Fall /Winter 2015
50 years of Progressive education 1965 to 2015 - St. Francis School.
IN THIS ISSUE In The Beginning Gifts Large and Small Alumni Profile: Robert Bonnie Gâ€™80 Breaking New Ground
By Alexandra S. Thurstone G ’80, ’84, Head of School
in the beginning By Tom Pike
Frank Cayce was hired in 1965 to develop the new Independent elementary school that had just been started by St. Francis in the Fields Episcopal Church. Founded as an alternative to Louisville’s existing public and private schools, St. Francis School was to be progressive and student-centered. Frank, without training or experience as an educator, was an unlikely choice to develop a new school, but turned out to be just what St. Francis School needed for a leader. When I joined him in 1967 as Assistant Headmaster and Director of Studies, he was exactly who I needed as a mentor. His lack of experience was actually beneficial, as he had no preconceptions about what a school should be. He was intuitive, a gifted “primitive” educator, with remarkable instincts about different ways to engage students in active learning. Frank understood a child’s natural curiosity and innate energy for learning new things.
In celebrating 50 years of St. Francis, the person we wanted to hear from most in this issue is the person we have to thank for helping to shape and sustain the legacy of St. Francis. Tom Pike is the co-founder of the Goshen Campus and founder of the High School. Together with the founder of the Goshen Campus, Frank Cayce, Tom is responsible for all the hallmarks that make St. Francis the joyful, compassionate, intellectual community that it is today. I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Tom since I was a five-year-old kindergartener, and he is my mentor. While we are very different personally, we always have been totally in sync in terms of our values and beliefs about education and the magic of St. Francis. Take a moment now to learn about how St. Francis came to be, and to give thanks to the people who had the vision for a different kind of school in Louisville, Kentucky.
Frank and I became a congenial and effective team. I had sufficient experience to take care of the administrative details of running a school. He used his salesmanship and charm to sell a progressive educational philosophy to a conservative community. Intellectually curious, Frank was a voracious reader, and we shared eclectic interests in films and books. He had a keen sense of color and a flair for graphic design. The walls of the hallways and classrooms were vibrantly painted—red, blue, yellow, green, orange, and purple. Posters, fabric wall hangings, and paintings and drawings by both students and professional artists were everywhere. Visitors to St. Francis School knew immediately that they were in a different kind of school. Frank and I were alike in being self-taught educators, open to any structure or curricula which we believed would enhance learning. We bounced ideas back and forth continually, almost always agreeing on what we should implement. But in ways small and large, we differed dramatically. In my 30s, with young children and a wife in medical school, I stayed close to home by inclination and necessity, getting back and forth to school with four kids in our VW bus. Frank was 20 years older, his children grown, and he drove a Buick convertible. A true bon vivant, he loved social gatherings and conversation. Frank knew people everywhere—filmmakers in California, editors in New York City, landed gentry in Virginia. Frank enjoyed fine clothes, good food, strong drink, and lively company. Frank and I became advocates for student-centered learning, which involved both individual and cooperative activities and led to motivated, independent learners. We believed that all children and youth, unless mentally disabled, were capable of an academic education, but learned best with a developmental approach. Confident of the school’s program, we accepted a number of
Photographs from the early days of SFS
students who had not done well in traditional classrooms and succeeded with most of them. In March 1976, the St. Francis School Board of Directors concluded that there was indeed sufficient demand among parents to support a new unit which would apply a progressive, student-centered philosophy to a college-preparatory secondary program. The report recommended a separate school designed for adolescents with its own location, perhaps downtown, rather than added to current suburban facilities designed for kindergarten through 8th grade students. I wanted to return to working with high school students, whose unique qualities had always appealed to me, especially their challenging minds and energy. Frankâ€™s outgoing, playful personality made him a natural with children. I realized that my more patient and reflective nature worked naturally with
teenagers. I left St. Francis School at the end of the 1975-76 school year to become founding Headmaster of St. Francis High School, which opened in September 1977 in the historic YMCA building at Third and Broadway in downtown Louisville. A dozen years since my retiring as Head of SFHS, I look back with satisfaction and pride at what Frank Cayce, Alexandra Thurstone, and I have accomplished in bringing Progressive education to the forefront of Louisvilleâ€™s Independent schools. Needless to say, we have been enthusiastically supported by St. Francis parents and Boards of Directors. Over these five decades, active learning, creative curricula, personalized expectations, and talented teachers have become increasingly valued by parents. St. Francis School is well positioned for the coming years.
By Síofra Rucker G’84, Director of Advancement
large a In giving, small gifts and large gifts alike are vital; it takes all gifts to create the school we want for our students. While the Capital Campaign Committee continues to raise needed funds for our next major project – the Downtown High School expansion – more modest restricted gifts have also made immediate impact across both campuses this year. Part of the master plan for both campuses is to activate each campus and make the most of the unique resources each one provides our students. Here are a few projects of note: Playgrounds & Reading Rooms If you’ve been on our Goshen Campus recently, you may have noticed something behind the play shelter: another new natural playground, this one for middle schoolers, featuring a natural obstacle course with two climbing walls, a balance beam, a hand-to-hand rope walk, and more. Ever since its opening at the Back-to-School Picnic, middle schoolers have been testing their skills and strength all throughout the course. Thanks to the Frazier Family, Dace Polk Brown, and grandparents Betty and Bob Radford for supporting this project.
While the Capital Campaign Committee continues to raise needed funds for our next major project – the Downtown High School expansion – more modest restricted gifts have also made immediate impact across both campuses this year. Wyvern Report
We have never needed a library on our Downtown Campus, with the Louisville Free Public Library just a stone’s throw away, but what school wouldn’t benefit from a calm, quiet, beautiful space in which to read actual paper books? The English Department continues to be a proponent of the importance of students reading as much as possible, and they relish the opportunity to hand-select books for each student. This summer, the Parent Association, alumni parent and longtime supporter Gordon Strauss, and an anonymous SFS grandfather combined to fund a full remodel and book restock of the Reading Room. The light-filled room on the 3rd floor holds comfortable armchairs to sink into, tables covered with books, and racks of literary journals, all flanked by a curated contemporary collection that includes short fiction, literary novels, African-American poetry, essays, and nonfiction. The English teachers all take their classes one day a week to read in the room: no phones, no earbuds, no potato chips, just the quiet turning of paper pages. A few more projects coming soon.... Goats & Bees Just past the new Middle School Natural Obstacle Course is our nature preserve, where nature is certainly in charge. Undergrowth and invasive plants have blocked many of our trails, preventing the children from fully exploring and taking advantage of the space. Garden Coordinator Christine Brinkmann has come up with a creative solution: goats. In partnership with local farmer Darrell Oldham and Kentucky State University, we are renting a small herd of goats this spring. The goats will be fenced in and watched over by their own guard dog, Clyde. (Bonnie, his partner, will stay home
and small with their puppies!) Darrell will visit and care for the goats while our overgrown trails will provide plenty of food for them. We’ll continue to rent the goats in six-week intervals each spring and fall, rotating their location throughout the wooded areas of the Goshen Campus. As an added bonus, KSU representatives are helping connect this project to our science curriculum! This spring on the Goshen Campus, in addition to goats, you’ll also be seeing two or three beehives along the western fence line, across the athletic drive. Teaching and demonstrating sustainability to our students is the underlying goal of the St. Francis Garden Program, and these beehives are an excellent component of the program.Honeybees are one of the world’s greatest pollinators. While the number of honeybee colonies has decreased drastically in recent years, our dependence on the honeybee for pollinating our crops has increased. We are collaborating with Oldham County Beekeeper Association and new parent Terry McDonald to plan and implement this project. A generous gift from alumni parent Eleanor Bingham Miller to the garden program is supporting both the goat and beehive projects.
Downtown Campus biology teacher David Word’s classroom is alive not only with students but also snakes and hamsters (separated, of course) and soon he will be adding bees to his classroom! We are applying for grants for a observational honeybee hive from The BeeCause Project. These observational hives are enclosed clear rectangles that would be inside the biology classroom, allowing students to study the honeybee colony while stimulating their curiosity about the natural world. The observation hive would have a tube leading outside for the bees to come and go, further helping to increase the number of these natural pollinators. We may also be looking for a home for an observation hive on the Goshen Campus, assuming the grants are favorably received. These four projects are tangible examples of the change that philanthropy can create within our School. Combined with the remaining other four phases of our Capital Campaign – 1) the upcoming expansion at the High School; 2) the theater and front entrance remodel at the Goshen Campus; 3) the gym at the High School; and 4) our scholarship endowment – projects like these are indeed transformative.
“our good earth” 2015-16
“Our Good Earth” was held in the fields of the Goshen Campus on October 10th. Co-Chairs Kim Diamond and Denise Ragland created a magical evening where over 350 guests enjoyed a delicious farmto-table dinner by Wiltshire Pantry, silent and live auctions, and musical entertainment while celebrating the 50th anniversary of the School. The event raised a recordsetting amount of over $75,000 to support extracurricular activities and athletics from Preschool through High School. Wyvern Report
Thank you to our sponsors: Brown-Forman Buffalo Construction Dace & King Stubbs Commonwealth Bank & Trust Lancaster Built Homes
Steptoe & Johnson PLLC Office Resources, Inc. Ladybug Gifts Langsford Learning Acceleration Centers
save the date for Art Auction+Scholarship Fundraiser on January 30, 2016 at the Tim Faulkner Gallery. Co-Chairs Julia Carstanjen and Jane Tierney invite you to join us for an evening surrounded by art, emerging and established artists, live music, and a delicious dinner from Wiltshire Pantry. Thank you to our sponsors: Brown-Forman Buffalo Construction Commonwealth Bank & Trust Lancaster Built Homes Steptoe & Johnson PLLC Harry K. Moore Co.
Many of you know how important the Annual Fund is, and the parents, grandparents, alumni, alumni parents, faculty, staff, and friends who support this effort year after year are what make St. Francis exceptional. Without the generous support of all in our community, including you, the hallmarks of a St. Francis education wouldnâ€™t be possible: small class sizes, low student-teacher ratios, exemplary scholarship and financial aid programs, comprehensive learning resources, a diverse student body, and a truly outstanding faculty and staff. Our Annual Fund goal for 2015-16 is $340,000! I hope we can continue to grow that number, allowing us to do so much more! Already 100% of our faculty & staff and 100% of our Board of Trustees have given to the Annual Fund. For those of you who have donated, thank you! For the rest of our supporters, we hope you will make your committment to give generously to St. Francis very soon. Thank you!
By Kim Hales, Director of Development
of students receive need-based financial aid
Carolina Sandoval ’02
New Wyverns Marshall Eldred G’79, ’83 welcomed a baby boy, Marshall Polk Eldred IV, to his family on April 30th. Gill Potter ’93, wife Katie, and big brother Benjamin were very excited to bring Sean Daniel Potter into the world on August 18th. Gill is currently living in San Francisco and is a vice-president, advanced analytics, with CastLight Health. Laura Parker ’97, husband Alex Kowalcyk, and big sister Faith (2), welcomed Cutter Alexander to their family on July 14th. Laura recently sold her skincare business in Pennsylvania and moved to La Conner, Washington with her family where she is focusing on her kids and making art! Eric Holt ’98 and wife Jai welcomed their daughter Nissa to the world on August 31st. Eric and his family have been enjoying picking berries and apples in Michigan while he is working on his Ph.D. in chemical engineering at the University of Michigan.
If you are not receiving emails from the school, update your contact information by emailing Callie Gray, Director of Alumni Relations, CGray@StFrancisSchool.org.
Nathan Metcalf ’95 graduated from Western Kentucky University with degrees in religious studies and sociology. Nathan did postgraduate work as a field researcher in Kandy, Sri Lanka, leading to the opportunity to present papers nationally and internationally at conferences on rural sociology and for the International Society of Resource Management. Nathan is happily married, celebrating his 8th anniversary with his wife, Amy. Nathan will be continuing his doctoral education next year. Alex Distler ’95 is a Ph.D. candidate in creative writing and literature at the University of Utah. Alex stays busy teaching, taking classes, studying for her oral exams, running a reading series, editing a creative writing journal, and trying to find time to work on her own writing. Porter Wiseman ’95 went on from SFS to the University of Virginia, where she graduated with a B.A. with honors in 1998. Then she went to the Art Institute of Phoenix and graduated in 2002 with a B.A. with honors. From there, Porter returned to the UVA School of Law and graduated with her J.D. in 2007. Porter now works as an attorney at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer and Feld in Washington D.C., specializing in energy regulation, specifically the Federal Power Act. Porter married Michael Skelton in 2013, likes making jewelry as a hobby, and has two dogs, three cats, two birds, and some fish! Lisa (Wallingford) Tobias ’95 went on to Bates College and graduated in 1999. From there she attended Barry University and graduated in 2002. Lisa is now married to Bryan Tobias and is a middle school science teacher in San Antonio, Texas. Alex Tevlin ’95 has been living in Los Angeles for more than 11 years. After graduating from Washington University in St. Louis, he moved to Los Angeles where he is now the head of programming for Fox Sports West. Alex is father to two young boys. Charlotte Albrecht ’99 went on to Rice University and graduated in 2003. After a year in France searching for the right school, she attended the University of Minnesota to earn her M.A. and Ph.D. in feminist studies with a minor in American Studies, graduating in 2013. Charlotte then went to Denison University to do a post-doc on faculty diversity in liberal colleges. This fall, Charlotte began a tenure-track position as assistant professor of Women’s Studies and American Culture for the program in Arab and Muslim- American studies at the University of Michigan.
2015 Wyvern Alumni Reunion Classes of 1985, 1995, & 2005 A great turnout of alumni came out for the Reunion Dinner this year, which took place on Saturday, September 19th at the High School. Attendees came from primarily the classes of ’85, ’95, and ’05 (marking the 30-, 20- and 10-year reunions), with a few in between. Attendees included: Class of ’84: Alexandra Thurstone, W.G. Giles Class of ’85: Paula Campbell, Steve Hermann, Sandy Florman, John English, Howard Katz, Will Duncan, Doug Owen, Rodman Smythe, Ken PorterShirley, Eric Dunlap, Jonathan Blue, Nat Grauman, Jason Middleton, Kathy Hewitt Dixon
Class of 1985
Class of ’95: Jim & Kelli (Wilson) Carter, George Parker, Jay Baribeau, Natasha Pitcock, Julie R. Black Class of ’05: Beth Coyle, Ashley Johnson, Michelle Marks, Leslie Estill, Shannon Moore, Nadir Siddiqui, Maria Kupper, Kat McDonough, Nathan Driskell, Amelia Nordmann Joanna Richards ’01 went on to Oberlin College and found an interest in journalism. She says “writing, learning, talking to people, and sticking it to the authority on occasion” are her enduring loves, and that reporting gives her license to do those things. Joanna has experience working as a daily news reporter and is now reporting for the NPR affiliate in Cleveland, WCPN. Joanna has gotten to do work for national shows like Morning Edition and Here and Now Marketplace and plans to add to this list in the future! After graduating from St. Francis, Carolina Sandoval ’02 attended the University of Delaware. She earned two B.A. degrees, one in anthropology and the second in foreign languages in literature. After graduating in 2006, Carolina stayed in Delaware and worked for an immigration law firm until 2008. She then headed to American University in Washington, D.C. and earned her M.A. in anthropology with a focus in applied anthropology. Carolina’s research studies focused on migration issues, mainly undocumented migration from Honduras to the United States. After graduating from American in 2010, Carolina worked as a consultant
Doug Owen ’85 and Sandy Florman ’85
George Parker ’95, Jay Baribeau G’91, ’95, and Kit Llewellyn
with an NGO in Washington D.C.. In 2011, she went back to her hometown, Copan Ruinas, Honduras, and helped her family to open their Visitor Center, The Tea & Chocolate Place, in Copan Ruinas, in order to educate the public in general about environmental issues affecting the town. At the same time, Carolina and her family have been regenerating and reforesting eroded areas in the town – they have reforested about 25 acres just in one area, a project called the Copan 2012 Botanical Research Station. From the plants grown in their research station they make natural products, primarily organic teas. On top of all of that, Carolina makes time to pursue photography, another passion! Beth Coyle ’05 attended Pellissippi State Community College in Knoxville, TN, graduating as an LPN. Beth then worked for a clinical research company specializing in diabetic medicine. Beth returned to Louisville in 2012 to work at Humana, where she started as a specialist helping low income individuals access affordable medication and was recently promoted to an analyst position, dealing with Medicare drug appeals.
Marriages & Engagements Davis Tyler ’91 married Marquenia Ruiz on June 20th. Davis is now in his 10th year of practicing law. He has a solo practice specializing in immigration and criminal defense. Sara Sahni ’97 received her B.A. in English from the University of Kentucky and a law degree from the University of Louisville. Sara is currently Assistant General Counsel at RaceTrac Petroleum, Inc., where she is responsible for the company’s litigation and employment law matters. Before joining RaceTrac Petroleum, Inc, Sara worked for Ford & Harrison LLP, a national labor and employment law firm. Prior to that, she worked as an Assistant Attorney General for the Georgia Attorney General’s Office. In July 2015, Sara married Chris Galopin, a Detroit native and graduate of the University of Michigan and they now reside in Atlanta, Georgia. Alix Rice Littrell ’98 married Denis Littrell on August 1st. Mike Slaton ’99 married Jake Souder on June 28th. Mike is currently working in Louisville for Metro Parks as the General Manager of the Iroquois Amphitheater. Nora Crutcher ’03 married Ryan Drake on August 22nd in Ojai, California. Nora earned her undergraduate degree, a B.A. in cinematic arts, as well as her M.A. in journalism, from the University of Southern California. Ryan and Nora live in Santa Barbara, California with their cat and dog, and Nora works as a communications director at the University of California Santa Barbara. Olivia Cole ’07 married Omaun Covington on September 6th.
Nora Crutcher ’03
Olivia Cole ’07
Amelia Lea (Brown) Walton ’05 resides in Savannah, Georgia where she owns and runs a pet boarding kennel and doggie daycare called Pet Paradise. She is a happy mother of two, Kaden and Olivia, and recently celebrated her four-year anniversary with husband Dave Walton, who is a U.S. Army Ranger. Nadir Siddiqui ’05 is currently finishing up a computer science degree at the University of Louisville while at the same time working at Yum! Brands in their Network Monitoring Department. Meredith Stevens ’10 went on from St. Francis to New York University, where she studied politics and went abroad for four semesters, three in Paris and one in Prague. While studying in Prague, she fell in love with the city. After graduating from NYU, she went back to Prague, where she currently teaches English. After her time in Prague, Meredith plans to go to either South Korea or to Kiev, Ukraine, where she spent a summer, before she heads off to grad school. Chris Cappiello ’11 graduated from Yale, where he majored in physics. The summer after his freshman year, Chris returned to Louisville for an internship at the Brown Cancer Center. After that summer, he started working more intensely on his physics major, and spent the rest of his time in college doing astrophysics research. At the same time, Chris has been working on a math project with recent SFS alumna Michelle Jones ’15, who currently attends Yale. Chris recently started a physics Ph.D. program at Ohio State, where he is studying cosmic rays (particles produced by supernovae and stars that stream through space at high energies). Dakota Kate Isaacs ’11 graduated from the College of Charleston in May with a B.A. in communication. One of her largest on-campus involvements was with the Bonner Leader Program, in which Dakota completed 1,200 hours of community service at a nonprofit site, Darkness to Light, whose mission is to end child sexual abuse. Dakota had a whopping 13 internships throughout her time at Charleston, including PR internships at Birchbox and New York Fashion Week. Some of Dakota’s recent awards include Greek Woman of The Year, Outstanding Senior in Communication, and Ted Stern Cup recipient. The cup is one of the three highest honors awarded at CofC. Dakota recently began a job as an account executive with a boutique beauty public relations firm in New York City. Dakota considers her St. Francis experience invaluable in giving her the
Chris Cappiello ’11
Amelia Lea (Brown) Walton ’05
Meredith Stevens ’10
abilities to to think critically, feel confident, and act independently, and for what is most important to her career – the ability to write! Napo Matsoso ’13 is an All-American star of the University of Kentucky men’s soccer team and is considered one of the best players in the country. Napo is a midfielder and has been the recipient of many awards; he is also a “MAC Hermann Watch List Member”, the soccer equivalent of the Heisman Trophy. Napo speaks highly of his time at St. Francis, appreciating how open the teachers were for him to approach any time, one-on-one, which he said helped him a lot as he is not a very talkative person. Napo says that he is in very large classes at UK, and that he is thankful that St. Francis gave him the confidence to go to a professor’s office with questions at any time. Napo is “having a blast” with soccer at UK and gives
Napo Matsoso ’13
Devin Emke G’84 ‘88
Ralph Marshall, varsity soccer coach (and history teacher/Dean of Faculty) a huge shout out for all of his help throughout his time at St. Francis. Go, Napo! Congratulations to alumnus Devin Emke G’84 ‘88 on winning an Emmy for ‘Outstanding Sound Mixing For A Variety Series’ for the “SNL” 40th Anniversary Special!
Dakota Kate Isaacs ’11
Alum Children at SFS We welcome these new students who are children of St. Francis alums!
Adam Harshaw (1st), Sophie Harshaw (4s) - Paul Harshaw ’86
Thomas Lewis (1st) - Judith Rudd Lewis G ‘89, ’93
Finn Hilton (11th), Weebelle Hilton (9th), Pepper Hilton (7th) - Robin Roggenkamp G’81, ’85
Jack Masticola (3rd) - Libby (Brown) Masticola G’85 Joseph Wood (K) - Gammon Wood G’94
Robert B Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment
Briefly describe your career after leaving St. Francis I graduated from Harvard in 1990 with a major in history, and in soccer. Mostly soccer! I spent the next two years working for a small conservation group, then returned to school and completed two master’s degrees, in forestry and resource economics, from Duke University. Growing up on a farm in Oldham County, land issues, conservation issues, and forestry issues have always been of interest to me. While I was at Duke I joined the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF). After I started at EDF, I doubled my course load at Duke and finished in 2 years; in January of 1995 I joined EDF full time. For the next 14 years I worked on endangered species projects, climate change projects, and interaction between forestry and climate. My final position with the EDF was as Vice President for Land Conservation, where I worked to develop incentives to reward farmers, ranchers and forest owners for stewardship activities on private lands. In April of 2009, I was appointed by President Obama to the Department of Agriculture as Senior Advisor to the Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack. I focused on environment and climate change until the summer of 2013 when I moved to my current position as Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment.
St. Francis was a wholly positive experience. Academically, I was good in math and science, not great in English and reading; I was nurtured and allowed to go at my own pace. St. Francis played to my strengths and helped strengthen my weaknesses.
Looking back at your time at St. Francis, what stands out? St. Francis was a wholly positive experience. Academically, I was good in math and science, not great in English and reading; I was nurtured and allowed to go at my own pace. St. Francis played to my strengths and helped strengthen my weaknesses. It was a school that concentrated on the individual. My relationships with classmates and teachers stand out; looking back I see that not everyone gets that in their school. Do you recall a specific teacher or friend who influenced you in some way? Mr. Stuecker was really important, as an advisor as much as anything. He was a brilliant teacher, of course, but the personal relationship we had was as important. Launching into adolescence isn’t always easy; his guidance was so helpful to me. Mr. Gupton, too - he was strict but wanted what was best for each of us. Every day he would spend his lunch refereeing soccer for the Middle School students. How was your experience at St. Francis a factor in determining your career path? Self-confidence is important - a lot of that you’ll get from home, but a lot of it comes from your school. St. Francis builds you up, encourages you, but does not overwhelm you. The emphasis at St. Francis is on letting kids find the thing they’re good at; it’s not a conveyor belt, but rather lets children find their own way. St. Francis did that for me.
Bonnie G’80 What are the highlights of your career thus far? My goal has always been to do the most I can do to positively affect land conservation and environmental protection. People often think about controversy when they think about the EDF, controversy between landowners and environmental protection, but at EDF I tried to create a new way of doing business and to align the interest of landowners and the environment. Working to balance conservation with appropriate resource use has continued as I’ve come to USDA with the addition of now working with public lands. Within the USDA, the Forest Service has 193 million acres to protect and conserve, and the National Resource Conservation Service has billions of conservation dollars to spend to conserve wildlife, keep water clean, protect watersheds, and conserve land. Working in the USDA to protect and conserve these huge resources makes a lot of sense to me; it’s very collaborative work. What are you currently working on? Within those public lands, a big part of my job is dealing with wildfires out West. My job is primarily oversight, policy, and budget planning. When there is a wildfire anywhere, the federal government partners with local and state firefighters. We are constantly moving resources across the U.S. to manage those fires. The USDA has dozens of helicopters, 10,000 firefighters, large air tankers full of fire suppressants, and hundreds of engines all of which we have to move very, very quickly. My job is to try to restore healthy forests so they are less susceptible to fire.
How do you define success? I measure my success in the benefits to the environment and the benefit to land conservation. Most of the time I measure that in acres conserved, wildfires suppressed, watersheds protected, but what can’t be lost is that the only way to make that happen is to work with lots of people. The human dimension is what ties it all together. What’s next for you? Well, I get fired in 14 months. I’m a political appointee so that’s automatic. So I have a different perspective on the question. I feel like I am the jockey in the final turn of a race, whipping, and leaning, and riding hard just trying to get past the finish. I want to get as much done as I can in these last few months; I want to create as much positive change as I can in the time I have left.
St. Francis builds you up, encourages you, but does not overwhelm you. The emphasis at St. Francis is on letting kids find the thing they’re good at; it’s not a conveyor belt, but rather lets children find their own way.
Note to Alumni Parents: If you are receiving mail that is addressed to your son or daughter who no longer resides at home, please notify Callie Gray in the Alumni Office, CGray@StFrancisSchool.org, of his/her contact information, including mailing address, email address, and/or cell phone, so we can keep him/her in the loop on Wyvern happenings.
new ground Reed Gabhart, SFS Drama Program Director, said, “I am extremely excited about the changes in the High School drama program and know they will mesh well with what we’ve done in Goshen for so many years. Kids absolutely love to be challenged with first-rate plays and musicals and having this opportunity on both campuses will only make the program stronger. And the ‘icing on the cake’ is the new every-otheryear summer alumni show featuring alums from both campuses!” This year we are breaking new ground in Drama at the High School. For the first time in the High School’s history, we will be performing a musical - and not just any musical, but Avenue Q (school edition). Avenue Q, a contemporary American musical in two acts, is a coming-of-age parable addressing and satirizing the question of “what now?” that is forever associated with entering adulthood. Its characters are bright-eyed young adults who move to Avenue Q, expecting a special and successful future, having been assured by their parents, and by children’s television programs such as PBS’s Sesame Street, that their futures are shiny, bright, and unlimited. Arriving at Avenue Q, they come face to face with the real world and try to find their purpose. Oh, and did we mention there are puppets? The cast includes large puppets, animated by unconcealed puppeteers, alongside human actors. This show is not to be missed! Performances are March 4th and 5th. St. Francis has so many talented students, and so it is easy for the school to make a strong commitment across both campuses to drama and musical theater. Both campuses have a long history of performing arts. SFS Head of Goshen Campus, Reed Gabhart, who began directing shows in Goshen
“Avenue Q is an intelligent script. The questions it asks are the questions high schoolers have,” said Bob Bertke, Musical Director. “Doing a musical at the High School also allows talented middle schoolers to transition smoothly into the High School and continue in drama and music. This is an excellent launching point for the long-term future of the program.” “This is very exciting for St. Francis! Students love musicals, and Avenue Q is a perfect fit for us,” said Director Rachael Dobring. “It’s funny, and a little dark. Well, maybe a lot dark.”
in 1991 and took the reins as SFS Goshen Drama Project Director from legendary program founder Ed Gupton in 2004, spearheaded this recent expansion of the program along with Rachael Dobring, who is the Director of the Drama Program at the High School (as well as LA/SS teacher on the Goshen Campus). Program changes like this require balance and coordination between our two campuses. The Goshen Campus and the Downtown Campus will perform musicals in alternating years. Each year the High School will continue to perform its Showcase of Student-Written and -Directed Plays, in partnership with Jane Jones, Director of Education at Actors Theatre, who is teaching our Playwriting classes. (The curtain rises on this year’s iteration on December 4th and 5th.) The High School will also produce an additional
show in the spring in alternating years with the musical, be it a contemporary drama or comedy or perhaps even a venture into other types of productions, such as Shakespearean plays. Our Goshen Campus will continue its tradition of a fall and a spring Middle School show, incorporating musicals, Shakespeare, and other dramas and comedies, as well as a winter production for 4th and 5th graders. This fall, our Middle School performed a very successful run of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, a challenging work that the students handled with aplomb. Our spring show on the Goshen Campus will give our kids the chance to experience the world of Greek comedy via Aristophanes’ The Birds.
youth arts awards This summer the St. Francis Drama Program did it again! When the results of the 10th Annual National Youth Arts Awards were made public, St. Francis School earned eight awards and 15 additional nominations for the 2014-15 season. This is our biggest “haul” ever, and we couldn’t be more proud. Since joining National Youth Arts, St. Francis has earned awards and nominations for four consecutive years. However, this is our first time to win a Best Ensemble Award - for our summer alumni production of Almost, Maine last year.
Reed Gabhart, Director of the SFS Drama Project, said, “It was thrilling to go to New York City along with Natalie McClain (G’14, ’18), Clay Smedley (G’15, ’19) and a SFS entourage of 11 to accept these awards. We felt honored to be amidst some of the performing arts school powerhouses there representing ‘our little school.’” Congratulations to all the students and adults who contributed to these four excellent productions at both the Middle School and High School levels:
AWARDS: Supporting Actress in a Play: Hannah Jones as Gayle/Rhonda in Almost, Maine Supporting Actor (Junior Division): Clay Smedley as Dr. Zubritsky in Fools Supporting Actress (Junior Division): Chloe Church as Lenya Zubritsky in Fools Supporting Actress (Junior Division): Amelia Dimas as Sophia Zubritsky in Fools Featured Actor in a Play: Gray Thurstone ’14 as Dave in Almost, Maine Featured Actress in a Play: Natalie McClain as Hope in Almost, Maine Ensemble: Almost, Maine Direction: Reed Gabhart for Almost, Maine
NOMINATIONS: Lead Actor (Junior Division): Sean Sullivan as Leon Tolchinsky in Fools Supporting Actress in a Play: Jillian Morrison as Mrs. Gottleib in Dead Man’s Cell Phone Supporting Actor (Junior Division): Lorenzo Mahoney as Fagin in Oliver! Supporting Actor (Junior Division): Reid Varda as Bill Sykes in Oliver! Supporting Actor (Junior Division): Alan Ziegler as Count Yousekevitch in Fools Supporting Actress (Junior Division): Amelia Dimas as Nancy in Oliver! Featured Actress in a Play: Annie Stone as Rhonda in Almost, Maine Featured Actress in a Play: Paige Didier as Marcie in Almost, Maine Featured Actress in a Play: Zoe Koss as Sandrine in Almost, Maine Featured Actress in a Play: Zoe Koss as The Other Woman in Dead Man’s Cell Phone Featured Actress (Junior Division): Lucy Biberman as Mrs. Sowerberry in Oliver! Featured Actress (Junior Division): Scout Grass as Widow Corney in Oliver! Featured Actress (Junior Division): Arabella Maki as Widow Corney in Oliver! Ensemble (Junior Division): Fools Direction: Reed Gabhart for Fools
spotlight Karen & Don Williams, Grandparents of Owen (7th grade) and Cheney (4th grade) Carey. How long have you been volunteering in the lunchroom? Don: I started first because I retired six years ago. Karen: I joined him three years ago; I was busy working and thinking ‘he’s having all the fun being retired.’ So I retired too! What do you like about it? Don: We look forward to lunch duty. The children get so they know you. At the start of every year they come up to me and say ‘I want the same sandwich as last year.’ And you know what? I remember just how they like their sandwich. Karen: All the kids are great, they are very well-behaved and polite. It’s interesting, there are very few arguments - it sure is different than my lunchroom growing up! It is a great reflection on the School and the parents.
Yeah, more grandparents should volunteer. But not at the sandwich bar on Thursdays. That’s mine! I love working the sandwich bar.
Don: At the start of this year I was sick and I missed starting out the year, and when I came back the children asked me ‘where have you been?’ and some of them even gave me a hug. I really missed the interaction with the children. Any advice for other grandparents? Karen: Grandparents are missing out if they aren’t here. We are there every single Thursday. We love it. Don: Yeah, more grandparents should volunteer. But not at the sandwich bar on Thursdays. That’s mine! I love working the sandwich bar. *Editor’s note: Please contact the Parent Association for lunchroom, library, front desk and other Grandparent volunteer opportunities: Andi McLeroy for Goshen Campus volunteering, GoshenPA@StFrancisSchool.org and Andrea Melendez for Downtown Campus volunteering, DowntownPA@StFrancisSchool.org.
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50 years of Progressive education 1965 to 2015 - St. Francis School.
IN THIS ISSUE In The Beginning Gifts Large and Small Alumni Profile: Robert Bonnie Gâ€™80 Breaking New Ground