Page 1





Reflections on HOAP Page 32


GDS Takes the Hill


GDS Arts


What makes a Hopper Writer?


Dance at GDS LMS

Spring 2014


Thank you to all of our staff and alumni writers for your contributions to the magazine. We welcome submissions from all Georgetown Day School community members. Please contact to learn more. Alumni are encouraged to send their news with photos to for inclusion in the Georgetown Days magazine.

OUR MISSION DRIVES ALL THAT WE DO. Georgetown Day School honors the integrity and worth of each individual within a diverse school community. GDS is dedicated to providing a supportive educational atmosphere in which teachers challenge the intellectual, creative, and physical abilities of our students and foster strength of character and concern for others. From the earliest grades, we encourage our students to wonder, to inquire, and to be self-reliant, laying the foundation for a lifelong love of learning.

SPRING 2014 GEORGETOWN DAYS Head of School Russell Shaw Assistant Head of School Kevin Barr

MAGAZINE STAFF Director of Institutional Advancement Kendra Brown Director of Communications Alison Grasheim Director of Alumni Relations Darren Silvis Web Director Florri DeCell Storyteller and New Media Associate Kimberly Damm Magazine Design Think 804

2013–2014 GDS BOARD OF TRUSTEES Officers Michael Gottdenker, President Todd Klein, Vice President Lucretia Risoleo, Treasurer Yolanda Townsend, Secretary Philip Bronner, At Large Trustees Jenny Abramson ’95 Emily Bloomfield Monica Dixon Marc Glosserman ’92 Cheryl Johnson Jennifer Klein Eric Koenig David Leary Jill Lesser Leroy Nesbitt, Jr. ’78 Pamela Reeves Scott Shepperd ’79 David B. Smith Brad Vogt David Wellisch Marcy Wilder


2 FROM WHERE I STAND A Message from Head of School Russell Shaw




3 In the Classroom 8 Beyond the Classroom 12 Arts & Performances 17 Faculty 22 Athletics

32 (On Cover) Reflections on HOAP Photo: Julia Halperin



What Makes a Hopper Writer?

Get to know Michael Gottdenker and Cheryl Johnson


Dance at GDS Body as Instrument







Russell Shaw, Head of School


Throughout the spring semester, I eat lunch with our seniors. We sit around a conference table in small groups, sharing pizza and stories about GDS. I ask the students to reflect on a few guiding questions: In ten years, when you return to GDS as an alum, what do you hope will still be the same? What do you hope will have changed? How has this place helped you to become the person that you are today? The responses are thoughtful and lively. Seniors talk about the teachers who have challenged them, supported them, known them deeply, and prepared them to engage powerfully in the world. They talk about the sense of home that they experience at GDS and about the relationships and experiences that lead them to want to go to school each day, and to love being there. They are equally thoughtful in reflecting on how GDS should change. One theme is technology, with seniors asking for faster wi-fi, coding courses, and opportunities to study engineering. They express a desire to engage in interdisciplinary learning, to use foreign languages for authentic communication, to keep the curriculum dynamic and relevant. Finally, they wrestle with our mission and what it means to live in a diverse community in a rapidly changing world. They name both the importance of engaging with new voices and perspectives and the necessity of a deep and grounded commitment to GDS’s historic roots.



Throughout these discussions, I find myself marveling at the insight and conviction of these soon-to-be adults. I also notice that I frequently reference our strategic plan to share windows into the future of their school. It is gratifying to be able to point to plans that are under way and align closely with their own ideas for GDS. Enclosed with this Georgetown Days, you will find a booklet that provides an overview of our plan and objectives that align with some of the very same themes I hear about from our seniors. As you read through your magazine, I invite you to consider the activity currently happening at GDS in light of our strategic goals—evidence that we are a school in motion. I also remind you that this plan is a living document, one that will evolve and iterate as opportunities present themselves, and yet that will remain inextricably tied to our mission, history, and the daily lived experience of each of our students. I’ve loved my conversations with our seniors, and I wish them all the best! I look forward to partnering with you and other members of our community to accomplish our strategic planning goals—and I look forward to more conversations with all of you.


There’s been “In science, finding answers relies on a creative mind.”

A MURDER in the fourth grade.


ate last fall, fourth grade science teacher Stephen Harris’s room was a crime scene. Police tape encircled a taped outline of a fallen figure; a variety of footprints showed signs of a struggle; remnants of a last drink littered the ground; and blood puddled on the floor. All of this was surrounded by student desks and a rapt science class charged with solving a murder. Stephen would probably insert here that these observations of his science room are rife with assumption and speculation. A favorite of Stephen’s and his students, the forensic science unit has fourth grade students investigating the crime scene, attempting to figure out this “whodunit,” and analyzing chemical compounds. “This unit builds on the chemistry knowledge kids have been developing since second grade. It also underlines the importance of making logical observations within the scientific method; but the most important part of this unit for me is that it shows that in science, finding answers relies on a creative mind,” says Stephen. Here’s why: What the students don’t know when they start their investigation is that there is actually no correct answer. While students spend days sequencing events, considering suspects, scrutinizing fluids, and ruling out outlandish theories, their last project asks them to pull it all together and make an argument with a clear case. “When I was a student, we were taught there was always a concrete black or white answer,” Stephen says. “What I love about this unit is that students have the opportunity to find the answer. The open-endedness of the crime requires them to think outside the box and find creative solutions.”



The WOW Factor

One hundred Middle School students sit in the black box at the LMS. It’s pretty quiet, and completely dark—until, that is, an explosion of energy and light at the front of the room, courtesy of GDS High School AP Chemistry students.

During the remainder of the day, middle school students cycled through three science rooms participating in hands-on practical science led by High School students and their teachers.

It’s Science Day at the Middle School, and the audience greets this latest experiment with the expected “oohs” and “aahs,” along with the occasional “what the—!” Focused on the production of energy (mostly light) from chemical reactions, this MS Assembly demonstrated for the students the properties of light, how atoms emit light, exothermic reactions (especially combustion), chemiluminescence, and fluorescence. Breaking with tradition, this year the assembly was led by High School students instead of an outside organization. Science Day organizers and Middle School science chair Quinn Killy, says Science Day is just as much for the high school students as it is for their middle school peers. “The High School students look forward to coming, because they participated in this when they were in Middle School. It’s a great chance for them to share their knowledge and see what it’s like to present and try to teach something,” said Quinn.

In one, girls who soon would take a leadership role in the GDS and E.L. Haynes Public Charter School STEM conference recently hosted at GDS (see story on page 11) took a first stab at presenting the science and engineering experiments that would later be used at the conference. For all involved, “Science Day is an opportunity to take a break from the everyday and a chance to witness the ‘wow’ factor in science,” said Quinn.

Though Middle School science teacher Quinn Killy’s classroom is completely covered in cardboard, the first thing you notice when you walk into his room is the intense discipline and seamless communication of the students who are busy working on a project known as “The Energy Unit.” Using only cardboard, paper, and glue, students work together in small groups to research, design, and build one of three inventions: an arcade game, a bike, or a glider.


Middle School Inventors Test the Science of Energy

Quinn, now in his second year of teaching this unit, says, “Students have all seen arcade games, bikes, and gliders, but they don’t know how these items work.” Through this project, students begin to understand the role that energy plays in each of these invention’s designs.



The bike has already become infamous for being the most challenging of the projects. Quinn explains that project requirements are high: “Not only do students have to sit on the bike, but they have to propel it forward without touching the ground [with their feet] or being pushed.” Even after being warned by 8th graders, 7th grade students are eager to tackle the challenging bike project. Tessa Lewis ’18, a self-proclaimed bike enthusiast, says, “The hardest part of the bike project was the pedals because you can’t make gears out of cardboard!” With the encouragement of her team, Tessa was able to successfully propel her bike forward. In response to her classmate’s loud cheering, she joked: “There’s so much energy in the room.”

GDS TAKES THE HILL “Hill Day challenges our students to grapple with meaningful yet complex social issues, and hopefully instills in them not only a lifelong love of learning but also a commitment to social justice.”

Armed with background on the historical, political, and legal context of some of Washington’s most controversial issues, 8th grade students made 30 stops on the Hill and other DC locations on January 14. Accompanied by MS history teachers Perry Degener and Jake Thomsen, students visited think tanks, interest groups, government agencies, and Congressional offices. This annual event, known as Hill Day, allows students to experience first-hand the nuances of political issues that are rarely black and white.

GDS parents Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic and David Brooks of the New York Times helped prepare some students for their interviews at the Department of Homeland Security (pictured above), Human Rights Campaign, and the office of Senator Mark Warner. Students studying the death penalty even had the opportunity to meet with Shujaa Graham, who spent years on death row in California before being exonerated. Thirteen-year Hill Day veteran Perry says that this event is a true team effort: “With the help of numerous volunteers, Hill Day is a reminder that it takes a community to teach a child.” “Hill Day challenges our students to grapple with meaningful yet complex social issues, and hopefully instills in them not only a lifelong love of learning but also a commitment to social justice,” adds Jake. Hill Day has been a highlight of GDS 8th grade for decades, with students conducting extensive research into some of the most challenging constitutional issues of our time while also becoming familiar with the U.S. Constitution.


COMING TO AMERICA The third grade immigration curriculum is one of the first steps of the special year that ends in the legendary Turkey Run trip.

Lower School Science Fair Goes Interactive with Multimedia The 2014 LS Science Fair, on display February 26-28, included impressive multimedia displays and other interactive components. For their science experiments, PK through 5th grade students explored topics ranging from glutenfree baking to the phases of the moon and tested hypotheses including, “What melts ice the fastest?” and “Does paper chromatography work with different fluids?” Lower School science teacher Eric Friedenson says, “I want everyone to love science and see that it’s a part of their everyday lives and interests. As a teacher and parent, I hope that what GDS is doing each year is to find ways to make science exciting and fun.” Students had the option to work alone or complete a group project. Third grader Ben Stern, joined by classmates Marley Boss and Aydin Smolover-Bord, researched the field of volcanology and replicated three types of volcanoes: a cinder cone, composite, and shield volcano. Ben revealed that these weren’t your typical science fair volcanoes: “We used a special ingredient: red JELL-O powder. This made the lava bright red.” PK student Mae Lazerow submitted her science fair project via video, an option that PK, K, and 3rd grade students have had for the past three years. Dressed in a ballet tutu, Mae tested which would fall fastest: a flat plastic bag or a crumpled plastic bag. What’s your hypothesis? Log on to to see the conclusion of Mae’s experiment and check out science fair videos submitted by other students. 6


Last fall, teachers reimagined their approach, putting focus on the diversity and multiculturalism within GDS. Students interviewed faculty and staff who immigrated to the U.S., building connections with each of them, learning their stories and cooking classic food from their interviewee’s home country. On presentation day, the students shared their newfound knowledge and hosted a yummy lunch.


High School Learning Center Houses Innovation Next fall, students at the High School will return to an entirely new second floor layout. Juxtaposed to the Forum, which serves as the social hub, the new open space overlooking the Forum will be an innovation hub designed to create opportunities for collaboration and intellectual pursuits, increasing access to a range of resources and modernizing our library to meet the needs of our 21st century students. Affectionately referred to as Project X, the space remains nameless (though the process for naming is ongoing, and intense). Some of the exciting features include: • The Technology Hub. Technology assistance will be a stone’s throw away from students working on their computers. • The Bar. A glass-enclosed (and totally sound-proofed) hallway overlooking the scenic tech shop will feature a high counter with stools, set-up like your neighborhood coffee bar—minus the coffee but plus available computers. • Meeting Space. From independent study to small team meetups to a 300-person town hall, the space will be flexible and easily meet the daily needs of staff and students. The first floor is getting a facelift as well! Student and faculty spaces are changing and expanding. The Internet Café is expanding into what is the faculty kitchen. Faculty will gain space (and privacy) in the current 106 conference room. This is all very exciting, renovation-centered information. But the real word behind all of this is: Innovation! You might be wondering how a new set-up can really encourage innovation.

This spring, Tony Wagner (current title: Expert in Residence at Harvard’s new Innovation Lab) met with the entire GDS faculty to talk about what it takes to develop the capacities of young people to be innovators (see page 18). While we may not know what our future holds, spaces like this will give us the ability to respond to an ever-changing educational climate. GDS is determined to continue developing a culture of collaboration and problem solving that is innovationbased and interdisciplinary in nature. Creating spaces to allow this to happen is just one part of our approach.


GOAL 5 – INFRASTRUCTURE AND OPERATIONS: Building frameworks for innovative learning environments.


GDS welcomes planned gifts and encourages donors to include the School in their estate planning. Deferred giving through trusts, annuities, insurance policies, and bequests may offer significant tax benefits, provide a portion of income rights for the life of the donor and/or other beneficiary, and reduce estate settlement costs while fulfilling your philanthropic goals. If you would like to explore planned giving opportunities, or if you have included GDS in your estate plans, please contact

Kendra Brown

Director of Institutional Advancement 202-295-1060 7

Around Campus Ta-Nehisi Coates Headlines Benjamin Cooper Lecture 2013 Senior editor and blogger at The Atlantic, a visiting scholar at MIT, and Hillman Prize for Opinion and Analysis Journalism Award–winner Ta-Nehisi Coates was the Benjamin Cooper Lecture speaker in November 2013, sharing his observations on race in America with hundreds of GDS community members at an evening lecture at the Washington Hebrew Congregation. The lecture honors the memory of Benjamin Cooper, a rising Georgetown Day School senior who was killed in a tragic accident in 1997, by bringing a renowned guest lecturer to the school each year to stimulate the kind of dialogue in which Ben loved to participate. As part of his visit with GDS, Ta-Nehisi also spoke to High School students, discussing his upbringing in Baltimore

and his difficulty staying motivated in school. Of his visit to the High School, TaNehisi noted that the student questions were remarkable in their depth and understanding and that GDS “reflected nothing that I remember school to be.” During both events, he discussed what it means to be living in a dual society, the impact of racism in America, and how the events of the last year involving the tragic death of Trayvon Martin came to be. “I have had the opportunity to grow—an opportunity that Trayvon didn’t have,” he said. “The distance I have traveled since I was the age of Trayvon…I realize how many times I have had the chance to be reborn.” Ta-Nehisi put the case in historic perspective, starting with the fact that America was founded on white supremacy



and exploring race relations through to the present day. He said he hoped that by reminding people of these facts of our country’s history, our shared humanity would help lead us toward a better future. “Ta-Nehisi’s visit powerfully engaged the entire GDS community,” said Head of School Russell Shaw. “His talk with our HS students so moved them that dozens of them returned for his evening lecture at Washington Hebrew. It was gratifying to bring a speaker to GDS whose content so aligned with our school’s mission. The Benjamin Cooper Lecture series is about generating discussion, and Ta-Nehisi definitely generated authentic discussion and his talks genuinely honored the goals of the lecture.”

Fund-A-Scholar February Brings it on Home Hosting an online auction to support financial aid may hardly seem like a new idea in the independent school world. But 14 years ago, when GDS first launched an online auction with its evening gala celebration, it was one of the first in the DC region. As the celebration grew, so did the GDS community’s commitment to financial aid assistance for GDS students. For 2014, says Director of Community Relations and auction planner Lisa Schneiderman, “it was time for a change.” “We were ready to push the limits a bit and ‘keep our eyes on the prize,’ which is increasing our financial aid support. And so we made the decision—with the support and feedback from much of our community—to not hold a gala event this year,” continues Lisa.



In its place, GDS moved all of the fundraising for financial aid online, and, with the leadership of Chair Julie Andrews and Co-Chair Becky Wolsk, launched Fund-A-Scholar February. The goal was to cut costs. And in so doing, all of the funds raised went straight to financial aid. Throughout the month-long call to action, hundreds of GDS community members donated to the cause. At the end of the month, the traditional and hugely successful online auction added to the mix. All told, the GDS community beat the fundraising goal of $150,000, raising $180,000+ in support of financial aid programs at GDS. “I’m proud that we rose to the occasion as a community and made a change consistent with our mission as a school,” says Lisa. “We didn’t need a lavish event to elicit donations from our generous supporters!” GDS still partied down together in 2014. Thanks for joining us at our April party at Blind Whino: SW Arts Club.

MIDDLE SCHOOL STUDENTS WEAR IT BLUE Twice this spring, GDS Middle School students traveled to Kennedy Krieger, a school for autistic children in Rockville, Maryland, to participate in several hours of activities ranging from cooking lessons to board games. These activities are a part of a new GDS MS service–learning program focused on understanding learning challenges. In addition to visiting Kennedy Krieger, MS students also research, fundraise, and advocate for autism awareness through the Autism Speaks Wear It Blue campaign. Shelly Galli, a GDS and Kennedy Krieger parent, works with GDS students to design their own Wear It Blue advocacy and fundraising efforts and create games that students from GDS and Kennedy Krieger can play together. Shelly is truly touched by the leadership and empathy that the thirteen students in this program have demonstrated. “When I was a student, I was taught not to stare at people who are different,

but now these students are learning to reach out and smile,” she says. Celebrating her 20th year with the GDS LMS service-learning program, Elsa Newmeyer is amazed at how successful this program has become: “Shelly is doing a truly masterful job of making these students feel empowered to be agents of change in their communities.”

The new program has already expanded to the 5th grade, and students are generating longterm peer-mentoring relationships between GDS and Kennedy Krieger. Elsa and Shelly are excited to watch this program grow and see students actively living GDS’s mission of engaging across difference. To learn more about the history of service-learning at GDS as well as current projects, please visit

2013–2014 MIDDLE SCHOOL SERVICE-LEARNING PROJECT PARTNERS For the 2013–2014 school year, MS students elected to focus their service-learning projects on hunger, food equity, homelessness, and learning challenges and worked together in small groups to benefit the following schools and organizations: A Wider Circle

Common Good City Farm

Palisades Village

Anacostia Watershed

Food & Friends

Raymond Elementary, DCPS

Autism Speaks’ Wear It Blue Campaign

Hardy Middle School

Rosemount Children’s Center

Bancroft Elementary, DCPS

Homeless Children›s Playtime Project

Thrive DC


Kennedy Krieger School




Kat also feels strongly about training a new generation of female climbers. “Encouraging girls to participate in a sport that has traditionally been male-dominated is definitely in line with the mission of GDS. I love being a strong female role model for our girl climbers,” says Kat. Nathan says that as the only female coach in the WAICL, Kat has also been a powerful role model for girls on other teams in the league. With a hugely successful inaugural year, what can we expect from the climbing club in Fall 2014? For Nathan and Kat, they hope to build a deeper and stronger team. The future of GDS climbing is bright.

Climbing Team Reaches New Heights The desire to share one of his long-standing passions with students at GDS was the impetus for HS math teacher Nathan Vish to establish the climbing club in the fall of 2013. Nathan, who has been an avid climber for more than a decade, knew of GDS students climbing independently at the Washington Area Interscholastic Climbing League (WAICL) and decided, “Let’s make this happen. This time as a team.” Established climber and first-year HS English teacher Kat Yorks was the crucial variable that established critical mass; Nathan and Kat joined forces to bring together a wide swath of students who have jelled over their love for climbing. Inside the rock-climbing gym Earth Treks in Rockville this past year, Nathan and Kat watched students transform into serious climbers as their strength and confidence grew week by week. For Kat and Nathan, climbing is about confronting fears, pushing oneself to the limit, and not shutting down in the face of failure. At first, students played it safe, but as their confidence grew, they started taking risks and finding success, finishing out the year with a tremendous victory over Sandy Spring Friends School and Woodberry School. For the coaches, however, trying was the important part. With the pressures of academics, extracurricular activities, and college applications, there’s little space for students to try things, fail, and then try again. Climbing rewards determination and pushes students to keep getting back up again. According to Nathan, “When you get to the top of the climb, no matter how many times you fell, you know you’ve achieved something.” 10




This summer, GDS parents and Academy Award– winning filmmakers Sean Fine ’92 and Andrea Nix of Fine Films will lead a two-week film workshop for aspiring high school- and college-aged filmmakers eager to learn more about film-craft. Working in small groups under the mentorship of a team coach, students will engage in the art of storytelling to complete an original short film. “There’s nothing like this in Washington right now,” said Sean. “There’s a hunger and thirst for this. When we aired our documentary Inocente at the High School, students had some of the best questions that we had ever heard at a screening.” Andrea is excited to support art and selfexpression through film within the GDS community. “When our children started going to GDS, we realized the extent of the school’s emphasis on self-expression. I never had an opportunity like this as a kid,” she explained. “As a filmmaker and an alum, this is one way of giving back,” said Sean. “[Film] is the way we communicate. It’s how we love to communicate.” Sean and Andrea are looking forward to helping students mine their imaginations, connect with their audiences, and create films that inspire. The deadline to register for the film intensive is May 15! To learn more about participating in the Fine Films Summer Workshop please visit:






This summer, DC’s policy wonkiness and GDS’s experiential hands-on learning will intersect for the pilot of the GDS Policy and Advocacy Institute. Twenty-some GDS HS student fellows will work with one of three HS faculty on a chosen topic area: Bill Wallace (Increasing Diversity in STEM Fields); Sue Ikenberry (Advancing Global Health); or Aaron Pina (Housing DC’s Homeless Veterans). Students will research their topic area, acquire advocacy skills, and develop policy and advocacy initiatives in order to effect change.


Innovative STEM Conference Jointly hosted by E.L. Haynes Public Charter School and Georgetown Day School, the UnCommon Alliance: STEM Conference brought a coalition of high schools, private businesses, and government agencies to the GDS High School on March 14, a date many refer to as “Pi Day.” In honor of this holiday, conference participants discussed their love of science, technology, engineering, and math over plates of lemon merengue pie.

In addition to building collaboration between 13 area schools, including Maret and The Madeira School, and fostering connections among 99 students and 36 teachers, this innovative conference also addressed the need to improve the recruitment and retention of women and minorities in STEM disciplines. GDS alumna Kirin Sinha ‘11, who will participate in the prestigious Marshall Scholarship after completing her MIT studies in 2014, advised fellow female students, “If you’re really interested in STEM then stick with it. Don’t let other people tell you that you can’t do it. I would say to anyone, especially women, don’t let anyone or yourself say that you can’t do it.” University of Maryland Professor of Physics and Member of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology Jim Gates delivered an entertaining keynote address that inspired student to think of STEM as field of innovation, “If we’re doing things right, then in about 100 years there will be something amazing out there for humanity. That’s how my science works.” In addition to keynote speaker Jim Gates, the conference speakers included Maya Garcia, STEM Specialist for the Washington, DC Office of the State Superintendent of Education, and Tony Wagner, Expert In Residence at Harvard University’s new Innovation Lab (see page 18). To see a video of the 2014 UnCommon Alliance: STEM Conference and hear from students on how to improve the recruitment and retention of women and minorities in STEM disciplines, please visit

As a veteran himself, veteran’s issues have always been important to Aaron. “The District has 2,500–3,000 homeless veterans, and I believe we owe our vets a tremendous debt of gratitude for their service. After I learned about GDS’s recent service-learning experiences addressing homelessness, it just made sense to go deeper and address this community. I thought I would be a good resource for the students to gain entry into a community that most don’t get to experience,” he said. Sue and her students will attend the Global Health Conference in May to learn about current issues in global health and then spend their summer addressing the areas that concern them most and making connections with leaders in the field. “These are problems well worth the students’ time—figuring out ways to lessen infant mortality or improve sanitation or minimize deaths from AIDS,” said Sue. Students working with Bill will explore the barriers for women and people of color to studying or pursuing work in the science, technology, engineering, and math fields and create policy proposals to improve the situation. Students kicked off their research at this year’s STEM conferences hosted at GDS. Student-driven and student-implemented, these projects will be fleshed out by the project teams. “This isn’t driven by Aaron,” says Aaron. “Students will decide what we want to do and how we do it. I don’t want our students to talk about it. I want them to DO SOMETHING! The great thing about the veterans housing project is that this is doable—it’s something we can change. Kids can be agents of change and actually change policy in a fundamental way.” Ultimately, the students will spend five weeks working on solving some of the most pressing problems impacting our world. What are YOU doing with your summer?

GDS Strategic Plan GOAL 3 – CURRICULUM EVOLUTION: Providing students with skills to collaborate and innovate for tomorrow’s needs.



The visual




rom the earliest grades, art is an essential part of the GDS curriculum.

In the visual arts, students start


their careers developing their interests, skills, and appreciation of the arts so that by high school, they are honing their craft. You can always see student artwork adorning the halls of the LMS or the third-floor art gallery at the HS; here is a small sample from some of our extraordinary student artists from winter 2014.













Art provided by (from top left): 1. Anna Cadwell ‘14 2. 4th Grade Artists 13

3. Jadine Sonoda ‘15 4. Sophie Hurewitz ‘18 5. Samantha Hunker ‘24 6. Julia Winkler ‘14


7. Erin Ford ‘15 8. Nick Dipplesman ‘14 9. Justice Shelton ‘21 10. Olivia Cong ‘17 11. Ben Howell ‘20 12. Oliver Hsu ‘25 13. Marina Wei ‘14



GDS R&J 2013

The elaborate set included a two-story building, complete with the play’s essential balcony, which was covered in hand-applied yellow stucco (a recipe cooked up by the students using a perfect balance of sawdust and paint). The center stage was painted with an intricate center medallion that took four hours of intense painting. “The best thing was seeing the different groups with their own leaders working toward the completion of an entire set,” said Will Ley, faculty technical director. GDS productions follow a traditional guild structure, starting with student apprenticeships and graduating into leadership roles within each production arm. Of the team, director and High School performing arts chair Laura Rosberg


Set in Italy in the late ‘20s, as Mussolini and his armed Blackshirt militia were coming to power, the fall production of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet featured Mike Tiernan ’14 and Emma Stern ’15 in breakout performances in the title roles.

said, “Were I to leave GDS today, this is one of the plays and cast and crew that I’d cherish. No company could be more hard-working, good-humored, wellmeaning, nor more decent to me and to each other than this one has been.”

This spring, students are staging The Boys in the Photograph, an Andrew Lloyd Webber and Ben Elton musical focused on teenage footballers in Belfast during The Troubles.


This GDS production included the work of more than 100 students:





Light Engineers


Sound Engineers



Props Specialists


Makeup Artists


Set Managers


Costume Designers


FX Managers



Winter One-Acts Take Center Stage


COMMUNITY PRODUCTION GOES INTO THE FUTURE The MS Community Production is a theatrical performance designed to showcase the talents of a diverse group of MS student actors and writers. Each year, essays, stories, and poems authored by MS students are adapted and scripted into scenes that fit into the show’s theme. This year’s theme was science fiction, and 21 students were involved. Isabelle Saba ’19 played numerous roles in this year’s Community Production, including a cat and a monster. She also wrote the scene Blast from the Past about a girl who builds a time machine and blasts herself to the future. “With great directors, fun plays, amazing activities, and fellow actors, there really isn’t anything un-fun about the Community Production,” says Isabelle.

With just two short weeks of rehearsal, one critique, one dress rehearsal, and then show time, the 2014 Winter One-Acts Festival flawlessly came together. This year’s festival, which took place January 29 through February 1, included ten short One-Acts with small casts of three to five students. Student-directed and -designed, the One-Acts Festival provides GDS High School students with opportunities to lead, take risks, and dive into a deep exploration of their craft. Performing Arts Department Chair and HS theater director Laura Rosberg, who previously produced the festival, notes, “The One-Acts is the most important season of theater in the year. Students become leaders; students learn to respect each other as leaders.” In addition to producing, directing, and designing the shows, students are also responsible for selecting the plays. Jim Mahady, the One-Acts faculty advisor and acting teacher, says he is impressed with the sophisticated, abstract, and unexpected material that students bring forward. “GDS students are smart, thoughtful risk takers.”

MS assistant principal and English teacher Mayra Diaz, who serves as an advisor to the Community Production, says, “Ultimately, when GDS Middle School students are given the space to create or build, they rise to the challenge, often exceeding expectations. The Community Production is completely studentled, organized, written, and performed. From lights to colors to T-shirt designs, the Community Production fosters an environment for middle school students to thrive.”

The 2014 show included works from playwrights Jean-Paul Sartre, David Ives, and One-Acts advisor Jim, who wrote Marathon 2100 to commemorate the victims of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. The season also included a piece directed by HS biology teacher Bill George who has directed shows in the department for 25 years.

Watch the highlights of the 2014 Community Production at watch?v=wBOMe5-WtNQ&

The One-Acts is a 30-year-old GDS winter tradition, and looking ahead to future festivals, audiences can expect even more student leadership and more original plays from student playwrights.

High School theater technical director Will Ley is appreciative that the One-Acts allow students and teachers to engage in more nuanced artistic discussions rather than focusing on the nuts and bolts of a production. Will says that with the One-Acts, teachers have the opportunity to “step back, let [students] do their thing, and talk art.”




According to music director Kevin Collar, starting this festival was a way to open up the jazz music arena to nascent artists. “The festival brings students together to enjoy their art form and expose them to things going on in jazz programs at other schools and in jazz in general,” says Kevin.


The festival began with a performance by the GDS Jazz Ensemble, followed by a clinic given by jazz drummer Tony Martucci accompanied by pianist Eric Byrd and bassist Bhagwan Khalsa. Our adjudicator, Peter Barenbregge (a saxophonist, flutist, clarinetist), offered advice and commentary on a variety of performing skills, including interpretation, ensemble performance, and being a soloist.

GDS JAZZ: In the Sweet Spot On March 8, jazz musicians, aficionados, and their parents attended the 16th annual Georgetown Day School High School Jazz Festival. Dedicated to the growth and enrichment of high school jazz musicians, the festival hosted 100+ performers from GDS and other area schools.

Kevin says what drives the planning and implementation of the festival every year are his students. “It boils down to having an opportunity to watch them flourish and give them a chance to have others hear their art.”

Special thanks to the Goldman Family Music Endowment. Musicians’ attendance at the festival is made possible with their support.

#HOPPERSWAG Nevada ‘20 in GDS Throwback hoodie and long-sleeve tee; (Middle) Noelle ‘20 in GDS Women’s V-neck hoodie; (Right) Bearden ‘22 in GDS Under Armour tee, fitted cap, and flannel pants Available in youth and adult sizes.


for more information or visit the school store located in the Advancement office at the LMS.



Around Campus FACULTY

of educational innovation. As Wagner asserts, for the first time in history what gets taught in schools today can be accessed through a screen, and the world no longer cares how much kids know but rather what they can do with what they know. Based on that, Wagner says that teachers should use rich and challenging content to emphasize the skills students will need in our ever-changing world: critical thinking and problem solving, collaboration, agility and adaptability, initiative and entrepreneurialism, effective oral and written communication, accessing and analyzing information, curiosity and imagination, and—of course—empathy.


GDS HOSTS EDUCATIONAL PIONEER TONY WAGNER By Dresden Koons, Dean of Teaching and Learning

How do we bring a twelve-hundred-student population that spans fourteen academic years, three divisions, and two campuses into a more common vision of exemplary teaching and learning? How do we prepare students in different ways and graduate them innovation-ready for a global knowledge economy? How do we encourage more collaboration within and across departments and divisions? How do we empower students to be better architects of their own learning from PK to 12th grade? In other words, how do we develop a more progressive educational model at GDS to even better match our progressive vision? A desire to grapple with these questions was the catalyst for Dr. Tony Wagner’s visit to GDS in March of this year. Wagner currently serves as Expert In Residence at Harvard University’s Innovation Lab and was the founder and co-director of the Change Leadership Group at Harvard for more than a decade. His previous work experience includes twelve years as a high school teacher, K–8 principal, university professor, and founding executive director of Educators for Social Responsibility. Most notable among his numerous publications are Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change the World (2012) and The Global Achievement Gap (2008), both highly recommended reads for educators and parents alike. More simply put, Wagner is a rock star in today’s educational world, and we were incredibly fortunate to host him on campus. While Wagner described himself during his visit as “a recovering English teacher,” he is anything but. He employed rich analogies and impassioned rhetoric throughout his time at GDS to inspire faculty, staff, and students alike in emphasizing the importance

According to Wagner, there’s a big difference between a culture of schooling, in which the 4-year-old who asks 100 questions a day becomes the 10-year-old who has learned to know the answers, and a culture of learning, where it is the questions that matter most. No matter what our students want to do in the future, they will have to be creative problem-solvers. Jobs will be disproportionately rewarded to those who are good at it. So how do we produce more creative problem-solvers at GDS? Wagner says it begins with increased collaboration within the classroom and across academic departments, with more studentdriven and -generated learning opportunities. He also proposes increased self-reflection and sustained feedback as cornerstones of student and teacher assessment, with an increased emphasis on technology such as electronic portfolios to highlight student work. Wagner’s March visit is one star in a growing constellation of professional development highlights this school year, another including a February 18 In-Service Day workshop for faculty entitled “Navigating the Mindfield: The Promises and Perils of Neuroeducation.” And all of this is aligned with our recently launched strategic plan, especially as it relates to the themes of thriving teachers and differentiated learning. Teachers have embraced these professional opportunities, taking thoughtful risks in their classrooms to innovate and employing new pedagogical strategies in the name of increased student engagement and collaboration. How will such work continue moving forward? For one, we anticipate continued dialogue with Dr. Wagner about the innovative ways our students are learning both in and out of the classroom. In addition, we expect to be even more intentional about focusing professional development time on pedagogical applications that reflect the myriad learning strengths of students— and teachers—in our classrooms. Finally, we are working to make all of this work more transparent and disseminate it to a larger audience, including our current and past parents and alumni.



Investing in support, growth, and excellence. GEORGETOWN DAYS SPRING 2014


Around Campus FACULTY

Crissy Cáceres

joins GDS as the NEW DIRECTOR OF DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION Joining us in July, after seven years as the Head of the Lower School of Abington Friends School in Pennsylvania, Crissy Cáceres has pursued work in diversity and equity throughout her entire professional and educational career. Crissy is also an NAIS Diversity Leadership Institute Faculty Member and a member of NAIS’s Call to Action, a Think Tank devoted to diversity initiatives, dialogue, and leadership in independent schools. As Crissy prepares herself and her family (husband, James, and daughters Jazzmin, 13, Alani, 10, and Kailyn, 7) for the big transition to the DC area, she took some time to talk with us about her work. Below are some excerpts; you can read the full interview online at What drew you to GDS? A school cannot claim excellence without having diversity work at its very core. The heartbeat of a school should be measured by its ability to live up to a value system grounded in equity and inclusivity. As independent schools, we have the ability to think beyond mandates and onesize-fits-all measures. As such, we bear a responsibility to make the most of our ability to be beacons for this work. GDS’s mission was bold, courageous, and visionary from the very beginning. The spirit of that mission back in 1945 was quite simple and clear, just as it is today. A school experience centered on strength, humanity, and leadership can only occur by giving access to all so that everyone’s stories and truths can help to build the most inclusive experience representative of the world at large. GDS is poised to continue to make visible, both within and outside of the school, the many ways in which it partners to achieve this cornerstone mission. 18


What do you want people to know about you? What inspires your work? People should know that I love making time for conversation and relationshipbuilding. I have always loved meeting people and talking to others. I also love cooking and eating foods from different types of cuisines! This love also connects to my desire for exploring many geographical locations in my lifetime. I absolutely love learning and children, and perhaps that is why much of my career has nicely blended these two. I find that working with children, you are reminded each moment of each day that everything has the potential to be a new discovery, a new twist, and new opportunity. This approach to life has served me well, and it has brought me much joy and inspiration! GDS is organizing a diversity symposium this summer to discuss the future of diversity and equity work in schools. What are some of the topics you want to see discussed?

This is such a thought-provoking question! I would like to see schools authentically embrace the notion that they cannot aspire to excellence without ensuring that diversity and equity are at the center of every decision made and every action taken. Time devoted to collaborative practices within and across our schools is also critical. Collaboration is currently held as one of the leading 21st century skills for all students to develop. Equity and inclusion work can never occur in a vacuum; by definition, it requires a collaborative framework. Another topic to discuss is the role that our families play in the equity and diversity dialogue. I think that the step that GDS has taken to prioritize time given to a dialogue on Diversity and Equity that extends beyond its own walls should be applauded, and I am honored to now have the opportunity to be a part of it and meaningfully contribute.

With a school as diverse as ours— racially, culturally, and socioeconomically—what kind of work can you imagine needs to be done? There needs to be time given for face-to-face conversations that prioritize generating a feeling of safety, inclusion of all voices, transparency of experiences, and genuine interest in the support of all members of the school’s family. You see, this work is rich and incredibly multi-layered, and at times, it can also be painful. Thus, attention must be given to ensure that everyone feels like they have a place at the table, and that their viewpoints will be welcomed, understanding that we will not always begin at the same place in our dialogue, but we will always remain focused on a common mission. Currently, there is much attention being given to the understanding and strengthening of cultural competency, the notion that we must all work to understand the differences inherent in humanity so that these differences are considered when engaging in conversations, decision-making, community experiences, curriculum design, student life, hiring practices, and more. The diverse nature of GDS puts it in an ideal place to have this as a common focus of our work. All in all, there is work to be done. It is good work, just work, necessary work, heart work, and I am proud to be a part of its leadership. Any questions I didn’t ask that you wish I had? › Do you have any message for the GDS community? I cannot conclude without a sincere message of thanks to the entire GDS family. Throughout my two days of walking, talking, engaging, laughing, exploring, and thinking at GDS, I truly felt welcomed and embraced by the community into a process that was being handled with the greatest sense of responsibility, purpose, and respect. I always felt that I could be my full self, reveal my thoughts honestly and completely, and connect to many moments of authentic inspiration and joy. For that, I thank you all immensely!


TIM LYONS New Director of Technology & 21st Century Learning Tim Lyons joined GDS in February, after almost a decade at The Field School where he transformed their small tech shop into the industry standard and a leader in the implementation of Google Apps for Education. Tim sees his role at GDS as both operational (making sure the computers are working right) and educational (empowering teachers to integrate technology into their classrooms). Tim lives in DC with his two young children and opera singer/Washington Post KidsPost reporter wife. Here are: 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Tim His parents, before they met, were both featured on the album cover of the 1967 Up With People recording, Sing Out, West Saint Louis!


Tim has been working in technology for educational institutions since 1999, when he began as a database and technical support specialist at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts.


Tim is an active professional musician and played his first paying gig at the tender age of 14; he played trumpet for the Natick, Massachusetts, Regional Army/Navy Marching Band. (You can also see him live and in person most Thursdays at Fadò Irish Pub in downtown DC.)


During his nine years at The Field School, highlights included bringing more audio-video solutions into the classroom, working to integrate the library and tech staff, and helping


teachers understand powerful ways to use online resources in their curriculum. Tim believes that the confluence of worldwide high-speed Internet access, the relative affordability of computing devices, and ever-growing open source online resources that allow for rich content storage and information sharing makes this the most exciting time to be involved in education in the entire history of mankind. Except for maybe that whole printing press thing in 1450.



Tim ran the New York Marathon in 2002. 6a. He did not enjoy it.

Tim is an experienced Google Apps for Education administer and is excited to explore the pedagogical and communications benefits that a wider rollout of various Google Apps might bring to the GDS community.


Tim has already been approached/ accosted by several of GDS’s most ardent and zealous supporters of technology, and has survived to tell the tale.


Tim is wearing a tie a lot to work these days, but he’ll probably stop doing that once he tires of trying to impress his coworkers and convince them that he is actually a grown-up.


10 Tim is grateful, motivated, and

excited to be a new part of the GDS community, and he is looking forward to working with many different facets of that community to help bring the school to a place where it is seen as a leader in its use of technology in a progressive, equity-focused, and fun education. GEORGETOWN DAYS SPRING 2014


Around Campus FACULTY

“I was honored and humbled at the opportunity to take a leadership role in this year’s conference—a conference that motivates, inspires, and shares creative, strategic ways to reach and support both students and faculty of color as they navigate the cultural nuances of independent schools. It’s just a great thing to be a part of.” GDS first grade teacher and co-facilitator of GDS’s Parent SEED group, Brandi Lawrence also represented GDS at the conference as a presenter. “Teaching Equity in Early Childhood Education” used her own classroom experiences in implementing anti-bias curriculum and the firstgrade civil rights curriculum to share lesson ideas and strategies.

GDS FACULTY LEAD POCC When Dean of Academic Life Chris Levy signed on as a co-chair for the NAIS 26th Annual People of Color Conference (POCC) held at the National Harbor last December, he agreed to a full year of planning a conference for more than 4,000 attendees along with his three co-chairs and a committee of representatives from 22 local schools. The work was worth it. As Chris puts it, “After attending my first POCC in 2000, as one of a few faculty of color at my previous school, I remember how it felt to connect with others going through similar frustrations and experiences. I was able to take comfort in knowing I wasn’t alone.



“Every child should feel visible and celebrated,” explains Brandi. “Our students are working together to achieve anti-bias, and they are learning that every child can talk about differences and similarities.” Brandi shared that her students are asking for change when they notice inequities in their learning materials—and that is what multi-cultural education is all about.

Prior to introducing author Junot Diaz to the general session on December 5, Chris found himself in the position of sharing with the audience the passing of Nelson Mandela. He felt the weight of what he was about to do, but he was also grateful to be in this space to reflect on Mandela’s legacy meaningfully. “The thing that keeps me going back to POCC every year is the opportunity to engage with other independent school educators who are passionate about teaching and learning,” says Chris. “Additionally, having conversations about equity and justice as it pertains to our respective schools and the communities we influence is something that I also look forward to.”


Around Campus FACULTY

Video Art and the Creative Process By Adrian Loving

I recently launched a project that took me three months to produce and two years to conceptualize. Fade 2 Grey: Androgyny in Eighties Popular Music is my new solo art exhibition which explores visual ambiguity, gender roles, fashion, and the sensationalism of style in ’80s pop music. The show is a multi-media installation of rare album covers from the late 1970s through the mid-80s from my personal collection, containing themes of New Wave, Punk, New Romantic, and Synth Funk and a series of six video art installations that explore the aesthetic tension of duality in the visual identity of select musicians including: Patti Smith, David Bowie, Grace Jones, Sylvester, Boy George, and Prince; all artists who have made an

enduring statement in their musical careers through the use of androgyny. Creating video art for this project was an intense academic study! Of course, listening to their music was key in that research. I extracted song lyrics, quotes, and poems—items that became the overlay to the mix of video clips and photography and graphics that lie beneath. Making video art to look like it’s from the ’80s was the overall aesthetic goal. Music video programs, television grain, distortion, and feedback all contribute to the aged quality of each video. The result is a unique image that has a period feel to it. In the Introduction to Film and Video course that I teach at GDS, I draw on my experience as an installation artist to help students develop their own concepts for video art and experimental imagery. Student artists use such programs as Final Cut Pro, Photoshop, and iMovie to process their downloaded or personally photographed imagery.




Around Campus

High School Women’s Basketball Team Has Transformational Season Despite losing four four-year varsity starters and beginning the year with only one experienced player, the GDS Women’s High School Basketball team demonstrated grit and determination that led to a successful season. According to HS Dean of Students and Coach Bobby Asher, the team also learned a lot about themselves as players and people. In a speech at the winter sports banquet, Bobby said, “[T]hese girls never lost faith; they practiced hard—six days a week, during vacations, and during much of the summer. They made sacrifices and they came to believe in themselves and in their teammates. The transformation was nothing short of inspirational.” Seniors on the 2013–2014 women’s basketball team played against top-ranking teams throughout the District and came away with wins against Sidwell Friends, Episcopal High School, Bullis School, and Georgetown Visitation. Players Rachael Schneiderman ’14, Ari White ’16, Emily Vogt ’14, and Kendal Edwards ’17 received the 4-Year Award, Most Improved Player, Coaches’ Award, and MVP, respectively. Assistant Coach and High School PE teacher Harold Newton lauded the seniors for their tremendous record and hard work: “Fatima Fairfax, Natalie Millstein, and Victoria Tribone have done a wonderful job during the season.” This year’s graduating seniors were the second class to have spent all four years in the Independent School League’s AA division. They had a four-year record of 47 wins and 41 losses. While the graduating seniors will be missed, the girls look forward to inducting freshman into the team for the 2014–2015 season.








NEVER FEAR Sophomore Lexi von Friedeburg spends a lot of time in the air. Whether she’s diving with the GDS diving team (now in its third year at GDS) or her summer club team or competing on her local gymnastics Tumbling and Trampoline Team. “I love being weightless,” she says.

“I love being weightless.” Fresh off of her second ISL diving championship win, Lexi joins teammates and fellow sophomores Katherine Novey and Sydney Barksdale (and an injured Mikayla Joseph) to round out this promising team. “I have had the pleasure as GDS athletic director to watch our divers compete, and I’ve been so impressed with Lexi,” says Kathy Hudson. “She has such a calm demeanor when she dives; she has no fear and is exceptional at what she does.”



GOING TO THE MAT It’s not often that a high school student hears from people nationwide telling her she’s their hero, an inspiration. That’s exactly the case for senior Julia Ernst, who currently holds the GDS record for wrestling wins and has a career win-loss record of 107-26 against an all-male competition. Profiled in The Washington Post and on CNN this February, Julia is getting attention for her unique position in wrestling. “A Girl Among Boys,” as the Post referred to her, Julia appreciates why her story is being told. “I’m not just fighting people on the mat. I’m fighting against a stereotype, and that is definitely something that drew me in—that, and I just love the sport,” she said. But she also feels like the coverage is drawing focus away from some of the other important parts of her wrestling career, including her supportive team. “At GDS, my doing this, it just didn’t feel as much like an uphill battle. I wouldn’t be able to do this at any other school and



“I’m not just fighting people on the mat. I’m fighting against a stereotype.”

have the kind of coaches and teammates who support me so completely,” said Julia. Heading to Harvard this fall, Julia thinks she might study biomedical engineering, or something that connects math and science with humanities. She doesn’t plan on wrestling in college, preferring to focus on her studies: “I want to have a balance. That is one thing GDS has taught me: experience a lot of different things.”


Around Campus ATHLETICS


During the winter 2012–13 swim season, Schuyler Bailar ’14 set an Independent School League (ISL) record for 100-meter breast stroke, won three separate championships, and qualified All-American. That same season, she and her 400-meter relay club team set a national age-group record for its relay. The GDS Hopper Baseball program continues to foster experienced and new players alike through its middle and high school programs. A group of GDS parents came together to generously donate extensive new equipment that will keep Hopper athletics top notch. Baseball coach and LMS PE teacher Jeff Trembly says, “The ongoing parent support and contributions are essential to the Hopper baseball program. The players and coaching staff are extremely excited and grateful for the recent contributions that will support the thriving GDS Baseball program.” Donated equipment, which will allow GDS players to maximize their practice time and enhance skills development, includes:

7 by 7 screen

Hitting mat


New indoor batting cage

Baseball and softball bats

Short toss screens

Baseball and softball helmets

Steel mops

Batting tees

Soft hand infield trainer

Bownet baseball screens

Tanner tee’s

HS and LMS portable pitching mounds

These achievements all occurred a short four months after an August 2012 downhill biking accident broke her back, leaving her in a back brace for months and forcing her to avoid all exercise for more than two months. “That accident really forced me to look at everything differently,” says Schuyler. “When I was finally allowed back in the pool, I was so happy to be back, so happy to be swimming, that I forgot about the clock. It felt so good that I adopted the mantra that ‘attitude is everything.’ It’s trite, but you really don’t know what you have until you lose it. Now I am swimming because I love it. And that makes me a better athlete.” This winter, the wins kept coming: Schuyler won all of the DCarea championships and gained a second All-American for the 100-breaststroke. Currently running spring track at GDS in order to “take a mental break from swimming,” she’s excited about being a part of a GDS team one last time prior to graduating in June. “Going to college next year is bittersweet. I want to spend time with my friends and my family,” she said. She’ll be back swimming soon enough, for Harvard this fall. “I’ve always loved the water. It’s easy to overthink everything. My world is loud and moving fast. But when I’m in the pool, it’s peaceful and a time when I can be in my own bubble.”





What Makes a


By Julia Fisher ’09, a Reporter-Researcher at The New Republic



ome years ago—never mind how long precisely—a new GDS graduate headed off to college, where he was asked to write a paper. He knew how to do this. He remembered his lessons— from John Burghardt, Gary McCown, or Louise Brennan—but, more vividly, he knew he loved to read and to write, and that he had something important to say. He wrote the paper and turned it in, just as he had done at GDS. A couple weeks later, the professor handed the essay back with an A and a question:

“Did you go to Georgetown Day School?”


The story’s probably apocryphal. No one I ran it by could identify our protagonist. But it had its day as a GDS legend; somehow, I heard the story as a high school student and took comfort in it. It told me I had been branded—all of us had. Our training was superior and recognizable. When I graduated, I, too, would go into the world a GDS writer. And there are a host of GDS writers. There are novelists (Jonathan Safran Foer ’95), journalists (Sarah Stillman ’02), poets (Stephen Burt ’89), and playwrights (David Allyn ’87). At The New Republic, the magazine where I work, there are four Hoppers on an editorial staff of about 40. GDS does not keep complete records of its alumni’s current vocations; representatives from other independent schools, too, say it is impossible to know how many alumni have become writers. A representative from St. Albans explained that many schools have also agreed not to release data that could be used for comparative purposes. But many GDS teachers and alumni see the school as an incubator of writers. Director of alumni relations Darren Silvis and history teacher Sue Ikenberry each estimated that 25 or 30 percent of GDS alumni consider themselves writers of some sort. That would surely place writing among alumni’s most popular professional pursuits. At the Maret School, by contrast, the three most common fields are education, law, and finance, and the combined fields of writing, publishing, and journalism rank tenth. In very scientific fashion, I took to Wikipedia to get the only comparative data available. These lists are surely far from complete, and they may serve as a better reflection of schools’ public images than their actual records. But of a dozen peer schools whose listed “notable alumni” I surveyed, GDS led the pack by a wide margin, with 48 percent listed for their accomplishments as writers. At Sidwell Friends School, that number was 29 percent. New York’s Fieldston and Horace Mann, the only schools nearing GDS’s tally, came in at 38 and 37 percent, respectively.




So if all these GDS alumni are writing, is there such a thing as a GDS writer? Does the school teach its students to write in a particular way? And just why do so many alumni make writing a central element of their lives?

to be a remarkable writer than I did that Jon Foer was going to be.”


At GDS, students believe they have something worthwhile to say—in large part because their teachers believe it. “Ambergris is found in the bowels of the sick whale,” Assistant Head of School and Moby-Dick disciple Kevin Barr reminded me. “Even in the most muddled piece of writing, somewhere in there is a kernel—a germ—of a beautiful thing.”

Ben Dolnick ’00 has published three novels. But as a high school freshman, by his own account he was an uninspired writer and a weak student. But teachers Clay Roberson and Louise Brennan turned Dolnick on to the idea that books mattered, and he started to care about writing. As a junior, Dolnick visited English teacher John Burghardt with a long poem he had written. He was proud of his work and eager for his teacher’s approval. Burghardt took the pages, sat down in the hallway, and read the whole thing on the spot. Then he crossed out three pages from the middle. “Ben was writing things—he didn’t even know what they were,” Burghardt said in an interview. “There was an alive part and a dead part. And I pointed out where the alive parts were and where the thing stopped being alive. He realized that he basically knew how to make a page alive. He became a great poet, and then he started filling in the scene. It was two years in high school when he went from kind of lame to a point where I had a much stronger sense that Ben was going


Whether GDS students are seeing their poems taught alongside Auden and Pope or receiving smiles (with maybe only a light punishment) when they protest administrative decisions, they know their elders are taking them seriously. “GDS gives you a sense of entitlement,” said Mike Schaffer ’91, editorial director at The New Republic. “And I don’t mean that in a bad way—‘I’m going to sit around and pick warts’—but ‘if I work hard, I can do anything.’” When GDS kids believe their ideas matter, they, like most teenagers, like to use those ideas to stir up trouble. In March 1987, editors of the Augur Bit, the school newspaper, eager to run a big story, quoted then head of school Gladys Stern, calling the new high school building on


“Even in the most muddled piece of writing, somewhere in there is a kernel— a germ—of a beautiful thing.”



Davenport Street “ugly.” The headline made the front page. “We were outraged when some teachers made a move to take the papers,” recalled Juliet Eilperin ’88, then an Augur Bit editor and now a Washington Post reporter. “Of course, in the end, freedom of expression won and we distributed the papers. In retrospect, I’m fairly sure we either misquoted her or quoted her out of context.”


“There was a lot of striving at that little newspaper,” Andrea Elliott ’91, one of Schaffer’s high school colleagues and a reporter at the New York Times, wrote in an email. “Just the name of it, The Augur Bit, was almost comically lofty.”



Even beyond GDS, there’s a breed of hubris that comes along with ambition with the pen. Augur Bit editor Hannah Natanson ’15 said many of the paper’s current staffers are drawn to write simply because they want to be published. GDS kids like to be read—regardless, often, of what they’re writing. “All writers like to hear themselves talk,” Barr told me. “This is a school that encourages you, from the time you are very, very little, to express yourself. GDS kids, as a basic rule, are pretty glib—pretty confident talking, whether they know what they’re talking about or not. If you’re told

“If you’re told that your thoughts matter, from the time you are a little, little one, you’re more likely to put your thoughts out there.” that your thoughts matter, from the time you are a little, little one, you’re more

likely to put your thoughts out there. In the end, they actually have something worth writing about.”

TEACHING GRAMMAR But if students want to be heard and taken seriously, they can’t just talk. They have to express themselves well. And cogent writing is not merely the terrain of English classes at GDS. Several alumni I talked to credited history teacher Richard Avidon with teaching them to argue persuasively. C.A. Pilling, now the high school principal, showed me clarity mattered in science as well when she awarded me bonus points for a well-written lab report. “If GDS fails anywhere in teaching writing, it’s in teaching grammar,” said Molly Roberts ’12, now an editorial editor at the Harvard Crimson. “A lot of people just do not want to learn grammar. I saw a lot of that at the Augur Bit. It wasn’t just typos or carelessness. It was failing to understand how to put a sentence together.” English teacher Annie ThrowerPatterson is leading a crusade to change that. When she hands back essays, students often approach her with a question: “Apart from the grammar, what did you think of my ideas?” Thrower-Patterson doesn’t buy the distinction. “I of course think of them as one and the same,” she explained. “Grammar empowers students. They can express complicated ideas because they can compose complex sentences.”

WORK OF LOVE Encouragement from teachers starts in the classroom. Clay Roberson assures eighth graders they can read Plato. Gary McCown’s comments on students’ essays were longer than the essays themselves. Katherine Dunbar reads a poem to her students on the last day of class and cries, and they know it matters.

All told, said Frank Foer ’92, now editor of The New Republic, the teachers’ excitement was contagious. “The English department does a good job of romanticizing the writing process,” he said. “They all exuded a worship of the book and helped cultivate a cult of the author. They made writing seem glamorous and like one of the most noble ambitions in the world. So much of it

“The beauty of science, of computing, should really be taught as being one with the wonder of language, of painting, of music. In the GDS I remember, that was so.”

comes down to the passionate way they talk about Moby-Dick or James Baldwin— the way they get on the edges of their desk, and you could see the urgency and importance of the book in their posture. I remember [Burghardt] reciting poetry he’d written himself. Here was the coolest teacher in the school, and he was proudly, bravely sharing this beautiful intimate verse.”

As Louise Brennan understands it, a student’s writing improves when he cares about the subject. Ask a struggling student to write about what he loves, and his prose becomes beautiful. The task for a school, then, is to help kids fall in love. It helps when teachers are a model—“each teacher is, etymologically, an amateur: They’re doing what they love,” Burghardt said—but students’ passion ultimately spins in every direction, and all of it can make for good writing. Alumni writers recalled pouring themselves into theater, music, even geometry. Burghardt wonders if the school’s theater program isn’t more responsible than the English department for churning out writers. In the theater, kids learn the rhythms of the masters. “You’re living out of your empathic imagination,” Burghardt said. With a strong life of the imagination, good writing flourishes. “It was all about writing,” novelist Andrew Sean Greer ’88 wrote in an email. “Even geometry seemed to have a beautiful narrative to it! QED! And Bill [George] in biology forced us to write clear prose for our experiments; writing about a botany trip to the nearby woods felt like writing a story. When I knew Stephen Burt at GDS, I would have predicted he would become a world famous mathematician— and lo and behold, instead he is America’s leading sage of poetry! But are they really so far apart? “The beauty of science, of computing, should really be taught as being one with the wonder of language, of painting, of music. In the GDS I remember, that was so. And it helped us become anything we dreamed we could be. It’s hard to imagine a GDS focused solely on ‘useful’ classes and leaving out the poetry that makes any pursuit worth doing. Otherwise, life is a grind indeed. But it never seemed that way at GDS.”



Reflections on


This year marks the tenth summer that a team of GDS students and teachers will travel to Kenya and Ethiopia for two weeks as part of the year-round Horn of African Program, or HOAP. Launched by C.A. Pilling and Bobby Asher, HOAP serves to, “expose our students to as many different ways as possible that they can offer service, contribute to the world, be a responsible world citizen,” says Bobby, now Dean of Student Life.




all the big organizations. We introduce them to one-man-bands, mom-and-pop shows—people who are passionate about what they do,” says C.A., now the GDS HS Principal.

“It never truly hit home until I witnessed the poverty with my own eyes, and bonded with children who were unsure of where their next meal would come from.” The entire program includes what every HOAP alum refers to as a “life-changing trip.” Leading up to (and continuing after) every trip, the group is preparing, building team trust, and learning about and fundraising for the areas and organizations they will visit. For two weeks, the group meets and works with dozens of nonprofit organizations, companies, and individuals that are making a difference in Africa. “Those 14 days, everyone’s head is spinning,” says Bobby. “Some might say that the pace of the trip is absurd. But there is still time for pauses. Every one of us has a moment that tears at your heart and another one that fortifies every part of your being.” “To change the world, the only thing our kids need is passion and that is part of what we try to inspire. We don’t just visit

She continues: “We are, regardless of our circumstances at home, citizens of a highly developed country and we have a responsibility to others. By going on this trip, kids get that. They get that there are kids, just like themselves, who struggle to eat enough every day and who will do anything for an education. Our kids see the earnestness with which these children try to better themselves. I think our students gain a greater appreciation for what they have been given—a head start really—compared to the rest of the world. We hope that our kids think about giving back because they have been given so much.” The program started as part of a LearnServe Ethiopia tour for DC schools. C.A. and Bobby soon after decided to bring the program inside the walls of GDS, and they have built it into the longterm, successful program it is today. In honor of the decade of outreach and relationship building, GDS reached out to HOAP alums, asking them to reflect on their experiences and how involvement with HOAP affected their lives then and now. From their passionate and thoughtful responses, it is clear that HOAP has left an indelible mark on the very core of who they are. Many have returned to the nonprofit Project Mercy, an integral part of the trip, or other areas in Africa to build on connections and relationships. Some have pursued humanitarian work or international studies, which they attribute to their HOAP trip. In all, much to the pleasure of C.A. and Bobby, the story they tell is not over. For Bobby and C.A., their Africa story is not over, either. “C.A. and I talk about going over there without the student group sometimes. But, when I look at the reasons we do this trip, I’m reminded that we ask our kids, ‘What is your way?’” says Bobby. “And so I ask myself the same question, ‘What do I do for the world?’ My answer is, ‘I do this.’ I love to watch our students grow, and I love that this program has a legacy and that our students carry on and continue the work in various ways long after they graduate. This is best for me.”

The HOAP trip taught me valuable lessons about selfevaluation; it is often said that these types of trips—dubbed “service-learning” at their best and “voluntourism” at their worst—are as much for the benefit of privileged Americans as for the intended recipients of our efforts. From my time at GDS and in college to my summers spent working in DC to my Peace Corps service, I examine my efforts to “make the world a better place” through this very lens. The conclusion I have come to is that the lessons taught through the HOAP program—selflessness, cultural awareness, mutual respect, and understanding—are as much a fulfillment of GDS’s mission statement as they are an opportunity to see the world through the lives of others. - Satchel Kaplan Allen ’09 Peace Corps, English teacher in Costa Rica

The trip impacted my life then because it opened my eyes to a lot of things that were happening in an area of the world that I did not know much about. I had heard statistics and was aware that poverty was a serious and devastating problem, but it never truly hit home until I witnessed the poverty with my own eyes, and bonded with children who were unsure of where their next meal would come from. I gained a personal interest in the wellbeing of people in need; they were no longer just numbers, they had names, faces, and stories. - Mike Klain ’12 Sophomore at Harvard University Has returned twice since his trip in 2011 and will return again this summer.

I went on the HOAP trip in 2005 (as well as the pilot trip for LearnServeEthiopia, a precursor to HOAP, in 2004). I have so many fond memories of HOAP, but a few stand out: returning to Project Mercy in Butajira in 2005 to see students I remembered from my previous visit—and having them remember me; visiting a nearby market with students from the school and meeting members of their families; watching Bobby, C.A., and students from GDS and Project Mercy play soccer until the sun went down. . . . I think that it is impossible not to be permanently marked by the experience of going to a place that feels so different and far away during a very formative stage of life. As a teenager, one’s outlook is inevitably narrow, and I feel extraordinarily grateful to have had the opportunity to realize at that moment just how much world there was beyond school and home. - Julia Halperin ’07 Journalist



I went on the HOAP trip in 2011. I remember most clearly my last morning at Project Mercy, when the GDS group and Project Mercy house kids shared songs with each other. After we let loose with a raucous rendition of Lady Gaga’s Born This Way, the children began their own song. . . . Their voices, at first discordant, all came together in a melody that put our own performance to shame. More than anything, it captured the whole feeling of the place, where these kids—from different places and backgrounds and with different stories— turn into a unit. Five friends (Rachel Levy, Isabel Thompson, Will Cafritz, Mike Klain, and Courtney Ratner) and I returned to Project Mercy the following summer as part of our senior quest. We got a chance to tutor the children, and we also learned a lot more about the inner workings of the Project Mercy operation. My two experiences at Project Mercy taught me how valuable it is to forge a connection with one cause … That’s part of what’s so remarkable about GDS’s HOAP: The school has spent years building relationships with the organization in visits, allowing us to make as much of a difference as possible and build on whatever work we can do as time passes. - Molly Roberts ‘12 Sophomore at Harvard University

It is so difficult for me to choose a favorite or fondest memory … but if I had to settle on one I would say it was the time we spent at Project Mercy. Project Mercy is an absolute Eden, and not just because of its beautiful scenery. I was blown away by the joy and graciousness of the people despite the extremely difficult situations they are living in. I loved spending time getting to know the kids of Project Mercy—they taught me so much more than I had expected, and set me on my path into international development and education.  The Horn of Africa Program changed my life. My passion for education and working to help kids all around the world to become empowered was sparked during my time on the HOAP trips. I have to give a lot of credit and thanks to C.A. and Bobby for their hard work in putting these trips together and their mentorship throughout my time on the HOAP trips, and my time at GDS overall. They inspired me to do the work that I do now. - PJ Kadzik ’08 The Malala Fund




I first went on a trip to Ethiopia with Bobby, C.A., and three other students the summer of 2004. It wasn’t then the HOAP trip. The GDS group of six that was on that trip came back blown away with what the experience had meant to us, and the GDS HOAP trip was born out of Bobby and C.A. taking that momentum and running with it. I was lucky enough to go back the next year as part of the first official HOAP trip to Ethiopia and Kenya, after graduating in 2006, and again in 2009. Each trip has meant something different to me, but perhaps most meaningful is the excitement of seeing again Ethiopian friends and partners I’d met on previous trips after a year or more away. Upon returning after the first trip, I remember wondering whether the experience would fade for those that I had met in Ethiopia. I can definitively say

it did not. Coming back a second time and having the kids I had met the previous year remember my name, my jokes— that’s the kind of lasting experience the HOAP trip fostered. On a more specific note: There is simply nothing more peaceful than sitting on the basketball court at Project Mercy and looking up at the stars. To be a teenager far from home, meeting peers so unlike me on the surface and yet with the same questions about the world, spending all hours running around, throwing myself wholeheartedly into unfamiliar situations ... at the end of a long day, sitting under the stars with the other GDS students, anything seemed possible. - Phillip Cohen ’06 First-year medical student, University of Pennsylvania



DANCE AT GDS LMS: BodyAs Instrument



wenty-five years ago, GDS started an after-school dance program. That program evolved from its humble beginnings to become an integral part of the GDS arts curriculum. An instrumental force behind that growth is Jan Tievsky. Innumerable GDS graduates have gone on to illustrious careers in dance, crediting their early start and personalized instruction. Student dancers work with artist-in-residence Dana Tai Soon Burgess on professionally choreographed, original dances; they continually win awards in challenging competitions, inspired to challenge themselves each and every day through dance. A believer that “your body is your instrument,” Jan has inspired and encouraged countless young dancers, and her legacy goes far beyond implementing innovative dance classes. “Jan has been an essential part of the community—as parent and teacher and mentor— for so long it is hard to imagine the dance program without her,” said HS history teacher Richard Avidon. “She has inspired so many students to find themselves in the world of movement, inspiration which comes from both her knowledge of and passion for dance. She encourages them to fly in the Middle School and they soar at the High School.” Jan retires this year, after 25 remarkable years. As we say farewell, we take a look back at some of the highlights in the LMS program she has created and to the GDS students who say their lives were changed by her instruction.




Dance and movement are integrated into the LS drama classes and Festival Assemblies

MS curricular dance class is offered to 6th graders as another arts elective option

8th grade curricular dance class is offered; first Dance Showcase at the LMS





After-school dance classes begin; Jan teaches dance classes in MS PE departments





7th grade curricular class is offered as an arts elective

Dana Tai Soon Burgess starts a collaboration with Fata Morgana, the HS dance troupe founded by students in 1996; Jan became Fata’s faculty advisor in 1998

FAREWELL JAN! “On behalf of the hundreds, and possibly thousands of students who had the pleasure of working with Jan and whose lives she changed during her tenure at GDS, thank you, Jan so much, for everything.” ~ S. Asher Gelman ’02, The Stage Co-Founder “Jan’s teaching made me more comfortable with myself, dancing, and my choices in general.” ~ Aidan Pillard ’15 “When you enter the Black Box to watch one of Jan’s dance classes, it’s like stepping into another world; 30 to 40 otherwise typical middle school boys and girls transformed into lithe, flexible, beautiful dancers, effortlessly moving from solo improvisation to group movement in the span of seconds. With her ever calm but energized presence, Jan helps these kids make magic. Jan’s dance class is one of GDS’s truest expressions of progressive education.” ~ Nancy Kaplan, MS Principal “I will never forget the many memories I have and friends I have made throughout the years that I took Jan’s class and I hope the rest of the world gets to see her talent the way we did.” ~ Zita Moghadam ’17 “I would not be the dancer or person I am today if it weren’t for Jan. ... Thank you Jan for always believing in me and pushing me to always do my best,” ~ Daniel Thimm ’16

GDS participates in WAISDEA (Washington Area Independent Schools Dance Education Association) Dance Festival for the first time and wins two major awards; GDS dancers win numerous awards in subsequent years


6th grade arts elective is reinstated with a new curriculum including the history of Black Dance in America

GDS dancers perform at the Warner Theatre. The 8th grade dancers perform an original dance and the HS dancers perform Persepolis by Dana Tai Soon Burgess



LS students study social dance styles; LS PE has its first Dance Assembly; Fata Morgana includes choreography and improvisation

Jan retires from GDS and begins a new chapter as President of the Board of Directors and Director of Education Programs at Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Company



6th grade dancers join the 7th and 8th grades in weekly choreography and improvisation class; professional guestartist workshops are introduced at the LMS campus (guest artists have included GDS alumni Billy Robinson ’04, Jake Esocoff ’04, Marissa Joseph ’07, Sophie Sotsky ’07, and Jason Campbell ’07 as well as members of professional dance companies, including Pilobolus, DTSBDC, Alex Rounds/Contact improvisation and Daniel Burkholder/The Playground); Jan becomes head of WAISDEA



An article on Jan is published in Bourgeon: Fifty Artists Write About Their Work


With Gratitude: GDS Retiring Faculty Jan Braumuller 37 years of Service

Mary Lou Berres 32 Years

Positions Held: Spanish Teacher,

Positions Held:

Faculty Sponsor of “Rainbow,” HS Gay-Straight Alliance “In addition to designing the original Spanish curriculum at the High School, Jan was a pioneer in the school’s efforts to promote the school’s affirmative stand for gay rights. As longtime advisor to the Rainbow Connection, Jan’s work in that realm continues today.” ~ Charles Psychos, retired GDS French teacher who served as Jan’s Department Head for 14 years

Karen Epstein 31 Years of Service

1983–1988 (LMS), 1992–2014 (HS)

Positions Held: Lower/

Middle School PE and Health Teacher; Middle School Athletic Director; Middle School Coach (Boys Soccer, Girls Soccer, Boys Basketball, Girls Basketball, Girls Softball, Boys Softball); High School Health and Physical Education Department Head; High School Coach (Girls Varsity Softball, Girls Varsity Basketball, Girls Varsity Tennis, Girls JV Volleyball and Soccer); All School Health and Wellness Program Planning Coordinator; HS Crisis Team Manager; HS Dean of Students; HS Assistant Principal “Karen has dedicated her career to GDS and making GDS a safe place for everyone who walks through the doors. It was a pleasure to share a storage closet with Karen as an office when she was the head of the PE department and during those years of working closely together, Karen shaped me as a teacher, coach, and administrator. I have always admired and looked up to Karen in those roles. I will not be the same nor will GDS be the same when Karen retires, I will miss and only wish her the best.” ~ Kathy Hudson, HS Athletic Director



Math Coordinator, 3rd and 4th grade math teacher and K and 1st grade math resource teacher, 2nd Grade Teacher, LS Substitute “Mary Lou is always one to put the needs of kids first and dive deeply into the subject matter. As a second grade and math teacher, Mary Lou has been thorough not just in the subject matter but also in how students learn. She is a woman of integrity.” ~ Gloria Runyon, GDS Interim Director of Diversity and former LS Principal

Louise Brennan 18 Years of Service Positions Held: English teacher; English department chair

“Louise has been a treasured friend and colleague over the years and a mentor to so many faculty members. Although we teach in different disciplines, I regularly seek her guidance and wisdom in how to address issues that arise in the classroom. She finds a way to connect with every student in her classroom, and the students in turn know that they have the support of a demanding but compassionate teacher.” ~ Andrew Lipps, HS Math Teacher

Vincent Rowe 14 Years of Service Positions Held: Director of

Enrollment Management and Financial Aid and Associate Director of Admissions “I have fourteen years of very special memories that I will always treasure. The Admissions team has always enjoyed working, talking, laughing, and “lunching” together. We will definitely miss Vincent and his great sense of humor.” ~ Elaine Scott, Director of Admissions, 9th through 12th Grade

MEET THE TRUSTEES Get to know two of our trustees.

GDS is fortunate to have a diverse, distinctive, and involved Board of Trustees working in partnership with our administration to support the GDS mission. Representing the interests of students and families, our Board has played an important part in strategic planning, school growth, and financial goal setting. We are grateful to every member of our Board. You can access bios for every Board member at

Michael Gottdenker

Joined the Board in 2008. Serves as President of the Board. When the Gottdenker family visited GDS in 2002, the first thing they noticed: smiling, happy kids. Add to that their attraction to GDS’s diverse environment and academic reputation, and they were sold, according to Board President Michael Gottdenker. Michael’s three children have been at GDS since kindergarten: Ellie, a sophomore; Noah, a freshman; and Olivia in fifth grade. And as their children have grown attending GDS, so has their love for the school. “As we have gotten to know GDS better, we have been so impressed with its commitment to creating tomorrow’s leaders by teaching our children how to engage across difference and self-advocate. These skills are what alumni talk the most about when reflecting on what a GDS education has meant to them,” says Michael. Now in his sixth year serving on the board and heading into his last as Board president, Michael says he has gotten more out of his service on the Board than he could ever give. “I have learned how to be a better father, manager/business executive, listener, and team member. I am so grateful to my fellow Trustees and to Russell for the opportunity to serve,” he said. Head of School Russell Shaw says the admiration is mutual: “Michael has been a remarkable leader for our Board. Not only is he passionate about our school and deeply committed to advancing our mission, he is especially committed to making GDS a financially sustainable institution, and his energy around this issue has been inspiring. He asks a tremendous amount of himself in his leadership role and as a result, inspires tremendous engagement and commitment in his fellow trustees.” Currently the Chairman and CEO of Hargray Communications, a cable/phone company based in Hilton Head, South Carolina, Michael’s career has included investment banking and executive positions at a number of telecommunications companies. In addition to his board service to GDS, he also served as a Trustee for Wilkes University and as the Chairman of the Young Presidents Organization Washington, DC chapter. He has a BA in Economics and Computer Science from Columbia College, and in his free time pursues his aviation hobby as a private pilot.

Cheryl Johnson

Joined the board in 2012; now serving second term. Serves as Chair of the Governance Committee; Buildings and Grounds Committee. Cheryl Johnson joined the board after her son Bradford ’12 who attended GDS grades K through 12, had graduated, and so she represents alumni parents on the GDS board. Now that her son is a sophomore at Duke University, Cheryl says she realizes that in addition to the enormous amount of time teachers devote to their current students, they are just as invested in their former students—and remain actively in contact with them. It’s not uncommon for her to be at GDS and have a teacher remark on a recent conversation with Bradford. Cheryl credits GDS’s supportive community as one of the reasons she decided to join the Board. She also admits that “empty nest syndrome” reminded her how important it is to keep in touch with family, and she considers GDS to be just that. “What I love most about GDS is that I was able to recreate the village that I grew up in, coming from a small town in the South. Yes, many of us at GDS are transient and are not from the Washington area. But being in the GDS community, we are able to create a village and a support system much like you would have if you were at home in a neighborhood with your own family,” says Cheryl. After serving 17 years on Capitol Hill, including 12 years as Education Counsel on the House Education and Workforce Committee, Cheryl now serves as a Senior Government Relations Associate at the Smithsonian Institution. She serves as the liaison between the Smithsonian and Congress, with primary responsibility for securing federal funding for the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Cheryl holds a BS in Journalism and Mass Communications from the University of Iowa and a JD from Howard University. Looking forward, Cheryl is excited that in the pursuit of academic excellence, GDS is committed to staying relevant in the 21st century as well as true to its mission.



Alumni Notes Pre-1972

Tributes to Pete Seeger in The Guardian included GDS alumnus Peter Crane’s early memories of the much loved folk musician. Peter and his brother John attended GDS from 1952 to 1955. “It was probably December of 1952, when I was six, that Pete Seeger, carrying a banjo, walked into my first grade classroom at Georgetown Day School in Washington, DC.” Crane also notes that Seeger’s visit to his classroom was during a time when much of the city was still segregated.


Jessica Bauman recently directed video productions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and MacBeth for “WordPlay Shakespeare,” an innovative new set of ebooks about Shakespeare. Available on iTunes, Jessica recommends these books for parents whose students are struggling to pull these plays off the pages. Santa Cruz-based singer/song writer Nick Gallant recently released his third album titled “Wanderlust” in early February 2014. Learn more about Nick’s music at


Holly Block was awarded Bennington College’s inaugural Dr. Elizabeth Coleman Visionary Leadership Award in February 2014. This new annual award recognizes a distinguished Bennington community member whose innovative and inspirational leadership has advanced civic and cultural life and improved the lives of others.


Folk-rocker Jessica Graae released her first full length CD, “Gypsy Blood,” in November 2013. Based out of Delaware and performing in Philadelphia and New York, she was nominated for WSTW’s Hometown Heroes’ Best Female Artist 2012 Homey Award. She is a winner of the 2013 Philadelphia Folk Factory People’s Choice award, a 2012 Delmarva Folk Hero contest finalist, and a solo artist in Wilmington’s 2012 and 2013 Ladybug Festivals. Follow her at


Matthew Solomon lives with his wife and two kids in Washington, DC. Matt’s daughter is a GDS first grader, and he is currently serving on the GDS Alumni Board. After working for the Justice Department for many years, Matt recently moved to the Securities and Exchange Commission, where he was named Chief Litigation Counsel.


Marshall Horowitz and his wife are in their second year living in Singapore. Their two children are enjoying life at the Singapore American School. 44


engineers for DC punk band Priests on an upcoming album.


Hugh McElroy is teaching all post-6th grade Latin classes at The Field School. He and his husband, Kevin, were married last year, and they also work as recording

Graeme Waitzkin is the Chief Operations Officer at Austin, Texasbased Reaction Housing, a producer of an Exo Housing System that creates portable, temporary homes for people displaced by natural disasters.


Andrea (Lebbin) Rubinfeld welcomed twins Claire and Trey to her family.


An investigative reporter for The New York Times, Andrea Elliott published a well-received five-part series “Invisible Child” on child homelessness in New York City. According to the paper, it is the largest investigative report they have run all at once.


Jamie Effros is the new voice of BMW commercials airing in the U.S. For more about his work and current projects, visit Matt Levine is the head of Editorial Planning & Strategy for Bloomberg Television. He directs news coverage, reporter assignments, and how Bloomberg approaches special events. He has worked on presidential election debates, a town hall with President Obama, and the 2012 Democratic Convention.


Jake Hirsch-Allen is a manager at Incentives for Global Health and is currently a partner at Functional Imperative, a software development company and Lighthouse Labs, a coding school. He is a lawyer with a background in foreign policy, international criminology, and intellectual property law. Danny Ornstein served as an executive producer of Veronica Mars starring Kristen Bell, which was released on March 14. As a fan-driven project, Danny worked with Warner Bros. to see this project come to life.


Brooklyn-based Nicole Lewis published Between A Silver Spoon and the Struggle: Reflections on the Intersections of Racism and Class Privilege in February 2014. The book is a collaboration with the organization Resource Generation, where she is a former staffer.


Michael Telis and AnnaRose McLaughlin King were married on January 4, 2014 in Brooklyn. Michael is in his final year at Georgetown Law School. In the fall of 2014, he will join the Manhattan law firm Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton as an associate.


Topher Toregas has been named to Morgan Stanley’s Pacesetter’s Club, a global recognition program for Financial Advisors who, within their first five years, demonstrate the highest professional standards and first-class client service. He is a Financial Planning Specialist in its Wealth Management office in New York City, a position he’s held since 2010.

and all the details, and we’ll make sure the GDS community knows how cool you are. Email


Jessica Arendal is in the first year of her residency at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia. She finished medical school in 2013 at Loyola University of Chicago. She is training to become an OB/GYN. Dan Bodansky is a talent manager at Dixon Talent, Inc., a boutique management company based in New York City that specializes in all aspects of entertainment including television, film, publishing, new media, live appearance, and commercials. At Dixon Talent, Dan works with clients that include Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel, Bill Simmons, Carson Daly, and Adam Carolla as well as a number of award winning writers, producers, directors and emerging talent. Dan, along with his wife Erica and their son Blake, live in New Jersey.

Please send us your news! Have a new job or volunteer position? Had a baby or adopted a new cat? Attend a meet-up with other alums? We want to know! Send photos

Petty Officer Ian Yaffe was selected as the 2013 Reserve Enlisted Person of the Year by Coast Guard Sector Northern New England. Ian is a Boatswain’s Mate in the Coast Guard Reserve and serves as a response-boat coxswain at Station Southwest Harbor, Maine.


Brian Fung is a technology reporter at The Washington Post, focusing on electronic privacy, national security, digital politics and the Internet that binds it all together. He was previously the technology correspondent for National Journal and an associate editor at The Atlantic.


Alex Muroyama is currently studying to get a doctoral degree in mechanical engineering at Georgia Tech. He was awarded a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship this past year.

A senior at MIT, Kirin Sinha was awarded a Marshall Scholarship along with three other MIT students and 34 college students across the country. The award supports two years of graduate study in the United Kingdom. Kirin is graduating this spring with a bachelor’s degree in theoretical math and electrical engineering and computer science, with a minor in music.


A sophomore at Duke University, Bradford Ellison is on the leadership team of the Black Men’s Union, a newly recognized student group by the Duke Student Government. Adam Gotbaum was nominated for Best Male Collegiate Solo in an a cappella song for Madness on the Tufts University Beelzebubs’ Helix album.


In his freshman season on the Middlebury College men’s soccer team, Adam Glaser was awarded the NESCAC Rookie of the Year Award. Middlebury called it an “impressive rookie season,” as he was tied for the league lead of nine goals including a hat trick at their September game against Colby. GEORGETOWN DAYS SPRING 2014


4530 MacArthur Boulevard, NW Wahington, DC 20007-4297 Address Service Requested

Georgetown Days // Spring 2014  
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