Parker Magazine Spring 2022

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Parker SPRING 2022


Parker Moment Grade 6 students compete in the Ikidarod along the shoreline between Tourmaline Beach and Mission Beach. The students, in advisory teams, complete the roughly four-mile race in stages. Each team pulls one of their peers, sitting in a sled, along the sandy beachfront.

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Head of School Message


ike so many within our Parker community, I choose to lead with optimism and positivity, even in the face of extraordinary challenges such as what we have navigated over the course of the past two years. Admittedly, my leadership and my attitude have been influenced by the likes of Ted Lasso. I have come to embrace that Parker was founded on a deep and profound belief in the power of positivity and the potency of optimism. This disposition toward optimism has been a part of the fabric of Parker since our inception. Colonel Francis Parker, our school’s namesake, spoke passionately about the importance of school being a place of zestful joy and overt optimism where children are nurtured in hope and goodwill; reminded daily that each has the power to live with vigor and wonder, with enthusiasm and elation. Indeed, all of us—parents, students, faculty, and staff—have undoubtedly experienced moments of disorientation and frustration, futility and fear, shaken not only by the pandemic but also by the current events of the world, particularly the suffering of war we’ve witnessed in Ukraine. As a parent, I often find myself reflecting on my own children, and how I can help preserve—and hopefully, strengthen—their sense of confidence and positivity as they navigate the complications and challenges of their generation. At Parker, we strive to equip our students with the attributes and attitudes that strengthen their resolve, allowing them to lean into nuanced conversations and topics with bravery and empathy, and to understand that true optimism is about visualizing the possibilities and engaging to help make them a reality. Within these pages, you will read stories of truth, of promise, and of optimism, along with living examples of being our best selves no matter what life may present. In our inclusive social studies curriculum work (page 6) and in Parker programs and clubs, like Lower School’s student council (page 10), we see collaboration, effective communication, and compassion come to life. And in true Parker fashion, we are reminded that these essential skills and qualities are not limited to the classroom; rather, they are fostered daily in all areas of the student experience, including on the basketball court or soccer field, where our coaches work to inspire resilience, teamwork, and leadership in every player (page 28). Finally, in this edition of Parker Magazine we highlight a group of Parker seniors who reflect on their discoveries about themselves and the world around them (page 22). They beautifully express the sense of excitement and readiness they will carry with them into college and beyond. At Parker, our students have embraced the truth that no matter where life takes them, and no matter what the future holds, they have the tools, knowledge, and support of the Parker community they need to find their way. In the words of Ted Lasso, they believe in believe. Be well,

Kevin Yaley, Ph.D. Head of School SPRING 2022 Parker Magazine


Contents Features



Parker creates a collaborative MLK mosaic mural to celebrate Day of Understanding and foster community building centered on inclusion and belonging.

Middle School faculty enrich their social studies curriculum.

Color Brave

Making Our Modern America


Young Changemakers

Lower School Student Council seeks to create change for the betterment of their peers and their school community while growing young leaders.


For the Love of Service

Parker students learn and grow from community engagement. 2

Parker Magazine SPRING 2022

Parker Magazine SPRING 2022

Francis Parker School

Kevin Yaley, Ph.D., Head of School

Columns 22

Inside Look


Alumni Profile



Lori Biggs ’94

Contributing Writers

Senior Reflection: A conversation with students from the Class of 2022.

Emma Horne, Class of 2023; Matthew Piechalak; Courtney Ranaudo

Copy Editors

Barb Fokos, Roxanne Holmes, Karen Thygerson

Parker honors Jeff Silberman ’75 with the Distinguished Alumni Award.


Go Lancers

Parker's female coaches speak up on the eve of the 50th anniversary of Title IX.




Community and Class Notes

Graphic Designer Karen Thygerson

Remembering former Head of Upper School Patrick Mitchell.

Highlights from around the School and the latest updates from the alumni community.

Our Mission

The mission of Francis Parker School is to create and inspire a diverse community of independent thinkers whose academic excellence, global perspective, and strength of character prepare them to make a meaningful difference in the world.

2021-2022 Board of Trustees

Susan Lester, Board Chair Diana Casey, Board Chair Elect Jeannette Aldous, M.D. Will Beamer ’89 Steve Bjorg Jing Bourgeois Carin Canale-Theakston Ana Chapman Randall Clark Estela de Llanos Kristie Diamond Graeme Gabriel

Dale Edwards, Rachel Galante, Matthew Piechalak, Courtney Ranaudo, Karen Thygerson

Marvin Gunn Robert Howard Erik Keskinen Ted Kim Samir Singh ’96 Kate Deely Smith Meghan Spieker Voltaire Sterling Kevin Yaley, Ph.D.

Non-Discrimination Statement

Francis Parker School is an inclusive community where diversity is welcomed and celebrated. We seek talented students, families, faculty, and staff from different backgrounds. The School does not discriminate on the basis of race, ethnicity, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, physical ability, creed, or national origin in the administration of its admissions, tuition assistance, employment determination, or other procedures or programs.

Inclusive Language Statement

Francis Parker School is committed to the use of inclusive language. This pledge extends to our communications. We practice the use of writing styles and language that are free from bias and sensitive to people’s abilities, disabilities, ethnic and racial designations, cultural differences, and gender identities. Parker Magazine is published three times each year by the Communications Office as a School community magazine. Address correspondence to:

On the Cover

A close-up view of the Color Brave collaborative mosaic created by the Parker community to celebrate the School’s Day of Understanding event on Feb. 17, 2022. Read more on page 16.

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“The whole School looks up to you, especially the younger grades, as someone they want to be like.” Laird Anderson, Class of 2029 p. 10

“Creating alongside others gives you new perspectives, constraints, and directions to approaching the work.” Paul Mericle, Middle and Upper School art teacher p. 16


“Teaching kids teaches me how to take pressure off of things.”

“He was a good man with a heart of gold who placed the interests of others before his own.” Dr. Bob Gillingham, former head of Lower School p. 34

Isabella Haack, Class of 2022 p. 14

“It’s not about us feeling guilty about a group of people 100 years ago doing something; it’s about elevating the voices of the people who weren’t allowed to have a voice in it.” Jeremy Howard, Middle School social studies teacher and Grade 8 dean p. 6


Parker Magazine SPRING 2022

Parker Moment Lower School students celebrate their unique cultural identities with their peers and parents during a special Language and Culture Week Flag Raising in the Gillingham Family Courtyard at the Mission Hills Campus. SPRING 2022 Parker Magazine




MAKING MODERN AMERICA: A Richer Telling of United States History By Courtney Ranaudo


n March 2020, Parker social studies teachers sat down in their home-office chairs, met on Zoom, and deliberated over how to best teach the most essential curriculum to their students within the constraints brought on by the pandemic. They referred to their department’s scope and sequence guides, detailed documents created by Parker faculty that lay out specific learning targets and outcomes for each class. (See sidebar, page 9.) As Grade 8 teachers culled through the U.S. History curriculum, they began to take note of some missing voices and perspectives. “We noticed, for instance, that the only female figure discussed during the American Revolution unit was Abigail Adams. That was it,” says Maggie Blyth, Grade 8 social studies teacher. There was also a trend of minority ethnic groups only having the most difficult parts of their stories told. For example, the majority of discussion involving Indigenous Peoples was around the Trail of Tears. The only time Chinese American history was highlighted was during a brief lesson on the Chinese Exclusion Act.


Parker Magazine SPRING 2022

“We needed to go deeper than just mentioning a group of people,” says Jeremy Howard, Grade 8 dean and social studies teacher. “And we wanted to see what happened when we started looking at them through a celebratory lens.” Once this philosophy was applied to the U.S. History curriculum, and new heroes and histories were added to the scope and sequence guide, faculty discovered a much richer telling of America’s story.

“It’s not about us feeling guilty about a group of people 100 years ago doing something;

it’s about elevating

the voices of the people who weren’t allowed to have a voice in it.”

This led to the change of the course name from “U.S. History” to “Making Our Modern America.” As the curriculum evolved, there was a significant shift away from memorization and regurgitation of facts and toward a re-envisioning of everything that makes America what it is today: the psychology, the sociology, the geography, and the culture of the many identities that have shaped our country. “When we look at the American Revolution unit,” notes Maggie, “We still talk about the Adamses, the Washingtons, and the Jeffersons. But now we incorporate the role that women played in the American Revolution, as well as the immigrant population, and people of color; all groups who were previously left out of the story. Which was so unfortunate, because without those people fighting and supporting the cause, the American Revolution would not have been successful.” This approach also helps students form stronger connections between the history of eras long passed and the current events and communities they are familiar with today. When reflecting on the Chinese American experience, for instance, lessons were added to the curriculum highlighting the large Chinese immigrant population that came to California during the Gold Rush and the significant ways in which Chinatowns have impacted large cities like San Francisco and even San Diego throughout the last century.

Faculty also added a post-Civil War unit to the curriculum, which allowed them to celebrate the tremendous cultural impacts made by the African American community. “The African American story is so much more than enslavement and redlining,” says Maggie. “Now we also look at the great migration, the Harlem Renaissance, and the impact these events had on music, art, and culture in America. There’s so much joy in those stories.”

A Students-First Approach The most significant impact this updated curriculum has on Parker students is the volume of windows (opportunities to see something new in someone else’s experience) and mirrors (opportunities to see oneself and one’s own experience portrayed) it provides. “We want to make sure that at some point, every child sitting in our classrooms can go, ‘Oh, cool, those people are like me, that’s like my family, that’s like my mom,’” says Maggie. “Whether it’s religion, race, ethnicity, or gender, it’s our task to ensure there’s a huge array of identities represented in the curriculum. It replicates the rich diversity of our country, and it’s our children that we’re trying to make feel known, because they are the center of all of this.” While representing every identity and background within the curriculum may seem like an impossible feat, Parker teachers have creatively risen to the challenge. “An important addition to our approach has been giving students more choice,” explains Jeremy. “We know there’s not enough time to do a deep dive on every immigrant group that’s come to the United States. So we give them things like choice boards, where we go out and try to find different identities that are representative of Parker. Students are given time to explore the choice board, so they can study a person or experience similar to their

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own identity or choose to learn about a new identity they’re unfamiliar with. Then, they start to make bigger connections, like how different cultural groups impacted one another, or major contributions from a group of people that can be seen today.”

The Good, the Bad, the Ugly, and Everything In-Between Recent national attention on U.S. History curriculum has led to concerns and questions about how schools and teachers contend with the more challenging parts of America’s history and if lessons are being taught to shame particular groups of students.

had in our society. There are tough decisions to be made at every level of governance, and there are tough decisions to be made in a person’s own life and household.” Jeremy notes that because Parker’s curriculum focuses on context within each lesson, students are well-practiced in asking questions instead of making rash judgments. “It’s easy to look back on history and say, ‘They should’ve done this, or shouldn’t have done that.’ But Parker students are always looking at what was going on at a point in time for certain decisions to be made.”

In many ways, Jeremy says, the more contentious parts of American history have similarities to what students will face in their real lives. “The beauty of social studies is that it prepares us for the difficult conversations that should be

“What we’re doing with this curriculum is simply looking at the fullest picture that we can provide,” Maggie continues. “That means discussing the good, the bad, the ugly, and everything in-between. It’s also elevating the people



Maggie and Jeremy directly address this issue with confidence, describing their own classrooms as spaces where students can ask questions and discuss difficult topics in developmentally appropriate ways.

Maggie points out the contradiction that arises when students are asked to think critically while also ignoring large parts of American history. “If you don’t know the truth behind these topics—and more importantly, if you don’t have a safe place to practice thinking about these things and to ask questions like, ‘Why did this happen?’—then you’re not being prepared to become an independent thinker.”




1740-1825: Irish-born mentor to Alexander Hamilton; saved the life of George Washington twice as a spy against the British. image: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

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CATHERINE SCHUYLER 1734-1803: Married to Philip Schuyler (“the General of the North” during the revolution); played a critical role in the war for America’s liberty. image: A Godchild of Washington: A Picture of the Past, F. Tennyson Neely / Wikimedia Commons

1896-1966: Chinese immigrant; influential member American suffrage movement as a teenager; would not have been able to vote due to the Chinese Exclusion Act. image: Bain News Service, publisher Library of Congress

A Launching Pad for All Faculty who historically have not been considered participants, even though many were actually the backbone of something significant within American history.” When it comes to students’ feelings of shame or guilt when learning about challenging or upsetting historical events, Parker faculty and advisors make sure to hold space for those emotions and redirect them toward proactive awareness. “I actually had this conversation in advisory the other day,” says Jeremy. “I told my students, ‘There’s no need to feel guilty about this, it’s not something that I’m accusing you of doing, or you’re accusing me of doing; it’s something that happened.’ It’s not about us feeling guilty about a group of people 100 years ago doing something; it’s about elevating the voices of the people who weren’t allowed to have a voice in it. We are learning from societal mistakes and historical errors, not this idea of ‘you are bad’—and the kids totally get that.”

Within each course’s scope and sequence guide is a roadmap for how the class will be taught. It includes specifics about the major themes of the course, what materials will be used, the content students will learn, and how they’ll be assessed. Every year, typically during professional development time, Parker faculty within a particular subject meet to update the content within their scope and sequence as needed. This year, Parker’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) team is working with Parker faculty in every subject to look at their curriculum through a similar lens as Grade 8 U.S. History. Using an Anti-Bias/Anti-Racist (ABAR) rubric, Parker faculty are now taking inventory of their own scope and sequence guides, ensuring the voices, experiences, history, and contributions of multiple identities—particularly Black and Indigenous people of color (BIPOC)—are ubiquitous. By the end of the 2021-2022 school year, each course will have completed the ABAR audit. “When all subjects are identifying and addressing gaps and silences of BIPOC experiences, we honor the experiences represented in the Parker community, and help our students feel a true sense of belonging,” says Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging Christen Tedrow-Harrison.


BENJAMIN O. DAVIS, SR. 1880-1970: First Black general in the American military; served for more than 50 years; professor of military science at Tuskegee and Wilberforce University and special assistant to the Secretary of the Army. image: National Archives and Records Administration

BESSIE COLEMAN 1892-1926: First licensed Black pilot in the world; paved the way for a new generation of diverse fliers like the Tuskegee airmen, Blackbirds, and Flying Hobos. image: Wikimedia Commons

1958-: First enrolled member of a Native American tribe to fly in space; brought the Chickasaw nation flag and cultural artifacts on his first mission to the International Space Station. image: NASA

SYLVIA MENDEZ 1936-: Became the first Mexican-American to go to an all-white school in California in third grade; parents sued in 1947 landmark case, successfully desegregating all public schools in California. image: US Department of Agriculture

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A Change

S Makers



BY MATTHEW PIECHALAK “Do any little people need a big buddy?” advisor Karishma Sinnott calls out to members of the Lower School Student Council as they gather on the steps of the Szekely Auditorium. Several tiny hands shoot up into the air. Older members of the council—in Grades 3 to 5—seek out those asking for help and sit beside them. All students present are equipped with a notepad and a writing utensil, eager to be an invaluable part of this democratic process of student government. It’s their job to create positive change for their peers, their school, their community, and themselves—a role each student takes very seriously. “You have leadership on your shoulders,” says Poppy Namazy, Grade 5, who currently serves as the council’s co-president along with fellow Grade 5 student Sophia Del Gaizo. “You get to know other students and it feels like you’re really important because everyone looks up to you,” continues Poppy.



“The goals of the student council are to keep the traditions of the Lower School alive, to make sure every student has a voice, and to serve the community,” says Karishma. “My first job is to listen to them—to hear what they need and want.” The council is composed of 30 students—two representatives from each class from Grade 1 through Grade 5. The council is elected each trimester, meaning that in one school year, 90 students—roughly a third of the student body at the School’s Mission Hills Campus—are active members. 10 Parker Magazine SPRING 2022

“We encourage students to share their voice and teach them to provide thoughtful solutions when something isn’t going well,” says Heather Gray, the Dr. Robert Gillingham Head of Lower School. “Student council helps students see the fruits of their efforts and improve their community.” Each Tuesday, the council meets before school in the Gillingham Family Courtyard to discuss the important business that affects all those attending Lower School. On the agenda today is voting on T-shirt designs for Language and Culture Week. But first, they welcome a special guest—a peer interested in enlisting the council to help collect donated toys and books. As the young student quietly communicates her idea, the council members jot down copious notes. When she is done, they thank her with a round of applause and set about the work of brainstorming ideas to fulfill her request. On a giant board, Karishma captures their ideas. Though all ideas are considered, the council understands it is their job to determine the feasibility of each, and ultimately narrow them down to those that will be presented for approval. “If it stays on the board, it’s a ‘maybe’,” she explains. “But then I always tell them it has to be approved by Mrs. Gray.” The young changemakers are eager to affect their world in positive ways. Common requests include breakfast and lunch menu alterations, special dress down days, recycling Expo markers, and starting a compost bin. The requests all have one thing in common: they are grounded in an understanding of the democratic process. “Their asks aren’t extravagant at all,” Karishma says. “They don’t come and ask for a zillion dress down days. Everything they ask for is fair—and they only ask that which the whole class wants.” SPRING 2022 Parker Magazine 11




At each meeting, the Grade 1 and 2 representatives speak first. Along with the buddy system of note taking, it’s a way to ensure that all voices are heard equally. According to Karishma, it’s also a way to help grow agency in the youngest members. “It’s nice because the little kids don’t feel like they are struggling,” she says. At the conclusion of every meeting, members in Grades 4 and 5 visit the Junior Kindergarten and Senior Kindergarten classes to report on their agenda and to field questions and concerns from the youngest students on campus. Quite literally, every Lower School student is a part of the ongoing process for change.

“It’s a very big leadership opportunity,” say Amani Solorio and Laird Anderson, both Grade 5 students who served as first trimester co-presidents. “Our job was to report to classrooms to tell them what was going on in the School, but also to share our ideas and hear theirs,” says Amani. “You feel that you are in charge of everyone having a voice,” adds Laird. “We want JK and SK to be heard,” Karishma says. “Whatever they desire, the members bring it back to me.” It doesn’t always yield results—one JK class who felt their classroom was too big was not able to move to a smaller room—but the kids learn and come to understand that their voice matters. Additionally, it instills a sense of wonder about student council and gets the kids excited to run for it when they reach Grade 1. “The whole School looks up to you, especially the younger grades, as someone they want to be like,” says Laird.

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This year, the council changed the way they hold elections to make it a much more equitable process. Previously, it was a traditional election where the top two vote getters would be elected. This left many students who weren’t chosen too disheartened to run again. “Last year, I had emails from children telling me that they had tried so many times to get on student council and they were never elected,” Karishma explains. “Everyone who runs deserves to be on the student council.” Lower School Culturally Responsive Reading Specialist Rebecca Bellingham recommended a Malcolm Gladwell podcast on student elections. It inspired a change in approach: there would still be a traditional vote where each candidate had the opportunity to give a speech and the top vote-getter would be elected, but from there, every other candidate would get their name put

into a hat, and an additional candidate from every class would be elected by a random draw. “We don’t tell them which was picked by popular demand and which was picked out of a hat,” Karishma says, adding that it has created more interest and more confidence among the student body. “It’s been the best change we’ve made to the council, ever. It’s a new Parker tradition.” She recalls one student in particular, a shy girl who was initially reluctant to run, who was “transformed” when she was elected. “She came up here and her confidence bloomed.” Sophia can relate. She explains how scary public speaking seemed to her prior to being elected co-president, a role in which she must not only talk during council meetings, but also during weekly Flag Raising events. “I learned it’s better to mess up and try in front of people that we know than to never do it and have to do it one day in front of strangers,” Sophia says.

“When you learn something new and then it comes up again in your life, you will already know how to do it and it will feel natural,” adds Poppy. The election changes have been inspiring, says Heather. “We want to tell our students that their voice matters; that any one of them is worthy of being on the council. It is our hope that we are shifting toward a system that honors the hard work and determination of our young friends, while recognizing that democracy hasn’t lost its place at Parker.”

ADVOCATES FOR CHANGE Each school year, the council strives to execute at least one service project, one community project, and a variety of smaller projects intent on creating positive change. This year, they have been able to get approval for one carb snack at lunch per week, the installation of two new water fountains, and have created “thank you” posters for faculty, staff, and parents.

But it is their donation drives, which have extended into partnerships with other divisions and departments at Parker, that are truly inspiring. Last fall, the council was instrumental in organizing a drive to support Afghan refugee families arriving in Southern California. Together with students from across divisions and Director of Community Engagement Kevin Dunn, the students arranged the collection of clothing, toys, household supplies, decor, and furniture to furnish apartments for families recently airlifted to safety. Moving forward, the council plans to work with Kevin on one school-wide service learning project per trimester. It’s precisely this kind of change that has the council moving enthusiastically forward while growing young leaders. “It has been inspiring to watch the agency students develop when they join the student council,” Karishma says. “They have a lot of power, and their little ideas grow very big wings.”

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for the love of

Service Parker students learn and grow from community engagement By Emma Horne, Class of 2023

iscussing favorite artists, twirling around to the Frozen soundtrack, and trying out an Irish jig for the first time are just some of the fond memories that Alena Callahan and Isabella Haack have collected during their time teaching virtual dance classes. For them, these classes are a way to connect with people with whom they might otherwise have nothing in common.


Alena and Isabella, both Class of 2022, are the co-founders of Distant Dancers, a community service project run through Parker’s branch of the National Honor Society (NHS). Distant Dancers was founded during the COVID-19 pandemic and aims to make dance accessible to diverse communities. Alena, Isabella, and a few other Parker students who are part of the service project lead virtual dance classes via Zoom. Distant Dancers has partnered with various organizations—including the Monarch School, the Nazareth House, and Sensory Friendly San Diego—to share their love of dance with people all over San Diego, regardless of financial status, age, or ability. Distant Dancers is only one of the many student-led projects Parker students have created to combine their personal interests with service work. The NHS, a nationwide organization grounded in scholarship and service, encourages students to devote themselves to a cause of their choosing and share their passions with others. With Parker’s Community 14 Parker Magazine SPRING 2022

Engagement Program becoming more project focused, the School has seen a significant increase in NHS participants this year, with more than 140 students currently registered. Many students choose to partake in service organizations like the NHS and the California Scholarship Federation— both of which recognize students for their academic endeavors in conjunction with their service work. Community engagement is crucial for students to build awareness and develop empathy for people of diverse circumstances. “I think it would be a crime to send students out into the world without knowing what’s going on around them,” says Parker’s Director of Community Engagement Kevin Dunn. Parallel to Parker’s principles rooted in progressive education, community engagement work is designed to be supplemental to learning that takes place inside the classroom. “If done correctly, these experiences [of community service] are all a part of the greater learning that goes on at our school,” says Kevin. Jenna Kim, Class of 2022, partnered with San Diego Refugee Tutoring (SDRT) on the NHS project she leads. Last year, Jenna’s team worked with SDRT to create fun lessons for and make crafts with refugee students in San Diego. Since then, the project has shifted to aid SDRT’s distribution events, including food drives around the holidays. Working with SDRT has helped Jenna

develop empathy by learning about the plight of refugee populations arriving in San Diego. “Working with San Diego Refugee Tutoring, I was able to learn more about who [the refugees] are [as individuals],” says Jenna. “I [was] able to grow from their stories and learn from their first-hand experiences.” Service projects, such as the ones created through the NHS, allow students to gauge the impact they have on other people’s lives in a tangible way. Adam Tobin-Williams, Class of 2022, is one of the project leaders for Parker’s work with Computers 2 Kids, a San Diego organization based in Miramar that works to refurbish computers and increase people’s access to technology. Adam has had the opportunity to see the computers he restored donated to individuals.

“[Middle School Robotics] was always about giving back,” says Kaia. “The robotics community made such a big impact on me, who I am as a person, and what I’m looking to do in my future. I wanted to make sure that I helped foster that same love for robotics in the [Middle School] kids.” While the NHS requires students to complete at least 15 hours of service per year, most students in Kaia’s project contributed upwards of 40 hours. Kaia herself estimates dedicating more than 100 hours to mentoring Middle School robotics students. Through her years in the program, Kaia has watched her mentees grow up and graduate to the Upper School robotics team. Especially rewarding for her was the opportunity to mentor younger girls and foster a space where they could be comfortable in a traditionally maledominated environment.

“It’s really inspiring to see. We are making a real difference in our community,” says Adam. “It’s helpful to see why we’re doing community service—it’s more than just the requirement for NHS or for school.”

“It’s so nice to see these girls grow up,” says Kaia. “I was on an all-girls team, and it was a really empowering experience for me because it was the first time I was in a STEM space where I was surrounded by other girls. I helped mentor that team over many years and now that group is made of freshmen [who are on the Upper School robotics team.]”

While the concept of community engagement can seem daunting, oftentimes the most meaningful experiences arise from simply connecting with others and having fun together.

Giving back to others is a rewarding and enlightening experience for many. Beyond teaching dance to kids, founding Distant Dancers has taught Isabella some

We are making a real difference in our community.

Although it might not be earth-shattering, giving someone else a reason to smile brings joy that can build up over time and create lasting learning opportunities.

important lessons. Working with kids has allowed her to appreciate the simple joys of dancing and to understand that it is acceptable to do something for oneself.

“We were teaching a class [where this] little boy was crying,” says Alena. “We asked what his favorite song was, and then we started dancing to his favorite song. By the end [of the class] he was happy and smiling. Connecting with students and changing their day makes it worth it. Maybe it’s not on a grand scale, but things that are smaller and more meaningful hit home with us.”

“Teaching kids teaches me how to take pressure off of things,” she says, referencing how many people in her generation—specifically within the environment at Parker— tend to put undue stress on themselves.

Community service provides students an outlet to give back to their communities. Kaia Lee-Guest is the leader of Middle School Robotics—an NHS project in which Upper School students mentor Middle School robotics students.

From teaching dance classes to refurbishing computers, there are endless opportunities to make a difference in our community. Parker students have harnessed their privilege and their passions to give back to others; in turn they have gained meaningful experiences and a greater sense of empathy for our San Diego community and beyond.

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Color Brave Parker collaborates to create MLK mosaic mural Photos and story by Matthew Piechalak

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Parker art teacher Paul Mericle, who spearheaded the project along with Associate Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging for Middle and Upper School Valissa Thomas. “Seeing that pride in ownership of the work is just amazing.”


part, they are miscellaneously shaped wood blocks. When combined, they create a vibrant mosaic mural of Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. and tell an important story about representation and the spirit of collaboration at Francis Parker School. The mural, which stands eight feet tall and eight feet wide, was unveiled to the School community at the conclusion of Parker’s Upper School Day of Understanding on Feb. 17, 2022. The artwork is comprised of roughly 1,300 wood tiles painted by faculty, staff, and students on the Linda Vista 18 Parker Magazine SPRING 2022

Campus. It was the end product of the Color Brave Mural Project, a series of Advisory lessons taught to Middle and Upper School students during Black History Month. Being “Color Brave” means engaging in candid conversations about race in a way that helps participants better understand each others’ perspectives and experiences and builds a community centered on inclusion and belonging. “It has been heartwarming to see students walk by the project and say, ‘Hey, that’s my piece,’” says

The goal of the project was to celebrate and acknowledge thought leaders who have made influential and positive impacts on society, while also serving the needs of those who are underrepresented and underserved, explains Valissa. “As students journey through Middle and Upper School, this program will meet our community values of ‘Strength of Character’ and ‘Inclusive Community,’” Valissa says. “Additionally, DEIB work should be collaborative and innovative, so this project aligned with our work for cocurricular programming.” After learning about the historical significance of Dr. King and the Civil Rights Act of 1964, each student reviewed a color psychology chart and was asked to choose one color that

best represented their unique identity. They then chose a single block of wood on which they painted their color. From there, the pieces were plotted out, arranged, and stacked to create the final artwork. The project was an authentic, real-life example of the power of collaboration. “I love collaborating on projects,” says Paul, who has worked on public art before, but never with this large of a group of people. “Creating alongside others gives you new perspectives, constraints, and directions when approaching the work. This truly was a massive group effort, and I think the results are something we should all be proud of.” “True innovation can come from collaboration between the arts and other programs,” says Valissa. “Creating a Grade 6 to 12 project where students can see themselves and reflect is what educational experiences are all about.”

photo 2Karen2Thygerson

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Parker Moment Zeus McClurkin, of the Harlem Globetrotters, watches as two Middle School students spin a basketball on the tip of a pen in the Field House. Zeus, who holds the Guinness World Records® record for most dunks in a minute (16), spoke to the students about bullying and the power of a smile, and called up volunteers to play basketball-related games.

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Senior Reflection A conversation with Parker students PHOTOS BY COURTNEY RANAUDO

Upper School teacher and Grade 12 Dean Paul Esch sat down with five members of Parker’s Class of 2022—Luke Krongard, Lucy Loughridge, John Valverde, Jayna Wadhwa, and Delaney Wilson—to talk about their senior year experiences, plans for the future, and what it was like attending high school at Parker during the COVID-19 pandemic. (This conversation was edited for space and clarity.) Mr. Esch: What has it been like to be a high school student during a pandemic? John: When the pandemic first started and we were all online, for me personally, it was difficult because it was so different from the everyday life I was used to. So I really appreciated that Parker started last year with the hybrid model, even if it was in those cohorts and smaller groups. Even though I had my family, not getting to be around anyone my age was tough. Just getting to be back around students in-person and talk about—it sounds ridiculous, but—TikTok or YouTube or TV shows people were watching, all of those things made such a difference. We need humans, especially our peers, to validate our emotions and our experiences. So I appreciated that Parker let us come on campus and connect with our friends and teachers.

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Delaney: Yeah, the beginning of the pandemic wasn’t fun. I guess selfishly, despite all of the terrible things people were experiencing because of COVID, I couldn’t help but feel like I was missing out on a high school experience. I didn’t get to play a junior year of volleyball almost all season, I didn’t get a winter formal or get to go to football games. I couldn’t have any of my friends or family cheer me on in the stands. But in many ways, I also felt lucky. I had a lot of people come in from my cohort every day. And my teachers eventually found a way to do things like hands-on labs in bio, which was really fun. We got to dissect sheep hearts, which I never would’ve thought I would be able to do during a virtual school year. I’m thankful for Parker teachers who made the best out of a difficult situation. Luke: I had an experience pretty similar to Delaney’s where a lot of people came in from my cohort; and I’ll be honest, at the start of the year, I didn’t have any close friends within my cohort, so I was a little disappointed. But I think one of the nice things was that everyone was very enthusiastic who did come in. They wanted to retain some aspect or some level of normalcy, and so I became friends with people in my cohort who, I think otherwise, I probably wouldn’t have had classes with or been close friends with. And so that was definitely one positive thing. I can’t stress enough how important it was that Parker was open in person so much earlier. I was always super grateful to be going here because even our peer schools did not have the same level of openness that we did. That made such a huge difference for me.

John: Something sort of unexpected is that we’ve actually had higher attendance at school events now that we are allowed to open up more. I think it is because of that isolation everyone experienced. Our last dance had the highest attendance ever, at least in my four years, and it sounded like it was breaking all the records. Mr. Esch: It did break the record. More than 500 students, and I think 75 off-campus guests attended. John: And I think really the main reason for that is because we were locked inside and so many people were missing that social interaction. I think that’s an unintended, positive consequence of the pandemic. Mr. Esch: Yeah, oddly enough, it’s like we kicked school spirit back into gear. Jayna: It really comes down to not wanting to take things for granted, because occasionally I used to be like, “Oh yeah, sure. I’ll miss that school dance,” because I didn’t really feel like going. When I barely saw anyone my senior year, I just realized, “I’m not going to miss out on anything.”

Delaney: All of my teachers last year were absolutely fantastic, whether they were 100 percent online or in person. I don’t think I would’ve wanted to come to school every day if I didn’t have such engaging teachers. I have so much gratitude and respect for them. Luke: I went into it expecting the quality of instruction to go down; and it wouldn’t be the teachers' fault, but just the nature of having half as many classes and having them online. But honestly, I felt very prepared, even in the AP classes. The online resources the teachers provided were pretty incredible. They had several videos for each topic that you could watch, and they were super responsive to emails. Just thinking of the enormous amount of work it takes to basically rewrite a curriculum in almost no time … and I still felt prepared for every tough test and assignment. Many of the teachers who I’m closest with today, I started with them in their online class. That’s how seriously they took the curriculum and staying connected to their students. Mr. Esch: Speaking of feeling prepared, how do you hope to take what you’ve learned through this into adulthood to make a positive impact in your community and the world?

Mr. Esch: Let’s look at the teachers’ side. If you could give your teachers an affirmation or a message about the work they’ve done over the last two years, what would it be?

John: What I love about Parker is this idea of educating a Renaissance person who doesn’t necessarily specialize in one area, but broadens their perspective to many topics, and finds the connections between them. And that’s how I hope to help my community: by diving into different interests and topics and being willing to see issues from different perspectives.

Jayna: Teachers are probably the strongest people I’ve ever met. Mr. Esch, I was in your class over the pandemic. When we came back in hybrid, having some people online and some people in person must’ve been so difficult to deal with because it’s two very different styles of teaching that have to happen simultaneously. I think all the teachers did a fantastic job, and I’m so grateful for all the work that they’ve done to make being in the classroom a reality for students.

Jayna: I couldn’t agree more. I would say well-roundedness is one of the most valuable things I learned from Parker that’s going to help me make a meaningful difference in the future. I know pretty solidly that I want to do engineering—I’m a STEM person—but that doesn’t mean that I should abandon the humanities classes in college. Because when you think about it, every single discipline has other interdisciplinary effects that work alongside it. Like with science, specifically engineering, you’ll make a more meaningful impact when you can fully grasp the ethics of that topic.





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Lucy: One of the most valuable lessons that I’ve learned at Parker is how to network and communicate. I know I’m able to handle conversations, regardless of how difficult or awkward they may be. And I’m confident in asking questions or searching for the right person to answer my questions. Which I hope will be valuable skills to have regardless of where I’m at in life. Luke: It’s difficult in high school to figure out what path you want to take, but I think Parker has made me aware of what paths are available to me. In terms of making a difference, students—myself included—have maybe joked about things like Life Skills in advisory. Now that I’m getting close to graduation and have started to reflect on these things, I’ve realized how important it is to be aware of issues, especially if they don’t impact you personally. It’s made me aware of things that I had no idea about and that I now deeply care about. I hope I carry all of that with me into the future. Delaney: I’m going to be fully honest: I really have no idea which college path I’m going to take at this moment. But I feel fully equipped that when I do figure it out, I have all of the tools I need. Most importantly, I also know that if I need help, I can 100 percent reach back to my connections, teachers, and friends at Parker. I really believe I can achieve almost anything I set my mind to because I always have people to support me when I need it. Mr. Esch: Is there anything that you want adults to know about your generation? Jayna: One thing everyone knows about is our dependence on technology, social media platforms, the internet, et cetera. I know a lot of older generations tend to think of that as a negative thing, but I think there are also a lot of positives in it. During the last two years of the pandemic, the internet and social media platforms were how we were all able to connect with one another. And while the world as a whole may be overly dependent on social media, I think our generation is really well equipped to deal with the challenges of it moving forward. So as we enter the workforce, as we enter college spaces and classes, we’re going to have this deep knowledge of technology that I think will serve us really, really well.

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Mr. Esch: What you said just brought up a memory. When the pandemic hit and we all had to stay at home, all the adults were like, “What do we do?!” And then you, Jayna, developed a spreadsheet that converted everyone’s regular schedule into a new daily virtual schedule. It was amazing. It was one the coolest things I’ve ever seen. Delaney: I hope that older generations understand that our generation isn’t lazy, we’re just doing work in ways people have never seen done before. We might be utilizing technology in ways that feel foreign, but it’s how we’ve learned to get things done. Lucy: I agree. Every generation has dealt with adversity, so to think that our generation is more resilient than others, I don’t necessarily agree with that. One thing that defines our generation, though, is the sense of urgency. There’s the pandemic, political division, and climate change all right here on our doorstep. Sometimes it feels like it’s less of a matter of our generation being up to the challenge and more that we just don’t have a choice at this point. Luke: One thing I think will benefit us is that Gen Z-ers tend to be open-minded in a positive way. Previous generations tended to shy away from, for example, mental health, whereas we are generally open to asking questions and discussing tough topics. Alongside the pandemic, mental health became one of those things that people started to talk more about. And I think there are a lot of people our parents’ age who, when they hear their children talking openly about mental health, tend to get a little apprehensive. I hope they start to see it as a positive change: more people being able to share their experiences will help us all to reflect on our own lives and relationships.

Parker Moment Seniors and their kinder buddies come together on Lancer Lawn for the senior-kinder kite-flying event. This timehonored Parker tradition returned in person this year for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic. SPRING 2022 Parker Magazine 25


Distinguished Alumni Award

Parker honors Jeff Silberman ’75 as the fourth award recipient The Francis Parker School presents the Distinguished Alumni Award to an alumnus/a who embodies the ideals of intellect, initiative, leadership, and social responsibility, which are the very essence of a Parker education. This person has demonstrated remarkable leadership in their field of endeavor, attained local and/or national recognition, and has made an outstanding contribution to the country, community, or School. Jeff Silberman ’75 is the fourth recipient of the School’s Distinguished Alumni Award since its inception in 1997. In 2020, a group of his alumni peers unanimously voted for Jeff as the next honoree. At this year's Commencement ceremony on June 4, he will be presented with the award and speak to the Class of 2022. Jeff is a Lancer, through and through. He epitomizes Parker pride and spirit. Over the last five decades, Jeff has been a Parker student, athlete, parent, volunteer, committee member, board of trustees member, board chair, leadership donor, campaign co-chair, and Legacy Club member. In addition to his service to Parker, he continues to make outstanding contributions to the San Diego community. Jeff is currently the board chair of the UC San Diego Foundation, and he was previously the board chair of the Jewish Community Foundation of San Diego and the president of the board of Congregation Beth Israel. In 2014, he was awarded Beth Israel’s Carl M. Esenoff Memorial Award for extraordinary community service. Jeff currently serves on the board and is president of Seacrest Holdings Corp., and he is also on the board of the National Conflict Resolution Center. For nearly 20 years, Jeff has demonstrated remarkable leadership as president and CEO of Carleton Management, Inc., a real estate investment, management, and development business focused on enhancing and building thoughtful development communities in San Diego. Jeff was previously affiliated as a business lawyer with the San Diego law firm of Solomon Ward Seidenwurm & Smith, LLP. He joined the firm in 1986, became a partner in 1989, and became its youngest managing partner in 2000, a position he held for three years. Jeff graduated with honors from the University of California, Berkeley. He earned his law degree from the University of California, Los Angeles, where he was a member of the UCLA-Alaska law review. Jeff is also a graduate of The Wexner Heritage Foundation leadership program. Jeff joins the esteemed group of past Distinguished Alumni Award recipients, including Amb. Ted Gildred, Jr. ’50; Ethel Mintzer Lichtman ’40; and Louisa Hanson Marshall ’26. 26 Parker Magazine SPRING 2022

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Playing for Keeps

How Parker's female coaches maintain Title IX momentum BY COURTNEY RANAUDO

On June 23, 1972, President Richard Nixon signed into effect a federal civil rights law stating the following: “No person in the United States shall, based on sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” Title IX, a follow-up to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, was a seminal moment in the rise of female athletics. On the eve of its 50th anniversary, we spoke with some of Parker's female coaches to learn about their experiences as athletes, the importance of female representation, and their hopes for the future of women’s sports. (Answers have been edited for space and clarity.)


Parker Surfing Coach and Lower School Physical Education Teacher; former Soccer player at Texas A&M University

We competed in our conference but had to drive vans to all of our games, instead of flying like the other fully-funded teams. I remember one week when I only attended classes on Wednesday because the other days were spent traveling to and from weekend games. The next year, we started to receive some basic benefits like early registration for classes, eating in the athletic dining hall, and working out in the athletic training facility with trainers. It was a nice improvement, but we still traveled by vans and had to buy our own food while traveling.

In 2019, my teammates and I received word that the school was finally recognizing us for playing Division I varsity soccer and awarding us our place in the lettermen's association. They had a ceremony for us, presented us our jackets, and showed us the new women's soccer facilities. At the game the next day, we were called onto the field and thanked for our contribution. That really made all of those hard times and extra efforts worth it! Why do you coach? I coach because I love sports—any and all of them. I love being physical. Playing on sport teams since I was six years old helped develop my character and personality. I competed in swimming, tennis, soccer, and surfing. Sports bring me joy and I hope to help others discover that joy.


What was your experience as a female college athlete? In 1990, I walked onto the team my junior year after playing club soccer. We competed in Division I, but had no scholarships, recruiting, or true benefits like the other varsity teams. We spoke to the president of the school and went about peacefully and respectfully promoting team equality.

During my last year, Texas A&M finally made women's soccer a fullyfunded Division I varsity program. We were so happy that we were a part of paving that path.

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Parker Softball Coach and Middle School Science Teacher; former Softball player at University of California, Riverside What was your experience as a female college athlete? Many of my teammates and I didn’t feel fully supported by my coaching staff, so my experience wasn’t ideal. It was hard to build strong team bonds because of the lack of leadership.


Did you or your team experience inequalities? As I recall, the Athletic Director at UC Irvine put in a lot of effort to make sure athletes of all genders had equal access to nutritionists, weight room coaches, and quality coaches. Why do you coach? After my college experience, I lost my passion for softball and took a break for five years. After a lot of reflection, I realized I loved softball but was affected by poor coaching. I didn’t want that to happen to any young athlete. Coaching was my way of making a positive impact on the sport. Softball is the best game, and every game provides an opportunity to celebrate an accomplishment. I make sure to end practices with celebrations and to encourage all of the athletes. I coach to help as many students as possible understand that softball is the greatest sport in the world and is a life-long skill. What does representation mean to you as a female coach at Parker? Representation means seeing athletes of all colors and body types on the field. I love that we get to play lots of different teams around the county. It's so important for our girls to see strong women on the field.

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Parker Basketball Coach and Middle School Physical Education Teacher; former Basketball player at San Diego State University What was your experience as a female college athlete? Overall, I’d say it was positive. When I was at SDSU, we had one of the winningest records in the school’s history—we were Mountain West Champions two years in a row, and my sophomore season, we went to the Sweet 16 for regional playoffs. Did we have certain barriers we faced as a women’s team? Sure. Sometimes we’d have issues getting ahold of equipment we needed. But I’d say the most obvious difference between us and the men's team was disparity in the number of fans at games and publicity of awards. Our success was equal to the men’s team—both teams earned player of the year and coach of the year awards—but we didn’t see the immediate fruits of our labor like the men’s team did.



Parker Lacrosse Coach, Middle School Physical Education Teacher and Department Chair; former Lacrosse player at Lafayette College; former Lacrosse and Soccer player at Wells College

What was your experience as a female college athlete? I had a uniquely well-rounded experience playing college sports, given that I transferred from a Division I to a Division III school in my junior year. I loved the highly-competitive,

COURTNEY Why do you coach? I coach to make sure we’re using sports as a tool and platform for our female studentathletes to develop character, leadership, and self-esteem. Young women tend to drop out of sports at an earlier age than men do for so many reasons: equity, gender roles, or even the fact that there aren’t enough women that coach. So it’s really important to me that I help prepare them to find success in their future lives, both on and off of the court.

What is the future of women's sports? That’s tough. I’m excited and I have some concerns. Some of the newer things going on in college athletics, like the [NCAA] transfer portal and [student-athletes receiving financial compensation for their] NIL (name, image, and likeness), have positives and negatives. It’s a great thing for students to leverage their talent and reap rewards from their hard work. That being said, I feel like many athletes will overinvest their time and resources into building a marketing platform for themselves when college should be a time for students to also build skills outside of their sport. I hope with the experience I have, I’ll be able to help guide my student-athletes and their families toward the bigger picture: developing children into positive, contributing, impactful adults.

demanding, and intensive atmosphere playing Division I, but I surprisingly found that playing Division III sports was a better overall fit for me. At the Division III level, I was able to play two competitive college sports while having a wellrounded college experience. At that time, there was not an opportunity to play women’s lacrosse at the professional level. So my time at Wells College offered me the college athletic experience I was looking for while also allowing me room to get involved in pursuits off the field. Why do you coach? Sports are an avenue for shaping your character and helping you become the best version of yourself. I am passionate about developing strong, supportive, communicative, and team-oriented young women who are able to be successful and resilient on and off the field because of the experiences they had on my team.

Growing and fostering camaraderie among women is invigorating. In my personal and professional experience, there are few greater joys than working hard to achieve your goals alongside your teammates and sharing a strong sense of camaraderie. Creating this experience for young women through lacrosse—a fast-paced and strategic game that I love—fuels me. How has Title IX helped grow women’s sports? Title IX has been integral in breaking a generations-long pattern of inequality for girls and women in sports. It has provided a protected avenue for women’s sports to strengthen in numbers, culture, and reputation. Female athletes are stronger physically and mentally today because of Title IX. Additionally, it has allowed women to hold more prominent roles in coaching and athletics leadership. SPRING 2022 Parker Magazine 31


Parker Volleyball Coach and Athletics Administrative Assistant; former Volleyball player at the University of Texas at Austin


What was your experience as a female college athlete? Empowering and the best time of my life! We were competing for a National Championship so I was playing and competing at the highest level every day. I grew up a lot, as there was also the expectation to “take care of your business” academically, athletically, and personally. So if you needed help, all you had to do was ask. To this day, my teammates are some of my best friends and we talk almost every day... they know me so well and they always have my back. Did you or your team experience inequalities? We had what we needed to be successful—we won the 1988 National Championship. However, during my last season the team got access to the football team's lunchtime training table, which was definitely welcomed, to make sure we all had a good meal before practice. Before that, if you lived off-campus, you were on your own for all your meals, so most of us did not always have the most nutritious food. How has Title IX helped grow women’s sports? Title IX is a legal stance for schools to unapologetically increase funding for and think about their allocation of resources to women's sports. It's about equal access and opportunity. Title IX opens people's eyes and allows them to have a voice and work toward continued equity.

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Parker Soccer Coach, Middle School Physical Education Teacher, and Upper School Admissions Associate; former Soccer player at the University of California, Irvine



What was your experience as a female college athlete? I loved being a student-athlete. I had a community that I was already a part of before I even started school—an instant group of friends who shared the same passion. Athletics was an awesome experience— supporting other teams and seeing those same teams come out for my games, too. It was like having one big, giant, multitalented athletic family. Because UC Irvine didn’t have a football team, a lot of students attended our games. Plus, we received priority registration for classes and had access to academic resources as well. Did you or your team experience inequalities? My first year, we had to purchase our own sweatshirts while other teams had full practice gear and uniforms. We were only given two shirts and shorts for at least five days of practice, and one pair of cleats to last a full year. If clothes ripped, we had to purchase our own replacements. The men’s team traveled to the Midwest and East Coast, while we only traveled to locations accessible by bus. Our games were not advertised as heavily as the men’s teams.

What does representation mean to you as a female coach at Parker? I never had a female coach growing up. I feel like that says it all. Women can and should be legendary and successful coaches. Being a positive female influence for all genders is important to me. Representation matters. If one player relates to anything that I represent, that is a win for me.

Parker Moment Laurynn Espinoza, Class of 2022, takes flight in the long jump during a spring track and field meet.

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Remembering a Parker Legend

Patrick Mitchell inspired greatness in the Parker community BY MATTHEW PIECHALAK

DO THE RIGHT THING Those four simple words, posted daily at the top of the Upper School’s bulletin, carried a powerful message for all who read them and provide an enduring memory of former Head of Upper School Patrick Mitchell. “That’s truly who he was,” says former science teacher and Assistant Head of Upper School Susan Moerder, who worked at Parker from 1983 to 2014. “He taught the students and the faculty to step back and take a few seconds to think…what is the right thing to do at that moment? What is the right thing for you? For the School? That’s what he focused on during his tenure, and the campus was a nice place because of it.” Patrick died peacefully on Jan. 11, 2022, following a lengthy battle with stage IV pancreatic cancer. He was 73 years old. Patrick was Parker’s Head of Upper School for 19 years, from 1991 until his retirement in 2010. He will be remembered dearly for his commitment to student leadership and athletic opportunities, his support of faculty, and his quest for fairness. "Patrick was, and will forever be, a true Lancer who left an indelible mark on so many of us over the course of his 19 years serving as our Head of Upper School. Above all else, Patrick was about family—always and in all ways—and he considered all of us his second family," remarks Head of School Kevin Yaley. “He was honorable,” says Diane Bergel, who served as Upper School administrative assistant for 19 years with Patrick. “He was so truthful regardless of how he felt toward a person. He was never unfair, and I have seen instance after instance where he would do what was right.” “Patrick was a one-of-a-kind guy,” says former Head of Middle School Sharon Carroll. “He could be quite serious and deliberate, but he could also be very warm and funny. He was a wonderful colleague.” 34 Parker Magazine SPRING 2022

“I am grateful that I had the chance to know and work with this wonderful man, who, though he didn’t live to the age of 100 as he wished, nevertheless, packed 100 years of life, love, and adventure into those he did,” says former Head of Lower School Bob Gillingham. “He was a good man with a heart of gold who placed the interests of others before his own.”

COMING TO PARKER Patrick was born on Nov. 15, 1948, to father Carroll Keith Mitchell, a US Navy sailor from Marengo, IL., and mother Vicky Mitchell from Sydney, Australia. He was raised around the world, including in the Philippines and Australia. The eldest of six siblings, Patrick helped his mother raise the family while their father was deployed. He accepted his first job at just 10 years old and worked continuously until his retirement from Parker in 2010. Patrick met his wife of 48 years, Susana Ornelas, while the two were studying to become teachers. The couple had two children, Derek and Vanessa. Patrick was an educator for 39 years, beginning as a teacher and then dean of students at Chula Vista High School, before coming to Parker. Under his leadership, Chula Vista High School won ASB of the Year in California five out of the 11 years he served as advisor. Under his guidance at Parker, the number of clubs increased from just a handful to more than 40. Additionally, he helped start Kinderbuddies, a collaboration between Senior Kindergarten and Grade 12 students, and helped implement both the global studies program and community engagement projects.

“He had lots of vision for expanding programs and giving the kids opportunities to experience leadership in different ways which have continued to blossom at Parker today,” Susan says. Patrick was also a huge supporter of athletics. “Every season, every sport, you would see him there,” says former Parker Athletic Director Dan Kuiper, who worked at the School from 1981 until 2014. “He loved athletics, and having your head of school supporting the kids is a big deal. It’s very healthy.”

UNWAVERING SUPPORT AND AN ABUNDANCE OF SILLINESS When Patrick came to Parker, he already knew quite a few people because his kids were Parker students. He fit right in from the get-go, says Susan. Patrick was always very supportive of the teachers, she says. “He really appreciated people for what they gave to Parker, and you felt like he was always going to support you.” “He let people know how valuable they were,” echoes Diane. “He would say ‘we hire the best teachers in San Diego,’ and he truly meant it. He was the kind of person who wouldn’t stand by—he would stand up for that person, that idea, that cause, and put himself on the front lines. He invested himself in people.” Patrick took copious notes and always carried a yellow notebook to every meeting, Susan remembers. It was his way of ensuring that he was always listening.

“He made you feel like what you were saying was important,” she says. “He was very patient and very meticulous. A five-minute meeting could easily become a half hour. He gave you whatever time you needed.” Patrick was also incredibly kind and fun-loving. His ‘thank you’ notes were always handwritten, his praise genuine, and his love for Halloween unmatched. From Frankenstein to David Bowie to Raggedy Andy, everyone who knew him has a favorite costume memory. But none come close to the time he dressed as Alice Cooper, Susan says. “People were afraid to look at him,” she says with a laugh. “And actually, they were interviewing that day and we couldn’t believe Patrick showed up [to the interview] in his outfit. He sat through the whole interview dressed like that! He made it fun—it was okay to be goofy.”

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Recalling fond memories of Patrick, Diane remembers when an Upper School student found a stray kitten on the side of the road outside the campus. A veterinarian said the young cat would need constant care to survive, and Patrick decided to take in the kitten and named it Francis.


“He immediately said yes to taking care of it,” she says. “That’s the type of community he grew.”

When he returned for the upcoming school year, Diane recalls Patrick telling her, “I would love to put this out to the kids on a daily basis and let people read it.” Diane remembers, “He said, ‘I want them to know that they have a choice every day to do the right thing’. When you read something every day, somewhere along the line, there is that voice in the back of your head that remembers it.”

Teachers pitched in, donating a pet bed, toys, and a heat lamp to help the cat grow, and as the months went by, the cat came to know voices and faces around the Upper School office. “Francis would come out of its little bed and prance around my desk,” Diane says. “One day, Patrick came into the office with a parent, and the minute Francis heard him, he jumped off the desk and ran up to Patrick and perched on his shoulder. Patrick was a true gentleman and would exhibit tremendous kindness.” The 2009-2010 Parker Cavalcade was dedicated to Patrick. When trying in vain to encapsulate all he meant to Parker, the yearbook staff wrote the following: “Mr. Mitchell is everything that Parker is in one tall and lean package. There are too many kind words, faculty testaments, and funny stories and anecdotes to publish on this single spread.”

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Patrick Mitchell was an avid world traveler and often found his best ideas on the road. Early in his career at Parker, he was walking in Australia when he noticed an interesting slogan painted on the trash cans: Do the Right Thing.

Dan, who spent several of his retirement years traveling Southeast Asia with his good friend Patrick, smiles when recalling the slogan. “It was on every daily bulletin,” he says. “It sunk in so deep. You begin to think, ‘yeah, I can do the right thing’.”

MEMORIES FROM PATRICK’S CHILDREN “He did work long hours—often twelve or more a day—to attend as many games, arts programs, community service events, and science competitions as he possibly could. But somehow, despite so much on his shoulders at work, he always brought the same incredible attentiveness and caring to being our parent.” —Derek “My dad loved a good movie and he watched thousands. I saw in him the warmth of Tom Hanks, the presence of Clint Eastwood, and the wry humor of George Clooney.” —Vanessa “In the late 1980s, he applied and was accepted into the famous creative writing workshop at the University of Iowa. We all piled into the old VW van and drove across the country for the summer. While Vanessa and I were learning to ride bicycles, surrounded by the cornfields, he wrote short stories about his father.” —Derek “He was someone who, all throughout my supremely awkward middle and high school years, stuck post-it notes at eye-level on my bathroom mirror to tell me I am beautiful, just as a reminder.” —Vanessa “He was my role model for how to be a thoughtful listener, a patient guide, someone who makes you feel like you matter. No matter what Derek and I were interested in, he would learn about it and take an interest himself.” —Vanessa “When Dad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last March, he faced the news with the same calmness and determination that characterize the rest of his life. Throughout his battle with cancer, Dad was laser-focused on celebrating life and loving his family and friends, very literally until his last breath, surrounded by us at home.” —Derek

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Reviewed by Erik Anderson, Admissions Coordinator

Reviewed by Rebecca Bellingham, Culturally Responsive Literacy Specialist

Edited by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Andrew S. Curran

By Kathryn Schulz

What Are You Reading? Book reviews from members of the Parker community

Share the joy of reading with the Parker community by submitting a book review. Email

In 1739, the Royal Academy of Science of Bordeaux, France announced an essay contest asking, “Who’s Black and Why?” The resulting essays highlight that race itself is a system installed to justify oppression and strip racialized people of their humanity— even in the Age of Enlightenment. The book also provides insight on the circumstances of 18th century Europe that made this question important, and the motivations to manufacture science that justified exploitation. Literal dehumanization was, for some of the essayists, the goal. For others, pseudoscience, imagination, and apriori notions of white supremacy deemed blackness a degeneration of whiteness. “Race,” in reference to groups of people with shared features, entered English in 1560 from the Old French word for “root.” The polygenist view (races stem from different sources) was invented to support racism even in the face of the church’s monogenist understanding of the origin of humankind. The dizzying theories laid out here might seem comical if they weren’t so cruel. Science, tracked across history by Gates and Curran, seems almost unrecognizable as such. The fact that no winner was declared for the contest is only minor consolation.

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As someone who is deeply curious about people’s lives and stories, I love to read memoirs. I read (or should I say, inhaled) this absolutely stunning memoir in practically one sitting, and I imagine I will return to it again and again. Schulz writes in three sections: Lost, Found, and And. In “Lost,” she writes about losing her brilliant and beloved father, and in “Found,” she writes about finding the love of her life. “And” is an acknowledgment that life is a “perpetual ‘and’ machine, reliably delivering us a mixture of things to experience all at once.” The writing in Lost & Found is sublime. More than that, Schulz’s book is a masterclass in the art of living a wide-awake life, even in the midst of such an enormous, ever-evolving world; even as we navigate enormous loss. Schulz is one of the most gifted writers I’ve ever encountered, and she weaves huge, philosophical questions into her beautiful story so seamlessly, making the book more than a story of one person’s lived experience; it is a book that offers all of us a chance to reflect on the significance of our losses, our discoveries, and all that comes in between. This is one of the best memoirs—and frankly, books—I’ve ever read.




Reviewed by Rebecca Pollack, Class of 2023

Reviewed by Viviane Rickert, Class of 2027

Reviewed by Benjamin Trotter, Class of 2029

If you are fascinated by the inner workings of show business, scandal, and the secret lives of Hollywood stars, then this book is perfect. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo tells the story of fictional Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo in a very unique way.

Thieves, trickery, and friendly (or perhaps not-so-friendly) wagers can all be found in the dark alleys of Ketterdam, where money, power, and prosperity are everything. Even high-class citizens have dark secrets. When Kaz Brekker gets dragged into a twisted and mysterious shenanigan, he must find allies. Who can he trust? Who will stay at his side through lifethreatening situations?

A book I read over the summer that was absolutely magical was The Storm Runner. The main character, Zane, is a demigod from Mayan mythology, and a pretty strong one, at that. He meets up with a girl named Brook who can shape shift, and they try to stop the evil underworld god Ah-Puch in his tracks.

By Leigh Bardugo

By J. C. Cervantes

By Taylor Jenkins Reid

Unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant’s life is not what she wants it to be. Reeling from her recent divorce and stumped by her standstill career, Monique is shocked when Evelyn selects her to write her biography. The reclusive star, now in her eighties, summons Monique to her apartment to share the story of her life. She spares no detail, from Hell’s Kitchen in the 1950s to show business in the 1980s to present day. As Evelyn’s story nears its conclusion, it becomes clear why she chose Monique. This is a story of ruthless ambition, unexpected friendship, and forbidden love. The characters are as realistically complex and morally ambiguous as any real people, and Reid refuses to label any of them as good or bad. The book also offers interesting commentary on Hollywood, as it peels back the veil to show that stars’ personal lives can be just as staged as the movies in which they act. I highly recommend this book for mature audiences looking for a page turner.

Six of Crows is an amazing book for those who like a little bit of thrill and mystery in their fiction. It has unique and unlikely friends, foundfamily tropes, and beautiful character development. Fast-paced storytelling shifts to different perspectives and keeps readers on the edge of their seats. Snippets of backstories are spread throughout the book, allowing readers to piece together the scenarios and find personal connections to the protagonists.

I absolutely loved this book because I had no idea about this mythology, but now I’m kind of an expert. Also, even though this is completely fictional, there is still a lot of relatable stuff that goes down, including crushes, parent problems, and more. If you even remotely liked Percy Jackson, Harry Potter, or Keeper of the Lost Cities, you will love this magical adventure. Will they stop Ah-Puch? Will Zane get the girl? Read The Storm Runner to find out!

I love this book. It is fantastic at portraying real life friendships and the promise of trust between people, while also adding fantasy, excitement, and some romance to the mix. Bardugo does a spectacular job at shaping the characters’ internal conflicts to be relatable. Get ready to laugh and cry at the same time as you read this absolute spine-chiller! SPRING 2022 Parker Magazine 39

Parker Moment Grade 5 Squires perform music for new families at the Lower School admissions welcome event.

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Class Notes

Alumni Births

Connecting the Parker alumni community

Share your news with the Parker community, including professional milestones, personal news, wedding and birth announcements, and obituaries. Email submissions to

Alumni Weddings Karleigh Ash ’10 and her husband Dominick Weinkam enjoyed their honeymoon in St. Lucia. Their 2020 wedding became an elopement, and they finally celebrated this milestone with their March 2022 honeymoon.

Alexandria Giobbi Moffat ’00, husband Mark Moffat, and big brother William (age 2) welcomed Michael to the family in April 2021.

Benji Campbell ’05 married Melissa McKenzie on May 20, 2021, in San Diego at the Kona Kai Club on the patio overlooking the Marina and Point Loma. The couple resides in New York City. Cameron Songer ’11 married Lauren Caruba in a small ceremony in Chicago. They met as students at Northwestern University, where they studied journalism. The couple resides in San Antonio, Texas with their dog, Pumpkin.

Andrew Vassiliadis ’01 and wife Elizabeth welcomed their son Arlo in fall 2021.

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Alumni Updates

Rev. Anne Beardsley Chisham ’48, a deacon at St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral, welcomed and spoke to Grade 7 students on their Day of Understanding field trip. Anne shared the history of the Episcopal Church and the role of St. Paul’s in the San Diego community. (Pictured with Grade 7 advisor and Grades 6-12 English Department Chair Gretchen Hanscom Taylor ’92.) Michael Geroe ’86 runs a corporate law firm and marketing and technology startup while learning to play golf with his wife Joanne, who continues to paint landscapes, portraits, and other subjects; check out His daughter, Gabrielle, is a master’s student in education at University of San Diego, and daughter Serena is an engineering major at Smith College. Michael had memorable recent get-togethers with classmates Chris Curtis ’86, Mark Lyons ’86, John-Paul Morfin ’86, Nicole Homel-Tellier ’86, Clifford Gill ’86, Darcy Rhodes ’86, Julie Peckham ’85, Anthonette Klinkerman ’86, Caroline Rentto Wohl ’86, Dan Printz ’86, and June Olcott ’86.

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Kristi Douglas ’89 recently founded and launched Kristi Douglas Coaching, a breakthrough coaching company to help women create their greatest chapter yet. Learn more at

Dr. Barbara Ostos ’97 was unanimously voted by Santa Catalina School’s Board of Trustees as their fifth Head of School, effective July 1, 2022. After graduating cum laude from Harvard University with a degree in government, Barbara earned a master’s in nonprofit leadership and management from the University of San Diego and a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of California San Diego. She has spent more than 20 years as a teacher, grade-level leader, dean, divisional principal, and most recently as assistant head of Catlin Gabel, a nationally recognized K-12 independent school in Portland, Oregon.

Kimo Tuyay ’00 caught up with Associate Athletic Director and Boys Volleyball Coach John Herman during the April break tournament in Hawai‘i.

Alexander Clark ’13 graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a B.A. in molecular and cell biology and went on to complete his medical degree from the University of Pittsburgh. He is currently immersed in an emergency medicine residency program at Vanderbilt University. He plans to do a toxicology or critical care fellowship after finishing his residency in 2024.

Austin Martin ’13, Founder and CEO of Rhymes with Reason (RWR), shared that his company is partnering with Boys & Girls Clubs of America to bring RWR to more than 200,000 students via the My Future learning platform in spring 2022.

Snigdha Nandipati ’16 recently published her debut book, A Case of Culture, available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and Ingram. This medical nonfiction book discusses how patients from different cultures navigate the challenges of Western medicine with the help of cultural brokers. It was listed as a #1 New Release in several Amazon Bookstore categories, and it also won first place in the medical category of the Firebird Book Awards. Learn more at book and on Instagram or Facebook @snigdhanandiauthor. Benjamin Clark ’17 is finishing his undergraduate degree in physics engineering at Stanford. He took a short break after junior year to develop a tech company in San Francisco and New York City. He also studied abroad in Spain and traveled extensively throughout Europe. He looks forward to finishing his degree and starting another business adventure.

Andie Ezquerro ’17 graduated cum laude with a major in communication studies from Loyola Marymount University in 2021. Andie is an Annenberg Fellow pursuing her master’s in public relations and advertising at the University of Southern California and is expected to graduate in 2023. This summer, Andie is joining the tech team at Edelman, an award-winning global public relations consultancy firm, in San Francisco.

Cate Clark ’19 (second from left) is a junior at Butler University, a premier classical ballet school, studying dance. She has been dancing since she was five years old and was a full-time intern at City Ballet of San Diego while she attended Parker. Last year, she decided to double major in psychology. She is an active member of the Delta Gamma sorority and hopes to secure a position with a ballet company after graduation.

Alumni In Memoriam Louis Blais Wonnell ’06 passed away on Jan. 5, 2022. Louis attended Wake Forest University, majoring in mathematics and physics. He obtained two master’s degrees in nuclear and mechanical engineering and a doctorate degree. He researched fluid mechanics with Wright Andrews Air Force base in Dayton, Ohio, and nuclear fusion with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee. Louis will be remembered for his passionate interests. He developed a strong interest in history after several wonderful trips to Europe with his family. He had a natural affinity for life’s underdogs and devoted considerable energy to helping those less fortunate than himself. In his advice for Parker’s graduating seniors in 2007, he wrote: “Do something completely unexpected that you will never forget” and “Remember the people that got you here and embrace them.” He is survived by his parents, Christopher Wonnell and Eleanor Blais, and his sister, Amanda Blais Wonnell ’09. Derek Mitchell ’99 and Vanessa (Mitchell) Delmotte ’01 lost their father James Patrick Mitchell, former Head of Upper School, on Jan. 11, 2022. See page 34 for more.

Send Us Your Good News Alumni: Submit your updates now for inclusion in Class Notes in the next issue of Parker Magazine.

Email to submit

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FPS hit the road this spring (finally!), and alumni connected with classmates and friends in Washington D.C., Denver, New York City, and San Francisco. Names are listed as pictured left to right.





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Photos by Bauman Photographers

REUNION On Friday, Nov. 26, Parker alumni from the last 10 years, plus the Class of 2010, gathered at Stone Brewing World and Gardens in Liberty Station. Fun was had by all as Lancers enjoyed cornhole, giant Jenga, and shared Parker memories. Names are listed as pictured left to right.





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SPONSORS Jen and Tom Ranglas hosted the Gala Sponsors “thank you” event in March at their home in Mission Hills. Jing Bourgeois, the 40th Gala Chair, thanked the sponsors for their magnanimous support and for helping the School reach our greatest number of sponsors (50) and sponsorship support ($341,000) in Gala history. The annual Parents Association Gala supports student financial assistance and was held in person on Saturday, April 30 for the first time in two years. Watch for an event recap in the summer 2022 issue of Parker Magazine.




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Photos by Bauman Photographers PETER AND PHANA PAR







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Parker Moment Holocaust survivor Rose Schindler speaks to Grade 8 students in J. Crivello Hall. The students read her book, Two Who Survived: Keeping Hope Alive While Surviving the Holocaust, in English class. Rose, 93, is a survivor of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp in Poland during World War II.

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Good News Alumni: Submit your updates now for inclusion in Class Notes in the next issue of Parker Magazine. NEW FAMILY MEMBER • INTERNSHIP • VOLUNTEERING • CREATIVE WORK • JOB CHANGE • GRAD SCHOOL • PERSONAL MILESTONE

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