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Students Contribute to Greater Good Around Bay

Inspiring Girls Who Code Maker Space Starts Out Strong Homecoming Brings Out the Crowd Science Researchers Show Their Work

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VOLU M E 6 路 N U M B E R 2

Cover Photo


utreach for the greater good is in Harker’s DNA. Kindergartners clean up fallen pomegranates from campus trees, middle school kids raise funds for local and international

causes, and many upper school students exceed their required community service hours – often creating their own programs, like reaching out to students who need mentoring. And there is so much more. One recent outreach activity was assisting the city of San Jose in cleaning out and setting up for Christmas in the Park, as shown on this issue’s cover, photographed by Jacqueline Ramseyer Orrell. Though school is in full swing, students are busier than ever helping out with everything from canned food drives to blanket deliveries to raising money for muscular dystrophy, to name just a few. For that spirit, we are thankful. See the story and list of efforts from just the past three months on page 12, or go to and search “outreach.” It will warm your heart.

W I N T E R 2 014 / V O L U M E 6 · N U M B E R 2 Pam Dickinson Director William Cracraft Editor Catherine Snider Jenn Maragoni Copy Editors Kyle Cavallaro Photo Editor

Stefan Armijo Robert Boucher Steven Boyle ‘06 Debbie Cohen Nicole DeVelbiss Mayra Flores De Marcotte Carol Green Edward Hejtmanek ‘06 John Ho Zach Jones Theresa Smith Robyn Stone Contributors Blue Heron Design Group Rebecca McCartney Triple J Design Design Diamond Quality Printing Printing

Happy holidays to all!

About Harker From its early beginnings in 1893 — when Stanford University leaders assisted in its establishment — to its reputation today as a leading preparatory school with graduates 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.

Program Recognized The San José City Council honored The Harker School at the Dec. 9, 2014 council meeting for “dedication to environmental stewardship and successful implementation of the wet/dry collection program.” Chris Nikoloff, head of school, along with the teachers who spearheaded the new wet/dry initiative – Katherine Schafer, Diana Moss, Gerry-louise Robinson, Enni Chen

Harker News (HN) 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 HN via RSS feeds or a daily digest email alert. Visit

Find, Friend & Follow Us!

Join us for tweets, videos, announcements, photo sharing and more!

Do You Prefer to Read Harker Quarterly Online? We know that many of you like to enjoy Harker Quarterly online and would prefer to save a tree, so feel free to opt out. If you would rather not get Harker Quarterly in the mail, send an email to and we’ll alert you with a link to each issue when it is posted to our account on Printed on 100% recycled paper

The Harker School is an independent, coed, college-prep school serving preschool through grade 12. Preschool: 4525 Union Ave., San Jose, CA 95124

and Margaret Huntley – accepted the recognition on behalf of the school.

K-Grade 5: 4300 Bucknall Rd., San Jose, CA 95130

The real payoff is that, thanks to the entire school’s efforts, Republic Services reports that

Grades 6-8: 3800 Blackford Ave., San Jose, CA 95117

Harker’s diversion of waste from landfill has gone from 15 percent to 70 percent. Go, Harker! To read more about Harker’s wet/

Grades 9-12: 500 Saratoga Ave., San Jose, CA 95129 Published four times a year, Harker Quarterly showcases some of the top news, leading programs, inspiring people and visionary plans of the greater Harker community.

dry program see Harker Quarterly, Summer 2014, page 16.

Produced by the Harker Office of Communication 500 Saratoga Ave., San Jose, CA 95129 · 408.345.9273



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features Trendsetting: Inspiring Girls Who Code


Computing Student Invited to Prestigious Grace Hopper Conference


Maker Space Starts Out Strong


Homecoming Brings Out the Crowd


Science Researchers Show Their Work Community Gathers for Harvest Festival

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Global Online Learning Adds to Options



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departments Greater Good Global Education Preschool Performing Arts Eagle Report Business and Entrepreneurship Harker Concert Series Advancement Alumni Looking Ahead


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By Christopher Nikoloff Head of School

Herd Mentality Limits Students’ Potential


y son’s basketball team had its first tournament of the season recently. It was my son’s first basketball tournament in his life. The tournament was an opportunity for the team to experience the dual nature of competition: each contest can teach us about our opponents and ourselves. Sun Tzu, in “The Art of War,” says, “Know the enemy and know yourself; in a hundred battles you will never be in peril.”

At the end of the day, our primary competition ought to be against our own potential, not others. We compete and compare with others all the time, but hopefully only to understand our own potential more clearly. Aristotle said that man is by nature a political animal. We learn about ourselves when we compete and compare, but our competition with others ought to be secondary. Making the comparing and competing with others our primary focus can throw us off track. A parent recently referred me to William Deresiewicz’s book “Excellent Sheep,” in which the author talks about how students in elite colleges lose themselves to conformity of thought, majors and career paths. A review in The New York Times captures his proposition: “We’ve spawned a generation of polite, striving, praise-addicted, grade-grubbing nonentities.” I don’t think this is entirely fair, but a herd mentality, striving toward a limited definition of success, breeds unhealthy competition and an uninteresting conformity that Deresiewicz laments. As the nation’s high school seniors are in the thick of early admissions season for college, the parent’s book recommendation is timely. It used to be that a few go-getters applied early to college. Now the majority of ambitious students apply early and often. Competition and comparing are rampant. Deresiewicz caused a stir with his article in The New Republic, “Don’t Send Your Kid to the Ivy League” and its subtitle, “The nation’s top colleges are turning our kids into zombies.” Apparently no one is listening to his advice.

At the end of the day, our primary competition ought to be against our own potential, not others.



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Headlines ... a herd mentality, striving toward a limited definition of success, breeds unhealthy competition and an uninteresting conformity ... Deresiewicz is not without his critics, but I believe his message can help us pay more attention to the second half of Sun Tzu’s advice, “know yourself.” Too often, comparing to others can lead to following others, as Deresiewicz warns. The parent’s son who referred me to Deresiewicz’s book followed his own path in high school, didn’t necessarily load up on APs, and is currently studying something he is deeply passionate about at an Ivy League college. That is the irony: parents compare their kids to others hoping for any hint of advantage toward getting into top colleges, but those same colleges are actually looking for hints of authenticity in the students they admit. They want interesting learning communities and students who “think outside the box.” As Deresiewicz learned during his stint in admissions, colleges are looking for students with PQs (personal qualities) or who are deeply “pointy” if not well-rounded. My son’s basketball team learned in competition that they need to switch between manto-man and zone defense more effectively, and that they need more plays that they can execute. Perhaps they learned more; I don’t understand basketball well enough to say. They could only learn this in competition. But after the competition they have to return to their practices and face themselves to see if they can reach their potential. Plato famously said, “Be kind; everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” That battle with ourselves, our potential, has to be fought alone, and in that battle our true identity is forged, our true path found, after which comparing should mean very little anyway.

Photo by Kyle Cavallaro


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Inspiring Girls Who Code

Photo by Kyle Cavallaro

By Mayra Flores De Marcotte


t’s identified as the gender gap and has been a topic of heated discussion in recent years. According to various organizations, statistics and studies, there is a significant gap between males and females entering – and staying in – the computer science fields.

These trends are important to note because of the impact computer science will have on the future job market. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, there will be more than 1 million computer specialist job openings by 2020, but our universities will only produce 29 percent of the qualified graduates needed to fill these jobs.

The National Science Foundation found that computer science is the only field in which women are receiving fewer degrees since 2002 – only 18 percent compared with 37 percent 12 years ago.

At The Harker School, however, administrators, educators and students are setting their own trend by embracing computer science education and the school is encouraging all its students to explore the field by making it a graduation requirement. Robust class offerings include Digital World, a foundational class that offers insights into computer science history, the digital representation of data and computer architectures. Other classes offered include introductory and advanced programming, data structures, AP Computer Science and 11 courses in advanced topics

Even before getting to the college level, only 23 states – including California – and the District of Columbia count computer science as a graduation requirement and those offering AP computer science classes are down 35 percent since 2005, according to the National Center for Women and Information Technology. 6


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in computer science, seven of which are UC-approved courses. According to the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, only 5 percent of U.S. high schools are certified to teach AP computer science courses and only 10 percent of U.S. K-12 schools offer computer science classes at all. Harker’s dedication to teaching and inspiring all students equally, regardless of gender, makes for an inviting classroom atmosphere. “I think Harker is unique because it creates a safe environment where everyone feels like they have the chance to try anything without worrying about factors that could potentially ostracize them such as gender,” said Shivali Minocha, grade 11. “While students at other schools may find it unconventional to take computer science


”By not explicitly addressing the underrepresentation of females in computer science, Harker avoids perpetuating the stereotype that discourages so many high school girls.“ – Sadhika Malladi, grade 11

Classes Spark Curiosity Minocha took her first robotics class in grade 7 as a part of the curriculum, which exposed her to basic code and the various applications of computer science. Her first programming course, during the Harker Summer Institute, was a prerequisite for the AP Computer Science course she’s currently enrolled in. “It’s always exciting to have the ability to actually apply the skills I’m learning in class outside of it,” she says. “There are several clubs and programs at Harker that make this possible like the Computing Club, the Programming Club and the Robotics [Club]. “It’s also extremely cool to be able to successfully run a program after working on it for a long time,” Minocha said. “It’s a great feeling when your code finally

compiles correctly.” Earlier this year, Minocha and a team of three other Harker students entered Technovation, an entrepreneurship program and competition for girls, with an app they developed called Aura, aimed at helping teenage girls deal with their emotions in a safe way. The app matches a girl’s mood with images, quotes and music and allows them to share with their friends. Teammate Sameep Mangat, grade 9, was first introduced to computer science and the world of coding by her father and older brother. “Even at a young age, I was given the opportunity to contribute to the software and the design,” she said. “This experience overall fostered a curiosity that [grew] through the creation of an app called Aura with my friends. We submitted this app to a competition, and although we didn’t win, it was an amazing experience and helped me learn a lot more about coding and design.”

Photos by Kyle Cavallaro

classes, at Harker the class feels just as accessible and welcoming as any other class I’ve taken here.”

Investing in Our Brain Trust Eric Nelson, computer science department chair at Harker, teaches numerous computer science classes. He began his career as an experimental physicist in the defense industry and is well aware of the much-talked about gender gap, but says not engaging girls and women in computer sciences is a disservice to the greater population. “I am a firm believer in investing in our brain trust, and ignoring half of that potential seems to go way beyond negligent,” he said. “New ideas and inventions require a critical mass. By encouraging women to join in the computer science revolution – and you have to capture their attention early in life – the probability of an earth-shattering discovery or idea is greatly increased, to the benefit of all.” Nelson witnessed the power of this potential during his career prior to Harker. “In all my years managing software engineers, one of my absolute best was a young woman in Albuquerque,” Nelson said. “She was methodical, organized and had an amazing attention to detail. Her ability to think algorithmically was also top notch.” Nelson became the chair of the upper school computer science department in 2010 with a goal of better preparing students through a diverse portfolio of classes that would allow them to better explore multiple opportunities within the computer sciences.


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Harker’s location within Silicon Valley also plays a role in its trendsetting. Being in the midst of technological developments, new ideas and even newer challenges helps to organically elicit interest in computer sciences from the student body – and the girls are no different. Daniela Lee, grade 12, took her first programming class during the summer between her freshman and sophomore years to learn more about computer science. She and classmate Sadhika Malladi, grade 11, were regional finalists in the Google Science Fair competition this year, and received a commendation from the city of San Jose recognizing their effort. The online competition, open to students around the globe, has taken place every year since 2011. Lee and Malladi entered their project, “Non-Invasive Search for Optimal Cancer Treatment.” “We love people, we’re good at programming and we want to predict cancer,” begins their video.

technological innovations, most which are related in some way to programming,” Lee said. “Moreover, a considerable amount of things in our lives come about due to some code someone programmed.” Lee found computer science much easier than she first anticipated and an exciting field of study she hopes to continue to explore, particularly within graphic design and medicine. Malladi caught the computer science bug early, after taking an elective class in middle school where she learned how to create websites using Dreamweaver. “I was inspired by the potential that the rapidly growing field holds for solving a diverse set of problems that pervade society,” she said, adding that many people have the misconception that computer science is used just for creating programs and applications.

The basis of the project was to avoid unnecessary surgeries, particularly those related to triple negative breast cancer, through the use of a learning algorithm and a new type of MRI machine to better predict response to treatment.

“In reality, almost everything is fueled by computer science,” Malladi said. “It’s at the forefront of revolutionizing everyday life and changing the world around us. Computer science is something that we experience through music, video games and the Internet, but it’s also something that is pioneering new interdisciplinary fields that solve important problems.”

“Since we live in the Silicon Valley, we see and experience a lot of the newest

Reading and hearing all about the gender gap never swayed her decision to enroll in a class.

Photos by Kyle Cavallaro

“In a way, Harker’s subtle recognition of the minority position is one of the best ways to approach the issue,” Malladi said. “By not explicitly addressing the underrepresentation of females in computer science, Harker avoids perpetuating the stereotype that discourages so many high school girls. However, Harker still takes steps toward encouraging women into [computer science] careers.” Providing a diverse list of classes, as well as a deep bench of educators to connect with students, is key to the program’s success. And it was within this deep bench of teachers that one educator made her mark on many of her pupils, particularly the females.

Passing It On Susan King joined the Harker faculty seven years ago after her family left their home in Florida and moved to the other sunshine state: California. Originally from Montana, King was first introduced to computer science in the sixth grade after her math teacher read a short article about the upand-coming field of computer science.



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She credits her time at Harker for instilling within her a desire to learn more about computer science. “I definitely wouldn’t have had the guts to have minored in computer science without the confidence from Harker and Mrs. King,” Sharma said.

Photo provided by Rashmi Sharma ‘10

She really liked science and math and had already taken biology and chemistry during high school but computer science was the only “techie” class she hadn’t explored. Sharma wanted exposure to it before heading to college, so she signed up for AP Computer Science and immediately felt intimidated by the coursework. This quickly changed once the class began.

Photo by Kyle Cavallaro

“He said it offered equal opportunity for both men and women and you had to be good at math and I said to myself, this was for me,” she said.

Photo provided by Talon/Winged Post

King was part of the first group of graduating students to receive a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Montana State University and went on to receive her M.Ed. in educational technology from the University of Central Florida. She spent the first decade after college as a programmer and loved it. “I just love the puzzles,” King said. “For many years, it was like being in a candy store – sampling all these candies that were puzzles. The other thing that I loved about the profession was the people. There were

so many interesting people in this new field.” She later left programming to start a family and then decided to pursue education as a career. “I went into teaching and fell in love with it even more than programming,” King said. “I’ve been at Harker now for seven years and it’s a phenomenal place to work. It’s the first school where I wasn’t the only programming teacher and a great opportunity to work with other teachers in the field. I have been fortunate to have two careers that I loved.” King has worked with countless students - including many girls - who have gone on to participate within the computer sciences through projects, research and professional careers after Harker.

Life After Harker Rashmi Sharma ’10 majored in bioengineering at Stanford University. She has a minor in computer science and now works at Genentech, in its process development rotational program.

“The way Mrs. King approached introducing [it to] us, it all felt less intimidating and less abstract; a less obscure concept than what I thought it would be,” Sharma said. “She started all lectures from the ground level. I never felt disadvantaged. Everyone was on a level playing field.” It was only after leaving Harker that Sharma realized how different the learning environment actually was. “Before I went to college, I never felt there was a difference in expectations between

“I never felt like there was any sort of [gender] barrier at Harker. I never paid attention to the gender ratio. I feel like it was fairly even. I didn’t know there was a gender problem until I got to college.” – Katie Siegel ’12


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Computing Student Invited to Prestigious Grace Hopper Conference

girls and boys,” she said. “It wasn’t until college that I saw a difference.” The disparity in the male-to-female ratio became especially obvious in Sharma’s computer science lectures and, for a moment, made the field feel intimidating once more.

By Ankita Pannu, grade 12

“All these guys had been breathing computer science way longer than I had and [also had] more previous exposure than I had; it made it harder for me to be more comfortable in class,” she said. “But it’s evolving.” Fellow Harker alumna Katie Siegel ’12 agrees.

Photo provided by Katie Siegel ‘12

Siegel is now studying computer science at MIT. She began exploring computer science in a programming class at Harker.

Katie Siegel ’12, thinking inside the box, for once, with her mentoring partner Edwin Zhang.

“I intended it to be a one and done but found it fairly easy and I liked the projects we did,” Siegel said. “Mrs. King made it very interesting and explained the concepts in a comprehensive way. We were able to see the relevance of what we were working on and the infinite number of opportunities.” She was unaware of the gender gap while attending Harker. “I never felt like there was any sort of [gender] barrier at Harker,” she said. “I never paid attention to the gender ratio. I feel like it was fairly even. I didn’t know there was a gender problem until I got to college.”



Photo provided by Ankita Pannu, grade 12


n October, more than 8,000 visitors poured into the Phoenix Convention Center in Arizona. For the week of Oct. 8, the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing was the biggest show in town. Scientists, engineers, college students and faculty came from around the globe. An overwhelming majority of the attendees were female. As a rare high-school participant chosen for my research, I was honored to be a part of this intellectual mix. For three days, the convention center was abuzz with activity. While the daylight

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hours were filled with informational and inspiring talks, evenings mixed in “mocktails” and entertainment. The conference was kicked off by Shafi Goldwasser’s keynote address. An electric engineering and computer science professor at MIT, Goldwasser is the world’s leading researcher in cryptography, working on privacy issues in our uberconnected world. She was followed by other luminaries from the computing world: Yoky Matsuoka from Nest Labs, Linda Northrop from the Carnegie Mellon Software Engineering Institute, Lori Mackenzie from Stanford University, and many others.

Photo provided by Ankita Pannu, grade 12


Personally, I thought this was two conferences in one. While much of the time was focused on how women are shaping modern technology, there was also a serious discussion around the role of society in shaping young girls, especially when it comes to STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). Ruthe Farmer, director of the National Center for Women & IT, spoke on the importance of getting girls interested in science at a young age. While some of us at Harker may not realize the problem, I agree with her when she argues that there is a significant STEM gender gap. Megan Smith, CTO of the United States, was a surprise speaker. She reports to the president himself, and she talked about her role in the government in helping reverse this gender gap tide. Deborah Estrin from Cornell University commented that women should be “forming science circles instead of coffee groups.” Interestingly, a casual on-stage conversation between Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, and Maria Klawe, president of Harvey Mudd College, garnered the most press. In response to a question around salary discrepancies between men and women, Nadella was “inarticulate” (as he himself later admitted), inadvertently implying that women should not be asking for raises and instead wait for “good karma” to play out. Many people in the audience, including me, were alarmed at his response.

Ironically, the ensuing media firestorm may have actually helped the cause. The dialogue went national, and certainly helped in increasing awareness around the disparities between men and women in the industry. Beyond the engaging sessions, a personal highlight was the poster session. Over the last year, I have been working on research in data science. It was an honor to share my work at such a prominent venue. Hundreds of people stopped by to see my poster. They listened to my pitch. Some even hugged me and encouraged me. My project involved mining online thyroid cancer forums. My effort came about when a loved one was diagnosed with the disease. I found myself spending countless hours online, reading hundreds of “threads” and looking for answers. While these forums are valuable sources of data, searching them isn’t always simple. It was then that the thought of extracting “word-of-mouth” patient experiences came to me. By applying natural language processing techniques – part-of-speech tagging, topic modeling and association rules – I was able to develop models for discussion topics and thread summaries. I also laid the groundwork for discovering and correlating symptoms and treatments. My project ended up being a first-of-akind effort at mining such insights from free-form medical forums, making the data valuable to patients and health care professionals alike.

my new friends, all of whom shared my passion for computing. While it’s true that women are severely underrepresented in STEM, and that females make up less than 20 percent of enrollees in our engineering colleges, I sense that a revolution is underway. It won’t be long before we turn this tide. I left the event inspired to double-down on my own dreams in the field of computer science. Rejuvenated by the energy, I am also committed to bringing more females into STEM. I can’t wait for the conference registration to open next year. I hope some of you will join me there!

While it’s true that women are severely underrepresented in STEM, and that females make up less than 20 percent of enrollees in our engineering colleges, I sense that a revolution is underway. It won’t be long before we turn this tide.

After three productive days, the conference came to an end. On my flight back, I went –Ankita Pannu, grade 12 through my collection of more than 100 business cards, and remembered meeting


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GreaterGood Grade 8 Students Send Halloween Care Packages to Soldiers Serving Abroad By Debbie Cohen


Last year when Merrill and his students launched the project, they were thrilled to receive responses from some of the soldiers. This year, the care packages once again included nut-free candy sealed in Ziploc bags, packaged along with a “thank you for serving” letter addressed to “Any American Soldier.” “The packages were sent to U.S. troops stationed around the globe. The candy served as either treats for soldiers or for them to hand out to children living around where they are stationed,” said Merrill. The timing of the note writing also made it possible for students to reflect on and inform the soldiers about their recent grade 8 trip to Washington, D.C., and their often newfound passion and interest in the American government.

Photo provided by Cyrus Merrill



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Photo provided by Stephen Townsend

alloween took on new meaning this year for grade 8 students in Cyrus Merrill’s history class, who donated care packages filled with thank you letters and candy to American troops stationed around the world, including in Afghanistan.

To read this story in its entirety and for more recent Greater Good stories, please go to our Winter Greater Good page in Harker News at LOWER SCHOOL • Grade 5 Food Drive Aids Those in Need • Grade 2 Students Deliver Colorful Painted Pumpkins to Neighbors MIDDLE SCHOOL • Grade 6 Students Create Warm Blankets for Donation to Ill and Foster Children • Middle School Club Sells Handmade Cards to Help Protect Wildlife in India • Middle School Holds Annual Canned Food Drive to Help Feed the Hungry • Middle School Students Collect Shoes for People in Need UPPER SCHOOL • Upper School WiSTEM Club Holds Diabetes Awareness Week • Harker Senior Honored with First Community Service Spotlight Award of the School Year • Upper School Students Continue Tutoring Partnership with Local Elementary School • Harker Students Featured in Merc for Service Collaborations with Other Schools • Upper School Students Read Stories to First Graders as Part of Ongoing Program • Hoops & Scoops Charity Basketball Game Raises Money to Help Fight Muscular Dystrophy • Freshmen Spend Day Volunteering at San Jose Municipal Rose Garden

GlobalEducation Tamagawa Students Welcomed by Harker Buddies This year Harker was thrilled to welcome one of the largest-ever contingents of students from its sister school, the Tamagawa K-12 School & University in Tokyo. On Oct. 14, the 28 exchange students, along with their three chaperones, arrived at the middle school for their first in-person meeting with their grade 6 Harker buddies.

origami activity. Previously, the kindergarten students had received an album depicting life at Tamagawa’s kindergarten.

Each fall, as part of a long-running program, the Tamagawa students come to Harker for a much-anticipated weeklong visit. Prior to that, Harker and Tamagawa peers stay in touch through video conferences and email exchanges.

Kishan Sood, a grade 6 Harker student, said that he and his buddy, Satoya, had a lot of fun together. “We went to San Francisco and saw a lot of amazing things there.”

While here, the Japanese students stayed with their Harker buddies and their families. They went sightseeing around the Bay Area, and visited and observed classes at the Blackford campus.

Photos by Kyle Cavallaro

Among their many activities, the students made tie-dyed T-shirts with both the Harker eagle and Tamagawa eagle on them (the schools coincidentally share the same mascot), made slushies, went on a scavenger hunt and enjoyed a bittersweet ice cream farewell party. The Japanese students also joined in on classes such as dance, drama, art and P.E. The Tamagawa students also spent time at the lower school, where they worked with the kindergartners on an

After his buddy returned to Japan, Sood received a thank you email from Satoya. “That really made me feel that he had a great time in America and he appreciated everything that we did for him. That made me feel special,” said Sood. Jennifer Walrod, Harker’s director of global education, reported that all the students had an amazing

By Debbie Cohen

time. “When the Tamagawa buddies first arrived, everyone was so quiet and shy. But by the farewell party, the kids were all running around, laughing, taking photos and behaving like the best of friends that they have become,” she said.

To read this story in its entirety and for more recent global education stories, please go to our Winter Global Education page in Harker News at • Middle School Coach Visits Tamagawa for Instruction, Sightseeing and Cultural Experiences • Grade 8 Students Discuss Global Issues with Students in Shanghai • Students Chat with Tamagawa Buddies at Grade 6 Video Conferences • Exchange Program Brings WFLMS Teacher to Harker from Shanghai Photo by Eric Marten


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Lower School Library Launches

After-School Maker Space Program By Debbie Cohen n the fall the lower school library announced the formation of a new “maker space” after-school, drop-in program for students in grades 3-5. With the popular program, Harker has joined libraries, schools, clubs and museums throughout the country in eagerly embracing the educational maker movement and its do-it-yourself (DIY) mantra. Ever since the inaugural program was held in the Bucknall library at the end of September, the lower school has enjoyed having its own maker space – a physical location where people come together to create. The convenient “pop-up” maker space goes up when in use and into storage between sessions.

Fourth graders Matthew Chen and Brandon Wang took their brush bots to the next level by designing them to do battle in an arena. In the course of their experiment, the pair discovered they needed to expand their bots’ habitat and were overheard making plans to incorporate paper towel tubes and use a table 14


Grade 5 English teacher Ann Smitherman observed that the “flexibility that these kids are showing when they’re trying to decide what to do and why things work like this is really important.” A second maker event was held in the lower school library on Oct. 23. This time, the students created simple light-emitting diode (LED) critters. Students got creative with the types of critters they built, as well as the habitats they constructed. In addition, there was an “inspiration bin” on hand for students who preferred to tinker in a more unstructured way. The bin, and freedom of choice while creating, will be a staple at all future maker events, which will be scheduled throughout the school year on different days of the week. During the second maker event, Tristan Goodwin, grade 5, had fun making a vibrating LED “fuzzbot” critter using a small motor designed during the previous brushbot-making program. “I just thought it was a good idea,” said Goodwin. “The maker movement celebrates creativity, tinkering and experimentation in a collaborative environment where makers and mentors come together to use common tools and materials,” explained Kathy Clark,

Photos by Kyle Cavallaro

The first maker space event attracted more than 20 students who had a blast creating mechanical toys called “brush bots.” A simple circuit with a pager motor vibrates and moves the bot across surfaces, such as tables and floors. The students built and designed the tiny robots from toothbrush heads, batteries, wire and adhesive. They were provided the basic components and a pile of miscellaneous materials to enhance and modify their bot. Students also could design habitats: small boxes that contained their motorized brush bot. The result, recalled the lower school librarians, was a dynamic and open-ended exploration of the principles of motion and energy.

rather than a shoebox in their design plans.

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lower school campus librarian. “Our activities support our information literacy goals because creative thinking is a foundation for all information problem-solving; making physical things in a collaborative environment helps students to approach intellectual assignments in the same creative and methodical way.” An enthusiastic creator and crafter herself, Clark recalled that after a year of planning and development, the lower school was ready to make its foray into the maker movement. “When the students entered the classroom for our first maker event, all the initial questions were about how to make the brush bot correctly,” recounted Sue Smith, library director. “But after 10 minutes the conversations changed. ‘What happens if we add another battery? Why does mine fall over? I want to add stabilizers!’ Answers to these questions came from experimentation and collaboration among the students.” The topic of how best to implement appropriate maker activities schoolwide (preschool through upper school) was a major theme at the fall meeting of Harker’s What’s New Committee. The committee comprises a dedicated group of teachers who investigate new ideas in education and their applications at Harker.

le Cavallaro Photos by Ky

“Our lower school library maker activities have proven to be a good match for our students. It stimulates their natural creative inclinations in such a way that provokes and aids in the development of crucial problem-solving skills. They have to work through problems in a repeated manner of brainstorming, testing solutions, and returning to the original planning stage if their hypothesis is different than expected,” noted Jennifer Gargano, assistant head of school for academic affairs.

are MIT students putting in extra lab hours, members of burgeoning clubs in the Silicon Valley, or fourth and fifth graders at Harker – learn by making, crafting or tinkering,” she said.

printing, robotics, microprocessors, wearable computing, e-textiles, “smart” materials and programming languages. Typical maker spaces feature flexible, computer-controlled manufacturing equipment for creating, cutting, and forming plastics, metal, plaster and other common materials.

With the rapid decline of classes such as home economics and woodshop, there was an awareness in the American educational system that more hands-on type classes were needed. According to WeAreTeachers. com, a website designed to connect teachers with the latest resources and knowledge tools, many schools throughout the United States are jumping on the maker movement bandwagon.

In addition to being embraced by elementary school-age children, the maker movement also has caught on with older students and adults. Community-based, independently produced maker fairs are happening all over the globe; each year, thousands of people attend the World Maker Faire in New York City, the world’s biggest maker event. In fact, last September Harker News (Harker’s online news site) ran a story about Davis Dunaway, grade 10, who invented an award-winning grid, which he presented at the New York fair (http://news.harker. org/rising-sophomores-project-featured-atwhite-house-maker-faire/).

The maker movement, said the site, is a technological and creative learning revolution underway around the globe, utilizing new tools and technology, such as 3-D

Nailing down a definition of the maker movement is eclipsed in difficulty only by trying to determine its origins, according to Clark. “In a nutshell, makers – whether they

Tinkering, she explained, has a longestablished tradition in the United States. Its resurgence, in the form of the maker movement, is attributed to myriad factors including burgeoning DIY hobbyists, society’s growing participatory culture, increased accessibility to technology and an impetus to repurpose discarded materials. It is no surprise, then, that educators would seek to harness the inventive nature of the maker movement for classroom application, she said. As for future maker happenings at the lower school library, Clark stressed that the goal is the process, not the product. “In fact, some months there will be no product – just experimentation and fun!” she said.

“In a nutshell, makers – whether they are MIT students putting in extra lab hours, members of burgeoning clubs in the Silicon Valley, or fourth and fifth graders at Harker – learn by making, crafting or tinkering.” – Kathy Clark, lower school campus librarian


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By Debbie Cohen

d Rich Out oor Classr o des o ovi

Learning Through Nature: Preschool’s Farm Pr S

tudents, parents and teachers agree that the area affectionately known as “the farm” at Harker Preschool is a very special place. This spacious, tree-shaded area on the Union campus enables the children to spend quality time in nature. The preschoolers take pride in maintaining the farm, which is home to two adorable rabbits and boasts a garden filled with vegetables, herbs and fruit. In the farm’s center is a circle of tree stumps, providing the perfect outdoor classroom. During visits to the farm, students engage in such activities as rabbit feeding, gardening, water pumping, leaf raking and sweeping. The farm is supervised by the preschool’s STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) specialist, Robyn Stone, who is also a science/math instructor for the University of California, Santa Cruz Extension. Stone explained that the farm is regularly used by all the students, from the 3- and 4-year-olds in the cottage classrooms to the older children in transitional kindergarten (TK). “Farm work enables the children to see their own impact on the environment,” said Stone, noting that some examples of learning by doing include the children saving vegan lunch scraps to feed to the rabbits and worms, helping them grow.


“Our newest cool thing is a piece of technology: a pump that enables the students to draw water from a well for the garden, helping them understand that water is precious and not to be wasted in a time of drought,” Stone noted.

Ro by s by oto Ph

n Stone

The children notice change and make observations about size color, texture and quantity as the plants grow from sprout to flower to fruit, explained Stone. “It is my hope that, in seeing, touching, smelling and tasting the results of their work, the students will develop respect and reverence for nature,” she said.



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It is my hope that, in seeing, touching, smelling and tasting the results of their work, the students will develop respect and reverence for nature.

Photos by Ro

b yn

Sto ne

- Robyn Stone, preschool STEM specialist

While all the preschool classrooms have frequent opportunities to use the farm with their teachers, Stone added that her STEM lab makes further use of the area for specific hands-on science lessons. For example, chickens were incubated in the STEM lab. Now the children are enjoying watching the chickens change and grow on the farm.

Three-year-old Charlie Kalko said he likes to “put carrots in the bunny cage nice and gently.”

Stone believes that having both chickens and rabbits onsite provides youngsters with opportunities for learning responsibility and empathy through animal care. Indeed, taking care of the farm’s bunnies has already proven to be a huge hit for both the cottage and TK students.

Meanwhile, 5-year-old Avi Gupta said he enjoys outings to the farm because “I like the rabbits.”

His classmate, 3-year-old Aila ElCharif, added that during a recent visit to the farm she “ate tomatoes and snap peas and pet the bunny and rode a (pretend) pony.”

director of Harker Preschool. In addition to the STEM lab, other specialty classes include art studio, music and movement, and library. All of the classes are rich with activity centers and educational materials, offering a balance between childdirected exploratory learning and teacherdirected activities.

“Whether as part of an outing during STEM time or during a routine visit with their classroom teachers, all of the preschoolers look forward to spending time on the farm,” said Andrea Hart,


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PerformingArts Full reviews with photos can be found at; just search for the event name.

‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ Becomes Urban Fantasy in Upper School Production By Zach Jones he Harker Conservatory modernized Shakespeare’s popular tale of love and enchantment in its production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” which played at the Blackford Theater Oct. 30-Nov. 1. Director Jeff Draper brought the comedy into the present day, staging the play in a city park setting that occupied the majority of the theater floor, with scenic designer Paul Vallerga strategically placing signs of urbanization throughout: a picnic bench here, a swingset there. This unorthodox set drew the audience closer to the story and also gave them a



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more well-rounded view of the cast. Harker’s upper school players buoyantly unfurled the story of arranged marriages, mistaken identities, magical formulas and theatrical ineptitude, giving the play just the right amount of whimsy and charm. Carol Clever’s costume design put the human characters in modern dress while the mischievous, magical fairies were draped in garb that ranged from the regal to the outlandish.

Photos by John Ho


PerformingArts Middle School Fall Play Explores the Conflicts of Character Archetypes By Zach Jones and Monica Colletti


iddle school thespians found themselves in a motley collection of roles in this year’s middle school fall play, Alan Haehnel’s “The Unfinished.” Directed by Monica Colletti, this one-act comedy found its characters at the mercy of a writer (Alexander Kumar, grade 6) who has not yet finished their stories, essentially imprisoning them in his mind. When the innocent Melisande (Claire Russell, grade 7) enters their already crowded world, the characters are forced to examine the significance of a newcomer. The ever-cynical Guy (Haris Hosseini, grade 8) and the hopeful Narrator (Claire Newman, grade 8) disagree on the likelihood that they will ever be realized while the surly Janitor (Max MacKinnon, grade 7) simply wishes they would all leave. In the end, the wide variety of character archetypes, including the Bride and Groom (Dilara Ezer and Matthew Hajjar, both grade 8), the Cheerleader

(Ellie Lang-Ree, grade 8) and the Clown (Jai Bahri, grade 7), find themselves freed through the Writer’s clever inclusion of them all in one manuscript – a play titled “The Unfinished.” Paul Vallerga’s set design was appropriately sparse for this particularly character-driven story. Carol Clever’s costume design was also simple but effective, making the characters appropriately recognizable.

Photos by Stefan Armijo

Upper School Singers Shed Light at ‘Ad Amore’


pper school vocal groups delighted an evening audience in the Nichols Hall auditorium on Nov. 13 with “Ad Amore: Love as a Light,” which featured Bel Canto, Camerata, Guys’ Gig and Cantilena. Bel Canto, directed by Jennifer Sandusky, opened with Michael Praetorius’ “Anima Mea,” the

By Zach Jones

first of a series of songs by European composers, which included the traditional French song “Brilla Brilla Piccola Stella” and “Funiculi, Funicula” by Luigi Denza.

began with the traditional “Gaudeamus Igitur,” with an arrangement by Johannes Brahms. Alex Henshall, grade 11, then sang solo on “McDonald’s Girl,” arranged by the Harvard Din and Tonics.

Camerata, the upper school’s mixed chamber ensemble directed by Susan Nace, opened with a pair of hymns – “Barechu” by Salamone Rossi and “Alleluia” by Michael Praetorius – and concluded its set with Adriano Banchieri’s “Contrapunto bestiale alla mente,” which had its singers imitating the sounds of animals over a nonsensical poem sung by the basses.

Closing the evening was the women’s choir Cantilena, also directed by Nace, who began with the concert’s namesake, “Ad Amore” by Lee Kesselmann and continued with “Suscepit Photos by Stefan Armijo Israel” from Bach’s “Magnificat.” Following a rendition of Franz Biebl’s uplifting “Ave Maria,” Cantilena ended with Greg Jasperse’s dynamic “Voice Dance.”

In a slight departure from its usual fare, the student-run boys group Guys’ Gig


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PerformingArts Excelsa Quartet Offers Workshop to Harker Students Photos by Kyle Cavallaro

By Zach Jones

T Violinist Frank Almond Gives Master Class Prior to Concert Series Performance By Zach Jones


rior to his performance at the Harker Concert Series (see page 40), Milwaukee ´ Symphony concertmaster and player of the 1715 “Lipinski” Stradivarius, Frank Almond, gave a special master class to Harker students in the Nichols Hall auditorium. Almond discussed and taught classical violin technique to several students, going over concepts such as proper bowing technique, posture and changing the character of notes by holding the bow at various angles.

he Maryland-based Excelsa Quartet gave a special workshop to Harker students in early October. Currently a quartet in residence at Stanford University’s Emerging String Quartet Program, the all-female ensemble played selections from their repertoire, offered insights as to how they work together and advised students on how to be more cohesive. For example, the group suggested using words as signals when learning to play rhythmically complex passages and practicing with simpler pieces to warm up for more complex material.

Harker Performers Show Up Big at Santana Row Tree Lighting By Zach Jones


arker performing arts groups had a big presence at the Santana Row tree lighting ceremony, “Light Up the Row,” on Nov. 18. Seven groups performed at the event, which was attended by thousands of people. The students practiced for weeks to prepare for the event, and Harker students comprised more of the evening’s performers than those from any other school. This was the first Santana Row tree lighting to feature Vivace, the middle school mixed choir, which performed The Beach Boys’ “Melekalikimaka.” Also present were a variety of dance groups from the middle and upper schools, including the upper school’s junior varsity and varsity dance squads, the grade 7-8 girls dance group Showstoppers, and the grade 7-8 boys dance group High Voltage. Each of the groups performed two sets, including the upper school show choir Downbeat, which did a funny, Tim Burton-esque take on the holiday mainstay “Deck the Halls.” 20


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Photos by Stefan Armijo

EagleReport Lower and Middle School Fall Wrap-Up By Theresa “Smitty� Smith

Photos by Robert Boucher, parent

Junior varsity A softball (grades 4-6) went 1-5-1 in league (sixth place). Team awards went to Alexandra Baeckler, grade 6 (MVP), Brooklyn Cicero, grade 5 (Eagle) and Emma Crook, grade 5 (Coaches).

Football Varsity A flag football (grade 8) went 4-2 in league (third place) and 10-2 overall. The VA team also took first place at the Harker Flag Football tournament. Team awards went to Demonte Aleem (MVP), Jackson Williams (Eagle), and Charlie Molin and Zachary Hoffman (Coaches). Varsity B flag football (grade 7) went 3-3 in league (fifth place) and 7-5 overall. The VB team also took first place at the Harker Flag Football tournament. Team awards went to James Rugnao and Aaron Featherstone (Co-MVP), Jeffrey Liu (Eagle) and Naveen Mirapuri (Coaches). Junior varsity A flag football (grade 6) went 5-1 in league (second place) and 6-1 overall. Team awards went to Michael Mitchell (MVP), Srinath Somasundaram (Eagle), and Arjun Virmani and Marcus Anderson (Coaches). Junior varsity B flag football (grade 5)

went 5-1 in league (tied for first place). Team awards went to Eric Bollar (MVP), Rishi Jain and Anquan Boldin, Jr. (Eagle), and Raj Patel (Coaches). Intramural flag football (grade 4) enjoyed their inaugural season of play. Although they do not compete in games, the boys learned a lot and had fun with their friends. Team awards went to Rohan Gorti (Eagle), and Freddy Hoch and Dylan Parikh (Coaches).

Intramural softball (grade 4) enjoyed their inaugural season of play. They did not play in any games, but the girls enjoyed learning and building skills. Team awards went to Brooke Baker (MVP), Keesha Gondipalli (Eagle) and Allison Lee (Coaches).

Cross Country Cross country (grades 6-8) enjoyed a phenomenal season! In the final three meets of the season, the team really turned up the heat. The following were first-place finishers at the

Softball Varsity A softball (grade 6-8) went 6-1 in league (second place) and 6-2 overall. Team awards went to Lily Wancewicz and Taylor Lam, both grade 8 (Co-MVP), Alaina Valdez, grade 6 (Eagle) and Cameron Zell, grade 8 (Coaches). Photo by Allison Burzio


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Photo by Allison Burzio


Harker meet: Julia Amick, Alycia Cary, Lilia Gonzales, Aneesha Kumar and Anika Rajamani, all grade 8; and Gina Partridge, grade 7. These eighth graders also all were first-place finishers at the Menlo meet, and Amick, Cary, Gonzales, Partridge and Rajamani were first-place finishers at the WBAL final meet. Team awards went to Mihir Sharma, grade 7 and Amick (top runners); Partridge, Arya Maheshwari, grade 6, and Alex Rule, grade 8 (co-MVPs); Gonzales, Anna Weirich, grade 8, and Noah Lincke, grade 8 (Eagle); and Kumar, Jasmine Wiese and Grant Miner, both grade 7 (Coaches).

Swimming The lower and middle school swim team participated in the Harker and Castilleja meets. First-place finishers at the Harker meet were Lorenzo Martinelli, grade 4, in the 100 IM and 100 freestyle; Ysabel Chen, grade 5, in the 100 IM and 100 freestyle; Ethan Hu, grade 7, in the 100 IM and 50 freestyle; Angela Li, grade 8, in the 100 IM and 50 backstroke; Bobby Bloomquist, grade 8, in the 50 freestyle; Rhys Edwards, grade 6, in the 50 breaststroke; and Matthew Hajjar, grade 8, in the 50 breaststroke. First-place finishers in the Castilleja meet were Brandon Wang, grade 4, in

the 100 IM and 100 freestyle; Hu in the 100 IM and 50 freestyle; Anh My Tran, grade 7, in the 50 freestyle; Bloomquist in the 50 freestyle and 50 backstroke; Li in the 50 butterfly and 200 breaststroke; Leland Rossi, grade 6, in the 50 backstroke; Andrew Fox, grade 4, in the 25 breaststroke; and Leon Lu, grade 8, in the 50 breaststroke. Awards for middle school swimming went to Li (MVP), Leah Anderson, grade 6 (Eagle), and Evan Bourke, grade 6 (Coaches). Awards for lower school swimming went to Lorenzo Martinelli (MVP), Arianna Martinelli, grade 4 (Eagle), and Daniel Fields, grade 5 (Coaches).

Upper School Fall Sports By Steven Boyle ’06

Photo by Stefan Armijo


What a fall season it was for Harker sports! The girls varsity volleyball team became the first Harker team in any sport to host a NorCal playoff game, and, on the way, won a league championship and tied an Eagles record for the highest-ever CCS seed. Meanwhile, the tennis squad tied a Harker record for the most victories in one season; an Eagles golfer made it further than any other; a cross country runner


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raced to the highest state result in Harker history; and the water polo teams ended the season with wins. Photo by Ie-Chen Cheng In addition, the football squad, with a freshman quarterback honored by the San Jose Mercury News, pulled off stunning comebacks and marched to enormous blowouts. It was an amazing, record-

breaking season for the Eagles – and the year is just getting started!

Golf The golf team’s big story this year was freshman sensation Katherine Zhu. Zhu, who earlier in the season was named to the American Junior Golf Association’s Gary Gilchrist All-Star Team, which includes the top 10 female golfers

Cross Country Cross country broke records as well, as Niki Iyer, grade 10, ran for the highest state result in Eagles cross country history, finishing fifth out of 193 runners at the state cross country championships. Earlier in the season, Iyer and senior Corey Gonzales each ran in the league cross country championships and finished second, sending them to the CCS Championships. There, Gonzales placed eighth out of 100 runners, while Iyer had the fifth-best time of the day across all runners in all divisions. Also at CCS, Alexandra Dellar and Jack Rothschild, both grade 11, ran personal bests. Iyer also won Santa Clara County Girls Athlete of the Week in recognition of her 10th place finish and personal-best 18:18 run at the Clovis Invitational, a multistate championship race.

Tennis The girls varsity squad finished the year with a 15-7 record, tied for the most victories in a season in Harker girls tennis history. The Eagles won their first-round CCS match beating York School 4-3, before falling the next day to league rival Menlo to end the season.

Volleyball Fall marked one of the most remarkable seasons for girls volleyball – and, indeed, for any sports team in Harker’s history! The girls varsity team made it all the way to the second round of the NorCal Championships and, in so doing, became the first team in Eagles history in any sport to host a NorCal playoff game. Overall, the girls won nearly two-thirds of their games, finishing with a 19-10 record. The team won a WBAL league co-championship, clinched with a win over Sacred Heart Prep on Senior Night. After that, the team earned a No. 2 seed in the CCS tournament, tying them with their 2007 counterparts for the highest seed ever by an Eagles volleyball team. The girls’ amazing year also made headlines in the San Jose Mercury News, as the team was ranked in the paper, and senior Shreya Dixit was named Santa Clara County Girls Athlete of the Week for a tremendous stretch of performances against Menlo and Notre Dame-San Jose earlier in the year.

Football The Eagles ended the season with a 4-6 record in a dynamic rebuilding year that saw the team start six freshmen in varsity play all year long, including quarterback Nate Kelly, who racked up an insane 480 yards of total offense in the team’s final game of the year, a 48-15 trumping of St. Francis-Watsonville on Senior Night that sent seniors and team leaders Keanu Forbes, Sid Krishnamurthi, Christian Williams, Alyssa Amick and Allen Huang off in style. Kelly also was featured in the San Jose Mercury News’ sports highlight reel of top performances for a game in which he threw for 210 yards and five touchdowns and ran for 108 yards and three touchdowns to lead Harker to a 64-60 blowout victory. The most amazing game of this year, though,

Photo by Kirk Kawagoe

between 12 and 15 years old, turned in spectacular performances for the Eagles. After winning the WBAL individual championship, Zhu shot a 3-under-par 69 at the CCS Championships. That catapulted her into the Northern California Championships in Salinas, further than any golfer in Harker history. As a whole, the team finished third in the league championships after going 5-5-1 for a .500 record. To boot, the middle school team took first place at the WBAL tournament at Los Lagos – its sixth WBAL championship in a row. The future looks very bright for Harker golf!

Photos by Stefan Armijo


came in mid-October. After being down 21-0 in the first quarter, the Eagles roared back to capture a 32-28 victory on their final drive of the game when Forbes bolted into the endzone to cap off a magical game.

Water Polo Both clubs finished the season on winning notes. The boys finished with a 12-11 overall record and a thirdplace league finish, while the girls ended the year at 9-12 overall for a fifth-place league finish. H A R K E R Q U A R T E R LY

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Photos by Kyle Cavallaro unless otherwise noted



arker’s 2014 Homecoming was a fun-filled event for the entire community. On an unseasonably hot fall afternoon, students, parents, faculty, staff and alumni arrived at the upper school campus in droves to socialize, enjoy fresh food prepared by the Harker kitchen staff, watch performances by talented Harker students and root for the Eagles football team. The bounce houses set up on Rosenthal Field were again a popular attraction for the younger attendees, while alumni gathered to catch up and reminisce at a special area set up by the Harker Alumni Association. John and Christine Davis (Cole Davis ’10) stationed their RV a few steps over, where onlookers stopped to watch various ongoing sporting events on the RV’s sidemounted television screen.

! S E L G A E GO

Mrs. Carley’s Café was busy for the duration of the event, providing hot food to a steady line of attendees. A nearby gelato truck offered a highly soughtafter cold treat. In addition, representatives from various classes sold pizza to help raise money for class events.

Photo by Nicole DeVelbiss

Prior to the game, the crowd began to gather to see the first of the pregame performances, a dance routine by the junior



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cheer squad, who received enthusiastic applause. Varsity Dance Troupe amped up the crowd with its spirited choreography,

Photo by Nicole DeVelbiss

and the strains of Steve Miller Band’s “Fly Like an Eagle” rang through the air as the Eaglets soared on to the field for their ever-popular Eaglet Fly-By.

Photos by Kyle Cavallaro unless otherwise noted

made the struggle contentious at the start, but in the end were no match for the might of the seniors, who were crowned this year’s champions. Later on, grades 9 and 10 faced off for third place in the competition, with the sophomores coming away victorious.

Meanwhile, on Davis Field, Harker cruised to victory over Los Angeles’ Ribet Academy, with a final score of 51-6. Harker


pulled ahead early, scoring no less than seven touchdowns in the first half. Ribet answered with a touchdown in the third quarter, but the Eagles held them off until the end of the game.

Photo by Nicole DeVelbiss

Halftime opened with a performance by the Harker cheer squad, after which the seniors met the juniors for the finals of this year’s tug-of-war contest. The juniors

Soon after, the crowd greeted this year’s stunningly dressed Homecoming Court, who circled the field waving to the adoring audience. The crowd applauded vigorously as senior siblings Shiki and Shreya Dixit were named Homecoming King and Queen.

Photo by Nicole DeVelbiss

The Harker Pep Band, directed by Chris Florio, took its usual position in the bleachers, where it remained for the entire event, playing enthusiastically in response to the on-field action and keeping the crowd pumped.


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PROFILES IN PERSEVERANCE By Zach Jones Every year, dozens of Harker’s upper school students submit projects to the Intel Science Talent Search and Siemens Competition. These projects, often created during summer internships at university science labs, are the result of months of research, writing and refinement. This feature highlights just a fraction of the amazing work being performed by Harker students every year. To read more about the projects on page 29, please go to our Science Projects 2014 section in Harker News at http://news.harker. org/?p=24377, or search “perseverance.”


For her project, “Analyzing First-Trimester MicroRNA as a Marker for Assessing Adverse Pregnancy Risk,” senior Roshni Pankhaniya researched at Stanford University’s Human Immune Monitoring Center (HIMC). She was especially interested in immunology. “When looking for an area of research, I focused on finding professors targeting specific disorders/diseases,” she said. Her mentors, Xuhuai Ji and Holden T. Maecker, “helped me come up with the basic experimental design of the project and advised me on how to conduct the data analysis.” Pankhaniya found her research internship by searching for projects that she found interesting and contacting the professors working on them. “I chose to work on this specific project because preeclampsia is a reproductive condition faced by approximately 8 percent of women worldwide, is the leading cause of maternal mortality and could not be detected prior to 10 weeks gestation, the latest time period for preventative therapy,” she said. Her goal was to come up with a way of detecting preeclampsia before 10 weeks gestation in order to find ways to treat it and thus lower the number of maternal deaths.



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“It was great being able to work with experts in the field in such an advanced technical setting,” Pankhaniya said. “In addition to doing research, I was able to attend lectures given by Stanford and visiting professors, as well as talk to other professors in the department about their research.” Despite being a high school student, Pankhaniya found the staff at HIMC to be welcoming and respectful. “It was amazing how eagerly they welcomed a high school student into the lab and never for a moment did I feel that I was ‘just’ a high school student, but rather was a member of the team,” she recalled. Among her most exciting moments during her research was discovering with the team that “we could use maternal cell MicroRNA to detect risk for preeclampsia prior to 10 weeks gestation. Our findings are really interesting in that they suggest that maternal cell MicroRNA plays a greater role in fetal development than placental cell MicroRNA. We will look to understand why that is so in the future. “Overall,” Panhkaniya said, “this was one of the most fulfilling and most memorable experiences of high school due to interactions I was able to have with experts in the field and the research experience I gained.”


Senior David Lin turned to cosmology for his project, “Physical Properties and Evolution of Gravitationally Bound Halo Structures in Cosmological Dark Matter Simulations.” “I chose this area of research since it was an interesting intersection of physics, computer science and astronomy,” Lin said. His project concerned the characteristics of dark matter halos, which play a key role in the formation of galaxies. “This knowledge will be useful in predicting how dark matter behaves in nonvirialized regions of space and will supplement existing galaxy formation theories.” Lin was in good company during his time researching at the University of California, Santa Cruz, being mentored by Dr. Joel Primack and postdoctoral researcher Miguel Rocha. “One of the most exciting parts of my research was being able to work

Photos provided by Talon/Winged Post

under such accomplished faculty,” he said. “For instance, [Primack] pioneered the famous LCDM Theory, which explains how the universe evolved after the Big Bang.” Harker faculty, including upper school science teachers Chris Spenner and Anita Chetty, were instrumental in helping Lin find the right opportunity. “Many of the faculty like Mr. Spenner and Ms. Chetty helped me find my internship opportunity and helped edit my research paper afterward,” he said. One of the most interesting parts of Lin’s research was how the team measured dark matter. “Most matter in the universe is composed of dark matter, which doesn’t interact with light and is therefore difficult to measure,” he said. “As such, we use computer simulations to model this matter to find how the universe evolves over time.”


Cindy Liu, grade 12, enjoyed the work she was doing in science classes, so a research internship seemed like a natural next step. “I’ve always liked doing labs and reading articles in science classes, and I thought research would be a good way to learn more about a particular topic in a different way, not just through textbooks and lectures,” she said. For her project, “Characterizing Novel Binders as Tools for Understanding Chloride Transport Mechanisms,” she researched at Stanford University’s molecular and cellular physiology department as well as under the Stanford Institutes of Medicine Summer Research (SIMR) program. Because she enjoyed learning about the workings of the human body and cellular function, the program was a good fit. “I’m also considering pursuing medicine or biomedical engineering in the future, so this project seemed like a good way to test my interest in these areas,” she said. Her research involved two proteins that were potential inhibitors of CLC, “a chloride-proton antiporter that moves chloride and protons across membranes,” Liu said. “If they are shown to bind to and inhibit CLC, they can be further characterized in order to help gain greater understanding of CLC structure and function.” Liu found the experience to be rewarding, with some neat surprises. “This was my first time doing actual wet lab research, so I loved being able to set up the experiments and collect the raw data myself instead of just analyzing someone else’s data,” she said. “Also, since my project was part of a larger program for high school students, I got to meet other students with similar interests and listen to various presentations from graduate students, doctors and researchers – even a Nobel Prize winner!”

The resources and support Liu found at Harker proved invaluable in helping her discover this opportunity. “Harker has provided so many resources, from general information on various research opportunities to internships students can apply for directly through Harker,” she said. “Harker research and science teachers are also very supportive of students’ research ideas and goals.” Liu would like to continue her studies in this field, but said she is keeping an open mind. “I hope to do science research in college, especially in molecular and cellular physiology if I get the chance. But I’m also open to exploring and learning about other fields as well!”


Senior Rahul Balakrishnan’s interest in computer science led him to the Science Internship Program (SIP) at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where he studied astronomy with mentor Angie Wolfgang, a graduate student. “I choose the astronomy field since it focuses on a broader application of computer science. I wanted to see programming at work outside of an office setting,” said Balakrishnan. After seeing several Harker students complete successful internships at UC Santa Cruz, Balakrishnan began his own internship there after being alerted to the opportunity by science chair Anita Chetty. He found himself working in the university’s multidisciplinary building, which was aptly named. “The research in this building was truly multidisciplinary, with a slight emphasis toward astronomy,” he said. “Not only did every floor sport a different field of science, but also I worked in the same room as other interns from the same program who were exploring projects related to cancer cells and marine animals.” The overall atmosphere in the building was one of collaboration, with students helping one another in various ways. “Although we couldn’t collaborate in the specifics of each other’s projects, we aided each other through more general forms, such as coding, formatting spreadsheets and making PowerPoint presentations,” Balakrishnan said. Balakrishnan’s project, “Designing a Spectroscopy Based Software to Produce Spectra of Kepler’s Binary Host Stars,” involved finding a way to identify binary stars. “We hoped to create a new system to confirm that two stars were binary stars, or gravitationally bound in some way.” Collecting the data was one of the more fascinating parts of Balakrishnan’s internship. “I went to Lick Observatory on Mt. Hamilton to see how my mentor collected the pictures that I would analyze,” he recalled. “The process involved using a giant laser that shot a light into the clouds to simulate a star.


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“Our program can turn an image of a star from a spectrometer into a fully developed spectral graph,” he added. “Although the project was hundreds of lines of code long, the most complex data structure I used was a two-dimensional list.” Although he doesn’t plan to continue studying astronomy, the overall experience did enhance his applicable knowledge of computer science. “I will almost certainly use my acquired programming knowledge in future coding projects and college classes,” he said.


In an effort to explore the processes by which the body heals itself, senior Neil Movva studied under Dr. Jill Helms at the Hagey Lab for Reconstructive Surgery at Stanford University. The eventual result was his research project, “Force Responsive Reconstruction: Characterizing the Morphogenesis of the Periodontal Ligament through Biomechanical and Histological Analysis.” “I’ve always been fascinated by the body’s self-healing processes, and have done previous research on wound healing, tissue reconstruction and biomaterials,” Movva said. “Studying the reconstruction of ligaments is vital to furthering our understanding of how the human body adapts to changing physical conditions, and is especially relevant in the context of modern society’s growing senior population that will experience ligament wear and degeneration.”

greatly assist doctors. “With the biologically corroborated framework I documented,” he said, “doctors may soon be able to perform rapid computer modeling of joints and other bony structures to determine the precisely optimal solution before beginning any invasive procedures.” He also enjoyed seeing his work visualized through state-of-theart technology. “A large part of my project focused on biomechanical computer-assisted modeling, and it’s hard to beat the excitement of seeing the first solution, visualized as a mesmerizing 3-D heatmap, after weeks of model construction and optimization,” he explained.


Although she had been interested in biology for some time, junior Karen Tu decided to embark on an internship to “get a better idea of what biological/wet lab research was like.” She ended up at the pathology department at Stanford University, where she and a partner were mentored by graduate student Andrew Huh. “He basically taught us everything from basic biology to dissection techniques for our project,” Tu said. While admitting that she “didn’t really have a specific interest in genetics or neurodegenerative diseases before my internship,” Tu developed an interest in the topic while researching for her project, “A Novel Tool for Monitoring Mitochondrial Calcium Dynamics in Dopaminergic Neurons.”

In his research, Movva helped reignite a field that he believed had gone stagnant. “I employed advanced, novel techniques to identify and then demonstrate our new hypothesis regarding collagen fiber reconstruction at the cellular level,” he said, “bringing a new, data-backed viewpoint to the field after more than 50 years of stagnation.”

“I think that neurological diseases are really interesting because even a small change in the concentration of a certain substance in your brain could have drastic effects,” she said. “It’s really hard for doctors to diagnose and treat these diseases, so this field of research is also really important for improving our understanding of these diseases.”

Helms “has been incredibly generous in sharing her knowledge and offering guidance as I learned the ropes of professional research,” he added.

Tu’s project was to develop [research that] may be used to test treatments for Parkinson’s disease. “In our project, we needed to find a single white-eyed fly from our entire stock,” she said. “This fly indicated that our project had succeeded, so we were really excited when we finally found it.”

He also found help among Harker’s science faculty, both in finding opportunities and refining his work. “Mr. Chris Spenner has fostered my interest in science research for the past three years, and graciously wrote recommendation letters to land me a position at Helms’ lab,” Movva said. “After I came back to school, Ms. Chetty patiently reviewed and edited my paper, while Mr. Spenner again lent his expertise to answer my questions as they popped up.” One of the most exciting aspects of Movva’s work was the possibility of creating incredibly accurate computer models that can



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Her colleagues also made her feel welcome and included. “Our lab had monthly lab meetings, where everyone would come down from their various rooms and discuss their research and the problems they encountered together,” Tu said. “The PI (principal investigator) whom I worked with and visiting researchers from other universities gave lectures, which were a highlight of the summer.” One of the more fascinating things she learned during the course of her research, she said, was the stunning variety of fruit flies. “Before I started this project, I had no idea that fruit flies could have so many different physical variations,” she said. “There’s an entire spectrum of eye colors, wing shapes and other random appendages that they can develop.”

Shikhar Dixit, Grade 12

Nikash Shankar, Grade 12

Matthew Huang, Grade 12

Venkat Sankar, Grade 10

Immunomodulation by Human Retinal Pigment Epithelial Cell Line ARPE-19

Quarks and Gluons in Spacetime: BiCGSTAB Implementation of Lattice QCD on Intel Xeon Phi Coprocessor

Leeza Kuo, Grade 12

A Potential Therapy for Alzheimer’s Disease: Encapsulation of Curcumin within Polymeric PLGA-PEG Nanoparticles Prote Protects Neuro2A Cells from Beta-Amyloid Induced Cytotoxicity and Improves Bioavailability

Managing the Impact of Infrastructure Projects on Endangered Species: A Stochastic Simulation Approach Based on Population Viability Analysis

Embryonic Stem Cell Markers KLf4 and SSEA1 Expressed as a Result of Acute-Liver Damage

Madelyn Wang, Grade 12

Ankita Pannu, Grade 12

Serena Wang, Grade 12

Optimized Western Blotting Allows for Detection of Glutathione S-Transferase Mu 1 Levels in Hearts

Mining Online Cancer Support Groups: Improving Healthcare Through Social Data

Coronary Artery Calcification and Cardiovascular Risk Factors in South Asians

Archana Podury, Grade 12

Samyukta Yagati, Grade 12

Targeting Myelodisplasia in 5qSyndrome Using Novel Drug CX5641

Optimizing Segmentation Performance to Improve Diagnosis of Breast Lesions

Sahana Rangarajan, Grade 12

Michael Zhao, Grade 11

Tracking Parallel Mutation Trajectories Conferring Increased Resistance to HIV-RT Inhibitors

A Yeast Functional Screen Elucidates Potential Mechanisms of C9ORF72 RAN Protein Toxicity in ALS Pathogenesis from Type I Diabetic Akita Mice and Wild-Type Mice


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By Carol Green, Jenny Alme, Karina Momary and Zach Jones

Busy, Successful Season for Upper and Middle School Debaters Many thanks to debate teachers Carol Green, Jenny Alme and Karina Momary for providing results!

Harker debaters were busy in late September, earning impressive results at two events!

Nichols Invitational Attracts Nearly 400 Competitors Harker hosted the 15th annual Howard and Diana Nichols Invitational Debate Tournament on the last weekend of September. A total of 380 students from 26 California schools participated in the tournament, which was run primarily by Harker debate students. In addition to various debate competitions, the event included several workshops taught by Harker debate captains.

The debate team had a great weekend at the Greenhill Round Robin and Invitational in Dallas. Photo by Kyle Cavallaro Pranav Reddy, grade 12, was the first-place speaker in LincolnDouglas debate in both the round robin and the invitational. The round “These workshops were dreamed up robin is for the top 16 Lincoln-Douglas by Harker captains years ago and have debaters in the country, so a first place become something we are known for finish is quite an accomplishment. as our successful older students teach Reddy also made it to the quarterfinals Harker and outside students who are of the invitational. Ayush Midha, grade new to debate,” said Harker debate 12, was the second teacher Carol Green. place policy speaker The weekend also inat the invitational cluded a special novice (out of 232 compublic forum tournapetitors). Midha and ment for debaters in Panny Shan, grade grades 6-8, in which 11, made it to the 35 middle school stuoctofinals of the indents participated. Photo by Kyle Cavallaro vitational. All three students earned one of the two required qualifying bids for the Tournament of Champions. Nine Harker debaters traveled to New Haven, Conn., to compete at the Yale Debate Invitational. Alumni coaches Arjun Kumar ’14 and Aneesh Chona ’13 coached public forum debate and served as judges. Sophomore Michael Tseitlin earned a bid to the prestigious Tournament of Champions by making it to the semifinal chamber in congressional debate. 30


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Grade 11 Debater Named to National Student Leadership Committee, Upper School Program Honored On Oct. 13, Eesha Chona, grade 11, was selected to be a part of the National Speech & Debate Association’s Student Leadership Committee,

which represents the needs of debate students and encourages student leaders to advocate for other association members. As a member of the committee, Chona will serve as a role model to other debate students, participate in monthly meetings and engage with social media outlets. Additionally, the upper school’s speech and debate program was recognized for its extraordinary success by being named to the National Speech & Debate Association’s Pentagon Society, thereby making it one of the top 0.1 percent of high school speech and debate programs in the country, according to their press release. Harker earned this honor by receiving more than 500 honorary degrees during the 2013-14 school year. Harker ranked 15th overall out of 3,000 member schools nationwide.

Middle School Holds Intramural Tournament On Oct. 30, 85 middle school students and their parents participated in the October Intramural Speech and Debate Tournament. Each student competed in three competitive rounds against other Harker students to practice and get a feel for what a competitive round is like. Parents and high school students volunteered as judges. The event was run in a timely fashion, with more than 50 total speech and debate rounds taking place on a Thursday evening. Photo provided by Karina Momary

September Tournaments Yield TOC Bids

Debate Photos provided by Carol Green

Students Earn Accolades and TOC Spots in Public Forum

Success Continues Through October Harker debate students continued their successful year at a tournament held at the University of the Pacific in Stockton at the end of October. Andrew Tierno, grade 10, took second place in open dramatic interpretation, while Lisa Liu, grade 11, earned third place in open humorous interpretation. Meanwhile, the team of David Jin, grade 11, and Alex Lam, grade 10, and the team of freshmen Derek Kuo and Justin Xie, both finished in the top eight of open public forum debate. Earlier in the month, at the St. Mark’s School in Dallas, policy debaters Ayush Midha and Panny Shan reached the semifinal round, finishing third out of 76 teams. Midha was named 14th speaker in the tournament and, on the invitation of a group of debate coaches, gave a special speech at St. Mark’s. These results qualified Midha and Shan for the Tournament of Champions. At a Lincoln-Douglas debate event held at Presentation High School, Pranav Reddy was named the first-place speaker in the round robin and invitational events, in addition to reaching the semifinal round of the invitational and qualifying for the Tournament of Champions. Karen Qi, grade 11, reached the quarterfinals of the invitational, placing her one step closer to qualifying for the Tournament of Champions.

More than 30 Harker students attended the Presentation High School Public Forum Invitational held the weekend of Nov. 8. Eighteen upper school students competed in the varsity division while four upper school and eight middle school students competed in the novice division; three seniors came to the tournament to coach novices.

Two of Harker’s varsity teams made it into the Elite Eight, with one team debating its way to the final two, losing the final round on a 2-1 decision. Seniors Nikhil Kishore and Vamsi Gadiraju rocked their first tournament of the season as final-round participants and earned their first leg to the Tournament of Champions. Kishore and Gadiraju are the fifth Harker public forum team to earn half of their qualifying legs only two months into the season. The top eight teams in elimination rounds included the duo known as “The Brothers Lin” – David Lin, grade 12, and his younger brother Jimmy Lin, grade 9.

Success in Minneapolis Six middle school and 10 upper school students traveled to Apple Valley, Minn., in early November to compete at the MinneApple Debate Tournament. This is the first year Harker middle school students have competed at this high school varsity national invitational and everyone had a wonderful time! Every team from Harker won at least one of their preliminary rounds, an especially notable accomplishment for the middle schoolers as they were the only grade 7 debaters in the pool of mostly high school juniors and seniors. Eesha Chona and Joyce Huang, grade 10, were 33rd seed and missed elimination rounds by the speaker point tie-breaker. Juniors Suraj Jagadeesh and Nikhil Bopardikar went undefeated in preliminaries and lost a close match in the first elimination round. Bopardikar was also named seventh overall individual speaker out of more than 200 speakers in the varsity division! Abhinav Ketineni and Jasmine Liu, both grade 11, also went undefeated in prelims. They lost in the Sweet 16 as did the team of Alex Lam and David Jin. Both teams earned their first of two qualifying legs to the Tournament of Champions. Ketineni was also the ninth overall individual speaker. Sorjo Banerjee and sophomore Emaad Raghib represented Harker all the way to the Elite Eight, losing in the quarterfinal round. They also picked up their first leg to the Tournament of Champions.

Sorjo Banerjee, grade 11, was named as the top overall individual speaker at the tournament with five other Harker students being recognized in the top 15 overall.


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Photo provided by Gerry-louise Robinson

In October, lower school fine arts teacher Gerry-louise Robinson took part in judging a creative hat contest at the San Francisco Partnership Walk/Run, organized by the Aga Khan Foundation at Lake Elizabeth in Fremont. Founded in 1967, the Aga Khan Foundation looks for solutions to problems such as poverty, hunger and health in poor areas of the world. The purpose of the contest was to allow participants to express creatively the ideals of the Aga Khan Foundation and demonstrate its mission to bring about peace and good will by reducing poverty. Entries were judged on how well they met the contest’s criteria, their creativity and originality, aesthetic value and presentation. ZJ • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Harker Office of Communication staff writer Debbie Cohen recently appeared on KPIX 5’s “Mosaic” TV program, in which she was one of several local authors Photo by Kyle Cavallaro featured. Cohen’s book, “Keeper of the Scale,” tells the story of three women who come together to support one another in losing weight. Originally an e-book, “Keeper of the Scale” is now available as a trade paperback from Amazon and Barnes & Noble. ZJ • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •



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By Zach Jones & William Cracraft

Diane Main showed no signs of slowing down after her busy summer. The upper school’s learning, innovation and design director taught two sessions at the Santa Clara County Office of Education’s EdTech Innovation Symposium in Santa Clara. Main, a passionate advocate for technology in the classroom who is both a Google Certified Teacher and a Google Apps Certified Trainer, showed teachers how to use an educational version of the popular computer game Minecraft as a way of teaching collaborative problem-solving. She also led a discussion with fellow teachers on how to improve teaching methods and collaboration. ZJ • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • As of November, at least one Harker teacher has a planet named after them! Middle school biology teacher Kristen Morgensen had a planet named for her as recognition for mentoring Rajiv Movva, grade 9, to the finals of the Broadcom MASTERS competition. Each of the finalists also had planets named for them. “It’s pretty amazing to receive this recognition, and I am beyond honored to have worked with Rajiv last year,” said Morgensen. ZJ • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Brighid Wood, director of Harker’s soccer programs, traveled the U.S. in October as team liaison official for the Trinidad and Tobago women’s national soccer team. The team was competing in the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) women’s World Cup qualifiers held around the country. Wood fulfilled a similar role for the Azerbaijan men’s national team when it played the U.S. men’s national team last spring in San Francisco prior to the World Cup. Being invited to help international visitors is a result of the

great work Wood has done in the past for men’s U.S. soccer. Wood joined U.S. officials and the Trinidad and Tobago team in Kansas City, where it played the U.S. women’s national team. She and

Photo provided by Brighid Wood


the team then traveled to Chicago to play Haiti; Washington, D.C., to play Guatemala; and Philadelphia to play both Costa Rica and Mexico. Wood’s duties included helping the team with their operational setups, fielding media requests and, in some cases, working with goalkeepers. Wood lived hand in glove with the team, staying at the hotels, eating meals, attending training sessions and participating in pregame scouts. The T&T team’s head coach is Randy Waldrum, former coach at Notre Dame University, where he took the team to two national championships, and current head coach of the Houston Dash professional women’s team. Waldrum is also a former U.S. youth national team coach. “Over the last 11 years as a coach, Coach Waldrum has been a great mentor to me,” said Wood. “The whole trip gave me a fantastic opportunity to work alongside one of the great coaches in women’s college soccer history. It also gave me the opportunity to learn from Ben Waldrum, Coach Waldrum’s son and T&T assistant coach, who works with the FC Dallas youth teams, and to learn from the U.S. Soccer staff.” WC


In Memoriam by William Cracraft

Pam Gelineau Dec. 20, 1948-Nov. 11, 2014 It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing Nov. 11 of Pam Gelineau, longtime employee of The Harker School, after a brave battle with cancer. She passed peacefully with her family at her side.

Photo by Joshua Martinez

Mrs. Gelineau served the Harker community for 24 years, first as a beloved kindergarten and grade 2 teacher and, since 1998, as lower school admissions director. She understood the younger students and their families. She had an intuitive grasp of their viewpoint, giving her a strong and wonderful way of interacting with them. Her leader-

ship was also critical to the lower school’s transition to the Bucknall campus. Her many colleagues who cherished her say that she was a great listener and touched us all with her humor, graciousness and wise and caring nature. She will be greatly missed. Mrs. Gelineau leaves two sons, both Harker alumni: Mark ’90, an English teacher at Harker’s middle school, and David ’97. Mrs. Gelineau’s husband, Dan, is also a Harker alumnus (Palo Alto Military Academy ’65) and former longtime employee of the school. We extend our sincerest condolences to the entire family. The memorial services, held at Chapel of the Flowers in San Jose on Nov. 20-21, were attended by many Harker employees, past and present, and alumni. Harker will be hosting a memorial in January. If you’d like notification when details are finalized, please email Nicole Hall at

James “Jim” Near, father of longtime history teacher John Near, passed away Oct. 12 in Maui, Hawaii. He was 87 years old. Jim and his wife, Patricia, established The Harker School’s first endowment, the John Near Excellence in History Education Endowment Fund, in 2009, to honor their son’s teaching career after he passed away in September of that year. Many students and families have since made memorial contributions to this endowment, increasing the scope of the research that students honored as Near Scholars have been able to explore each year with grants from the endowment. Recent research topics have included the impact of the feminist and civil rights movements on the disability rights movement of the 1960s and ’70s, and an in-depth review of news coverage on the Vietnam War and the resulting tension between news media and the federal government. Photo by Mark Tantrum “Jim Near’s generosity and vision will support our students and

their teacher mentors in perpetuity, as they explore their interest in history research at The Harker School,” said Chris Nikoloff, head of school. The endowment also funds the continued development of the John Near Resource Center in Shah Hall on the Saratoga campus. Jim is survived by his granddaughter, Casey Near ’06, and daughter-inlaw, Pam Dickinson, Harker’s Office of Communication director, as well as his wife, three sons and daughter. Contributions can be made in Jim’s honor to the John Near Excellence in History Education Endowment Fund by emailing Allison Vaughan at allison.

Photo by Mark Tantrum

James Near May 25, 1927-Oct. 12, 2014

“Jim Near’s generosity and vision will support our students and their teacher mentors in perpetuity, as they explore their interest in history research at The Harker School.” - Chris Nikoloff, Head of School


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Business & Entrepreneurship By Edward Hejtmanek ’06

DECA and B.E. Students Champion Innovation and Give Back to Community


umerous fall events sponsored by Harker’s DECA chapter and business and entrepreneurship department set the tone for an exciting year. Activities included the kickoff of the annual Stock Market Game (in which Harker is the reigning champion), DECA Month and the ambitious BEcon2014. DECA started the year with a flurry of events designed to introduce the student body to its mission and goals, while also preparing for competition season. In November, the chapter coordinated numerous on-campus events in conjunction with DECA Month, an international DECA celebration. An ice cream social, hosted by the DECA chapter in early November, gave students the chance to ask officers about the upcoming DECA year while enjoying a mouth-watering treat.

Photo by Alexander Mo, grade 10

In mid-November, more than 60 Harker students attended Silicon Valley DECA’s Leadership and Competitive Excellence (LACE) Conference. This three-day event was targeted at underclassmen with limited experience in competitive DECA events. The keynotes were delivered by motivational speaker Scott Greenberg and Jennifer Aaker, a social psychologist and marketing professor at Stanford University’s School of Business. Events

Photos by Kyle Cavallaro



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were created to be informative and welcoming, with hands-on workshops in the fields of hospitality, investment banking, fashion and venture capitalism. Sophia Luo, grade 11, said, “In my opinion, the best part of attending LACE is the networking opportunities that it provides. Students from all over the Silicon Valley who have the same interests in business congregate and exchange stories, memories and knowledge.”

DECA gives back A large part of DECA’s charter focuses on giving back to community. During DECA Month, the chapter hosted events to raise money for and awareness of the Muscular Dystrophy Association, the Red Cross and organizations dedicated to ending world hunger. The first of these events was the Nov. 12 Hoops and Scoops basketball game, which raised money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. The game pitted faculty against students on the court, while DECA members sold ice cream on the sidelines. The raucous crowd watched as the faculty battled the freshmen in the first quarter, followed by the sophomores and the juniors. The faculty finally fell to the seniors in the final quarter, with a score of 72-59.

Then on Nov. 15, DECA members gathered to assemble more than 100 Red Cross disaster kits for families who homes were damaged by natural disasters. The DECA chapter then paired with Students for Charitable Causes to organize a movie night to raise awareness of world hunger. The groups sold more than 60 tickets to the Nov. 21 premier of “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1,” with proceeds from the event going to Second Harvest Food Bank.

Playing the market, staying connected The 2014 season of The Stock Market Game is also in full swing, with Harker students and faculty working to create portfolios to outperform the S&P index. The national competition pits teams and individuals against each other, both at Harker and across the country. For the first 10 weeks of the competition, Harker had two to four teams in the top 25 in the Western region. Last year, three Harker teams finished in the top 25 in the Western region, a high standard that current competitors hope to match. This year, the B.E. podcast series picks up where it left off last year by “gather[ing] influential people from the Harker community and beyond to

Photo by Alexis Gauba, grade 10

share their experiences with students, parents and even the public,” explained Glenn Reddy, grade 12, founder of the series.

Photo by Kyle Cavallaro

Students, Speakers Shine at Inaugural BEcon2014

“The podcast team has been working to expand outside of the B.E. department” and recently put out a series of weekly podcasts leading up to the midterm elections, Reddy explained. The series included a number of thoughtful interviews with high-ranking officials, including U.S. Rep. Zoe Lofgren (California’s 19th district) and U.S. Rep. Mike Honda (California’s 17th district). The final interview, released Nov. 17, featured Mike Wasserman, president of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors. Stay tuned, as the team plans to expand into more areas this year.

BEcon2014, the B.E. department’s largest event to date, was a daylong conference comprising multiple keynotes, student presentations and guided activities that explained the principles of business and economics. It was “essentially a research symposium [that] explored the marriage of economics and business,” summarized Juston Glass, head of the B.E. department. The event gave B.E. students the ability to showcase their classroom efforts. The students worked early in the year to create advertising campaigns for products and companies of their choice, which were showcased during the first BEcon session. Ran Abramitzky, associate professor of economics at Stanford, opened the day’s events in earnest. His keynote address focused on the economics of education. Abramitzky’s talk was based on his research, which emphasized the importance of education on economic situations for immigrants. Samuel Lepler, Harker economics teacher, praised Abramitzky’s discussion for being “both a great introduction to the economic way of thinking as well as an interesting investigation into a topic that most people take for granted. Namely, whether college is actually a good investment. It was both informative and inspirational!” Photo by Kyle Cavallaro

One of B.E.’s biggest returning programs is Career Connect, which includes a mentorship program, career panels and a professionalism program. Career Connect aims to prepare students not only land the careers they want once they graduate, but also to excel in them. To this end, the B.E. department organized a resume workshop led by Michelle Vitus, founder of Slate Advisers, a company dedicated to helping professionals manage career transitions. Laya Indukuri, grade 12, who helped organize the event, said she thought “hearing a professional talk about major do’s and don’ts really helped to give [the students] a big picture of what a resume should look like.”

Photo by Kyle Cavallaro

The mentor luncheon provided an informal atmosphere in which students could meet with their mentors to discuss their future careers as well as their mentors’ career accomplishments.

Perhaps the best-received session of the day was the sHarker Tank event, which paired the ingenuity of Harker’s students with the format of the popular TV show Shark Tank. Teams presented business proposals to a panel of judges. The winning product, a laser-guided device to provide

The event gave B. E. students the ability to showcase their classroom efforts. superior feedback to blind users (a virtual “red cane”) was both philanthropic and entrepreneurial in nature. Jeremy King, CTO of global e-commerce for Walmart Labs, closed out the day with his keynote, focused on his success in increasing Walmart’s global footprint. He used the success of Walmart Labs to highlight the overall industry themes involving the movement away from traditional brick and mortar stores to e-commerce. In the first few months of the school year, the DECA chapter continued its work at Harker, while maintaining its national reputation as a top performer at competitions and conventions. Meanwhile the B.E. department put its best foot forward with the ambitious BEcon2014 event. In the coming months, Harker’s entrepreneurs surely will have more in store to keep students, teachers and parents engaged and active in the community.


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ma d n a l & t n e m e c n annou

The silent auction was also as popular as ever, with a wide array of prizes from wine tasting trips to boogie boarding lessons to premium seating at a 49ers game at Levi’s Stadium. This year’s raffle was improved to offer entrants more opportunities to win prizes by having students sell tickets at every school event leading up to the festival, including Homecoming. Prizes included gift cards to local businesses and eateries, fashion accessories and free dress days. “It exceeds our expectations,” said Harker parent Lloyd Bakan (Cooper, preschool), who was attending his first Harvest Festival. “I didn’t know what to

Photo by Nicole DeVelbiss

Festivalgoers had no shortage of activities to choose from. Some headed to the field for classic pastoral games such as the sack race, while others

enjoyed a round of laser tag, new last year, which featured an improved arena with more obstacles.

Photo by Kyle Cavallaro



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Photo by Kyle Cavallaro


n Oct. 12, the Harker community united at the middle school campus for the Harker Family & Alumni Picnic Harvest Festival, held each year to draw together families, faculty, staff and alumni in a fun – and fundraising – setting. As in past years, attendees played carnival games, enjoyed a variety of foods, watched performances by Harker students, renewed past friendships and made new friends. This year’s festival was capped by great news about the events center fundraising effort, which exceeded the $20 million goal and raised $25.4 million.

Photo by Nicole DeVelbiss

By Zach Jones

Photo by Kyle Cavallaro Photo by Nicole DeVelbiss

expect, but it certainly is a great atmosphere and fun for all the kids and parents.”

“I’ve been coming here for 10-plus years and each year I have more and more fun,” said senior Jeton Gutierrez-Bujari. “I love the different booths and seeing all my friends. I think having your friends here is definitely a plus.”

Photo by Nicole DeVelbiss

The middle school campus’ outdoor amphitheater was the center of attention for much of the day as performing arts groups from the lower, middle and upper schools – including the upper school show choir Downbeat, middle school dance groups Showstoppers and High Voltage, and the lower and middle school jazz bands – kept audiences entertained.

Photo by Kyle Cavallaro

Photo by Nicole DeVelbiss

Many alumni gathered at the alumni barbecue luncheon, where graduates reunited to catch up and share memories of their years at Harker.

Photo by Kyle Cavallaro

Harker students, meanwhile, were excited to see their friends and enjoy the atmosphere. “You get to have a lot of fun and you get to see all your friends and play a lot of games,” said Alaina Valdez, grade 6.

One of the biggest attractions this year was Witch’s Flight, a 300-foot long zip line ride that enticed thrill-seekers throughout the day. Riders hollered with delight as they flew across the air 30 feet above the festivities. Elsewhere, attendees enjoyed the many food choices available. Food trucks served diverse items such as tacos, Korean barbe-

Photo by Kyle Cavallaro

Photo by Nicole DeVelbiss

cue and grilled cheese sandwiches, in addition to the selection of grilled foods, pizza and Indian cuisine. Capping off the fun and excitement was the announcement about the $25.4 million raised for the events center with the generous help of the Rothschild matching gift challenge. The announcement was made with the assistance of Harker’s MathCounts team, who guided the audience through the somewhat complex nature of the fundraising process. Naturally, the announcement was met with much applause, gratitude and excitement from those in attendance!


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Online Courses Allow Students to Study with Peers around the World

By Zach Jones

“When you have students from so many different places reflecting on where they’re from, you create a global community,” said Michael Nachbar, CEO of Global Online Academy, who shared his insights on a recent visit to Harker. “And that happens not just with kids from Jakarta and Jordan and the U.S. It also happens with kids from Atlanta and LA and Boston, that you start to see these varied perspectives being brought into the different topics that they’re learning about.”

Photo by Kyle Cavallaro

The global component of the classes also gives students a chance to interact with and learn the perspectives of students from cultures


n spring 2012, Harker began offering online classes to students through the Global Online Academy, a consortium of schools that delivers online courses to students in 53 GOA member schools around the world. More than 20 Harker students are now enrolled in GOA courses covering a wide variety of topics, ranging from human rights to game theory to global health issues.

“I took a class through GOA because I wanted to take another math class, but there were no others in the main Harker catalog,” said Suzy Lou, grade 12. “So I looked on GOA and saw that there was an advanced statistics class and signed up for it.” The global component of the classes also gives students a chance to interact with and learn the perspectives of students from cultures around the globe.


Maya Valluru, grade 10, found this perspective to be one of the most interesting aspects of the journalism class she is taking through GOA. “I enjoy this class because I can communicate with other students from around the world, sharing ideas that stem from our different cultural notions or habits,” she said.

“It filled a little bit of a niche of trying something new and giving kids an opportunity to take some classes that we don’t offer,” said Evan Barth, academic dean at the upper school. “It’s offering a different medium for students who want to try [online learning] out.”

around the globe.


GOA teachers are trained to keep global perspectives in mind when conducting their courses. “So when they’re framing discussion prompts or projects, they’re thinking about, where in this topic can students insert that local perspective?” said Nachbar.

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Photo by Kyle Cavallaro

Working with students and teachers in different time zones, she said, has helped her and other students work more independently. “Instead of going straight to the teacher for help, I first try to solve the problem on my own,” she explained. If and when she needs help, she coordinates with other students taking the course, learning to work within their schedules and time differences.

A typical GOA course consists of reading material and other resources posted for students, required participation in discussion threads and both group and individual projects. Course materials may include teacher-created content, online videos and other resources culled from the Web. Students frequently find themselves communicating via FaceTime or Skype and working together on Google Docs. “The way that kids engage in that work is all active,” said Nachbar. “The teachers have laid out the course work for a week or two or whatever that unit is. Students are engaging actively at every single point of that unity, whether it’s reading or there’s a discussion. … It’s all active engagement with the material at every single point.” Because students must be self-motivated, Barth takes careful steps to ensure that students who sign up for GOA courses are up to the task. He said students can sometimes be caught off guard by the amount of time required for GOA classes, but reminds them that because there are very few, if any, class sessions, the time spent weekly on a GOA class is about the same as an average on-campus course.

they’re learning how to engage with content differently, they’re doing a lot more writing in an online course. But then they’re also learning how to use these new skills to support their learning in other areas. So, how do you curate content on a topic, how do you research, how do you summarize, how do you connect ideas between different topics?”

Photo by Kyle Cavallaro

Because of their interaction with students from different parts of the world, students are also thinking on a more global level. “You’ve got kids really thinking about what their personal perspective is on local and global issues,” Nachbar said. “The collaboration piece, the communication piece.” The heavy emphasis on discussion, he said, also helps to maintain a healthy variety of perspectives: “Every student is getting heard.”

“The only thing that I tell the students is that they have to treat it like a real class,” he said. “They have to pretty much do a little bit each day. If they try to make up six, seven hours on a Sunday, forget it, it’s not going to work.” In this way, taking a GOA class can have the side effect of teaching students how to more effectively manage their time and communicate with other students. “Since we don’t see each other face-to-face, the online communication we have has to be really good. Otherwise, we’d have no communication at all,” said Lou. “As a result, I think that whenever we communicate, it’s of pretty high quality.” In addition to better time management, Nachbar said, students are “learning how to be better self-advocates,

Photos by Kyle Cavallaro


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Frank Almond Wields the Lipin’ski Stradivarius to Dazzling Effect

By Zach Jones


ilwaukee Symphony concertmaster Frank Almond gave audiences a rare chance to see and hear one of the world's most famous musical instruments at the first concert of the 2014-15 Harker Concert Series season. The centuries-old Lipin’ ski Stradivarius, which briefly went missing earlier this year after Almond was attacked following a performance, has a long and storied history, one that figured into the evening's repertoire.

“Breathtaking.” – Lynn Mitchell, concert attendee Rather than start with the music, Almond opted first to address the crowd on the history of the ’ ski and its connection to Lipin Lipinski two of the pieces he would

be playing. Giuseppe TarTartini’s Violin Sonata in G minor, commonly known as “The Devil’s Trill,” was a fitting choice as the first piece of the evening, he explained, as Tartini was the Lipinski’s Lipin’ ski’s first known owner.

Photos by Kyle


When it came time for the sonata’s third movement, Almond proved more than up to the task of traversing it. Among the more impressive and moving displays of the eve-



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ning was an unaccompanied section consisting almost entirely of treacherously difficult double stop trills, handled so well that any thoughts of the virtuosity involved all but vanished. Impressive though it was, it seemed almost like a warmup for Almond’s rendition of J.S. Bach’s legendary Chaconne from Partita in D minor. A marvel of sheer creativity, the chaconne begins with a simple four-measure theme that is taken through dozens of variations, resulting in a piece that for centuries has been hailed for its emotional and structural depth. Bach’s vision was served well by Almond’s masterful hands, which beautifully manipulated the Lipin’ ski to illustrate the uniqueness of each variation and how they combine into a brilliant whole. Harker parent Prashant Fuloria (Anika, grade 6; Varun, grade 3) enjoyed the performance of the Bach piece in particular and said that the concert’s atmosphere was a good environment for many age groups. “It’s not too formal. Kids can go around and be kids and listen to some great music,” he said. “It is breathtaking,” attendee Lynn Mitchell said of Almond’s performance. “I particularly enjoy the Röntgen piece.” She also enjoyed the “inviting” atmosphere of the venue, and said the food was “delicious.” The final piece for the evening was Cesar Franck’s Sonata in A Major, which was chosen, Almond said, because “it’s fun to play.” Pianist Jeffrey Sykes set the tone with a soft bedding of chords before being joined by the violin, whose vulnerable melodies were gorgeously rendered as they swayed rhythmically with the piano, the two trading melancholic lines. An urgent, almost sinister assemblage of piano notes opened the next movement before bursting into a dazzling run. Almond expertly utilized the Lipin’ ski’s warm lower registers to introduce the frantic, flowing melody, which both contrasted and played off of the panicked piano underneath. The slow and repentant third movement was beautifully anchored by Sykes’ emotive subtleties, punctuated by anguished outbursts. As if to make up for the anxiety and despair of the previous two movements, the sonata shifted into an uplifting and determined mood, bringing back the theme from the first movement for a rollicking finish. Read the full review at; search "Almond."

Advancement Rothschilds, Trustees and Fellows Make Special Accommodation and Extend Challenge

Photo by Kyle Cavallaro

A special accommodation has been made by the Rothschilds, trustees and fellows. This accommodation will allow those who have not yet participated during the short six-month original period of the Rothschild challenge to still double the impact of their gifts and become a part of the Partners’ Circle.

Harker Community Meets Rothschild Challenge! In keeping with Harker’s culture and tradition of philanthropy, more than 1,000 families rallied to help meet the school’s historic $10 million Rothschild Matching Gift Challenge. Chris Nikoloff, head of school, announced the remarkable achievement at the conclusion of the annual Family & Alumni Picnic on Oct. 12. He said that Jeff and Marieke Rothschild’s intention was to inspire other members of the community to act and join them in supporting the construction of a new events center by accelerating fundraising to a level that enables Harker to move from the conceptual design stage to actually bidding out the project. The challenge was met with $7.5 million in direct capital gifts and $2.5 million of the $5 million Trustees & Fellows Matching Fund, which matches qualifying gifts made to annual giving. “With the Rothschild challenge met, we went from just under $5 million dollars to just over $25 million dollars in our overall campaign goal in just six months,” Nikoloff reported. All donors who made gifts helping Harker to meet the challenge will be recognized as members of the Partners’ Circle and will have their names listed on a special plaque in the new events facility.

Trustees & Fellows Matching Fund Inspires Community to Support Annual Giving and Events Center Understanding the importance of annual giving to ongoing program excellence at Harker, the Board of Trustees and the Board of Fellows established the Trustees & Fellows Matching Fund. This fund was established to inspire families to continue to support annual giving while also contributing to the capital campaign, which will fund the construction of the new events center. During this past summer, $5 million in commitments were made to this fund. The Trustees & Fellows Matching Fund was structured in such a way to allow, if needed, matching funds generated from this fund by Oct. 12 to be used to help meet the Rothschild challenge. The ambitious original plan was to raise $10 million in outright gifts directly to the capital campaign, and thus use the Trustees & Fellows Matching Fund exclusively for the purpose of helping the school get closer to the overall campaign goal. However, there was not enough time in the short six months to meet the Rothschild challenge in this way. So approximately $2.5 million of the Trustees & Fellows Matching Fund was used to meet the $10 million Rothschild challenge.

The accommodation will allow Harker to “replace” up to the $2.5 million used from the Trustees & Fellows Fund with new contributions from those who have yet to participate or who wish to increase the amount of their existing pledge. Current families, alumni, parents of alumni, grandparents and staff who would like to know how they can participate in the Partners’ Circle should contact Joe Rosenthal at, or visit and click the “pledge now” icon.

Make a gift by the end of the year for a tax deduction! To receive a tax deduction in 2014, remember to make your annual campaign gift by Dec. 31.. • Gifts can be made online at • Mailed gifts should be postmarked by Dec. 31 and sent to: Harker Advancement Office, 500 Saratoga Ave., San Jose, CA 95129. • When you make a gift or pledge payment, you’ll receive a snazzy vinyl “HKR” (Harker) decal as a thank you.


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By Debbie Cohen



Karri Sakai Baker ‘84 Matt Baker ‘83

Brooke Baker Maya Baker

Rajiv Das ‘79 Reiya Das

Mia Giammona

Jonathan Robichaud

Kristin Scarpace Giammona ‘81

Elise Tremba Schwartz Robichaud ‘84

hen Karri Sakai Baker ’84 – an alumna, Harker parent and interim director of alumni relations – queried fellow alumni on why they decided to send their own children to Harker, she didn’t expect to receive such an outpouring of replies. Alumni with children who are students at all four campuses – from preschool to upper school – eagerly responded, with nostalgic photos and reflections. Baker said many of her fondest childhood memories, along with several lifelong friendships, came from Harker. She even met her husband, Matt Baker ’83, at the celebration of Harker’s 100th year anniversary.

Kurt Robichaud

“The best part about – Jeff Rogers looking for schools with a spouse who is also a Harker alum is that your experiences and expectations are aligned. For us, Harker was the only clear choice,” she said, adding that her daughters, Brooke, grade 4, and Maya, grade 2, have been at Harker since kindergarten. “For Matt and me, returning to Harker with our children has really completed the circle,” she added. Read on as many alumni relive their best memories of Harker and then flash forward to today to discuss what makes the school so special for their children. And, enjoy the fun photos taken during their time at Harker, juxtaposed with those of their children, currently attending.

Kristin Scarpace Giammona ’81 is Harker’s elementary division head. She is also a former Harker teacher. But long before that, she was a Harker

Photos provided by alumni parents



Giammona said that although Harker has many more students now than it did when she attended – and also has added an upper school and a preschool – at its roots, “Harker is the same school I attended in the 1970s and 1980s.”

“Clearly the school has grown in size, the facilities have improved and the school has further distinguished itself academically, but what speaks to me are the things that haven’t changed.”

Rajiv Das ’79, a graduate of Harker’s middle school, provided us with his school picture as well as that of his daughter, Reiya, who is currently in grade 7.

Ray Song

student and is thrilled that her daughter, Mia, grade 10, is also able to “receive a strong foundation in academics, participate in a wide variety of activities and make lifelong friends” at Harker.

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Jeff Rogers ’84 reported that, prior to making the decision to send his daughter, Vivian, K, to Harker, he went through a somewhat formal process, evaluating approximately a dozen schools on a range of criteria. After touring a number of schools and spending time in the classrooms, observing and talking to teachers and staff, “The Harker School was the standout,” he said.

For him, the deciding factors included the combination of the school’s faculty, the attention to proper class placement and the wide range of extracurricular activities available on campus. “Clearly the school Jeff Rogers ‘84 has grown in size, the facilities have improved and the school has further distinguished itself academically, but what speaks to me are the things that haven’t changed. It’s great Vivian Rogers to know that many faculty members have made their careers at the school, that the summer reading program remains and to see staff I know on campus. These are the people and programs that made a difference in my life and it’s great to know my daughter will have a similar experience,” he said.

AlumniNews Former Students Now Harker Parents! Elise Tremba Schwartz Robichaud ’84 (Jonathan, grade 10; Kurt, grade 11) is a longtime member of the Harker community, both as an alumna and as a grade 3 teacher at the lower school, where she has worked for many years. Currently, she is enjoying hosting a foreign exchange student, Ray Song, who is from Shanghai, China, and attends Harker’s upper school as a sophomore. “Ray joined our family in August and we have offered to keep him for the rest of high school. Last year was his first year at Harker and in America. Ray is currently the sophomore class treasurer, and he plays club volleyball with my boys,” said Robichaud. “I could go on and on about my love for the school. It was always my dream to teach here, and it just feels like home for me,” she added. Lisa Sharon Morel ’80 submitted an old school photo, as well as current shots of her children, Joel, grade 7, and Jessica, grade 3. Kristin Marlow Quintin ’84 (Emma, grade 3; Cooper, K) shared a photo of herself that was taken in grade 3, the same grade her daughter, Emma, is currently in. Quintin said that she loves the “family feel” of Harker. “My children love the after-school program the best, the classes they go to and the staff. They love the teachers, and say they are kind and respectful. Emma says that dance and art are ‘so awesome.’ She has really enjoyed the Eagle Buddies program this year. Cooper is enjoying making friends, the playground and the lunches. As most children, they don't want to come home and I cannot pick them up late enough!” she said. Alexander Stojanovic ’82, and his daughter Mina, grade 7, submitted both classroom and team photos taken from their time at Harker. Alexander’s brother, Nikola Stojanovic ’85 (SofiaSahar, grade 2), also attended Harker, and their daughters are delighted to attend Harker together. Loren Due ’85 stressed that he wanted his son, Kai, grade 5, to have the same education and school experience he received growing up. “I have always felt Harker was a second home for me and wanted my son to feel the same,” he said.

“I am very excited [for Kai to be at Harker] and feel a sense of déjà vu. Some of my teachers are still present. It feels like I never left. Some of my classmates have children at Harker and now we get to experience together what our parents felt. I feel like we are completing the circle and it feels good,” he said.

Lisa Sharon Morel ‘80 Joel Morel

Tiffany Kitamura ’86 submitted a photo that was taken of her in grade 1. She said she and her husband selected Harker as their first choice for their children (Alexis Nishimura, grade 4; Kai Nishimura, K) due to the great experiences she had at the school. “It provided me with a sound academic background, many choices of fine arts and sports, and lifelong friendships. I remembered fondly that the teachers really cared for the students. Harker provided a nurturing and supportive learning environment, and that's what I wanted for my [children]. It's amazing to see many familiar faces still at Harker and know that they love their jobs,” she said. “Alexis loves her teachers and all the staff members. Her favorite part of Harker is language arts, library, field trips and after-school playtime. Kai loves his kindergarten year so far. He enjoys the after-school ‘no place like space,’ mastering the monkey bars, and playing outside. He's thrilled to be at the same school as his big sister,” she enthused, adding, “I'm very proud to have my children attend my alma mater!” Kevin Sakai ’86 said he selected Harker for his son (Ryan, K) because he wanted to give him the opportunity to grow and be challenged in safe and comfortable environment. “When I walked on the Harker campus and talked to the staff, it just felt right,” he recalled.

Jessica Morel Kristin Marlow Quintin ‘84

Emma Quintin Cooper Quintin

Alexander Stojanovic ‘82 Mina Stojanovic

Nikola Stojanovic ‘85

As for Ryan, he said the best thing about kindergarten is “my friends and the teachers.” Plus, he added, “I like getting to check a book out of the library.” Michelle Nguyen ’87 (Julia Ernsting, grade 2) sent in a photo that was taken of her when she was in grade 4 at Harker. “When I look back at my time at Harker, I remember a time filled with wonderful teachers who would push me to try H A R K E R Q U A R T E R LY

Sofia-Sahar Stojanovic

Loren Due ‘85 Kai Due

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AlumniNews Tiffany Kitamura ‘86 Kai Nishimura

Alexis Nishimura

Kevin Sakai ‘86

Ryan Sakai Michelle Nguyen ‘87

Julia Ernsting

Matt Ortiz ‘88

Dominic Ortiz

Jennifer Cady Logan ’90 (Jackson, grade 1) harder [and] think critically, and who taught me the discipline to carry things through. I rememwas having a fun time rummaging through her ber leaving Harker old Harker photos feeling confidence when she came in myself. That is upon a class picture what I wanted for of herself in current “I remember going to Mr. my daughter – not lower school head Nichols' office to get chocolate only an excellent Sarah Leonard’s education and kindergarten chip cookies, which he would ability to think classroom. leave out for hungry students. critically, but also “It feels very special the development of Now, when Harker celebrates to have Jackson at confidence in herMr. Nichols’ birthday with the same school self to think crethat I attended! Not chocolate chip cookies, it atively,” she said. only did I attend “I remember going makes me smile. When Julia but Jackson's uncle to Mr. Nichols' office and two aunts also puts on her uniform with to get chocolate attended, so it is the navy skirt and socks, I chip cookies, which now a family afhe would leave remember doing the same.” fair. We can't wait out for hungry stufor Jackson's little – Michelle Nguyen ’87 dents. Now, when brother, Declan, to Harker celebrates be old enough to Mr. Nichols’ birthcome. Jackson feels day with chocolate special, too, because some of the same teachers chip cookies, it makes me smile. When Julia puts and staff are still there from when I attended; he on her uniform with the navy skirt and socks, I feels protected and looked after,” said Logan. remember doing the same,” added Nguyen. Julia said, “I love everything about Harker. My favorite things are science – because we get to do fun experiments like learning about water condensation, vapor and water wheels – and math is fun because our teacher makes us think. I love swimming in P.E. The best thing about Harker are my friends.” Matt Ortiz ’88 submitted photos of himself when he was in grade 3 and his son, Dominic, currently in grade 3. Marissa Lucketti ’90, Harker’s human resources manager, enjoys working at Harker and sending her son, Enzo, grade 3, to Harker as well. She sent in photos of herself and her son, both taken in grade 3.

Marissa Lucketti ‘90

Enzo Lucketti

Jackson Logan

“I love that Harker has grown in size. I can’t believe there are four campuses! I also love knowing that there are faculty and staff who were working here when I was a student. Enzo has had my second grade teacher (Mrs. Hickey) as a substitute from time to time, and he loves knowing that she taught me!” she said.

Jennifer Cady Logan ‘90



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“We are so happy we took the time to look at Harker as a possibility for Jackson and Declan. Every child has different needs, and the resources and dedication to the child's growth in terms of academics, social experiences, breadth of exposure to new things and caring staff has made Jackson say on the first day of both kindergarten and first grade that he had ‘the best day ever, Mom!’” Ti Pence ’91 sent in photos of himself, his brother, Tim Pence ’93, and his son, Kuga, grade 3. Shannon Self ’91 sent in photographs of herself and her daughter, Sabrina, grade 2. “I was in the second grade from 1984-85 Shannon Self ‘91 and Sabrina is in grade 2 now … exactly 30 years later!” she exclaimed. Sabrina Self

AlumniNews Amanda Mathias Bonomi ‘92

Eliana Bonomi

Class agent Amanda Mathias Bonomi ’92 (Eliana, K; Daniela, preschool) loves hearing about her young daughters' happenings at Harker. Eliana’s favorite thing about kindergarten Daniela Bonomi is “the playground and monkey bars,” while her sister, 3-year-old Daniela, is into “the playground and Miss Mara’s music and

movement class.” Bonomi said she was really excited to find a photo that was taken of herself back in grade 1. “I chose Harker for my daughters because it's the right fit for my girls and our family. Harker clearly excels in academics, but is also able to give the girls so many opportunities they would not be able to get elsewhere. The STEM lab and farm at the preschool are incredible. The staff is exceptional. The kindergartners are able to experience everything from learning Hindi and yoga to cheerleading and soccer to cooking and storytelling. Nowhere else offers these opportunities all in one place,” said Bonomi, noting that she also loves that so many people from her Harker days are still at the school. “Going back to Harker truly feels like being a part of a family to me.” Bonomi said her girls are thrilled with school. “Not only do they love what they do, but the things they are learning are amazing. They soak it all in. They both ask me to pick them up later so they can spend more time playing at Harker with their friends and doing activities. This makes me know my husband and I made the right choice in choosing Harker for the girls.” The Crook family has the distinction of having a presence on all four of Harker’s campuses. Josh Crook ’93 explained that his wife, Amanda, works at the preschool, their eldest son (Anthony DeVincenzi, grade 10) is at the upper school, and their other two children (Griffin, grade 7; Emma, grade 5) attend the middle and lower schools (making for a busy morning drop off schedule!). Previously, Amanda worked at Harker’s lower school as a BEST staffer.

Crook shared photos of himself when he was in the fifth and seventh grades – the very same years Emma and Griffin currently attend. Both he and his wife said they loved being a part of the Harker community and the nurturing education they received at the school. “I really get a kick out of seeing my children having the privilege of learning from some of the great teachers I had, and even some of my former classmates,” said Crook.

Ti Pence ‘91 Tim Pence ‘93

Stephanie Hayhurst Mehra ’94 will never forget what her 3-year-old daughter, Aria, told her on her first day at Harker Preschool. “Aria asked me if we are going to the pretty school today. … I told her it’s called preschool. And she said, ‘Well, OK, we can call it preschool, but it is also very pretty.’”

Kuga Pence Josh Crook ‘93

And since day one Aria’s enthusiasm for preschool has not waned. “It's a surreal experience to watch Aria thrive in a Anthony DeVincenzi place that once taught me so much. It's also a bit frightening to watch “I really get a kick out of your precious child seeing my children having navigate the privilege of learning from the world without some of the great teachers you. She is I had, and even some of my becoming former classmates.” an independent – Josh Crook ’93 being. Ultimately, I want her first steps outside of the safety of our family cocoon to be a nurturing, positive experience,” said Mehra. Peter Noonan ’03 managed to dig up an old photograph of himself taken in kindergarten – the same grade as his son, Kaiden. “I loved attending Harker. The education is unbeatable, the friendships I made last forever, and the teachers truly embrace their time here. That’s a hard combination to beat these days and why we chose Harker for Kaiden. When, decades later, you can walk on campus and see teachers you had, coaches you worked with, and administrators still at Harker, you know it’s more than a great school, it’s a community of friends and family,” he said. H A R K E R Q U A R T E R LY

Griffin Crook

Emma Crook

Stephanie Hayhurst Mehra ‘94

Aria Mehra

Peter Noonan ‘03 Kaiden Noonan

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AlumniNews Special to the Harker Quarterly: An Interview with Daniel Kim ’09


Daniel Kim ’09 recently gave an interview to the Spanish National Honor Society (SNHS) for the fall edition of its Spanish-language magazine, “Pórtico al mundo hispano (Gateway to the Hispanic World).” A former member of the SNHS, he spoke of his six visits to Latin America as part of a Christian medical team. Kim recently graduated from Harvard University and began his first year in a hybrid M.D./Ph.D. program at Yale University.

Sahana Narayanan: Tell us about the medical team with which you traveled to Latin America. How did you find this opportunity? Daniel Kim: On each of my trips, I went with a group called Medical Ministry International (MMI). It’s a Christian organization that provides free medical services to underprivileged communities while sharing with them MMI’s religious faith. Doctors spend their vacations volunteering at clinics. I found this program through a simple Google search. After finishing my second year at Harker, I was looking for an opportunity to improve my Spanish, explore the medical profession and cultivate my Christian faith.

SN: How did you help the medical team? DK: On my trips to Honduras and Peru, I served as an interpreter. I sat between doctor and patient, translating the patient’s symptoms and medical history from Spanish to English and the doctor’s suggestions


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and prescriptions from English to Spanish. On my most recent trip to Mexico, I had a slightly different job since, instead of providing medications, this team of doctors performed cataract removal surgery. I worked as a nurse. Using the formal commands I had learned in my Spanish classes, I prepared every patient for surgery. I learned how to sterilize the area around the eyes and to take out patients’ intravenous needles. I also learned how to pass the correct tools to the doctor during surgery, which was a great experience!

not represent the daily lives of the majority of the world. (Well, I already knew that, but I had never faced it in such a concrete way.) Not only did I grasp the extent of the suffering in these countries, I also discovered that I could help alleviate some of it with my talents and medical knowledge.

SN: Describe the economic situation of the patients.

First of all, to return to these countries in the future as a doctor who can both treat patients and communicate with them in Spanish. Secondly, rather than just practice medicine – that is, instead of just treating individual patients – I resolved to do scientific research to treat entire populations on a world scale.

DK: In many cases, the patients and I were the same age, but our situations were very different. Instead of going to school, these patients often had to work in jobs such as driving taxis (or small cars used as taxis) and running stores. Many of the girls (especially in Honduras) had two or three kids. The most obvious and unfortunate problem I witnessed was the poor health in these communities. Either there was a dearth of adequate services or the services were too expensive.

I came to decide two important things.

Photo provided by Daniel Kim '09

Alumni Interview

Editor’s note: This interview was conducted and translated by Spanish NHS member Sahana Narayanan, grade 11, with assistance from Abel Olivas, upper school Spanish teacher.

Using my interdisciplinary specialization, I hope to find efficient and economical methods to combat the most serious diseases in the world. That’s why I ultimately chose to follow a hybrid M.D./ Ph.D. program at Yale.

SN: Why have you returned to Latin America so many times?

SN: Of all your travels, which one has been the most memorable? Why?

DK: These experiences taught me that the society in which I live does

DK: The Latin American culture I experienced struck me as very

AlumniNews communal, unlike the culture of independence of the United States. Every night, the folks living in these cities would come to plazas to enjoy each other’s company. Some cities had two plazas, one for youth and the other for adults. After completing our work, we’d go out to eat authentic cuisine and then head to the plaza to delve more deeply into the culture (and to eat ice cream!). My favorite memory takes place in one of these plazas. In Honduras, the secondary school in the city organized a dance performance at a plaza to thank our medical team, which was a very kind gesture. Suddenly the students stopped dancing and started pulling me onto the stage. They wanted me to dance! I was terrified of the attention and the impending embarrassment, but I didn’t want to disrespect the community. Since I felt I had no other choice, I finally started dancing, imitating what I had seen online. I did the gestures for "YMCA," "the shopping cart," the "sprinkler," and I also sang "Domo arigato Mr. Roboto." The time flew by!

SN: I understand that by the end of your AP Spanish Language course, you spoke the language very well. Did your travels to Latin America improve your Spanish even further? DK: My Spanish improved in a very specific way. I broadened certain vocabulary, such as words and expressions necessary for speaking about the human body, diseases and medicine. Moreover, I got to practice my formal commands and the present subjunctive (constructions such as "We recommend that you ...") as well as other simple tenses. Ironically, though, I think that my conversational Spanish actually got worse, because

I didn’t have to generate the content of my conversations. I just translated the words spoken by the doctor and the patient. I’d also say that I didn’t practice many constructions commonly used in writing, which is why I don’t think I improved in the more complex aspects of the language. However, during my last trip, I engaged in more conversations and generally had more flexibility in terms of how I spent my time at the clinic.

SN: On your last trip to Mexico, your sister, Angela, a sophomore at Harker, joined you. Why, and how was the shared experience of living in Mexico? DK: Angela joined me because she wanted to practice her Spanish, and she wanted to get a sense of whether she had an interest in medicine. In the Mexican clinic, she did a job similar to mine. She helped the nurses and patients prepare before each surgery, and she spoke with the patients during their free time and asked them questions about their lives. I loved working with my sister at the clinic, because in my previous trips, I felt a bit lonely, a feeling heightened perhaps by the fact that other members of the medical team often brought friends and family along while I mostly traveled alone. The presence of my sister in Mexico was a source of comfort for me.

SN: Did your perspectives on Latin America change? DK: For the first time in my life, I was a member of the minority. There were no other Asian people either in the local population or on the actual medical team. From this strange vantage point, I was able study the issue of diversity in depth, and I was able to observe how certain Latin

American countries treat foreigners. I noticed that every Latin American I met was fascinated by the fact that I was Asian, but that fascination was expressed differently depending on the region. The Peruvians and Mexicans asked me about my culture, often wanting to be friends on Facebook. One time, a Peruvian girl even asked me out (although I very kindly declined). Many of these folks were often familiar with [Korean pop] groups, and they wanted me to speak Korean to them. In Honduras, on the other hand, I was frequently shunned. I heard more racial insults there than in the other Latin American countries. To the native Hondurans, I was the strange “Chinese guy” who could speak Spanish. However, for the Peruvians and Mexicans, I was their new Korean friend who could speak Spanish and Korean, which fascinated them. I found these differences intriguing.

SN: Do you have any advice for Harker students wanting to go on this type of Latin American trip? DK: Finding these types of opportunities is easy, so the most important thing is to examine your motivation for traveling. Why do you want to travel? If you want to help the world, practice your Spanish and explore medicine as a career, of course you should do it! But if your primary motivation is to build your resume to get into college, I’d suggest you reconsider. I believe there should be a more genuine reason for traveling so that the experience has a lasting impact on your life and you don’t feel that you’re merely tolerating the time you’re spending in the country. Instead, may your stay be like a Latin American plaza, an opportunity to meet the people of Latin America and to develop a genuine relationship with them.


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By Debbie Cohen

Class of 2014 Donates Bear Statue and Orchard Garden in Memory of Jason Berry

“This statue has been generously gifted to the school in memory of Jason Berry by the Class of 2014. The class also gifted the Orchard Garden in honor of the South Bay’s agricultural roots,” recalled Chris Nikoloff, head of school. An initial tree-planting ceremony heralding the orchard took place in April, with many students participating, including Berry’s

former advisees, soccer players he coached, English students he taught and members of the senior class. Berry was an English teacher and athletics coach at Harker; his nickname, “Bear,” was coined by his close family and friends and quickly adopted by his students. He died suddenly on Aug. 24, 2013 of a pulmonary embolism resulting from a blood clot in his leg. A memorial was held Aug. 29, and family and friends filled nearby WestGate Church to say goodbye. Heartfelt memories of his childhood and early years as a teacher were shared; the loss to his family and the community was mourned.

Parents and Class Agents Unite to Assemble Alumni Care Packages In November parents of Harker’s most recent graduates assisted the alumni office in an annual tradition of assembling college care packages for current college freshmen. This year, 30 parents united to send an array of interesting items to the Class of 2014.

Also in the packages were custom-designed gum packages with 48


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the message “Harker Alumni – We Stick Together,” custom alumni M&Ms and a bookmark printed with the words “The journey is never truly over, it just changed course,” courtesy of Harker’s librarians. According to Karri Baker ’84, director of alumni relations, several Class of 2014 agents were instrumental in helping to get the care packages to the alumni’s university mailboxes. “We wanted to let the Class of 2014 know that we are thinking of them and sending good thoughts their way. The care packages were assembled with love from parents of alumni and alumni volunteers,” Baker said, adding that she hopes the packages will encourage the 2014 alumni to stay connected with Harker through participation with the Alumni Association. She urged alumni to “please come back and visit, or drop a line and let us know how you’re doing!”

Photos by Kyle Cavallaro

Among the products included in this year’s packages were friendly notes and well wishes from advisors, teachers and the class dean, as well as sweet and salty snacks. Goodies included Rice Krispies Treats, fruit snacks, granola bars, chocolate chip cookies, popcorn, Emergen-C, hot chocolate mix, candy, gum and lollipops. The packages were designed to give the former students a boost of encouragement just before their finals began, and help them finish out their first semesters away from home on a bright note.

Photos by Nicole DeVelbiss

Last year, to honor the memory of beloved former faculty member Jason Berry, the upper school’s graduating class dedicated their senior gift to creating an orchard in his memory. Fast forward to this past fall and, on Nov. 19, Berry was honored again – with a bear statue donated in his name at the opening of the Orchard Garden in front of Dobbins Hall.


Photo by Kyle Cavallaro

Alumni Return to Harker for Picnic and Homecoming In fall, two annual events – the Harker Harvest Festival and Homecoming – brought many alumni together, where they enjoyed reconnecting with the Harker community. At the end of September, Harker’s Homecoming game was held on Davis Field, where alumni were warmly welcomed home during a family-friendly tailgate party. Several dozen alumni turned out for the party, where they enjoyed

dinner, mingled with faculty and staff, and watched the Eagles’ winning game. Then in mid-October, alumni returned for the Harker Harvest Festival, the school’s 64th annual Family & Alumni Picnic. More than 100 alumni attended the daylong event, held on the middle school campus. During the picnic there was a special area reserved for alumni, with a delicious barbecue. Many alumni also volunteered at the picnic, working in shifts at various booths. Alumni at both events agreed that a fun time was had by all!

Photos by Nicole DeVelbiss

Stay Connected Connect with alumni through Facebook and LinkedIn as your new social and professional lives ramp up. We’d love to hear from you! (or just go to LinkedIn and search for Harker alumni) HarkerAlumniAssociation (or – you guessed it! – search for Harker Alumni Association while logged in to your Facebook account) H A R K E R Q U A R T E R LY

Photo by Pam Dickinson

Photo by Kyle Cavallaro

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Submitted by Class Agents

Alumni from all classes through 1997 are listed under the years they would have completed grade 8 at The Harker School, Harker Academy, Harker Day School or Palo Alto Military Academy (PAMA). For all classes after the Class of 1997, alumni are listed under the class years they would have graduated from high school, regardless of whether they completed high school studies at Harker. For unlisted classes, we invite you to email if you are interested in becoming a class agent or would like to nominate a classmate.



Class Agent: Alan Stevens (

Class Agent: Mike Pons (

1976 Class Agents: Joy Aliason Younes (; Cindy Cottrell DeAngelo (



1978 Class Agent: Silvia Malaccorto (

1979 Class Agent: Chip Zecher (

1980 Class Agent: Greg Argendeli ( Lisa Sharon Morel (

1982 1981 Class Agent: Kristin (Scarpace) Giammona ( Michael Cini is keeping busy as a juvenile probation officer with Maricopa County, Ariz., where he has worked for nearly 18 years while raising his two teenage children. Reflecting back upon his time at Harker he said, “My favorite memory was when actor Burt Young came to Harker and signed autographs for everyone there. I still have it to this day. Also I have fond memories of playing tetherball.”

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Class Agents: Tina (Johnson) Murray (; Pauline (de Vos) Aasen (; Keil Albert (

1984 Class Agents: Karri Baker (; Jeff Rogers ( Kristin Quintin (;

1987 Joe Chen recently visited the Saratoga campus, site of the school’s former boarding program. Here he is shown taking a selfie with Pam Dickinson, director of Harker’s Office of Communication. Joe

Photo by Pam Dickinson

Alan Stevens sends a warm “aloha” from Maui, where he now resides. Previously, he lived in Pasadena and worked as the general manager for Gryphon Corp. for 15 years. Four years ago, after his father passed away, he relocated to Hawaii to be near his mother, who was living there by herself. He has taken up paddle boarding, enjoys taking his girlfriend’s dog out for walks on the beach and gardening, and is learning American Sign Language; he also helps take care of his mother’s house. “I put a new roof on the house and next year I am going to build another rental myself. I also learned how to blow glass. I belong to the Rotary Club of Kihei-Wailea and am active in the community. Last but not least, I finally have the time to pursue my passion, which is playing music. I am currently in three bands as a guitar player and working on a solo project,” he said.

Monette Matkovich Lindblom is a U.S. Marine Corps Veteran. “I've been living in Reno for almost 20 years with my husband, Monte. We have two children, Letishia (24) and Zachary (14). We have a grandson, Cash (1). Letishia is expecting another baby boy in December! My favorite memory would be of doing a commercial skit in Miss Conway's third grade class. We were sitting in a rowboat singing the Oscar Meyer bologna song! I also remember playing out at recess that year while it was snowing. We were all so happy that day because it rarely snowed in San Jose,” she recalled.

had just completed a monthlong rotation at the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center and was soon headed back to medical school at Creighton University in Nebraska. “We were having fun touring the old dorm area and this photo was taken outside what was once Joe’s dorm window,” recalled Pam.

1988 Class Agents: Eric Xanthopoulos (; Aileen Eveleth (

1989 Class Agent: Katie Wilson (

ClassNotes 1990 Class Agent: Jennifer Cady Logan ( Chris Yamashita (

1991 Class Agent: Ashley Anderson (

1992 Class Agent: Amanda Mathias Bonomi (

1993 Class Agents: Joy Paterson (; Tala Banato (; Kelle Sloan (

1994 Class Agent: Leyna Cotran (

1995 Class Agent: Lisa (Bowman) Gassmann (

1996 Class Agent: Ashley S. Franke (

1997 Class Agents: Chelsea Gilliland (; Lindsey Hochrine (

2002 Class Agents: Akhsar Kharebov (;

Yasmin Ali (; Isabella Liu ( Class agents reported that updates from the Class of 2002 alumni were a great mix of professional and personal milestones: In July, Akhsar Kharebov's startup, Infometers, was acquired by Validic of Durham, N.C. Validic is the health care industry's leading technology platform for easy data access to a world of mobile health and in-home devices, wearables and patient health care applications. Located in Mountain View, Infometers has become Validic's West Coast office. The Infometers team will continue to work on the companies' joint vision of connecting monitoring device data to the health care system. Across the Atlantic, Tiffany Duong ran with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain, as part of her "#30x30" – the 30 things she did to celebrate turning 30! She describes the experience as scary and intense, but awesome. In September, Sean Haq visited Seoul, Korea, to attend Jerry Chi's wedding. For significant events like weddings, traveling in style is a must! Photos of the friends enjoying the occasion are included in the Celebrations section. Isabella Liu is a second-year MBA student at Dartmouth's Tuck School of Business. Prior to Tuck, she lived for six years in the heart of New York City, where she got a master's in Chinese history and later

worked in finance. Naturally, moving to the woods of New Hampshire for school was a huge culture and lifestyle shift. This past summer, Isabella was able to return home when she interned with the business planning and innovation team at Intel. Now back at Dartmouth to finish her MBA, she has finally come to love the beauty and serenity of the Upper Valley. At Tuck, Isabella has been focused on entrepreneurship, technology, strategy and leadership. While there is a lot to enjoy about business school, her favorite part is playing bass in the Tuck (pop rock) band. After school, Isabella plans to move back to the Bay Area to work on her ecommerce search engine startup.

2003 Class Agents: Julia N. Gitis (; Maheen Kaleem ( Peter Noonan has a new baby girl! Please see the Celebrations section for details.

2004 Class Agents: Jacinda A. Mein (; Jessica C. Liu ( Mickey Selbo-Bruns married Caitlin Burgess in Vermont this past July. Please see the Celebrations section for details!

2005 Class Agent: Erika N. Gudmundson (

Kim Wong was thrilled to appear in the short movie “Text Amy,” which screened at the Miami Short Film Festival Dec. 5-12 (check out the trailer: http://www.textamyshortfilm. com/). Kim is a musical theater certificate graduate of the Harker Conservatory and actor/ director living in New York. She previously appeared on the TV show Blue Bloods (http://www. on CBS, as a schoolgirl, about two-thirds of the way through the show. “This past summer I worked at Triad Stage in Greensboro, N.C., playing Helena in ‘All's Well That Ends Well.’ I also appeared in the re-enactments on the Animal Planet show ‘Monsters Inside Me.’ (Beware, this show is a bit graphic! It's all about parasites.) I'm filming a lead in a new Web series called ‘Working Title’ that will be produced next year,” reported Kim. Sara Laymoun had a baby girl. Please see the Celebrations section for details! Shaun Mohan passed on the good news that he matched for a surgery residency at Stanford. “It is the postgraduate training which follows medical school. The process is a bit different than college/med school applications in that you and the program each create a rank list, and on Match Day you find out the results of where you will be continuing your training. Residency training differs in length for different specialties, but allows for obtaining your medical license after your first year, and becoming a boardcertified physician at the end of your last year of training,” Shaun explained.


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ClassNotes 2007

Class Agents: Meghana Dhar (; Jeffrey Le (; Casey Near (

Class Agents: Cassie Kerkhoff (; Audrey Kwong (

After three years living in Kazakhstan, Lauren Gutstein has returned to the East Coast to work at the Wilmington Friends School in Delaware. She describes the school as “Harkerlike with a Quaker flair.”

Class Agents: Stephanie Syu (; Senan Ebrahim (

In September, Neil Chao and Heidi Wang '08 celebrated their marriage at the Los Altos History Museum. Several Harker alums joined in the festivities. Please see the Celebrations section for more details!

Class Agents: Rachel Wang ( Stephanie Guo (

A group of ’06 grads had a fun mini reunion in Boston, when Meghana Dhar moved over the summer to start school. “I moved to Boston in August

Class Agents: Kevin Fu (; Adrienne Wong (

Ziad Jawadi reports that he is now a senior at Georgetown University studying Middle Eastern studies. “My professional interests lie in financial services and public policy. This summer, as a strategy consulting intern at Deloitte in Abu Dhabi, I advised clients on strategies to achieve institutional objectives through quantitative and qualitative analysis. In the past, I worked with the National U.S.-Arab Chamber of Commerce, the U.S.-UAE Business Council, as a research assistant to a leading professor at Georgetown and the Republican Governors Association. My internships developed my analytical skills and quantitative reasoning while creatively problem-solving with teams,” he said. Ziad further shared that he has a passion for business and trade relations between America and the Middle East with skills blending the two fields. “I am of Arab heritage and have an solid background in the Middle East. As an Arab-American, I feel a sense of moral duty to return to the Arab world post-graduation and help develop it,” he added.





The Harker Class of 2009 held its five-year reunion at the Sonoma Chicken Coop in San Pedro Square on Nov. 29. A good time was had by all!

Photo provided by Meghana Dhar '06

and found that a lot of Harker alumni were in the area, so I coordinated a couple get-togethers,” she recalled. Shown in this picture with her are pals Kat Hudkins, Hann Yew, Amira Valliani, Avanti Deshpande, Ira Patnaik, Amulya Mandava and Yi Sun.

Photo by Stefan Armijo


Class Agents: Rani Mukherjee (; Hassaan Ebrahim ( Photo provided by Meghana Dhar '06



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Class Agents: Will Chang (; David Fang (

2013 Class Agents: Kathir Sundarraj (; Nikhil Panu (; Nicholas Chuang ( In mid-September, Maverick McNealy, who is on the Stanford University golf team, won his second golf tournament of the season at The Illini Invitational, held at the famed Olympia Fields in Chicago, site of several major championships. The final results show Maverick picking up his second win in as many outings by claiming top honors at the invitational. Maverick, who collected the first win of his collegiate career at the Southwestern Intercollegiate, fired three consecutive rounds of 71 to finish 3-over-par 70 at Olympia Fields Country Club. To read more about it: http://smgstories.blogspot. com/2014/09/cardinal-playat-famed-olympia-fields.html. Nicole Dalal and Govi Dasu ’12 both happened to be in Delhi working on research projects and decided to have an impromptu meet-up. They enjoyed lunch at Khan Market and then took the metro over to the famous Jama Masjid, where this picture was taken. Photo provided by Nicole Dalal '12


Michelle Douglas, Tara Rezvani, Neel Bhoopalam and Patricia Huang had a

ClassNotes dinner with 12 alumni from the Class of 2014 – all Stanford students who went to Harker when Adler served as dean of their class. They met for a delicious dinner at Thaiphoon in Palo Alto, where they enjoyed catching up with one another.

Adith Rengaramchandran ( Connie Li (

Katie Gu is a freshman at Stanford University and a former member of the Santa Clara Aquamaids synchronized swimming club. She represented the United States Photo provided by Chris Douglas at the 2011 2014 Comen Cup as a member of Class Agents: the U.S. 13/15 national team Nithya Vemireddy and at the 2014 Junior Pan (nithya.vemireddy@gmail. com) American Championships

Photo provided by Katie Gu '14

as a member of the U.S. junior national team. To read more about her: http:// ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ ID=30600&ATCLID= 209694416 In mid-November upper school math teacher Victor Adler had a reunion

Photo provided by Victor Adler

blast hanging out together in Lake Tahoe this past summer. Here they are shown getting ready to enjoy a fun afternoon of water sports.

Alumni Celebrations long. As she begins to understand the world around her, big brother Kaiden is there for her every step of the way and lovingly cuddles with her as much as possible. Kaiden loves his little sister very much and has promised to watch over her as she grows into the person she will become. We are all having a great time getting to know the newest member of our family!” she reported.

Please join us in congratulating the following alumni:

Photo by Hok Leung

Mickey Selbo-Bruns ’04 married Caitlin Burgess in Vermont this past July. In attendance were Kathryn Lee '04, Jackie Laine '04, Kat Hudkins '06 and Amanda Tobin '04. Mickey also completed her Ph.D. in clinical psychology this Photo provided by Alexandra M. Burgess '04 past spring and snagged the job of her dreams teaching at Smith College, which she started this fall. Peter Noonan ’03 and his wife, Trishalee Hardy, had a baby girl. “Tegan Cecilia Noonan was born happy and healthy on July 30 weighing 6 pounds, 13 ounces and she was 18 inches

Provided by Sara Leymoun ’05

In September, Palo Alto residents Neil Chao ’06 and Heidi Wang ’08 celebrated their marriage at the Los Altos History Museum. Previously, the couple had some of their engagement photos taken at the upper’s school’s beautiful Saratoga campus. The happy couple met at Harker when Heidi was a freshman and Neil was a junior, and started dating soon after.

Photo provided by Trishalee Hardy

In September, Sean Haq ’02 visited Seoul, Korea to attend the wedding of Jerry Chi ’02. Here are photos of the two former high school friends enjoying a fancy limo Photo provided by Jerry Chi '02 ride and posing in the hotel in Seoul. Sara Leymoun ’05 and her husband, Brett Buchanan, welcomed Sophia Amira Buchanan into the world on Nov. 14. The baby girl weighed in at 5 pounds, 12 ounces. Her delighted grandmother is Susan Smith, Harker’s library director.


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LookingAhead Coming Attractions Student Directed Showcase Middle and Upper School Winter Concert

Jan. 9-10

Jan. 29-30

Upper School Dance Production

Jan. 30-31

Middle School Dance Jamz An Evening of Jazz

January 8, 13, 22, 27

Jan. 16

Grade 5 Show

United Voices


Feb. 6 March 13-14 March 20

January 15, 23, 29 Special morning tours for our prospective parents to visit our kindergarten and preschool classes and see the schools in action.


Research Symposium 2015

10 Years

Sat., April 11 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Nichols Hall | Saratoga Campus




Concert Series 2014-15

LookingAhead Fifth Annual Harker Alumni Families Easter Egg Hunt

Wed., Jan. 28 8 p.m.

The Taylor Eigsti Trio

Sun., March 22, 9:30 a.m. | Union Campus RSVP: 408.345.9264 or

Photo by Devin DeHaven

Two-time Grammy nominated pianist Taylor Eigsti will make his third appearance at the Harker Concert Series on Jan. 28 with the Taylor Eigsti Trio. A performer since childhood, the Bay Area-born, New York-based Eigsti has collected accolades as a recording artist, live performer and sought-after sideman, all before reaching the age of 30.

Fri., March 13 8 p.m.

Afiara Quartet

Questions: Karri Baker, Director of Alumni Relations

Dr. Susan Engel The Hungry Mind: Keeping Kids Inspired and Curious

Tue., March 24 | 9 a.m. | Blackford Campus

Photo by Joseph Kan

Currently in residency at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, Afiara has enjoyed a career as one of classical music’s most revered young quartets, winning the Young Canadian Musicians Award, the Concert Artist Guild International Competition, top honors at the Banff International String Quartet Competition and more.

General Admission: $20 Pre-event reception one hour prior to each performance. Complimentary hors d'oeuvres and soft drinks included. Cash bar for wine and beer.


Nichols Hall Auditorium | Upper School Campus 500 Saratoga Avenue, San Jose For more information contact or call 408.345.9243.

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.




Circa 1970s

Harker Academy

Photo courtesy of the Harker Archives


arker has long been known for its strength in the sciences. This photo shows a nice moment from the ’70s with one student holding a helix, likely representing DNA. In the background there is a periodic table and what appears to be a collection of shells and other sea life, which illustrates

the depth of science classes even then. Today, Harker students do state-of-the-art research both on campus and at various universities under the tutelage of mentors, and Harker remains a leader in science research among high schools nationwide. This issue has two great articles on the subject, highlighting computer science and research.

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C a l i f o r n i a O of C: 12/14 (BHDG/JJJ/RM/DQP) 5,751

Profile for The Harker School

Harker Quarterly Winter 2014  

Published four times a year, Harker Quarterly showcases some of the top news, leading programs, inspiring people and visionary plans of the...

Harker Quarterly Winter 2014  

Published four times a year, Harker Quarterly showcases some of the top news, leading programs, inspiring people and visionary plans of the...