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The Magazine of William Penn Charter School

fall 2012

Reporters qRevolution Student Journalism in 1777

The STRATEGIC VISION for Penn Charter’s future is organized around six goals, each with a set of strategies. Goal 1: Quakerism Goal 2: Content Goal 3: Teaching →P  romote excellence in teaching by supporting faculty

to develop and advance their professional practice.

Goal 4: Time Goal 5: Space Goal 6: Financial Sustainability

Educating Students to Live Lives that Make a Difference A Strategic Vision for the Future of William Penn Charter School Three Penn Charter teachers collaborated last summer to produce an online chemistry textbook with streaming videos for use in the 21st century classroom: Doug Uhlmann, Gummere Library head librarian, Upper School chemistry teacher Corey Kilbane, and visual arts chair Sheila Ruen pose for a mock demonstration. View a sample of their work at PC’s new faculty professional development program, VITAL (Valuing Innovative Teaching and Learning) provides teachers with funding during the summer to allow for the transformation of their craft through research, collaboration and innovation.

Contents Fall 2012



12 21st Century Biology

S tudents learn content and skills in the face of unexpected results cross-pollinating Wisconsin Fast Plants.


Educating Winning People John Thiel is actively learning about Penn Charter and sowing the seeds that will help him grow the school’s athletic legacy.

20 Loving Shakespeare

Silliness. Seriousness. Magic. It’s all there as sixth graders romp their way through Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

24 Ed Marks in China

A five-month sabbatical takes a veteran PC social studies teacher outside the tourist bubble in China.

28 For the Common Good Among Penn Charter’s many first: The world’s first student newspaper.


32 PC All-Star

In his fifth decade at Penn Charter, Steve Bonnie shifts his focus from Admissions to Development as PC prepares for a new capital campaign.

Departments Opening Comments

From the Head of School. ............................................................................... 2 Around Campus


Campus Currents................................................................................................ 3 The Grace Fund.................................................................................................. 11 Grandparent Visits and Giving. ................................................................. 15 Athletics...............................................................................................................19 Commencement 2012.................................................................................. 36 Alumni

PC Profiles: Stefan Pulst, Rachel Dowling, David Jordan, Skip Corson............................................................................. 9 Alumni Weekend. ............................................................................................ 38 Class Notes.......................................................................................................... 41


On the Cover

eportersRevolutio 1 Student Journalism in 1777

Photography by Michael Branscom; design by Isabel Hirshberg, Class of 2015; typography by Michael Glica.

Fall 2012 •


Opening Comments

From the Head of School The Magazine of William Penn Charter School

Recently, I have had two reminders of the importance of making schoolwork meaningful and alive for our learners. The reminder first came in the form of a presentation on global education at a national benchmarking conference for independent schools. In addition to its foreign language trips and exchange programs, one head of school outlined a multifaceted approach to global education at his school, which included the nine classes with a global concentration in his curriculum, the time every eighth grade student spends in the Caribbean undertaking scientific research on turtles, and the overseas travel experience of the vast majority of upper school students. These curricular innovations highlight the importance of making learning meaningful, and they strengthen my resolve that Penn Charter’s educational program become more global and that our students have more opportunities that take them to different parts of our planet – all a focus of our developing Strategic Vision for students. Just a few weeks ago, the importance of making learning meaningful was brought closer to home for me when, as a trustee of Villanova University, I traveled to Rome with my fellow board members to explore ancient history and the Augustinian tradition that informs Villanova’s curriculum and culture. While I have visited Italy before while chaperoning a Penn Charter trip of 72 middle schoolers, this time was different sans kids. Walking through the Colloseum and viewing the masterpiece work of Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel enhanced my own understanding of Roman history, art and religion. The Necropolis, the tomb under St. Peter’s Basilica, is an archeological wonder that illustrated clearly to me the rise and fall of societies, people and belief systems. No amount of book learning could substitute for this short but memorable time in Rome. This trip served as a powerful reminder that meaningful learning occurs in many different forms and that learning is elevated when we leave the classroom to explore new avenues and opportunities for growth. Penn Charter already does this in so many ways: Just think of handson projects like the fifth grade egg-drop, eighth grade Physics 500 derby; social studies classes traveling to Washington, D.C.; students writing plays, acting in plays and directing plays in all divisions; and students collecting and analyzing and using real data. With each of these examples, learning becomes real and meaningful – however, I look forward to how our Strategic Vision will enable us to do even more!

Darryl J. Ford Head of School Stephanie Judson Associate Head of School Elizabeth A. Glascott Assistant Head of School Anne Marble Caramanico Clerk, Overseers John T. Rogers Hon. 1689 Chief Development Officer J. Peter Davis OPC ’74 Alumni Society President

Magazine Staff Sharon Sexton Editor Rebecca Luzi Assistant Editor Michael Branscom Feature Photography Proof Design Studios Design William Penn Charter School 3000 West School House Lane Philadelphia, PA 19144 215.844.3460 Penn Charter is the magazine of William Penn Charter School. It is published by the Marketing Communications Office and distributed to alumni, parents and friends of the school. In addition to providing alumni updates about classmates, reunions and events, the magazine focuses on the people, the programs and the ideas that energize our school community.

Follow Penn Charter at your favorite social media sites: Facebook People and photos. Twitter Updates and announcements.

Darryl J. Ford Head of School

youtube Student work and accomplishments.

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Fall 2012

Campus Currents

Isa Djerassi, Paul Eberwine, Nile Hodges and Celina McCall represented PC and the U.S. at the Global Green Forum debate.

Debating Global Pros and Cons


he neckties and the pearls were a nice touch, but what was truly impressive about the four Penn Charter students who set out to participate in the Global Green Forum debates at the University of Pennsylvania was their maturity, their verbal expression and their excitement in the face of a daunting challenge. Millions of Chinese students competed for the opportunity to travel to the U.S. in October and participate in a debate sponsored by the China Partnership of Greater Philadelphia. Penn Charter’s four debaters were plucked from the ranks of the PC Mock Trial club the week before the debate and spent just four days preparing for the international competition. “I am nervous to debate students who have more experience with formalized debate,” junior Celina McCall admitted, “but I’m excited.” Sophomore Nile Hodges responded to the challenge by hitting the books to prepare – in addition to keeping up his regular course work that week. “I did a lot of research on energy and transportation statistics,” he said. “I’m really looking forward to meeting my Chinese counterparts. I’m interested to see how they react to the questions, to see these issues from their standpoint.” The debates, which focused on sustainability and topics related to transportation, water, economics, health and more, began on a Friday morning and paired two U.S. students with two Chinese students to form a four-person team. Hodges and McCall debated well but did not advance. But the PC team of Isa Djerassi and Paul Eberwine, both juniors, made it past the qualifying match and returned on Saturday with their Chinese partners, Yi Ran and Qi Yan.

The Horse team – teams in the competition were named after animals – argued the “con” side of the question:

The U.S. and China are the two largest hydropower producers in the world, but there are many experts who assert that hydropower has an enormous cost in terms of human displacement and wildlife habitat destruction. Should hydropower be a growing or shrinking element of a country’s energy mix? They advanced and, with very little time to prepare – Eberwine estimates about 20 minutes - the international foursome took the stage to argue the “pro” side of the question:

Should developed countries be held responsible for providing resources and money to developing countries to build clean technologies? The Horse team won the high school competition! “We were thrilled at the results,” Eberwine said. He also noted that educating himself on global sustainability issues has been eyeopening. Djerassi pronounced the experience “stellar. I had such interesting discussions not only during the debates but also over lunch and dinner with the Chinese students about their country and way of life. I learned a lot and am so grateful to Penn Charter for sending us.”

Fall 2012 •


Campus Currents

As the year unfolds, DiGiovanni said, “ask yourself this question daily: Is my Inner Light shining?” Her evocation of the Inner Light dovetailed with Ford’s explanations of Quaker principles and practice. As a community of Friends, Ford said, Penn Charter can “go deeper into the meaning of the testimony of Equality because we believe that even our youngest students and our oldest faculty members are capable of knowing and experiencing the divine in their own particularly personal way. “Simply put, Quakers believe that there is ‘that of God’ inside each of us. As a Friends School, we believe that the Inner Light is inside of each of us. Because of this, all people – male and female, young and old, black and white and every other hue and color – are equal. We each possess the Inner Light – no one possesses it more or less than any other. We all possess it.”

Tough Questions, Enlightened Answers


ead of School Darryl J. Ford introduced the testimony of Equality as the theme for the 2012-13 academic year at the All-School Assembly and challenged students and teachers to explore beyond the simple notion of fairness to ask tough questions and formulate enlightened answers. “As Americans and good students of the history of our country, we know and believe that ‘all people are created equal,’ Ford told the crowd. “And yet, as part of humanity, we have many, many examples of how we have fallen short of this ideal.” Faculty, staff and students in grades one through 12 gathered in the Graham Athletics Center for the assembly celebrating the new school year. In addition to Ford, the event included a stellar performance by the Quakers Dozen of “MLK,” a song written by Bono of the rock band U2, and remarks from Anne Caramanico, clerk of Overseers, and Gabriella DiGiovanni, senior class president. Caramanico recalled the advice her Quaker father would often give her as she left for school each day to: “be a credit to the human race.” And DiGiovanni challenged students “to sit back and think about the true person within yourself. Be the person you want to be, not to fit in but to stand out.”


Fall 2012

Ford said that Penn’s founding of the colony of Pennsylvania, where all religions were welcome, and the founding of Penn Charter are powerful examples of how Quakers “got” the concept of Equality. “Penn, as a member of the Society of Friends, founded schools for both girls and boys, for the wealthy and for the poor, and for students of African descent. This was radical for the 17th century.”

Consideration of equality, Ford said, needs to go deeper than easy queries about whether men and woman and blacks and whites are equal. “One way to go deeper is to consider what I believe is one of our greatest civil rights issues of today: the state of education. “… Why do we have access to this incredible place in which we teach and learn while others don’t have access to good schools, resources and the wherewithal to thrive? Why do we have more than our share of computers and books and playgrounds and technology and afterschool sports and music and art while others wait for books to arrive and teachers to be supported and athletics and the arts to be restored? “If each of us possesses that of God – the Inner Light – why, then, these tough realities?” Ford asked. “With Equality as our testimony and the Inner Light at the core of our being and actions, I wish each and every one of you a successful year of learning and growth, tough questions and enlightened answers, friendship and much happiness,” he said.

Campus Currents

Twenty-three members of the Class of 2012 planned to play their sport in college.

Celebrating Athletics


he end-of-year Athletics Banquet, expanded to include a picnic dinner on the lawn and presentations in the Kurtz Center, honored athletes, coaches and teams, and – with more than 400 people in attendance – celebrated an exciting year in PC athletics. The evening gave shout-outs to PC’s two Inter-Ac champion teams for 2011-2012 – girls and boys water polo – as well as team captains, three-sport athletes, and the 23 students who will move on to play their sport in college. Coaches also presented spring awards for most valuable player, most improved player and the coach’s award, and the award winners for fall and winter sports were recognized as well. Those awards are available at The evening included thanks and praise

Rick Mellor: “It’s all about the kids.”

for several long-time champions of PC athletics. Director of Athletics and Athletic Planning Paul Butler presented both the grounds crew and maintenance staffs gifts acknowledging all they do to help make

sports happen at PC, and at such a high level. Butler has stepped away as athletic director and has taken a leave of absence for the 2012-2013 school year to pursue professional development opportunities. Head of School Darryl J. Ford thanked him for his service to Penn Charter; a 35-year veteran of PC, Butler has served as director of athletics and athletic planning, teacher, trainer and coach. The night ended with a special award to Rick Mellor, who is retiring from coaching varsity baseball after three decades leading the PC team. Mellor accepted the hearty applause from the crowd and seemed to sum up the mood and the meaning of the evening when he explained the satisfaction he received from coaching, and the source of his motivation: “It’s all about the kids.”

Water Polo Scores

Seniors Carly Zurcher and Michael Lordi received Outstanding Academic All-American honors, and junior Connor McGoldrick (right) received Academic AllAmerican honors from the USA Water Polo Association. This fall, Lordi and McGoldrick helped lead the undefeated Quakers to their second consecutive Inter-Ac championship . (More sports highlights on page 15.)

Fall 2012 •


Campus Currents

A Community that Runs M

embers of the Penn Charter Triathlon Club spent much of the summer running, biking and swimming – living the club’s mission “to guide the emerging young sportsperson into the wondrous world of competitive athletics through a comprehensive and rigorous approach to the three keystone aerobic sports of swimming, cycling and long-distance running.” With oversight from Penn Charter swim coach Kevin Berkoff and coaching from Franc Luu and other tri-athletes in the area, the club practiced from April through early August, and raced in several triathlons. The team begins its third season in April 2013; more about the club at

In June, many of the emerging young sportspeople in the group participated in a duathlon – running and biking – to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Included here are seven of the PC runners: Benjamin Weiss, Amanda Ehrenhalt, coach Franc Luu, Emma Lobree, Aidan Ehrenhalt, Charlie Weiss, Emerson Drake, Olivia Boxer, Noah Brooks, coach Scott Mermelstein.

Friends and family of Kenny Caldwell and Peter Ortale with Head of School Darryl J. Ford.


n remembrance of Sept. 11 and alumni Kenny Caldwell and Peter Ortale, more than 100 family members, friends, students, teachers and the entire girls field hockey team participated in Penn Charter’s seventh annual Run for Peace. The event

raised money for the Peter K. Ortale OPC ’83 Scholarship Fund and the Kenny Caldwell OPC ’89 Memorial Scholarship Fund. The Caldwell and Ortale families, and Penn Charter, thank everyone who participated in the Run for Peace.

Observing, Imagining The Woodmere Art Museum this fall hosted an exhibit, Creations from Young Artists, featuring one piece of work from each Penn Charter student in kindergarten through fourth grade during the 2011-2012 school year. The artwork demonstrates the rewards of learning to draw from both observation and one’s imagination. The pieces were created using a variety of techniques and mediums, including printmaking, wood sculpture, clay sculpture, painting and drawing.


Fall 2012

Campus Currents

Inspired Playwrights


en Penn Charter sixth graders have won awards in the 2012 Philadelphia Young Playwrights contest. The students, who were in fifth grade when they wrote their plays, created them as part of the Lower School language arts curriculum. Each fifth grader wrote and submitted a play to Philadelphia Young Playwrights and later received feedback on it. A professional playwright from the organization visited the classroom to hold individual revision conferences with students, who spent months crafting their plays. “I celebrate these fifth grade playwrights,” said fifth grade language arts teacher Ruth Aichenbaum, “for the marvelously unique characters they created, for their distinct voices and styles as authors, and for the humorous, touching and dramatic arc of actions that provided the framework for their tremendous plays.” The students produced a selection of plays for parents and Lower School grades during last spring’s Fifth Grade Playwrights Festival. View the productions on

Summer Days


lose to 700 campers – young scientists, artists, athletes, performers and entrepreneurs from more than 100 different schools – spent part of their summer in one or more of Penn Charter’s nine camp programs. Although many were returning campers, 250 families were new to PC, and many were drawn by the three new camps: Youth and Money Camp, which the school offered in partnership with the Business Center for Entrepreneurship & Social Enterprise, Science Camp and Baseball Camp. Our three-year-old Performing Arts Camp had a record number of campers and delighted audiences with their production of The Little Mermaid Jr. And, of course, we offered our traditional Day Camp and Sports Camps. Summer Camp Director Charlie Kaesshaefer observed some tearful goodbyes on the last day of camp, but also promises among newfound friends to keep in touch and return for Summer Camp 2013.

Fall 2012 •


PC P RO F I LE S The Brain Behind Brain Disease: Stefan Pulst OPC ’72 Neurologist Stefan Pulst always knew he wanted to study science and medicine. But when he came to Penn Charter his senior year as an exchange student from Germany, science took a temporary backseat. “I did one independent study course looking at nerve conduction using the sciatic nerve of a frog, but at PC I engaged in reading and humanities because I had a strict scientific education in Germany,” he said. “I loved getting exposed to creative writing and literature. It was a very special year for me.” It was a year that exposed Pulst to a different way of teaching, a different way of learning. “I liked the American educational system. When I started medical school, I spent a year at Harvard, went back to Germany and then back to Harvard

to complete my training,” he said. “Being at PC made that possible. The education gave me a more nuanced feeling of American life.” Pulst currently chairs the Department of Neurology at the University of Utah, where he has been for the past five years. Previously, he spent 21 years in Los Angeles at UCLA and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center as chair of neurology. His specialty is ataxias, progressive degenerative brain diseases that rob people of physical control. In 1996, he discovered the gene defect responsible for spinocerebellar ataxia 2 (SCA2). With the discovery, it is now possible to identify carriers of SCA2 and give accurate diagnoses. The SCA2 mutation is very common in the Cuban population in Holguin province, coincidentally, the very place PC social studies teacher Sarah Sharp volunteered to help repair a Quaker church in 2009. Since then, he and his team have also identified the genes responsible for SCA13, SCA10 and Neurofibromatosis 2. Gene discovery

opens the door for physicians to create innovative therapies and, ultimately, cures for the disease. “We have partnered with the National Institutes of Health to look for compounds that can alter the course of the disease,” he said. “We are pursuing two avenues for treatments; looking for drugs that can change the expression of mutant gene and using antisense technology to downregulate or abolish the expression of the mutant gene.” He has recently branched out in epidemiology using Utah’s unique state registry based on the Utah Population Database. “It includes the entire state, 2.5 million lives. It allows us to put almost everyone in the state into pedigrees so we can see what diseases run in families. It’s the beginning for my research group to answer questions about links between neurodegeneration and other types of diseases.” Pulst and his team have already found connections between Parkinson’s disease and certain types of cancers. Pulst is continuing the family tradition of medicine – both of his parents were doctors, his wife, Julie Korenberg, is a physician scientist, and both of his children are currently in medical school. He recently returned to PC for his 40th reunion, which reminded him just how special and influential his Penn Charter experience was. “I have really noticed the nurturing and very tolerant spirit at PC that I haven’t seen at many other private schools,” he said. “I know I had such a spectacular time because the teachers were interested in my growth. Looking back, I now realize how privileged we all were being able to attend PC.”

The Education of Rachel Dowling Rachel Dowling OPC ’06, has studied education all over the globe. But there is one educational experience that still tops them all. “Penn Charter was amazing. I have seen a lot


Fall 2012


of schools that don’t have a focus on criticism or asking ‘why’ questions,” she said. “I respect PC for making teachers so valued and allowing them to do what they do best. That is PC’s greatest strength.” Dowling has the expertise to back up her statements. After graduating from Penn Charter, she headed to Stanford University, where she got interested in taking her study of education to the next level. She chose Oxford, where she got her master’s in international comparative education. “It’s looking at national policies of education in a global context,” she said. “It’s sociology, education and international relations all rolled into one.” Dowling’s dissertation focused on the Belgian education system, and she spent considerable time in Belgium studying both

Flemish and French primary schooling. While still in England, she began working for an education tech startup based in California called Gooru Learning, which has earned acclaim in the industry and received a big nod from Bill Gates, who mentioned it as one of the top five educational websites. Gooru provides free educational resources such as textbooks, lesson plans and coursework. Dowling worked at Gooru for a year, settling in Palo Alto. Her experience at Gooru inspired her to break away and try to escalate the experience of online learning. “I want to explore using technology to give people access to educational tools.” Earlier this year, she began working with a summer exchange program called HEAL (Humanities Education and Leadership). HEAL brings students from all over the world to Stanford and exposes them to American education. “I listen to kids from all over the world exchange ideas,” she said. “It’s been cool to see Chinese students explore the history of civil rights in our country and contrast that with what they see in communist China now.” Dowling has big ideas and big plans for the future of education – and knows exactly where the problems are in America. “The biggest failing in public education is that we don’t respect teachers as autonomous, intelligent people. In France and Japan, they have amazing teacher development programs where they team teach and support each other,” she said. “It’s disrespectful to isolate teachers who feel like their salary is on the line if certain boxes don’t get ticked.” For Dowling, the immediate future is with HEAL, continuing to engage her students who have gone back to their home countries. But for the long-term, she would love to help children who don’t get to experience the advantages of an education like the one she received at Penn Charter. “I would love to make an impact in improving education and quality of learning locally and globally,” she said. “I would love to work in Africa or in other places where education can do a lot of good.

I see education as a place where kids from any background can come together and be equals in the classroom.”

OPC ’52 Looking Back:

David Jordan and Skip Corson

David Jordan OPC ’52 has written 10 books about his passions – baseball, American history, politics, and his beloved Jenkintown church, Grace Presbyterian. It was this last title, A Century of Grace, that proved the most difficult to track down. “I found one copy on Amazon for $99,” said George C. (Skip) Corson OPC ’52, Jordan’s close friend and classmate, who was seeking a copy of each of Jordan’s books to present as a donation to the Gummere Library for their class’s 60th reunion. “He was the only person in our class of 65 graduates who had ever published a single book, let alone 10. I thought it was about time that Dave got some minor recognition after 60 years,” Corson said. Jordan had no idea what his old friend was up to, until the church tipped him off. “That was the first time I realized he was getting down to it. I was surprised and honored,” Jordan said. “When we went back for the 60th reunion, the library had them set up in a beautiful display.” Jordan and Corson met at Penn Charter when Jordan entered the eighth grade. They were close in high school, but their friendship developed further when they attended law school together at the University of Pennsylvania. In the summers between semesters, the two loaded up a Nash Rambler and headed north into Canada, stopping in any town with a baseball team and a brewery. “When we left Milwaukee, it took us two days to get through Wisconsin – every town had at least one brewery,” Corson remembered. One summer the Canadian breweries were on strike, but they were determined to find at least one in operation.

Fall 2012 •


PC P RO F I LE S David Jordan and Skip Corson (continued)

“We had a lot of fun and got to see parts of the world we hadn’t seen,” Jordan said. Their adult lives intersected in fascinating ways – Corson married the daughter of one of Jordan’s favorite history professors at Princeton University – and they both had successful law practices within a few blocks of one another in Norristown. Jordan wrote his books in his spare time, making his family vacations double as research trips. “I never made a lot of money out of my books,” Jordan said. “The law practice kept me alive.” His legal career allowed him to fully explore his love of baseball and politics. He wrote his senior thesis on New York politician Roscoe Conkling, and it was his wife who suggested he write a book about him. “She was sorry after a couple of vacations to Utica,” Jordan said. In the

end, it paid off. Roscoe Conkling of New York: Voice in the Senate was a Pulitzer Prize finalist for biography in 1972. Jordan explored baseball in several books – he was hooked since his father took him to his first Philadelphia A’s game when he was eight. “I became a Hal Newhouser and Philadelphia A’s fan,” he said. “I thought Newhouser should be in the Hall of Fame.” After the publication of his book, A Tiger in His Time: Hal Newhouser and the Burden of Wartime Ball, Newhouser himself called Jordan’s publisher and offered to sign copies if the publishing house would send a few to the Veteran’s Committee for the Baseball Hall of Fame. When Newhouser was finally inducted, he called Jordan and thanked him. “I told him, ‘Your record got you in, not my book!’” Jordan recalled.

Jordan’s work is praised for engrossing narratives and attention to detail. His most recent work, FDR, Dewey and the Election of 1944 has received very positive press (and is Corson’s favorite); Jordan sent a copy to the Philadelphia Inquirer, hoping for a review soon. He is currently working on a biography about Minnesota Governor Harold Stassen. Corson would love nothing more than for more eyes to see Jordan’s books. His only motives are friendship and respect. “There are many remarkable things about Dave,” Corson said. “He was number one in our class, got almost a perfect score on his LSATs, he has a full-time and successful law practice, churned out 10 books, and is an amazing family man who is studious, scholarly and has a great sense of humor.” PC Jennifer Raphael

Dave Jordan (left) and Skip Corson in Gummere Library in front of the display of books written by Jordan and donated in his honor by Corson.


Fall 2012

The Grace Fund “The students, their families, as well as our faculty, all feel deeply grateful that we have a fund

that makes it possible for children to participate fully in life at Penn Charter.”

Grace Fund supporters Kim Smith-Whitley, Gail Sullivan and Karl Whitley, and (right) Roger and Debra Galo.


extbooks, calculators, computers, class trips, musical instruments, athletic equipment. Students need each to fully participate in the Penn Charter program, but some PC families simply cannot afford these learning tools and experiences. Since 2008, the Grace Fund has helped students in need gain full access to academics, arts and athletics by paying for some essential expenses not covered by tuition. Assistant Head of School Beth Glascott administers the fund, which she says has also been used to support foreign language or athletic trips, outof-school academic support – sometimes even a healthy breakfast or lunch. Glascott most often hears about a student need from fellow administrators or teachers. “The students, their families, as well as our faculty, all feel deeply grateful that we have a fund that makes it possible for children to participate fully in life at Penn Charter,” Glascott said.

The Grace Fund continues to grow thanks to the faculty’s Annual Fund donation and gifts from parents, alumni and friends, all of which totaled $38,323 in 2011-2012. Grace Fund gifts topped $50,000 this past year because of proceeds from the Grace Fund Party, now a triennial tradition. The Grace Fund Party this past spring was a jazzy, laid-back affair under a tent on the Timmons House lawn. Chairs Nicole Melchiorre, Rachel Shipon and Lisa Ciarrocchi donated time, resources and creative wisdom, and secured some dessert and drink donations that helped defray the cost of the party, and Carolyn Losty and Mary Eldridge coordinated a successful silent auction. When the night was over, the party raised more than $12,000 for the Grace Fund! “One of the things that drew me and Pete to Penn Charter is the way the school helps students see beyond socioeconomic barriers that might divide them,” said Lisa Ciarrocchi. “All of our students deserve access to the very best of Penn Charter, and the Grace Fund is one of the tools PC uses to break down barriers to access. That’s why it is important to us.” The Grace Fund honors the late Grace Russell Wheeler, a Penn Charter parent, grandparent and a member of the Overseers for 35 years. PC

Fall 2012 •


Penn Charter’s ninth grade Biology curriculum is an example of how teaching at Penn Charter is evolving to provide students with the skills they will need to thrive in the 21st century global economy. The strategic plan for the future of the school, Educating Students to Live Lives that Make a Difference, is informed by seven survival skills identified by Tony Wagner in his groundbreaking book, The Global Achievement Gap. Read the story and learn how Biology teaches the seven survival skills: • critical thinking and problem solving • collaboration across networks • agility and adaptability • initiative and entrepreneurship • effective oral and written communication

21st Century

B ology by Rebecca Luzi


or the past two years, Penn Charter’s ninth grade Biology curriculum has been undergoing an experiment, of sorts. In addition to the traditional topics of cells, ecology,

natural selection and evolution, students are replicating Gregor Mendel’s classic genetics experiments, building skills in collaboration, hands-on research and persistence in the face of unexpected results. With names like “Chloraplast Blast” and “Flower Power,” lab groups of four to five students grow, cross-pollinate and genetically manipulate Wisconsin Fast Plants, chosen because they are full-grown in 28 days. This exercise in Mendelian inheritance began last year and continues to evolve in the classroom this year.


Fall 2012

• accessing and analyzing information • curiosity and imagination

Gregor Mendel is the 19th century Austrian monk who deduced the basic rules of genetics, including how dominant and recessive genes are expressed. He also correctly hypothesized that individuals inherit two complete sets of genes, one from each parent, and then pass on one complete, unique set to their offspring. When Mendel began his research, said science teacher Jonathan Howe, “he didn’t know about genetics – just like our ninth graders. He figured all this stuff out just by studying pea plants – and he was totally right!” Howe is animated when he talks about the project. “All we have to give them is soil and seeds,” he said. “They start to think of flowers as organisms, taking genes from one

plant and putting them into another plant. As a teacher, it’s exciting to see how curious and protective of the plants the students become.” Students begin the lab work project in late September, planting the seeds, watching them grow and learning how to care for the plants. Next, they use a pollen wand to take the pollen from one plant’s stamen and put it on the pistil of another: cross-pollination. They do this through three generations, harvesting new seeds from the seed pods and planting them, observing genetics pass from one generation to the next. Along the way, the young scientists record their findings in an online journal – either a Google Site or a Google Doc. How much did the plant grow? Are the leaves yellow green

The lab group Planterz, above, cross-pollinates Wisconsin Fast Plants, aiming to breed the hairiest plant. Below, the Plant Pack takes and records measurements.

Phase 1. Using observational skills, get to know your plants – how to care for them, what makes them thrive, what kills them.

Phase 2. Cross-pollinate plants through three generations to manipulate and observe the patterns of inheritance from generation to generation.

Phase 3. Using artificial selection, race to see who can manipulate a phenotype, or physical trait, the most.

or dark green? How many trichomes (hairs on the surface of a plant) can they count? “Part of the whole project is finding out which gene is dominant,” said Layne Wolfington, who took the course last year. Layne’s group determined that hairy trichomes are recessive. The Planterz tried unsuccessfully to produce the hairiest plant. “It was unsuccessful because they didn’t grow enough generations to finally get it right,” explained Tim Lynch, who teaches two sections of the class. “You keep taking

the hairiest plants and mating them with the hairiest plants to get the hairiest of the hairy.” Learning how to design and conduct a scientific experiment is important, and so is learning how to handle disappointment and unexpected results. “This is how scientists conduct real research,” Lynch said. “Science is really about exercising patience rather than everything working for you the first time. I feel like we’re working with a generation of kids who aren’t persistent; they just want the answer – the

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21st Century

Google generation. This project forces them to persist.” Students also blog about their plants, posting pictures chronicling growth and videos of the team taking measurements.

“This is how scientists conduct real research.”

– Tim Lynch

They dig the hands-on lab work better than a lecture or textbook. “This definitely helped me understand how inheritance and cross-pollination work,” said Addison Cripe, a sophomore this year.

Owen Davis, his classmate, said his favorite part was “studying the results and watching [the plants] grow day-by-day, similar to a real biologist.” Students also learn a lot from working together in a group, utilizing each teammate’s strengths. Take the Google Sites, for instance. What begins as a way to organize data, plans, experiences and results – an organizational tool to make sense of it all – becomes “a digital portfolio, an online collaboration, created in the comfort of a group, with kids teaching kids,” Howe said. Students, who evaluate themselves as part of the process, earn a grade for their work as a group and individually. Teachers know the work contributed by each student and encourage them to reach beyond their comfort level. Science teacher Nora Comiskey offers this guidance to her students: “You can’t do it all just because you think you can do it best!” By the end of ninth grade Biology, Comiskey said, “students will be much more assured, confident in working with each

Phase 2 Blog Entry, by Chloroplast Blast

Day 69 Today, some of our plants have flowers. Using the same process as with the P generation, we cross-bred the two sets of plants. The fertilizer seems to have made the plants significantly taller than the prior generation, and the stems appear to be stronger and healthier. Hopefully, seed pods should start to develop and mature so we can replant and observe an F2 generation.

other and assuming responsibility for what they’re doing.” As the 2012 crop of shared Nobel Prize awards proves, “you don’t do research in isolation.” PC

By springtime last year, students had logged many blog entries about the successes and failures of their attempts at genetic manipulation. The project, said Ari Rosenfeld (right), “helps make it a lot easier to understand than reading it in a book.”


Fall 2012

Nana, Abuelita, MeeMaw, Gramps, Granddad, Lolo


ll sorts of grandparents, from as near as New York City and as far as St. Louis, delighted their grandchildren with a school-day visit to Penn Charter on Oct. 19. There were hugs and kisses, smiles and hand-holding – and lots of show and tell. The feel-good Lower School Family Visiting Day attracted more than 300 visitors, including aunts and uncles, godparents and special friends. In one grade, students and their visitors made puppets. Woodworking projects engaged another class in the wood shop. Fifth grade held a Meeting for Worship; David Jordan OPC ’52, grandfather of new PC fifth grader Charles Jordan-Weinstein, was

moved to speak and to share the fact that, from seventh through 12th grade at PC, he never once spoke in meeting. He thought it was time. As grandparent visits to Penn Charter have grown in recent years, so have grandparent contributions to the Annual Fund. Grandparent gifts to the Annual Fund totaled $36,803 in 2009-10; in 2010-11, 62 grandparents contributed $37,200. Last year, a loyal grandparent offered to match dollar-for-dollar every new $1,000 gift from another grandparent. Thanks to that challenge and the tireless volunteer efforts of Grandparent Annual Fund Chairs Gary and Betty Jane Evans, who personally contacted many PC families, 10 grandparents gave new gifts of $1,000 or more – and total grandparent giving for 2011-2012 grew to $58,900! PC

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Fall 2012

Educating Winning People by Sharon Sexton

“We’ve built a tremendous athletic tradition. Now we need to put our energy back into it.”

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Educating Winning People


ohn Thiel was at a crossroads. His oldest son was married to a wonderful woman, living his dream as a Navy pilot, and the second was about to graduate from college. Most of all, their mother and his beloved wife, Terry, had died after a nearly seven-year battle with kidney cancer. Looking at the years ahead, Thiel decided he needed a change. From his position as director of athletics at a boarding high school in Central Virginia, Thiel began a search not just for a new job in a new location but for a school with a mission that fit his core belief about athletics. “What I try to do in athletics is counter culture,” Thiel explained. “My core belief is that athletics is educational. “When students compete in athletics, they learn about respect, responsibility, hard work, integrity, how to be teammates, how to lead as well as follow, how to self-analyze,” he said. “They learn they can do more than they ever thought they could do, if they are confident and put in the effort.” In other conversations, Thiel’s face breaks into a wide grin at the memory of football or baseball games he won as an athlete at Williams College, or state championships he won as a football coach at Breck School in Minnesota. So, what about winning?

“Kids will never hear me ask if they can win the Inter-Ac,” he said. “I’ll ask them if they’re working hard, what they expect of themselves, whether they’re respecting the officials, whether they’re playing like a team and making a maximum effort. “We’re not the NFL, NHL, MLB: They get paid to win. Here, winning must be – and it can be – the result of developing winning people.” The committee that conducted PC’s national search for a new director of athletics and athletic planning reviewed more than 75 resumes, Skyped with semifinalists, and finally hosted and interviewed four finalists on campus. Thiel visited campus for two days in the spring for interviews with administrators, faculty, coaches, students, parents and alumni; more telephone conversations and Skype sessions with Head of School Darryl J. Ford followed. Everyone involved worked to determine if Thiel was a good fit for PC, and vice versa. When Ford called to offer the job, it was a new beginning for Thiel and for Penn Charter athletics. Thiel arrived in July and, after almost four months on the job, has made progress analyzing the state of PC athletics and needs for the future. A short list of Thiel’s observations and planned initiatives includes:

“We’re not the NFL, NHL, MLB: They get paid to win. Here, winning must be – and it can be – the result of developing winning people.”


 eams don’t win because of T facilities, but top-flight facilities attract talented young athletes. A master plan for campus will result in strategic, thoughtful development of future athletic facilities.


 ertically integrated programs V for grades six through 12 will build a stronger athletic program and communicate to Middle School students that they are valued. Varsity coaches and teams have started working with Middle School teams; new uniforms for Middle School teams are on order.


 n evolving evaluation system A for coaches includes professional development to improve skill level, knowledge and communication with students, so that coaches can better assist players in developing their own talents. Professional development could involve attendance at clinics, and access to videos and online resources about coaching and individual sports.


I ncrease outreach to prospective students, communicating about PC’s athletic traditions and commitment to athletics moving forward.


E ncourage students to play two and three sports. Going coed brought a new dimension and dynamism to PC sports; with girls teams, plus additional sports, being competitive means “we have to strongly encourage our athletes to be multiple-sport athletes, and make sure they receive the support they need to do that.”


P artner with parents to build upon the values that they’ve instilled in their children.


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Educating Winning People

water polo game at home, a wet and soggy cross country match on Belmont Plateau, or a football game in the suburbs. He tweets from the sidelines (@wpcsports) and tries to be a presence in the hallways to develop rapport with students individually. “One of my challenges is to make sure that every student athlete at Penn Charter knows and believes that we support them, and that we believe that what they do here – no matter the sport or their role in that sport – is important. “We’ve built a tremendous athletic tradition,” Thiel said. “Now we need to put our energy back into it.” PC

Thiel’s short list may seem long. Ford, in announcing the appointment in May, described some of the experiences and qualities he thinks make Thiel the right person for the job: “a successful athletics director; a good listener and skilled communicator who works extremely well with students, parents, faculty and coaches; a stellar coach himself; and a respected school leader.” Thiel is actively learning about Penn Charter and sowing the seeds of success with PC’s administrative team and coaches, and with the students who are at the heart of the enterprise. He plots game days to maximize his time at multiple sports, whether it’s a

Before coming to Penn Charter, John Thiel was director of athletics at Woodberry Forest School, an independent boarding high school for boys in Central Virginia. And prior to Woodberry, Thiel was the director of athletics and head football coach at the Breck School, a coed independent school in Golden Valley, Minn. He earned a BA in history from Williams College and an MA in educational administration from St. Mary’s University of Minnesota. More details about Thiel at

Spring Highlights


atorade Company, in collaboration with ESPNHS, named Penn Charter’s Kenny Koplove as its 2011-12 Gatorade Pennsylvania Baseball Player of the Year. Koplove graduated from PC in June and will play for Duke University this year. In his last high school season, the righthanded pitcher and shortstop led Penn Charter (25-7) to the Pennsylvania Independent Schools League semifinals. He posted a 9-2 record with a 2.22 ERA and 88 strikeouts in 56.6 innings on the mound. Koplove started for Penn Charter eight times and pitched five complete games and three shutouts. A three-time First Team All-State selection, Koplove also batted .340 with 20 RBIs, 23 runs scored, 14 walks and 12 stolen bases.

that made it into the finals all won medals (two first, two second, one third).

Their first Penn Relay together: Mellor, Worley, Kelley and Joseph.



enn Charter’s new crew program, begun just four years ago, captured the Women’s and Men’s Junior Doubles at the national finals in May on the Cooper River in New Jersey. Congratulations to Maria Georgiou and Heidi Zisselman, and to Spencer Grant and Kevin Kelly. More good news: They were all juniors! The win at nationals followed a great showing on the Schuylkill in the Philadelphia Scholastic Rowing Association Regatta: the five PC boats

enn Charter track won the gold in the Inter-Ac High School Boys 4 x 400 at the Penn Relays on April 28. Sean Joseph, Brennan Mellor, Corey Kelley and Daryl Worley finished with a time of 3:25.60, which put them ahead of Haverford (3.27.51). “We are delighted,” said head coach Stephen A. Bonnie OPC ’66. “We are particularly pleased that two new members of the relay team ran so well, and Daryl Worley’s anchor leg of 48.10 was exceptional.” Worley and Kelley were members of the PC team that won the gold in the same race last year. Watch the exciting race on PC’s YouTube channel at pennchartertube.

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Fall 2012

If we shadows have offended, Think but this, and all is mended: That you have but slumbered here, While these visions did appear; And this weak and idle theme, No more yielding but a dream, Gentles, do not reprehend. If you pardon, we will mend.


Shakespeare k

by Connie Langland E ach spring (not summer) P C sixth graders romp (not dream) their way through a Shakespearean play put to paper about a century before William Penn Charter School had even opened. The play, of course, is A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a comedy peopled with young lovers, fairies and a band of amateur actors and set mostly at night in the woods. With broad acting, magic and silliness as well as moments

of seriousness and high emotion, Dream is the perfect venue for introducing young people to the great playwright. “The most fascinating thing … is that we ask you to read, learn and perform

Shakespeare in three-and-a-half weeks,” language arts teacher Hannah Jacoby-Rupp told her students at a rehearsal. “Appreciate the fact that you’re being asked to learn something not many people can do, and

Fall 2012 •




that’s a wonderful thing. So be as big as you want to be with your character – and have fun!” As traditions go, the Middle School Shakespeare Festival is quite young – debuting in 2000 – but the production already counts as a rite of passage in the Middle School years. Previously, sixth graders would perform excerpts of three or four Shakespeare plays for their families on show night, but not any play in its entirety. It all seemed somewhat helter-skelter, teacher Charlie Brown recalled. Now, each production is memorable in its own way. Teachers bring the play into the modern era not by changing the language but by allowing latitude in terms of costuming and especially music. Memorable twists ensue, as junior Glynis Braun recalled. “My good friend Lauren Matt played Hermia, and we had so much fun pretending to want to rip each other’s hair out!” she said. “We dressed up as Pink Ladies and T-Birds from Grease! The boys wore leather jackets and slicked back their hair, and Lauren and I wore poodle skirts and high pony tails. … We were all so proud of the fact that we remembered all of our lines and had the audience laughing.”


Fall 2012

In their May production, Jacoby-Rupp’s charges danced around stage to the beat of rapper Flo Rida, which startled parents but prompted yelps of recognition among younger audience members. Sophomore Julia Truten recalled how she had 54 lines to memorize but loved the play so much she memorized nearly the whole thing. “To this day I have most of the play committed to memory,” she said. “One of my favorite moments of the whole process, other than being cast as Helena, was when I said the line: Never so weary, never so in woe; I can no further crawl, no further go. Here will I rest me til the break of day – heavens shield Lysander if they mean a fray!”

k k

The Middle School production divides the five-act play into four parts, so that each sixth grade Language Arts section has its moment in the spotlight. That means there may be four Helenas, four Pucks, four Lysanders and so on. The children get to choose which character they want to play – and crossing genders is encouraged with

costumes, wigs, moustaches and … er … bosom enhancers helping the actors get into character. For Jacoby-Rupp, the late-stage rehearsals were all about exhorting her young actors to emote, emote, emote! “We need all of our reactions to be bigger,” she instructed. “There are no little reactions here.” She play-acted dying to show Caroline Robertson, playing Bottom, how over-thetop she might try for. Thus die I, thus, thus, thus./ Now am I DEAD,/Now am I FLED;/My soul is in the sky:/Tongue, lose thy light/ Moon take thy flight … [Emphasis added] And she turned the stage into a dance floor to give Nick Zuccotti, playing Oberon, some pointers for his waltz with Lizzie Drebin, playing Titania. “Let’s do the waltz again,” she told him. “It’s easier if you’re a little loose.” The evening of the performance, Nick and his classmates were in the audience, waiting for Part 1 to begin. Nick was eager to see how Reece Whitley was going to play Oberon in the first act. And he also would be watching two other Oberons – Adam Weil and Sam Smith – in Parts 2 and 3. How hard was it to memorize the lines? “I did it in a day standing in front of a mirror,” Nick said.

“They learn it is fun being in a play, working on a team, starting with nothing and ending up with a show.” k Marker Angelakis said he was undaunted by Shakespeare. “I liked doing this,” he said. “It’s something different than studying for a test or writing a paper.” And he enjoyed memorizing his lines, including these two: What masque? What music? How shall we beguile/The lazy time, if not with some delight? “It’s very much older – all the words are so old,” Marker said. Bella Hondros, who played Hermia in

Part 1, was excited but confessed to being nervous on stage. “Somebody had to propose to me,” she said. For Ava Nicolucci, who played both Quince and Peaseblossom in Part 2, the big issue was one of logistics. “It was a very, very quick costume change,” she said. With rain in the forecast, the teachers decided against staging the play in Chigwell Close and other outdoor venues that have long been favorites for the festival. Instead, actors

and audience moved from space to space, the children running ahead, from Balderston Commons, to the basement theater in the main building, to the Meeting Room and finally to the Lower School Activities Room. Parents were left a bit breathless. And, recalling their own roles and lines from past years, older siblings in the audience may have bested their parents in tracking the plot. Brown, a Middle School veteran who has taught language arts and now teaches math and Latin, said the Midsummer productions have proved to be a great way to introduce students to the Bard. “Our kids love Shakespeare. They also love theater,” said Brown, who has seen the play about 15 times. “They learn that it’s fun being in a play, working on a team, starting with nothing and ending up with a show.” Jacoby-Rupp said the experience broadens her students’ notions of who they are and what they enjoy. “That’s the awesomeness of this project,” the teacher said. “People who would never consider themselves theatric find they’re loving it. My male lead is female while my female lead would consider himself a jock and I have him in a wig and dress. Breaking boundaries is a really big part of this project.” In seventh and eighth grades, the study of Shakespeare gets more academic, with a focus on such issues as historical context and the use of dramatic devices. For sixth graders, however, the play’s the thing. As Jacoby-Rupp tells her students: “We just want you to love it.” PC

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O u t s i d e t h e To u r i s t B u bb l e

Ed Marks in China

Going global, PC’s veteran social studies teacher spends five months teaching in China. by Ed Marks Hon. 1689


ow can we educate students to thrive in the 21st century global community? Our strategic vision for the future of Penn Charter identifies, as just one strategy to further global competency, the possibility that we can become “more networked internationally, less parochial.” In pursuit of that goal, I spent five months this year teaching at Yaohua High School in China. Yaohua is located in Tianjin, Philadelphia’s Chinese “sister city,” and Penn Charter established a formal relationship with the school in 2010 to support the addition of Mandarin Chinese to our foreign language program. As we have learned more about Chinese society, we recognize that personal relationships – quanxi – are generally regarded as more important than institutional relationships. Therefore, my sabbatical at Yaohua as a foreign language teacher was designed to put a “face” to Penn Charter in China. I arrived in Tianjin, population 10 million, in mid-February of 2012, found my desk in the English department, and quickly began my teaching. The school hummed with energy and humanity, serving about 4,000 students in grades 7-12, all crammed into a space roughly equal to less than half of Penn


Fall 2012

Charter’s main campus. Most of the students were day students, with an additional 400 boarders from outlying suburbs and the countryside. Classes ran from 8:00 a.m. to as late as 6:00 p.m., with a two-hour break for lunch. The students stayed in one classroom for most of their classes and the teachers came to them. Whenever I entered the classroom of (usually) 45-50 kids, the students would be up and about, making noise, with maybe a couple of boys at the back kicking a soccer ball and talking trash. It was, after all, their room. Piped-in Mozart, followed by Brahms, effectively signaled a return to the business at hand. I taught all 16 sections of Senior Two, which are high school juniors in our parlance, and it was my job to teach the kids some English and to strongly encourage them to speak English. Abilities varied widely within each class, and at first it was difficult to figure out the right “pitch” for my lessons. Initially, we worked with passages I wrote on a variety of subjects familiar to the students, including my previous experiences in China, Barack Obama, 9/11, and movies like Harry Potter and Avatar. I usually finished each class by pantomiming English idioms, and the students got a good laugh out of my inane attempts to act out expressions such

as “she was having a bad-hair day,” “he had to eat humble pie,” “she was like a deer in the headlights,” and the like. Eventually, they began a variety of writing activities such as creating dialogues and skits, finishing stories that I had begun, and responding to art and media. Most students seemed to welcome this break from the rigorous, tedious attention to grammar and vocabulary in their regular English classes. I saw each class only once a week, so I gave up consciously trying to remember names. My class was an “extra,” so there was no real accountability: no homework outside of the occasional voluntary assignment and no tests. I began each class by describing in my nascent Chinese what I did the previous weekend. While the students got a big charge out of my failed attempts, they always gave me a big round of applause when I got it right. Once a day, at 2:45 p.m., everything went military. During this period, all of the students stood quietly, in ranks, on the soccer field and courtyard, and then participated in a series of physical exercises established nationwide in the early days of the People’s Republic. Also, every Monday morning before the first class, the entire school gathered in various cohorts in the central yard to salute the flag, sing the national and school anthems, and hear

Fall 2012 •


Outside the Tourist Bubble

patriotic speeches delivered by pre-selected students and staff. At Yaohua, one is never far from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). But Mao and Marx coexist and compete with the students’ fascination with western culture. A student would tell me about the latest episode of The Big Bang Theory one minute and sing praises to Zhou En Lai, Mao’s right-hand man, the next. In CCP traditional fashion, huge banners extolling ideological virtues were prominently displayed on campus: “Read for the rise of China.” “Make efforts to establish a Zhou En Lai classroom and be a person like Zhou.” “Learn from Zhou’s spirits, glorify China, cultivate the aspiration of making China a powerful country.” As one can guess, Zhou is the patron saint of education. While Mao is still considered a demigod, he is a god with baggage. Chinese say of Mao’s legacy, “Seventy percent good and 30 percent bad.”

Ed Marks in China

But Zhou could do no wrong. The girls love him because he was handsome and, they said, always faithful to his wife – unlike Mao. The guys said they love him because he was “compassionate.” As one might guess, it was quite a challenge for me to adjust to Yaohua’s very different school culture. I enjoyed a brief taste of life back home in late March when a group of Penn Charter students and faculty arrived to spend 10 days at Yaohua. They were treated like royalty and played the role of ambassadors, both for Penn Charter and America, with aplomb. The school, along with the Chinese host families, gave the Penn Charter students a great taste of Chinese hospitality and culture. Our students were greeted like rock stars when they visited classes, and they did a great job in one of my classes helping with a lesson on writing and presenting dialogues. Since most of the Penn

Marks traveled extensively to cities and provinces beyond Tianjin. Here he poses with the terracotta warriors in Xian.

Charter students hosted Yaohua students when the Chinese visited Philadelphia in January, the departure of the PC group from Yaohua at the end of the 10 days was emotional and the friendships made will prove to be lasting. The more time I spent around these Yaohua students, the more I liked them. Generally, they were charming, earnest and curious. Many of them were quite smart, with an eclectic range of knowledge and interests. Most of them seemed cheerful and upbeat, remarkable considering the length of the school day, the early evening study halls, and the Saturday classes. They also seemed to get along with one another quite well. The girls were always walking around arm in arm, and I didn’t see much evidence of cliques or “cool kids.” The school forbade jewelry or makeup and everyone wore the school uniform, which looked like a warm-up tracksuit. However, the students and their teachers are on a treadmill of sorts. I got to know some teachers, mostly in the English department, which is composed of 17 female teachers and two male teachers, not counting me. I have great respect for them, as do most of their students. Sitting in on many of their classes, I observed that they work hard and bring lots of energy and humor into the classroom. But the fact remains that everyone “kowtows” to the Goakao, the high-stakes, mainly rotememory test that waits at the end of the high school road. Test preparation classes often last late into the evening, Saturday classes are frequent, and Sunday classes are not unheard of; many students have additional private tutoring sessions, especially in their senior year. Teachers are often at meetings regarding their considerable academic responsibilities until 7:00 or 8:00 p.m. and are expected to be in their office for most of the day for extra help.

Blogging Over the Great Chinese Firewall Ed Marks used his blog – – to chronicle his five months in China. It is rich with anecdotes, details and photos, all the more impressive because of the complications Marks overcame to create the blog. The Chinese government routinely censors blogs from outside of what Marks refers to as the “Great Chinese Firewall.” As a result, Marks could not access his blog site while in China. Instead, he routinely emailed the content of his blog to his son Ted OPC ’00, who assisted by posting the content to the site.


Fall 2012

Outside the Tourist Bubble

Ed Marks in China

Toward the end of his trip, Marks squeezed in a service trip to Guizhou Province, where he lived in a remote village and helped turn a cornfield into a more profitable rice paddie.

In a sense, high school recreates Mao’s Long March, where the primary virtues were endurance and compliance. The students would benefit immensely from a big dose of creative engagement with the considerable body of knowledge they are expected to acquire. A growing number of such opportunities are being created in the private sector to serve students whose parents have money. Many Yaohua students dream of going to an American university: They are all too aware of the Chinese work world, where an engineering degree from a middling university might land them a mere one step up from an assembly-line job in a factory. I share the opinion of many Chinese that the country is due for a major overhaul of its educational system. On my last day, I wished each of my classes a bright future and good luck. They will need lots of luck if they hope to gain that bright future. During my final classes, I “collected” the students’ names in Chinese, English and pinyin – the phonetic spelling of Chinese words using the English alphabet – in a record book which I let them know I would treasure as a piece of memorabilia. As the book made its way around the class, we watched the popular American television comedy The Big Bang Theory. In

(TOP) Marks taught English conversation to 16 classes of juniors, all together totaling more than 600 students. (BOTTOM) Recognizing the enthusiasm for basketball, Marks organized a high school team to play a nearby

international school team. Go Yaohua!

this episode, the main character, Sheldon, learns Chinese so he can confront the owner of his favorite Chinese restaurant with his claim that they are passing off “orange chicken” as “tangerine chicken.” Just like their American teenage counterparts, the students loved it, demonstrating that, no matter where you are on the planet, kids are kids. Overall, my time in China added up to a unique personal and professional experience. While I hope that my efforts advanced the students’ English at least a little bit, that is impossible to measure. However, I firmly believe that a good deal of positive cultural exchange took place as a result of my being

at Yaohua for a full semester. In addition to my time in the classroom, I spent countless hours playing basketball and soccer, eating in restaurants and noodle shops, and traveling with students and faculty. I feel I accomplished my goal of establishing a vital personal link between Penn Charter and our new “sister school” in China. I deeply appreciated the opportunity I had to experience modern China firsthand, outside the tourist bubble, and I am confident that future opportunities to experience the “real” China will open up for Penn Charter students and staff as our exchange with Yaohua High School evolves. PC

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Fall 2012

“For the


The Students Gazette informed, entertained – and made history. by Lea Sitton Stanley

First in the world?

Among its many firsts, the oldest Quaker school in the world is credited as the birthplace of the first successful student newspaper ever published. Several newspapers were published at the school, possibly as early as 1774. But those publications were short-lived; very few issues remain and none of the very first. That is not the case for the Students Gazette, which first published in June 1777. After doing some detective work, we discovered six volumes of the Gazette in a family collection at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. Those volumes confirm that Samuel Mickle Fox, a 14-year-old student at William Penn Charter School, then

known as the Public Latin School, served as founder, publisher and editor of the Gazette for 14 months – a far longer run than any predecessor’s. Fox published on Wednesdays. Each copy of the Gazette was handwritten, so he must have been well liked or, at least, persuasive. He needed a lot of hands to publish his paper – evidenced by the various handwriting styles that cover the pages, each roughly a quarter of a letter-size sheet. Paper was expensive, so not an inch could be wasted. In his first issue, Fox vowed to “make this paper as entertaining as possible” and urged readers to “do everything to forward so useful an institution.” The community spirit of the endeavor is indicated in its Latin

motto: Communi utilitati consulere debemus. Translation: “We ought to consult for the common good.” More impressive than Fox’s age and lack of a printing press was the fact that he launched the Students Gazette in Revolutionary War Philadelphia and published through the British occupation of the city. Fox and his fellow students, according to a Gazette report, were even “obliged to evacuate” their school on Dec. 18, 1777, “to make room for the British forces.” Robertson’s Book of Firsts, a scholarly collection of trivia, credits Penn Charter with having the world’s first school newspaper or magazine, but reports that it was a handwritten sheet edited by students George

The New Journalism Fast forward 235 years… student journalism is alive and well at Penn Charter. And it’s online, too. Visit to read news and commentary about PC today in The Mirror, Penn Charter’s student newspaper from 1960-1969 and 1973 to the present.

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“For the Common Good”

Forster and Caspar Wistar, first published on July 27, 1774 – predating the Gazette by almost three years. However, author Patrick Robertson found no recorded title and no evidence that copies of the earlier publication survive. According to the Book of Firsts, the ForsterWistar sheet was followed by The Gentleman’s Magazine, a half sheet published every

10 days, which expired after three issues. Robertson states that six more titles followed The Gentleman’s Magazine, the last of which was the Students Gazette. Not until 1822 was another school magazine or newspaper known to begin publishing, Robertson found, and Penn Charter was void of “so useful an institution” until the late 1880s, when a student publication titled Penn Charter

Magazine began publication. When Fox began publishing the Students Gazette – just 11 months after the Declaration of Independence was issued – anticipation over a British invasion was intense. Equipment and supplies would soon start being hauled out of the city (printing presses included) and the human exodus had already begun. Support for the American cause was

Of Mice and Militia


he Students Gazette brims with youthful bravado and humor, but overall it reflects a schoolboy life that mirrors an adult world where a nation is struggling, sometimes violently, to be born. It was, perhaps, too dangerous to comment directly on the grave matters happening just outside the school’s front door, but the Gazette editors used code words about happenings in “Latonia” that often eerily paralleled important events in 1776 through 1778 in Philadelphia, including the British occupation of the town. For instance, on Sept. 28, 1776, Pennsylvania adopted a state constitution. On July 23 of the next year, the Students Gazette reported that the boys of the Quaker-run Public Latin School, “by a noble principle and desirous to prevent the effects of intestine broils,” had established a constitution “founded on their own authority.” The Gazette’s report noted that an assembly would be chosen every month in the state of Latonia and “empowered to make such laws as they shall think necessary and useful.” But by Nov. 29, 1777, according to the newspaper, students had agreed to suspend elections until May “because of bad weather,” leaving business to a four-student skeleton council. “Bad weather” may have been a euphemism. Two months earlier, on Sept. 26, 1777, several companies of British and Hessian soldiers had marched into Philadelphia and seized the city. The week before their arrival, Congress and the Executive Council, Pennsylvania’s governing body, had evacuated to Lancaster. (Congress soon moved further into the interior, to York.) In November, student Thomas Lloyd, “the barrister of Latonia,” departed for Lancaster as well, the Gazette reported, possibly after his guardian gave up on getting back to Philadelphia anytime soon. The city was occupied for nine months. British officers demanded lodging in the finer homes, Quaker residences included, with servants and mistresses in tow. Soldiers parked artillery in the yard of Independence Hall, stabled horses in buildings, and milled about in Market and Chestnut Streets. They chopped down trees in William Penn’s “greene countrie towne” and left trash in their wake. At least one student was run over by a Hessian’s wagon but returned to school the next week, the Gazette reported. The tumult in the streets spilled into the Public Latin School, which was led at the time by the master John Thompson. The Gazette reported that on Dec. 19,


Fall 2012

1777, “inhabitants of Latonia” were “obliged to evacuate their state,” then on Fourth Street below Chestnut Street, to make room for two British companies. Most of the students’ valuables were moved to Carpenters’ Hall, according to the paper, but it’s unclear where the students went. Issues of the paper that followed the evacuation refer to “New Latonia” and the “Smith Territories.” It was in New Latonia that “a poor mouse was found hanging,” the paper reported. “Most people conjecture (for conjecture they will in such cases) that he was unfortunately taken and hanged as a spy.” The reporter added that “by what authority or upon what Samuel M. Fox occasion he was executed” was unknown. The hanging was reported in May 1778, but that same month, the Gazette hopefully noted the impending “departures of the subjects of Latonia from said territories. … No person who professes himself a subject to the state of Latonia will any longer be suffered to reside within the territories of the Smithites.” As of June 24, 1778, however, about a week after the British left town, the Gazette was still based in New Latonia, reporting that the Royal Artillery had evacuated the school but that it was in “such condition as not to admit … immediate return of its old inhabitants.” Finally, by late July 1778, the last issues of the Students Gazette carried brief items suggesting that order was being restored, at least to the business of Quaker education in Philadelphia. Publisher Samuel M. Fox signed off on Aug. 5, 1778, saying he had done all he could to make the Students Gazette “entertaining and instructing” – and leaving his mark on the history of William Penn Charter School.

“For the Common Good”

not clear cut, with loyalties seemingly shifting in the interest of self-preservation. Who was a rebel and who a Tory? It was hard to tell. Just three months after the Gazette started up, anxious Pennsylvania authorities who supported the rebellion rounded up about 30 Philadelphians – including the young editor’s father, Joseph – and detained them in the Freemasons’ Lodge. Most of the detainees were Quakers. The city’s Quakers had strong ties to the London Yearly Meeting and were being pressured to abstain from war efforts, making them a target of suspicion. Joseph Fox was released, but about 20 men were exiled to Virginia for eight months. (One was merchant Samuel Pleasants, whose daughter Sarah would marry Fox in 1788.) Joseph Fox, like a number of other Public Latin School parents, was a prominent Quaker. He began serving as the Philadelphia representative to the Assembly of the Province of Pennsylvania in 1750 and later became Assembly speaker. Although Fox was first suspected of harboring British sympathies, it was British troops who would set fire to his country house, located in what is now the city’s Olney section, believing that he favored the rebels. His personal papers, which could have included the Gazette, perished in the blaze. Fortunately, others saved copies of the Students Gazette. A total of six volumes, 10 issues each, were published. The William Penn Charter School Archives, in the Quaker Collection at Haverford College, hold an incomplete collection. But the historical society has what apparently is a full set, bound by volume, and published between June 4, 1777, and Aug. 5, 1778. They are part of the collection “Norris Family Papers Circa 1700-1860.” Joseph Parker Norris was Samuel Fox’s classmate and a lifelong friend. (In 1790, he married Fox’s sister Elizabeth.) He was the grandson of Isaac Norris, a powerful, wealthy Quaker (also educated at early-day Penn Charter), and the great-grandson of Isaac Norris, who arrived in Philadelphia in 1690, acquiring large tracts of land, building political influence, and helping to shape the colony. It’s not clear what spurred Samuel Fox to publish the Gazette amid mounting chaos


Scandals and Young Ladies

everal months into publishing the Students Gazette, Samuel M. Fox received a letter signed “Sidney Smart,” an alias for the “sister to a distinguished member of your state.” She writes that her brother brings home every Gazette and that “it is with particular pleasure I peruse the many entertaining essays contained therein.” Sidney Smart may very well have been Deborah Norris – and possibly the person who ensured that every issue, or “number,” of the Students Gazette’s 14-month run survives today. Her brother, Joseph Parker Norris, was Fox’s lifelong friend. Deborah Norris, who married George Logan, a physician and U.S. senator, gained recognition as a skilled writer and historian. She was the first female member of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. A diligent guardian of family history, Deborah Norris Logan may have preserved the full, six-volume set of the Students Gazette now in “Norris Family Papers Circa 1700-1860,” a collection held by the historical society. The final volume bears publisher’s compliments “to M Norris” and “begs his acceptance of the 6th and last volume.” Presumably, the “M” is an abbreviation for master or mister and “Norris” is Logan’s brother. Deborah Norris Logan (Germantown Historical The fourth bound volume holds another Logan connection: Quaker girls’ names Society, Philadelphia, Pa.) scribbled inside the binding with the note “four unmatched ladies certainly, in their own opinions, at least.” One name is Sally Wister. She and Logan were close friends who met while at the girls school run by the Quaker Anthony Benezet. As teens, they formed a social circle of prominent Quaker daughters, including Becky Jones, whose name is also written in the fourth volume. The other two names are Betsey Wister (Sally’s younger sister) and Patty Jones. Fox crowed over the correspondence from Sidney Smart, dated Sept. 19, 1777: “It is not without some degree of vanity as an author, that I find by the following letter my paper circulates in a more enlarged sphere than the narrow limits of a school.” But he apparently didn’t act on Sidney’s suggestion that he add a girl to the staff – a contributor who could report on the “entertaining scandal that prevails at the tea tables of the best-bred young ladies.” So, the full run of Gazettes was preserved, but the “entertaining scandal” was lost. Too bad. As doyenne of the social circle, Debby Norris easily could have reported on (as Sidney Smart suggested) which girl had the “best shape” or “the most beautiful skin” and who were the “handsomest boys,” wearing “the most fashionable clothes.”

in Philadelphia and the colonies, but it was more likely a sense of challenge than posterity. The several publications that preceded his at the Public Latin School had all “disappeared like the sudden blaze of a meteor, notwithstanding the boasting promises,” stated the publisher of The Public School Intelligencer in what was apparently the inaugural issue (Dec. 21, 1776) of his own short-lived publication. When Fox thanked his contributors in his final issue, on Aug. 5, 1778, he noted (in what sounded like a bit of boasting) that he didn’t want to take all the credit for “having supported for so

long a time the only newspaper throughout the state” of “Latonia.” (See “Of Mice and Militia.”) In concluding his run, Fox wrote to his readers that “he need not, he imagines, inform them that he was not induced [to publish] by the idea of amassing a great fortune.” He did just that, however, as an adult. Fox was an incorporator of the Bank of Pennsylvania in 1793 and became its president in 1796. Both Fox and his friend Norris invested in land in western Pennsylvania, which became oil country and home to Fox descendants. PC

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Stephen A. Bonnie OPC ‘66 with the late Lewis S. Somers 3rd OPC ‘44 in 2008 at the first girls soccer game on the new Somers Field. Somers supported the transformation of the beautiful field on the Strawbridge Campus. Bonnie (notice the trademark Sambas) helped design the landscape.


Fall 2012

PC AL L star

An institutional treasure, that’s what he is. In his fifth decade at Penn Charter, Steve Bonnie shifts his focus from admissions to development.

by Connie Langland


n the last day of ninth grade English, Steve Bonnie deploys one technique, then another to drill his students on the ins and outs of punctuation. First, he seeks to get them to figure out for themselves where to place the comma, the semicolon or the period in various runon sentences. But then his nature gets the best of him. He moves to the middle of the room, with students’ desks forming a wide circle around him. “How do we use a comma?” Bonnie asks. He then proceeds not to tell them, but to show them. He takes a few steps, pauses one beat, takes a few steps more. That pause suggests a comma, he says. Next, he takes a few steps, pauses for two, three beats, then takes a few steps more. “There’s your semicolon.” And the finale: A few steps, a HOP and then he stops cold. “Voila! That’s a period for you.” The class is amused, though not surprised. Bonnie will use any ploy, will coddle, cajole, implore and even insinuate dire consequences to get his students and his athletes to perform. And they do. Over the course of four decades, Bonnie has served Penn Charter as a teacher, coach, academic advisor and director of admissions. This fall, he has given up the admissions post to become director of stewardship, a new position with the development office created as Head of School Darryl J. Ford looks forward to a capital campaign that will fund the new strategic vision for the future of Penn Charter. “The new post is somewhat open-ended,” Bonnie said. “I’ll steward

a number of endowed funds – the school has more than 100 – some of which are active, some less active, and we’ll see if we can crank them up a bit. And, I’ll be working with certain individual donors, particularly people I know – and I know many people because I’ve been around for a hundred years. And I’ll work with reunion committees, particularly guys I went to school with, or students I taught.” And consider this: Stephen A. Bonnie OPC ’66 has been associated with Penn Charter either as a student or as a teacher, coach, administrator for more than 50 years, from 1960 to 2012, so, yes, he knows many, many PC alumni and former parents. Bonnie, 64, started at Penn Charter in seventh grade and graduated in 1966. He returned to coach soccer and track in 1970, the same year he graduated from Temple University. He was named head track coach in 1976 and began teaching English at the school later that year. He was named admissions director in 1982, succeeding Ralph Palaia Hon. 1689. By then he had acquired a master’s in English education and later earned a doctorate in educational leadership, both from Temple. Bonnie describes Palaia as “legendary,” both as a longtime admissions director and as baseball coach, and there are those who say the same of Bonnie. To many PC colleagues, students and alumni, he is simply unforgettable, and not just because of the notecards and variously colored pens in his pocket or the Adidas Sambas on his feet. Sterling Johnson OPC ’78 still recalls the day back in the 1970s when Bonnie persuaded him to join the track team. “Dr. B walked over – and he was very direct – he asked me, ‘What

Fall 2012 •


PC All


are you doing?’ I said, ‘I’m playing baseball.’ And he said, ‘No, you’re not. You’re sitting on the bench. If you come out for the track team, I guarantee you will run every race. You will not be sitting on the bench.’ And Dr. B was a man of his word. I ran every race. It proved to me that hard work could pay off and you could take an average athlete and make him a good athlete through practice,” said Johnson, a project manager with the Army Corps of Engineers. Johnson, who sits on the alumni board and PC’s diversity committee, counts himself among the scores of PC athletes trained and inspired by Bonnie. “He’s been a very good teacher in the PC sense. We all have Dr. B stories. And, he’s been very supportive of the African-American athletes and students of color generally both in his role as a track coach and as admissions officer.” Girls track coach Liz Flemming noted how Bonnie was somewhat flummoxed when girls first arrived at Penn Charter. His coaching style, which can be in-your-face, needed adjusting. Flemming offered him this advice: “Girls are so wired to please, and they pretty much never get yelled at – it freaks them out.” Bonnie could hardly believe his ears. “He stared at me and said, ‘I got yelled at six times a day.’” His memory was spot on. Allan Brown, now director of financial aid and the PC archivist, taught history back in the day when Bonnie and his good friend Jon Sirlin OPC ’66, now an attorney in Center City, were at the school. “They constantly talked more to each other than to me, the leader of the class, and my comments in red were more numerous than his pencil writings,” Brown recalled. “I would tell him, I hope you can make a living with that big mouth of yours, and he has – they both have. They were two peas in a pod. They drove me crazy.” And Sirlin endorsed that view. “We were the guys that drove you crazy … but you really liked them,” he said. Sirlin’s view is that Bonnie loved Penn Charter pretty much from the moment he walked in the door in seventh grade. “He just loved his life and the school and what it stood for so much, he never considered going on to a different school … He’s here to do what is the right thing for the school and its students. He doesn’t have another agenda,” Sirlin said. “He has been tremendously devoted to Penn Charter from the time he was 12 years old,” said Sirlin, adding that he has evolved into a well-liked teacher, an important administrator, and a legendary coach. “He’s one of those who goes down in the history of the school as an all-star.” Bonnie’s successes as a coach are apparent: 21 Inter-Ac championships; 15 gold medals in the Penn Relays Inter-Ac mile relay; named Pennsylvania Track and Field Coaches Association Boys Coach of the Year in 1997; inducted into the PC Athletic Honor Society as track coach in 1997 and again in 2003, when the 1988 boys track team was inducted. In April 2012, Bonnie and retired PC director of athletics William A. Gallagher Sr. Hon. 1689 were inducted into the City All-Star Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame. During Bonnie’s tenure, the track team has become a magnet. His pitch to students is this: there are so many different areas they can specialize in, they can participate in every meet and have a chance to


Fall 2012

Quick delivery and biting wit make him a popular MC at Athletic Honor Society reunions. compete against the best in the league. There’s a daily regimen, and every athlete trains even if his event lasts only a few minutes. Track has become the school’s most popular varsity sport, last year attracting almost 100 participants. Anyone spending time with Bonnie may know several things about him, besides the Sambas: Go-to phrase: “Oh, baby.” Favorite adage: “Every day is a perfect day for Penn Charter track.” Favorite beverage: coffee. Favorite track suit: well worn, white, new a decade or two ago, and all zipped up, even on the hottest of track meet days. Oh, and he hates to lose. And here are some lesser known traits and facts about the man. He has lived in the same house virtually all his life. A bachelor, he has seven godchildren and, as he says, counts every one of the 963 students at PC as his own. He has a keen eye, and takes responsibility for such things as planting a descendent of the famous William Penn treaty elm on the front circle or marshalling the refurbishing of teachers’ desks over the summers. As one colleague said, he believes “in service without credit.” And, he’s had the same Eagles tickets since 1962, when Sirlin bought two in the “cheap seats” for $52 for the season. If young people respond to Bonnie – and they clearly do – it’s because he responds to them. “I tend to treat the kids as if they were my kids,” Bonnie said. “I try wherever possible to have a sense of humor and amusement, or occasionally bemusement, because they are teenagers. Also I am fairly strict with them about their behavior and the rules, because I don’t like

PC All a sloppy team or a misbehaving team or not properly dressed team. … And probably because I’m a little mercurial in my personality, they’re never quite sure how much I’m kidding and how much I’m not. And I’ve always thought that with teachers and coaches, a little discomfort is probably a good thing.” Sports teaches life lessons, something Bonnie learned in his early years running track and playing soccer at PC and Temple. “You gotta be there. You gotta be there on time. You gotta be there prepared, and have a good attitude and cooperate,” he said. Sirlin offered another perspective: “Steve was never a natural star for any of the things he is good at. He was a guy who had to come in and work hard and make himself a good player. And he would go out all taped up and bandaged with cortisone shots in his ankle. It was hard work and sincerity.” Proof that he practices what he preaches: Bonnie has missed just two days of work – he had a bad case of the flu in 1983 – in all these years at Penn Charter. He took half a day in 1976 when his father died – his family insisted he return to campus because being there would distract him from his grief. “My point is, I’ve trained myself as an athlete. When you don’t feel well, and you’re sick, and you’re angry, well, all that’s nice. But you still have to go to work,” he said. Bonnie has gained a reputation for tending to the academic needs as well as athletic concerns of those young people he is mentoring. Kamal Marell OPC ’06 was recruited by Bonnie to enroll in eighth grade. “It didn’t hurt that I was an exceptional track student … it was like a perfect match between Dr. Bonnie and me. He calls me his godson,” said Marell, a 2010 graduate of Clemson University. Bonnie “would pull me aside because he knew I had to keep up academically and socially. He wanted to make sure I felt comfortable. There were not too many African-American students in my grade or at the school.” Parent Ken Worley, whose son Daryl also was recruited by Bonnie, said he has been impressed by the coach from their first meeting. “Daryl coming from a public school, it’s been so different – differences in learning, differences in habits – and Dr. Bonnie has worked with us on every aspect of learning here at Penn Charter. I just see a guy with dedication and loyalty. He only wants the best out of his students.” Marell said he had no particular story to tell about Bonnie. “I just remember him always being there from the minute I walked into Penn Charter – being a mentor and a father figure and support for me and my family … very genuine and committed to the values of diversity and education.” And he added: “Dr. B is someone who strives to get the most out of himself.” Bonnie has moved to a new office on the lower level of the main building -- he thought an office with the Development staff in Timmons House would distance him too much from students. And he will continue to teach part-time; he is developing a new elective for the spring trimester, Penn: His School, His State and the City of Brotherly Love. Surrounded by his history books and his favorite PC paraphernalia, he


talked briefly about his time in admissions and about his new assignment. “The pressure [in admissions] is significant because really the future of the school rests on how well you do the job,” he said. “More and more, the admission directors are going to be marketing people, customer service people, where in Bonnie at Commencement: He the old days you were a teacher or a coach or a admitted them all. He loves them all. teacher-coach and you Enrollment for Bonnie’s last year as also became director of director of admissions was 963, admissions.” an all-time high. Fund-raising can be perceived as daunting, too, but Bonnie already has experience, having assisted with several projects in recent years. “My angle is, these children are going to benefit from financial aid, or these children really need a new … whatever. I’m not saying give a million bucks generically … Do it for the greater good of these terrific Penn Charter kids.” A postscript, of a sort. In his remarks to fellow graduates in June, Shane Carr OPC ’12 described how he encounters so many fans of the school when he’s out and about and wearing any of his vast Penn Charter wardrobe. “People approach me on the streets, striking up conversation like: You go to Penn Charter? I’m an OPC ’87, or I have two sons there…,” Carr said. Or they ask: “Is Steve Bonnie still there? He is? Wow, good for him.” PC

By special request: Bonnie requested this photo for PC admissions materials; the way the light shines from the palladian window as he leaves after dark is a favorite PC view.

Fall 2012 •


“We want you to do right even when others are against it and to avoid wrong even when others are for it. Integrity. We hope that your time at Penn Charter has

prepared you to live out this Quaker testimony.” – Head of School Darryl J. Ford

commencement 2012


n a joyful celebration of their success and their future, William Penn Charter School graduated 92 seniors at Commencement on June 9. The Class of 2012 is distinguished by its socioeconomic diversity and the diversity of its talents. “We have our academic scholars and our star athletes. We have our English specialists and our foreign language experts. We have our philosophers and our realists. We have our serious students and, as

in every class, we have our class clowns,” said Alexis Lo, one of two student commencement speakers. Shane Carr, the other student speaker, said that the talented, close-knit class created an environment where it was possible to take healthy risk and to grow. “The small, intimate class size at Penn Charter has helped me come out of my shell, the very same shell that seemed to be continually hardened at my old school.”

Commencement speakers Alexis Lo and Shane Carr smile as their classmates step forward to receive their diplomas.


Fall 2012

Class of 2012 parents Laura Bryan and Jeff Reinhold, shown here after Commencement with Head of School Darryl J. Ford, led the $139,000 Senior Class Gift effort – which included 78 percent participation.

Senior Class President Edward Malandro IV delivered a spirited address and presented the school with the Senior Class Parent Gift of $139,000.

Marion Hirshberg and Steven Miller shared the prestigious Phi Beta Kappa Award, presented for outstanding scholarship. Hirshberg also received the coveted Alumni Society Senior Award.

college choices An end-of-year survey by the Penn Charter College Counseling Office showed that 91 percent of students in the class are attending one of their top-choice colleges. Sixty-one percent were admitted to a “Most Competitive College” according to Barron’s Profiles of American Colleges. Auburn University Bowdoin College (3) Bucknell University Clark Atlanta University Colgate University College of Charleston College of William & Mary Drexel University (6) Duke University (3) Fordham University Franklin & Marshall College (2) George Washington University (3) Haverford College (2) Hofstra University Ithaca College

Kean University Kenyon College Kutztown University Lehigh University Marist College Miami University Mount Holyoke College Muhlenberg College New York University (2) Oberlin College Pace University Pennsylvania State University (2) Polytechnic Institute of NYU Princeton University Sarah Lawrence College

Stony Brook University Syracuse University Temple University (3) Tufts University (2) Tulane University United States Military Academy University of Arizona (2) University of Chicago (2) University of Colorado University of Miami University of Michigan University of Pennsylvania (10) University of Pittsburgh University of Richmond University of San Diego

University of the Sciences Ursinus College Vanderbilt University (3) Villanova University (2) Virginia Wesleyan College Wagner College Washington & Lee University Washington University in St. Louis Wellesley College Williams College Wofford College Yale University (3)

Fall 2012 •


john f. gummere distinguished teacher award: James M. Ballengee Hon. 1689

PC Alumni

weekend 2012

In recognition of his outstanding scholarship, teaching and character, the Alumni Society awarded James M. Ballengee Hon. 1689 the John F. Gummere Distinguished Teacher Award. Ballengee arrived at Penn Charter in 1991 and during the last two decades has served the school and its students as a teacher of religious studies and social studies, college counselor and cross country coach – among other assignments. Since 1998, as director of service learning, he has worked tirelessly to shape and grow Penn Charter’s service learning program into a meaningful, vibrant and nationally recognized model of civic engagement. Ballengee continues to help with cross country, teach AP Government and direct the pre-K to 12 service learning program – and he is engaged in planning for a new Center for Public Purpose that will be the linchpin of the school’s evolving service learning and community service initiatives. Kate Houstoun OPC ’97, a program officer for Barra Foundation, a Philadelphia-area nonprofit, returned to PC to introduce Ballengee. Houstoun credited her former teacher with inspiring her to pursue a career in service – and teaching her a lesson she carries with her every day: “Mr. Ballengee and Penn Charter taught me that I will learn more from the people I am serving than I will ever be able to teach them,” She said.

Head of School Darryl J. Ford welcomed reunion classes and friends to the 120th Annual Alumni Reception, joking that much has changed since the 50th reunion class graduated in 1962. “There are girls in the classrooms and cushions on the meeting room benches,” he joked. “But much remains unchanged.” “Good Instruction Is Better than Riches – and that is still true.” Ford talked of the school’s new strategic vision for 21st century education. “PC is trying to be a place where our students can learn to read, to write, to communicate, but also a place where they can learn to live lives that make a difference.”


Fall 2012

Bill Gallagher, Jim Ballengee, Kate Houstoun and Head of School Darryl J. Ford at the 120th Alumni Reception.


alumni award of merit Samuel H. Francis OPC ’60

“Your early education is your launching pad. If you’re launched in the right direction and with sufficient momentum, the rest is just follow-through.” Reunioners and guests climb the senior stairs during a tour of campus.

J. Peter Davis OPC ’74 begins his two-year term as president of the Alumni Society with a handoff from outgoing president William A. Gallagher Jr. OPC ’91. Gallagher reported that the society has, in the last two years, updated some of its structures and procedures related to finances, and worked to support or create scholarship funds that honor alumni and teachers, and contribute to Penn Charter’s financial well-being.

The Quakers Dozen performed outside the Meeting Room and on stage; “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” and “Old Penn Charter” were crowd pleasers.

The Penn Charter Alumni Society bestowed the Alumni Award of Merit on Samuel H. Francis OPC ’60, just as it long ago honored his father, Winthrop Francis OPC ’27 with the same award. One of Penn Charter’s highest honors, the award is given to “a graduate of the William Penn Charter School whose character and outstanding achievement have reflected lasting credit upon this old school.” The presentation of the award was a highlight of the May 4 Alumni Reception marking the 120th year that graduates of the school have gathered, in one group or another, to celebrate their PC history and connections. Francis took the opportunity to reflect on his school days; a physicist who has enjoyed a successful career in scientific research and development, he also delivered a passionate and reasoned argument for science literacy. Winthrop Francis, a professor at Franklin and Marshall College, in Lancaster, arranged with then-head of school John Gummere for Francis and his older brother, John, to attend Penn Charter as boarding students. “Your early education is your launching pad,” Francis said. “If you’re launched in the right direction and with sufficient momentum, the rest is just follow-through. Jack Gummere and the fine teachers at Penn Charter launched me in the right direction.” Albert Linton, Henry Evans, Wilbert Braxton, Paul Minault, Ernest Wells, Charles Conrad – Francis recalled each with appreciation. He remembered English teacher Lou Connick less for his lessons about literature and more for taking Francis

– and two other students – on a college tour to Yale, where he ultimately enrolled. Students remember their teachers and the influence they have on their lives, but Francis found it remarkable, he said, that teachers remember them, too. He sat next to Wells, retired as a PC music and choral teacher, at his 50th reunion in 2010 “and after 50 years and 800 Quakers Dozen members and a fading memory, he not only remembered me, he recalled that I had sung a particular solo in a particular spiritual,” Francis said. “It’s not that I had a memorable voice – I didn’t, I was just loud. It’s that Ernest, like so many PC teachers, cared about us enough to remember us. That matters.” Looking back after a successful career in science, Francis credited his teachers and Penn Charter with teaching not about scientific facts but “how to think about science, how to analyze, how to revere facts.” Citing the middling standing of the U.S. in world rankings of students’ knowledge of science, Francis called upon Penn Charter to graduate students “with a sense of wonder about the natural world, and with the confident knowledge that science and the scientific method – rather than intuition, myth, common sense or common nonsense – is the key to understanding that natural world ...” After his graduation from Yale, Francis earned a PhD in theoretical physics from Harvard. He began a 28-year career at AT&T Bell Laboratories as a research physicist studying wave propagation in the ionosphere. He ultimately became vice president for ocean systems research and development, leading an organization of 700 engineers and scientists in developing technologies and systems for the U.S. Navy. He retired from Bell Labs in 1998.

The full text of Francis’ speech is available at:

Fall 2012 •



honorary 1689

Denise D. Haigler and Rebecca T. Miller received Honorary 1689 diplomas, which are given to “a member of the Penn Charter community who has shown extraordinary commitment to the school by demonstrating pride and excellence in the performance of their duties and by consistently providing encouragement and support to the student body.” Head of School Darryl J. Ford awarded the 1689 honorary degree to Denise Haigler, praising her for 25 years of service to the school and “the extraordinary way in which she sees the Inner Light in all whom she encounters.”

Denise D. Haigler Hon. 1689 with her husband, Ron, and son, Jamal OPC ’98.

Haigler began work at Penn Charter in 1987 as the school receptionist. In 1994, she became administrative assistant to then head of school Earl J. Ball and, since 2007, she has worked with Ford. Both positions, working the main phone to the school and working with the head of school, require “someone who has a pleasant disposition, is affable, is unflappable, and someone who knows all of the ‘ins and outs’ of the school,” Ford said. Ford added that as his administrative assistant Haigler is trusted with much of the confidential information that flows through the office of a head of school. “Earl Ball and I have laughed about how confidential Denise is and admired how she never gives up a head of school’s secrets,” Ford said. “Denise is the consummate professional.”


Fall 2012

Stephanie Ball, Beckie Miller Hon. 1689 and Kiera Murasko-Blank OPC ’07.

Director of Annual Fund Stephanie Ball solicited comments from colleagues and former students of Rebecca T. Miller and assembled them into an affectionate introduction. Ball told the audience at the 120th Annual Alumni Reception that she knew how much her friend “hates all of this attention on her – which makes this all the more fun!” Miller has taught kindergarten, second and now fourth grade at PC. Twenty-five years ago, fresh out of college, she became a teaching partner with Chris Christoph. “I remember the first time I met Beckie,” Christoph recalled. “In walks this sassy, intelligent young lady – and I just knew she was going take Penn Charter by storm.” Her colleagues recalled in particular how Miller was an early adopter of technology in Lower School. In the kindergarten class, she was committed to making sure that every student had a floppy disc; she helped introduce SmartBoards into the classrooms, used flip cameras to film reading and presentation skills, and piloted some of the first teacher websites. Her students recalled how she inspired confidence. Chelsea Erdmanis OPC ’02 told Ball that she and her classmates formed a rock band in the kindergarten cubby area, and Miss Tate – Miller’s maiden name before she married the late Matthew T. Miller OPC ’86 – helped them believe they would be rock stars. Kiera Murasko-Blank OPC ’07 told Ball that Miller “knows that each child has potential, and she will push each student in a way that will bring out the best in them. She has shaped my life – and I’m sure so many others,” said Murasko-Blank. “I can’t thank her enough.”

The 120th Annual Alumni Reception included a party on the lawn at Timmons House and presentations in the Meeting Room.

OPCs ’62 William F. MacDonald Jr. and Gordon Hasse catching up at the reception.

Alan McFarland OPC ’60, George C. (Skip) Corson OPC ’52 and Alumni Award of Merit Winner Samuel H. Francis OPC ’60.


Class Notes

John R. Roberts OPC ’41

Penn Charter magazine wants to hear from you, and your classmates do, too! Submit your news and photos to Digital photos should be 300 dpi JPEGs.




See death notices.

Class Agent Robert C. McAdoo

Class Agent Jane F. Evans

John M. Donahue OPC ’42



See death notices.

Class Agent Robert J. Harbison III

1943 William Keefer OPC ‘43

Harry G. M. Jopson OPC ’28 See death notices.

See death notices.


William H. Peirce OPC ’43 See death notices.

1937 Class Agent Edmond H. (Ted) Heisler

Augistin J. Pocock OPC ‘41 See death notices.

A Look Back at


Class of 1942 70th Reunion


Richard B. Collins OPC ’44 See death notices.

Francis H. Loughran OPC ’42 (second from left) and M.L. Loughran joined Head of School Darryl J. Ford and Gail Sullivan at their home for an Alumni Weekend luncheon.

Richard Hegel OPC ’44 See death notices.

Fall 2012 •



Class Notes Class of 1947 65th Reunion

William M. Shaner OPC ‘48 See death notices.

George Meinel writes, “Wistar Wood was kind enough to send me his hardbound coffee table book titled, Who Am I ?, which his granddaughter prompted him to write and publish, and it is well done. Sallie, David P. Loughran, and I had the pleasure of spending an evening with Robert F. Taylor in mid-July while attending the 100th birthday celebration of Little Egg Harbor Yacht Club in Beach Haven. Bob is planning on coming to our reunion to see everyone after such a long absence.”


1948 1949

Class Agent H. Leonard Brown

Class Agent Bruce R. Barstow David P. Loughran OPC ’48 See death notices.

Richard M. Lambert OPC ’45 See death notices.

G. Davis Greene Jr. OPC ’49 See death notices.


Alfred B. Schaeffer OPC ‘48 See death notices.

Robert Hargesheimer OPC ‘49 See death notices.

David B. Borie OPC ’47 See death notices.

William P. Paul OPC ’47 See death notices.

Harry A. Yutzler OPC ’47 See death notices.

John C. Gregory writes, “My wife, Jackie, and I enjoy watching our grandchildren go to college, protest injustices and age gracefully.”


Fall 2012

The Class of 1948 – many traveling from Virginia, Montana, Pittsburgh, California and Denver – gathered for an early 65th reunion at PC in October and toured the school with current seniors, the Class of 2013. Pictured, left to right: Lawrence C. Hardy, Marcia Hardy, Geralyn W. Roden, Barbara J. Baur, Lincoln Roden, Lesley F. Meinel, Philip J. Bauer, John L. (Zeke) Finney, George S. Meinel, Sarah G. Finney, Edward B. Collins, Charles H. Schaefer, Thomas S. Williams, Audrey F. Haig, Kathryn G. (Kiki) Williams and Pauline H. Bell.


Class Notes Bruce R. Barstow writes, “I spoke to Glenn L. Van Hest. That raspy bass voice hasn’t changed since 1949! He has become a West Coast native (San Marcos, Calif.) with a bona fide pioneer spirit. We have five ’49 graduates living in the West, with T. Morris Perot and Paul C. Schmidt living the closest to each other in greater San Francisco. The school hosts an annual reception for all graduates at a different location on the coast most every year. Also spoke to Peter J. Meehan who continues to “take it easy” in Naples, Fla., his condition gradually improving following his lung surgery of a year ago. Harry E. Richter and Patti must be among the most traveling duos in the class as they always seem to be on the road from one place to another. They just like to get up and go from their Sebastian, Fla., headquarters. And here’s one that might help you avoid completing all the items on your mate’s honey-do list. I was doing well in my hip replacement recovery and volunteered to Dee that it was time for me to start picking up my share of the house maintenance, which she had lovingly filled for me. She agreed and said the garage needed cleaning! So I went right to it and was soon bitten in the thigh by a spider (not the brown recluse). Next thing I knew was a five-day stay in the hospital with a hematoma, followed by a month of rehab to reduce the swelling. It’s not the spider I hold to blame so much as the volunteering!”

houses, hospitals, schools, leprosarium, fishing villages, fish ponds. We are working in prisons and teaching skills like auto repair, plumbing, electrical work, carpentry, tailoring, shoe repair and a host of other skills. We dig wells and work with animal husbandry and ecological concerns. We are one of the largest employers in the Caribbean. More than 96 percent of each dollar goes to the destitute, making us one of the most efficient charities in the USA. We raise more than $1 billion yearly and are now the fifth largest international charity in the USA. I travel each weekend to various parts of the country from Bangor, Maine, to San Diego, Calif., and travel in the Caribbean, touring our work in a regular ongoing way. I love what I do and intend to keep going until I drop on some flight to Virginia (or somewhere else) on my way to another week of activity. I have served Food for the Poor now for 12 years. It has been and is a great life. My dear wife, Sharon, is very ill, but all seven of our children continue to be healthy, happy and successful. God is good!”

F. Bruce Waechter writes, “A total of 22 from the Class of 1952 attended their 60th reunion at Penn Charter. On Friday, May 4, we were taken on a tour of the wonderfully expanded school, followed by lunch at PC. We then joined other alumni at the Friday evening allalumni dinner. On Saturday, we had dinner at the Merion Cricket Club, hosted by classmate Robert Y. Twitmyer. We were honored to have Darryl J. Ford stop by and greet us each individually. We are planning our 62nd in St. Petersburg, Fla., in March 2014.” (See photo.)

1953 Class Agents William H. Bux

A Look Back at


1952 Class Agents George C. (Skip) Corson Jr. F. Bruce Waechter

Class of 1952 60th Reunion

1950 Class Agent Christopher W. Parker

1951 Class Agent David N. Weinman

W. Michael Cassell writes, “I continue to work full time for Food for the Poor, working in 17 nations in the Caribbean, focusing lately especially on Haiti. We have built 81,000

Left to right: John C. Simon, Robert Y. Twitmyer, David M. Jordan, Frank F. Embick, Jim Bennett, John H. Wagner, Philip Price, Charles J. Nicholas, Michael P. Ritter, Charles M. Waygood, Joseph B. VanSciver, David K. Colescott, David A. Potter, Frederick J. Yannessa, William H. Brehm, F. Bruce Waechter, William J. McGuckin, George C. Corson.

Fall 2012 •



Class Notes 1954

look like ‘excessively mature’ fuddy-duddies instead of the hearty prime-of-lifers they really are. Gathered at the lovely Wyndmoor home of Bill and Anne Tanner during Alumni Weekend were the following youngsters: Louis F. Metzger, Kenneth J. Barber, G. Allan Dash, R. Dale Sonderup, Peter S. Stern, William N. Tanner, Lynn Wills (widow of John W.), James G. Masland, Donald M. Kerr, Thomas W. Budd and H. Carl Albrecht. Despite being out of school for 55 years, these classmates still demonstrated remarkable strength and agility, particularly in the arms with which they lifted cocktail glasses.” (See photo.)

Class Agent Alfred F. Bracher III

1955 Class Agent Charles (Chuck) Clayton Jr.

1956 Class Agent Bernard E. Berlinger Jr.

1959 Class Agent Rush B. Smith

Thomas D. Watkins is still energetically retired from the bench in Chester County. He enjoys painting, farming, dogs, traveling and dodging seven grandchildren.

1960 Class Agent James M. Arrison III



Class Agents John E. F. Corson

Class Agents G. Allan Dash

Robert D. Morrow Jr.

James V. Masella Jr. James G. Masland Jr.

Allan Dash writes, “Poor lighting conditions undoubtedly caused the Class of 1957 to

Class of 1957

Robert J. Hack OPC ’58 See death notices.

Three OPC ’60 sailors in Newport Harbor, R.I., after a week at sea on a 54-foot Jeaneau yacht named Namaste. James M. Arrison OPC ’60, along with Samuel H. Francis OPC ’60, was the skipper. William W. Blodgett OPC ’60 has previously sailed around the world with his wife, Alicia, who later wrote a book, The Two of Us, about their around-the-world adventure.

55th Reunion

1961 Class Agents Richard P. Hamilton Jr. J. Freedley Hunsicker Jr.

1962 Class Agents Louis F. Burke Kevin McKinney Ronald O. Prickitt


Fall 2012


Class Notes Class of 1962 50th Reunion

1964 Class Agents John T. Long Jr. John S. Morrow

1965 Class Agent Jonathon P. (Buck) DeLong


A Look Back at


1963 Class Agents Robert E. Brickely Richard J. Gilkeson Douglas S. Little

At Camp Tecumseh in New Hampshire, trustee Charles Kurz OPC ’63 (right) reconnected with James Lamb OPC ’10 and his family. In Tecumseh tradition, Jim performed as the Fairy Queen in Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic opera lolanthe.

Class Agent Martin J. (Marty) Harrity

1967 Class Agent Harry S. Cherken Jr.

Allen Steere OPC ’66 (left) reconnected on PC’s campus with childhood friend Mike Solon, whom he hadn’t seen in 50 years, and his wife, Diana. As a child, Mike lived with his grandfather in the stone cottage, once a gatehouse on the Pinehurst Estate and now owned by PC, at Stokely and Coulter streets. His grandfather, Michael J. Burke Hon. 1689, and his uncles, Joseph G. Burke Hon. 1689 and William M. Burke Sr. Hon. 1689, were known and loved by generations of Penn Charter students as groundskeepers. Mike Burke was Headmaster Richard Mott Jones’s gardener before taking charge of Penn Charter’s grounds – just athletic fields at that point, before PC relocated from Center City. In 1953, he retired after nearly 50 years of service, and students dedicated the Class Record to him. Mike Solon said of his visit, “PC has always been regarded as my home, and all my great childhood memories are filled with the teachers, staff and students of William Penn Charter School. This recent visit has only increased my memories and fondness of PC.”

Fall 2012 •



Class Notes 1968

Class of 1972

Class Agents Bruce C. Gill

40th Reunion

Richard E. Stanley

Mark R. Kravitz OPC ’68 See death notices.

1969 Class Agent Thomas C. Robinson Jr.

Philip F. Golden writes, “I am now with my fifth bank in a 35-year banking career. Lots of ups and downs in commercial banking over the years. It’s helped support a great family. I am blessed. All the best to my classmates. Looking forward to our 45th reunion in 2014.”

society: “The queen bee does not run this operation. This is socialism,” he said. Thomas F. Daubert was recently featured as the protagonist in a new documentary, Code of the West. Visit www.codeofthewestfilm. com. It premiered at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, has been screened at other prestigious film festivals, and will be shown in New York City. Plans are underway for a national screening tour, mostly at college campuses, including in the Philadelphia area.

1970 Class Agents Charles L. Mitchell Robert N. Reeves Jr.

Joseph B. Coleman writes, “I recently rented a Formula 2000 car for an afternoon at a race car driver’s school at New Jersey Motorsports Park. I did manage to enter one turn too fast, and the car started to spin. After three corrective maneuvers, I came to a stop with only two wheels off the track. The reflexes are still pretty good.” Stephen A. Conlon, a beekeeper who with his wife, Ellie, owns ThistleDew Farm in West Virginia, gave PC students a demonstration last May. Using a queen to attract bees to his chin, Steve created a “beard” of honeybees as he described their


Fall 2012


1972 Class Agent Bruce K. Balderston

1973 Class Agent Robert J. Marquess

A Look Back at


Class Agents Marc A. Golden Frederick H. Landell

1974 Class Agent J. Peter Davis

Tactician Edward H. Bissell OPC ’71, skipper R. Davis Irvin OPC ’71 and deckhand R. Keith Helmetag OPC ’71 (left to right) aboard Rewa during their 10-day journey in the Leeward Islands that followed Carl Helmetag OPC ’66 and Richard K. Carnwath OPC ’66, who sailed three weeks prior.

David S. Jonas has been named general counsel for the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board. He previously served as the director of legal strategy and analysis in the Department of Energy’s Office of the General Counsel.


Class Notes 1975

Class of 1982

Class Agents Robert L. Nydick

30th Reunion

James S. Still

1976 Brent Sherwood has accepted a new position at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. He is now the program manager for Solar System Mission Formulation, leading the program office responsible for shaping future JPL planetary science missions.

1977 Class Agent Reid S. Perper

1978 Class Agents Sterling H. Johnson III

1979 Class Agent John D. Lemonick


Paul C. Mancini

Class Agents John B. Caras

David H. Neff

Charles J. (Chip) Goodman

Class of 1977 35th Reunion

1981 Class Agent Andrew J. Kramer

1982 Class Agent James L. Walker Jr.

A Look Back at


Fall 2012 •



Class Notes 1983


Mark R. Nicoletti, vice president of Philadelphia Suburban Development Corporation, has joined the board of directors of the North Penn United Way, whose service area includes the North Penn and Indian Valley Communities of Montgomery County.

Class Agents David Felderman David B. Gleit Adam M. Koppel

1988 Class Agents H. Bruce Hanson

L. Christopher Knowles OPC ’90, Seth A. Weiss OPC ’90, J.C. Spink OPC ’90, Richard L. Dressler OPC ’90, Thomas A. Vizza OPC ’90 (left to right) in August 2012 at the Irish Pub in Philadelphia. Rich came all the way from Israel, where he has been living for five years.

Gregory D. Palkon

1984 Class Agent Robert T. Myers

1989 Class Agent Kenneth (Casey) Murray

1985 Class Agents Matthew M. Killinger Thomas D. Kramer

1986 Class Agent P. Timothy Phelps

1990 Class Agent James D. Phillips

J.C. Spink writes, “Chris Teare, an old well-loved PC teacher, and I spent a night hanging out in Los Angeles in early September.”

Class of 1987 25th Reunion

Justin B. Wineburgh OPC ’90, M. David Fesmire OPC ’90, J.C. Spink OPC ’90 and David C. Kotler OPC ’90 celebrated Dave Fesmire’s 40th birthday in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., last June.

1991 Class Agents Daniel S. Donaghy Leo J. Wyszynski

Joseph R. Cahill writes, “Daniel S. Donaghy OPC ’91 is a great representative of Penn Charter. I truly appreciate all of his efforts.”

1992 Class Agents Anna V. Davis Keith M. Nigro

W. Todd Goulding was sorry to miss the reunion and hopes everyone is doing well. William A. Wright, president of Bruce E. Brooks Associates consulting engineers, has led the formation of a new commissioning subsidiary,


Fall 2012


Class Notes 1996

Class of 1992

Class Agents Alyson M. Goodner

20th Reunion

Michael Sala

1997 Class Agents Brendan Moore Allison MacCullough O’Neill

Brooks + Wright Commissioning, located in Center City Philadelphia. Will has been providing building commissioning and retro-commissioning, energy management and LEED administration services since 1998.

1993 Class Agent Victor S. (Tory) Olshansky

A Look Back at


Allison R. O’Neill and her husband, Kyle, live in Manhattan with their German Shepherd, Shadow. She is busy preparing for the arrival of their first child, a baby girl, due this October, and with her business. She invites alumni and friends with children, or who need a new baby or birthday gift for a child, to check out her store at

1994 Class Agent Jennifer R. Gallagher

1998 Class Agents Jeff Bender

1995 Class Agent Stephanie Teaford Walters

Patrick A. Sasse

Class of 1997 15th Reunion

Fall 2012 •



Class Notes 2003 Class Agents Jessica A. Kolansky Anthony E. McDevitt Jennifer N. Cooperman

Timothy M. Convey writes, “I hope everyone is doing well. I was just back to campus, and it looks like a different place!” Mark Hecker OPC ’99 (far right) gave the keynote address at the induction ceremony of Penn Charter’s Cum Laude Society last May. Mark is the founder of Reach, Inc., an innovative literacy program in Washington, D.C., that trains struggling teenage readers to tutor elementary students in reading. Mark spoke to students about the society’s principles of Arete, Dike and Time – Excellence, Justice and Honor – and “the tensions that exist between these words and the balance you’ll be forced to find in your lives.”


A Look Back at



Class Agents Mark D. Hecker

Class Agents William A. McKinney

Margaux Pelegrin

Jessica A. Stein



Class Agent Adam K. Sperling

Class Agent Katherine A. Butler

Class of 2002 10th Reunion

2004 Class Agents Katherine A. Entwisle Erin E. Hozack Jerome B. Wright

2005 Class Agents Christopher W. Garrison Jessica Kalick Maureen Ryan

2006 Class Agents Joey Fugelo


Fall 2012


Class Notes Class of 2006 5th Reunion

Ryan Goldman Kyle Maurer Sierra Tishgart

2009 Class Agents Alexandra M. Glassman Curtiss R. Jones Jr. Laura A. Kurash Sarah Roberts Katherine Siegmann Jeffrey Torchon

a lot of electronic music to Philadelphia. But that is just the start. I’m branding this emerging electronic music scene and putting a face and name to the parties and lifestyle through Planet House and my logo. The people who have taken me under their wing have the connections to make this possible for me.” Visit

2008 Class Agents Katie Corelli

Sam H. Lerner

2010 Class Agents Megan C. Delaney Cormac J. Ferrick Casey T. Maher Kellie C. Ragg

Emily Bartlett OPC ’06 and her grandfather, Lincoln Roden III OPC ’48, met on PC’s campus in October when the Class of 1948 returned for a visit. Emily is a member of Penn Charter’s Upper School learning support team.

2007 Class Agents Billy Goldman Audra Hugo Anne McKenna Eric Muller

Daniel Drufovka writes, “Essentially what my company, Planet House, is doing is bringing

Timothy G. Decker OPC ’08 (right), great-grandson of Swithin T. Chandler OPC 1908, grandson of T. Frank Decker OPC ’45 and son of Theodore F. Decker OPC ’78, graduated last May from Johns Hopkins University along with his classmates Jeremy L. Maurer OPC ’08 (left) and Kyle A. Maurer OPC ’08. Tim is pursuing a graduate degree in medicine, Jeremy is pursuing a graduate degree at the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and Kyle is employed by JPMorgan Chase & Co. in New York City.

Fall 2012 •



Class Notes Cooper Thomas, to Todd and Lisa Culnan Smith, on July 16, 2012.

1998 Dean Thompson, to Beka and Jesse T. Rendell, on June 10, 2012. Sydney Rachelle, to Marcel and Galit Abramovitz Winokur, on April 14, 2012.

2000 Charlotte Amber, to Jake and Elizabeth Krupnick Ramage, on July 11, 2012. Class agents for 2012 Sarah L. Butler, Ben P. Krieger, Edward Malandro and Cathryn C. Peirce will help keep their classmates connected.




Class Agents Demetra B. Angelakis

2004 Robert K. Kurz to Mary Alana Agee, on June 23, 2012. (See photo.)

1941 Augistin J. Pocock, on Sept. 22, 2012. John R. Roberts, on April 23, 2012.

Adam J. Garnick


Casandra P. Gigliotti


John M. Donahue, on March 13, 2012. William Keefer, on Aug. 20, 2012. William H. Peirce, on March 10, 2012.

Grant A. Guyer

Rachel Codkind is the Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy individual winner, nominated by the National Adoption Center and awarded by the Association of Fundraising Professionals – Greater Philadelphia Chapter. At Franklin and Marshall College, Rachel is a peer academic advisor for freshmen and a special advisor for upper class students with special needs. She is looking forward to assistant teaching a class in the spring.

1944 Richard B. Collins, on March 21, 2012. Richard Hegel, on Feb. 14, 2012.

2006 Charles More to Jessica Mawhirt, on Oct. 7, 2012.

2010 Kayla Torrey to A.J. Logan, on May 18, 2012.

BIRTHS 1993 Grace Elkins, to John and Katherine Eckert Talbot, on April 9, 2012.

2012 Class Agents Sarah L. Butler Ben P. Krieger Edward Malandro Cathryn C. Peirce


Harry G. M. Jopson, on March 9, 2012.


Fall 2012

1995 Leo and Noelle, to Selena and Geoffrey Rezvani, on Oct. 9, 2012.

1945 Richard M. Lambert, on March 20, 2012.

1947 David B. Borie, on July 14, 2012. William P. Paul, on April 10, 2012. Harry A. Yutzler, on Sept. 11, 2012.

1948 David P. Loughran, on Sept. 26, 2012. Alfred B. Schaeffer, on June 22, 2012. William M. Shaner, on Aug. 15, 2012.

1949 G. Davis Greene Jr., on Sept. 2, 2012. Robert Hargesheimer, on March 15, 2012.

Juliette Rose, to April and Joshua Torrisi, on July 21, 2012.




Lila Bevard, to Melissa and Stephen D. Bruno, on July 31, 2012.

Mark R. Kravitz, on Oct. 1, 2012.

Robert J. Hack, on May 21, 2012.

Annual Fund 2012-2013

} Randy Granger Hon. 1689 Art Teacher (1975-present) “At this stage of my career, I have the benefit of a long view of the institution and where it has really kept its commitment and excelled. Two examples that jump out at me are Penn Charter’s commitment to broadening diversity and to reimplementing coeducation. For Penn Charter to become diverse and coeducational was a return to William Penn’s original intention. It has given me great joy to see the return to Penn’s truth during my time here. I give to the Annual Fund every year because I feel that this school and this community have given me infinite gifts and allowed me to grow personally, professionally and artistically over five decades. I also give because I feel that it says a great deal to others. When you see a faculty that has a high percentage that gives back financially, it sends a powerful message about belief and commitment within.”

Visit to make your gift online.

reinventing Classic Other schools may have some of Penn Charter’s individual attributes, but the way in which these distinguishing characteristics connect and enhance one another sets our school apart. • A History of Access

• Timeless Skill Set

• All Three A’s - Academics, Arts, Athletics

• Synergy of People, Spaces, Resources

• Quaker Moral Compass

• Visionary Leadership

Learn more about these characteristics at

Nonprofit Org. U.S. Postage

PAID Philadelphia, PA Permit No. 6118 3000 West School House Lane Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19144

Save the Date November 24

May 13

OPC ’07 Reunion

Bert Linton Alumni/Parent Golf Outing, 11 a.m.

March TBD Alumni Society Downtown Reception, 6 p.m.

May 24

May 3

June 8

Alumni Weekend Class Reunions: ’43, ’48, ’53, ’58, ’63, ’68, ’73, ’78, ’83, ’88, ’93, ’98, ’03

Commencement, 10 a.m.

Color Day, 1 p.m.

Having fun in the hay at the Parent Community Fall Festival.

2013 Catch a baseball game or a track meet, take a campus tour, enjoy the company of old friends.

Be there for Alumni Weekend!

Penn Charter Magazine Fall 2012  
Penn Charter Magazine Fall 2012