Page 1



Julia Morgan’s graceful building turns 100 PAGE 22

INDEPENDENT STUDY UHS students pursue their passions, from hip-hop to hieroglyphs PAGE 14

DIVERSITY RESPONSIVE How can UHS make instruction meaningful for learners of all backgrounds? PAGE 18

DIANE’S DEVILS A diabolic display PAGE 4

UHS Journal

Note from the Head of School WHEN I WAS IN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, I sometimes wished that my family would just talk about music or sports at the dinner table instead of debating civil rights, the economy, and the war in Vietnam. By the time I was in high school, however, I reveled in these roundtables with my four siblings and my parents, both of whom were progressive educators. Outside the house, I debated my principal about Title IX and interracial dating and challenged my church rector about the lack of women’s voices in our services. After I started as an educator, I became an outspoken faculty member on myriad social justice issues. The students, parents, and faculty at UHS are also keenly interested in issues of social justice, and one of our new strategic design platforms states that “we are a community that embodies a fundamental belief that collaboration among people with diverse backgrounds and life experiences is essential to deep learning.” This commitment demands honest reflection, even from those who have been in the middle of this conversation for decades.

our strength and growth come in large

Our strategic work got me thinking about something I read long ago for a graduate course on educational autobiography. In the forward to her book White Teacher, Vivian Gussin Paley writes: “This notion of collecting the goods on myself turns out to be strangely exciting.” I have always been committed to “collecting the goods on myself,” but it’s time for me to hold up a new mirror for some serious probing of what it means to be a white female school

measure from how we

head in 2017 and to examine the calculus of diversity and inclusivity in today’s landscape.

learn from and with

pluralism since it opened its doors in 1975, UHS has always had a public purpose, launch-

one another, how we

to hold up a new mirror—and that’s exactly what we’re doing. The staff is using in-service

honor our differences, and how we find common ground.

As a community, University High School is in a similar place: A champion of diversity and ing Summerbridge less than three years after we opened our doors. But UHS, too, needs training, professional conferences, and faculty meetings to explore how we can be a more diversity-responsive school. To read more about our work, challenges, and progress, please turn to the story “All In on Diversity” on page 18. UHS has long strived to ensure that the student body and faculty are drawn from a broad range of cultures, races, sexual orientations, and linguistic and socioeconomic backgrounds. We believe that our strength and growth come in large measure from how we learn from and with one another, how we honor our differences, and how we find common ground. But we also have to make sure that all of our backgrounds and perspectives are fully represented in our curriculum and in our classroom and community discussions. Part of our work this year is grappling with the messiness of diversity. It is not a binary proposition of male-female, black-white, straight-gay, left-right. Today, we must be prepared to embrace more expansive, more fluid meanings for gender, race, sexuality, and political inclination. Before the school year is out, we will capture our aspirations and resolve on these critically important issues—honoring and preserving the heavy lifting done personally and collectively this year. We will prepare a position statement to share with the community that will assist us in building a school culture in which all identities, backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences are reflected and celebrated. I hope you’ll read over our position statement when it’s finished and maybe even talk about it at your house. I know I’ll be bringing it to the dinner table at mine.

Julia Russell Eells


We believe that



Spring 2017

Front of the Book

Feature Well

Alumni Section

NOTE FROM THE HEAD OF SCHOOL The faculty and staff at UHS embrace more fluid and expansive notions of what diversity means and how the school can best embody equity and inclusion.





UNIVERSE: NEWS, NOTES, AND NUMBERS FROM AROUND CAMPUS Why Stephen Curry and the Warriors are not the only reason to love Oracle Arena; Decorator Showcase features the first Mack Mansion; the devilish collection that founding faculty member Diane Schroeder is leaving to the school; what students are reading in their Modern Middle East and Metamorphoses courses; and more.

ROLL ’EM Filmmaker Milena Pastreich ’00 has spent six years documenting somersaulting pigeons and the men in South Central L.A. who have flipped over them.


IN A CLASS OF THEIR OWN In Independent Study, UHS students pursue their artistic and intellectual passions, from hip-hop to hieroglyphs.


Back of the Book 32 WHY GIVE?



ALL IN ON DIVERSITY As its student body becomes more culturally diverse, University has committed to making its instruction meaningful for learners of all backgrounds. Research, science, and compassion all argue for it.


THE HOUSE OF DREAMS Designed by beloved architect Julia Morgan, University’s Upper Campus turns 100 this year. On the test of time, the graceful two-story building earns an A.



UHS Journal Vol. XXVIII, No. 1 EDITOR




Bruce Anderson, P ’18

Shaundra Bason Thelma Garza Kate Gorrissen Marianna Stark ’89 Mary King

Burns & Associates Fine Printing

Allison Rost at Katherine Delmar Burke School for sharing archival photos for “The House of Dreams” story, page 22.



Gloria Geller


Joel Puliatti





Fashion statement The obvious answer to the question U READY?

chests. There’s the rivalry with

year since, both schools have

Lick. And, most importantly,

turned out in force.

there is Oracle itself and the chance to take over, if ever so

too. The Warriors have gone

briefly, the home court of the

from also-rans to world-

NBA’s best team, the Golden

beaters. Which has led to

State Warriors.

another change: Tickets are

After all, the annual event is

expensive. This year, each

Chests Day.

school received 45 tickets to sell



for $175 each. And the schools

Ketcham credits his Lick

now compete for a “trophy,” a

counterpart, Eliot Smith, with

framed basketball jersey that

first broaching the idea back

is half University and half Lick.

in 2006. “I grew up in San

(If one school wins both games,


Francisco,” Smith explains,

it gets the jersey. If the schools

School Meetings, not Big Red

“and went to St. Ignatius. Every

split the two games, the jersey

Fridays, not even Western

year, we played Sacred Heart

switches hands to whichever

Civ—triggers the frenzied,

Cathedral Prep, our archrival,

school has been without it.)

high-octane spirit that Oracle

for the Bruce-Mahoney Trophy

Day does. What is it about the

and thousands of people

come. In the fall of 2019, the

annual January trek across the

always showed up. I thought

Warriors will move into the

Bay to Oracle Arena to play

Lick and University should

Chase Center arena, which is

Lick-Wilmerding in girls and

have something like that.”

being built on the waterfront

boys basketball that generates De rigueur Face paint is big at Oracle.

harder to come by and more

called Oracle Day, not Painted UHS athletic director Jim

Unanimous Sophomores Isaad Shaikh, Chase Lane, and Nic Pantelick bring their game faces to Oracle Day.

Other things have changed,

so much electricity? Well, for starters, there is

For the first game in 2007,

There is more change to

in San Francisco’s Mission Bay

each school had to sell 150

and will anchor a $1 billion

Warriors tickets for $20 each.

multipurpose complex. “We’d love to continue

no school that day. There are

“The Warriors were often so

also the red-and-white T-shirts

bad,” Ketcham says, “that a lot

the relationship at Chase,”

handed out to every student

of the tickets were just thrown

says Nick Smith, the Warriors

and faculty member—this

away.” When UHS showed up

executive who oversees

year’s asked u ready? on

for the first game at Oracle,

the relationship with the

the front and answered we

the entire Lick-Wilmerding

two schools.

ready! on the back. There’s

student body met them. “We

Are UHS and Lick ready for

face paint, pom-poms, and

only had our two teams and

Chase Day? One has to imagine

ninth-grade boys spelling out

a few seniors who had played

the answer is an unequivocal

g-o d-e-v-i-l-s! across their

hooky,” Ketcham says. Every

“We ready!”


Play Day

The First Mack Mansion By Colleen Quinn Amster P ’17

THE CLASSICAL REVIVAL house at 2698 Pacific Avenue was built in 1904 and designed by the father-and-son architect team of Samuel and Sidney Newsom. Notable for its unusual pebble-dash stucco exterior and dramatic circular colonnaded entry, the house represents a transition from ornate Victorian designs to Period Revival styles. The Italian Renaissance–inspired home is grand, at more than


12,000 square feet, with eight bedrooms, seven bathrooms,

for Julius J. Mack (1853–1928)

on the first and second floors,

and Andrea Grimes at the San

and many beautifully crafted

and his wife, Nettie Silverberg

but the basement level and top

Francisco Public Library for

Old World details. It has a

Mack (1865–1914). One of

floor are renovated in a more

their help with background

timeless functionality with

10 children born to Eastern

modern style.

information for this story.

a graceful floor plan, lots of

European immigrants in

natural light, and comfortable

New York City, Mack was a

Special thanks to Jay Turnbull

Decorator Showcase raises

open spaces.

self-made man. He began his

at Page & Turnbull, David

funds for the tuition assistance

career as a Wall Street errand

Parry at McGuire Real Estate,

program at UHS.

The four-story home originally featured a ballroom,

boy and ended it as president

two libraries, four offices, a

of Imperial Oil. He moved

sitting room, a large formal

west in 1872 with only $20

dining room, a kitchen with a

to his name and worked as a

separate butler’s pantry, seven

bookkeeper before helping to

fireplaces, and a seven-car

found the Bank of Bakersfield.

motor court in the rear of

Only three other families

the house. Anne Bloomfield,

have lived in the home since J.J.

the late Northern California

Mack died. The home’s current

architectural historian, wrote:

owners have undertaken a

“I find 2698 [Pacific] one of [the

major “studs out” remodel

Newsoms’] best productions:

on three floors, along with a

the temple portico is beautiful,

seismic upgrade, the addition

the symmetry of the house,

of a radiant heating system,

almost a cube, satisfies, and the

new double-paned windows,

siting is perfect.”

and a new kitchen. Every effort

The home at the corner of Pacific and Scott was built

was made to maintain the historic character of the house

Now in its 40th year,

VISITING SHOWCASE Dates April 29 to May 29 (Closed Mondays, except Memorial Day) Hours Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays 10 a.m.—3 p.m. (last entry) Fridays 10 a.m.—7 p.m. (last entry)  Sundays and Memorial Day 11 a.m.—4 p.m. (last entry) 

Tickets Available at the door or online at Payments may be made with cash, check, Visa, or Mastercard. $40 for general admission, $35 for seniors (60 and over, with ID) and students (with ID). Group Bookings For bookings of 10 or more, please call (415) 447-5830. Information (415) 447-5830 SFUHS.ORG


At my desk

With Diane Schroeder, Director of Physical Education Photography by Joel Puliatti

First Devil John Werle's collection began with the gorilla.



Patchwork Schroeder bought this at a Harley convention.

Rosemary's baby? Schroeder says this doll creeps out students.



Collector-in-chief Diane Schroeder rounds up the Devils.

been the collector-in-chief

director, original business

for nearly two decades, she

manager, and first boys

is quick to point out that

basketball coach, moved on

many students and parents

in 1999 after 25 years at the

and even her daughter,

school, he left behind many

Shannon, have contributed

legacies, including a tiny

to the growing bombast (the

collection of Red Devils that he

collective noun for devils)

gave to his longtime colleague

over the years. Kevin King,

Diane Schroeder. “When

the father of Eve ’07, Izzi

John asked me if I wanted the

’09, and Amelia ’12 and

collection,” Schroeder recalls,

husband of former UHS

“I said, ‘Game on!’”

trustee Meridee Moore, gave

Her legion of Devils now

Schroeder her favorite item

includes pins, pens, pennants,

in the whole collection: a

puppets, postcards, comic

miniature cantina scene with

books, Christmas ornaments,

a Red Devil bartender and

key chains, masks, T-shirts,

two devilish patrons.

socks, a kite, and a slew of

But the collection, well

stuffed animals. “Other people

over a hundred items in all,

collect teacups or snow globes

will soon need a new home.

when they travel,” Schroeder

Schroeder announced at an

says. “I collect Red Devils.”

All School Meeting in January

To that end, she has ventured

that she will retire in June.

into liquor stores, tattoo

(Schroeder is married to Jim

parlors, and a Harley-Davidson

Chestnut, the school’s CFO,

convention in Reno. On her

who is also retiring.) Stunned

best day, Schroeder secured 10

students gave Schroeder two

new Devils on a sweep through

standing ovations.

the Haight.

Cantina scene Schroeder calls this objet d'art her favorite.

Though Schroeder has

University’s pioneering athletic

Schroeder says she would

Schroeder is the last

like to see a curated selection

founding faculty member

of Red Devils put in a display

still working at UHS and

that would greet visitors—and

she remembers that the Red

the UHS community—on their

Devil has not always been the

way into the gymnasium. But

school mascot. Early in UHS

make no mistake, Schroeder’s

history, some of the school’s

legacy is not so much the

teams adopted the Red Tide.

dozens and dozens of Red

Schroeder also recalls the girls

Devils in the collection as it is

and boys swim teams claiming

the thousands and thousands

the Sea Snakes and Sea

of Red Devils around the

Muscles, respectively. In the

country—former students

1980s, the Athletic Department

who have been touched by

embraced the Red Devils,

the unbridled school spirit of

which Werle’s basketball team

University’s original physical

had introduced.

education instructor.




By the numbers


Cost of tickets to Warriors games that UHS and Lick-

Wilmerding sold in 2007 to support the first Oracle Day


Cost of Warriors tickets that

Number of architects who have received the AIA Gold Medal

for “a significant body of work” (this list includes Frank Lloyd Wright, I.M. Pei, Buckminster Fuller, Thomas Jefferson, Frank Gehry, and Le Corbusier)


Number of women architects who have received the AIA Gold Medal

(Julia Morgan was the first, in 2014; Denise Scott Brown, in 2016, was the second) // See “The House of Dreams” on page 22


IN THIS ISSUE, we introduce “Syllabus,” a short feature that will share the list of readings and other study materials for different UHS courses. In some cases, as with the syllabus from Jesse Berrett’s Modern Middle East history class, these lists suggest possible avenues of exploration for those looking to further their understanding of the issue at hand. In other cases, as with the syllabus from Michael Holt’s Metamorphoses English class, they may introduce connections between works that, on the surface, seem quite divergent.

UHS and Lick-Wilmerding

sold this year // See “Play Day” on page 2



Hours of footage Milena Pastreich shot for her

Modern Middle East


a history class taught by Jesse Berrett

an English class taught by Michael Holt



James Gelvin The Arab Uprisings: What Everyone Needs to Know Sadakat Kadri Heaven on Earth: A Journey Through Shari‘a Law from the Deserts of Ancient Arabia to the Streets of the Modern Muslim World Muammar Khadafy The Green Book Marc Lynch The Arab Uprising: The Unfinished Revolutions of the New Middle East William McCants The ISIS Apocalypse: The History, Strategy, and Doomsday Vision of the Islamic State Lin Noueihed and Alex Warren The Battle for the Arab Spring: Revolution, Counter-Revolution and the Making of a New Era Joby Warrick Black Flags: The Rise of ISIS Robert Worth A Rage for Order: The Middle East in Turmoil, from Tahrir Square to ISIS

Virginia Woolf Orlando

documentary Pigeon Kings



Al Jazeera “The Arab Awakening: Seeds of Revolution”; “The Arab Awakening: Libya: Through the Fire” CrossTalk “Arab Spring Mirage”; “Arab Spring at Five” PBS Frontline “The Battle for Syria”; “The Secret History of ISIS”; “Escaping ISIS” VICE News “Egypt After Morsi”; “Egypt Under Sisi”; “Yemen: A Failed State”; “The Islamic State”; “Enemies at the Gate”

Hours of the finished Pigeon Kings // See “Roll ’em” on page 8

108 60

Number of courses offered at UHS, 2016–2017

Number of students each semester who create their own Independent

Study course // See “In a Class of Their Own” on page 14 6


ARTICLES Robin Wright “After the Islamic State,” The New Yorker, December 12, 2016

POETRY, SHORT STORIES, AND NOVELLAS Kathleen Collins “Whatever Happened to Interracial Love?” and “Happy Family,” from Whatever Happened to Interracial Love? Julio Cortázar “Axolotl,” from Blow Up and Other Stories Witold Gombrowicz “The Rat,” from Bacacay Franz Kafka “A Report to an Academy” and “The Metamorphosis,” from The Metamorphosis, In the Penal Colony, and Other Stories Clarice Lispector “Dry Sketch of Horses,” from The Complete Stories Guadalupe Nettel “War in the Trash Cans,” from Natural Histories Ovid selections from The Metamorphoses Mercè Rodoreda “The Salamander” and “The River and the Boat,” from My Christina and Other Stories

ARTICLES AND ESSAYS Zadie Smith “Speaking in Tongues,” The New York Review of Books, February 26, 2009, and “Brother from Another Mother,” The New Yorker, February 23 and March 2, 2015

FILMS Jennie Livingston Paris Is Burning Astra Taylor an excerpt from Examined Life

ART Nick Cave Olivier de Sagazan


Goode news, sports fans THE PAUL GOODE FIELD project, a collaboration between the Presidio Trust and University High School, has been more than a decade in development. When it’s done, the new championship-size facility near the southern edge of the Presidio will provide an extensive practice and event complex for UHS soccer, lacrosse, field hockey, softball, baseball, and track and field teams. Additionally, the facility will be shared with numerous local youth sports programs, including the Boys and Girls Clubs, the YMCA, and San Francisco Little League. The site is being rebuilt by Robert A. Bothman Construction, the firm that renovated the Beach Chalet soccer fields in Golden Gate Park. Rolling into winter, the project was right on schedule, if not a little ahead. But relentless winter storms delayed the installation of the organic infill turf, made from cork and sand rather than shredded rubber. (Ironically, perhaps, the turf facility will save millions of gallons of irrigation water each year.) Construction is once again moving forward and will be completed in time for the fall athletic season, which starts in mid-August. The Red Devil field hockey team is scheduled to christen the renovated facility at their opening home game. Please consider joining us in supporting The Power of Play by making a contribution to the Paul


Goode Field Campaign using the envelope included in this issue of the Journal. SFUHS.ORG


R o R l Rolll ''em em Filmmaker Milena Pastreich ’00 has spent six years documenting somersaulting pigeons and the men in South Central L.A. who have flipped over them. By Kelli Anderson Photography by Peter Read Miller



From left, Darrian “Choo Choo” Hogg, Jaime Calbo, and Keith London give Milena Pastreich a bird’s-eye view of roller pigeons.




take home a small cash prize, but the

characters will be emotionally at any

Milena Pastreich ’00 has a thing for

typical reward is bragging rights.

given time within the story,” O’Connor

pigeons. After all, her 2012 UCLA film

Among the keys to getting the birds to

says. “And she has a really strong eye as a

school thesis short features a teenage girl

roll simultaneously are training, building

cinematographer. She finds ways to frame

who keeps pigeons, and the documentary

kit chemistry, and breeding for the genetic

things in unexpected, unconventional

film that has consumed her for the last six

quirk—“It’s kind of like an epileptic fit,”

ways that will have both humor and a very

years includes scores of the birds. “I’m not

says Ricky Arnold, a judge on the roller

strong aesthetic eye.”

obsessed with pigeons,” Pastreich says,

competition circuit. Keith London, the

“but I am fascinated by people who are.

main subject of the film, makes his living

a filmmaker, but she had unusual exposure

I think I’m just fascinated by people with

working nights as a warehouse expediter.

to the craft as a kid. Her mother, Ingrid

strange passions.”

But he is so good at breeding and training

Eggers, founded San Francisco’s Berlin &

his birds that among roller fanciers he is

Beyond Film Festival in 1996 and ran it for

fascination, is nearing completion after

a figure of awe, a man who draws pointed

15 years. Pastreich accompanied her mom

five years of on-and-off filming and 13

fingers and whispered gasps—“That’s

to film festivals in Berlin and Munich and

months of editing. Pastreich’s first feature-

Keith London!”—from onlookers at pigeon

even delivered a Wim Wenders tribute

length film and her first foray into the

gatherings. Even Darrian “Choo Choo”

speech at the San Francisco festival in

documentary genre, Pigeon Kings explores

Hogg, a barber who has hobnobbed with

2009. “My exposure to German cinema

Pigeon Kings, the latest fruit of that

Pastreich didn’t grow up aspiring to be

a peculiar subculture of South Central Los Angeles that is devoted to fostering the acrobatic talents of Birmingham Roller pigeons, a breed marked by a genetic quirk that causes them to somersault backward in the air. First popularized in Birmingham, England, in the late 1800s, the breed now has pockets of enthusiasts all over the world. One of its U.S. hotbeds

She drove straight to the address, where she found hundreds of guys in pigeon T-shirts milling about a backyard in what was essentially a pigeon beauty pageant.

lies in the volatile neighborhoods of South Central, where raising, training, and caring

hip-hop celebrities like Lil Wayne and Baby

and European film was much greater than

for the birds in backyard lofts can offer

and who is another subject of the film,

that of most other Americans,” she says.

an alternative to finding trouble on the

admits to having been a little starstruck

“So my aesthetic is definitely influenced

streets. “My pigeons have kept me from

when he first met him. “Keith London is

by that. My stuff is pretty calm, without

going to the penitentiary,” says Jaime

the man,” Hogg says. “He’s Michael Jordan.”

a lot of camera movement. For me, it’s

Calbo, a construction worker who appears

One theme Pigeon Kings explores is

all about character.”

in Pastreich’s film. “I was real bad in the

the opportunity and sense of identity the

A favorite American film is John

streets coming up, real bad. The birds

pigeons provide these men. “In their day-

Waters’s Hairspray, which Pastreich

had to have my attention, and that kept

to-day lives, they are just hanging out with

watched again and again as a girl. “There

me from hanging with the wrong crowd

the other guys in their neighborhood,”

is an absurdism in the film that I couldn’t

on the wrong streets. My birds are like

Pastreich says. “But in the pigeon world,

pinpoint as a child,” she says. “I think a lot

therapy for me.”

they are talking with people in Holland,

of my work has absurdism in it as well.”

At the heart of the roller world are

with people in South Africa. One of the

Pastreich took two strong interests

competitions, which range from local

guys in South Central placed in the top 10

she developed at UHS, art history and

“flies” to an annual world cup. In a fly,

in the world cup the year I filmed it. That’s

photography, with her to NYU, where she

each competitor sends a “kit” of 15 to 20

huge. That’s total recognition. The pigeons

majored in the former and spent much

birds into the sky for 15 to 20 minutes.

give these guys prestige and status. It gives

of her free time pursuing the latter. After

Every time five or more birds roll

them hope to become somebody.”

graduating in 2004, she moved to Berlin,

simultaneously, or “break,” they earn

Meryl O’Connor, the film’s editor and

where rents were so cheap Pastreich could

points for the size of the break and for the

a fellow UCLA alumna, says Pastreich has

support herself and buy darkroom time

quantity, quality, style, and depth of the

stamped Pigeon Kings with her signature

with a gig assisting a commercial director

birds’ rolls. When time is up and the scores

empathy, tenacity, sharp eye, and quirky

at a film production company. “So many

are tallied, the judges, competitors, and

sense of humor. “She’s always really good

artists were coming to Berlin at the time,

spectators pile into cars and drive to the

at approaching things from an emotional

and there was so much creative energy

next contestant’s house. Winners might

place and understanding where the

around,” she says. “There were random



Vérité Pastreich films Hogg at his South Central barbershop.

Tumbling birds A genetic quirk causes roller pigeons to somersault.

totally surreal.” Absurd, even. Pastreich didn’t consider

characters I was following.” In time, Pastreich got London to open up about his life. “She never gave up,”

herself a documentarian, but she knew

London says. “I’d mention something and

nights when we would go to castles and

this was a world she wanted to capture on

she’d say, ‘Oh, can we film that?’ I’m like,

make music videos and go around on

film. She started appearing at local flies

man, not everybody wants to get filmed

roller skates.” Her three years in the

and lawn shows and introducing herself

like that.” Over the course of filming,

German capital, she says, “made me feel

around. A white woman with a camera,

London went through a divorce, struggled

like anything is possible.”

she stood out. “Some of these guys thought

to find work, and dated women “who were

I was an FBI agent at first,” Pastreich says.

here and then gone,” he says, “because

degrees in both directing and

“They didn’t trust me at all.” Bolstered by

they tried to come between me and my

cinematography, an almost unheard-of

a growing friendship with London, who

birds.” He also became a mentor to Hogg,

double, at UCLA. Along the way she had

helped her gain access to the community,

who sought London’s counsel on pigeons

to learn every aspect of filmmaking, from

she kept showing up at events, even when

even though the two lived in mutually

lighting to mixing sound. While scouting

they took place in L.A.’s most turbulent

unfriendly neighborhoods. “Me and Keith

pigeon coops in 2011 for I Feel Stupid, her

neighborhoods. “She would go to these

shouldn’t get along just because of how

UCLA Spotlight Award–winning thesis

places that guys in the ghetto are scared

the streets are,” Hogg says. “But he’s a very

short about a teen relationship in which

to go to,” Hogg marvels. “When she would

cool and humble dude.”

one girl influences another, she met a man

come to my barbershop, I’d get calls from

who bred Birmingham Rollers. When she

people saying, ‘Hey, man, I think somebody

even members of rival gangs have to

saw his birds tumbling through the air like

got killed over there! I see some white

check their differences at the door. “You’ll

synchronized divers, she started peppering

people with a camera!’”

see guys who would normally be at each

Pastreich went on to earn master’s


dreaming about pigeons,” she says. “It was

him with questions.

After a few rounds of filming mostly

To participate in the pigeon community,

other’s throats come to a bird show and

one-on-one interviews in 2011 and 2012

just walk past each other with a little

pigeon lawn show in South Central that

and making a 60-minute rough cut—“I

head nod,” London says. “They have to

morning. She drove straight to the address,

now realize that was research,” she says—

put the gang stuff aside if they want to be

where she found hundreds of guys in

Pastreich decided to film primarily in the

part of it.”

pigeon T-shirts milling about a backyard

vérité style as a fly-on-the-wall observer.

in what was essentially a pigeon beauty

“That’s why I filmed for so long,” she says.

look at the roller world with financing

pageant. “There was a pigeon auction and

“I was just waiting for stuff to happen,

from Bow and Arrow Entertainment and

everyone was talking about pigeons and

something dramatic in the lives of the

various grants, including one from Canon

He handed her a flyer for a roller

Pastreich funded her long and nuanced



Caged up? Pastreich plans to release her movie in 2018.

that came with a crucial camera loan. She supported herself with side gigs

footage into a 90-minute film. At the

like shooting and directing a series

moment, the film clocks in at 1 hour

for Wired called “Teen Technorati,”

44 minutes, still too long. Pastreich

about young techies who come to the

has had to ax a number of favorite

Bay Area to compete for $100,000

scenes, but there is one, the heart of

Thiel Fellowship grants. Last fall, a

the film, that she can’t bear to cut.

Kickstarter campaign raised more

O’Connor clicks a few keys and a

than $46,000 to help her finish the

close-up of a partially cracked pigeon

movie. She expects to have the film

egg cradled in London’s fingers

wrapped sometime this year, in

appears on the monitor. As other

time to premiere at film festivals

birds in the pen coo and cheep in the background, the tiny squab inside

in 2018. “The process of making a documentary is insane,” she says. “Most of

the edit of this documentary, I find that,

the egg struggles to push his way out.

the time you are looking for money, and

weirdly, I have just as much control.”

London gives the shell a few gentle taps. “I

you are very much alone. You don’t have

On a mid-January afternoon, Pastreich

give them a little crack,” he says. “I don’t

a team like you do when you’re making

and O’Connor, who is visiting from

take him out, I just put extra little cracks

a narrative film. But the producing stuff

New York, sit at a desk in the office of

around so he can break out easier.”

aside, I love going into an unknown world

Pastreich’s tidy Echo Park bungalow.

or meeting new people, gaining their trust,

Using Pastreich’s MacBook Pro, a desktop

midwifing a new generation to go forth

and just figuring out what it’s all about. It’s

monitor, and an editing program that is

and roll.

so different from the process of making a

“so old it’s practically obsolete, which tells

narrative film, where you’re surrounded

you how long I’ve been working on this,”

Kelli Anderson has contributed articles

by actors. I do like the control you have

Pastreich says with a laugh, the two are

to the alumni magazines at Stanford,

with a narrative film. But now that I’m in

in the last stages of distilling 400 hours of

UC-Berkeley, Notre Dame, and UC-San Diego.

It’s a hushed and tender scene: London

FIVE TO WATCH We asked Milena Pastreich to talk about the films that influenced her approach to Pigeon Kings. Here are the five that she says have been most important:


Killer of Sheep, directed by Charles Burnett (1978) Part of the elevator pitch for Pigeon Kings is “this film is Killer of Sheep meets Gates of Heaven.” Killer of Sheep, like Pigeon Kings, takes place in South Central Los Angeles, and it tells the story of Stan, an African American man who has money problems. Stan’s story is told without judgment. Instead, Burnett embraces a slice-of-life observational approach that focuses on character and draws attention to small moments and details. We hope to accomplish the same when telling Keith London’s story.







Gates of Heaven, directed by Errol Morris (1978) When watching Gates of Heaven, one enters a world that does not seem real, a place consumed by the burial of pets. Despite this seemingly absurd topic, the film tackles larger existential questions and explores the human condition. This is a tall order but we would love to achieve something similar. Do the Right Thing, directed by Spike Lee (1989) I have revisited this film several times in the last few years because the portrayal of place is so effective. Location becomes a character, something we also want for our documentary.

Best in Show, directed by Christopher Guest (2000) I can’t seem to watch enough movies about people who are obsessed with their animals when thinking about Pigeon Kings. Best in Show has the structure of a typical competition documentary. Our film is less conventional but we do have traces of this genre. Grizzly Man, directed by Werner Herzog (2005) This documentary is one of my favorites. It’s so strange and the footage is unbelievable. Pigeon Kings shares a focus— they are both an exploration of the psychology of obsession (with an unexpected animal).

Screen Gems In front of the camera and behind the scenes, UHS alumni have helped shape contemporary film and television.

this time jumping from playwriting to screenwriting. She now spends her days creating cinematic landscapes. “When we did Secretary,” she remembers, “and I walked on set, it was like walking inside my own imagination. It was pretty cool.”

by Megan McCrea

GRANT SINGER ’13 A lot can happen in 24 hours. Grant Singer, a director and film student at USC, knows this all too well. He made Remember This View—the stirring short that won Singer top directing honors

DAMANI BAKER ’92 “One day,” Damani Baker says, “I might be teaching my class at Sarah Lawrence and finish at 1. Then, I’m on my way to a set


near the U.N., where I’ll spend 20 minutes

Erin Cressida Wilson can pinpoint

interviewing Bill Clinton for a film project.”

the day when it all began. “I was 6

Days like that aren’t too unusual for

years old,” she recalls, “and I saw The

Baker—director, producer, and film

Godfather. I thought, ‘I want to do

professor. In the 20-odd years since he first

that. I want to be a director.’” Today,

hefted a VHS camcorder to his shoulder

Wilson is, in fact, making movies—as

as a UHS student, Baker has logged some

a screenwriter. She has created such

landmark days. There was the day he

films as Secretary, Chloe, and last year’s

received his MFA from UCLA. The day he

The Girl on the Train.

played Howard, one of the sons of Sethe,


An avid photographer, Wilson

Oprah Winfrey’s character in Beloved. And

graduated from UHS and headed to

there was the day when Baker and his

Smith College to pursue visual art. To

dear UHS friend Alex Vlack ate lunch with

fulfill the requirements for her major,

music legend Bill Withers and convinced

she had to take a playwriting class.

him to give an on-camera interview. “He

“At first,” she says, “I didn’t know how

agreed to one sit-down,” Baker says. One

to approach the assignments. Then

interview became two and eventually,

I realized, I don’t hear the words as

after three years and 300 hours of

many writers do. I see the drama.”

shooting, Still Bill, a full-length feature on

Wilson harnessed that visual sense to

Withers (above left, with Baker) was ready

pen her first play, When the Girls Come

for the screen.

Out to Play. And with that, she was

Over the years, Baker has made films

hooked. After graduation, she dove

about African medicine, government

headfirst into the New York theater

transparency, and the U.S. invasion of

world: acting, writing plays, and

Grenada—which he witnessed firsthand.

puppeteering and assistant directing

But no matter what subject he is exploring,

for the legendary Julie Taymor, who

Baker’s goal remains the same. “We have

directed and designed the costumes for

this tool, filmmaking,” the director says.

The Lion King.

“And I think that it is our duty to use our

In 2001, Wilson took another leap,

voice to tell the truth.”

at USC’s Ed Wood Film Festival—in just one day for a 24-hour film competition. Singer, along with two teammates, had seriously constricted time to conceive, write, storyboard, cast, shoot, and edit the film. To beat the deadline, the crew used every resource available, including a nearby diner. “We didn’t have enough extra batteries to shoot the whole way through,” Singer explains, “so, at 2:30 a.m., we went to this 24-hour diner, ordered an omelet, and edited the first half of the movie while we charged the battery to shoot the second half.” It wasn’t the first time the fledgling filmmaker has gotten creative on deadline—nor the last. Recently, while making his short tragicomic film Ticked, Singer searched everywhere for the right song to finish the film. He knew exactly what the song should sound like, but simply couldn’t find it. “Then I realized,” he says, “maybe I’m going to have to make this myself.” Singer cowrote the music and lyrics for “Maybe C,” played guitar and drums, and recruited two friends to sing and play bass on the track. The result? He got the song that he needed and submitted his film on deadline. The young director is looking forward to the next red-letter date on the calendar: May 12, graduation. Continued on page 31



Rosenberg-Wohl unlocked the secrets of the Iret-hor-irou sarcophagus lid.


In Independent Study, UHS students pursue their artistic and intellectual passions, from hip-hop to hieroglyphs. By April Kilcrease Photography by Glenn Matsumura



Jacob Rosenberg-Wohl has been fascinated by Egyptian hieroglyphs since the third grade.

things in which they have a

and hash out follow-up work.

deep interest and to do so in an

For many students, this time

extensive and, in some cases,

with a beloved teacher is their

exhaustive way.”

favorite part of the program.

There’s no limit to how

“I think it’s a rare and

many IS courses a student can

beautiful thing for an adult

classes every year. Still, “there

take, and some students take

and a young person to sit down

Wohl ’11 made several

are things we can’t do because

multiple Independent Study

over a shared passion for

attempts to teach himself the

there isn’t enough student

classes in the same semester.

something intellectual and to

basics of the ancient Egyptian

interest or there just isn’t

“There are kids who are like IS

learn together about whatever

language, but he was stymied

enough space to go around,”

fanatics,” Garrett says. “What

it may be—the Constitution, the

by the hundreds of hieroglyphs

says Kate Garrett, academic

these kids like to do for fun is

history of the Supreme Court,

he needed to memorize just

dean. The school’s decades-old

learn stuff.”

or the mechanics of knee

to get started. When he heard

Independent Study program

about the Independent Study

helps fill some of those gaps.

Garrett’s point. In his

the kind of experience that

(IS) program as a student at

And whether students are

sophomore year, Dowd created

people remember forever.”

UHS, he thought the rigor of a

exploring the novels of Virginia

an IS course he calls Creative

class schedule might help him

Woolf or the mysteries of

Problem Solving in which he

conversations he had with

scale that hieroglyphic hurdle.

the deep ocean, the program

tackles problems from math

his sponsor, Nasif Iskander, a

teaches them to take an active

journals and submits solutions.

science teacher, dean of faculty,

he created led to far more

role in shaping the course of

He has taken the course every

and assistant head of school,

than he anticipated. During

their education.

semester since then.

were what he loved the most.

Over the years, Rosenberg-

In the end, the course

the summer following his

To enroll in an Independent

CJ Dowd ’17 exemplifies

tendons,” Garrett says. “That’s

Rosenberg-Wohl says the

“Much of the American

Rosenberg-Wohl remembers their meetings as “filled with

IS project, Rosenberg-Wohl

Study course, a student must

high school math curriculum

translated a previously

first secure a sponsor, usually

is devoted to learning

laughter, storytelling, and

undeciphered inscription on

a UHS faculty or staff member,

algorithms to solve specific

excitement.” Iskander would

a sarcophagus housed at the

and complete a proposal. Once

types of problems,” Dowd

share tales about growing up

Legion of Honor museum. He

the appropriate department

says. “I wanted to be able to

in modern Egypt, including “a

later majored in Near Eastern

gives its blessing, the class can

figure out those processes by

great story about climbing the

Languages and Civilizations,

be included on the student’s

myself.” In his first semester

pyramids at night,” Rosenberg-

specializing in ancient Egypt,

transcript. Independent

of Creative Problem Solving,

Wohl says.

Study courses are considered

Dowd submitted the correct

at Yale.

Though Independent Study

electives and most are taken

solution to a problem he found

projects can help communicate

experience was, Rosenberg-

on a credit/no credit basis.

in Math Horizons, a forum for

a student’s seriousness about a

Wohl is far from alone. Every

Depending on the heft of the

members of the Mathematical

subject to universities, Garrett

semester, around 60 students

IS project and a student’s own

Association of America. The

suggests that bolstering college

use the school’s Independent

ambitions, he or she may

problem had stumped college

applications is not the point for

Study program to pursue their

enroll in an Independent Study

and university teams. Dowd

most students. “I think students

own intellectual or artistic

class to round out a regular

needed four to six hours to

love it because it’s not all about

passion. Other students have

six-period day or add it as a

solve it. Although his answer

tests or papers or how well

researched how cancer works,

seventh class outside of the

was, he says, “somewhat

you’re performing,” she says.

designed their own fonts, and

regular schedule.

awkward and inelegant,” it

“It’s a chance just to think and

was valid.

learn and talk to someone you

As remarkable as his

translated and produced plays

“Our Independent Study

Students typically meet with

respect about ideas or subjects

in other languages. One 2016

program is a complete

graduate wrote and recorded

reflection of our academic

their sponsors once a week

that are interesting to you. This

a hip-hop album that has

philosophy,” Garrett says,

for about the same amount of

is really learning for learning’s

garnered more than 500,000

“which has to do with

time as a normal class period.


plays online.

balance, breadth, depth, and

During these meetings, the

emphasizing student choice—

student and sponsor discuss

April Kilcrease is a writer and

supporting students to pursue

work that has been completed

editor based in Oakland.

UHS offers a catalog of more than a hundred different



Chris Dann ’17, Oncology WHEN CHRIS DANN LEARNED that a close family

cancer and into specific

friend had been diagnosed

metastasis, angiogenesis, and

with leukemia, he hurtled into


action. “I was both terrified

Queenie Li ’18 and Henry Wisniewski ’17, Calligraphy

areas of study, including

The experience helped

of the disease and fascinated

Dann develop his sense of

by how it has evolved in

the scientific process and his

humans to remain a ‘perfect’

passion for research, which

disease,” he says. So, with the

were further honed during

support of science teacher Paul

a research internship last

Hauser, Dann and classmate

summer at UCSF Medical

Andrew Hariri developed an

Center’s McDonald Laboratory,

Independent Study project

where he studied pancreatic

in bio-oncology for the

cancer. He also had the

fall of 2015.

opportunity to discuss his

Over the course of the

work with professors from

semester, the two students

the University of Chicago,


some more ‘fairy-tale’ features

unpacked Robert A. Weinberg

Princeton, and MIT, including

with the flow of the strokes,”

and Douglas Hanahan’s

Dr. Weinberg, one of the

Wisniewski and Queenie

she says. “My rewritten version

pioneering 2000 paper, “The

authors of the central text for

Li became fascinated with

is perhaps more of a fantasy

Hallmarks of Cancer,” which

Dann’s IS. “My Independent

the aesthetics of Chinese

of what I wished the story

provided a comprehensive

Study project has given me

characters. Wanting to explore

actually was—hence the twist

overview of the disease.

a head start on a path to

lettering in a writing system

in the serif font.”

Dann’s curiosity also took

medicine,” Dann says. “I hope

him beyond the basics of

to become a doctor.” —A.K.

in which they were already

Wisniewski’s final project

fluent, the two paired up

sprang from an interest in

for an Independent Study in

how people's reputations can

calligraphy last fall.

influence how their words are

“People don’t really work on

interpreted. He took quotes

their handwriting anymore,”

from Joseph Stalin, Pol Pot,

Wisniewski says. “We’re typing

Christopher Columbus, and

all the time, and it’s really hard

Adolf Hitler and wrote them

to go back and learn how the

out in fonts he created. By

letters work and how they

writing the words of these

flow.” The two started from

“leaders of mass genocide,” as

the very beginning. “Literally,”

Wisniewski describes them,

Wisniewski says, “this is the

in careful, mostly delicate

ink. This is the pen. And this is

strokes, he imbued them

the paper.” They researched

with uncharacteristic beauty

the history and technique

and appeal. “I chose quotes

of calligraphy and then they

that actually sound good,”

practiced their technical skills.

Wisniewski says, “the kind

Inspired by the illuminated

where people might say, ‘I

letters she cherished in fairy-

could put this on my Facebook

tale books, Li wrote a version

status if someone else

of Cinderella with no male

had said it.’”

characters, and then inked it

The quote Wisniewski

in a modified-serif font. “The

found from Hitler was

end result was lettering that

particularly apt: “Words

retained some of the more

build bridges into unexplored

official qualities, as well as

regions.” —A.K.



Benny Solomon ’16, Hip-Hop BENNY SOLOMON HAS BECOME something of a UHS

lyrics, and then he’d test his

legend thanks in part to his

he built in his bedroom.

IS project. Last year in his

His sponsor, music

final semester at University,

teacher Tim Price, was

Solomon wrote, recorded,

particularly impressed with

and marketed Be Somebody,

Solomon’s ability to channel

a polished, upbeat hip-hop

his enthusiasm into his

album. The recording has since

lyrics. Price points to the

had coverage in SF Weekly

track “DeLorean,” which

and had more than 500,000

has had more than 300,000

plays online.

plays. Solomon uses a pop

“During my sophomore

culture reference—the time-

and junior years,” Solomon

traveling car from Back to the

says, “I released mixtapes

Future—to discuss the value

online for my classmates and

of mistakes. “‘DeLorean’ has a

friends, but the Independent

nice wordplay on wanting to

Study program provided the

go ‘back’ but not being able

structure and time I needed to

to,” Price says, “and ‘to the

take things to the next level.”

future’ is where you have to

Solomon, now a first-year

go to continue to develop who

student at Tufts who raps

you are and your reasons

under the name KING SOL,

for living.”

Jacob Rosenberg-Wohl ’11, Egyptology

wrote some 60 songs for the

PRIOR TO HIS Independent

Solomon concurs: “Life

project and then whittled those

should be about learning from

down to the album’s eight

mistakes and focusing on

tracks. Typically, he would find

the future.” As he spits it on

their publications, led tours

an existing instrumental piece,

the track: “You been wanting

Study, Jacob Rosenberg-Wohl

of the King Tut exhibit, gave

experiment with melodies or

DeLoreans in your life/You

had already tried to teach

talks as part of the Museum

verse patterns to match the

wanna change what’s allowed/

himself the basics of ancient

Ambassador program, and

music, and then develop lyrics

But I’m tryna tell you forget

Egyptian a few times. “Before

translated the previously

from there. He often used free

that/Just focus on what you do

the textbook explains any

undeciphered writing on a

time at school to write the

now.” —A.K.

grammar,” he says, “you

sarcophagus of Iret-hor-irou at

first have to wade through

the Legion of Honor.

memorizing some several


ideas in the makeshift studio

“It was incredibly exciting

hundred hieroglyphs—ones

to work on the sarcophagus,”

that represent single letters,

he says. “With any Egyptian

two-letter combinations, three-

text, it can be very difficult to

letter combinations, and full

parse out where one word ends

words. I didn’t get very far.” He

and another begins. When you

hoped being held to a schedule

look up different hieroglyphs

would help.

in the dictionary, you have to

Apparently, it did. After

hold numerous possibilities

studying ancient Egyptian in

in your mind about how the

his IS, Rosenberg-Wohl went

sentence could resolve. The

on to work at the Legion of

analytical mind-set inherent to

Honor and de Young museums

that task as well as the instant

the summer before his

connection to real people living

senior year. While there, he

thousands of years ago were so

contributed translations to

rewarding.” —A.K. SFUHS.ORG




All In on Diversity By Kelli Anderson

As its student body becomes more diverse, UHS has committed to making its instruction meaningful for learners of all backgrounds. Research, science, and compassion all argue for it.

UHS a diversity-responsive school. Says academic dean Kate Garrett, “I think now people really understand that it’s all of our jobs to have the school be an inclusive and accessible place and that we all have to learn and grow to be truly responsive to a diverse community of learners.” To that end, UHS this year made

Imagine you’re a teacher who grew up in a

has been kicking around UHS for years.

diversity responsiveness its first-ever

boisterous family where jumping all over

But not all faculty members saw that

professional development focus (see “An

each other’s sentences was the normal

mission as their own. That is no longer

Education for Teachers” on page 20). “A lot

mode of dinnertime conversation. Your

the case.

of this is getting teachers to examine their

natural inclination is to expect engaged

As UHS has seen an increase in

own cultural lenses,” says Kapuya, who is

students to behave in a similar fashion.

self-identified students and faculty of

helping head of school Julia Russell Eells

But is that helpful to the student who

color—and the curriculum has expanded

craft a diversity mission statement. Kapuya

was raised in a culture where speaking

to reflect that diversity—examining

is also part of the department-chair circle

only when spoken to is ingrained? Or is it

classroom cultural assumptions has taken

that is updating the school’s Standards

just alienating?

on a new urgency. Last year, Kapuya

of Good Teaching to include cultural

started a book club for administration

competency standards. “There are plenty

teacher at The Urban School, Tilda Kapuya,

and faculty that she calls the Slow-Moving

of individuals who are doing this work,

the director of multicultural education at

Book Club, which meets, say, once a month

but we need to figure out what it means to

UHS, asked herself similar questions. An

to discuss two chapters. The club’s first

do it institutionally,” she says. “I’d like to

extrovert, she noticed she preferred verbal

book was Culturally Responsive Teaching

see institutional accountability come out

contributions as a sign of engagement.

and the Brain: Promoting Authentic

of this, where there is a structural push to

So she asked her students, “If you’re an

Engagement and Rigor Among Culturally

walk the walk, while giving teachers time

introvert and a quieter student, how can

and Linguistically Diverse Students. The

to reflect and do that work, because there

I know you’re engaged?” In response,

book was written by Zaretta Hammond,

is a lot of reflection that you have to do.”

some students emailed her their thoughts

an educator of teachers and a lecturer at

The ultimate goal, Kapuya says, is to

on reading assignments, which allowed

St. Mary’s College, and published in 2014.

create an environment where all students,

Kapuya to call on those students in class,

About 20 people signed up.

regardless of background, see UHS as their

In her previous job as an English

knowing she’d get a thoughtful answer.

Their enthusiasm for the book’s

school and their community, not just a

“That’s one way to honor diversity and be

insights and their fervent follow-up, which

place to get a good education. She says:

culturally responsive,” she says.

included a webinar with Hammond and

“I’d like to see all our kids not just survive

The idea, if not the language, of

bringing in acclaimed equity consultant

but thrive at UHS.”

diversity-responsive teaching, which

Elizabeth Denevi to speak at the August

aims to improve achievement by teaching

faculty in-service day, helped crystallize

Kelli Anderson is a former senior writer for

students through their own cultural lenses,

an institutional commitment to make

Sports Illustrated. SFUHS.ORG


An Education Busting the Myths of a Model Minority

professional development theme, “Equity Inclusion,” UHS has devoted one faculty meeting a month and every in-service training session to the subject of diversity-responsive


Atlanta at the National Association

teaching. The school has also busted

host Chris Rock introduced three

of Independent Schools’ People of

its professional training budget by

tuxedo-clad, briefcase-toting Asian

Color Conference in December.

sending flocks of representatives to

Two things suggested by their

national conferences, including four

PricewaterhouseCoopers team

data stood out to Lau. One is that there

faculty members to the Facing Race

responsible for tabulating the Oscar

is a strong correlation between the

conference in November and a record

votes—a play on the stereotype of

presence of AAPI adults in schools and

17 faculty and staff members to the

Asians being good at math. While the

students’ pride. Secondly, while most

annual People of Color Conference

skit sparked widespread censure, it

AAPI students feel that their schools

(POCC), where five UHS staff members

also helped prompt some interesting

acknowledge and respect their cultures,

made workshop presentations. In

reflection at the UHS Community Day,

they don’t feel fully understood. “We’re

the spring, 14 UHS representatives

where organizers gathered students

trying to figure out why,” Lau says.

will be heading to the White Privilege

who identified as Asian American

“Understanding requires something

Conference in Kansas City. Faculty

Pacific Islander (AAPI) and then had

much, much deeper of the institution

members have attended relevant local

them write down ways in which they

and the adults within the community.”

workshops, too.

American kids as the “hardworking”

don’t fit the model minority myth.

Just what that is will be the subject

When Melissa Mirza, an English

Those Post-it Notes were collected and

of future study. In the meantime, the

teacher with a Middle Eastern

attached to a poster. “I think that was

three teachers will be working with

background, was new to UHS six

the first time the AAPI community

Hanover Research, a Washington,

years ago, such conferences and

of students felt like there was real

D.C.–based firm that does custom

workshops provided “an awakening

visibility and solidarity among them,”

research projects, to develop a survey

for me in terms of how ‘isms’

says Rochelle Reodica, the director of

tool that UHS can use to query students

function structurally in society and

learning services at UHS.

of all backgrounds about the factors

how education can be used as a tool

Out of that experience, Reodica and English teachers Stan Lau and Joanna Ro were inspired to conduct



that influence their racial identity development. “I think this is a really important

a survey of AAPI students at UHS and

pact on our part as educators to say let’s

three other Bay Area independent high

listen to what the students are saying,”

schools. The data they collected served

Ro notes, “and let’s really think about

as the basis for a workshop on AAPI

how we are responding to the things

student visibility the three presented in

they are experiencing.” —K.A.


for Teachers to disrupt those systems,” she says. Now, she is waking up others. At the POCC, a workshop she presented on Islamoracism was so jam-packed that organizers had to turn some wannabe attendees away. Back in her classroom, Mirza is deploying many of the diversityresponsive pedagogical tools she has picked up along the way, including ones that help her build relationships with students. Before diving into content every semester, she takes two weeks for community building, doing classroom exercises such as “I learn when . . . ” and sending students home with assignments such as “Ask family members about the story of your name.” Starting this year, Mirza spends five to 10 minutes at the start of each class shaking every student’s hand and asking about his or her day, a ritual that she hopes builds trust and diffuses tensions that arise in class. As diverse as her kids’ backgrounds and learning styles may be, they have at least one thing in common, she says: “None of them can hide from me.” —K.A.

‘Diversity Responsive’ Starts with ‘Diversity’ THE EFFORT TO BUILD and sustain a

UHS programs that buttress the school’s

diverse student body, one that reflects

efforts to be diversity responsive: the

the racial, religious, and socioeconomic

mentoring program and, particularly,

breadth of the Bay Area, is daunting.

the Human Development department.

The demands on UHS admissions

“What we do in HD is a

director Aaron Mieszczanski and his

differentiator for us,” says Mieszczanski

team are nearly endless. “Tim Price,

of the department that oversees

one of our music teachers, stops

subjects ranging from metacognition

me yesterday,” Mieszczanski recalls

to cultural competency. “Just in having

recently, “and says, ‘Trombones. And

that department with dedicated time—

trumpets and saxophones.’”

almost two hours a week for every

Yes, the admissions team is not

single student for all four years at UHS—

only responsible for ensuring that

we’re intentional about helping students

each incoming class represents the

build some perspective in a way that

demographic diversity of the region

other schools aren’t. The presence and

but that it replenishes the needs of the

programming of that department and

school’s orchestra, choir, athletic teams,

the person who leads it, Tilda Kapuya,

and foreign language programs, among

have absolutely moved the needle in

many other things. Mieszczanski keeps

our community.”

the myriad demands untangled with a

By his own admission, Mieszczanski

single principle: “You learn best when

loves how metrics tell a story. He’ll tell

you’re surrounded by perspectives

you that the current UHS student body

and backgrounds that are different

comes from 56 zip codes and speaks

from your own.”

18 languages at home. “And almost

So Mieszczanski and his colleagues

everyone’s surprised that 48 percent

in admissions, Amanda Cadogan,

of our kids self-identify as students of

Katelyn Cassell, and Heather Olson,

color,” he says. “We have work still to

attend a dozen school fairs every fall

do, but we’re building from a positive

and visit close to 40 middle schools

place.” His favorite number? Perhaps

and community-based organizations,

140, the number of middle schools

tub-thumping both University’s well-

represented in this year’s eighth-grade

known academics and co-curricular

applicant pool (up from 130 a year ago).

programs and its less-celebrated support

Possibly, somewhere in that pool of

for student diversity. In his role as

eager eighth graders, Mieszczanski has

ambassador to prospective families,

found a trombone player, ready to slide

Mieszczanski points to two distinctive

into UHS. —Bruce Anderson



The 22



Designed by beloved architect Julia Morgan, University High School’s Upper Campus turns 100 this year. On the test of time, the graceful two-story building earns an A. By Josh Sens Photography by Joel Puliatti




In the spring of 1974, Dennis Collins moved from New York to San Francisco with a solid job offer. Exactly where he would be working was less concrete. Collins had been hired as the first head

In the absence of grumbling from the

of school at University High School, an

neighbors, a deal was finalized in late

institution that then existed on paper only;

1974, and UHS got busy renovating the

it had a charter but not a home. When

interior, a quick-fire project that wrapped

Collins arrived, plans were under way

up just in time for the start of classes the

for UHS to purchase a one-story building

next fall.

on 32nd Avenue, near Lincoln Park, that belonged to the all-girls Katherine Delmar Burke School. But when residents in the surrounding Sea Cliff neighborhood raised a stink,

Collins had an office. And a high school without a history began taking shape in a space with a rich

on a long and prolific career. Her most

legacy of its own.

famous project is Hearst Castle, the hilltop

“We knew the building wasn’t large

palace in San Simeon, California, that she

protesting, Collins recalls, the prospect of

enough to accommodate us in the long

created over the course of nearly three

“beer-drinking, pot-smoking, car-racing

term and that we’d lost some open space

decades for the media magnate William

teenagers” spilling onto their otherwise

that we would have had at the 32nd

Randolph Hearst. But from the early

quiet streets, that deal was scrapped.

Avenue location,” says Collins, who served

1900s until her death in 1957, Morgan left

In their search for an alternative, UHS

as head of school through 1986. “But

her imprint on more than 700 buildings in

trustees turned to another Burke-owned

considering everything else that came

California, works of astonishing diversity

address, an Italianate building at 3065

with it, there was no doubt in our minds

in form and function. Churches, schools,

Jackson Street.

that we’d wound up with the much more

hospitals, and houses were all part of

favorable site.”

her portfolio. So were bowling alleys and

Constructed in 1917 and opened as

A centerpiece of UHS ever since, the

billiard rooms. Morgan’s affinity for the

as much a graceful dwelling as it did a

Jackson Street building is known today as

California women’s movement, and her

school, its off-white stucco and green-

Upper Campus, a descriptor that omits an

friendship with a number of its leading

trim exterior aesthetically at peace with

important point often overlooked by those

players, led to dozens of commissions

the residential blocks of Pacific Heights.

who work and learn inside it. It is also a

from girls’ and women’s organizations,

Its interior was homey, too. It had a

Julia Morgan building, designed by the

the Burke’s School among them.

parlor with a fireplace off its entrance

pioneering California architect, the first

“It made perfect sense,” says Karen

and arched hallways that gave way to

American woman to rise to prominence

McNeill, a Morgan expert who has written

a courtyard and a garden, among other

in the field.

extensively on the architect. “If you were

Burke’s a year later, the building looked

features so warm and welcoming that the

Born in San Francisco in 1872 and

creating a space for girls or women back

Burke’s faculty referred to the building as

mentored as an undergraduate by

then, the finest woman architect should

“The House of Dreams.”

Bernard Maybeck at UC-Berkeley, Morgan

handle the design.”

By the 1970s, though, Burke’s was

went on to study at the École nationale

Like so much of Morgan’s work, the

evolving, its needs changing. It made

supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris before

Jackson Street building met with acclaim.

sense to sell the building to UHS.

returning to her home state to embark

Writing in the March 1921 issue of The



Architect and Engineer, an esteemed

snug for the school that Collins and his

journal of the era, the architect and critic

fellow founders had in mind. “Basically,”

Charles K. Sumner praised the design

Collins says, “we gutted it as much as we

as a departure from the “brute bigness,

could without violating the architectural

remoteness and general unhomeliness”

integrity of the space.”

that plagued so many school buildings.

On the second floor of the east wing,

Déjà view The Jackson Street Lounge has shed its floral couches but not its shelves of classic books.

as Upper Upper. In the new school, walls weren’t the only things that came down. Institutional

Neighborhood schools like Burke’s,

several classrooms were demolished,

formalities toppled as well. The parlor off

Sumner argued, provided children with

their combined footprints transformed

the entrance makes a telling illustration.

What students recognize today as the Jackson Street Lounge was known in the Burke’s era as the “red room,” and it served as a kind of faculty redoubt, largely off-limits to Burke’s students. a “gentle environment” that was “suited

into the school’s first library, which itself

What students recognize today as the

to their nature,” a conducive atmosphere

was configured into carrels and group

Jackson Street Lounge was known in

for learning made all the more engaging

study spaces that reflected the era’s

the Burke’s era as the “red room,” and

by a “neighborly ease of access” and a

growing emphasis on communal learning.

it served as a kind of faculty redoubt,

“correspondingly modest size.”

Also on the second floor, space was

largely off-limits to Burke’s students.

opened up to create Room 19, a seminar

An old photo, published in a history of

had found cozy came off to some as

room furnished with a long, oblong table

Burke's first 100 years, depicts a grand

cramped. Gracious as it was, the building

that UHS students still gather around

but dowdy setting worthy of Downton

UHS had purchased was made up of

today, though the room itself is now called

Abbey, a far cry in spirit from the relaxed,

a warren of tiny rooms that were too

U-205. The entire second floor is known

multipurpose space that the room has

A half century later, what Sumner



since become. One striking consistency, though, is this: The hardbound books on the room’s shelves appear not to have budged in 100 years. Over the decades, a great deal else in the building has been tweaked or transformed, either by default or design. A small space on the third floor, originally used by Burke’s as an apartment and later as a sewing room, made do in the early years of UHS as the Arts Department. But as the campus expanded, and Arts moved to a larger home, the third-floor nook became the English and History faculty lounge, which at times is a hive for students as much as it is for staff. A veranda on its western flank has been preserved. Gone, though, is a narrow

The completion of a $4.3 million

wooden stairwell that once rose from it,

renovation project in 2008 brought

wrapping improbably over the roof of the

other significant modifications to Upper

school and down to the courtyard.

Campus. An elevator was installed. A

“It was an odd feature,” says UHS chief

small open courtyard on the second floor

financial officer Jim Chestnut. “I don’t

was enclosed to create space for the

know if it was ever permitted, but it was

Development Office.

certainly an adventure to climb.” The courtyard itself, emblematic of

The major work is complete for now. But there’s always something to

Morgan’s fluid use of indoor-outdoor

be done. A carpet needs replacing. A

spaces, is not precisely as it once was

paint job needs refreshing. The days and

either. Its original packed-dirt surface has

years go by. Classes graduate. Faculty

been tiled over, its fringes ornamented

and administrators retire. Collective

with potted plants. The small pond that

memories begin to fade. What endures

stood at its center and the arcade of

at UHS is a sense of Upper Campus as

Corinthian columns that graced its back

someplace special.

are both long gone.

“Ask any student, and they’ll tell you

Cozy nook Now the English and History faculty lounge, the third floor has been an apartment, sewing room, and art studio.

this building is the center of the school,” says history teacher Chris Martin. “I doubt that they’re all aware of the history behind it. We all have a tendency to do that. We take for granted what we have.” Reminders come from unexpected sources. Not long ago, Martin saw a real estate listing for an apartment in a nearby residential tower that mentioned, among its selling points, its view of UHS’s historic Upper Campus. That’s one way to measure value. But much of its value can’t be quantified. “When we moved in all those years ago, we were creating something entirely from scratch, building community brick by brick,” Dennis Collins says. “We were a new school and the site was our foundation in more ways than one. It gave us an immediate connection to the past.” Josh Sens has written for Architectural Digest. He has also done stories on golf course architects for Golf Magazine and on architectural food as the restaurant critic at San Francisco Magazine.

Table setting UHS knocked down a wall to make Room U-205 an ideal place for seminars.



Alumni Association News and Calendar By Marianna Stark ’89, Director of Alumni Engagement and Giving


MARIANNA STARK NAMED DIRECTOR OF ALUMNI ENGAGEMENT AND GIVING Marianna Stark ’89 has joined UHS as director of alumni engagement and giving. Marianna steps into the role that Holly Johnson ’82 held for nearly 14 years before she moved on to UC-Berkeley School of Law last fall to work in donor stewardship. “Marianna is a passionate and enthusiastic advocate for UHS,” says Julia Russell Eells, head of school. Marianna was deeply influenced by Prudy Kohler’s Western Civilization and Art History classes, and after UHS, Marianna went on to earn a BA in Art History from UC-Berkeley. She fondly remembers her cluster leader and mentor, longtime biology teacher Rob Spivack, and credits

English teacher Jackie White with helping to open her eyes to the world beyond our campus. Over two decades, Marianna contributed to the Bay Area visual art scene as a board member and fund-raiser for such groups as the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco’s ArtPoint, SFMOMA’s SECA (Society for the Encouragement of Contemporary Art), Oakland Art Murmur, and Berkeley Art Center. In 2007, Marianna reinvented herself, becoming an art writer and launching the influential blog Stark Guide, which brought visibility to emerging local artists, gallerists, curators, and nonprofit professionals. Marianna’s career in specialty retail (including more than 15 years with Gap Inc.) provided her with deep expertise in merchandising, marketing, finance, and strategic communications.  “I came back to UHS,” Marianna

says, “because it was here that I was given the tools to help me discover my passions in life and to develop the self-confidence to make unconventional yet rewarding choices in my career. The courage to follow my own path has led to great happiness in my professional and personal life. Writing about and advocating for artists involved the same things I love about my new role at UHS—sharing individuals’ personal stories of growth with the community and providing inspiration along the way. “The commitment to students that fostered my personal development at UHS has been renewed through the school’s new strategic design. I feel great pride in being a part of this family and institution.” Marianna lives in Oakland’s Golden Gate neighborhood with her husband, artist Sam Perry, and their toddler daughter, Tay.  You’ll hear from Marianna in the monthly Alumni Newsletter as she shares information about upcoming events and program. Need to subscribe? Send an email to let her know. If you’d like to get involved in creating a voice for alumni in building UHS’s future, reach out to Marianna directly at

ALUMNUS AWARD We’re starting a new program at UHS, designed to recognize and acknowledge the contributions of alumni who embody our values: inquiry, care, integrity, agency, and interconnection. The Distinguished Alumnus Award will be given annually to an alumnus who has made outstanding contributions to their field at the local, national, or international level through personal accomplishment, professional achievement, or humanitarian service. This fall, our entire community— alumni, students, past and present parents, and past and present faculty members—will be invited to submit nominations. The first award will be given in the spring of 2018. Honorees will be selected by members of the board of trustees, administration leadership, and alumni volunteers. Recognizing alumni is one way our alumni will strengthen ties to each other, our school, and our collective future. INTRODUCING THE ALUMNI SYMPOSIUM From social justice to entrepreneurialism, science and technology to the arts, the fields in which UHS alumni are making an impact are nearly endless. The first UHS alumni symposium will take place spring 2018, with the date to be announced. More to come! MENTORING, INTERNSHIPS, AND NETWORKING Join over 1,800 UHS alumni by becoming a member of our private



LinkedIn group. Use this vehicle to post job openings or to search for and reach out to individuals who share your professional interests. Email to request access. If your company has a summer internship program for high school or college students, let us know; we’re compiling the information so that it’s easy for our students and recent graduates to access and apply. And we’re launching the Alumni Business Network Group, based on the established traditions of business referral communities, with a UHS-centric focus on connection, collaboration, and expansion of our professional horizons.

Calendar See for details

ALUMNI LEADERSHIP CIRCLE On April 5, members of the Alumni Leadership Circle got together at the head of school’s home to learn more about our Strategic Design (SFUHSdesign. org). ALC is made up of alumni who have donated $750 or Top left: Clemmy Brown '03, Renee Solorzano '03. Above: Nicole Berry '91, Gabriel Levy '90, Jenn Rogers '91. Left: Sam White '03, Colin Feuille '05.


UHS JOURNAL Have an idea for a Journal article you’d like to read or write? We’re planning editorial content for the fall Journal now and we’d love your input or contributions. This is an incredible opportunity to meet current students, faculty, and alumni.

ADD UHS TO YOUR LINKEDIN PROFILE Show your school pride! List UHS in the education section of your LinkedIn profile, next to college and graduate school. We’ve updated our LinkedIn settings so that our logo will now be visible in this section. If you have UHS listed but the logo is not showing, try deleting it and then adding it back.

more to UHS in the past year. To see a list of donors, go to

NEW YORK ALL CLASS ALUMNI GATHERING On February 15, Nathan Rayman ’00 hosted an alumni gathering at his Brooklyn art gallery This Friday or Next Friday. Then Gabriel Levy ’90 hosted the after-party at his nightclub Rumpus Room on the Lower East Side. The late-night crowd was treated to a performance by alumni band Hexual Ceiling (Caroline Getz ’10, Grant Hiura ‘09, and Nate Charnas ’09). We sent email invitations to all alumni who our files show are living in or attending college in New York, New Jersey, or Connecticut. If you didn’t get an invitation but should have, please take a moment to send your current address to


Subscribe to the monthly Alumni Newsletter and follow us on social media: Facebook @SFUHSorg and @SFUHSorgALUMNI Twitter @SFUHSorg Instagram @SFUHSorg Issuu SFUHSorg



See for details College Life Panel for Seniors Monday, May 22 To volunteer, contact Paul Goode Field Ribbon Cutting and Family Celebration Sunday, August 27

Alumni Luncheon Friday, October 27 Downtown Olympic Club Alumni Holiday Party Thursday, December 21 Location TBD

Top: Jennifer Dryan Smorgon ’90, Anne Bransten Wooster ’90, Lesley Bunim ’95. Middle: Kristen Hale Kelly ’98 , Matt Farron ’98, Leonard Chung ’98. Above: Courtney Weaver ’83, Bradley Solomon ’81, Helen Manver, Simon Frankel ’81, Stephen Johnson, Kimberly Fullerton ’91.

Class Notes 1980

US Fish and Wildlife Service wildlife biologist BILL BROOKS writes: “As our federal government administration changes, I wanted to share that I have had the privilege of working closely with outgoing Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell. I tag-teamed a press conference with Secretary Jewell (above, with Bill at podium) on June 14, 2014, when we upgraded the status of the wood stork under the Endangered Species Act from ‘endangered’ to ‘threatened.’”

Big League Baseball Survive?: Globalization, the End of Television, Youth Sports, and the Future of Major League Baseball. Lincoln shared two memorable moments from his book tour: “I spoke at the annual meeting of the Bay Area Lefty O’Doul chapter of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) in San Leandro. I realized that I was in a room with about 45 people and, compared to them, I had only a passing interest in baseball.” Lincoln also enjoyed being interviewed by Ron Barr for Sports Byline. His fellow interviewee was Roy Eisenhardt, who had been president of the Oakland A’s when Lincoln played baseball at UHS.


Amazon app users can get alerts about the deals on their smartphones, but once all the goods are spoken for, that’s it. The patent lays out a series of sketches for the truck’s boxy back end, festooned with electronic display strips. The filing also covers the marquee sign on the top of the cab and cites GeekWire’s “First Look” story as part of the documentation.

JENNIFER WEISS (above) gave birth to her son Charles “Charlie” Andrew Alexander Weiss (UHS Class of 2033) on March 4. Charlie adores his UHS alumni friends and their families.


1981 KATHERINE MELCHIOR RAY started a new management and marketing consulting firm called Globe Ally ( which takes her to Paris and to Tokyo for one week every month. She spoke in French onstage in Paris to a group of 500 retailers on global fashion trends for a French brand owned by Uniqlo.

1982 NATASHA BOAS, art historian and thought leader, taught a 13part class on California Countercultures at the Berkeley Art Museum this spring, looking at the range of countercultural expressions in the Bay Area in the 1960s.

1985 LINCOLN MITCHELL has published his fourth book, Will

CLAIRE MYERS and her boys, John Michael and James, attended UHS varsity basketball’s 10th annual Oracle Day, and they are still talking about the experience of playing ball on the court at halftime. ALISON PEARLMAN writes: “Due to a wonderful UHS education, I am still a professor at Cal Poly– Pomona, teaching art history.”

1989 SHERMAN GRIFFIN was part of a three-person team at Amazon that secured a patent for Treasure Truck, the funky delivery vehicle for flash deals ranging from cameras to candy. The Treasure Truck has been compared to an ice cream truck for grown-ups:

After five years living in Australia, JENNIFER DRYAN SMORGON and her family (above) have moved back to the Bay Area from Melbourne. CHRISTOPHER WAUD, his wife, Amy, and their three sons, Wyatt, Austin, and Ryder, have moved to Sandpoint, Idaho. Both Chris and Amy telecommute for their careers in the Bay Area, he to his real estate law office, Ironhouse Law Group, in Walnut Creek. GABRIEL LEVY, for the second year in a row, hosted our NYC Alumni Gathering after-party at his club, Rumpus Room. Thanks, Gabriel! MONIQUE MORRIS was a fea-

tured speaker at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Kerry James Marshall—A Creative Convening, an all-day event in January that considered the role of innovation, social justice, and the imagination in art history, performance, and other disciplines.


ANNA KLAFTER moved back to San Francisco from Boston to become the principal of the San Francisco Unified School District’s Independence High School and Community Home-Based Instruction K–8. Here Anna (above, second from left), a colleague, and a student visited UHS physics instructor Ozzie Nevarez (above, right) to learn more about the U-Lab and how the home-based instruction program could provide Maker resources.


On December 9, 2016, LILY JENSEN-BLUMBERG and MARC BLUMBERG welcomed baby Tobias Paul Blumberg. Big brother Joshua is excited to teach Toby all about cars, trains, and anything else with wheels.




KATE TAYLOR and JEREMY FAUST were married on September 11, 2016, in Ross, California. UHS friends who attended the wedding include JESSE EISENHARDT and ALLISON HOOVER EISENHARDT; Elaine Robertson ’95; and Lewis and Susan Cook, parents of LEWIS COOK.

1999 ERIC FISCHER completed his PhD in economics at UC–Santa Cruz last June and now works as an economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.

2000 After 17 years in New York, JESSE COFFINO is returning to San Francisco, where his wife, Samantha, will begin a residency in pediatric epilepsy at UCSF. Jesse is organizing a full-time, co-op playgroup for toddlers in San Francisco starting this summer, based on the Anji Play approach and the principles of love, risk, joy, engagement, and reflection. Children of classmates

ALIZA COHEN, HUNTER BRECK, and MARGARET TIMBRELL will also participate, and there is still room for more kids. The group is also in search of a dedicated space to host the playgroup. If you are interested in signing up your child or you know of a space, contact Jesse directly. Read Jesse’s essay about Anji Play at or learn more at NATHAN RAYMAN (left, in photo below, speaking with Anthony Yu '99) hosted the February 15 NYC All Class Alumni Gathering at his Brooklyn gallery This Friday or Next Friday. Thanks, Nathan!

2001 GOOD Magazine’s sports vertical published an article BRYAN KITCH wrote on classmate BEN GUCCIARDI’s Soccer Without Borders program.

2003 Proud older sister Cecily Burrill ’00 shared the news that JULIE BURRILL received a Fulbright grant in 2016 and moved to London last September to pursue a PhD in forensic DNA. Since 2011, Julie has served as the staff forensic scientist at the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia. As a Fulbrighter/King’s College London doctoral student, Julie will be conducting research on the origins and characteristics of transferable “touch DNA,” a forensic method that uses very small samples, often skin cells, collected at a crime scene.

2005 LINDSEY QUOCK was honored by the Donaldina Cameron House for her service to the community. Last summer, while interning with the East Bay Community Law Center, she began helping people in Oakland’s Chinatown who were at risk of being evicted. She organized volunteers, translated counseling



sessions, and deposed property managers. Lindsey will graduate from UC-Berkeley Law this spring.

2006 MEREDITH LAIRD graduated from the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California in 2015 and is in her second year of a pediatrics residency at Children’s Hospital Oakland.

by taking Italian language, Renaissance Art History, Sociology of the Mafia, and History of the Renaissance. This is actually my first time taking Italian but I’ve been catching on pretty quickly. I can usually get through conversations at restaurants and buying soccer tickets solely in Italian.”


2009 UHS alumni band Hexual Ceiling played at the NYC all class reunion after-party. Caroline Getz ’10, GRANT HIURA, and NATE CHARNAS have been playing together since the days of Tim Price’s music classes in M-20. The three reconnected in New York in 2013 to form Hexual Ceiling, a jazz and R&B group that draws on influences ranging from Thelonious Monk to Michael Jackson (with a heavy dose of Marvin Gaye). Let’s get hexual!

2012 Since graduating from Cornell last spring, ROBERT LIPTON is attending graduate school at UCLA, where he is working on a master’s in aerospace engineering. After graduation from Washington University in St. Louis, JACK WILSON will be working in San Francisco at AlphaSights, an information services company that works with clients in investment banking, strategic consultancies, and nonprofits.

2014 STEPHEN NEMY is in his third year at Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies and is spending the spring semester studying abroad in Florence. “I am in a homestay with an Italian family,” he says. “My school doesn’t offer any courses toward my major so I’m using the semester to fulfill my arts and sciences requirement

MATT ROTHMAN, ALEJANDRO SIFUENTES, CELINE SHEN, and LAURENCE FONG got together to celebrate winter break over pizza. Reminder: If you get three or more alumni together, send us a photo documenting the event and the restaurant receipt and we’ll pay for the pizza.

MILESTONES On February 8 at 6:29 a.m., ALEX LOCKETT, dean of students, and her husband PAUL HAUSER, microbiology teacher, welcomed Walker Lockett Hauser, who weighed in at 8 pounds 9 ounces.

Screen Gems

Jeff Skoll’s vision that movies

work on the lauded HBO drama

can compel social change. “I

In Treatment and Showtime’s

love that,” Kessel says, “being

Masters of Sex—and to become

part of films that move people,

one of the most sought-after

Robert Kessel is happy to talk

challenge people, and get

showrunners in the business.

about his career in the film

them excited.”

Next up on the conveyor belt?

Continued from page 13


business—just don’t ask him

Lippman is developing several

to name his favorite project. “I

projects, including one based

don’t like to play favorites,” he

on Richard McGuire’s Here, a

explains, “because that’s like

graphic novel that examines a

Sophie’s choice.”

single location over the span

When pressed, the producer

of human existence and into

and executive will allow that

the future.

he especially loved Beasts of No Nation, a movie that his studio helped finance, and another


film, the Oscar-winning

If Amy Lippman had to

Spotlight, that he worked on in

choose a classic TV episode to

2015. Indeed, given the movies

represent her own experience

that Kessel has touched over

in television, it would be a

the past 25 years, he could

famed installment of I Love

have many, many favorites.

Lucy. “Sometimes,” Lippman

After graduating from UHS

says, “you may be shooting

and Vassar, Kessel ping-ponged

episode 4, approving final

between New York and Los

visuals of episode 1, casting for

Angeles, moving through

episode 5, rewriting episode

the ranks to top positions at

7, writing episode 8, outlining

Miramax, Hart Sharp, and

episode 9. You feel like Lucille

Overture Films. Along the

Ball, with episodes coming fast

way, he acquired, produced,

and furious, like chocolates on

or oversaw Proof, Last Chance

the conveyor belt.”

Harvey, The Men Who Stare at

But Lippman loves the

Goats, A Most Violent Year, and

challenge. Funny enough, one

Deepwater Horizon.

particular challenge helped

Page Rosenberg-Marvin ’85. Production supervisor on feature films. RosenbergMarvin's credits include Jason Bourne, Ghostbusters, Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice, and the upcoming films Dunkirk and Avengers: Infinity War.

ROGER BOAS, father of Chris Boas ’79, Anthony Boas ’83, Lucy Boas ’87, father-in-law of Natasha Boas ’82, and grandfather of Jack Boas ’18, on February 10.

H. GREIG FOWLER, father of Anne-Marie Fowler ’86 and Alexandra King ’91, on February 1. ROBERT MANN, father of Harold Mann ’84 and Alex Mann ’86, on December 29. BARBARA TATUM, mother of Victoria Wilson ’78 and Shelley Kieran ’79, on February 4.

Now, as senior vice

her land where she is today. It was 1992, and she and her

Participant Media, Kessel

then writing partner Chris

develops and oversees all kinds

Keyser met with executives at

Maury Sterling ’89. Actor.

of movies. On one recent day,

Fox. “We pitched some ideas,”

Sterling performed in

for instance, he monitored

Lippman recalls. “And then

Homeland, Kung Fu Panda 2,

the first day of shooting on

the president of the network

and Beverly Hills Chihuahua.

Captive State, a sci-fi film set in

said, ‘We’ve been thinking

He has guest-starred on

near-future Chicago after an

about this idea of orphans, of

numerous hit TV shows,

alien invasion. He also gave

kids running amok, without

including Masters of Sex, CSI,

notes on the postproduction

parents. Do you want to think

24, and ER.

edits of Wonder, a movie based

about that?’” They thought about it, then

We acknowledge the loss of the following members and friends of the UHS community and extend our deepest sympathy to their families and friends.

CAROLEE CHARLTON, mother of Carolyn Charlton ’83 and Clyde Charlton ’79, on January 13.

president of production at

on the best-selling young adult

In Memoriam

CATHY TOPHAM, mother of Ned Topham ’94, on January 20.

If you’re an alumnus who has

book, which explores disability

pitched and wrote a show

worked in film or television, we’d

and compassion. The projects

about orphans: Party of Five.

love to hear from you. Please

may be different, but both

The series ran for six years and

send an update about what

spring from the same place:

propelled Lippman to acclaim.

you’ve done and are currently

Participant Media founder

Since then, she has gone on to

doing to

Obituaries in this issue include notices received in the Alumni Office by February 23. Please let us know if you would like a relative to be remembered in the UHS Journal.



Why Give?

Community, gratitude, and innovative education are just three reasons.

Why do we continue to give to University High School?

Why do I continue to support UHS?

We give in appreciation of the

education I received. It built on

extraordinary education our

an existing love of science and

boys received at San Francisco

gave me the tools I needed to

University High School—a

pursue that love in college and

school supported and funded

graduate school. It also gave me

by those who came before us.

such a solid foundation in the

We give in recognition of the

other liberal arts that I can hold

need for funding for continued

my own in conversation on

growth and innovation in

topics I haven’t studied since

education. We give to give

Western Civ or AP French Lit.

back so the opportunity for

I give because I want UHS to

excellence continues to be

keep providing this education

available to those who follow

for today’s students.

after us.

Cecily Burrill ’00 Alumni Annual Fund Co-Chair

Linda and Tom Burns Former Trustee and Alumni Parent Co-Chairs Doug ’90 and Drew ’94

I’m so grateful to UHS for the

Why is the UHS Annual Fund a philanthropic priority for our family?

that capacity to capability has

We thank and acknowledge all those in our community who have given so generously of both their time and money. Your gifts will be used to further the mission of the school in a variety of ways: Faculty support: help keep salaries competitive for inspiring teachers. Financial aid: give the gift of education for deserving students and their families. Curriculum: support innovative and exciting courses and experiences that extend beyond the classroom.

been the domain and expertise

Groundbreaking initiatives:

of our world-class teaching

fund the growth of Summerbridge and the mentoring program.

For us, the answer is simple. Community. By drawing from more than 90 middle schools across the Bay Area, UHS consistently assembles a diverse and multifaceted group of all-star students who have the capacity to change the world. While transforming

faculty, inspiring students to utilize their capabilities for a purpose larger than themselves is an entire UHS community endeavor.

Lisa and Jeffrey Hord Parent Annual Fund Co-Chairs Isabella ’17 and Gabriella ’20

If you have not already shown your support with a gift of any amount to the UHS Annual Fund, we hope that you will consider doing so today: Log on to the UHS Giving page,, or call Kate Gorrissen in the Development Office at (415) 447-3117. Your participation is your true gift.




Math teacher Leah Dorazio Simone Jacob ’17 and Lucy Daro ’17 Jason Li ’18

Community Milestones Each spring, we honor and celebrate those members of the faculty and staff who have reached special milestones in their tenure at University High School. The Journal salutes the following people for their dedication to the school.


5 years

Byron Philhour Physics 10 years

Susannah Martin Drama

Hayley Beale Library

In Advanced Projects in Physics, we’re modeling Maxwell’s Equations for Electricity and Magnetism on our laptops using Visual Python, and we’ve created some interesting and novel visualizations of dynamic field patterns. —BYRON PHILHOUR

Jenny Kline History 25 years

30 years

Ernesto Padró-Campos Spanish

Tim Price Music




LET THERE BE LIGHTS The core lesson in the Industrial Design class taught by Matt Scheatzle is that “functionality is intrinsically linked to aesthetic form.” In a semester-long project, students design and build desk lamps with a number of requirements, including mechanical movement and efficient use of materials. Foamboard prototyping is one step in the iterative process of design thinking; sales at Ikea come later.

Clockwise from upper left, prototypes by Sammy Parkhill ’17, Lucia Tice ’18, Rowan McGarry-Williams ’17, and Ishmael Maxwell ’17.

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UHS Journal Spring 2017  
UHS Journal Spring 2017