether it was before the ceremony (above) or after they received their diplomas (left), the Class of 2018 made happy sounds. 3. LET’S BE UNFORGETTABLE Senior Class Speaker Trinity Patterson urged classmates to continue to stand out. 4. WONDER YEARS Patty Boswell, the featured speaker, talked about the graduates’ desire to do things differently.

Fall 2018 27

High Honors Service, scholarship, and special talents recognized GRISWOLD FACULTY CHAIR GOES TO ALEX NORTHRUP


Renaissance man Alexander O. Northrup, whose current titles of Director of Educational Technology, History Department Chair, and Foxy Fellow only hint at the varied and vibrant impact he has had on the Foxcroft community, received the School’s oldest and most esteemed endowed faculty chair from Head of School Catherine S. McGehee on Thursday, May 24.

Stephanie Young, who puts her responsibility as role model at the center of her teaching and challenges students to look at the world from different points of view, received the Mary Louise Leipheimer Excellence in Teaching Award in May.

The Anna Greenway Griswold ’33 Chair is reserved for a faculty member “whose leadership transcends an academic discipline and strengthens the fiber of the school community.” It was previously held by Stephen L. Matthews, head librarian and master teacher who retired in 2016 after 39 years at Foxcroft. During his 20 years at Foxcroft, Northrup has held a variety of positions, ranging from webmaster and associate librarian to Academic Dean and English Department Chair. He has taught Spanish, English, and History, coached soccer and basketball, advised student clubs, and, since 2017, served as the faculty advisor to the Fox Team. He also shepherded a group of students in researching, designing, and budgeting the School’s first makerspace.

A Washington, DC, native who graduated from Foxcroft in 2000, Stephanie has taught History at her alma mater since 2013. She is also a dorm parent and serves on the School’s Judicial Committee and its Diversity and Inclusion Committee. First and foremost, however, she acts as a role model for students. “My roles at Foxcroft are teacher, advisor, resident faculty, and role model,” she once wrote. “My position as

role model is most important to me because I think it’s the one that girls will emulate most.” “Stephanie’s gift for self-reflection, her honesty and integrity, and her way of speaking truth with love was evident when she was a student here,” said McGehee, in presenting the award. “Ms. Young challenges students to analyze the world from the diverse lens of race, ethnicity, religion, gender, and political views, and she brings real life experience into her classroom to augment discussion.” The Mary Louise Leipheimer Excellence in Teaching Award was established in 2014 by Foxcroft’s Board of Trustees to honor the retiring Head of School who spent more than 40 years at the School as a teacher and administrator. Young is the first former student of Leipheimer’s to receive the honor.


“The Innovation Lab itself exemplifies Alex’s philosophy of education and his pedagogy,” said McGehee. “Throughout the process, he led as a guide on the side, not a sage on the stage, so that the students truly owned their learning. It is an exceptional example of student-centered education.”

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2018 Commencement

A Selection of Student Awards* Valedictorian/Pillsbury Prize MELANIE FANN ’18



Warren Payne, whose dedication to providing a safe environment for Foxcroft School students, faculty, and staff is matched only by the brightness of the smiles he doles out daily, received the 2018 Jane Lockhart Service Award, also at the Awards Assembly in May. In his 50th year of employment at Foxcroft and his 10th year as its chief of security, Payne became the seventh recipient of the Award, which was established by Foxcroft parents and students in appreciation of the dedication, commitment, and passion of Jane Lockhart, a beloved Foxcroft staff member for 50 years (1966-2016). “Mr. Payne may be Foxcroft’s best admission advocate of all time,” said McGehee. “Often the first person our visitors meet as they drive through the front gate, this incredible employee has the most genuine smile because he sincerely cares about our students and about Foxcroft.”


1. HAVE A SEAT Alex Northrup received the Anne Greenway Griswold ’33 Faculty Chair. 2. EXCELLENCE Stephanie Young, flanked by Head of School Cathy McGehee and Assistant Head for Academics Courtney Ulmer, was delighted to receive the Leipheimer Award for Teaching.

Salutatorian ELISA CHEN ’18

Junior Award for Scholarship SYLVIA YUAN ’19

Charlotte Haxall Noland Award RACHEL BROWN ’18

Miss Ida Applegate Award SAKIKO IDEHARA ’18


3. FROM EAR TO EAR Warren Payne and Cathy McGehee were all smiles when he got the Lockhart Service Award.

Josie Betner Mallace Award

4. TOP OF THE CLASS Melanie Fann earned Valedictorian/Pillsbury Prize honors and headed to Vanderbilt.


5. HAVE A CUP Colgate-bound Rachel Brown received the Charlotte Haxall Noland Award.

Elebash Award



Mildred Greble Davis Award Becky Award ISABELLA SMITH ’20


Teresa E. Shook Award SAVANNAH HAMILTON ’18

Miss Charlotte’s Trophy (Best Rider) ANNA NOTTAGE ’18

National Merit Scholarship Honors FINALIST: MELANIE FANN ’18 COMMENDED STUDENT: EMMA SCHMIDT ’18 Fall 2018 29

Building Community Parents’ Association-inspired changes to Parents’ Weekend offer more mingling The sense of community that students enjoy at Foxcroft is truly special — and challenging to share with parents who live in so many locations around the world. The Foxcroft Parents’ Association, though, aims to do just that. Its stated purpose is “to promote increased parental involvement . . . by sharing our common concerns, communicating with and supporting each other, and striving for a greater understanding of the traditions and mission of Foxcroft School.” That’s why the Parents’ Association leadership team, in collaboration with Head of School Cathy McGehee and other administrators, decided to blaze a new path at this year’s Parents’ Weekend by creating more opportunities for parents to engage with students, faculty, and each other, and to enjoy Foxcroft traditions and activities. PA President Laurinda Clemente, Vice President/Silent Auction Chair Elise Brown, and Treasurer/Silent Auction Co-Chair Kristi Pell sought to take advantage of one of the few times that many parents of girls from all grades are on campus at the same time to foster the interactions that build community. “Our goal,” says Brown, who championed the weekend’s changes, “was for parents to experience the exceptional academic, athletic, and social opportunities offered by Foxcroft, and for them to leave feeling more deeply connected to this wonderful community.”

Parents’ Association Officers LAURINDA CLEMENTE, President (Amanda ’19) ELISE BROWN, Vice President, Silent Auction Chair (Seabrook ’19, Harriet ’21) KRISTI PELL, Treasurer, Silent Auction Co-Chair (Emma ’21)

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To that end, rather than have a seated dinner on Friday with a student performance that, while entertaining, kept everyone in their seats, able to visit only with those at their table, the evening was reimagined as a Family Fête. Engelhard Gymnasium received a temporary makeover, with beautiful decorations, a dancing area, bandstand, and live music. Dinner was served at creative food stations that invited people to move around for each course. The relaxed, fun atmosphere allowed students and their families to mingle and meet throughout the evening, even as they continued to peruse the Silent Auction items on display and participate in a Live Auction and several raffles. Another new event, called “Introducing Traditions at Foxcroft,” preceded the dinner. In Roomies, current Fox and Hound officers gave parents a primer on the ins and outs of Fox/Hound, and then split the group into Foxes and Hounds to learn team songs and put on a mini Sing Sing! With Fox/Hound Field Hockey scheduled for the following month, this session proved to be enlightening and timely. Saturday morning brought another recent innovation — parentdaughter competition — as a brave band of moms and dads took to the field hockey pitch. All in all, it was a beautiful weekend, filled with fun, laughter, and gourmet popsicles, that truly epitomized the warmth and power of the Foxcroft Community, while providing visiting parents with plenty of classroom and family time as well.

MONTY KICKERT, Secretary (Anne ’19) JAN BUFFENBARGER, Parents’ Athletic Association Coordinator (Allison ’17, Haley ’19) HEATHER GARRISON, Performing Arts Coordinator (Julia ’21) TOM & HIROKO CLARK, Parents Council of Washington Representatives (Julia ’21) JENNY MURPHY (Elizabeth ’19), RAECHELLE SUH (Mimi ’20), HIROKO CLARK (Julia ’21), MARY-MARGARET MARSHALL (Ceci ’22), The Foxcroft Circle Parent Representatives

INNOVATORS PA officers (left-right) Laurinda Clemente, Kristi Pell, and Elise Brown led the charge for change.

A Busy Year From the Alumnae Council The Alumnae Council is thrilled to celebrate another successful year of bringing Foxcroft alumnae together in support of our incredible School! Here’s a look at what’s been happening: THE SOCIAL COMMITTEE held a wide variety of events, including tours of the National Gallery of Art and of Hillwood Estate, Museum and Garden; a cocktail gathering in New York City; a Jazz in the Garden picnic at the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden; and a Gold Cup Tailgate! If you’re in the Washington, DC, area for the holidays, we hope you’ll join us for our annual Jingle and Mingle at the Willard Hotel on Thursday, December 13th.

experiences with each other. Sylvia Ellison ’83 reflected: "I left the event quite inspired by the students and the alums, certain that this effort represents that proverbial stone thrown into the pond that ripples out throughout the Foxcroft community for what I hope will be generations to come.” We look forward to hosting another discussion this year during Reunion 2019, with details to come! THE CLASS REPRESENTATIVE COMMITTEE held its second annual Class Representative Weekend at the end of October, with about 20 representatives from various decades returning to campus. They spent time sharing ideas, hearing the latest news from the School, and planning for the future. Some of the items on the agenda were best practices for keeping in touch, a discussion of information they would like to see in the Alumnae section of the website, and a possible new section of the Alumnae Newsletter titled Morning Meeting.

THE REUNION COMMITTEE worked to enhance Reunion programming in myriad ways. These included suggesting a different venue for the Alumnae Association Dinner and supporting events such as the Middleburg Spring Races and Mimosa Mingle. The Committee was also integral to the selection and presentation of the Distinguished Alumna Award. Going forward, the Committee will continue its work by providing resources such as a reunion toolkit to streamline Co-Chair and Gift Chair responsibilities. Its mission is to ensure an even greater turnout for Reunion 2019! After hosting a successful event during Reunion 2018, THE DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION COMMITTEE is working to plan more engaging and productive programming for the future. Held on Friday of Reunion Weekend, "Courageous Conversations with Foxcroft Women: Working Toward Equality" was a fishbowl-style discussion for alumnae and students to share their thoughts, feelings, and WORKING FOR YOU Alumnae Council members include (l-r) Ginny Robbins '91, Karen Lilly '84, Alden Denègre Moylan '05, Carol Der Garry '79, and Amanda Hartmann Healy '98

The Alumnae Council AMANDA HARTMANN HEALY ’98, President










CAROL DER GARRY ’79, Treasurer





If you’re interested in joining a Committee, serving on the Council, or helping to plan an event, please email

Fall 2018 31

Out & About

Boca Grande, FL

Over the past few months, alumnae have gathered around the country to reconnect with one another and the School. Whether official Foxcroft events accompanied by Head of School Cathy McGehee or informal alumnae gatherings, these occasions remind us of the circle of friendship and the shared experience of Foxcroft.

In March, Margaret Wilmer Bartlett ’62 hosted a lovely lunch at the Gasparilla Inn & Club.


1 1. Jane Turner and daughter, Lyndsay Turner Mason ’05 visited with Leslie Busler Daoust ’87, and her mother, Joy Busler. 2. Head of School Cathy McGehee enjoyed catching up with Sandy Briggs Greene ’78, Sally Bartholomay Downey ’78, and Moira Carroll ’83


3. The Boca Grande Gathering, with its terrific turnout, was grand indeed!

Washington, DC The Alumnae Council Social Committee organized a few outings in the DC metro area. 4. Alumnae Karen Lilly ’84, Laura Quirk Niswander ’87, and Meaghan Hogan ’10 enjoying the Japanese garden at Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens in Washington, DC during a Social Committee tour in May. 5. A docent for more than 25 years at the National Gallery of Art, Pickett Randolph ’56 led alumnae on a private tour in September. L to R: Xandra Bernardo ’00, Pickett, Cathy McGehee, Meaghan Hogan ’10, Catherine Kushan ’10, Ginny Robbins ’91, and Carol Der Garry ’79.

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Foxcroft alumnae and faculty came together at the National Coalition of Girls’ Schools “NET” (Networking and Empowering Together) event in June.

Out & About


NCGS Networking Event

7 6. Among those in attendance were (l-r) Meaghan Hogan ’10, Marion Couzens, Director of Institutional Advancement, Marit Hughes ’94, Cathy McGehee, Rebecca Wise, Director of International Student Services, Tommie Herbert ’05, and Kathryn Grant ’05. 7. Head of School Cathy McGehee (center) chatted with Carol Der Garry ’79, and Marit Hughes ’94 at the NET event.


8. Networking and conversation continued at Lebanese Taverna — what a fantastic event!

9. Mercedes Rudkin Gotwald ’72, Cathy McGehee, and Dede Pickering Bossidy ’71 visited during the Palm Beach gathering.

Palm Beach, FL Many thanks to Mercedes Gotwald ’72 and Dede Pickering Bossidy ’71 for hosting a wonderful event at the Gotwald home.

10. Classmates Alden Denègre Moylan ’05 and Charlotte Rabbe ’05 enjoyed a mini-reunion. 11. George Williamson (grandparent of Millie McArthur ’17) and Hope Haskell Jones ’52 were happy to be there.


12. Carla Paterno Darlington ’54, Steve Gotwald, and Didi Ladd D'Anglejan ’53. 13. Among those who attended were (l-r): Cina Alexander Forgason ’73, Cathy, DD Alexander Matz ’81, Melissa Slingluff Morely ’81, Jennifer Slingluff Robinson ’80, and Hope Jones ’82.

9 10



Fall 2018 33

Homefield Advantage Shrieks of joy, followed by high-fives, hugs, and up-close, on-their-knees examinations of the ground, abounded in late October when Athletic Director Michelle Woodruff took the Varsity Field Hockey team onto the emerging playing fields behind the Athletic/Student Center and announced that they were open for business! A fair amount of finishing work remained to be done, but the great, big, beautiful expanse of two smooth, green multisport turf fields was ready to be used. And the girls couldn’t wait to use it. The girls’ elation was an apt expression of what the project means to Foxcroft Athletics and its participants. It brings the fields up to regulation size for field hockey, lacrosse, and soccer; eliminates the slope of the fields; and addresses the poor condition of the playing surfaces. It provides an all-weather option for softball and adds a practice track that makes a spring track program possible. Plus, the facility will include new scoreboards, stadium seating, handicap access, and conduit for future lighting. The project, authorized by Foxcroft’s Board of Trustees last January, was a massive undertaking. Workers ripped and chipped rock for 32 days and moved tons of earth to level the lot, which then underwent careful preparation for the 145,500 square feet of state-of-the-art synthetic turf that was laid. A remarkable 6,000 tons of stone were imported for the base of the fields and 800,000 pounds of organic infill was spread. Historic rainfall in June and August caused delays that moved many field hockey “home games” to Leesburg, but long hours and hard work by the construction crew got the playing areas ready for the final weeks. The handsome facility ushers in a new day for Foxcroft as it supports the School’s strong athletic program and improves students’ ability to train and compete at their highest level. Academics benefit, too: Fewer rescheduled and off-campus games due to poor weather and field conditions means less class time missed. Woo-hoo! Go Foxcroft!

40 Foxcroft Magazine

Get in the Game! Several lead gifts in support of our multisport turf fields have been received but, as the project nears completion, the School community is invited to participate in this momentous gift to Foxcroft athletes, current and future. Make a general donation or choose a naming opportunity to honor an athlete, coach, or family members. Naming opportunities range from a stadium seat ($500) or team bench ($5,000) to the two regulation-size fields ($500,000 each). For details or to make a gift online, visit If you would like to discuss naming opportunities or have any questions, please contact the Office of Institutional Advancement (540.687.4510;

Forever Foxcroft Forever Foxcroft was established in 1999 by the Board of Trustees to recognize individuals who have included Foxcroft School in their estate plans. Planned gifts take various forms — bequests, trusts, annuities, pooled income, property interests — and provide for the future needs of the School. They ensure that Foxcroft will retain and attract inspiring teachers, that the faculty will continue to design and implement rigorous and creative educational programs, that financial aid will be available to prospective students, and that the buildings and grounds will be carefully maintained and upgraded as needed. They ensure that the School will continue to soar.

Anonymous – 12 Mimi Mills Abel-Smith ’54 Stacey Morse Ahner ’73 Peggy Wickes Alexander ’64 †Elizabeth Stewart Baldwin ’23 †Elizabeth Kemp Beach ’20 †Ruth Bedford ’32 †Harriet Aldrich Bering ’40 Pamela Biddle ’81 Dorothy Pickering Bossidy ’71 Elizabeth Boyd ’92 †J. Bruce Bredin Dorothy Reynolds Brotherton ’70 †Mr. and Mrs. Leland Brown †Amanda Cadwalader Burton ’44 Caroline Rinehart Cardais ’01 Moira M. Carroll ’83 †Cecile Parker Carver ’42 †Ann Gambrill Casey ’39 Susan Knott Childs ’58 Candida Streeter Clark ’73 †Mariana Gowen Coleman ’15 Barbara Tragakis Conner †Eleanor Chalfant Cooper ’20 Dolph and Beatty Cramer ’66 Ailsa Moseley Crawford ’53 Joy Crompton ’78 Victoria Bartlett Donaldson ’70 Sally Bartholomay Downey ’78 Molly West Ellsworth ’50 Nancy Jones Emrich Lisa McGrath Evans ’67 †Katherine Crowninshield Ferguson ’53 Elizabeth Cheston Forster '52 †Lucy Sprague Foster ’46 †Anna Lauder Garner ’39 Edmee E. Geis ’82 †Betsy N. Getz Sandra Norris Ghosh ’75 Brooke Meyer Gray ’59 Chip and Jill Gruver †Dorrance Hill Hamilton '46 Joy Sheaffer Hall ’57 Waddell Hancock ‘71 †Deceased

Elizabeth Millard Hanes ’46 Pamela Hartley ’79 Katherine Cooper Hastings ’78 Sarah Stokes Hatch ’63 †Rosalind Everdell Havemeyer '35 Trevania Dudley Henderson ’76 Melanie Lozier Henke ’89 Theodora Winthrop Hooton ’47 Richard and Kimberly Hurst †May Field Jackson ’29 Patricia Toy Bryant Johnson ’78 Hope Jones ’82 Hope Haskell Jones ’52 †Amanda Bryan Kane ’22 Mr. and Mrs. Martin Kaplan Nancy Krewson ’73 Suzanne Kuser ’49 Mr. and Mrs. Thomas D. Lane †James F. Lawrence Louisa Whitridge Leavitt ’60 Mary Louise Leipheimer †Mary Ann Lippitt ’36 †Elizabeth Livingston †Elizabeth Mackubin Lyman ’22 †Jane Lawrence Mali ’55 †Nancy R. Manierre ’41 †Nancy Iselin Marburg ’37 †Forrest E. Mars, Jr. Virginia Cretella Mars Dorothy Alexander Matz ’81 Mr. and Mrs. C. Thomas May, Jr. Mary Cheston McAdoo ’46 Susan McConnell ’68 Amanda McGuire ’84 †Anne Kane McGuire ’52 Susan Schoelkopf Mele ’80 Melissa Slingluff Morley ’81 Valerie Michel Nelson ’77 Wendy Nelson '83 †Florence B. Newman Joan Lyman Niles ’51 †Abby M. O’Neill ’46 †Linda Moore Post ’46 †Heidi Schmid Powers ’59


Rainey, mother of Ruth Rainey ’82 Pickett D. Randolph ’56 †Charles H. G. Rees †Nancy Thomas Rees ’45 †Hope Montgomery Scott ’21 Alexandra Flickinger Secor ’80 †Katherine Snyder Shands ’22 †Helen Putnam Sokopp ’49 Jordan Moore Sraeel ’01 †Seymour St. John †Anne Kinsolving Talbott ’60 Alix Tower Thorne ’67 †Eleanor Schley Todd ’29 Frances Cheston Train ’44 Carol Exnicios Tucker ’49 Linda Reading Uihlein ’72 †Grace Sloane Vance ’36 †Julia Armour Walker ’59 †Polly Ordway Wallace ’34 †Wilma Warburg Constance V. R. White ’42 Kendra A. Wilcox ’82 †Mary Hotchkiss Williams ’30 Eva Louise Willim †Alice Perkins Winn ’19 †Lunsford and Curgie Winchester Yandell ’24

We have published the names of individuals who have given us permission to do so, as of October 11, 2018. If you have included Foxcroft in your long-term financial planning, please share that information with us by contacting the Office of Institutional Advancement at or calling 540.687.4510.

Fall 2018 41

Nonprofit Org. U.S. Postage PAID Dulles, VA. Permit No. 3 22407 Foxhound Lane P.O. Box 5555 Middleburg, VA 20118

Save the Date

Upcoming Events

APRIL 11–13, 2019

JANUARY 12 Think Pink Basketball Tournament

Reunion Weekend For the Classes of 2014 (5th Reunion), 2010, 2009, 2008, 1994 (25th Reunion), 1990, 1989, 1988, 1975, 1974, 1973, 1969 (50th Reunion), 1964, 1959, 1954, 1949, 1944, & 1939 For more information and volunteer opportunities, email or call 540.687.4510

JANUARY 25 Paul K. Bergan Poetry Festival FEBRUARY 4–8 Wintermission


MARCH 1–2 Fox/Hound Basketball MARCH 29-31 Wellness and Leadership Weekend

FEBRUARY 11–15 Global Cultures Week

Know a Foxcroft Girl? Admission Open Houses January 11, 2019 | April 26, 2019

FEBRUARY 23 STEM Competition


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