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Georgian A Publication of George School, Newtown, Pennsylvania

Volume 76 • Number 2 • Summer 2004

Changing Perspectives By Ann Langtry


raggy, snowcapped mountains. Deep, blue skies. Tumbleweed. I can’t imagine living anywhere else now.” Deborah (D.D.) Smith Hilke ’69 might inspire others each day as the executive director of the Children’s Museum of Utah, but it was the lure of the Rocky Mountain region that inspired “this East Coast girl to discover that you really can live in those fabulous, storybook places.” Seven years ago, D.D. and her husband John, an economist with the Federal Trade Commission, moved west to follow their dreams after spending all of their lives in the eastern United States. New frontiers always spark D.D.’s imagination, invoking her inquisitive intellect and creativity. A prime example: overseeing the current transformation of the popular Children’s Museum into Utah’s new $35 million Discovery Center, which will encompass 40,000 square feet of prime exhibit space. How did she get to play such a monumental role in the creation and operation of this extraordinary facility? D.D. reflected recently on her “unexpected” career path. “It was a journey from hard science nurtured at George School to soft science [psycholinguistics at Swarthmore College and cognitive psychology at Cornell University], to original research on how families learn, to wanting to make exhibits—then institutions and communities—that foster learning for children and families.” Quite impressive for someone who once had to overcome severe dyslexia in early childhood. The roots of her educational pursuits and professional passions sprouted during the high school years. “George School nurtured my love of learning, challenged me to work and play hard, and ultimately helped me to realize that everyone’s ideas are worth listening to—my own, those of people in my community, and most important to my work

Lance W. Clayton

today, those of children and youth.” While finishing her doctoral degree in the 1980s, D.D. worked for the Smithsonian Institution, where she witnessed firsthand the important role that an “audience advocate” can play in the process of exhibit planning. In her view, “exhibit development teams warranted someone who could advocate for and represent the visitors’ needs and experiences during the planning process. As a firm believer in the potential for more effective exhibitions, I jumped at the chance to become the first audience advocate at the Smithsonian.” The comprehensive Information Age exhibition that opened in early 1990 was the first major exhibit at the national museum to follow this model of development. Leadership posts at prestigious institutions such as the Maryland Science Center and the Denver Museum of Science and Nature preceded D.D.’s current position as head of the Children’s Museum in Salt Lake City. Her research and many published studies in the field of exhibit development range from the family’s role during museum visits to the impact of interactive computer software on visitors’ exhibition experiences. As this expert sees it, family visits to museums are ripe with opportunities. “No matter how hard curators, exhibit developers, and marketing specialists may work to enhance a museum environment, the true creators of great museum experiences are the visitors themselves. Family groups bring a finely-tuned repertoire of learning behaviors, desires to have good times together, and the awareness that their visit is a time of family and personal memorymaking that might last a lifetime. All they need is each other and an environment rich in new things to see and do. Family visitors and museums are a perfect match for each other.”

Inside this GEORGIAN Over the years, when her spare time wasn’t consumed with research or board commitments, D.D. Smith Hilke ’69 also studied and competed in the martial arts, earning the distinction of a black belt.



Early nineties graduates thrive in an

Students view campus from a

interactive world.

mathematical perspective.

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Creating for children

A Tale of a Dragon

Storytelling Is a Family Affair

By Diana Cutshall

By Ron George


ou can say that Penny Morrow Pollock ’53 was destined to be a great storyteller. One of six children in the Morrow home, Penny vividly recounts nights when all the Morrow children and the family dogs would crawl into a bed and listen to her father tell them stories. “He was a fabulous storyteller,” recalls Penny. She credits her father, a descendant of the Wyandotte (a Native American tribe), with her love of storytelling. “His Through presentations and workshops, Penny Morrow Pollock best story was one about ’53 continues to share her love of falling into a rattlesnake pit storytelling with school children in Arizona.” and graduate students. A candymaker, Penny’s father moved from place to place, before settling in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, where the family lived in a stone house in the middle of the woods. Penny would often entertain herself by telling stories on the long walk home from elementary school. Sometimes the stories were so interesting Penny didn’t look where she was going and walked into trees. With the experience of growing up in the happy chaos of a large family and childhood adventures ranging from hunting for snakes to minding the pet alligator in the bathtub, Penny has been able to create a number of entertaining books that explore the ups and downs of childhood. “All fiction is (in some way) autobiographical,” she explains. Penny relates her own feelings and experiences to those of the characters in her books. An author of a dozen books, Penny is noted for her thoughtful, sensitive storytelling. While her works range from picture books to middle school novels, two themes often appear: the value of friendship and a reverence for the natural world. Penny’s books include, When the Moon Is Full, The Slug Who Thought He Was a Snail, Stall Buddies, and The Turkey Girl: A Zuni Cinderella Story, which received the Aesop Accolade in 1996 for children’s folklore from the American Folklore Society. “Once a storyteller, always a storyteller,” says Penny. “I didn’t have a problem writing stories. There was some difficulty in becoming a professional writer. Selling your story is a different challenge altogether.” Penny credits Ed Babbitt, an English teacher at George School, with noticing she had something special in her writing and helping her find her “voice.” “I owe a lot to Ed, Dick McFeely [former head of school], and Pete Hess [former math and physical education teacher] for really encouraging and helping me develop as a writer,” adds Penny. After graduating from George School, Penny earned a degree in philosophy from Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts. She would go on to receive a master’s degree in early childhood education from Kean College in New Jersey. Penny recently earned a master’s degree in children’s book illustration from Marywood College, in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Penny continues to write children’s books. Her passion has also led to a career aimed at inspiring others.


uth Stiles Gannett Kahn ’40 published her first children’s book, My Father’s Dragon, in 1948. During the preceding four years, she graduated from Vassar College with a degree in chemistry, conducted medical research in Boston, tested radar systems during WWII at MIT, married Peter Kahn, and gave birth to a daughter (Charlotte ’66), the first of seven. “I started writing the story just for the fun of it,” says Ruth with a laugh. In elementary school, she also wrote books for fun. “It was just serendipity that My Father’s Dragon ever got published.” Ruth Stiles Gannett Kahn ’40 is pleased It resulted after an editor from Random to know that readers who enjoyed My House asked her what she was doing for a living. Father’s Dragon as children are now Embarrassed by her lack of productivity, Ruth said reading it to their children. she was writing a children’s book. The editor asked to read it, so Ruth went home and finished the book, which Random House later published. My Father’s Dragon was an instant success, becoming both a Newbery Honor Book and an ALA Notable Children’s Book. By 1951, Ruth had completed a trilogy consisting of My Father’s Dragon, Elmer and the Dragon, and The Dragons of Blueland. The books have won accolades from both editors and readers alike. The New York Times refers to the books as “Delightfully logical nonsense, appealing characters, and irrepressible humor.” Library Journal describes the trilogy as, “Rich, humorous, and thoroughly satisfying.” More than fifty years later, My Father’s Dragon is still a favorite. It’s a popular selection continued on page 5

From Books to Bus Stops By Rebecca J. Wilkinson


black and white bird’s-eye-view of the George School campus decorates the cover of the 1979 Opus yearbook. Whimsical portrayals of students, faculty, and staff line the pages from beginning to end setting a visual tone to the volume. It is no surprise to learn that Abira Ali-Henderson ’79 served as that year’s Opus editor. This experience proved invaluable early in her career. The same skills that served the Opus so well came into play as Abira worked as a design and mechanical artist for Esquire and Mirabella magazines. Abira would go on to provide illustrations for magazines such as Washington Post Sunday, the New Yorker, and Nickelodeon Magazine. Abira cites the support she received at George School as a key part of her success. “I remember the support I had from John Sears [former art teacher] and the strength of my relationships with my friends, especially artist Deborah Smith ’79, ” She says. “One of the most important things high school can do for students is to point them in the right direction. George School certainly did this for me.” Her first opportunity to illustrate a Abira Ali-Henderson ’79 paints Delia (Dee) Smith children’s book came through Phebe Gardiner’s ’79 daughter’s face during Alumni Macrae ’80 and Henry Holt (a publishing Weekend 2004. company) resulting in The Big Bazoohley by Peter Carey. Since then she has collaborated several times with her husband Gordon Henderson, who is an author of children’s continued on page 6

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Gaming as grown-ups

Grad Scores with Video Games By Kimberly Miller Robbins


n avid video-gamer since the age of six, Peter Lewis ’94 works as an Xbox video game developer at High Voltage Software, a Chicago, Illinois, company known for games like NBA Inside Drive, Hunter: The Reckoning, The Haunted Mansion, and Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude. Peter is the first of three siblings from Yardley, Pennsylvania, who attended George School as a day student. He fondly recalls playing one of his all-time favorite video games, John Madden Football, between classes with his friends. Gaming aside, Peter believes George School fostered a creative Peter Lewis ’94, shown here outside High Voltage spirit within him that has greatly Software in Chicago, Illinois, has been in video game development since 2000. influenced his life and career and helped him gain a strong math and science foundation that prepared him for undergraduate and graduate computer science degrees. He cites Paul Machemer, a George School math teacher, as a great influence on him. “He shared with me that he saw potential that I didn’t even see in myself. He encouraged me to realize that potential.” Following George School, Peter took that potential to Lehigh University and

learned how to create three-dimensional images on a computer screen and grasp computer languages. He soon realized that his passion for video games married nicely with his newfound computer science skills and that he could possibly make a career from his love of video gaming. “I started to develop video games when I had free reign with class assignments. For one final project, a partner and I made a roller coaster builder and in another class my team and I made a base combat game similar to a Star Wars game,” explains Peter. “As I studied, it became clear that video game programming could be a reality for me.” At the end of graduate school, Peter prepared two resumes—a real world resume and a video game resume. He researched two hundred video game companies and applied to thirty-three. He landed at High Voltage Software in 2000 and began working on the development team for NBA Inside Drive, a Microsoft basketball game for Xbox. Peter’s work included developing artificial intelligence for players as well as animation and special game features like trading players, drafting rookies, and signing free agents. “I focus on making sure that the game feels real and that players feel as though they are playing against humans not technology,” Peter said. “When a person at home presses the shoot button, I want it to look like the animated player actually shoots the ball.” For Peter, using his creativity to develop game software is like a dream come true. He also wonders if he would have had the courage to believe he could be a video game developer if it were not for George School. “I enjoy working on games and I like having the ability to say, ‘This game isn’t as much fun as I’d like it to be and I can change that,’” remarks Peter. “There’s a feeling at George School that anyone there is likely to go on and do something great. Everyone there expects students to make an impact on the world. This kind of expectation is contagious.”

Growing Up Gaming By Ron George


Adam Kraver

Jordan began his foray into game design after ordan Itkowitz ’93 has the best of both worlds. completing graduate school at San Francisco’s He combines work and play as a lead game designer for Rainbow Studios in Phoenix, Arizona. Academy of Art with a degree in computer animation in 1999. He was then hired to write a screenplay for “At Rainbow Studios, things usually start with someone saying ‘Wouldn’t it be cool if...,’” says Jordan. “With a concept as the foundation, we figure out what’s already been done and then try to improve upon it and expand from there. We want to create the best possible experience for the user.” That experience, Jordan says, is a game in which the user can be successful. “The idea that a game has to be ‘too challenging’ or ‘unbeatable’ is an antiquated concept. With the old arcade games, the idea was to have the player feed the machine as many quarters as possible. Nowadays, you want your players to succeed,” explains Jordan. “There’s always got to be challenge, but we also don’t want to create a situation where it looks to the player as if we are saying, ‘Ha-ha, we’re smarter than you.’” At Rainbow, Jordan works with about one hundred other people, with anywhere from fifteen to thirty people working on any one project. From conception to production, it takes up to two years to develop a game, according to Jordan. Jordan Itkowitz ’93 works at Rainbow Studios, which develops games for Playstation 2 and Xbox and is “It is by no means a solitary process,” adds the creative force behind ATV Offroad Fury 1 & 2; MX Jordan, who compares the process of developing Unleashed; Splashdown and Splashdown: Rides Gone game software to his experience working in film and Wild, Star Wars: Racer Revenge, and more. Acquired by TV production. “Everyone has a specific role and we publisher THQ in 2002, Rainbow has also produced all have a common goal.” games for Sony, Microsoft, Activision, Atari, and LucasArts.

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an animated motion picture in Phoenix. That association led Jordan to Rainbow Studios in 2000. It was at Rainbow where Jordan says his background in animation and film—he holds a BFA in film from New York University—converged in the rapidly advancing field of game development. “Game development is a fun and creative job,” says Jordan. “We often describe our job as both very intense and laid back. You won’t find any suits and ties here.” Surprisingly, Jordan says it was his English class at George School, taught by Stephanie McBride, that helps him in designing games. “My art portfolio class certainly helped me appreciate the aesthetics of the field, but [Stephanie’s] English classes really sharpened my analytical skills. Game design requires a lot of that focus—there’s a lot of problem solving and balancing that needs to be done,” explains Jordan. “In a game, you’re creating new experiences for your players, and you have to consider the psychology of what the player will go through.” “I played video games a child. A lot of kids my age started out with Atari, then moved up to Nintendo,” laughs Jordan as he refers to himself as a “kid.” “I continued to play up until I attended George School, but then school and sports took up a lot of my time. Like a lot of guys my age, though, you never forget—so I’m still playing games.”

Connections for the generations

Architects Selected for New Library By Ron George


in college. A new library will have the space and facilities to enable us to do that even better.” The proposed two-story building will include an informal space that will foster scholarly conversation especially among faculty and students. There they can drink a cup of coffee, work, read, talk, and go online to check news updates, sports scores, and email. All of these things happen in the library now, but by providing a separate space for the more informal activities, we can also improve the research and studying that will happen in other parts of the library. Prompted by requests from students, faculty, and library staff in the 2002 master planning process, the George School community established the goal of building a new or expanded library on campus. George School’s current library—McFeely Library—was designed and built in the 1960s. It is named after Richard H. McFeely, George School’s fourth headmaster. While it has served the school very well, advances in information technology and various methods of teaching and collaborative learning have changed the ways school libraries are used. A new library will allow George School to accommodate the current and future needs of the community.

Bonnie Bodenheimer

Bonnie Bodenheimer

wo architectural firms have been selected to design a proposed 25,000 square-foot, state-ofthe-art library for George School. Architects Daniela Voith and Matt Bartner from Voith and Mactavish of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Geoffrey Freeman and Sarah Felton from Shepley Bulfinch Richardson and Abbott of Boston, Massachusetts, attended a faculty/staff meeting at George School in June to discuss the project. “The combination of the two architectural firms is very exciting,” says Head of School Nancy Starmer. “Voith and Mactavish has done other work at George School. They understand the culture of the school and have a real appreciation for our beautiful campus. Shepley Bulfinch Richardson and Abbott architects have designed some of the premier libraries in the country and have a wonderful sense of how libraries function.” Linda Heinemann, library director at George School, shares Nancy’s excitement at the prospect of a new library. “A new library will allow us to welcome all of the students who want to use the library and to accommodate the many different types of research and studying that students are engaged in. We take seriously our role of teaching students the research and information skills that they will need

Games Teach Children Important Lessons By Ron George


n the surface, games such as “Duck Duck Goose” and “What Time is it, Mr. Fox?” seem simple. While they provide hours of fun, these games and others teach children at the George School Children’s Center skills they will need when they get older. “Games help teach children about sharing, taking turns, resolving conflict, and getting along with others,” says Jennifer Culp, the center’s director. “Through playing games children also learn respect for others and develop a sense of self-accomplishment.” Whether it’s through participating in classic games like “Patty Cake” and “Ring Around the Rosie,” or a popular center game such as “Who’s Missing?” the children have many opportunities to practice some of the lessons they have learned. The George School Children’s Center is a five-morning preschool for children two to five years old, from September through June. Full-time care is also available for infants and toddlers. Children are divided into five age groups, each headed by a teacher. Thirteen full- and parttime employees staff the center. George School’s Children Center just completed its fifteenth year of service. The center serves forty-eight children. “Each group has its own daily routine,” says Jennifer. “There are activities we do in the center and there are outdoor activities. We have a wonderful outdoor area here at George School and we take full advantage of it.” Outside activities include games, walking to the pond, digging in the garden, and planting flowers.

The proposed library site is next to Hallowell Arts Center on the current clay tennis courts. Photos show the view to the west (left) and the view to the north (right).

A Place of Their Own By Rebecca J. Wilkinson


uilt into the new library’s conceptual design is an area devoted to a collection featuring books authored by George School alumni and both current and former faculty. Library Director Linda Heinemann comments, “We envision an area that would be very comfortable; one where students would feel welcome to stay for a while and read. We are very excited about having this kind of space in the new library.” Currently, alumni and faculty books are located within their respective subject areas. Assembling them together, in a space specifically designed for

them, would do more than simply make these books more accessible to the students; it would serve as a connection between George School’s current students and its alumni and former faculty. Linda also hopes that the alumni reading area will inspire current students. “It’s good for students to see that someone who had been where they are right now has been published,” she says. “The collection will also provide a wonderful opportunity for students who might be related to some of these authors to feel connected to their families and to deepen their relationship with George School.”

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Nature walks are a regular feature of the children’s center program.

Lessons for life

By Ron George

Bonnie Bodenheimer


ver wonder how many blades of grass and clover leaves there are on South Lawn? Do members of the George School girls’ soccer team kick a soccer ball significantly farther with their right foot than with their left foot? The answer to the first question, according to Patrick Vidal ’05, is between 112,163,000 and 177,850,000 blades of grass and between 33,878,000 and 82,603,000 clover leaves. Those were just two of the questions students in Valerie Folk’s statistics class attempted to answer in their class projects. Instead of simply guessing, students used various methods to analyze and interpret data to arrive at a logical conclusion. Valerie comments, “It was wonderful to see how each student applied statistical principles from class, as well as learned and incorporated new concepts as necessary for each project.” After formulating his question, Patrick first mapped out and measured South Lawn. He then divided it into twenty-nine equal sections. Within each section, Patrick randomly selected a 3”x 3” square and counted each grass blade and cloverleaf plant before coming to a conclusion. According to Valerie, “Patrick chose this daunting project after a class discussion when the students were trying to think of a legitimate reason to hold class outdoors! However, we ruled it out because it was such a large undertaking. Patrick meticulously developed and revised his methodology, enlisting the help of friends to count with him. His effort and statistical reasoning were very impressive.” Director of Studies Scott Spence explains, “Some time ago, we used to offer statistics, so it’s nice that we’re getting back to it. With help from the Grant Fraser Fund we were able to float this year’s pilot statistics class, even though we only had five students signed up to take it. Next year we’ll have twentytwo students in two classes—an advanced placement section, and a standard section.” Another thing that the class did last fall was to develop, administer, and analyze a survey for the student organization WIN (Women’s Issues Now) on body image and the media. And yes, girls on the George School soccer team do kick a soccer ball significantly farther with their right foot than with their The clover of South left foot. Lawn was a focus for a statistics class project.

A Tale of a Dragon… cont’d from page 2 on the George School campus among faculty children. Teacher Jamie Reinstein says that it’s one of his son Joshua’s favorite books. “I suppose he likes it because it’s clever, funny, and gentle, just like him!” Ruth also has a strong sense of justice. It is a quality shared by Elmer Elevator, the hero of My Father’s Dragon, who uses lollipops, rubber bands, chewing gum, and a comb to rescue an exploited dragon. In the end, Elmer disarms a ferocious beast and frees the overworked serpent. Ruth, who lives in a farmhouse near Ithaca, New York, continues to be involved in book sales. Every week, she says, someone asks her to sign her book. “How could this have happened?” she asks, with genuine amazement. “This is something I never expected.”

Cover of My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett Kahn.

Four Square — More Than a Game By Carol J. Suplee

Bruce Weller

Using Statistics to Examine Life

Following the end of the class day, students emerge from buildings to play.


our Square at George School is more than a game. Layered with nostalgia, enshrined in fond albeit imperfect collective memory, the game is now a cultural icon. The history of the original schoolyard game is shrouded in mystery. Suffice it to say that anywhere at least four players might have gathered near a flat surface with a ball, a piece of chalk, or a stick for scribing lines in the dust, Four Square has been played in countless variations. The genesis of the George School game also is murky, at best. People of great good will disagree “sometimes passionately” about how and when the game took root in the campus culture. This much is certain: Four Square did not reach icon status until after the Class of 1937 Student Plaza (a.k.a. Red Square), was completed in 1987. That stellar fiftieth reunion gift provided the flat surface and built-in squares, and a constant stream of players and spectators. Some are convinced the game emerged in the early nineties. Others definitely know that mid-decade players took the lead, while more recent grads are confident that no one was very serious about the game before they arrived. Nick Hanlon ’94 says the game was so popular that lines of waiting students went up the stairs and onto Main porch. Ben Goodale ’95 was described as “the loudest and most enthusiastic.” Ed Chiurco ’01 lauds Andrew Kenower ’00 for having “ruled the court for four years” and for playing while on crutches. There is talk of the “Original Eight” and the “Original Four” circa 1994-1995. Some credit the late Chuck O’Neill ’94 with Four Square revival. “Chuck’s friends played a game in his honor following his memorial service in 2001,” Ryan Kerney ’94 recalls. “I have wonderful memories of playing Four Square with the students,” says former Head of School David L. Bourns. “I believe our version was unique because we played with teams of two. The game has infinite capacity for players of any skill. It is a great equalizer.” Besides equality, devotees cite other inherent George School values: playfulness, flexibility, community, creativity, inclusiveness, responsibility, tolerance, kindness, and humor. Some basic rules apply: Player in the “A” or “King” square serves to bounce the ball within one of the three remaining squares (B, C, D). A receiving player hits the ball into another square and so it goes. When a player makes an error, they go to the back of the line or leave the game. A new player enters the “D” square while the others move up. The goal is to reach the “A” square. Beyond that, the game is fluid and self-designed. Some subtleties of the George School game have been identified: • Months might pass before players actually figure out the rules. • Anyone can play with anyone. • If a young child wants to play, the rules are gentled. • If a dispute arises, spectators clap rhythmically and a dance-off is called. Best dancer as determined by the crowd wins the disputed play. • The game has no end; you stop when you are tired. • No score is kept; no one loses. More than just a game, Four Square is now firmly implanted in campus tradition. The Class of 1937, it turns out, gave more than a beautiful plaza. Its members gave the gift of fun—pure, carefree, joyous hours of fun.

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Clubs for fun

Clowning Around By Peggy Berger

Jack Williams ’51 went to clown college at the University of Wisconsin and is now a member of the Krackerjaclowns of Delray clown club.


lowning around is an activity that John “Banjo Jack” Williams ’51 takes very seriously and one that brings him rewards far beyond the appreciation of his audience. As to how he gained his distinctive moniker, Banjo Jack explains, “My wife Judy and I attended a friend’s wedding a number of years ago on an Indian reservation in Montreal, Canada. At the five-day celebration,

I played the banjo and one of the Indians on the reservation gave me the name ‘Banjo Jack.’” Banjo Jack is spending the summer season as the official clown at Gurney’s Inn and Health Spa located in Montauk, Long Island, New York. There he co-hosts a show every Wednesday interviewing children who are staying at the resort. “The kids get to watch themselves on TV for the rest of their stay at Gurney’s and afterwards my wife Judy and I enjoy the lobster cookout,” notes Jack. At the Fourth of July Veterans Parade in Southampton, New York, Jack made his sixth annual appearance dressed in his Uncle Sam costume and carrying his Uncle Sam kite. Jack’s favorite prop is a twenty-foot extended fishing pole with a forty-seven foot kite on the top that was given to him a number of years ago by Charles (Dusty) Scudder, the Class of ’51 class correspondent. “Dusty has been one of my biggest supporters in this career,” Jack mentions, “and I was just in my seventy-second parade with this prop.” Like the clown in the opera Pagliacci, Banjo Jack experiences genuine emotions beneath the theatrical façade, and not all of them are lighthearted. “I led a privileged life, always clowning around, doing what I pleased and leading a life of fun and games on the

outside,” he reflects. “Inside I was a mess of insecure, selfish, greedy, angry, risk-taking thoughts of selfdestruction. People pleasing and clowning were my cover.” With this insight, Jack joined Alcoholics Anonymous in September 1997. “I am not just a clown, but also a grateful, recovering alcoholic who participates in an AA program,” he adds. “I think it is important to share who I am, what I am about. It keeps me sober and on track. I was able to get away with being a clown who drank too much until I discovered that my addiction was causing serious problems in my ability to do the good job that clowns owe their public, most of whom are children. I think I am a better clown because of my commitment to the principles of this self-help program.” “I love being a clown and now that I am retired from the field of social work I can clown around all I want. Sometimes I even get paid. Only when I give a performance for free can I keep the joy of helping others on their road to happiness.” Banjo Jack remarks that he’s never heard a sad song on a banjo. With the satisfaction he gains from clowning and the positive changes in his personal life, he now strikes a joyful chord with both his audience and himself.

From Books to Bus Stops… cont’d from page 2

Inspired Speller By Ron George

ail Palmer’s ’44 success as a a week. Since moving to Albany, Oregon, competitive Scrabble player five years ago, he now plays just once a wouldn’t raise many eyeweek. He keeps his skills sharp by playbrows among his former ing against his computer and—like other George School classmates players on the competitive circuit—by and teachers. studying word lists. “I doubt they would be sur“We do an awful lot of memorizing,” he prised,” laughs Vail. “At George School I says. “We don’t pay too much attention was known more for my to the definitions.” academic ability rather Vail, who at one than my athletics.” point traveled across A long-time fan of the country, competed in the game Scrabble, Vail as many as five tournabecame a competitive ments each year. He now player in 1989 after participates in about one attending a games each year. Vail is also convention with a friend qualified to serve as a from the Reedwood tournament director. Friends Church in The National Scrabble Portland, Oregon. Association (NSA) sanc“I entered a one-day tions tournaments and Scrabble tournament clubs. NSA schedules as a novice,” Vail says. about 170 tournaments “I found out there were annually as well as local clubs. I joined and maintaining a rating syshave been playing comtem for its participants. petitively ever since.” “I don’t really play Vail Palmer ’44 has been an avid Vail became a Scrabble with my Scrabble player since entering his member of both the family,” jokes Vail. first tournament in 1989. Lake Oswego and “They are a little Portland Scrabble intimidated by me.” clubs, playing twice

books. Together they have produced several books including Claude King of Beasts and Barry’s Daydream. In October 2003, Abira and Gordon hosted an exhibition at Ojala Gallery in Los Angeles, California, to promote their latest collaboration, Ferguson. The day included a book-making workshop where both children and adults wrote, illustrated, and then read aloud their own books. “I loved the community response,” Abira reflects. “One mother told me my An illustration from Abira Ali-Henderson’s book Ferguson. workshop had inspired her to write a series of stories about her family history and then have her children illustrate them.” Abira’s work has not been restricted to books and magazines. One of a handful of winning artists, Abira designed and illustrated a series of panels for a bus stop in Echo Park, California, in 2002. The enamel illustrations focus on the area’s landscape and wildlife, particularly on the wild birds. Now the mother of an active three-year-old, Abira has turned her attention to the combination of art and children’s education. She has served as a visiting artist in public schools and has taught stagecraft and design for Catalina Summer Arts Camp in Santa Catalina, California. She collaborated with the math teacher at Friends Western School in Pasadena, California, to spend a week teaching geometry through art. Currently, she is coordinator of education for Orange Grove Monthly Meeting in Pasadena.

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eQuiz highlights

The Games We Loved to Play The summer survey focused on children’s books, games, and entertainment. Thank you to the 286 alumni who participated. The following is a sampling of the responses. For complete results of the survey, visit the George School website at and select “Alumni eQuiz” from the site index.

Dodgeball 33

Story time

Kickball 29

Respondents listed Winnie the Pooh as their favorite children’s book. Goodnight Moon was second, followed by Where the Wild Things Are in third place. Dr. Seuss was the author most frequently mentioned by respondents.

Jump Rope Double Dutch


King of the Playground Dodgeball reigns as the favorite playground game with 33 responses. Kickball was second. They were followed closely by jump rope/Double Dutch. Four Square and tag finished in a tie for fourth place.

Four Square 26

Tag 26


Have written a children’s book


Have illustrated a children’s book

Best Sellers Thirty-five respondents (12.4%) said they’ve written a children’s book, with six saying they had something published. Seventeen respondents (6.1%) said they’ve illustrated a children’s book, with three saying they had something published.






And the winner is…


Sesame Street was the clear choice among respondents who listed they had a favorite television show. Other favorites were The Howdy Doody Show, Captain Kangaroo, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, and The Mickey Mouse Club.

Boardwalk Monopoly took the honors as the favorite board game with 71 responses. Parcheesi was a distant second. Clue ranked as the third favorite among respondents.


Volume 76 • Number 2 • Summer 2004 In This Issue Changing Perspectives.............................................. 1 Storytelling Is a Family Affair.................................. 2 A Tale of a Dragon ..................................................... 2 From Books to Bus Stops ........................................ 2 Grad Scores with Video Games ............................ 3 Growing Up Gaming................................................. 3 Architects Selected for New Library..................... 4 A Place of Their Own................................................ 4 Games Teach Children Important Lessons....... 4 Using Statistics to Examine Life............................. 5 Four Square—More Than a Game........................ 5 Clowning Around ....................................................... 6 Inspired Speller............................................................ 6 Class Notes .................................................................... 7 Obituaries .................................................................... 15 eQuiz Highlights ....................................................... 16

Editors Ron George Bonnie Bodenheimer 215-579-6567 Georgian Staff Peggy Berger Odie LeFever Alice Maxfield Rebecca Wilkinson

© 2004 George School Design: Turnaround Marketing Communications

Advancement Office George School PO Box 4438 Newtown PA 18940-0908


Georgian, Summer 2004  

The Georgian is the official publication of George School.

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