pu bl i c at i on of ge orge scho o l, ne w tow n, pennsy lvania
Inside april 2009
Fostering a Global Perspective: George Schoolâ€™s international focus impacts the lives, studies, and careers of students and alumni.
George Schoolâ€™s new five-year strategic plan will help us steward our resources during this turbulent economic time.
Join hundreds of alumni from around the world as we celebrate Alumni Weekend, May 8, 9, and 10, 2009.
pe r s pe ctive s
li ste n i n g to all th e vo i c e s
alu m n i we e ke n d
Table of Contents
Vol. 81 | No. 01 | APRIL 2009
Chinese 1 Class (Inside Front Cover) George School teacher Ning Yuan Yu begins his class with tai chi. (Photo: Bruce Weller) Flags from Many Nations (Front Cover) More than seventy flags hang in Marshall, George Schoolâ€™s student center, representing countries that are home to our international students and alumni. (Photo: Mark Wiley)
23 Campus news & notes
Fostering a Global Perspective 15 Listening to All the Voices 02 Alumni Embrace Global Citizenship 04 Alumnus Advises on Global Telecommunications 06 Alumna Studies International Affairs 08 International Baccalaureate Program Engages Students 12 eQuiz Highlights
18 Come Back to George School for Alumni Weekend Award Recipients: 20 David Rutstein 21 Karen Callaway Williams 22 Carolyn Waghorne
26 alumni tell us 46 In memoriam
head of school nancy starmer congratulates
Kenny Kao ’08 of Taipei, Taiwan, who was named one of forty finalists nationwide in the 67th Annual Intel Science Talent Search in 2008.
edited by juliana rosati
Fostering a Global Perspective Students graduating from George School today will be occupying a very different world from that occupied by their grandparents. In the words of Vivien Stewart, vice president for education at the Asia Society, “To be successful global citizens, workers, and leaders, students will need to be knowledgeable about the world, be able to communicate in languages other than English, and be informed and active citizens.”* George School’s understanding of this statement is reflected in our academics, including our early adoption and recent expansion of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program—a curriculum that you will learn more about in this Perspectives section. Engaged citizenship requires more than knowledge, however, and at George School we also try to provide students with opportunities to live, work, and make decisions with others whose
backgrounds and perspectives are very different from their own. Our tradition of domestic and international service trips has provided students with such experiences for over sixty years. Since the 1950s, the student body at George School has become more and more diverse, to the point that today we have students from thirty-two countries and twenty-one states, a number of students for whom English is a second or third language, and students from a wide range of religious, racial, and cultural backgrounds. This rich mix of people continues to provide George School students with opportunities to develop the skills and relationships that will one day be the basis for global citizenship. The articles that follow attest to the strength and importance of this work.
* Vivien Stewart, “Becoming Citizens of the World,” Educational Leadership 64, no. 7 (2007): 8–14.
01. Cally Iden, 02. Marina Urquidi, 03. Saeid Zakeri, 04. Yoshiko Kurotsu, 05. Moritz Rolf
Alumni Embrace Global Citizenship by Karen Doss Bowman Moritz Rolf ’98 was among the crowd of thousands who gathered in Berlin last July to hear then-presidential hopeful Senator Barack Obama speak. The German national, who recently received an economics degree from Humboldt University of Berlin, was so moved by Obama’s message that in September, he temporarily moved into a friend’s apartment in Pennsylvania and volunteered for Obama’s state headquarters in Philadelphia. His responsibilities included anything from recruiting volunteers and canvassing neighborhoods to serving as line manager at a local polling station on Election Day. “It was an amazing experience to see all those people performing their right to vote,” says Moritz. “That I was not able to vote was not important for me. I just had the feeling of being part of something big and enjoyed the amazing experiences I had every day. I was glad to help people to vote and live democracy.”
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Just as Moritz didn’t let the confines of citizenship stop him from participating in one of the most memorable U.S. presidential campaigns in history, other George School alumni are reaching beyond borders to embrace the global community. Doing so has helped many to feel a kinship with their neighbors throughout the world. Cally Iden ’98 considers herself a “citizen of the world.” Having spent most of her adult life living and working abroad, the Pennsylvania native says that she feels at home just about anywhere. A semester studying abroad in France while enrolled at The Cooper Union School of Art in New York City inspired her to move to France after graduation. Today she is an artist living in Seoul, South Korea, where she teaches English and photography classes. Though she’s always been adventurous, Cally credits George School with opening up her worldview by fostering relationships with students from other countries. “Through my many friendships with international students from places like Taiwan, Korea, Vietnam, and Bosnia, I learned that differences in cultural background or even language are not limiting factors on a friendship,” notes Cally, who met her Korean husband while both were students at École Nationale Superiore des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. The two converse primarily in French. Being part of a multicultural community at George School was likewise an important experi-
ence for Saeid Zakeri ’92, who came to the United States from his native Iran as an adolescent and currently lives in New York State. A graduate of SUNY Buffalo, Saeid says that the diversity he found at George School made him feel comfortable and challenged him to be more open-minded. He recalls that on campus he encountered people of different races and faith backgrounds for the first time. “You look at the conflicts in the world, and you wonder why can’t we all get along—it’s idealistic, but that’s what I strive towards,” says Saeid, who now holds dual citizenship in Iran and the United States and works as an electrical engineer. “To be honest, being an American, or being an Iranian, your life is pretty much the same—you wake up in the morning, you make money for your children, and you try to live a good life. Day to day, life for a citizen here and a citizen there is not that different. Governments aside, people are the same.” For some George School alumni, the seeds of a global perspective are planted in early childhood. Marina Urquidi ’67, a dual citizen of the United States and Mexico who lives in France, remembers, “My family tradition had always included a strong perspective of the world under the keywords ‘mutual respect and understanding.’” Following her childhood in Mexico, Marina enrolled at George School and extended her international experiences beyond the school’s campus, participating in the exchange with Lycée Alfred Kastler in Guebwiller, France, where she spent her junior year. After attending Vassar College, Marina returned to France, where she has worked as a translator for over thirty years. Also a former photojournalist and radio host, Marina has been working since 1996 as an internet communication facilitator for an ambitious global-change project, The Alliance for a Responsible, Plural, and United World (http://www.alliance21. org), hosting online international debates on various global topics. Following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington DC, for example, she facilitated a debate on “building peace,” giving people the opportunity to voice their opinions about issues such as governmental responsibility, the struggle for energy and natural resources, and the value of education in alleviating the world’s problems. Like Marina, Yoshiko Kurotsu ’98 began developing a global perspective during childhood. As the American-born daughter of Japanese immigrants to the United States, Yoshiko says she has reflected since a young age on “how to balance and comple-
ment these two cultures within myself.” Though her first language was Japanese, once she started school, her fluency in English became much better. Still, Yoshiko’s parents were dedicated to passing on the values, customs, and language of their native country—even sending Yoshiko and her sisters, Noriko ’96 and Emiko ’00, to Japanese school, along with completing their American education. As a student at Wheaton College in Massachusetts, Yoshiko chose to spend her junior year studying abroad in China—a decision that put her on track for her current position as head of marketing and communications at a five-star hotel in Beijing. While she considered studying in Japan, Yoshiko explains, “I finally settled on China after deciding that it would be interesting to see how much of Japan’s culture was influenced by China’s, and how the two are related.” Yoshiko began studying Mandarin Chinese when she arrived in China as a student. Today she finds that people are often surprised to learn that she is Japanese-American rather than a native of China. “Being in China definitely adds a new element to balancing myself,” she notes. “It has forced me to really assess my own cultural identity.” Although she had a multicultural upbringing, Yoshiko credits George School with further increasing her international awareness. In particular, during a service trip to Hanoi, Vietnam, with teachers Ralph Lelii and Polly Lodge, she learned valuable lessons from her visits with host families and by working in the S.O.S. orphanage. “My time there really opened my eyes to the disparities that existed in the world, not only between two countries such as the United States and Vietnam, but also between citizens of one city, of Hanoi—some of whom drove around in Mercedes while others drove ox-carts,” she says. According to Yoshiko, we will have our best chance of addressing global problems—such as climate change, tensions between nations, the possibility of pandemic disease, and the international financial crisis—if people throughout the world understand that we are all connected. “Our actions will have an effect on people that we may not know or see,” Yoshiko states. “People need to be willing to be responsible global citizens who, at the very least, consider the consequences of their actions—not only on themselves, but also on those around the world.”
Larry Spiwak ’82 (left) Now president of the Phoenix Center for Advanced Legal & Economic Public Policy Studies, Larry travels the globe to advise on telecommunications issues.
Alumnus Advises on Global Telecommunications by Andrea Lehman From Brazil to New Zealand to Ghana, Lawrence Spiwak ’82 is helping create an increasingly smaller world. “I write term papers for a living,” jokes Larry, by way of explaining what he does at the Phoenix Center for Advanced Legal & Economic Public Policy Studies. President and cofounder of this Washington think tank specializing in policy issues related to the telecommunications and technology industries, he is both lawyer and scholar. He conducts research, writes academic papers and op-eds, and speaks before and consults with industry and government leaders, domestically and internationally, to provide advice about the law and economics of telecommunications and high-tech industries. His path to this role includes The George Washington University and the Reagan White House where he worked as a participant in the DC-area Presidential Stay-in-School Program. He attended the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of
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Law of Yeshiva University, where he received his law degree, and worked at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), where he spent four years as a senior attorney with the Competition Division in the Office of General Counsel. Yet Larry is quick to credit George School’s fertile political soil and equally rich international perspective—not to mention all those term papers—with helping to prepare him for his career. For Larry, George School’s biweekly assemblies and the daily history class discussions that arose from New York Times articles are emblematic of an environment that encouraged political dialogue. Larry didn’t always agree with his classmates, and he reveled in the vigorous debates that resulted. “I got in my share of political battles there,” Larry recalls. Two history teachers, Frank Farmer and Bill Ehrhart, took him under their wing and encouraged his interest in policy issues. Just as important to Larry’s future was George School’s global orientation—both the presence of international students on campus and the
George School, he says, “made you aware that there was a world out there” and provided “an appreciation and respect for other cultures”—a foundation upon which his current international relationships are built. opportunities to go abroad. During his junior year, he went to Germany as an exchange student just as Solidarity was starting to break through the Iron Curtain in Poland. “This was a very exciting time,” Larry remembers. “There was real tension in the air.” The following year, for their senior project, he and three friends elected to travel independently to Israel. There, Larry recalls, they found themselves in the vicinity of Palestine Liberation Organization shelling during a camping trip and were on one of the last buses out of the Sinai Desert before Israel returned it to Egypt. Eye-opening as well as hairraising, these were experiences “that most kids don’t get—to travel, to learn to be comfortable with other cultures and for them to be comfortable with you,” Larry recognizes. George School, he says, “made you aware that there was a world out there” and provided “an appreciation and respect for other cultures”—a foundation upon which his current international relationships are built. Founded in 1998, today the Phoenix Center does roughly a third of its work internationally, and Larry travels the globe to advise on telecommunications issues, particularly the adoption of highspeed internet access, or broadband. Faster and more reliable than dial-up internet access, broadband is considered essential for economic success in the twenty-first century. In many rural and developing regions, broadband is expensive or unavailable because the technological equipment necessary for affordable service has not been installed. Larry finds it extremely rewarding to work with developing nations that are trying to build a modern communications infrastructure. The key to being successful, he’s learned, is to recognize that though the underlying issues are similar, “what works in one country doesn’t work in others.” His travels include a trip to Manila and Hanoi in January 2007 as part of President Bush’s
Digital Freedom Initiative, for which he was selected to lecture about rural broadband development and ways to provide universal telecommunications service. When he is not traveling and advising, Larry is busy writing academic-level articles on broadband and technology that are posted on the Phoenix Center’s website, published in academic journals, and often referred to by major media outlets and policymakers. “We try to be an honest and dispassionate voice in the policy debate,” Larry says. The Phoenix Center’s research has been cited in various major media outlets—including The Economist, public television’s Nightly Business Report, BusinessWeek, Forbes.com, and the Wall Street Journal—as well as by the FCC, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, the U.S. Department of State, the International Telecommunication Union, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, and on the floors of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. Adding communications infrastructure is very expensive and the solutions complex. “How do you get broadband to someone with a GDP of $300 a year?” he posits. “How do you establish property rights?” Larry’s goal is to provide ideas, not to dictate. “In my work, you have to establish credibility, especially when dealing with foreign governments and policy makers.” Larry says that for him, such interactions are rooted in “the humility that George School taught.”
Sara Rhodin ’02 received the Distinguished Scholar Award from The George Washington University Elliott School of International Affairs in May 2006. She also was chosen to present an honorary doctorate to then-Secretary General of the United Nations Kofi Annan at the school’s awards ceremony.
Alumna Studies International Affairs by Karen Doss Bowman As an intern for the Moscow Bureau of the New York Times, Sara Rhodin ’02 worked around the clock with her colleagues last summer to report on the August conflict between Russia and the former Soviet Republic of Georgia. The internship gave Sara—a graduate student in Russian studies at Harvard University—the opportunity to interview Estonian President Toomas Ilves for an article she cowrote about reactions to the South Ossetia conflict among former Soviet republics. “The past year and a half has been extremely intensive in terms of the knowledge about the region that I’ve been exposed to,” she says. Clearly no stranger to intensive study, Sara has been finding
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remarkable ways to develop her interest in international affairs ever since high school. Encouraged by her George School teachers to travel overseas, Sara visited the Middle East during the summer of 2000 after completing her sophomore year. She lived with Palestinian family friends in Jordan and visited destinations throughout the Israeli and Palestinian territories, as well as Syria. The trip complemented her studies in Global Interdependence, a history course that includes a unit about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “Of all the classes that I took at George School, this was the most memorable,” recalls the Newtown, Pennsylvania, native. During the course, Sara says, she felt deeply affected by reading How We Survived Communism and Even Laughed, a memoir by Croatian journalist Slavenka Drakulic, and by watching a film about relations between Israeli settlers and Palestinian residents in the Palestinian territories. Following her graduation from George School, Sara enrolled at The George Washington University (GW) in Washington DC with plans to major in photography—an interest she had picked up at George School under the encouragement of teacher Danielle Picard-Sheehan. After taking required courses such as international politics and Russian literature, however, Sara decided to pursue a degree
in international affairs with two concentrations— one in international economics and another in Russia and Eastern Europe. While at GW, Sara spent her junior year abroad at Budapest Corvinus University in Hungary and also held several internships at the U.S. Department of State, including two positions in Washington DC and a summer stint in 2004 as a political-economic intern for the U.S. Embassy in Tallinn, Estonia. In Estonia, she organized a high-level U.S. congressional delegation to the former Soviet republic. The group included 2008 presidential candidates Senator John McCain and then-Senator Hillary Clinton. “I think that I’ve been lucky with my internships and jobs to have access to a wide range of really important and interesting people,” comments Sara. Sara returned to Estonia after graduating from GW, having won a Fulbright Student Fellowship to spend the 2006-2007 academic year at Tallinn University. Along with her coursework, Sara completed an independent research project on abandoned Soviet military facilities in Estonia. She traveled to several formerly closed cities, such as Paldiski, a Baltic Sea port town that housed the Soviet Union’s naval nuclear submarine program; and Sillamae, the site of a chemical factory that produced nuclear fuel rods and other materials for Soviet nuclear power plants and weapons factories.
As a reporter, “you are able to convey a wide variety of experiences—from the everyday to the monumental,” and relate personal, intimate details about an event to people who cannot be firsthand witnesses.
During frequent visits to these towns throughout the year, Sara took photographs documenting changes to the facilities and also interviewed residents, “from women who worked in the cafeteria of one of the facilities or men who had been soldiers in the Red Army.” The photo essay that she compiled from her visits has been exhibited at Harvard University’s Center for Government and International Studies, Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, and the Astroturf Gallery in Washington DC. Thinking that the Russian studies program at Harvard could be a good stepping stone to a career in foreign service, foreign correspondence, intelligence, or academia, Sara enrolled there after completing her Fulbright fellowship. She is currently working on a master’s thesis about Soviet weddings and family policies, and is leaning towards journalism as a career choice. “I would like to incorporate photography in my future profession,” Sara says. “One of the most exciting things about the rise in new media is that online journalists are given the opportunity to add a visual element to their written descriptions. That might be a good fit for me.” Sara’s worldwide excursions have made her a witness to instances of the extreme poverty and suffering endured by so many people. In Estonia, for example, she was surprised by the socioeconomic disparities between the progressive Estonians and the nation’s Russian-speaking population, who struggle with high rates of substance abuse, unemployment, and HIV/AIDS. As a reporter, she observes, “You are able to convey a wide variety of experiences—from the everyday to the monumental,” and relate personal, intimate details about an event to people who cannot be firsthand witnesses. “Most people don’t go to Estonia, and especially not to cities like Paldiski and Sillamae,” says Sara. She hopes that readers will be motivated to gather more information and consider new views of situations. “As a journalist, you can transfer information and images of such places to people all over the world to help them understand the complexities of conflicts.”
International Baccalaureate Program Engages Students
Ralph Lelii and Theory of Knowledge students analyze philosophical issues. Ralph encourages students to question what they know and think, giving them opportunities to grow and learn as individuals.
by Juliana Rosati George School’s curriculum offers a number of international aspects. Academic classes have long been infused with a Quaker concern for living meaningful, responsible lives as global citizens. For over sixty years, faculty have led students on domestic and international service trips. An English as a Second Language program was established in 1988 to support the school’s many international students. In addition, George School was one of the first schools in the United States to implement an International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program, which it did in 1985. Today, students with a variety of interests and goals are taking part in George School’s IB Program, completing the same IB course requirements as students in 130 other countries where IB programs are offered.
An International Academic Community “I wanted to engage in a challenging curriculum with the intention of studying abroad,” says Norah Hannel ’10 of her decision to enroll in the IB
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Diploma Program. She adds, “I also liked the idea of being part of a global community.” Norah, a resident of Newtown, Pennsylvania, grew up in the United States, Germany, and England, and thinks she might pursue a career in journalism, psychology, or law. She says that she likes to imagine students in other countries taking the same IB classes that she takes and bringing different cultural perspectives to what they are learning. The IB Program at George School is overseen by the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO), which works with schools worldwide to implement IB programs. According to its mission statement, the IBO aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable, and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect. “This past spring when I was proctoring the IB Math Studies examination, a student asked, ‘Is this the same exact test for everyone around the world?’” recalls George School English teacher and IB coordinator Ralph Lelii. “I answered that on this date, students in 131 countries on every continent
were united in the same quest for excellence. There is, I believe, great power in the idea that the IB Program, in a small but real way, makes us citizens of the world.” George School’s IB Program has grown over the years from an initial class of three students to the current group of forty senior and forty-two junior diploma candidates. In addition, George School now offers students who do not enroll in the full, two-year Diploma Program the option of pursuing subject-specific IB certificates or taking individual IB classes in over twenty different areas of study. Over two thousand U.S. universities and colleges, including the most competitive, offer advanced placement for successful IB scores. Like Norah, Max Mosley ’09 of Newtown, Pennsylvania, was drawn to the IB Diploma Program because of an interest in studying abroad for college. His current schedule includes Travis Ortogero’s higher-level IB Math 2 class, a calculus course in which students are frequently expected to try problems without having been explicitly taught how to find the solutions, as mathematicians must do. “I’ve always been a math student,” says Max of his decision to enroll in this advanced course. He plans to study computer science in college.
A Challenging Curriculum An extraordinary and challenging two-year curriculum that students can elect to take during the junior and senior years, the IB Diploma Program requires rigorous academic work in English, a second language, history or economics, science, math, and art. Students choose three subjects to take for higher-level credit and three to take for standardlevel credit. The diploma curriculum balances these academics with additional requirements, including creative, service, and athletic activities. Students’ work is assessed both by George School teachers and an international panel of judges. An interest in studying abroad is not the only reason that current IB Diploma candidates cite for their interest in the program. When Morgan Humphrey ’09 of Trenton, New Jersey, set out to plan her junior-year schedule, she discovered that all of the courses that interested her the most were IB courses. Fran Bradley’s IB Economics class was particularly appealing to Morgan, who intends to pursue a career as an investment banker. The global economic crisis has provided no shortage of relevant material for the class’s daily discussions of economic news, and Morgan enjoys the opportunity to exchange views of the situation. “Everyone
has different opinions about whether the stimulus package will work,” she observes of her classmates. Morgan has been admitted to the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania under its early decision program and plans to major in finance and global analysis. To support her interest in conducting business in Latin America one day, she has taken Molly Stephenson’s higher-level IB Spanish class at George School. As focused as she is, Morgan has appreciated the opportunity to challenge herself in a number of subjects while fulfilling the requirements of the IB Diploma. Morgan didn’t think that her projects in Judy Bartella’s IB Ceramics class turned out very well, but the experience taught her the value of trying something new. “The IB Program brings out very well-rounded students,” Morgan states. Respect for a fellow Korean student at George School who received an IB Diploma two years ago inspired Kyoung Ho Lee ’09 of Seoul to participate in the program. His current IB courses include economics—a subject he plans to study in college—and Travis Ortogero’s higher-level IB Math 2 class. Travis, he says, has a “very careful and enjoyable” teaching style and is sensitive to the fact that English is Kyoung Ho’s second language. “He knows that sometimes because of the language issue I feel like I’m behind,” says Kyoung Ho. When that happens, Travis stops to help him catch up. Kyoung Ho notes, “He always wants a student to fully know what he’s trying to teach.” Kyoung Ho believes that the diploma program has offered him benefits beyond academics. “Having taken the program for a year and a half, I feel like I have learned my own responsibilities not only for schoolwork, but also for many other things in my life,” he reflects. The diploma program has likewise allowed Miranda Tarlini ’09 of New Hope, Pennsylvania, to achieve benefits that will help her after George School. “When I first came to George School and the IB Program was explained, I knew it was an option that would offer me great advantages during the college application process,” she says. “In the end, it did in fact pay off.” Miranda has accepted admission at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, and reports that many of her freshman credits have been fulfilled through her IB work. An aspiring marine mammologist, she plans to major in marine biology at college and is currently enrolled in Reed Goossen’s higher-level IB Biology class.
IB Alumni Share Their Experiences Rachel Aucot t ’04 “The IB Program helped me become much more aware of my place in the world; I think hard about what needs to be better—the public education system, the healthcare system, et cetera—and I work hard to change my community for the better,” says Rachel. A graduate of Swarthmore College, she currently works at the Philadelphia headquarters of the not-for-profit Children’s Literacy Initiative, which helps teachers at urban elementary schools to improve the literacy education of children from low-income neighborhoods.
Jaron Shipp ’98 “One of the reasons my parents and I selected GS over other established boarding schools was because of the IB Program—at the time a rarity amongst independent boarding schools,” says Jaron. A graduate of Howard University School of Law, Jaron recalls that the IB Program influenced his choice of an undergraduate major at the University of Pennsylvania. “The IB Program is great because it stresses knowledge of several core disciplines and also an interdisciplinary thought process,” he says. “I went to college at Penn, and selected an interdisciplinary major—Politics, Philosophy, Economics—in part because of my experience in IB.” Jaron is currently an attorney at Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein LLP in San Francisco, California, where he represents classaction plaintiffs in employment discrimination and securities lawsuits.
Katheryne Kramer ’03 Currently a Peace Corps volunteer in Turkmenistan, Katheryne (left) grew up in seven countries on three continents and has spent a year studying abroad in Cape Town, South Africa. “Traveling has proven to me that the world is fundamentally a small place that shrinks and gets more cozy each time you meet someone new,” she says. Katheryne recalls that the IB Program appealed to her because “I wanted a rigorous academic program and a world perspective,” and that the program influenced her decision to study international relations at college. She notes, “I especially like reading books from different countries, and seeing how writers saw their cultures, even in translation.”
Learning to Question Knowledge Itself Though their goals and favorite subjects may vary, all IB Diploma candidates share one course in common: Theory of Knowledge. Taught by Ralph Lelii and Kevin Moon, this interdisciplinary class examines some of the ways in which human beings acquire knowledge and understand the world around them. Students in the class analyze philosophical issues and reflect on their own intellec-
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tual experiences as they read and respond to a rich variety of texts that raise religious, moral, aesthetic, and ethical questions. Ralph explains, “The Theory of Knowledge course encourages critical thinking about knowledge itself, to try to help young people make sense of what they encounter.” Noorjahan Akbar ’10 of Kabul, Afghanistan, says, “I like my Theory of Knowledge class because it makes me think. It makes me a little uncomfort-
Alumna Works at Colombian IB School Louisa Fingerhood Soto ’83 Louisa is the guidance counselor at an IB school in Bogota, Colombia. “Every day, I must use English and Spanish—not the French I worked so hard on at GS—to do my job working with students and parents,” says Louisa. “I work with students in their last three years of high school, helping them develop personal and career goals. Being IB students gives them an international focus for the work they want to do after school. Our school is a member of Round Square, and we are sending many students to do gap year service projects in India, Singapore, and China, and are still looking for more sites.”
able, but in a way that’s necessary.” The discomfort, she says, is due to the fact that the course asks students to question everything from the definition of knowledge to the validity of their own perceptions. Such thinking has made her aware that one could go to an extreme of “either believing everything or questioning everything,” she says. Noorjahan names Theory of Knowledge as one of her favorite courses, along with Jackie Coren’s IB Music Seminar, which offers students who have studied a specific musical form the opportunity to study various musical genres and forms, to work with guest musicians, to compose several works, and to participate in performances. Noorjahan studies classical Afghan singing and would like to pursue it after George School, though she is also interested in studying educational theory. “I think we can bring great changes in the way people think and live through education,” she says. Olena Evans ’09 also names Theory of Knowledge as a favorite class. “I see the world as being a unified planet where all people have the same goals, hopes, dreams,” she says. “The IB Program contributed to this view on many levels—for example, our long discussions in Theory of Knowledge class about different ethics and cultures.” Olena, who grew up in Ukraine and now lives in Stockton, New Jersey, will attend American University next fall and is considering a major in international relations or psychology. According to Ralph, Theory of Knowledge addresses not only the contemporary world but also the course of human history. He comments, “The context of the Theory of Knowledge class is
a world immeasurably different from that inhabited by ‘renaissance man.’ Knowledge may indeed be said to have exploded: it has not only expanded massively but also become increasingly specialized, or fragmented. At the same time, discoveries in the twentieth century, such as quantum mechanics and chaos theory, have demonstrated that there are things that it is impossible for us to know or predict.” As students come of age in such a world, they will need not only the academic skills and knowledge that George School classes offer, but also the habits of mind and spirit that George School teaches, notes Head of School Nancy Starmer. “The capacity to look for that of God in themselves and in others, the skill to resolve conflict peacefully, openness to change and difference, humility, reflection, hope, respect, patience—these are all things that George School can teach that most other schools cannot,” Nancy says. “I believe that George School and other Quaker schools have a unique role to play in education.”
eQuiz Highlights The December eQuiz asked alumni to describe the ways in which they have developed a global perspective, both at George School and beyond. Some of the responses are highlighted here. Thank you to the 178 alumni who participated.
Remembering GS International Experiences
ter Paige [Lispcome ’12]’s godmother and I am her daughter Kendall’s. Delia and I went to Liberia for senior project, where we worked in an adult literacy program at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church…. Delia and I were able to help in a program tutoring adults who wanted to improve themselves by learning to read and write English. Just knowing that we were able to make a small contribution to a muchneeded program was satisfying.
1987 | Karl P. Biron 1944 | T. Vail Palmer Jr. I was one of only two conscientious objectors among the boys in my class (during World War II)—this certainly strengthened my interest in the Friends peace testimony—and my graduate study, etc. were focused on contributing to the peace testimony. Teachers who were German refugees were an important influence—particularly in helping me see language study as a route into understanding other cultures.
1957 | Jonathan F. Est y I attended the 1956 GS workcamp in Woffenbuttel, Germany. I learned how young people from two nations that had been enemies just eleven years before can work together productively and joyously toward a common goal.…Work on the George School Affiliation Committee gave me an opportunity for close informal contact with a couple of teachers I greatly admired, William Cleveland and Walter Mohr. I will never forget the great discussion Dr. Mohr and I had about railroads, politics, government, and history while we waited at the Trenton train station for our foreign New York Herald Tribune sponsored guests to arrive.
1958 | Martha Scull Haines Two exchange students from Germany lived with my family (I was a day student) during two different years. This experience gave me great insight to post-World War II Germany compared to the plentiful United States.
1977 | Marie-Claire Brow n Delia Bass Dandridge ’77 and her family took me into their home, knowing that I only went [home to Liberia] once or twice a year. She is my daugh-
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My visits to twenty-three other countries in the world helped me increase my tolerance and ability to discover foreign attitudes. My one year at GS [as an exchange student from Düsseldorf, Germany] laid the foundation for that. But only in Singapore did I find a society similarly tolerant as at GS. There I was strongly reminded of my closeness to the Quaker religion—even if I did not meet any Quakers in Singapore. But Muslims, Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, and Jews were equally respected—like they were at GS.
1990 | Joan Burton Whent [I attended George School as an international student from Dhahran, Saudi Arabia.] Being around real “Americans” (as in born and bred as opposed to my being American but growing up abroad) and especially my senior year roommate and co-prefect (who had travelled extensively and had views/opinions on international events) really made me feel that I did/could fit in in the U.S. We are still great friends today.
1993 | Frans Guna Wijaya My experience at GS and USC as an international student from Jakarta, Indonesia, opened my mind about the importance of globalization, and the importance of technology in our life and business. I made lifelong friends with people from different cultures and countries. I guess our common bond of studying at GS as overseas students helped us to be closer to each other. Friendships make you realize that despite our difference in culture and customs, we have a lot in common too. So, it’s very important to respect and know other people’s cultures and customs.
Alumni Profile: Kohei Muto ’08
1998 | Jackie L. Vorhauer My roommate and fellow co-prefect senior year was from Korea. Her English was not great in the beginning and I did not speak Korean…so we learned to communicate in other ways, and we taught each other our native languages. At first I was afraid she and I would not make it through the year without any frustrations. But today, we are best friends and I am her daughter’s godmother. Our friendship makes me think that I went to GS for a reason.
Living with a Global Perspective 1942 | Roger Ernst I have spent my entire life in world affairs: military government in Germany, Marshall Plan for Austria, Office of Secretary of Defense-NATO, Foreign Service: India, Taiwan, Korea, Ethiopia, southern African nations, Thailand, and the South Pacific Independent States. I have been teaching international affairs since 1994.
1956 | John K. deGroot I conducted seminars for working journalists throughout northern Europe. Also, as a journalist, I covered news stories in Latin America, Middle East, and Europe.
1958 | Robert H. Fletcher I have directed an international program, sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation, to build human capacity for clinical research in developing countries. Also, I have taught internationally, largely because of a textbook I have written (with others) that has been translated into several languages.
1964 | Peter H. Fraser Living and working in economic development at the community, local, and national levels for so many years in over twenty countries in Latin America, Africa, and other countries in the exUSSR gave me and my family a unique opportunity to experience the realities about what life is like for most people in these places, how things are done, and what it takes to improve the everyday lives of the people. Each place is distinct, but there are common denominators.
What are you doing now? I’m living in Japan and taking a gap year while I apply to college and start a small business.
How did your experience at George School contribute to your perspective on the world? At GS, I realized that there are so many things we need to take into account in our life. For me, the most important things are not fame, not a great academic background, not money, but love for my friends, for those who support me, for Japanese culture, and even for the world itself.
How did the experience of studying abroad for high school influence your life after George School? One of the ways I have changed through the experience is that I started to think how I can contribute to the society, and to do so, how I can utilize university education. During last summer, I got a great chance to challenge myself by volunteering at an ER at St. Luke’s international hospital in Tokyo. Without the experience of studying abroad, it would have taken years for me to realize there is actually a lot we can do in everyday life to contribute to society.
Did you have memorable friendships at GS with students who did not grow up in the same country as you? One of the most memorable things was that I could get to know wonderful friends from Korea, China, and Taiwan, which the Japanese government often has conflicts with. To remove stereotypes, talking to people face to face is most effective. We discussed and exchanged our thoughts about the political issues, military or war affairs, religious issues, etc., as well as everyday life. That gave me not only a good understanding of them but also the skill to think objectively about general issues. I believe that those experiences will give me more confidence to meet with any kinds of people in the future. Also, there is a Vietnamese friend who was my roommate as a prefect. I was truly influenced by his eagerness to challenge himself. And getting to know a friend from Ukraine was also memorable.
Are there any other thoughts you would like to share? Of course school is the place to study, but GS was also the place that gave me a chance to consider what is important in my life. I would like to send great appreciation to everyone in the GS community and to my advisor, Mabel Houghton, for her support.
1966 | Janice M. Powell Crausaz I have worked in Africa (Cameroon), the Middle East (United Arab Emirates), and four different European countries (France, Switzerland, Cyprus, and Ireland) in either education or heathcare or both (I now teach occupational therapy at University College Cork, Ireland). Because of the fields in which I worked I always have had close, personal, daily exchanges with the citizens of the country in which I resided, rather than moving in a privileged expatriate “bubble.” Such contact not only allowed me to become knowledgeable about the societies in which I lived, but also to develop a deep respect for very diverse cultures.
1970 | Jenny Stasikew ich I am currently a mosaic artist and my designs reflect folk art from around the world. I’ve studied folk art in Mexico, Croatia, Serbia, Tanzania, England, and of course, America. Every culture in every country on every continent produces its own unique art. What I see are all of their similarities: reflections of nature, flora, fauna, colors of bright sunshine to the deepest ochers of earth. The world becomes very small and intimate to me through my use of folk art. I feel successful when someone looking at a particular piece will say “Is this Persian?” and the next person will say, “This is Pennsylvania Dutch, right?”
1972 | Andrew P. Riv inus At any one time, the largest cargo by weight on the world’s oceans is recycled paper moving from net exporters like Europe and North America to net importers like Korea and China. My company has a strong export position in the recycling industry. In past years I serviced the needs of a recycled paper mill that was a joint venture Japanese/U.S. company operated under Japanese management style. Market trends are determined on a global basis and participation in that market requires a world awareness and a world view.
1982 | Christine E. Stein Arzt After long discussions with friends, fellow colleagues, and students, I’ve come to the conclusion that study abroad should be a requirement. It opens your mind to a different world, and different thoughts and opinions.
1983 | Louisa Coan Greve I direct the East Asia section of an American grantmaking foundation that supports grassroots, non-
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governmental, pro-democracy efforts in other countries…. I spent two years in China after college, studying Chinese language and society at the Johns Hopkins-Nanjing University Center for American and Chinese Studies.
1988 | Tim A. Case My passion is enabling community decision-makers to embrace complex problems using computer systems to organize and visualize information. For a dozen years I have been with a multi-national consulting firm working on planning, design, and construction of nearly every kind of infrastructure you can imagine: subways, highways, high-rise towers, power plants, and new cities.
Responses might be edited due to space limitations and Georgian style guidelines.
Listening to All the Voices
George School Approves Five-Year Strategic Plan by odie lefever
At its January 2009 meeting, the George School Committee—the school’s governing board— approved a Strategic Plan that will guide the school’s strategic initiatives for the next five years. The draft is a product of the efforts of many— alumni, faculty, parents, staff, and students— such as the 185 people who attended focus groups in spring 2008, the 85 people who responded to an electronic survey, the 65 people who attended a two-and-a-half day Strategic Planning retreat in June 2008, the teachers who considered it at faculty meetings, and the entire George School Committee. Gretchen Castle, clerk of the eleven-person Strategic Planning Oversight Committee, summed up our efforts in creating a five-year Strategic Plan, “This has been a particularly important time for us to be engaged in planning. Though we are blessed with a strong endowment and a diligent, frugal, and engaged board and administration, George School, like all other institutions, is and will continue to be affected by the turbulence that is gripping the world economy. We will have hard choices to make in the months and possibly years ahead. Our new five-year Strategic Plan will be critical in guiding those choices.”
The six key strategic areas that the school will focus upon are educational program, diversity, environmental stewardship, facilities, financial aid, and financial sustainability. They are described in some detail on page 17. Generally, when an institution begins the process of strategic planning, it starts by grounding itself in the school’s current mission statement. In looking at the 1999 mission statement, the Strategic Planning Oversight Committee realized that while the mission itself has remained constant, the language of the mission statement no longer felt sufficiently visionary. To bridge the gap, Head of School Nancy Starmer asked English teacher Terry Culleton and Director of College Guidance Nancy Culleton, a former English teacher, to tap into their many years of history as George School faculty members and their gifts for memorable phrasing to create a statement that would inspire the greater community. Their statement, with few edits, was gratefully received and approved at the December George School Committee (see page 16). In revisiting the mission statement, the school concurrently revisited the values that it cherishes and felt compelled to update them as well. Those core values—about transformative teaching and learning, personal integrity, unity in diversity, and responsibility to others—also are on page 16.
Mission: With Quaker tradition as its touchstone and academic excellence at its core, George School seeks to develop citizen-scholars cheerfully committed to openness in the pursuit of truth, to service and peace, and to the faithful stewardship of the earth. We want our students to treasure learning for its own sake and to use it to benefit a diverse world. Above all, we want them to “let their lives speak.”
Core Values: Transformative Teaching and Learning
Unity in Diversity
Transformative relationships between teachers and students are the heart of the George School educational experience. Based upon a powerful combination of example, mutual respect, and personal commitment, these relationships support a program that is intentionally balanced between rigor and reflection, passion and compassion. They provide the environment within which George School teachers challenge their students to hold themselves to high academic standards, to practice humility, and to develop lifelong habits of scholarship and intellectual curiosity.
George School is committed to being a community where people with vastly different backgrounds, identities, and perspectives are united both in their respect for the unique gifts that each brings and in pursuit of a common good. We place a high value on diversity and on the ways that our convictions, both individually and collectively, are broadened, strengthened, and enlightened when we appreciate and respect a range of perspectives. This belief is reflected in the school’s motto, “Mind the Light.”
Personal Integrity The alignment of belief and action that arises when an individual decides what is important and finds a way to be true to it is summed up in George Fox’s phrase “let your life speak.” Through habits of reflection that are honed in meeting for worship, through our commitment to honor the light of God in everyone, and by developing an understanding of the Quaker (Friends) values of simplicity, peace, integrity, community, equality, service, and stewardship, our graduates are provided with a firm foundation upon which to build lives of personal integrity.
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Responsibility to Others At George School we are grounded by a sense of responsibility to each other and to the earth we inhabit. This leads us to practice good stewardship in all of our daily actions and decisions. A central Friends value, stewardship recognizes that physical, financial, natural, cultural, intellectual, and spiritual resources are to be grown and sustained for the good of all and for generations to come.
George School Five-Year Strategic Plan (2009-2013) s t r at e g i c a r e a s a n d G oa l s
Ov e rv i ew
1. Design and implement a process to carefully and thoroughly assess whether our new curriculum is meeting its stated objectives and to review those objectives over time. 2. Enhance total compensation and professional growth in relation to peer schools in developing the next generation of faculty and staff. 3. Increase the scope and reach of our service programs.
Ensure that we provide a transformative educational experience that is deeply grounded in Friends values by continuously reviewing and improving our academic curriculum and pedagogy, our community life and service programs, and the mechanisms by which we attract and retain a high caliber of students, faculty, and staff.
Diversity Enhance our distinction as an inclusive educational community by challenging ourselves to address difficult questions raised by diversity in all its dimensions.
Environmental Stewardship Recognize the pressing need for all human beings to live simpler, more sustainable lives by visibly integrating environmental stewardship into the day-to-day activities of students, faculty, and staff, and into our planning for the school.
Facilities Improve our facilities to provide the best physical tools to advance student learning and to meet the needs of our teachers, while maintaining the pristine beauty of our campus.
Financial Aid Demonstrate continued leadership in financial aid in the context of a changing economic environment for independent schools.
Financial Sustainability Create new processes for fundraising and financial planning that will ensure that we can support our strategic objectives for the long-term benefit of George School.
1. Reexamine our definition of diversity, both to reflect the world of today and to ensure its alignment with the schoolâ€™s mission and curricular objectives. 2. Improve our practices school-wide from the perspective of the diversity of students and families of George School. 1. Design and implement a plan that engages students, faculty, and staff in adopting behaviors that result in saving energy, reducing waste, living more simply, and demonstrating respect for our campus and for the future of our planet. 2. Integrate environmental sustainability goals into all of our facilities planning. 1. Update and integrate our multiple campus master plans into one. 2. Prioritize our needs. 3. Define needed improvements to our academic, arts, and athletic facilities. 4. Determine funding needs and sources. 5. Create a timeline and begin implementation. 1. Undertake a rigorous study of current practices and new methods for making a George School education more affordable to economically diverse families. 2. Define needed changes to our financial aid, admission, and tuition policies and objectives. 3. Implement the steps that will ensure George Schoolâ€™s continued distinction in financial aid. 1. Identify the operational, capital, and endowment needs that are required to implement our Strategic Plan. 2. Prioritize needs and integrate these into our financial strategies and fundraising goals. 3. Finalize and communicate how we will use the Barbara Dodd Anderson gift to support the schoolâ€™s ongoing goals. 4. R aise the additional funds needed to support our capital efforts and build endowment to support our ongoing commitments to compensation, financial aid, and affordability. 5. Design and implement a plan for engaging a broader group of alumni/friends in the ongoing work of the school and of the George School Committee.
Come Back to George School for Alumni Weekend May 8, 9, and 10, 2009
george School class of 1959 will celebrate its fiftieth reunion during Alumni Weekend.
by Susan Quinn Experience the vibrancy of our campus, refuel your imagination, and refresh your relationships with friends both old and new. You will laugh, you will learn, and you will fall in love with George School all over again. If you are a member of the Class of 1959, celebrating your fiftieth reunion, or the Class of 1984, celebrating your twenty-fifth reunion, a special invitation goes out to you. If your class year ended in a nine or a four, your classmates are working hard to prepare a fun reunion weekend for you. All alumni are invited to attend. Parents, students, and alumni are invited to George School for Alumni Weekend. Whether you are coming by yourself or with friends and family, please let us know so that our faculty, student workers, and reunion team are ready to show you a great time. You can register online at http:// alumni.georgeschool.org. Just click on the Alumni Weekend box on the lower left corner of the screen. A full schedule also is available online.
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Starting with Flashback Friday—an opportunity to attend classes as if you were a George School student—you will enjoy the opportunity to participate in non-stop events right through Sunday’s meeting for worship. This year’s Alumni Award recipients are David Rutstein ’74 and Karen Callaway Williams ’84. David is recognized for his strong and abiding dedication to service in general and to providing health care to underserved populations in the United States and the world in particular. Karen is recognized for professional accomplishments in the rare and wonderful field of tap dancing and for her commitment to serving and educating young people through dance. In addition, George School will award the first Distinguished Service Award during Alumni Weekend to Carolyn Waghorne, parent ’99, who helped expand our understanding of learning differences, making the school stronger in ways that
Alumni Weekend Master Classes and Presentations Open to all parents, students, and alumni Saturday, May 9, 2009 9:15–10:00 a.m.
Dedication of Smith and Streetz Houses
Public Health: Population-Based Healthcare
Join June Smith, wife of the late Richard O. Smith ’36, and former faculty member John Streetz and his wife Jackie for the ceremonial dedication of these two new twin homes. Located on George School’s campus between Brown House and the football field, these two energy-efficient residences were built to provide greater faculty presence at the center of campus.
Kickin’ and Clickin’ Workshop Tap dancer Karen Callaway Williams ’84 will lead you through a fun combination of clapping, snapping, and tapping. This class is open to tap dancers of all levels, as well as people who would like to try tap dancing for the first time. Tap shoes are optional. Dancing will be followed by a questionand-answer period.
Theory of Knowledge George School English teacher Ralph Lelii, coordinator of the school’s International Baccalaureate (IB) Program, will offer a brief introduction to the goals and aspirations of Theory of Knowledge, a central course in the IB Diploma Program. The course encourages critical thinking about knowledge itself, with discussion of religious, moral, aesthetic, and ethical questions.
Writing Memoir: Making the Private Public Based on her experience writing The Plain Language of Love and Loss: A Quaker Memoir, Beth Taylor ’71 will lead a discussion about the challenges and surprises of writing from one’s own life. Subtopics include research, interviews, revisions, ethics, and marketing. Beth teaches in the Nonfiction Writing Program at Brown University.
will benefit students in the future. The award honors people who are not George School graduates for their distinguished service both to the George School community and the world as a whole. Saturday’s activities include a faculty reception, athletic events, children’s activities, an allschool art show, lunch with friends, and reunion photos. At 9:15 a.m. we will dedicate the Smith and Streetz houses, two new twin homes for
Public health navigates the world between clinical medicine and politics, using research, disease surveillance, policy development, regulations, communications, and the provision of clinical services to members of vulnerable populations. David Rutstein ’74 will share how the U.S. Public Health Service plans and deploys for worldwide disasters.
From Tragedy to Accomplishment Carolyn Waghorne will speak of moving from tragedy to accomplishment—her efforts to make a difference by raising awareness of meningococcal meningitis and working to pass legislation requiring vaccination. In the eleven years since the death of her son, Carter ’99, Carolyn has worked for greater awareness of causes that would have mattered to him.
Food and Sustainability Jonathan Snipes ’78 will speak about the founding of the not-for-profit Farm School at Snipes and its educational farm-to-school partnerships, including one that brings fresh naturally grown produce to the George School dining room.
A Conversation about Estate Planning Have questions about estate planning in today’s turbulent economic times? Wondering about tax laws that are rumored to change? Drop in on this open house to talk with Director of Planned Giving Stephanie Daniels and learn how you can still make a difference.
faculty members. All in all, it’s not only a weekend to reconnect with George School but also a time to renew old friendships and forge new ones. For more information contact Debbie Chong at 215579-6564 or by email at advancement@georgeschool. org. Don’t forget to visit our alumni website at http:// alumni.georgeschool.org for complete details and online registration.
Alumni Award Recipient:
by andrea lehman From a family doctor in Micronesia to the assistant surgeon general and chief medical officer of the U.S. Public Health Service, David Rutstein ’74 has had what might look like an incongruous medical career. But there’s a thread that stretches from those remote Pacific islands to Washington’s halls of power. In helping underserved populations around the globe, David has spent his life’s work in the spirit of service.
“Work done in the spirit of service is worship.” — B ahá’í saying, quoted by David Rutstein in a 2004 George School assembly and part of the new religion curriculum David began his medical mission by accepting a National Health Service Corps scholarship and attending the then nascent Morehouse School of Medicine, whose goal—training doctors for underserved areas—matched his. Following two years at Morehouse, he transferred to Brown University School of Medicine. After graduation and completion of a family medicine residency caring for
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migrant farm workers in California, it was time to honor his scholarship commitment—four years practice in a needy area. He and his family chose the island of Pohnpei (and later Yap) located in the U.S. Federated States of Micronesia. Encompassing 602 inhabited islands in a swath of Pacific the size of the United States, Micronesia has a collective landmass less than half the area of Rhode Island. Its health indicators, such as infant mortality, are among the world’s worst. With 80 percent unemployment, a high teen suicide rate, rampant substance abuse, minimally developed infrastructure (two hours of electricity a day), and a host of diseases, both infectious and, increasingly, lifestyle-related, Micronesia provided David with the opportunity to make a difference. Though it took months to adjust to island life, David says his experience was “professionally amazing.” He did what was needed without hightech equipment or specialists, performing “surgery in some cases because there were no other good options.” The Rutsteins fell in love with the islands and stayed for thirteen years. When their teenage children needed a broader education than what they could provide in Micronesia, David and his family returned to the United States where David worked for the National Health Service Corps in Washington. The three Rutstein children, Jared ’02, Lauren ’03, and Evan ’06, ultimately came to George School, a “very gentle, loving place that welcomes the world,” says David, who credits George School with helping his children adjust to the West. “I consider myself a family doctor who wanted to serve in remote places. Now I’ve become a Washington bureaucrat,” laments David. But he is far more than a bureaucrat. He has served in numerous positions including on the panel that studied what went wrong after Hurricane Katrina, drafting its recommendations on health, public health, housing, and human services. Most of David’s time today is spent preparing and deploying the U.S. Public Health Service for disasters, whether natural or of human origin. As he says, “Fundamentally disaster is simply a sudden increase in the number of underserved.” In discussing his career, David pays tribute to the school that helped shape it. “George School represents what’s best in the world. It’s remarkably diverse, and diversity is what makes the world wonderful…. My time at George School reaffirmed my own Baha’i beliefs and launched me into the world confident I could be of service.”
Alumni Award Recipient:
Karen Callaway Williams
by andrea lehman It’s hard to settle on what’s most impressive about the career of Karen Callaway Williams ’84. Was it becoming the first female tap dancer in Riverdance or a second-generation Silver Belle? Teaching tap on Sesame Street or to nineteen classes a week? Performing alongside celebrities at Paul Newman’s Hole in the Wall Camp, in a fund-raiser for an injured friend, or around the globe? Karen herself is less concerned with impressing than with expressing—her creativity, her respect for the American tap tradition, and her love of dance. Karen began dancing at age three and arrived at George School at fifteen. Unfortunately, the George School of the early 1980s had no dance program, so Karen took her tap shoes to the basement of Main to practice. She both danced and choreographed for school musicals, including the student-written, -directed, and -choreographed Among Friends. For its number “Big Man on Campus,” she had dancers on stilts. Karen attributes her confidence and creativity to the support and example of faculty and fellow students, who “left the door open for me to keep growing and kept encouraging me toward my future as a tap dancer.”
Having become a strong link in the American tap dance chain, Karen is proud to continue the legacy of tap dancers Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, Shirley Temple, Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, Ginger Rogers, and Savion Glover. When Glover was unavailable, his mother asked Karen to represent tap dancing on a Sesame Street episode called “Dance from All Over Day” and to perform at the Hole in the Wall Camp alongside such entertainers as Harry Belafonte and Whoopi Goldberg. Karen is proud that the Silver Belles, a group of African-American women who danced—largely unrecognized—over a half-century ago, have passed the torch to Karen and seven others. Karen has enjoyed sharing this American dance form with the world, beginning with her George School service trip to China. “We went to China to study, explore, and experience,” says Karen. “On several occasions I was able to tap dance or we sang simple American songs and the Chinese shared their dance and songs with us.” Karen’s travels continued through Broadway and touring productions of Riverdance, in which Irish dancers and tap dancers engage in a sort of dance duel that culminates in an appreciation for the similarities and universality of dance. This fall, Karen used both her feet and her heart to produce Rhythms for Ruby, a show to benefit a childhood friend who lost a leg in an accident. What takes much of Karen’s time these days is teaching a new generation of tap dancers. She feels it is her mission to teach them not only the steps and the flashy moves but also tap’s history and chemistry. Noting that George School influenced her to have a world focus and use her voice to help people, she says, “Having the freedom to be creative as a teenager taught me the importance of encouraging my students to be creative.”
Distinguished Service Award Recipient:
by andrea lehman
George School will award the first Distinguished Service Award during Alumni Weekend. The award honors people who are not GS graduates for their “distinguished service both to the George School community and the world as a whole.” “I learned a lot from my son. He had a deep passion for underprivileged people,” shares Carolyn Waghorne about son Carter, a member of the George School Class of 1999. Carter died suddenly of meningitis in the spring of his junior year. Inspired by Carter’s life and his death, Carolyn, with husband Rick, has developed her own deep passion for causes that would have mattered to her son. In the eleven years since he died, she has worked for greater awareness of both meningitis and learning differences, and has helped a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center and a school for disadvantaged youth in Dallas. “Reaching out,” she says, “began as my way of coping with my loss.” What has come from Carolyn’s extraordinary empathy, energy, and commitment is everyone’s gain. Carolyn’s advocacy began with Carter and his needs. Carter was a bright student with learning differences that prevented him from doing as well as he could have. In the late 1990s, the understanding of learning differences was incomplete and the Waghorne family labored to obtain the right support for him. After his death, the family learned about the school’s connection with the Hello
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Friend/Ennis William Cosby Foundation, started as a tribute to another George School graduate, Ennis Cosby ’87, who also had learning differences. The director then was Phil Caputo ’87. Through Phil, the Waghornes met Hello Friend’s educational director, Carolyn Olivier, a leading expert in how to respect and foster different learning styles. The Waghornes’ financial pledge to Hello Friend, as well as their pledge to George School, enabled Carolyn Olivier to work with George School, helping teachers better understand students with learning differences and demonstrating how teachers could work more effectively with students who are struggling. Her work with our faculty provided the foundation for the school’s recent five-year review of the entire course offerings and graduation requirements and resulted in a coordination of the teaching of structures and skills across all academic disciplines for all students. As Head of School Nancy Starmer writes in a letter to Carolyn Waghorne, “Our understanding of learning differences has expanded tremendously. You challenged the faculty to examine their attitudes and assumptions so that they could more truly live their commitment to honoring that of God in every student… making the school stronger in ways that you knew would have benefited Carter and would benefit other students in the future.” The Waghornes also served on the George School Resources Committee, addressing the school’s physical plant. Not stopping there, Carolyn’s efforts went beyond George School. Along with others she founded the National Meningitis Association, which raises awareness of the disease and its prevention and works to pass legislation requiring vaccination. She served as president of the women’s auxiliary that supports a Dallas drug and alcohol rehabilitation center for women. In addition, she and Rick donated to a small Dallas independent school for children from age two through third grade. Alumni Weekend will mark the tenth reunion of Carter’s class, and the Waghornes have stayed close to several of his friends. “It keeps him alive for us,” Carolyn explains. Carter’s legacy also lives on in his parents’ good works and in the generosity of spirit with which they’ve been accomplished.
campus news & notes
Campus News & Notes by juliana rosati George School ESL students
caleb savage ’11
Alex Ahn ’12, Sam Lee ’12, Kwan Woo Nam ’11, and Min Jae Cho ’11 rap their story during the annual ESL Program assembly.
ESL Assembly At an all-school assembly on December 12, 2008, students in George School’s ESL (English as a Second Language) Program gave performances to share elements of their cultures, drawing enthusiastic cheers from the audience. The performances included a Korean song; an Arabic dance; and a humorous skit about martial arts, in which students appeared to be floating in slow motion. George School has one hundred students of foreign nationality or Americans living abroad, from thirty-two countries: Afghanistan, Bermuda, Brazil, Canada, China, Costa Rica, Cuba, Denmark, El Salvador, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Lebanon, Mali, Mauritania, Nigeria, Peru, Portugal, Rwanda, South Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan, United Kingdom, and Vietnam.
GS Awarded Educational Leadership Grant George School was selected to receive a $250,000 matching Educational Leadership Grant from the Edward E. Ford Foundation for the purpose of creating a new Global Service Program. George School is among the first five independent schools to be awarded Educational Leadership Grants, which the foundation introduced this year to allow schools “to develop truly transformative new programs, which will strengthen independent education.”
The Edward E. Ford Foundation invited twenty schools to apply for the grants on the basis of their demonstrated capacity for transformative thinking, and their strong stewardship of previous grants from the foundation. The foundation noted that George School has “perhaps the longest-running commitment of any school in the country” to international service trips. The new Global Service Program is envisioned as an opportunity for students and high school educators from a variety of schools worldwide, including some from George School. Plans for the program include two components: a summer international program in which students prepare for and participate in an international service trip, and a service learning faculty institute that provides training for faculty interested in implementing service learning programs. Planning for the programs is currently underway. A pilot program scheduled for the summer of 2009 will include faculty trips to China and Cuba.
Students Named National Merit Finalists Seniors Joshua McGowan and Kevin Miller have been named finalists in the 2009 National Merit Scholarship Program. As finalists, Joshua and Kevin are among approximately 15,000 high school seniors remaining in the competition for about 8,200 Merit Scholarship awards.
George School 1907 Varsity Track Team. Roy Mercer is in the bottom row, second from right.
checkie chu ’09
GS Athlete Inducted into Hall of Fame
Student Photography Selected for Exhibit Photographs by Julian Abramson ’11, Eliot BassettCann ’09, Checkie Chu ’09, Lydia Spence ’10, and Hannah Young ’11 were selected for the Drexel University High School Photo Contest exhibition. These five students are enrolled in Danielle PicardSheehan’s photography classes at George School. The 125 works selected for the exhibition were chosen from over 3,100 entries submitted by high school students across the country.
Remarkable George School athlete E. Leroy “Roy” Mercer Sr., Class of 1909, was posthumously inducted into the Pennsylvania Track and Field Coaches Association (PTFCA) Hall of Fame on February 21, 2009, at the PTFCA Indoor State Championship, an event in which current student Emily Mapelli ’12 competed. As a junior at George School, Roy Mercer Sr. was selected as an alternate for the 1908 Olympic team. A great all-around athlete, he was among the nation’s best in the 440-yard dash and the broad jump, and shone in the pole vault. With a best performance of 21 feet, 9 inches in the broad jump, Roy became the nation’s fourth-farthest scholastic jumper in 1908. He also ran the quarter mile in 50 4/5 seconds in 1908, becoming the country’s leading scholastic quarter miler for the year. Roy was a full-fledged Olympian in 1912 and an all-American football player that same year. George School varsity track coach Stephen Moyer ’82 accepted the Hall of Fame plaque on behalf of Roy at the championship, which took place at Penn State University.
john gleeson ’65
GS Participates in Green Cup Challenge
Aly Passante ’10 hits a cross against Moorestown Friends.
GS Athlete Named First-Team Honoree Aly Passanante ’10 appeared in the January/ February 2009 issue of ESPN RISE magazine as one of a select group of top female high school soccer players in the Philadelphia area. Passanante was named a first-team honoree to the Pennsylvania Soccer Coaches Association All-State team.
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George School monitored its weekly electricity usage during the month of February as part of the national Green Cup Challenge for schools, the first and only national, student-driven interscholastic energy challenge that builds awareness about climate change and the environment, educates about resource conservation, and encourages participating schools to involve all members of their campus communities. This year’s challenge included 150 participating schools—boarding, day, public, and private—in twenty-three states and Canada. George School’s efforts were sponsored by TERRA (the school’s chapter of the Sierra Student Coalition)
campus news & notes
george school celebrates Martin luther king day with
jessica stein ’04
a day of workshops and service allowing community members to discuss and reflect on Dr. King’s message of multiculturalism, diversity, and peace. This portrait of Dr. King is pieced together from individual squares, each drawn by different student artists as part of the Images and Symbols workshop presented by Pam Grumbach and members of her Painting and Drawing Portfolio class.
the narrator, who opens the show with the wellknown song “Try to Remember.” Kevin says, “The whole two-hour show is like a life lesson.” Because the characters encompass a broad range of ages, he observes, audience members can easily relate to the characters. “You can find yourself in the show,” he says. Susan Quinn
and the Environmental Stewardship Steering Committee (ESSC), a group of George School students, faculty, and staff who encourage sustainability efforts on campus. Andrea Lindsay ’11, an ESSC member, says that the challenge was an opportunity for the school community “to work together to gain a better understanding of how our electricity usage is directly impacting the environment and to make some permanent changes to become more energy efficient.”
Director Barry Sonnenfeld demonstrates camera techniques to videography students. Fantasticks cast members and student directors wowed the audience with their production.
George School Presents The Fantasticks George School musical theater and stagecraft students presented The Fantasticks by Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt on February 20 and 21, 2009, in Walton Center Auditorium. Actor Scott Willis, a cast member of the current off-Broadway revival production of The Fantasticks, visited a rehearsal of the George School production and coached the students. The world’s longest-running musical, The Fantasticks is a romantic comedy about a young boy and a young girl who live next door to each other and fall in love in spite of a feud between their families. Unbeknownst to the boy and girl, their parents want them to marry and have conspired to stage the feud, believing that young people will fall in love only if they are forbidden to do so. Kevin Hang ’09 played the role of El Gallo,
Video Students Learn from Hollywood Director Students in Scott Hoskins’s Video Production classes learned from Hollywood producer, director, and cinematographer Barry Sonnenfeld, parent of Chloe Sonnenfeld ’11, when he visited George School as a guest speaker on February 5, 2009. During his presentation, Barry described his career path, emphasized the importance of planning shots in preproduction, and explained how he has used different camera lenses to achieve specific effects. He also encouraged students to edit each other’s films as an exercise in order to gain a new perspective on their work. To illustrate his points, he showed examples of his cinematography in the film Raising Arizona and scenes from the television program Pushing Daisies, for which he is co-executive producer. He also shared anecdotes from his work on the films Blood Simple, Miller’s Crossing, The Addams Family, and Men in Black.
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GEORGIAN ap r i l 2 0 0 9 | Vo l . 8 1 | no. 0 1
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Ready for Alumni Weekend (Back Cover) George School students look forward to welcoming alumni back to campus for Alumni Weekend, May 8, 9, and 10. (Photo: Susan Quinn) A Symbol of Hope (Inside Back Cover) This door in China’s Wenchuan region symbolizes hope to George School students participating in a service project to rebuild homes in the area devastated by the 2008 earthquake. (Photo: Tony Gao ’10)
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