Phillips Academy Andover High School Lawrence Schools
A Phillips Academy Outreach Program
Celebrating 25 Years of Success John Palfrey (left), Phillips Academy head of school, offered his congratulations and thanks at the July 8, 2013, ceremony that marked the 25th anniversary of PALS and honored retiring director Tom Cone and his talented and dedicated staff. New PALS director Greg Wilkin—longtime PA English instructor and former PALS master teacher and activities director—oversaw a lively and productive summer program. Lawrence middle school students and their teacher interns worked together on academic skills, bonded over lunches and afternoon activities, and enjoyed a “hair-raising” field trip to Boston’s Museum of Science. The school-year program is now well under way, with approximately 25 PA and Andover High School student volunteers leading the after-school classes.
Winter 2014 Newsletter
PALS Our Mission Established in 1988, PALS is a two-year, year-round program that provides academic enrichment, study skills, and learning strategies for Lawrence middle school students and assists them with the high school application process. At the same time, PALS provides a unique opportunity for Phillips Academy and Andover High School student volunteers to work side by side as mentors and teachers, supported by a carefully planned curriculum and experienced, qualified adults. The “PALS” name is derived from the key partners in this program: Phillips Academy, Andover High School, and the Lawrence Schools.
Photography: Gil Talbot, Anne Marino
If you were to listen in on a PALS classroom, either at Parthum Middle School during the academic year or at Phillips Academy during the summer, you’d notice that it’s hard to tell who’s speaking. “I can’t believe you did that!” “Dude! That’s amazing!” and “I see your point!” could be the exclamations of a middle-schooler discovering, say, the placement of modifiers—or it could be the enthusiasm of a college-bound mentor discovering how to teach it. The hushed tone of one voice might be a gentle suggestion, and it’s pretty much indistinguishable from the hushed tone of a tentative answer; high-pitched incredulity can come from mentor or student, and laughter is laughter. My point: Learning is going on all over the place in those rooms, back and forth, and all of it is equally important. At the PALS 25th anniversary celebration in July, Meekerley Sanon, PALS ’03, and Andrew Frishman ’93 gave inspiring accounts of how
being a PALS teacher intern or student volunteer can ignite a passion for teaching. These are the moments that make all the energy, effort, and planning that go into this year-round program so worthwhile. As you read their stories on the following pages, you’ll begin to understand why we are so proud of them and of the many other teachers, activists, and volunteers who have blossomed after participating in PALS. We love it when alums come back and report how they’re doing at that special high school that PALS suggested or in that specialization they’d never heard of before the PALS professional day. But the real, strong heartbeats of the program, those sounds we listen for every day, are the audible traces, sometimes surprising and often quite subtle, of two learners in sync.
2013 Program Overview
Preparing Students for High School—and Beyond
Beginning the summer before seventh grade, PALS builds self-confidence and character, strengthens academic skills, exposes students to a variety of possible career paths, and helps them decide which public, private, or parochial high school in the greater Lawrence area would be best suited to their aspirations.
PALS eighth-graders practiced their interview skills and essay writing. The teacher interns, many of whom are PALS graduates, talked with students about their own high schools and career aspirations. The program concluded with a field trip to Boston’s Museum of Science followed by a family picnic and awards ceremony.
Most PALS students are the first generation in their families to attend U.S. high schools. PALS plays a critical role in demystifying the private school application process, assists with financial aid forms and scholarship applications, and helps with decision-making once students receive admission invitations.
Summer 2013 Program Forty-five bright, motivated seventh- and eighthgraders from UP Academy Leonard and Parthum Middle School attended the most recent PALS summer program, where 19 teacher interns offered lots of individualized attention. Mornings were spent on math skills and language arts. After lunch, activities included sports, science investigations, chess, “Girl Talk,” and music.
Twice weekly after school, student volunteers from Phillips Academy and Andover High School continue working with PALS students. On the first afternoon each week they travel to Parthum School in Lawrence, where they focus on language arts and math skills. The second afternoon involves enrichment activities on the Phillips Academy campus, such as visits to the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and the Addison Gallery of American Art. These extra opportunities help mentors and students develop deeper bonds. After the PALS students head home, the student volunteers plan the following week’s lessons and practice teaching with PALS master teachers.
A Mystery Solved, a New Passion Discovered Two PALS Alumni Share Their Stories
Former PALS student and teacher intern Meekerley Sanon and former PALS student volunteer Andrew Frishman were the featured speakers at the PALS 25th anniversary celebration. They shared fond memories of the program and warm words for retiring director Tom Cone.
Meekerley Sanon, PALS ’03 “I am the daughter of two Haitian immigrants, a woman of color, and a 2007 graduate of Lawrence High School,” opened Sanon. “I am also an alum of the PALS program, a graduate of MIT, and a graduate student at Northeastern University. Parents always want to know what was my secret. The answer remained a mystery until I became a teacher, dealing with students who looked and sounded very much like younger versions of myself.” Influenced by her experience with PALS, Sanon, as a new teacher at Roxbury Prep, instinctively showed, in words and actions, a deep level of care for her eight advisees. “Becky,” for example, was absent a lot. Sanon had a heart-to-heart with Becky, addressed her excuses, and called
her every morning to be sure she was getting ready for school. Becky’s attendance improved dramatically, and she ended the school year with two A’s, two B’s, and one C. “I asked her what had made the difference,” said Sanon. Becky’s response: “No one else had cared enough to tell me that it was important for me to come to school every day, so I didn’t care. Now I understand why it’s important.” It was Tom Cone’s attention and care at PALS, says Sanon, that put her on a path to graduation from Lawrence High School and later MIT. “He was always on the bus in the first row, always smiling. He knew each of us by name and knew our families and our struggles…. He cared about me, my education, and my future.” Sanon currently is the founding seventh-grade teacher and the science instructional leader at Roxbury Preparatory Charter School at the Lucy Stone campus in Dorchester, Mass. In September 2013, she received a master’s degree in nonprofit management from Northeastern University.
Andrew Frishman ’93 Andrew Frishman’s family lived in the town of Andover, but they also spent a lot of time in Lawrence. As Frishman was growing up, he became acutely aware of the gaping disparities between those two environments—especially in educational experiences and academic enrichment opportunities for youth. Frishman came to Phillips Academy as “a skinny kid with passions for marine biology and squash.” Biology teacher and squash coach Tom Cone instructed him in both and encouraged him to get involved with PALS. Frishman says joining PALS, being called a teacher, and being valued and trusted by Cone himself changed his selfperception. “I learned about social justice and equity, the power and vibrancy of the city of Lawrence, about what was important in the world.” “PALS is a unique win-win partnership,” says Frishman. “Students from Lawrence benefit from working with strong academic tutors and also participate in a wide variety of enrichment
activities and field trips; the PA and Andover High School volunteers develop their leadership and teaching skills and begin to more deeply understand, through real and direct experience and relationships, some of the systemic inequities in our education system. The work is very real and feels urgent, but also affords a space and time for strong relationships to develop. “Many PALS participants have gone on to careers as teachers, school administrators, and other fields connected in some way with education; it seems clear that these formative experiences in PALS have helped them to become change agents in a larger education system desperately in need of transformation.” Frishman’s success as a PALS mentor inspired him to pursue a career in teaching and educational reform leadership. He currently is director of program development at the nonprofit Big Picture Learning and a 2014 candidate for a doctorate in education leadership from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
“The difference between my accomplishments and the shortcomings of many of my former high school classmates who dropped out of school was the fact that I had people who cared about me, my education, and my future.” —Meekerley Sanon
PALS Teachers and Mentors
Engaging and Inspiring Young Learners
2013 Summer Staff Meera Bhan
Upper at Phillips Academy
Senior at Phillips Academy
Nicole Cruz, PALS ’09
Graduate of Notre Dame Cristo Rey High School; attending Middlesex Community College
—Natalie Perez Beato, PALS ’13
Graduate of Phillips Academy; attending Boston University
Upper at Phillips Academy
Kenisha McFadden, PALS ’08
Graduate of Noble and Greenough School; attending Quinnipiac University
Shailene Nunez, PALS ’07
Senior at Andover High School
Graduate of Central Catholic High School; attending UMass Lowell
Graduate of Phillips Academy; attending Villanova University
“Thank you so much for helping me select and apply to high schools, prep for exams, and find scholarships. PALS has opened so many doors and wonderful opportunities for me.”
Austin Genett, PALS ’09
Graduate of Lawrence High School; attending University of New Hampshire
Gordon Genett, PALS ’09
Graduate of Lawrence High School; attending University of New Hampshire
Daniel Jeffries, PALS ’09
Graduate of Central Catholic High School
Graduate of Andover High School; attending University of Connecticut
Junior at Lawrence High School
Upper at Phillips Academy
Graduate of Woodsville High School; attending Westchester Community College
Master Teachers Alix Driscoll Roxy Barry Ruby Hanako Mecure
Graduate of Andover High School; attending Columbia University
Graduate of Phillips Academy; attending MIT
Graduate of Andover High School; attending UMass Amherst
In addition, approximately 45 student volunteers from Phillips Academy and Andover High School assist as teachers and mentors during the PALS school-year program.
PALS Alma Maters
Their Love of Learning Continues to Grow
Colleges and Universities
Andover High School Austin Preparatory School Boston Arts Academy Central Catholic High School Dorchester High School Georgetown High School Greater Lawrence Technical School Lawrence High School Methuen High School Noble and Greenough School Notre Dame Cristo Rey High School (formerly Notre Dame High School) Phillips Academy Presentation of Mary Academy St. Johnâ€™s Preparatory School
Amherst College Anna Maria College Assumption College Bentley University Boston College Boston University Brandeis University Bridgewater State University Brown University Clark University College of the Holy Cross Dartmouth College Emmanuel College Fairfield University Florida Institute of Technology Gordon College Massachusetts College of Art Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences Massachusetts Institute of Technology Merrimack College
Miami Industrial College of Arts and Science Middlesex Community College Norfolk State University Northern Essex Community College Quinnipiac University Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Saint Anselm College Salem State University Suffolk University UMass Amherst UMass Boston UMass Lowell Union College University of Rhode Island Wentworth Institute of Technology Worcester Polytechnic Institute Worcester State University Yale University
A tribute: To the applause of current and former PALS teachers and administrators, PALS program alumni, community partners from Lawrence and Andover schools, friends, and family, retiring PALS director Tom Cone was honored in July for his extraordinary leadership.
Our Donors We gratefully acknowledge our 2012–2013 donors, whose generous contributions once again supported 100 percent of the PALS operating budget. Foundations
Bradford J. Colbert ’06
Elena B. Giammarco ’91
Jonathan D. Sabatini ’00
Betty Beland Greater Lawrence Summer Fund
Christopher H. Corbett, P’86, ’88, ’92
Ariel S. Gold ’04
Dr. & Mrs. Robert C. Smallridge
Charles E. Foisy & Florida C.A. Foisy Foundation
Laura J. Cox & Dan Rogoff
Tiffany D. Joseph ’00
Erica A.G. Cummings ’97
Matthew P. Kahn ’06
Mr. & Mrs. John J. Driscoll P’88, ’91
Artemas W. Stearns Trust
Patricia H. & George H. Edmonds, P’79, ’82
Michael J. Koehler ’94
Abbot & Dorothy H. Stevens Foundation
Natalie M. Exner ’05
Edward S. & Winifred G. Moseley Foundation Josephine G. Russell Trust
Dr. & Mrs. Mariano Ezpeleta Jr., P’84, ’85, ’90
Eli J. Flouton ’02
Ayodele T. Adesanya ’05
Alan F. French, P’77, ’82
Fernando R. Alonso
Andrew Frishman ’93
Ziwerekoru C. Fumudoh ’10
Ryan M. Furlong ’09
Elinor P. Campbell ’02
Panos Georgopulo ’44
David M. Coit ’04
Natalie C. Harvey ’97
Matthew J. Kish ’99 Durgesh A. Kudchadkar ’94 Mr. & Mrs. Paul A. Miller, P’86
Benjamin & Jennifer Sunoo ’95 Jesenia Tejada J. Philip Zaeder & Sylvia L. Thayer ’54 Nancy V. Thornton ’93 Mr. & Mrs. Michael Tucker
Louise J. Morse
Food: Depot Pizza
Nkemdilim A. Oghedo ’08
Stuffed animals: Marc Koolen
Mr. & Mrs. Henry J. Powell Margaret Power ’63 Daniel & Elizabeth Reardon Mr. & Mrs. Conrad P. Roberge
Donor list reflects gifts received from July 1, 2012, through June 30, 2013.
180 Main Street Andover, Mass. 01810-4161 978-749-4000 www.andover.edu/pals
PALS Director: Greg Wilkin PALS Master Teachers: Roxy Barry, Alix Driscoll, Ruby Hanako Mercure, Kelsey Jamieson, Kevin Roberge
Please support PALS! You will help deserving youngsters from Lawrence by nurturing and strengthening their aspirations for high school, college, and beyond. Please visit www.andover.edu/palsgiving to make a gift today.