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To spark in students of diverse backgrounds and talents a passion for learning, accomplishment, and contribution to their communities. EDITOR Polly Oppmann Fredlund Director of Enrollment Management and Communications DESIGN Char Davidson I L LU S T R AT I O N Ames Bros Coby Schultz and Barry Ament CONTRIBUTORS Percy L. Abram, Ph.D. Head of School Christina Buonomo Communications Manager Colleen Carroll Admissions and Communications Coordinator Jamila Humphrie Alumni and Donor Relations Manager Sharon Hurt Director of Development Jo Ito Athletics Director Molly Judge Leadership Giving Manager Hilary Kaltenbach Methow Campus Program Coordinator Amelia Kramer Events and Community Engagement Manager Sally Maxwell, Ph.D. Academic Dean

PHOTOGRAPHY Sheila Addleman Will Baber Christina Buonomo Diana Cohen Polly Oppmann Fredlund Erik Gearhart Michael Heald Hilary Kaltenbach Chona Kasinger Jeff Halstead Libby Lewis Laurie Mathews Judi Yates THE BUSH SCHOOL 3400 East Harrison Street Seattle, Washington 98112 (206) 322-7978 E D U C AT I O N A L F O U N DAT I O N S Critical, independent, and creative thinking Ethical judgment and action Intercultural fluency Local and global citizenship VA LU E S Trust // Collaboration // Curiosity // Inclusivity // Challenge

Jonathan Shipley Bush Upper School Parent

S T R AT E G I C P R I O R I T I E S People: A Supportive, Inclusive Community

Libby Singer Assistant Director of Development

Program: Comprehensive Experiential Education

Ray Wilson Upper School Director

Place: Intentional, Diverse Environments

ON THE COVER: Ames Bros is a Seattlebased graphic design and illustration company founded in 1994 by Barry Ament and Coby Schultz. Born in the Great Northwest, Ament and Schultz’s illustrations fuse elements of pop culture, nature, music, and history resulting in unique and inspired creations. The cover artwork is the graphic vision of the school year theme Imagine. 2020 flows in an infinite loop. Harkening back to a simpler time, the analog vibe calls on us to slow down, put down our smartphones, and solve the complexities of life in a basic way. Schultz writes, “Think cassette and VHS art, a graphic interpretation of ‘high tech’ which feels pretty applicable right now where we are rewinding and resetting how we live.” Please contact with any corrections, errors, or updates. Corrections will appear in the next issue.

Social Change

Teaching for

In this issue, Bush students and alumni share stories of how their Bush education has motivated them to make a difference in the world. These are some of the teachers they identified who inspired them to create a more just, equitable, and sustainable world.

e ’41 s a e P s i S

Small Acts Big Ideas Changemakers Human Rights

Tom Duffield

Theo Coxe

rt sanne Ecke


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Janet Bisignano

Helen Taylor Bush

y t t o r C ’ O a Met Climate Action

Susan Duffield

Raleigh Werberger

LGBTQIA+ Rights Power of Youth Equity

Gardiner Vinnedge


Gayle Gi

Midge Bowman ’51

Maria M



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Ben Wheeler

Social Change

Teaching for

Empower Courage Bushra Jawed

Ray Wilson

Bernie Cattanach Erica Lengacher


Rob Corkr

Janice Osaka


Esther Re

Percy Abram

Social Justice Fred Goode

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hen I took up running for health reasons seven years ago (a recommendation by my physician to reduce cardiovascular risk) I never expected to fall in love with it. I also never could have imagined that this new avocation I embraced as a way to save my life might end up costing me my life. Those were the thoughts racing through my head when I set out on May 8 for a 2.23mile run down Lake Washington Boulevard to the Mount Baker Boathouse in a show of solidarity for fellow running enthusiast Ahmaud Arbery who was killed on February 23 while running in his neighborhood in Brunswick, Georgia. In the past decade, our media has rightfully focused attention on senseless acts of violence inflicted on Black men (and the concomitant sorrow and trauma suffered by their families) in benign, routine situations that are part of everyday life—returning home from a store (Trayvon Martin), playing in the park (Tamir Rice), walking the aisles of a market (John Crawford), listening to music in your car (Jordan Davis), taking public transportation home (Oscar Grant), or simply sitting on your couch in your own home (Bothan Jean). Each incident affected me, but I am reminded of Arbery’s death each time I lace up my shoes. Finishing the short jaunt and posting my results on Strava with the hashtag #irunwithmaud provided the satisfaction of connecting with a national online movement of runners for social justice. I realize that digital outrage alone does not lead to social justice. It is action—activism, advocacy, persuasion, and legislation—

that brings about real change. This is something that Bush students learn throughout their time on campus. Through coursework, internships, Cascades, clubs, E-lectives, and in dialogue with their classmates, Blazers in Kindergarten through Twelfth Grade know how to use their voices to affect change and to build an equitable society. In these pages you will read how students like Julia DeForest ’21 and my daughter Claudia Abram ’21 made enduring structural and programmatic change at Bush, Trustees Daniel Pak and Maggie Finch led the Building Community and Engagement Committee of the Board to adopt new principles and practices, Middle School Counselor Gayle Gingold amplified the voices of LGBTQIA+ faculty and students and gave them a platform to be seen and heard through the Q Group, and the Upper School Theater Department told powerful stories of pain and redemption that entertained, edified, and emboldened the audience. This issue of Experience Magazine is dedicated to all of the Bush changemakers, justice-advocates, planetprotectors, and truth-defenders that lead with heart, character, values, ethics, and a sense of justice; they make us proud to be part of this community. They are paving a smoother and more direct road for those who will come after them, making the route better for all. I would gladly lace up my shoes for a journey with them anytime.


*Since this letter was written, the eyes of the world have witnessed what many in the Black community have been describing for centuries, the senseless and heinous cruelty inflicted upon them through systems of oppression and racism. The death of George Floyd, who died after four police officers knelt on him for eight minutes and forty-six seconds despite pleas that he could not breathe, Breonna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks, and others point a light on work ahead to end the systems of oppression that prevent all of us from breathing the air of justice.

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Jim and Karen Solimano celebrating Cole’s graduation in June 2020 with the Class of 2020. Over the past twenty-plus years, the Solimano family has had four boys graduate from Bush, Cole ’20, Tim ’05, Matt ’07, and Nick ’11.


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y friends and family would tell you that I took on a very reflective and sentimental mood this past school year. There is so much of our family’s history and community work that has been fulfilled at The Bush School, in addition to our children participating in a world class education. We have four boys who all graduated from Bush: Cole ’20, Nick ’11, Matt ’07, and Tim ’05. Over the past twenty-plus years, my husband Jim and I have also grown and benefited from our family’s experience at Bush as our kids have walked the halls, played sports together, and learned to ask questions and be critical thinkers. Whether it was brushing up on U.S. history, or working on strategic plans for the future of the school on the Board of Trustees, my Bush experience has been infused with a feeling of connection and purpose. This past October, the Board of Trustees went on a retreat to the Bush Methow Campus, and spent time envisioning The Bush School in 2035. We asked questions like: What do we want The Bush School to look like in fifteen years? How do we get there? We articulated our hopes and dreams, set priorities that elevated diversity, equity, and inclusion, and forged a path on how to get there. We shared our belief in the infinite worth of all students, and the power of a Bush education to make a difference in the world. We came away from that weekend confident in our vision and the three pillars of the school’s Strategic Framework: People, Program, and

Place. Together we reinforced the school’s values for the future, and forged a path forward. And as we planned for the future, never in our wildest dreams did we imagine that we were on the brink of a pandemic. In mid-March, Governor Inslee mandated that schools across our state close their campuses, and life as we knew it changed radically. In the days that followed, I have found myself inspired by the school’s fortitude. The faculty, staff, and administration converted a complex K-12 learning environment into a distance learning program. The strength of our relationships and shared purpose, along with a daily dose of grit and resilience, have allowed us all to carry on as one community. While this is not how I had hoped my time at the school would come to an end, I am grateful now more than ever to the school for providing continuity, educational resources, and leadership as we navigate this unprecedented time in our country’s history. We have had the great fortune to be a part of The Bush School for over two decades. Among the things we will remember and cherish the most are the relationships, the thought and compassion that was afforded to our children, and the confidence they now bring into the world that they can do anything. I am forever grateful to this community, and confident in the strength of our mission and school leadership to guide us through this storm.


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Steve Rosen ’84 is the incoming President of The Bush School Board of Trustees. Read below to get to know more about Steve, and what has kept him coming back to Bush over the past six decades. What was the date of your first day of school at Bush? I started First Grade on September 6, 1972. That’s so long ago we may have been reading on stone tablets.

How many years total have you been a student or parent at The Bush School? Twenty years and counting. Twelve as a student, and back again as a parent starting in 2012 (Tula ’21 and Sadie ’23).

What was your favorite part of being a Bush student? I have very strong memories of how kind the people in my class were to each other. We all came from different backgrounds, but those differences never divided us.

Which Bush teacher inspired you? Why? It is virtually impossible to pick one because so many had such signature personalities and things they offered the school culture. Gardiner Vinnedge is one who stands out for me. He had an excitement for teaching that drew students to him. I also have a lot of gratitude for my basketball coach Willy Bascus. He had the misfortune of coming from Garfield to Bush. He inherited me as a point guard on the basketball team. He didn’t quit. He is a big reason I ended up becoming a coach myself. He taught me about the impact you can have on a kid’s life when you take their potential seriously.

What keeps you coming back? There is something comforting about returning to a place that saw me through so many rites of passage. This is where I developed my first deep friendships.

This is where I first felt what it is like to take a risk. The school’s core values are very much the same. Learn through experience. Kindness matters. It is easy to feel cynical in the adult world and coming back helps me reset in a way.

Best part of being a Bush parent? Even though the school has grown, it still feels small and intimate to me. I love the access our kids have to their teachers. It’s sappy, I know, but I take great joy in seeing my kids learn in some of the very same classrooms where I was taught.

Worst part of being a Bush parent? The absolute worst part for me was realizing when I had reached my limit in being able to help my kids with their math homework. I think it was around Seventh Grade. Although, they would probably argue it was closer to Fifth Grade.

How many pizzas have you donated to health care workers during the COVID-19 health outbreak? What motivated you to do this? To date we have delivered over 1,500 pizzas and additional food items to various hospitals, fire and police stations, and “frontline” organizations. When people stopped coming into our restaurant due to the pandemic, we felt disconnected from the community. Taking these deliveries around town gave us a great sense of staying involved and tethered not only to the frontline workers, but also to all of the people who have been so generous with their donations.

Clockwise: 1. Steve ’84 and Jill Rosen with their daughters Tula ’21 and Sadie ’23; 2. Steve continued his love of basketball and tennis as a coach over the years. Coaches Steve Rosen ’84 and Derel Finch ’87 pictured with the 2018-2019 Middle School Girls Navy Basketball Team 3. Steve Rosen ’84 (first row, second from left) and the 1981-1982 Bush Varsity Boys Basketball Team with Coach Willy Bascus (back row, far right); 4. 1983-1984 Bush Student Government President Steve Rosen and Vice President Rachel Meyer; 5. A Teen Feed volunteer picking up the May 2020 Bush Teen Feed meal during quarantine which was organized by Steve and included pizzas from Elemental Pizza for over sixty homeless teens; 6/7. Steve has delivered over 1,500 pizzas and additional food items to essential workers and organizations across the city including Mary’s Place, Harborview, University of Washington, and more.


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The Bush School Administration 2019-2020 Percy L. Abram, Ph.D.

Jay Franklin ’90

Sally Maxwell, Ph.D.

Head of School

Middle School Director

Academic Dean

Robin Bentley

Polly Oppmann Fredlund

Aliya Virani

Assistant Head for Finance and Operations

Director of Enrollment Management and Communications

Lower School Director

Leslie David ’85

Sharon Hurt

Upper School Director

Executive Assistant to the Head of School

Director of Development

Ethan Delavan

Jo Ito

Director of Technology

Athletics Director

Ray Wilson

The Bush School Board of Trustees 2019-2020 Karen Marcotte Solimano President

Steve Rosen ’84 President-Elect

Becky Guzak Vice President

Irene Fisher Treasurer

Chris Chickadel ’93 Secretary


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Emily Alhadeff ’94 Kevin Baker Atul Bali Steve Banks ’94 Craige Blackmore Stephen Caplow Lisa Carroll Sergio Chin-Ley Reed Cundiff Amy Fernandes Maggie Finch Mike Galgon Alden Garrett ’73 Brandon Gillespie ’93 Salone Habibuddin Allison Harr Patricia ‘Patti’ Hearn Daniel Pak Barbra Richardson Ian Sands

The 2019-2020 Bush Board of Trustees gather on the stairs outside the Community Room in October 2019 before the start of the monthly Board meeting held on the third Thursday of each month.

Mary “Sis” Pease ’41 Life Trustee

Percy L. Abram, Ph.D. Head of School

Christina Brinker Families Association President



arlier this year in January, the Experience Magazine editorial team selected the theme Leaders for Social Change for this issue of the school’s annual alumni magazine. We believed that highlighting social change in a presidential election year would be a powerful way to explore the intersection of education, citizenship, and leadership. Eric Liu, the keynote speaker slated for 2020 Parent University, stated, “We should not wait on our leaders. We should lead them.” At the time, we could not have anticipated what 2020 had in store. As the year unfolded, we experienced a series of unprecedented and historic events. Bush alumni and parents who are health care professionals were on the frontlines as Seattle stood at ground zero in the U.S. response to the pandemic. Across our nation and the world, citizens rose up in fury after watching George Floyd die for 8 minutes and 49 seconds, calling out for his mother and mercy under the knee of police brutality and the officers of the Minneapolis Police Department. Bush students, faculty, staff, and families took to the streets in protest, chanting what we all knew to be true—enough is enough. And today, it is the frontline health care professionals and activists on the street along with this generation of students who are leading the country through these challenging times to the promise of a better tomorrow. They are tackling social change with an intelligence, ferocity, and urgency that the country has not seen since the 1960s.

In this issue of Experience Magazine, you will read stories about how education is a powerful vehicle for social change, empowering students to amplify their voices and take action to create a more just and equitable world. In the feature article Leaders for Social Change, rising seniors share their experiences leaning into racial injustice and complex social issues as members of Gen Z. Cori Tingstad ’14 reflects on their work for Seattle’s Civil Rights Justice Center on employment discrimination and prison condition cases. Derel Finch ’87 and Monica Anselmetti ’82 share the range of challenges including equity issues faced by healthcare professionals during the COVID-19 health outbreak. This issue celebrates and honors the Class of 2020 whose traditional senior rites of passage were interrupted by the pandemic, illustrates ways in which the arts play an important role in social change, and highlights how Bush parents, alumni, and students are approaching a complex issue like climate justice. As a progressive school, we believe our calling is to educate students to make a difference in the world. We measure our success not by individual accolades and awards, but rather by our ability to impact a more just, equitable, and humane world. I am inspired by these stories along with the collective spirit and will of this generation of students to lean into the complexities of these times to create lasting change. I hope you will be too.


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CONTENTS FROM THE HEAD OF SCHOOL 6 F R O M T H E B OA R D P R E S I D E N T 8 A R O U N D C A M P U S   58 G I V I N G   86 A L U M N I   92 I N M E M O R I A M   98 C L A S S N O T E S   100

ALUMNI PROFILES DR. DEREL FINCH ’87 Guided by Mind and Heart


C O R I T I N G S TA D ’ 1 4 Imagining Social Justice



Finding a Route to Healthy Online Communities


DR. MONICA ANSELMETTI ’82 Creating Connections, Inspiring Dreams


A L D E N G A R R E T T ’ 7 3 A N D L I LY E R I K S E N ’ 1 1 Multiple Generations, Constant Mission


F E AT U R E S Leaders for Social Change 2020 Strong


Climate Action EMP Update




Methow and the Middle Remote Schooling



Rainier Scholars & The Bush School


This year we continue to be inspired by Bush students including our youngest students—the Class of 2032—who created signs and marched through campus as part of the Kindergarten MLK “Love and Belonging” March on Friday, January 17. Organized by Kindergarten teachers Chandry Abreu and Janet Bisignano, students carried forward the work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. for justice and equality.

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Social Change




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Percy L. Abram, Ph.D. Head of School

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Being Uncomfortable Becoming




t 7:30 a.m. on Tuesday, October 29, I arrived at school, rain-sodden, bleary-eyed, and out of breath from my walk up Republican. That morning I was the only student in a sea of unfamiliar faces: administrators, teachers, parents, and alumni of the Building Community Engagement (BCE) committee. Only a week earlier, I had received an email from Bush senior Jensen Nida, inviting me to join this committee of the Board of Trustees focused specifically on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) work. Jensen was the sole student on the committee and saw a need for more student voices. I accepted immediately, both flattered and a little intimidated by the prospect of joining a school Board committee. But Daniel Pak and Maggie Finch, the fearless leaders of this group, radiated warmth and positivity from the minute I stepped in the ACR, calming my nerves. We had a productive first meeting, discussing our statement of purpose and goals for the year. Almost a month later, Jensen and I had the opportunity to present to the Board of Trustees. We decided the presentation should be a reflection of the DEI work being championed by the student body and where we saw a need for growth. The question Jensen and I wanted to address was ‘how can we make Bush better,’ and we looked to Daniel and Upper School Director Ray Wilson for guidance, wondering, Will we sound too critical? Do the changes we are suggesting seem realistic? How can we be clear about what we’re asking from the Board? We titled the presentation “DEI at Bush: Ref lections and Recommendations.” We started with an overview of the current DEI work being done at the school: student-led clubs and affinity groups, (including Latinx, Blazers of Color, and the Sexuality and Gender Alliance), the student-created initiative for revised graduation requirements that included at least one DEI-focused class, the push for more inclusive hiring, and the diversity ratios of incoming classes. Next, we outlined the areas where we saw potential for growth, which included broadening the capacity and outreach of the Learning Services Department, and raising more awareness about mental health. Finally, we explained what was needed from the Board, such as pushing and standing for DEI efforts, and widely communicating these goals across the school.


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Upper School History Teacher Raleigh Werberger, Skylar Kil ’21, Filmon Dawit ’21, Ryan Cohen ’21, Sara Pollack-Toro ’21, Claudia Abram ’21, and Julia DeForest ’21 at the Gates Foundation where they presented to teachers from across the state at the annual Washington State Council for Social Studies Conference about their work on the Center for Intercultural Action. (October 2019)

At the end, we received a standing ovation from the Board, and though I left that day feeling relieved and pleased with the presentation, it also led me to reflect on our generation, GenZ, as well as my experiences with DEI work at Bush. Characterized by the rise of technology, shifting racial demographics, expanding gender identities, increased social consciousness, and a drive to be autonomous, our generation has borne witness to tremendous social upheaval. We have watched while politicians have mishandled climate change, gun violence, women’s rights, and now a pandemic, squandering the promise of social change. There is an urgency to gain the tools necessary to grapple with and solve these issues in a concrete way, and Bush provides students with opportunities to cultivate these skills. In the spring of my sophomore year, I took a class called Race in America: The Twentieth Century and the Color Line which ended up being one of the most transformative experiences of my life. At the beginning

of the term, our teacher, Raleigh Werberger, informed us that we the students would be choosing the direction of the class. With no rubric to follow or specific expectations to fulfill, our class learned not only to work toward a final goal, but also to decide what exactly that goal was and what success looked like. After interviewing a number of community members about the impact race has had on their lives, we decided that the most worthwhile project would be to make change in the Bush community itself. Much discussion ensued, weighing the merits of different ideas and overall impact on the community. Finally, we decided on three projects. The first was a drive for more diverse and inclusive hiring at Bush to create ‘visual safety nets’ for students of color. The second was an initiative centered around making the Bush curriculum more diverse and inclusive. This meant reflecting on our experience through the Upper School and identifying aspects of required classes that could be more expansive or include more viewpoints. The final

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project was an initiative that would bring together affinity group leaders and other interested students through a group we named the Center for Intercultural Action, or CIA. The description of the group reads: “Purpose: To give students a platform to create change; to give them a voice; and to create student leadership on matters of equity, diversity, and social justice; to use existing venues to bring more frequent conversations about intercultural fluency to the forefront of the school.” There were endless details to work out: Where would it sit in the Bush power structure? What would we have time to accomplish? How would we decide who the members were? We began by listing these questions, then defining the goal, purpose, who, what, and when of the group. In doing so, I learned the power of using deliberate and intentional language to craft a message. For example, we all agreed that we should emphasize the opportunity for student leadership of the CIA, as well as the importance and need for action, so we used phrases such as “platform to create change,” “having a say,” and “give students a voice.” When we presented the idea to the larger student body, we were met with overwhelming support. DEI is not only explored in academics at Bush, but also through the arts. In my junior year, I had the privilege of being a part of the Bush drama production of The Laramie Project, a true story that explores the aftermath of a homophobic hate crime in a small Wyoming town. Using interviews, journal entries, and news coverage, actors convey the actual thoughts and feelings of real residents from Laramie about the beating and murder of gay college student Matthew Shepard. Performing it onstage meant portraying the sometimes homophobic characters both respectfully and convincingly. This included Reverend Fred Phelps, portrayed by Anya Tingstad ’20, the minister of the Westborough Baptist Church. Known for his hatred and animosity towards homosexuals, he protested Matthew Shepard’s funeral using hate speech. In response, Laramie resident Romaine Patterson, portrayed by Olivia Freeman ’22, decided to stand toe-to-toe with Reverend Phelps by designing angel costumes to encircle and block out his protests. Says Romaine, “We are a group of people bringing forth a message of peace and love and compassion...yeah, this twenty-one-year-old little lesbian is ready to walk the line with him.” These are just two of the seventy-eight characters in the show, who, together, create a layered mosaic of voices that build a complex narrative. The dichotomy and range of characters in the show led me, as well as other castmates, to grapple with questions we had


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never considered before, such as, “If we automatically dismiss others’ viewpoints because we disagree, are we really any more open-minded than they are?” The show sparked conversation about how a small community can be defined by a single incident, and how the healing process can look different for everyone. Bush has taught me the value of leaning into difficult conversations and becoming comfortable being uncomfortable. This builds empathy and understanding among students of differing cultural backgrounds. Because even though you cannot quantify culture or measure mindsets, engaging in dialogue can help us identify areas that need change. The issue that our generation will continue to face is making concrete change to solve abstract problems. Though the country is grappling with innumerable challenges from climate change to gun violence to racial inequality, Bush has given me not only a new array of life skills, but also an expanded idea of what success can look like, emphasizing that every student has a larger obligation to the community. Bush students are well prepared to lean into the issues of racial and social justice that have become too prevalent to ignore. I am confident in Bush’s ability to foster a new generation of socially conscious, interculturally fluent leaders.

Upper School Clubs and Affinity Groups There are over forty student-led clubs and affinity groups in Bush Upper School designed to support student interests, including the following that aim to elevate a more just, equitable, and sustainable world. Amnesty International Asian American Culture Club Blazers of Color Blazers Understanding Whiteness Geopolitics Girl Up GREEN: The Environmental Committee Kind Club Latinx Club Oy Vey Sexuality and Gender Alliance STEMinism

Julia DeForest ’21 is an active member of The Bush School Drama Department, Student Wellness Center, and the Building Community Engagement board committee. She is also co-leader of Kind Club, the Pillars Speaker Series program, and the Center for Intercultural Action. She is excited to pursue her passion for social justice and equal rights after high school.

Student Awareness Council Student Wellness Center Teen Feed


Skylar Kil Y E AR

Class of 2021 SOCIAL MOVE M E N T

Justice for Asian Americans What is the social justice issue that inspires you to be a leader for social change? I am interested in helping Asian Americans and their communities fight against discrimination and explore their culture more. During this COVID-19 health outbreak, there has been an extreme rise in anti-Asian hate crimes and other racial propaganda. As an Asian American myself, I see racism sprout through ignorance because people do not know about us. If we change the dialogue around Asian Americans, and start being allies against discrimination, things will get much better. Why do you care about this issue? I see discrimination all the time in the community at large. It is really heartbreaking to not only be experiencing the hate yourself, but to hear and see it happening to your family members and friends. I want to create change because it’s the twenty-first century. We should be growing and maturing by now.

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Center for Intercultural Action From

Scholar Activist to



n my sophomore year, I enrolled in the course Race in America: The Twentieth Century and the Color Line. While the name is a bit of a mouthful, I was drawn to the class as a way to learn more about a topic that was largely absent from my previous course of study. As a bi-racial Black and Latina student, I wanted to learn more about the history and contributions of people of color in the United States. This class taught us about the experiences of African Americans in the twentieth century, specifically during the Great Migration, and that students could make meaningful changes to institutions like The Bush School. Our teacher, Raleigh Werberger, selected the book The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson, as a resource for us to study the experiences of African Americans during the Great Migration. The text follows the stories of three people who were part of this radical twentieth century economic, cultural, and social phenomenon. Wilkerson weaves quotes from and synopses of interviews she had conducted with her own research to give a broader perspective of the time. While the book was highly informative, it also had an unexpected effect on most of the class. Many of us had never read or studied historical, first-person stories, and we were struck by how deeply they resonated. We began to conduct our own interviews and related what we had read in The Warmth of Other Suns with what our interviewers had to say. We compared issues of race in America in the twentieth century with those from the twenty-first century. We selected primarily people of color to interview and based our questions around how they

personally had experienced race in the twenty-first century. Their stories gave us a greater understanding of race, race relations, and racism in a contemporary context. Once finished with the interview process, we pondered what we could do with all that we had learned. While Raleigh had been flexible for the whole term, this point was when he really began to step back and let us take control of what we wanted to do with what we had learned. In our interviews, we heard stories of raciallymotivated incidents in the Bush Lower School. It was surprising to find this level of prejudice among young students on our campus. We realized it was likely that kids everywhere held these biases, but decided to focus on changing these attitudes and behaviors at Bush. We sought to implement an identity and racebased curriculum into the pre-existing K-12 Family Group program. This program would allow Upper School students to intervene, educate, and mentor younger students to help prevent them from developing racist, sexist, homophobic and other prejudiced ideologies early. In addition to the Family Group curriculum, we sought to include some of this same identity-based work in the Upper School advisory program. I am proud to be a part of a school where a traditional history requirement is anything but traditional. Not only did I learn about a topic where I could see myself, but I was part of a group that worked together to take action and promote social justice and anti-racist practices. This class was a special opportunity for us to take on the role of student leaders and DEI advocates.

Claudia Abram ’21 serves on the Student Wellness Center and also received All-League First Team and All-State Second Team for her contributions to the Bush Girls Varsity Soccer Team. Claudia was also inspired by the discourse in the Bush history class Sociology of Malcolm X, taught by Upper School Director Ray Wilson. This class has influenced her academic interests as she looks ahead to college and beyond.


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Lucian Fox

Claudia Abram



Class of 2021

Class of 2021



Income Inequality and Institutionalized Racism

Racial and Ethnic Equality

Why do you care about this issue? I see all the time the disadvantages placed on people that inhibit their upward mobility. It is clear how similar disadvantages are placed on people of color to prevent them from becoming successful. It just is not fair. Do you believe we can make progress in this area? Yes. I believe the best way to make progress is to force legislators to create laws enforcing penalties for blatant racism and inhibiting occurrences that might widen the wealth gap.

Why do you care about this issue? I care about this because I am a Black Latina, and so fighting for equitable treatment of people no matter their race or ethnicity is very important to me. I want to be treated the same as any other person, but even more I want this for those in my family who also have non-white racial and ethnic identities. Do you believe we can make progress in this area? I believe we can make progress in this area because progress has already been made. I think in order for us to make progress, we should look back on the era of Civil Rights in the 1960s. During that time, the sheer number of citizens demanding change made that movement so powerful. While not all of those people agreed upon how change should come, I think that if enough people identify a problem, and work towards change—in themselves, their friends and family, or their larger community—then real progress can be made.


Ryan Cohen YE A R

Class of 2021 S O C I A L M OV E M E N T

Climate Justice and Racial Justice Why do you care about climate justice? I care deeply about protecting our environment in order to ensure that the generations to come have a beautiful planet to call home. It is essential to reverse the effects of the damage humanity has caused to our climate. Without action, we will lose our planet and humanity will have no future. How do we lean into the challenges of racial justice? In order to create change in regards to identity based social justice issues, it is critical to first focus on one’s individual identity, biases, and privileges rather than the issue at hand. This leads to an environment where individuals are more thoughtful and reflective about their experiences. Once a space has been created where individuals feel heard and respected, then broaden the discussions to include other diversity groups. Throughout my experiences with Global Visionaries, Race in America, creating the Center for Intercultural Action, and participating in Blazers Understanding Whiteness (BUW), I have discovered that only after students and teachers fully accept and acknowledge their privilege, can thoughtful discussion that leads toward growth and change occur.


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Kindergarten MLK Love and Belonging March JANUARY 17, 2020 This year the Class of 2032 organized the Kindergarten MLK Love and Belonging March which took place on the Bush campus on Friday, January 17. Teachers Chandry Abreu and Janet Bisignano read Kindergarten students books about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and activism as part of their curriculum. Students were inspired by what they heard and decided to make a “to do list� on how to organize their own march. They checked-in with Director of Lower School Aliya Virani on their idea, decided when and where the march would take place, invited community members to attend, and worked with Upper School students to design special signs. Together they marched across campus carrying forward the message of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. for justice and equality.

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Julia DeForest YEA R

Class of 2021 SOC IA L MOVE ME N T

LGBTQIA+ Rights What is the social justice issue that inspires you to be a leader for social change? I truly believe that every person deserves the right to feel safe and validated in their communities. Unfortunately, the LGBTQIA+ community has extremely high rates of bullying, mental illness, and suicide around the world. This is an issue that needs more attention and publicity if we can ever hope to make a difference. How do you think we can build a more just and equitable world? By providing proper education about sexuality and gender identity, we can continue to increase our understanding and expand our view of gender. Additionally, by consciously making an effort to be more inclusive in curriculum, language, and media, we can create a school community and society that is more accepting of gender diversity.


Filmon Dawit YEA R

Class of 2021 SOC I A L MOVE ME N T

Making Black Voices Heard in White Spaces What is one social justice issue that you care most about? Making Black voices more prominent in white spaces is an issue that is very personal to me and that I work hard on consistently. Why is this important to you? As a Black male in a very white community, my voice is often minimized in lieu of my peers’ opinions and ideas. I have suffered from this for a number of years. During that time, I have fixated my interests on attempting to subvert the idea that what I have to say is not important. Do you believe we can make progress in this area? I 100% believe we can make progress in this area. There are areas in our administration that can use the voices of a Black student or faculty that we have not utilized yet. Increased representation is the biggest step in fixing this issue.


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GROUP B Y G AY L E G I N G O L D , MIDDLE SCHOOL COUNSELOR The Middle School Q Group is a safe, nonjudgmental affinity group for students who are exploring their gender or sexual identity. We are also open to allies, but prefer to refer to them as “accomplices.” The mission of the Q Group is to provide support to queer and questioning students, and ultimately create an inclusive environment where gender and sexual diversity is celebrated, which can be a tall order in Middle School. The Q Group meets every Wednesday afternoon (currently through Zoom) to have some fun, nurture a sense of belonging and acceptance, and learn about the LGBTQ+ community.

“I enjoy being myself. It’s similar to other classes and clubs, but it’s a class with people I enjoy being around, people that I can talk to openly.” - Kaia M. ’25

“I enjoy the fact that The Q Group is very inclusive and everyone can join. It’s also very fun and teaches people about a few things in the LGBTQ+ community that they might have not known.”

“T he Q Group is important to me because it is a safe and friendly environment where I can discuss important things in my life.” - Sixth Grade student

“I enjoy talking with my friends about important topics related to the LGTBQ+ community.” - Marvel C. ’25

- Savannah B. ’25

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Community and Engagement The Board Committee Building Community and Engagement (BCE) is led by Board members Maggie Finch and Daniel Pak, and stewards the school’s commitment to creating a diverse, welcoming, and inclusive community. The committee meets monthly and includes Board members, faculty, staff, parents, and students. This year BCE created the “We Believe” statement, elevating empathy, communication, and collaboration across differences.

WE BELIEVE ...that all must feel valued, accepted, welcomed, and enfranchised before a robust give-and-take of intellectual, emotional and creative discourse can occur. ...a progressive education requires a diverse school community, which reflects the true nature of the world communities in which our students will participate and lead. ...that a commitment to academic excellence includes the teaching of intercultural fluency and local and global citizenship.

…that each member of the school community, including students, faculty, staff, parents, alumni, and trustees, shares the responsibility for building and sustaining an environment of respect and encouragement. …that a commitment to a diverse, equitable, and inclusive community must go beyond our interactions with each other, and also be reflected in the physical place, the formal programming, and the official policies of the Board of Trustees and administration.

...that the emotional and social development of our students happens most effectively in a community that is diverse, affording each student the opportunity to feel represented and valued on multiple levels.

Who are we today? The following demographic information is collected from new families when they apply to The Bush School, and identifies where students live in the city, languages spoken at home, and their racial and ethnic background.







LANGUAGES SPOKEN AT HOME The following languages are spoken in the homes of Bush students in addition to English; Amharic, Arabic, Bengali, Czech, Dutch, Farsi, French, German, Hebrew, Hindi, Japanese, Kannada, Korean, Macedonian, Mandarin, Oromo, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Slovenian, Somali, Spanish, Swedish, Tagalog, Telugu, Tigrina, Turkish, Twi, Vietnamese, and more.


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Welcome Kimberlee Williams, Director of Intercultural Affairs The Bush School is pleased to welcome Kimberlee Williams as the new Director of Intercultural Affairs. Kimberlee started on July 1, 2020, and joins our K-12 community with extensive experience in promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) within independent schools and the nonprofit sector throughout the country. Kimberlee’s hiring comes at a pivotal time in the life of the school, as she is positioned to advance DEI work along with Bush’s faculty, staff, students, families, and alumni to support a school culture in which everyone is valued, seen, and heard. Kimberlee joins the Bush community from Tabor Academy, a co-educational 9-12 boarding and day school located in Marion, MA, where she served as the Director of Diversity and Inclusion, Dance Instructor, and Spanish Teacher. She earned her B.A. from University of Maryland and holds an M.Ed. in English as a Second Language from Dominican University. In reflecting on joining the Bush community, Kimberlee shares, “As a woman of color with multiple layers of minority identity, my passion is advocating for and fostering a joy for learning, growth, and healing through cross-cultural conversation and connection in schools and in the greater community. Given the opportunity to bring my love of empathy, vulnerability, equity, and inclusion to Bush, my dedication for this most challenging and rewarding work can only grow exponentially.” Kimberlee’s deep commitment to and experience with building inclusive communities includes leading a schoolwide diversity leadership team, working to recruit and retain faculty and students of color, organizing affinity groups, designing and implementing curriculum, mentoring students and serving as advisor for the Black and Latina Student Unions and Gay Straight Alliance, offering workshops to promote racial healing and understanding, advising school leadership, and supporting admissions and advancement initiatives. Kimberlee has worked within school communities and beyond providing counsel to resolve conflict and seek understanding and connection surrounding diversity and identity. Her warmth, honesty, and humor will allow our K-12 community to build on the school’s efforts to create a more inclusive and responsive community.

2020-2021 LOWER SCHOOL The Bush Lower School has seen a demographic shift in the last six years, becoming a school of choice for families of color. The Bush School continues to offer the same number of acceptances to students of color in Lower School; however, has seen a significant increase in the number of families saying “yes” to Bush. We believe that being a part of a school community that is made up of individuals of diverse backgrounds (that is, those with a diversity of race, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation) sparks creativity, allows students to see complex problems from multiple perspectives, and prepares students to rise up to the challenges of their times.*




Class of 2033



Class of 2032

First Grade


Class of 2031

Second Grade


Class of 2030

Third Grade


Class of 2029

Fourth Grade


Class of 2028

Fifth Grade


*How Diversity Makes Us Smarter by Katherine W. Phillips, Scientific America (October 2014).

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From 1982 Tykoe yearbook, photo of freshmen class officers; President - Maya Tussing (in tree), Vice President - Debbie Fialkow, Secretary - Derel Finch. Junior Varsity Boys Basketball team with Derel (front row, far left) played basketball throughout high school during a spirited and competitive era in the Bush basketball program, including multiple trips to the State tournament. 30

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Every person has intrinsic and infinite worth.” This statement, made by Head of School Percy L. Abram, has been recalled often by Dr. Derel Finch ’87 lately. Life itself hangs in the balance where Dr. Finch is concerned. He is on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. “I’ve realized what has really made a difference hasn’t been the response in the hospitals,” Derel reflects, “but the commitment of every person in our community to change their lives for the greater good. This is a testament that when we truly work together we can accomplish amazing things.” The work, admittedly, has been hard. Derel says, “The last couple of months have been overwhelming.” A state of emergency. A scramble within the hospital to make room for a wave of COVID-19 patients. Unknowns about supply chains for personal protective equipment. Insufficient testing. Patients dying alone due to protective policies. “We were literally developing protocols to determine who would get a ventilator or not.” Yet, from crisis can come opportunity. Teams have come together across boundaries for common purpose. Innovations have emerged. Small contributions have made big differences. “Together,” Derel notes, “we’ve produced the flattest curve of any high-volume state in the country.” Think our small individual actions can’t move mountains, or, in this case, halt a pandemic? “It’s actually the only way great things get done,” Derel says. “And we have much work ahead.” Small actions. At Bush, it was running lines during basketball practice under the watchful eye of Basketball Coach Willie Bascus. At Bush, it was trying to solve what seemed to be impossible math problems in Upper School Math Teacher Janice Osaka’s calculus class. Two very different people shared one common goal for Derel. “They pushed me to be my best, and they pushed hard. But, always with care; always with love.” Basketball practices were arduous, but Derel would always complete them. The math problems did have solutions, and he found them. “They, and the rest of the teachers at Bush, helped me become the best me. I never really thanked them as much as I should have. So, thank you, Willie. Thank you, Janice.”

Many are saying thanks to Derel and his fellow colleagues and calling them heroes as the pandemic continues to wreak havoc. He has also been amazed at the hospital’s work. “To some degree, however, it’s expected: they’re trained heroes.” What strikes Derel during COVID-19 is the outpouring of support from the community. Help in many facets has come the hospital’s way. Restaurants donate food. Dental offices donate masks. Letters and pictures are being mailed in by children. “Thank you to all of us from the hospitals,” Derel says. “It has warmed many hearts and reminds me about the power of gratitude and the power of a helping hand.” His own helping hands, managing life support at Swedish Medical Center’s ICU and running COVID-19 response, were formed in part, by the helping hands of Bush faculty. The balance between scientific discernment and analytical approaches (the mind), and crying with a dying patient at the hospital (the heart), were molded at Bush. The importance of both the mind and the heart is something Bush supported. Derel says, “These principles I now use to help guide me.”

“ This is a testament that when we truly work together we can accomplish amazing things.”

Where the pandemic will lead us, Derel doesn’t know. He only knows it is monumental. “COVID-19 is everyone’s. The impact is staggering. After we all get through this, and we will, we’ll be able to look back and say, ‘That’s when everything changed.’ The world will never be the same.” But those small actions make that change. Derel’s world was never the same after he first set foot on Willie Bascus’s basketball court. Derel’s world was never the same after solving those first calculus questions in Janice Osaka’s math class. Small actions are perhaps never small at all.

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SOCIAL JUSTICE P R O F I L E / C O R I T I N G S TA D ’ 1 4 G R A D U AT E O F T H E U N I V E R S I T Y O F C H I C A G O , B . A . I N P U B L I C P O L I C Y B Y J O N AT H A N S H I P L E Y, B U S H C L A S S O F 2 0 2 1 PA R E N T


hange. Growth. Justice. These three words not only speak to Cori Tingstad, but are words that have guided their life. Currently, Cori works at Seattle’s Civil Rights Justice Center, assisting attorneys on employment discrimination and prison condition cases. Cori’s compass has always pointed towards common good. This direction sprang from their time at The Bush School.

“ Bush introduced me to peace circles and restorative justice and fundamentally changed my views on how social change is made.”

“I know he’s retired now, but Gardiner Vinnedge and his civics class had a huge impact on me,” Tingstad says. “It’s during his class that, for the first time, I thought policy could be something I could focus a career on, as opposed to something I’d approach through volunteering or as a hobby. Bush introduced me to peace circles and restorative justice and fundamentally changed my views on how social change is made.” At Bush, Cori was able to look to the past, and this directed their future. They minored in History at the University of Chicago and recently spoke at Bush’s History Day, coordinated by Upper School History Faculty Nancy Bowman. Through their studies, Cori was able to look to the past, synthesize it, and not only imagine a better future, but also take steps to help create that better future.


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At the University of Chicago, Cori received a B.A. in Public Policy. There, they researched fair housing law and the history of poverty law in the United States, becoming a research assistant at the Sargent Shriver Peace Institute. In their current work for Civil Rights Justice Center, Cori pays particular focus to healthcare access for those incarcerated. “Any move towards social justice,” Cori says, “requires imagination: How can we imagine a better world? What can we imagine can help get us there?” Once one can imagine that, Cori says research and testing can begin. “Is the policy currently in place demonstrably doing what we hoped it would? If not, what do we imagine might change that? Will this policy, or that practice, move us towards the world we imagine?” Change. Growth. Justice. Cori’s guiding compass toward a more just future was polished in their youth by The Bush School. “It gave me a foundational respect for intentional, interpersonal communication as a mechanism for social change. Talking to someone can make an impact.” They appreciate the freedom at Bush to discover that what one is passionate about can make an impact. “Small things add up when you try and improve the lives of people around you.” These days people are self-isolating to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. Even so, Cori continues to think of ways to strengthen the bonds of disparate communities. “I’ve been thinking a lot lately about food supply chains, food access, and food justice.” Food access is a human right, they firmly believe, and some policies in place undermine that access. Their research from home taught them about Seattle’s Tilth Alliance, whose mission is to work with local farmers, gardeners, and eaters to build a sustainable, healthy, and equitable food future. Cori, once the confinements lift, plans on getting involved with the organization. Change. Growth. Justice. Cori, seeds of common good in one hand, compass in the other, is finding the next plot of soil to begin planting.

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2014 Tykoe yearbook photo of the Boys Varsity Ultimate Frisbee team. Galen pictured in the back row, third from right.


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alen Weld ’14 might be biased, but he thinks The Bush School’s former Upper School Science Teacher Erica Lengacher is a great mentor. “She encouraged me to be curious, develop and pursue my interests. She taught me that instead of merely content dabbling in something, I should really pursue it.” And Galen is without a doubt pursuing his interests. In addition to attending the University of Washington, where he is a Ph.D. candidate researching the factualness and biases of news sources, he is also a climber. In fact, he is the youngest climber ever to climb the tallest 100 peaks in the state of Washington. It was Erica who first encouraged him to take Wilderness First Aid classes. Most everything is like a climb to Galen: hard work, but meaningful. Take, for instance, his doctorate research project. “It is rewarding to work on this so directly today with the challenges we’re all facing—with the coronavirus and the coming presidential election.” These are polarizing topics, Galen knows, and ripe for misinformation and distortion online. He hopes his research, still in its early stages, will help close gaps, build bridges between disparate communities, and foster collaboration rather than polarization. This heady task is one he is eager to take on. His time at Bush helped him to realize this. “Bush encouraged me to constantly try and seek out ways to teach myself more and to improve myself.” Taking strides toward making oneself better makes a community better. Galen’s research has taken him to the online Reddit community. Using data from Reddit, which consists of approximately 50,000 communities called subreddits, he is looking for links to news sources and labeling those links with the bias (left, center, right) and factualness (fake news, mostly factual, rigorous peer review) of each source. Then, aggregating by community and user, he can find the communities and users who share the most misinformation and are therefore most biased. Of the project, Galen says, “I truly believe this fills a critical gap in our understanding of how people interact online.”

For his project, Galen is also collecting data on moderation actions. Volunteer moderators, who can set rules and enforce them, are a commonly used form of flexible, scalable governance for online communities. “However,” Galen notes, “at the present moment society lacks datadriven best practices for how to use moderation to reduce the spread of misinformation in online communities and keep them open and healthy.” It’s a mountain of a project, to be sure. “I strongly think that as internet access becomes more widespread and more strongly integrated into our society, our society will be increasingly shaped by the sorts of interactions we have online.”

“At Bush I knew that I wanted to work on something that had a real positive impact on society.”

The interactions Galen had at Bush, both face to face and on screens, have led him to this pursuit to better understand society. “At Bush I knew I wanted to study computer science and at Bush I knew that I wanted to work on something that had a real positive impact on society.” This knowledge led him to the University of Washington. It has led him to a Ph.D. in computer science. It has led him to want to have further interactions, online or otherwise, where people can learn and grow, to be exposed to new and occasionally uncomfortable viewpoints, and to interact with diverse groups of people. The truth is, if anyone can scale the summit of this task, Galen can. Erica Lengacher would undoubtedly agree.

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INSPIRING DRE AMS P R O F I L E / M O N I C A A N S E L M E T T I , M . D. , FAC O G ’ 8 2 O B S T E T R I C L A B O R I S T, S W E D I S H S E AT T L E A N D M E D N A X W A S H I N G T O N B Y J O N AT H A N S H I P L E Y, B U S H C L A S S O F 2 0 2 1 PA R E N T


he was the only African American student in her senior class at Bush. Today, a well-respected OB-GYN doctor, she is often the only Black doctor on the Labor and Delivery Unit. Proud of being a physician of color, Dr. Monica (Garbutt) Anselmetti ’82 wants to pay it forward, offering mentorship to other students who are underrepresented in the medical field. She is excited about having colleagues of color, excited about showing others that they, too, have a place in a hospital, or any other setting. They, too, can achieve their dreams. A spark can become a f lame. That spark happened for Monica during her time at The Bush School. “Tom Highsmith,” she says. “He sparked my interest. He taught us about structure and function.” During his science classes in Upper School, she began formulating what her function might be in the future, what impact she might make on her community. “That was my first intention to be a doctor.”

“W hen I walk into a room to care for a patient, no matter who they are, my goal is to have a human connection with them.”

Being unafraid to be first was a concept instilled by Monica’s family. Her mother, Carolyn Purnell, was the first African American woman to pass the Bar in the State of Washington, and her grandparents, James and Mardine Purnell, founded Sentinel Credit Union and Liberty Bank, both the first financial institutions for people of color West of the Mississippi River. During Monica’s childhood, her mother was worried about schools bussing students


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to North Seattle. Monica could get harassed or physically harmed. The Bush School quelled the family’s fears. “I appreciate how protected I was,” Monica says. “I’m grateful that Bush was small.” Within that small community, Monica dreamed of her future as she thrived in her science classes. Mary ‘Sis’ Pease ’41 inspired her. Even though Sis did not teach Monica directly, she was life-changing. “She told me, ‘Well, at least apply to Stanford.’” Monica figured she would attend the University of Washington to pursue her education, but she followed her mentor’s advice. She applied. She got in. “I knew I wanted to be a doctor. Thank God for Bush’s science classes. The spark was always there.”
That spark burned through Monica’s time at Stanford and on through medical school. She attended Meharry Medical College (MMC) in Nashville, Tennessee. Founded in 1876 as part of the Medical Department at Central Tennessee College, MMC was the first medical school for African Americans in the South. It is now the second largest educator of African American medical doctors and dentists in the United States, with the highest percentage of African Americans graduating with Ph.D.s in the biomedical sciences in the country. “I was taught by Black teachers for the first time in my life.”
Now as an OB-GYN, she says, “When I walk into a room to care for a patient, no matter who they are, my goal is to have a human connection with them.” Monica creates connections, even in the time of COVID19. She recently created a Facebook Group for OB-GYNs to share their experiences. In a week, more than 2,000 fellow OB-GYNs joined and there have been more than 4,000 posts of people sharing their stories from around the country and around the world. These connections, she hopes, will create and build communities. Perhaps they will create a spark for a girl in a science classroom, a girl with goals and dreams. And she can act as a mentor to remind her that her dreams are achievable.

Photos of Monica from the 1982 Tykoe yearbook, including a senior page picture of Monica and her sister and the Class of 1982 senior class picture (back row, fourth from left).

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or many, The Bush School feels like a family. For others, that is coupled with literal family, woven into the very fabric of the school. Alden Garrett ’73 called The Bush School, “our place.” Her daughter, Lily Eriksen ’11 was a Bush ‘Lifer’ as Alden was, attending the school from Kindergarten through Twelfth Grade. Lily’s grandfather served as President of the Board of Trustees. Lily’s cousins joined Bush as students. “Each family member’s experiences at Bush are distinct from each other,” Lily states. “It’s been experienced in different eras and from different perspectives.” Alden attended the school during the Civil Rights Era. She was a Kindergarten student in 1960. She attended classes in the old carriage house where Wissner Hall stands now. The small class size gave Alden lifelong friends and lifelong lessons about challenging assumptions and understanding differing perspectives. “The day Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot,” Alden remembers of her Seventh Grade class, “our English teacher challenged us to define the difference between an assassination and a murder; between a tragedy and sadness.” Critical thinking was of great import to Alden at the school. She is now a lawyer. “I came out of Bush confident that I could and should question everything. It opened my eyes to realizing how incredibly privileged I was and continue to be, and that with privilege comes responsibility.” Responsibility means caring for one’s community and one’s family, however narrow or broad that definition is. Her daughter learned this as well; those connections and bonds can last and exist beyond a school’s walls. “It is special to see peers grow and evolve,” Lily says as a Bush Lifer. “You know you can depend on them and their support in any way, well beyond school. It is a unique experience.” Each family member cultivates a different perspective and experience. For Lily at Bush, “I grew to understand that everyone has a different point of view and that although you may not agree with another person’s perspective, you can hold a conversation and

1969-1973 Tykoe yearbook photos of Alden whose high school years spanned a period of change in which Bush transitioned from being a girls’ school in which students wore a formal uniform into a new era of co-education framed by the cultural revolution of the late 1960s. 38

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Bush Blazers 2010 IA Girls State Soccer Champions. Lily Eriksen #18 (back row, far right)

come to a better understanding.” These insights brought Lily into state politics. She currently serves as Deputy Finance Director at Jay Inslee for Washington. “The idea of giving back and supporting my community,” Lily says, “came from my time at Bush.”

“I came out of Bush confident that I could and should question everything. It opened my eyes to realizing how incredibly privileged I was and continue to be, and that with privilege comes responsibility.” -Alden Garrett ’73

Just as important as finding value in others is finding value within one’s self. Discussing experiential education programming like AMP and AMP Week, Lily says it taught her to take risks. “Learning to feel comfortable taking risks gave me a real sense of accomplishment.” Teachers taught her more than course work. Teachers like Gillian Toledo who helped Lily through questions like, “Why can’t I?” Teachers like Upper School French Teacher Esther Reiquam, “an ardent cheerleader who was always there for me.” Bush celebrates each student’s inherent worth and value, and has been doing so for many years, family generation to family generation. “I loved having my daughter go to Bush for her own experience,” Alden concludes. “Although the school has changed quite a bit, there remains the same mission to support the individual, challenge them intellectually, and nurture them.” The same mission as a family’s.

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CL ASS OF 2020 BY E L I S E GAU T I E R ’ 2 0 A N D JA Z Z YO U N G ’ 2 0

Elise Gautier The Class of 2020 led the school through sports teams, theater productions, clubs, and extracurriculars. We are the class looked to when guidance was needed. We are the class that decorated our corner of lockers with lights, a Christmas tree, and a torso-less mannequin named Kenny. We are the class that beat the faculty in the annual student-faculty basketball game. We destigmatized the wall of college rejection letters by keeping our names on them, not ashamed of what it meant. We loved being seniors. That is what we hope we are defined by. Not for the rites of passage lost, but the memories that were made.

Jazz Young When looking back in my time at Bush, the phrase “interdisciplinary learning” comes to mind. I appreciate having that style of education, including my Environmental Science and World Peace Studies collaboration. It was a truly enriching experience. And what happens outside the classroom is just as enriching as what happens inside the classroom. Bush is a small, communityfocused school where teachers and students connect in a multitude of ways. An afternoon in the fitness center with my particularly philosophical English teacher would lead to breakthroughs in my spirituality and weight training techniques, a lunchtime check-in with my music teacher might enlighten me on the history of strict religion and music, and cross-country running practice with my math teacher might bring an explanation of how the run we were on can be graphed using knowledge from our current unit. These types of interactions have taught me how to move through the world with a critical eye, looking to connect passion and practice and to value learning in whatever form it may come.


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Hayley Taylor Make no mistake. We have already made a difference in our adolescence. We are the most civically involved generation of young people since the 1960s. Find something. Find something you are passionate about and use it to change yourself—and the world.

Pamela Biniam I stepped out of my comfort zone and pushed myself to be an active voice in the community. I had strong support systems to back me. The most powerful thing is that Bush fostered an environment that encouraged every student to take risks in their own way. I can see that Bush is changing for the better because of this. Stepping out of my comfort zone got me through high school, and it’s going to be what gets me through college.

Kate Jones Find the things you love to do, and lean into them. Take risks, and reserve judgement, put yourself out there, care—about what is going on in your school, about what is going on with your peers, about what is happening in the world. Because if there’s one thing I’ve learned in high school, it’s that life is too short for apathy. Be utterly unafraid of enthusiasm.

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Illustration by Bush Lifer Kate Jones ’20. The Class of 2020 includes seventeen Lifers who attended Bush from Kindergarten through Twelfth Grade.


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Members of the Class of 2020 came to campus for the Senior Cap and Gown Portrait Session on June 3, 2020. Clockwise: Jack Sherley, Claire LaFramboise, Deven Goel, and Lia Salomon and Audrey Rogerson.

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adaptable compelling special connected inspirational thank you diverse


curious joyful crazy kind loving

funky spirited


The members of the Class of 2020 each picked one word to describe their class.




fun zany

busy lively

original involved visionary creative resilient


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enthusiastic interesting caring

bold ebullient

open minded inquisitive engaged effervescent sprezzatura reckless bittersweet proud


strong the future empathetic gritty visionary




wonderous elaborate confident energetic entertaining



educated chaotic

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Clockwise: Aidan Lynch, Ellie Garner, and Jazz Young. 46

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WELCOME NE WEST BUSH ALUMNI! Congratulations, to our newest alumni! This year in Experience Magazine we honor the Class of 2020 whose resilience, determination, and class spirit were evident this spring after their traditional senior rites of passage were interrupted by the pandemic. Together we celebrate the seventy-one seniors who are heading onto outstanding colleges and universities to continue their studies and become the next generation of activists, engineers, musicians, researchers, journalists, coders, and leaders, contributing to their communities and rising up to change and improve the world. The list of names and colleges below is organized to match the order of students on the festive four-page fold out with the seventy-one pop-out portraits of the Class of 2020. TOP ROW

Taylor Blair Reed College Zola Hefta-Gaub Scripps College Nick Jeschke Washington University in St Louis Julia Deegan California Polytechnic State University Ryan Gow Northeastern University Anselm Aguera y Arcas Tufts University Pamela Biniam Wake Forest University Nora McGarry Smith College Ghislaine Ederer University of Colorado Boulder Ben Campion Emory University Griffin Campion Pomona College Kalindi Keffeler Boston College Will Morgan University of Michigan Melis Kasaba University of California, Los Angeles Kai Krueger Loyola Marymount University Ben Kopstein University of California, Los Angeles Elise Gautier Macalester College Lyla Barrett University of Washington Deven Goel Santa Clara University Aidan Chang-Lee Haverford College Blake Sanders Lehigh University Elise Anstey Fordham University Gilly Chickadel University of Washington Jackson Miller Loyola Marymount University Coby Hirsh Northeastern University MIDDLE ROW

Emil Caplow Pitzer College Ali Smith Haverford College Lolo Dederer Columbia University Maya Schrum Seattle University Ari Dadoun University of Southern California Nat Caplan Reed College Max Chow University of California, Davis Trevor Jackson Lewis & Clark College Jack Sherley Tulane University Anya Tingstad Bryn Mawr College

Morgan Lurie Washington State University Joshua Melmon Stanford University Jeffrey Philipson University of Washington, Bothell Louis Heck Worcester Polytechnic Institute Ellie Garner Northeastern University John Griffin Tufts University Grace Fitzgerald-Diaz Columbia University Maia Glass Quicksall Swarthmore College Ananya Bali Wake Forest University Aidan Lynch University of Colorado Boulder Isabel Warren University of Washington Melika Mohammed Trinity University BOTTOM ROW

Cole Solimano University of Southern California Sam Thompson Chapman University Andrea Rodas-Garcia College of the Holy Cross Cameron O’Kelley Gonzaga University Kaila Frazer Smith College Lia Salomon Carleton College Erik Onsager University of Washington Ludi Fessehaye Howard University Ian Kuver Colorado College Jazz Young Tulane University Rayna Simons Brown University Sophia Pratt Berklee College of Music Audrey Rogerson University of Chicago Sam Cooper-Drake Loyola Marymount University Erin Ng Haverford College Ian Olson University of Chicago Carter Schafer St. Olaf College Haley Taylor Lewis & Clark College Jensen Nida Bates College Claire LaFramboise Wesleyan University Niels Christoffersen Reed College Kate Jones Pomona College Rosa Quinn Mills College Gifford Quinn Reed College

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n Friday, September 20, 2019, a groundswell of young people mobilized in a global climate strike to protest inaction by governments and draw attention to the grave impacts of climate change. Among the four million people that took part around the world were Bush students and community members who joined the Seattle protest at Cal Anderson Park to listen to youth speakers. Continuing the focus on climate change activism, The Bush School hosted its fifth annual BushTALKS with the topic of climate science at the start of the spring semester on Thursday, January 16, 2020. BushTALKS was created by the Board of Trustees’ Innovation Committee to share issues and topics that are important to the school with the wider community, and in this case, share how we all can take action to reduce the effects of climate change. Head of School Percy L. Abram kicked off the evening by outlining the ways in which the school supports students as leaders in the effort to tackle global warming. The room was adorned with student and faculty artwork and signs of protest, some of which had been created for the September march. The esteemed panel of Bush Community members, including an alumna, a current parent, and a parent of alumni, discussed topics ranging from cap and trade, to taking action against climate injustice. Page Atcheson Matilsky ’08, executive director of Our Climate, Laura Blackmore, executive director of the Puget Sound Partnership, and Jabe Blumenthal, climate and clean energy activist and consultant, shared a wide range of experience with an engaged audience in the Marjorie Livengood Library at The Bush School. Jabe Blumenthal, former Microsoft employee turned educator and activist, opened the panel, stating,


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“Sometimes climate change can feel depressing or hard to talk about. But we have to talk about it.” Jabe provided a succinct description of the issue: “Climate change is human activity increasing levels of trapped greenhouse gases in our atmosphere, primarily of carbon dioxide and methane, which raises the temperature of the oceans and our atmospheres.” The impacts of this are unprecedented and catastrophic, from extreme weather to ocean acidification. Jabe urged the audience to take steps towards reducing this devastating impact on individual and collective levels, as an antidote to these challenges. Laura Blackmore, a leader in climate adaptation, spoke on issues ranging from climate justice to the impact of climate change on juvenile salmon and the Puget Sound ecosystem. Her work is primarily focused on climate adaptation, which recognizes that though we cannot fully stop climate change, we must acclimate to its impact. Washington’s estuaries are delicate wetland environments that support a diverse range of life from oysters to orca whales, and are being negatively impacted by the effects of ocean acidification. Sea rise also erodes estuaries and impacts salmon habitat in local areas, including Kilisut Harbor near Port Townsend. Laura shared the work being done to restore the estuary, including replacing an undersized culvert with a bridge over the land, which will accommodate the expected sea rise. Restorative work like the Kilisut Harbor project are important to give local communities and ecosystems a chance to adapt and heal while larger policy change at the national and international levels works to mitigate the effects of climate change. Laura shared, “We’re doing these things because climate impacts are here now. We also want to give our children and our grandchildren as many options as possible when it comes time for them to handle this.”

BushTALKS Panelists Jabe Blumenthal, Laura Blackmore, and Paige Atcheson Matilsky ’08 with Head of School Percy L. Abram.

Page Atcheson Matilsky ’08, a leader and activist, focuses her work on engaging the community to take collective action supporting policies that benefit our communities. In talking about the paralysis many feel when confronted with the magnitude of the issue, she explained, “I think all of us recognize that this is a planetary emergency that we’re in and [for] a lot of us, individual actions feel insufficient on their own. The way that I like to think about this question is instead, how can we as citizens of a country that has contributed the most to this problem respond in a way that reflects the urgency and the scale in which we must act to avoid climate catastrophe?” She went on to explain that focusing on consumer changes like low-energy light bulbs and reusable bags shifts the onus to the individual while obscuring the true heavy

hitters in carbon emissions. At the conclusion of the panel, Page outlined an uplifting call to action, sharing, “Our actions can help turn the corner.” In a changing climate, different communities are impacted unequally. Climate justice work focuses on addressing the disparity between those who contribute the most to greenhouse gas emissions and those who are most affected by the environmental devastation of climate change. Wealthy and industrial nations and individuals have the greatest carbon footprint, but also have the resources to adapt to a changing world. Developing nations, indigenous communities, and people living in poverty all bear the greatest and most immediate burden despite having the smallest carbon footprint. Therefore, those with the most negative impact should

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feel obligated to take the most action to adapt and curb climate change. This is true at the national level and it can also be applied at the community level by examining local impact and community resources. The Bush School, as a long-standing progressive institution with economic resources, is positioned to be a leader among schools and local institutions in the Seattle area. Furthermore, our student activists remind us that while we are educating them for the future, we must work to ensure that it is a livable future. This is an obligation the school’s leadership takes seriously and The Bush School Board of Trustees has worked to institutionalize and operationalize our commitment through the new Upper School building, which will be certified as the first Passive House school building in the West, one of the first Net-Zero Energy buildings in the nation, and the first SalmonSafe school building and campus in the country. Dr. Abram shared that this commitment to sustainability through the new building goes deeper than accolades or labels. “The Board has made a commitment, our donors have made a commitment to environmental sustainability because we know that this is our one last chance to do what’s right for the planet.” The Board has also decided to invest in ESG funds to ensure that our endowment goes to companies that provide a commitment to social justice and sustainability.


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The BushTALKS panel helped frame the magnitude of this topic, and shed light on what must be done to mitigate the consequences and how we can adapt and change as we face the effects of climate change. This April 22 marked the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day. The day of action and celebration was created in 1970 as a way to call attention to the importance of the earth and its protection. Were it not for the pandemic, people from around the world would have gathered to honor this day. Instead, individuals and groups, including The Bush School, took to digital channels, using social media as a way to engage people to reflect on the importance of this day. The public health crisis of COVID-19, and resulting economic crisis worldwide, has altered life in countless ways. Many, in trying to look for a silver-lining in a tragic situation, have suggested the dramatic decline in commuting, air travel, and resource consumption will have a positive effect on global emissions and the environment. Laura shared that this data is hard to pinpoint as stay-home orders have halted many scientific field studies in our region. One project that is ongoing is monitoring the effect of reduced vehicle traffic on Southern Resident Orcas, though the results of the study are not yet available. Jabe cautions against declaring this crisis a climate win. Not

only does that discount the human suffering from the disease, but Jabe expects that the economic fallout and recovery on the local, state, and national level will likely see a focus on job growth with little regard for whether those jobs are green. He explains, “Action on climate requires that we invest in building a new energy system, and that costs money upfront.” While renewable energy systems save governments money in the long term by reducing future climate impacts, the critical, short-term needs of communities during and after the COVID-19 pandemic may prevent the investment in longer-term solutions. Laura also hesitates to consider this moment a turning point in the climate fight, explaining, “I am nonplussed by our society’s inability to address climate change, so it’s hard for me to say what might cause lasting social and political change.” Yet she sees potential benefits from the industries and workplaces that have been able to shift to teleworking during the stay-home orders in Washington State and elsewhere. Her agency, Puget Sound Partnership, has transitioned to hosting their monthly regional meetings online, allowing their partners from all over Western Washington to participate equitably without travel concerns. Laura shares that the relative ease with which she and her colleagues were able to

transition to working outside the office has caused them to reconsider their working model going forward, possibly continuing virtual meetings and telework into the future. The resulting reduction in commuting time has benefits for the planet as well as employee mental and physical health. In her work for Our Climate, Page shared that young people have continued to advocate for climate action, even while staying home to flatten the COVID-19 curve. This advocacy has switched to online platforms to spread their message. This included holding a virtual Youth Lobby Day over Zoom to ask lawmakers to support climate policies and participating in Earth Day Live. “Young people understand that the urgency of the climate crisis requires bold action, and they are determined to ensure that this historic and challenging time creates an opening to build a more just and sustainable world.” The Bush School’s commitment to bold action around sustainability is a community endeavor. BushTALKS, though an event that happens only once a year, allows our community to learn and share with each other as part of this work. Beyond the event, The Bush School is committed to action and dialogue around climate change all year long.

Climate action artwork: Jabe Blumenthal with Give a Flake: Vote Climate 2020 by Pablo Zilly ’21, Laura Blackmore with Narwhals are Cute So Don’t Pollute! by Sabina Westhagen ’29, and Paige Atcheson Matilsky ’08 with There is No Planet B by Middle School Visual Art Teacher Rebecca Pleasure.

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t is important to remember that, difficult and tragic as the COVID-19 pandemic has been, this too will pass. What will remain is the bucket of global challenges that our children and students inherit. It is our responsibility as parents and teachers, and as citizens of planet Earth, to set an exciting menu of solutions on the table for future generations. In the 1987 United Nations report, “Our Common Future,” the concept of sustainability was coined as meeting our present needs without jeopardizing the needs of future generations in three areas: social justice, economic opportunity, and environmental health. These three pillars of sustainability are interconnected and cannot succeed in isolation. We need to protect forests and other ecosystems, but we must also ensure that people have the resources and opportunities for a decent standard of living. In the Sixth Grade Bush history course, Geography and Civilizations, sustainability is at the heart of the curriculum. We look for the intersection of human and physical geography. How do civilizations meet their needs without compromising their resources and futures? It turns out that our challenges are not so different from those faced by Mesopotamia, Mayans, Ancient India, and the Greenland Norse. Among these challenges are climate change, resource use, population growth, and whether we trade with and respect our neighbors or wage war with them. These are all contemporary issues with long histories. Our spring semester is devoted to personal and structural solutions for global issues. Students learn how to leverage


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the positive synergies between critical topics like water, biodiversity, food, health, and income. A simple personal solution like eating lower on the food chain (less meat) has multiple benefits, including reduced water, carbon, and land footprints, as well as improved health and more efficient use of calories in food production. Structural solutions, like bringing fresh water infrastructure to developing countries, require collaborations between individuals, organizations, and governments. Structural solutions impact millions of people, as recent global progress towards eradicating extreme poverty proves. Sustainability is a process, not a finished product. Like maintaining good personal health, we need to attend to it every day, year, and decade. We are at a tipping point in terms of the precarious balance between population growth, climate change, and resource use. COVID-19 will pass, but global sustainability remains as humanity’s group project for the twenty-first century. When they study early hominins, Sixth Grade students focus on the unique human capacity for collective learning. Solutions abound and are as promising as our students, who will steward the future. Ben retired this spring after teaching Sixth Grade Geography and Civilizations at The Bush School since 2012. Ben gave the keynote and endnote addresses at the 2008 Global Citizenship Summit in Bali, Indonesia, and was the World Affairs Council’s 2009 World Educator. He takes great delight in offering a wide range of E-lective and E-week options, including The Great Ukulele, Urban Forestry, Oral History with Elders, Stehekin Multi-Adventure, and Education and Sustainability in Ladakh, India.



Plug into the

legislative sess

ions, know wha t’s

being discusse d.

Want to make a difference, and help turn the corner on climate change? Check out Page Atcheson Matilsky’s ’08 list—Turning A Corner: Pages List of Ways to Get Involved


in public com

ment periods.


during lobby

days and strike s.

SPEAK UP Publish opinio

n pieces or sp

impacts in yo

eak up to chan

ge ny, school, or family.

ur city, compa

GIVE our resources

(time and finan cial) to organizations , candidates an d to building community.


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Black Lives Matter We believe that the purpose of education is to amplify students’ voice, agency, conscience, and intellect to create a more equitable, just, and sustainable world. Bush students and community members have been joining the protests across our city in support of the Black Lives Matter movement to end systemic racism and police brutality. The Bush School stands in solidarity with the movement and our Black and Brown community members and with those who experience discrimination and prejudice. We are grateful to all the Bush families and community members who participated in the protests and used their voices for social change, including Head of School Percy L. Abram and his wife Dr. Nina Maisterra (below and to the right) who marched along with other Bush families in the healthcare profession as part of WhiteCoats4BlackLives protest in Seattle on June 5, 2020. Here are just some of the photos shared with the school, capturing this important moment in our nation’s history. (Artwork by current Bush parent Kate Neckel)


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The Value of Place R AY W I L S O N , U P P E R S C H O O L D I R E C T O R

This coming year, The Bush School will be moving forward with a major step in the Education Master Plan by breaking ground on a new Upper School building. This new construction will allow Bush to realize the potential of the Upper School campus, creating more classroom and collaborative spaces, while providing greater access to a Bush education for more students throughout Seattle. The school’s commitment to progressive and experiential education continues to guide the vision for Bush’s campus and the new spaces will support faculty as they develop and deliver curriculum that enables students to discover their passions, contribute to societal discourse, and create change. The Board of Trustees retained Mithün, an architectural firm with significant experience working with independent schools, to partner with the school on this project. Mithün has designed an exciting, 22,000 square foot building that will be certified as the first Salmon-Safe school building, the first Passive House school building in the West, and one of the first Net-Zero Energy school buildings in the nation. Construction is planned to begin during the 2020-2021 school year and current buildings on the Upper School campus, Gracemont and Wissner Hall, will operate as normal throughout the building project.

Upper School Director Ray Wilson with Bush Upper School students

“ The new building has been designed to serve as a resource for elevating student voices on Bush’s campus.”

Bush faculty firmly believe in fostering student voice and action, especially in times when societal issues make their way to campus life. The new building has been specifically designed to serve as a resource for elevating student voices on Bush’s campus. Spaces such as a student life center and a new learning commons—the Bush Academic Networking Center (BANC)—will provide physical space for our various student clubs and affinity groups to meet and plan programming that will heighten our awareness and identify opportunities for community engagement in Seattle, nationally, and globally.

- Ray Wilson, Upper School Director

SEPTEMBER Optimal Enrollment Study Conducted Recommended Bush pursue enrollment growth from 600 to 720 students over time

2015 56

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Education Master Planning Process Begins

Mithün is chosen as lead architect for Education Master Plan

Education Master Plan Presented to Board of Trustees Created a comprehensive vision for campus design



Visualization of a classroom in the new building

New Lake Washington Blvd. entrance leading to multi-purpose space

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Visualization of breakout area in east corridor of new building

The addition of a 400-person flexible, multipurpose room that can seat the entire Upper School community will enable spontaneous gatherings for meaningful discussions, as well as serve as a space for guest speakers to engage our students and faculty in educational experiences. Ten new classrooms will double the current classroom square footage in Gracemont and be more responsive to impromptu discussion and discourse. The new Upper School building will strengthen The Bush School’s position as a thought leader in progressive education and experiential education. We envision developing institutes focused on best practices in fostering student engagement, DEI, and teacher development. With the beautiful location of Seattle, coupled with the expansion of the Upper School campus, we would be in a prime position to attract educators from around the world to participate in programs that are influenced by the school’s history, mission, and philosophy.

As with previous campus improvement projects at Bush, such as the Lower School, Library, and Gym construction efforts, the Upper School project has been made possible through a combination of community philanthropy and financing. Philanthropic commitments from current and past Bush families have given the Board full confidence to move forward with this exciting long-term vision for our school. We look with anticipation to the moment when we can invite our community to enter the new building and gather in spaces that will advance Bush’s mission to spark in students of diverse backgrounds and talents a passion for learning, accomplishment, and contribution to their communities. If you have any questions about the Upper School building project, please reach out to Development Director Sharon Hurt at or Leadership Giving Manager Molly Judge at We look forward to hearing from you.




Financial Modeling Report

Campaign Leadership Committee is formed, Mike Galgon is Chair

Board Approved Resolution

Confirmed Bush’s strong financial position and capacity to complete capital improvements with philanthropy and financing




Campaign Feasibility Study Report

Strategic Planning Framework

Confirmed Bush’s ability to pursue a successful capital campaign in support of Education Master Plan

Created a set of priorities to guide Bush over three to five years

Moved forward with new Upper School design and construction aspects



Capital Campaign Begins

$5M in Total Contributions Received from Twenty-Seven Donors

Early contributions are received

Exterior view of new building with Gracemont to the left

Visualization of Bush’s new Student Life Center

DECEMBER $10M from Thirty-Five Donors




$12.5M from Sixty-Four Donors

Board engaged Exxel Pacific as Construction Contractor

$16.57M from 129 donors


J U LY Allison Harr joins Mike Galgon as Campaign Co-Chair


F E B R UA R Y $15M from 113 donors




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ixth Grade students spill out of vans onto the gravel driveway, arms full of sleeping bags, faces full of wonder. September Mazama sunlight filters through the pines and lights the ponds at the edge of the cedar forest. These first impressions are the foundation of students’ Methow experience, a spiral of learning and adventure that will expand with each visit throughout their Bush careers. The new three-day Sixth Grade immersion model was envisioned by core grade level teachers, seeking to begin students’ Middle School experience with an emphasis on community. “The start of Sixth Grade, with new students joining the class, is the perfect time to focus on defining community,” says Caroline Huxtable, Grade Level Coordinator and Sixth Grade Math Teacher. Based entirely on the Methow campus, the mulit-disciplinary curriculum focuses on connecting students to the Methow and also their own internal worlds. Just off the trail leading to a series of ponds, Sixth Grade History Teacher Ben Wheeler assigns roles to students gathered around a model of a watershed. One student needs to find a place for a mine. Another seeks fields to grow grain. A third looks for the best site for a residential neighborhood. They work together, dividing the miniature valley with yarn and string, listening to each other’s needs and negotiating compromise. Students begin to realize that the world around them is, in fact, a community. The interconnection of a watershed becomes a metaphor for their own class. Back in the lodge, Sixth Grade English Teacher Laurie Mathews guides students in a different observation exercise. Using a local historical book, Bound for the Methow, students study black and white photographs. Their observations are rooted in detail, making inferences based on what they see as well as what they do not. “By coming to the Methow, we’re giving students a chance to see from a different perspective,” explains Laurie. “The immersion allows them to learn together in a new place, and they bring that new way of looking at each other home.” Sixth Grade

Middle School students practice climbing skills on Goat Wall, which is in the backyard of the Bush Methow Campus.

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Science Teacher Tom Wise agrees, noting, “One of the best things about the immersion was the connections that students made with each other and teachers. This was much more significant than on any retreat I have participated in.” With purposeful curriculum rooted in place, learning and awareness grow into connection. When Grade Level Coordinator Sarah Cohen redesigned the Eighth Grade retreat, she also began with tenets of place-based learning. “Our goal was that students would not only learn about the Methow, but also from the Methow,” she explains. The retreat, expanded to four days, connects students with people and nonprofits in the valley for both service and adventure. Students journey from campus, engaging in projects throughout the valley. Artist Margaret Kingston leads students in creating paintings from photographs of Methow landscapes. A box of peaches from a local farm transforms into peach galettes under the guidance of baker Grace Butler. In Winthrop, students gather at the new Homestream Park, which honors the role of salmon in the lives of Methow first people. Wielding shovels and rakes, students complete the walking path representing the return trip salmon swim up the Columbia River, nine boulders symbolizing dams the fish must overcome. The group completes the trail (and ice cream bars) and admires their finished work, a new center for this community. “What’s this? Can I eat it?” A hike up Paterson Mountain with naturalist Mary Kiesau becomes more than exercise with a view. Mary guides students in engaging all their senses as they learn to identify, and yes, taste, native plants. Meanwhile, on nearby Sun Mountain, a group of mountain bikers follow local instructors in skill sessions. As they learn to navigate turns and obstacles, they also learn how trails were built by many hands. Students contribute their own hands to trail work too, clearing rocks from the campus ski trails so that the groomer can create a smooth platform for winter Nordic skiers, including our own Bush Nordic Ski Team. At the Shafer Museum, students work with docents in the archive room, transferring primary documents and photographs into searchable digital images. These same images and documents will be searched by Upper School students later in January, engaged in research for the Cascade History Along the Ski Trail. This is the Methow spiral of learning in action, returning to the same place with greater depth and new perspective. Eighth Grade students return to campus carrying dirt, spatters of paint, and the satisfaction of accomplishment. This is what learning looks like in the Methow. The key to place-based learning is designing curriculum in which the place itself becomes a main character in the learning narrative. In addition to being a basecamp for learning recreational skills, the Methow Campus offers students the chance to engage with a strong, connected community. Sarah Cohen reflects that “using our time to connect to the land and the community in the Methow helped us to develop connections as a grade and as people to the world.” Through place-based learning in the Methow, Middle School students return to their homes better equipped to strengthen their own communities.


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Bush Middle School students travel from Seattle over the Cascades to the Bush Methow Campus to engage in placed-based learning. Top left: Methow Program Coordinator Hilary Kalentbach partners with Middle School teachers to develop programming in which the Methow becomes a main character in the learning narrative; Middle: The Eighth Grade Retreat takes place at the Bush Methow Campus, connecting students with people and nonprofits in the valley for both service and adventure. The Class of 2024 gathers on the lawn for a class meeting with Methow Facilities Manager John Harter.

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Middle School students make the most of their time at the Bush Methow Campus from rock climbing and fly fishing to hands on science research to engaging with various nonprofits in the valley.


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COVID-19 in the Methow In the Methow Valley, it is easy to be socially distant, where trails invite biking, hiking, and more. However, there are distinct challenges to small, rural communities during this time. All Methow businesses are locally owned, which means mandated closures hit valley families especially hard. Yet residents are no strangers to adversity and have the experience and determination to be resilient. The Methow Long Term Recovery Council, created during the 2014 Carlton Complex fires, is meeting again, and finds itself well-poised to address immediate needs and create a return to a robust local economy. The Methow Conservancy and TwispWorks advocate for small businesses, and reinstated the “Spend a Ben� campaign. New partnerships address rising needs: the schools and local food bank, The Cove, deliver meals each week to over 430 families. Room One, a social services resource center, works with individuals to navigate relief paperwork, negotiate new tenant rights, or distribute donated grocery gift cards. Other agencies in the Valley have found ways to pivot and contribute. Eqpd, who makes reusable bags, is now creating mask kits for home sewers, funded by donations. The Forest Service Smokejumper Base sewing room, usually used for making parachutes, is now dedicated to creating PPE masks and gowns. So while small may mean isolated, it also means nimble.


METHOW CA MPUS EVENTS While the pandemic cut the Methow Campus events short this year, we still managed to have a robust calendar of meaningful programming including the following: Fifth Grade faculty planning session Young Naturalist Summer Camps Athletic Student Council retreat Liberty Bell High School College Essay Workshop Senior Retreat

Ian Fair Fund

Eighth Grade Retreat Sixth Grade Immersion

Established in 2018, the Ian Fair Fund for the Bush Methow Campus promotes active learning for students of The Bush School and the Methow Valley, and connects students through dialogue, learning, and shared experiences. Woven into the fabric of these authentic learning opportunities is a social/environmental justice thread that joins together academic instruction with social action.

Middle School Climbing Wilderness Trip Student Wellness Center Retreat

College Essay Writing Workshops nurture students on their educational pathway forward, habitat restoration projects inculcate a respect for and understanding of the environment, and Soup Nights sustain the spirit of community and collaboration. The Ian Fair Fund for the Methow Campus is an endowment fund at The Bush School that endeavors to bring students together through education to affect change and make a lasting impact.

Board Retreat

To learn more about this fund, contact Sharon Hurt, Director of Development at

Nordic Team Training

Community Soup Nights monthly November through February

Backcountry Travel and Decision Making Cascade History on the Ski Trails Cascade Nordic Team Ski to the Sun relay Middle School Snow Fun Wilderness Trip Middle School Intro to Backcountry Trip

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Karen Marcotte Solimano served as The Bush School President of the Board of Trustees from 2018-2020. Karen led the Board of Trustees Fall Retreat at the Bush Methow Campus this past October where the Board envisioned The Bush School in 2035, setting priorities and creating a road map to get us there.


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aren Marcotte Solimano has served as a peerless example of trust and advocacy for The Bush School, its students, faculty, staff, and families. The Marcotte Solimano family has been active and supportive members of The Bush School community for twenty-six years. Not one, but two Solimanos were welcomed into The Bush School Alumni community this year. The first was the youngest of four sons, Cole, who graduated with his Class of 2020 classmates as a Lifer. One week later on June 11, 2020, Karen Marcotte Solimano was awarded Honorary Alumna by unanimous resolution of the Board of Trustees underscoring her extraordinary partnership and service to The Bush School. This June was Karen’s last Board of Trustees meeting as President. This was the end of an era marked by gracious gifts of time, energy, and expertise. Her service included ten years on the Board of Trustees, four years as Vice President, and two years as President. Her leadership and support also included the following: •  C h a i r i n g t he E xe c ut i ve , L e ader s h ip, a nd Development Committees as well as Celebrate Bush; • Serving on the Executive, Leadership, RMAC, Campaign Leadership, Communications, Development, Oversight, and Educational Master Plan Committees; Contributing at leadership levels to ten capital and special initiative campaigns; twenty-six Annual Funds, and as many auctions; • Making connections, fostering relationships, and conducting over sixty conversations in the last few years alone in support of strategic initiatives and campaigns; • Donating over 500 bottles of wine and hosting five women’s tennis weekends in support of Celebrate Bush and Financial Aid;

• Advocating for and supporting all students so that they may experience and benefit from all opportunities a Bush education offers, regardless of learning style, socioeconomic status, or any other factor that may limit their access. This rare and extraordinary distinction, only three others in Bush’s ninety-six year history, of Honorary Alumna is most deservingly conferred to Karen Marcotte Solimano for her twenty-six years of partnership, spirit, and dedication to selflessly advancing the values and mission of The Bush School. Thank you, Karen!

A LASTING LEGACY The Percy L. Abram Fund for Inclusion, Equity, and Justice During the days leading up to her last Board meeting, Karen was reflecting on not only the state of the school, but also the state of our country. The end of her tenure at Bush also coincided with a health pandemic and social justice uprising, both of which have spotlighted the deep-seeded racial inequities in the United States. She and her family made a decision inspired by the leadership, intellect, integrity, and authenticity of Head of School Percy L. Abram. They believe deeply in his vision of educating the next generation in service to lasting and just change. To help advance this shared vision, the Solimanos have seeded an endowment in Percy’s honor to fund anti-bias education and training to the next generation of problem solvers, thinkers, leaders, and their families. The fund is titled The Percy L. Abram Fund for Inclusion, Equity, and Justice. With the support of this Fund, and through education, we will work toward creating a just, inclusive, equitable, and compassionate community and nation. To learn more about the Fund, please contact Sharon Hurt at or by calling 206-326-7779.

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ead of School Percy L. Abram was interviewed on March 22, 2020 by The New York Times for the article In Seattle, It Started With Panic. Then the Deeper Anxiety Set In. As Washington State navigated the earliest days of the pandemic, Abram reflected on his own journey leading The Bush School through these early weeks. “Soon, there is no ‘harder’ and no ‘more,’ and that leaves me with uncertainty I will have to face,” he said. “The city is going to slow down, my meetings will slow down and I will have to slow down and process my emotions.” And in the ensuing months, the pandemic reframed everything from the routines of our daily lives to how K-12 schools, colleges, and universities are delivering their educational programs to the priorities of our nation. It has brought into laser sharp focus the importance of leadership. Now more than ever, leadership matters in our schools, health systems, cities, states, nation, and the world. Here are some reflections from Dr. Abram as he led the school through uncertainty, including the first months of the pandemic, economic crisis, rising political and cultural divisiveness, and the movement to end systemic racism and police brutality. March 26, 2020: Dr. Abram reflects after the first two weeks without students on campus. These are, indeed, interesting times. And they will, most certainly, shape our society in manners both profound and unimaginable.

Head of School Percy L. Abram was photographed on the Bush Upper Campus outside Gracemont on March 20, 2020 by The New York Times as The Bush School and all Seattle area schools stood on the front lines of the U.S. response to the pandemic. Educational leaders were confronted with the rapid pace and impact of the pandemic on community health and safety, moving educational programming to remote schooling in a very short period of time. Other cities looked to our region for a road map on what was coming and how to respond.

COVID-19 SCHOOL RESPONSE TIMELINE FEBRUARY 28 Increased health measures taken on campus


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Decision made to close campus until March 27

MARCH 9 & 10 Remote schooling professional development

MARCH 11 Remote schooling begins


Governor Inslee closes all K-12 schools through April 24


Virtual Celebrate Bush

This pandemic will have a lasting effect on language, travel, technology, medicine, global citizenship, and a host of other topics. In the silence of my office, I look out on the inner courtyard and imagine how our students will be affected by COVID-19, and the global response. I am not a futurist, but I am one to look for a silver lining. I imagine that in the months, years, and decades ahead, we will begin to look at things differently. • Scientific thinking will be elevated as an essential skill. • A government that values service, experience, and a commitment to the social good will again be viewed as an integral part of addressing the social, economic, and environmental challenges that confront us. • Human touch changes us emotionally and cognitively; it is life-affirming. • T he notion of family will expand to include the neighbor who brought you food, the friend who watched your child so you can work, or the attendant who brought you groceries because you could not leave the house. • Art can feed the soul. You will remember dancing to a Zoom house party, touring a museum from your home office, and singing with your children. From now on, each time you dance, look at a beautiful painting, and sing (even in the shower), you will rejoice in our capacity to create. These times have challenged us to ask ourselves what it means to be human. It means everything. April 7, 2020: Dr. Abram comments after Governor Inslee announced the extension of school closures through the end of 2019-2020 school year. For the rest of the academic year, we will proceed with our plan for remote schooling. The faculty and staff remain committed to ensuring that we provide an academically engaging experience for your children, so that they will enter the summer feeling enthusiastic about learning and eager to return and see their peers and mentors next year.

MARCH 20 & 22 Middle and Upper School adjust daily schedule


Governor Inslee cancels K-12 schooling though the end of the 2019-2020 school year

The Bush School has resided in this great city for ninety-six years. Our community has weathered wars, social and political unrest, the Great Depression and at least two major global economic recessions, the passing of our founder, and countless personal losses that gripped our school community and tested our mettle. Through each of these we emerged stronger, more united, and more convinced that educating students with sturdy hearts and minds can build a better future for us all. That is more true now than ever. May 31, 2020: Dr. Abram responds to the murder of Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd. After my run this morning, I sat in my car staring out on the calming waves of Lake Washington with clouds covering the high rises of Bellevue. I sat there and I cried powerfully for about twenty minutes. I cried for these men and their families. I cried for my children. And I cried because after this news cycle passes, people will harden their opinions on the events of the past month (What good does looting your own community do? Why weren’t they social distancing? What was said before the cameras began filming?) and forget that another two Black lives were taken from this earth with impunity and callousness. Each of us owes it to George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Amaud Arbery, Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland, Eric Garner, Freddie Gray, Oscar Grant, Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, and the countless others who died unceremoniously without the benefit of a cell phone recording and subsequent public outrage, to not only say their names and to remember their faces, but to see in their eyes the eyes of a child. Your child. Say their names as if they were your own children. Care about them—and what happens to the men who killed them—as if they were your own children. And plot, plan, strategize, organize, mobilize, and vote as if all of our children’s lives depended on it. In fact, they do. “The arc of the moral universe is long,” King said, “but it bends toward justice.” That arc will only bend if we are the ones to apply the pressure. That is the urgency. Now is the time.


Lower School adjusts daily schedule

M AY 2 7

State of the School

JUNE 2-5

End-of-Year Events and Class of 2020 Virtual Commencement

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t has been the ultimate pivot. After two days of intense planning and professional development, Bush launched a remote schooling program on March 11, 2020 in the face of the COVID-19 health outbreak, following the recommendation of local and national health officials. Bush faculty demonstrated resilience, ingenuity, and flat out hard work. Together they created certainty and purpose for Bush students during a time of uncertainty through the power of education.

Predictable Routines

In a very short period of time, one campus became hundreds of campuses spread all over the city as students learned from home. Adjusting to virtual classrooms, testing out lesson plans, wondering if a new idea will sink or swim, and trying to keep it all straight while being mindful of student wellness through the health crisis has defined Bush teachers’ work throughout the spring.

Right now, we are doing crisis school as much as we are doing remote school. Strong remote school communities offer opportunities for students to share their feelings and empathize with others. Many students find PE and arts classes restorative, joyful, and more necessary than ever.


As we adjusted to the new normal, Bush faculty and staff brought two key assets to this challenge: strong relationships with students and an appetite for design. Since March, The Bush School has put into action best practices and adapted to this new platform for teaching and learning that has allowed our students and families to stay home through the health crisis. In many ways it has been like building a new school from the ground up, and in other ways the relationships, curriculum, and conversations remain the same. The ability to adapt has allowed Bush teachers to continue deliver our mission during quarantine.

SUCCESSFUL REMOTE SCHOOLING Paths of Learning The successful remote classroom offers many ways to learn and many ways to demonstrate learning. Media and technology-enabled techniques are used so that students have different ways to explore content. Student selfefficacy is fostered with right-sized challenges.

Play Successful online classrooms take advantage of technology to enable students to play with each other and with their teachers. Successful remote classrooms communicate in many ways—through text, pictures, emojis, theme songs, and sound effects. Effective teachers use humor and surprise to delight students.


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Successful remote schooling supports students in their new way of working by having regular check-ins and updates, clear classroom rituals and routines, and established, organized way-finding. When remote school is predictable, students are not spending their energy trying to access classroom applications and platforms, but rather putting their energy into learning.


REMOTE SCHOOLING IN ACTION First Grade Teacher Courtney Kim made a “Back at Bush” video tour of their classroom for her First Grade students. She showed their drawings, word wall, and mood meter where they track how they are feeling. Although they might not be back on campus until they are Second Grade students as Ms. Kim, says, “It will still be here for you. I will be here for you.” Reminders like this can help keep students connected to our community and optimistic about the future. Eighth Grade English Teacher Sarah Cohen used Loom, which allowed her to give live stream video commentary while her class watched “Dadicus Finch”, an episode of The Simpsons. Students were asked to share To Kill a Mockingbird references they noticed throughout the episode in the Zoom chat which ran along the side of the screen. She paused the video to share her own writing so that students could think about essay voice. Upper School Science Teacher Grace Hayak used Microsoft Teams in Chemistry and Engineering courses to spark student collaboration. Student groups shared a discussion board, video conference platform, and online class notebook. This format allowed Grace to easily observe and grade classwork. Students could pull her drawings into their notebooks and add annotations to them. When this ends, we will all come back together on campus and do school the way we want to, but for now, learning and connection continue. And while students are learning reading and math, they are also learning new lessons about what they are capable of and what matters most.

Experiential Programming for Social Change The Bush Upper School launched the Cascades program this year. During January, students enrolled in a three-week interdisciplinary course of study, led by interdepartmental teaching teams. These thematic immersive experiences had a strong focus on social justice including the following courses.

DESIGN THINKING Real Solutions for Real People: Designing for the Whole Environment Modeling Cascade Effects In Ecology and Politics

GLOBAL CITIZENSHIP Cultural Journey through the American South Cultural Immersion in San Miguel Escobar, Guatemala: Wrestling with Global Responsibility

H E A LT H C A R E Exploring Equity and Access in Healthcare Medical Anthropology: The Cultural Study of Healthcare

SOCIAL JUSTICE Social Justice in Filmmaking Interactive Theatre for Social Change

S U S TA I N A B I L I T Y Scarce Resources and Growing Needs: Death Valley, Desert Ecology, and Climate Change Top: Mike Jackson’s Fifth Grade class uses Zoom to reconnect and make plans. They share laughs, legos, stuffies, and pets. Students who may have been hesitant to contribute in class suddenly found their voice when participating from the comfort of their living room with a pet. Middle: Sixth Grade Math Teacher Caroline Huxtable channeled her inner MacGyver and used a stack of canned beans to create a document camera and demo math problems over Zoom. Bottom: Upper School Mandarin Teacher Tabatha Ma’s advisory group stays connected during the first week of remote schooling by having some fun while getting used to their new Zoom life.

Rock Climbing and Land Management in America Studying Seattle Traffic Patterns, Building Algorithms and Advocating for Change

WILDERNESS & ENVIRON M E N T Skiing through History: A Methow Tale Backcountry Skiing: Avalanche Safety and the Psychology of Group Decision-Making

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eginning in the Lower School, Bush teachers create classroom communities that promote ethical leadership by teaching self regulation, empathy, and problem-solving. Rooted in the intellectual tradition of progressive education, we keep student inquiry and voice at the center of the classroom so that students develop their own questions about the world. Heavily influenced by design-thinking and cognitive science, we embrace a growth mindset. We believe in seeing the world for what it could be, trying things out, making mistakes, and doing “fix-ups� so that learning always moves forward.


In order to achieve this ambitious mission, Bush teachers are themselves leaders for social change, and they see the possible future in our current students. Bush teachers are lifelong learners, and the school creates pathways for teachers to reflect, expand, and refine their pedagogy. The following are examples of professional development that Bush teachers have been a part of in the last year which fuel our mission to educate students to make a difference in the world.

P O RT TOW N S E N D, WA July 2019


Designing classrooms that support student leadership for positive social change requires teachers to reflect on their identity and experiences. They embrace professional development that looks to the past to understand histories of oppression, to the present to find colleagues and partners, and to the future as we nurture students who will carry the work forward.

SA N F R A N C I S C O, CA July 2019 SEED (Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity) brings together and develops teachers from across the country who then return to their own communities to hold on-campus professional development for colleagues interested in driving social change towards social justice. Jonisha Hoang, Lower School Assistant


Theatre for Change workshops engage participants in the construction and performance of plays based on real-life experiences of oppression, hurt and marginalization. Chelsea Jennings, English Department Chair and Upper School English Teacher and Kristin McInaney, Experiential Education Program Manager, Upper School Dean Coordinator, and Ninth Grade Dean

AHEAD EQUITY AND EXCELLENCE B O STO N , M A July 2019 Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD) brings together educators annually to showcase best practices for the equitable inclusion of neurodiverse learners in the classroom. Sara Carter, Support Services Department Chair and Upper School Learning Specialist

NORTHWEST TEACHING FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE CONFERENCE S E AT T L E , WA October 2019 NW Teaching for Social Justice brings together local educators and activists to share insight and resources and build a broad and democratic movement for environmental and social justice. Fifth Grade Teacher Mike Jackson


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Lower, Middle, and Upper School Teachers Susanne Eckert, Mike Jackson, Kelly Wall, and Marilyn Smith

“So much of the work we do in Learning Support in the Upper School is aimed at preparing our students to transition to higher education, and in so doing, ensure they are knowledgeable about themselves as a learner, Lower School Assistant Jonisha Hoang

their strengths and challenges, and that they have the tools necessary to advocate for themselves once they leave Bush.” - Sara Carter, Support Services Department Chair and Upper School Learning Specialist

“I found it powerful to reflect on the role of activism in the community and have made a concerted effort since that time to focus on youth Middle School History Teacher Kelly Wall

empowerment and create space to discuss relevant issues that are currently affecting youth in my

Upper School History Teacher and Twelfth Grade Dean Susanne Eckert

classroom. I now regularly lead circle discussions as well as Socratic seminars to empower students to use their voice for change in our classroom and the broader world.” - Kelly Wall, Seventh Grade History Teacher

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Retirements Janet Bisignano retired at the end of this year. She has taught at Bush twice—from 1987 to 1993 and from 2002-present—taking a break to raise her children. During her time at the school, Janet primarily taught Kindergarten, but also spent time teaching First Grade. She has perfected the model for “leading from within,” serving as a Primary Department Head, helping to develop and then serving on the original K-12 Committee, serving on the Lower School Diversity Committee, the Lower School Curriculum Committee, and many other hiring committees including the Head of School hiring committee (2013). Janet has worked tirelessly over the years to facilitate the admissions process, and has sat on nearly every Lower School Admissions Committee during her tenure. She is looking forward to spending some time with her parents in Michigan, visiting other parts of the world, and babysitting their three grand dogs, who will finally get her undivided attention. Janet’s warmth, wisdom, and humor will be sorely missed. Melissa Manning retired her position teaching Upper School English at the end of the school year. She began at Bush in 2008, teaching English 9 and 10 and a variety of English electives including The City, Southern Lit, War and Conflict, Poetry and Vignettes, and The Novel. During her time at the school, Melissa also served as the Senior Class Dean, on the student senate, on the Upper School Admissions Committee, Senior Projects Committee, and as the English Department Head. She has led a wide variety of AMPs including Open Water Swimming, Writing and Hiking in the Olympic Peninsula, Pizza, Yoga, Mindfulness, and was one of the first faculty to bring students to the Methow Campus. Melissa is looking forward to spending time with family in Telluride, CO, visiting her grown children, and writing. We will miss Melissa’s commitment to our mission and her students, her open and friendly nature, her intellectual curiosity, and her dedication to the life of the mind. We wish her well in the future.


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Esther Reiquam retired at the end of this school year. She began teaching Upper School French during the 1981-82 school year, but has also taught Middle School French. In addition, Esther coached Upper School track and cross-country, served as the World Languages Department Head (twice), chaired the AMP Committee, advised countless students, and helped with school plays and the Big Broadcast (the first Bush radio program). She has led many AMPs, including the Adopt-a-Beach project in Discovery Park, Knitting, Felting, Matawa Apple Picking (in which students worked with Latinx workers in Eastern Washington, speaking Spanish while working in the orchards), Fishing, and Stairway and Handrails (during which students worked to improve access to Hillside Blvd behind Gracemont, building a stairway and handrail.) One of Esther’s largest contributions to the school was to build the homestay and intern programs from scratch, which she subsequently coordinated for more than twenty years. We will miss Esther’s warm, inviting, and positive presence, both in the classroom and around campus. Ben Wheeler decided to “retire from full-time teaching.” He began working at Bush in 2012, and has been a member of the Sixth Grade Team, teaching Sixth Grade History since his arrival at the school. During his tenure, Ben has chaired and served on the Sustainability Committee, led backpacking trips, counseled numerous students, and led E-week adventures and E-lectives like Ukulele, Oral History with Elders, Free the Bees, Fly Fishing, Biomimicry, and Rain Gardens. Ben co-led an E-week trip to the Siddhartha School in Ladakh, India, and worked tirelessly to facilitate a reciprocal relationship with the school. He was instrumental in organizing the annual Middle School Carry 5: Walk for Water First, and served on numerous hiring committees. Ben looks forward to more leisurely mornings where he’s not running or biking in the dark, good measures of community service, sustainability curriculum development, and international and wilderness trip leadership. He will be spending lots of time in nature and making music. Ben’s even-keeled presence, friendly nature, and can do attitude will be missed.



2 1 Esther Reiquam inspired generations of Bush French students. Pictured with alum Ben Ryan ’97 in the Gracemont living room. 2 Janet Bisignano cultivated a sense of love and belonging in Bush Kindergarten students, and is pictured here teaching the Class of 2031 a unit on names and identity. 3 Ben Wheeler traveled with Bush students to the Siddhartha School in Ladakh, India on the Middle School E-week Education and Sustainability. 4 Melissa Manning served as Twelfth Grade Dean for many years, and is seen here heading out on a hike in the Cascades with the Class of 2016 as part of the annual senior retreat. Melissa’s daughter Meg Manning ’16 was part of this class, and Melissa was selected as the graduation speaker this year. Melissa is pictured sixth from the right.


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Thank You, Jay Franklin ’90 After eighteen years, Middle School Director Jay Franklin ’90 is moving on from The Bush School to pursue new professional interests. During his time at the school, Jay has always strived to support the Bush community and positively impact the student experience. In 2002, he began his tenure at Bush as a coach of several successful Blazer teams, including Middle and Upper School soccer, Upper School basketball, and Middle School tennis, golf, and ultimate Frisbee. In addition to coaching, Jay has been an engaging experiential trip leader, a collaborative Middle School faculty member, and since 2012, a dedicated Middle School Division Director. Under his leadership as Middle School Division Director, Jay has helped elevate Middle School programming and student experiences. Jay always leads with his heart and cares deeply about those around him. Understanding the developmental needs of emerging adolescents, Jay was instrumental in creating a full-time Middle School counselor position, developing a block schedule that supports a more immersive student and teacher experience, adding technology to the arts rotation, expanding the Middle School program to include human relations classes for all three grades, and making sure that students were surrounded by adults who knew and cared for them. Jay fostered community in the Middle School, and counts his faculty and staff as both outstanding colleagues and friends. We appreciate his dedication to the Middle School and to the Bush community as a whole. While Jay will be moving on from Bush professionally, he remains an active part of the Blazer community. In addition to holding various professional roles, Jay is a Bush alumnus and a parent of three current students. Jay joined Bush as a Lower School student and has a longstanding connection to Bush; we are grateful that he will remain involved with The Bush School. We wish Jay the best in his next professional endeavors. We will miss seeing him daily, but look forward to reconnecting with him in the near future.

Jay Franklin ’90 as a Blazer Varsity basketball player in high school (left), and at the Class of 2023 Eighth Grade Moving Up Ceremony (below)


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Blazer Athletics - Year in Review Girls Varsity Cross Country Champions Led by outstanding performances from Lolo Dederer ’20 and Abby Goodfried ’22, the Girls Varsity Cross Country team brought home the first Emerald City League title for the Blazers since 2017. All team members competed at the highest levels throughout the season, winning two league races and ultimately stopping Northwest School’s incredible eight-year run of winning the league championship. A huge thank you to the coaches for providing a healthy, competitive, and positive environment that allowed our athletes to maximize their potential.

Varsity Basketball Head Coach Sara Fischer, who earned All-Conference honors as an Academic All-American playing basketball at Wesleyan University; Bush Girls Varsity Volleyball Coach Addie Picha, who played volleyball at the University of San Diego and is currently pursuing a Master of Athletic Administration degree while playing beach volleyball for the University of Washington; and Jamal Crawford, one of Seattle’s most accomplished basketball players, whose impressive NBA career includes being named NBA Sixth Man of the Year three times and being the all-time leader in fourpoint plays.

Safe Sports School Award The Bush School was recognized with the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) Safe Sports School award for its athletic program. The award champions safety and recognizes secondary schools that have met the recommended standards to improve safety in sports. The award reinforces the importance of providing the best level of care, injury prevention, and treatment. “We are honored to receive this recognition from NATA,” said Director of Athletics Jo Ito. “We remain committed to keeping our studentathletes safe during team practices and games so they can accomplish their own goals of great competition, winning records, fair sportsmanship, and good health. Our goal is to lead our athletics program to the highest safety standards for our players. A huge thank you goes to our Athletic Trainer, Grace Katt. She played a vital role in establishing a long list of safety and health procedures which have put us in a position to be considered for this prestigious award.”

Thank you to Blazers Sport Coordinator Erin Saunderson! A huge THANK YOU to the Blazers Sport Coordinator, Erin Saunderson, who recently completed her Master’s Degree in Athletic Administration at Seattle University. Erin will leave Bush to pursue a leadership position in an interscholastic sports program in the 2020-21 school year. She was an integral member of the Blazers Athletics Department for the past two years. She made invaluable contributions during her time at Bush, including, but not limited to, revamping the athletic program’s social media presence and introducing a new and improved uniform inventory system. Good luck with your future endeavors—your presence will be missed.

Upper School Forum Sports Panel The Athletics Department hosted a Friday Forum panel discussion with inspirational speakers who shared their experiences as high school, collegiate, and professional athletes. The esteemed panel included Bush Girls Varsity Basketball Assistant Coach Cici West, who played Division I basketball on a full scholarship at Portland State; Bush Girls

WIAA Athlete of the Week Aniyah Grant ’22 Blazers standout basketball player Aniyah Grant was recognized with the WIAA Athlete of the Week Award. Each week throughout the school year, the WIAA recognizes varsity athletes who exhibited outstanding performances the previous week. “This is a great honor for Aniyah. She is an amazing player, team captain, and a leader. She works hard every day and is an inspiration to her teammates. I am thrilled she is being recognized by the state for her performance,” said Blazers Head Coach Sara Fischer.

Top: Upper School Forum Sports Panel speakers Girls Varsity Volleyball Coach Addie Picha, Bush Girls Varsity Basketball Head Coach Sara Fischer, NBA Basketball Player Jamal Crawford, and Bush Girls Varsity Basketball Assistant Coach Cici West. Middle: Blazer Sport Coordinator Erin Saunderson was an invaluable contributor to the Blazer sports program. Bottom: Varsity Girls Basketball Team Captain Aniyah Grant ’22 and WIAA Athlete of the Week.

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2019 Varsity Girls Cross Country Team clinched the Emerald City League Championship along with the Emerald City League Team Sportsmanship Award.

Season Recaps SPRING 2019 Boys JV & Varsity Soccer The Boys Soccer program had a remarkable season last spring. The JV team showed a strong work ethic all season long. Their 5-5 thriller against Overlake was a memorable highlight of their season. After finishing the regular season in third place, the Varsity team beat University Prep by a golden goal in the Bi-District tournament to advance to state. The team’s overall solid performance was reflected by multiple players receiving All-League honors. ALL-LEAGUE FIRST TEAM • Noah Cape ’19 • Kai Krueger ’20 • Brandon Nowbar ’19


Varsity Track & Field The Blazers Track & Field team had an impressive season last spring with several individual boys and the entire girls’ team qualifying for the Bi-District Championships. Ela Nickels ’19, recipient of the 2019 Blazer Award, capped off her accomplished athletic career at The Bush School earning two medals at her fourth consecutive appearance in the State Championships. The team’s overall strong performance was acknowledged with multiple athletes earning All-League honors. ALL-LEAGUE FIRST TEAM • Abby Goodfried ’22 GIRLS 4X400R & 400M • Jackson McCloskey ’19 JAVELIN • Ela Nickels ’19 GIRLS 4X400R, 800M & 1600M • Mira Nickels ’21 GIRLS 4X400R • Sam Thompson ’20 BOYS 400M


Girls JV & Varsity Tennis The Girls Tennis program had a great turnout last school year, putting the athletic department in a position to field both a JV and a Varsity team. All players in the program improved various aspects of their games, which put them in a position to be competitive in all of their league matchups.


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• Jasmine Young ’20 GIRLS 4X400R STATE CHAMPIONSHIP QUALIFIER: • Ela Nickels ’19 GIRLS 800M - 6th Place • Ela Nickels ’19 GIRLS 1600M - 7th Place • Girls School Record 4X200R (1:51.87) Dalia Cape ’22, Abby Goodfried ’22, Mira Nickels ’21, Jasmine Young ’20 • Girls School Record 1600M (5:10.02) Ela Nickels ’19

Girls Varsity Ultimate After losing to Seattle Academy twice during the regular season, the Blazers Girls Ultimate team pulled off a huge win against the Cardinals in the ECL Playoff tournament to secure their fourth consecutive appearance in the State Tournament. The players’ commitment to goal setting, team spirit and supporting each other clearly paid off! ALL-LEAGUE FIRST TEAM • Sabine Blumenthal ’19 • Ariana Christakis ’19 ROOKIE OF THE YEAR • Eva Supanc ’22 DISCNW ALL-STATE TEAM • Sabine Blumenthal ’19

Girls Golf All players on the Girls Golf team improved significantly; three of the five players had never played before. Everyone contributed to the team’s success and the coaches had a blast working with the athletes. Ninth Grade student Amanda Gow had an exciting first year on the team finishing fourth in the Emerald City League Championships, ninth in the Bi-District Tournament, and twentyseventh overall at the State Championships. ALL-LEAGUE FIRST TEAM • Amanda Gow ’22 STATE QUALIFIER: • Amanda Gow ’22 GIRLS GOLF COACH OF THE YEAR: • Erin Szekely

FA L L 2 0 1 9 Cross Country The Blazers Cross Country running team is on the rise! After clinching the first league championship for the Blazers Athletic Program since 2017, and advancing through Bi-Districts, the girls’ team had a strong showing at the State Championships in Pasco, Washington, finishing in eleventh place. Amaré Fields, qualified for the state championships but was unfortunately not able to run due to illness. In true Blazer spirit, he traveled with the team to support his teammates and to make observations for future reference. GIRLS TEAM Emerald City League Champions Team Sportsmanship Award ALL-LEAGUE FIRST TEAM • Lolo Dederer ’20 • Abby Goodfried ’22 • Liya Miksovsky ’21

Girls Soccer The Girls Soccer program had an incredible run this year—one of the most successful seasons in school history. After completing an outstanding regular season, the Blazers Soccer team beat Cedar Park Christian and Lynden Christian in the Bi-District Tournament to advance to State. In the first round of the State Tournament, they traveled to Montesano High School and brought home a hard-fought 2-1 victory. The team eventually fell to King’s in the quarter-finals. It was an epic battle—our amazing Blazers fans provided a home-game like atmosphere on the road and the team eventually lost in a penalty shoot-out. “The season included some of the best performances I have seen from any of our girls’ soccer teams. Everyone was on the same page and the players’ willingness to give their all in every 50-50 situation was remarkable,” said Athletics Director Jo Ito.

• Ruby Shapiro ’23

ALL-LEAGUE FIRST TEAM • Claudia Abram ’21

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR • Abby Goodfried ’22

• Elle Jones ’22

BOYS TEAM ALL-LEAGUE FIRST TEAM • Amaré Fields ’23 ROOKIE OF THE YEAR • Amaré Fields ’23 COACHES OF THE YEAR • James Batey • Alban Howe

ALL-LEAGUE SECOND TEAM • Carolina Harr ’22 ALL-STATE SECOND TEAM • Claudia Abram ’21 • Elle Jones ’22

Boys Varsity Golf Sparked by strong performances from new and returning team members, the Boys Golf team completed a rewarding season. Three athletes qualified for the Bi-District Tournament and Coach Erin was recognized with the Emerald City League Coach of the Year Award. BOYS GOLF COACH OF THE YEAR • Erin Szekely

Boys Varsity Tennis Led by first-year Head Coach and Bush parent Cara Holloway, the Boys Tennis team experienced a fun and exciting season. One of the highlights was the fan bus supported home game victory against Overlake. The team had lost the first-round match-up with the Owls and managed to pull off a big win in front of our loyal Blazers fans. Boys JV & Varsity Ultimate Consistent with our experience in the past years, we had a great turnout for Boys Ultimate in the fall. Long-time Head Coach Kate Kingery and her staff did a fantastic job providing a fun, challenging, and supportive team environment for their players. Both the JV and Varsity teams were a competitive matchup for each of their opponents. The players and coaches will fondly look back at their season, knowing that they gave their all in every practice and game. ALL-LEAGUE HONORABLE MENTION • Sam Thompson ’20

2019 Girls Varsity Soccer team made a historic run through the Bi-District Tournament battling their way to the State quarter-finals. Congrats Blazers!

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Girls JV & Varsity Volleyball The Girls Volleyball season included numerous exciting JV and Varsity matches. The Varsity team’s deep playoff run ended with a close loss against a strong Meridian High School team in the Bi-District tournament. Assistant Athletic Director and Varsity Volleyball Assistant Coach Lisa McCullough said, “We had a great season and the girls should be proud of their accomplishments. The players’ hard work paid off as we completed one of the program’s most successful runs in recent years.” ALL-LEAGUE FIRST TEAM • Sophie Stephenson ’22 ALL-LEAGUE HONORABLE MENTION • Louise Puchalla ’22

WINTER 2019-2020 Girls JV & Varsity Basketball After several seniors graduated from last year’s team, it was time for this year’s Girls Basketball players to step up—and they sure did! The Varsity team finished the regular season in third place with a respectable 7-7 record. The team peaked at the right time and pulled off a remarkable league playoff win over Bear Creek—a victory the players and coaches will remember for years to


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come. The season ended in a second-round loss to Meridian High School in the Bi-District Tournament. Not having any seniors in the program this year, the team is hungry for more and already looks forward to next year’s season. ALL-LEAGUE FIRST TEAM • Aniyah Grant ’22 ALL-LEAGUE HONORABLE MENTION • Eva Supanc ’22 WIAA ATHLETE OF THE WEEK • Aniyah Grant ’22

Boys JV & Varsity Basketball Inspired by a motivational panel discussion, which included NBA Legend and Bush parent Jamal Crawford, during the school day, the Boys Varsity Basketball team pulled off a huge Senior Night win against Overlake. All players, especially the seniors, will happily look back at this night which included a dancing crowd of Upper School fans at the center court at the conclusion of the game. A big thank you to Steve Hawes who decided to retire from coaching Bush Basketball after completing a successful four-year run as the Boys Basketball Head Coach. It was Hawes’ third stint at the helm of the Blazers Boys Basketball Program.

Cross Country Skiing What Bush experience includes headlamps, race bibs, snow, and twenty athletes driving to the Methow to compete in a 50k relay? Of course, the one and only Varsity Cross Country Ski Team. Our year was an exciting time of firsts. Our participation was the largest in several years with twenty athletes, including five seniors, three of whom participated in their first varsity sport at The Bush School. Here is one day in the exciting life of our season. Race Day - February 8, 2020 The temperature is currently 24 degrees F with a forecast of 40 F by the time we reach the finish. Our four relay teams, carefully vetted and organized by coaches with their bibs pinned, gloves on, gather for one last huddle before wishing each other luck on their Race to the Sun. The course will take them along fifty kilometers of trail rising a total of 1,932 feet in elevation. Along the way, our athletes will feel the rush that comes with being fast and strong, knowing that their workouts and ski lessons prepared them for this moment. Some will note the importance of preparing and caring for gear and the exhilarating feel of well waxed skis. Others will realize the pride of participating in their first varsity sport and the joy of being part of something bigger than one’s own contribution.

Blazer fans showed up this year in Schuchart Gym to cheer on Blazer basketball. The crowd goes wild after Amaré Fields (left) hit a buzzer beater to take the team into overtime versus Bear Creek. Varsity Boys Basketball celebrates Senior Night on February 3, 2020. Seniors from left to right: Cameron O’Kelley, Cole Solimano, Blake Sanders, Coach Steve Hawes, Deven Goel, Will Morgan, and Ben Kopstein.

The bell rings and the first leg of the race starts. We all cheer as our first skiers skate around the corner. The Mazama Store is in the background, taunting us with the delicious smell of salty baguettes and hot drinks. We persist because nothing matches the fun of the race. Transitions are smooth (mostly) and that is part of the learning here. Hours later, with our four successful team

finishes, we are in a state of euphoria. The Varsity Cross Country team competed. We did it: athletes, coaches, drivers, course volunteers and a community of supporters. It was one fine day in the life of a cross country skier at the Bush School. As the season continued, we went on to compete in three races. The Osbaldy 10k

at Cabin Creek on March 1 completed our season that began in mid-December. Some of the athletes hung up their skis, but a few just kept on going, using their newly gained skills to ski with teammates after the season ended. We’re looking forward to being out on the trails next season and were grateful for the place and people that support our unique Seattle team.

2019 Varsity Boys Ultimate Team (left) and Sophie Stephenson ’22 puts up a serve in the annual faculty and staff volleyball game (right).

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Art Inspires Action C L A S S R O O M S P OT L I G H T: E I G H T H G R A D E V I S UA L A R T S

Above: A selection of bowls from the Eighth Grade Empty Bowls art project. Left clockwise: Van Mitchell ’24, Juliet Willems ’24, and Reed Ziegler ’24 work on their endangered species reverse-glass paintings in the Middle School art studio. During the winter quarter, students focused on Australian animals endangered by raging wildfires: (clockwise from the top) Australian Pelican by Katelin Cavens ’24, Pellucid Hawk Moth by Clara Foltz ’24, and Pygmy Possum by Kate Risse ’24.

Middle School Visual Art Teacher, Rebecca Pleasure has infused a focus on “activist art” into the Eighth Grade art curriculum. Inspired by Empty Bowls, an international fundraising project focused on hunger awareness, Bush students sculpted and glazed their own ceramic bowls to auction. The goal was to share a communal meal using handmade, functional pottery while raising funds for Teen Feed. Eighth Grade students were also influenced by National Geographic’s Photo Ark which uses the power of photography to help save species at risk of extinction. Bush students learned how to make reverse-glass paintings of their chosen animal using acrylics on plexiglass. For their final project, students created their own original artwork about a cause or issue they care about (such as screen printing t-shirts about saving the bee population or risks of deforestation). Not only did students learn how to express their budding and strongly-held beliefs, but they also used a variety or artistic media to further their understanding of the elements of art and principles of design.


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n his director’s note for the November production of The Laramie Project, Upper School Theater Director Jeremy Bryan shared succinctly: “Theatre is an incredibly powerful art form. It is an art that is as healthy and transformative for the performers as it is for the audience. It can help us achieve catharsis and see the world from each other’s eyes.” The catalyst for the play was the brutal acts of violence towards Matthew

In addition to the efforts of the cast and crew to embody this story with compassion and care, The Bush School also worked to situate and process the production and its source events through pre- and post-production dialogues. These served as both an opportunity to offer context, to offer content framing around triggering topics, and to process and heal as a community. Student group SAGA co-hosted the student dialogues, and a mix

Shepard of Laramie, Wyoming, resulting in his death. The theatrical performance of The Laramie Project demonstrated the immense talent of Bush students to take on a production with a powerful social message and challenging acting, taking on the roles of real people, some of whom committed hateful acts.

of students, alumni, and families attended the evening pre-show conversations hosted by Jamila Humphrie (Bush Alumni Relations) and Emily Schorr Lesnick (University Prep Social Emotional Learning) .

Head of School Percy L. Abram wrote, “Kudos to the drama team for the courage and skill in producing one of the most heartfelt and agonizing pieces of art to come across the stage in the past thirty years.” On October 6, 1998, Matthew Shepard, an openly gay twenty-year-old University of Wyoming student, was kidnapped, beaten, tied to a fence, and left to die. Matthew’s murder brought national and international attention to homophobia and forced the small community of Laramie, Wyoming to wrestle with its identity on both the local and national levels. The Laramie Project creates a breathtaking mosaic of a small community, exploring the depths to which humanity can sink and the heights of compassion of which we are capable. Both the events in Laramie and the play itself helped the LGBTQ community gain recognition and rights. Matthew Shepard’s murder was a moment that activated social change for the LGBTQ community—a community that suffers from discrimination, marginalization and endemic violence—to connect nationwide and stand up against hate crimes.


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To conclude our discussion we invited the group to create Vent Diagrams, a play on “venn diagrams,” in which participants draw two overlapping circles and label with seemingly contrasting ideas that are both true to illuminate the tensions and contradictions inherent in the play, the performance, and our community. An example is “This play is really hard to watch” and “This play is hard and we need to watch it”. Instead of thinking of things in terms of right and wrong, it shows the difficulty of these topics and there are situations that are wrong and right, or bad and good. This activity builds on the critical, independent, and creative thinking we foster in our classrooms. Enough time has passed now that the murder of Matthew Shepard in Laramie, Wyoming is no longer an event students remember. Rev. Fred Phelps and his horrific protests have also faded into the past. This play is no longer as recent and present as it was in 2002, when any high school in America that chose to do the show was threatened with protest. And yet, The Laramie Project remains incredibly relevant. If Matthew Shepard had not been gay, he would not have been murdered, and the underlying hate that led two young men to commit the crime are still being nursed in the hearts of too many people.

Kate Okerstrom ’22, Grace Shipley ’21, and the members of the cast portray more than sixty characters in a series of short scenes in The Bush School’s production of The Laramie Project, capturing the diverse perspectives of Laramie, Wyoming residents following the murder of Matthew Shepard in 2002.

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TWO DECADES OF WORK The Rainier Scholars organization is always focused on the future. But this year, they are focusing on their past as 2020 marks twenty years since Rainier Scholars officially welcomed their first cohort of students to their program. Previously called Rainier Prep, its vision continues to transform the lives of students, families, and their communities, with support ranging from offering rigorous academic programs, encouraging enrollment to high-performing public schools and independent schools, applying to top universities and colleges, and providing support for building career networks. In two decades, these efforts have come to fruition with 99% college admission.

PA R T N E R S H I P A N D P O S S I B I L I T I E S For fifteen out of nineteen years, The Bush School has served as a site for the Rainier Scholars summer program. Every summer for seven weeks, Bush welcomes 120 students, faculty, staff, and their families to campus. Executive Director Sarah Smith, a current Bush parent, explained that having the program at Bush was strategic: “The summer partnership with The Bush School has provided us the opportunity to introduce all scholars and families to the world of independent schools, demystifying these educational spaces and giving scholars a sense of access and belonging. At the end of the first summer, the scholars see The Bush School campus as their home. They carry this sense of home as they head out on their educational journey to new middle schools, high schools, universities, medical school, and beyond.” Former Rainier Scholar faculty member, Dr. Ronnie Cunningham, knew Bush’s then Head of School Frank Magusin from playing football at Lakeside School. That relationship laid the foundation for partnership, plus Bush’s location in the Central District offered accessibility for families and students.

BUILDING COMMUNITY Bush community members have been instrumental in the organization’s transition and growth. Rainier Scholars Founder Bob Hurlbut recalls that Bush Assistant Head for Finance and Operations Robin Bentley ensured the partnership’s operations. Bob shared: “The person who really advocated for us with the Bush staff and community was Robin.” Robin remembers that former member of the Bush Board of Trustees and alumni parent Brian Klein, who was also on the Board of Rainier Scholars, was supportive and encouraged Rainier Scholars and Bush to collaborate. With the support of former Head of School Frank Magusin, the partnership began–and flourished.


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“The vision that it took to create a program like Rainier Scholars gets to the heart of why education matters. Their holistic approach of supporting students from the summer program at Bush to academic classes throughout the school year to family support lays a foundation for success. Over time the mission of Rainier Scholars has positively impacted the mission of The Bush School, providing us with a strong community partnership to identify students of promise and limitless potential,” says former head of School Frank Magusin. Director of Admissions and Financial Aid Adam Choice sees first hand the impact of the partnership between Rainier Scholars and The Bush School today: “Hosting the Rainier Scholars summer program on Bush’s campus has a positive effect on Rainier Scholars who enroll at Bush. Students are familiar with the campus when they arrive for their student visit and again on the first day of school. They know the hallways, classrooms, and have experienced daily life on our campus. This strong sense of place brings a level of confidence that allows them to navigate the uncertainties that may come along with their transition to independent schools.” In twenty years, Rainier Scholars has celebrated 250 graduates who have completed degrees from many of the nation’s top colleges and universities. As they graduate, they have launched into a variety of careers and leadership positions in their employment sectors and in their communities. This was part of the vision in 2000 that the founders of the organization could not yet quite see, but could only imagine.

F U T U R E C O L L A B O R AT I O N Under the leadership of Head of School Percy L. Abram, the connection between Bush and Rainier Scholars has continued to flourish. Dr. Abram shared, “We are committed to ensuring the relationship between Rainier Scholars and Bush grows well into the future. As educational organizations, we are stronger together. We will continue to seek new opportunities to partner together in the form of teacher collaboratives, student exchanges, and parent education.” Currently there are forty-five Rainier Scholars who are Bush alumni and students. Even after so many years together, the school continues to appreciate this reciprocal relationship. Dr. Abram shared that the collaboration is an opportunity for Bush to learn from Rainier Scholars: “These lessons of how to create meaningful change through the power of education is part of their ethos; we can all learn from Rainier Scholars. Their future is limitless, and we are fortunate to be a part of it.”

Over fifteen summers, Rainier Scholars have arrived on The Bush School campus at 3400 E. Harrison Street for the Rainier Scholars Academic Enrichment Program, greeted each morning with high fives, smiles, and the promise of another great day of growth and learning by their teachers. (Photos provided by Rainier Scholars)

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do not think I am alone when I say my world revolves around Zoom these days—meetings, birthday parties, family check-ins, happy hours with colleagues, brunch with friends, and more. We are all being challenged to reimagine most every aspect of our lives and how we engage with others. The same is true for philanthropy. The art and joy of philanthropy are steeped in relationships, and not necessarily ones that have been built on Zoom. In fact, these relationships are often nurtured in places where the impact of giving can be seen and heard, such as The Bush School campus bustling with students and faculty. One thing that has become obviously clear is that place—the spaces we share with others—is often both the starter and binding ingredient of our relationships. Our campus on 3400 East Harrison Street is where our students, families, faculty, and staff have forged formidable connections and a sense of belonging. It is the place where students first connect with teachers and classmates. And, according to our over 5,000 alumni and alumni parents, relationships built at Bush continue well beyond graduation. It is one of the reasons why school feels like a second home, and even a second family. It is literally our common ground. The loss of place has been felt deeply during the pandemic, but it has also opened doors where distance may have felt like a challenge before. My own family of origin includes four sisters including me. I live 2,800 miles away from the rest who live in Washington D.C., Connecticut, and Vermont. Time zones aside, I have “seen” more of my family in the last few months than I did when I was living close by. We have celebrated six birthdays and attended weekly family yoga all by Zoom. We have also had hard conversations about what we and our neighbors and friends are experiencing in the face of the pandemic. The conversation organically and unsurprisingly turned to “what can we do?” Sharing ideas about ways we might be able to support our neighbors, communities, and each other is a powerful realignment from feeling vulnerable and helpless during isolation.


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Philanthropy is personal, and this conversation with my family about how to help was both reassuring and empowering. Our ideas and efforts were centralized in our home communities. The focus of our giving during the pandemic has moved closer to home. One of my sisters lives in rural New England in a town with a population of 4,000. Their family is part of a newly organized volunteer group raising money to provide masks for every adult in the community and weekly food baskets for those experiencing food insecurity. Another sister talked about supporting local food banks in their suburban community because, as a small business owner, she knows how quickly things can unravel. Together we reflected on the leadership of nonprofits and the unequal access to care. My oldest sister talked about nonprofits and the critical role they serve in our society. She has seen strong leadership in her city come from nonprofits who are effectively responding to urgent needs, especially in the areas of healthcare and food scarcity. Our mom, who lives in the same city, remarked that the pandemic has brought to the fore the inequality of not only care, but also safety for so many. She noted that “uncertainty for some is life threatening for others.” My parents continue to focus their philanthropy close to home by doing all they can to mitigate poverty and unequal access to resources. At the end of the Zoom call we were all a bit weary and inspired at the same time. Before we all pushed the red “leave meeting” button, my Mom shared: “hopefully this pandemic will force all of us to look outside ourselves, listen for and see what is needed, and do what we can to make a difference.” The crisis is global, but now more than ever our family’s philanthropic focus over the last two months has trended towards addressing the needs of our neighbors, home cities, and communities. As the pandemic was unfolding in Seattle, and our worlds were being turned upside down overnight, The Bush School committed to supporting our students and families through this crisis. As the world shifted around us, our families understood that we were in this together. On March 14, 2020, we did not gather, but our school community heard the call and showed up to support one another generously and graciously. Over $500,000 was raised for need based financial aid. Thank you! Our community demonstrated that we are connected because of this place, The Bush School, and we are in this together.

Four sisters and mom. From left to right: Kristen, Joanne, Jen, Julia, and Sharon

“ Uncertainty for some is life threatening for others. Hopefully this pandemic will force all of us to look outside ourselves, listen for and see what is needed, and do what we can to make a difference.” -Julia

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CATCH A WAVE While COVID-19 might have canceled the party, it did not keep us from Celebrating Bush on March 14. After the State of Washington canceled all large public events due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Celebrate Bush event committee quickly pivoted to a virtual format with just under a week to adapt the plans. Participants raised their paddles, purchased buy-in spots, and bid on live auction items, all from the comfort of their homes. Video remarks from Head of School Percy L. Abram, Event Chair Gretchen Boehm, and Steve Rosen ’84 inspired us and kept us laughing all evening long. Your generous support helped us raise a record $539,200 and counting for financial aid, providing a wide array of critical support to our families. Every gift at every amount makes a difference and helps ensure that all Bush students can experience a well-rounded Bush education. As this year’s Celebrate Bush chair, I could not have imagined that we would have hosted Celebrate Bush online this year. The event fell on the first Saturday following the first week of school closure during the pandemic. I appreciated how our community came together to support each other in such a big way. Teachers, staff, parents/guardians, and students, showed up to support financial aid. While it felt that there was little in our control in those first weeks of the pandemic, together we raised our paddles to share our collective support of our community to ensure that all students and families would have the resources to access a Bush education. I could not be more proud.




A special thank you to Event Chair Gretchen Boehm and the entire volunteer team for their year-long efforts in planning Celebrate Bush.





BUY IN EVENTS Emily Alhadeff ’94 Allie Ruettgers CLASS ART PROJECTS Suzanna Westhagen DÉCOR Forest Dickey Michel Grkov ENTERTAINMENT Kate Hinely Bill Molloy EMCEE Steve Rosen ’84


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PROCUREMENT Gretchen Boehm SPONSORSHIP/ AD SALES The Bush School Development Committee TEACHER EXPERIENCES Kira Streets VOLUNTEERS Alicia Alberg Shirley Chow Rupa Gadre Andrea Lang Courtney McKlveen Kate Pollock

CLASS ART PROJECT VOLUNTEERS Kindergarten Forest Dickey Courtney McKlveen Kira Streets First Grade Abby Tennenbaum Heather Hayes Second Grade Judi Yates Joelle Alhadeff Rachel Stroble Third Grade Kaylen Flugel Suzanna Westhagen Fourth Grade Toni-Ann Lupinacci Kate Bayley ’96 Fifth Grade Mili and Phil Welt Middle School Meklit A. ’21 Rebecca Pleasure Kira Sorensen Upper School Marilyn Smith Upper School Drawing Class

Wendy and Tim Besse Abby and Ross Tennenbaum


$539,200 IN SUPPORT OF FINANCIAL AID (and counting!)*

This year, sponsors raised $52,800 in support of financial aid at The Bush School. Read on to learn more about our featured sponsor, and their passion for expanding access to a Bush education.


For the past three years, Garde Capital, Inc. has been a lead sponsor of Celebrate Bush. Garde Capital, Inc. was founded upon two shared goals: driving local investment strategy and forming close human relationships.


“As fiduciaries, we have a legal, moral and ethical responsibility to put our clients first,” Marshal McReal, principal, said. “We find great joy in taking on The Bush School’s mission as our own, advocating for the important work faculty, staff, and families are doing every step of the way.” The partners at Garde Capital are continually impressed by the dedication and longevity of the leadership from Dr. Percy Abram and the Board of Trustees. Parents and leaders at Bush are dedicated to strategic work around expanding access, something the firm agrees is crucial to developing the next generation of ethical, global and critical thinkers. COVID-19 has impacted all schools and businesses, but experiential education leaves Bush students with a myriad of skills that allow for them to view the world and community differently. Stressful periods like this present opportunities to truly make a difference, and Bush is a community that recognizes all things matter, great or small. “Education can be the great equalizer, particularly when access is given to populations that have potential, but need the right environment to succeed,” McReal said.






(and counting!)




1,029 LIKES AND 11,084 IMPRESSIONS FROM POSTS ON THE BUSH 11 SCHOOL INSTAGRAM Although Celebrate Bush looked different this year, the virtual format also presented us with unique opportunities for sponsor recognition. Board President Steven Rosen ’84 and current Bush parent Bill Molloy serenaded this year’s sponsors in a special video tribute. For Tom Owens, principal at Garde Capital, this special video was both a hilarious surprise and a trip down memory lane.

To learn more about Garde Capital, visit their website






9 HOURS LONG *As of June 25, 2020

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Welcoming Grandparents and Special Friends to the Lower School The Bush Lower School hosted Grandparents and Special Friends Day on November 26, 2019. The morning began with a warm welcome from Lower School Director Aliya Virani and Head of School Percy L. Abram. Lower School Music Director Julia Sarewitz worked with Lower School students on some original performances, including a sing-a-long to “Wildflower” by Tom Petty. Guests visited with Lower School faculty, took tours of campus, and hula-hooped on the playground. It was a morning filled with music, joy, laughter, and love. This was the first time Bush had hosted the event in many years. It was a pleasure to give grandparents and friends of The Bush School a window into students’ daily lives in the Lower School. A special thank you to the Lower School faculty and staff, and to the parent volunteers who made the event such a success.


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SUPPORT THE BUSH SCHOOL A gift to The Bush School will provide support for students, faculty, and programs. Take a look below and explore the ways in which you and your family would like to make a difference: The Bush School has identified the following priorities for the upcoming school year: • Current year financial aid to continue providing resources to our families in a challenging economy. To date we have received over twenty inquiries from families needing additional financial aid equalling $145,000 and we expect those numbers to rise throughout the year; • Faculty professional development to support Bush teachers in their practice of engaging students and delivering a high quality program in a variety of scenarios, including remote learning; • Technology to support dynamic program delivery; to date we have loaned out 222 devices to Bush students; • Connecting to Place Capital Campaign to create more space and flexibility in delivering educational programs, to increase access thereby educating more students, and to incorporate sustainable practices stewarding our environment; • The Percy L. Abram Fund for Inclusion, Equity, and Justice to support intercultural fluency educational programs at The Bush School”. The enclosed envelope includes options for ways to make your gift including stocks, planned giving, and matching gifts. Questions about the ways to support The Bush School? Contact Assistant Director of Development Libby Singer at or 206.326.7777.

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TE AM 1924: A CELEBR ATION OF GIVING OCTOBER 10, 2019 Team 1924 is an event held each year to express gratitude for our most generous donors. This year, we celebrated those who gave at this leadership level to the Annual Fund, Endowment, Financial Aid through Celebrate Bush, and the Capital Campaign in the 2018-2019 school year. We extend our deepest gratitude to all donors to The Bush School. A special thanks to this year’s Team 1924 hosts, Joelle and Loren Alhadeff, for a beautiful evening of celebration.




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7 1 Monica and Dave Stephenson 2 Hosts Loren and Joelle Alhadeff, Head of School Percy L. Abram, Director of Development Sharon Hurt 3 Phil Welt, Annual Fund Parent Chair 4 Deehan ’65 and Virgina ’67 Wyman


8 5 Heidi Narayan, Arpana Goel, Michael Narayan 6 Krista Grinstein, Sarah Richmond 7 Phil Welt, Alumni and Donor Relations Manager Jamila Humphrie, and Head of School Percy L. Abram 8 Monica and Dave Stephenson, Roxana Arama, and Mili Welt Ex pe rience 2 0 2 0



Bush alumni gathered in New York City at the home of Ben Ryan ’97. They enjoyed each other’s company, updates from campus, and a conversation focused on the school’s vision which continues to prioritize and encourage inclusivity.



1 Ben Ryan ’97 and Liza Lagunoff ’79 2 (bottom left to right): Kate Shuhart ’17, Ben Ryan ’97, Upper School Counselor John Ganz, Director of Development Sharon Hurt, Ellen Ferrin ’03, Fainan Lakha ’13, Bobby Hausman ’13, Scooter Blume ’13, Sonja Haroldson ’13, Liza Lagunoff ’79, Head of School Percy L. Abram 3 Ellen Ferrin ’03, Head of School Percy L. Abram, Sonja Haroldson ’13, Scooter Blume ’13



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FIF TIETH REUNION J U LY 1 3 , 2 0 1 9



The Class of 1969 celebrated their Fiftieth Reunion with a tour of campus, a reception with Head of School Percy L. Abram, and a BBQ at the home of Steff ’69 and Hod Fowler. The class reminisced about Bush faculty like Marjorie Livengood and Midge Grove, looked through yearbooks, and revisited treasured spaces on campus like the senior lounge.

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Head of School Percy L. Abram, Class of 1969 Alumnae Deborah Stein, Marion Brinkley Mohler, Stephanie Fowler, and Janet Padelford. Not pictured but also in attendance was Laurie Cunningham. 2 Phone located in Gracemont. When Gracemont was a boarding house. Phones were used to call between rooms of the house and for boarding students to call home. 3 Reviewing yearbooks 4 “Class of 1969” - reminiscing in the senior lounge


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ALUMNI DAY 2019 JUNE 15, 2019

Blazers spanning six decades returned to campus from across the country this summer to celebrate their experience at The Bush School. Alumni and friends enjoyed hearing an update from Head of School Percy L. Abram and Upper School Director Ray Wilson, touring the campus, playing lawn games, and reconnecting with each other.


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5 7

8 6

1 Mateaa Redmond ’00 2 Jacob Kennon ’08, Sylvia Bargellini ’09, Anna Hayden ’09 3 Class of 1997 alumni Richard Jensen, Loren Alhadeff and Joshua Donion 4 Class of 2012 alumni Macey Wong, Nija Chappel, Diana Gravett, Katherine Buhl

5 Maeli Ready, Jodi Ready ’89, Ethan Ready 6 Alex Meyer ’09, Head of School Percy L. Abram, Upper School Director Ray Wilson 7 Chris ’82 and Phyllis Darrah 8 Tour guide Saffron Hefta-Gaub ’18, Victoria Nielsen ’18, and Upper School Art Teacher Bill Baber

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In Memoriam of Alumni & Staff of The Bush School W E H O N O R A N D C E L E B R AT E T H E L I V E S O F C O M M U N I T Y M E M B E R S W H O W E L O S T T H I S PA S T Y E A R .

1930s Marillyn Watson ’39 1940s Helen B. Belvin ’44 Deborah McCallum ’46 Marion E. Moriarty ’49 1950s Stephanie J. Amick ’54 Eloise N. Jensen ’58 1970s Judith Ann Buckinger ’70

Pamela Grieff ’81 (1963-2020)

Destany Franklin ’10 (1992-2020)

In May 2020, Pamela Grieff ’81 passed away. She was a beloved member of the Class of 1981 and was described as a “social anchor when it came to Reunions.” She leaves behind her brother Jeff Grieff and her dog Boris, whom she cherished. Her death was untimely, and many in the Bush and Seattle communities are mourning her loss.

Destany Franklin ’10 passed away suddenly on Friday, April 24, 2020. Destany was a beloved member of the 2010 graduating class and a member of the second cohort of Rainier Scholars. Destany had been living in Los Angeles since she graduated from Bates College in 2014 receiving the Maine Campus Compact’s Heart and Soul Student Award for her work with a local youth program.

1980s Pamela Grieff ’81

Destany was a young woman with great and positive energy who could literally light up any classroom or group she entered. She had a strong voice for issues that she was passionate about, and was an especially strong advocate for issues around race and ethnicity at Bush.

1990s Katherine Textor ’92 Erica Sevilla ’94 2010s Destany Franklin ’10 Bush Faculty and Staff Lilian “June” Dust Midge Grove Shirley Loper This list reflects the alumni who have passed away between April 1, 2019 and May 31, 2020. Please accept our deepest apologies if someone is inadvertently missing from this list, and contact If you would like to share a memory or treasured story of your friend or colleague, please do so by emailing us at


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Erica Sevilla ’94 (1975-2019) Erica Ionia (DeBruyn) Sevilla ’94 passed away on October 11, 2019 after a long and valiant battle with breast cancer, she was 43. She is survived by her husband Nathan, daughter Avery, age 13, son William, age 10, mother Anne E. DeBruyn and sister Dr. Deirdre A. DeBruyn-Rubio ’96, as well as extended family in the U.S., Ireland, and England. Erica was born in Seattle, Washington to Anne and Paul DeBruyn and graduated from The Bush School. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Art History from American University in 1998 where she met her husband, Nathan. She earned her Master’s Degree in Museum Education from Teacher’s College Columbia University in 2005. More than anything, Erica is remembered as a devoted wife and mother and a fiercely loyal friend to everyone she met. Her tireless dedication to public service in Southern Westchester touched the lives of countless people.

Sarah Smith, Executive Director of Rainier Scholars shared, “She was an incredible young woman who loved her family fiercely and completed her applications for medical school last month. In my last conversation with her on the 25th of March, she was very excited for all that lay ahead and to say that this news is stunning and heartbreaking is a tremendous understatement.” Destany had planned to attend medical school. Before her passing, she spoke with her Neuroscience Professor at Bates College, Nancy Koven, who shared this of Destany, “Destany was one of the kindest, gentlest souls I have ever met while at the same time being passionately committed to core values in family, community, and education. Ready to embark on her journey to medical school, she expressed a steadfast desire to serve as a resource and mentor for healthcare access and advocacy. With a long and vibrant life ahead of her, I am reminded of — and am humbled by — what Destany had already accomplished through her courageous, patient, and generous spirit.” She will be deeply missed by friends, family, and her community across the country.

Marjorie Grove (1925-2019)

Lillian “June” Dust (1946-2020)

Marjorie Grove was a remarkable and extraordinary teacher. With her firm belief in the boundless intellectual capability of all her students, she called upon them all to perform at the zenith of their acumen. Her tools for teaching the proper usage and appreciation of the English language included grammar, diagramming, spelling, punctuation and reading; as well she gave individual attention to each student in her student/teacher conferences, and tirelessly corrected her students’ work until it was presented perfectly. One remembers correction folders in English class, and creating timelines as a tool to understand Ancient History; all overlayed with a profound assortment of fine and classical literature to illustrate it. Her students received an ironclad understanding of the construction of the English language as well as a dynamic appreciation of classical literature. Ms. Grove changed lives, and her students never forgot her; she was a one-ofa-kind teacher. Midge’s years of teaching at Bush stretched from 1952 to 1958 and again from 1963 to 1971 where she held the multiple responsibilities of English Teacher to Grades Eight through Eleven, Drama and Ancient History Teacher throughout the Upper School, and Dormitory Adviser during her tenure in the Fifties.

Lillian “June” Dust was an incredible person. The legacy she left behind is one that we should each hope for, one of kindness and compassion. June was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba and passed away at the age of 73. June is survived by her oldest son, Fred Jr., and her two granddaughters, A’di (age 19) and Cadence (age 17), daughters of Dominique Bradley ’97 and Nathaniel Dust ’97. She was preceded in death by her son Nathaniel.

Midge’s students held a 90th birthday party for her in April 2015, and a committee of her students and fellow teachers organized “A Celebration of Life for Midge Grove, Teacher Extraordinaire” in August 2019, following her death on July 4 the month prior; the celebration was hosted by the school and held in The Community Room. For the two events both her fellow teachers and students were invited, with teachers and students from all decades in attendance. Speakers at the celebration included Anne Steckel Low ’67, Gair Hemphill Crutcher ’67, Virginia Wyman ’67, and Phoebe Caner Warren ’71; also friends and teachers Barb Williams and Joan Catoni Conlon. The school selected the Faculty Professional Development Fund at the Bush School as a memorial fund appropriate to this lifelong-dedicated teacher; we welcome you to make a memorial contribution to this fund in Ms. Grove’s memory. Midge’s resumé is on file with the school; please contact if you wish to receive a copy.

June was the ultimate people person and animal lover. Her favorite part of any day was talking with her friends in her nursing home and around her neighborhood (in her more mobile days). She also loved meeting new people. June could talk to anyone she met with ease, and often would. As a devout animal lover, June was a doting cat-and-dogmom to many furry friends in her lifetime. Just seeing an animal was a special treat for her. Her eyes would light up any time she saw one, even if it was only pictures in magazines or on screen. June’s spirit is best summed up by her granddaughters, A’di and Cadence: “Her passion for every inch of life was inspiring. We don’t know anyone else who found so much joy and satisfaction in the small parts of life. From her many animal friends, to her family, to the thousands of random people she met on the street, she was well-loved and is greatly missed. We love you very much, Grandma, and we’ll miss you forever.” June was a pivotal figure on The Bush School campus when she lived there as headmistress. Her talent for hosting and willingness to open her home for the Bush community has been recognized by the Bush Board of Trustees and will be remembered by all those who knew her. Despite health challenges that limited her mobility to a wheelchair early on in life, June lived a full and independent life after leaving Bush. June passed away in January of 2020 surrounded by her son and grandchildren.

Shirley Loper (1927-2020)

Shirley McClurg Loper was a devoted librarian at The Bush School from 1969-1995. “The joy in life is discovery!” was her motto as a librarian. She was a marvelous reader and storyteller, and delighted in recommending books to patrons of all ages, from a page-turning mystery to an enchanting children’s read aloud. Loper worked vigilantly, in ways that were ahead of her time, to ensure that both fiction and nonfiction books were inclusive and representative of a myriad of cultures, voices, and perspectives. Loper attended Colorado University in Boulder, where she studied English Literature. She received her Library Science degree and teaching credential from the University of Washington. Shirley had two sons, Matthew and William Loper, and three grandchildren, Andres, Naomi, and Bush employee Elena Loper who continues her legacy as part of the library staff. Upon retiring from Bush, Shirley assumed a leadership role at the Seattle Art Museum (SAM) from 1996-2016, and was awarded the Dorothy Malone Award as outstanding volunteer. Shirley McClurg Loper passed away peacefully on Monday, February 10, 2020 surrounded by family, friends, stories, and music.

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Class Notes During this difficult time, Bush alumni are more eager than ever to hear about classmates and friends and share life’s big moments with the Blazer community. For future publications or for social media, please email the Alumni Office at

1940s This year, Dee Dickinson ’45 is proud to celebrate her Seventh-Fifth Reunion from The Bush School! She remembers fondly the support she received from Mrs. Bush as a student, and wishes the Class of 2020 all the best during this difficult, but joyous time.

1960s Penny Wall Booth ’68 shared that she “finally made the move back to my hometown of Lake Chelan. If any of my classmates or boarding mates come this way, I would love to hear from you.”

Sheri Stephens ’75 holds a Master’s in Mental Health Counseling with Art Therapy, and during the pandemic, she began to treat her clients virtually at her Birds Flying Free Art Therapy Studio. She shared this reflection on her Bush experience and its meaning today, “Here is the result of an exceptional education: Not that one achieves great things under the best of circumstances, but that one has the flexibility and self confidence to pivot and soar despite unforeseen or catastrophic circumstances.”

In 2020, Chris Ballew ’84 of Caspar Babypants was nominated for a Grammy, Best Children’s Album. Following the shutdown in Seattle, Steve Rosen’s ’84 Elemental Pizza sent 75 pizzas to thank everyone at UW Medical Center, and has now sent over 1,500 pizzas and additional food to numerous other locations in the Seattle area to support frontline workers and those who are food insecure.


During Black History Month, Seattle’s KIRO 7 interviewed Bush Alumna Michelle PurnellHepburn ’75 about preserving the history of Liberty Bank, the first black-owned bank in the Pacific Northwest. Michelle’s parents were two of the ten founders of Liberty Bank in Seattle’s Central District. In the interview Michelle recounts the amazing story and legacy of the bank and its founders.


Nicole Blom Heath ’75 shared “I’m sorry for the reason the reunion was cancelled, but happy that I’ll be able to attend in 2021 since we knew we couldn’t attend this summer. The reunion conflicted with dropping off our youngest for Plebe Summer at the Naval Academy in Annapolis. The picture is of our daughter Sydney (age 20) and me advocating for stronger gun laws at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford, CT.” Anne Turner ’76 became an Agriculture Consultant with the UNHCR Refugee Agency based in Zimbabwe where she “assesses agricultural livelihood programs for effectiveness and provides recommendations for new activities as well as improvements to existing ones”.

“Holidate” is streaming on Netflix and features Meeghan Holaway ’84. During her time at Bush, she recalls performing in musicals and plays, and even travelled to England to study theatre at Kensington College in London. Now based in LA, she has appeared in numerous movies and TV series. Sieb Juriaans ’89 now owns three different restaurants in Langley, WA on Whidbey Island. If you’re in the area, stop by Saltwater Fish House & Oyster Bar, Prima Bistro and Seabiscuit Bakery.

1990s Greta Hardin ’90 “loves to make things” to support frontline workers. She created tutorials on how to make simple scrub caps and masks. Elizabeth Hackett ’92 is a screenwriter in Los Angeles and co-wrote two romantic comedies for the platform: “Falling Inn Love” and “Love, Guaranteed”.


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In November, Aaron and Emily Alhadeff ’94 hosted the entire Lower School at the Majestic Bay Theater. Kindergarten through Fifth Grade students and their families were invited to watch Frozen 2 on opening weekend.

2000s At the outbreak of COVID-19, Justin Brotman ’00 shared on Facebook offering his support to Seattle restaurant workers. Wyeth “B.” Barclay ’02 started his career in the music industry, touring and working with major artists, while also producing music of his own. Now in this new phase of his career, he is representing artist Milo Redwood, whose work is often inspired by music and is now featured at various galleries. In 2019, singer/songwriter Whitney Phillips ’02 was nominated for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration. Reflecting on the influence of her music teachers Michael Gettel and Jill Wangsgard at Bush, Whitney shared “Jill especially was very instrumental in giving me the confidence to do what I’m doing now.” She continues writing for some of the biggest names in the music industry. Chelsea Wong ’04 shared, “My solo show, ‘The Pleasure of Joy’ is up now at Legion SF in San Francisco. The body of work was created prior to and during the pandemic. It is comprised of 19 paintings, ranging in sizes from 12x9 inches watercolor paintings on paper, to 4'x5' acrylic paintings on canvases. The title of the show and content of the work is meant to inspire joy into the lives of the viewers. They are mini-critiques, celebrations, small feats of activism. Having been exposed to the world through Bush helped form my critical thinking, expressed through my paintings.”

In Fall 2019, Elizabeth Lewis ’07 received high honors from her college alma mater Chapman University when she became the youngest person ever to be inducted in the school’s athletic hall of fame. At Bush, Elizabeth dominated the tennis courts winning four consecutive championships from 2004-2007 in the WIAA 1A State Singles. Elizabeth and her father Tom continue to coach tennis at the Middle School.

2010s The relationship between Teen Feed and Bush was cemented ten years ago with Elizabeth Moore’s ’10 Senior Project and continues with participation from members of the Bush community. Numerous Bush community members, including former Bush faculty Peggy O’Neill Skinner, continues to volunteer and cook meals with the organization. Teen Feed welcomes 50-70 homeless youth each night offering a warm meal and other basic needs.

Chase Habu-Chinn ’18, Joe Kelley ’16, Zoe Willig ’18, Powell Clark ’18, and James Rudolph ’18 are all working at Maker Mask. Featured in the Seattle Times, The Maker Mask is a fully 3D printable NIH approved respirator mask that can be printed within just a few hours. Ethan Widlansky ’18 is running crosscountry for Ponoma-Pitzer College (with Bush classmate Ela Nickels ’19) and his team took 1st overall, awarding them the title of 2019 West Regional Champions! Ethan finished 1st with a top time of 25:00:07. Ethan’s coach shared: “Ethan has been strong all season long and proved his fitness once again with a strong close to secure his first individual collegiate victory!” Etienne Reche-Ley ’19 hosted TEDxYouth in Seattle in October 2019. This conference, aimed at ages 13-23, featured inspiring talks and performances by young people—for young people. The talks will cover topics ranging from sustainability, ending gun violence, and neurodiversity.

Wei Motulsky ’11 is pursuing a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology at Columbia University’s Teachers College. At Bush, Wei was the co-president of the GSA (now SAGA), and worked to create a LGBTQ inclusive community. Wei continues this effort with research focused on how minoritized groups experience stressors. After Zoe Becker ’15 graduated from NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study, she started a new job as the Community & Social Media Coordinator at Food Network. In 2019, Jackson “Rence” Hirsh ’16 signed a deal with Epic Records. Though tours are on hold for now, you can follow his Instagram @Rence to stay up to date with his music.

Ela Nickels ’19 is running for Pomona-Pitzer Women’s XC (with Bush classmate Ethan Widlansky ’18), and her team took 2nd place at the 2019 NCAA West Regionals with Ela’s time clocking in at 23:26:2, awarding her 23rd overall. Her team qualified for the NCAA national championships. Her team was awarded All Region as well, which means all seven runners finished in the top 35.

2020s After finishing Tenth Grade at Bush, Nikolas Ioannou ’21 enrolled in the Computer Science program at the University of Washington. In 2019, he co-founded Spira, a company developing state-of-the-art AI tools for respiratory disease screening.

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The Best

Part of Me Students in Mrs. Metzger and Ms. Feeney’s Second Grade read The Best Part of Me by Wendy Ewald and then incorporated elements of this story into their own writing in Writer’s Workshop. As part of the project, students also worked with current Bush parent and photographer Judi Yates.


Heart The best part of me is my heart. It lets my kindness unleash. My heart helps me stay active. It helps me shoot baskets.


Eyes The best part of me is my eyes. My eyelashes are long and beautiful. I have eyes twinkling like the stars. My eyes help me to sleep and have good dreams.



The best part of me is my back. It helps me move around on my bike and when I skateboard with tricks up my sleeve! A human backbone is one very long bone. It is actually the longest bone in your body! My back is an important part of me.

The best part of me is my face! I like my senses on my face. I have opinions of what one I can use. I can smile with big and small teeth showing. My tongue makes silly faces like a clown at the circus! My lips kiss my mom at night. “Good night, mom,” my lips say.



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The best part of me is my hair. It is curly like a Category 3 tornado. My hair also looks like a swell wave in the ocean. My hair is beautiful and curly like my grandfather’s hair. I have one red streak of hair on the left side of the top of my head. I am mixed with white and black. Now those are some cool facts about my hair!



The best part of me is my brain. It helps me and my friends defeat rock brain. My brain is smart and helps me make good choices. I have a big brain like the earth. My brain lets me think fast when I answer questions.

I believe that the best part of me is my hair. I can put it into a ponytail. My hair is smooth—most of the time! It is red like the color of a fox’s fur. My hair is long, very long!



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Mouth I love my mouth because I can sing. I like to sing because my dad sings too. I also like to sing at music class in school. I like to smile for photos and picture day. Picture day is for your photo to be taken for one school year. I like to smile because I want to show my happiness. With my mouth I can eat my favorite food which is ramen. Ramen is a kind of soup with noodles. I really like the noodles. Sometimes I slurp the noodles. It is really fun. With my mouth I can say funny things like a joke. My mouth is so cool!



My hair makes me me. My hair is beautiful. It is wavy, it is long, and it is as beautiful as sunlight. But my hair is not light-colored. I play with my hair all the time. I play by curling it. My hair is like my mom’s hair. We take so much care of it. My hair is keratin. Your hair is keratin. We all have keratin. Keratin is in our hair and nails. I am a Muslim and my job is to follow my deen by wearing a hijab/scarf. It is headwear. But I am a kid so I do not have to worry about wearing a hijab. I have to be thirteen to officially wear one. My hair is the best!


Tummy My wonderful tummy. I love my tummy, it connects my legs to my neck and my neck to my legs. It helps me stretch. It helps me hula hoop. It helps me with almost everything. One of the reasons I like my tummy is it is where my food digests. In fact I wish my tummy was full of s’mores right now. I have a scar. It is pretty cool. The scar is from my feeding tubes. I was a baby. Feeding tubes are tubes you put in your body to help you eat.


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The best part of me is my face! I have dark eyes like the dead of night and the moon light. My skin is like dark chocolate because I was born that way. I have lovely shiny earrings. My eyelashes are long and dark. My face is the best part of me.


Hands I like my hands because they help me hold my bike handles. I hold the handles so my bike doesn’t fall down. I like to write. My hands, they help me write. I write about my dog. He’s small and white. When I write I use my hands too. I learned how to put my hands on the keyboard when I was in first grade. I tie my shoelaces and make a bow with my hands.



The best part of me is my heart! My heart helps me fulfill the charter and feel respected! It powers my love by giving hugs. It gets me powered with energy. My heart is the best part of me!

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ne of the four educational foundations of The Bush School is local and global citizenship. During the pandemic, this value has been tested and serves as a reminder of the ways that we are interconnected and interdependent with each other. An example of this connection is the economic impact on small businesses in Seattle and around the world. The #BlazerStrong initiative, led by the Alumni Relations office, grew out of a desire to support people in The Bush School community who are small business owners by publicizing these companies on the school’s website. This way, Bush community members looking to make a positive impact had access to an immediate resource. From the website and social media, alumni, parents, students, and even prospective students were able to use the resource as both an advertisement and opportunity to support the community. The website currently hosts over thirty businesses owned by alumni, faculty, staff, parents, and students. The list is a growing reminder that people in our community work in industries ranging from restaurants, technology, and health. In addition to the online list, posts on social media featured small Bush community owned businesses and generated interest in the work. According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, an estimated 1.5 billion students globally were out of school during the pandemic. Many of these students are at risk of falling

behind in their education. Sisters Noemi ’22 and Etienne ’19 Reche-Ley have created the Together Program, offering free, 30-minute video tutoring sessions to K-8 students in Seattle Public Schools during the COVID19 pandemic. Students at high schools and universities around the world, including current Bush students and Bush alumni, are stepping up to volunteer their time and build community to support one another during this challenging time. After posting their program on social media, Etienne shared, “We have actually had Bush alumni apply to be tutors. In response to the question we ask in the application ‘where did you learn about Together Program’, they said they saw the post on Bush Alumni social media!” Though virtual connections cannot replace the feeling of an in-person community, it is important during this time that we leverage every opportunity to bring our Bush community closer together to support one another. The work of an alumni relations office is deeply focused on keeping alumni connected and engaged with the school and with one another. Often, that means we are reaching out to alumni, asking them to volunteer their time, or asking them to attend events. On the occasion that we are able to offer a service, we find great pride in an opportunity to support our alumni and broader Bush community directly. Even beyond the pandemic, we hope that this can continue to be a resource for people in our community.

If you wish to have your company listed on the website, or featured on the Office of Alumni Relations social media pages, please send an email to the alumni office at


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Kainoa Yates ’30 created chalk art on April 8, 2020 to share his love and appreciation for Bush faculty and staff as part of the Lower School Service Club’s program #OperationLiftSpirits. This initiative created ways for Bush K-12 students to create art to thank essential workers and lift the spirits of those in need during quarantine. In addition to sidewalk art, students made cards and posters for residents in senior living facilities and health care professionals on the front lines.

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© The Bush School 2020 /

Profile for The Bush School

Experience Magazine 2020  

Experience Magazine 2020  

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