CROSSROADS SCHOOL FOR ARTS & SCIENCES BIANNUAL NEWS MAGAZINE
WHAT IS AMERICA? That question was recently posed to juniors by their English teachers as part of their American Literature coursework. Yet it is also a question with which many have wrestled since last year’s presidential election and amid the often mean-spirited and ugly political discourse that preceded and followed it. As difficult as this past year was for our country, it has given us all an opportunity to try to understand more deeply not only what is America, but who is America? BY BOB RIDDLE HEAD OF SCHOOL
That’s why I’m heartened by so much of the work happening in our classes and throughout our school community, from kindergarten through 12th grade, and from students and teachers to parents and alumni. Seventh-graders now better understand the economic divide in our country since literally learning the value of a dollar in math class, and how so many struggle to survive on very little. Elementary School students created
Middle Schoolers organized a march in support of human rights.
portraits of their own communities inspired by the work of South Central artist Kerry James Marshall, whose work forces us to confront the erasure of African-American subjects in Western art. And Middle and Upper School students grappled with the ideas put forth by presenter Jackson Katz, an internationally renowned speaker who exposes the connection between gender stereotypes and violence against women. These and so many more experiences gave our students the opportunity to explore the incredibly diverse fabric of our world. Crossroads students do more than study domestic and global issues. They are also learning how to become engaged in activism, problem-solving and community building. We saw it in the efforts of Upper School students who joined their Archer School peers in a hackathon, creatively utilizing technology to help solve some of our most pressing problems in health and science. We also saw that engagement in the campus march organized by
CROSS SECTIONS MAGAZINE / SUMMER 2017 1
Inside This Issue 02
Around the School
Athletics Hall of Fame
Walking the Walk
Right Side of Justice
Paul Cummins Poetry Collection
Employee Service Anniversaries
50 Class Notes 56
In January, hundreds of Crossroads community members took part in the Women’s March in downtown Los Angeles.
CROSS SECTIONS NEWS MAGAZINE
is published twice a year by the Crossroads Advancement Office: Sue Mathews Director of Advancement
Middle School students to commemorate International Women’s Day, and in their passionate speeches in support of human rights for all. And we saw hundreds of parents, teachers, staff, alumni, students and grandparents join together to represent Crossroads in the Women’s March in downtown LA. In these and so many other ways, we have shown how we are not afraid to quite literally “walk the walk.” This work is not new to Crossroads, and our commitment to social justice is indeed, as one Trustee put it, “part of our DNA.” I am so proud of the myriad ways over the years that Crossroads has shown courage by not only standing up for what is right, but also doing what is right. Our 46-year history is filled with countless examples of Crossroads living its values. Finally, I am also proud of the ways we come together as a diverse but united community, such as through our annual back-to-school Alley Party. (We hope to see you all at the next Alley Party on Sept. 24.)
At this year’s spring event fundraiser, the Art of the Doodle, we not only partied the night away, but also raised critical funds to help support our financial aid program, benefiting the one in four Crossroads students who receives aid. We celebrate our community in so many ways, whether it is recognizing our employees’ milestone anniversaries and well-deserved retirements; acknowledging the remarkable accomplishments of so many of our alumni; or welcoming back parents of alumni, who remain cherished members of our Crossroads family. Creating community. Acknowledging and celebrating our differences. Walking our walk in support of those who may not have a voice. And working to make our world a better place. That is a vision of America that I see here at Crossroads, and it’s one that gives me hope for our future.
Sara Ring Editor, Director of Communications Jeff Goodman Communications Manager Patti Finkelstein Director of Major Gifts Tracy Dana Director of Annual Giving Ana Onaindia Annual Giving Manager Kathy O’Brien Major Gifts Manager Jenn Gerber Director of Alumni Relations Tom Nolan Dean of Alumni Relations Mery Grace Castelo Constituent Relations Manager Veronica Ulloa Events Coordinator Ginette Buffone Web Manager Paul Howiler, Amanda Jones, Allison Schaub Advancement Services CONTENT CONTRIBUTORS
Special Projects Coordinator Joanie Martin; Elizabeth Aquino; Candace Pearson; Spanish translations by Elementary School Receptionist Sarah Perez and Keystrokes. Designer Warren Group | Studio Deluxe Contributing Photographers Vince Bucci, Chris Flynn, Elijah Hurwitz, Tina Turbeville, Stephen Ziegler ON THE COVER
Middle Schoolers march for human rights on International Women’s Day. Photo by Elijah Hurwitz. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
2â€ƒ CROSSROADS SCHOOL FOR ARTS & SCIENCES
AROUND THE SCHOOL
SARA UNGERLEIDER, 11th grade
Left: Students take in the exhibit of 11th-grade artwork inspired by depictions of America in literature.
CROSS SECTIONS MAGAZINE / SUMMER 2017 3
American Literature Given Artistic Treatment From afar, it looked like a re-creation of the Parental Advisory label found on music albums with explicit content. But a closer examination of the image revealed that it was composed of intricately scrawled text: words from Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl”; lyrics by African-American songwriters such as Kendrick Lamar and Beyoncé; infamous dates and memorable quotes. The artwork was junior Perry Mayo’s interpretative answer to the question, “What is America?” which she and her classmates in 11th-grade English explored through art as part of their foray into American literature. “Each of the elements, to me, talked about the minorities in society and celebrated them, while the rest of society casts them aside or puts a ‘warning label’ on them, painting a bad image of the already marginalized group,” Perry says.
Spearheaded by Alan and fellow department faculty members Nika Cavat and Abigail Chew, the project followed a study of Claudia Rankine’s “Citizen,” a 2014 work that combines poetry, prose and playwriting with iconic photos that have been altered. Junior Joe Meyer’s artwork transformed photos from famous U.S. events into a collage resembling the American flag. After arranging the images in different directions to show societal division, he overlaid them with an interpretation of the flag to convey unity and shared history. “This project was a really fun opportunity for me to work creatively in a visual medium,” he says. “I loved seeing every person’s own ideas of what America means to them, rather than [just] reading about it. The tangibility of the art somehow made its meaning so much more fluid and up for interpretation.”
Perry’s piece was one of dozens hanging on the walls of the Humanities Building at the culmination of the assignment, which was completed by all Crossroads juniors. The goal of the endeavor was to engage students in a broad discussion about the U.S. and how it is depicted in literary forms.
Perry, too, acknowledged that the public nature of the project gave it more gravity. She crafted her art piece knowing that her work would be critiqued not just by her teachers, but also by her classmates.
“To see the accumulation of it all, that was really powerful,” English teacher Alan Barstow says.
“Just like the rest of my Crossroads education, this project made me assess my views and what I value in society, asked
Crossroads makes me think, makes me make deliberate choices and really solidify my stance or opinion on whatever the subject is.” Perry Mayo, 11th grade me to really think about what I wanted to say in a limited space and made me choose my actions very carefully,” she says. “Instead of just having me do the work to get the grade or to turn something in, Crossroads makes me think, makes me make deliberate choices and really solidify my stance or opinion on whatever the subject is, and use my words thoughtfully to make an impact.”
4 CROSSROADS SCHOOL FOR ARTS & SCIENCES
AROUND THE SCHOOL
Hackathon for Teen Health by Paul Way, Upper School Design & Engineering Teacher
On March 15, Crossroads School and Archer School for Girls co-hosted our first Hackathon for Teen Health. Supported by volunteers from seven local high schools and several tech and health care organizations, students brainstormed and prototyped solutions for problems in health and the environment. With guidance from a panel of experts in health, tech and science, our students learned about pressing issues such as global climate change, depression and mental health; participated in designthinking workshops to help to generate ideas; and worked with software engineers to realize their vision.
Student teams developed digital prototypes of their app or website, created short pitch videos and gave live presentations. A panel of professionals with backgrounds in business and technology judged the projects and gave awards based on potential impact, technical ambition or business savvy.
“I loved spending time with people who have a similar passion for coding and engineering,” shares one Archer student. “It was also incredibly empowering to apply my programming skills to a real-world problem that people deal with every day: mental health.”
Some of the successful student prototypes included FoodPrint, a carbon calculator for meal planning; Tipstr, a backchannel feedback app for schools; and environMEnt, a hardware device and app for personalized weather and environmental information and planning.
The hackathon was funded through generous donations from Snap Inc. and GoodRx Inc.—companies co-founded, respectively, by Crossroads parents Evan Spiegel ’08 and Trevor Bezdek ’95—which helped provide food, prizes and T-shirts for the participants.
It was also incredibly empowering to apply my programming skills to a real-world problem that people deal with every day: mental health.” Archer student Left: Participants in the Hackathon for Teen Health. Right: Junior Mafalda von Alvensleben, center, and her team conceived a mood-tracker app to collect diet, exercise and other data and to provide useful tips. Paul Way, right, was a key organizer of the event.
CROSS SECTIONS MAGAZINE / SUMMER 2017 5
Silvercrest resident Rochelle Volman leads second-graders in a spontaneous singalong.
Rochelle Volman sat down at the piano in the corner of the dining room at Silvercrest Senior Residence, the Santa Monica senior living facility that she calls home.
relationships with local senior homes over the years, enriching the students’ school experiences through meaningful community involvement.
Suddenly, she was surrounded by children. The visiting second-graders from Ashley Garcia and Peter Del Giudice’s class excitedly gathered around her, singing along to peppy renditions of “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star,” “Do-Re-Mi” and other popular tunes.
At Silvercrest, Sienna Diez Barroso approached longtime resident Jerry Rosenblum and gave him a big hug. “You’re getting taller, and I’m getting shorter,” the nonagenarian joked.
It was a highlight of the April visit to Silvercrest, where students shared lunch and laughs with the residents while enjoying the opportunity to explore their local community. Visits to local senior homes have become an Elementary School tradition. It all started when now-retired second-grade teacher Diana Arnold-Grycan—currently an alumni parent and grandparent—launched a service-learning program with senior citizens at Wise & Healthy Aging. The program expanded when Elementary School Dean Ilene Silk, then a second-grade teacher, began taking students to Holiday Villa East. Other teachers have maintained
He later added, “I love when they visit. I look forward to it every year.” After lunch and the impromptu song session, the second-graders treated the seniors to lively renditions of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” and “Oklahoma!” Students enjoyed taking the Expo train to downtown Santa Monica, mingling with the Silvercrest residents and showcasing their musical talents. “It’s fun,” Clara Heffes shared. “They’re really nice.” “I like the food,” Natalie Pianko added. “And plus, you get to meet new people.”
KATE SADOFF, SUZY BALBUENA & DERRICK TONG, 10th grade
Elementary Schoolers Bring Fun to Local Senior Residence
6 CROSSROADS SCHOOL FOR ARTS & SCIENCES
AROUND THE SCHOOL
Middle Schoolers Learn the Value of a Dollar It was a relatively straight forward budgeting exercise, but there was a twist.
Students’ understanding of income inequality crystalized throughout the project, devised by Middle School Co-Assistant Director Lexi Peterson and math teachers Lori Reardon and Erin Hansen.
of workers based on their race, gender identity and educational background, quickly noticing discrepancies. They have also examined the cost of a laptop using the minimum payment amounts of three different credit cards.
Middle School math coursework is infused with social justice themes.
Taylor Croshere projected to make nearly $190,000 as a dentist, a salary that would enable her to cover her expenses and raise a family. But she was also asked to crunch the numbers for a worker who earns California’s minimum wage, yielding a stark reality.
In quintessential Crossroads fashion, the seeds of the social justice math curriculum were planted by a student. While learning to graph equations by comparing cheese prices, the student lamented that dairy production often involves the unethical treatment of animals. Soon after, Middle School math teachers developed a social justice math curriculum, thanks to a Crossroads summer grant.
“Having a family with kids would be basically impossible,” she says.
Students have used real census data to analyze average salaries
NED KELLY, kindergarten
Seventh-grade math students researched average earnings of their desired jobs to create personal financial outlooks, taking into account federal and state taxes as well as rent, transportation, food and other living costs.
“If kids don’t see the application, then they’re not engaged,” Erin says. “When we bring in these real-life issues and situations, they see the connection automatically. There’s meaning behind it. It just brings the class to life.”
CROSS SECTIONS MAGAZINE / SUMMER 2017 7
Through Painting, Exploring the Meaning of a Different Color The Elementary School students noticed something unusual about the paintings in front of them—and that is precisely Kerry James Marshall’s goal. In a departure from the Western canon of immortalized art, the African-American artist paints portraits featuring black subjects as a way to emphasize underrepresentation in his medium. “Marshall makes figurative paintings commenting on the remarkable dearth of representations of black people and the even fewer canonized black painters,” says Elementary School art teacher Susan Arena, who led a schoolwide study of Marshall’s work. “He is trying to rectify this gap by presenting the viewer with scenes of everyday African-American life and culture. The sheer ordinariness of these images is a powerful political statement.” In their art classes, Elementary School students at Crossroads are challenged not only to explore new disciplines but also to examine the work of other artists as they develop their own senses of self-expression. As part of their study of Marshall’s portfolio, first- and fourth-grade students took a field trip to the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, to view an exhibit featuring his work. Marshall has said that growing up in the Watts area of Los Angeles in the early 1960s shaped his sense of social responsibility. His work, Susan says, is “a meditation on the color black and, by extension, how standards of beauty have been traditionally associated with whiteness and maleness.”
Students use Kerry James Marshall’s work as inspiration to create art reflecting their own communities.
Students used Marshall’s work as a foundation for creating their own images and portraits of their communities. They also looked to Marshall’s collage approach to art as a model for how multiple layers of images can be used together to deepen meaning.
8 CROSSROADS SCHOOL FOR ARTS & SCIENCES
AROUND THE SCHOOL
Middle Schoolers Make History Come Alive Seventh-grade Crossroads students brought U.S. history to life during the Civil War Ball this spring, dressing in period costumes, conducting role-playing interviews and delivering powerful speeches to culminate their deep dive into the 19th century. During the ball, which for the first time was held in the courtyard of the Science Education & Research Facility, students also listened to Walt Whitman poetry and feasted on hard tack (biscuit crackers) and other themed treats.
Spearheaded by Core 7 Coordinator Todd Baron and fellow teachers Oksana Godoy and Shae Varholak, the sessions offered students a stronger grasp of the interpersonal relationships and cultural dynamics of the time. “I thought the Civil War Ball was very realistic and a really cool experience,” said seventh-grader Sabrina Chorna. She took on the role of a Confederate soldier, disguising herself as a man because women at the time were Students research and embody a broad range of Civil War figures.
We learn this history because we have to learn from our mistakes, and the only way we can learn is having these lessons be thoroughly explained.” Sabrina Chorna, seventh grade
banned from service. “It was awesome seeing all the research that I put into my narrative come to life with the help of my friends and teachers.” The culminating research-based events served to enrich a seventhgrade Core curriculum that
blends language arts and American studies to help students explore two key questions: What does it mean to be an American? What is justice, and how does an individual in society seek it out? Throughout the school year, seventh-graders developed their
research and analytical skills as they examined the values presented in key U.S. government documents; completed close readings of Supreme Court rulings and other primary texts; and studied the structure of the federal government. The curriculum then highlighted
the Civil War and the Southern freedom movement. “We learn this history because we have to learn from our mistakes, and the only way we can learn is having these lessons be thoroughly explained,” Sabrina said.
CROSS SECTIONS MAGAZINE / SUMMER 2017 9
An Ode to Richard Grayson (March 25, 1941-July 3, 2016) by Noah Simon, 12th grade
Richard Grayson was an invaluable member of the Crossroads faculty and community. He instilled in all of his students an uninhibited love for music. But more importantly, he was a wonderful person who modeled a life of kindness and integrity. The memorial concert in his honor—held April 23 in the Community Room—paid tribute to both of these aspects of Richard: man and musician. Moving tributes
from those who knew him well imparted a glimpse of how amazing a friend, teacher and mentor he was. Soulful performances of music, ranging from his most beloved piece (the slow movement from the final Beethoven String Quartet) to a new work (“In Memoriam,” composed by Ethan Treiman ’17 in Richard’s honor), reflected how passionately he affected us all on a musical level.
Richard was a quiet person; he never liked to take up too much space. He preferred to hear what others thought than share his own opinion. Richard had among the world’s most finely tuned ears. This, coupled with his profound understanding of how music is put together, is what allowed him to improvise so incredibly skillfully.
ROME SILBER, kindergarten
Students from the Elizabeth Mandell Music Institute and music program perform at Richard Grayson’s memorial.
While sometimes performers play without care for each and every sound we produce, the memorial concert this spring was different. There was a more somber tone, one that forced us to reach deep inside ourselves to find every phrase, every pitch. Thank you, Richard Grayson, for teaching us, above all, how to listen.
10 CROSSROADS SCHOOL FOR ARTS & SCIENCES
AROUND THE SCHOOL
Why I’m Inspired to Advocate for Women by DJ Houston, junior, as told to Cross Sections
ROWENA SMITH, fifth grade
Jackson said that he began advocating for women’s rights with the hope of inspiring other men to do the same thing. Well, he has succeeded. I see him as a leader who’s fighting for what’s right, and I want to be that kind of leader as well.
DJ Houston, 11th grade
It can be hard to break stereo types. That’s why I was so inspired by Jackson Katz, the gender equality scholar and activist who spoke to Crossroads students in February about the need for men to act on behalf of their female peers. It’s the only way we can create a society that’s better for everyone. Women are treated unequally in so many different ways; it’s our duty to look at these problems and be part of the solution—as individuals, as families, as communities.
I was struck by Jackson’s analysis of the gender stereotypes—male and female—that are constantly reinforced in the media, such as G.I. Joe action figures growing unrealistically muscular over the years. I’m encouraged by movies like “The Princess and the Frog,” a Disney tale about a waitress who dreams of owning her own restaurant and overcomes the challenges in her way. That character is a role model to kids like my grandmother is for me: She holds the family together, she motivates me and she gives me tips about everything from dating to basketball. She is strong. Crossroads strives to empower students of all genders to make positive changes in the world. I am trying to take Jackson’s message to heart and always treat women with the respect they deserve.
CROSS SECTIONS MAGAZINE / SUMMER 2017 11
A Day of Myth-Information Seventh-grade students showed off their wide-ranging knowledge of Greek and Roman lore during the Mythology Myxer in early March, dressing in themed costumes and creating posters with mock social media profiles for Greek and Roman gods and goddesses. The group project helped students prepare for the National Latin Exam, which tested their skills in Latin grammar and vocabulary as well as Roman history and culture. Students later enjoyed nectar and ambrosia—better known among nondeities as beverages and snacks.
12 CROSSROADS SCHOOL FOR ARTS & SCIENCES
AROUND THE SCHOOL ATHLETICS
HALL OF FAME 2
Crossroads honors excellence at the June 17 ceremony and dinner. by Tara Shima, Athletics Communications Coordinator
Back in September, Athletics
how the chance to someday
Director Ira Smith was sitting
be honored lights a fire under
in his office when senior
student-athletes such as
sprinter Donovan Spearman
Donovan, who reached the
stopped by with a question:
section championships in
“How do I get into the Hall
track. “Donovan was great this
year, and I believe he drew inspiration from the greatness
The Crossroads Hall of
that the inductees have mod-
Fame induction ceremony,
eled," Ira said. "And the legacy
which began in 2014, takes
of greatness continues. Every
place every three years. This
person who steps foot into the
year’s event, held on June 17,
lobby of Grisanti Gym and
celebrated the rich tradition
has an interest in the Hall of
of athletics at Crossroads
Fame will be inspired by [the
School, recognizing the
and contributions to
teams and individuals
who have made significant
1. Event attendees after the unveiling of the new Hall of Fame display case featuring this year’s inductees. 2. Director of Athletics Ira Smith addresses the crowd. 3. The 2017 Hall of Fame honorees.
impact on the athletics
This year’s honorees are
programs. And it has anoth-
Matt Sklamberg ’85, Jeff
er purpose, too: to motivate
Tomlinson ’99, Felipe
Williams ’00, Jessica
to strive for excellence by
Schulman Christopher ’94,
showcasing the outstanding
Emily Cummins Polk ’94,
qualities to emulate.
Sherrise Smith ’95, the 1985 baseball team, Friend of
In his address during the
Athletics Linda Rambis and
induction ceremony, Ira shared
Coach/Administrator Chuck Ice.
CROSS SECTIONS MAGAZINE / SUMMER 2017 13
Having joined his parents and twin brother Mike at 5 and 10K races as a youngster, Jeff Tomlinson always loved running. As a Middle Schooler, though, he only joined Crossroads’ cross-country team to get in shape for soccer. But Coach David Olds advised the brothers to pursue running—and his words changed their lives.
HALL OF FAME HONOREES
Thanks to his mother’s love of the sport, Matt Sklamberg started playing baseball when he was 5 years old. In sixth grade, Matt met Paul Cummins at one of his Little League games and was impressed by his embrace of sports alongside education and the arts. Paul influenced Matt’s choice to become a Roadrunner. A Crossroads lifer, which in 1979 meant that he attended for grades seven to 12, Matt was named CIF Player of the Year and also helped Crossroads capture the 1985 CIF championship as a senior. Buoyed by Coach Chuck Ice’s life lessons and life-changing academic courses by Jim Hosney and Bob Iovenelli, Matt thoroughly enjoyed his time at Crossroads. “I had such an amazing high school experience,” he says. “I would not change that for anything.”
The Tomlinsons became legendary athletes at Crossroads. Jeff won the CIF Division 5 title in 1997 and 1998 and earned a state title in 1998 as well. (Mike was mere tenths of a second behind.) “The biggest impact was the team and the bond that you have with your teammates,” says Jeff, who later ran with his brother at Brown University.
FELIPE WILLIAMS Felipe Williams, who started playing basketball in fifth grade, was a standout at Crossroads when he arrived for high school. His freshman year, his team won CIF Division 4A and also claimed the state championship. As a senior in 2000, he received Player of the Year honors and led the team to the section Division 4A title. “We got to travel and see a lot and experience a lot, which led to meaningful long-term relationships,” he says.
The biggest impact was the team and the bond that you have with your teammates.” Jeff Tomlinson ’99
Felipe notes the positive influence and support of Crossroads educators such as Coach Daryl Roper, teachers Hya Young, Nika Cavat, Mike Sommers and Tom Nolan. Crossroads, he says, showed him the importance of teamwork, determination and compassion— traits that have proven invaluable in his law enforcement career.
14 CROSSROADS SCHOOL FOR ARTS & SCIENCES
AROUND THE SCHOOL ATHLETICS
JESSICA SCHULMAN CHRISTOPHER
HALL OF FAME HONOREES
EMILY CUMMINS POLK
Emily Cummins was fielding ground balls at a park one afternoon when a man walked by and said to her dad, “What’s the matter, you didn’t have a son?” Emily’s desire to be a great athlete—and social justice advocate—was ignited. “I would be remiss not to give more credit to my dad [Crossroads co-founder Paul Cummins] and what I saw him build all those years here,” Emily says. “If you’re building sports teams, you’re building community.” Under the direction of Coach Tom Gray, Emily and her teammates seized a CIF softball championship in 1992 and repeated in 1993, and the following year Emily was named to the All-CIF First Team. After graduating, Emily played at Northwestern (where her grandfather Paul Cummins Sr. was a two-sport athlete) and married Crossroads alumnus Adam Polk ’94.
For Jessica Schulman, baseball with her brother and softball in West LA Little League led to long car rides for pitching lessons and club games and, eventually, a meeting with then-Crossroads softball Coach Tom Gray and arrival at the School as a sophomore. A three-time All-CIF honoree who was named the CIF Division 5 Player of the Year in 1993, she helped her team win back-to-back championships her sophomore and junior years. She then became the first softball player to receive a full scholarship from Stanford University. Tom, Chuck Ice and Paul Cummins were among Jessica’s mentors, but her Crossroads experience transcended sports. “Crossroads holds a near and dear place in my heart, and now, as a parent, I really look back and see what a special place it is,” she says.
Sherrise Smith developed an early love of basketball, but her passion was tested when she moved to California as a 10-yearold and faced resistance upon joining a local boys league. Thankfully, her coach put her in touch with Daryl Roper, who introduced her to Crossroads. With the support of her parents, Homer and Retha Smith, Sherrise led her team to the CIF finals three times and was named to the All-CIF First Team in 1993, 1994 and 1995. She also earned first-team all-state recognition after scoring 45 points in the 1995 title game.
If you’re building sports teams, you’re building community.” Emily Cummins Polk ’94
The skills Sherrise developed at Crossroads helped her as a four-year starter at University of California, Berkeley, and beyond. She counts Daryl, Hya Young, Frank Bayle, Tom Nolan and Paul Cummins among the mentors who encouraged her, and she has paid it forward as a coach and mentor.
CROSS SECTIONS MAGAZINE / SUMMER 2017 15
/FRIEND OF ATHLETICS LINDA RAMBIS Bringing to Crossroads her experience in professional sports and her spirit of volunteerism, alumni parent Linda Rambis left a lasting impression on the School community and rallied others in support of athletics. Inspired by the Los Angeles Lakers, she brought a combination of competition and entertainment to the School. And thanks to her initiative, organizational efforts and desire to create something special for the entire School community, Extravaganza was reimagined.
1985 BASEBALL TEAM Crossroads’ 1985 baseball team was a squad of all-stars, ranking No. 1 in the state among schools in its division. It faced several challenging opponents during the regular season but scored 329 runs and finished with a 21-3 record. Coached by Chuck Ice, the Roadrunners defeated Heritage Christian, Coleville, Chadwick and Lindfield Christian in the playoffs to reach the CIF finals, where they topped Woodcrest Christian. Crossroads plated 108 runs while only giving up 12 during its five playoff games. The roster included: Jon Drimmer, infielder; Jason Robman, infielder; Noah Rosen, pitcher/outfielder; Carl DiStefano, third baseman; Tom Weber, first baseman/shortstop; Jordan Matter, second baseman; Cliff Hughes, catcher; Nick Satriano, third baseman; Steve Furchner, pitcher/outfielder; Doug Pitkin, shortstop/pitcher; Adam Pfahler, outfielder/catcher; Michael Czarnetzki, catcher/outfielder; Chris (Melaten) Vanaman, pitcher/outfielder; and Matt Sklamberg, pitcher/outfielder. Chuck’s assistants were Scott Russell and Larry Wiener.
It’s been years since Linda’s vision for Extravaganza was brought to fruition, and the Crossroads community continues to come together each January with painted faces, homemade signs and exuberant celebrations leading up to the grand sporting event. For the entire School community, Extravaganza is an annual highlight with thousands of spectators sharing the common goal of cheering on their home team—a timeless homage to Linda.
/COACH, ADMINISTRATOR CHUCK ICE Chuck Ice was enticed to leave Santa Monica High School for Crossroads when Paul Cummins took him to a well-attended high school basketball game. After starting as a physical education teacher, he eventually became a baseball coach, junior varsity basketball coach and athletics director. “I felt I was a part of the building process for the School,” he says. As athletics director, Chuck found committed coaches to develop new sports programs despite a lack of facilities. And as the head baseball coach from 1982 to 1993, he compiled a 211-95 overall record, won two CIF titles and took the team to four CIF finals. “In those days, a lot of people viewed schools by athletics,” he says, “so athletics got them to look at us in a different way than they had before.”
16 CROSSROADS SCHOOL FOR ARTS & SCIENCES
The PARTy of the Year! “I am overjoyed by what I saw at this year’s spring fundraiser,” Head of School Bob Riddle says. “Events like the Art of the Doodle really reveal the true colors of the Crossroads community—its collective warmth, energy and passion for making our School the amazing place that it is. It’s truly a blessing to see that community in action, not just on the night of the event but in ways throughout the year that make this event possible.”
Attendees mingle outside the ballroom.
What a fabulous night it was! Thanks to the efforts, enthusiasm and incredible generosity of the Crossroads community, the Art of the Doodle was a resounding success. More than 900 members of the School community—parents, alumni, parents of alumni, grandparents, faculty and staff—came out to the Skirball Cultural Center on Saturday, May 6, for the spring fundraiser to support Crossroads’ Financial Aid Fund. This year’s event raised nearly $900,000, a magnificent endorsement of the School’s mission. The Financial Aid Fund enables Crossroads to offer brave and bold educational experiences to students who might not otherwise be able to afford them. Moreover, these critical dollars empower the School to promote a student body that represents the racial, cultural and economic diversity of Los Angeles.
From left, Doodle Auction Co-Chairs Maya Pinkner and Kim Levin and Event Co-Chairs Margaret Smith and Olivia Corwin.
Attendees at this year’s Art of the Doodle were invited to bid on more than 250 doodles by well-known personalities from all walks of life, including David Hockney, Lady Gaga, Chris Paul, Alice Waters and Deepak Chopra. The doodles were on display around the venue, allowing guests to mingle among the original artwork. The event also featured hundreds of silent auction and raffle items, including lodgings in Paris, Oahu and Mammoth; tickets to a wide variety sporting events and theater performances; autographed memorabilia; exquisite jewelry; and gift cards to clothing stores and local restaurants. Partygoers enjoyed international food buffets along with full bars, including exceptional wine generously donated by Melhill Vineyards/the Lotman Family. Highlighting the evening were alumni emcees Jack Black ’87 and Kate Hudson ’97, who showcased their Crossroads spirit and rallied the crowd to contribute to the Financial Aid Fund. The talented Parent Band then put on a rockin’ set, which included a few songs with the emcees on vocals. And dancing continued after the band’s performance, thanks to fabulous DJ and Crossroads dad Paren Knadjian. How do you top off an evening like that? How about a doughnut wall! A thousand Krispy Kreme doughnuts, generously donated by the Reinis and Glickman families, were artfully hung on a peg wall near checkout for guests to help themselves. Thank you again to everyone who attended and supported this wonderful event!
CROSS SECTIONS MAGAZINE / SUMMER 2017 17
Guests admire original doodles in the lobby.
This event would not have been possible without the dedication and hard work of scores of our incredible volunteers: Co-Chairs: Olivia Corwin and Margaret Smith Doodle Auction Co-Chairs: Kim Levin and Maya Pinkner Auction/Raffle Co-Chairs: Jessica Yi and Erin Moss Honorary Co-Chairs: Lauren Taschen and Catherine Opie
From left, Jaimee Bush, Steve Harris, Joe Blackstone, Jana David, Jamie Mohn, Eric David, Carron Brown and Dylan Brown.
Treasurer: Andrea Fama Entertainment Liaisons: Elan Glasser and Alicia Celmer Doodle Bios: Traci Massin Doodle Copy Coordinator: Michele Aronson Decor Coordinators: Michele Celmer and Michael Stuno
Emcees Kate Hudson ’97 and Jack Black ’87 rev up the crowd.
Activities Coordinator: Megan Dodds Volunteer Coordinators: Tamar Kane ’85, Debby Zwelling and Andrea Slutske Check-In/Checkout and Auction Display Coordinators: Jennifer Michael, Elena Hale and Ann Dinner Auction/Raffle Solicitation Committee: Michael Laiken ’95, Delphine Robertson ’88, Renee Mann, Ann Dinner, Jinah Herr, Stacey Siegel and Jen AstmanPosen
Head of School Bob Riddle speaks about the importance of the Financial Aid Fund. The Parent Band treats guests to a rockin’ set.
Big thanks also go to the Parent Band, Doodle Framing Committees, Phonathon callers, check-in and checkout volunteers, Doodle and auction/raffle solicitors, setup and clean-up crews and everyone who had a hand in making the Art of the Doodle such a success!
18 CROSSROADS SCHOOL FOR ARTS & SCIENCES
Board of Trustees In June, Crossroads acknowledged two outgoing members of the Board of Trustees for their many years of contributions to the School. Longtime Trustees Iris Mink and Elaine Parker-Gills demonstrated outstanding dedication to Crossroads and its philosophy for more than 40 years combined. They are the first two Trustees to reach the term limits established in 2008. The new bylaws allow Trustees to serve initial two-year terms and three subsequent three-year terms.
“Iris has been a powerful supporter of mine. I first got to know her when I served as dean for her son, Matthew Mink ’99. She’s the kind of person who always said ‘yes,’ and who always told me what a great job I was doing! And Elaine’s commitment to social justice issues has inspired students, faculty, and other Trustees. She and Trustee Nat Trives shared powerful stories with our students at last year’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day assemblies. I have learned much from Elaine over the years, and am very grateful for all the support she has shown me." BOB RIDDLE, HEAD OF SCHOOL
Iris began serving on the Board in 2001, stepping in after her husband, Allen Mink (Trustee In Memoriam), passed away. In addition to using her psychology background to help develop a sophisticated assessment tool for the Head of School Evaluation Committee, she also held roles on the Development, Facilities and Finance Committees. Elaine was on the Board for 28 years, supporting the School’s diversity initiatives while serving on several other committees. The mother of alumni Dedan Gills ’89 and Mansa Gills ’99 and grandmother of Kojo Sadler ’16, she has made an impact across the region through her leadership roles in youth-focused nonprofit groups.
Crossroads welcomed four new members to the Board this year: DEBORAH KANTER
Deborah is the chief legal officer for the Eli and Edythe Broad-founded philanthropies and family office. She holds a bachelor’s degree in art history from Wellesley College, and both a master’s degree in art history and law degree from Stanford University. Deborah and her husband, David Bartis, are parents of Henry ’17 and 11th-grader Ellie. ERIK WRIGHT
Since 2008, Erik has served as a managing director for Cerberus Capital Management. He holds a bachelor’s in economics from Dartmouth College, where he minored in German, and a master’s in business from UCLA. Erik and his wife, Cate, are parents to second-grader Evie and Jack, who will enter kindergarten in the fall.
“I’m excited to welcome Erik and Deborah to the Board of Trustees. Deborah’s extensive background as an attorney, and specifically as general counsel for the Broad Foundations, will bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the Board and to Crossroads. And Erik’s financial expertise and experience, coupled with his family’s love of Crossroads, will greatly benefit the Board and Crossroads for many, many years to come.” BOB FRIEDMAN, BOARD CHAIR
“It is such an honor to have Trevor and Marisol back at Crossroads as members of our Board, particularly since I knew them both when they were students at Crossroads! Seeing talented alumni return to the School in this capacity reminds me just how strong our community is.” BOB RIDDLE
TREVOR BEZDEK ’95
Trevor has launched several businesses in the fields of health care and technology since graduating from Stanford University in 1999 with degrees in biological sciences and computer science. He also jointly runs a charitable organization that supports underserved youth in Los Angeles. Trevor and his wife, Jana, are the parents of second-grader Asher.
MARISOL LEÓN ’03
A civil rights attorney with the California Department of Justice, Marisol completed her undergraduate degree at Yale University before earning a master’s in urban education at Loyola Marymount University and a law degree from University of California, Berkeley. An English teacher in the Crossroads Upper School from 2009 to 2011, she has impressive experience as an educator and social justice advocate both locally and internationally.
CROSS SECTIONS MAGAZINE / SUMMER 2017 19
2017-18 Board of Trustees
Mark and Jessica Samuel They have been strong advocates for the School’s Annual Fund since joining Crossroads. Jessica explains that they both were raised to give to causes in which they believe. For them, organizations with education as part of their foundation and a component of their mission resonate deeply. They explain:
Bob Friedman, Chair Darlene Chan, Executive Vice Chair Nat Trives, Executive Vice Chair Jeff Worthe, Executive Vice Chair Jeff Lipp, Secretary Bob Davenport, Treasurer
Andy Baum Trevor Bezdek ’95 Michelle Brookman ’82 Juan Carrillo (on leave) Chris Chee Ann Colburn Emilio Diez Barroso Mary Farrell Nicole Hoegl
Mark and Jessica Samuel could not be happier to be a part of Crossroads School, sharing, “We are thrilled to be here, and feel so fortunate that our children are growing up in this wonderful community.” Parents in the Elementary School since 2014, their son, Chason, will be in fourth grade in the fall and daughter, Eleanor, in third. They hope 3-year-old Sienna will join her brother and sister in a few years.
Marisol León ’03 Michael Levin Ted Miller ’82 Marc Millman Sharon Nazarian David Offer ’84 Lois Reinis Ilene Resnick Tracy Seretean Bruce Stern David Tannenbaum ’89 Tom Werner Erik Wright
ELLA FLOOD, 12th grade
“We aim to give in support of the greater good in all our philantrophy,” the couple says. “We see Crossroads as part of that greater good. We understand that tuition dollars alone cannot ‘keep the lights on.’ Socio-economic diversity is very important, and gifts to the Annual Fund also support the School’s ongoing commitment to diversity.” Mark and Jessica are longtime volunteers and philanthropists in the greater community, and
have embraced supporting Crossroads in myriad ways— volunteering, participating in the Annual Fund and supporting the Parent Association spring fundraiser. They were also inspired by the recent creation of the Joanie Martin Financial Aid Endowment Fund. Gifts to the endowment fund help ensure the future for generations to come, and create a truly meaningful tribute to an extraordinary educator. “We feel so fortunate to be a part of this amazing Crossroads family. This is our community and we want to support it in as many ways—both financially and personally—as possible. We encourage everyone to contribute in every way they possibly can,” they say.
20â€ƒ CROSSROADS SCHOOL FOR ARTS & SCIENCES
CROSS SECTIONS MAGAZINE / SUMMER 2017 21
In turbulent times, the School reaffirms its values. The Middle School students trickled onto the outdoor basketball court, a few at a time, some of them carrying signs, others wearing colorful attire. They put on face paint and practiced speeches as their peers slowly joined them, the crowd growing larger by the minute. And then, on this sunny Wednesday afternoon in March, the idling groups of students melded into one. One cluster. One voice. One purpose.
“This is what democracy looks like!” The scores of students were joined by faculty and staff as they marched through the 21st Street Campus, chanting in unison as part of a midday exercise in activism. The march coincided with International Women’s Day, but this event was multifaceted. Students showed their support for women, but they also spoke out on behalf of the LGBT community, racial minorities, immigrants and other marginalized groups. Their handmade posters delivered poignant messages: “BLACK LIVES MATTER” “Respect Existence or Expect Resistance” “DIVERSITY IS REALITY”
“We just want fundamental rights,” said eighth-grade student Ellie Stogel, who helped organize the event.
The marchers eventually gathered outside the Projects Pavilion in the Alley, where student leaders and Crossroads employees called for awareness, equity and social justice. This, they said, is what democracy looks like.
22 CROSSROADS SCHOOL FOR ARTS & SCIENCES
“We are all oppressed in some ways and privileged in others; let us continue to question our own privilege even as we fight our own oppression,” Middle School teacher Oksana Godoy declared in her speech. “Let us look long and hard in the mirror before judging someone else. And let us discard the notion that we are alone and that our voices don’t matter. Together we are strong. We are powerful. And we are all agents of change.” “We are a School that was Those sentiments find a strong foundation in the philosophy of Crossroads, whose students not only learn about pressing political and social issues but also develop a determined sense of social responsibility and a dedication to improving the lives of others. Those commitments, Head of School Bob Riddle says, became even more important following the election of Donald Trump to the U.S. presidency. Lamenting the discrimination and disregard for fact-based discourse that have proliferated in recent months, he finds reassurance in Crossroads’ purpose.
created with a very specific mission—to be part of the change in the world,” Bob said during an address to faculty and staff this winter. So let’s continue to seize the opportunity to persist in our mission, and to resist the forces of hatred and bigotry that are threatening to tear us apart.”
CROSS SECTIONS MAGAZINE / SUMMER 2017 23
Crossroads boasts a rich history of activism (page 26), and the School community ramped up its efforts this school year in numerous ways. Hundreds of Crossroads students, parents and employees participated in the Women’s March in downtown Los Angeles (see page 24), showcasing the School’s strength of spirit and desire for equal treatment of all people regardless of race, nationality, gender, religion or income. At the Elementary School level, the seeds of social awareness are planted as students learn about the world around them.
“I feel Crossroads takes strong and righteous stands on issues involving social justice," Elementary School Director Debbie Wei says. “I had one Latina parent tell me that her son begged her not to travel for work because he
In response to the current political climate, fourth-grade teachers included a session about refugees in their unit on immigration. Not only did students interview immigrants, but they also analyzed patterns among them and examined differences in their experiences. After thinking about which five items they would take with them on a journey to a new country, students examined images of what refugees actually carry. They even completed an online simulation of a journey wherein students decided which routes to take and which people to trust.
was afraid she wouldn’t be allowed to come home. We always have to remember: The children are listening and watching, and our job is to make them feel safe, secure and nurtured, to help students think critically and reason soundly and to hopefully instill a sense of compassion toward all.”
“The students walked away having a greater understanding of who these people are and why they risk so much for their lives,” fourth-grade teacher Dana Uppal says. “There were many questions about why people are afraid of them and why we don’t do more to help.”
Top: Students at the march for human rights, held on the Crossroads 21st Street Campus. Above: Fourth-grade students create projects based on their study of refugees and immigrants in Americas. Right: Elementary School Director Debbie Wei, right, with a group of Crossroads community members at the at the Women’s March in LA.
24 CROSSROADS SCHOOL FOR ARTS & SCIENCES
THE WOMEN’S MARCH
by Christopher Farnsworth
Christopher Farnsworth and daughter Daphne at the Women’s March in downtown LA.
cars stuffed full of people. Every time the doors opened, and no one could get on, a cheer went up.
I don’t think any of us thought it would be this big. The morning of Jan. 21, we met at Crossroads to go the Women’s March in downtown Los Angeles. My wife and I wanted to take our daughters because we thought it was important for them to see people standing up for what they believe. For my part, I wanted my actions to match my words about equality between men and women, and justice, and basic human rights. And I was glad to know that other parents—other fathers—from Crossroads were doing the same. That’s one reason we send our kids here, after all. But then we got to see it in real life. We attempted to take organized groups downtown on the train, only to find the
We eventually caught a ride, and got as close as possible to Pershing Square before the crowds became too thick. Everyone we saw was almost ridiculously happy. People smiled. They said “excuse me” and “sorry” if they bumped into you. The LAPD officers assigned to crowd control were highfiving people as they passed. The drivers swamped by the crowds honked their horns—not because they were angry at being delayed, but because they were glad to be a part of it all. In a city where no one ever walks, 750,000 people showed up to march. I am grateful my daughters got to see this living example of people standing up to be counted. We were there as thousands and thousands of their fellow citizens made a joyful noise that echoed across the entire country. Sometimes that’s enough. And sometimes it’s just the beginning. Christopher Farnsworth is a novelist. He and his wife, Jean, are the parents of third-grader Caroline and kindergartner Daphne.
CROSS SECTIONS MAGAZINE / SUMMER 2017 25
In the Middle School, students demonstrated activism in many ways beyond the PRIDE club’s rally in March. Students in Todd Baron’s Political Activism 101 Options class followed the news and led discussion on topics such as feminism and income inequality, debating ways to improve the lives of those around them. Students in the Upper School engaged with socio-political issues in a variety of ways. On Juvenile Justice Forum Day, after listening to a keynote speech by University of Southern California law professor Jody David Armour and talks by other experts on issues of inequality, they facilitated discussions on topics including racial profiling, drug abuse and homelessness.
“With the changing political
“As a community,” Bob says,
climate, people don’t realize
“it’s our responsibility to
they may be marginalized
support one another, and to
now, because they’ve been
find ways to provide a forum
privileged before,” senior
that allows each of us to
Ella Flood says.
express our fear and anxiety, and to reassure—as much as we can—that we will do
Indeed, events like the student rally in March solidified Crossroads as a place where education is only as good as the actions it inspires.
whatever it takes to protect all members of our School community.”
Later in the year, students in Jamie Meyer’s Latin 4 Honors classes compared poverty and social reform movements in ancient Rome to those in the modern U.S. from 1960 to the present. The project yielded fruitful dialogue about curbing systemic inequalities in society. As the 2016 presidential campaign gave way to a deeply polarized election and its stillunfolding aftermath, students felt compelled to consider their power—and value—as activists. Below: Eighth-grader Samara Koseff addresses classmates and teachers at the International Women’s Day campus march.
Above: During Juvenile Justice Forum Day, law professor Jody David Armour (seated in background), addresses students in a breakout session on racial profiling led by junior Austin Astrup, right.
26 CROSSROADS SCHOOL FOR ARTS & SCIENCES
RIGHT SIDE OF JUSTICE THE HISTORY OF THE SCHOOL IS ONE OF SOCIAL CONSCIOUSNESS AND ACTION. Crossroads was founded in 1971 on the heels of the Civil Rights Movement and against the backdrop of increasing anti-war sentiment and the women’s rights movement. Its commitments as a progressive, urban school include diversity and community engagement, discourse and activism around political issues and social justice—both within and beyond the classroom. The following reminiscences by members of the Crossroads community provide a snapshot of a School that, since its founding, has strived to engage with difficult issues
No Blood for Oil ALEX HOERNER ’91
Leading up to Gulf War, there was a real feeling of helplessness. The faculty was very supportive of our activism and nurtured a socio-political awareness. They would bring in speakers to campus talk to us about everything from the legalization of marijuana to political action.
DOUG THOMPSON WAS
A group of Crossroads students attended meetings with the progressive LA Student Coalition and started going to demonstrations. I recall going to an informational session on what to do if you get arrested. We attended one antiwar demonstration in downtown Los Angeles with that exact goal. It was a school day.
IS ALLOWED TO LEAVE
THE UPPER SCHOOL DEAN OF STUDENTS THEN. HE GATHERED THE STUDENTS OUTSIDE— INCLUDING MY SON, TAFT—AND SAID, “NO ONE CAMPUS! BUT IF YOU HAVE TO LEAVE, MAKE SURE YOU SIGN OUT.” ALEX
The demonstration was really intense. We were chanting, “No
blood for oil” and spilling these oil cans filled with fake blood, getting everyone “bloody.” And then we sat on the steps of the Veterans Affairs building and refused to disperse. Police officers came and poked at us with their batons; they had black tape over their name badges and they were in riot gear. These guys were really laying into us. And eventually they would drag us off, handcuff us and lay us down in the lobby of the building. We all were released the same day. We attended other anti-war and anti-apartheid protests, as well. Through my community service requirement at Crossroads, I also worked at a phone bank for the National Organization for Women, making calls in support of abortion rights in the South. I loved that part of myself. Now that I have a 6-year-old, I find myself more politically minded than I have been in a while. I want to participate more.
through thoughtful questioning and meaningful action.
PEACE NOT WAR
Alex Hoerner ’91 is a Los Angeles-based photographer. Joanie Martin is Crossroads’ special projects coordinator and former director of the Elementary School, as well as a Crossroads grandparent and alumni parent.
CROSS SECTIONS MAGAZINE / SUMMER 2017 27
In Search of Peace ADRIENNE LEVER ’03
I WAS IN HIGH SCHOOL WHEN 9/11 HAPPENED. IT WAS A POLITICALLY CHARGED ERA. CROSSROADS EXPECTS STUDENTS TO BE ACTIVE PARTICIPANTS WITH FACULTY SUPPORT, WE CREATED THE CLUB ISOP (IN SEARCH OF PEACE) IN RESPONSE TO FORMER PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH’S POLICIES.
Before the invasion of Iraq, dozens of our students marched to Santa Monica City Hall, where a rally was held. Several speakers addressed the students, including a member of the City Council. I was a graduate student at University of California, Berkeley, from 1963 to 69, so this march took me back to the many marches in Berkeley and San Francisco against the war in Vietnam.
Adrienne Lever ’03 at an anti-war protest.
IN THE COMMUNITY.
We had student groups go down to some of the larger rallies happening downtown. There were a bunch of big national anti-war organizations that would organize massive rallies there. We always would try to bring a student contingent down, not just to participate but also to give students on campus the experience of what it was like to be part of a larger movement.
A day or two after the inva«
Larry Morrissette at an anti-war protest at Crossroads.
sion of Iraq, a large number of faculty and staff lined up
A Crossroads education trains you to be not just steadfast in your beliefs, but also open-minded and thoughtful about how you approach people with different perspectives. The School encourages you to really think about and analyze your perspective and support it with reason and logical arguments. And that’s a tool in education and a tool for life.
on 21st Street in the early morning, just before the arrival of students and parents. We stood silently, holding lit candles, as vehicles passed in front of us. It was our way of showing our stand against what we felt was an unnecessary war.
Adrienne Lever ’03 is the campaign director for Swing Left, a new national grassroots movement whose mission is to “take back the House in 2018.” Larry Morrissette taught Upper School history at Crossroads from 1978 to 2007.
28 CROSSROADS SCHOOL FOR ARTS & SCIENCES
When they reached the end of the Alley, Jake and Paul told Steve to look up. The School had named the Middle School building after him, and Steve saw his name on the building for the very first time.
Courage and Compassion
Not long after Steve’s death, an HIV-positive student enrolled at the School and eventually came to be a student in my seventh-grade English class. All over the country, summer camps, boys and girls clubs, and private and public schools were being petitioned to deny enrollment to HIV-infected children.
M iddle Schoolers cheer as Stephen Morgan (far left) is driven through the Alley to see the building named in his honor. BOB RIDDLE
I came to Crossroads in 1984, a time when young men my age were dying by the tens of thousands from a mysterious illness that we’d soon learn was AIDS. Among them would be Stephen Morgan, the openly gay Middle School director who’d hired me as a math teacher a few years prior.
In 1989, when Steve was very ill, just a few weeks before he died, Headmaster Paul Cummins and Upper School Director Jake Jacobusse invited him for a ride in Jake’s convertible Mercedes, with the top down, on a glorious spring day. Under some pretense, Jake suggested they swing by Crossroads. As they turned onto campus, there lining the Alley was the entire School community.
My student was deeply good in that way that I see so often and treasure so deeply in middle school people, and he was loved and respected by his peers. Not one child in the class, not one parent, staff or faculty member protested his membership in our community. I can’t help but think that Steve’s courage and Paul and Jake’s remarkable demonstration of generosity, gratitude and compassion sealed something in our School, bonding us forever to attitudes of inclusion, respect and love.
I doubt that anyone who was present that afternoon will ever forget it. Jake at the wheel of his pale yellow convertible, Paul with his arm around Steve while he wept, the entire 21st Street Campus—students, faculty, staff—applauding and cheering him.
Bob Riddle is the head of Crossroads School. Tracey Porter is a sixth-grade Core teacher and Core coordinator.
CROSS SECTIONS MAGAZINE / SUMMER 2017 29
Queer State Of The Union ADAM WATERS
As members of FLAG, we were very aware of the pushback and the fact that there could be protests. It was emotional; we took it personally. ADAM
IN 2005, WHAT WAS
The event itself felt really great. The room was packed. There was a real sense of family, a sense of home and a sense of safety. The fact that the School never
THEN CALLED THE
THERE WAS NOW THIS
considered canceling the
X FACTOR. IS THIS
event is emblematic of
OF LESBIANS AND
AL RANTEL GOING TO
Crossroads’ commitment to
SHOW UP? ARE
QUEER STATE OF THE
UNION ON TOPICS
TO SHOW UP? PLANS
RELATED TO LGBT
WERE MADE TO HAVE
RIGHTS. IT WAS AN
TORS AND SECURITY
EVENT FOR STUDENTS AND PARENTS, AND IT WAS OPEN TO THE WIDER COMMUNITY AS WELL. WE HAD SOME PRETTY BIG NAMES ON THE PANEL, INCLUDING A STATE ASSEMBLY MEMBER AND THE FOUNDER OF METROPOLITAN COMMUNITY CHURCHES WORLDWIDE.
DYLAN MOORE ’05
I was a junior and vice president of FLAG at the time. We were trying to be more active as a group, hold events beyond our club meetings. Everybody was really excited about the panel. ADAM
The day of the event, I get pulled out of class to meet with Headmaster Roger Weaver and some other administrators. Al Rantel, a conservative radio host at KABC, had somehow seen the event flyer, and was talking negatively about our event on his morning show. He’d said, “I’m going to try to get out of my second show tonight so I can go down and see what’s going on. And if you’re hearing this, you should go down, too.” So we didn’t know what to expect.
and to ensuring that the core values in the School’s philosophy are mirrored in the actions and activities on campus on a daily basis.
IN ATTENDANCE. BUT AT NO POINT DID ANYONE SUGGEST CANCELING THE EVENT. I’M VERY PROUD OF THAT, AND THANKFULLY NO PROTESTORS CAME. RANTEL CONTINUED TO DISPARAGE THE
Adam Waters is a counselor and Life Skills teacher, and has served for nearly 18 years as the faculty adviser to the School’s genders/sexualities alliance, now called PRIDE. Dylan Moore ’05 is an actor and producer. She is the co-founder/ executive producer of the Artist as Citizen Conference at the Juilliard School, an initiative of ASTEP (Artists Striving to End Poverty).
EVENT ON HIS EVENING SHOW, AND A COUPLE OF CROSSROADS KIDS CALLED IN TO DEFEND IT.
30 CROSSROADS SCHOOL FOR ARTS & SCIENCES
When You CAN say, “You can’t play.” IMONIE STUNO-PERVORSE
I asked a red dot to give me a basketball they were playing with. It didn’t feel right so I gave the ball back. I apologized and said I was sorry. It probably didn’t feel good to be bossed around.
IN 2015, TO KICK OFF SOCIAL JUSTICE WEEK AT THE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, ALL K-5 STUDENTS PARTICIPATED
IN DOT DAY. TEACHERS PLACED, AT RANDOM,
Dot Day reminds us how
A DOT STICKER IN ONE
unfairly people were actually
OF FOUR COLORS ON
treated. Like when Martin Luther King Jr. was around,
black people had to sit in
BESTOWING A CERTAIN
the back of the bus. We can’t
SET OF PRIVILEGES—OR
just forget about that. We
LACK THEREOF. HERE,
have to remember to treat
REFLECT ON THE
EXPERIENCE. OWEN WEG
I was a purple dot, the highest. You got to do almost anything you wanted. I got to have two graham crackers at snack, which was really unfair to the others. I was happy in the beginning, but I saw my friends having to do things that they didn’t want to do, and then I felt very sad.
At Crossroads, you can’t say, “You can’t play.” But some of us were allowed to do that on Dot Day! And the teachers weren’t allowed to say, “You have to let them play.” They said, “You’re purple; you can do whatever you want.” I actually saw a kid say to a red dot, “You can’t play with me, because I have a bigger color than you. You have to go play with someone else.”
A rtwork by Benjamin Tannenbaum, eighth grade.
We’ll never get to actually be in their shoes. I was a red on Dot Day, and I felt that, in a milder and modified way, we were kind of experiencing what children who lived through segregation or India’s caste system must have felt like. I kind of wish that we could do it again. I don’t want to forget. I don’t want it to slowly die away and lose the depth of the experience. I want to remember how it felt and to have a better sense of injustice. It’s not like something we can say, “Oh, that’s the past.” Injustice is still here.
INDIANA GUCKERT, eighth grade
32 CROSSROADS SCHOOL FOR ARTS & SCIENCES
NEW POETRY ROOM OPENS IN THE PAUL CUMMINS LIBRARY by Kayti Mathewson, Director of Learning Resources
Paul Cummins has always had a passion for poetry. Not only did the Crossroads co-founder and first headmaster write his dissertation at University of Southern California on poet Richard Wilbur, but he’s also a published poet himself. Over the past 50 years, he’s built up an immense book collection dedicated entirely to poetry. And on Feb. 11, the Paul Cummins Library on Crossroads’ 21st Street Campus became home to that entire collection. The Kirschner Family Room for the Paul Cummins Poetry Collection was designed by Crossroads alumnus Ali Jeevanjee ’93 and his wife, Poonam Sharma, for their firm, LOC Architects. The space is modern and cozy with warm blond wood covering the walls, a large orange area rug on the floor and a beautiful artistic lamp hanging from the ceiling directly over the large reading chair. Everything about the aesthetic invites a passion for all things poetry: Besides the shelves packed with books, there are also records, CDs, audiocassettes, VHS tapes and DVDs celebrating and exploring the world of poetry. Organizing the 3,500-book collection was a painstaking process. Once the bookshelves were erected, Paul unpacked his books and began thoughtfully
arranging them throughout the room. Despite frequent interruptions from curious students and graciously rebuffed offers of help from librarians, he diligently put his books away with the care of a father putting his children to bed. “I see them as companions,” Paul says. “Each book has a memory of some sort attached to it. For many, I remember where I bought it, and why I bought it. I developed an addiction to book collecting, particularly books having to do with some aspect of poetry.” The book collection is enticingly varied. It includes: works on traditional topics such as poets; antholo-
CROSS SECTIONS MAGAZINE / SUMMER 2017 33
gies and biographies; books on prose and prosody, modernism and criticism; and magazines such as LA Poetry and Poetry.
multimedia resources, and solitary students have found the tranquil space conducive to studying or silent contemplation.
Paul’s own impressive body of work is on display. Published books of speeches; volumes of poetry; tomes on education; and his historical works on the late Herbert Zipper (who was a Holocaust survivor and Crossroads music teacher) and his wife, Trudl, fill a shelf. The room is adorned with broadsides: poster-sized works of fine art that showcase a poem or poetry excerpt with a small illustration. Many contain the signature of a notable poet—such as Philip Levine, Richard Wilbur, Molly Peacock, Kwame Dawes and Brendan Constantine.
“The poetry room provides a quiet space to write an essay or just be by yourself,” says junior Thomas Faraut.
Since the grand opening in February (see below), Paul’s room has been in high demand. Classes as varied as Middle School math and Upper School Latin have visited to explore the room’s texts and
Paul Cummins addresses attendees at the opening of the Kirschner Family Room for his poetry collection.
Published poet and Middle School teacher Todd Baron agrees: “Each time I open the door, I feel the weight in my body shift, lighter and swifter. Kids react as if they’ve found the Secret Garden or the Phantom Tollbooth.” Todd adds, “The magic of the poetry room is that it is neither a classroom nor an archive. All books are records of not only what they contain but of each reader’s touch; this room is filled with that necessary, sensate magic.”
The grand opening of the Kirschner Family Room for the Paul Cummins Poetry Collection was held on Feb. 11. Dozens of invited guests filled the first floor of the Paul Cummins Library for the dedication of the new room. Attendees included faculty emeritus; designers Ali Jeevanjee ’93 and Poonam Sharma; and architect of the Paul Cummins Library, Steven Ehrlich. The new home for the Paul Cummins Poetry Collection—a room which had been formerly devoted to documentary film—was made possible by the generosity of the Kirschner family, who were honored guests at the celebration.
34 CROSSROADS SCHOOL FOR ARTS & SCIENCES
After 30 years, we bid a fond farewell to intrepid Upper School Coordinator Cheryl Junod. Cheryl has worked for no less than nine Upper School directors: Les Larson, Ann Colburn, Bob Riddle, Liz Resnick, Morgan Schwartz, David Olds, Tom Nolan, Roxanne Zazzaro and (for one day, at least) Jake Jacobusse. Working for each was a completely different experience, but they all knew to “let her run the place.” And for three decades, she did. Cheryl remains in touch with scores of alumni and former colleagues and has been a significant force in creating a strong community among the staff. She started the staff beach volleyball game; launched the faculty versus seniors annual softball game; ran a mean sports pool for all significant sporting events; helped establish staff sabbaticals; and pushed the idea of “staff representatives” so that
nonteaching employees could provide feedback to the administration. She even accompanied students on 20 Environmental and Outdoor Education trips— voluntarily! “She’s got so much to give, so much to share,” says P.E. teacher and Middle School Physical Education Curriculum Coordinator Shawn Gilbert. “She’s a wonderful source of inspiration and a role model.” Self-described as “efficient, strong, controlling and a multitasker,” Cheryl’s immediate retirement plans include spending more time outdoors, exercising, traveling, making jewelry and taking photographs. She promises we’ll still see her at major School events, alumni reunions or maybe even in the Alley having lunch with her partner and Crossroads maintenance engineer, Jim Untrauer, who isn’t retiring from Crossroads just yet. We all look forward to seeing her!
Iconic history teacher Tom Laichas is leaving Crossroads after 34 years of innovative, creative and inspired teaching. Exceptionally skilled in curriculum design, Tom developed and taught World Civilization, AP World History, U.S. and AP U.S. History, Political Economy, Cosmopolis (a history of urbanism focused on Los Angeles), and the Other Side of History (a course focused on non-Western history since 1945) in grades 10-12. He served as history department chair for nine years, and shared his knowledge and insight into the history and politics of California’s proposition process with his grateful colleagues during election years. He is also the proud father of alumna Ariella ’13, who is a student at Los Angeles College of Music. Tom brought a wealth of research and publishing experience into the classroom. He has long written
and edited work on the histories of the modern world, the United States, California, Los Angeles and Latin America. He served as co-founding editor of “World History Connected,” a peer-reviewed journal serving world history instructors at the high school, college and university levels—and where, as senior editor, he is now responsible for writing, reviewing and editing articles and reviews. He has published curriculum for the National Center for History in the Schools and has contributed to texts and reference works from a number of publishers. Tom’s poetry has also appeared in small-press magazines and journals. As for retirement plans? Well, as Tom told students in the Alley near the end of school, he has been telling time by a school clock since he was five years old. He plans to step away from that clock to spend time with family and pursue a number of longdelayed projects.
CROSS SECTIONS MAGAZINE / SUMMER 2017 35
It is no small task creating beautiful, thriving pockets of nature amid our urban asphalt-and-concrete- dominated campuses. But Luis Meza, who retired in January, was more than up to the challenge for the past eight years. He worked tirelessly and with great personal pride to nurture trees, foliage, vegetables and flowers in every available nook and cranny throughout the Alley, as well as on the Elementary School Campus and at the International House. He was especially devoted to his rose garden, and when it was in bloom, he happily shared bouquets with friends and co-workers. Originally from Guadala jara, Luis came to the U.S. in 1978. He worked for several years at different businesses before joining the landscaping crew at the Riviera Country Club, where he soon became known as its “sand trap
expert.” Eight years ago, a Crossroads parent (and club member) told him about an opening at the School; the job was a perfect fit for his impressive skills. Luis often shared nostalgic childhood memories of the exotic produce in his native Mexico, reminiscing about the diversity of the Mexican semitropical fruit trees that he looked forward to enjoying again. Now that he’s retired, he’ll have ample time to appreciate them in the dream home he saved for and spent years building in Jalisco, Mexico, just outside Guadalajara. The last touch: affixing a hammock between two shady trees. Undoubtedly, his new home will soon be surrounded by beautiful and carefully tended gardens.
No es una tarea pequeña la creación de hermosos y florecientes espacios de naturaleza en medio de nuestros campuses dominados por asfalto y concreto urbano. Pero Luis Meza, que se jubiló en enero, estuvo más que a la altura de ese desafío los últimos ocho años. Trabajó incansablemente y con gran orgullo personal para cultivar árboles, follaje, verduras y flores en los rincones disponibles en todo el Callejón, así como en el Campus de la Escuela Primaria y la Casa Internacional. Se dedicó especialmente a su jardín de rosas, y cuando florecieron, felizmente repartía ramos entre amigos y compañeros de trabajo. Originario de Guadalajara, Luis llegó a los Estados Unidos en 1978, trabajando varios años en diferentes negocios antes de unirse al equipo de jardinería en el Riviera Country Club, donde pronto se hizo conocido como el “experto en trampas
de arena". Hace ocho años, un padre de Crossroads (y miembro del club) le contó acerca de una vacante en la Escuela; el trabajo era como hecho a la medida de sus impresionantes habilidades. Luis compartió a menudo recuerdos nostálgicos de su niñez, productos exóticos de su México natal, recordando la diversidad de los árboles frutales semi-tropicales que él esperaba volver a disfrutar nuevamente. Ahora que está jubilado, tendrá tiempo suficiente para disfrutar de ellos en la casa de sus sueños para la que ahorró y pasó años construyendo en Jalisco, México, en las afueras de Guadalajara. El último toque fue: colocar una hamaca entre dos árboles a la sombra. Sin duda, su nuevo hogar pronto estará rodeado de jardines hermosos y bien cuidados.
36 CROSSROADS SCHOOL FOR ARTS & SCIENCES
HONORING EMPLOYEES YEAR
EVAN AVERY Evan began his Crossroads career as a part-time Upper School jazz director. Within two years, he was a full-time faculty member and chair of the Upper School Music Department. His current title is K-12 music coordinator (winds) and Upper School Music Department chair. Under his watch, the Music Department added the first Elementary School winds classes and jazz ensemble; the Middle School Wind Ensemble; the Crossroads Community Youth Orchestra; and the Upper School soul and rock ensemble Soul Roads. Evan has music-directed the last seven Cabaret productions and performed as part of a barbershop quartet in the 2016 show. He has music-directed many Conservatory shows; conducted the basketball band for 10 years; co-founded the Crossroads Summer Jazz Workshop; recorded nine jazz department CDs; and taken the Jazz “A” Band to perform in and
PL E OYE
ELVA EPHRIAM explore Panama three times. Evan’s bonds with his students are strong—he’s known many since Elementary School and often stays in touch with them through college and beyond. Evan’s talent for training young musicians stems from his own work ethic. “Evan is a fierce musician,” says fellow music teacher Tony Hundtoft. “He really demands a lot out of himself, and that [affects] what you hear in the Upper School jazz groups. They sound phenomenal.” The members of the tightknit Music Department are friends as well as colleagues. Evan calls them his “dream team,” and the admiration is mutual. “You just want to be around him,” says music teacher Jarod Sheahan. “He can be the life of the party or this great follower, this great listener. That’s such a unique ability.” Evan used to say that he is a musician who teaches. After 20 years at Crossroads, he is now proud to call himself a music teacher who also gets to be a performing musician.
Elva joined Crossroads as a part-time Elementary School receptionist and Upper School switchboard substitute. The following year, she became the full-time receptionist at the Elementary School. In 2001, she became the Middle School receptionist, which involved overseeing faculty and student attendance and, until two years ago, coordinating substitute teachers. Says Middle School Co-Assistant Director David Stewart, “She’s an excellent first contact because she has a very diverse background and can relate easily with a lot of different people.” Her many hats include participation on the Safety Committee and the coordination of the Winter Wonderland K-12 Employee Party. Elva’s real job description, though, is Middle School “Mom.” Trusted and loved, Elva is honored that students, faculty
and parents share their lives with her. Referred to at times as Elva Winfrey or Elva Oz, she is the unofficial Middle School doctor and social counselor, and can offer advice on anything from dating to digestive issues. “It’s almost as if the sign is up that says, ‘The doctor is in!’” notes Assistant Head of School and Dean of Faculty Morgan Schwartz, who worked with Elva for many years as director of the Middle School. After all these years, Elva never tires of witnessing Middle School Moving Up ceremonies and Upper School commencements. While she knows that some of the students and families may not remember all of the moments she has shared with them, she does. Elva’s heart swells with joy when she thinks about all of the students she has helped guide on their journeys at Crossroads. “When you come in the door, Elva greets you with that beautiful smile,” says Crossroads bus driver and friend Cheryl Ausbrooks. “She’s just a ball of light.”
CROSS SECTIONS MAGAZINE / SUMMER 2017 37
JOSE SEGURA Twenty year ago, looking for employment opportunities, Jose reached out to Crossroads landscaper Fidel Ramirez, a
content; he always wants to improve his work.” Jose lives very near the School and loves being around
José se puso en contacto con Fidel Ramírez, un amigo de la infancia de Jalisco, México, quien le dijo que podría haber
childhood friend from Jalisco, Mexico. Fidel told him that there might be work at Crossroads in a new building on Olympic Boulevard. Jose had 10 years of carpet cleaning experience, and the new Elementary School on the Norton Campus—set to open in September 1997—had lots of carpet that would need upkeep. Jose was hired immediately. He worked part-time for 18 years, beautifully maintaining the Elementary School’s carpets, which endure heavy foot traffic and many spills. Full-time for the past two years, Jose gets particular satisfaction cleaning the Science Education & Research Facility on the 21st Street Campus. He keeps the windows so spotless that co-workers often wonder if they’ve been replaced. Custodial Supervisor Paul Larson says, “Jose Luis is like an artist doing his job. He is never
the kids. He is proud that he can make a dirty carpet look brandnew, and he loves joking around with his co-workers. “They’re all funny people,” he says. He is most proud of the fact that by working at Crossroads, he has been able to put his daughter through college, where she studied business administration. Jose is admired for his ability to work well with others, which he learned from his grandfather. When Paul joined Crossroads six years ago, Jose gave him all sorts of pointers. In return, Paul helped Jose by purchasing a water pole cleaning system so that Jose could more easily and safely wash the windows he keeps sparkling clean for the School.
trabajo en Crossroads en un nuevo edificio de Olympic Boulevard. José tenía diez años de experiencia en limpieza de alfombras. Y la nueva Escuela Primaria en el Campus de Norton, que debío abrirse en septiembre de 1997, tenía muchas alfombras que se les debía dar mantenimiento. José fue contratado inmediatamente. Trabajó a tiempo parcial durante 18 años y a tiempo completo en una empresa del sector químico cuyo producto de limpieza de alfombras, ahora él utiliza en las alfombras de Crossroads, que están, de hecho, muy bien cuidadas a pesar del tráfico tan intenso y un montón de manchas. Trabajando a tiempo completo en los últimos dos años, José se siente particularmente orgulloso de estar a cargo del nuevo edificio de ciencias. Él limpia las ventanas cada semana y sus compañeros de trabajo a menudo le preguntan
si las ventanas han sido reemplazadas ¡porque están tan limpias! Paul Larson dice: “José Luis es como un artista haciendo su trabajo. Él nunca está conforme y siempre quiere mejorar su trabajo". José vive muy cerca de la escuela y le encanta estar cerca de los niños. Él se siente orgulloso de poder hacer que una alfombra realmente sucia luzca como nueva, y le gusta mucho bromear con sus compañeros de trabajo. “Todos son gente muy divertida”, dice. Él se siente muy orgulloso del hecho de que al trabajar en Crossroads, ha sido capaz de mandar a su hija a la universidad donde estudió administración de empresas. José también es admirado por su habilidad para trabajar con otros. El abuelo de José le enseñó la importancia de ayudar a otros, así que cuando Paul Larson llegó a Crossroads hace seis años, José le dio todo tipo de consejos. A cambio, Paul le ayudó a José comprando un sistema para la limpieza de postes de agua para que José no tuviera que subir dos pisos en una escalera para lavar las ventanas.
38 CROSSROADS SCHOOL FOR ARTS & SCIENCES
TRUDY CANO Trudy came to Crossroads on the advice of her childhood friends who worked at the School: kindergarten pal Jim Untrauer and his partner, Cheryl Junod, whom Trudy met in high school. Trudy was originally hired as a part-time assistant to the athletics director. Since 2008, she has served as the full-time Middle and Upper School administrative assistant for athletics and physical education. Trudy loves working at Crossroads and appreciates the flexibility that the School gave her when she had young kids at home. She is proud of the fact that she is trusted by the people she works with and is given a lot of autonomy in her job. Like any good athlete, she excels both on her own and as part of a team. “I count on her for everything,” says Cheryl, the Upper School administrative coordinator. “If I need anything, she’ll dive in and help. I just love her to death.” Trudy is astounded by how much the athletics program has changed in the past five years, and she finds that her
ADAM WATERS job description has grown with the addition of sports banquets and game attendance. She is most proud of her work putting together the many pieces of the Sports Extravaganza. “Trudy loves athletics,” says Athletics Director Ira Smith. “Having Trudy in my life makes it a whole lot easier. The Athletics Department wouldn’t be the same without her.” As the person who keeps the athletic and P.E. “trains” on schedule, she loves her work because it benefits the students. Since she first came to Crossroads, the School has grown enormously. Trudy is pleased to see that communication and support between the departments and the divisions have grown, as well. When asked what has been most meaningful for her, Trudy says, “That they have kept me here!”
As a counselor and Life Skills faculty member, Adam has been helping students navigate the sometimes-choppy waters of Middle and Upper School for two decades. “There’s nothing that Adam hasn’t heard before,” notes fellow Life Skills teacher David Listenberger. “And yet, he treats every instance and every conversation as an opportunity for connection. When you’re in the room with Adam, you know that his mind and his heart are with you.” Adam’s first position at Crossroads was as chair of Human Development, at that time a newly created department comprising three programs—Life Skills, Environmental and Outdoor Education, and Physical Education—with little prior interaction. That was a challenge! Adam’s involvement in the life of the School runs deep. He has served for nearly 18 years as the faculty adviser to the gay-straight alliance, formerly known as FLAG and now called PRIDE. He has co-led 25 senior Ojai trips; a fifth-grade camping trip, an eighth-grade EOE trip; Drama Tour; and a faculty EOE trip. And he’s about to become
even more involved: daughter Amy enters Crossroads kindergarten this fall. “Adam is very passionate about social justice,” says Latin teacher Jamie Meyer. “The things that he’s accomplished throughout the years as a sponsor of the gay-straight alliance are quite incredible: things that no other gay-straight alliance has done.” One of Adam’s fondest memories was the Real Men Wear Pink event he helped create after an Upper School student was teased for wearing a pink shirt to school. FLAG responded by giving out free pink T-shirts to students on campus. Tim Dennison, then the school nurse, doubted that Adam could get anyone to wear one. Adam made a bet with Tim: If more than 50 students agreed to wear the top, Tim would have to as well. The shirts went like hotcakes, and Tim graciously donned a pink T-shirt.
CHLOE ALIMENTO-MILLER, third grade
CROSS SECTIONS MAGAZINE / SUMMER 2017 39
40 CROSSROADS SCHOOL FOR ARTS & SCIENCES
JAMY MYATT Jamy started her Crossroads journey serving in a dizzying number of roles: Spanish substitute teacher, after-school
GRACE ATTANASIO, 12th grade
Middle School improv teacher, assistant teacher substitute, exam proctor, summer school cooking teacher and Upper School substitute teacher coordinator. However, when she was invited to go on a senior Ojai trip in 2001, she discovered her true calling was teaching Life Skills. She began to intern in Middle and Upper Life Skills classes in addition to working five other jobs outside of Crossroads. In 2003, Jamy became a full-time Life Skills teacher and, two years later, the Middle School Life Skills coordinator. Jamy says she’s glad that she didn’t set hard and fast career goals early on in her life, because she might never have wound up teaching Life Skills
at Crossroads, which turned out to be her dream job. Jamy’s nomadic childhood as a Marine Corps kid gives her an appreciation for the stability that the Crossroads community provides. She’s especially grateful that her son, Crossroads fifth-grader Eamon, has experienced what she calls “a continuous community” that has nurtured him for five years and will continue to do so for many years to come. Jamy has been an integral and innovative member of the School community, launching the Middle School drop-in lunch program, Middle School Parent Councils and Dads’ Councils for Middle and Upper School. Jamy says that since she arrived 20 years ago, the kids seem to have gotten sweeter every year. “They appreciate one another and the community they share,” she says. She hopes the whole school will never lose the practice of sitting in circles. Life Skills colleague Sheila Bloch says, “Jamy teaches the students, and all of us, really, that life is so much richer when you’re paying attention to how all of the beautiful moments are strung together.”
CROSS SECTIONS MAGAZINE / SUMMER 2017 41
ASHLEY GARCIA Ashley first came to Crossroads as a Physical Education assistant teacher back when P.E. was played in a roped-off area of the parking lot in front of the brand‑new Elementary School. Before long, Ashley became an assistant teacher, working in the science room as well as third-, fifth- and now second-grade classrooms. Elementary School teacher Dianne Maydew shares, “She has the biggest heart and cares about everyone on campus.” Known for her warmth, firmness, classroom management and organizational skills, Ashley became a much sought-after assistant teacher. Colleague Peter Del Guidice says, “She’s determined, strong, funny, compassionate, and she loves the children.” Ashley was so devoted to her work in the early years before she had children that she would return to school in August, before the
ZOEY ZIMMERMAN rest of the teachers arrived, to unpack and inventory all of the newly ordered supplies and equipment for the classroom teacher. Over the years, Ashley has become a passionate math instructor and confesses that she would love to stay late every day to create math puzzles and games were it not for her own three children— Grace, Tre and Abel—who need her at home. Passionate about social justice issues, Ashley has attended the People of Color Conference twice and participates annually in the One Voice Family Assistance program. If a family needs a bed, a mattress, a couch or a bike, Ashley alerts her contacts: In no time, someone generously provides the item. A regular member of the Elementary School faculty JAID (Justice, Action, Identity, Diversity) Committee, Ashley is invested in helping to develop the division’s social justice curriculum. She hopes that her students will continue to develop their voices and become agents of change in their communities.
Zoey Zimmerman was set on an acting career. While auditioning in Los Angeles and New York City, she worked odd jobs as a waitress, temp, telemarketer and personal assistant, as well as a substitute theater teacher at Crossroads. When the School needed a sixth-grade drama teacher, Zoey was hired parttime, still intent on being a full-time actor. But when more classes opened up, she took them. Soon, she was a full-time Crossroads theater teacher, a passionate, charismatic force who helps young performers find their voice and tap into their full range of emotions. “She came into Crossroads theater as a fireball and burst of energy,” recalls theater teacher and director Peggy O’Brien. “She has an unbelievable commitment to the students.” For the past 20 years, Zoey has continued to live her life as an artist and political activist while fostering critical thinking, self-esteem and social consciousness in her students. While she also works in the Upper School, the Middle School has been her main home. It may seem difficult to motivate notoriously
self-conscious and easily embarrassed pre-teens to reveal themselves onstage, but Zoey has a unique ability to elicit confident and honest performances out of even the shyest of Middle Schoolers. Over the years, Zoey has directed riveting productions that challenge and engage students, from classics to original plays developed through improvisation. Zoey is also a talented writer; her adaption of “The Wind and the Willows,” first performed by the Crossroads Middle School Players, has been produced nationally and internationally. “She has created a world where every single student has a part—not just a spoken part, but something where they’re totally engaged the entire time,” says Middle School teacher Nancy Seid. “She’s a bodhisattva, a person of service,” Peggy adds. “That’s what Zoey is.”
42 CROSSROADS SCHOOL FOR ARTS & SCIENCES
PL E OYE
SILVINO AVILA Thirty years ago, there were only three people in what was then called the Maintenance Department: Frank Gillette, Rafael Caceres and Silvino Avila. Silvino laughs as he describes Crossroads School when he first arrived. The 21st Street Campus was small, with only a few buildings. They were in bad repair, so there was lots of work to do. The Maintenance Department oversaw carpool and almost every physical job that wasn’t directly related to students. Silvino explains, “We were it.” He has many fond memories of those early years at the School. The employees were like a family, working closely together on School events. They also worked together to put on events outside the school, such as the end-ofyear party at Paul Cummins’ house. At that time, Crossroads was very conscious of its budget and did the best job possible with the resources available; Silvino and his colleagues become experts at rebuilding and repurposing. “We would put up a wall to make an office one year and take the wall down two years later to turn the office into a classroom,” he says.
Plant Manager Jeff Asenbauer is impressed with Silvino’s recall from the early days. “He can remember how things were done from 20 years ago and not refer to papers or diagrams,” Jeff marvels. “He just knows.” Silvino is always the first one to volunteer to tackle challenging tasks. “He’s the guy who likes the difficult job,” Jeff explains. A skilled engineer, Silvino maintains the School’s lighting and air conditioning units and puts up shelving. Selfdescribed as conscientious, meticulous, hard-working and quiet, Silvino has stayed all these years because he loves the people and the work. “He’s a genius at what he does,” Director of Facilities Gayle Taylor asserts. “He’s become a sort of father to all of the maintenance workers and is the most dedicated person we have at Crossroads.”
Hace 30 años, sólo habían tres personas en lo que entonces se llamaba el Departamento de Mantenimiento: Frank Gillette, Rafael Caceres y Silvino Ávila. Silvino se ríe al describir la escuela de Crossroads cuando llegó por primera vez. El Campus de la Calle 21 era pequeño, con sólo unos pocos edificios. Estaban en mal estado, así que había mucho trabajo que hacer. El Departamento de Mantenimiento supervisó el parque de vehículos y casi todos los trabajos físicos que no estaban directamente relacionados con los estudiantes. Silvino explica: “Éramos nosotros los únicos”. Él tiene muchos buenos recuerdos de esos primeros años en la Escuela. Los empleados eran como una familia, trabajaban de forma cercana en los eventos escolares. Además, trabajaban juntos para hacer eventos fuera de la escuela como la fiesta de fin de año en casa de Paul Cummins. En ese momento, la escuela era muy consciente de su presupuesto y hacíamos el mejor trabajo posible con los recursos disponibles; Silvino y sus
colegas se volvieron expertos en la reconstrucción y reutilización. “Montaríamos una pared para hacer una oficina un año y desmontaríamos la pared dos años más tarde para convertir la oficina en un aula", dice. El Gerente de Planta Jeff Asenbauer está impresionado con el recuerdo de Silvino desde los primeros días. “Él puede recordar cómo se hicieron las cosas desde hace 20 años sin referirse a papeles o diagramas”, se maravilla Jeff. “Sólo lo sabe.” Silvino es siempre el primero en ofrecerse para enfrentar las tareas desafiantes. “Él es el tipo que le gusta el trabajo difícil”, explica Jeff. Ingeniero experto, Silvino mantiene las unidades de iluminación y aire acondicionado de la escuela, también monta estanterías. El se describe así mismo como concienzudo, meticuloso, trabajador y tranquilo. Silvino ha permanecido todos estos años porque ama a la gente y al trabajo. “Es un genio en lo que hace”, afirma la Directora de Instalaciones y Servicios Gayle Taylor. “Se ha convertido en una especie de padre para todos los trabajadores de mantenimiento y es la persona más dedicada que tenemos en Crossroads”.
JOANIE MARTIN by Cat Ramos, Assistant Director of the Elementary School
Joanie spent 29 years as the director of the Elementary School, stepping down at the end of June 2016. But Crossroads was not ready to let Joanie go; she’s been kind enough to stay on in the newly created position of special projects coordinator, providing invaluable guidance and support to multiple departments and divisions. Joanie came to Crossroads when the Elementary School was housed at St. Augustine by-the-Sea in Santa Monica. She infused the division with values of friendship and fairness, embodied in the Crossroads Elementary School mantra coined by educator Vivian Gussin Paley: “You can’t say, ‘You can’t play.’” Joanie’s legacy at Crossroads is indelible. It includes a curriculum that celebrates different types of families; Fun Days reflecting the importance of play to children’s development; a schoolwide embrace of technology; empowering students to express themselves and take risks; and a steadfast dedica-
CHERYL JUNOD tion to equity and social justice across all grade levels. Joanie is the proud mother of Dana Cataldi and Taft Green
Upper School Administrative Coordinator Cheryl Junod reached two career milestones this year: her 30-year
’91 and adoring grandmother of Dana’s four children: Sophie ’16, senior Bella, ninth-grader Lily and seventh-grader Ryder. Now as special projects coordinator, Joanie’s responsibilities include conducting Admissions interviews; mentoring new Middle School Director Michelle Merson; developing content celebrating employee anniversaries; and overseeing the creation of a video comprising the oral history of Crossroads. Joanie has taken on these new challenges with gusto. “Every day when I see Joanie, she’s happy and loving her job,” shares Head of School Bob Riddle. “And you know what? She deserves it for the 30 years that she’s given to Crossroads School. I hope that there’s many, many more to come.”
anniversary at Crossroads and her well-deserved retirement! Turn to page 34 to read about Cheryl’s remarkable three decades at the School.
ZOE REHNBORG, eighth grade
CROSS SECTIONS MAGAZINE / SUMMER 2017 43
44 CROSSROADS SCHOOL FOR ARTS & SCIENCES
ANTOINETTE PARKER Antoinette was a graduate mathematics student—the only American woman in her program—when she found her true calling. Her mentor left to do research and asked Antoinette to take over his undergraduate calculus course. She found she loved helping students reach that “lightbulb” moment when they suddenly understood a difficult mathematical concept. For the past 40 years, she has brought that gift to every Crossroads class she’s taught. “One thing that stands out about Antoinette is her kindness,” notes math teacher Barbara Kahn. “She’s an extremely warm person. She’s just naturally Zen. She works to bring peace and calm into the kids’ math experience.” When Antoinette interviewed at Crossroads, thenAssistant Head of School John Nordquist’s first question was, “Do you camp?” After answering “yes,” Antoinette was hired
MARY ANN CUMMINS
as a math teacher and supervised many Environmental and Outdoor Education adventures. At that time, the whole school
In 1971, Mary Ann was a fulltime music teacher in Bellflower when she got a call from someone named Paul Cummins.
eventually marry. “I met her in the home that I’ve now been living in for 44 years.” Crossroads has become a
went on EOE trips: The faculty were the guides, the cooks and the chaperones. Antoinette fondly recalls traveling to Catalina Island, and Kings Canyon and Joshua Tree national parks. When Antoinette was granted a sabbatical year in 1987, she decided to try something new, working as a researcher at the Rand Corporation on a long-term study assessing the efficacy of counseling on teen substance abuse. Although she enjoyed the work, she was very happy to return to the fast-paced world of Crossroads. Antoinette believes that the School’s constant evolution prevents the experience from ever getting stale. She chaired the Math Department for a decade but passed on other administrative roles she was offered throughout the years. After four decades, her true passion remains teaching students. English teacher Nika Cavat says, “She’s been a shining star for 40 years.”
He was the co-founder and headmaster of the yet-to-open Crossroads School, and was interested in hiring her as the Elementary School’s music teacher. Uninterested but wanting to help, Mary Ann invited Paul to her house for dinner to meet two potential music teachers. The next day, Paul called and once again offered Mary Ann the position, with an added incentive. “She had two children, Liesl and Julie, who were unhappy at the local public school,” Paul recalls. “I said, ‘You can come teach for me and your two daughters can come to Crossroads tuition-free.’” Mary Ann—who only learned later that the school had been under-enrolled when Paul made this “generous” offer— took the position. “That’s how I met her,” says Paul of the woman he would
family affair: In addition to Liesl Erman ’77 and Julie Hansen ’78, Paul and Mary Ann are also the parents of Anna Cummins ’91 and Emily Polk ’94 and proud grandparents of Crossroads second-grader Della. In 1971, Mary Ann began to teach kindergarten, first and second grade three times a week at St. Augustine’s bythe-Sea, the Elementary School’s first home. The next year, when Crossroads opened its doors to seventh- and eighth-graders in a Baptist church on Pico Boulevard, Mary Ann started a jug band there. When the Middle and Upper Schools expanded and moved to 1714 21st Street in 1972, more music classes were needed. Mary Ann began to teach
CROSS SECTIONS MAGAZINE / SUMMER 2017 45
Meet the New Director of Alumni Relations
Alumni Panel Enlightens Crossroads Seniors In keeping with an annual Crossroads tradition, a panel of eight recent alumni returned to campus in January to share stories and insights with current seniors, bringing a diverse range of perspectives. Many had just finished their first semesters of college; a few were closer to graduation. One, Mackenzie Cregan ’15, is taking time away from education to pursue his music career.
chorus— something that she felt ill-equipped to do but did brilliantly. As the School continued to grow, so did Mary Ann’s vision for the music program. She continued her jug band and added a jazz ensemble and the beginnings of a chamber ensemble. In 1978, Mary Ann devised the idea of a “music major” at Crossroads; from this program would emerge the Elizabeth Mandell Music Institute (EMMI), a renowned classical music program in the Upper School. Music teacher Warren Spaeth says, “Mary Ann was into multitasking before the word was even invented. She is the only person I know who can be teaching a piano lesson while talking on the phone and preparing a gourmet meal for 10.” Acknowledges Paul, “Most of us find a certain joy in our own recognition of achievements. But with Mary Ann, it is totally, genuinely the progress of her students that gives her the greatest joy in life.” As Mary Ann says herself after 45 remarkable years training young musicians at Crossroads, “I finally figured out that I’m addicted to teaching.”
“Risk-taking is important in following your passions,” he said. “Moments of adversity can be very good for you.” Among other topics, the alumni discussed what has surprised them about college; what they’ve learned while living away from home; how they’ve chosen roommates and balanced new responsibilities; how they’ve engaged with people who hold opposing political opinions; and what they would do differently if they were seniors at Crossroads again. Jennifer Gerber ’97 is thrilled to be experiencing Crossroads again—this time in a whole new way. The School welcomed back the alumna in April as its new director of alumni relations, giving her the opportunity to connect with fellow graduates through a variety of special events and outreach efforts.
Several panelists spoke of how Crossroads prepared them, both academically and emotionally, for the challenges of college life. They said they are grateful for the training they received in empathy, communication and interpersonal relationships. The alumni also shared nuggets of advice with the Crossroads seniors. “No matter where you land, you have to make the experience what you want it to be,” said DaMonique Ballou ’13, a student at Barnard College in New York. “People are willing to help you on your journey— even if you have no idea where that journey will take you.”
Jenn is enjoying giving back to her School and strengthening the ties between Crossroads and its vast network of interesting alumni. “It feels like I’m back home,” she says. “I was ecstatic to find out that my old school was looking to fill a position in the Advancement Office. Here, I can combine my love of being in a school setting and working for a nonprofit that enriches the lives of so many.” Prior to joining the Crossroads staff, Jenn served in the development department of the nonprofit treatment center Beit T’Shuvah. She has also worked in education and in the television and film industry. Jenn holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of Colorado Boulder.
Young alumni answer questions from Crossroads seniors during a panel discussion. From left: Spencer Greene ’16, Jon Brown ’15, Solia Hoegl ’16, DaMonique Ballou ’13, Lina McDermott ’16, Mackenzie Cregan ’15 and Kazu Agawa ’16.
46 CROSSROADS SCHOOL FOR ARTS & SCIENCES
Classes of 1976-1979 Reunion Night On May 21, the pioneering classes of Crossroads School returned to the Alley. Graduates from 1976, 1977, 1978 and 1979 celebrated old friendships, shared profound memories and created new beginnings.
2 1. N eil Massa ’78, Ciska Moore ’78, Laurel Robinson-White ’78, Anne Oakner ’79 and Laurie Wagner ’78 2. Liesl Erman ’77, Elizabeth Jerison “EJ” Terry ’77 and Anne Rosenbloom Schardt ’76 3. The pioneering classes of ’76, ’77, ’78 and ’79! 4. L iesl Erman ’77 and Kari Steinberg ’77 5. Paul Cummins and Nancy Grinstein ’76
6. Arleen Weinstock (center) with Danny Schulman ’78 and Stephanie Matlow
CROSS SECTIONS MAGAZINE / SUMMER 2017 47
“I remember that the biology classroom was always open and they kept animal parts in formaldehyde. You could just sneak in there and get stuff. Julie Erman Hansen ’78 and I had lockers close to each other, and we would put animal parts in each other’s lockers. Sheep eyes, with a note: ‘Here’s looking at you, kid!’ A heart with a note that said, ‘My heart beats for you!’”
Beth Savitt ’79 and Bob Riddle in deep conversation
DAWN CALLAN FINICUM ’78
When I was there in 1976, there wasn’t a baseball team. Rich Makoff told me that if I could find nine guys and we were willing to put money into uniforms, he would find a coach and put us in the league. We won the Westside league in ’77 and ’79; I was the MVP in ’79. Paul Cummins introduced me at graduation as ‘the best and only shortstop in Crossroads school history.”
Ciska Moore ’78, Sara ShermanLevine ’77 and Jeff Frazier ’78
KEITH SACKLER ’79
The first Crossroads student ever to enroll, Nancy Grinstein ’76 (left) with Paul Cummins and Amy Pascal ’76. A view of the Alley at night
The School let me and Jim Baer ’76 open up the first student store. Jim would drive us, because I didn’t have a license at the time, and we would get snacks and sell to everybody! Candy bars, sodas, milk, orange juice, little sandwiches. It was great that they let us do this; it was a good lesson in business.” NEIL MASSA ’78
Bob takes the Class of 1976 on a tour of the Science Education & Research Facility.
“I came from not really liking school to really liking school. I had great relationships with my teachers— my favorite was Teri Redman—and I wanted to do well for them. They turned things around for me.” MARILYN MOORE ’76
48 CROSSROADS SCHOOL FOR ARTS & SCIENCES
Alumni Parents Enjoy Film Screening and Discussion
Recently moved? Not sure if we have your most updated contact information? Please visit xrds.org/stayinvolved and let us know how to reach you!
Alumni Online Community
There are many ways to connect with Crossroads and stay connected with your fellow alumni.
Alumni Portal xrds.org
"Forget it, Jake. It’s Chinatown.” The famous line brings to an end Roman Polanski’s acclaimed 1974 film. But it marked the beginning of a compelling discussion of “Chinatown” with parents of alumni and film teacher Tom Kemper during the March 19 screening event. The event was held in a packed screening room in the Peter Boxenbaum Arts Education Centre. Tom shared insights about the production of the film, placing its events in historical context while also analyzing its place in American film history.
“Polanski was coming off this wave of success of his own … and here he’s becoming much more what I think he truly is—a more classical director,” Tom says. “Everything is clearly laid out.” Among the screening attendees was Jan Cross, whose daughter Madison Cross ’10 is a graduate of NYU Tisch School of the Arts. Jan enjoyed the opportunity to revisit campus and reconnect with other alumni parents. “I was always [at Crossroads] when my daughter was here,” she says. “It’s great seeing people from back then. It’s like, ‘I remember you!’ It’s a really nice thing.”
Click on Login, then enter your user ID and password.
› Update your contact information. › Access the Alumni Directory.
Crossroads School Alumni Group on Facebook More than 2,400 group members
› Post, view, like or comment on recent or upcoming events.
› View alumni event photos.
Crossroads School Alumni Network on LinkedIn
› Look for or post a job or an internship.
› Find Crossroads alumni in your
Upcoming Events 08/30 Alumni Summer Mixer Off-Campus
09/14 Parents of Alumni Mixer 21st Street Campus
09/24 The Alley Party 21st Street Campus
10/14 1987, 1997 and 2007 Class Reunions 21st Street Campus
To learn more about or register for any of our upcoming events, or to update your contact information, please visit xrds.org/alumni or contact us at email@example.com. If you would like to be a part of the planning committee for your reunion, please contact Director of Alumni Relations Jenn Gerber ’97 at firstname.lastname@example.org.
› Connect or collaborate with
someone in another industry.
Crossroads School Alumni on Twitter @xrdsalumni
CROSS SECTIONS MAGAZINE / SUMMER 2017 49
Alumni on Campus Whether it’s to speak to a class, visit with faculty, attend an event or just stroll down the Alley, we love having alumni back on campus. Here are some of the graduates who visited us recently.
1. Mike Brooks, Craig Juda, and Adam Slutske, all Class of ’93, get together for the Alumni Phone-a-thon party as Richard Rushfield ’86 helps himself to a tasty sandwich.* 2. Ryan Kalili ’16 (left), home from Stanford, visits ninth-grade sister Ariana and eighth-grade cousin Kevin Bina in the Alley. 3. A lvin Zeidenfeld ’92 visits campus for the first time in years. Tom Nolan greets him and gives him a tour.
4. Ted Miller ’82 and Michelle Brookman ’82 help with the Phone-a-thon. Current parent Ted and alumni parent Michelle both serve on the Crossroads Board of Trustees. 5. M att Meisler ’10 works in the neighborhood and decided to drop by. Tom welcomed him with a campus tour and a Crossroads alumni T-shirt. 6. A sher Levin ’97 and Khalil Anderson ’95 came to teach a film class and to screen “Alexander IRL,” which Asher directed and Khalil edited.
7. D ylan Christina Moore ’05 (left) visits with Tom and Kate Thomas to tell them about the conference she runs at Julliard called the Artist as Citizen. 8. Aaron Stockel ’15, home from Chicago University, comes to visit his former music teacher, Tony Hundtoft.
9. A ngela Bae ’16, home from her freshman year at Rice University, on her way to the Aspen Music Festival via Seoul, Korea. 10. Julie Frankel ’90 and Kelly Wagner-Osborne ’90, still close friends, have lunch with Tom to discuss how they can help the School. 11. Longtime alumni volunteer Matt Casden ’89 calls classmates for the Annual Fund Phone-a-thon.
12. O wen Thiele ’14, back from London where he is writing new songs, visited his old pals in the Theater Department. 13. Sara Worth ’11 takes time off from studying for the LSAT to pitch in on the Alumni Phone-a-thon, catching up with classmates and helping raise alumni participation in the Annual Fund. 14. Kazu Kanagawa ’14, home on spring break from the University of California, Santa Barbara, dropped by to say hello to old friends and teachers.
15. Sandy Ryza ’08 catches up with Tom after guestteaching a computer science class and talking about careers in the tech field. * Would you like a tasty sandwich courtesy of Crossroads? Contact CrossroadsAlumni@xrds.org to volunteer at the next Phone-a-thon. Hang out with old friends, support Crossroads and enjoy a meal on us.
50 CROSSROADS SCHOOL FOR ARTS & SCIENCES
CLASS OF 1978
Dawn Callan Finicum writes:
MATT TYRNAUER ’86
“I am working as a dental assistant in a beautiful new office in Irvine. My son Michael is now 15 and plays the trumpet for his high school marching band. Our favorite thing to do on the weekend is to go for drives in my little red convertible. Life is good!” Jennifer Saltzman writes: “After 16 years of teaching, I decided to pursue my love of baking. I baked out of a bakery in Culver City for a year and a half and have now opened my own place on Motor Avenue. Please stop by Jennifer Pennifer Bakes.” CLASS OF 1987
Berkeley Price writes: “I’m excited to be back in LA as the new dean of fine arts at El Camino College after spending the last 12 years as professor of music, band director and chair of performing arts at Antelope Valley College. I continue to freelance as a clarinetist and conductor and truly enjoy long walks on the beach with my wife, Erica.” Nicky Kram Rosen writes: “I’m currently serving as director of school renewal in the South
For filmmaker journalist Matt Tyrnauer, Crossroads School offered “just enough laissez-faire and just enough guidance.” It was a special community
Academy Award in 2010. This April, he debuted the well-reviewed documentary “Citizen Jane: Battle for the City,” about activist Jane Jacobs and
with “such sensitivity to the desire of students to be different” that the effect was transformational. “I became who I became there,” he says. “It defines you in the best way possible.” What helped define Matt was telling stories. He was editor of Crossfire and student body president (“I controlled the press and the government,” he jokes.) Matt was inspired by his peers’ creativity and by his “model teachers,” including famed film studies teacher Jim Hosney. “I owe my interest in film to Jim and Crossroads,” Matt says. While at Wesleyan University in Connecticut, he started a publication influenced by Spy magazine, a satirical monthly, and then was hired at Spy as an intern. When Spy’s co-founder Graydon Carter became editor of Vanity Fair, he hired Matt to write long-form features for that magazine, where he continues to serve as a contributing editor. “The leap to my own vérité filmmaking seemed natural. It was exciting to take that observational journalism to another medium,” says Matt, co-founder of the Los Angeles-based Altimeter Films. Matt’s first documentary, “Valentino: The Last Emperor,” about the iconic fashion designer, was shortlisted for a Best Documentary Feature
urbanization in America. He loves deep-diving into worlds he doesn’t know. “I’m fascinated by secret histories,” says Matt, and by “bubble people” who live in rarified realities. Next, he’s working on “Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood,” a documentary about the No. 1 male madam in post-World War II Los Angeles. And he’s plunging into feature films, directing “Once Upon a Time in Beverly Hills,” based on an article he wrote for Vanity Fair. He calls Crossroads “a million times more important to me than any other educational institution” and values its sense of rebellion, openness and “a certain gentleness.” Most of all, he treasures that Crossroads “respects that you don’t need to have a fearbased system. You can have a lot of love and understanding.”
CROSS SECTIONS MAGAZINE / SUMMER 2017 51
Bronx (@NYCDOE). My daughter, Bella (@bellarose.mu), is a budding makeup artist and completing her
sophomore year of high school. And
NIA EVANS ’96
I’m getting excited! I plan to marry my partner and great love, Leo Haviland, in NYC this September. “actual care and attention to our development,” she says. Nia earned her bachelor’s in industrial and labor relations from
The lessons Nia Evans learned at Crossroads School—awareness of differing points of view and our own impact on other people—have served her well socially and professionally. “Working with diverse groups is easy for me,” says Nia, “and a large percentage of that is due to my Crossroads experience.” In April, Nia became the first director of the Boston Ujima Project, a nonprofit committed to building a new community-controlled economy in Greater Boston. The role reflects a dominant theme in her career: expanding the civic dialogue. Nia entered Crossroads in seventh grade and found it “unnaturally friendly,” jokes the self-described introvert. She and older sister Esi ’95 were drawn by the excellent music program. Nia, who plays cello and piano, briefly participated in orchestra, then gravitated to sports. Especially meaningful was the Life Skills program, which demonstrated
Cornell University, then returned to LA to found an arts program and teach. But a desire to address policy-level issues in education took her to Teachers College, Columbia University, where she earned a master’s in education leadership. She helped run a literacy program for New York City homeless shelters before joining the Harlem School for the Arts, where she used her Crossroads experience to “foster the type of environment I was exposed to and influence educational policy.” Then, in 2013, a Florida jury acquitted George Zimmerman of second-degree murder in the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin—a profound event that intensified Nia’s community work. She took on volunteer leadership roles in the Boston NAACP, including chair of the economic development committee. In 2016, she became executive director of the Boston chapter. That led her to the Ujima Project (ujimaboston.com), which is creating a community investment fund and a Good Business and Real Estate certification to promote local initiatives. Nia holds close other Life Skills lessons from Crossroads, including “the importance of reflection and of valuing different parts of yourself and our world,” she says. “That seems a particularly pertinent conversation right now.”
On my recent visit to LA, I heard Ellen Umansky ’87 read from her new novel, ‘The Fortunate Ones,’ at Book Soup in Hollywood along with David Weinrot ’87.” Ellen Umansky writes: “I’m thrilled that my first novel, ‘The Fortunate Ones,’ was recently published by HarperCollins. I live in Brooklyn with my husband and two daughters, and come back to LA often.” CLASS OF 1989
Sean Nordquist writes: “I recently became executive director for the Florida Brewers Guild, a nonprofit trade association committed to preserving the rights and interests of all craft brewers throughout the state of Florida. I am also president of the Board of Directors for the Ocean Media Institute, a nonprofit organization working to enrich and expand the public’s understanding of ocean science and conservation through the collaborative creation, exhibition and open distribution of innovative visual media as well as artistic approaches to ocean education.”
52 CROSSROADS SCHOOL FOR ARTS & SCIENCES
CLASS OF 1992
Ben Sharples writes: “I made a movie with my wife, Marissa Hall ’92, a comedy feature called ‘Gentlemen’s Fury’ that premiered on Vimeo On Demand in May. Please check it out at vimeo.com/ ondemand/gentlemensfury.” CLASS OF 1993
Itai Danovitch writes: “It’s a trip, almost a quarter century after graduating from Crossroads, to be back in the fold. The oldest of my three kids will be starting sixth grade this fall. Hasn’t even started yet, but it’s good to be back and especially to reconnect with past teachers and classmates … the Crossroads extended family. Definitely feels that way.” CLASS OF 2000
E.J. Harris writes: “Greetings Crossroads family and friends! Life has taken me on an amazing journey since my days playing hoops for Crossroads and in college. Over the past 10 years, I’ve been studying and teaching the
ANNIE MYRON, 12th grade
2,000-year-old Korean martial art known as taekwondo! I’ve competed in competitions winning a national championship and I now own and operate The Kingdom Martial Arts Center, a taekwondo school in Folsom with over 200 students. Maybe one day we’ll get to train together!”
CROSS SECTIONS MAGAZINE / SUMMER 2017 53
CLASS OF 2001
Jake Avnet writes: “It’s taken some time, but I’ve finally gotten over our
varsity soccer loss to Malibu in the
BROOKE WILLIAMSON ’96
CIF quarterfinals. Many years and some happenings later, I’m living in
At age six, Brooke Williamson would sit in front of the TV on Saturday mornings—but unlike most children, she wasn’t watching cartoons. She watched legendary chefs Julia Child and Jacques Pépin demonstrate classic French cooking techniques. Brooke had already decided she was going to become a chef and, as soon as she could read, poured through the “Betty Crocker Cookbook.” Pancakes were her first culinary achievement. She’s racked up even more impressive achievements since then, including winning Season 14 of the popular reality TV show “Top Chef.” Brooke, who also was runner-up on Season 10, had to get the approval of her son, Crossroads third-grader Hudson, before competing in the time-consuming show a second time. Hudson said OK, as long as they could go ziplining in Costa Rica afterward. Brooke, who entered Crossroads in seventh grade, immersed herself in
dance, soccer and the arts, particularly photography. “My plan was to go to culinary school straight after graduation,” she says, but her parents, both artists, argued for college. Brooke chose the University of Colorado Boulder. “I concentrated on the business courses I’d need if I was going to own a restaurant someday.” After a year, she left Boulder and applied to the Culinary Institute of America. By 21, she was the youngest sous chef at the acclaimed Michael’s of Santa Monica, then worked with chef Daniel Boulud in New York City before becoming executive chef at Boxer in LA. That led to her opening the Brentwood restaurant Zax as executive chef. Her sous chef was her future husband, Nick Roberts. Together, they have opened five successful ventures, predominantly in the South Bay: Hudson House, The Tripel, Playa Provisions, the culinary boutique Tripli-Kit, and their latest, Da Kikokiko, featuring fast-casual Hawaiian cuisine. Brooke is grateful to Crossroads for nurturing her artistic side while giving her a great education. “That’s why I chose it for Hudson,” she says. “He’s an outside-the-box thinker, like I was.” At Crossroads, she adds, “he will never be told he can’t do something. That’s the best thing I provide for him: opportunity.” Including that ziplining adventure in Costa Rica, a promise she kept.
Los Angeles with my amazing wife and incredible daughter. Careerwise, I have the great pleasure of telling all sorts of stories and even still working with some old Crossroads friends. Look forward to working with the new generation of graduates sometime very soon.” Marisa Peck Johnson writes: “Hello! I am living in Venice Beach and facilitating Council at Snap Inc. full-time. Working with other amazing alumni and having a blast. I am also the proud mom of two young kids and am lucky to still be in touch with so many of you! Wishing everyone all the best. Class of ’01, forever.” CLASS OF 2004
Naomi Digby graduated in 2013 with an MFA in cinematography and film production from Chapman University and works as a film manager at Kodak in Los Angeles. She has worked on numerous feature films, indie films, music videos and commercials
54 CROSSROADS SCHOOL FOR ARTS & SCIENCES
around the globe and has focused a lot of effort into film festivals celebrating women filmmakers, such as High Falls Film Festival (highfallsfilmfestival.com). She
HENRY CONNELLY ’05
hopes to “keep the love of real film and filmmaking alive!” CLASS OF 2006
Ian Sloane writes: “I want to thank everyone who was a part of the 10-, 20- and 30-year combined reunion last October. It was amazing to see and hear overlapping memories and experiences from so many decades. Great catching up with everyone!” CLASS OF 2010
Collin Hertz writes: “In ninthgrade biology, Frank Baele inspired me with his love of the outdoors. While studying at Cornell, I worked summers off the coast of Maine at a seabird nesting colony. After graduating, I studied the gargantuan 7-foot Leatherback Turtle and the not-so-gargantuan songbird, the Lance-tailed Manakinin, in Central America. This past year, I’ve been back at Crossroads! Working as a teacher’s assistant and sub, I aim to become full-time faculty so that I can inspire young minds, just like Frank.”
Henry Connelly—director of speechwriting for U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi, minority leader of the House—had a “front-row seat on extraordinary
golden retriever puppies. The tagline: “Meet My Cabinet.” He won, and in senior year, he was elected student body president.
things happening in the world” even before the 2016 election. That experience has only been magnified since Hillary Clinton’s defeat. “I am fortunate to be able to go work every day and to have a hand in what might be the most important fight of my lifetime,” he says. Henry entered Crossroads in fifth grade. Bookish, “a little bit nerdy” and a fan of President Harry Truman, Henry thrived in the less-thanconventional environment. “It seems unlikely I’d be all those things and also feel included and even embraced by my classmates,” he says. “But at Crossroads, I was.” Henry loved the School’s history classes for bypassing dry recitation to “focus on moral successes and failures.” Equally important, he says, was the acknowledgment that “your ideas are as good as anybody’s; your opinions and judgment are not to be belittled by anyone just because they’re in a position of power.” After years playing soccer, including a nerve-wracking stint as goalie, Henry discovered an interest in theater. Plays and musicals built his confidence and public speaking skills. His junior year, Henry ran for grade-level representative. His first campaign poster featured a photo of
Henry earned his bachelor’s in political science and international studies at Yale University. Determined to work in government, he volunteered for a congressional campaign to elect Democrat Janice Hahn in LA County. “I just kept raising my hand for more responsibility,” recalls Henry, who was the only volunteer offered a position on the new representative’s policy staff in Washington, D.C. In 2013, he saw a job listing for a speechwriter for Pelosi; he has been her director of speechwriting for the past three years. Recent displays of social consciousness throughout the country have energized him for what’s ahead. He says, “It’s invigorating to see how many people are now mobilized to defend justice, equality and compassion for others less fortunate.”
CLASS OF 2013
Alexandra Morris is
JENELLE HALL ’05
a senior computer doctorate in pharmacy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Now, within Duke’s Departments of Neurology and Rheumatology, she
When Jenelle Hall transferred to Crossroads School her sophomore year, she was looking for a science program that could challenge her with advanced classwork and help her hone her analytical skills. She found that and much more—mystery and a way to decode it. Senior Mysteries was, and still is, part of Crossroads’ singular Life Skills program. It helps students make the passage from adolescence to adulthood and from high school to college. “Its impact remains with me,” Jenelle says. “Crossroads creates experiences to help you think outside the box, rather than just memorize facts or pass standardized tests. These experiences and thought processes continue to shape my approach to patient care,” adds Jenelle, who is a clinical pharmacist for the Duke University Health System in North Carolina. She earned her bachelor’s in neuro science and behavioral biology at Emory University, followed by a
divides her time between two clinics: multiple sclerosis/neuroimmunology and rheumatology. Jenelle’s favorite course at Crossroads was chemistry, a logical stepping stone to her career choice. But she also enjoyed the School’s art program and served as yearbook editor. “Getting involved in that activity and others helped me navigate the leadership space early on,” she says. Community service at Crossroads brought her another important insight. She volunteered at a homeless shelter in Santa Monica and at the Venice Family Clinic, where she enjoyed working one-on-one with patients. At Duke, she serves on a multidisciplinary team in the Rheumatology Clinic to address medication adherence and reduce emergency room usage by lupus patients. “It demonstrates how pharmacists can have an impact on patient care,” says Jenelle, “and provide positive outcomes alongside other team members.” Even though she arrived at Crossroads in 10th grade, Jenelle found the atmosphere immediately welcoming. “It’s a very inclusive community,” she says, “and that’s what it really is—a community. Most students do not experience such an enriching environment in high school.”
science major at Bard College Conservatory of Music. She recently performed Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony alongside the Budapest Symphony Orchestra at Lincoln Center. She founded CodeRed, a successful college club that distributes free female sanitary products across campus. For her senior project, she is developing an Android app that allows users to take pictures of all their boxes to be put in storage and calculate the total volume in US units. Nora Canby graduated from Wesleyan University in May with a bachelor’s degree. She is still close with Emily Greenberg ’13, who will start work this summer at the popular fashion blog Who What Wear, based out of the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood.
To submit a class note and/or update your contact information, please visit xrds.org/stayinvolved.
56 CROSSROADS SCHOOL FOR ARTS & SCIENCES
TOMMY NOWELS ’12 & LUKE TADASHI ’11 Playing varsity basketball at Crossroads, point guards Tommy Nowels ’12 and Luke Tadashi ’11 controlled the ball. Neither could know that their
LA vibe—cool, diverse and cosmopolitan. Bristol showed at 2016 shows in Paris, New York and LA and took part in Gen Art’s one-year Fresh Faces in
strong passing game on the court would lead to another successful collaboration in the world of fashion. Luke, team captain, moved on to Kenyon College in Ohio, then New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study, where he earned a bachelor’s in storytelling strategies (film and fashion). Tommy took over as captain his senior year, while also designing the yearbook and his own line of T-shirts. He attended Washington University in St. Louis for two years, but returned to LA and USC, where he’s majoring in social sciences with a minor in media economics and entrepreneurship. During one college break, the former teammates met at a party in LA and decided to join forces over “our mutual appreciation of NBA streetstyle fashion,” says Luke. Their first project: the perfect pair of jeans. “We taught ourselves about sourcing and manufacturing by doing,” says Tommy. Armed with savings and investment from family, they founded Bristol in 2014 and launched their first collection of menswear with unisex appeal a year later. Described by the LA Times as “athleisure-meetsretro,” the look— which wholesales to retailers worldwide—takes inspiration from basketballers, mixed with an
Fashion incubator program. Crossroads gave them a foundation for entrepreneurship. “I met a mentor and coach (Anthony Locke, now Upper School dean of students) who taught me how to be a good person and work hard. Finding someone who pushed me and saw that I was good at something made all the difference,” says Luke, who was known as Luke Shmuger at Crossroads but has since adopted his grandfather’s middle name as his last name. “Crossroads helped me grow more confident in dealing with people who may have more experience or authority,” adds Tommy. “We’re excited about the next steps,” says Luke. This summer, they’re returning to New York Fashion Week and Paris runways. A sneaker collaboration with Adidas is coming for Spring/Summer 2018, the beginning of an ongoing partnership. “We’re staying on our toes,” says Tommy, “open to whatever comes”
Daniel Kaminsky ’85 June 4, 1966-May 15, 2017
Daniel passed away on May 15 in Santa Monica. An active-duty Los Angeles Fire Department paramedic and firefighter, Daniel was also a lifelong lover of the ocean and surfing. He enjoyed helping people, most especially through his work with the LAFD. Daniel was beloved by everyone who knew him. “He had a huge heart, warm smile and was the kindest of kind souls,” Crossroads alumna Liz Bliss-Bley says. “He will forever be missed and never forgotten.” A memorial gathering to celebrate Daniel’s life was held on July 9 in Los Angeles. Daniel is survived by his mother, Kathleen Kaminsky of Topanga, his brother Steven Kaminsky ’83, sister-in-law Leslie and niece Juliet of Marina del Rey.
CROSS SECTIONS MAGAZINE / SUMMER 2017 IBC
THE HERBERT ZIPPER ARCHIVES AT TWENTY: FROM Z TO A RUNS SEPT. 5-29, 2017 Sam Francis Gallery 21st Street Campus RECEPTION
Wednesday, Sept. 13 4-6 p.m.
The photographs, letters, sheet music, artworks and artifacts exhibited will tell the (mostly) untold stories of the family, friends, colleagues, places and events in the lives of the late Crossroads music teacher Herbert Zipper (1904-1997) and his wife, danseuse Trudl Dubsky Zipper (1910-1976). An Austrian of Jewish descent, Herbert survived two Nazi concentration camps and internment by the Japanese in the Philippines. After World War II, the Zippers dedicated the rest of their lives to bringing arts education to children around the world. The exhibit will showcase diverse archival materials that span decades and continents: 20th-century Vienna; 1930s-1940s England, pre-World War II; Japanese-occupied Manila; the United States from 1946 on; and 1980s Asia. Crossroads student work from archives-based classes will also be included. Top: Ex Libris etching by Herbert’s uncle, Arthur Paunzen, 1930s Bottom left: Trudl Dubsky Zipper, an accomplished dancer Bottom right: Herbert with Emilio Jacinto students, Manila, 1954
To learn more, please contact Crossroads Archivist Amie Mack at email@example.com
Nonprofit Organization U.S. Postage PAID Santa Monica, CA Permit No. 351
1714 21st St. Santa Monica, CA 90404 Change Service Requested
Make Your Mark. When you invest in education, amazing things happen.
Make a gift to Crossroads Schoolsâ€™ 2017-18 Annual Fund and help students make their mark on the world.
Cross Sections, Summer 2017, Crossroads School for Arts & Sciences