Autumn Views 2022-23

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Head of School Magazine, 2022-23

From the Desk Of Dr. Autumn A. Graves

What does the future look like? And how do we inspire students to lead and be exemplary citizens in that future? We’ll need your help in shaping our strategic priorities to fully realize our founding headmistress’ wish for our students to “become strong in body, broad of mind, tender of heart, responsive in soul.”

Fewer than two decades away, Kai-Fu Lee and Chen Qiufan posit in their book, “AI 2041: Ten Visions for Our Future,” daily life will be revolutionized by a “human-machine symbiosis.” With the world advancing and changing at such an accelerated rate, we’ve perhaps arrived at a point where such a statement feels more of an inevitability than science fiction.

At this moment, we are the same distance to the year 2041 as we are to the year 2006. In 2006 — the year many of our Upper School juniors were born — I could never have imagined deep fake videos becoming mainstream. Casually talking to a chatbot about what to make for dinner or planning my summer vaca-

tion was the stuff of movies. Cryptocurrency was an alien concept (and honestly, this is one I still struggle to fully comprehend). And, as a historian, while I had studied moments such as the influenza pandemic of 1918 or the burning of the U.S. Capitol during the War of 1812, in 2006, I would not have imagined lead ing a school during our own global pandemic or the violent attack on the Capitol on January 6, 2021.

In 2006, if you had asked me to lead a strategic planning process resulting in a plan that would be valid for five or even 10 years, I would have said “yes, we can do

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that.” This school has been successful in doing just that for many years, with the most recent strategic plan established for the time period of 2017 to 2022. Under the leadership of the prior Head of School David S. Lourie, great strides were made toward achieving the goals laid within that plan when the COVID pandemic, and a leadership change, required a massive pivot in 2020. With the 2017 – 2022 Strategic Plan now expired, many have asked me, “what is next for St. Anne’s-Belfield?”

Future visioning to the year 2041 with all the attendant unknowns, I am realizing that the best way to serve St. Anne’s-Belfield students isn’t to engage in another multi-year strategic planning process. Rather than a strategic plan, I believe that we need flexible, future-focused strategic priorities. Unlike a strategic plan, which follows a uniform process for soliciting community input and is summarized in one comprehensive document at the end of that process, strategic priorities may be developed independently of one another, and deployed in real time as soon as they are ready. Strategic priorities are also iterative and action focused, allowing us to adapt to emerging issues and new research that informs best practices.

You will find some already-identified strategic priorities on page 4. Others,

however, will require your input. Over the next weeks and months, the community will be invited into a process to develop a Portrait of a 2036 Graduate, with 2036 referring to the year our incoming Kindergarten class will graduate. The Portrait expresses our mission and core purpose in a small, defined set of outcomes that we want all students to master by the time they leave St. Anne’s.

I am very excited about this work we will undertake together. By focusing on strategic priorities that reflect the changing needs of children and the world, we can ensure that our students are prepared to meet every opportunity with integrity, curiosity, mindfulness towards diversity, creativity, agency, and impact. Together, we can help create a brighter future not just for our students, but for our society.


Publisher St. Anne’s-Belfield School Editor Lisa Ha


Art Direction Taylor Morris ’19

Digital Minerva, KMS Photography, Kelsey Dowling, Erika Hadland

Editorial Contributors & Interviewees

Dr. Autumn A. Graves, Dr. Damian Kavanagh ’93, Rachael LeMasters, Dr. Bob Troy, Ted Yarboro ’86

Senior Administrative Leadership Team (SALT)

Dr. Autumn A. Graves, Head of School; Beth Miller, Head of the Upper School; Marie Reed, Head of the Middle School; Lisa Keeler, Head of the Lower School; Seth Kushkin, Director of Athletics; Randie Benedict, Assistant Head of School for Enrollment Management; Warren B. Buford, Associate Head of School for Advancement; Lisa Ha, Chief Communications Officer; Sally Woods, COFO

Autumn Views: Spring 2023 3 In This
Strategic Priorities for St. Anne’s-Belfield ..................... 4 Five Quick Questions with Rachael LeMasters ............. 5 One School, One Community, One World ................... 6 A Conversation with Dr. Bob Troy .................................. 7 Three Measures of Student Wellness ............................. 8 Upcoming Events ............................................................. 9 NYC Alumni Practice the Art of Giving & Receiving Advice .............................................. 10 News & Stories ................................................................. 11

Strategic Priorities for St. Anne’s-Belfield School

Our founding headmistress, Mary Hyde DuVal, expressed a wish for our students to “become strong in body, broad of mind, tender of heart, responsive in soul.” For more than 100 years, we have made it our mission to fulfill that wish. In 2017, we added a core purpose that is still relevant today: “St. Anne’s-Belfield aims to inspire and prepare the next generation of exemplary citizens and visionary leaders.”

Our strategic priorities are directly tied to this mission and core purpose. I’m going to organize them around three P’s that were previously shared during my installation in October, 2021: People, Program, and Place. These priorities do not encompass everything that occurs in a PS – 12 school, including the numerous efforts my colleagues undertake each day on behalf of our students. And, as stated in my opening letter, some other priorities will be created alongside you in the upcoming months. However, below are a few priorities that have already been identified.

People — Build on our commitment to academic excellence by fostering an even more diverse, inclusive, and equitable community.

It is important to us that our students feel like they experience well-being at school. Among the many tools and structures we have in place to ensure this occurs is the SAIS Motivation & Engagement study, developed in part by alumnus Dr. Damian Kavanagh ’93, now the president and CEO of MISBO. Read more about this year’s results on page 8.

Our commitment to excellence extends beyond our students’ years at our school. On page 10, learn about a pilot event designed to add value to our alumni, both those navigating their careers, and those who have achieved a level of success and are ready to give back to the next generation.

Program — Educate the whole child: body, heart, mind, and soul.

While Mary Hyde DuVal could not have imagined that educating the whole child would one day require teaching children to be exemplary citizens in the digital sphere, we would be remiss as a school not to address digital citizenship. To address our immediate needs, the Academic Team and Curriculum Committee will write an Innovation in Teaching statement. Within that statement, we will share expectations and practices around artificial intelligence (AI), which will be reviewed regularly as this technology evolves. Simultaneously, the whole community will be invited to engage in broader discussions around digital citizenship (see invitation on page 9).

With our resilient, growth mindset culture and a whole-child focus written into our founding, imagine the possibilities we can make reality as we inspire students to navigate and lead in a sometimes unpredictable and ever-evolving future. This fall, I will spearhead a collective process to define whole-child wellness as a strategic priority. It will involve all constituencies: alumni, parents/guardians, students, faculty and staff, and experts. More will be coming in the following months.

Place — Fully embrace our civic leadership role in Charlottesville and grow our School’s engagement in our community.

To positively impact our students and our local community, I am thrilled to announce that we are launching a Civic Engagement Initiative. Made possible by generous donors and under the direction of longtime teacher Dr. Bob Troy, please read more about the initiative on page 7

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Five Quick Questions with Rachael LeMasters

The president of the Parents’ Association (PA) wants all parents and guardians to know they have a place at the School

Please introduce yourself.

My name is Rachael LeMasters. My son, Nate, is in seventh grade and daughter, Sloane, in fourth grade. My husband Robb and I moved to Charlottesville in July, 2020 from Connecticut.

Why did you choose to join the St. Anne’sBelfield community?

We could tell this was a school that valued excellence but didn’t push children to fit into a predetermined box. Our family has high expectations academically, but we also want our children to experience a broad range of activities. We came from a very robust public school and we wanted a school that would provide academics, arts, athletics, extracurriculars, and make going to school fun. I feel so lucky that at St. Anne’s, our children have joined the choir, Bronze Key Ambassadors, the Middle School play, school sports, and Mathletes! There are so many opportunities for them to develop skills, interests, and a sense of belonging. At Thanksgiving this year, my son said he was thankful for St. Anne’s-Belfield, so I know my kids are in the right place!

What do you hope to achieve in your time as president of the Parents’ Association?

My primary goal for the Parents’ Association is making sure that every parent and guardian knows that they can participate in the work of the PA no matter how much time they have to give or how new they are to St. Anne’s.

I also want to build back the events that bring parents together — coffees, dinners, book clubs. (If you have an idea, I’d love to hear it!)

Can you provide examples of different ways parents/guardians with varying availability and time can get involved?

For anyone who wants to participate occasionally without an upfront commitment, there are always last-minute chances through your classroom, grade level, the library, Grandparents’ and Special Friends’ Day, etc.

My first year at St. Anne’s, I volunteered to be a Grade Level Rep (GLR) for the fifth grade. It was a great job for a new person because I was forced to connect with other families and the teachers in the grade. Contrary to what people might

think, GLR is not a huge time commitment. I sent emails to the teachers and to the grade sharing information and made sure we had volunteers for anything the teachers asked for. Someone could definitely work full time and still be a GLR!

For parents and guardians who have no time during the week, there are evening volunteer opportunities at the concession stand for sports games and plays, or chaperoning dances. And for those of you who can’t commit to ongoing roles but could block off a day, field trips are back and chaperones are needed! What’s your favorite part about being a member of the St. Anne’s community?

Whenever I walk into the school I feel a sense of real happiness. The children are skipping down the hall, the staff are smiling, everyone has time to say hello. When we are out in the community my children recognize other children and say hello. We all feel so lucky to be here!

Alley-oop! Varsity basketball games got a youthful boost this season. During halftime, Virginia Basketball Academy (VABA) players from the St. Anne’s-Belfield Lower School took the court to play six- to eight-minute games. The idea was a collaboration between Director of Athletics Seth Kushkin, the basketball program coaches, and St. Anne’s parents who coach VABA teams.

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One School, One Community, ONE WORLD

With the help of private philanthropy, St. Anne’sBelfield is able to accelerate the launch of its comprehensive Civic Engagement Initiative, one of the School’s strategic priorities. The potential positive effects for the Saints community and our local partners are profound and long-lasting.

One of the major advantages of private schools is their freedom to create innovative, interdisciplinary curricula independent of governmental red tape. What would happen if we created that innovative, interdisciplinary curricula in partnership with community leaders?

Last year, members of a Civic Engagement Working Group set out to imagine what that partnership

might look like, and the higher level of educational and moral development outcomes that would emerge for our students. After a year-long study of our existing programs, researching other schools, and identifying the characteristics of successful civic engagement programs, the group put forth this statement of purpose, adopted by School leadership in May, 2022: “With the support of faculty, families, and community partners, we inspire our students to develop authentic and innovative solutions for social impact. Through collaboration, students strive to sharpen critical thinking skills and grow toward lives of empathy, purpose, and engaged citizenship.”

Under the direction of Dr. Autumn A. Graves, a three-year plan was established that builds on the School’s existing community service activities. The detailed road map includes targets for students, families, and alumni to take our civic engagement work to the next level. Thanks to the generosity of

the donors to this program, we were able to name our first director of civic engagement, Dr. Bob Troy. He will begin leading a faculty group this summer to establish our initial service-learning experiences and begin to curate a list of potential long-term community partners. Look for the work of the Civic Engagement Initiative to begin appearing in curriculum for all divisions, co-curricular efforts, and engagement opportunities through the Alumni Association and Parents’ Association.



• Deficit filling

• Transactional

• Short-term, singular experience

• Student experience

Community Engagement

• Deficit filling

• Transactional > Relational

• School shares its resources, including academic expertise

• Service Learning

Civic Engagement

• Deep, sustained, reciprocal, transformational relationships between School and community

• Highly Relational > Transformational

• School and community define problem together and co-create new knowledge/ solutions

• Students advocate for systemic change, often through democratic process

• The problems of the community are the problems of all

• Members of the community, students, and faculty are transformed by working within the community as one with the community

Examples: Food bank/clothing/book drives, Jump Rope

4 Heart

Example: Volunteer at a food bank, Salvation Army, or SPCA

Example: Youth tutoring

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Example: James River spinymussel project

A Conversation with Dr. Bob Troy

The longtime Upper School Science teacher and Doug’s Trip coordinator has been tapped to be St. Anne’s-Belfield’s first director of civic engagement.

Can you tell us more about this Civic Engagement Initiative?

The Civic Engagement Initiative is going to connect us with the broader community more deeply. We had various elements of community service and service learning pre-COVID. Perhaps the biggest and longest running was Doug’s Trip, which took the ninth grade class away from Charlottesville to do service work. It was very meaningful, but it wasn’t in the community we live in. So one of the ways I’m thinking about this initiative is to have that kind of experience and reciprocal partnerships with organizations in Charlottesville.

What is your vision for this initiative?

I’d like to improve the way others in the Charlottesville community connect with us. To prove that we really belong, and are a reliable partner, will require us to be part of their lives, be part of their work. In doing that, we will also establish a program that, if I in this role at the School, or a key person in the partner organization were to depart, it wouldn’t upend our work. It’s going to take multiple years, but we’ll know we’re successful when we have organizations calling us to ask if we can partner with them.

What might this look like in a Pre-School to Grade 12 school?

With younger students, we try to build community awareness first. If they walk any of the trails in the Charlottesville/ Albemarle area, for example, we help them start to realize that there are folks and organizations that serve to keep those areas clean, and give our kids an opportunity to participate.

The Blue Ridge Area Food Bank is another example. Students may start with a food drive. As they get older, we begin to ask questions like, “Why is there food insecurity? Can we possibly grow some fresh produce on our own campus to donate?” Building on this, students start to volunteer with an organization in a consistent way, and hopefully very naturally move into roles where they can be trusted to take care of certain tasks and coordinate that work within that organization.

My real hope, and another element of success, will be that our graduates bring others with them into efforts like this. They seek out service organizations at their universities. They carry this civic engagement ethos with them at their next stage of education and into their adult lives.

Why civic engagement, and why now?

Everything’s connected. Everything. And as a school, we have a motivation to make sure that our connection with our community is as productive and robust as it can be. We want our graduates to recognize that whatever community they’re in, there are things they can do beyond their schoolwork, their teamwork, their club work, and their professional work to make their community have the strengths that it has. Charlottesville’s a wonderful town for education, history, and culture to teach these elements.

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Three Measures of Student Wellness

And what they tell us about our students’ motivation and engagement

St. Anne’s-Belfield School conducted its third annual survey of Grade 6 – 12 students this past fall to evaluate their level of autonomy, belonging, and competence. The survey aims to gain insight into how these three factors affect students’ motivation and engagement at school. The findings of this survey, developed by the Southern Association of Independent Schools (SAIS), help inform our efforts to create a supportive and empowering environment for all our students.

Scale 1 (low) – 5 (high)


Benchmark 3.66


Autonomy refers to the degree of control students perceive that they have over their academic and student life experiences. When asked for examples of what makes them feel like they have choices at school, one Grade 7 student pointed to specific aspects of the Middle School program. “Being able to pick my own Quest and for the 8th graders, you can make your own Quest. Also being able to pick our own sports.” More broadly, another student who is new to the St. Anne’s-Belfield community this year remarked, “The teachers provide us with freedom about how we go about our work to make us feel more comfortable.”


Benchmark 3.99


Belonging pertains to the sense of social connectedness and acceptance that students feel within the School community. “People are always checking in on you and giving you the opportunity to talk,” responded a Grade 6 student. “They care about you and make sure you are heard.” Sometimes, it’s the little things that make students feel like they belong, like “when people I haven’t talked to very much say hi to me in the hallway,” says one Grade 11 student.



Benchmark 3.91

Competence involves students’ feelings of confidence and their per ceived ability to perform effectively. “I feel like I can always ask questions when I need to,” says one Grade 10 student. “Teachers make sure that resources are available so that students can succeed.” In addition to personal investment from teachers, achieving one’s academic goals often requires a safe place to fail. As another Upper School student noted, “the resources available and the opportunity to fix prior mistakes on previous assignments” also makes students feel like they can achieve great things at school.

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Upcoming Events

13 April, 2023 6 p.m.

Are you a Saint in a reunion year?

Be sure to make your gift or pledge before the end of Alumni Weekend! The reunion class with the highest participation will have a space named for them in the newly-renovated Randolph Hall. Hurry and Race to Name the Space today!

14 – 15 April, 2023

Greenway Symposium

Our student-run Greenway Symposium is back! Please join us for a discussion on democracy and citizenship in the modern world with three former congressman: Tom Perriello ’92, Denver Riggleman, and L.F. Payne. A reception will follow the event with light snacks and refreshments.

Alumni Weekend

All alumni, current and former faculty are invited to join us for Alumni Weekend, with a special focus on alumni in their reunion years ending in 3 and 8. Don’t miss the hard hat tour of the Randolph Hall renovation, All Alumni Party with Fritz Berry ’84 and Friends Unplugged, and State of the School with Dr. Autumn A. Graves. There’s still time — register now!

2 May, 2023

AI Odyssey: Charting the Future of Learning

All returning parents/guardians and rising Grade 8 – 12 students will be invited to this panel discussion with lively audience participation. This event is part of the larger schoolwide strategic priority of preparing students to become exemplary citizens and visionary leaders in the digital sphere. Your voices are an important part of the dialogue.

19 May, 2023

Maroon & White Party

Join us for the Maroon & White Party, our spring community fundraiser for parents/guardians, faculty and staff, and alumni! This not-to-be-missed event will feature local food and drinks, plus raffle and auction items to support our students and teachers. All are invited!

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RSVP at RSVP at Race to Name the Space Save the Date!

NYC Alumni Practice the Art of Giving & Receiving Advice

Pilot event paired younger and older Saints to discuss networking and how to successfully navigate the career search process

It’s a tough world out there for job seekers looking to establish themselves in their careers. According to a 2021 report by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), for every early career position requiring 2 –3 years of experience, there are 8.8 job seekers vying for the role. Competition for new college

On Jan. 30, the School piloted an intimate event where five young alumni from the Classes of 2012 through 2016 met at the home of alumna Holly Stevenson Hunt ’86, an experienced real estate broker in Manhattan. They were joined by Ted Yarbrough ’86, who retired from a successful career as the global co-head of Institutional Credit Management at Citi, and Kari Browne ’84, retired global sector leader at Korn Ferry executive search firm. Rounding out the group were Head of School Autumn A. Graves and Assistant Head of School for Advancement Warren Buford.

equally treat successes and failures as opportunities to learn and grow.”

Attendees praised the opportunity to meet and connect with successful professionals in their fields. Several young expressed appreciation for the valuable advice and insights shared by the more experienced alumni, stating that it helped them gain a better understanding of how to differentiate themselves from other candidates, networking, being open to new experiences, and balancing home and work life.

graduates is even more fierce, with 20 job seekers for every professional entrylevel position. And, reinforcing the old business adage of “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know,” one survey of LinkedIn users in 2019 estimated 85% of positions are filled through networking. The importance of learning how to make and maintain professional relationships and gaining professional advice at the start of one’s career cannot be overstated.

With 4,700+ Saints worldwide representing all industries at all levels of seniority, this tough environment can be a lot friendlier. When the invitation went out to 1980’s alumni in New York City to help younger alumni learn how to better navigate this competitive job market, they enthusiastically said yes.

Over dinner, Buford facilitated a discussion about lessons learned over the course of the alumni’s careers in real estate, finance, and executive search.

“There is such a vast wealth of experience and wisdom in our alumni community,” says Dr. Graves. “It was an incredible chance for everyone to connect and for the younger alums to gain insights that will hopefully serve them for years to come.”

Personal and professional resilience was a major theme throughout the evening. “Careers in the financial services, consulting, and asset management industries are defined by highs and lows,” Yarbrough counseled the attendees. “And it is critical for young professionals to

“I was so impressed by the young alumni in attendance. They are intelligent, engaging, and already quite accomplished,” says Yarbrough. “More notably, they are gracious, humble, and eager to learn, which led to a great discussion that we all found valuable. All of them are tremendous representatives of our school.”

Recognizing the importance of providing opportunities to connect with successful professionals and gain valuable career advice, the School’s alumni office plans to continue hosting events like this one in the future. They also plan to offer additional resources to support young alumni as they navigate the job market and build their careers.

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“I was so impressed by the young alumni in attendance...they are gracious, humble, and eager to learn, which led to a great discussion that we all found valuable. All of them are tremendous representatives of our school.” — Ted Yarbrough ’86

News & Stories


St. Anne’s-Belfield named to list of Top Schools & Universities by “Virginia Living”

A small snapshot of the developments seen across our PS – Grade 12 day and boarding school community

Mathletes are Finding Strength in Numbers

Isabel H. ’23 Nominated for the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program

“The College Process” by Claire A. ’23

St. Anne’s-Belfield Recognizes 2023 Academic Scholars

“I didn’t think I couldn’t do anything, I only thought of the things I could do.” A profile of Lucca R. ’24 Upper School Holds First Annual Community Partners Fair 2022 Convocation Recap

Welcome to Year 113!

Students Represent Virginia’s 5th District as 2022 Congressional Award Gold Medal Recipients

The ‘Heartbeat’ of the Upper School Is Getting a Facelift Grade 7 Students Commemorate Memorial Day with Veterans’ Histories

Three Grade 11 Students Selected for Prestigious Summer Language Academy

St. Anne’s-Belfield among area schools named best in Virginia for student well-being

Exciting Enhancements for St. Anne’s-Belfield Over the Next Two Years

Ultra Endurance Athlete Katie Spotz Spends a Day With Our Community Student Team Wins UVA at Enactus High School Case Competition

An Unforgettable Project: 3rd Grade FABLab Takes on Ocean of Plastic

Faculty and Staff

St. Anne’s-Belfield Faculty Present at VAIS Safe & Healthy Schools Conference

St. Anne’s-Belfield Recruits Second Cohort of the Early Childhood Fellowship Program

Dr. Rosanne Simeone Receives University of Chicago Outstanding Educator Award

US Counselor Sophie Speidel featured on The Mental Matchup Podcast

MS Strings Teacher Anna Hennessy Wins the 2022 Golden Apple Award

Mary Blake cherishes the bonds she’s built at STAB


Budding Strings Musicians Shine at Junior Regional Orchestra

World-Renowned Musicians Perform for the Middle School

Students Wow the Community with Their Wearable Art

Eloise G. ’23 Records an EP as an Independent Study

Students Inducted Into International Thespian Society

First graders at St. Anne’s-Belfield are trying to persuade people to adopt pets at CASPCA with art


Chris Long Foundation teams up with Well Aware to help address water supply in Kenya

Alumnus Bo Perriello ’89 Named Head of School for Field School

St. Anne’s-Belfield football alums return to help new coach Joe Sandoe restore program back to a championship level

“35 years ago, I found my happy place” by Dr. Babette Claas

From Charlottesville to Colombia: Mansi Tripathi ’18 Receives Fulbright to Colombia


St. Anne’s-Belfield Varsity Girls’ Lacrosse Ranked in Nike/USA National Girls’ Lacrosse Top 25

Girls’ basketball team wins eighth consecutive LIS championship

Boys’ basketball finishes off undefeated Prep League season with win at Trinity

UVA Women’s Basketball Signee Kymora J. ’23 Named a McDonald’s All American

Doug Tarring Inducted into Lacrosse Hall of Fame

4 – 8

School Counselor Trā Nicholson Recognized as a 2022 Pete Warren Student Fellow

“Parallel Paths” by Dr. Autumn A. Graves in the Summer 2022 Independent Magazine

Eight Student-Athletes Sign College Letters of Intent

Taking On Water: Ava S.’s ’23 Journey to a World Championship

2021-22 Athletic Accomplishments

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Read all the stories you may have missed at

The School admits qualified students of any race, color, national origin, place of birth, ancestry, sex, religion, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, mental or physical disability, or any status protected by applicable law, and extends to them all the privilege to participate in the educational programs generally accorded or made available to students at the School. The School does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, ancestry, sex, religion, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, mental or physical disability, or any status protected by applicable law in the administration of its admission or its educational programs.

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