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Community News Service at Home and Around the World Bike, Bond and Build Trip Brings the Community Together for a Shared Purpose

S C H O O L Fall 2009

Table of Contents

Community News is a publication for the alumni, faculty, parents, students, and other friends past and present who make up the many communities of Sandy Spring Friends School. Published twice a year by the Advancement Office: Karl Gedge Assistant Head for External Relations

Message from Ken Smith, Head of School 1 New Faculty and Staff, 2009-2010 2 Summer ESL Program Launches, by KB Beck 4 Middle School International Summer Trips ¡Pura Vida! MS Costa Rican Trip, by Kip Kelley 6 A Cultural Adventure in France, by Liz Donelson 7 A Tradition of Service 8 Summer Service Trips Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, by Karen Cumberbatch 9 Biking, Bonding and Building, by Alison Baker 11 Bike, Bond and Build Trip, by David Hickson 15 News Around Campus New SSFS Entrance, by Jan Smith 16 Highlights from Upper, Middle, and Lower Schools 17 Community Day 18 Alumni Spotlight: Ellen Prentiss Campbell ‘71 19 Alumni Notes 20

Judy Averbach Director of the Annual Fund Anne Ball Marketing Consultant Dave Burgevin Archivist Sarah Margolis Marketing Consultant Mary Mazzuca Director of Alumni Relations Margaret Rosser Director of External Communications



© 2009 Sandy Spring Friends School 16923 Norwood Road Sandy Spring, Maryland 20860 301.774.7455

Call to the SSFS Community:

Cover: The Bike, Build, and Bond riders take a break and take in the view on the Pittsburgh-Cumberland Trail. See Bike, Bond, and Build article on page 11. Photo by David Hickson.

We are pleased to offer stories from SSFS alumni, faculty, and staff in this issue of the Community News. We welcome articles, comments, suggestions, and letters for future issues. Please note that we reserve editorial judgment on all content and material. Should you be interested in submitting a piece for publication, please contact Karl Gedge, Assistant Head for External Relations at

Message from the Head of School Friends, I am particularly pleased to share this issue of the Community News as it focuses on service. As you all know, service is at the very heart of the Quaker value system. While many schools these days require community service for graduation, Quaker schools were among the first to do so, and, in my opinion, do it the best. At SSFS, we find service in many forms: service to the community, service to the school, and even service around the world. But no matter what form service takes, it is derived from the desire to give of one’s self for the betterment of others. You can imagine how proud I am of the Sandy Spring Friends School community as I flip through an early draft of this Community News and read all the examples of people “giving of one’s self for the betterment of others.” I know other schools have service programs, some required and some volunteer, but I cannot help but feel that ours really comes from the heart, not only because of our Quaker tradition, but because it is a part of each individual student’s psyche. Every student has grown up recognizing service as an integral part of what it means to let our lives speak. Quakers have been focused on service for over 300 years; consequently, I find service has become the norm in our students’ lives, rather than the exception. This year, Dorothy Leissa takes on a new leadership role as the Upper School Community Service Coordinator. She follows in the footsteps of many, notably Sue Moody and, most recently, Alison Baker, who have built our far-reaching service program. I hope that you will enjoy reading about service at Sandy Spring Friends School today, and that it just might inspire you to join us, either physically or in spirit, to give of yourself for the betterment of others in this way. Please be sure to check out the following: • Read about some of the SSFS signature service events on page 8. Come join us. • See page 9 to learn about our new summer service trips and particularly, what Springers were up to in the Galapagos Islands. • How does one school build another school half a world away? See page 11 to be awed by what a dedicated group of Springers did! Within these covers you will find these testimonies to service and many others. I hope these will give you a sense of how important service is at Sandy Spring Friends School. I know many of our alumni have made significant commitments to service in their own lives. Our alumni department would love to hear about those commitments as an inspiration to us all. May service from the heart continue to spread throughout the world. Faithfully,

Ken Smith Head of School Fall 2009


New Faculty and Staff for 2009-2010 In the Upper School:

In the Middle School:

Alumnus David Jones ’03 returns to the campus after earning his degree in Spanish and English from Bowdoin College (where he spent a semester in Argentina) as an intern teacher of Spanish 1 and a coach in the Middle and Upper School athletic program. He continues his interests in hiking and camping that were honed at SSFS, and lives on campus as a member of the dormitory staff.

Alex KahnJohnston joins the Middle School’s foreign language department following her position last year as the Upper School Spanish Teaching Fellow here at SSFS. This is her second year living on campus as a member of the dormitory staff. Alex earned her BA in Spanish Literature from Dickinson College, spending a year abroad in Málaga, Spain. In addition to teaching Spanish, Alex enjoys theatre and history – interests she put to good use last year as the stage manager for the Community Play.

Michele Lee joins the English Department from Hebron Academy in Maine, and is a part of the 9th grade team, living on campus as a member of the dormitory staff. Michele earned her BA in English literature from Williams College and is currently working on her master’s degree through the Bread Loaf School at Middlebury College in Vermont. Michele speaks Korean and Mandarin, is an artist and pianist, and is training for her private pilot’s license.


In the Lower School: RuthAnne Gregory joins the Fifth Grade team this year teaching math and science. She comes from Roland Park Country School in Baltimore, Maryland, where she taught for 11 years. RuthAnne earned her BS in Fine Arts from Howard University in Washington, D.C., and a Master of Arts in Teaching from Queens College in Charlotte, North

Carolina. She enjoys writing - especially poetry - and she is currently working on publishing her poems and other literary works. She also enjoys off-road hiking, traveling, reading, and spending fun times with family and friends.

In the Technology Dept: Rex Riley comes to the technology staff to help with infrastructure and to support students and faculty in both the Middle and Upper schools. He holds an MAT degree in Earth Science from the University of Virginia and a bachelor’s degree in Geology from University of Maryland. Rex is no stranger to the campus, having attended SSFS in the early 1980s, and more recently working with the Baltimore Yearly Meeting’s camping program in a variety of posts, including camp director and camping program secretary.

New Staff: Judy Averbach joined the Advancement team as the Annual Fund Director in July. She is also

SSFS Community News

the Parents Association liasion. Judy comes to SSFS most recently from Montgomery General Hospital, where she spent two years in the MGH Health Foundation as the first Grant Writer. She holds a BA from Hamilton College where she was a history major, and an M.Ed in Leadership and Policy Studies from the University of Virginia. Judy resides in Brookeville with her husband and two children. Bill Mena, Director of Auxiliary Programs, is former Director of Operations at The Kew Forest School (K-12) in Forest Hills, NY, where he also served as Dean of Students and Summer Program Director. Bill earned his bachelor’s degree at Stony Brook and his master’s degree in Organizational Leadership from Gonzaga University. He played college baseball and coached varsity baseball and basketball, and was twice named Coach of the Year. Bill and his wife Michelle have two daughters, Erin (‘14) and Jennifer, 4. Welcome to all the new faculty and staff!

When you’re an SSFS senior and you need to finish those 100 hours of community service and stewardship by the end of the first semester, who you gonna call? This year it’s Dorothy Leissa, new to the Upper School’s strong community service program, but no stranger to the School. Parent of two students at SSFS, Greta ’17 and Sophia ’15, Dorothy segues easily into her new position as Upper School Community Service Coordinator from her work as clerk of the All School Sustainability Committee. That group, composed of faculty, staff, board members, and parent and student volunteers, is responsible for bringing “green” awareness and initiatives to the SSFS community. Dorothy is an encouraging nudge who keeps the upper schoolers on track, juggling their graduation requirement needs in stewardship (on campus work), community service (off campus volunteering), and service intersessions that may be local, national or even international. This year, building on some strong organizational efforts by her predecessor Alison Baker, Dorothy is helping students utilize online sites to seek out opportunities and to track their hours. . Dorothy is never without a suggestion for service. “There’s a calendar full of opportunities,” she says. “There are lots of smaller, more local possibilities, like clearing trash from Norwood Road as part of the School’s SWAT team program, but also major events like the DC Walk for the Homeless every November. A number of our students are also making bowls and helping with setup and serving for the SSFS Empty Bowl program this year.” Raised in a Mennonite family where service is regarded as a pillar of the faith, Dorothy feels especially good about her newly-added community service position at the School. She shares her workday with responsibilities in the Maintenance Department. (“I coordinate transportation and assist in various administrative tasks,” she explains.) And she’s a bus driver as well. “Handy for driving students to community service projects,” she says with a broad smile.

Fall 2009


Summer ESL Program By KB Beck, Director of Upper School Admissions and Summer ESL Program

Students Zhenlin “Liantly” Wu (‘14) and Dong “Geoff” Qian (‘13) work on their English language skills.

held in July and August. The program’s focus was on English language development, but it also helped to provide a smooth transition ESL students visit the Lincoln Memorial at night. for students who planned to study in a U.S. independent school for the first time, and Exploring Times Square; touring historic Philadelphia with Michelle to gain a better understanding and appreciation of American culture. Obama (well sort of, on the same day and at a location close enough The International Student Program to wave to her); experiencing the (ISP) students have traditionally National Mall at night; visiting been a unique and significant part three universities; participating of our Upper School’s strong colin a uniquely American Colonial lege preparatory program. This shape-note singing tradition; summer we were pleased to be walking around Baltimore’s Inner able to offer a new six-week lanHarbor; attending a hip-hop concert at The Kennedy Center; biking guage and acculturation program for new ISP students. Classes and white-water rafting in West with an emphasis on speaking Virginia; picnicking in Harper’s Ferry Square - all in one summer to and listening were held weekday mornings in Moore Hall. remember?! Afternoon activities included a variety of learning experiences Well, that’s what 15 new Internasuch as a dancing class, a spelltional Student Program (ISP) students did (and much more!) as part ing bee, rope courses, performing a Reader’s Theater production, of our first Summer ESL (English TOEFL (English language exam) as a Second Language) Program 4

exercises, games, and interviews with Friends House residents (as part of their oral presentations on holidays celebrated in the U.S.). Other off-campus trips took the students to museums, the Columbia Mall (for opening day of the latest Harry Potter movie!), Sandy Spring Friends Meeting House for Silent Meeting, the Rockville library, and several pool parties and picnics. Elizabeth Kohmetscher, an experienced Master Degreed ESL teacher who had most recently taught ESL in Puerto Rico, but also had experience teaching in Korea and Japan, taught one class, and I taught the other class. In addition to holding my graduate degree in International Education, I have years of teaching ESL in Egypt and in the U.S. I was assisted by Michael Beck, an English major studying at Simon Fraser University (Vancouver, BC).

SSFS Community News

In an effort to balance the academic work, students enjoyed recreational activities such as bowling, basketball, walking and hikes, frisbee, and frolicking in pools and ponds - compliments of picnics held at the homes of several SSFS families. These activities were directed by Kaylee Venosky, a Seattle University student of International Relations. We were also very fortunate to have Mark Lin serve as an intern, assisting both in preparing for the summer as well as assisting in many areas with the students. Mark is a recent SSFS graduate who brought his experience of having been an “ISPer” to the program. He is currently studying at University of Delaware. Most of he Summer ESL staff lived in the dorm and shared supervision for the students. Most meals were in the Westview cafeteria. However, the students and staff also ventured out for pizza and burgers, and enjoyed some area cuisine in “Little Italy” and Chinatown. Nothing was more delicious, though, than the great meal the students cooked together at my house!

the Upper School this year for the students as a result of their Summer ESL experiences. “Their summer experiences brought them light years ahead on so many levels, not only in starting their first year of classes, but even more so in their social interaction, and increased confidence in speaking and asking questions,” Bim commented. Considering the many experiences these students had and trips they took, they certainly had plenty to share with other students about “what they did over the summer” on their first day of school. Feel free to ask and find out more from them!

Ari and Nancy Preuss teach a swing dancing class.

Students went on local excursions, visiting national monuments in Washington, DC (above), and traveled to other cities such as New York (below).

ISP co-directors Bim Schauffler and Paummi Sarrazin were instrumental in the vision and planning for our Summer ESL Program. In reflecting on the program, they commented that they, as well as other faculty members, have noticed the increased ease in transitioning into

Fall 2009


Middle School International Summer Trips

¡Pura Vida!

SSFS MS Costa Rica Trip ‘09

by Kip Kelley, former Middle School Spanish Teacher In the wee morning hours of June 15th, 30 middle school students, six teachers and two parents left the Sandy Spring Friends campus bound for an exciting eight-day cultural adventure in the cities, mountains and beaches of Costa Rica. Our journey began in the bustling metropolitan capital of San José, where students got their first taste of the Costa Rican national dish of rice and beans, gallo pinto, and became familiar with the hospitable ticos, as Costa Ricans amiably call themselves. After a quick rest, our journey took us north to Arenal, passing idyllic coffee farms along the way, to climb the Poás volcano, kayak in Costa Rica’s largest lake, Lago Arenal, and spend a relaxing afternoon in the renowned Baldi hot springs that are warmed by the local volcano.


An ascent in elevation found us in the cloud forest of Monteverde, where students explored the rainforest on a zip line hundreds of feet in the air and on horseback along the trails below. A highlight for many was the visit to the bilingual Centro de Educación Creativa (Cloud Forest School) where students explored the campus of their pen pals with whom they had corresponded over the past academic year. Some Springers even met their friends and enjoyed an informal soccer game.

of Jaco, and from there we visited the Manuel Antonio National Park. Known for its abundant wildlife, the park’s trails revealed threetoed sloths, capuchin monkeys and black spiny-tailed iguanas before delivering us to a pristine inlet where students played in the sand and swam in the waters of the Pacific.

While in Monteverde, students also aided the local community by planting a tree in the mountains, and we even held a meeting for worship in this Costa Rican community known for its Quaker roots.

The huge success of the trip was due in no small part to the phenomenal tour guide, diligent faculty, and vivacious students. While sad to depart, we all left with what gives Costa Rica its peaceful reputation: the “pure life.” ¡Pura Vida!

Our final night found us back in the capital city for a folkloric evening where students ate, sang and danced the night away.

Our descent from the mountains took us to the Pacific Coast town

SSFS Community News

A Cultural Adventure in France by Liz Donelson, Middle School French Teacher This past June, seven eighth graders, one seventh grader, one brave parent, and two teachers from SSFS headed to France for an eightday cultural adventure. We landed in Paris on the morning of June 16 and were immediately greeted by our wonderfully funny and knowledgeable tour guide, Franz. After checking in to our comfortable hotel in the small town of Malakoff just to the south of Paris, we immediately headed to the Latin Quarter for the first of many walking tours. And walk all week we did! We visited the Arc de Triomphe, strolled the Champs-Elysées, climbed up the Eiffel Tower (yes, all the way up!), munched on sandwiches on the steps of the Opera House, gazed at the beautiful stained-glass windows of Notre Dame, and spent a morning at the Musée d’Orsay, among other famous Parisian sights. We also explored the narrow streets of the Latin Quarter and tested our French – and our bargaining skills – at some local outdoor markets. Dinners included a crêperie in the artists’ quarter of Montmartre and ratatouille at a typical bistro near Notre Dame. Délicieux! On day five we hopped on a high-speed TGV train to Nice for a change of scenery and a taste of the slower pace of life the south of France. Outings in and near Nice included a walking tour of the old city, an excursion to the nearby town of Eze to visit the perfume factory, and a trip to Monaco to see the palace and witness the daily changing of the guard. No trip to the Côte D’Azur would be complete without hitting the beach at least once. On the last day, after a jaunt to Italy for lunch, we stopped in the town of Menton to hang out on the sandy beach. Sandy Spring students swam with French teens and even played soccer on the beach while practicing French language skills. Back in Nice that evening, the twenty-first of June, we danced, listened to music and people-watched at the annual Fête de la Musique (Festival of Music) that celebrates the arrival of summer and the longest day of the year. What a fitting end to our wonderful week! Fall 2009


A Tradition of Service

There are many long-standing traditions at SSFS that provide service to others, such as service intersessions. Sandy Spring Friends School continues to develop new traditions and events to serve the community, as well, such as the Summer Service Trips that are featured on the following pages. Below are some other projects and events that have become part of our school calendar in recent years. Green Cup Challenge SSFS participated with 14 other independent schools in the Washington, DC area in the Day School Green Challenge 2009. In this student-driven interschool challenge, schools measured and tried to reduce campus electricity use and greenhouse gas emissions, supported greening efforts including recycling and water conservation, and raised awareness about climate change and resource conservation. 8

March for the Homeless Traditionally held on the Saturday before Thanksgiving, the Walk for the Homeless in downtown Washington, DC, raises hundreds of thousands of dollars to support programs for the homeless and hungry. SSFS participation in this walk continues to increase each year. PA Spaghetti Dinner This event alternates years with Empty Bowl night. Donations of canned goods are the entrance fee for this dinner, and the food collected is donated to local food banks. Empty Bowl Night Several times a year, Lower School art teacher Kate Santorineos opens up her room in the Art Barn and provides space, clay, and comraderie so that SSFS community members may make handcrafted and handpainted bowls. On Empty Bowl night, which occurs every other year, guests are served a

delicious vegetable soup in handmade ceramic bowls in exchange for a donation to fight hunger. Guests keep their bowls as reminders of the Empty Bowl Project and those around the world who face hunger. Donations from the evening are given to organizations that fight hunger. Caring for Casseroles The Parent Association’s Community Service Committee provides recipes and aluminum pans, and community members make and freeze casseroles. They bring the casseroles back to campus, and the PA delivers them to the Men’s Emergency Shelter in Rockville and Shepherd’s Table in Silver Spring. Linus Blankets Brightly colored, cozy, hand- fringed blankets are made by our SSFS community and donated to the Child/Life Department of the John’s Hopkins Children’s Center.

SSFS Community News

Summer Service Trips Summer Service Trips began two summers ago at the initiative of Alison Baker, who had just become the Upper School Community Service Coordinator. Alison was looking for ways to build up the service program and to offer opportunities for students to get involved in service in deep and meaningful ways. Meanwhile, ninth grade teacher Scott Carneal had just returned from South Africa, where he had helped set up athletic programs for children in a small village there; he shared Alison’s vision, and hoped to return to South Africa with SSFS students the following summer. Recognizing the importance of offering a variety of program experiences so that any student could get involved, two other trips were added: Director of the ISP Program Bim Schauffler ‘74 led a trip to Logan, West Viriginia, to help build housing for low-income families, and English teacher Clare MacKenzie led a trip to Honduras. A Middle School summer service trip was added as well. This year, three new Upper School programs were offered: a three-day community service trip in downtown DC led by science teacher Elisa Shapiro, a trip to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands led by Assistant Head of the Upper School Karen Cumberbatch and science teacher Takisha Reece, and the Bike, Bond, and Build trip led by Upper School Head David Hickson.

Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands by Karen Cumberbatch, Assistant Head of the Upper School the majority of the time viewing and learning about the amazing ecosystem and actively working to protect it. The students had the opportunity to view land tortoises, blue-footed boobies, sea lions, finches, pink flamingos, Galapagos penguins, chameleons, and lizards, among a host of other species. One of the highlights of our sightseeing was the trip to Las Tintorias where the group snorkeled among the coral reefs and toured the wildlife living among the hardened lava remains. Students and staff at the Charles Darwin Research Station.

This summer twelve Upper School students traveled to Ecuador to participate in a transformative summer service experience. For 12 days, these students with two faculty chaperones engaged in a series of community service, cultural, and sightseeing activities where they Fall 2009

were exposed to the beauty and hospitality of both mainland Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands. The first six days were spent mainly on Isabela Island, one of the few islands in the Galapagos that is populated. Here, the group spent

While on Isabela, the students worked with the Galapagos National Park Service in one of their giant tortoise sanctuaries, where they had the opportunity to view and work among 100-year-old tortoises as they prepared to lay their eggs. Our students cleaned the enclosed living areas, and were also instrumental in working to preserve trees that provided adaquate shading for the 9

Summer Service Trip: Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands tortoises before laying their eggs. En route from Isabela to our home stays in the highlands of Ecuador, we spent a day in Quito, the Science teacher Takisha capitol, Reece with one of the where we island’s distinguished toured the inhabitants. historic district and visited the famous “Panesillo,� or statue of Virgin Mary, that stands on a hill overlooking old town. This city, dating from the 1500s, was filled with impressive examples of Renaissance architecture in one section of the city and equally impressive examples of contemporary buildings in another. By far, however, the most meaningful part of the trip took place when we reached the village of San Clemente. Located in the highlands, this Spanish and Quechua-speaking village is home to approximately 150 indigenous families who continue to live and work in traditional ways as farmers and artisans. The people of San Clemente welcomed our group into their homes, and we spent four days learning about their culture and working side by side on a community service project building covered trash receptacles. The generosity and openness with which they shared their daily existence with us was amazing. Conversing almost exclusively in 10

Spanish, albeit somewhat broken on our part, we all exchanged information about our lives. They were as interested to hear about the lives of students in the U.S. as we were to learn about them. Our group was split up among the various homes of the residents and each set of students was encouraged to participate in the daily activities of the family. Some learned farming techniques and cultivated corn or other crops, some milked or fed cows, while others helped cook the family meals, or learned to wash clothes by hand. The amount of work the villagers completed each day was a stark contrast to the relatively easy lives of the students. Although more difficult in some ways, many students remarked that the lives of the inhabitants seemed more real and meaningful. Each member of the community could take pride in the work that they were able to accomplish using their own labor and ingenuity. During our visit, the community was preparing for its annual festival called the Inti Raymi celebrating the coming harvest. As a result, students were able to witness and participate in the preparations for this huge multi-day event which includes all-night dancing in homes and a huge feast featuring cui or guinea pig. In addition to spending time visiting with host families, the students also worked with several members of the community to build public trash cans. They worked collectively to fashion the wooden structures from rough hewn logs using hatchets and hammers. After dig-

ging large holes, the students then cemented the receptacles in place along the main road through town. Although the work was difficult, the students successfully completed five receptacles. Students and members of the community then set about picking up the trash from the sides of the road to christen them. This work, however, seemed an inadequate exchange for all that we had been given. Our visit to San Clement culminated in a final feast where the entire community came to say goodbye. After showcasing several traditional dances, the leaders of the community thanked us for the contributions we had made to the village, and we expressed our appreciation for all that they had shared with us. Although a somewhat bittersweet evening, it was heartening to witness the students deliver their heartfelt messages as they spoke about the impact the visit had upon them. The next morning, there were tears, hugs, and promises to keep in touch as we left the village. Although we left Ecuador physically exhausted from the work and travel, everyone agreed that the experience was transformative. Students who had never spoken Spanish before were now able to converse in the language. Students anxious about international travel were now culturally competent. Students who had never thought about the implications of their lives in the United States, now had a better understanding of all that they had and all that they were missing. No one left the trip untouched by the beauty of the country and its people. SSFS Community News

Biking, Bonding, and Building: A Community Effort by Alison Baker, former Upper School Community Service Coordinator

What do you do with 56,000 pennies? That was just one of the many unconventional questions raised during our year-long endeavor at SSFS to collect funds to build a school in Pakistan. At the end of the project, the community had collected over 56,000 pennies, bicycled over 6,175 miles and raised over $20,000. One individual’s determination to make the world a better place became our guiding force to “let our lives speak.” “What’s the story?” After reading Greg Mortenson’s book Three Cups of Tea the summer before last, I was taken by the simplicity, courage and impact of his story dedicated to helping others. I quickly found out that the book resonated with other students and faculty, as well. One of those was David Hickson, Upper School Head, who was inspired to use Mortenson’s tale as a springboard for meaningful work. Encouraged by the positive impact that Mortenson had upon an important world issue, we began to discuss ways to develop a project that dovetailed with so many of our stated missions here at SSFS: service, peaceful resolution of conflict, education, and outreach. Three Cups of Tea was given to me on my birthday by my son Richard (’08), who thought it was one of the best books he’d ever read. It reFall 2009

Madison Stebbins ‘10 pours pennies from a Pennies for Peace collection bottle into a wheelbarrow on SSFS Service Day last spring.

counts the story of how the author was nursed back to health in a Pakistani village after a failed attempt to climb to the top of K2. Indebted to the village for his life, Mortenson promised to return to build a school for their community. Back at home, he sold all his belongings and sent out appeals to raise money for the school, but the best success from his fundraising efforts came not from celebrities, but from elementary school children, who raised hundreds of dollars by bringing their pennies in to school. Inspired by the efforts of these children, more adults became involved as well, and soon Mortenson was able to come through with his promise to build a bridge and a school for the people who had become his cherished friends. His first school led to 77 more, giving children living in remote and often war-torn areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan a muchneeded and valued education.

Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin’s book that inspired the idea for the Bike, Build and Bond trip.

“What can we do to help?” David, an avid bike-rider, was thinking about organizing a bikea-thon to raise funds for Mortenson’s organization, the Central Asia Institute (CAI). At the time, I was considering options for our newlyfounded Upper School Summer Service Trips. From a spontaneous brain-storming session in the fall, we developed a plan for a weeklong summer bike trip through the mountains of Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Maryland, where participants would sign up pledges for their bike-a-thon miles. With David leading the trip, we put out the offer to Upper School students, many of whom had also read Three Cups and were eager to help. The challenge was met with enthusiasm: 23 community members – students, faculty, parents and alumni – signed up, and the trip was a go! 11

Biking, Bonding, and Building The Ripple Effect by Christy Stebbins, parent of Madison Stebbins, ‘10 As the checks continued to come in from those who made pledges for the Bike, Bond and Build trip, I was continually touched by the ripple effect of this effort. A friend wrote: “Did you see Thomas Friedman’s ‘Teacher, Can We Leave Now? No.’ story in the New York Times (July 18, 2009)? Friedman went with Admiral Mike Mullen to open school #48 in Afghanistan and writes about his impressions. Madison would stand even taller after reading the story. His bike trip is going to be building another school . . . “ Another friend wrote, “Apparently General Petraeus has assigned his staff to read Three Cups, and the military is seeking to move toward more productive paths than fighting . . . I am so grateful to you, Madison, and Sandy Spring for encouraging me to become familiar with this story.” SSFS parent Bob Laurenzano (Alex Oberlin, ‘12) captured the feeling of many when he said that it felt “good to be part of something so humble, yet so monumental. Our students and staff are to be commended for an outstanding effort.”


Parents Christy Stebbins (Madison ‘10) and Ronnie Roha (Matthew, ‘11) serve delicious tea and treats at the “Three Cups of Tea-House” on All-School Service Day. “How do we get more people involved?” Once the Upper School summer service trip, Bike, Bond and Build (BBB), was established, it seemed time to open up opportunities for other divisions to get involved. Questions were raised: why build a school halfway around the world? Why not instead support a local school or organization, a place the students can go visit, see, touch? Certainly these were legitimate questions. However, the concrete nature of the BBB project was strong – bringing in a handful of pennies, watching the jars fill up, biking to help children who wrote math problems with sticks in the dirt and who waited patiently for weeks at a time for their travelling teacher to arrive. Pennies, bikes and children in need – a compelling combination for our younger students! All three division heads, David Hickson, Dana Harrison and Lynn Darman, were on board. Greg Mortenson, in town for a speech in February, met with Assistant Upper School Head Karen

Cumberbatch and me, giving his enthusiastic endorsement of our proposal. We began planning a spring kick-off service day that would include the whole community, biking around campus to support the cause. Parents got involved, too. Greg Mortenson’s mother, principal of an elementary school in Wisconsin, had started the Pennies for Peace program in 1994, helping launch more publicity for her son’s campaign. Similarly, several parents of SSFS students stepped up to the plate to help with the school-building efforts. Penny jars and posters began appearing around campus. Bikes were being pulled out of the basement and cleaned up. The buzz was happening at car pool. Teachers in the Lower School read Three Cups of Tea to students in their classrooms. School librarian Elizabeth Thornton ordered plenty of copies of all three versions of the book – the original account, the young adult version, and the SSFS Community News

children’s picture book – giving opportunities for students at every level to learn about the project. Students’ awareness grew in so many directions with geography lessons to find areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan on the map, math lessons to group and count pennies, current affairs tie-ins to discuss the issues of Central Asia. Upper School Bike, Bond, and Build participants visited the Middle School during their Collection time to talk to them about the Three Cups of Tea project, and soon Middle Schoolers were on board, too. Montanna Wilson, Assistant Head of the Middle School, helped to coordinate a lap-a-thon, a mini bike-a-thon in which Middle School students got pledges and bicycled laps around the campus on our AllSchool Service Day. Oh, and here’s the answer about the pennies…. By the All-School Service Day in April, we had generated a great deal of enthusiasm around campus. All divisions became involved, as did the Parent Association, spearheaded by PA Community Service clerk, Jessica Weiss. Remember those 56,000 pennies? Lower School students were busy throughout the day weighing, counting, and sorting them, and carting them away in wheelbarrows. (Did you know that 171 pennies equals a pound??) Jessica hauled the thousands of pennies to the bank, exchanging them for a large check to CAI. The Middle School students were busy biking Fall 2009

Head of School Ken Smith rides his bike through the SSFS campus during the lap-a-thon to raise additional money for the Bike, Bond, and Build project. laps around the campus, cranking out over 300 by the end of the day. Upper School students cheerfully helped with the many activities dotting the campus – a scoot-a-thon, lap-a-thon, penny counting activities, reading sessions with books on service for younger students. David Hickson conducted a bike repair clinic with the help of parents and students, sprucing up dozens of community bikes. In addition, David prepared an astounding 60 bikes for travel to developing overseas countries (in conjunction with the charity organization, Bikes for the World), all donated on that day by SSFS community members. SSFS librarian, Johanna Cowie, conducted zany bike safety sessions featuring muskmelons in helmets. Ken Smith rode around campus,

giving encouragement to fellow bikers. A true highlight of the event was the spectacular “Three Cups of Tea-house,” coordinated by Ronnie Roha, parent of BBB rider Matthew (’11), featuring various teas and delectable refreshments with an Asian flair. Many, many dedicated parents and students made the Spring AllCommunity Service Day a wonderful kick-off for our efforts to build a school in Central Asia. “Are we there yet?” The culminating event for this project was the Bike, Bond, and Build trip that took place from July 5th through July 11th. Twenty-two bikers started their journey in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, travelling through the Allegheny mountains and onto the C & O 13

canal. What had begun as a spark – a chance conversation, a possible idea – had caught fire, resulting in 15 students (Duncan and Gordy Bullen, Alex Chandler, Jacob Gaffigan, Emma Gorin, Lucas Jolivet, Atley Kutlucinar, Amelia Marciano, Alex Oberlin, Brian Palmer, Mat Roha, Adriana Rossel, Luke Savonis, and Madison Stebbins), three faculty members (David Hickson, Elisa Shapiro, and Barry Merritt), two parents (Victor Bullen, parent of Duncan and Gordy Bullen, and Bob Laurenzano, Alex Oberlin’s stepfather), and one alumnus (Richard McElroy, ’08) biking 325 miles on towpaths, over bridges, and through some spectacularly scenic vistas in order to help bring education to children a half a world away. In addition, alumnus Quilla OttoJacobs,’09, unable to participate in the ride due to an illness, cheered on the group in spirit. On the final evening of the trip, the group was treated to a feast provided by the Schauffler family. Bim (Director of the ESL Program and SSFS alum, Class of ‘74), Jen (former Board member), and their children Moyra (’11) and Asa (’16) wanted to contribute. Bim and Jen had a special affinity for the project, as they had been posted on the Pakistan/ Afghanistan border as Peace Corps 14

volunteers. So Jen called up Indus Foods in Cloverly to order a meal for the bikers. Raja Hamid, a Muslim businessman and the owner of Indus Foods, heard about the project and was so impressed that he insisted on providing the food for free. The Schaufflers then selflessly spent hours preparing the meal and taking it to the campsite on the last evening of the ride. Bike in the mountains, Walk in the Light.... There undoubtedly were moments of exhaustion or frustration along the way (towpath detours! unhinged bike chains!), but when the bikers rode into the center of Bethesda on July 11th, all that was apparent were the smiles and energy of a group completing a mission. This project had not only successfully raised enough funds to build a school for children in need, but had brought together people in our community – parents who supported our School’s most cherished values of service and giving, with cheerful donations of their energy and time; teachers who included information into their crowded lesson plans about a place half a world away; students who took time from their busy schedules to raise funds for those less fortunate; even the

(Above) The group at the Continental Divide. (Photo by Barry Merritt) (Left) The Bike, Bond, and Build participants finished at the end of the Capital Crescent Trail in downtown Bethesda after biking 360 miles to raise money for the Central Asia Institute. (Photo by Christy Stebbins) local business owner who donated chickens for the cause. And, in the end…. So, the effort was tremendous and the whole community became involved. Success could be measured in so many ways, from the smiles on the faces of the bikers to the thousands of pennies heaped in wheelbarrows. It was wonderful to watch unfold. Helping to facilitate Bike, Bond and Build happened to be my last project as Upper School Community Service Director. I hope, however, that it will be a blueprint for many future SSFS endeavors, showing our continued commitment to service, peace and global awareness. As I was packing boxes on my last day of school, a Lower School student rushed into my office. “Is it too late to donate pennies?” she asked. “I have a jar full and was worried that I couldn’t give them to you in time!” I reassured her that it is never too late to give to a cause and gratefully received her pile of change. Her unexpected visit and selfless donation of pennies was the best farewell gift of all. SSFS Community News

Biking and Bonding in an Effort to Build by David Hickson, Upper School Head and Bike, Bond, and Build Trip Leader “How much further do we have to go?” It was a question I heard many times, not only on the bike trip, but also during the months of fundraising leading up to our departure. When I shared my idea with Alison Baker of a bike-athon to raise money for the Central Asia Institute, I frankly did not expect it to happen. It was a flight of fancy. Audacious. Raise $15,000 and have a great bike trip at the same time? It would never happen. Yet, before I knew it, the panniers were packed, the bikes and riders were teleported (it seemed) to western Pennsylvania, and we were heading down the path to… what?? Adventure? Camaraderie? Disaster? Being a leader for a student trip can be a mixed experience. The fun and stimulation of travel is accompanied by more than a bit of anxiety. Will everyone be safe? Will we have fun? Will our plans be waylaid by some missing reservation or unexpected circumstance? What did I forget to do, bring, or plan for? Or, worst all, will the trip go okay but just lukewarm in the end? So what did we do? We asked friends and family to sponsor us to raise money for the Central Asia Institute. Our goal was to raise enough money to finance the construction of a school in Pakistan or Afghanistan. Then, during the most beautiful week in July, we bicycled from McKeesport, Pennsylvania (just outside of Pittsburgh) along the Great Allegheny Passage to Cumberland, Maryland. We then followed the Potomac River via the C&O Canal National Park to Washington and up the Capital Crescent Trail to Bethesda. It was historic, bucolic, and rustic countryside. We covered around 50 miles each day over seven days, camping and cooking our own meals along the way with no sag wagon, no hairdryers, and precious little cell phone service. In the end, we had our challenges: long days in (on, actually) the saddle, missed turns, a broken rack and a broken seatpost bolt, a flat tire or two, unexpected hills, a campsite at top of an insanely vertical hill, sore behinds, hands, necks, and muscles. We had one traveler who donated all of her graduation gifts to our cause but then couldn’t join us because of a respiratory condition. Another had to leave us the first day because of a painful resurgent infection. But, in the end, 20 SSFS students, faculty, parents, and alumni traveled 360 miles through beautiful Pennsylvania and Maryland countryside. We learned a bit about ourselves and about each other. More importantly, we raised over $20,000 to finance a school for a community where little girls and boys want to go to school so badly that they go to school (in an empty field) to do their lessons (in the dirt, with sticks), five days a week (even though the teacher can only come for two of them). We shared jokes, stretched our physical limits, learned to savor showers and sheets a bit more, swam in the Potomac, dodged poison ivy (but, alas, not mosquitoes), ate many jars of peanut butter with pita, and invaded a staid downtown Bethesda with our sweaty enthusiasm at the end of our journey. In the final tally, were we givers or recipients? Very much both, I think. Fall 2009


News Around Campus By Jan Smith, Landscape Committee

Sandy Spring Friends School Welcomes You! New Entrance is a Community Effort

“Make an entrance that leads people into our campus, not one that walls them out,” a Torch student expressed. “And make sure it doesn’t look like the entrances to housing developments – keep it simple,” another chimed in. As is often the case, wisdom comes from our students. At our Auction a few years ago, people gave very generously to the construction of a new entrance to our school. It soon became obvious that we were going to have problems constructing matching permanent walls. We still don’t know what is going to happen to the entrance in the future. Are we going to need to put in a right hand turn lane to expedite traffic during high volume times? Is it possible that a light will go in at Norwood and Dr. Bird Road that will stagger the traffic so we won’t have to put in a turn lane? Can we get our own traffic light so we won’t always have the policeman? 16

There was also a problem constructing matching walls, because one side of the entrance is about three feet higher than the other side. Considerable earth moving would be required to get the two sides the same height. With all of these uncertainties and no answers in the near future, the landscape committee, along with Director of Operations Laura Miyoshi and Director of Facilities Robert True, decided to look at other possibilities. Brooke Farquhar (parent of Gordon ‘10, Duncan ‘12) was consulted, and she suggested we consider the entrance as more than just the driveway. Perhaps a fence could define the front more broadly and be supplemented with more trees. Meanwhile, Jack and Tonda Matthews had some stone left over from their house, and they generously donated this stone to the school. Our intent was to listen to the community, especially our students; use recycled and environmental materials; and plant more trees to replace those taken out during construction. Therefore, we settled on a plan for a split-rail fence running along Norwood Road, a new sign anchored in a stone planter, and additional trees (to be planted this fall) to frame the entrance. Walt Berry, our arborist in the Maintenance Department, arranged for the fence posts to be

milled from recycled dead locust trees from our campus. We also tried to keep the style of the old sign, but make it a little bigger and bring it closer to the actual entrance. The sign is the work of David Ashton, a Quaker and well-respected designer. Larry Fisher (Gwen Handler’s husband), constructed the sign, and Peter Austin (Elizabeth Thornton’s husband), did the iron work. We installed LED lights, which use a fraction of the energy of regular bulbs and do not need to be changed for 1500 hours, to illuminate the sign at night. Sean West, a local artist, did a beautiful job laying the dry stacked stone creating a wall that is sturdy and yet simple. Finally, we planted blue chip junipers in the circular wall. They grow only a foot high and are deer and drought resistant. This gives us a maintenance free, simple look that will be attractive all year round. Our thanks to all who participated and especially the auction-goers who made this possible. We hope every person that turns into our campus feels welcomed by the unique, simple, environmentally constructed entrance designed by people in our own community. These are the Quaker values that are important to us and will greet all who come onto our beautiful campus! SSFS Community News

News Around Campus Upper School: Partnering with Project Change

Lower School Reaps Bountiful Harvest

(Adapted from an article written by Molly Horak ‘11 for the US newsletter.) This fall, SSFS hosted an all-day Mock Refugee Camp-out. Molly Horak ‘11 planned the event through Project Change, a local non-profit that empowers teens to design meaningful service. SSFS and Project Change co-sponsored the event (Upper School Head David Hickson is on the board of directors of Project Change). The purpose of the campout was to educate the greater Olney community about the issues of refugees and inspire the attendees to action. Speakers from the International Rescue Committee, Refugees International, AmeriCares, and Save Somalia attended. Participants also had the opportunity to write letters and to sort and box donation items. The attendees camped outside of the Athletic Center for 12 hours, built their own shelters, ate saltines, and searched for their food to try to catch a glimpse of the plight of a refugee. They ended the day with live music. Over 100 people took part, including high school students from Sherwood, Good Counsel, Magruder, and Sandy Spring Friends.

The PK/K garden beds were built the summer of 2008. Since then, the students have been enjoying getting their fingers dirty while observing the lettuce, radishes, peas, and sweet potatoes from seed to harvest.

Middle School Honors National Hispanic Heritage Month By Alex Kahn-Johnston, MS Spanish Teacher In their Spanish classes, 6th and 7th graders embarked on research projects exploring different aspects of Latino culture: the 6th graders each chose a Latin American country and researched its geography and culture, while the 7th graders researched a notable person of Hispanic heritage in the United States. Students presented their findings in class and created posters that decorated the halls of the Middle School. Fall 2009

Other events included having Middle School students with Hispanic heritage bring in a meaningful item from their family’s country of origin to share with the community at a Collection; participating in a tango workshop with Pablo and Flavia of Fontana Tango; and inviting a Venezuelan guest speaker to share with students her experience as an immigrant in the Middle School students learn to dance United States. the tango. 17

Community Day 2009 After the traditional walk to the Sandy Spring Monthly Meeting House for an all-school Meeting for Worship, students, faculty and staff gathered in cross-divisional groups to wax buses, spread wood chips by the ropes course, weed, make bowls for Empty Bowl night, plant wildflowers, harvest vegetables in the Community Garden, and build a retaining wall around the garden with the earth bricks. After lunch, the groups participated in Morley Games, and gathered for an all-school photo.


SSFS Community News

Alumni Spotlight: Ellen Prentiss Campbell ‘71 Ellen Prentiss Campbell graduated from Sandy Spring Friends School in 1971. She is a current member of the SSFS Board of Trustees and mother of a recent SSFS graduate, Martha Pskowski ‘09. Her writing has been published in The Potomac Review, The Fourth River, Spindrift, Paper Street, The Bryant Literary Review, Blueline, Real, Regarding Arts and Letters, The Broome Review, The Massachusetts Review, and Kaleidoscope. Stories are forthcoming in Glossolalia, Carve, The Backbone Mountain Review, The Midway Review, and Talking River. She was a prize winner in the 2005 Pikes Peak/Paul Gillette Memorial Writers Award Contest and a finalist in The Emerging Writers Network Fiction Competition (2006), The Ledge Fiction Competition (2007), The Elizabeth Simpson Smith Award (2005), and the Potomac Review Fiction Contest (2003). voice which you slowly recognized as your own.” My parents’ deaths eight years ago proved the catalyst for me to start writing fiction again after many years’ hiatus.

I dictated stories to my parents before I could read or write and still recall my disappointment that even after learning to read, I could not crack the cursive code of my grandmother’s letters. As a writer and as a social worker, I am always looking for the story between the lines. Poet Mary Oliver says, “One day you finally knew what you had to do, and began…It was already late enough…and there was a new

Fall 2009

Since that time, I have completed a collection of stories set in the Allegheny Mountains of western Pennsylvania, near my paternal grandfather’s birthplace and my summerhouse. Currently, I am working on a novel set in a fading resort hotel: much of my fiction is inspired by the interplay between place and person. I agree with writer/photographer Wright Morris that we are inhabited by places we have lived. My professional life as a clinical social worker influences but never directly inspires my fiction. Writer Douglas Glover says “the most problematical thing in the world is a human couple.” As a social

worker, I listen with what therapists call a third ear, trying to hear and understand hopes and fears, dreams and sorrows. I recently completed an MFA degree with The Bennington Writing Seminars and have been awarded a Fellowship by the Virginia Center for Creative Arts. I try to write every day. A dozen of my stories have been published and four are forthcoming. Excerpts appear on my website ( As a reader and a writer, I value precision, emotional authenticity, and lyricism. David Lenson, editor of The Massachusetts Review, said my writing is “subtle, pushes powerfully at realism’s skin, and generates actual emotion in the reader.” That’s what I’m aiming for. For me, as Oliver says, it is already late enough: forty years since I sat in Charlie Fisher’s living room discussing the poetry of Emily Dickinson (a seminar for just two students, myself and Shanna Ratner). Now, it’s time to write!


Alumni Notes

alumni notes... 1965

Alumni notes are compiled by Mary Mazzuca, Director of Alumni Affairs

Alumni Notes are just a snapshot of what’s happening with your fellow alums! For more updates from alumni written in their own words, log in to our Web site: If you have a milestone in your life, please send in photos! We love to share special moments.

Tom Miller is in the Castilla-La Mancha region of Spain, where he is following the path of Don Quijote and preparing to write a new book in which he will write a first-person account of the places and people he’ll encounter along the 2,500 km journey associated with Miguel de Cervantes’ work. Tom has published a dozen books focused largely on Latin America. Among his awards, he has won the Lowell Thomas prize for his book Jack Ruby’s Kitchen Sink, recognized as the 2001 Best Travel Book. According to Lonely Planet, Miller’s book Trading With The Enemy may well be the finest travel book ever written about Cuba. He has also been a columnist for the New York Times, the Washington Post, the New Yorker, as well as magazines such as Natural History and Rolling Stone, among many others.

1966 Sherrill Henderson Marchbanks welcomed her second grandchild, George (nicknamed Geo), on January 31. She loves being a Grandma, and she’s looking forward to retiring next May and spending more time with her grandchildren.

1970 Walter Webb has been teaching Middle School in Grass Valley, CA, for 10 years. He spent 15 years as a

pro auto mechanic, then went back to teaching. He’s still playing music - sax, flute, and percussion - and he has been to Cuba twice.

1971 Tim Wolfe was recently appointed Associate Judge for the Municipal Court of Dunwoody, GA, a newly-created city just outside of Atlanta.

1972 Michael Garin writes: “I came to New York to be an actor and song and dance man. While I did some of both (and still do), it is as a pianist, singer and songwriter that I have had the most success. I wrote a musical with some pals that ran for over a year OffBroadway called “Song of Singapore.” We all won the Drama Desk and Outer Critic Circle awards and subsequently had to buy tuxedos for the ceremonies. Currently, we are working with the Academy Award winning creator of The Exorcist, William Peter Blatty, adapting his cult comedy classic from 1965, “John Goldfarb, Please Come Home!” for the musical stage. (Imagine Syriana meets Horse Feathers). As a pianist and singer I have been blessed to ply my craft at some of New York’s most famous venues. I was at The Monkey Bar for 12 years. I also had a regular gig at The Rainbow Room and am currently playing every Sunday night at Elaine’s. I now appear with

Sandy Spring Friends School reserves the right to edit Alumni Note submissions. Editors strive to ensure the content of the edited submission retains the key points of the original message. Alumni Notes are submitted to Sandy Spring Friends School from various sources. While Sandy Spring Friends School strives to ensure the accuracy of Alumni Notes, the School is not liable for false or incorrect submissions. 20

SSFS Community News

my wonderful new partner Mardie Millit, who is a gifted singer and actress. We share our lives both personally and professionally, and I couldn’t be happier. (We are on Facebook and thus ends my computer literacy.) I have two fantastic sons. Bobby is now almost 20 and serves in the Israeli Army. It may not be politically fashionable to say so, but I am proud of him and of Israel. My younger son Ari is 16 and a junior in high school. He attends the Institute for Collaborative Education which is a very Sandy Spring-like public school here in Manhattan. I look back at my years at SSFS with great joy. While I may be playing Cole Porter at a swank private party on Park Avenue, in my heart I’m still a schmuck from Greenbelt, Maryland. Thank you, Sandy Spring Friends School.”

1973 Janet (Weintraub) Gool writes to say that she is the only SSFS alumni living in Israel, as far as she knows. On August 26, her eldest daughter, Sarai, was married to Eliran Kardinian in Beit Shemesh. There were over 400 guests at the wedding, including Janet’s father, who flew in from Annapolis.

1974 Stephen Kaplan is currently working as the Administrator of Meadowcrest Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, an 89-Bed Skilled Nursing Facility. He says that his work is very satisfying, and he is still traveling and enjoying New Orleans. Ann Hancock writes to say, “Connecticut passed gay marriage legislation this past November, so I finally was able to marry my partner of seven years. Kim and I were married in June surrounded by our closest friends and immediate family. We couldn’t be Fall 2009

Ann Hancock ‘74 and Kim McKee were recently married in Connecticut.

Lousie Tate Hood ‘75 welcomes her new grandson Oscar Elijah Hood.

happier. I have been working for the last 9 years for a non-profit that helps the mentally disabled be more independent. I feel incredibly fortunate to be in a committed loving relationship that is finally publicly recognized, and to be employed doing something that changes lives for the better. I think of my one year at Sandy Spring as profoundly important to my life and to the person I’ve become.”

In the fall of ‘08, Jim (‘77), Deborah (Mozer ‘78) and Evelyn Horan and their two dogs, Sweetpea [pictured left] and Izzy, moved to their new home in another Rockville neighborhood. Jim says that he “continues to help IBM in its pursuit of excellence, and Deborah has enjoyed a long summer engagement as an Attorney. Evelyn, who turned 10 over the summer, just returned to school to begin her fifth grade year. Evelyn is proud to serve her school as a patrol this year and is also looking forward to ‘chorus,’ which is a privilege reserved for the upperclassmen. The Horans are blessed with health, love and joy.”

1975 Louise Tate Hood and her husband Murray Hood are delighted to welcome their grandson, Oscar Elijah Hood, who was born on July 8, to their son Andrew Hood and his wife Jesse. Oscar’s parents, grandparents, and new aunts Kathryn and Emily and uncle Stephen are all over the moon to have him in their lives.

1977 Toure Clark writes to say that he is currently on tour with the 2009 U.S Army Soldier Show and has been performing on stage with 15 of the “Best Talented Soldiers in the U.S ARMY.” Staff sergeant Clark is the first soldier in military service to bring roller skating to the U.S Army Soldier Show. You can see his Web page at, or watch video on jamm49. He has spent 29 years in military service and plans to retire next year.

1980 Amy Neuburg (a.k.a. Amy X Neuburg) has just released her fifth album. This one is a song cycle for voice, three cellos and electronics, entitled “The Secret Language of Subways.” It’s on MinMax Music. Amy lives in Oakland, California, and enjoys a busy and varied career as a composer and performer of multi-genre works for voice, electronics and chamber ensembles. Amy credits SSFS dance classes with Arlene Horowitz as among her most formative influences.


Alumni Notes


Aura Kanegis’s son Kai loves his beets! Sarah (Hassler) Buchanan-Wollaston with her husband Paul, son Nigel, and daughter Elsie at Catoctin Quaker Camp

1981 Sarah (Hassler) Buchanan-Wollaston writes in to say: “Last fall we moved into Paul’s mother’s home when she moved to Friends House in Sandy Spring. We have taken on major renovations - the best of which is installing geo-thermal heat/cooling. It is really great and we feel so good about not using fossil fuels to keep the house comfortable! My dear Paul and I celebrated our 20th anniversary in May! He is still my steady, loving support - always working hard and smiling along the way. I have unfortunately been visited by another round with breast cancer. In November ‘08 we found that it moved into my liver, so I have chemo to deal with, but am keeping up my strength through many complementary therapies. Our incredibly loving and supportive community has been a blessing to the whole family as we work through this ordeal. Nigel (16) will be a junior at Westtown School this fall. He loves it and finds it challenging. He is also becoming quite the profile of Quaker Youth - playing Ultimate Frisbee in long hair and tiedyes! Elsie (13) is entering eighth grade at local Harford Friends School. She has found amazing friends, a caring atmosphere, and an individualized approach to school that she enjoys. She is a free-spirited artist with lots of creative ideas to share with the world!” 22

1983 Eva Mergner writes to say: “The biggest news for us is that our now 19 month old daughter, Joy, has just completed treatment for AML and has come back with normal bone marrow. It has been a long eight months, but we are happy to be on this side of it. Joy enjoyed tremendous support from her big sister, almost 13 year-old Sophie. We were also tremendously lucky to have had wonderful support from family and friends. Now we have to learn to be out in the world again, cautiously.”

1991 Carrie Ann Mallino is still happily ensconced in Missoula, MT, and says, “Producing and directing local actors from the age of 5 to 102, I’m having a ball! I recently completed my first book and am currently seeking publication. Life in the mountains is good! Anyone in and around the Pacific Northwest should stop by if you ever get the chance.” Jared Rager is married with two boys, ages 2 and 6. They live in downtown DC. Jared’s newest restaurant, ‘Blue Ridge,’ opened in June in Glover Park. ‘Sonoma’, on Capitol Hill, is doing well and ‘Redwood’ in Bethesda is better than ever. Jared says, “SSFSers should say hello if they come by any of the restaurants.” Jared’s niece has started at SSFS this year, which he’s excited about.

Robin Aura Kanegis writes: “Our son Kai Byrd Handy-Kanegis was born on January 10 and just started crawling this week, so my partner Lisa and I are now housebound by a befuddling maze of baby gates.” Aura is also in a band, Brûlée, which was recently written up in the Montgomery Gazette, in which the reviewer “said my ‘midnight croon recalls 1960s genrebenders like Marlena Shaw and Nina Simone’ (all thanks to Bryan Seith’s dedicated coaching, of course!)” You can see the article here: http:// entemon104308_32528.shtml She continues, “I’m still directing the American Friends Service Committee’s Washington Office, where Kai often joins me at work. Somehow I find myself carrying on the family tradition of raising kids in Quaker organizations like my parents did with me, despite encountering way too many people in the AFSC Philadelphia office who remember changing my diapers.”

1994 Carrie Fletcher and her husband welcomed their first child, Miles Theodore Mefford, on July 8.

1996 Christopher Buckstein writes to say, “My wife Marie and I are still living in Huntington Beach, California, with our three and a half year-old daughter Ella. I am still in the restaurant business but am now looking to purchase a blues bar in Huntington Beach. In addition, I just started the first week of a 21-month Executive MBA program out here in Orange County. If any of you make it out here to Surf City feel free to email or give me a call so that we can catch up.” SSFS Community News

1997 Kristine Wherry would love to reconnect with her classmates and has recently updated her page on the SSFS alumni website with photos, text, and even a video. If you haven’t already, sign up for the SSFS alumni Web site (or go to and click the “For Alumni” link).

1998 Amelie Davis just graduated from Purdue University in the department of Forestry and Natural Resources and is now at Furman University as the Associated Colleges of the South Post Doctoral Fellow (2 year position). She will be looking at ways to promote environmental, social and economic sustainability both at Furman and in the community, as well as teaching three classes a year: one on land use and urban planning, one on Climate Action Planning, and one on conservation and renewable energy. She says, “any Sandy Springers in the area around Greenville, SC, feel free to contact me,” Erin (Machlin) Fox writes, “My husband and I moved to Las Vegas last summer. He is working for Cirque du Soleil doing lighting maintnance on their show Ká. I am getting to stay at home with our three year-old little girl Emma and our new baby girl Cari (born July 15).”

1999 Cindy (Odendahl) Gonzalez and her husband Juan welcomed their first child, Mateo Andrew Gonzalez, into the world on July 21. He weighed 9 lbs, 4 oz and measured 21 3/4 inches long. Cindy and her family are living in Rockville, MD, and she is working for Animal Clinical Investigation, LLC.

Fall 2009

Kristina Millhiser (‘99), Tobey Samuel (‘03), SSFS faculty Bob Hoch, and Anna Millhiser (‘03), taken at Kristina’s engagement party. Kristina was married on October 3.

Erin (Machlin) Fox’s girls, Emma and Cari.

2000 Estye (Ross) Fenton writes, “I got married to an awesome person named Eli in 2007, and this May, our daughter Laila was born. We live in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and I’m working on a Ph.D. in sociology, focusing on work and family, gender, and sexuality.” Jocelyn Arem received her BA in Ethnomusicology from Skidmore College in 2004, and her MA in Folklore and Cultural Studies from UNC Chapel Hill in 2008. She writes, “I have released one album of original music ( and am working on a new album project. For seven years I’ve been researching a project to document the history of Caffe Lena, America’s oldest folk coffeehouse. On August 21, I delivered the complete Caffe Lena collection to the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. I now have publication interest in this book project, and am fundraising to support the preservation of archival materials including rare photographs and stories for publication.”

Estye (Ross) Fenton with husband Eli and daughter Laila.

2001 Nathan Harrington recently bought a house in the southeast DC neighborhood of Congress Heights and is launching an intentional community dedicated to peace and interracial understanding.


Alumni Notes Laura Miller writes, “I am pleased to report that what has been a particularly difficult year for me seems to be ending in an up note. In March of this past year I was diagnosed with a cancerous bone tumor in my head. After two major brain surgeries, I underwent a series of radiation treatments in Boston at Mass General Hospital. I returned home Labor Day weekend, hopefully cancer-free. I was able to get through this particularly hard time in my life with the help of my good friends, many of whom I have known since Middle School at Sandy Spring. My energy is back to normal and I have returned to work at the Association of American Geographers.“

2002 Lina Khouri recently started a job as a reporter for The Montclair Times and has relocated to northern New Jersey from Bethesda, Maryland. She says, “I am enjoying myself tremendously. Right now I’m just hoping that my four years in Ottawa, Ontario will equip me for the coming winter.”

Former faculty/staff Gordon Barnhart, Dean of Boys and lacrosse coach (along with Ari Preuss) in 1975-77, writes, “I recently posted a book about leading change online for free with videos, Jim Borgman cartoons and packets to support implementation. I have paying clients, but my real interest is in seeing how many people can use the site effectively without having to hire me. I ask that people refer the site to anyone leading change in organizations or communities. I reserve two hours per week for free 20 minute consults to get started or unstuck. The model is based on the classic myth of heroic journey, which is the underlying story of change. Website: http://www.


SSFS on LinkedIn and Facebook Sandy Spring Friends School now has a group on LinkedIn (a free professional networking site). Anybody who attended, even if they graduated from a different school, is welcome to join. To find us on LinkedIn: Type “SSFS Alumni” in the search box on the top right. Attached to the left side of the search box is a pull down menu; highlight “Search Groups.” Click on the SSFS Alumni group to join. You will see the familiar green and yellow! Hope to see you there! Jessica Balsam ‘89 SSFS also has a presence on Facebook. To find us on Facebook: Login and type “Sandy Spring Friends School Alumni” into the search box. Look for the SSFS logo and click the “Request to Join” link.

In Memoriam Jon Laster, Class of 1973, passed away on August 23, 2009.

Don’t Miss…. Young Alumni Luncheon Wednesday, December 16, 2009 SSFS Campus, Yarnall Lobby Join fellow alumni from the Classes of 2005-2009 for a luncheon to catch up with old friends, as well as mingle with faculty. The Class of 2010 will be special guests and will join the group to get a sneak peek at life after SSFS. To RSVP, please register online at http://alumni. or contact Mary Mazzuca at 301-774-7455, ext. 107 or mary.mazzuca@ Alumni Weekend 2010 Friday, June 4 – Saturday, June 5, 2010

Jon is survived by his mother, Miriam Laster, and three sisters: Lisa Laster of Stockholm, Sweden; Jenny Laster Genser ’74 of Arlington, Virginia; and Sally Hudson of Long Valley, NJ.

Get ready for Alumni Weekend 2010! This year we will be celebrating milestone reunions for those classes whose years end in 5 or 0.

Those wishing to make memorial contributions should make them to the National Bridge Appalachian Trail Club, P.O. Box 3012, Lynchburg, Virginia 24503. You are also invited to post memories on any of the Sandy Spring 1970s alumni web pages.

If you are interested in volunteering to help with Alumni Weekend, please contact Mary Mazzuca at 301-774-7455, ext. 107 or

SSFS Community News

From the Archives This installment of our Archives series focuses on past community service projects. Please contact our Archivist, Dave Burgevin, if you can identify the people pictured in these photos: or 301-774-7455 ext. 223.



Saturday, December 5th, 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon Meet faculty and students, visit classrooms, tour the campus Stop by the Summer Camp Open House, too!

Stay for the Parents Association WINTERFEST, 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Holiday greens and baked goods, local artisans and vendors, children’s craft activities, live performances at the coffee house, lunch at Dad’s Diner


16923 Norwood Road Sandy Spring, MD 20860

Community News is printed on FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified paper stock, made from recycled and post-consumer materials.

Sandy Spring Friends School Community News  

Community News is a publication for the alumni, faculty, parents, students, and other friends past and present who make up the many communit...

Sandy Spring Friends School Community News  

Community News is a publication for the alumni, faculty, parents, students, and other friends past and present who make up the many communit...