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Parents’ Post A Newsletter for Parents and Friends of The Thacher School

Dear Parents and Friends of the School:

In this season of natural perfume so dense it makes you dizzy, it’s hard to resist the I urge to write about orange blossoms and jasmine and wild olive—all having burst forth ahead of schedule by virtue of over 50 inches of rain and a couple of very warm spells. But resistance is easier because another sensation has left its impress (and continues to). It’s all about sound: the rhythmic hammering as the metal roof of the Performing Arts Center has puzzled itself together, the sibilant blow torches, the repetitive A-flats (one per second) from s-l-o-w-l-y backing up trucks delivering materials through the fenced off Pepper Tree Lane, purposeful hollers from one worker to another as the Student Commons grows more real every day. This noise in the center of campus—deliberate, constructive and, let’s face it, loud—gives way to progress of another kind, as you move farther out. It is the sound of water running—the barranca scoring the southeastern side of campus now quieted from its January roar (boulders tumbling in its rush) to something more sedate, yet making music all the way down Horn Canyon from its high mountain source. Truth is, it’s all music to our ears.

Early Spring 2005

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Back to School


completion. With the outside structural pieces of the Commons and Performing Arts complex nearing completion, it was time to have a bit of a party, and for a few days before the big event in early February, students, faculty, staff and assorted other community members inscribed their names on the girder while it was still on the ground (look very closely: they’re there!). Then, from the vantage of the Upper School lawn, they watched as a crane hauled up the beam (festooned with an American flag and a small redwood, symbolic of the building’s having reached the sky without injury or loss of life), then slowly lowered it to its final position. Afterwards, the construction workers played host as those Thacher community members, usually on the outside of the chain-link fence, got to see the site from the inside. With cement trucks churning and lumber going from flatbed to roof, it’s all fast becoming a reality. Caught just after signing the beam: Ariel Wang, Evan Perry, Josephine Chow, Jordan Perry, Justine Robinett, Victoria Lowe, Calvin Kim, William Peterson, and T.J. Bermant.

Head of School Michael Mulligan returned from his three-week sabbatical sojourn this winter thoroughly energized by what he learned both as a Columbia University Klingenstein Visiting Fellow and as a guest at several East Coast schools. “Being a student again made me appreciate the balancing act that our Thacher kids perform every day,” he said. “Having to hustle hard to do my best work, being completely accountable to each course, my professors, and colleagues—it both took me back to my own experience and drove home the expectations we have for our students.” Along with two dozen other school heads, from South Africa, England, and across the U.S., Michael took classes in Moral Education, Educational Philosophy, and Educational Research, all of which required working on case studies, writing papers, and doing peer presentations. During and following his two-week fellowship, for which he had been selected from an international applicant pool, he visited all kinds of schools—charters, schools-within-a-school, research-based schools, KIPP schools (Knowledge is Power Program)—as well as some outstanding boarding schools. Michael noted, “One lesson is demonstrably clear in all cases: smaller is better. Schools in which kids are known well and are held accountable by their teachers and administrators are, according to the research, far more successful. The factory model of schools has at long last been debunked. Economy of scale is a logical fallacy when it comes to working and succeeding with children and teens.” (Which may explain why Michael keeps his posse to just over a dozen when he invites student riders to join him on a trek to town for Sunday brunch. Pictured Go, Green! here after such a ride this winter: Michael and Logan Morrow, getting an Several faculty members packed themselves off for San Diego and the National Association of Independent equine smooch.) Schools’ annual conference, whose theme this year was Educating for Sustainability: How Far Will You Go? Bo Beam Me Up… and Julie Manson, Katherine Halsey, Toby Elmore, …and into CdeP history. It’s a ceremony called “top- Emily McCarren and Wei-Ying Lin participated in ping off,” a tradition of Scandinavian origin that has seminars on all aspects of this topic relative to private held sway for a dozen centuries or more as the right and education, from protecting the environment in a myriad proper thing to do when a building’s frame is reaching of ways to educating our faculties and students for eco-


Early Spring 2005  ::   

nomic and social sustainability. They also heard such renowned speakers as conservationist and philosopher Richard Leakey; author and professor Jared Diamond; investigative journalist Eric Schlosser; psychologist, writer, and professor Carol Gilligan; and former Poet Laureate and North American Association of Environmental Education “Educator of the Year” Robert Hass; as well as several eminent college and university professors. Upon return, every member of the Thacher contingent felt far more aware of the choices and challenges ahead— and jazzed about ways in which Thacher can think strategically about change and act responsibly to educate our students on the development of sustainability attitudes and practices. “We can’t opt out of the conversation,” said Bo. “In fact, as a school that has historically been a part of the landscape it’s in, Thacher should be leading the way in this issue.”

main overwhelmingly satisfied with the Thacher Experience (though a few more hours of sleep would be nice!): the overall student satisfaction rate, on a scale of 1 to 7, stands at 5.92, while parents give the School a 6.61 on the same scale. High marks from those in the know. The second approach to the question culminated in four February days when a five-member committee trained and assigned by the California Association of Independent Schools (and reporting to the Western Association of Schools and Colleges) visited Thacher to assess virtually every aspect of Casa de Piedra: phiHow’re We Doing? losophy and purpose; governance and finance; students, It’s a big, comprehensive question, but one we’re happy residential life, and the school community; administrato ask, as we strive to provide tion, faculty, and staff; health and safety; development; the best possible educational academics and the library; and the physical plant. In the experience to Thacher students. months preceding, both Thacher (via a Self-Study Team Two critical ways to answer this comprised of Peter Robinson, Elizabeth Bowman, question came to bear this year, Roger Klausler, Chris Mazzola and Megan Henry) one voluntary, the other reand the visiting group had done the voluminous homequired for the Thacher’s mainwork necessary to answer the many questions, so that taining its accreditation. In the when the smaller first, we received word from the meetings—with The love of excellence looks Pacific Consulting Group on the students, faculty, ever upward towards a higher School’s bi-annual Student and staff, administrastandard; it is unimproving Parent Surveys, which provide tors, and parents— pride and arrogance only that anonymous feedback on over took place, they are satisfied with being superior 150 aspects of school life. Many of you have already dug could get down to into the details in The Thacher News (mailed last month), brass tacks to disto a lower. No community but suffice to say here, both parents and students re- cover what deserved should rest contented with commendation and being superior to other what might be reccommunities, while it is inferior ommended for imto its own capabilities. provement. In the Horace Mann, America’s first leader latter, three points: in and champion of public education that the Board of in one of the readings required of Trustees and the Head of School Michael Mulligan Head of School by the Klingenstein Fellows Program implement ways to increase faculty salaries to enable the recruitment and retention of qualified personnel [already part of Thacher’s Strategic Plan]; that the administration and Academic Council provide leadership for inter- and


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qualified and experienced team of professionals to oversee facility maintenance and new construction; • the administration, faculty, and Board, for their commitment to a diverse community through the recruitment of faculty and students from diverse backgrounds, thus enhancing the learning experience of the entire community; • the faculty, staff, and students, for their dedication to the residential program and the development of positive personal relationships, which enable the personal growth of students to flourish. intra-departmental articulation and incorporation of coherent curricular goals; and that the administration continue to investigate data, strategies, and resources for a deeper understanding of the challenges that face diverse faculty, families, and students, and devise, if appropriate, support systems to aid integration and retention. Under Major Commendations, the Visiting Committee spotlighted • the Board, administration, faculty, and students, for staying true to the founding philosophy and mission that makes Thacher distinctive as an academic institution; • the students, for embodying all that is great and good in the Thacher tradition and for integrating these precepts into their daily lives whether at school or as members of a larger community; • the faculty, for their outstanding leadership, enthusiastic assumption of multiple responsibilities, and enduring commitment to serving the needs of the students; • the Board, administration, and faculty, for their continuous commitment to strategic planning and their incorporation of extensive research throughout the process; • the administration, for furthering the professional growth of faculty by facilitating and funding enriching educational experiences and the sabbatical program; • the Board and administration, for their long-term financial planning and strong fiscal and investment management which ensure financial strength for Thacher; • the Head of School, Board, and Development Office staff, for their successful quiet phase of The Campaign for Thacher, which will increase endowment and provide for facility enhancements; • the Board and the administration, for assembling a

Arts Alive!


A tradition of at least two decades, Arts Weekend takes place in alternate years (in the other years, hosted by a different academic department) and is considered by most to be the co-highlight of the month of February, sharing the spotlight and a place in Toads’ hearts with the winter musical. This year’s vibrant weekend launched with a Friday evening performance by the inimitable Preston Smith, essentially a multi-genre one-man blues band. Saturday’s morning and afternoon workshops reflected the whole spectrum of artistic possibilities: watercolor, pastel and oil painting, mono-printing, collage and acrylic image transfer, and clay figurative sculpture; West African drumming and dance; improvisational acting; Ukrainian egg art; pinhole photography and contact printing; cooking with chocolate; blues guitar; poetry writing; even the art of the Frisbee (with world champion Chipper Bro on the field doing demos and giving instructions); and music and meditation. By Saturday night, everyone was primed for salsa dancing lessons, then, the dining room properly

Early Spring 2005  ::   

steamed up, for a salsa extravaganza with Lorenzo Martinez and the Martinez Brothers, a southern California band of widely held ­repute.

Knowing Their Numbers

And operations. And being quick with a pencil or on A their feet. Two pieces of math news this issue: first, four-

teen students took the American Mathematics Competition test aimed at 9th and 10th graders, in which Logan Kroloff won Thacher’s in-house contest. Another dozen took the version for older students; there, James Allison won in-school and also qualified—along with Coulter Woolf and Ryan Church—for the AMCE, the national mathemati c s O l y mp i a d . (Unfortunately, that contest fell during our spring break, which precluded any Toads from taking part.) Second, Mathematics teacher Dan Henry took eight students to the annual all-day math fest (including a variety of oral and written competitions) hosted by Westmont College. The 9th10th contingent, comprised of Logan Kroloff, Alex Min, David Phuasiririak, and Simon Wu, bested all the other participating schools in the written exam competition. Upperclass testers were Ellen Adams, Julia Oh, Justine Robinett, and Ariel Wang.

Field Trips (Some Actual Fields)


Renée Nuñez’s AP Art History classes embarked at dawn one morning this winter to spend time at the Getty and the UCLA Hammer Museums, seeing both permanent and special exhibits. Dan

Henry also packed up his advisees for a similar outing to the Getty. Aquatic Ecologists in Brian Pidduck’s upperclass science elective have been heading out the gates often this winter. The class is pictured here (Drew Smith, Gabe Yette, Rachel Munzig, Kennan Zhong, Julia Oh, Sophia Ouyang, and Marguerite Kissel) at Lake Casitas (nearly full after all the winter precipitation), checking on the health of its ecosystem by collecting samples from the near-shore zone of one of the reservoir’s inlets. This also allows them more closely to study the biology of standing water, including plankton, emergent and submerged plants, macroinvertebrates and fish. Some of the gathered specimens now live here at Thacher in the lab; others were returned to the lake. Off-campus theater and stage productions enjoyed by Thacher students have included the Sara Baras Flamenco Dance Company, Athol Fugar’s Exits and Entrances (a world premiere), Tony Kushner’s Caroline, or Change, and Aida (Elton John/Tim Rice).

Getting to Know You(rself)

The specimens give us living examples of what we’re studying and allow students to look at them under a microscope to determine how they fit into the food web of the reservoir.

Brian Pidduck CdeP 1992, teacher of Aquatic Ecology


The Human Relationships and Sexuality series for sophomores met weekly throughout the winter, covering such topics as language as a reflection of classism, sexism, homophobia, and racism; acquaintance rape; media influence; gender roles, sexuality, and diversity issues. Both outside speakers and faculty facilitators ran the program, meeting in large group and in smaller sections for activities, debate, and discussion. The series concluded with a week in the company (all grades participating) of substance abuse educator and annual guest of the School, Richard Ryan, of the Creative Drug Education Program.

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So many students won some sort of recognition outside of Thacher this winter that their news deserves its own slice of the Post. Joseph Wyatt, a sophomore, was named a member of the Leadership Council of A Better Chance, a national organization that recruits and helps to place and develop talented students of color in independent day and boarding schools across the country. In this post, Joseph serves as a liaison between the scholars (of which there are 14 presently enrolled at Thacher) and the staff of the regional office in Los Angeles, working on projects to enhance the connection and support. e Arthur Kaneko and Ned Lederer stood up for over 100 Thacher students when the Optimist Club of Ojai invited them as Toadly representatives to the group’s Youth Appreciation and Recognition Dinner. Like many other Ojai youngsters and teens being honored, Arthur and Ned and their Thacher schoolmates helped the residents of a small, east-end neighborhood when their homes were flooded with water and mud during the storms of early January. “Through your actions, you exhibit the qualities we all hope to find in our friends, neighbors and ourselves,” said the Optimist Club’s Carmen Holland. “We are grateful for the contributions you made to help keep this community strong.” e Recently honored for both her portfolio works (11 pieces) and for two separate, individual entries at the Otis College of Art and Design at an awards ceremony and exhibit was Juliana Ma. Over 250,000 artists in grades 7 through 12 participate in these regional programs, of which 20% typically receive awards. Pictured here, Juliana’s Truth or Dare, a self-portrait, which was the Gold Key winner at the Regional competition (and has now moved on to New York for the Nationals); her Lao Hu (Old Woman) took a Silver Key. e Earlier this winter, the senior duo of Rena Karefa-Johnson and Montana Caset traveled with Mr. Shagam (longtime

keeper of the keys to all things debate-able at Thacher) to the Wasatch Academy World Championship Qualifier debate. Each participated in debating, interpretive reading, impromptu speaking, persuasive or after-dinner speech, in hopes of winning a place in international competition. Montana earned huzzahs for her interpretive reading and knowledge of current events, while Rena returned to School as the third best competitor. As this Post goes to press, Rena is taking planes, trains, and automobiles to get to Cypress for the international competition.



Covering a wide spectrum of expertise and talent, Thacher parents often visit campus to lend new perspective in our labs, classrooms, and studios. Several made the trek this winter, to everyone’s great delight and appreciation. Pastel artist Elizabeth White (mom of Isabel, Mary CdeP 2003, and Emma CdeP 2001), multi-media artist Carolyn Fox (mother of Anna Reeser) and monoprint master David Reeser (father to same) all offered workshops during Arts Weekend, generously sharing their passion and skill with small groups of students who’d signed up not merely to sit at the feet of the masters but to pick up tools themselves. Dr. Sarah Beekley (pediatrician and mother of Anjali Joseph) had barely unpacked her suitcase when she arrived at Thacher to bring December’s tsunami into greater clarity for our students. Her slides and talk chronicled her recent several weeks in Barricaloa, a small coastal city in Sri Lanka, where, as part of a team of doctors provided by Kaiser Permanente, she set up outdoor clinics to provide basic medical aid to refugees in four different camps, seven days a week for the duration of her stay. Esteemed guests in Spencer Stevens’ AP Biology classroom have included Dr. Robert Farese, Jr. (father of Conor) and Dr. Phil Kissel (father of Marguerite, Bennett, and Bianca CdeP 2004). Following students’ learning about cellular energetics and the human digestive system, Dr. Farese, who heads one of the J. David Gladstone Institute’s laboratories in San Francisco, spoke about his research into lipid metabolism and energy balance in mice. Dr. Kissel, who has guest lectured in other years, spoke on the peripheral

Early Spring 2005  ::   

and central nervous systems, as well as on what it takes to become a neurosurgeon. Cam Schryver (father of Conner) took time away from Thacher’s Horse Program (which he directs) to speak with Environmental Science students on the topic of rangeland management and meat production—an important issue both nationally and worldwide. Cam addressed the dramatically different effects on the environment of factory farms and of open space cattle ranching, stressing that “the cattlemen and the environmentalist want the same thing: healthy soil, thriving vegetation, and abundant natural animal life.” He urged the students to make informed decisions in their purchasing practices, as well as in their local and national voting when the time comes to exercise that right. On campus for his annual spring term moonlighting gig as a teacher is professional screenwriter J.B. White (father of aforementioned Isabel, Mary, and Emma), who co-teaches a senior English elective in film ­adaptation.

Kicking Up Sand


Too Punny for Words

For several years, Kurt Meyer (Mathematics, F Technology Coordinator) has tossed out to the com-

munity the Annual Tom Swifties Competition. To enter, students and faculty submit witticisms that follow a proscribed format. (There are now entire websites devoted to this sort of wordplay, so if you can’t figure out the pattern, Google it!) Among the wittiest were these. “Can I have some more pancakes?” he asked surreptitiously. (Anna Teague) “I’ll replace the burnt bulb in your room while you’re at class today,” said Mr. Torres politely. (Brooke Wharton) “Surely, you know what HCL is!” said Dr. Vyhnal acidly. (Nick Wiltsie) “Man, things have changed with a new kid in the house,” Mr. Hooper said apparently. (Coulter Woolf) “I understand calculus!” the student shouted ­victoriously. [Gallia Vickery teaches calc.] (Lauren Bangasser) “You have no mind for math!” shouted Mr. Meyer discourteously. (Elizabeth ­Bowman) “I’m afraid my diaper is wet again,” said Hayden peevishly. (Jeff Hooper) “Se me perdio todo mi dinero,” lloro el viejo desafortunadamente. (Emily McCarren, making history with the first foreign language entry)

Recalling with compelling fondness a horse camping trip his own dad (Bruce Oxley CdeP 1954) had taken him on when he was a student at Thacher, David Oxley CdeP 1979 decided he’d make sure his own son, Will, had the chance to do the same before graduation this spring. Thus did Will and his father, joined by six other game souls (Brendan Keane, Martha Gregory, Deirdre Herbert, Adri Ryberg, Sophie LaRocque, Nick Hubbard—and their steeds), head to Montaña de Oro for Short Takes a long and memorable weekend by the sea. “To run my Ye t a n o t h e r horse down the beach, bareback, no reins—it was a life- invention of the long dream come true,” said Sophie. endlessly creative Indoor Committee: along the lines Waves crashing in as we galloped on the of Faculty Favorbeach, riding bareback into the ocean: ites (classic, cult, this trip will stay in my memory forever. and popular films Nick Hubbard, of his horse trip to Montaña de Oro hosted by faculty members in their homes on a Friday evening), Faculty Just Desserts Night. For these, faculty opened their kitchens to students for the making, baking, and eating of a host of sweet treats—everything from homemade “It’s Its” to raspberry white chocolate cheesecake. Several fac-


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ulty couples posed this as a “Battle of the Desserts,” asking such tantalizing questions as which is better, apple crisp or apple pie? Strawberry meringue shortcake or chocolate roll? In the end, all were winners—especially those who scarfed up the goodies. e Also a Friday night winner was Clubs Night, on which every interest seemed pretty much to get covered: from martial arts to golf to trap shooting to Korean, Chinese, and Italian and bowling; from scuba diving, surfing, and skiing to Christian Fellowship and break-dancing—in other words, something for just about everyone. e Singer-songwriter Ellen Adams took center stage at our local Theater 150 earlier this winter, when she opened for The Household Gods, an acoustic pop band that features two Thacher parents—J.B. White and Charlie Bosson. The crowd, needless to say, went wild for her highly original tunes. We’ll be saying, We knew her when… e Several other musicians treated Thacher to some terrific winter performances on campus: acoustic guitarist (both 6- and 12-string) Chris Proctor, who dazzled with his pieces that lovingly traced folk, jazz, blues, classical and pop strands in his trademark precision fingerstyle virtuosity; a rockin’ a capella singing group from Yale University; and singer-songwriter Charlotte Kendrick—all “published” performers. e The community warmly welcomed back from Maine Coast Semester in early January Ruth Sawyer, who’d spent her fall on Chewonki Neck, near Wiscasset, Maine. She reports, “MCS was an absolutely amazing experience: making new friends, hiking in the snow amid different trees, ice sledding, catching chickens, feeling the warmth of a very small community [about 3 dozen students], mud-sliding—it really felt like home. Living in a different place and hearing my friends talk about their home schools also gave me a renewed appreciation for some of Thacher’s most important elements—that is, the

Honor Code, camping, and all of the people I missed while I was away. To uproot and re-root in the middle of the year was a challenge, but I’m most certainly glad I’m doing it here.” e After writing persuasive essays for all to read and going through a first and second round election, three students earned spots on the Judicial Council: Coulter Woolf, Rachel Munzig, and Alexander Krey, who will join the other students—Jaime Luna (as School Chair) and Jordan Reiff—who, with the guidance of two faculty members (this year, Chris Mazzola and Spencer Stevens) adjudicate in student disciplinary cases. e School Chair Jaime Luna started months ago thinking about how to thank the kitchen and maintenance staffs for the tireless work they do, day in and day out, for the community. What he came up with was a barbecue lunch during which students did all the preparation, flipped the burgers and cleaned up afterwards. Jaime is pictured here with able assistants Willy Wilder, Alex Herr, Will Oxley, Executive Chef Ismael Martin, Dean of Students Sabina McMahon, and Senior Class President Ned Lederer. e New to the “A” Horse Camper echelon, as announced by Chuck Warren, are Hazel Ruiz, Rebekah McFarland, Deirdre Herbert, and Martha Gregory. The four had to pass two tests—a written and a practical—after completing several pack trips (some in the role of captain), two or three trips as “B” Campers, assisting teaching new camper trainees, helping keep Patton’s Cabin supplied, and meeting Chuck’s “personal subjective judgment that they are sufficiently mature and ready for the responsibilities.” They’re high hurdles, but these four young women jumped them with plenty of clearance. e The Thacher Pack and Spur Club (included newly elected Nick Hubb ard, Alexander Krey, Brooke Wharton, Ryan Smith, and Sophie L aRocque) rolled up

Early Spring 2005  ::   

their sleeves and grabbed various (and serious) tools to clean up the Thacher Corral in downtown Ojai (behind Libbey Park). With David Oxley CdeP 1978 (father of Will) and Brandon Chase (father of Lauren and MacKenna CdeP 2004) providing suggestions and example, the crew went to work clearing brush, sawing off lowhanging tree limbs, and raking plant detritus. Less than a week later, the refurbished corral was put to good use by a dozen-and-a-half riders who happily accepted Head of School Michael Mulligan’s Ride-to-Brunch offer. (Pictured here, Quinn Hacker and Adri Ryberg riding through orange trees after waffles and bacon). e Also in the Horses and Camping news, several riders earned “Advanced” standing in the Horse Program this winter: Conor Farese, Cal Jensen, Dallas Swift, Jedidiah Harris, Brooke Wharton, and Britt Barnard. e The indefatigable Josephine Chow has organized 17 upperclassmen as academic tutors in almost every subject area. Participating in the program as peer teachers are Coulter Woolf, Julia Oh, Anna Walter, Jo Kingery, Lauren Bangasser, Max Anderson, Conor Farese, Lucy Herr, Kaitlin Walter, Calvin Kim, Anna Moncharsh, Kaja Johnson, Justin Ouyang, Austin Pollet, Keely Walsh, Alex Marlantes, and Arthur Kaneko. e Some awfully avid bikers are heading into the hills or flying out the gates of campus these days, BMXers to mountaineers to long-distance operators. Inaugurating the Century Club (logging 100 km) was Austin Curwen, joined in the circle by Adam Harmon. Stay tuned for more names to be added to the roster in the spring months. (In this fast-action photo, Jeff Harthorn speeds past in the Toads-Try earlier this year.) e

Director of Food Services Richard Maxwell and his wife, Ginger, welcomed Nina Katherine Maxwell (at 6 lbs, 10 oz, 19 inches long) into their lives and, by extension, the life of the Thacher community on January 28. Checking out the little bundle here: Ted Brown, Adri Ryberg, Annie Strachan, and Megan Boswell.

“Bright and Cheery Kids” Don Muckers, Roll Up Sleeves


When Thacher Creek raged over its banks a couple of miles east of Ojai in early January, inundating a neighborhood with mud and debris, Thacher students and faculty were front and center to help dig out home­ owners who’d been hit

They lifted our spirits. They cleaned, they mopped, they took care of my little kid, helped move furniture. Then they went to the back to dig ditches to create drainage. They were incredibly supportive of us and of each other. It was a real gift.

Avenida del la Vereda resident Mary Jo Healy, on the volunteer work of Thacher students in her neighborhood

by the storm. Although they originally headed down with shovels specifically to dig out a faculty member’s home, the Thacher folk immediately saw the greater need and, for more than a week, fanned out each afternoon to help anyone who could use an extra set of hands. In the end, over a hundred kids and about twenty faculty members participated in the ad hoc project. Local resident Matt Kingsley was bemused, but grateful: “Three Thacher girls just showed up. I don’t actually know why they came down, but they just marched into our house and said, ‘Hey, we’d like to help.’ It sure was nice during the chaos of everything to have somebody to pitch in.” Pictured above: James Burton puts

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some shoulder into his mud-slinging; above left: Max Pillsbury and Sophie LaRocque cope with a mud pile; above right: Olivea Callendar-Scott, Rachel Munzig, Lauren Bangasser, Anna Walter, and Belle Bueti take a breather in the sunshine after shoveling inside the home behind them.

the UNICEF check totaled $8,635—an extraordinary dollar amount for the size of our school community. Making a special trip to Thacher to receive a check from these student leaders and to present a certificate of appreciation was Anne Kelly, Director of UNICEF’s Southern California Chapter. The effort continues, with other projects on the horizon. Pictured here, the movers and shakers: Rena Karefa-Johnson, Jaime Luna, Eleni Towns, Jake Jacobsen, Kaitlin Walter, and Max Anderson.


In Service

This year, the two senior heads of Community ­Service— T Max Anderson and Eleni Towns—have spent countless

hours establishing and sustaining a year-long focus on supporting one receiving organization, UNICEF (the United Nations International Children’s Educational Fund). To that end, they began by raising awareness of the challenges faced by families of the Third World by taking a night in the dining hall to demonstrate the vast discrepancies in various countries’ economic resources—as translated into a typical dinner. From there, it was on to creating specialty academic planners and orchestrating their sale to students and faculty. When the tsunami hit southeast Asia in late December, the two heads joined forces with two other classmates, the School Chair, and a faculty member to pick up the challenge posed by the National Association of Independent Schools—for students in independent schools across the country to gather nickels, dimes, and dollars to contribute to a fund that NAIS hoped would reach $1,000,000. NAIS felt that if each member school could raise $1000, it would send a powerful message of concern and care to the people whose lives had suffered such loss. Of particular interest were the “school boxes”— part of the effort to reestablish the normality of school for the children of the devastated villages and towns. When the dust settled on Thacher’s effort, each dormitory had raised between $300-$1000. Combined with the planner sales and the dedication of Thursday night snack sales,

Standards of sportsmanship ‘out there’ are sometimes pretty different from ours. But home or away, ours do not change: Be loud. Create a lot of energy. Make it all positive. Director of Athletics Rich Mazzola, reiterating The Thacher Way of Fandom

Varsity Girls’ Soccer Coaches: Toby Elmore, assisted by Kara Hooper Captains: Lauren Bangasser and Emma Werlin

The news from Coach Hoop: “We kicked off our season with a 2-2 tie against Viewpoint, with Rachel Munzig scoring with just four minutes left in the game. In January, we began Condor

Early Spring 2005  ::   11

League competition with a 3-0 win over Dunn, then tied Laguna twice in the space of three days— 0-0 at home and a 4-4 thriller on their turf, where Thacher came from behind twice, and Rachel and Ruth Sawyer combined for three of the goals (including a header by Ruth). We avenged early season losses to Villanova and Cate by beating the former 2-0 and by tying the latter at home, 1-1 on a goal by Alyssa Tennant. Kathryn Padgett anchored our midfield with her fancy footwork and scoring ability; our defensive unit of Captain Werlin (voted Most Inspirational at the end of the season), Josephine Kingery, Logan Morrow, and Kaggie Orrick was stalwart and dependable all season. Martha Gregory (MVP) dominated in goal, making some eyepopping breakaway saves. Captain Lauren provided offensive spark at forward. The season ended with a tough 2-1 loss to Windward, a heartbreaker because we played our best soccer of the season in the second half.” Most Improved Player was Katie Romanov; Most Inspirational, and captains for next year are Logan Morrow (who won All-CIF 2nd Team honors), Rachel Munzig, and Kaggie Orrick. JV Girls’ Soccer Coach: Megan Henry Captains: Emily Love-Platt and Kaja Johnson

Despite the characteristic monkey wrenches of stormy weather and illness that winter throws into the works, this team grew more and more adept as the season progressed. In the ranks were students from all four classes, including several freshmen who happily traded boots for cleats as often as each program would allow. One highlight of the season (behind a victory against Happy Valley) was surely the squad’s second game against Villanova, where the girls shifted into high gear

after Sarah BrownCampello (later named Most Valuable Player) nailed a penalty kick. Although the Toads ultimately lost to the Wildcats, it wasn’t without a spirited and valiant effort. According to Coach Henry, another heartfully played game was against Cate on their home field, where the defense (Emily Love-Platt at stopper, Alessandra Waste at sweeper and Annie Mulligan in goal) did everything they could to keep the steamrolling Rams from scoring. Others who scored for the Toads during the season were Kaja Johnson (Most Inspirational), Olivia Jacobsen, and Lindsay Oliver. Earning her team’s vote as Most Improved by season’s end was Annie Strachan. Varsity Boys’ Soccer Coach: Fred Coleman Captains: Ben Babbott and Jaime Luna

With a roster that included eight seniors (Ben Babbott, Ed Cahill, Davie Connick, Jaime Luna, Austin Pollet, Conner Schryver, Willy Wilder, and Gabe Yette), this squad had the sort of seasoned leadership that, mixed with physical and mental toughness, made for a historic fifth consecutive Condor League championship. (No small thing, as no Condor League boys’ soccer team has, in its 47-year history, managed five running.) Although the football team’s playoff success in December (which kept several players on that field rather than the soccer pitch) and the January rains slowed the team a bit initially, they were able, according to Coach Derf, “to play well enough to win until we finally arrived at the place we had been working so hard to be during our game against Cate—that is, scoring three goals in the second half. It was some of the most beautiful soccer I’ve ever seen.” (And he’s seen some!) In the CIF playoffs, the team won its 1st round game on home turf

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against Rosamond, 2-1, then lost in the desert at Mojave. “These seniors have known only one Condor League defeat in their three years of varsity soccer,” said Coach Coleman. “Their departure leaves a void that will be difficult to fill—but we’ll try!” A trio of guys won the Most Improved Player award: Conner Schryver, Bob Kamuyu, and Redgie Collins. Austin Pollet earned the Most Inspirational Player award by vote of his teammates, while Ben Babbott was considered Best Sportsman. The squad’s Most Valuable Player was Jaime Luna, who was also elected to AllCIF First Team. Additionally, Ed Cahill and Davie Connick earned All-CIF 2 nd and 3 rd Team spots. Elected as captains for the 2005-06 season: James Allison, P.J. Benner and Bob Kamuyu. JV Boys’ Soccer Coach: Eric McCarren

Straight from the coach’s bullhorn: “The talent of this great team came from players of all classes, from freshmen to seniors. Of the latter, Barrett Brown, Sam Felton, Sander Duncan, Charlie Bennett, Arthur Kaneko, Brian Carter, Ned Lederer, and Justin Ouyang were crucial to our unity. Junior Cal Jensen was voted team MVP and played center midfield all season contributing mightily to our 7-1 record. Freshmen Will Oberndorf and Thomas Waltcher were important contributors (even if their horses did demand their attention a good deal of the time!). After losing our first game to a strong Carpinteria team in the first week of the season, we regrouped in January and didn’t stop playing soccer despite the heavy rains (even playing on the tennis courts when the fields became ponds). Our opponents scored an amazingly paltry three goals on our outstanding defense led by Billy Irwin. Mark Wolcott, a new sophomore was voted Most Improved Player partially based on his ­pictureperfect goal in our final game against Cate (assisted by Sander Duncan).”

Third Team Boys’ Soccer Coach: Kevin Buddhu Captains: Peter Arnold and Zack Grossman

This team, which wound up with a split win-loss record of 2-2 for the season, found seniors—the two captains plus, Michael Yun and Parker Lohman on the offensive front and T.J. Bermant and Calvin Kim in the backfield—setting the example for boys from all the other three classes. Three 9th graders—Max Pillsbury, William Peterson, and Brannon Cavalier—played whenever they could talk their horses into taking a day off, steadying the midfield and serving as hope for the future; sophomore Andrew Jordan and junior Josh Cornwell kept company in the task of stopping those advancing for the opposition. The versatile Simon Wu, Jack Eastburn, and Emmo Gates proved more than capable as substitutes at virtually any position Coach Budd and the team needed their help. “Peter Arnold ably captained the field from his slot in goal,” reports the coach. “His play there was inspirational, as he protected Thacher’s turf in every game.” No surprise Peter earned Most Valuable Player; Calvin won Most Improved. Varsity Girls’ Basketball Coach: Derick Perry Captains: Becky Horton and Erica Puccetti

Despite several players being new to the team, this squad was well-glued together from the start, a bond formed (according to their coach) “with a sense of warmth, of camaraderie, of fun that inspired both them and me for the whole season.” (Proof of their spirit: winning the Sportsmanship Award at the Fillmore Tournament, just after the start of the season.) Coach

Early Spring 2005  ::   13

wound up with a very creditable 5-2 season record in the Condor League. “In my book, everyone was an MVP,” said the coach. Varsity Boys’ Basketball Coaches: Jason Carney, assisted by Ted Holden

photo by Leslie Vallee-Miller, Ojai Valley News

photo by Leslie Vallee-Miller, Ojai Valley News

They were young—and they were scrappy, determined to use the season to learn, to grow, to become better as individuals and as a team with each game. That they did. “They faced height, experience, speed, and strength disadvantages often,” reports Coach Carney. “But they battled hard every time they headed out onto the court, proving their true Thacher spirit.” Three freshmen, five sophomores, three juniors made up the squad—the nine uninjured made major contributions. Chris Thomas led in scoring and steals; Chris Gordon led in free-throw percentage; Max Barbakow was “an absolute hustle machine, an incredible spark plug out there.” Earning the admiration JV Girls’ Basketball of his teammates by their voting him Most Coach: Eliza Gregory CdeP 1999, with Improved Player was guest appearances from Kurt Meyer Andrew Fair. Voted Captains: Belle Bueti and captains for 2004-05 Jenny Morrill were Max Barbakow “We had an outstanding season,” beams Coach Gregory (herself a and Jordan Reiff. And here’s the best news: every player varsity hoopster captain during her will return to the boards next winter. years at Thacher). With a full bench, there were lots of players to rotate into the line-up—from JV Boys’ Basketball Coach: Ben Farrell rank rookies to seasoned vets. “By the end, they’d all Captains: Max Anderson and made huge strides in Toby Nathan their understanding “What an amazing year it was of the game and in for the Boy’s JV!” reports Coach their skills. Everyone Farrell. “One of the main goals contributed.” New to of the season was for everyone to some were hills, line improve his game—not as easy as sprints, crunches, it sounds, given the reality that we and push-ups—but had twenty-one players suiting up they all jumped for practice on any given day. But into the action and

photo by Leslie Vallee-Miller, Ojai Valley News

Perry went on: “I asked them for their best, and they gave it to me. They refused to believe that they were anything other than defenders of the Condor League Championship.” That belief, combined with determination and increasing skill throughout the winter, secured them exactly that prize—the third consecutive League title. In great part, the credit goes to the confidence gifted from the seniors and other veterans on the team to the younger players. “I can always guarantee two things for my team,” said Coach Perry during his season’s wrap-up during a late winter Assembly. “My players will improve, and they’ll have fun.” Promise fulfilled. Earning Most Improved was Sarah Eckhardt, while Most Inspirational Player honors were shared by Rena Karefa-Johnson and Becky Horton; Becky was also named Most Valuable Player.

14  ::   Parents’ Post

numbers were never a problem, thanks to the strong leadership of our senior co-captains Max Anderson and Toby Nathan. The season started slowly, with three early losses, the most disheartening being our fall to Cate. But the boys refused to remain discouraged, determined instead to improve steadily throughout the season, pulling off a string of five wins in six games. The remainder of the season was spent building to our final game at home against Cate. It was truly a team victory, with the sixteen guys on the bench cheering their teammates on throughout the game to its winning (for us) conclusion. I can’t imagine a better way to end our winter.” Max Anderson and Marc Fuller won MVP, while Toby Nathan earned the Charlie Hustle Award. Most Improved Player honors went to David Phuasirirak.

Equitation Team

CAST Charlie Brown • Ben Babbott Schroeder • Sam Felton Lucy • Kaitlin Walter Snoopy • Isabel White Sally • Caitlin Wyman Linus • Michael Yun DANCERS Heather Back Lauren Bangasser Maddie Ignon Victoria Lowe Annie Sawyer Aubrey Wynn BAND


Thacher’s Equitation Team’s been up to lots of good this quarter, all of it preparatory preamble to their competing at the Interscholastic Equestrian League Nationals this April in Maryland. A little history: the IEA was founded to boost the quality of equestrian competition and instruction available to middle school and high school riders. The tricky and exciting part about IEA shows is that participants ride “host horses”—that is, those in the host school’s stable. There’s a little bit of getacquainted time, but for the most part, everyone’s on level ground as they work to demonstrate their horsemanship over fences and on the flat. A “pointed” rider from each team accumulates points for the school score, which gives smaller schools with fewer riders equal competitive footing with larger teams. The first of this semester’s events coincided with the first major winter storm, necessitating an 11th-hour venue switch when Thacher hosted three other teams, two from east coast schools. Fortunately, given the extra hauling continued on back page

Concert Master, Violin • Kaja Johnson Flute • Alex Min Drums • Mr. James Anterez Piano • Julia Oh Bass • Mr. John Boyd Viola • Sarah Yun Woodwinds • Mr. Dan Willard CREW Head Techie • Brendan Keane Stage Manager • Kirsty Mark Assistant Director • Kaggie Orrick Lighting • Cal Jensen Sound • Peter Thom Follow Spot • Nick Wiltsie Props • Erika Satterwhite Wardrobe • Amanda Nonomura, Keely Walsh, and Alessandra Waste Painter • Arthur Kaneko Head Usher • Erika Satterwhite Usher • Lilly Haggard Director • Sandy Jensen Musical Director • Greg Haggard Choreographer • Gallia Vickery

Early Spring 2005  ::   15




lternately charming, whimsical, and laugh-you-off-your-chair

funny, this winter’s musical, You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, gave its audience many reasons to smile— and to return for another show and another, until the curtain came down on the fifth and final performance. The players—the inimitable Charlie Brown, his sister Sally and dog Snoopy, and friends Schroeder, Lucy and Linus—were backed up by a sextet of high-kicking dancers, a terrific pit band, a crackerjack sound and lighting crew, and inspiring directors, whose first stroke of genius was in creating a black box theater out of the Study Hall. We’re sure that somewhere in the rafters, Mr. Thacher was smiling down.

Happiness was.

continued from page 14

and handling forced by the deluge, Thacher alums happened to be back in force for Winter Reunion, and all pitched in to get horses and gear to and from campus: Alex Herbert, Katherine Bechtel, Phoebe Barkan, Rebeccah Gore-Judd, Walker Cahall, and Brian Keane. Thacher wound up Reserve Cham­ pion, with eight riders qualifying for the Nat i o n a l s : Deirdre Herbert, Adri Ryberg, Kelly Singco, Keely Walsh, Alex Dotson, Leslie Sligh, Lesley Sun, and Sarah Winters. Coach Elizabeth Mahoney CdeP 1988 cited as another part of the team’s success “the terrific support of parents who traveled very long distances [Cecilia and Jim Herbert and Claire Ryberg] to cheer on students and steeds—and of all of those who purchased Valentines’ baskets during the team’s fund-raiser. Thank you all!”


As most of us know too well, spring at Thacher zooms by at warp speed, the longer daylight hours filled with more activities than seem humanly possible: the “usual” of classes and sports and riding, Big Gymkhana Family Weekend, Senior Exhibitions, Extra Day Trips, review, exams, Baccalaureate and Commencement. In the rush lies the hope, too, of a quiet moment in the sunshine, on the grass, near to those blossoms mentioned on the front cover, irresistible, after all.

Every time someone doubts what I’m doing or a direction I’m taking, I rethink it with this question in mind: What would they have urged me to do at Thacher? This helps me to go on with my projects, even when they seem crazy or impossible—and ultimately, to dissolve the doubt of others. Tom Crozier CdeP 1977, speaking to the community at Assembly about his singular missionary work in Nicaragua

Cheers ’til summer’s upon us!

PRODUCTION CREDITS n Editor: Joy Sawyer-Mulligan    Design and Production: Tim Ditch Photography: Jane McCarthy, Joy Sawyer-Mulligan    Student Photography Assistants: Eli Behar, Eric Elias, Mason Feldman


The Thacher School Parents’ Post




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Spring 2005  
Spring 2005