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The Pursuit of Passions
thinking maps in the lower school alumni stand out in ncaa division i sports
“. . . to educate the hearts and minds of young people for lives of learning, leadership and service.”
PRSRT STD U.S. POSTAGE
day in the life of upper school
St. Margaret’s Episcopal School 31641 La Novia San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675-2752
volume 23, number 1 winter 2011
Headmaster Marcus D. Hurlbut discusses two
By the Numbers Student involvement outside the classroom
of St. Margaret’s Episcopal School’s core values and their impact on the school’s students, faculty and staff
Faculty Profiles Acquaint yourself with two of St. Margaret’s
exceptional and gifted faculty members
News & Notes Get the scoop on what’s been happening at St. Margaret’s lately
Class Notes Learn about the lives of your classmates, including “Notable” highlights
A Day in the Life Of . . . Upper School See how Upper School students spend their days throughout the week
Looking Forward A school-wide collaboration: The development of a school garden and outdoor classroom
Side by Side Student and teacher present Thinking Maps in the Lower School
Open Spaces: Student Short Story and Artwork Showcasing student writing and visual arts talent
The Pursuit of Passions
Senior Johnny Li follows his passions St. Margaret’s Episcopal School Marcus D. Hurlbut, Headmaster Highlander magazine is published by the Communications Office as a St. Margaret’s Episcopal School community magazine. Editorial Director
Anne Mack Managing Editor
Nicole Peddy Copy Editors
Chris Bonhall, Jennifer Perez Editorial Board
Tall Mountains, Tall Dreams Upper School Assistant Principal
Ryan Dahlem and his father’s
Mount Everest expedition
Jeannine Clarke, Jeneen Graham, Stephen Harrington, Marcus D. Hurlbut, Anne Mack, Nicole Peddy Contributors
Lora Allison, Maddie Barkate, Ryan Dahlem, Kendra Dobron, Kelly Dooley, Michael Duenes, Jessica Garrett, Christina Hart, Marcus D. Hurlbut, Colin Johnson, Kathy Leedom, James Li, Johnny Li, Wendy Li, Anne Mack, Susie Maga, Rian Otto, Rocky Parker, Nicole Peddy, Jennifer Perez, Michele Silverman, Ian Tacquard, Suzie Trimble Please send comments, questions, letters and submissions for “Open Spaces” to:
Highlander magazine St. Margaret’s Episcopal School 31641 La Novia San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675-2752 (949) 661-0108 firstname.lastname@example.org; www.smes.org Please include your name, address, e-mail address and phone number with your letter or submission. Letters and “Open Spaces” may be edited for content and grammar.
St. Margaret’s Alumni Stand Out in NCAA Division 1 Sports
St. Margaret’s publishes responsibly. Highlander magazine is printed on Forest Stewardship Council certified paper that contains 25 percent postconsumer recycled content, using soy-based inks made from renewable resources such as natural pigments and vegetable oils.
Alumni reflect on their experiences playing
Highlander, Volume 23, Number 1. Winter 2011.
NCAA Division 1 sports St. Margaret’s Episcopal School does not discriminate on the basis of gender, race, color, religion, sexual orientation or national and ethnic origin in the administration of its educational or hiring policies, admissions policies, financial aid, athletic or other school-administered programs.
ON THE COVER
Senior Johnny Li at home in an Upper School science lab. Inside front: Tartan Marching Band performs at Homecoming Pep Rally. Inside back: Amazing creative work of our students on display during the grade 8 visual arts exhibit.
G U I D E P O S T S By Marcus D. Hurlbut, Headmaster elcome to the winter 2011 issue of the Highlander, the magazine for the St. Margaret’s Episcopal School community. In these pages, we focus on our core values of Balance and Breadth and High Expectations. St. Margaret’s believes that personal growth and awareness are best fostered through the pursuit of a broad range of academic, artistic, athletic and co-curricular opportunities. We guide and nurture our students as they discover and cultivate their unique gifts and talents, challenging each individual to achieve his or her full potential.
As the 2010-2011 school year unfolds, exciting changes are taking place on our campus and our students are taking good advantage of the many opportunities afforded them. The construction of our new Performing Arts Center is well underway and the excitement around campus is palpable. As a school and as a community, we strive for the best not just for ourselves but for others. These pages are a testament to St. Margaret’s commitment to deliver on high expectations and balance and breadth.
The articles in this publication show just that. From senior Johnny Li’s remarkable cancer research to alumni NCAA Division I athletes, the students, faculty and staff of St. Margaret’s demonstrate repeatedly a genuine dedication to making meaningful contributions to the world around them through pursuit of their interests and their passions. They balance their lives by striving for excellence in a multitude of areas while enjoying every minute of it. Among other things, this issue provides a sneak peak at a day in the life of the Upper School and a new department section featuring two exceptional and gifted faculty members. You will also see the talent and devotion of our students through the “News & Notes” section.
“From senior Johnny Li’s remarkable cancer research to alumni NCAA Division I athletes, the students, faculty and staff of St. Margaret’s demonstrate repeatedly a genuine dedication to making meaningful contributions to the world around them through pursuit of their interests and their passions.”
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Breakthrough SJC’s Fifth Successful Year The fifth successful year of Breakthrough San Juan Capistrano kicked off over the summer. Forty-eight middle school students completed the intensive six-week, eight-hour-a-day, academic enrichment session at St. Margaret’s Episcopal School. Additionally, last February, Breakthrough SJC started the High School Transition Program, which challenged 28 students to a comprehensive five-day-a-week program with a full day of academic course study.
St. Margaret’s Sponsors San Juan Concert Series In August, the St. Margaret’s Episcopal School community attended the San Juan Summer Nites Concert Series, sponsored by St. Margaret’s since 2003. City officials thanked St. Margaret’s, and Honorable San Juan Capistrano Mayor Dr. Londres Uso presented Headmaster Marcus D. Hurlbut with a plaque of appreciation for the school’s continued support of the City and the concert series.
Students’ Artwork Honored at 2010 Festival of the Arts In conjunction with 140 exhibiting artists, more than 300 student pieces were displayed over the summer at the 2010 Junior Art Exhibit at the Festival of Arts in Laguna Beach. Three St. Margaret’s Upper School students received medals for their achievements: Asako Mikumo for her portrait titled “Mrs. N;” Andrew Kim for his figure drawing titled “Figure Drawing – Mrs. N;” and Ashleigh Magnus for her digital photograph titled “Behind the Looking Glass.”
2010-2011 School Year Welcomes Largest Student Body in St. Margaret’s History At the 2010-2011 All-School Opening Chapel Ceremony, Headmaster Marcus D. Hurlbut shared this year’s enrollment of 1,226, including 196 new students, 129 new families, 50 new students who are siblings of existing St. Margaret’s students, along with 37 new faculty and staff members. Also, the school welcomed families from 26 different surrounding communities and 17 students from towns outside of Orange County. With 430 students, enrollment in the Upper School is the largest in the school’s history.
SMES Students Win Prestigious National Writing Competition Upper School students Victoria Davidson and Natalie Hiles were awarded the National Council of Teachers of English Achievement Award in Writing, a prestigious national writing competition that publicly recognizes some of the best student writers in the nation. St. Margaret’s English department was also awarded a certificate of recognition by the NCTE, for excellence in its instructional program.
Special Camp for Special Kids Celebrates 19 Years
The summer of 2010 marked the 19th anniversary of St. Margaret’s Special Camp for Special Kids, a traditional summer camp for youth with disabilities. Special Camp welcomed the largest number of participants in the program’s history with more than 175 youth campers and 205 volunteer high school and college-aged counselors. Approximately 75 of this year’s volunteer counselors were students from St. Margaret’s Upper School.
St. Margaret’s Welcomes the First Tartan Marching Band
Sophomore advisory groups put on a “senior” prom in September for the senior citizen residents of Del Obispo Terrace in San Juan Capistrano. Approximately 20 St. Margaret’s students prepared the facility and helped the residents get ready for the prom.
The St. Margaret’s community welcomed its first-ever Tartan Marching Band in September. Consisting of 58 grade 6 and 7 students, the marching band was added to the band program this school year based on a generous grant from the Parent Teacher Fellowship. Students are coached by marching band experts: Band Director Chris Carbajal; Drill Instructor Gene Wie; Battery Coach Sean Macaulay; Brass Coach Tim Gill; and Low Brass Coach Ben Devitt.
The “Senior Prom” project was part of the grade-level retreats that all Upper School students participate in. More than a dozen grade 10 advisory groups spent a day of service at local organizations including, The Ecology Center, Community Service Programs Youth Shelter, Father Serra’s Food Pantry, the Armed Services YMCA and Coastal Animal Shelter.
Colleges from Around the World Visit St. Margaret’s Thirty colleges and universities met with Upper School students in October. Colleges from all corners of the United States visited in addition to two international universities. The college counseling office will host at least 113 college and university representatives this year.
To read more St. Margaret’s news, visit Tartan Today online at smesnews.org/today.
Sophomore “Senior Prom” Community Service Project
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Temporary Middle School Campus, PAC Groundbreaking Ceremony and Site Blessing In September, the new, temporary Middle School campus “Crimson Corner” was blessed, and a special ribbon cutting ceremony took place where Headmaster Marcus D. Hurlbut, Middle School Principal Jeannine Clarke, Middle School faculty and the Middle School Student Council officially cut the ribbon and opened the new campus. Subsequently, in November, during a joyous and emotional St. Margaret’s Day celebration, the school broke ground on its new Performing Arts Center and took a historic step toward the future. The Tartan Marching Band led the community to a special site blessing and groundbreaking ceremony of the new
Performing Arts Center. The Reverend Canon Robert Edwards, The Reverend Bill Garrison, The Reverend Philip DeVaul, The Reverend Mary Marjorie Bethea and The Reverend Earl Gibson blessed the building site and the community. Mr. Hurlbut introduced student council representatives from each division of St. Margaret’s who, together, pulled the cords and revealed a banner depicting the new building. After the unveiling, the Tartan Marching Band gave a roaring drum roll as a bulldozer proceeded to bulldoze the entrance way of Highland Hall.
Pulitzer Prize Winner Visits Headmaster’s Constitutional Law Class In October, Headmaster Marcus D. Hurlbut’s constitutional law class welcomed Barry Siegel, a Pulitzer Prize winning former national correspondent for the Los Angeles Times. Throughout the class, students, Mr. Hurlbut and Mr. Siegel deliberated the violation of civil liberties and the abuse of constitutional protections throughout the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision surrounding the mysterious crash of a U.S. Air Force B-29 at the dawn of the Cold War.
SMES ExPRESS Staff Attends High School Journalism Day at USC Staff members of SMES ExPress, St. Margaret’s Upper School student publication, visited University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism for the biannual High School Journalism Day in November. High School Journalism Day provided an opportunity for students interested in journalism to attend a variety of hands-on workshops, panel discussions and hear keynote speakers. More than 265 students and advisors from around California attended.
Tartan Athletics Fall Championships
Grade 1 Students Learn Holiday Traditions Via Videoconference Mrs. Elizabeth Bauer’s grade 1 students met with a teacher from the EarlyWorks Museum in Alabama to learn about the history of holiday traditions. Via videoconference, students learned about unique traditions.Videoconferencing experiences offer students a chance to explore topics and talk with experts that otherwise they would not have. The St. Margaret’s Library hosts several videoconferences, but Mrs. Bauer’s students are, to date the youngest St. Margaret’s students to have had this opportunity.
A Day of Fun at the Tartan Faire
To read more St. Margaret’s news, visit Tartan Today online at smesnews.org/today.
The Middle School Mountain ‘A’ Volleyball team finished their fall season with a win in the 2010 Parochial Athletic League Championship match. The team not only won every match, but also every game. Over the past two years, the Tartans have amassed a match record of 32-0, which includes one tournament victory, two league championships and two Parochial Athletic League Championships. In a hard-fought battle against Academy League rival Sage Hill, the Tartan girls’ tennis team won its third straight CIF championship and also its third consecutive undefeated season. St. Margaret’s boys’ cross country team accomplished what no other cross country team at St. Margaret’s has ever done. They finished a perfect season without losing a single race and won the four biggest races of the year: the Orange County Championships, Mt. SAC Invitational, CIF Finals and State Championships. Junior Billy Gaudreau finished second at the Mt. SAC Invitational with the fastest race time in our school’s history and also won the Division 5 CIF Championships.
The Tartan Faire has always been a favorite annual tradition for the St. Margaret’s community. Despite the Gateway Field construction constraints this year, there were many people who felt it made the Faire even more special. The Tartan Faire followed the Lower School Halloween Parade, which contributed to the high attendance and the anticipation of the fun-filled afternoon. This event would not be possible without the hard work of many parent and student volunteers.
The girls’ volleyball team captured the CIF-SS Division 4AA title; the program’s first championship since winning four straight from 1999-2002. The Tartans finished runner-ups in 2005 and 2007. Congratulations, Tartans! winter 2011
A DAY I N T H E L I F E U P P E R S C H O O L
O F. . .
By Nicole Peddy
e all remember our high school days. Cramming for tests, attending Friday night football games, trying out our acting skills in the school play; the world was our oyster. High school gave us four glorious years before we had to embark on the next chapter of our life and the beginning of adulthood. Approximately 430 students in St. Margaret’s Upper School are presently doing just that. These students are spending their memorable days among classmates, friends, faculty and the administration of St. Margaret’s.
Although the Upper School student schedule is similar to that of Middle School students, it is still quite a transition; a
new campus, new teachers, more opportunity and for many, deeper experiences. Upper School students are given more independence and autonomy so they can begin learning how to manage their time in lieu of an impending college schedule. “We strive to give students more ownership over their high school experience,” said Upper School Assistant Principal Ryan Dahlem. “We encourage students to pursue a challenging academic curriculum, but we also want this to be a time of exploration. St. Margaret’s has an amazing athletics program, award-winning performing arts productions, leadership opportunities and student-run clubs where students can let their voice be heard.”
9:20 a.m. Monday
> > 7:45 a.m. Monday–Thursday Instruction begins. Students follow the Upper School block schedule and report to their classes. The Upper School offers a collegepreparatory academic program that is appropriately rigorous and encourages students to become confident in their approaches to learning and to life.
Convocation. Students, faculty and staff make important school announcements and share perspectives on a variety of issues with the entire Upper School student body. Convocation is led by the Associated Student Body President.
10:05 a.m. Wednesday Advisory. Advisors meet weekly with their advisory groups for discussion and action on social issues, moral dilemmas and civic engagement.
Student voices are heard regularly in student-led Convocations, grade level meetings, advisory conversations and through leadership roles in the Associated Student Body, Honor Committee, Peer Counselors and Student Admissions Ambassadors. In fact, student leadership plays a large role at St. Margaret’s. The four leadership groups are each supported by a mentor and comprise the joint-leadership program on the Upper School campus. The joint leadership group meets bi-monthly to improve knowledge and skills regarding leadership, serve as an advisory body to the school, assist in campus initiatives and reflect on global leadership issues. Each bi-monthly class is led by students and supported by the mentors.
AP Classes Advanced Placement courses are an important part of the St. Margaret’s Upper School curriculum, enabling students who show readiness for college-level coursework to increase their preparation for advanced study and, in some cases, begin earning college credit. St. Margaret’s offers 24 AP courses from core academic disciplines to music and art.
Advisory Every year students have a teacher, staff member or administrator as an advisor. The main roles of an advisor are to monitor each advisee’s academic progress and keep informed about personal circumstances that could affect a student’s performance and experience at school. Advisors often act as liaisons between parents and the school.
10:50 a.m. Friday
10:45 a.m. Thursday Chapel. During the required weekly chapel service, the Upper School joins in prayer, song and reflection. Students actively participate in numerous ways, including serving as acolytes, musicians and speakers. Formal dress is worn out of respect for the faith, and students sit with their advisors in pews.
Activities. St. Margaret’s offers a scheduled 45-minute activities period each week for students to participate in extracurricular clubs and organizations. This time may be used for assemblies and speakers that enhance or educate the community.
12:00 p.m. Monday Lunch. Students enjoy PTF hot lunch, a lunch they have brought from home, and In-n-Out Burger on Fridays. The Tartan Field, picnic tables, Tartan Courtyard and Freshman Quad are open for students and teachers to enjoy during lunchtime.
“The program helps students develop their leadership skills and put them to a productive use. It provides for student involvement, character building and serves as a cornerstone of an introduction to leadership, while shaping student climate in the Upper School,” said Lora Allison, school-wide community service director and Upper School director of student activities and events. “Students in the joint-leadership program become a real sounding board for all faculty and administrators.” Students also hold leadership positions in co-curricular clubs and organizations on campus, and as captains on sports teams. Upper School students have a plethora of support systems to assist them in making the most of their high school experience. St. Margaret’s student advisory program aims to create a more personalized learning environment with an emphasis on relationships, collaboration and education driven by student needs and realities. Student advisors not only guide their advisees in academic and social matters, but also forge lasting relationship with their advisees over the course of four years together.
Clubs St. Margaret’s strongly supports the involvement of students and faculty in expanding the practical educational experience. All student clubs are initiated by students, based on their unique interests and passions, and sponsored by a faculty member. Some of the opportunities available include: charitable service clubs, environmental clubs, hobby groups, political clubs and competitive clubs.
St. Margaret’s comprehensive college counseling program, and particularly the expert on-campus college counselors, play a large role in the development of Upper School students as they prepare for graduation and transitioning to a college or university. The college counselors bring a wealth of experience to the college process and are professionally active and maintain a national profile to proactively strengthen the relationship of St. Margaret’s with colleges and universities. The college counseling office helps St. Margaret’s students and their families plan for future education, with personalized family meetings beginning the second half of the student’s junior year. The counselors also hold workshops for students and for parents in all grade levels throughout the school year. The overarching philosophy of the college counseling program is finding the college that is the best match for each and every student.
Community Service As students serve others, they learn profound and life-changing lessons. Those seemingly in need of help often give back far more than they are given. The community service program complements the mission of St. Margaret’s in preparing students for lives of learning, leadership and service. As students grow and mature through their high school experience, so does the expectation of them to share their time and talents with others. The Upper School requires all students to participate in the community service program by completing a minimum grade level requirement in grades 9 through 12.
Throughout the week
3 p.m. Friday
Study Block. Students often have an open period, or “study block,” in their schedules. This time can be used to study independently or in groups, begin nightly homework assignments, or simply take a break during the day. Study blocks help students practice the skills they’ll need to manage their own time in college.
Arts. Rehearsals are typically held from 3-6 p.m. The Highlander Chorale, Orchestra and Concert Band also meet throughout the year.
2:05 p.m. Monday Tutorial. Faculty are available to help students outside of class time during tutorial periods. Faculty may require students to attend tutorial periods to receive extra help or make up outstanding or incomplete academic work.
“At St. Margaret’s, we expect that students will use the skills that have developed here during the college process,” said Amy Warren, associate director of college counseling. “An engaged, thoughtful, and open-minded student paired with one of our experienced college counselors makes for a successful college process, but also prepares students for life after St. Margaret’s.” As graduation nears, seniors in the Upper School will spend their final weeks at St. Margaret’s participating in Independent Senior Projects. The main goal of the ISP program is to create a transition for the seniors from the structure of high school to the independence of college. It is an opportunity for the students to apply their in-school learning to realworld experiences outside the classroom.
Principal David Boyle. “In our intimate setting, students are required to stand and deliver in and out of classes. We expect and encourage students to find their own voice, to speak for themselves, and to be their own advocate in conflicts and challenges. We expect students to develop a sense of personal agency that shows they are in charge of their lives. These kinds of cultural expectations produce students who know how to interact with adults in a respectful manner and are successful negotiating their way through the complex adult world of colleges and universities. We consistently hear that our graduates see their professors during their office hours for additional help or clarification. Showing such initiative and making a personal connection with one’s professor goes a very long way toward academic success.” ●
“St. Margaret’s comprehensive program shapes students in so many ways that are unique to an individual’s interests and aptitudes,” said Associate Headmaster and Upper School
Performing Arts In addition to courses offered in visual and performing arts, students have the opportunity to participate in after-school productions including theater activities, the dance program, concert band, the Highlander Chorale, orchestra and the classical guitar ensemble.
3:30 p.m. Monday - Friday Athletics. Practices are typically held between the hours of 3:30 and 5:30 p.m., following school and tutorial sessions. Some practices may also be scheduled for Saturdays.
Sports The Upper School offers 23 interscholastic sports in three seasons over the course of the school year. Through athletic competition we strive to achieve the highest degree of integrity, sportsmanship, and mutual respect to prepare students for lives of leadership and service.
“We strive to give students more ownership over their high school experience,” said Upper School Assistant Principal Ryan Dahlem. “We encourage students to pursue a challenging academic curriculum, but we also want this to be a time of exploration. St. Margaret’s has an amazing athletics program, award-winning performing arts productions, leadership opportunities and student-run clubs where students can let their voice be heard.”
S I D E
S I D E
Promoting a Thinking Culture Through the Use of Thinking Maps B y K e n d r a D o b r o n , L o w e r S c h o o l G A T E C o o r d i n a t o r a n d T h i n k i n g M a p s Tr a i n e r
ince the implementation of Thinking Maps at the beginning of the school year, a new type of thinking culture has emerged in the Lower School. While the idea of students thinking and learning in classrooms is not new, the language and tools of thinking are. Thinking Maps is a language, or toolkit, of eight thinking-process maps developed by David Hyerle1. The idea is that students can use these visual maps to graphically represent their thinking, flexibly manipulating them and combining them in different ways to fit the immediate context of learning. The cognitive processes rooted in Thinking Maps provide the foundational thinking skills necessary for every level of complex thinking from early childhood to adult learning.
Thinking Maps help students make sense of their own stored knowledge, and the visual maps show how students accommodate and assimilate new information. Arthur Costa, emeritus professor of education at California State University, Sacramento and founding director of the Institute for Habits of Mind, believes that knowledge is a constructive process; to really understand something, each learner must create a model derived from that learnerâ€™s personal world to make meaning2. Since thinking happens mostly in our heads and is invisible to others and even to ourselves, one of the first steps to foster thinking requires making thinking visible. Thinking Maps are great tools to demonstrate the thinking process because they make thinking visible and aid in the construction of knowledge. When we look at a studentâ€™s map, we are
seeing the brain’s inner wheels at work as the student transforms information into knowledge. One intended outcome of the instruction at St. Margaret’s is to produce students who are metacognitive, self-assessing, independent learners. When instructors facilitate student thinking, ask reflective questions, and teach the cognitive skills embedded in Thinking Maps, while simultaneously teaching content knowledge, students are able to make sense of information and use the maps as tools for thinking. According to Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligence Theory, there are many ways of knowing, learning, and expressing knowledge which translate into a set of intelligences that can be nurtured and developed throughout our lifetime (2006)3. Gardner identifies these intelligences as verbal, logical/mathematical, kinesthetic, musical, spatial, naturalistic, interpersonal, intrapersonal and existential. Since brain research indicates that between 80 and 90 percent of the information received by the brain comes through the eyes, even if we believe that some learners are more kinesthetic, auditory or visual, we must help students use their visual strengths. Thinking Maps provide a visual structure to present the abstract process of thinking in a concrete visual form because each map is a visual pattern for thinking. In Learning and Leading with Habits of Mind (2008)4, Costa and Bena Kallick, Ph.D., founding director of the Institute for Habits of Mind, write that current views of intelligence include intelligence as a set of teachable, learnable behaviors that educators can foster by helping students think powerfully by supporting their thinking processes through problem solving. In Activating and Engaging Habits of Mind (2000)5, Costa and Kallick suggest the importance of facilitating mindfulness. They believe that by teaching students the “Habits of Mind” to solve problems and act on new information, they are helping students become producers of knowledge rather than just consumers. Costa and Kallick (2008) argue that when Thinking Maps are taught, teachers are imparting a toolkit that students can use to access higher-order thinking and metacognition, and “Habits of Mind” across patterns of thinking. According to Ken Kay, president for the Partnership for 21st Century Skills (2010)6,
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the true test of rigor is for students to be able to look at material they’ve never seen before and know what to do with it. When confronted with new information or a problem, our hope is that students will utilize Thinking Maps as a strategy to activate the thinking process to plan and make decisions. A cornerstone of 21st century education is the explicit teaching of higher-order thinking tools for every child on the journey of lifelong learning. In promoting a thinking culture through Thinking Maps, learning to think begins with recognizing how we are thinking. When teachers explicitly teach thinking strategies and important “Habits of Mind” to students, students will use these strategies to make connections to curricular content. When this happens, thinking-based learning occurs and this increases students’ content understanding and learning (Swartz, Costa, Beyer, Regan, & Kallick, 2008)7. By providing Thinking Maps as tools for student thinking, a thinking-based culture is permeating the school that will transform the way students approach problems and make sense of information, now and for a lifetime. As faculty continues to promote a thinking culture in the school, next steps include working with Bena Kallick, lead author on “Habits of Mind” and thinking-based learning. Kallick will visit with the Lower School faculty this March to work with teachers on developing assessments that promote thinking and further develop “Habits of Mind.” ●
Hyerle, D. (Ed.). (2004). Student successes with thinking maps. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press. Costa, A. (2008). “The thought-filled curriculum.” Educational Leadership, 65 (5), 20-24. Gardner, H. (2006). Multiple intelligences: New horizons in theory and practice. New York: Basic Books. Costa, A., & Kallick, B. (2008). Learning and leading with habits of mind: 16 essential characteristics for success. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Costa, A. L., & Kallick, B. (Eds.)(2000). Activating & engaging habits of mind. Alexandria, VA: ASCD. Bellanca, J, & Brandt, R. (Ed.)(2010). 21st century skills: Rethinking how students learn. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press. Swartz, R., Costa, A., Kallick, B., Beyer, B., & Regan, R. (2008). Thinking-based learning. Norwood, MA: Christopher-Gordon.
Making Meaning Through Maps By Madison Barkate, Grade 4
ince the beginning of the school year, students in the Lower School have been reflecting on their thinking processes using visual tools known as Thinking Maps. One question that is frequently asked in the Lower School is: Why are Thinking Maps important? Thinking Maps are important because they help to organize thoughts and information necessary for learning. Thinking Maps also help you get your flow of ideas going, and they help you to brainstorm. They are essential for the thought processes or thinking skills and can be used in any content area.
Another question that is asked is: How do Thinking Maps help students learn? Thinking Maps are like tools for learning. If you use these tools right, you will get focused, clear thinking as your result. Even if you are new to using Thinking Maps, just planning your thoughts on a map will help you make sense of what you learn. Thinking Maps help students with learning and organization, now and later in life. Thinking Maps can be used in all content areas, in Kindergarten through grade 5. In my grade 4 classroom, I have used Thinking Maps in many different subject areas. In language arts, we use a flow map to show sequence of events in a story and a multi-flow map to show the causes and effects of character actions. In writing, we use Thinking Maps for planning, brainstorming, organization and to get our ideas flowing. In math, brace maps help us break apart numbers into wholes and parts to show place value. In social studies, we classify the parts of a natural region on a tree map to include the categories: tribes, climate, animals, plants and natural resources. In all subjects, the planning time involved in creating a Thinking Map is worthwhile because the maps are tools to help you understand what you learn.
Thinking Maps help students with the thinking process because they help students make connections and see patterns. Thinking Maps also help learners make sense of information and better understand the information you are given, rather than just memorizing. Memorizing the information is not the same as deeply understanding it. Thinking Maps also relate to “Habits of Mind.” Some of the “Habits of Mind” are managing impulsivity, thinking about your thinking, thinking flexibly, persisting, creating and innovating, and thinking and communicating with clarity and precision. Thinking Maps help you plan and reflect before acting. If you are more thoughtful and take your time on your Thinking Map, your understanding will be deeper. When you think flexibly in other ways, you view ideas and concepts from multiple perspectives to better understand different points of view. Thinking Maps help you persist when you are having trouble understanding. You can use your creativity and imagination by organizing your thoughts on a Thinking Map to pull out more creative ideas and words. For risk-taking, Thinking Maps help because the maps are tools to make learning attainable and safe. I have noticed how people are responding to Thinking Maps in my classroom. Some people naturally use Thinking Maps and find them very helpful in learning. I have also noticed how learning is different for me now that Thinking Maps have been introduced. My thinking is more clear and organized. The students in the Lower School are thinking more about their thinking now that they are using Thinking Maps as tools for learning. ●
The Pursuit of By Nicole Peddy
Johnny Li might tell you that he doesn’t think of himself as a genius, but his life story, at the young age of 17, might tell you otherwise. Currently a senior at St. Margaret’s, Johnny has accomplished more than most do in a lifetime. But through it all, Johnny has maintained balance. Through his commitments, at St. Margaret’s and beyond, Johnny has followed his passions and pursued a broad range of rigorous academics, arts, athletics and co-curricular activities. A “lifer” at St. Margaret’s, Johnny has been here since Preschool. He excelled early and in grade 5 started algebra in the Upper School. “I place Johnny in the top one percent of all students who have ever graduated from St. Margaret’s,” said Associate Headmaster and Upper School Principal David Boyle. “He presented himself to me nine years ago as a precocious elementary school student whose mother was requesting his acceleration into our Middle School math classes. I cautiously allowed Johnny to enroll in Algebra I.” Johnny explains how his academic road continued from there, “Algebra I was very easy for me so my teacher, Mrs. Heather Murray, placed me in Algebra II in the Upper School after one semester. After finishing Advanced
Placement calculus BC in seventh grade, I started to take classes at the University of California, Irvine. While studying partial differential equations, I was fascinated by how we can describe real-world phenomenon using mathematical equations. At the time, I was taking AP biology with Mrs. Carol Ann Ingalls, and I really liked it. So, I sought out the mentorship of Professor John Lowengrub, at UCI’s Center for the Computational Science of Microstructure, to explore a research topic in mathematical biology. Because my grandparents are both cancer survivors, I was interested in developing mathematical models to study tumor growth. During the process, I was offered a summer internship at the Division of Tumor Cell Biology, Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope, to gain lab experience. I also learned several programming languages and tools on my own.”
While enrolled in classes five days a week at UCI, the daily commute and class scheduling became quite challenging for Johnny and his parents, James and Wendy Li. They contemplated leaving St. Margaret’s and enrolling in a school next to UCI. Johnny was tasked with making the final decision. “We were pleased with Johnny’s decision to stay at St. Margaret’s because we were also convinced the inconvenience would be temporary but the benefit could be lasting for him,” said Wendy Li. “Looking back, it turned out Johnny did experience the best of two worlds. While UCI's resources allowed him to take college courses and conduct cutting edge research, St. Margaret’s offered him breadth and balance in academics, sports, arts, peer interaction, social development, character building and leadership training. With the flexibility offered by St. Margaret’s, Johnny's world expanded further beyond school walls. With the individual attention from this close-knit community, Johnny was able to excel and grow in a most nurturing environment. He constantly reminds himself how grateful he is to all the caring and encouraging teachers and trusting and supportive friends who helped shape his dreams and aspirations.” Johnny has been working with Professor Lowengrub at UCI since late 2008. Their research is able to predict the effects of motility on tumor development and can be used to identify cancer phenotypes that chemotherapy drugs can target, potentially improving treatment. Johnny presented their work at the 2010 Annual Meeting of the Society for Mathematical Biology in Brazil, and at the 2010 MathFest by Mathematical Association of America (MAA) in Pittsburgh. Their paper, “Effects of Compressibility, Motility and Contact Inhibition on Tumor Viability: A Discrete Simulation Using the Cellular Potts Model,” has been published in Biomat 2010: International Symposium on Mathematical and Computational Biology. They submitted a second paper for publication to the Journal of Theoretical Biology last November. You may ask where Johnny finds time for anything else—but after talking with him, you come to find out that he finds time to dedicate to his passions because he wants to and because he enjoys it. Johnny started playing golf at the age of nine with his best friend Michael and started playing the
cello at the same age, and he has played soccer since he was five. He loves playing the game GO, an ancient board game that is noted for being rich in strategy despite its relatively simple rules. He is president of the Upper School’s Mu Alpha Theta club, a national high school mathematics honor society, sponsored by St. Margaret’s math teachers. He also serves on the Upper School’s Honor Committee. “Johnny is so special because, despite a prodigious aptitude and achievement in math and sciences, he’s a normal, wellrounded young man in other regards,” said Mr. Boyle. “He loves to represent St. Margaret’s on our soccer team, but he’s not a star player. He’s willing to try challenges where he will not stand out. Over the years, I’ve dealt with many very talented young persons who would not try new situations unless they were certain they would shine brightly. Johnny’s humble naturalness is so refreshing.” Johnny also enjoys giving back. In 2007, he founded Orange County Math Circle, a student-run service learning organization where high school students gather to explore advanced problem-solving topics and teach motivated students in underserved schools in Orange County. “In 2005, I started attending San Diego Math Circle. I loved the idea of having gifted math students work together in learning mathematical problem solving,” said Johnny. “But San Diego is a solid 75 miles from my home. I always dreamed of bringing the Math Circle experience to Orange County, where I live.” Johnny has enjoyed his time at St. Margaret’s and feels that the small school, class size and flexible teachers and administration enabled him to excel and explore possibilities he might not have otherwise had. “One of the things I’m most grateful for is the flexibility that St. Margaret's gave me. They allowed me to accelerate in math classes, and when I finished the math classes at my school, they allowed me to go to UCI to take more math classes,” said Johnny. “They are just really flexible with everything. They have top-notch classes and they allow me to pursue my interests. My teachers definitely encouraged me all the way, and my faculty advisor, Mr. Boyle, has supported me throughout my whole entire experience.” For now, Johnny, who was recently named a 2011 Intel Science Talent Search finalist, continues to focus on his research, his school work, promoting and attending activities for Orange County Math Circle, practicing cello and playing golf and soccer. He’s waiting to hear from the top research universities he has applied to and will soon make the big decision on where he’s going to go to college. When asked what he would like to do moving forward, Johnny said, “I see myself as a researcher.” ● For additional news coverage on Johnny Li, visit Tartan Today at smesnews.org/today and search “Li” or scan this QR tag.
Johnny Li’s Honors and Activities Cello ■ 2009 ■ 2008 ■ 2007 ■ 2005
- California All-State Honor Orchestra - All-Southern California High School Honor Orchestra - All-Southern California Middle School Honor Orchestra - 2010 - Orange County Junior Chamber Music group
........................................... Soccer ■ 2007 - 2009, 2010 - 2011- St. Margaret’s Varsity Soccer Team, Forward &
Mid-Fielder, Starter ■ 2009 - California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Soccer State Semifinals ■ 2003 - 2007 - Southern California Storm Soccer Club, Silver Elite Team
Golf ■ 2007 - 2008 - St. Margaret's Varsity Golf Team, Starter ■ 2004-2007 - Tijeras Creek Boy's Golf Team, Starter
Go ■ 2004 - The Redmond Cup, Junior Division, 2nd Place in the nation ■ 2003 - US Go Congress, 18-K Division National Champion
Southern California American Regions Math League (ARML) Team: Co-captain of the Southern California ARML team for 2010 - 2011 school year ■ 2010 - Member of Team A that won 2nd Place in the nation ■ 2009 - Member of Team A that finished in 6th Place in the nation ■ 2008 - Member of Team A that finished in 5th Place in the nation ■ 2007 - Member of Team B that finished in 6th Place in the nation and advanced to division A ■ 2006 - Member of Team B
Distinctions ■ 2011 - Intel Science Talent Search Finalist ■ 2010 - Siemens Awards for Advanced Placement, California Winner ■ 2010 - Siemens Competition in Math, Science and Technology Semifinalist ■ 2010 - Davidson Fellow in Mathematics ■ 2010 - United States Physics Team ■ 2010 - American Mathematics Competition (AMC 12) Perfect Score, State Winner ■ 2010 - Intel International Science and Engineering Fair Finalist ■ 2010 - American Regions Math League (ARML) Division A, National 2nd Place Team ■ 2010 - Orange County Science and Engineering Fair Senior Sweepstakes Award ■ 2010 - California State Science Fair Participant ■ 2010, 2009, 2008 - USA Math Olympiad Qualifier ■ 2010, 2009 - USA Chemistry Olympiad National Exam Qualifier ■ 2010 - Caltech Harvey Mudd Math Competition, 4th Place Individual and Team ■ 2010 - Cum Laude Society ■ 2010 - Harvard Book Prize ■ 2009, 2010 - National Advanced Placement (AP) Scholar ■ 2009, 2007 - American Mathematics Competition (AMC 10) Perfect Score,
State Winner ■ 2009, 2008 - The Mandelbrot Competition Second Place, Western Region ■ 2008 - USA Mathematical Olympiad Summer Program (MOSP) Participant ■ 2006 - Raytheon MathMovesU Merit Scholarship ■ 2007 - Orange County MATHCOUNTS, First Place ■ 2007 - Southern California MATHCOUNTS, Fourth Place ■ 2006 - Southern California MATHCOUNTS, Fifth Place ■ 2006 - Orange County MATHCOUNTS, Third Place ■ 2005 - Orange County MATHCOUNTS, First Place
O P E N
S PA C E S
The Boy and His Bow By Colin Johnson, Age 17
Colin Johnson, grade 11, wrote the following story after reading an article about the endangered pernambuco wood that comes from Brazil and is used to make the most highly regarded violin bows. The article explained how using other sustainable crops, such as cocoa and orchids, to grow in amongst the pernambuco trees may encourage Brazilian farmers to continue to cultivate these very slow growing trees which are on the threatened species list. When Colin read that chocolate might save classical music, he started writing. The result was “A Boy and His Bow,” a moving piece about a boy who learns to appreciate his grandfather’s violin. The piece was professionally illustrated and published in the Los Angeles Times last August. Colin is one of eight young people in history to be awarded an adult writer's contract with this major newspaper. “ZANDER WILLIAM PRUETTE!” Mrs. Pruette roared. “You stop that racket right now!”
“Well little Zander, you seem to have quite the arm,” chuckled the artisan bow maker, Old Mister Runkley.
“I’m not doing anything!” nine-year-old Zander squealed. “I’m just practicing my violin like you told me to!”
Zander hung his head.
“Well it sounds like you fed the cat horseradish and locked it in the sauna!” she cried. “Play it with your heart.”
“Can you fix it?” asked Mrs. Pruette anxiously. “It was his grandfather’s.” Old Mister Runkley gazed at Zander with thoughtful eyes.
Zander chucked his bow at the wall in disgust. Whew!
“Do you know that this happens to be one of the few pernambuco heartwood bows left?”
Snap! “What’s poonumbocoo?” questioned Zander quietly. Thwang! “WHAT WAS THAT NOISE?!” Mrs. Pruette exploded. “Umm, mom? I think my bow broke.”
“Pernambuco is the wood that kindles the soul of classical music,” Mr. Runkley whispered.
Photo by Jessica Garrett, Grade 11
“Personally I prefer rap,” Zander grumbled. Old Mister Runkley looked pained. “I also like techno. It makes me feel like my brain is exploding,” Zander added helpfully. Mrs. Pruette put her handbag over her head as Mr. Runkley laughed.
“An interesting question…pernambuco only grows bow quality wood if it struggles for light, twisting and turning to thrust a few leaves into the sunshine. Thus, pernambuco cannot be farmed, as it needs a struggle. This is like many things in life, for often, good things only come with a struggle.” Zander looked at his grandfather’s bow, and remembered all those practice sessions that he had hated. Zander imagined a tree struggling for light in the forest, and the lovely music that had come out of the struggle.
“Mrs. Pruette, I like your son. May I keep him for a while?” “Okay, let’s practice!” Mrs. Pruette nodded. She trusted Mr. Runkley—he had been her father’s friend for 40 years. Old Mr. Runkley picked up a violin that looked almost as ancient as he was and began to sweep the feathery horsehairs across the golden strings. Golden Q-tips swirled within Zander’s gunked-up ears, cleaning out all the accumulated rock ‘n rap residue, and allowing only the purest notes to sing in his ears. Zander saw a young fawn with its mother in a glowing forest, gently tugging on a tuft of sweet grass. A stream tickled the earth as it glooped and glugged its way over rocks and through valleys, all the way to the sea. “I see it,” Zander murmured. “What do you see?” Mr. Runkley asked. “The deer and the stream,” Zander sighed, eyes glazed in bewilderment. “How did you do that?” “Classical music can take you on a journey,” Mr. Runkley smiled. “It can even make you better at math.” “That would really help because I totally failed my fractions quiz. How does classical music make you better at math?” “There is this thing called the Golden Ratio, and everything that looks and sounds beautiful fits it. For instance, did you know that the Golden Ratio can be found in the Parthenon, the Mona Lisa, and the Great Pyramids of Giza? The ratio of the scales of music also sounds beautiful if it is in the Golden Ratio, and somehow, listening to this pattern makes you better at math.” “So what’s so special about my bow?” Zander asked curiously. “Your bow is from a tree that changed music. In Paris in the late 18th century, a watchmaker named François Xavier Tourte discovered that pernambuco wood creates an even tone that is the foundation of classical music.” “So how do you know which wood creates a good bow?”
Together, bows in hand, the boy and the old man created worlds of music, and as the notes floated into the sky, Zander’s heart followed them. ●
T H E
N U M B E R S
Outside of the classroom, St. Margaret’s students have a plethora of special programs to take part in including: student clubs ranging from educational to charitable to simply fun activities; visual arts shows and competitions such as Color It Orange, Orange County’s prestigious K-12 Art Show; dozens of performing arts productions from musicals to the 24-Hour Playwriting Festival to performances by the Highland Chorale; countless hours of community service in surrounding communities and throughout the world, including Breakthrough San Juan Capistrano, Special Camp for Special Kids, Boys and Girls Club of Capistrano Valley, J.F. Shea Therapeutic Riding Center and Habitat for Humanity. Students also participate in 23 interscholastic sports held during three seasons over the course of each school year. A broad range of activities and opportunities allows each student to truly achieve his or her full potential and prepares them for lives of learning, leadership and service.
80 1,359 512 80%
Clubs in the Lower, Middle and Upper School
Average number of community service hours seniors graduate with
Students involved in after-school drama productions
Upper School students playing a sport
“The opportunities provided through extracurricular experiences at St. Margaret’s complement the learning that goes on in the classroom. These activities allow students to demonstrate their organizational, personal and leadership skills in a practical way, while nurturing their passions, encouraging a pursuit of interests and enriching their lives and the lives of everyone around them.” Lora D. Allison School-wide Community Service Director and Upper School Director of Student Activities
Tall Mountains, Tall Dreams By Anne Mack
On the Balcony of Mount Everest, a landmark halfway point between the South Col and the summit typically used as a resting spot for exhausted climbers, with snow and sleet stinging his face from every direction, Ryan Dahlem was grappling with a sudden new reality. His goal for which he had worked tirelessly for the past two months and preceding 10 years was now within a few thousand steps and was quickly slipping away. At 27,500 feet above sea level, the air is thin. The body is exhausted from months of training and weeks of climbing rotations to prepare to reach this highpoint. Even for the most elite mountain climbers, the brain is firing slowly. Breathing with supplemental bottled oxygen and clinging to the ice-covered mountain with metal-point boots, Ryan knows a decision, right or wrong, has to be made. His choices: go ahead and assuredly risk your and your father’s lives due to the unexpected perilous storm that has descended on the mountain. Or, abandon the summit bid and return to high camp to face inevitable despair and heartbreak.
What do you tell yourself in that ephemeral, yet defining moment to courageously step in either direction?
................................ Mountain climbing is a high-stakes sport that takes constant training, intricate command of technical equipment, and razor-sharp focus and precision in every step. The risks are often highest when the athlete is at his physical and mental limits. The sport has a reputation as extreme, individualist and thrill-seeking. For St. Margaret’s Upper School Assistant Principal Ryan Dahlem, however, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Ryan began climbing as a boy with his family—his father John, mother Sioux and older brother Shawn. As Sioux often says, “motion is lotion for life” and the Dahlems embraced this as the family mantra exploring the outdoors of Southern California.
years ago. The physical and mental challenges of climbing, the ruggedness of nature that can inspire you one moment and terrify you the next. My dad and I found a common bond in climbing. We enjoy doing it together and find that we make a great team.”
“Growing up, my parents were great role models. They embody an enthusiasm for life that was reinforced every day. They were very active at work, in the community, in education—they both pursued and attained advanced degrees when we were kids, and they enjoy physical activity. We were always encouraged and expected to be active,” explained Ryan.
By the late 1990s, Ryan and John were fully immersed in their shared hobby. They attended technical training camps. They were subscribers of Outdoor magazine and had bookshelves full of climbing books with brawny, tell-tale titles like, “Hill,” “Ascent,” “High Adventure,” “High Points,” “The Climb,” and the ubiquitous cautionary climbing tale, “Into Thin Air.”
“My dad was a high school principal and my mom was a principal of a school for the blind. The priority for summer vacations was to be together as a family, and we discovered outdoor adventures were a great way to connect.”
In 1999, the Dahlems climbed Mount Rainier in Washington. At 14,410 feet and a glaciated peak, Rainier was the most technical and risky climbing they had encountered. For the first time, they were climbing with ice axes, crampons on their boots and were roped together as crevasses and avalanches were new risks for the climbing duo. Dissuaded, they were not. The two-day ascent elevated their climbing skills and ambitions, and set the ball in motion for the major expeditions that would follow. From there, the ball only rolled up hill.
Together the Dahlems climbed the Southern Californian peaks. When those were exhausted, the family took a weeklong, 73-mile hiking trip across the High Sierras when Ryan was 12 years old. While his classmates were vacationing at the beach, Ryan was standing atop Mount Whitney, the highest mountain in the contiguous United States. By the time Ryan was an adult, Gortex was like a second skin and hiking with a heavy backpack was ingrained in his life. His outdoor pursuits had become increasingly difficult and consumed much of his free time. For all of his adventures, his dad, Dr. John Dahlem, was by his side. “We didn’t have a deliberate focus to become mountain climbers. It was a gradual, but continual process. When I was in college, my dad was planning to hike Mount Whitney again with some friends and asked me if I wanted to join them. I said, ‘of course.’ We connected to it naturally and our interest and passion for it grew from there,” said Ryan. “I’m drawn to the reflective nature of hiking, the aweinspiring vistas from atop a mountain. The enduring quality of rock…you could climb San Gorgonio today and its rocky summit will look the same as it did when I climbed it 30
After receiving a Bachelor of Arts from Stanford University and Master of Education from Harvard University, Ryan returned to Orange County to teach at University High School in Irvine. While on summer break in 2000, he and John traveled to Africa to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. “Embarking on Kili was exciting. The trip included the climb and a weeklong safari afterwards. To reach an elevation of 19,340 feet, we thought that was the highest we’d ever go.” Travel was another natural appeal of mountain climbing for the Dahlems. “We have a love of travel, to learn about places and to interact with new cultures. We’ve seen the world through our expeditions and it has broadened our perspective on life,” he said. It wasn’t long before they were gearing up for another major expedition. Prior to starting a new job with Stanford University as associate director of admission in 2002, Ryan took off with John to Alaska to climb “Denali,” or Mount McKinley as it’s more commonly known, the highest mountain in North America at 20,320 feet. “McKinley was a new level for us. The expedition took three weeks and involved climbing to five camps before reaching the summit.” As if training to climb America’s highpoint wasn’t difficult enough, climbers affix large sleds to already heavy backpacks to transport the cumbersome load of gear and supplies needed for an extended climb. To prepare, the Dahlems climbed local peaks with tires chained to their packs dragging behind them.
At 26,906 feet, Cho Oyu is one of 14 mountains in the world that exceed 8,000 meters. The distinction of an 8,000meter peak is that oxygen levels are so low at that elevation the human body is simply unable to adapt. Even with supplemental bottled oxygen, which is standard for climbing above 8,000 meters, a person can only survive for so long. Mental and physical impairments are common, and this is where most fatal accidents occur. As a result, elevations above 8,000 meters have been coined as the “death zone.” Ryan offers his perspective, “No one can ignore the facts of physiology. You’re literally dying while you’re up there. The other way to look at it, of course, is while you’re up there, you’re totally alive.”
“Dragging tires was great preparation for McKinley and we used it for future climbs as well. It made it so much harder, which later proved to be great training for the limited oxygen supply we would face on Everest.” The footage of their summit day on July 16, 2002 shows a joyous and tearful Dahlem team. “We had a beautiful summit day, clear skies in every direction. We were elated and overcome with emotions. We knew this was exactly what we wanted to be doing…and doing it together was even more special.” After Denali came Mount Elbrus in Europe in 2003, Cerro Aconcagua in South America in 2005 and Vinson Massif in Antarctica in 2006 a few months before accepting a new job with St. Margaret’s Episcopal School as director of admission and financial aid. With each highpoint, Ryan maintains that they never looked ahead to a larger goal. “We were not thinking about Mount Everest or completing the seven summits. If people asked, our most common response was, ‘no way!’” They took each mountain as a new adventure only focusing on one step at a time. “We looked for the next challenge. We told ourselves, let’s go for this climb and see how we do. That was it. It was about our shared love of climbing rather than an ultimate quest.” Eventually, however, they had to face that they had climbed five of the seven summits, the highest points on each of the seven continents. The remaining were the easiest, Mount Kosciusko in Australia, and the toughest, Mount Everest in Asia at 29,035 feet, the highest mountain on Earth. The next natural goal was in front of them and they could no longer resist considering it. Kosciusko would be essentially a day hike at 7,310 feet, so they decided to set their sights on Everest. Were they ready for what Tibetans call Chomolungma, Goddess Mother of the World? They chose instead to cut their teeth on Himalayan climbing with a more calculated challenge, the sixth highest mountain in the world, Cho Oyu.
Regardless of the excitement and quest for life, Dahlem-style, this was still a daunting task and there was no hubris in their approach. They trained and honed their technical skills incessantly and the mental weight of preparing for Cho Oyu was equally unrelenting. “I often wondered who we thought we were attempting this climb. Were we physically and mentally ready? Even if so, there were so many elements that would be out of our control. The weather, acclimatization, altitude sickness, frostbite, even attaining the visas to enter the country could have thwarted our efforts.”
Legendary mountaineer and Director of International Mountain Guides Phil Ershler, who was the first American to summit Mount Everest from the North Face, knows well the Dahlems from several climbing expeditions. He said, “When John and Ryan come on a trip we know they’ve done their homework. We take that as a given. They are always very well equipped physically, very well prepared mentally and truly committed to the expedition. We know their preparation and commitment can’t be beaten. They are also two super quality people and very positive people to be around. They support each other and support and bring up every member of the team. We couldn’t ask for more from someone on our expeditions.” In October 2008, after a harrowing six-week expedition where they saw two experienced climbers perish, the Dahlems successfully ascended Cho Oyu. As they crested the summit, breathtaking views in every direction made them feel as though they were on top of the world. Looking at the mountain ranges around them, one was unmistakably above their horizon. The summit of Mount Everest stood majestically in the distance, staring them in the face and boldly reminding them that no, they were not quite on top of the world. Though they spoke no words about it then, they were of the same mind about their next goal… Mount Everest was looming and it was next.
On April 3, 2010, the Dahlems were hiking a leg of the 35mile trek to Mount Everest Base Camp through the Khumbu Valley region of Nepal. From this remote corner of the world, Ryan accepted a new position with St. Margaret’s as Upper School assistant principal. He wrote in his journal that night from Namche Bazaar, “We saw the south side of Everest for the first time today. It was both daunting and
exciting. It is interesting to turn a page of life in Nepal.You have a new professional opportunity and you’re starting an Everest expedition. A great day.” It was Ryan’s birthday… and Everest was the best present he could imagine. Along the trek to Base Camp, the Dahlems had somber reminders of the magnitude of the challenge ahead. Buddhist monuments called chortens memorializing famed and unknown climbers alike who had died on the mountain lined the trail. “We were never overconfident, nor did we believe success would be measured only by reaching the summit. Coming home safely was most important.”
by troubles with John’s oxygen bottle and freezing goggles. Exacerbating it all was the real fear for his and his father’s lives because he knew too well that attempting a summit bid in bad weather was ill-advised. There was also the accompanying exasperation that they had come so close and necessity and reason would force them to give up the summit. It was a bitter sting of defeat and resignation. Ultimately, he asked himself the sobering question, “If we go for the summit, will we make it down? I can only imagine that similar thoughts were going through my dad’s mind as well.”
Once at Base Camp at 17,500 feet, climbers begin the arduous training regime to acclimatize the body to handle the low oxygen levels higher on the mountain. Ryan explained, “You climb to Camp 1 and then down to Base Camp. You rest and go to Camp 1, spend a night, the next day climb to Camp 2 and then all the way down to Base Camp again, and so on until you reach Camp 3. Then you descend to Base Camp and await the green light for good weather to make your summit bid, a five-day climb to the top.”
After consulting each other and their guides, they decided to proceed. “We had enough oxygen. It was the middle of the night so we had plenty of daylight ahead for the descent. Why surrender now?”
On May 22, 2010, Ryan and John rested after climbing to 24,000 feet. They had reached Camp 3 perched on a narrow ledge halfway up the Lhotse face. Ryan filmed footage out his tent vestibule of the beautiful Himalayan peaks around them. “This is the kind of weather we’ve been waiting for. It just doesn’t get any better than this!” he is heard saying. As the camera zooms into the distance, the summit of Cho Oyu comes into focus and he remembered two years earlier when he had the opposing vantage point and dreamed of one day being here.
The storm continued, yet they persisted and eventually reached the base of the Hillary Step, a 40-foot rock and ice wall named for the first man to climb Mount Everest, Sir Edmund Hillary. The famed pitch signals climbers that they are very close to the summit. A renewed excitement came over them. “We’re really here! In the footsteps of Hillary, Tenzing and all the amazing climbers since,” Ryan thought. Next they traversed the final narrow ridge, one foot in front of the other, one step at a time.
So, John and Ryan enlisted their tried and true approach to climbing the seven summits. “We told ourselves; let’s not focus on the summit. Let’s focus on the immediate challenge, the next step and the one after that.”
Dreams The next night at 8 p.m., the Dahlems stepped out of their Camp 4 tent at 26,000 feet; two months after their journey began. This was it, the final climb to the summit. They immediately saw the danger: the weather was bad. High winds, heavy snow and poor visibility. The expedition leaders advised that the forecast was good and that this could be a short-lived, passing storm. Unfortunately, as they knew too well from volumes of research, there’s only so much forecasting and planning you can do on Mount Everest. They were already living in the death zone and had limited oxygen supply. It was go up or go home.
“I remember thinking, it must be close, but I still can’t see it. We were moving so slowly – taking three and four breaths per step. Then I saw a small group of climbers ahead.” It was typical to see climbers stopped to rest and discuss conditions. It was then he realized they were not resting, they were on the summit. He was a few feet from the top of the world.
Rather than improving as forecasted, the weather got worse. Others began to turn around. From his journal entry on May 24, Ryan wrote, “A few hundred meters above the Balcony, I lost my footing on a narrow ridge on the loose snow powder and stared into a dark abyss. Was this danger worth it?”
Ryan admits he not only faced extreme conditions on summit night, he experienced a storm of conflicting emotions as well. “Despite the mental preparation to deal with the endless, uncontrollable factors that will likely threaten any climber’s successful ascent, when it happens to you, it’s a different reality.” He was unnerved by the quick turn of the weather when it was supposed to be ideal conditions and anxiety-ridden
Reflections from Fellow Tartans Ryan turned to wait for his dad to take the final steps together. On May 24, 2010 at 7:55 a.m., John and Ryan reached the summit of Mount Everest, father and son on top of the world. “I don’t think I can encapsulate in one statement the thoughts and emotions I felt when we reached the summit. Pure joy and an overwhelming sense of accomplishment and love for my dad, my mom, family and life were the most prominent thoughts when we stood on the top. It was an incredible culmination of our journey,” Ryan says.
“We are often asked why we climb mountains. I wish I had a simple, yet profound answer like the one George Mallory gave in 1924 when asked about Everest: ‘Because it’s there.’ Ultimately for me, there’s the opportunity to be closer to God, myself, my father, and the cleansing of the mind that comes from disconnecting from everyday life. Also, whenever I look up at a mountain, I wonder what it would be like to climb it… because it’s there.” On December 24, 2010 John and Ryan completed the seven summits when they stood atop Mount Kosciusko in Australia, 10 years after they began in Africa. This summit was different because they invited a special guest to join them. “We were thrilled to have my mom join us for Kosciusko. In many ways, she is our third team member. She has given us unwavering support and unconditional love. Many people ask her how she could let us go. I can understand that reaction, but my mom has never given us a hint of reservation or restriction. She has incredible inner strength to overcome any fears. She has always been very positive and encouraged us to go for our dreams and to be happy. Her last words to us each time we embark on a trip are: ‘climb safe, climb confident.’ She has been crucial to our success.” Everywhere the Dahlems go these days people ask about Everest. They are fascinated, yet they call them crazy. They say, “I would never do that!” What is it about climbing the highest mountain in the world, then, that draws such marvel from so many? They have faced death-defying extremes and stood in places only a few others have gone. Most importantly, though, the Dahlems’ story is of family, passion and implacable drive and determination. Their unwavering focus to achieve their dreams of climbing the world’s highest peaks is a source of inspiration for all to go for the high-points in our own lives. “I’m profoundly grateful to St. Margaret’s students, parents and my colleagues for their love and support. I feel honored to share our story with St. Margaret’s, a school community that is about discovering passions and dreams. I was able to accomplish my personal dreams while a part of this community and it gives me great personal joy to hear that it inspires others, especially our students. “This is our passion, one we came by naturally,” said Ryan. “We encourage everyone to find their Everest, whatever it may be, and go for it...one step at a time.” ● 26
“Mr. Dahlem’s Mount Everest presentation inspired me to set goals, find my passion and go for it, continue my adventures and train hard to be prepared. I could watch his presentation over and over just to be encouraged and scared by the video of him crossing the crevasse! Thanks Mr. Dahlem.” Connor Parks, Grade 8 “The feelings that washed over me as Mr. Dahlem described his experience at the top of the mountain were indescribableaccomplishment, pride, honor and humility were among those feelings. This shows that with enough work and dedication, anything can be done. One of my favorite quotes is: anything worthwhile takes time. Mr. Dahlem and his father put massive amounts of time and effort into building an even stronger relationship with each other while scaling the mightiest peak on Earth.” Harrison White, Grade 10 “What’s inspired me most about Mr. Dahlem’s Mount Everest expedition is the determination he showed to accomplish this climb as part of his quest for reaching the seven peaks. I wish to bring this same determination and passion because without it, I don’t understand how we can live a meaningful life. Mr. Dahlem has obviously found that meaning.” Colin Shaffer, Grade 12 “I had never met anyone who had taken on such a challenge, with so much risk. What a commitment and test of both physical and mental strength! To be able to share this accomplishment with his father made it even more inspirational! Mr. Dahlem’s Mount Everest climb inspired me to not only set personal goals, but family goals. I enjoy stand-up paddling. How cool would it be to paddle the four main oceans with my dad? I can't think of a better way to see the world! Thanks Mr. Dahlem and congratulations!” Nick Scheel, Grade 6 “Mr. Dahlem’s climb of Mount Everest inspired me to work extra hard on both my physical and mental performance so I can build up the strength I need to always do my best. He also demonstrated to me that you should never give up, even during the most difficult challenges. Congratulations Mr. Dahlem on your achievement!” Maxwell Morin, Grade 7 “Ryan’s Mount Everest expedition was so much more than that: it was bigger, it was broader, it was seven mountains climbed together as an incredibly close father-son team buoyed by the love of wife and mother, family and friends. It was not unlike Ryan: seemingly quiet and unassuming, yet incredibly strong, straightforward, deeply forceful and meaningful on more levels than can be imagined. Our family not only marveled at them, but “climbed” alongside with them.” Jeanette Arbogast Shaffer, Upper School Parent “I was struck not only by the magnitude of their accomplishment, but also by what an amazing wife and mom Mrs. Dahlem must be. I found myself pondering what else I can do to encourage my husband and children to pursue their dreams and goals to the fullest.” Judy Sweeney, Middle and Upper School Parent “Inspiration and aspiration come together with Ryan’s story not just about the Everest climb, which is world class, but that he did it with his dad. The lesson for us is that if we stick together during the tough times, love and encourage each other not only will we survive but prosper as a family.” Mark Warren, Upper School Parent “Ryan and John’s journey embodied themes that touched my family on several levels: the pursuit of dreams; the strengthening of bonds across generations; and the value of hard work and honest effort. Their tale rekindled fond memories of outdoor adventures spent with my father, experiences I now am able to relive with my son. For that I am grateful.” Gregory Jue, Upper School and Tartan Alumni Parent “No matter what challenges or obstacle one may have; I believe everyone has the potential to achieve something great with their life. Ryan and his dad’s climb of Mount Everest is a perfect example of how we all can reach for the stars and achieve our goals by committing with passion, focus, determination and hard work.” Gerry Hampton, Upper School Parent “I am so proud of you Ryan, for what you and your Dad accomplished, and for generously sharing your story with the St. Margaret’s community. I know I am not alone when I say that your outstanding presentation is a life-changer, an event that alters priorities to some degree for the rest of our lives.” Harry White, Upper School Parent
For additional stories and photos, including a perspective from Ryan Dahlem on the cultures and landscape of the Everest region, visit Tartan Today at smesnews.org/today and search “Everest” or scan this QR tag.
FA C U LT Y
P R O F I L E S
Rocky Parker By Michele Silverman While his students graduate and move on to colleges and universities throughout the country, Upper School history teacher Rocky Parker stays happily in one place— St. Margaret’s. But he has not always been able to plant roots and stay settled. As the son of a diplomat for the United States, Rocky spent 14 years overseas and recalls being raised in four Asian countries, one African country and a country in Central America. He draws on this experience in his classroom. Following in his father’s footsteps, Rocky entered the United States military, and those experiences clearly shape who he is today as a father, teacher, coach and advisor. He was a Marine officer for 20 years. Rocky approached his job in the military as an educator who tried to maximize the performance on his Marines. “Most of the jobs I had in the Marine Corps outside of my infantry specialty involved education. I was a teacher in college at Vanderbilt University for three years; I was an instructor in candidate school for three years, and I wrote programs of instruction for field skills involving women Marines.” After retiring from the Marines in 1996, Rocky decided to pursue becoming a teacher full-time.
in AP government, he held a constitutional convention to guide the students through the process of government. “I definitely want them to feel like they can approach me and talk to me and we can have a two-way conversation.” While his classroom teaching is outstanding, much of what Rocky adds to the lives of students in the Upper School is not confined to the interior of the classroom. He says, “Being a teacher is expanding students’ minds and maximizing learning opportunities and academic potential. I like to do a lot of things outside of the classroom. Most of life happens outside the classroom, so it’s a good place to learn.” His assignments also expand students’ awareness of various religions. He encourages students to go to a place of worship not their own so they can better understand the importance of religion in peoples’ lives. Similarly, in order to understand agriculture, he takes his class to the local organic farm to conduct field studies. Students in his government courses expand their understanding of world affairs by hearing guest speakers at the World Affairs Council of Orange County.
He began his teaching career at Orange High School, but when his daughter Emily was entering her freshman year in high school, she applied to St. Margaret’s Upper School. Rocky recalls that it was during the application process that he first learned of a teaching position in the Upper School. As part of the interview process, Rocky taught a sample lesson in a history class. It clearly was a success, and he was hired. Rocky currently teaches Advanced Placement human geography and AP U.S. government. During summer sessions, he teaches military history and international relations at St. Margaret’s. In addition to teaching AP courses, he was selected to be a reader for the AP geography exam. In the classroom, Rocky would likely be described as an enthusiastic teacher whose teaching style is “participatory.” For example,
What Rocky enjoys most about teaching at St. Margaret’s is the passion and the enthusiasm that he has in the classroom each year with his students. “Every year we have a great bunch of kids. It’s always different. It’s always fun. The students are first-rate. They challenge you in the classroom. They are supportive outside of the classroom. They are a great group of kids.”
Rocky is also actively involved in experiences beyond the curriculum. He has been the advisor for Model United Nations, also called Model UN, for 13 years, since his first year at St. Margaret’s. St. Margaret’s has 25 students active in the club. Rocky just returned from a weekend in San Francisco for his seventh time taking St. Margaret’s students to the Harvard Model Congress. Interestingly, Rocky has been a presenter at the United Nations’ Association of the United States national conference in New York twice. This past academic year, Rocky was honored by California Troops to Teachers for over a decade of excellence in teaching. The award, which recognizes individuals who have a military background and enter the field of education, was in appreciation for his support and service in the military and in education. At the recognition ceremony, Rocky received engraved items and certificates of recognition from the State Legislature and the United States Congress. He was previously nominated for Teacher of the Year in 2006 with Troops to Teachers.
Rocky gives to the St. Margaret’s community as a faculty member, alumni parent and coach. “I’ve been on about every single committee imaginable at St. Margaret’s from the Headmasters’ Advisory Committee, to the scheduling committee to the retreat committee. It’s really a great place to be because you are allowed to be involved in the growth and the direction of the school.” Rocky has coached girls’ varsity golf for 12 years and he’s been the boys’ varsity coach for 11 years. Both teams have been incredibly successful, winning CIF twice. Upper School Principal and Assistant Headmaster David Boyle describes Rocky as “an outstanding teacher who creates a classroom experience that is demanding, innovative and participatory. His courses are a journey for his students and him alike and involve learning through hands-on experiences such as field trips, debates, simulations, films, lectures, guest speakers and labs.” While Rocky is a serious teacher, Mr. Boyle adds, “at the heart of his work, is a fun and open, trusting relationship with his students.” ●
Kathy Leedom By Michele Silverman
How many students can one teacher impact over a 37-year career? Middle School math teacher Kathy Leedom admits it would be fun to do the math to find out. She would need to calculate all of the students she’s taught during her 20 years at St. Margaret’s and the students from her nine years of teaching in Anaheim public school district as well as her sixth and seventh grade math and pre-algebra classes. One would also have to factor in the players on the basketball teams she has coached.
Growing up in Downey, Kathy attended Father Ernest Sillers’ church from the age of ten. Kathy earned a Bachelor of Arts in education from University of Southern California as well as a Life Teaching Credential. But she did not immediately enter a classroom as a teacher. Rather, Kathy lived in London for a year and worked in international banking. When she moved back to southern California, she ran into a classmate from USC who told her that Father Ern, as Kathy refers to him, had opened a school. She interviewed with him and within a couple of weeks joined the St. Margaret’s Episcopal School community in its fourth year. Kathy recalls the early years of St. Margaret’s feeling like a small, family-oriented school which she loved. With the school currently in its 31st year, Kathy says, “We’ve grown
and have still been able to keep the family involvement and the focus on students being the center of our school. It’s a little bit harder to do with this many students and families, but we’re still keeping the center, the core value of family.” Whether teaching in the Lower School or the Middle School, Kathy always strives to make learning fun for her students. “While I know I run my class in a relatively structured format, humor is also a big part. I want kids to not only learn math, but I also want them to have fun doing it.” Her classroom is inviting and offers students the opportunity to be creative and develop projects around areas that are of interest to them. Recently, for example, her grade 6 math students opened their own businesses and used technology to sell their products. Her goal was to bring math alive in the business world. She also appeals to students by connecting math with sports. “When I present a lesson such as graphing, I’ll relate the concept to football. I do goalposts for A and B coordinates. The kids know I love sports. I love football most of all. I was raised on sports. My dad played football at University of California, Berkeley. My brother-in-law was an NFL football coach for 20 years with different teams and my nephew works for the Cleveland Browns. On Sunday, my family is together, and we are all watching football.”
wants her students to know that she cares about them and enjoys being with them. “They enrich my life probably more than I can enrich their lives,” she says. Middle School Principal Jeannine Clark describes Kathy as “an energetic, positive and hard working teacher and colleague who is able to demand excellence from her students through clear directions, positive encouragement and strategic support. She loves and cares for her students in all aspects of their life and is fully committed to St. Margaret’s. Kathy represents the very best of the values of our school.” Even with all of her accomplishments as a teacher, Kathy sees her greatest accomplishment as her daughter Kelsey, a “lifer” at St. Margaret’s who graduated in 2005. Kathy says that Kelsey’s work as a Special Camp for Special Kids counselor for six years and as staff for one year inspired Kelsey to work as a therapist for autistic children and to pursue a master’s degree in counseling. Much like she does with each of her students, Kathy encourages Kelsey to follow her passion, take risks and have fun along the way. ●
In addition to making learning fun, Kathy also wants each student to know that she cares about them individually. Her goal is to prepare the students to make positive, healthy decisions. “I want them to be the best they can be both personally and academically. I want to help them develop their overall character, confidence level, moral integrity, positive attitudes and personal talents.” She makes the effort to go to the different sports games after school because she
St. Margaret’s Alumni Stand Out in NCAA Division I Sports St. Margaret’s athletic program has become one of the premier athletic programs in the state. Since 1984, St. Margaret’s has won 21 team CIF Championships, 22 individual CIF Championships and 164 Academy League Championships in 23 interscholastic sports held during three seasons over the course of each school year. The athletic program is central to our school’s mission and integral to the learning process of our students. Through athletic competition, we strive to achieve the highest degree of integrity, sportsmanship, and mutual respect as we prepare our students for lives of leadership and service. Our program instills in our students a meaningful and solid foundation on which to lead healthy and productive lives. We honor and value our multi-sport athletes and take great pride in our athletic successes and the participation of our graduates at the collegiate level.
Over the years, many St. Margaret’s athletes have gone on to compete in collegiate level sports at colleges and universities nationwide. This article features three St. Margaret’s alumni who currently compete or have competed in NCAA Division I athletic programs. These athletes are just a sampling of the talented students who carry with them Tartan pride.
In 2008, Suzie was presented with the Francis J. Toland Community Service Award, given annually to the senior athlete who has made the most outstanding contribution to Harvard and its neighboring communities. In 2010, Suzie was named Harvard’s women’s volleyball assistant coach. “I tried to do my research coming into this position by reading the words of John Wooden, Coach K and Phil Jackson, but nothing has shaped my ways of coaching as much as the coaches I had when I played,” said Suzie. “To me, Coach Susie Maga was a coach I wanted to work hard for. Her energy level is something that is always in the back of my mind when I am coaching and I try and mimic that in our practices at Harvard.”
Suzie Trimble Suzie Trimble, Class of 2004, graduated from Harvard University in 2008 as one of the most decorated players in the history of the university’s womens’ volleyball team. A two-time captain, Suzie earned All-Ivy League second-team honors as a junior and as a senior and led the team in hitting during her senior season. She currently holds Harvard’s record for career block assists, stands eighth all-time at Harvard for career kills and has the seventh-highest career kills per game average.
While at St. Margaret’s, Suzie excelled at volleyball. In 2004, she received the St. Margaret’s Coaches Award, Academy League Most Valuable Player and CIF Most Valuable Player. In 2003, she was first-team All-League and All-CIF and in 2002 she was second team All-League. “My time at St. Margaret’s played a large role in my success as a student-athlete in college,” said Suzie. “My experience in high school trained me to manage my time well off the court with the chief principle of academics first. I looked for schools with the same philosophy when applying to college.”
Michael Duenes Michael Duenes, Class of 2007, played football, basketball, soccer and lacrosse while at St. Margaret’s. He lettered all four years in lacrosse, was a member of the State Championship team in 2005, named an All-American in 2007, lettered three years in football and two years in soccer, was second-team All-State football selection in 2006 and named football division MVP that same year. Michael is currently a senior, a member of Cadet Squadron 2 and playing and excelling at lacrosse at the United States Air Force Academy. When asked what he liked most about playing at St. Margaret’s and what he likes most about playing at the Air Force Academy, he explained, “At The Academy, the coaches understand the players are not there purely to play lacrosse. The end goal is success on the field and raising Air Force officers of character after graduation. The St. Margaret’s lacrosse community genuinely cares about the well-being of the players. The coaches emphasize playing with honor and respect for the game and your opponents. The lessons they teach on the field easily translate to how young men should carry themselves in life.” “The coaches at St. Margaret’s are of the highest caliber. The lessons they taught me on and off the field have directly influenced where I am today,” said Michael.
Christina Hart Christina Hart, Class of 2010, played and lettered in varsity soccer and varsity volleyball all four years she attended St. Margaret’s Upper School. She was the captain of St. Margaret’s girls’ soccer team as a senior and was a three-time recipient of the Tartan Heart Award. Now, Christina is a star midfielder on University of Pennsylvania’s Ivy League Champion womens’ soccer team. “I feel that St. Margaret’s prepared me for collegiate level sports in the sense that I learned many leadership skills that are key to being a good teammate and helps others feel comfortable in a game or practice situation,” said Christina. “At St. Margaret’s, there was a sense of small community that was essential in the creation of close bonds between the students and coaches. It was one thing to know a student in the academic sense, but it was also great to interact with them in the athletic arena. I cherished the fact that I could see different personalities of my friends and newly made friends.” As a freshman joining Penn’s soccer team, Christina was introduced to an immediate support system and friends that she feels she will have for a lifetime. She enjoys the competitiveness on the field and also “being in an atmosphere where being an athlete is highly regarded, but academics are still the main priority.” “It has been relieving to come from a college-preparatory school like St. Margaret’s because I have been exposed to rigorous academic schedules and classes that have allowed me to not be completely blindsided in college,” said Christina. Christina said that she feels being a student-athlete at St. Margaret’s taught her the value of time management and that there were always teachers available to help with school work whenever needed. “Being an athlete my whole life has been so integral in who I have become as a person. Besides the hard work mentality and competitiveness, I have been taught the leadership, patience, determination and resilience characteristics that are so important to not only a successful athletic career, but also to a successful life,” said Christina. “I think it’s very important to be involved with extracurricular activities outside of the classroom because it bonds you with others and teaches you life skills that you may not always be exposed to in school.”
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Sarah Holmes (Baird) Sarah is married to Daniel Holmes and they have two boys, Sean (12) and Nathaniel (9). They live in beautiful Arvada, Colorado, just minutes from Denver. Sarah is currently a preschool teacher and is looking forward to seeing everyone at the 20-year reunion in June.
Ashlea Scott Meggers Ashlea lives in Marina del Rey with her husband Albert. The newest edition to their family is Winston Sinclair, who was born on August 30, 2010. He joins big brother Quincy (2). Ashlea is an attorney and exclusively represents insurance policy holders in legal disputes. She is also enjoying serving as the president of the Tartan Alumni Association.
Zachary M. Oliver Dr. Zachary M. Oliver Ed.D. is an organizational leader, scholar and instructor. Currently program chair for the College of Business and the College of Undergraduate Studies at Argosy University-Hawaii, Zachary works to develop interested learners into successful professionals. He lives in Honolulu, Hawaii, with his wife and two children. Zachary is also the author of Falling but Fulfilled, a book about education reform in America.
................................ Rob Miltner Rob recently completed his Master of Business Administration from the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Business. During Rob’s part-time program, he chose an emphasis in marketing and strategic management. Additionally, he transitioned from his role as special markets consultant for Novartis AG to international product manager at St. Jude Medical working on implanted defibrillators (CRT-D’s). At the end of 2009, Rob completed his first Ironman race in Madison, Wisconsin—he survived and actually enjoyed the experience. Rob currently lives in St. Paul, Minnesota, with his wife Katie and daughter Murphy.
Jordan Reisenweber Jordan married Aubrey Knappenberger on August 21, 2010 at the beautiful Montage Resort in Laguna Beach. Jordan and Aubrey are enjoying the beach lifestyle while living in Santa Monica where they both work in digital ad sales. Jordan is an account executive at MOG Music Network and Aubrey is an account executive at MTV Networks, specifically for ComedyCentral.com. The two met while studying advertising their senior year at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. Alison Austin On June 6, 2010, Alison graduated from University of California, Los Angeles School of Dentistry with her doctorate in dental surgery.
..................................................................... N OTA B L E Kelly Dooley Since graduating from St. Margaret’s in 2001, Kelly Dooley has been very busy. She earned a bachelor’s degree in print journalism from Boston University, a master’s degree in media, culture and communication studies from New York University and started her own business. “I’ve always wanted my own company and I’ve always been very creative, so even though I didn’t have my company concept when I finished school, in my heart, I always knew that I’d be a creator and an entrepreneur,” said Kelly. Kelly’s creative and entrepreneurial skills have driven her to launch a top women’s athletic apparel company called BodyRock Sport. She started developing BodyRock Sport in 2009 and officially launched the company in January 2010. “There was a serious void in the market for fashionable fitness apparel that is also functional and versatile. I really wanted to create a collection that makes women look and feel beautiful 24/7. As an avid runner, I have always searched for sports bras that were equally flattering and functional, but I never found anything that was perfect. My inability to find exactly what I wanted sparked the idea for BodyRock Sport,” said Kelly. In one year, Kelly’s company has grown exponentially and become a brand known worldwide. In 2010, BodyRock Sport created the world’s most expensive sports bra called The Trenta Bra. Major media outlets reported on the success of the bra, including the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune,
New York Post, the Tampa Tribune, SELF magazine and hundreds more. And, in September 2010, Kelly held her first fashion show which aired on Taxi Cab TV and MSNBC. “In 2010, I also became highly involved in Breast Cancer Awareness month. I collaborated with Susan Sarandon’s SPIN Club in New York City and raised nearly $8,000 for Carol M. Baldwin’s Breast Cancer Research Foundation,”said Kelly. “Two-thousand eleven is also off to a great start. I recently collaborated with S Factor for a special event, which will mark my debut on national television. It is being aired on TV Guide Network, and I am the model/fitness/fashion expert. BodyRock will also be featured on MTV’s MADE in early 2011.” As Kelly continues to grow BodyRock Sport through the development of new product lines, she is also beginning a new adventure. In August 2010, her now fiancé Andrew proposed to her outside a villa in Italy. They are planning a July 2012 wedding. “One of St. Margaret’s best qualities is its ability to push people beyond their limits, to encourage students to take on endeavors that may seem impossible to achieve. At St. Margaret’s, I learned that great achievement requires great risk and hard work. Without the self-confidence, leadership and determination to succeed that was planted in me throughout my years at St. Margaret’s, I am not sure where I would be. St. Margaret’s provided me with all of the tools that are necessary to succeed in life,” said Kelly.
Class of 2001, Continued
Monique Kettler On July 17, 2010, Monique married Kurt Siebenthal at St. Edward Church in Dana Point. The reception was held at the Dana Point Ocean Institute where they celebrated with friends and family, including St. Margaret’s alumni Lindsay Stump Eres, Jared Kettler and Sara Kettler in the wedding party. Monique recently received her doctorate degree in physical therapy from the University of Colorado and is currently working in an orthopedic and sports medicine clinic. Monique and Kurt are enjoying married life in Denver, Colorado, with their yellow Labrador puppy, Besa May. Omar Shaban Omar is working on completing his Master of Business Administration at the University of Notre Dame, and is currently spending his second quarter studying abroad in Santiago, Chile. While in South America, Omar will also visit Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil and Patagonia near the Antarctic Peninsula.
Anthony Smith Anthony’s travels and adventures have taken him through a tour in the military, studying in Mexico, living in New York City, Alabama, Ohio and California as well as spending time on his sailboat. Along the way, he has been a lifeguard, children’s counselor, nursing aid and a computer tech. He now builds custom computers and is the founder of CoolTechSpot. He met his wife while living in Ohio. They were married on March 23, 2010. Clay Westrope Clay is currently working as the food security and livelihoods impact advisor for the International Non-Governmental Organizations Mercy Corps' U.S. Agency for International Development-funded Tajikistan Stability Enhancement Program (TSEP) in Tajikistan until April 2011. Clay works in all three regions of the program in more than 50 villages. After he returns to the U.S. this spring, Clay will graduate from Brandeis University with a master’s in sustainable international development.
................................ Jessica Bennett (Pakzad) Jessica graduated from the Marshall School of Business at University of Southern California in 2006 and moved home to Orange County to begin her career in the family business at Ebanista, a nationwide chain of high-end home furnishings showrooms. After four years of running their operations and accounting department, she decided it was time to fulfill the dream of owning her own business and started Jessica Bennett Interiors, Inc., a residential interior design firm focused on bringing accessible interior design to young professionals and families. On August 7, 2009 Jessica married Matthew Bennett on the cliffs of Crystal Cove State Park surrounded by their immediate families. Jessica and Matthew currently live in Newport Beach with their two (four-legged) babies, Lola and Chloe.
Christopher Brown For three years, Chris was the managing editor of the FOX TV series “America’s Most Wanted” before starting a digital public affairs practice. In January 2010, his company was acquired by the lobbying firm Quinn Gillespie & Associates, where he is now a partner. He lives in Washington, D.C.
Briana Kalajian Briana graduated from Brooks Institute of Photography in 2005 with a degree in industrial scientific photography. Today, she co-owns her own business, Shoots & Giggles Photography, specializing in documentary-style family, children, newborn and birth photography. In November 2010, Briana married her college sweetheart, Brian, among the trees in Temecula joined by family and friends. Briana and Brian currently live in Los Angeles with their two Boston terriers.
Melinda Brown In June 2006, Melinda Brown graduated with honors from University of California, Davis, and was presented with a departmental award in history. She managed to complete her college course requirements in four years, despite four hospitalizations, twice in cardiac intensive care. Melinda has regained her health and zip-lined her way through the rainforests of Costa Rica in 2008 with her husband, Eric Crubaugh, following their November 7 wedding. They returned to Orange County and recently purchased a home in Aliso Viejo. Chosen for its strategic location, Melinda need only turn a couple of corners to get to her job at Pacific Life Insurance Company, while Eric travels a few more miles to Mazda Corporation in Irvine.
Hugh Parker Second Lieutenant Hugh Parker United States Marine Corps, graduated from the University of San Diego in 2008. He was the recipient of an Army achievement medal for his superior performance of duty at the six-month long Field Artillery Basic Officer Leader Course at Fort Sill Oklahoma in November 2010. While at Fort Sill, Hugh won three of the top four honor graduate awards, including the class’ Distinguished Honor Graduate Award (the overall number one student in the class of 150 officers). Hugh has been assigned to the 5th Battalion, 11th Marines at Camp Pendleton. He reported for duty at Camp Pendleton in January 2011.
Amanda Rufi Cole Amanda recently received a Master of Fine Arts in fiction writing from the University of Virginia and is teaching at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa. Her short stories have appeared in The Adirondack Review and Hubris Magazine. Amanda’s first novel, The Violin Face, was published serially by Seizure. Her second novel, Bunny Lampert, is due to release soon and she is currently working on her third novel, Land of Shells.
Sebastian Bacon Sebastian graduated from University of California, Los Angeles in 2010 with a degree in psychology. He was awarded magna cum laude and psychology honors.
Paige Selby Paige was elected president of the Delta Gamma Sorority at the University of Southern California for 2011. Paige manages the sorority’s chapter management team of 41 vice presidents and directors, and she is looking forward to the many exciting events her team has planned for the upcoming year. In addition to her sorority activities, Paige is active in USC student government and volunteers in educational programs for underprivileged children. Paige is a junior at USC and studying industrial and systems engineering. She plans to stay at USC to get her master’s degree in the same field of study.
Cody Tucker This past summer, Cody went to Oregon to work as a field organizer for the Democratic Party of Oregon where he recruited volunteers in an effort to re-elect Kurt Schrader to the U.S. House of Representatives and former Governor John Kitzhaber. After the mid-term election in November, Cody was offered the legislative correspondent position on Congressman Schrader's team. Cody loves his job, the history he works around every day in the U.S. Capitol and the work he’s doing for the fifth district of Oregon.
................................ Sydney Matthews Sydney graduated from New York University in 2009 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in drama and is currently living in Manhattan. Since graduation, Sydney has helped start and run multiple non-profit theater companies, namely Pipeline Theatre Company in New York and Fabrefaction Theatre Company in Atlanta. In addition to acting, she has also been producing, writing and composing for plays in the area.
................................ During their break from college, Will Travis, Spencer Corwin and Bobby Keith cheered on the boys’ and girls’ cross country teams at the State Finals in Fresno.
Arek Melkonian In November 2010, the University of California, Los Angeles Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry held its annual awards ceremony. The awards are typically given to graduate students for their teaching and research accomplishments, but there are two awards reserved for undergraduates. This year, one of the undergraduate awards, the Stone Prize, was awarded to Arek for the highest GPA and the most rigorous coursework of a first-year student. He was chosen out of the 1,200 undergraduates majoring in chemistry and biochemistry at UCLA. The award is very prestigious and Arek is honored to be recognized for his hard work and dedication.
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Ian Thomas Ian and St. Margaret’s classmate and alumnus Kristian Kiraly are the founders of software development company KKIT Creations, which just celebrated its first anniversary this past January. Ian and Kristian started developing iPhone applications during their Independent Senior Projects at St Margaret’s. They are very proud that one of their apps was among the first ever available for the iPad. Combined, their applications have been downloaded by more than 6,000 people in 50 countries. As the company grows, they are excited to be working in and shaping the field of mobile computing. This is one of the most thrilling, dynamic and competitive realms to be in and they look forward to becoming one of its leaders.
A L U M N I
U P DAT E S
Parents of Alumni (PAL)
On Saturday, May 8, 2010, guests gathered under a grand white tent on the Lower School field for the first Parents of Alumni Luncheon, chaired by Barbara Massrey and Susan Purel. Guests enjoyed a wonderful reception with a sit down luncheon along with remarks from Headmaster Marcus D. Hurlbut and PAL Board President Barbara Massrey. After lunch, guests were invited to take a tour of the campus and see our newest buildings along with previewing plans for our next project, the new Performing Arts Center and Middle School. Special thanks to our planning committee for putting together a wonderful afternoon: Beth Adamany, Choo Choo Boyer, Kathy Brown, Patty Canright, Peggy Day, Lulu Hallenbeck, Karen Kushner, Barbara Massrey, Denise McGraw, Arzu Osborne, Susan Purel,Vicki Sutro and Carolyn Westendorf. Stay informed by logging on to www.smes.org/PAL for our latest programs and events. Make sure to join our group on Facebook “St. Margaret’s Episcopal School Parents of Alumni.”
Christmas Party On Wednesday, December 15, 2010, more than 100 alumni and their guests gathered at the St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort for the first St. Margaret’s Alumni Christmas Party. The evening was a great time for alumni to reconnect with old classmates and meet new friends. As the evening drew to a close, Headmaster Marcus D. Hurlbut and several alumni remained sitting by the fire exchanging stories of old times at St. Margaret’s. If you were unable to join us this year, we hope to see you at the next alumni event. Stay connected and informed, log on to www.smes.org/Alumni
Boys Varsity Basketball Over the years, the basketball program has become a family of guys who keep in touch and gather in the summer to play basketball together. They have also come together on Thanksgiving weekends for the past 13 years for an official scrimmage with the St. Margaret’s varsity basketball team. The momentum of this year’s game was decided in the first six minutes as the undersized varsity boys showed that they could hit the three-point shot. The alumni, with superior strength and size, made a fierce charge back in the fourth quarter to get within two points before having to foul intentionally. The game ended with the varsity boys taking home a win (56-48).
Girls Varsity Soccer Marisa Yanez (Class of 2007) scored a hat trick including a goal in extra time to rally the Tartan alumni in a 4-4 thriller. Junior midfielder McCaully Patch scored first to put the varsity up 1-0 early in the match. After Yanez scored her first goal, the varsity responded by unleashing sophomore forward Regan Anderson, who scored a hat trick of her own to give the varsity a commanding 4-1 lead. Coach Marmelstein, playing for the alumni, would start the comeback for the graduates early in the second half, as he was left undefended outside of the 18-yard box and chipped the goalkeeper to lead the riposte! Yanez would then score two more goals to even the score to 4-4. With time waning, Alex Dreyer (Class of 2008) had a golden opportunity to finish off the varsity only to see her well taken shot just miss wide. The match was an entertaining, back-and-forth affair, with both teams shaking off the Christmas vacation rust to make a match of it. Congratulations to both teams on a terrific game to watch!
Boys Varsity Soccer It was a great day for the St. Margaret’s boys’ soccer program as alumni from multiple classes returned to campus to take on current soccer team members. The alumni were led by Elmer Flores, who scored two great goals. Sophomore Sebastian Borsay led the Upper School students with a brilliant hat trick. The final score was 4-3, with the alumni losing for the first time in seven years. The boys’ soccer team would like to thank all the alumni for playing and please come back next year for another great game.
L O O K I N G
F O RWA R D
This spring, a school-wide collaboration will transform a small plot of land in the northeast corner of St. Margaret’s campus into a school garden and outdoor classroom that will combine science, environmental stewardship, literacy, sociology and social development and service learning with students from every division. The garden and greenhouse program will involve hands-on projects to cultivate and grow plants, herbs, fruits and vegetables to produce a harvest for ongoing donations to our local food bank, Father Serra’s Food Pantry, and potentially run a St. Margaret’s farm stand. School gardens allow students to experience and witness scientific systems in harmony with one another and cultivate food in a tangible way. St. Margaret’s has partnered with professional gardener Ryan Wanamaker at Camp Stevens Episcopal Camp and Conference Center in Julian, Calif. where ecological and sustainable best practices are a fundamental way of life.
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The Pursuit of Passions
thinking maps in the lower school alumni stand out in ncaa division i sports
“. . . to educate the hearts and minds of young people for lives of learning, leadership and service.”
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day in the life of upper school
St. Margaret’s Episcopal School 31641 La Novia San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675-2752