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CATHEDRAL THE M AGAZI N E O F T H E CAT H ED RA L SCH OO L O F ST. JOHN T HE DIV IN E

W I NTE R 201 5


CATHEDRAL THE MAGAZINE OF THE CATHEDRAL SCHOOL OF ST. JOHN THE DIVINE WINTER 2015 Head of School Marsha K. Nelson Director of Institutional Advancement Jennifer Rhodes Editor and Director of Communications Shawna Gallagher Vega, APR Contributors Dr. Terry Colliton Mosie Choudhry Mark Milch Peggy Moorman Colin Murray Mirona Neagu Marsha K. Nelson Stephanie A. Royal Catherine Salisbury Hannah Stebbins Edith Thurber Sarah Work Design Lilly Pereira Printing Lane Press Photography Caroline Voagen Nelson

Please send magazine submissions to: The Cathedral School of St. John the Divine Attn: Cathedral Editor 1047 Amsterdam Avenue New York, NY 10025 Email: news@cathedralnyc.org


FEATURED IN THIS ISSUE

24 A New Solution 30 A History of the Choir School 38 The Voices Project DEPARTMEN TS

02 Letter from the Head 03 Notes from

Amsterdam Avenue

08 Cathedral Today Instagram Still King

09 From the Archives Playing it Cool

18 School Spirit Cougar Pride

20 Responsible

Citizens of the World

PEACOCK Takes Flight

22 On the Close

10 Uniquely Cathedral

40 Graduation 2014

14 Living Traditions

42 Beyond Cathedral

16 Arts Wing

48 The Last Word

Why Diversity Matters

Books and Plates

Unleashing Creativity

High School Acceptances

Class Notes


LETTER FROM THE HE A D O F S C HO O L

An Anchor for Life MARSH A K. N E L S ON , HE A D OF S C HOO L

MUCH HAS CHANGED during my four decades in education—socially, politically, economically, and technologically—but the most important role of teachers has never wavered. To state it simply, we are here to anchor children— not to hold them back, but to ground them so they stay strong and steady in the winds of change, able to respond with agility and creativity to the unexpected and unknown. As research and everyday experience attest, nothing anchors children like routine. The Cathedral School has known this intrinsically for 113 years and has woven routines—in the form of beloved traditions—throughout school life. While we proudly embrace new technology and pedagogy in our classrooms (including our emphasis on STEAM initiatives and the new, student-centered Exeter math program you’ll read about in the pages of this magazine), we also lean heavily on our traditions outside the classroom. We do this so our students develop the strength of character necessary to someday embrace changes we cannot yet envision.

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We are rightly proud of the extraordinary traditions that seem ordinary here, and many of them are showcased in this issue of Cathedral. As you read about our centuryold commitment to diversity, our celebration of each child’s unique voice, the love of music that inspired the very founding of our school, the arts and athletic programs that unleash student passions, and the annual eighth grade bookplate ceremony that demonstrates like nothing else our deep knowledge of each child, know that each and every one of these actions is intentional. Year after year, alumni affirm that our traditions are incredibly effective educational tools. The academic and moral foundation students receive at Cathedral ensures their continued success in high school, college, and beyond. It is no wonder that our alumni speak so fondly of their time on the Close and of the courageous conversations that inspired them to become articulate, confident, responsible citizens of the world. s

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Notes from

AMSTERDAM AVENUE

Cathedral is an amazing place, and I feel lucky to have been a part of it.” E MMA S TRAUB ’94

Every author dreams of landing a spot on The New York Times bestseller list. This summer, Emma Straub ’94 earned that coveted literary accomplishment with her second novel (and third book), The Vacationers. Published in May, the novel—which follows an Upper West Side family on its summer journey to Mallorca—stayed on the coveted list for 10 weeks. ¶ True to her Cathedral roots, Straub was modest about the achievement. “I felt very superstitious about the whole thing, and very, very aware that it could stop at any minute,” Straub said. “It was exciting, and one of my life’s dreams, but I didn’t want to get too obsessed with it. It’s not really the point, but yes, it sure was fun.” ¶ Straub, who now resides in Brooklyn with her husband and baby son, River, hails from the Upper West Side—just like The Vacationers’ main characters. She attended Cathedral from first through eighth grade, and her literary talent was demonstrable even then. ¶ As a high school student at Saint Ann’s School in Brooklyn, she won a major poetry contest and had a reading at a downtown bookstore. Straub distinctly remembers longtime Cathedral receptionist Linda Brown coming to the reading to support her. “That woman is the heart and soul of The Cathedral School. She has always been supportive of me,” Straub said. ¶ She earned her bachelor’s degree at Oberlin College and her MFA at the University of Wisconsin, but Straub’s elementary school teachers are the ones who continue to impress her 20 years after her Cathedral School graduation. “In the past couple of years, a number of my former teachers from Cathedral have either come to my events or written me to say they’ve read my books. I feel so, so lucky to have had the kind of teachers who not only remember me fondly enough to say hello—but actually show up at my events! It’s incredible,” Straub said. Photo by Jennifer Bastian

from Avenue compiled and OF written Gallagher Vega 03 TH ENotes MAGA Z I N EAmsterdam O F TH E CATH E D RA L SCH OOL S T. Jby OHShawna N THE DI VI NE


NOTES FROM AMSTE RDAM AV E NU E

New Faculty

W H A T

A R E

Ever since my first week here as an associate teacher, I knew this was where I would like to spend the rest of my career.

Patrice Samuels

F I R S T

I M P R E S S I O N S

I’m enjoying my classes, and all of my students are so polite.

Jonathan Pirnia

Hometown Lake Ronkonkoma, New York

Hometown Olney, Maryland

Education Sarah Lawrence College, Tufts University, Bank Street College of Education

Education Hofstra University, Adelphi University

Teaching Experience 6 years

Teaching Experience 5 years

Education Loyola College (now Loyola University), University of Pennsylvania, Washington University in St. Louis

Hometown Richmond, Virginia

Note: Samuels previously worked as an associate teacher at Cathedral from 2010-12.

Physical Education and Health Teacher

O F

Cathedral students are inquisitive, bright, and collaborative, and they smile while they’re learning.

Chrissy Amitrano

Kindergarten Teacher

04

Y O U R

Fifth and Sixth Grade Science Teacher

Teaching Experience 10 years

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N OT E S FROM A MS T E RDA M AVEN U E

Faculty Reading List Stephanie A. Royal Director of Diversity Justice by Michael Sandel The book offers a keen look at the ethics of justice through a historical lens, then moves forward to discuss justice in current events. The primary source documents are outstanding. Sandel makes the reader question ethical issues in a “What would you do?” format, using historical and modern-day events in our society, offering the space for complex and conflicting decision-making. It is a powerful piece of work.

Howard Nusbaum

T H E

C A T H E D R A L

S C H O O L ?

Cathedral is a place where children’s development—academic, social, emotional, and artistic— is in balance.

The Cathedral School community has been so welcoming. It’s a marvelous place for great minds to thrive and grow.

Ricardo Villa

Krystle Sun

Second Grade Associate Teacher

Hometown Mexico City, Mexico Education Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana, Bank Street College of Education Teaching Experience 13 years (10 as an adjunct professor)

Lower School Mandarin Teacher/ Second Grade Associate Teacher Hometown Queens, New York

Education CUNY-Queens College, Bank Street College of Education

Fourth Grade Teacher Lost Prophet: The Life and Times of Bayard Rustin by John D’Emilio I had two reasons for finding this book. The first was because I had seen a documentary on Rustin, presented by Cathedral’s Parents of Students of Color (POSOC) group. This whetted my appetite. The second reason is because I knew I would be teaching Rustin’s great-niece, and I thought teaching about the life of her relative would add a personal dimension to our study of participation and the Civil Rights Movement. So many of the book’s themes are themes I look forward to sharing with my students.

Marsha K. Nelson Head of School The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown Against all odds, nine college boys of modest means break the mold of a classic rowing team in their competitive journey to the 1936 Olympic Games. This inspiring non-fiction story reveals the power of grit and teamwork, set during the Depression era and ending on a politically-charged Berlin stage.

Teaching Experience 10 years

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NOTES FROM AMSTE RDAM AV E NU E

02

Cathedral is Social 01

04

05

06

07

06

08

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N OT E S FROM A MS T E RDA M AVEN U E

News + Notes 03

01 Members of the Board of Trustees let loose at their September 2014 meeting 02 A peacock perches on the front porch 03 Lower School students participate in the People’s Climate March 04 Upper School girls with Ms. Royal during their overnight retreat 05 Faculty and staff take the Ice Bucket

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Head of School Marsha K. Nelson presented Kristin Kearns-Jordan, President of the Board of Trustees and mother of two Cathedral students, with the annual Z Award at the Thanksgiving Evensong. The award is The Cathedral School’s highest honor. In October, second grade teacher Ana Duque and third grade teacher Elena Jaime presented a workshop titled “Courageous Conversation with Children: Creating Environments for Positive Racial Identity Development for Students in Grades K–4” at the Pacific Education Group’s Summit for Courageous Conversation in New Orleans, La. “When we arrived, we found that participants for our workshop were almost double what we anticipated. The response during and after was overwhelmingly positive,” Ms. Duque said. “Schools demonstrated an earnest interest in the process by which we created our curriculum and the curriculum itself. We are now in contact with several schools and school districts across the country that are eager to learn more about what we do.”

Challenge in honor of teacher Sue Martin 06 The Class of 2014 at graduation 07 Students celebrate Diwali 08 Mr. Flores running the TCS New York City Marathon

Upper School art teacher Brian Delacey showed his work at several shows in 2014: the TriBeCa Open Artist Studio Tour (TOAST) at his studio on Franklin Street; at a group show at 22 Warren Street in TriBeCa; and at the Cedar Tavern Phone Booth Show at the Westbeth Gallery in the West Village. At Westbeth, he showed a piece that incorporated a panel from the original Cedar Tavern phone booth (in addition to eight other pieces of art). The show later traveled to Kingston, N.Y.

09 The Cathedral School, decked out for fall 10 Kindergarteners march in the traditional class Halloween parade

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Elena Jaime continued her work as a leader in the field of diversity education. This summer, she underwent instruction to become a trainer with Border Crossers, an organization that equips educators to be leaders of racial justice. The Critical Analysis of Race in Learning and Education (CARLE) Institute for White Educators in Independent Schools, the organization Ms. Jaime co-founded with five colleagues, also launched its first

four-day institute this summer. In the fall, Ms. Jaime was invited to join the New York State Association of Independent Schools (NYSAIS) Diversity Committee, which leads diversity initiatives introduced by the state organization. Lower School Dean and Language Coordinator Rachel Geringer-Dunn graduated from Bank Street College of Education in May 2014 with a master’s of education degree in educational leadership. Ms. Geringer-Dunn, who also serves as Admission Outreach Coordinator, completed a yearlong research sequence with a focus on teacher growth, specifically in independent schools. Chief Financial Officer and Director of Operations Peter Maas served on a five-year accreditation committee at a fellow NYSAIS school this spring. He also attended the National Business Officers Association Annual Meeting in Orlando, Florida, and participated in the NYSAIS Technology Conference, where he led conference sessions about combining library and technology functions in schools. Cathedral School teachers presented two workshops at the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Regional Conference in Richmond, Virginia, in November 2014. Lower School math specialist Yojairy Sands presented “Number Sense Routines that Impact Student Learning” with Maria Peneda and “Helping Parents Understand a Constructivist Approach to Building Computational Fluency” with Alan Donaldson. Director of Diversity Stephanie A. Royal continued her six-year-long participation on Call-to-Action, the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) board for diversity, equity, and social justice. Call-to-Action, which is composed of 35 educational leaders from across the country, serves as a national think tank on diversity. The board advises the NAIS executive team on issues related to diversity and assists in the oversight and planning of the annual People of Color Conference, as well as the Student Diversity Leadership Conference.

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C ATH EDR AL TO DAY

Instagram Still King B Y COLI N MURRAY

WHAT APP DO YOU USE EVERY DAY? For Upper School students, the choice is clear: Instagram remains the most popular social media platform for sharing photos and keeping up with friends outside of school. Other responses to our informal lunchtime poll included music streaming app Spotify, messaging app Snapchat, and the Netflix app. However, social and leisure apps aren’t the only type being used by Cathedral students. Tiara Lewis-Falloon ’15, Sophie Hart ’15, and Annabel Wheeler ’15 both use note-taking app Notability in class, while Rian Bogle ’15 and Christof Inderbitzin ’15 enjoy creating 3D art with 123D Sculpt. In our changing world, these apps are yet another way Cathedral students are staying connected and engaged inside and outside of the classroom.

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FROM HE A RC ES C AT THEDRA L HIV TO DAY

Playing it Cool B Y S H AW N A G AL L AG HER V EG A IN DECADES PAST, students’ free time was spent in simpler ways. In this undated photo, taken in the playground that once stood to the south of The Cathedral School building, three students enjoyed a carefree moment on a tire swing.

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U N IQU ELY C ATHE D R A L

Why Diversity Matters B Y ST E P H AN I E A . ROYA L

DIVERSITY IS AT THE HEART of our mission at

The Cathedral School. We are proud that our classrooms include a diverse group of learners. Our students come from different backgrounds, different ethnicities, different religions, and different family structures. We embrace and celebrate these differences because we know it matters. Our diversity matters. Our diversity allows for complex classroom discussions (and even debates!) in which different ideas and perspectives are shared. Our students develop better critical thinking and problem-solving skills because our teachers encourage diversity of thought.


U N I Q U E LY C AT H E DRAL

In the 1960s, at a time when integration was being challenged, Cathedral became one of the most substantially integrated independent schools in the country. In this archival photo from the 1970s, two friends and classmates learned together.

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U N IQU ELY C ATHE D R A L

Our diversity allows for complex classroom discussions (and even debates!) in which different ideas and perspectives are shared. Our students develop better critical thinking and problem-solving skills because our teachers encourage diversity of thought.”

Our identity curriculum offers students the opportunity to engage in rich and meaningful dialogue about identity, supporting their self-concept and group identity. The curriculum fosters a critical exploration of bias and cultivates each child’s ability to stand up for himself or herself and for others. Participating in diverse classrooms helps teach students to understand different points of view. Our students are nurtured to become articulate, confident, responsible citizens of the world. Our faculty members attest to the success of the program. “It’s been really rewarding seeing those moments in which students use a critical lens,” second grade teacher Ana Duque said. “You can see how the curriculum helps to shape the way they see the world and, in turn, how they learn.” Our diversity work is grounded in science. The focus on identity development is rooted in research in child development and the brain. Studies show that students who attend diverse schools perform better in reading and math at every grade level. There is a real connection between cognition and identity development. We attend to this connection as we strive to meet the needs of the whole child. Our families have remarked about the ease with which their children discuss challenging topics. They note the explicit vocabulary used and the deep respect the children demonstrate, particularly when talking about race, socioeconomic status, and family structure. Our students learn to lean into discomfort, and they share this experience with their families. “We have been grateful for the partnerships that have developed with families through the implementation of this curriculum,” third grade teacher Elena Jaime said. “Families have shared that the conversations they are having with their children have deepened over time.“ The recent visit to Cathedral by Dr. John Chubb, President of the 1,700-member National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), affirmed our work in identity development. Dr. Chubb discussed trends in higher education and in

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the global marketplace, and he complimented Cathedral’s groundbreaking work in identity development and commitment to diversity in all aspects of school life. As we look ahead at our students’ preparation for the future, we consider the demands of college life. Our nation’s colleges and universities understand the need to build a community of diverse learners who will thrive together and teach one another. We know that we must respond to this need, even at the elementary level. At Cathedral, we believe that learning in a diverse environment also prepares students to work in a diverse workplace, especially when guided by explicit conversations about the many facets of diversity. Continued attention to diversity prepares college students for their adult lives as global citizens and leaders. With demographic shifts, advances in technology and communications, and globalization, diversity has become a driver of growth around the world. People of color today make up about 36% of the workforce. According to Census Bureau projections, by 2050, one in two workers will be a person of color. As our nation becomes more diverse, so will our workforce. Diversity in the workforce fosters innovation and competitiveness in business. Studies consistently show that diversity drives dynamic growth and prompts creativity. Fortune 500 companies agree that diversity is good for the bottom line. Companies will put more focus during the next three years on leveraging diversity to achieve their business goals. Maximizing the potential of a diverse workforce is not only a social imperative, it is also a competitive advantage. From a business vantage point, to best serve the market, one must “employ the market.” At Cathedral, we know that diversity impacts the way we work with people who have different experiences or backgrounds, how receptive we are to different ideas, and how we work with others. Cathedral has long understood what colleges, universities, and the business world now know: diversity matters, and it is the right thing to do. s A 15-year veteran of teaching, curriculum design, and school administration, Stephanie A. Royal began her first year as Director of Diversity at Cathedral in July 2014. She is a member of the National Association of Independent Schools’ (NAIS) Think Tank on diversity, equity, and social justice. A graduate of the University of Virginia, Ms. Royal will defend her doctoral dissertation on collaborative practice in schooling next year.

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U N I Q U E LY C AT H E D RAL

WHAT STUDENTS ARE SAYING…

My diversity won’t hold me back. It’s just the opposite. It empowers me. People look at me for just being me because everyone here is so diverse.” ELIJAH FERNANDEZ ’16

The Asian identity affinity group opens your eyes into your own culture and identity. It is enjoyable to learn about my own identity with people from a shared background.” ALICE ROSE LELYVELD ’16

The teachers allow me to go the extra mile. I am a leader here. They have encouraged me to be my best self. I am proud of who I am.” RIAN BOGLE ’15

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LIV IN G T R AD I TI O NS

Books & Plates FOOD F O R T H O U G H T B Y CAT H E RI N E SALI SB URY

IMAGINE LIGHT STREAMING IN century-old windows to illuminate the faces of your child and his or her friends, surrounded by teachers, coaches and mentors, parents, family, and classmates. Imagine listening as each eighth grade student is described intimately, poetically, with humor and grace, with words of inspiration and farewell. The bookplate ceremony, held during the annual luncheon that precedes graduation, is the culmination of a Cathedral School education and a longstanding tradition. Each year, Upper School teachers choose graduating students about whom to speak and give them a personalized copy of The Odyssey. The words spoken by the teacher are placed in the frontispiece of the book, to be a treasured keepsake as the graduate leaves the sheltered confines of the Close for the wider world of high school. Giving The Odyssey is very apt—a Cathedral education is both classical and modern. Upper School students, now alumni, remember exploring the Greeks

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and The Odyssey in Ms. Thurber’s sixth grade English class. How can one forget her graphic depiction of how Aphrodite came to rise from the sea foam? As an eighth grade parent, I didn’t know what to expect when I entered the Common and Dining Rooms at Cathedral that Friday in June. I knew only that we were to have lunch and hear from Ms. Nelson, the Head of School, and the teachers in some form, then move on to the Cathedral for what I thought would be the peak of the day—watching my daughter and her classmates receive their diplomas. The luncheon turned out to be so much more. It started with Mr. Roth, Head of Upper School, and his amusing poem featuring all of the eighth grade students, highlighting how well he knew them. It was followed by teachers who, in the words each chose, clearly knew and understood, loved and celebrated each student. I thought to myself mid-ceremony that the afternoon encapsulated the primary reason why I had chosen Cathedral and a K–8 education—for the caring, demanding, and exceptional teachers and staff. The words spoken by teachers that day last June best describe why the bookplate ceremony is such a tender, unforgettable experience for parents and graduates alike. The thought and care Cathedral’s teachers put into their chosen words about each student will resonate beyond Cathedral’s walls as alumni go forth into the world. s Catherine Salisbury is the parent of Sophia Nunn ’14, who arrived at Cathedral in kindergarten and now attends The Spence School, and Alex Nunn, who is in sixth grade at The Aaron School. She earned her bachelor’s degree in French from Wellesley College and her master’s degree in French Literature from New York University. She is a special needs advocate and has a love of children’s literature, having co-chaired both Cathedral’s and Aaron’s book fairs.

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L I V I N G T R A D I TIONS

HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE 2014 BOOKPLATE CEREMONY

Ms. Thurber (English)

Mr. Pfeifer (Athletic Director)

“You came up swinging. You

“We know you to be an intelligent,

worked harder. You figured out

mature, and generous young

how to be your own harshest

man; a student who takes his

critic. You took responsibility for

schoolwork seriously and always

making yourself a better student.

strives to do his best; a superb

You did not give that job to some-

athlete who has learned to move

one else.”

those long limbs with a grace that we have all come to admire.

Dr. Colliton (Math)

You always put your friends and

“You certainly created lifelong

teammates first. You have the

friendships during your time here.

maturity to understand that you

As a community, we will more

can’t win alone—and you really

likely reminisce about how much

don’t want to.”

you grew as a student, almost daily developing more confidence

Ms. Berney (Physical Education)

in yourself as a learner. You flour-

“You are known throughout

ished before our very eyes, and it

our community for your kindness,

was a joy to behold.”

warmth, and openheartedness. As a Student Ambassador,

Mr. Plasencia (Social Studies)

you’ve shown prospective

“What I will offer you is a chal-

families why they should choose

lenge. We need people like you,

Cathedral as you embody the

someone who can be a leader

loving community that makes

at a time when so few are willing

this school a special place.”

to lead. We need someone who knows how to openly debate

Mrs. Delacey (Music)

issues within our communities,

“Integrity, loyalty, and patience.

to force people to lean into their

These principles guide your

discomfort.”

steps. You do not seek the spotlight, yet when you are placed there, you shine.”

Dr. Anagnostopoulou (French)

“Your motivation and drive for

Photos by Mirona Neagu

excellence are rare qualities that

Ms. Moorman (English & Social Studies)

have distinguished you in each

“First, you need some talent, but

of your courses. Mature, humble,

talent alone doesn’t carry anyone

well-spoken, considerate, sensi-

very far. It turns out that caring

tive, open, and good-humored,

about what you do and being

you have formed tight and true

persistent and diligent matters

friendships while never losing

much, much more where success

sight of your individuality.”

is concerned.”

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ARTS WING

U N L E A S H I N G C R E AT I V I T Y

We embed history, art history, and art concepts and theory in all of our projects. Art is about doing at Cathedral, because children learn by doing. Everyone enjoys art here, and every student feels successful. It’s important that they all know they’re creative and can build on their creativity. We try to make them feel safe in that there isn’t a right answer. There are many possibilities.” BRIAN DELACEY, UPPER SCHOOL ART TEACHER

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SC H O O L SP IRIT

Cougar Pride B Y SA R A H WO R K

THOSE OF YOU who were student-athletes, who played a sport you loved throughout your school years, likely are still not free of its grasp. Perhaps the low angle of the autumnal sun striking the fallen leaves brings to mind a favorite football field or cross-country course—for me, it makes my foot crave the soft leather of a well-loved soccer ball. Or maybe the arrival of darker, colder nights evokes memories of the comforting smell of your school’s gym, filled with the squeaking of whistles and sneakers and the solid drumming of basketballs on the wooden floor. Similarly, many of our student’s first memories of their favorite sport will be formed during their Cathedral School years. For competition and camaraderie, school sports are hard to beat. But why is it that 90% of Cathedral’s Upper School students elect to participate in a sport? When I asked that question of our current eighth grade students, responses included the desire to compete, to win, and to have fun and foster school spirit, as well as thoughts such as: “I participate in athletics at Cathedral because it gives you an opportunity to create another bond with your peers. It also gives you something to look forward to after school.” “I think that athletic teams are one of the best ways in which to develop meaningful relationships with your peers.” “I like that Cathedral athletics give me the chance to speak with people I would normally never converse with due to my shyness.” “My favorite part about being on the team is cheering on others and working together as one.” And, “I like hanging out with my friends and teachers outside [of academics].” Most of Cathedral’s coaches are in-house, with their knowledge of the students from the athletic arena aiding in the academic, and vice versa. We hope to foster a genuine love for the sport in our athletes and to develop teamwork, leadership, and sportsmanship as well as individual skills. What do athletics look like at Cathedral? You can stop by the Crypt Gym on a fall afternoon and find our girls’ volleyball team making mincemeat of most teams, not only with their aces, bumps, sets, and spikes, but with their cooperation and communication—a loud “I GOT IT!” gives a girl the room she needs to set up the winning point for her teammate. Filling the bleachers are not only parents, but classmates and siblings of the members of the team. As an eighth grader said, “I like to keep the spirit up for my team and show my support for them.” Come to a championship game and join in the fun as our cougar mascot leads the fans in the wave. Drop in on a snowy afternoon in winter, and while the sun may have long since set, you will find the gym lit not only with its stateof-the-art LED lights, but by the glow of perspiration on our basketball players’ faces, the sparkle in the eyes of their classmates as they follow the rapid action on the court, and Dr. Vitale’s radiant smile as he relishes a quick steal followed up by a three-point play from one of his young Latin scholars. The Cathedral athletics program benefits the students greatly, and in turn benefits the entire community. Games are the perfect community-gathering place. Parents who attend see more than their children succeeding on the court;

My favorite part about being on the team is cheering on others and working together as one.” they join their kids’ friends and teachers in a relaxed and fun atmosphere where everyone can cheer together. They meet other parents and see another side of their kids’ teachers as they lead an intense huddle or perhaps lose their inhibitions in the stands. Cathedral athletics afford students, faculty, staff, and parents the opportunity to take an active role in the community. In the wise words of a member of the graduating class of 2015, “It is a lovely way to be a part of the school.” s Sarah Work has a decade of coaching and teaching experience, including seven years at Cathedral, where she teaches seventh and eighth grade science. She began playing soccer early in her youth and added track and basketball during middle school, setting records that still stand in track and field and serving as team captain for each of the three sports her senior year in high school. During her time at Cornell University, she played on a competitive soccer team comprised of highly-skilled international players. She has coached soccer, basketball, track, and softball at Cathedral, leading multiple soccer and basketball teams to league championships.

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R E SPO N SI B L E C I T I ZE N S O F T H E WORL D

PEACOCK Takes Flight B Y MOS I E C HO U D H RY A ND H A NNA H STEBBINS

IF CATHEDRAL students’ passion and

commitment could be harnessed as an alternative energy source, we could probably stop worrying about oil. The Cathedral School launched its Environmental Club, now called People’s Environmental Action Club of Cathedral Kids (PEACOCK), last spring with a “soft opening” to gauge student interest. Room 305 was standing room only. More than 25 Upper Schoolers showed up with lunch, eagerness, and ideas. Hannah Stebbins, the group’s founder, and I had anticipated five, maybe ten, interested kids, so we were stunned and gratified by the turnout. Still, we thought, surely many of these kids will forget over the summer. Instead, activism and interest spread. Our “hard opening” this fall was as well-attended as the spring’s, and students brought ideas for projects that spanned the immediate school setting, the city, and the world. They applied their science education, school-bred activism, and Franciscan enthusiasm for animals to our brainstorming session, which included composting, adoption of solar panels, cleaning up the playgrounds, continuing our tree planting efforts, adopting an animal displaced by Hurricane Sandy, raising money for school-branded refillable water bottles, and improving school recycling. As a fledgling club, we are committed to completing two projects this year, along with raising awareness within the community about contributions they can make to protecting the environment. Our first project is well underway; students have started a campaign to improve usage of the recycling bins and reduce overall paper

Photo by Shawna Gallagher Vega

waste at school. They have posted clear, eye-catching signage—on repurposed paper, of course!—next to each recycling bin to alert users to the difference between normal refuse and recyclables. After a wildly successful first event, students are energized for more. This September, they organized and executed an electronics drive to recycle used devices that would otherwise leach harmful chemicals into the air and soil. The recycled objects will be mined for valuable metals and disposed of soundly. The next goal is switching to reusable cups throughout the Cathedral community. Visitors to the school are now offered a ceramic mug for their hot beverage. PEACOCK members are next tackling ways to decrease or even eliminate the use of paper cups at lunch. Coming up: We will host guest speakers, including the Director of Forest Restoration at the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, who directed the MillionTreesNYC planting event in the Rockaways in October 2013. This event, which was well-attended by Cathedral families, helped ignite and sustain student interest in NYC -based action projects. Community members interested in the club’s activities, proposing a project, or serving as a guest speaker should contact us at thepeacock@cathedralnyc.org. s Mosie Choudhry, a graduate of Barnard College and Columbia University, exploits her many connections to help club members and their founder, Hannah Stebbins, achieve their goals. Ms. Stebbins, the mother of two Cathedral students, is a graduate of Trinity College and the University of Montana.

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On the CLOSE

Kindergarteners enjoy an outdoor science lesson on the Close of the Cathedral School of St. John the Divine.

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A new math curriculum at Cathedral takes a more collaborative approach

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A NEW

BY DR. TERRY COLLI TON

SOLUTION Pick a number, add 5, and multiply the result by 4. Add another 5, and multiply the result by 4 again. Subtract 100 from your result, and divide your answer by 8. How does your answer compare to the original number? You may need to do a couple of examples like this until you see the pattern. Use a variable for the chosen number, and show how the pattern holds for any number. Before you continue reading, take a few moments to complete the problem above in the space below. (See page 29 for the answer and a worked example.)

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This is one of approximately 1,000 problems written by teachers at Philip Exeter Academy for Math 1. The problem sets, which are grouped into approximately 10 problems apiece, help lay the foundation for higher-level mathematics. The question on the previous spread develops the concept of using a variable in algebra, and illustrates that variables vary. As students work though the problem sets, many other big ideas, such as absolute value, the connections among equations, and tables and graphs, get explored and developed. Students learn to label their work, justify their thinking in writing, and show their process in a way that can be shared and understood by others.

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The sets of problems are only part of what some call the Exeter method. The other aspects include how the classes are taught and the role that students and teachers take in the learning process. Most classes begin with students putting work up on the board. As questions or disagreements arise about the work, students direct their comments and questions to each other. The teacher plays a very different role—intervening as necessary to ask questions or, less often, to provide direct instruction. The students begin to observe and note the big ideas, pointing them out to each other as they work. This helps students defend their ideas orally in class and take far more responsibility for their learning. How did we, at Cathedral, come to think about exploring Exeter mathematics? The journey has certainly not been

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At the beginning of each class, we write one of our homework problems on the board. This is extremely helpful, because we have a chance to actually see what strategies all of our classmates use to solve problems. I also believe that it speaks to every individual learner, because it uses the three main learning styles—tactile because you physically write on the board, auditory because you hear someone explaining their reasoning, and visual because you see what math they did.” A NNA B EL WH E E LE R ’1 5

Dr. Terry Colliton helps an eighth grade student work through a math problem on her dry erase wall.

linear. Beginning in 2008, the K-8 math faculty met regularly over two years to develop a written scope and sequence. Many of the discussions ended up being equally about how we taught as about what we taught. Over time, we realized how much we valued student thinking, creative problem-solving, and finding a variety of ways to justify ideas. This is very much built into the K-7 curriculum, all of which is based on constructivism. In brief, constructivists believe that we create knowledge when we interact with ideas and explore concepts rather than simply being told what to do. As the eighth grade math teacher, I was using a very traditional Algebra I text because most of our graduates begin in higher-level mathematics classes as freshmen in high school. This shift from exploring and discussing problems to teaching “a

concept a day” with practice problems seemed counterintuitive and certainly not as much fun to teach. My fellow Upper School math teacher Richard Koo and I began to explore the possibility of implementing Exeter Math after Mr. Koo used some of the problems with his sixth grade students for group work. I happened to be grading papers within earshot of the children who were working together. Each individual was fully engaged in solving the problem with the students sayings things such as, “That’s not right; it doesn’t make sense,” when another made a calculation error. While all of the students were approaching the problems differently, they kept checking in with each other and explaining their thinking. I immediately stopped grading papers and started listening more attentively to the students’ interactions. I even went down the hall to Head of Upper School Kevin Roth and told him, “You have to come and hear this.” It was amazing to see students working together, struggling through a difficult problem, without the direct supervision of a teacher. After having follow-up conversations with Mr. Koo and speaking with a few high school admission directors, I learned that a number of New York City day schools were in the early stages of implementing Exeter Math

(or were considering doing so). I began reaching out to faculty members at these schools, and Mr. Koo and I spent a day observing classes and meeting with faculty at The Spence School, meeting with the former mathematics department chair at Trinity School, and participating in a week-long training session with faculty from Exeter last summer. In addition, we spent hours doing mathematics problems from Book 1, independently and together. The collective wisdom from many of the educators we met with is that the Exeter method, while benefiting all students, is especially helpful for students who struggle. Quite honestly, I was skeptical of this idea. How could a series of such challenging problems, created by faculty working with gifted children, be beneficial for students who struggle? I soon discovered for myself why this may very well be true. During the second half of our training session with Exeter faculty, we began to work on problems involving vectors from Book 2. If I ever learned vectors, it was so long ago in my educational experience that I have no memory of it. I felt overwhelmed as I looked at the problems we were supposed to be solving. Other teachers were working together, but I was nervous about revealing my ignorance, especially as I heard people mentioning equations

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Now, [math is] much more interactive, and I feel like I learn more. CHRI S T O F IN D E RB IT Z IN ’1 5

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that were unfamiliar to me. The first few times work was put on the board, I listened attentively and tried to make sense of the solutions, still concerned about asking questions. But by the second day, I made every effort to answer the questions, working much more from my prior knowledge of linear equations and slope. I was still uncertain of the vector equations, but arrived at what appeared to be reasonable solutions. Tentatively, I showed my work to Mr. Koo, and he saw that while I may not have used a particularly elegant method for reaching the correct conclusion, my work was mathematically sound. I was immensely relieved and quite excited that I was starting to get the hang of a new concept. Leaving the building that day, I ended up in conversation with a Trevor Day School teacher who was having a very similar experience to mine—muddling through challenging problems to correct solutions—and we were both starting to have a deeper understanding of what felt like new content to us. I have spoken with a number of Cathedral alumni attending schools

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that use the Exeter method, and they have shared similar stories about their own learning. They were able to find ways to attempt problems involving new content by applying knowledge from previous concepts. Isn’t this, ultimately, what learning is about? The Cathedral School’s current plan is to slowly transition into using Book 1 as our eighth grade text. Already, I am asking current eighth grade students to place work up on the board (and the dry erase wall!) and explain their thinking. Whenever possible, I have used some of the Exeter problems for group or individual work in both seventh and eighth grade. In the spring, Mr. Koo will use some of the problems with sixth graders, and I will have seventh graders begin Book 1. There is much of the current content that we value and find successful in grades six and seven, and we want that work to continue. In addition, if we spread the work of Book 1 over a span of three years, we can keep the pace of course and the amount of homework we assign to students appropriate.

It is exciting to be part of something that is so educationally beneficial to students and challenging to us as educators. Allowing the students to take more leadership in the classroom requires that I also change my behavior. It is fantastic to be supported by Kevin Roth and Marsha Nelson with the resources, time, and opportunities for ongoing professional development. So, if you are hearing buzz on the third floor about all of the new and stimulating things happening with Cathedral’s mathematics program, it is true. Great things are happening, and the students (and faculty) are having a blast. s Dr. Terry Colliton has been teaching mathematics for more than 25 years, the last six of which have been at Cathedral. She earned her doctorate in curriculum and teaching from Columbia University. Some of her interests include differentiated learning as a means of meeting the needs of all students and structuring lessons that encourage children to be independent problem solvers.

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How did you do? SOLU T I ON TO P RO BLE M ON PAG E 24 B Y S IE RRA G O O D ’ 1 5

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A History of the

Choir School of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine

1901-2014 BY SH AW NA G A LL AG H E R V E GA


History is everywhere at Cathedral. In the nooks and crannies of a 101-year-old school building. In the decadesold images hanging on century-old walls. In the grand Cathedral itself, where a 27-year-old Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. preached and a 64-year-old Fiorello LaGuardia was laid to rest. But more than anything, our history lives in music. Our roots as a choir school permeate our culture—notably so in the lively songs emanating from chapels and assemblies, and of course in the choristers, who carry the mantle of the school’s first students. Founded in 1901 by Bishop Henry Codman Potter as The Choir School of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, Cathedral began its institutional life as a day school for boys. It became a boarding school in 1913, and continued to be one until 1964, when it once again became a day school and admitted non-singing boys for the first time. In the intervening years, up to 45 choristers between the ages of 9 and 14 lived in The Cathedral School building. A smattering of day students added to the community of young singers.

arly students ate, slept, and breathed music. No boy could be admitted to Cathedral without passing a voice test, and choristers’ days were filled with at least one rehearsal and two performances. That demanding schedule remained a hallmark of the chorister program for decades. “We had 11 rehearsals every week and sang seven services,” recalled Richard Wyton ’70, son of Alec Wyton,

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former Headmaster, Organist, and Master of Choristers. “Each service included choral settings of the appointed psalm, canticles, and an anthem. Altogether we learned and performed no fewer than 20 separate pieces each week. This was a real job. It was demanding, but we had a wonderful time.” In return for their hard work, choristers received tuition remission. Perhaps more importantly, they gained access

to the many dignitaries and musical stars who visited the Cathedral. “In my Cathedral years, the remarkable was commonplace,” said Wyton, whose father led the chorister program until 1974. “Highlights for me included Duke Ellington’s Second Sacred Concert in 1968, being conducted by Leopold Stokowski in 1969, a Sunday afternoon Eucharist in 1971 singing with the cast of Hair in celebration of the production’s third

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Standing in the choir of New York’s vast St. John’s Cathedral, young choristers let their sopranos soar in an Easter hymn, pictured in this 1952 photo from Collier’s magazine.

anniversary, and Duke Ellington’s funeral service in 1974. Ellington’s funeral, burnished with performances by jazz greats including Ella Fitzgerald, Mary Lou Williams, and Billy Taylor, was about my last time singing in this remarkable time and space. I think it represented a fitting conclusion to a rather unique childhood in the shadows of a great cathedral.” Music naturally became a lasting influence in most graduates’ lives for

much of the 20th century, with many going on to participate in choirs and other musical groups as adults. “I think it’s interesting to see how an experience so early in life influenced Dad’s entire life,” said Sarah Roberts, daughter of the late Robert Mitchell Sherwin ’36. “There was always classical music on the stereo whenever you walked into his home, and in retirement, he was extremely active in a regional chorale group.”

s Cathedral transitioned to its modern incarnation in the 1970s, admitting girls to the school in 1974 (and eventually to the chorister program later that decade), music’s influence on school life evolved—infusing each child’s educational experience from kindergarten through eighth grade. “Because it started as a boys’ choir school, there is a huge emphasis on singing here. Music is a really big,

A

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From The New York Sun

Monday, March 16, 1942

“Each cold winter dawn forty boys rise in their dormitories at the Choir School of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine and begin as busy a day as any group of youngsters anywhere ever had. … The daily life of these students, all of whom possess exceptional intelligence and charm, is an interesting one. It begins at 6:45 a.m. when a bell sounds in the gray stone building behind the cathedral where they live. They spring out of bed and dash with shouts for the showers. Then the boys, ranging in age from 9 to 14 years, dress, make their beds and have their skin, tongues, and throat inspected by the house mother and a registered nurse. In this way possible epidemics are nipped in the bud. Inspection over, the boys don cassock and surplice and troop to the Chapel of St. Saviour in the cathedral for the first service of the day. Back in their home, they have breakfast shortly after 8 a.m. in a cheerful room of many windows, with a master presiding at each table. Here they are fun-loving boys, who laugh, joke, and play tricks on each other. From 8:30 until 10:30 o’clock they are in classes, studying English, spelling, arithmetic, history, Latin, and French. The formality found in other schools is lacking here. The boys study together, recite in small groups and appear to enjoy their homework thoroughly. But they are human. One day during classes when the air raid siren was given a tryout, one youngster turned to a visitor and, with an impish grin, whispered, “I sure hope that if we ever have an air raid it comes during Latin class.” At 10:45 they practice their singing for an hour, with Norman Coke-Jephcott, the choirmaster, directing. Forty-six soprano voices (there are six day students this year) fill the air. The boys sing with delicacy and sweetness. The singing hour over, they return to classes until luncheon at 1 p.m. From 2 to 4 p.m., they exercise and play in the gymnasium or on the outdoor playgrounds under the eye of an athletic director. At 4 o’clock they return to the dormitories to shower and dress for evensong at 5 o’clock. This time they sing in the cathedral proper. They walk in scrubbed and shining in wide stiff collars, their purple cassocks flowing out beneath their white surplices. Evensong lasts until 5:30 p.m., but their day is not yet over. They have a study period from 5:30 to 6:15 o’clock and then go to supper. Afterward there are other study periods for both lower and upper form students. The younger boys must be in bed by 8:30 p.m., the older boys at 9.”

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important part of this community,” said Kobi Mannarino, who has taught K-3 music at Cathedral for 14 years. Ms. Mannarino’s instructional emphasis in the younger grades is musical literacy, as well as singing and performing. To meet the demands of budding Lower School vocalists in particular, she created the Lower School Chorus several years ago. It now boasts nearly 50 members. “I’m amazed by the number of students and families who show up at 7:30 a.m. every Tuesday,” Ms. Mannarino said. A 20-year veteran of The Cathedral School, Arden Delacey has also witnessed—and contributed to—substantive growth in music education for all students at Cathedral. “There was a real interest in the arts becoming more central to everyone’s curriculum,” she recalled of her early years on the Close. “Teachers at this school have so much respect for the music program. They want to overlap and be involved and integrate. When there’s an event to join in, they all sing, too.” “There is a lot more performance here than at other schools, and a variety of performances—drama, singing, playing different musical instruments,” said Mrs. Delacey, who created Cathedral’s violin program and trombone and clarinet ensembles. “I also do a serious amount of composing with the kids.”

hile the modern music program at Cathedral is as diverse as the school itself, our musical legacy lives most deeply in the choristers. Their training remains rigorous, even though the demands on choristers’ schedules have certainly changed since 1901. “It’s a pre-professional choir,” said Malcolm Merriweather, Choral Associate at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. “We’re training them to be professional musicians—not only

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Thanksgiving Evensong 2014.

in their music-making, but in their etiquette, in the way they carry themselves in a service, in their dedication and commitment.” “We are developing skills for the rest of their lives, music and lifewise,” Mr. Merriweather continued. “Endurance is a really big thing we talk about. We have rehearsals that might seem long and services that are even longer. I hold them to the expectations and the standards that achieve excellence.” Today’s choristers practice three times a week and sing at a Sunday service roughly three times a month. Every three years, they travel abroad to the United Kingdom for a cathedral residency; in other years, they travel domestically. The choristers were in residence at St. Paul’s Cathedral,

“ Endurance is a really big thing we talk about. We have rehearsals that might seem long and services that are even longer. I hold them to the

expectations and the standards that achieve excellence.”MALCOLM MERRIWEATHER London, in 2013; in 2016, they will travel to Westminster Abbey. Closer to home, the choristers perform on New York’s grandest stages, thanks to Organist and Master of

Choristers Kent Tritle—the man The New York Times called “the brightest star in New York’s choral music world.” In addition to his full-time work at the Cathedral, Mr. Tritle

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“Singing is the foundation of our community. Any time there’s something

celebrate—anything that in any way has soul—we get together and to

sing about it.” A R DE N DEL ACE Y serves as the music director and conductor of various other organizations, including the Oratorio Society of New York, Musica Sacra, and the Manhattan School of Music. He is also the organist of the New York Philharmonic. “Kent has presented so many opportunities for our choristers—notably singing at Carnegie Hall with the Oratorio Society of New York for the past three years,” Mr. Merriweather said. “That’s major, to appear on stage at Carnegie Hall with a professional orchestra.” “It has been natural for me to bring the choristers into concerts with these organizations at venues outside the

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Cathedral, especially with the Oratorio Society at Carnegie Hall. That has been very positive both for the choristers’ individual experience, but also for the profile of our chorister program in the larger cultural arena,” Mr. Tritle said. “I do expect that in the next several years we will see a recording program come into place for our choristers and for the larger music program at the Cathedral. Eventually, we also will aim for live streaming of our services and performances,” he continued. “The history of this place is very important to me. … We were trailblazers from the beginning.”

ne hundred and thirteen years after The Cathedral School’s founding, the significance of music education here remains intact. The soul, the joy, and the caring concern for others that were born with Cathedral also remain—and they are embodied in song. “The part of your brain that’s involved in feeling like you belong lights up when you’re singing together,” said Mrs. Delacey. “Singing is the foundation of our community. Any time there’s something to celebrate—anything that in any way has soul—we get together and sing about it.” s

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Shawna Gallagher Vega is The Cathedral School’s Director of Communications. She earned her bachelor’s degree in history and master’s degree in education administration at Boston College.

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NOTA BL E A LU M NA

Isabel Leonard ’96 Once referred to as “Opera’s It Girl,” Grammy Award winner Isabel Leonard got her musical start as a Cathedral School chorister. “I knew from an early age that I wanted to be in theater,” Leonard said. “I didn’t know exactly how or specifically from what perspective, but I knew.” Her mentors at Cathedral set her on her way, as did other choristers, who challenged her to be her best. “I remember singing all the fast parts in Messiah even though we were told we didn’t have to. I loved it,” Leonard said. After Cathedral, Leonard attended the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School for Music and Art and Performing Arts and The Juilliard School. She quickly made a name for herself in the opera world and has since graced the stages of the Metropolitan Opera, Vienna State Opera, Paris Opera, Salzburg Festival, Bavarian State Opera, Glyndebourne Festival, Lyric Opera of Chicago, and the San Francisco Opera, among others. “I’m lucky to have performed already in most opera houses in the U.S. and Europe. Aesthetically, they can be so different from one another—acoustically as well,” Leonard said. “I’ve always loved wherever I was at any given time. The challenge is being in a different city every few months and creating an environment for yourself that allows you to work at your highest level.”

Leonard as Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia

Photo courtesy of the Metropolitan Opera

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Voıces T

P

R

O

H

E

J

E

C

T

THIS IDEA OF DIFFERENT VOICES

BY EDITH THURBER

Edith Thurber teaches sixth and eighth grade English. She joined the Cathedral community in 1996, first as a parent, then as an educator in 1999. Her sons Charlie and Peter O’Rourke were in the graduating classes of 2004 and 2007, respectively. She has a bachelor’s degree from Williams College and a master’s degree in education from Harvard University. She is married to actor Kevin O’Rourke.

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IN 1982, Carol Gilligan published a book that shifted my thinking. In a Different Voice describes her research concluding that adolescent girls negotiate their lives with two “voices” instead of one. They explain to her how they use one voice to navigate the larger society in which they find themselves, a society that includes adults and boys. The other voice they describe as their “real” voice: the one they use with a small and carefully chosen group of only female friends. In response to a question about themselves, they read the situation and audience and make fluid and conscious selections about which voice will best suit the purpose of the moment. Gilligan introduced me to the insight that how we say what we know is extraordinarily complicated.

has informed my effort to be attuned to, cultivate, and, as often as I can, speak in my own authentic voice, especially as a teacher of adolescents. It seemed to my younger self that this endeavor might in some small way be my contribution to a clearer, more genuine, more honest, and perhaps even more trustworthy world. It turns out I underestimated that challenge by orders of magnitude. For my first three years at Cathedral, I was the Director of Admission. I gave hundreds of tours of the school and gradually came up with language that I hoped would sincerely communicate to prospective parents what our school did well (and still does well). Every day, I told parents that at Cathedral we strive to “cultivate each child’s voice.” What I meant by this was that whether students speak as poets, or musicians, or athletes, or artists, or mathematicians, we encourage them to find their own voice and practice the skills that will facilitate their prominent place in what we envision to be literally a global conversation. We try to empower them to tell their own story and not let others tell it for them. Our significant commitment to identity work is an integral part of this effort. For me, this is where the “articulate, confident,

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We try to empower them to tell their own story and not let others tell it for them.

responsible citizen of the world” in our mission statement meets what we do every day in the classroom. I see us as having brilliantly stayed the course of our deepest roots as a choir school: we have simply continued to reinterpret what kind of voice we value. When I finally landed back in one of those classrooms, it was not surprising that the eighth grade English curriculum was designed to allow the students not only to hear the voices of important American writers, but also to be challenged to find, explore, and speak in their own voices. To this end, we read pairs of writers so as to conspicuously highlight the differences between them: Ben Franklin, an Enlightenment thinker, and Jonathan Edwards, a Great Awakening preacher; Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman; Frederick Douglass and Harriet Jacobs, male and female slave narratives; and Harper Lee, reflecting the Southern white experience of 20th century racism, and August Wilson, reflecting the Northern AfricanAmerican experience, are some examples. The culminating assignment in

eighth grade English is one that allows students to find their own way to add to the conversation: The Voices Project. It has been an extraordinary experience to hear what students want to say about being an American. Over the four years I have been assigning this project, the range of concepts that they have chosen to communicate has been surpassed only by the variety of venues they have used to communicate them. Fiction, non-fiction, memoir, and poetry are big, but we have also had rap, singing, monologue, violin, organ, painting, photography, cardboard, PowerPoint, tap dancing, and an American flag. Charged with creating a way to meet the requirements of the assignment, which counts as their exam grade, many students have started with thoughtful and reflective examinations of what their voice sounds or looks like, then figured out what idea they want to share. Many American writers, political thinkers, and artists serve as models for these projects. While this is a demanding assignment, and students work really

hard on it, what is most rewarding as a teacher is to hear how deeply they inspire each other. Often what we see in the Voices Project is a side of the student that we may not have met before. Passions, talents, experiences that no one knew about show up in the classroom the month before graduation and bring us closer together as inevitable departure looms. The respect and admiration that students already have for each other are strengthened, and so is their confidence as they hear the positive feedback and encouragement of their peers. Risk, revelation, and creativity are courageous acts for eighth graders, but what better place to try them than the safe space that has nurtured their growth and development in each of these areas for years? This is the heart of the humanities. In a time when many see science and technology as our last best hope to solve the sweeping problems that confront us all, and finance and entrepreneurship as the only way to make money, humanities departments have seen precipitously smaller enrollments, particularly on elite college campuses. Students no longer feel that they can afford to study subjects that don’t seem to translate directly into marketable skills. But the tools that we teach—to read well, to write well, and to interpret art, literature, and historical events— are the tools that facilitate the miracle of one person understanding another. We must give our best to make sure that deceptively simple and seemingly unprofitable knowledge is not lost. This is the gift of the Voices Project. s

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BEYOND CATHE D R A L

Class of 2014

High School Acceptances Twenty-one members of the Class of 2014 joined The Cathedral School’s alumni community on June 13. They now attend some of the best high schools in New York City and across the nation.

Independent Day Schools The Brearley School The Chapin School Collegiate School Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School Convent of the Sacred Heart The Dalton School Dwight-Englewood School Friends Seminary Grace Church School Horace Mann School Marymount School The Nightingale-Bamford School The Packer Collegiate Institute Poly Prep Country Day School Riverdale Country School

The Spence School Trevor Day School Trinity School Independent Boarding Schools Eaglebrook School Emma Willard School The Hotchkiss School Kent School Millbrook School Peddie School Phillips Exeter Academy Miss Porter’s School Westover School

Diocesan Schools Dominican Academy Fordham Preparatory School Notre Dame School Xavier High School New York City Specialized Public Schools Brooklyn Technical High School The Bronx High School of Science Stuyvesant High School New York City Public High Schools Bard High School Early College Columbia Secondary School Medgar Evers College Preparatory School Townsend Harris High School

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Photos by Mark Milch and Mirona Neagu

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BEYOND CATHE D R A L

Beyond

CATHEDRAL 42

Beyond Cathedral compiled and written by Shawna Gallagher Vega

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B E YO N D C AT H E DRAL

1950

In October 2014, Dr.

Robert F. Marble

sang “Onward Christian Soldiers” with a group. “It reminded me of the summer of 1947 when I took a battery of academic tests and auditioned with Dr. Norman Coke-Jephcott for admission to the Cathedral Choir School,” Marble writes.

1962

Dandre DeSandies

retired from Stanford University in June 2014 after 27 years as a counselor there. He now keeps busy with a small marriage and family therapy practice, gardening, and travel. “I was recently reminded of the Cathedral Choir School of St. John the Divine by a trip to Antwerp, Belgium, where the Cathedral of Our Lady is the largest Gothic cathedral of the region,” he says. “I continue to cherish my days [at Cathedral], which set me up for lifelong growth and learning—spiritual as well as intellectual.”

1965

Jan Opalach took the love of music engendered in him at Cathedral and made it his career. After attending New York City’s High School of Music and Art, he went on to Indiana UniversityBloomington’s School of Music, where he studied with renowned Metropolitan Opera star Margaret Harshaw. He has been teaching at the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester since 2008 and became a tenured Associate Professor of Voice in May 2014. He recently completed his Master of Vocal Pedagogy degree at the Westminster Choir College at Rider University. He presents a solo

Look for a corresponding photo with alumni note

voice recital every year at Eastman, and he appeared in Leoš Janáček’s Kátya Kabanová at SpoletoUSA last summer. Opalach and his wife, Katharine, celebrated their 36th wedding anniversary in September 2014.

1968

After graduating from Cathedral, Scott Wilson attended the High School of Music and Art and Cooper Union. He now works at concepts2realities. com and continues to perform music through scottwilsonmusician.com. “I gave several presentations at Cathedral about the music and instruments of the Middle East when Canon Landon was Head of School,” Wilson recalls. “I have many fond memories of Cathedral and support the school as much as I can.”

1970

Steven Bargonetti

is a music director/ arranger and recently performed at New York City’s Public Theater as part of the cast in Father Comes Home from the Wars, an innovative show written by Pulitzer Prize winner Suzan-Lori Parks. “I played a character who not only performed a film-like score on solo acoustic guitar and banjo, but I was also at times the narrator of the play, musically accompanying my singing of songs,” Bargonetti says. The show, which takes place during the Civil War, will run at Harvard’s ART Theater from January 21 through March 1, 2015, with the hope of eventually going to Broadway.

1987

A graduate of Riverdale Country School, Yale University, and the University of California School of Cinematic Arts, Omonike Akinyemi is now working as the project coordinator of Dance for

I continue to cherish my days [at Cathedral], which set me up for lifelong growth and learning—spiritual as well as intellectual.” D AN D RE D E S AN D IES ’ 6 2

Film on Location at Montclair State University. Last summer, she and her daughter, Simone Temitayo Sprague, went to see The Three Musketeers with her Cathedral classmate Carmen Vernon. They had a blast!

1990

Gordon Kelley now lives and works in Dublin, Ireland, but memories of the Close are fresh in his mind. “I miss Cathedral a lot. They were some of the best days of my life,” he recalls. “One of the most fun things we did—and I probably shouldn’t say anything for fear of ruining it for further generations—was exploring the secret passages inside the Cathedral itself. Yes, there are secret passages, if you know where to look. They take you around the buttresses and into the bell tower over the vaulted ceiling and onto the eves of the roof. A magical experience. Thanks for the memories.”

1996

Genevieve Bergeret

is still living in the Netherlands, working for the European office of Turnitin. In spring 2014, she moved to the city of Utrecht, where she’s taken up swing dancing. “Lindy Hop has quickly become an important part of my life,” she says, “and a great excuse to explore other European cities, including Berlin, Copenhagen, Newcastle, and next year Ljubljana

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BEYOND CATHE D R A L

>> A LUM N I PROF I L E

Jon Abbott ’76 Jon Abbott ’76 went to Collegiate and Columbia, earned an MBA from Stanford, and now serves as President and Chief Executive Officer of WGBH—public broadcasting for New England, PBS’s leading content producer, and a major supplier of programming for public radio nationwide. But when you ask about the key to his success, he’ll talk about The Cathedral School. “I really feel like Cathedral did more to get me launched in the world than anything outside my family,” Abbott said. “It was a profoundly formative experience for me.” After arriving on the Close in the second grade, Abbott (a member of the last all-male class to graduate from Cathedral) delved into student life, later becoming a chorister. He remembers rehearsing twice a day, Monday through Friday, then singing evensong at 5:15 p.m. every night in the Cathedral. “Then we would show up on Sunday morning at 8:30 or 9 a.m. and sing morning mass. They would take us to lunch, we would do homework, and then we would sing evensong mass on Sundays. Our only day off was Saturday. Give that to those softies,” Abbott joked about modern choristers. “The other memory I have is of the incredible joy and rigor of the academic environment—and then we all played sports!” Abbott

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continued. “You didn’t have a free minute. The exciting thing about it was that you developed habits for a lifetime.” Abbott’s best friend during his Cathedral days was his classmate Larry Harris ’76, who he continues to count among his closest friends. Harris went on to Andover and Harvard and later served on The Cathedral School’s Board of Trustees, as firm an advocate for the school as Abbott. “The first thing Larry would tell you is that Cathedral gave us great habits—an extraordinary education, but also a kind of rhythm and rigor to the whole thing.” “When I went to high school, it didn’t faze me,” Abbott said. “Kids left Cathedral and they were ready for anything.” At Columbia University, Abbott’s Cathedral education catapulted him to campus leadership. He started an a cappella group, The Kingsmen, and ran the campus radio station, WKCR-FM. The latter experience kickstarted his career in broadcasting, taking him to a public radio station in San Francisco, then to PBS, and ultimately to WGBH. “It really was an extraordinary experience,” Abbott said. “What I’m grateful to Cathedral for is the class environment, the cultural environment, and also just the rigor and the set of expectations for kids to do their very best.”

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the Drama Prize, and the Community Service Award. Bertie received the Art Award and the Virginia Layton Orr Prize for environmental stewardship. Bella is now a freshman at Bates College, and Bertie is a freshman at Williams College. Bertie joins Ann Tewksbury ’08 on the women’s crew team at Williams.

(Slovenia). Utrecht is only a half hour from Amsterdam, and I love playing tour guide, so feel free to get in touch!” Bergeret can be reached at genevieve. bergeret@gmail.com.

1997

After five years working for the New York Mets, Kieran Nulty accepted a position with the San Francisco 49ers and moved to Mountain View, California, in January 2014. “The Bay Area is beautiful, and I have had a great time helping the Niners open their new home, Levi’s Stadium,” Nulty writes. “Nevertheless, I miss New York greatly, and my sarcasm seems out of place here. Luckily, my sisters have joined me out West! Aran ’94 and Clara both moved to Denver in August.”

2001

Ariel Hidalgo grad-

uated from Sarah Lawrence College with a master’s degree in health advocacy in May 2014. She recently started working for the marketing team at Weill Cornell Imaging at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. She and her family still live in New York City and try to visit the Close and the Cathedral whenever they can.

2002

Emma Eden Ramos is a writer

in New York City. Her middle grade novella, The Realm of the Lost, was published in 2012 by MuseItUp Publishing. Her short stories have appeared in Stories for Children Magazine, The Legendary, The Citron Review, BlazeVOX Journal, and other journals. Ramos’ novelette, “Where the Children Play,” was included in Resilience: Stories, Poems, Essays, Words for LGBT Teens, edited by Eric Nguyen. Three Women: A Poetic Triptych and Selected Poems (Heavy Hands Ink, 2011), her first poetry chapbook, was shortlisted for the 2011 Independent Literary Award in Poetry. Still, At Your

Look for a corresponding photo with alumni note

Door: A Fictional Memoir is Ramos’ third book. Ramos’ work has been reviewed in The San Francisco Book Review, The Roanoke Times, Savvy Verse and Wit Reviews, and other well-known periodicals.

2006

Luigia Goodman

graduated from Williams College in 2014 and quickly returned to her Upper West Side roots. “It is such a pleasure to return to Cathedral as a volleyball coach,” Goodman says. “Being able to work with such promising studentathletes on the same court where I first found my love for sport is quite an experience!”

2010

Bella and Bertie Miller graduated from

St. Andrew’s School, Delaware, in May 2014. Bella was the recipient of the W. Lewis Fleming Prize in French,

2014

Sophia Nunn is a ninth grader at The Spence School. She loves seeing her fellow alumni at intercity athletic events. “Cathedral has a lot of athletic spirit, and I continue to see it even after I’ve left. Spence plays many of the schools other people in my grade at Cathedral went to in sports, and I get to see them at those events,” Nunn writes. “Hope everyone is doing well!”

We want to hear from you!

Please send class notes, photos, and magazine submissions to: The Cathedral School of St. John the Divine Attn: Cathedral Editor 1047 Amsterdam Avenue New York, NY 10025 Email: alumni@cathedralnyc.org

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BEYOND CATHE D R A L

>> FAC U LTY PROF I L E

Saluting Ellen Baru For the past few decades, when alumni returned to The Cathedral School, they traditionally sought out a familiar face—that of Ellen Baru, teacher, advisor, and longtime Director of Technology. In June 2014, she retired from Cathedral, leaving behind 39 years of grateful students and colleagues. “What a wonderful teacher and advisor she was. Our weekly advisee meetings were lively and warm, and she was just as welcoming if you needed to see her one-on-one,” recalls Alma Vescovi ’01. “She taught us how to type, use a computer, and not to leave beverages anywhere near a keyboard—all invaluable lessons!” Colleagues felt just as supported by Ms. Baru. “I always felt as if I had a kindred spirit in Ellen because of the many years we shared as co-workers here at The Cathedral School—an unspoken bonding,” said Linda Brown, a 32-year Cathedral veteran. “My requests, both personal and professional, were always promptly handled by Ellen.” A native of Holyoke, Mass., Ms. Baru attended the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, then earned a master’s degree in education at Fordham University. While at Fordham, she met Cathedral teachers who encouraged her to visit the school. “I remember walking up the walkway for the first time and thinking how beautiful it was,” Ms. Baru recalled. “I was surprised that something like that existed in the city.” “When I first came to Cathedral, it had only been co-ed for a year,” Ms. Baru said. “There was no kindergarten then. The school was grades 1-8, and they let girls in beginning in the fourth grade. The choristers were all boys. I strongly remember that the boys had to wear a jacket, and they had to have the emblem of the school on

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it. And they had to wear a white shirt and tie. I felt sorry for them when they would go out to recess!” Three years after coming to Cathedral as a second grade teacher in September 1975, Ms. Baru moved to the fifth grade. In the 1980s, after taking a programming class at Bank Street, she became the technology coordinator (in addition to her teaching duties). Technology, of course, was a little different then—Ms. Baru’s original arsenal included four Apple 11 computers and six Commodore 64 computers. When Gerald Grossman took over as Head of School in 1989, Ms. Baru became the full-time Director of Technology, a role she held for 25 years. Throughout her career, Ms. Baru was a prolific freelance writer and author of teacher’s manuals, notably software manuals for Scholastic and Sunburst Publishers. She was also instrumental in founding an independent schools technology teachers’ consortium that remains active, and Cathedral supported her along the away. “One of the reasons I stayed at Cathedral for so long was that there was always an opportunity to grow professionally. I was never bored, ever. Having the opportunity to continue growing and having my interests supported is what kept me there,” Ms. Baru said. “And my life was enriched by all the different students and teachers I’ve come in contact with over the years.” It’s clear that those students and teachers feel the same way. “It was such an advantage to have had an advisor who had been with the school so long and was such an experienced teacher,” Vescovi said. “I feel really lucky to have had her.”

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IN ME MO RI AM

1936

Robert Mitchell Sherwin died at the age

of 91 on March 25, 2014, in San Rafael, California. According to his daughter, Sarah, “In the months preceding the end of his life, he still remembered and enjoyed the St. Matthew’s Passion, which he sang while a choirboy at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine.” Bob earned three degrees from CalTech, served in the Navy during World War II, and had a long career as a chemical engineer on the West Coast. He was a pioneer in air pollution control, specializing in coal scrubbers. He married Sarah Carpenter in 1951, and together they raised three children, Sarah, Robert Jr., and Joshua. He built a cabin on the family’s vacation property in Gig Harbor, Washington, which has provided great pleasure to three generations of Sherwins. Music was always one of Bob’s greatest passions, a happy legacy of his time at St. John the Divine.

1941

John Woodland “Woody” Hastings died on August

6, 2014, in Lexington, Massachusetts. A pioneering researcher on bioluminescence and a founder of the field of circadian biology, he was a member of the biochemistry faculty at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign before arriving at Harvard University in 1966. He was the Mangelsdorf professor of natural sciences emeritus in the department of molecular and cellular biology. He also enjoyed a long affiliation with the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole as a graduate student, director of the physiology course, and as a trustee. He was the recipient of many honors, including Harvard Medical School’s Farrell Prize in Sleep Medicine; a fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology; and an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences. He is survived by three daughters, Jennifer, Laura, and Marissa, and a son, David. His wife, Hanna, died in 2009.

Join Us This Spring… Absalom Jones Benefit for Financial Aid

F RIDAY, FEBRUARY 27, 2015 6:30 PM 583 Park Avenue

Elizabethan Evensong WEDNESDAY, M ARCH 11 THROUGH THURSDAY, MARCH 12, 2015 The Cathedral of St. John the Divine

Easter Evensong

TUESDAY, A PRIL 14, 2015 2:05 PM The Cathedral of St. John the Divine

Earth Day Evensong

FRIDAY, MAY 8, 2015 11:00 AM The Cathedral of St. John the Divine

Alumni Reunion and Spring Fair SATURDAY, MAY 30, 2015 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM The Close

Graduation

F RIDAY, JUNE 12, 2015 3:30 PM The Cathedral of St. John the Divine

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T H E LAS T WO R D

The Last Word B Y P EG G Y MO O R M A N

ONE SUMMER twelve years ago, I got a call from Cathedral, where my daughter had been a student and where I had often substituted, asking if I could fill in for a fifth grade teacher who had left unexpectedly just before the beginning of the school year. When my MFA had been fresh, I’d taught college students. I rarely knew them personally, and I didn’t worry about them. Later, teaching high school, I noticed how vivid these younger students were, by contrast. They talked more, revealed more, and rejoiced or suffered more openly. I spent much more time on each one of them, and a little less time on the subject at hand. I think about life and learning, and how anxiety, self-doubt, and sadness can demoralize and distract. I think about a few students of mine who have experienced serious loss, and how, for them, day-to-day classroom life can sometimes seem beside the point. I think often about what a challenging job it is to grow up. All this worrying reminds me of the great professor I had, Eveline B. Omwake. She was brilliant, and she had made the welfare and education of young children the central focus of her life. But what struck me most powerfully about her was the calm view she projected. She addressed us as future colleagues, even in the ’60s, when we appeared in her lecture hall wearing love beads. But in that era of passionate protest, when the relevance of every subject was in question, she made it clear that nothing mattered more than a child’s life. One afternoon in CD 101, we watched a documentary from the 1950s about a gentle toddler who was put into a nursery for almost a week while his mother was in the hospital giving birth to a little brother. When we meet him, he is accustomed to being at home with a sweet, attentive mother. He smiles and talks shyly. But in the bustle of nursery care he fails to find—and does not know how to command—comfort from the busy staff. They feed and change him and take him out to play, but no one holds him or tries to draw him out. His father visits every evening, but the child lives in the nursery day and night. He begins to retreat into corners, and by the end of his stay, he is brokenhearted. I’ve never forgotten that film. “His ego has disintegrated,” explained Professor Omwake, when the film was over. She shook her head thoughtfully. “All our parents make grave mistakes,” she said, “but here we are to tell the tale.” Her intimation of survival—even with young hearts routinely broken, we grow up, after all—seemed to me then, and still seems, the essence of forgiveness. The second meaning of her remark, however, didn’t arrive for me until many years later, when I was a parent myself. In my own awkward phrasing, it might be: Children are not done yet. There are children in our lives whom we worry over, and in time we inevitably come to know a few who are operating under a staggering weight of one sort or another. And yet, again and again, I’ve watched them become themselves— whole new selves, sometimes—and turn out passably or remarkably well, in the end (by which I mean, oh, maybe the end of high school). Here they are—here we are—none of us done yet, and still telling the tale. s 48

Peggy Moorman has taught fifth grade English at Cathedral for twelve years. She previously taught drawing and painting at the Cornish Institute of Allied Arts in Seattle and was a senior editor at ARTnews magazine. She is the author/illustrator of Light the Lights!, a book about celebrating Hanukkah and Christmas in a dual-tradition family. It stars her daughter, Emma Quaytman ’03.

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MISSION STATEMENT The Cathedral School of St. John the Divine is an independent, Episcopal, K–8 day school for girls and boys of all faiths. The School is committed to a rigorous academic program that integrates the arts, athletics, and leadership development. Located on New York City’s Upper West Side on the 13-acre Close of the Cathedral, the School offers a unique setting for the celebration of the many traditions shared by its families. The School prides itself in being a diverse community in partnership with families who take an active role in their children’s intellectual, ethical, social, and emotional growth. The Cathedral School offers a stimulating environment in which each child can become an articulate, confident, and responsible citizen of the world. Continuing a century-old relationship, the School draws upon the Cathedral’s vast resources and provides its children’s choir.

BOARD OF TRUSTEES The Very Rev. Dr. James A. Kowalski Chair Kristin Kearns-Jordan President Angie Karna Vice President James Hooke Secretary Sandor Lehoczky Treasurer Marsha K. Nelson Head of School Robin Alston Bill Bermont S. Courtney Booker, III Satrina Boyce Jaye Chen Lucy Culver Ridge Culver Linara Davidson ’96 Jay Eisenhofer David Harman David Klafter Norman Nelson Bruce Paulsen Jefrey Pollock Jennifer Prince ’96 Marta Sanders Aaron Sack Leila Satow Sally Thurston Jody van der Goes Jim Williams

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THE CATHEDRAL SCHOOL OF ST. JOHN THE DIVINE FOUNDED 1901 1047 Amsterdam Avenue, New York, NY 10025

Read more on page

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MUSIC is the lifeblood of The Cathedral School. In 1923, the Cathedral choirboys (including future Hollywood star Burgess Meredith, in the center of the front row) used their talents to stage A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Profile for The Cathedral School of St. John the Divine

Cathedral Magazine (Winter 2015)  

Cathedral Magazine (Winter 2015)