IN THIS ISSUE Gifted Students Capital Update Alum Profile: Akhtar Nawab G’86, ’90 Black Students Association
By Alexandra S. Thurstone G’80, ’84
The fact that we support the overall child and work hard to provide social and emotional support for our kids, along with the individualized teaching methods of the Progressive philosophy itself, means that we are uniquely suited to serve gifted children. Wyvern Report
Throughout the history of St. Francis School, we have served many gifted children and we continue to do so today. In many ways, St. Francis is the ideal environment for a gifted student. Given the individualized nature of the Progressive education philosophy we employ, along with our small classes, low student:teacher ratio, and outstanding teachers who are motivated by finding the key to each student’s success, we are able to meet gifted students’ needs by differentiating for them in all of our classrooms, and we accelerate students when appropriate. I recently attended the Independent Schools Association of the Central States (ISACS) conference in Columbus, OH, which is always one of my favorite conferences, and I was able to attend a workshop with Lisa Van Gemert, a.k.a. “The Gifted Guru” (giftedguru.com), entitled “Testing, Testing, 1, 2, 3: Who Are They and How Do We Know?” about identifying gifted students. I found this presentation to be very informative and wanted to share some of what I learned there with you. Definitions of giftedness have ranged greatly over time and continue to vary. For example, two well-known scientists in the field are Lewis Terman, who created the Stanford-Binet test in 1916 and who believed that only the 99th percentile were gifted, and Joseph Renzulli, who currently serves as Director of the National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented at the University of Connecticut, who believes the top 20% are gifted. The most broad definition of giftedness is from the National Association of Gifted Children (NAGC.org), which says that “Gifted individuals are those who demonstrate outstanding levels of aptitude (defined as an exceptional ability to reason and learn) or competence (documented performance or achievement in top 10% or rarer) in one or more domains. Domains include any structured area of activity with its own symbol system (e.g., mathematics, music, language) and/or set of sensorimotor skills (e.g., painting, dance, sports).”
The IQ test is generally considered the means to identify giftedness (and the most common one used today is the Weschler Intelligence Scale for Children, currently in its fifth edition (WISC-V)). An IQ score is the ratio of one’s mental age vs. one’s chronological age divided by 100, which means that 100 is an average IQ score. Giftedness is determined by how far one is from the average. 2/3 of the population falls between 85 and 115, with 5% above 125 and 1% above 155. In terms of IQ scores, to be called gifted, high scores should be consistent among multiple sub-tests. IQ testing has gone in and out of favor in educational and psychological circles over the last century. In the darkest part of the history of its use, these tests were used to justify eugenics and the classification of races and people. One of the St. Francis faculty summer reading options a few years ago was Stephen J. Gould’s book The Mismeasure of Man, which is an excellent resource on the overall history, as well as the dark side, of IQ testing. Those who understand IQ tests best today know that there are many limitations on their use. These limitations include the following: 1. IQ tests are now understood to be biased culturally, which means that those from lower income levels/ impoverished communities and different countries, and those whose first language is not English, will underperform on the tests 2. A single person’s IQ score can vary pretty widely even by day or time, even if s/he took the test two days in a row 3. There are several different IQ tests, and scores for a single person can vary depending on the test s/he took 4. A single person’s score can vary if tests are administered by different people, due to how well the tester relates to the person and due to variation in testing methodology 5. IQ scores are particularly unreliable if the scores in the various sub-tests vary widely 6. IQ scores are also generally unstable over time, and this is even truer when the first score is before age five; teenage scores are also known to be less reliable than scores in elementary school; scores tend to drop over time; and the higher the score, the less stable it is over time, e.g., a score of 150 at age five is extremely unlikely to be that high at age 15 7. Because an IQ score measures how mental and chronological age coincide, IQ scores after one is a teenager (over the age of 17) are less reliable
While we do not require or use IQ testing to a large degree at St. Francis today (although they were used here in the ‘70s, because I remember founding Head of School Frank Cayce administering one to me when I first came to St. Francis), they are usually part of any comprehensive psychoeducational examination and, when presented with one, we use them as a piece of information to help serve a child. Therefore, there were a number of helpful takeaways from the presentation. First, Van Gemert advises that ages 8-12 are the best ages to get the most accurate score, and she believes that if administered younger, an IQ score should not be used to create an identity for a student, but can be used to indicate whether special services might be needed in school at that particular time. She does believe that children (over age eight) should be informed that they are gifted, not because the label itself is important, but because it is a critical piece of information that will help them understand themselves and because this information can help teachers serve them best in school. In addition, she believes that the most important thing that an IQ score can tell you is how a child performed at that point in time only, and that, in essence, it should be viewed as a momentary snapshot of his/her performance. Similarly, IQ scores should be evaluated as a piece of information about a child that tells part of a story about how s/he can perform, but that it is not the one and only thing that matters. Van Gemert’s thinking is entirely consistent with how we interpret and utilize these scores today at St. Francis. In our quest to serve each student individually, an IQ score can provide valuable information that helps us ensure that each child achieves her/his potential. However, again, we see IQ scores relatively infrequently and, even when we do have them, our view on a child is never solely academic, as all children come with a variety of gifts, including social, emotional, athletic, artistic, etc., that make up who they are. In addition, at St. Francis, we realize that giftedness is also about more than academic ability; it often spills over into one’s social and emotional make-up. The fact that we support the overall child and work hard to provide social and emotional support for our kids, along with the individualized teaching methods of the Progressive philosophy itself, means that we are uniquely suited to serve gifted children. For gifted children, as for all our students, our goal is to help them fully express all their gifts, and ultimately fully realize them, so that they can each become the person they were meant to be.
By Síofra Rucker G’84, Director of Advancement
The Commons Room is constantly filled with students relaxing, studying, and hanging out. The pool and ping-pong tables are in use almost all day. The student kitchen, with its bank of ten microwaves, is a hub of activity at lunch. The Wyvern Store has sold out and had to restock its inventory of teenapproved lunches, snacks, and breakfast items. Wyvern Report
This fall we proudly opened our $2.75 million High School expansion, the third phase of our Capital Campaign. As adults planning a major project for teenagers (not the easiest audience), we questioned ourselves at times. Was it cool enough? Would they use it the way we hoped they would? Would they love it? They do indeed love it. The Commons Room is constantly filled with students relaxing, studying, and hanging out. The pool and ping-pong tables are in use almost all day. The student kitchen, with its bank of ten microwaves, is a hub of activity at lunch. The Wyvern Store has sold out and had to restock its inventory of teen-approved lunches, snacks, and breakfast items. The beautiful Space for Thought comfortably fits all of us for our daily Morning Meetings with enrollment growth of 26% in the last four years, we need it. “The Workshop” is abuzz with woodworking projects and 3D printing. To say that it has been a hit with our students would be an understatement; it is all we hoped for and more. It has also been a hit with our administration, student services personnel, College Counseling office/resource room, and The Learning Center staff - all of whom have welcoming and spacious offices and meeting space. Being able to proclaim our presence on Broadway through our new
Our next phase the Goshen Theater and Main Entrance.
entrance and signage not only has had a major impact on the Schoolâ€™s visibility in downtown Louisville, but has also reinvigorated the historic main entrance of the building, which had been largely vacant for over a decade. We look forward to our next major building project in the Capital Campaign - the Goshen Theater and Main Entrance. The High School Gym is the final building project of this Campaign. Throughout the Campaign, we are also raising funds to double our endowment, which currently stands at $2.1 million. The endowment serves as long-term savings and security for the school; it supports each one of our current students, as well as students for generations to come. In closing, we want to thank the donors who have made our progress thus far possible. Our Campaign Co-Chairs, Dace Stubbs, Nina Bonnie, and Ginny Frazier, have led this successful fundraising effort and have been its loyal champions. We are also grateful for all our partners. Our developer partner, Holly Wiedemann of AU Associates, has been a true collaborator with St. Francis for many years. It was with a phone call from her one day that this Downtown Campus expansion project began! Our architect is Lake|Flato of San
The final building project the High School Gym.
Antonio, TX, the AIA Firm of the Year in 2005, who also completed the Master Plan for the School. Local architectural services were provided by Design+, Inc., with construction by Buffalo Construction, Inc., and financing provided by Commonwealth Bank & Trust Company. This project could not have happened without each of these partners. Donors large and small pulled together to fund this project. Without your belief in our School and our Mission, we could not have completed these first three phases of our Campaign. Your help and your support matter a great deal to the students and faculty here. It is because of you that we have done this much. And I know that, together, we can complete this ambitious Campaign.
By Kim Hales, Director of Development
On Saturday, October 15th, we hosted the “Our Good Earth” fundraiser once again at our Goshen Campus. It was an incredible fall evening with beautiful weather and a picture perfect full harvest moon. Honorary Chairs Kim Diamond and Denise Ragland and Vice-Chairs Mae Melhuish and Amanda Schriber, as well as a committee of volunteers, worked tirelessly to create a magical evening. Over 340 guests were treated to a fantastic meal under a canopy tent in the fields of our Goshen Campus. Dinner was catered by alumna Susan Hershberg ’81 of Wiltshire Pantry and included food from local farms. In addition to dinner, this annual event features a live and silent auction and live music. Highlights of this year’s auction were not one, but two, bottles of Pappy Van Winkle, raffle tickets for a package to New York to see Hamilton, tickets to Saturday Night Live donated by alum Devin Emke G’84,’88, a #SAVEURSuppers experience donated by Adam Sachs ’88, and other one-of-a-kind experiences. This year’s event was truly a magical evening and raised a record-setting amount of over $80,000 to support St. Francis School! Thank you! Thank you to our sponsors: Presenting Sponsors Brown-Forman Buffalo Construction, Inc. Platinum Sponsors Dace and King Stubbs Gold Sponsors Commonwealth Bank & Trust Lancaster Built Homes Signet Millwork Steptoe & Johnson PLLC
save the date
Silver Sponsors Arrow Electric Co. Design +, Inc. Hussung Mechanical Contractors
Lake|Flato Architects Langsford Learning Acceleration Centers Mperfect Design MPI Printing Wyvern Sponsors Carpet Specialists Chambers Painting Company LLC Kelley Fire Protection Red & Blue Sponsors Altman Insurance River City Interiors Rosa Mosaic & Tile Company Wheeler Hardware Company
Art Auction+Scholarship Fundraiser on February 25th, 2017 at the Tim Faulkner Gallery. Chair Julie Kay invites you to join us for an evening surrounded by art, emerging and established artists, live music, and a delicious dinner.
CAPITAL & ANNUAL FUND What’s the difference?
CAPITAL CAMPAIGN is long-term & transformative
3.2MM GOSHEN GYM COMPLETE $
GOAL $4MM RAISED $485K $
550K HIGH SCHOOL PARKING LOT - COMPLETE
ANNUAL FUND meets day-to-day needs
E COM R IN E H R OT NSFE RA T T G EN ISIN M RA D UN
Goal - $355,000
N REVENUE – ITIO P RO TU VI
RACURRICULA EXT RA C
S TIE VI TI
EN DO W OTH ER F
2.75MM HIGH SCHOOL EXPANSION COMPLETE $
T MEN W O ND
| SECURITY UNT O C AC S G
DOUBLE O U RE
GOSHEN THEATER & MAIN ENTRANCE $2MM
|S AV IN
HIGH SCHOOL GYM - $5MM
EVERY YEAR All 498 students benefit from the Annual Fund 51% of students receive financial aid
Average gift: $329 Total gifts: 725 416 gifts under $100 85% of current parents give 100% of faculty and staff give 100% of Board gives Supports faculty salaries & allows for an 8:1 Student: Faculty ratio
COST OF RUN
Akhtar in his senior year at St. Francis in 1990
Akhtar Nawab G’86, ’90 is a chef and business owner in New York City and Washington D.C. He is currently the chef/owner of the fast-casual concept, Choza Taqueria and Indie Fresh - a health food delivery service - both in NYC. As well, he is the Chef Advisor at Table in Washington D.C. Akhtar’s newest venture “Alta Calidad” is a modern take on Mexican food and is slated to open in NYC this winter 2017. Akhtar studied at the California Culinary Academy and trained under chefs Loretta Keller, Roland Passot and Tom Colicchio. He has received many accolades in the restaurant industry, including the 2007 StarChefs.com NYC Rising Star Chef award and recognition as a top ten emerging culinary star by Mario Batali. He has appeared on numerous television shows, such as Iron Chef and as a judge in Worst Cooks in America. Briefly describe your path after leaving St. Francis. I went away to Bradley University for a year, then returned to Louisville to begin pursuing my interest in the culinary arts. I took courses at U of L for a year and got a job at a local family restaurant where I worked for four years. I then moved to San Francisco to attend the California Culinary Academy. After that, I moved to New York, had a daughter, and have been there ever since.
“It’s taken a lot of work, but I feel like I’ve been very fortunate. I employ a lot of people - 50-60. As a business owner, that’s probably one of the most important things in my career. All of the businesses that I have are much bigger than me. I’m fortunate that I get to be creative and that I’m recognized for the work that I do.” – Akhtar Nawab Wyvern Report
Looking back at your time at St. Francis, what stands out? For me, it was a little more freedom of expression. St. Francis was liberal enough that I didn’t feel pressured to pursue a traditional career. It was a precursor to my open-mindedness about my own career. Do you recall a specific teacher or friend that influenced you in some way? I remember Mr. Foshee. I had a brother who was a very good student. I had to work very hard for the grades that I got. Mr. Foshee understood that about me and was very helpful. How was your experience at St. Francis a factor in determining your career path? More than anything, photography was a big piece of my time there. Those kinds of creative things gave me the freedom to explore what I wanted to do. It sent me in another direction. It made me feel that it wasn’t wrong to pursue those things. Many of my contemporaries didn’t have that. What are the highlights of your career thus far? It’s taken a lot of work, but I feel like I’ve been very fortunate. I employ a lot of people - 50-60. As a business owner, that’s probably one of the most important things in my career. All of the businesses that I have are much bigger than me. I’m fortunate that I get to be creative and that I’m recognized for the work that I do. At any given time, I can put away my computer and phone and focus on cooking. I got into cooking because it’s a passionate occupation that engages all of my senses. That’s very valuable to me.
r Nawab G’86, ’90 How do you define success? I’m growing my business. I have four taquerias in New York called Choza Taqueria. In 2015, I took over as executive chef at Table DC in Washington, D.C. I also started a health food company, Indie Fresh. We deliver healthy gluten/ dairy-free food options in New York and have recently started shipping nationwide.
What’s next for you? We have signed leases to open new restaurants in Alabama, Brooklyn, and Washington, D.C.
2016 Wyvern Alumni Reunion: classes of 1986, 1996, and 2006 Class of 1996
Class of 2006
John Changaris ‘96 and Joanna Lane Javed
We had a great turnout of alumni for the Wyvern Reunion Dinner this year! The event took place on Saturday, September 17th at the High School and was catered by the Mayan Cafe. After a wonderful meal, attendees were able to tour the old and soon-to-be-completed new spaces for a walk down memory lane, as well as a glimpse into the future of the school. Alum attendees included:
Class of ’86: Bill Carrell, Heather Luby Class of ’96: Ashley Bennett, John Changaris, John Harter, Carolyn Jevne, Michael McCall, Charley Miller, Corey Pickering, Adam Snyder, Elizabeth Zimmerman Class of ’06: Laura Binford, Vincent Brodbeck, Jonathan Corwin, Brad Green, Orlando Grimany-Salas, John Reel, Hallie Shpack, Deron Simmons, Shepard Vail
alum children at SFS We welcome these new students to SFS who are children of St. Francis alums! Logan Carter (K) - Kelli G’91, ’95 and Jim ’95 Carter
Ben Cornett (9th) Dr. Denver Cornett G’73
Max Cohen (8th) and Lucy Cohen (5th) - Jason Cohen G’86, ’90
Avery Flynn (5th) and Beckett Flynn (2nd) Jessica Flynn ’89
Carolyn Gilles Hannan ’99 and husband Schot
If you are not receiving emails from the school, update your contact information by emailing Alissa Shoemaker, Alumni Coordinator, at AShoemaker@StFrancisSchool.org.
Maggie McCoy Pogue ’81 and husband Dean
Collin Smith G’96, ’00
Austin Llewellyn G’00, ’04 and parents Kit and Tyler Llewellyn
Maggie McCoy Pogue ’81 is the owner and operator of the Horseshoe Cross Ranch in Florida, where she raises beef cattle, dairy goats, and border collies. She is married to Dean Pogue and has two sons, ages 18 and 16. Note from an alumna - Vicky Spencer Rouse ’83 I am thrilled to be touching base again with the school that helped me find a voice. I am currently the owner and special needs travel expert at Special Needs Vacation By V. I am still in the Louisville area, and would love to connect with those close and far. This summer Margi Fine Gad ‘83 and I reconnected in NYC. I have also become a recent author. My book, The Special Needs Family Vacation Guide, is available on Amazon for $10. In order to honor my mom, who had Parkinson’s disease for over 30 years, I am coordinating a Parkinson’s Creativity Cruise out of NYC in May. Hope to be hearing from my fellow Wyverns. Dr. Sander Florman ’85, director of the Racanati/Miller Transplant Institute at Mount Sinai in New York, was recently interviewed on the new field of HIV-positive organ transplants. Listen to this fascinating story at: http://www.wbur.org/hereandnow/2016/09/21/hiv-positive-organ-donations. Sara Holt G’90, ’94 moved to Shanghai from St. Louis this summer to join her husband, who is a lecturer in the Writing Program at NYU’s Shanghai campus. Sara is currently spending most of her time learning Chinese and trying to figure out how to navigate life in China. She had been working as an architect and hopes to eventually find work in that field in China.
Dr. Sander Florman ’85
Danny Slaton ’96
Vicky Spencer Rouse ’83
Sara Holt G’90, ’94
Danny Slaton ’96 works for Top Shelf Lobby, a government relations firm in Frankfort. He is married to Elizabeth Fitzgibbons and the couple has two children, ages 4 and 1. Carolyn Gilles Hannan ’99 won an Orange Fork Award through the Idea Festival Taste Innovation. This award is for innovation in food, community, and sustainability in the business category. Carolyn works at Rainbow Blossom, owned by fellow alumna Summer Auerbach ’00, where she is the Director of Branding and New Business Development. In her three years at Rainbow Blossom, she has created and implemented several new programs that are centered around local, organic food, health + wellness, and innovation for the company’s business model. The award recognizes this work. Carolyn is also mom to Alexander (2) and wife to Schot, who is in his final year of a medical pediatrics residency at the University of Louisville.
Laura Binford ’06
John Reel ’06
Olivia Cole ’07
Collin Smith G’96, ’00 plays Harry Jameson in Bear With Us, a film that was screened at the Flyover Film Festival in Louisville this July at the Baxter Theater. The film has won several awards on the film festival circuit. Bear With Us is a modern farce about a guy who attempts to propose to his girlfriend in the most romantic way possible, but his plan starts to fall apart when a ravenous bear stumbles upon their charming cabin in the woods. It’s a total comedy of errors that takes a close look at just how far we’ll go to preserve our relationships. For more information, visit http://www. bearwithusfilm.com. Austin Llewellyn G’00, ’04 graduated from law school at Florida International University and passed the bar in both Kentucky and Florida. He has since returned to Louisville to practice law with his father. Laura Binford ’06 is working as a data analyst at Wellcare and planning a wedding set for October 2017. She received her undergraduate degree at the University of Louisville in sociology, followed by a Master’s in Epidemiology at the University of Louisville School of Public Health and Information Sciences. John Reel ’06 is currently living in Denver while pursuing his Master’s Degree in Natural Resource Management. He enjoys living in Colorado and spending his free time hiking and biking. Hannah Wells ’06 is living in New York and working as an associate in the tax group at the law firm Schulte Roth & Zabel. She graduated from the NYU School of Law in May and is preparing for a wedding to Amar Sheth in November 2017. Anna Byers ’07 recently moved back to New York, where she just passed the New York bar exam. She is living there with her boyfriend, Drew, and their dog, Louis V (named for Louisville). She recently graduated from Harvard Law School and is serving as an Immigrant Justice Corps (IJC) fellow. IJC is a two-year fellowship dedicated to training passionate and committed immigration lawyers. Fellows are placed at organizations around the New York area to serve indigent and vulnerable populations attempting to gain legal or stable immigration status in the U.S. Anna works at the Sauti Yetu Center for African Women and Families in the Bronx.
Kevin Ryan ‘07
Simon Spengler (exchange 2013-14)
Olivia Cole ’07 won a writing contest sponsored by literary agent Regina Brooks, which resulted in a two-book North American rights deal with HarperCollins. The first book in the series, The Whitecoat’s Daughter, is set for publication in late 2018. She is currently writing the second book in the series while her agent negotiates possible film and foreign distribution rights. Olivia is also working on an unrelated young adult project and preparing for the conference circuit next year. Olivia has two other books currently available for sale on Amazon - Panther in the Hive and Rooster’s Garden. Kevin Ryan ‘07 is working as a freelance digital marketing and communications specialist. His webinar, “Exploring Social Media and e-Business” launches this month. Most recently, Kevin has been traveling around North Carolina, Washington D.C., and New York with friend and furniture designer, Keith Fritz. He was also featured in a Washington Post article discussing ways to effectively organize a tiny closet, which stemmed from his work with the professional organization company, Rachel and Company. Read the article here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/express/ wp/2016/06/24/dealing-with-a-tiny-closet-these-tips-canhelp-you-store-all-your-stuff/. Kathryn Klingle ’13, currently a senior at Harvard College, created a short documentary film, Pata, that was selected as an official entry in the Boston Asian American Film Festival. The film tells the story of Pata Suyemoto, a woman who has turned the pain of loss and depression into ways to help her community. Check out Kathryn’s film at https://vimeo. com/149233462. Simon Spengler (exchange student in 2013-14) is getting ready for a year of voluntary service in Ghana. He will be in a school, helping with after-school activities and subjects like sports, arts, and music.
Allison Tyler ’03
Saskia Warren ’06
Brittany Diamond ’06
Allison Tyler ’03 married Bryan Rice in October in Tampa. Several Wyverns fought through Hurricane Matthew to attend, including Nora Crutcher Drake G’99, ’03, and of course Allison’s sister Sarah Tyler ’07. Allison described the event: “The day was perfect, a small wedding of about 50 people. We started with a cocktail hour where my husband and I mingled with our guests. We then got married by my husband’s best friend. My stepson walked me down the aisle. We had a very quick, but very emotional ceremony. The night ended with homemade cookies from my mom, Lisa Tyler, and some Pappy Van Winkle, our favorite bourbon.”
Michael Risley ’08
Mais Alwan ’12
Brittany Diamond ’06 married Ben Thompson in October. Brittany is working as a product development and sales coordinator for Hollander sleep products.
G’04, ’08, Tommy Skaggs G’04, ’08, Eugene Tyulmenkov ’08, Alex Joy G’04, ’08, Lev Rooks-Rapport ’08, James Risley G’13 ’17, Chris Joy ’06, and Kyle Snyder G’05, ’09.
Saskia Warren ’06 married Dan Leeds in October. The book-themed wedding took place in Thurmont, MD. Guests were asked to attend in costume as characters or authors. Saskia and Dan dressed up as Westley and Buttercup from The Princess Bride.
Mais Alwan ’12 married Shahrear Shaker (brother of Shams Shaker ’17) in August. Following the wedding, Mais and Shahrear spent their honeymoon in Egypt and Dubai. Since leaving St. Francis, Mais attended Hanover College, graduating in May with a degree in biochemistry. She is now preparing to apply to medical school.
Michael Risley ’08 married Hannah Musser in October. The wedding was well-attended by Wyverns old and new, including Zach Ritter ’08, Isaac Hodes
Alex Gans ’96 and his wife Gina welcomed baby Cora Britton Gans on October 7th, 2016. Rosanna Gabriele ’97 and her husband Ryan Burke welcomed baby Violet Clara on July 29th, 2016. They have three other children, Miles, Felix, and Evelyn, and are living in Anchorage, KY.
Cora Britton Gans
Ester Marie Gagne-Hawes Maple
Justin Maple ’98 and his wife Anna Gagne-Hawes Maple welcomed baby Ester Marie Gagne-Hawes Maple on September 6th, 2016. Amelia (Brown) Walton G’01, ’05 gave birth to baby Madelyn Royce Walton on July 28th, 2016. The family of five lives in Savannah, GA. Amelia and her husband Dave celebrated their five-year anniversary in October. Dave just came home from his seventh tour of duty in Afghanistan. He has been an Army Ranger for over eight years. Amelia is running a dog boarding service called Pet Paradise.
Madelyn Royce Walton
By Reed Gabhart, Head of Goshen Campus
This August, I had the honor of attending the National Youth Arts Awards in New York City. Remarkably, this was our fifth year in a row of both receiving nominations and having winners for these theatrical awards. Grace Malone (G’16, ’20) and Hayden Jones (G’16) went to receive their acting awards and also accepted awards on behalf of Lorenzo Mahoney (G’16) and Teagan Morrison (G’17). Zoë Koss (G’12, ’16), who also was unable to attend, won an acting award for our High School’s first musical, Avenue Q, which received a nomination for Best Ensemble. But I was most proud of our award for Outstanding Production in the Junior High Division for last fall’s production of The Importance of Being Earnest. Grace and Hayden accompanied me onstage to accept that honor, and I know we all felt quite proud. The awards ceremony itself is quite an experience. We are up against productions in the Eastern Region of the country with two awards ceremonies in New York City, a matinee and evening show. High school students perform during the ceremony and the talent level is astounding. That makes it even more gratifying that a school our size is recognized for the work we’re doing. After my acceptance speech, the director that followed commented on the fact that he teaches The Importance of Being Earnest to his High School AP students, and how impressed he was that we performed it, uncut, in Middle School. I am so proud of the work we’re doing at both the Middle and High School level and applaud ALL the students listed below for their nominations and achievements. And now? We start the process all over - and it really is about the process and all the lessons learned during that is more important than any awards. But they’re certainly nice when they happen!
Awards: Outstanding Production (Junior Division): The Importance of Being Earnest Lead Actress in a Musical (High School): Zoë Koss as Kate Monster in Avenue Q Lead Actor (Junior Division): Hayden Jones as John “Jack” Worthing in The Importance of Being Earnest Lead Actor (Junior Division): Lorenzo Mahoney as Algernon Moncrieff in The Importance of Being Earnest Lead Actress (Junior Division): Grace Malone as Gwendolyn Fairfax in The Importance of Being Earnest Lead Actress (Junior Division): Teagan Morrison as Gwendolyn Fairfax in The Importance of Being Earnest Nominations: Lead Actor in a Musical: Thomas Simpson as Princeton in Avenue Q Lead Actor (Junior Division): Lorenzo Mahoney as Pithetaerus in The Birds Lead Actress (Junior Division): Emma King as Cecily Cardew in The Importance of Being Earnest Supporting Actor in a Musical: Charley Drew-Wolak as Rod in Avenue Q Supporting Actor in a Musical: Jack Tierney as Nicky in Avenue Q Supporting Actor (Junior Division): Jonathan Erwin as Euelpides in The Birds Supporting Actor (Junior Division): Hayden Jones as Euelpides in The Birds Supporting Actress (Junior Division): Amelia Dimas as Lady Bracknell in The Importance of Being Earnest Supporting Actress (Junior Division): Colleen Torrans as Lady Bracknell in The Importance of Being Earnest Featured Actress in a Musical: Evvie Cooley as Girl Bear in Avenue Q Ensemble Cast: Avenue Q Costume Design: Beth Dunn and Tricia Erwin for The Birds Direction: Reed Gabhart for The Importance of Being Earnest
By Síofra Rucker G’84, Director of Advancement
Interview with Al of the Black Stud At St. Francis, our core values are Individuality, Inclusivity, Community, Thought, Openness, Expression, and Curiosity. As a Progressive school, student voice is actively encouraged and heard. Part of that encouragement of student voice is supporting student groups and clubs when they arise, groups like our Black Students Association. The Black Students Association (BSA) promotes the advocacy and empowerment of people of color. The BSA is dedicated to engaging in cultural education, addressing the perspectives of marginalized populations, and instilling pride in being part of those populations. It provides an atmosphere in which all St. Francis students, faculty, and staff are invited to express ideas and engage in critical dialogue to effectively address issues impacting marginalized communities. Founded in 2013 with over 20 members, the BSA’s president is Alexis Nelson ’18 and the faculty advisor is Dr. Brett Paice. I was able to sit down with Alexis to find out more about the BSA, her role in it, and how it has impacted her St. Francis experience. As president of the BSA, what is your role? My role is not to be a person of authority, but to be a friend to the people in the BSA, teach them what I know, and help them be free to speak their minds. The BSA is open to everyone; we have Hispanic, white, and black kids. The white kids tell us about what their stereotypes are, what was taught to them by their parents, and how they were raised. We just talk about it, no shame.
The Black Students Association (BSA) promotes the advocacy and empowerment of people of color. The BSA is dedicated to engaging in cultural education, addressing the perspectives of marginalized populations, and instilling pride in being part of those populations. Wyvern Report
I’ve always liked public speaking, and now I lead the BSA. I have lesson plans and an agenda for each meeting and I have a succession plan for the vice-president role. Mr. Paice calls me “Madam President.” I like that! What are your goals for the BSA? I want to have BSA field trips, like to the Muhammed Ali Center, and I want to go into the community, and raise money. I want to do it all. I don’t want the BSA to be negative. There are positive things in the black community, not always about slavery, slavery, slavery. I want to have more programming all year long, not just in Black History Month. We’ve had speakers come, such as Langston Gaither and Devo Dennis, who have positive messages doing something with their life. We’re going to have (Photography Artist-inResidence) Andrew Dailinger’s father-in-law come speak; he worked with Bryan Stevenson (author of Just Mercy) as a lawyer fighting mass incarceration. In November, we had a screening of 13th, (a film named for the 13th amendment, which investigates the high rate of incarceration in the U.S., particularly of African-Americans). We are having Alexandra (Thurstone, Head of School) come speak in BSA on Just Mercy, because she has heard Bryan Stevenson speak. I also want the BSA to have a great visual presence, great t-shirts and posters around school, for example.
Alexis Nelson ’18, president dents Association What’s your reaction when well-meaning white people say they are color blind or don’t see race? I feel like you shouldn’t hide race from kids, you should teach them how to handle it. They are going to run into racial barriers in real life, so you may as well teach them. Those racial gaps are real, these gaps are all the things that set me back every day, hurdles I have to jump over. Some races have 13 hurdles, some have seven hurdles, some have zero hurdles. If you look, all you see is that color does matter. If you look, you can’t be color blind. What has your experience been like as a black student in a school with predominantly white students? Being in a predominantly white school, some people are scared to say things to you or even suck up to you. If you’re in a predominately black school, that’s not there; we’re all the same. The SFS curriculum is good on race, we are not afraid to talk about race, it doesn’t sugarcoat race. But I don’t think white kids are genuine all the time, because they are extra careful around the topic of race. I’m not the mouthpiece for all blackness. We all have ignorances and we have to tolerate them and work through them. Were you on a level playing field coming into SFS as 9th grader? Not even close. Some of the kids I met would say, “I’ve been taking Spanish since I was five,” and I’m thinking I only know numbers 1-10 (in Spanish). I see how wealth really
changes things. Wealthy kids come from private schools and you can see the difference in their education. The type of education you get changes everything. In public school, everyone is struggling. I have vastly increased my knowledge since coming to SFS; that wouldn’t have happened had I stayed at public school. I know a lot of my friends don’t have the chance; there are not enough opportunities yet. I used to go to school and sit in class with 35-40 kids, do a worksheet, turn it in. There was no one-on-one. Teachers at St. Francis really care about the kids. Even how the tables are set up you can’t hide in a SFS classroom. How did you choose St. Francis? One of the choir directors at St. Stephen Church made me come to take the Brown-Forman scholarship test at SFS; I took a chance and then I got it. Without the Brown-Forman scholarship, I couldn’t have come to St. Francis. I’m the only person in my family to have come to a private high school. I am not trying to live an ordinary life. I want to be a pediatrician. Something was meant for my life. When I realized my potential, I realized I really have a chance to change my life. What does your Mom think of you going here? When she drops me off at school, my Mom gives me some quote, like “You’re meant to be great” or “This is where champions are made.” I mean, she does that every day.
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IN THIS ISSUE Gifted Students Capital Update Alum Profile: Akhtar Nawab Gâ€™86, â€™90 Black Students Association