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Dreaming Big at the 2011 Fashion Show Life/Work Balance a Community Conversation Summer Programs Have Focus and Fun Science Contest Success Spotlights Entire Program Career Panels Provide Expert Insight S P R I N G 2 011

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ON THE COVER: Kindergartners Annalyn Bean (left) and Sally Zhu take the runway at this year’s fashion show, “When I Grow Up” (see page 18 for the full story.) From the Photographer: This was my first fashion show, and capturing the energy and glamour of this event was a unique experience for me. There is no small amount of interesting things to shoot! The enthusiasm and stylish runway attire made for an exciting atmosphere. My biggest challenge was the changing of the lighting schemes. I had to change settings quickly so that I could capture it all. The most rewarding part was capturing the smiling faces and the hard work of students, parents and staff. Everyone involved with the fashion show did a fantastic job. From lighting, to set design, to the modeling and directing, they made my job easy. – Ashley Batz, Harker photographer

AboutHarker F

rom its early beginnings in 1893 — when Stanford University leaders assisted in its establishment — to its reputation today as a leading preparatory school with students attending prestigious universities worldwide, Harker’s mission has remained constant: to create an environment that promotes academic excellence, inspires intellectual curiosity, expects personal accountability and forever instills a genuine passion for learning. Whether striving for academic achievement, raising funds for global concerns, performing on stage or scoring a goal, Harker students encourage and support one another and celebrate each other’s efforts and successes, at Harker and beyond. Harker is a dynamic, supportive, fun and nurturing community where kids and their families make friends for life.

At Press Time Harker Communication Office Wins Prestigious Awards


he Harker Quarterly and Harker News Online have been awarded second and third place, respectively, in the annual regional CASE (Council for Advancement and Support of Education) contest. The competition recognizes excellence in communication, with eligibility open to any regional CASE institution, including universities and community colleges. It was the first time Harker had entered the competition. Harker won silver in the Independent School Periodicals, Independent School magazines category for the Harker Quarterly, and bronze in the Independent School Periodicals, Independent School Web-Based or Electronic HTML Periodicals for Harker News Online. The Harker Quarterly and Harker News Online (HNO) were both launched in 2009 to replace the existing monthly internal newsletter, The Harker News, and to reach a broader audience.


S pring 2 011/ V o lu m e 2 · N u m b e r 3 Pam Dickinson Director

Catherine Snider Sally Wing Copy Editors

Steve M. Boyle ’06 Emily Chow ‘08 Elizabeth de Oliveira ‘80 Igor Hiller Zach Jones Catherine Snider Terry Walsh Winged Post / Talon Contributors

Ashley Batz Photo Editor

Desiree Mitchell Distribution

William Cracraft Editor

Blue Heron Design Group Triple J Design Rebecca McCartney Design Diamond Quality Printing Printing

Printed on 100% recycled paper

The Harker School is a K-12 independent, coed, college-prep school. K-Grade 5: 4300 Bucknall Rd., San Jose, CA 95130 Grade 6-8: 3800 Blackford Ave., San Jose, CA 95117 Grade 9-12: 500 Saratoga Ave., San Jose, CA 95129 Published four times a year, the Harker Quarterly showcases some of the top news, leading programs, inspiring people and visionary plans of the greater Harker community. Produced by the Harker Office of Communication 500 Saratoga Ave., San Jose, CA 95129 · 408.345.9273

Next Edition: June 2011

Each entry was judged on quality, creativity, innovation and adherence to professional standards. There were 388 entries in this year’s competition. “Both publications provide us with unique and expanded ways to share our exciting, diverse and newsworthy community with others,” said Pam Dickinson, Harker’s Office of Communication director. “The keepsake format of the Quarterly allows for lush features, while Harker News Online, coupled with our expanding use of social media, provide a more real time outlet for news.” Dickinson said special kudos go to Bill Cracraft, news and information editor, for his leadership with the Quarterly and HNO content, and Nick Gassmann for the HNO design and continued improvements to that online vehicle. Other key talent contributing to the projects are: Catherine Snider, publication editor; Ashley Batz, photo editor; Zach Jones, lead writer; Jenny Sandrof of Blue Heron Design; and Jaja Hsuan of Triple J Design. Visit our homepage at for the digital online version of the Harker Quarterly, and to view the latest news in Harker News Online. 2


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Harker News Online (HNO) was launched in April 2009 and reports timely news on the activities, programs and accomplishments of The Harker School and its students, faculty and alumni. You can subscribe to HNO via RSS feeds or a daily digest e-mail alert. Visit

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Join us for tweets, videos, announcements, photosharing and more!



inside Community Seeks Student Work/Life Balance Harker Summer Programs Balance Academia and Adventure Science Contests Open Doors for Students Big Dreams at 2011 Fashion Show Career Panels Provide Expert Insight Active Global Education Program Enhances Whole School Feeding the Inner Student: Harker Kitchens

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departments Milestones......................................................9 Advancement............................................. 22 Performing Arts.......................................... 24 Eagle Report............................................... 36 Greater Good.............................................. 40 Alumni News.............................................. 43


Looking Ahead........................................... 50


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By Christopher Nikoloff, Head of School

Discipline is Good, But Love and Soul Truly Lead to Excellence


ristotle said that happiness is the highest good. Amy Chua, of “Tiger Mom” fame, said she did it all for her girls’ happiness. It is no fun being mediocre. Activities are more fun when you are really good at them. Life is no fun when you are struggling to succeed. Hard work is the secret to happiness. Or is happiness the secret to hard work?

My Aunt Celia used to say that hard work never killed anyone. She was one of the hardest workers I knew while growing up. She cleaned her house spotless every day. I think she enjoyed it. I am not sure my uncle did. Bob Milne, top ragtime and boogie woogie artist, played for our upper school students in January. A student asked him how much he practiced. Mr. Milne said he never practiced. He never took a lesson. He taught himself piano by ear. He used to play for seventeen hours straight in a bar. He plays what he hears in his head without reading music. His playing is masterful. I am sure Mr. Milne worked hard and probably has a different definition of practice. If you love what you are doing, then it is not practice. Music is supposed to be fun. It should bypass the head and pierce the heart. Audiences listen with their ears, he reminded us. You have to play with your ears open. You have to play with your heart open. Plants just grow. That’s what they do. But they need good soil, weather and even a stake in the ground sometimes. Young people too may need these things to grow, a good environment and structure. But we can’t do the growing for the plant or the young ones in our care. They have to do it. Most pursuits at the level of excellence require some kind of technical proficiency, if not mastery. But proficiency without soul is simply mechanical. We have all heard piano recitals that display technical mastery but lack emotional understanding. We have all learned something mechanically but not deeply. I still am unclear how I passed my high school chemistry final. I didn’t understand chemistry. Yes, we need technical mastery. At some point you just have to practice multiplication tables, musical scales. But, sooner or later, love must enter the picture. Shawn Achor, author of “The Happiness Advantage,” reminds us that happiness creates success, not the other way around. Musical scales or tennis forehands without love do not lead to happiness. Read Andre Agassi’s autobiography, “Open,” to see what happens when there are hours of forehands without love. Photos by Ashley Batz



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Headlines So yes, we need to guide, nurture and occasionally drive a stake into the ground to help our children grow to their fullest potential. But we also have to let our children lead the dance. Do children have to understand hard work and practice? Do they need discipline? Yes, of course. But discipline comes from the Latin “instruction.” You cannot have instruction without love. Any activity without soul, love or deep understanding is not sustainable. Aristotle said happiness is the only thing we pursue for its own sake, not for anything else. Despite Thomas Jefferson’s claim to our right to the “pursuit of happiness,” most spiritual traditions teach us that happiness cannot be pursued. Aristotle agreed. Happiness happens as a summation of all of the goods. This is not causal, but summative. I think the same is true of any pursuit of excellence. It cannot be directly pursued, but is more the summation of many ingredients. The most important ingredient is love of the activity itself. Where there is love, excellence may follow, but only after hard work. And like Bob Milne, we may not even consider it work at all.

Christopher Nikoloff, Head of School

Most pursuits at the level of excellence require some kind of technical proficiency, if not mastery. But proficiency without soul is simply mechanical.

Nikoloff speaking on freedom in a recent series of six discussions with students.


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Community Joins Hands Searching for

Student Life/Work Balance By Elizabeth de Oliveira ’80


ore than 500 parents, students and alumni attended Harker’s Jan. 8 screening of “Race to Nowhere,” a documentary film exploring stressrelated disorders in high-achieving American teenagers and the ironic fact that many are not prepared for college.

years, there have been a lot of hurrying dynamics in our children’s lives,” he said. “Now there is something of a backlash. It’s important not to get caught up in either end of the pendulum swing.”

Head of School Christopher Nikoloff praised the film as affording an important opportunity for reflection. It also comes at a good time during Harker’s yearlong accreditation self-study.

With that in mind, Harker is continually evaluating its own programs from the perspective of its core values. “Our guiding star is love of learning, or intellectual curiosity,” Nikoloff said. “So when we ask questions ... our goal is always deeper learning.” He then outlined some concrete steps Harker has taken over time in accordance with this philosophy.

“A lot of the issues in the movie ... we have been talking about for a long time with parents and teachers,” he said. “Now that they are in the national spotlight,” he added, “it’s a great time to make sure we’re part of the dialogue.”

The steps include improving the student experience by scheduling final exams before the winter holiday break, reducing schedule conflicts between athletics and performing arts, and moving to trimesters/ semesters to allow more time between assessments.

Indeed, more than 130 parents attended follow-up discussions in the lower, middle and upper schools. They were joined by Nikoloff and Jennifer Gargano, assistant head of school for academic affairs, as well as deans, division heads and counselors from each campus.

Other initiatives have deepened the scope of the upper school wellness program, established advisories for grades 6-12 and created an upper school dean of studies position to help families formulate a plan for high school. The school culture has also been moving in the direction of fewer awards ceremonies and greater restrictions on acceleration.

Nikoloff opened each discussion by highlighting where Harker is, has been, and is going with respect to some of the issues raised in the film. By way of background, he referenced the 1981 book “The Hurried Child.” “Over the last 30 6

Photo by Ashley Batz


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Going forward, Harker is exploring the possibility of becoming


a Challenge Success school and, perhaps most importantly, round table discussions have been scheduled in the upper school to solicit student feedback about the “Race to Nowhere.”

Other questions focused on math and language arts grouping and whether it contributes to competition. Nikoloff urged parents to see grouping as part of the process of learning, not as a goal to be achieved. The idea behind grouping is to match each student with “the pace that is within his or her zone of proximal development,” he said. “That means children are being challenged without being stressed.” Seeking Balance in Parenting Photo by Pam Dickinson

As Nikoloff opened the discussion to attendees, questions naturally evolved into lively exchanges. Parents in each division grappled with how to walk the line between encouragement and pressure and, on the flip side, how to preserve time for truly nourishing extracurriculars. One question, in particular, hung over all the others: what will colleges think?

Photo by Ashley Batz

That sat well with parent Julie Moncton (Michael, grade 7), who said she appreciated the opportunity for parents to weigh in. “It’s nice to see that change is in the works, and yet it won’t be changing so radically that we end up with something that won’t work out,” she said.

“I really appreciate how much time this school invests in learning how children learn and what’s best for them as a whole — not just their academic selves.”

Photo by Ashley Batz

Nikoloff also addressed some common questions, including the issue of homework. “We are doing a deep homework audit, and we do think we can accomplish more with a little bit less,” said Nikoloff. But he also cautioned, “You probably will not feel that tonight. It’s a reflective process that will slowly yield results.”

On this as on other points, Nikoloff urged parents not to compare their children with anyone else’s, but rather to evaluate their activities by whether they are happy and meaningfully engaged. “That will translate into getting into the college that is right for them,” he said.

–Trish Tobin, parent

Photo by Ashley Batz

His message resonated with Trish Tobin (Sheridan, grade 8; Brendan, grade 6; Ryan, grade 2), who said, “I really appreciate how much time this school invests in learning how children learn and what’s best for them as a whole — not just their academic selves.” Kindergarten parent Jennifer Hargreaves (Sydney Adler, K) agreed. She particularly valued the “variety of perspectives from parents,” she said, and the fact that “the school is leading the conversation in the best interests of our children.”





Dodging Trouble in the Teen Years

Photo by Ashley Batz

Discussion at the upper school event focused heavily on the specifics of right now, with many parents wanting to know warning signs of stress to watch for in their teens. Among the recommendations offered by Nikoloff and upper school counselors Lori Kohan and Chris Colletti were to find some unscheduled time with children in which to gauge their stress levels and to take notice of an extreme response to a bad grade. At school, teachers and advisors make sure to work as a team to solicit one another’s observations if something seems amiss, the counselors said, and parents should always feel free to contact them with concerns as well.

was feeling,” she said. “She is telling me now, so I understand.”

At all three forums, parents were encouraged to communicate their own values, for example by asking kids more questions about the “process” of learning than about their grades. Padmaja Indukuri found that seeing the film with her daughter Laya (grade 8) propelled their communication in precisely that direction. “I was asking questions, but I didn’t know how she

Casey Near ’06 offered valuable perspective based on her own experience. The Harker students who thrive are “the ones who really take the Harker message to heart – that it’s about the process, and it’s about the ability to think critically,” she said. “So it's the parents’ role to make sure that's the focus – and not that test, that quiz or that homework assignment.”

Harker’s Commitment to Student Well-Being


ead of School Christopher Nikoloff outlined some of Harker’s past, present and forward-looking efforts to promote student well-being and optimal learning, including the following: ■ Quarterly grading periods were changed to trimesters/semesters to allow more time between evaluations. Changes in pedagogy continue to be explored to replace some tests with other types of assessments. ■ Advisories were established in grades 6-12 to build community and provide a scheduled opportunity to check in with each student. ■ A new dean of studies position was created in part to help educate upper school students and families about how to choose an appropriate course load and a balance of activities. The dean helps each grade 8 family formulate an individualized plan for high school. ■ The middle school bell schedule was changed to eliminate conflicts between performing arts and athletics.



■ The number of awards and awards ceremonies has been scaled back in favor of more cumulative and meaningful annual recognitions. ■ The requirements for summer courses and challenge tests have been increased in an effort to allow truly advanced students to work above grade level while avoiding artificial acceleration. Experience has shown that some accelerated students, particularly in math, do not develop the conceptual foundations they need for continued success. ■ The upper school wellness program deepens in scope each year and deals with such topics as sleep, stress, drugs, relationships and preparation for college. In 2010 student input was institutionalized by the creation of the Wellness Board, which includes representatives from each grade. ■ Final exams now take place before the winter holiday so students can enjoy a real break. ■ Teacher meetings have been redesigned with more time to discuss students

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proactively and collaborate about how best to serve the needs of each. ■ Harker is exploring the possibility of becoming a Challenge Success school, which would formalize its ties with that organization, based in Stanford’s School of Education. Challenge Success schools work closely with experts and other member schools to explore best practices in support of student well-being and engagement with learning. ■ Harker has been cultivating dialogue among parents, students, faculty and the public in a variety of ways, including through the homework survey, the Common Ground Speaker Series, and the “Race to Nowhere” screening and its ensuing conversations. Other examples of Harker’s expanding community outreach include The Harker Speaker Series, Harker Research Symposium, Harker Arts Series and ongoing parent education programs. ■ Harker wants above all to hear what its own students have to say about the “Race to Nowhere” and has scheduled roundtable discussions to solicit their feedback.


By William Cracraft

Albert Zecher ’79 has joined Harker’s

Board of Directors. Zecher graduated from The Harker Middle School and went on to earn a B.A. in history from Santa Clara University in 1986, J.D. from the University of San Francisco School of Law in 1990 and a diploma in fine arts in 2008 from Cambridge University in England. Zecher is a highly accomplished attorney with 20 years of experience in corporate governance, regulatory and civil litigation matters, both as in-house counsel and while with national law firms. “The Harker School is thrilled with adding representation to the Board of Trustees from this important constituency in our community,” said Christopher Nikoloff, head of school. “Albert, as a Harker alumnus, brings a unique perspective on the history and the future of the school.” Harker welcomes this deeply experienced board member!

Areon Flutes, coming to Harker on May 27

By William Cracraft


he Harker music department has launched the Harker Concert Series, beginning in early March with violinists Marc Ramirez and Olivia Hajioff, known as MarcOlivia. The duet has performed worldwide and been featured on radio and television in North America, Europe and Asia. Winners of Fulbright fellowships and numerous competition prizes, the duo are also artists-in-residence at the Tokyo College of Music. On March 25 The Taylor Eigsti Trio came to Harker. Led by 26-year-old, Grammy-nominated Bay Area native Taylor Eigsti, and featuring renowned bassist Reuben Rogers, the trio performs at universities and musical venues around the country. Eigsti has been playing since age 5, has been on the covers of Keyboard and Jazziz magazines and has worked with some of the greatest names in jazz, including Dave Brubeck.


Taylor Eigsti H A R K E R Q U A R T E R LY

The final show for this inaugural season, featuring Areon Flutes, is on May 27. Areon Flutes is a Bay Area - based flute quartet and winner of the bronze medal in the 2008 Fischoff Chamber Music Competition, one of the most prestigious chamber music competitions in the country. The members of Areon also established the International Chamber Music Competition and the Areon Chamber Music Institute. Areon Flutes tickets are $15, and there are still tickets available for the May 27 show in the Nichols Hall auditorium, so come on out and support the arts! S P R I N G 2 0 11

Photo by Ashley Batz

Harker Concert Series

Melinda Gonzales, director of development, was honored in late February by Modern Woodsmen, a fraternal financial organization, for her professionalism and outstanding customer service. The organization, which donated trees to the Saratoga campus last year and will again this year, celebrated Gonzales at a dinner and presented her with a certificate as part of their Hometown Heroes program. Allen Phillips, regional director, and his wife, Aleda, presented the certificate to Gonzales to recognize her accomplishments and show appreciation for her contribution to the community. The organization included a donation to Harker, as well.


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Harker: o t e c a l P t a A Gre r e m m u S r u Spend Yo By Elizabeth de Oliveira ‘80

Summer Institute for Grades 6-12 Now With P.M. Activities!

Summer is around the corner, and so are some exciting new opportunities for learning and fun at Harker! The big news is that students entering grades 6-12 can now have it all. That is, they can sign up for a class through the Summer Institute and enroll in the optional afternoon activity program, extending their day to 5:30 p.m. After class each day, students can participate in a wide variety of structured activities or use the library and other facilities according to their needs and desires. “We’re thinking of it sort of like a cruise ship,” said Kelly Espinosa, director of summer programs. “Each day, there is a menu offering all kinds of activities and you can decide what you feel like doing on the spot.” Perennial offerings include swimming, library, art room, Ping-Pong, basketball courts and study spaces. The staff will also plan games, sports, contests and more, with weekly specials adding to the fun.

Photos by Ashley Batz

Treehouse construction, campuswide scavenger hunts, kite building/flying, street hockey matches and inner tube water polo are a few examples of what students can look forward to. Characterizing this new after-class option as “a Harker style of hanging out,” Espinosa said, “We are never just doing nothing. We’re always doing something to learn, grow or make friends.”



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HARKER SUMMER PROGRAM Photo by Devin Nguyen, grade 11


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Cool Summer Classes

Of course, academics form the heart of the Summer Institute, and this year’s class choices are as exciting and diverse as ever – from rigorous, for-credit high school courses to noncredit opportunities for enrichment and growth in English, science, music, art and more. Each class operates on its own schedule on the Saratoga campus with the high quality, caring instruction one expects from Harker. Upper school for-credit courses are equivalent to those offered during the academic year and use the same texts and materials. Classes are small to ensure quality instruction and retention of course materials. Popular topics include computer programming, art and math. Upper school enrichment courses include the ever-popular interdisciplinary research workshop, creative or expository writing, the Forensics Institute and driver’s education. Some students choose to get a jump on their next math or AP science class.


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Students in grades 1-6 may enroll in one of two formats for morning academics. The formats are similar to those in years past, but the names are new: Core Focus and LOL: Learning Opportunities in Literature. Both programs conclude at 11:30 each morning to make room for the afternoon activity program. Core Focus is a three- or four-week math and language artsfocused program that follows a three-period bell schedule. Every day, students spend one period each in math, language arts and an elective. Instruction is differentiated to make sure each student is appropriately challenged.

aka Learning Opportunities in “We’re always LOL,Literature, is a two-week integrated curriculum centered around a literary doing something theme. Students remain in the same to learn, grow or class for the full morning to examine a from the perspective of multiple make friends.” topic disciplines, including science, history, the arts and social studies – and, of course, math and language arts. (For details about specific electives offered to Core Focus students and the literary themes for each LOL session, please see www.summer.

—Kelly Espinosa, director of summer programs

Middle schoolers also have a wide array of interesting choices, including Web Design 2.0, Music Creativity and Improv, Forensic Science, Robotics, Debate Boot Camp, Write it Right and more. Math courses offer the opportunity to practice current skills and glimpse topics that await in the fall.

Summer Camp+ for K-6

KinderCamp offers our youngest students an opportunity to become familiar with the Harker environment. Children remain with the same teacher all morning to learn and practice skills needed for kindergarten, which include social and listening skills in addition to letters and numbers. KinderCampers have their own classrooms, playground, lunch area and afternoon counselors.

School + Camp = One Terrific Summer!

Summer Camp+ offers students entering kindergarten through grade 6 a full day of morning academics and afternoon activities on Harker’s beautiful Bucknall campus. Families enjoy the flexibility afforded by this program, which allows them to choose their session, including their preferred format for morning academics, as well as the length of their day, with full-day, partial-day and morning-only options available.

Photo by Ashley Batz


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All students break for lunch at 11:30 and gear up for Harker’s trademark afternoon activity program. Arts and crafts, computers, dance, climbing wall, and a variety of sports and games are just a few of the fun ways students explore teamwork and social interaction in the second half of the day. Each session also includes a field trip on one of Harker’s big yellow buses. Popular destinations in past years have included the Hiller Aviation Museum, Natural Bridges State Park and a local ice skating rink. While many of the same activities are offered annually, each summer is organized around a different theme. Without giving away the plan for 2011, Espinosa hinted, “We’re going to have a super time this year!” Details can be found at www. summer.

English Language Institute

Each year, more than 100 international students aged 6-16 come to Harker’s renowned English Language Institute (ELI) to improve their English and writing skills. Many seek a Harker English Language Proficiency Certificate to support their applications to American boarding schools, day schools and English international schools. ELI students study English grammar, vocabulary, reading comprehension, writing and oral presentation until 3:30 each day. Then younger students join their American counterparts for afternoon recreation activities, and advanced students team up with American “buddies,” native speakers who help them with SAT preparation and other skill building in English.

Classes are small to ensure quality instruction and retention of course materials. Popular topics include computer programming, art and math.

In addition, Harker history teacher Jared Ramsey will reprise his popular course segment on American history, which was added to the curriculum in 2010 to further support ELI students moving on to U.S. schools.

Weekly field trips provide our international guests an opportunity to learn about local points of interest and enjoy typical American summer adventures. The trips are worked into the curriculum, and students use their travel experiences to create written and oral projects for presentation.



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Summer is Swim Time!

The Harker Swim School officially kicks off June 13 with private, semi-private and group lessons for all levels, ages three to adult. Harker has a special, and especially effective, approach to swim instruction. Weeklong sessions consist of 30-minute lessons on consecutive days, Monday through Thursday, to give swimmers the opportunity to build immediately on their new skills. Caring instructors are trained to motivate and encourage learners using a variety of methods to build confidence along with swimming technique. Adults may enroll in private or semi-private lessons or lap swim at no charge during their children’s lessons. Even just watching your child learn in the beautiful Singh Aquatic Center is a nice way to spend time this summer! Harker’s Aquatic Fitness Camp is just the ticket for students in grades 4-8 who love to swim and would like to grow and refine their aquatics skills.

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During each two-week session, participants spend time in the classroom learning about physiology, first aid, CPR and stroke mechanics; on the field developing core strength and endurance; and in the water practicing strokes and survival skills. Special emphasis is placed on the knowledge, confidence and skills necessary to prevent, prepare for and respond to an aquatic emergency. The curriculum incorporates the American Red Cross Guard Start training program, so campers come away knowing the roles and responsibilities of a professional lifeguard.

Harker Elite Soccer Camp: Take Your Game to the Next Level

Harker Elite Soccer Camp strives to provide a profes­sional soccer environment for players to immerse themselves in the game. Camps are open to players ages 9-16 of all levels. Our challenging, structured curriculum, combined with the outstanding caliber of our coaches, ensures players receive high-quality instruction, tailored specifically to their needs. Varsity soccer coach Shaun Tsakiris brings a uniquely Harker approach to the clinics, hand-picking his coaches for their playing experience (often professionals) and coaching expertise.


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quick acceleration after changing direction. A lesson that ends with dribbling the soccer ball may start with jumping hurdles.

“These are people who have chosen to stay in the game to work with kids after retiring from playing,” he said. They consider it their mission to find the inner athlete in every player, whatever the ability level, and help each one advance. How they do that is a bit unusual and fun.

“With only Players also learn to play in a variety of contexts, including small-sided four or five players large game (large goals) and on a team, each gets a game, futsal. Why mix it up so much? Tsakiris uses futsal, for example, to lot of touches on the foot skills under gamelike ball, and that helps them target conditions. “With only four or five players on a team, each gets develop craftiness.”

While every day ends with a scrimmage, what comes before may look only vaguely like soccer. Tsakiris is a big fan of psychomotor training; that is, getting the body to do what the mind tells it. To this end, players may be asked to dribble a soccer ball with the left foot while bouncing a ball with the right hand, all while navigating an obstacle course.

—Shaun Tsakiris, soccer coach

Each morning begins with agility, coordination and balance exercises, which support the players’ ability to master such skills as proper balance on the plant foot while passing or



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a lot of touches on the ball, and that helps them develop craftiness,” he said, referring to the ability to smoothly weave around opponents.

Players receive a soccer ball and T-shirt at the start of each week, and an individual evaluation completed by their coach at the end. The last day of each clinic also brings a surprise guest speaker. Special guests in past years have included San Jose Earthquakes goalie Joe Canon and Olympic gold medalist Aly Wagner of the U.S. women’s national team.


Harker Tennis is HOTTS (and HSTC)

Experienced and aspiring tennis players aged 7 to 15 can choose from two Harker summer programs directed by varsity tennis coach Craig Pasqua. In both programs, professional coaches combine on-court technique instruction with ball machine drills, video selfanalysis and tactical strategy. Harker’s facilities partner, The Oakwood Tennis Center, provides five beautiful and wellmaintained courts for the programs on Saratoga Avenue, just minutes from the upper school campus. Harker Summer Tennis Camp (HSTC) offers weekly sessions for players entering grades 2-8 who have an interest in improving their tennis knowledge and skill base, whatever their starting level. The schedule includes daily

strength and endurance training, as well as instruction in tennis rules, terminology, customs and history. Players are divided into three skill levels to ensure an appropriate learning environment and just-right challenges for each player. Intermediate and advanced players participate in match play. Harker Oakwood Tennis Training System (HOTTS) is a minimum four-week program that offers competitive tennis players the opportunity to combine regular team practice with weekly matches against local tennis clubs. Players learn advanced technical strokes, footwork and sports psychology through a regimen of match-tested drills, exercises and learning sessions geared toward the competitive player.

Harker Summer Tennis Camp (HSTC) offers weekly sessions for players entering grades 2-8 who have an interest in improving their tennis knowledge and skill base, whatever their starting level.

Whether you want to focus on school or sports, or a little of both, this summer, you can feed your passion at Harker! Please see for more details.


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Harker Continues Hot Streak in

Intel and Siemens Competitions

By Zach Jones

“This project really combined the knowledge I got at Harker in areas such as math, physics and computer science.” –Nikhil Parthasarathy, grade 12


arker managed to reach two milestones in January when Intel announced that seven Harker seniors — Roshni Bhatnagar, Josephine Chen, Benjamin Chen, Rohan Mahajan, Nikhil Parthasarathy, Susan Tu and Jason Young — were named Intel Science Talent Search semifinalists, a California record. Two weeks later Harker became the only school in the nation to have two finalists, Mahajan and Parthasarathy. At press time both were preparing to travel to Washington, D.C., to compete against 38 other high school students in the final round. October brought the announcement that Jacqueline Wang, grade 10, had been named a regional finalist in the 2010 Siemens competition. Regional semifinalists from Harker were Bhatnagar, Mahajan, Parthasarathy and Supraja Swamy, grade 12. Students teamed up with mentors to complete the projects they had submitted for the contests. The mentors used their experience and expertise to provide guidance to the students as they conducted their research, while also fostering their intellectual curiosity. “I worked very closely with my mentors to complete the project,” said Parthasarathy, who worked with University of California, Santa Cruz mentors Sandra Faber,



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professor of astronomy, and Kamson Lai, a postdoctoral scholar in the astronomy and astrophysics department. His project dealt with the structure of distant galaxies. “When I first arrived at Santa Cruz, they gave me a lot of help to understand the necessary background information and also introduced me to many of the tools astronomers use to analyze galaxies.” “Although only a high school student, I was given the freedom and the resources to pursue any topic that interested me and to contribute my thoughts and ideas during lab meetings and discussions,” said Josephine Chen, who studied the effects the compound celastrol has on reducing asthmatic symptoms. “Supported by the guidance of the entire lab, I dared to venture further, performing experiments no one else in the lab was familiar with.” Working on the projects with mentors in labs also provides insight to the students on the kinds of research and experiments they will be doing at the college level. “The work that Nikhil did is comparable to what we would give a beginning graduate student,” said Faber. “He picked things up remarkably fast, and it was a pleasure working with him.” Students also get to experience the thrill of making discoveries that could have a significant


real-world impact. “Realizing the impact our findings could have on emotion regulation research was a seminal moment for me,” said Bhatnagar, whose project on how the insula, a small part of the brain, changes its size according to how people manage negative emotions earned her a semifinalist ranking in both the Intel and Siemens competitions. “This study was really exploratory. There were very few similar studies to compare with.” These recent successes bolster Harker’s already impressive track record in these and other science competitions. Mahajan and Parthasarathy became the third and fourth Intel finalists from Harker since

“Although only a high school student, I was given the freedom and the resources to pursue any topic that interested me and to contribute my thoughts and ideas during lab meetings and discussions.” –Josephine Chen, grade 12

for my research,” Parthasarathy said. “Because of the interdisciplinary nature of astrophysics, this project really combined the knowledge I got at Harker in areas such as math, physics and computer science.”

the school began participating five years ago, and Wang is the second consecutive regional finalist from Harker in the Siemens competition. “One of the things that we emphasize at Harker is pushing yourself to reach your potential. It’s just another bar [students] set for themselves,” said Anita Chetty, science department chair. “I just want to offer as many opportunities as I can, and it’s up to the students themselves to decide if they what to participate.” “The education I got at Harker was invaluable in preparing me

Chetty pointed out that several other departments in addition to science also contribute greatly to Harker’s success in science competitions. At the first January assembly to announce Harker’s Intel semifinalists, teachers from the science department who read the students’ projects and offered guidance in the All photos by Ashley Batz submission process, noted how much the writing of the projects had improved. “[The paper is] the only way of communicating what they’ve done and what they think about it,” Chetty said. “It has to be detailed enough, yet it has to be clear and you can’t ramble on.” She credited Harker’s English and history departments as well as its librarians for training the students to write high-caliber papers. “It gets back to the standard that we set in each of our departments,” she said. “I really believe it’s important to recognize we are actually teaching the same skills, even though we may be using different disciplines.”


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17 17


“When I Grow Up” Entertains, Raises Funds By Catherine Snider


he eagerly awaited fashion show 2011 “When I Grow Up … Dream Big!” lived up to its name, with a big, exciting event. At the two shows, more than 1,000 guests were greeted at the Santa Clara Convention Center by middle school student hosts and led to the event foyer, where they could peruse the beautifully decorated tables filled with auction items. Some tried their luck at the gift wheel, while others headed into the ballroom to find their tables and listen to the Harker Jazz Band, directed by Chris Florio.

1 8 H A R K E R Q U A R T E R LY

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Photo by Mercedes Chien, grade 9

Elegant tables decked out with floral centerpieces surrounded a cross-shaped runway flanked by three active video screens. Chris Nikoloff, head of school, welcomed guests and introduced the show’s honorary chair, Diana Nichols, with a short video clip. Pictures of Nichols

as a child and a voiceover explaining her passion for science provided a nostalgic introduction to Nichols herself, who took to the runway to thank the guests, sponsors and fashion show committee for their work.

“A total of 83 student, faculty, staff, parent and alumni models strutted their stuff with confidence and delighted all with their style and personality. ”

The show’s theme was creatively interwoven throughout by show director Laura Lang-Ree, chair of the performing arts department. Before and during fashion segments, video screens showed clips of teachers and staff sharing their dreams and giving advice on finding one’s passion. Along with taped video, live video of the action brought excitement and immediacy to the proceedings; J Gaston, graphic arts teacher and Office of Communication videographer, and Adi Parige, grade 12, were on the sides of the room handling the live video cameras, a new addition to the production this year.

and alumni models strutted their stuff with confidence and delighted all with their style and personality. Varsity Dance Troupe, Downbeat and Dance Fusion wowed the crowd with stunning routines, and Downbeat also provided a vocal backdrop to the final modeling segment.

Photo by As

hley B


Photo by Laura Yau, grade 11

But what about the fashion? Macy’s of Valley Fair and Eli Thomas for Men of Santana Row provided most of the clothing, and the Giants Dugout Store even got into the action for a segment dedicated to our own hometown World Series heroes. A total of 83 student, faculty, staff, parent

At the evening show the fun continued after the fashion portion with a live auction, ably led by Harker favorite Damon Casatico. He cajoled, wheedled and prodded guests to raise paddles for tickets to the Grammy and Emmy awards, spectacular vacation trips, a quilt made by our kindergartners, a flyover with the San Jose Police Department and much more. Guests relaxed their grip on their paddles after the auction and hit the dance floor,

ade 12

a Agarwal, gr

Photo by Anish Photo by Devin Nguyen, grade 11

Photo by

H A R K E R Q U A R T E R LY Michelle

Lo, grade


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Photo by Ashley Batz

enjoying the terrific cover band, The Cheeseballs.

Photo by Megan Pra

kash, grade 11



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Thanks from show liaison Sue Prutton

Photo by Ashley Batz

It took only a few days for the exciting totals to be tabulated, and Sue Prutton, fashion show liaison and upper school volunteer director, happily reported that the fundraiser was very successful. 11 e Kawatra, grad Photo by Isha The live and online auctions raised $83,270, and our sponsors, advertisers and gift wheel participants contributed $126,730 to the proceeds, which support two main funds: financial assistance through the Financial Aid Fund to students who would otherwise be unable to benefit from a Harker education; and Phase 4 of the capital campaign, including the construction of a theater and gym on the Saratoga campus.

“When I Grow Up” was such a success because of the 72 parent committee members who worked tirelessly for nine months and the 133 volunteers who worked on event day to make sure this big dream became a reality. Event day workers included 24 upper school students serving as hosts, volunteers and backstage crew and 17 middle school student greeters. Every year students help to get the show on the road, greeting and guiding the guests and selling drawing tickets through the host/hostess program. However, this year we had greater involvement from the upper school students than ever before. Many put in hundreds of hours to help make this our best show to date, learning something about various aspects of event production along the way. Without the countless volunteer hours, support and commitment of the parents, staff and students, this event would not have been possible. The success of this fundraiser also depends on the many sponsors who support it and the fashion partners we rely upon every year (see sponsor list on page 21). Please be sure to let them know you’re a Harker parent and thank them for their support whenever you use their services. Even a large corporation like Macy’s likes to know that they are benefitting from their longstanding relationship with us.


Thank you Nathan, grad e 12

Thank you so much to all our wonderful sponsors, and special thanks to those who have sponsored the fashion show for all eight years – they are marked with an *.

Photo by Sh reya


TH E KE LLE R FAM I LY TH E MAN DE LL FAM I LY TH E PRUTTON FAM I LY THE DAVIS FAMILY* KRISH & NINA PANU RECTOR MOTOR CAR COMPANY SANTANA ROW THE SUSAI FAMILY XL CONSTRUCTION CORPORATION The Chandani Family and Anthem E-Home and Loan • Asha & Manish Chandra • Cybil and Mike Armstrong – TICO Construction • Heritage Bank of Commerce • Ravi & Usha Panja, Atul Dhablania & Incha Kim • Robert & Lisa Sipko, Amanda Kalb, Evan Dorrian • Bhavna & Kapil Agarwal, UPAYA – The Solution

Photos taken by Harker journalism students and the Office of Communication. Visit the Harker Parent Portal for hundreds more photos!

Photo by Aditi

Ashok, grade


IN-KIND SPONSORS Gentry Magazine Blue Heron Design Group Diamond Quality Printing*

FASHION PARTNERS Macy’s, Valley Fair Eli Thomas for Men Black Cat Blue Jeans Bar Boutique Harajuku Furla Giants Dugout Store Jest Jewels

Hair Design & Makeup Photo by Katie

e 11

nnie Xu, grad

Photo by Je

Liang, grade 12

James Craig Haircolor & Design*


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By William Cracraft

Volunteers Make Harker Go ‘Round

Volunteers help out in some highly visible places, like staffing event venues, but most of the effort is behind the scenes; one is apt to spot a dedicated helper assisting in classrooms and libraries, chaperoning field

“There is a special bond that mothers and fathers make with the students when they volunteer.” –Teré Aceves, director of K-8 volunteer programs

trips, supporting extracurricular programs like performing arts, athletics and debate, and holding down a multitude of critical positions at big fundraisers like the Harker Family and Alumni Picnic and the annual Harker Fashion Show (see page 18). They also help at community building events such as Grandparents’ Day (coming up this year on May 6; see page X for details). “Our extraordinary parent volunteers also organize a range of community events after school hours and on weekends, from threeday camping trips to museum tours, movie nights, coffees, lunches and play-dates in the park,” said Aceves. Volunteers are deeply appreciated at Harker, and in recent months a support system for K-8 volunteers was introduced to offer immediate assistance and advice, and represent volunteer interests. “For example,” said Aceves, “for Lunar New Year this year, parents from the grade 3 class have worked very closely with grade level coordinators and me to give the third graders a truly authentic 22


cultural experience. They arranged to have authentic food, decorations, kids’ activities and the highlight – a specially invited group of young dancers to perform a traditional Chinese dance.” Volunteers are a special group and Aceves notes the hidden value of being a volunteer. “There is a special bond that mothers and fathers make with the students when they volunteer,” she said. “I have observed how proud the children are to see their moms or dads. When our parents volunteer in the classroom they are touching dozens of lives in a unique way, not to mention creating memorable experiences for all the students; this is a value that cannot be purchased.” Sue Prutton, director of volunteer programs at the upper school, added, “Volunteers also have a wonderful opportunity to get to know fellow parents and staff members, often building strong friendships that can last beyond their time with Harker.”

Volunteers are just as often working parents as not. “I have a parent who is there for the program every time I need a volunteer, and she works full time,” Aceves said. “We have a group of parents with very busy schedules and huge work responsibilities who are still happy to come and write thank you notes early in the morning, before they go to work.” New volunteers are always welcome, said Aceves. Along with the aforementioned activities, volunteers can help with morning drop offs at the middle school and with the annual middle school cancer walk, to name just two. Parent volunteers are

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Photos by Ashley Batz


ast year close to 800 volunteers supported the different events and programs at Harker and there are probably 50 at the three campuses on any given school day, said Teré Aceves, director of K-8 volunteer programs.

always needed at the upper school to support programs like robotics, debate, JCL, performing arts and athletics as well as divisionwide opportunities like the mentor and ambassador programs. “The great thing is that if parents would like to volunteer and have a particular interest or expertise, we can usually match that interest to a volunteer activity,” said Aceves. “It gives them an extra reward and sense of satisfaction for the use of their time. “Volunteers bring an incredible value and energy to events as they work tirelessly behind the scenes to support our community building and fundraising efforts. It is all about the personal touch. At Harker we are extremely thankful for every second and every thought that any of our volunteers have given to benefit thousands of students.” This year’s volunteer workshops, to create awareness of opportunities and to invite new parents to get involved, will be held at the middle school campus on April 14 for lower school volunteers and April 29 for middle and upper school volunteers. “We will have a panel of volunteers representing the various volunteer opportunities at the school and volunteers can sign up for programs they are interested in,” said Aceves. Aceves and Prutton send out their gratitude to all volunteers. “We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their support of our school and our children, also we would like to encourage everyone to be part of their children’s life at school. It does not need to be a monthly or a weekly commitment; it can be as flexible as you need. No experience is required and you will have a lot of support!”

Advancement Grandparents' Day: An Annual Treat for Kids and Their Special Guests


randparents’ Day, a special day for students and grandparents alike, is coming to the lower school campus on May 6, from 2-3:30 p.m. The day is themed International Grandparents’ Day to highlight Harker’s wonderfully diverse community, and showcase a day in the life of a student at Harker. When guests arrive they will be welcomed by Chris Nikoloff, head of school, enjoy hearty appetizers and be treated to a remarkable student performance. Grandparents will join their grandchildren in a tour of the campus, which will include a classroom visit, book sale, photo opportunity and art show. In keeping with the global theme, guests will receive a passport-like invitation and

a boarding pass as they arrive, and student artwork will mark the journey through campus. Previous Grandparents’ Days have drawn about 400 guests and the same number is expected this year. “Our guests will travel through the world of Harker and learn about our programs and our community,” said Teré Aceves, director of K-8 volunteer programs. “They will also have a chance to teach our students about their native countries and how we are all connected, though separated by distance.”

If you would like your grandparent to receive an invitation, please go to

Make Your Annual Giving Gift Today! It’s not too late to make your contribution to our Annual Giving Campaign in support of our students and teachers. All parents are expected to make a gift at a level that is consistent with their financial situations. Contributions help to fund programs like field trips, performing arts, athletics, the libraries, technology and so much more. Go to www.harker. org/onlinegiving to make your gift online with a credit card, or you can mail a check to the Harker Advancement Office, 3800 Blackford Ave., San Jose, CA 95117. Please make your gift before May 1 for this fiscal year.

All photo

s by Ash

ley Batz


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PerformingArts Lively Arts Sparkle on All Three Campuses Fifth Graders ‘Go West’ By Steve M. Boyle ‘06 This January Harker’s entire grade 5 class took part in multiple performances of the musical “Go West,” by John Jacobson and Roger Emerson.

The musical, billed as “a musical celebration of America’s westward expansion,” was directed by music teacher Jennifer Cowgill, and the cast included 120 students. Cowgill used the cast to create rich crowd scenes including cowboys, belles, reporters, journalists, businessmen, horses and cows. “They are singing twoand three-part harmonies in a number of songs in the show. This is very impressive for a group of more than 100 fifth graders,” said Cowgill.

Photos by Ashley Batz

Students from the lower, middle and upper schools were eager to pitch in. Danny Dunn’s grade 5 technical theater class served as stage crew, handling props and directing traffic behind the scenes (see

story, page 28). Cowgill noted the importance of learning the process: “The process of rehearsing for a show allows them to take risks and share creativity, work with others and develop consideration for the people with whom they interact every day,” Cowgill wrote in her program notes. “By being involved in this, they are beginning to develop life skills that stretch beyond the classroom.” To read the full story in Harker News [Online], search on “Go West.”

Winter Concert 2011 By Zach Jones The 2011 Winter Concert on Jan. 14 brought together groups from all three campuses for a special two-part show at the Blackford Theater. With eight groups performing, the concert provided a wellrounded view of the talents of Harker’s many instrumentalists. The Lower School String Ensemble, directed by Toni Woodruff, began the show with their versions of “Sword Dance” by Bob Phillips and “Bach Country Fiddles.” The Lower School Orchestra and Lower School Jazz Ensemble, both directed by Louis Hoffman, then followed, performing a number of popular pieces, including the orchestra’s 24


performance of Strauss’ “Radetzky March” and the jazz ensemble’s rendition of Wild Cherry’s “Play That Funky Music.” Directed by David Hart, who also directed the Grade 6 Orchestra and the Grade 7-8 Orchestra, the Middle School Jazz Band played well-known tunes such as “The Saints Go Marching In” and Billy Strayhorn’s “Take the ‘A’ Train.”

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The Grade 6 Orchestra’s set included the Shaker hymn “Simple Gifts” and a rousing performance of the famous “James Bond Theme” by Monty Norman. Grades 7 and 8 played “Jupiter, Bringer of Jollity” from Holst’s “The Planets” and concluded with “New World, Mvt. I” from Dvorák’s “Symphony No. 9.” The Harker School Jazz Band and The Harker School Orchestra, upper

PerformingArts school groups directed by Chris Florio, closed the evening. The jazz band was joined by two special guests from Tamagawa Gakuen, Miyu Kondo on tenor saxophone and Marina Saito on baritone saxophone. They performed such tunes as “Bones For Basie” by English composer Alan Hare and the rollicking “You Can Have It” by Morgan Ames and James Foster.

After a brief intermission, the upper school orchestra concluded the concert with their performances of pieces by Verdi, Schubert and Brahms. Their performance of Saint-Saëns’ foreboding “Danse Bacchanale,” from “Samson and Dalila,” brought the show to an exhilarating close.

Grade 1 Holiday Show By Zach Jones Grade 1 students provided plenty of holiday cheer to the audience at the Bucknall Theater during their holiday concert in mid-December. Directed by Louis Hoffman, lower school music teacher, the entire first grade class sang a diverse repertoire of holidaythemed songs, including “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.” They also performed a medley of traditional songs about Hanukkah.

Grade 2 and 3 Holiday Show By Zach Jones The talents of grades 2 and 3 filled the Bucknall Theater with seasonal cheer at the special holiday show, titled “Home at Harker for the Holidays,” on Dec. 16. The show featured all students in both grades, each singing a wide array of holiday songs. Louis Hoffman, lower school music teacher, directed the show. Second and third graders collaborated for the opening number, “December Nights.” Grade 2 students carried on with songs such as “Over the River and Through the Woods” and a tune called “Piñata,” which included swinging at piñatas suspended above the stage. The grade 3 singers took the stage shortly after to perform a special selection of songs, including “Arbolito,” sung entirely in Spanish and accompanied by lower school Spanish teacher Anita Gilbert on vocals, music teachers Toni and Paul Woodruff on violin and piano, and four student instrumentalists, also from grade 3: cellist Rachel Broweleit, violinist Gabriel Chai, violinist Kyle Li and cellist Jeffrey Yang.

The halfway point of the show featured a dance number to the song “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” by Johnny Marks, with choreography by after-school dance teacher Kristin Maurer. During the second half, grade 1 homeroom teachers Rita Stone, Cindy Proctor, Diann Chung and Mary Holaday took the stage, dancing to “Gingerbread Cookies” with giant gingerbread cookie cut-outs. Following the show, students and parents attended a special after-party in the Bucknall gym, where they enjoyed cookies, hot chocolate and a special appearance by Frosty the Snowman.

For the final performance, both classes once again took the stage to sing “Around the World at Holiday Time” and the grand finale, “Jingle Bell Rock.” H A R K E R Q U A R T E R LY

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PerformingArts Photos by Ashley Batz

“Learning to look at the show in so many ways was Student-Directed Showcase a great experience because By William Cracraft I gained an understanding of how each job in theater Student-Directed Showcase (SDS) is functions.” the culmination of four years of hard work tempered both by fun and the passion performers bring to their craft. Each year eager seniors apply to take this course, taught by Laura LangRee, and the lucky few get an unusual glimpse into the world of play direction and production. Each director must choose the piece to be presented, plan the set, audition the cast and arrange for all the necessary technical help to make the production a success. This year four seniors, Adi Parige, Mallika Dhaliwal, Allika Walvekar and John Ammatuna, took up their tasks with a will and produced some great theater. The shows this year were “Hard Candy” (Walvekar), “The Marvelous Wonderettes” (Ammatuna), “The Dancers” (Dhaliwal) and “All in the Timing” (Parige). “I never

WinterSong By Zach Jones Upper school vocal group Bel Canto was joined by several friends for the annual WinterSong concert on Jan. 21 in the Nichols Hall auditorium. Directed by Catherine Snider, Bel Canto kicked off with “Everybody Rejoice,” from the musical “The Wiz,” followed by a version of Mozart’s “Ave Verum” and “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In” from the musical “Hair.” 26


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The next phase of the concert featured a number of impressive solo performances by Harker Conservatory certificate candidates, including guitarist Nidhi Gandhi, grade 12, playing “Rondo, Op. 48” by Fernando Sor; Allika Walvekar, grade 12, singing the Weill/Gershwin piece “My Ship”; Catherine Stiles, grade 12, performing a Scarlatti piece on the harp; and junior Charles Levine performing an original piano

—John Ammatuna, grade 12

realized how many views there are when looking at a show,” Ammatuna said. “I had to look at it as a director, musical director, costumer, props manager, choreographer, technician and audience member, but learning to look at the show in so many ways was a great experience.” Walvekar agreed. “I definitely realized that you have to stay true to your directorial vision, but you also have to be flexible,” she said. “Not everything can happen the way you first envisioned it, so you have to be willing to adapt.” All four students will take away a lifetime experience from the shows they produced. “SDS was the most amazing opportunity, and I will treasure it forever because it allowed me to grow both as an artist and as a person,” said Dhaliwal. See the full story in Harker News Online; search on “SDS.”

piece, titled “Winter.” For the final portion, Bel Canto once again gathered onstage, singing “Ose Shalom,” a traditional Hebrew text set to music by John Leavitt, and the traditional spiritual “Shine on Me.”


Upper School Dance Draws on Vivid Sources to Celebrate the Natural World By Steve M. Boyle ‘06 The upper school dance production, a yearly celebration of dance with choreography by upper school dance teachers and students, was presented in late January. This year’s production, “Be-A-Muse(d),” was designed by artistic director Laura Rae as an investigation of inspiration and creative processes in the natural world. “Be-A-Muse(d)” heavily showcased technology to tell its story, with twin projector screens flanking the Blackford stage, reflecting a series of breathtaking panoramas and metropolitan vignettes.

This year’s production drew its music from a panoply of popular, classical, cultural and expressive sources, making room for contemporary bands like Muse and Temper Trap alongside a Hans Zimmer soundtrack, Charles Mingus’ jazz and Niña Pastori’s flamenco.

Grande, Katie Forsberg, Nidhi Gandhi, Amritha Minisandram, Daisy Mohrman, Naomi So, Kenny Wong, Erica Woolsey, all grade 12; Sarika Asthana, Sonya Chalaka, Sarah Howells, Margaret Krackeler, all grade 11; and Tiphaine Delepine, Michaela Kastelman, Molly Wolfe, all grade 10.

Student dancers wore shimmering, futuristic outfits that reflected the stage lights, and one memorable moment featured a musical number composed entirely from the startup sounds of a Windows computer.

See the full story in Harker News Online; search on “dance.”

Photos by Ashley Batz

The production reached its apex in the rendition of the heartbreaking song “This Bitter Earth.” There, dancers in dusty, brown, wrinkled costumes – like decaying leaves in autumn – danced a dipping, worn-down ode, an illustration of the death required for seasonal rebirth. “Be-A-(Muse)d” was choreographed by teachers Laura Rae, Karl Kuehn, Amalia Vasconi and Adrian Bermudez, along with students Carmen Das-

“ memorable moment featured a musical number composed entirely from the startup sounds of a Windows computer.”


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Have Become an Integral Part of the

Performing Arts

By Steve M. Boyle ‘06


performances, adjusting levels and different sources. Both were complex

When she and Prutton have collaborated

opportunities to its most devoted theater

positions in a show featuring 120

on projects in the past, Martin often played

tech students, and a trio of upper school

10-year-olds. Martin took on managing

the part of group leader and cheerleader –

student technicians is leading the way.

the frenetic flow of movements backstage,

the active, vocal organizer next to Prutton’s

keeping the young performers focused

more measured tactics.

he Harker School has a highly

According to Prutton, Martin has the gift

developed technical theater

coordinating between input from 32

of a booming voice and the will to use it.

program now offering new

Seniors Araby Martin and Michael

and knowledgeable about their next

Prutton, and Christophe Pellesier,

moves, ensuring that microphones

grade 11, took major leadership roles

changed hands properly and that props

in the design, technical execution and

were utilized to plan. “I love kids,” Martin

personnel management of this year’s

said. “I loved working with them.”

edition of the grade 5 show, “Go West,” becoming the first students to take on

lights, and Pellesier took on elements of sound design and live-mixed it during 28


Photos by Ashley Batz

role. Prutton designed and ran the

performing arts technical director. Prutton and Martin have each stage managed productions for the Harker Conservatory at

The student techs are the end product

successful coordination of the lower

Each student took on a highly specialized

manage,” said Danny Dunn, lower school

the upper school.

such a level of responsibility for the school’s largest production.

“Araby gets it. Araby knows how to stage

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of a long process. Harker is able to grow its own technical staff because it has the professionals in place to train them. Having a technical director is rare, said Dunn, and Harker has three, all consumed with technical theater. Brian Larsen at the


Dunn. “They do it

from which a live technician can remotely

because they love it.”

adjust and pre-program equipment.

By grade 6, and

“He really got to sink his teeth into it,” said

continuing through

Dunn. “Sometimes, moving lights don’t

grade 8, classes build

know what you want them to do. He was

on earlier encounters

able to beat them into submission quite

and take a step up

nicely. I think he might know how to use

in challenge and

that board even better than I do. The lights

complexity. During

in the show sure looked great.”

a span of several months, students are asked to design every aspect of a scene from a play. Everything from how the work is illuminated to each article of clothing must be considered.

Pellessier, meanwhile, was tasked with juggling a plethora of audio equipment, managing and adjusting levels of sound remotely, and balancing how much sound was projected to various areas of the theater. All of the sound was manually operated live, so whenever an actor with a

There are more classes and opportunities

microphone left the stage, Pellissier had to

for upper school students and plenty of

turn it off.

opportunity for practical application as

“We had sixteen wireless mics, and several

assistants, stage managers or assistant

of those swapped between two, three, four

directors on projects across campuses, including the grade 5 show. Allowing tech students to handle critical jobs in lower upper school and Paul Vallerga at the middle school, along with Dunn, teach classes, work after school and mentor students all while

school productions meant students could “cut their teeth” in a less demanding venue than the upper school performances.

helping students at all three campuses with

With the technical infrastructure already

more than 75 performances a year. The

set up via the technical theater program on

eagerness with which all three await the

the lower school campus, the adjustment

new theater building and the opportunity to

was a match and the students really began

teach their students in a space equal to the

to stretch their wings.

students’ abilities is clear.

“Michael originally was simply going to

Students as young as grade 5 volunteer

be the lighting operator,” says Dunn. “But

after school to “operate complex lighting

because he was so experienced and very

and sound systems, build scenery and

eager to take that next step, I offered the

create the magic,” according to Dunn. “The

bigger job to him and he jumped on it.”

who had wireless mics in the show. Plus,

“The goal was that I was going to be there, right over them, to help or fix. We met that goal. By the time the show went on, I was just there for the moral support. That was the absolute ideal goal.” —Danny Dunn, lower school technical director absolute enthusiasm of the tech students who can’t wait to give up their weekends to work extremely hard is amazing!” said

we had seven hanging mics. And every on-and-off, of every level, of all of those mics, Christophe had to control, and at the right time, and at the right place, bring them down,” said Dunn admiringly. “The goal was that I was going to be there,

Making the challenge more exciting, and more complicated, Harker had just added a new lighting board to its equipment,

different people. We had at least 24 people

right over them, to help or fix,” said Dunn. “We met that goal. By the time the show went on, I was just there for the moral support. That was the absolute ideal goal.”


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By Zach Jones


his spring the Harker Mentoring Program has been running a series of special career panels geared toward giving students expert

career guidance and advice without adding too much to their already busy schedules. “The purpose of these panels is to give students a broader perspective and allow them to explore different avenues without actually having to commit to a full internship or mentor shadowing program,” said MaryEllis Deacon, assistant to the executive director of advancement, who coordinates the panels along with Joe Rosenthal, advancement director.

want to shadow. Deacon and Rosenthal have been working with the Next Entrepreneurs of the World (NEW) student club to help bring in speakers and generate student interest in the panels by announcing the speakers at student assemblies. They also provide suggestions for speakers at upcoming panels and pass along student feedback to provide the

students an easier starting point, and that

organizers with more insight.

makes them feel a little more comfortable,

“We are so lucky to live here in Silicon Valley with such amazing innovators in science, technology, biotech, solar power,

Photos by Ashley Batz

you name it,” said Sarina Vij, grade 10,

They also serve to give students a better idea of the types of internships they might want to apply for or mentors they may

given that they know that [the mentors] are Harker parents,” Deacon said, adding that it is easier for students to relate to members of the Harker community.

who is co-president of NEW with her

The three panels held thus far have

brother, Sameer, grade 9. “We as Harker

featured inspirational success stories such

students are very fortunate for having

as Gary Gauba (parent of Alexis, grade

the opportunity to hear some of the most

6 and Ashley, grade 2), who founded a

inspiring entrepreneurs and also receive

number of successful startups in the 1990s

internship opportunities.”

and early 2000s and is now the CEO

Speakers are culled from the Harker community, and most panelists so far have been Harker parents. “It does give the

“I’m a firm believer of Darwin’s theory. You have to adapt, evolve and thrive.” – Gary Gauba

and founder of Cognilytics, Inc., which offers predictive analysis and business intelligence to its clients. During the first panel in January, which focused on entrepreneurship, Gauba told the students, “Entrepreneurship is in your DNA. You need an event or a catalyst to unleash that entrepreneur out of you.” One such event, he said, could be working at a company where one’s ideas are not being heard. “I’m a



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firm believer of Darwin’s theory. You have to adapt, evolve and thrive,” he said. “You need to continuously adapt, but you have to have an end goal in mind.”

opportunities,” he said. He also

to them. Panelists also engage in question-

encouraged students to do what they

and-answer sessions following their

love, but also to “do what other people

lectures, allowing students further insight

love. What you love allows you to

into possible career choices.

make great products and services and

Being innovative, having a solution to a

generate great ideas, but if you can do

specific problem and working with the

what a lot of other people love, then

right people, he said, are also highly

that gives you a tremendous opportunity

important. The “core elements,” he said,

to enter a big market.”

“are all in you. You have to figure out how

Each new panel offers speakers from

to pull them together.” Charles Huang (Kaylan, grade 7) also spoke at an entrepreneurship panel. Huang founded a company called RedOctane in 1999 with his brother, Kai. Inspired by music-based games that were extremely popular in Asia, RedOctane went on to create “Guitar Hero,” one of the most popular video game franchises of the last decade.

Deacon said students have responded positively to the panels so far. “Some have come and given their resumes, and they are trying to figure out internships,” she said. “For some students it’s kind of opened different doors.”

different fields. The most recent panel on Feb. 16 featured tech executives Srini

Students also appreciate that the panels

Madala of SoftSol (Ajay,

are scheduled during long lunches so

grade 2; Samantha, grade 8) and Anita Manwani-Bhagat (Simrun, grade 11; Vikram, grade 9) of Carobar Business Solutions. The

that they do not interfere with studies or class time. “It doesn’t take away from academic time, and it gives them a little insight,” Deacon said. “It’s just to let them learn.”

purpose of offering

“Guitar Hero” offered an interesting

panels with different

twist on the music game genre, which

themes is to help

was not very popular outside of Asia.

students gather

“What we were trying to do was to

guidance on a wide

create a game that would sell you the

variety of careers so

aspiration that you were a rock star,”

that they are better

he said. This story demonstrated the

able to know what

wealth of great ideas waiting to be

paths are available

leveraged all over the world. “Go see the world. Look for


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GLOBAL Partnerships Winter Update

By Zach Jones

Chinese Middle School Visit January and February were busy months for global education at Harker. In mid-January, the middle school welcomed 19 students from the World Foreign Language Middle School (WFLMS) in Shanghai, China. Although their flight to San Francisco was diverted to Sacramento due to bad weather, the students and their Harker buddies were no less overjoyed to meet one another once the WFLMS students finally arrived at SFO. The Chinese students had been working since the fall with Harker grade 8 students who were partaking in a population studies class, discussing population-related issues in online forums.

All photos by Ashley Batz

"Tsuchi was able to show a very clear example of how universal music really is.”

– Chris Florio, upper school music teacher

During their stay, the WFLMS students observed and attended several Harker classes, such as Monica Colletti’s drama class and Elizabeth Saltos’ art class. They also teamed up with their Harker buddies for a traditional Chinese papercutting project. In their free time, the students ventured out to see more of the San Jose area, visit Stanford and walk across the Golden Gate Bridge.

Sister School in Japan Sends Students and Teacher Two high school students from Harker’s sister school Tamagawa Gakuen in Tokyo, Miyu Kondo and Marina Saito, visited the upper school in January, taking various classes and sitting in with the upper school’s jazz band and orchestra. They attended classes such as Great Novels with English teacher Alexandra Rosenboom, and a chemistry class with Andrew Irvine, and also helped out the yearbook staff. Having studied music and practiced extensively as members of Tamagawa’s concert band, Kondo and Saito were a welcome addition to the upper school’s jazz band and orchestra. “Marina and Miyu fit in our music program really well from day one,” said Chris Florio, upper school music teacher. After learning how to adjust to the dynamics of a jazz band orchestra, they quickly became assets to both groups. “After being able to perform with both groups



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and rehearse many days, they really felt like permanent members of the group,” Florio said. Kondo and Saito, on tenor and baritone saxophone, respectively, performed with the Harker Jazz Band at the 2011 Winter Concert. The greatest benefit of having the students join the jazz band and orchestra, Florio believed, “was sharing with our students how similar they are to American musicians. Despite some language barriers, we were all able to play music together with no barriers at all.” The Tamagawa students’ skill as musicians, he said, also had a positive influence on the Harker students. During Kondo and Saito’s visit, Tamagawa music teacher Kazuhiko “Tsuchi” Tsuchiya arrived at Harker as this year’s teacher in the annual exchange between the two schools. “Tsuchi,” as he was referred to while at Harker, worked closely with several of Harker’s music groups at the upper and middle schools. Dave Hart, middle school music teacher, was excited to work with Tsuchiya and was pleased to find out that Tsuchiya was equally enthusiastic. “Tsuchi was thrilled and jumped at the opportunity to work with Harker middle school students,” he said. Hart was particularly impressed by the way Tsuchiya was able to gain a rapport with the students. “He had great pacing and made difficult sections of music fun and playable for the students. Tsuchi also found ways to bring the music to life, and make the students go beyond just playing the notes on the page in front of them.” Tsuchiya also guest taught the middle school vocal group Vivace, teaching them “Hotaru Koi,” a traditional Japanese folk song. “He loved having the opportunity to teach the Harker students a song from his own culture,” Hart said. At the upper school, Tsuchiya took a very active role in leading the upper school orchestra. “Tsuchi actually took over the teaching of our orchestra for the majority of his stay here,” Florio said. “He is an amazing teacher and very skilled conductor, so it was a natural fit for him.” Tsuchiya’s experience working with

Tamagawa’s elite music program was a huge benefit to the upper school music students. “Our students benefited from not only his approach, but from his background and teaching style as well,” Florio said. “Tsuchi was able to show a very clear example of how universal music really is.” In January, a series of video conferences were held at the lower and middle schools between Harker and Tamagawa students. The first, between kindergartners at both schools, gave students the opportunity to learn about one another’s cultures. Tamagawa students showed some of the kanji symbols (Chinese characters used in Japanese language) they had been learning to the Harker students and explained what they meant. Harker students played a game where they dressed up as various professions, such as firefighter, nurse, farmer and cook, and had the Tamagawa students attempt guess who they were. Each class sang “If You’re Happy and You Know It” in the other’s native language before both classes sang in unison. The grade 6 video conference with Tamagawa was tied in with Tim Culbertson’s environmental science class. The two groups of students played a trivia game based around environmental science, which used questions from assignments that were completed the previous semester. The video conference was the first time the Harker and Tamagawa students got to meet face to face. Harker students who are participating in the Tamagawa exchange were specifically paired up with someone other than their Tamagawa buddies, so that when they visit Japan later this year they will know two people instead of just one.

Journalism Department Shares News with World Schools Meanwhile, the ongoing Global Journalism Project, a collaboration between Harker’s journalism department and those of high schools all over the world, continues to produce thought-provoking pieces from high school students in countries such as India and Taiwan. These articles are meant to provide insight into the lives of teenagers from other cultures. The most recent story, printed in the January edition of The Winged Post, is a story on peer pressure from a student at the Taipei American School in Taiwan. H A R K E R Q U A R T E R LY

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By Emily Chow ‘08

Fresh Food and

Fresh Ideas Inspire Harker’s Food Program By Emily Chow ‘08


hile students at all

determine what dishes to cook. Tomatoes

schools sit at the edge

and small vegetables from Harker’s garden

of their seats waiting

also make it onto plates. “I buy the best

for the lunch bell, Harker students at all

ingredients,” he said. “I spend my budget

three campuses have a particularly good

on quality, not quantity. We buy a lot of

reason to look forward to lunchtime.

ingredients and make things from scratch.”

Harker students dash off to a tasty and healthy lunch of hand-carved meats, salads, fruits and a variety of fresh, inseason dishes.

On any given day, upper school students can choose from selections in the buffet line

to their meals. The middle school campus offers similar selections, though without quite the variety, but certain dishes are only served once a week to prevent students from always selecting pizza and fried foods as a midday meal. “First and foremost the food we serve is healthy,” Danae McLaughlin, assistant to the

For 20 years, Steve Martin, executive chef,

including a full

has worked closely with a team of chefs

entrée with

said. “It is not

and interns from various culinary schools

meat, veggies

processed food

to incorporate the freshest ingredients and

and rice or

loaded with fat

healthy options into each day’s menu. After

potatoes; a

and sodium ... and

working for years in Boston for a contract food

vegetarian entrée;

service, Martin realized that the business was

a la carte pasta; an

more about profit than nutrition.

assortment of prepared fresh

“At Harker, it’s about eating the best you can eat,” he said. “Howard and Diana

salads, soup, rice, healthy fruit juices and low fat milk.

executive chef,

we are very creative in our use of whole grains and vegetables so the kids enjoy eating them.” Lower school students also have similar

Nichols were so caring and concerned

In the adjacent Bistro Café there is a full

restrictions and policies that limit pizza

about everything, and food was one of

salad bar with a variety of dressings, a

to once a week. “If you take a look at the

those things.”

meat station with hand carved fish or

lower school menu,” McLaughlin added,

meat, an array of deli salads, baskets

“the desserts include a lot of fresh fruit.”

of bananas, apples and oranges and, at

The kindergartners sit in a designated

least a couple days a week, delicious

area and are served pre-portioned food. In

cookies. Occasionally, Martin rents a

addition, two kitchens are staffed to offer a

smoker, and students have a selection of

variety of foods including falafel, samosas,

smoked chicken, brisket and ribs to add

Swedish meatballs and frittatas.

With the goal of matching food quality to the quality of education in classrooms and providing a balanced diet, Martin purchases local, fresh and in-season produce and occasionally works with a nutritionist to 34


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“I spend my budget on quality, not quantity. We buy a lot of ingredients and make things from scratch.”

—Chef Steve Martin, executive chef

Students enjoy diversity, and Martin aims to present a sampling of multicultural offerings while maintaining a healthy selection. “I don’t think the kids even realize that they

Junior Rohit Sanbhadti, grade 11, loves the school’s tomato and basil soup and, as a vegetarian, is surprised by the variety and choices Harker offers. “I think we’re really lucky to have food of this caliber,” he said.

Photos by Ashley Batz

are eating healthier,” Martin joked.

Martin credits his permanent staff and a rotating team of interns for their creative ideas and enthusiasm. Hailing from prestigious culinary schools including Le Cordon Bleu, California Culinary Academy in San

events, from small lunches for donors

Francisco and Martin’s alma mater, Johnson & Wales in Rhode Island, more than 100 interns have joined the Harker community for a semester to experience

entrepreneurial spirit thrive,”

Intern Alicia Parke Galou said her time

planning to cold kitchen cooking to

at Harker has been a “great experience

inventory control and purchasing. “We work hard to create a culture where culinary creativity and

student groups and parent gatherings, like

Martin said.

various facets of food services from menu

or visiting educators to full banquets for the Senior Mothers’ Lunch held each spring prior to graduation. “Not having to contract with outside vendors allows us to control

right from the beginning.” She discovered Harker’s internship program at a career

costs and provide a higher quality meal,” noted McLaughlin. “Plus, at these limited events, our staff doubles as servers, giving

fair at the Professional Culinary Institute

permanent and temporary staff valuable

in Campbell, where she met McLaughlin and Martin. “I thought it would be a great

experience in presentation and timing.”

opportunity for me,” Galou said, noting

Thanks to Martin and his team, Harker’s

she has enjoyed every moment of it. The

food service program is recognized as

ease with which she fell into the swing

innovative and Martin believes it will only

of Harker’s program allowed her to learn

grow and expand. “The program just keeps

quickly about the important factors of

getting better and better because that’s

cooking for more than 800 people a day.

what Harker wants,” he said.

Along with serving student lunches,

For more information, go to news.harker.

Harker’s kitchens prepare even higher

org and search on “food,” or contact Steve

quality meals for a wide variety of school

Martin at


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Photo by Richard Hanke, parent


Wrestling It was a record-breaking season for the Harker wrestling team this year, as senior wrestlers Santosh Swaminathan, Jason Mendel and Chris McCallaCreary advanced to the second day of competition at the CCS tournament over the February 26 weekend, a Harker first. McCallaCreary took fourth place overall, making him the highest-placing CCS wrestler in Harker history. This triumphant end to the season came on the heels of other record-breaking wrestling performances by the Eagles. On Feb. 12 Swaminathan became Harker’s first-ever league champion, with McCallaCreary and Mendel both placing second in their weights, marking the first time Harker has ever had three league finalists. On Jan. 29 McCallaCreary won the 160 lb. weight class at the 46th annual WC Overfelt Wrestling Tournament, defeating both the first- and second-ranked wrestlers in CCS on his way to winning the tournament championship. When interviewed by The Winged Post, coach Karriem Stinson


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Kumar and Priya Sahdev were thanked for their contributions in mid-February on Davis Field. The upper school junior varsity girls went 2-3-2 in league play with two massive lopsided wins, including one against University Prep Academy, in which our Eagles scored a whopping eight goals!

Photo by Michelle Lo, grade 11

Photos by Ashley Batz

by Igor Hiller

was by understandably elated: “We’ve competed in the top tournaments this year, and we’ve come out on top. [I am] really proud of this team.”

Girls Soccer Upper school varsity girls soccer had a tough season this year, with a final league record of 0-9-1. Both matches against Eastside Prep proved particularly close, as our Eagles were defeated by only one point. Seniors Monisha Appalaraju, Lydia Demissachew, Michelle Holt, Arthi

The grade 8 varsity A girls soccer team ended league play with a 2-5 record, but that was not indicative of the true strength of the team. All but one of the losses was by a single goal, which was usually scored just before time expired. The team was led by co-MVPs Alyssa Amick and Savi Joshi, Eagle Award winners Diba Massihpour and Safia Khouja and

EagleReport Coaches Award winner Gabi Gupta. With a couple of very close losses, the grade 7 varsity B soccer team went 2-4 in the league. Strong players were MVP Alisa Wakita, Eagle Award winner Jessica Liou and Coaches Award winner Naomi Molin. Our grade 6 junior varsity A soccer team went 2-3-1 in league play with huge wins over Castilleja and Crystal Springs. Team leaders were MVP Anuva Mittal, Eagle Award winner Lyndsey Mitchell and Coaches Award winner Divya Rajasekharan. The junior varsity B girls soccer team, grades 4-5, went 1-3-2 in league play with a monster victory over Girls’ Middle School, 6-1, and a couple of 2-2 ties. MVP Alexandra Lu, grade 4; Eagle Award winner Lilia Gonzales, grade 4; and Coaches Award winner Krishna Bheda, grade 5, were lead players. Intramural soccer players in grades 4-5 enjoyed their introduction to the game and look forward to competing in games in the near future. The girls team was led by MVP Priya Bhanot, Eagle Award winner Rebecca Mak and Coaches Award winner Claudia Opris, all grade 4.

Boys Soccer Varsity boys soccer ended the season 5-4-5 in league play, which included two very strong shutouts against Crystal Springs and Pinewood. Prior to their game against KIPP San Jose Collegiate, seniors Ambrish Amaranathan and Isaac Madan were lauded for their years of participation on Davis Field. The

team also received a CCS scholastic championship. Junior varsity boys soccer faced stiff competition this season with a 1-1-6 league record, but put up a great fight, especially in the grueling ties against Priory and University Prep in the regular season. As of press time, the grade 8 boys soccer team was 1-3 in league play, which included a big win in February over King’s Academy, 3-1. Key players are Jeremiah Anderson, Edwin Chen, Thomas Doyle and Nikhil Kishore. Dominating their league as of press time, the grade 7 boys soccer team was 4-1 with big victories over Keys, 3-0, and Priory, 9-0. Strong players are Johnathon Keller, Andrew Kirjner, Calvin Kocienda, Michael Quezada and Nathaniel Stearns.

an excellent 4-0-1 in league play, including a 6-0 win over Pinewood and a 4-1 win over Crystal Springs. Kedar Gupta, Sandip Nirmel, Ryan Vaughan and Nikolas Weisbloom are strong players for the team this year. The grade 5 boys soccer team ended their season with a 3-0 win over Pinewood, and an overall 3-1-2 record. Coach Jared Ramsey said the season was a very successful one, and players continued to improve from practice to practice and game to game. “What made me most proud this season was the determination the boys displayed,” said Ramsey. “They were also very supportive of each other and really grasped the idea of ‘team’ as the year went on.” Ramsey’s standouts were Jin Kim, Matthew

Sports As of press time, the grade 6 boys soccer team had recorded


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EagleReport very close game against Priory. The freshman boys basketball team ended its season 2-8 overall, 0-2 in league play; the boys fought hard throughout the season.

Middle and Lower School Boys Basketball

Photos by Ashley Batz

“What made me most proud this season was the determination the boys displayed. They were also very supportive of each other and really grasped the idea of ‘team’ as the year went on.” -Coach Jared

McCallaCreary, Rohit Shah and Vedant Shah.

The grades 4-5 intramural soccer team enjoyed their introduction to soccer this season and look forward to competing in the near future. The team was led by Nirban Bhatia, grade 5, and Ramsey Jarrett Anderson, Chris Gong and Krish Kapadia, all grade 4.

Upper School Basketball Following a 61-49 victory over King’s Academy, the varsity boys basketball team made it to the CCS quarterfinals for the fourth year in a row, where they were ultimately vanquished by Santa Cruz. Girls varsity basketball defeated Gonzales High 59-40 to advance to the second round of the CCS playoffs, making this season the first time in Harker history that both varsity basketball teams advanced to the 38


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second round of the CCS playoffs. The girls team was ultimately taken down by Sacred Heart Prep, but the season ended with a very impressive 20-5 record, and this was the first girls team to qualify for the CCS playoffs since 2006. Priscilla Auyeung, grade 10, was named one of Harker’s two January Athletes of the Month, and Daniza Rodriguez, grade 10, was recognized by the San Jose Mercury News as a female Athlete of the Week. The boys basketball team received a CCS Scholastic Championship. As of press time, the junior varsity boys team was 4-7 in league play. They had some fantastic wins during the season including a 61-34 slammer against Crystal Springs, a 6737 domination vs. Andrew Hill High School, and a 67-33 lesson in domination against Priory on Jan. 11. As of press time, the girls junior varsity basketball team was not having an easy league season with a 0-5 record. There were some tough battles, however, including a

For the first time in Harker history, the grade 8 varsity A team were both league champions and WBAL end-of-season tournament champions! They had a stellar 6-0 league and 10-1 overall record. Leading the team were co-MVPs Eric Holt and Srivinay Irrinki, Eagle Award winners Vamsi Gadiraju and Avik Wadhwa, and Coaches Award winner Arjun Ashok. Grade 7-8 varsity B boys basketball had a 6-1 league and 8-2 overall record, placing second in the WBAL and fifth in the WBAL tournament. Team leaders were MVP Sidhart Krishnamurthi, grade 8; Eagle Award winner Suraj Jagadeesh, grade 7; and Coaches Award winner Prithvi Gudapati, grade 7. The grade 6 junior varsity A team had a league 3-3 record and placed fourth in league with an overall record of 3-5. The team was led by MVP Andrew Gu, Eagle Award winner Alex Mo and Coaches Award winner Alex Youn. With an overall record of 7-1, the grade 5 junior varsity B basketball team had a stellar 6-0 league record. They took home the league championship and placed second in the WBAL tournament, coming up just one point short in the 32-31 championship game vs. St. Matthews. Co-MVPs Brando Pakel and Siddharth Chari


and Eagle Award winner Eric Andrus led the way. Also taking home a league championship was our grade 4 junior varsity C basketball team, with a superlative 6-0 record in league! The team was led by co-MVPs Jackson Williams and Jarrett Anderson and Eagle Award winner Jason Peetz. This marks the first time since joining the WBAL that a grade 4 Harker team has won a championship.

Middle and Lower School Girls Basketball As of press time, the grade 8 girls basketball team was 3-6 in league play and getting ready to compete against some very tough eighth grade teams in the WBAL tournament. The team has won its last two games, beating Crystal Springs 32-22 and St. Mathews 22-15. Key players are Lekha Chirala, Eugene Gil and Savi Joshi. The grade 7 girls basketball team was gearing up for the WBAL tournament as this magazine went to press, after a 3-4 league, 4-4 overall season. Exciting wins this season happened back to back

when the Eagles took Priory to town Feb. 28, beating the opposition by 22 points, then defeated Castilleja three days later by just one basket. Leaders on the team are Sadhika Malladi, Shannon Richardson and Namitha Vellian.

press time, with two solid victories over Sacred Heart, 18-6 and 24-14, the grade 4 girls basketball team is led by Kayla Dominguez, Keili FitzGerald, Jennifer Hayashi and Alexandra Janssen.

Joelle Anderson, Jordan Thompson and Lindsey Trinh had led the grade 6 girls basketball team to three games in a row at press time, bringing their record to 4-3 in league play after starting the season with a win over Girls’ Middle School, 35-15. The WBAL tournament began March 7. The grade 5 girls basketball team was 2-4 in league play at press time, with huge wins over St. Matt’s, 22-2, and Sacred Heart, 1610. Important players are Anika Banga, Megan Huynh, Satchi Thockchom and Akshaya Vemuri.

Sports At 2-3 in league play at


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By Emily Chow ‘08

Students Show Philanthropic Spirit through the Holidays and Year-Round

Photos by Ashley Batz


f the holiday spirit is any indicator, the Harker community understands the value of giving back. With an array of serviceoriented clubs across all three campuses and additional holiday drives, parents and faculty worked together to instill the importance of philanthropy in students from K-12.

has found a multitude of ways to give back to the surrounding community. In mid-December grade 4 held its annual toy drive for Sacred Heart Community Services, an organization that assists families in becoming financially self-

With Operation: Gratitude in October, when students donated almost 1,000 pounds of candy to U.S. troops, and the grade 5 food drive in November, which amounted to 328 bags of groceries and $3,200 delivered to St. Justin’s Community Ministry, the lower school

Outreach Along with the many outreach efforts by students and faculty, Harker, as a school, reaches out to the community in a number of ways.

The Harker Speaker Series This series has brought internationally famous speakers to our campus, including Kiva founder and CEO Matt Flannery, travel author and television personality Rick Steves and astronomer Seth Shostak from the SETI Institute (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence).



Harker Concert Series This new program has already held two of three events planned for its first season. Washington, D.C.-based violin duo, MarcOlivia: Marc Ramirez and Olivia Hajioff appeared March 9. The Taylor Eigsti Trio: Eigsti, a Bay Area native and Grammy-nominated jazz pianist, played Nichols Hall on March 25. Areon Flutes, a Bay Area-based flute quartet, will appear May 27; see page 9 for more details.

Common Ground Harker is a member of Common Ground, a coalition of Bay Area schools working together to provide parent education to their communities.

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sufficient. Nearly 1,000 toys were collected during the holiday season, and students who helped with delivering the toys in mid-December also had a chance to tour the facilities and learn more about the SCHS commitment to eradicate poverty. Students and parents came together once again in January to collect sleepwear and books for The Pajama Program, a not-for-profit that provides new pajamas and books to children in need (see page 42). The middle school also organized a food drive in November and collected more than 250 pounds of canned and dry food items for Second Harvest Food Bank. Along with the 680 pounds of food the upper school collected through a friendly class competition, the food drive amounted to an unprecedented schoolwide charity effort. The coalition provides opportunities for parents to learn from experts in the fields of education and parenting, and Harker supports that effort both by hosting at least one Common Ground speaker each year and by helping promote the series to Harker parents.

Research Symposium The Harker Research Symposium is a showcase of student research projects and is highlighted each year by keynote speakers of international renown and reports by alumni on their continuing research at universities. The symposium welcomes visitors and will be held April 23 this year. More information can be found at

GreaterGood Steven Hewitt, middle school Service Club advisor, also helped students organize a coat drive, collecting more than 175 used coats for InnVision, which distributes the collected wear to people in need of warm clothing during the winter. More than 20 middle school advisories participated in other gift-giving efforts. Fifteen advisories played Santa, purchasing special Christmas gifts and wrapping them with handmade cards for 123 preschool children at the Kidango Child Center. Another six provided gifts to children and mentally challenged adults who wrote wish lists through the Family Giving Tree. “I am grateful and impressed with the efforts of our middle school community,” Hewitt wrote in an e-mail to parents and students. “Harker has always been a leader in the South Bay when it comes to charitable and fundraising efforts, and this year has been no different.” Efforts came from all sides in the upper school, with Diana Moss, senior class dean, organizing a toiletries drive and the soccer team holding the annual Kicks Against Cancer event. On Jan. 12, Harker’s upper school boys and girls soccer teams raised nearly $8,000 in this year’s annual Kicks Against Cancer event at Davis Field. Funds were raised by selling tickets (which came with a commemorative T-shirt) and bracelets during lunch on the days leading up to the event, as well as from a special fund for faculty and staff. Michael Anthony’s Salon in Saratoga contributed too, by donating proceeds from all transactions made on a certain day. Both boys and girls varsity soccer teams had a game on Jan. 12, and during the halftimes of both games, several teachers and coaches volunteered to be human targets in the

classic game of “Butts Up,” which required they bravely bend over in front of the goal while audience members took turns aiming penalty kicks at them. The goal for this year’s fundraiser was to send four child cancer survivors to Camp Okizu, a camp that specializes in activities and care for young cancer patients and survivors and their families. In addition to the November food drive, the upper school helped others this holiday season through various organizations including Sunday Friends, an organization committed to helping families break out of the cycle of poverty, and EHC LifeBuilder’s Shelter Elves project, which connects sponsors with families and children who have written holiday wish lists. Upon returning from the holiday break, Harker’s WiSTEM organization (Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) led a weeklong effort to raise awareness about the disparity between female and male education rates in the developing world. Throughout the first week of the new year, WiSTEM members emphasized that giving a girl an education leads to better health and lifestyles for her entire family. Since female education rates are the lowest in sub-Saharan Africa, the club raised funds for CAMFED, an organization that transfers donations to Africa to send children to school. To accomplish their goal, WiSTEM members sold goods at almost every opportunity, including after school and at lunch. Two weeks later the Global Empowerment and Outreach Club (GEO) held a fundraising week, with events throughout the week to raise

awareness about universal primary education, one of the United Nation’s eight Millennium Development Goals. Working with Room to Read, a nonprofit dedicated to helping underprivileged children around the world, GEO raised more than $1,600 towards the $8,000 that will fund construction of two libraries in India and Vietnam. GEO brainstormed creative and educational ways to raise awareness and raise funds, including a challenge for students to go a day without electronics. The club also hosted Dress for Success, a daylong event in which students dropped change into 27 jars labeled with teachers’ photographs. The teacher with the most votes, or most change, would then wear a middle school uniform. All of the students’ efforts that week helped raise more than 15 percent of the club’s goal. No matter the age or cause, Harker students find ways to give back to the community. With the help of community service advisors and faculty members, the three campuses find organizations and programs to work with, producing, from year to year, outstanding results and exceptional attitudes towards service. For more information, visit news. and search “service.” H A R K E R Q U A R T E R LY

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By Igor Hiller

All photos by Ashley Batz

Annual Pajama Drive Anything But Sleepy Four years ago, Rishi Narain, now grade 7, sat down to watch the "Oprah" show. The show’s guest that day was Genevieve Piturro, founder of the Pajama Program, a nonprofit dedicated to delivering warm sleepwear and nurturing books to children in need. Seeing thousands of pajamas and books donated to children who never had them inspired Narain to bring the program to Harker, where he organized the lower school’s first annual pajama drive. Four years later, the event is bigger than ever. The January assembly was a raucous affair. In addition to all the lower school students, there were also “big people in the audience,” as Joe Connolly, lower school dean, put it in his introduction to the event. The “big people” were sophomores, who had come as part of the Eagle Buddies program. Eagle Buddies, still in its first year, was an initiative suggested by Butch Keller, upper school head, in an effort to bridge the campus divide. Third and tenth graders are matched together, and according to Carol Zink, upper school history teacher, the third graders get fun, older role models, “while the sophomores get a chance to lighten up and be kids for a little bit.”

been going more smoothly than I could ever imagine,” said Keller. “I couldn’t be more pleased with what we’re accomplishing.” After Connolly’s introduction, Pallie Zambrano, co-president of the Pajama Program’s Northern and Central California chapter, expressed thanks to the Harker students, reminding them that each donated pair of pajamas would change the life of a child in need.


Kindergartner Andrew Fox wasn’t too sure of what was going on, but he was very excited to be in his pajamas. “They’re not as tight as my uniform!” he exclaimed.

The lower school gym was packed in late January with students, faculty and staff – all in pajamas – ready and excited to donate to a good cause. The reason can be traced back to one young Harker student.

Next, Keller replaced his suit jacket with a bathrobe and reclined on a rocking chair to read “We Are Going on a Bear Hunt” to the children. All the students got involved during the audience participation part of the reading, with special zeal coming from the sophomores.

Finally, the students spent some time reading to themselves and with their buddies. Big Buddy Michaela Kastelman said she enjoyed spending time with her buddy because it brought her back to

The buddies stay together for three years, until the sophomores graduate and the third graders matriculate into middle school. “It’s 42

the experience of being in third grade.

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All in all, the event was a huge success, with Harker students donating 727 pairs of pajamas and 204 books, a school record for the program.

AlumniNews Alumni Admissions By William Cracraft

Photo by Devin Nguyen, grade 11

Conservatory Classic By Zach Jones The third annual Alumni Conservatory Classic, held New Year’s Day at the Nichols Hall auditorium, reunited alumni and current students for a special series of performances. The concert, which was run and directed by alumni, showcased the diversity and uniqueness of Harker’s performing arts students and graduates, featuring classical pieces, jazz standards and songs from musicals. All pieces were self-directed, learned and rehearsed during the winter break. Alumni and current students collaborated on most of the songs during the show, including “Therapy” from the musical “Tick, Tick … Boom!” which featured singers D.J. Blickenstaff ’09 and Lauren Ammatuna ’08, with Benjamin Tien, grade 12, providing accompaniment on piano. During another student-alumni collaboration for the Presto from Felix Mendelssohn’s “Octet in E-flat, Op. 20,” violinists Audrey Kwong ’07 and Helen Wu, grade 8, were accompanied by violinists Jonathan Wang ’08 and Albert Chen, grade 10, senior Warren Kwong and Stephanie Kim ’08 on viola, and Julia Shim ’10 and Melody Huang, grade 11, on cello. For the show’s final number, past and present members of the upper school all-male vocal ensemble Guys’ Gig – Peter Combs ’04, Aseem Shukla ’07, Alex Underwood ’08, Ben Englert ’08, Amaresh Shukla ’09, Chetan Vakkalagadda ’09, Joe Hospodor ’09, Kartik Venkatraman ’09, and current seniors Kwong, Aditya Parige and Sean Martin – gathered to sing Elliott Yamin’s “Wait for You,” arranged by Vakkalagadda, and a medley of songs by various artists titled “Bm G D A II,” arranged by Venkatraman.


arker has implemented a new, streamlined alumni admission process this year to ease admission for the children and grandchildren of Harker alumni and has already heard from a number of alumni interested in the program.

In an announcement to alumni, Diana Nichols, chair of Harker’s Board of Trustees and former head of school, said that whether students attended Manzanita Hall, Harker Day School, Palo Alto Military Academy, Harker Academy or The Harker School, there is much that alumni from all the schools share. “Even though time has passed, the core values and principles of the school haven’t changed,” she said. “We have a history together of shared common values.” In addition to the core values that have remained throughout the school’s history, Nichols also cited the safe environment, caring community, great teachers and improved facilities as “wonderful reasons” for alumni to send their children to Harker. “You are Harker family, and we’d love to have your children – or grandchildren – attending Harker and carrying on the traditions.”

The features of the alumni admission process include: ● waiving the application fee ● giving qualified alumni children (who pass testing and meet behavioral standards) top consideration in the application process ● providing alumni children with priority equal to current students for financial aid and offering a 10 percent discount to alumni children for Harker’s summer programs

Nichols came to Harker Academy in 1973, was named assistant principal in 1979, principal in 1984, and from 1992 until retirement in 2005 was head of school. She joined the Board of Trustees in 2005, was named Board chair in 2010 and is passionate about bringing our legacy children into the fold. “We hope to see you on our campuses soon – for a visit or to pick up your child or grandchild from school!” said Nichols. Harker alumni should contact Nan Nielsen, director of admission, at or 408.249.2510 and request a special private alumni tour. For the summer discount, alumni should contact Kelly Espinosa, summer programs director, at Harker alumni who have not registered with the school’s alumni office can do so by contacting their class agent or e-mailing Christina Yan, alumni director, at H A R K E R Q U A R T E R LY

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By William Cracraft

The Class of 2005 held an impromptu reunion at the Firehouse Bar and Grill in downtown San Jose. See class notes for their news.

Photo by Erika Gudmundson '05

Alumni Home for the Holidays


lumni gathered in early January in the Edge for the now-traditional Home for the Holidays get-together at Harker. Approximately 100 people, including faculty and administrators, attended.

“We want you to feel like when you are back in the Bay Area, or going to school in the Bay Area, Harker is a home to you: come anytime,” said Christopher Nikoloff, head of school, addressing the gathering. The event brings college-aged alumni (this year they are from the classes of ’07, ’08, ’09 and ’10) back to campus to visit with teachers and with friends who may still be students. The atmosphere was congenial, and celebrants had cookies and cider as they caught up with friends and met administrators.

Photos by Ashley Batz



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By William Cracraft


Alumni Q & A

Photo provided by Yasemin Denari

Yasemin Denari MS ’96 attended Harker from kindergarten through grade 8. The upper school had not yet opened at that time, so after Harker, Denari attended Saratoga High School, where she ran track and cross country and volunteered at a skilled nursing facility on the weekends. Denari went to UCLA for her undergraduate studies and graduated Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude with a major in Italian, plus a special field in French and a minor in Spanish. During her time in college, she spent a summer abroad at the University of Salamanca in Spain and attended UCLA Extension where she studied broadcast journalism. During her last year at UCLA, she worked as a production intern at the K-NBC News Investigative Unit, “Celebrity Justice” and “EXTRA.” Yasemin Denari MS ’96

Denari was also interested in learning Turkish so she could communicate with her Turkish relatives on her mother’s side, so she moved to Turkey the day after her graduation from UCLA in order to attend a summer language program at Bogazici University in Istanbul. She immediately became enamored with the city and decided to stay there to work. She worked for three years in the marketing and international business development departments of Garanti Bank, Turkey’s second largest private bank, and helped to launch Turkey’s most renowned credit card loyalty program in Romania (through Garanti Bank Romania). During her time in Turkey, she spent many of her weekends volunteering at an animal shelter in Istanbul. Denari returned to California in the fall of 2008 and shortly thereafter began working with William H. Draper III at his San Francisco-based venture capital firm Draper Richards LP. She helped him to write a book, “The Startup Game: Inside the Partnership between Venture Capitalists and Entrepreneurs” (, which has recently been published by Palgrave Macmillan in the U.S. She is currently pursuing her MBA at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Q: When you were at Harker, did

you dream of doing what you do now?

A: No, I don’t think so. I have had a

rather varied professional career thus far, and I don’t think that there is any way that I could have anticipated it!

Q: What do you find most exciting about your career or current project?

A: I am really excited about the

book on which I collaborated with William H. Draper III. He is a VC legend, and I am honored to have had the opportunity to work so closely with him on this project. “The Startup Game” has received positive reviews and endorsements from renowned venture capitalists, entrepreneurs and President George H.W. Bush, and we have also recently signed publishing deals with leading publishing houses in China, Taiwan and Russia.

Q: What personal traits make you successful at what you’re doing?


I am ambitious, hardworking and optimistic. In some ways, I feel like I have a guiding force that leads me through life. When one door closes, I never get upset about it because I know another one is about to open. I am a networker, and I do my best to maintain my professional relationships. I also value integrity above all else.

Q: What in your life so far took you the longest time to learn?

A: I would probably say that

learning Turkish took me the longest. I had studied a few Latin languages in college, but Turkish required an entirely new way of thinking. I was living in Istanbul at the time, so the fact that I was immersed in the language definitely helped.

Q: What’s on the top of your

personal and professional “lists” right now?

A: Professional: Graduate from

Stanford and work in the venture capital industry. Personal: Learn Mandarin and practice the other languages I’ve studied.

Q: Tell us something surprising about yourself.

A: I was a video game playing

tomboy in my youth and needed to get stitches on five different occasions before the age of ten.

Q: What advice do you have for current Harker students?

A: Always remember that anything is possible.


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Coming Attractions Orch. Spring Concert April 8 Pippin Senior Showcase Kdg. Show

April 14-16 April 22 April 21-22

Vocal Spring Concert April 28 Songs into Summer Beauty and the Beast

April 29

Fri., May 27 | 8 p.m.

Areon Flutes $15 per ticket

Areon Flutes is a Bay Area-based flute quartet and winner of the bronze medal in the 2008 Fischoff Chamber Music Competition, one of the most prestigious chamber music competitions in the country. The members of Areon also established the International Chamber Music Competition and the Areon Chamber Music Institute. Previous performers:

May 6-7

Bucknall Music Concert

May 10

Spring Sing

May 20

Bucknall Dance Concert

Concert Series


May 27-28

Reminder! The Harker Conservatory will be performing at the 2011 Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland, which will be held Aug. 5-29. Watch Harker News Online for updates on this exciting trip!

MarcOlivia Duo

The Taylor Eigsti Trio

Pre-event reception one hour prior to each performance. Hors d'oeuvres and beverages available.

Tickets: The Harker School Nichols Auditorium | Upper School Campus 500 Saratoga Avenue, San Jose For more information contact

First Ever!

Alumni Family Spring Egg Hunt Sun., April 17 9:30-11:30 a.m. | Lower School Campus Contact

RSVP online ( Questions? Please contact Christina Yan at 408.345.9205 or





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Grades K-6

Summer Camp +

Grades 6-12

Summer Institute

Also: Tennis, Soccer and Swim!

408.553.0537 l | Held on our beautiful lower and upper school campuses.

Grandparents’ Day Fri., May 6 • 2:30-3:30 p.m.

Lower School Campus • 4300 Bucknall Road, San Jose


Class of 2011

Sat., June 4 1-4 p.m. 500 Saratoga Ave.

Sat., May 21 | 9 a.m. The Mountain Winery Senior Families Only by Reservation


See you There!

Harker Quarterly (USPS 023-761) is published four times per year (September, December, March and June) by The Harker School, Office of Communication, 500 Saratoga Ave., San Jose, CA 95129. Periodicals Postage Paid at San Jose, CA and at additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Harker Quarterly, 500 Saratoga Avenue, San Jose, CA 95129.







L-R Matt Brooks, who graduated from Harker predecessor Palo Alto Military Academy in 1967; then-California Secretary of State Jerry Brown; and Major Donald L. Nichols. “This photo was likely taken in 1974 at the Brooks residence in San Leandro,” said Brooks. “Jerry Brown was California secretary of state, running for governor. My father, Jack Brooks, was Jerry Brown’s campaign finance chair, and I was Jerry Brown’s campaign youth chair.”

4 0 8 . 2 4 9 . 2 510 H A R K E R Q U A R T E R LY

w w w. h a r k e r. o r g

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S a n

J o s e ,

C a l i f o r n i a O of C: 3/11 (BHDG/JJJ/RM/DQP) 4931

The Harker Quarterly, Spring 2011  

Quarterly magazine for The Harker School, an independent K-Gr. 12 college-prep school in San Jose, CA