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

Winter 2000

Dear Parents and Friends: When, say, on a trip back eastward to School from town, you’re far enough west to see the Los Padres hills (whose recently blackened shoulders end with the thick and variegated foliage of the campus), you might be startled to spot what was entirely hidden before, under sagebrush and low scrub: laid bare, the winding and numerous trails of wild animals, seemingly hither-thither but actually purposeful, direct, towards food and water, burrows or dens. Who knows how long they’ve been there, or how long in the making? I imagine the same idea applied to the paths and stairs, ramps and roads of the campus proper: an invisible, multi-layered topography, worn by generations of Thacher boys and girls moving through their daily lives, point to point, moment to moment. They, too, gather food—for thought, for real— and find friendship, making unseen impressions in the literal landscape and, simultaneously, unconsciously, mapping their own futures in places as yet unconceived and, in this beauty-imbued present, inconceivable.

Original print by Chris Cahill

NEW & IMPROVED What used to be a good thing for a numW ber of juniors (by their own election) has become, under the hand and eye of Dean of Students Chris Mazzola and Marcia Edwards (Science) a comprehensive, four-year program for all students in all grades. We speak of HR&S (Human Relationships and Sexuality), a program whose goals are • to highlight “the good, the true and the beautiful” [School values underscored in our recent WASC accreditation] in our striving for moral behavior, • to emphasize the School values of honestly, kindness, fairness and truth as the foundation for making moral decisions for self and others; • to emphasize the transfer of responsibility for health and safety from parents to self;

• to emphasize commitment not just to self, but also to others in relationships. Ninth and new 10th grade students, in Leading a Healthy Life, meet in a variety of settings (advisee or dorm discussion groups) and with a whole host of professionals, considering such topics as coping with change, learning how and where to ask for help at Thacher, understanding nutrition, the impact of the media on self-image, sexually transmitted diseases, stress management and preparing for exams, and other related topics. Sophomores, whose umbrella subject is Addictive Behaviors, cover a range of sub- topics, through dorm and smaller-group discussions and via “Miles To Go,” a substance abuse prevention and awareness program, led by veterans in the field, Jonathan Scott and Kelly Townsend. The


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program—which covers such areas as tobacco, drug use and abuse (including alcohol) as it affects the individual and his or her family and friends (including co-dependency), and date rape—requires daily small-group meetings for four days. (Ask your upperclassman about it; students have resoundingly endorsed it since the pair first started visiting Thacher four years ago.) The Juniors’ curriculum is titled Personal Ethics and Respect for Difference; it is focused on gender issues, sexual decisionmaking, sexual orientation, healthy choices in relationships, racism and classism; and its vehicles are dorm discussions and, throughout the winter season, weekly discussion groups led by teams of faculty members in their homes. Leadership and the Road Ahead is the title of the Seniors’ HR&S component; like those in the younger grades, it utilizes several methods of approach as the 12th graders focus on peer counseling skills, developing leadership in themselves, and managing change as they gradually separate from Thacher and matriculate in colleges and universities. Several all-School lectures by regional experts are predicated on the premise that we are all members of society and that our behavior is part of the whole; these lectures have or will include Alcohol Abuse and Society, AIDS, The Truth about Tobacco Use and Abuse in Contemporary America, Choice and Chance in the Drug War. Highly recommended reading for parents: Ophelia Speaks: Adolescent Girls Write about their Search for Self by Sara Shandler (a young woman’s response to Mary Pipher’s Reviving Ophelia), and, for insight into adolescent boys’ struggles, Raising Cain by Michael Thompson and Real Boys by William Pollack.


At Chewonki, I had the opportunity to form close relationships not only with my peers and teachers, but with the wilderness around me, as well. Most importantly, the program encouraged me to look closely at the reasons behind my beliefs and values. I honestly think that I now have a better understanding of my self, something I will carry that with me for the rest of my life. —Heather Ferguson My main reason for being involved in this program was to learn the agricultural side of horticulture; I wanted to learn the whole farm. I spent as much time there as I could, but for me, it just wasn’t enough. Over time, however, I found that I had been learning what I had come to learn, but that it had taken another form. We had been doing in-depth studies of different eco-systems, studying how both biotic and abiotic factors within these ecosystems affected each other, how one organism could not live without another, and how these organisms and abiotic factors used each other as stepping stones to create a whole. Physical labor [both on and off the farm] . . .mowing lawns, splitting logs, spinning wool, cooking, cleaning, and working on cars. All the work we did was vital to the upkeep of the program and the betterment of the whole. The Maine Coast Semester is very much about community. I found myself becoming conscious of my surroundings [and understood] that I if I chose to be, I could be a functioning member of those surroundings. Still, my favorite part of Chewonki was the farm; I learned about how pieces fit into a whole. —Mike Hammer

ON THE EQUINE SCENE An outbreak of equine distemper in the School’s horse herd actually A held a silver lining for a couple of Thacher students this winter: because of the veterinary work required by the sick horses, reported Horse Program Director Cam Schryver, Christy Acquistapace earned her A Horse Camper, and Devon Tarasevic was named “Horseman”—both distinctions with prerequisites an arm long. To earn the first, a student must pass both a written test and a practical exam in the field, covering basic equine vet knowledge, camp setting and breaking procedures, fire safety, fist aid, knowledge of hitches, and general map and compass reading; he or she must also captain one of four horse camping trips, know the rudiments of horse shoeing. To earn her designation, Devon had to demStudy in Horseshoes by Yasmine Arastu. onstrate not only riding competence and horse care at a high level, but a practical, working knowledge of vet care; “tact, finesse, and flexibility when dealing with different horses”; and a willingness to work with

inexperienced riders. Meanwhile, Wallis Adams was busy achieving Advanced Rider status, an echelon that requires a student to demonstrate facility in no fewer than seventeen maneuvers aboard her steed. As for the 9th graders and other new riders, this winter they have a whole slew of choices of horsemanship classes offered by members of the riding faculty, including A- and B-Camper Preparation, Introduction to Gymkhana, Roping, Beginning English. Riders attend these hands-on (spurs-on?) classes two of their five required riding days. Also recently formed: the Thacher Gymkhana team, whose first competition is happening as this goes to press. More on that next issue!

BACK AND GONE community cheered loudly and long its welcome back to Mike TThe Hammer and Heather Ferguson, returned from their stint at Maine Coast Semester, an academic and experiential program for just over 30 juniors, held on the rock-bound peninsula of Chewonki Neck in northern New England. Off to this unique part of our country for her own five months of wood-chopping, bread-baking, (and, no doubt, ice fishing!) is Grace Logsdon. Other new arrivals included National Network of Complementary Schools students Jenny Lau and Katie Maurere from Maumee Valley School (Toledo, OH), Sara Lucas from Kinkaid School (Houston, TX)—each of whom will

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which primarily juniors take the traditional college prep courses they would subscribe to at their sending schools, but are taught in the native tongue and are sunk deep into the culture via a schoolyear’s worth of activities and travel with the group and with their host families. Presently studying in foreign lands are Clarissa Caldwell and Erica Reynolds (in Rennes, France) (pictured here on a Parisian street with their sisters, Caitlin Caldwell, C de P ’99, and Vanessa Reynolds), Peter Frykman (in Zaragoza, Spain), and Mike Disner (in Beijing, China). The far-reaching grapevine has it that all are doing well and learning much.

dents and School friends rallied to the effort of holding off the firestorm, as well as rounding up over a hundred horses and moving them to safety, tending to them in crowded conditions, then moving them back to pasture once the danger had passed. On the move manning the School’s firetruck at various hotspots, turning on sprinklers and even put out small fires were stalwarts Bob Lang, Dennis Hill, Elvis Anthony, Jaime Robles, Robert Torres, and Jesus Carbajal—all —Tyler Manson members of the Maintenance staff. Meanwhile, Mike Swan (Assistant Head of the Horse Program) orchestrated the monumental task of rounding up and trailering the panicked horses from Carpenter’s Orchard to the Stable Area; working with Mike and then Cam Schryver (who’d been away for the holidays, but who raced back to Ojai as soon as he and his family could) both that fearful night and in days following were faculty members Chuck Warren, Rae Ann Sines, Greg Courter, A.J. Goldman, Susan Hardenbergh, Lori Schryver, Jake Jacobsen, Kurt Meyer, Steve Carter, Holly Mitchem, and Gallia Vickery; students and faculty kids Sam and Rick Swan, Katie Kuhl, Emery Mitchem, Melissa and Sasha Vickery, Nicole Haggard, Carol and Conner Schryver, Todd Meyer, Justin Arnold (along with his father Bill and brother Brandon), Darren Bechtel, Tyler Manson, Meg Kwan, Wallis Adams, Chris Grant (and his mother Lisa), Tamima and Tania Al-Awar, Olivia Jacobsen, and just-plain-great-friends Cody Joaquin and Jesse Real, as well as Cody’s nephew, Harvey. Helping in various and myriad other ways were Stephane and Justin Torres, Elizabeth Bowman, Jane, Brigid and Sean McCarthy, and Wendy McCobb. The calm at the center of the storm were Assistant Head Peter Robinson and Business Manager Bill Prather. After the smoke had cleared—which actually took many days—most witnesses were still awestruck and fairly speechless about the whole experience. “Big,” was all Peter Robinson could say, to which Chris Grant added, “Too close for comfort.”



stay for three weeks—and English-Speaking Union student Peter Warman, pictured here with two of his classmates, Margaux Lloyd and Lucy Milligan. A Welshman by birth and slated for university study in neuroscience at Imperial College next fall, Peter has joined our senior class for the entire second semester. In addition to his academic work, Peter is warbling with the Chamber Singers, has a part in Sweet Charity (the winter musical) and on the JV Lacrosse team, and is playing trombone in the Jazz Explosion.

AND STILL FARTHER EAST Thacher Toads were selected last spring for participation in FFour School Year Abroad, a homestay/language immersion program in

Most of you know that just M before Christmas, a wildfire

The horses had no idea what was happening to them, and they basically dragged me back to the barn. The fire really put things into perspective for me: I learned that what was really important doesn’t fit into any shoe box that I could pack up and take with me.

surged uncontrollably for several nightmare hours toward the Thacher campus from its incendiary inception in the Upper Ojai. If you know that you know, too, that all but a tack shed at the outer periphery of the campus was spared the towering front of flames that made its —Katie Kuhl way in the shape of a crescent moon—counterpoint to the fullest of full moons on watch the following night, a two-mile wide swath that at times sent flames fifty feet and more into the air. What you may not know is just how many Thacher faculty, staff, stu-

It was an incredibly exciting and frightening experience, one I’ll remember for a long time to come. Large trees exploding into flames was like nothing I had ever seen.

a dramatic demonIInstration of how to take lemons and make lemonade, students in Rae Ann Sines’s A.P. Environmental Science class have marked off a field study section of the scorched hillside rising above the Gymkhana Field, each site of which will hold secrets to the short- and long-term recovery of the chaparral plant community (a.k.a. secondary succession) after a fire. Pictured here amid the ash: Jake Braitman and Trevor McProud. e Earlier this year, as part of


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her course in Native American History, Sarah DelVecchio (aided by Pierre Yoo) shepherded a handful of students over to Santa Cruz in the Channel Islands for a weekend of camping and checking out several centuries-old shell middens—a fancy term for a garbage dump. In the case of these repositories, Chumash Indians simply discarded in a pile the shells of fish they’d eaten. One, reported Sarah, was “as big as Olympus” [that’s our Olympus—the dining room and administrative offices above]. e As a member of the Santa Barbara Museum of Art’s select Master Class with Ron Robertson, senior Sara Thacher shuttled over the Pass routinely this fall; at the end of her time with the master, she showed some of her work in an exhibition called Responses to Abstraction and Expression in Chinese Calligraphy. Even beyond that, Sara became a teacher to her peers in A.P. Studio Art, instructing them in the background and technique of this esoteric study. Pictured here: one of Sara’s pieces.

SHORT TAKES “The best in my memory,” declared Marvin Shagam (Latin, Political TPhilosophy, History) of the annual Toga Party, by and for Latin students only. Suriya Jayanti and Alden Blair organized the fete, which included authentic Roman music and dance (led by Cheryl Lynn Horton, usually of hoop fame), some predictable (grapes) and less predictable (pizza) food, the crowning of a High Priestess (Celeste Thomas), Emperor (Richard Parks) and Empress (Suriya). According to the last, “The gladiators put on a fantastic show, and the gods—Peter Hartnack and Amissa Bongo—watched with appropriate indifference to the actions of us mortals .” e Even as they’re wholly into Thacher activities morning-noon-and-night, day students Katie Kuhl and Lily Mitchem have kept one foot securely in the town of Ojai by remaining active in the Ojai Valley Youth Foundation. They were active in a first-ever Youth Town Hall meeting in early December, in which they set up plans to gather more input on ways to use the million dollars awarded the group by the California Wellness Foundation last spring. And most recently, Lily asked for volunteers to help with the 750 hours of work to be done on the new skate park; she is also facilitating at Ojai’s third annual Diversity Day, orchestrating group meetings. e New faculty member Andrew Ho (Physics) did come to the end—to everyone’s deep and vociferous disappointment—of his seven-installment series on Rhetorical Style, which he offered at Wednesday Assemblies through the late fall and early winter. Illuminating such elements of public speaking as posture (“Stand Up”), speed (“Slow Down”), volume (“Twice As Loud”), enunciation (“Emphasize Your Lip Movements”), sympathy (“Create a Connection”), inflection (“Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah” [The Star-Spangled Banner]), and content (“Let These Be Your Guides: Honor, Fairness, Kindness, Truth), Andrew fair dazzled with wit and humor, intelligence,

and perceptiveness, holding us all in the very palm of his carefully extended, slightly upturned hand. As of the last Parents’ Post, the 9th graders had yet to elect their class president. Well, the ballot’s been taken and elected by her peers to that august post was Katherine The Library’s catalog is now on-line and accessible Bechtel. e to…well, as near as I can tell, the world. e According to Director of Music Greg Haggard, the electronic music concert held this fall, demonstrating work in percussion, minimalist, and klagenfarbemelodie (sound, color, melody) styles, was “stimulating and aurally expanding.” It featured works by Eric Butts, Katie Harmon, Jay Thornes, and Kirby Williams.

REFLECTION AND REVELRY Holiday celebrants at H the end of the first semester included those observing Hanukkah at the menorah of Niki and A.J. Goldman, who hosted up to 50 students each night of that holiday in their home for the traditional candlelighting ceremony. Festivities for the whole school were wrapped up in a big red bow: a several-course gourmet banquet, red and green in liberal measure in linens, dresses, ties, sweaters, aprons; following the dinner, the annual Holiday Concert, featuring dancers spinning and swirling under the choreographic wizardry of Gallia Vickery, and singers and instrumentalists under the expert baton of Greg Haggard.

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HONORS AGAIN FOR GIRLS’ LAX the fourth consecutive year, Lacrosse Magazine has ranked FFor Thacher’s Girls’ Lacrosse team, coached by Greg Courter, in its Top 20. The article went on to say, “This California team is surfing a 40game unbeaten wave dating back to April of 1997. Thacher’s fledgling lacrosse program, started in 1991, does not retain its players’ services until the sophomore year. The reason? Each student is required to ride and care for a horse during her first year.” Now to most of the world, that’s news. To us, it’s ancient history.

their duffles and headed south to northern Baja California with Sra. Cecilia Ortiz when she organized a trip to Puerta de Fe, an orphanage in Ensenada. There, they cleaned and painted the dormitories, studied, and played with the children. And earlier this year, in a gloves-on gesture of service linking hikers with the outdoors that is our own backyard, Phoebe Halsey, Cameron Ridgeway, and Kylie Manson cleared parts of the Condor Wilderness Trail, an event sponsored by the Sunbow Ecology Center of Ojai. Spearheading the overnight work-and-camp near Pine Mountain Ridge were Katherine Halsey (French) and Wendi Parker (The Arts). Pictured here, the three girls share a laugh amid the thorny brush.

IN SERVICE enthusiasm and commitment of two leaders—Felicity Howe and TThe Lauren Fraim—and one faculty member—Molly Perry—has galvanized many a Thacher student this year to give time and energy to several programs: St. Joseph’s Convalescent Hospital and Acacia Convalescent Hospital (helping to serve dinner to the elderly); the Humane Society (working with staff to help care for the animals), Head Start (a pre-school program for underprivileged children), Braille Institute (working with blind children and teenagers from Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties), Senior Day Care Center (helping with house-bound elderly who are brought to the center); the Ojai Museum (helping with archiving and serving as docents at the local history museum) and various Ojai Elementary Schools (tutoring). Cheryl Lynn Horton and Lauren Fraim are also active in the Ojai Literacy Project; held at the city’s Public Library, it is another tutoring opportunity of the sort Thacher students always enter with eagerness and verve. Students playing leadership roles in the particular areas: Dave Babbott, Mariposa Widdoes, Eric Butts, Jennifer Bowie, Lauren Cerre, Amanda Grumman, Claire Cichy, Tara Desjardins, and Sarah Morrow. e Other extended-hands news: School Chair Kristin Berona, whose leadership focus has included an expansion of community service by Thacher students, reports that beyond the successful blood drive last month, the SLC’s (Student Leadership Committee) dorm-based food drive netted over $500 in foodstuffs. The destination: the Ojai Homeless Shelter (one of the community service participation options) where they were made into baskets for needy Valley residents. In addition to all the students and faculty who donated, Justin Arnold, Annie Nyborg, Todd Meyer, and Darren Bechtel were of particular help to Kristin in marketing the idea and in rounding up and delivering the The orphanage was goods. In another, unrelated pre-holi- amazing—clean and days endeavor, Laurel Back and Kylie organized—and the Manson quietly but effectively exhorted their schoolmates to donate money for kids were fun. I helped four local Ventura County families build a play structure headed by single moms. With this and played a lot of money—nearly $280—the two freshmen, along with Laurel’s younger sister, soccer with the kids. Heather, bought and wrapped gifts Unfortunately, they named on the eighteen children’s wish were better than lists, as well as food for a holiday dinner and for their pantries. Earlier in the fall, I was! Arielle Flam, Russell Grether, Nicole —Russell Grether Haggard, Zoe Towns, Patty AbouSamra, and Maggie Tillman all packed

ALL HAIL Ojai Valley Chamber of Commerce announced in early DeTThe cember that it had selected our own Kurt Meyer as its “Educator of the Year,” citing his having authored the Thacher Education Seminars and Vons-Pavilions Teach the Teachers Collaborative (getting technology into the classrooms of Southern California public schools), as well as having been instrumental in providing Internet access to various community organizations throughout the Valley, including the Ojai Public Library, Villanova School, Laurel Springs School, and Monica Ros School. The ripples of what Kurt and his colleagues in these programs have wrought are lapping at more distant shores: Teach the Teachers has been nominated for a Smithsonian Institution’s Permanent Research Collection— which also throws the program’s name into the ring for consideration to receive a Computerworld Smithsonian Award in the Education and Academia category. Forget ripples. It’s a tsunami.


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experience for me: it’s made me realize what an amazing art The unique magic of the Outdoor teaching is. In the end, we disTheatre blended with a witty covered a plan of which we all choice of material and a perfectly cooperated and working well to cast ensemble to make for several produce a fabulous show full of highly entertaining evenings of fun and high spirits.” Special theater. On stage: the Thacher kudos to Technical Director Masquers in Oscar Wilde’s The Matt Schuman and his assistants Importance of Being Earnest—a Sara Thacher and Kevin Schmidt play first performed at for their creativity and hard Thacher in the work on the technical side. The same spot lighting design was fabulous and the stage crew disciN A plined and fast (and scurw UM Cre SCH l R T a E T rying around on and , c r H MA RGH hni ecto HAC NBE Tec l Diranager AT E a R c among those boulders is D i A n S M HAR Tech Stage YD AN sign O S e L U D no mean feat for the L S t Ligh S AUX AN ign ARG MILLIG IDDOE Des feet!). M e tum n AW CY



ers ract n Cha arance) f arka o e t ill B onewitz W Cas er of App B e s rd itz Lan Chri new (In O ieff Paul Bo uanakis r c n j Mo hing ea T rnon rt Anth Clark Alge ohn Wo knell n a alker og J Brac x L eredith W r e Lady n Fairfa t M Car e m race illiams ndol iss Pris G e w W G w M irby arde ly C e K Ceci hausibl on C Can Rev. ay e Pl of th s e n . don Sce Lon


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.) at in only f’s fl etch I: crief y str t n a c o m A M you use. rnon Act r Ho s.) Alge ing this ano ie M o w ’s o o l c k g (Fol and rthin a o e t W ave Mr. II: ay h n at Act um arde ct yo G A e s i use. me.) h Th ng t r Ho nd go ho lowi ano a M d (Fol u e la at th app III: om may Act g Ro Act you in w s a Dr thi ing

in 1913, with boys playing the women’s roles in full Victorian dress. At Drama Director Jake Jacobsen’s right hand (and, in his words, “significant in the establishment of cast unity, focus, and trust”) was Associate Director Mariposa Widdoes (the first associate ever named), who put to use many of the techniques and skills she honed last summer at the comprehensive National High School Institute Theatre Arts Program, held at Northwestern University. Of the experience of being teacher to her peers, she said, “All of us learned something very valuable: respect—for each other as individuals, for the extensive mastery of acting outside of Thacher, for the freedom that one may find onstage. Directing has truly been an low (Fol


Most gratifying for me was watching the players discover Wilde’s wit, his brilliant timing, his unique style. The actors seemed implicitly to apprehend the layers of irony in the playwright’s commentary of late 19thCentury English manners. As usual, I trusted them to discover their characters without a lot of interference from me, and I think the results speak to their dedication to that process. Most of all, I think the cast improved their skills, enjoyed their time together, and learned new ways to concentrate. And let’s not forget that the play was just good fun.

The late fall’s annual Cultural Weekend—a two-anda-half d a y event that involves everyone on —Jake Jacobsen campus going off campus, this year organized by Wendi Parker (The Arts)—saw students and faculty covering the Southland in hot pursuit of all sorts of theater, music, dance, and art: offerings included ballet, Amadeus, the Norton Simon Museum, Historical and Cultural Los Angeles, the Groundlings Theatre, galleries in Santa Monica, Goodgie Woogie Blues, the Peterson Auto Museum,

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Exposition Park and the IMAX theatre, and David Mamet’s The Winslow Boy. Horse camping trips to the Sespe and backpacking in the Sierra (and even a trip to Baja de Mexico) were also standard fare for this weekend. Closer to home—on campus, that is—Rabbi Brian Lurie (Alex) spent a couple of days with us this fall, visiting at large and in classes. His talk to the upper two classes revolved around the concept of transformational experiences and included follow-up time for small group discussions. Award-winning composer-lyricistpianist-singer Will Holt (also granddad to Max Leeds) kept his audience enthralled when he performed one enchanted evening—a concert that included stories about his work in the theater, on and off-Broadway, as well as points west closer to us here. (For those of us seasoned enough to remember: “Lemon Tree” and “Charlie on the MTA” are among Mr. Holt’s many successes.) e Nothing less than “World Class” describes another recent performance at Thacher: a dual concert featuring Tom Russell, the legendary singersongwriter and his phenomenally talented guitarist, Andrew Hardin, and Perla Batalla (’s “Emerging Artist of the Year”—get your hands on her Mestiza CD—“one of the most artistically exciting independent releases of the year,” sayeth the Big A—and bask in her impossibly sonorous voice) and her guitarist/songwriting partner David Batteau (both pictured here). We rocked; we rolled.

CLIMB EVERY… Well, you get the idea. Actually, the Fall Climbing Program is typiW cally dedicated to instructing students new to rock climbing. This year, though, with several veterans joining the ranks, the combination of the new and the seasoned proved productive and successful. According to Brian Pidduck, Director of the Outdoor Program and head of this aspect of it, “progress in skills and confidence came quickly to the individuals and to the group.” Brian went on to say, “For me three moments stand in greatest relief: Spending the night on a rock ledge several hundred feet above the ground in Yosemite Valley with Thacher aficionados during the ascent of a climb; watching scholar/climber Alden Blair reading A Man for All Seasons on the belay ledges on the same climb the following day; seeing Brooke Halsey and Wayne Chang traverse successfully the “Kiln Wall” outside the Ceramics Studio—a local expression of their boundless energy and supreme dedication to the Program.”

FACNEWS Heard the word H from Beijing that former faculty members Sydney Robertson (History, and Los Padres Dormitory Head) and George Pratt (English, Drama)—now on the School Year Abroad faculty in China—have a fresh bundle of girl in hand. See George’s e-mail.

LIBRARY PERENNIALS like flowers in the courtyard—really, ’tis a reference to volSSounds unteers Marilyn Wallace (Nathan, Benjamin, Elizabeth), Elizabeth White (Emma), and Cynthia Fairburn, long-time resident of the east end, gardener extraordinaire, and loyal Thacher friend. Neither rain nor snow nor sleet have kept these three from their appointed weekly rounds: organizing the periodical room, racking the newspapers, bar-coding books and videos. Beyond any call or duty, Cynthia has brought her own fresh flower arrangements for the checkout desk. Pat Berona (Kristin, Chad) has also been frequent flyer over the years. New to service amidst the stacks but equally worthy of our thanks for their help are Barbro Huth (Alex) and Adana Bariberi (Ali). We’re grateful to all!

Dearest Friends, As some of you already know, at 12:15 p.m. Beijing time, January 5th, Carmen Marysue Pratt (named after her two grandmothers) was born. After an 8-hour labor and a very interesting cab ride to the hospital, this gorgeous addition to humanity came mewling into the world. Syd delivered without the aid of any drugs and, needless to say, I am overwhelmed and awed by her strength. During one stage in the labor, when the midwife remarked on Syd’s steady but slow progress, she said, “That’s how I hike up passes in the Sierra—slow, but I get there.” Mother and baby are doing well. Please raise a glass and welcome our daughter to this complicated, delightful, miraculous life.

In a closely-related news item, Molly Twichell, Chair of ——George the Language Department, was recently officially welcomed back from maternity leave. Fred Coleman (Mathematics) and Laura Staley rang in the new millennium as groom and bride; Wendi Parker (The Arts) and Jamie Dial (Outdoor Program) plan to be hitched right here in the Outdoor Chapel in March. Meanwhile, Mary Everett, C de P ’94 and a graduate of Colorado College, has joined the faculty as an intern; she’ll be coaching soccer and lacrosse (an All-American in that sport), lending a hand in the Admission Office during this very busy season in the WLT, and working with the young women of Middle School from her apartment in Lee Quong. Faculty and some staff spent that first Monday back-at-work in a workshop on wilderness first aid, including CPR. Co-founder and Executive Director of the Sunbow Ecology Center, Chris Danch brought to us his wide experience leading trips and training groups in Wilderness First Responder techniques. And perhaps the biggest community news is quadruple: no fewer than four faculty members and their spouses have revealed that babies are


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the high-school level these days. We feel our grandson is very fortunate to be attending Thacher.” Your invitation will be in the mail soon. We look forward to seeing you in April! TUESDAY, APRIL 11 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. 2:00 p.m. 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. 5:00 to 5:30 p.m. 5:30 p.m. 6:30 p.m.

Registration Campus tours Library Presentation Tour Arts Program Afternoon Tea with your grandchild Formal Dinner Dessert Reception at the Head’s home with remarks by Michael Mulligan and a performance by Thacher’s Chamber Singers WEDNESDAY, APRIL 12

Often, Alumni Weekends like this one just past turn into nostalgia-fests. Instead, this one turned out to be a celebration of you—Thacher in the present—and your enthusiasm not just for basketball and lacrosse games, but for life itself. Thank you for showing that to my classmates… You give us all hope that tragedies like Columbine are anomalies and that the human spirit is alive and well in the next generation. —Derick S. Perry, C de P ’83 and teacher of English

on the way: Phoebe (Admission) and Mark Larsen, Chris (Dean of Students, French) and Rich (English) Mazzola, Sarah (History) and Greg DelVecchio, Elizabeth (Horse Program) and Bert ( Te c h n o l o g y ) Mahoney will provide the many welcoming arms of this community with a baby-a-month from, respectively, June through September.

7:00 to 7:45 a.m. Buffet Breakfast 8:00 to 12:30 p.m. Attend classes with your grandchild 10:30 a.m. All-School Assembly and Photographs with your grandchild 11:00 to 1:00 p.m. Buffet Lunch 1:30 p.m. Gymkhana Events 2:00 p.m. Athletic Events

MULTIGENERATIONAL Grandparents’ Days are scheduled for Tuesday, April 11, and G Wednesday, April 12. We hope you will join your grandchild here on campus and take part in the School’s daily activities. Events begin at 2:00 p.m. on the 11th and continue until the early afternoon on the 12th. There will be campus tours, performances by the dance ensemble and chamber singers, Gymkhana and athletic events, classroom visits, and much more. From last year’s visit, a grandparent writes, “My husband and I wish to thank you for two enjoyable and reassuring Grandparents’ Days. The atmosphere of sincere concern for the maturing of the students is rare at

Liz Hastings, son Jamie, and mother Olive Shannon on the Pergola last spring.

Hearts on Their Sleeves The Chamber Singers have been singing for dollars this Valentine’s Day, collecting money for a yet-to-be-named charity by singing for those who pay the piper. Selections included “My Funny Valentine,” “If Ever I Would Leave You,” “Kiss the Girl,” and “Sweet Love Doth Now Invite.” Pictured here with their conductor, Greg Haggard, at a recent Assembly in the Centennial Amphitheatre: Esther Guzman, Lacey Gordon, Mariposa Widdoes, Paul Bonewitz, Chris Bonewitz, Fred Kim, Peter Warman, Kindra Clemence, Christy Acquistapace, Lily Mitchem, and Marisa Binder.







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al s annu end ’ r e h c Tha Week lved in ana Family vital o v n i h l as a ng l k i e t t m w e y g s G for ring ity, a u is NOW N! Held du ur commun o e m i ), t IO o n. If y T g f i C o The a U p n ecialty A o p i m ’ s t a S a c r T r o g b N ice, cele givin PARE a serv ness, , it’s a l’s annual , 7 m e 5 t i y o Ma a busi ke (an e Scho t, m a h o t m r f f o o g even on nt i i t o b i a part t e n a h o n t off a do cit a d uman ect of o p s T a a • have lling to soli y n i an ), N wi ork on -4559 w 6 o 8 • are t 3 / e know. 05 lik ) 8 d ( 4 l 8 u r o e 0 h 4 •w Gret 646Betsy or us (805/ t best, e l e ll the ), A 1 pleas 1 8 8 640ay (805/ idgew R k c i fer & R Jenni In a Capture-the-Flag horseback game one dry day this winter, it was boys vs. girls, all astride their horses. Pictured here from left, clockwise: Director of the Horse Program Cam Schryver flips a coin to see which team gets the advantage, as Brenton Sullivan and Katherine Bechtel look on; Shay Cooke rides defense against Hugh Gordon; a persistent Owili Eison lopes near the opposing flag; while Lizzy Brewer and Ben Heilveil go head-to-head near the girls’ flag pole.


:: Parents’Post

FALL SPORTS Along with loads of victories on what’s known A by Toadly Teams as the first scoreboard (where the points are recorded), the second scoreboard—the one that tallies hard work, doing one’s personal best, demonstrating grace in both defeat and victory—was lit up like Times Square often enough for the rest of the Condor League to take note: this fall, six teams won outright or shared with other schools the Tony Dunn Award for Sportsmanship, voted by the players and coaches in the League: Varsity Volleyball, JV Boy and Third Boys’ Soccer, Varsity and JV Girls’ Tennis, and Girls’ Cross-Country. GIRLS’ VOLLEYBALL Coach: Chuck Warren Captains: Cheryl Lynn Horton, Evy Disner A building year if ever there were one, yet this team kept its collective shoulder to the wheel, working hard to improve and genuinely did, maintaining exemplary enthusiasm in the face of some close matches that ended in defeat. As their coach said, “This suggests a depth of character—among the younger players especially—that, when combined with the gradual improvement of their skills, should carry them to future victories, even when a narrow loss is a possibility.”Varsity letter winners included captains Cheryl Lynn (pictured here) and Evy, Jennifer Bowie, Heidi Cole (named Most Improved), Mercedes Farrell, Betsy Bradford, and Alex Herbert.

VARSITY BOYS’ SOCCER Coach: Fred Coleman Captains: Jake Braitman, Todd Meyer, Michael Back “In all of the ways we look at the concept of team at Thacher, this was a great one,” said Fred Coleman of this group of 15. “They balanced tough competitiveness and tenacity with support of each other and of the unit as a whole.” The season’s highlight had to have been the squad’s whistle-to-whistle domination of Cate on Family Weekend, a dramatic rebound from a loss on the Mesa the preceding Saturday. High goal scorer and high point player was Matty Wilson (9), who shared most assists honors with Todd Meyer. Most Valuable Players were Jake Braitman and goalkeeper Andrew Warren, while Justin Arnold won Most Improved Player. “This team played with passion and mental toughness,” Mr. Coleman went on to say,“carrying on the tradition of Thacher soccer in a way that would make former players proud.” JV BOYS’ SOCCER Coach: Jack Crawford Captain: Darren Bechtel The JV boys posted a 6-0-3 season record, ending with the Condor League Championship title held tight in their hands. According to Coach Crawford, the team’s success was “a great credit to the captain, whose enthusiasm, diligence, and rapport with his teammates qualify him as a leader par excellence.” Notable scoring performances came at the feet of Dave Babbott, Trevor McProud, Blake Caldwell, Chris Bonewitz, and Kevin Cahill; Dan Bartlett and Matt Brewer were standouts on defense. THIRD BOYS’ SOCCER Coach: Andrew Ho Captains: Jon LePlastrier, Fritz Rice, Peter Hartnack Season’s highlights including tying a very strong Cate team on their parents’ weekend without our usual goalie and with only

Winter 2000 :: 11

a baker’s dozen of players and beating OVS 3-zip on our own Family Weekend. Chris Grant was a champion in the goal; memorable, too, were Dan Moore’s continuous sprinting, bicycle kicks, and flying headers. Kevin Schmidt won particular praise for his significant improvement on defense during the course of the fall. FRESHMAN BOYS’ SOCCER Coach: Michael Mulligan Captains: Owili Eison, Tyler Caldwell, Troy Pollet This team’s only loss came in its season opener (to Happy Valley’s varsity team); from that moment forward, there were no more goals for the opposition (great credit to goaltender Richard Smith). Especially sweet were two victories (2-0 and 3-0) over Cate on their parents’ weekend and ours. Though often overmatched in size and necessarily limited in practice time (their trusty steeds being their first priority), this group nonetheless revealed a powerful team concept

BOYS’ CROSS COUNTRY Coach: Pierre Yoo Captain: Fred Kim This cohesive and highly focused group of runners— heavy on the juniors—ended its season 1-1 in dual/ tri-meets, and third in the Condor League. Having graduated five of seven varsity runners last year, the team relied on experienced sophomore Will Barkan, captain Fred Kim, and new-to-the-sport Chris Brown (who also won MVP); also proving his mettle was Canyon Cody, who finished sixth in the league finals. In addition to Fred, other seniors who provided critical leadership were Justin Mulholland, Eric Reeser, and Matt Schuman. Junior Matt Cohen won Most Improved. With ten of the fourteen runners returning to the team next fall and at least a few freshmen rising to the ranks, the future of the team looks promising. Pictured here: Chris Brown, Will Barkan, and Canyon Cody. VARSITY GIRLS’ TENNIS Coach: Chris Mazzola Captains: Besse Gardner, Samantha Grumman

and some significant talent. High Scorer was Owili Eison; “his speed and goal hunger mark him as someone to watch in coming years,” said his coach. Of the season as a whole, Coach Mully had just three words: “Another banner year!” Pictured here: Tyler Caldwell in the Happy Valley School match.

Landing a season record of 10-5, this team won several important matches against large public schools, most notably over Dos Pueblos (Santa Barbara) and Rhigetti (Santa Maria). The team finished second in the Condor League. The team greatly benefited from the experience of talented sophomore newcomers Bea Staley at #2 singles and Libby Rauner at #2 doubles. Liz Sanseau was named Most Valuable Player (and captain for next fall’s team); Emily Dachs and Meredith Flannery shared Most Improved honors. JV GIRLS’ TENNIS

GIRLS’ CROSS-COUNTRY Coach: Sarah DelVecchio Captain: Juliette White This team of spirited harriers won all their meets but one (against Cate, when half the girls were out), including the culminating Condor League Meet at Dunn, where Logan Clark (Most Valuable of the season) placed first and set a course record. They then went on to run at Mt. SAC (San Antonio College—where they’d run two times previously) in the CIFs, placing tenth in their division. “This was, hands-down, the strongest team I’ve ever worked with,” said Dr. D. Seniors included Juliette White, Marley Orr, Mia Silverman, Hannah Hooper, Felicity Howe, and Allegra Towns. Named Most Improved was Carina Fisher. Returning varsity runners in Fall ’00: Logan, Laura Neville, Lily Mitchem, Claire Cichy, and Deloria Many Grey Horses Lane—according to her coach, “the athlete to watch for next year”—also voted next year’s captain.

Coach: David Johnston Captain: Marisa Binder “The whole team was most valuable!” said Dr. J at season’s end. Led by a committed and optimistic captain, seasoned players Emma White, Smitha Reddy, Yasmine Arastu, and Laura Allen joined spirited sophomores Claire Faggioli, Laurel Peterson, Satya Peake, and Chelsea Bauch to form the core of the team; their opposition was most often varsity squads. Promising rookies included Nikki Silverman, Jane Kwett, and Iyana Reid.


Several years ago, I wrote a short piece called “The View from the Bridge”—my perspective on our weekly Saturday Night Open Houses. Via a 9th-grade English homework assignment on “place” and poetry—the students’ pick of place—I got to see a slice from the other side of the door.

Worn sneakers and soft leather loafers scattered in pairs quilt the solid wood-planked porch, a scene of laces, soles, and tongues. Above them, the massive brown door stands, ajar. Buttery yellow light melts out onto the shoes left behind as socked feet pad their way into the light and comfort of giggliings and chatters. The German Shepherd, the bear with four paws, sits on the mat as friends hop over his wintered-hair back into his house.


—Caroline Blayney

Whenever you can, come leave your shoes on the deck.

Design J. Bert Mahoney


Production and Design Tim Ditch


Editor Joy Sawyer-Mulligan



Production Credits

’Til then, cheers from Thacher,

Photography Rae Ann Sines, Lisa Lillard Caldwell, Sara Thacher, Hill Hastings, Joy Sawyer-Mulligan, Katherine Halsey

The Thacher School Parents’ Post 5025 Thacher Road Ojai, CA 93023-9001 Address Service Requested

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Winter 2000  
Winter 2000