VISIONS THE MONTGOMERY ACADEMY
“They say you can’t take it with you, so...
Young Boozer Parent of two Academy graduates
give it to those who will make the most of it. I did.” Planned Giving to The Montgomery Academy — a gift to the next generation… and the next… and the next… and the next… THE MONTGOMERY ACADEMY 3240 Vaughn Road Montgomery, Alabama 36106-2725
2 Visions - Winter 2011
For more information on planned giving and gifts to the endowment, call Carolyn Bryan, Director of Advancement, at The Montgomery Academy. (334) 272-8210
Winter 2011 ARTS
15 20 22 Mission
The Mission of The Montgomery Academy is the pursuit of excellence within the four major spheres of Academy life: academics, the arts, athletics and activities. Implicit in this is the existence of an environment in which students are simultaneously supported and challenege. The ultimate component of this mission is to assist students in becoming adults of strong moral character who contribute to society in both their professional and community lives.
The Montgomery Academy Established 1959
Head of School Dave Farace email@example.com
Associate Head of School Vivian Barfoot firstname.lastname@example.org
Director of Advancement Carolyn Peddy Bryan â€˜75 email@example.com
Communications Coordinator Leigh Barganier firstname.lastname@example.org
Annual Giving & Alumni Programs Coordinator Marie Harrington email@example.com
The Montgomery Academy 3240 Vaughn Road Montgomery, Al 36106-2725 (334) 272-8210 â€˘ Fac (334) 277-3240 www.montgomeryacademy.org The Montgomery Academy is a member of
National Association of Independent Schools The Montgomery Academy admits students of any race, religion, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs and activities generally accorded or made available to students of the school.
Visions - Winter 2011 3
A LETTER FROM THE HEAD OF SCHOOL As I write this, I’m about half way through my first year as head of school. It’s been a fast and fun six months. My family and I have been warmly embraced by the Academy community and I feel honored and privileged to lead such an outstanding independent school. I’m spending my first year learning as much as possible about the history and culture of MA. While I’ve enjoyed meeting with many members of the Academy community, the richest and most meaningful visits have been with our alumni. I’m convinced that a hallmark of all great independent schools is an engaged and connected alumni body. The alumni perspective serves as a tonic of sorts to the current student perspective. Our alumni have lived the MA experience and now have the gift of time to offer a broader and deeper reflection. So, while our graduates are spread all over the world, I believe the Academy must work hard at reaching out to our alumni. Our alumni have a deep love of the Academy and are bullish on the future of the school. Below are a few statistics I gathered from a recent survey to collegeaged alumni.
Dave Farace 4 Visions - Winter 2011
• 93% of our college-aged alumni reported being enrolled in their first or second choice college/ university. • 90% feel they are above average to well above average in academic ability as compared to their college/university classmates. • When asked what the most valuable aspects of their Academy experience were, our young alumni’s top two answers were: (1) core academic courses, and (2) interaction with faculty. I also reached out to our more “seasoned” alumni
To see more from alumni on the road, turn to page 23
earlier this year to ask for feedback on their Academy experiences. The response was overwhelming and I offer a few poignant comments below. • “One of the things I remember as being most remarkable was that the faculty treated students with an enormous amount of respect, probably not always deserved, but nonetheless, it was a huge part of the positive experience for those of us there in those days. Everyone involved was all about the education, the character enrichment [and] the school spirit. It still seems to be there today, just as strong as it was.” • “It wasn’t until after I left MA when I began to appreciate how truly fortunate I was to be able to be involved in so many things during high school. This included performing in Carnegie Hall with the chorus. Sometimes I just can’t believe I got to do that. The close nit community at MA makes it easy to do just about anything you want, and that is what I loved most about MA.” • “The Academy changed my life as well as indirectly amplified the values of my religious upbringing and reinforced and affirmed the values my family endeavored to instill in me. I don’t know where I would be today without the Academy’s role in my life.” I could offer a dozen more alumni reflections that touch on the same core strengths: academic excellence, teacherstudent relationships, the power of community, and boundless opportunities. As the school plans to embark upon strategic planning this spring, I believe we need to focus on these very themes that make MA so special. In the meantime, I plan to continue personally visiting with our alumni and other Academy community members. It’s a big, geographically diverse community so I won’t get to everyone but I do welcome all calls and emails if you’re interested in sharing your MA experience.
Dave Farace Head of School
A LETTER FROM THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS PRESIDENT Clark Sahlie It’s hard to believe that the first semester of this school year is already behind us. Spring break will be here before we know it, and the end of the school year will not be far behind! Our new Head of School, Dave Farace, is off to a great start. Dave has spent a considerable amount of time during his first six months at MA getting to know the MA community. Thank you for welcoming Dave and his family into our community. We look forward to many years together. It is a great privilege for me to work with an outstanding Board of Directors. The twenty-three individuals that make up our Board volunteer several hours of their time each month to lead MA with a strategic, long-term vision that guides the school’s administration. One of the tools that the Board uses as it participates in the formation, approval, and monitoring of broad institutional policies is a strategic plan. A strategic plan acts as a bridge between the school’s mission and its policies. The Board is preparing now to begin our next strategic planning process. We deliberately delayed the process for one year so that Dave would have the opportunity to get to know our school and then
Visions - Winter 2011 5
be able to participate in a meaningful way with the process. The Board has hired a consultant to lead us through the strategic planning process. Our consultant will lead the Board through a governance retreat this winter as we prepare for strategic planning. Then in the spring, our consultant will be back at MA for several days to meet with all of the school’s constituent groups to listen and gather information for the process. We intend for the process to be inclusive and representative of the MA community. I’d like to challenge the MA community to begin thinking now about the future of our school and the direction it should take over the next five years. We’ll be gathering thoughts and opinions in the spring that the Board will take into consideration as we formulate our next strategic plan. Thank you for your support of MA. Our school is fortunate to have great supporters who contribute to the school in many ways and volunteer countless hours to help with “The Pursuit of Excellence.”
A Letter From The Alumni Council President Dear Fellow Academy Alumni: Since being elected as the Academy’s Alumni Council President this past spring, I have been working to bring myself up to speed on all my new responsibilities. Though I have been busy thus far, I have truly enjoyed my role as Council President and am honored to serve you in that capacity for the next two academic years. By virtue of being Council President, I am assigned a seat on the Academy’s Board of Directors. This position has given me the opportunity to learn in detail about the Academy’s operations, and what I have learned is that the Academy operates in many ways differently than how I thought it operated. A perfect example involves the Academy’s operating budget. I was surprised to learn that the Academy’s operating budget is not funded solely by tuition. Instead, the Academy relies on contributions to its Annual Giving campaign to fund a sizable portion of its budget. Because these contributions are part of the Academy’s budget, they essentially subsidize the payment of tuition by Academy parents, helping to offset the size of tuition costs at the Academy. Annual Giving contributions have been a material part of the Academy operating budget for years. In fact, it is likely that when you were at the Academy, your family benefited from Annual Giving contributions made at that time. Now it is our time to support the
6 Visions - Winter 2011
Academy and its current students and families. I have heard several reasons why Academy alumni are not inclined to contribute to the Academy. For example, some are not inclined to give because they do not live in Montgomery. Others are not inclined to give because they do not, or will not, have children attending the Academy. All of these reasons seem sensible enough standing alone. However, none of them are persuasive when one considers the significant value and benefits an Academy education has given its alumni. To see my point, please ponder the following questions. Without your Academy education, would you have been admitted to your college of choice, or been as prepared for college as you were? Without your Academy education, would you have the same job as you do now, or perform as successfully as you do in your job? More generally, without your Academy education, would you have the same abilities as you have or even be the same person you are? For me, the answer to all of these questions is a resounding “no,” and I am sure it is a “no” for all of you as well. I know many of you contribute to your college and possibly even a graduate school you may have attended. In fact, such giving is quite common. While there may be several different reasons why you do, those reasons apply equally well when considering whether to contribute to the Academy. As a result, you have reason to give to the Academy just as much as you give to your college or graduate school. So, the next time you are asked to contribute to Annual Giving, I urge you not to dismiss it, but to reflect on my comments in this letter and join me in giving. Or, if you are so inclined (and I hope you are!), please consider giving now by going online at www. montgomeryacademy.org and making your donation. Your gift will help those students who will graduate after you just as you were helped by students who graduated before you, and it will also help you give back a tiny part of the value you have received from the Academy.
Rick McBride, Jr. Alumni Council President
Annual Giving Alumni Challenge Gift: An anonymous donor has offered a challenge to all alums. If we raise $3,500 in new* gifts to our Annual Giving campaign, this donor will match those funds with $3,500. At this time, alums have given $2,400 in new gifts, so we are well on our way. Help us reach and exceed our goal. Please send your contribution today! *alumni who are not current parents and have never contributed to Annual Giving
Visions - Winter 2011 7
LAW & ORDER
Fairy Tale Unit
By Scott Bowman | Drama
Law & Order holds the distinction for being the longest running crime series in the history of television. With its captivating, “ripped from the headline” plotlines, its quirky characters, and its distinctive “chung-chung” sound effect, the series attracted a loyal TV audience for 20 years. The Middle School paid tribute to this storytelling legend by meshing it with familiar fairy tales this fall to produce Law & Order: Fairy Tale Unit.
Mixing the deadpan, ultra-serious acting style of the tough TV police with the silliness of the fairy tale material made for a hilarious evening. After interviewing a chorus of witnesses, the police finally think they have their “perp” in B.B Wolf (Will Lawrence), a character known to the audience for his long list of fairy tale crimes. Then it is up to DAs Stiltskin and Merm (Michael Butler and Jaqueline Lee) to prove it in court. Against them stands the formidable defense attorney Bo Peep (Norah Newcomb) and the fact that the evidence in the case may not be all it’s cracked up to be.
Written by Jonathan Rand, Law & Order: Fairy Tale Unit opens with a familiar voice over (provided by guest stars Mr. Gene Johnson, Coach Glenn Sylvest, and new Head of School Dave Farace): “In the fairy tale criminal justice system, the characters from fairy tales and nursery rhymes are represented by two separate yet equally ridiculous groups: the fairy tale police who investigate fairy tale crime, and the fairy tale district attorneys who prosecute the fairy tale offenders.” For the next hour, the audience follows the investigations of Detective H.D. (Evan Price) and Detective Cindy (Talya White) as they try to piece together who was responsible for blowing down the houses of the Three Little Pigs (Emily Ernest, Mary Ren Stevenson, and Kunaal Makhija).
8 Visions - Winter 2011
In true Law & Order fashion, there were bad puns, a tense chase scene, forensic evidence, back room deal-making, emotional breakdowns, and - of course - a twist ending. A fun show for the whole family, Law & Order: Fairy Tale Unit was the second Middle School production in the James W. Wilson, Jr. Theater. The actors and production crew continue to be deeply grateful to the Wilson family and to all of the MA parents, friends, faculty, and staff who made the building of this facility a reality. Special thanks to Elmore Inscoe DeMott ‘86 for the photography
Detective HD: Evan Price Detective Cindy: Talya White Zelle: Shelby Walcott Tom Thumb: Reese Kelso Jack: Ford Cleveland Jillian: Mary Cox Hansel: Robert Fox Gretel: Helen Taylor Ugly D: Claire Phillips Officer Gold: Dora Eskridge Pinocchio: Graham Waldo Captain Hook: Jonathan McClarin Seven Dwarfs Doc: John Forrest Happy: Anna Kate Lindsey Dopey: Alice McGowin Grumpy: Sister Penton Sleepy: Martha Glen Sease Bashful: Katie Lawrence Sneezy: Kate Moore BB Wolf: Will Lawrence
ADA Stiltskin: Michael Butler ADA Merm: Jacqueline Lee Pig 1: Emily Ernest Pig 2: MaryRen Stevenson Pig 3: Kunaal Makhija DA Queenan: Gracie Trulove Peep: Nora Newcomb
Judge F. Godmother: Natasha Yearwood Court Reporter Sprat: Carrie Raymon Bailiff Gruff 1: Shelton James Bailiff Gruff 2: Maureen Stevenson Bailiff Gruff 3: Lauren Muller
Blind Mouse 1: Maria Gamble Blind Mouse 2: Speer Kitchens Blind Mouse 3: Mimi Hope Robin: Danielle Hwang Sleeping Beauty: Madeline Roth Muffin Man: Henry Hamlett Peter Peter: Kaya LaBine Red Riding Hood: Juliana Han The Cat: Kelsey Grant Cow: Annabel Roth Little Dog: Lulu Herrick Dish: Meg Walker Spork: Caroline Sellers
Production Staff Director: Scott Bowman
Assistant Director: John McWilliams Stage Manager: Hannah Trachy Lighting Operators: Ashley Anthony Lauren Attwood Production Assistants: Rachel Oâ€™Meara Justine Reighard Nichole Green Mallory Garcia Caroline Sellers
Visions - Winter 2011 9
C A P I TA L
C I T Y
C O N F E R E N C E
C H A M P I O N S
Coaches: David Bethea, Glenn Sylvest and Robb McGaughey The Middle School Football team completed the 2010 season with a perfect 6 - 0 record winning the Capital City Conference championship for the third consecutive season. Averaging 33.6 points per game, the Eagles outscored their opponents 202 - 72. The 46 players on this team came to practice each day with positive attitudes and a willingness to work hard. They developed a bond among them in which they believed in each other and had confidence in their abilities. In the game that ultimately decided the conference championship, the Eagles came back from a 14 point deficit with five minutes remaining in the game to win 16 - 14. That win demonstrated these young men’s “never quit” attitude and team spirit. The other conference games were won by an average of 33 - 2. Captains Josh Thomas, Inge Eskridge, Pete Taylor, Bates Herrick, Sam LaPlatney and Wells Hooper were powerful leaders and the others were willing to follow their leadership. This team’s will to win was matched by their will to prepare. The words “explosive, dynamic, and dominating” would characterize this team. The future looks bright for the Middle School team as the Eagles have outstanding classes of returning players and incoming players.
10 Visions - Winter 2011
ST R E N GT H
C H A R AC T E R
Coaches: Chris Cournoyer, Caleb Hartin, Jess Smith, and Alex Thomas This year the varsity football team at The Montgomery Academy endured a very difficult season. The team consisted of 36 players with six seniors, six juniors, nine sophomores, and fifteen freshmen. The players competed in one of the toughest regions in Class 3A which included TR Miller, Montgomery Catholic, Clarke County, Trinity, Bayside Academy, Washington County, and Excel. The football players were very competitive in each contest and played with a tremendous amount of heart, determination, and sportsmanship. Many of the young players gained valuable playing experience throughout the year, which will benefit the program greatly in the future. This year, the team learned to persevere through extreme conditions and adversity to come out with a sense of accomplishment with what they achieved this season.
Seniors: Brandt Bishop, Charlie Anderson, Clayton Williams, Tom Brewbaker, Michael Bemis, and Arun Nakhai.
Visions - Winter 2011 11
C A P I TA L
C I T Y
C O N F E R E N C E
C H A M P I O N S
Coach: Ginger Lowe This team won the Capital City Jubilee tournament in August, the MA Jamboree in mid- September, and then culminated their season winning the Capital City Conference Championship in late September. The MVP of the Conference tournament was Jillian Tinglin while teammates Sara Brown and Frances Freeman earned All-Tournament recognition. The 2010 team included eight 7th graders and eight 8th graders who were led by captains Sara Brown, Frances Freeman, and Barbara Ann Trotman. The 8th graders were very instrumental in our successful season, but it took the entire team working diligently to achieve the goals that this team set for themselves. They chose three characteristics, or actions, they wanted to excel in throughout the season: Push, Encourage, and Communicate, or as they commonly called it, PEC and their creed going into the conference tournament was “Finish what we started.” Not only did they achieve their volleyball goals, but they excelled in the total “team” concept as well.
This team truly pursued excellence.
12 Visions - Winter 2011
C A P I TA L
C I T Y
C O N F E R E N C E
C H A M P I O N S
Coach: Lindsey Atchison Beginning in early June, the junior varsity volleyball team began preparing for a phenomenal season by attending a team camp at The University of Alabama. The girls spent three days in Tuscaloosa learning many new skills and building team unity. After returning home from camp, the team participated in several “play dates” against other local schools. The girls played well in all of those practice matches. When the local scrimmages ended, two a days began. The end of the summer was filled with practice, practice, and more practice. On August 19 the season officially began. It wasn’t long before the team had won the Capital City Jubilee by defeating powerhouse teams such as UMS Wright and Jacksonville and defeating Trinity in the championship game. The Eagles fell to 6A Hoover in two close sets, 23-25 and 22-25, but from that point on, a thirteen game winning streak took place. In the midst of this streak, the team won the Battle at Spanish Fort tournament. Ryan Terry and Mary Elizabeth Massey were named to the all-tournament team, and Lee Ellen Bryan was named MVP of the tournament. With a season ending 26-5 record, the Lady Eagles won the Capital City Classic, defeating Alabama Christian, Saint James, and Trinity, to clench the city’s junior varsity volleyball title.
Congratulations, Lady Eagles on season well played! Visions - Winter 2011 13
A R E A
C H A M P I O N S
R E G I O NA L
C H A M P I O N S
Coach: Julie Sinclair When I asked several of my players what our record was this year they didn’t know the answer. When I asked them what our volleyball program stands for on and off the court, they could answer the question: treat everyone with respect and as equals, no matter their talent level or grade; lift your teammates up with encouragement and positive reinforcement; and be good to one another. For as long as I can remember this is what I have stressed and hoped my girls took away from their playing days at MA. To me it’s all about family first. The family that I speak of is the “volleyball family”. There is a special bond that links us all together, a bond so special that the only way to understand it is to experience it. Many parents from years past continue to come to matches and reminisce about the memories and talk of the fun times they shared. It’s about Kem Anderson bringing her homemade bread to the tournaments this year even though Sydney graduated last year. It’s about Greg Garcia surprising Catherine Benton at the College of Wooster watching her play volleyball, in Ohio!
14 Visions - Winter 2011
MA volleyball is also about friendships. When Tade Anzalone wrote a college essay for her Georgetown application, she ended it with this: “I just completed my last volleyball season, and after the last point had been played and I knew that I was finished for good, I looked around at my teammates and I realized this changes nothing. I have still gained thirteen fantastic friends from this season, many of whom were mere acquaintances three months ago. And that gain to me, is worth more than the long, rigorous hours of practice that led up to it.” Watching our 2010 Volleyball DVD recap of the season, I was happy to see the smiles and laughter on their faces, the intensity and determination in their eyes as they competed and the love in their hearts for their sport and their teammates. It also made me sad that the season is over. I can’t wait for the 2011 season. By the way, our record was 40-11. We were undefeated in regular season play, we won the Area and Region Championships and advanced to the State Tournament before losing a hard fought battle in the semifinals where we left the court with no regrets. For the love of volleyball, Julie Sinclair.
Q UA L I F I E R S
Y E A R S
Coaches: Kevin Weatherill and Michael Floyd The 2010 Montgomery Academy cross country team had yet another successful season, qualifying for the state championship for the ninth consecutive year. Though relatively young, both the boys’ and girls’ teams remained highly competitive in the city, region, and state, thanks to the leadership of seniors Tucker Helms, Davis Hudson, juniors Bentley Hudson and Haley Parco, and sophomore Krisie Stakely. The MA harriers began their training in June, starting with runs ranging from 20-40 minutes (roughly 3-6 miles). During this time, the team said goodbye to departing coach Ashley Akins and welcomed Coach Michael Floyd. In August, the girls’ team ventured to North Alabama with volunteer coach Stacey Stakely for a week of camp with several other schools from around the state. With twice daily training sessions and ample time for bonding, the girls’ returned determined to defend their state titles of 2008 and 2009. Official practice started the second week of August with the return of Coach Kevin Weatherill and the teams’ first time trial. Much to everyone’s agreement, the time trial proved indicative of the team’s preparation, with the majority of runners meeting the goals outlined before summer training began. MA hosted the CCC Opener where the girls continued their five-year CCC undefeated streak with a decisive win over LAMP. Recently, the cross country have had the benefit of traveling out of the region for select competitions. In 2009, the team traveled to the Manhattan Invitational in New York City. In 2010, the
team traveled to Fayetteville, Arkansas to run in the Chilipepper Invitational at the University of Arkansas. Other meets included: Chickasaw Trails at Oakville Indian Mounds, Chattanooga XC Festival at Chickamauga Dam, Jesse Owens Classic at Oakville Indian Mounds, CCC Championship at Alabama Shakespeare Festival in Montgomery, Husky Challenge at Hewitt Trussville Middle School, Sectionals at Kiesel Park in Auburn. For the tenth straight year, the State Championship meet brought the Eagles back to Oakville Indian Mounds in Moulton. Both the girls’ and boys’ team gave a valiant effort to hold their third place seeding going into the meet. The boys team loses two of its most valued runners in Tucker Helms and Davis Hudson, but it’s because of their leadership there is much anticipation for the developing talent which has the capability of keeping the guys on top. The girls’ team, though challenged by a series of season-ending injuries to Drake and Margaret McGowin and ninth grader Claire Rickard, does not lose any runners to graduation. Certainly the continued development of the Upper School runners and early success of Middle School runners, along with a renewed excitement to recruit even more student-athletes, leaves the girls’ team with much to look forward to in 2011.
Visions - Winter 2011 15
Betty Saunders, Gene Johnson and Carole Quallio Special thanks to Carole Quallio for the photography
Itâ€™s ten minutes until lunch. Two girls pass by, their faces covered in rank, black, marsh mud; a boy passes fondling a sandy horseshoe crab shell, while his companion rams his finger into the opening of a whelk shell; three students rush by to try and wash the smell of preservative from their hands after dissecting a fish; several folks are comparing photos of themselves in a huge live oak with photos of themselves in a huge dead oak; all of them are tired, sun-and wind- burnished, and smiling. For over two decades these scenes have been common as the Sixth Grade packs up and spends three days at the Jekyll Island, Georgia Sea Lab. The program is under the auspices of the University of Georgia
Extension Service at the Georgia 4-H center. Students study the geology and ecology of barrier islands by beginning at the beach and observing how erosion and accretion build beaches, (warning: never buy property on the north end of an Atlantic Island or the east end of a Gulf Island), then following the development of secondary dunes and scrub zones until they reach the maritime forests. By slogging through the marshes, students see first-hand the importance of such islands as nurseries for many ocean animals and as a buffer for storms, and the necessity of the vast salt marshes as filters of pollution from our waters.
16 Visions - Winter 2011
Students also visit the Georgia Sea Turtle Center located in the Historic District of the island. Here they learn about the many kinds of sea turtles, the life cycles of the turtles, how the destruction of traditional nesting sites has caused a dramatic decline in those turtles, and get to view injured, ill and lost turtles which are recovering at the hospital in hopes of perhaps reentering the ocean to live and breed again. The history of Jekyll Island is also a focus, with students researching the emergence of the island as a hunting and vacation location for most of America’s wealthiest and most influential citizens in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The Vanderbilt, Pulitzer, Carnegie, Rockefeller, and Gould families, to name a few, built “cottages” in the village; 5/6 of the world’s wealth was controlled by the members of the Jekyll Island Club. For twenty years the MA sixth graders and their teachers have loved going to Jekyll Island. Even though Mr. Johnson, Mrs. Quallio, and Mrs. Saunders have spent sixty nights–about two months–at the 4-H Center at Jekyll Island, they love this field trip, because each trip has been different and each trip has been special.
Here is what current sixth graders said when asked about the Jekyll Island field trip: Spencer Andreades - My favorite thing at Jekyll Island was the night walk. You got to hear amazing stories, adjust your eyes to the night, and finally walk on the beach by yourself, which was peaceful and fun. Darry Freeman - I loved the soft sand, the sound of the ocean, and I even liked the salty marsh. Griffin Payne - At Jekyll Island no matter where I was or what time it was, I learned and had fun. Anna Kate Lindsey - Jekyll Island was so much fun, we forgot we were learning. Elizabeth Robertson - Jekyll Island is a classroom outside in the middle of a forest. It is the greatest learning experience and field trip a sixth grader can ever have. Ellen Park - Being with my friends to share this amazing experience was just icing on top of the cake. I had a blast! Laurel Buettner - Jekyll Island was a great experience for kids to learn math, science, and history and have fun at the same time. Kate Dockery - Jekyll Island was a fantastic field trip. It was both fun and educational.
Visions - Winter 2011
A Day In The
By Madi Caddell Class of 2021
18 Visions - Winter 2011
I’m Madi Caddell and I’m telling you about a day in second grade, starting with Morning Time. This is where you do some work like Math Messages and phonics. It is really fun. It might be my favorite thing.
Family Time is where the teacher reads a book and we do the calendar. The calendar is when you tell how many days you have been in school and you put money in for each day you are in school.Resource time is where you do an activity with Ms. Kaky Butler. She is our resource teacher. Ms. Butler does Accelerated Reader and newspaper with us. She is a really good teacher. Math time is a lot of fun. You can play math game and have partners, too. You try real hard, but sometimes you make a mistake. But it’s ok because you are learning. Enrichment is when you go to another class. It’s real fun. We go to Science class every Friday. We learn about new
animals. We learned about Monarch butterflies and crickets. It’s a real fun time in science lab! Library is where we check out books and take them back the next week. We listen to a book first then we can check out five books. Accelerated Reader time is when you read an AR book then write a summary. Ms. Butler will grade you paper and give it back. Then you get to take your test. Spelling test time is where the teacher calls out spelling words and we write them. On Monday we get our papers back for our
parents to sign and return. Snack time is when the helpers pass out the snack. First you get hand sanitizer so you won’t get sick. We get the snack after Physical Education class. If you don’t want the snack, you say “No thank you.” Carpool time is where every grade goes to the porch outside so we can go home. Teachers use walkie-talkies to hear whose car is near. If you hear your name that means your car is here to pick you up. The Montgomery Academy is a good place for kids. They can express themselves. They can learn.
Visions - Winter 2011 19
FALL COMMUNITY DAY A TIME FOR CARING
Every October the Upper School devotes a morning to helping our neighbors. Fall Community Day sets the stage for the school-wide service day in April and for student involvement in the world outside MA. On October 6, students in grades 9 - 12 worked at eighteen different agencies in the tri-county area. Such simple contributions as a little bit of attention and a tad of elbow grease did a lot of good in a short span of time. A heavy dose of practical assistance--the work of many hands at once--was a great help to the staff at Camp Grandview and Camp Chandler, where students cleared brush and cleaned cabins. At The Salvation Army they organized the pantry for those who serve hot lunches every day. Habitat For Humanity enjoyed plenty of workers to hammer nails and haul supplies, while MANE benefitted from a team of MA students who cleaned out the horsesâ€™ stalls. Manual and office work by volunteers cleared valuable time for the professionals at agencies to concentrate on their more specialized efforts.
20 Visions - Winter 2011
by Cheryl McKiearnan--Upper School Director
Our students also experienced direct involvement with the recipients of programs offered by the agencies. They sang and played with young children at Taylor Road Head Start and painted the fingernails of some of the residents of Capital Hill Healthcare. At Peter Crump Elementary Upper School students were the teachers as they assisted 5th and 6th graders with grammar and helped them earn candy as a reward for good work. At the Montgomery Humane Shelter our eager workers walked dogs and replaced shredded paper in their cages, all the while resisting the urge to take them home. Elbow grease and kind attention: these were the gifts Upper School students gave to our neighbors this fall; in the spring we will return, willing participants in contributing to the good of our community.
ACADEMICS Standing from left to right: Taylor Turner, Hamilton Bloom, Sarah Harmon Hood, Will Massey, Tade Anzalone, William Hughes, Grace Haynes Seated from left to right: Win Knowles, Davis Hudson, Alex Garcia, Haley Andreades
Advanced Placement Scholars Forty-two students at The Montgomery Academy earned AP Scholar Awards in recognition of their exceptional achievement on AP Exams. Students that are enrolled in AP classes at the Academy are required to take the AP exam. The College Board’s Advanced Placement Program (AP) provides willing and academically prepared students with the opportunity to take rigorous college-level courses while still in high school, and to earn college credit, advanced placement, or both for successful performance on the AP Exams. About 18 percent of the more than 1.8 million students worldwide who took AP Exams performed at a sufficiently high level to also earn an AP Scholar Award. The College Board recognizes several levels of achievement based on students’ performance on AP Exams. Six students qualified for the National AP Scholar Award by earning an average score of 4 or higher on a five-point scale on all AP Exams taken, and scores of 4 or higher on eight or more of these exams. These students are: Charlie Holtsford ‘10, Alex Katz ‘10, William Morris ‘10, Fredrick Toohey ‘10, Lanier Walker ‘10, and Jenny Wool ‘10. Nineteen students qualified for the AP Scholar with Distinction Award by earning an average score of at least 3.5 on all AP Exams taken, and scores of 3 or higher on five or more of these exams. These students are: Elizabeth Bownes ‘10, Hank Cho ‘10, Amanda Curvin ‘10, Will Davis ‘10, Charlie Holtsford ‘10, Alex Katz ‘10, Martha Lamar ‘10, Will Massey ‘11, William
Morris ‘10, Mitchell Parrish ‘10, May Morgan Poundstone ‘10, Maggie Rickard ‘10, Lizzie Suh ‘10, Fredrick Toohey ‘10, Lanier Walker ‘10, Henry Weatherly ‘10, Grace West ‘10, Wesley Wilson ‘10, and Jenny Wool ‘10. Nine students qualified for the AP Scholar with Honor Award by earning an average score of at least 3.25 on all AP Exams taken, and scores of 3 or higher on four or more of these exams. These students are: Haley Andreades ‘11, Tade Anzalone ‘11, Catherine Benton ‘10, Grace Haynes ‘11, Alex Hoffman ‘10, Rebecca Hunter ‘10, Ben Mangum ‘10, Vinson Rutledge ‘10, and Taylor Turner ‘11. Fourteen students qualified for the AP Scholar Award by completing three or more AP Exams with scores of 3 or higher. The AP Scholars are: Hamilton Bloom ‘11, Charles Cardinal ‘10, Lakevia Davis ‘10, Whitney Esdale ‘10, William Hughes ‘11, Anne Townsend Froemming ’10, Alex Garcia ‘11, Sarah Harmon Hood ‘11, Davis Hudson ’11, Sophia Jones ‘10, Win Knowles ‘11, Justin Labovitz ‘10, Ally Rea ‘10, and Evan Schmidt ‘10. Through more than 30 different college-level courses and exams, AP provides willing and academically prepared students with the opportunity to earn college credit or advanced placement and stand out in the college admission process. Each exam is developed by a committee of college and university faculty and AP teachers, ensuring that AP exams are aligned with the same high standards expected by college faculty at some of the nation’s leading liberal arts and research institutions. More than 3,800 colleges and universities annually received
Visions - Winter 2011 21
AP scores. Most four-year colleges in the United States provide credit and/or advanced placement for qualifying exam scores. Research consistently shows that AP students who score a 3 or higher on AP Exams (based on a scale from 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest) typically experience greater academic success in college and have higher college graduation rates than students who do not participate in AP.
Seventh Graders Qualify for Duke University Talent Identification Program Fifty-one students from the seventh grade class qualified to participate in the 31st Annual Scholastic Talent Search sponsored by the Duke University Talent Identification Program. Eligible students must have scored at the 95th
percentile or higher on a grade-level standardized achievement test, such as the Educational Records Bureau Comprehensive Testing Program.
Two Seniors Named National Merit Semifinalists Seniors Haley Andreades and Will Massey were named by The National Merit Scholarship Program as National Merit Semifinalists. The National Merit Scholarship Corporation released the names of the 16,000 students who qualified out of the 1.5 million who applied for the program. The Prelimiary SAT/NMSQT serves as an initial screening of program entrants. The test scores, plus the studentâ€™s academic record, community involvement, leadership ability and a personal essay are considered when determining semifinalists. The students will now have the opportunity to compete for 8,200 National Merit Scholarships, worth more than $36 million, that will be offered next spring. Haley Andreades and Will Massey
22 Visions - Winter 2011
On November 11, approximately 30 Atlanta area alums came together to socialize at the popular Park Tavern Bar at Piedmont Park. The group enjoyed getting to know new Head of School Dave Farace. Also seen visiting were Montgomery area alums, Lewis Gayden ’87 (a current member of the MA Board of Directors), John McWilliams, ’91 (Upper School History teacher and Fine Arts Department Chair) and Carolyn Bryan ’75 (Director of Advancement), who traveled to Atlanta to join in the festivities.
The next MA on the Road alumni events: Washington, DC on January 23, 2011 Birmingham, AL on March 3, 2011 Mark your calendars, more details to follow soon! The Alumni Council is also planning college campus visits to Auburn University and The University of Alabama in Spring 2011. Details to follow. Visions - Winter 2011 23
Alumni Weekend 2010
The campus was alive with alums from the classes of 1970, 1975, 1980, 1985, 1990, 1995, and 2000 during Alumni Weekend 2010 on October 8 & 9. More than 200 alums, friends and family enjoyed great food and fellowship at the Tent party on Friday, October 8 before the Homecoming football game against Excel High School. The weather was perfect on Saturday, October 9 for the MA alumni family picnic and campus tours. Approximately 20 alums and their families came to the Vaughn Road campus to check out all the wonderful new buildings on campus. The Saturday night alumni mixer and reunion dinners proved once again to be a great event with more than 100 alums and their spouses or guests in attendance.
24 Visions - Winter 2011
1975 Front row (left to right): Mary Cawthon, Pam Sewell Buss, Brenda Somers Johnson, Jane Dudley Senseney Back row (left to right): Jimmy McLemore, Carolyn Peddy Bryan, Carmen Castro Canavier, Margaret Folmar Dauber, Andy Weil, Denny Dahl, Julie McDonald Goyer
1980 Karen Sweatt and Dawn Nolin Geiger
1985 (left to right): Philip Segrest, Kenny Kirkpatrick, Travis Gordon, Wayne Simms
1990 Front row (left to right): Christi Rue Christie, Kelly Pirnie Lamberth, Brooks Seale, Virginia Bear, Beth McKinney Griffith. Back row (left to right): Allison Inscoe Chandler, Michael McAndrews, Will Chapman, Rachel Brown Lassiter, Chris Duggar, Price McLemore, Beth Eskridge Mantooth, Jody McInnes
1995 Front row (left to right): Mary Alice Tyson Browning, Francie Young Logan, Sunny Swinhart Kalisky, Andria Dyess Back row (left to right): Jeanie Montiel Parnell, Robert Brown, Turner Inscoe, Jey Perryman Stamps
2000 Sitting (left to right): John Sullivan, Taylor Goodall, Brian Cone Second row (left to right): Betsy Crum Boyer, Kristin Bentley, Meredith Brown, Mary Tyler Head Spivey, Erin Kromis Connolly Third Row (left to right): Karen Butler Stern, Amanda Shewmake Codding, Laura Goldman Mielke, Russ Griffin, Marston Maddox, Mitchell Dubina, Chet Marshall, Gibian Goolsby Waits Back row (left to right): Doug Borg, Dustin Borg, Allen Sheehan, John Hunter Foshee, Jelani Hardwick, Will Cunningham
Visions - Winter 2011 25
College Age Alumni Holiday party
Sahlie Commons was the place to be on December 17! More than 150 MA alums came back to campus for the annual College Age Alumni Holiday party. With so many alums home from college, this was a festive time to visit with former classmates, favorite faculty members, and current seniors.
Parents of Alumni Tent and Tailgate Party
On October 1, MA hosted the first Parents of Alumni social with a tent and tailgate party before the MA football game. Enjoying the fun atmosphere were several generations of parents of MA alums. We will host another Parents of Alumni event in the spring so be on the lookout!
26 Visions - Winter 2011
Class Notes 1969
Ellen Brooks, Montgomery County’s District Attorney, was the recipient of the Court of Honor Award from the Alabama District Exchange Clubs.
Rick Marks and his wife Emily are pleased to announce the birth of their son Hays Meriwether on November 19, 2010. Hays joins big brother William.
Ray Vaughan has been appointed by Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to serve on the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Advisory Committee.
Harriet Paulk Hessam’s daughter, Mahaley, plays the role of Nina in the newly released movie Easy A. Mahaley studied acting in Atlanta at The Company Acting studio before moving to Los Angeles to pursue a degree at UCLA and an acting career.
Jane Leslie Dees Speigner and her husband Lee are excited to announce the birth of their daughter Amelia Lee Glenn on May 9, 2010. Proud big brother Sam Morse, III is thrilled!
Kat Coleman Huff and her husband John are happy to announce the birth of their daughter Lucy on June 21, 2010.
Price McLemore and his wife Dinah proudly announce the birth of their son Stephen Powell McLemore on May 17, 2010.
Gunter Lanier and Tom Renshaw were married on September 18, 2010. They live in Atlanta, Georgia.
Caroline Ivy Collins passed away on October 30, 2010 due to complications stemming from ALS. Caroline is survived by her parents, Carole and Kelly Ivy; her children, Lucile (Lucy) Fitzpatrick Collins and Allen Dunn Collins, IV; her sister, Lucy Ivy Marks (John) and their children, Elizabeth Carter Marks, Caroline Louise Marks and John Amos Marks, III.
Richard Hardegree and his wife Julie Clugage proudly announce the birth of their third daughter, Katharin, on September 15, 2010. They currently live in Menlo Park, California.
Elizabeth Amberg Livingston and her husband Paul proudly announce the birth of their daughter Audrey on July 12, 2010. The happy family currently lives in New Mexico.
Bo Rumbley and Kristia Callaway were married on June 19, 2010 and currently live in Birmingham. William Gordon and Garman Honaman were married August 7, 2010 in Highlands, North Carolina and currently live in Montgomery.
Walker Godin and his wife Rachel proudly announce the birth of their daughter, Charlotte Marie on May 28, 2010. They are at home in Tampa, Florida. Ashley (Harris) Warnock and her husband Bill of Charleston, South Carolina welcomed their daughter Margaret Dowdell “Bonnie” on October 8, 2010. Bonnie joins her big brother William.
Andrea Hutchinson Champion and her husband Sam are pleased to announce that Samuel Miller Champion, Jr. was born on December 6, 2010. They currently live in Nashville, Tennessee.
Visions - Winter 2011 27
Class Notes Susan Reneau Rathmell, Ph. D., recently published her first book, From His Hands to Mine: Leaning on God through the First Year of Motherhood. The book is based on Susan’s prayer journal entries during her first year as a mother to her son. Susan and her husband Marshall and son John Marshall live in Birmingham where she is a clinical psychologist at the Birmingham Veterans Affairs Medical Center. She received her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Kansas. Charles Winston Sheehan and Kayci Waters were married in Castroville, Texas on July 24, 2010. They currently live in Dallas, Texas and both work for Goldman Sacs. Bert Steindorf and his wife Amy are thrilled to announce the birth of their daughter, Margaret Darby on June 26, 2010. They currently reside in Birmingham. Courtney Bronner Williams and her husband Kristopher proudly announce the birth of their son Grayson Kristopher on September 16, 2010. They are at home in Baltimore, Maryland.
Betsy and Will Duggar proudly announce the birth of their son Robert Cameron “Rob” on March 24, 2010. Rob joins big brother Layton. Clint Wilson and his wife Kaci are excited to announce the birth of their daughter, Willow Ann on May 16, 2010.
Catherine Ball and Ed Walker were married on July 3, 2010 and currently live in Mobile. Emily Carmichael and her husband Ethan Babcock joyfully announce the birth of their son Ellis Winchester Carmichael on May 25, 2010. The happy family live in Seattle, Washington.
28 Visions - Winter 2011
Carolyn Florey and John Garrity were married on July 17, 2010 at St. Augustine Roman Catholic Church in Washington, D.C. The happy couple resides in Washington, D.C. where Carolyn attends graduate school at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and works at the Inter-American Development Bank. Lauren Gulledge and Dewey Anderson White were married on September 18, 2010 at First Baptist Church in Montgomery. The happy couple is at home in Birmingham, where Lauren is a buyer with Books-A-Million. Thomas Oliver and Brandie Dodson were married on October 9, 2010 in Alys Beach, Florida. Seth Tatum and Ashley Akins were married on August 14, 2010 in Lee’s Summit, Missouri.
Julia Cunningham Casterline and her husband Lee proudly announce the birth of their daughter Eva Louise “Evie” on March 25, 2010. They currently live in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Catie McRae Murphy and her husband Lee welcomed their second child, a daughter, Sawyer Carlisle, on September 8, 2010. They currently live in Greenville, South Carolina. John Sullivan and his wife April are excited to announce the birth of their second daughter Caroline. Caroline joins big sister Preston. The Sullivans currently live in Birmingham. Richard Vann was added to the Dean’s List for the spring 2010 semester at Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law. Richard Williams and his wife Rebekah proudly announce the birth of their son Richard Quenton “Tripp” on July 6, 2010. They currently live in Birmingham.
Bucky Ryan and Molly Magee were united in marriage on September 11, 2010 at The Farm at Old Edwards Inn in Highlands, North Carolina.
Class Notes 2002
Elizabeth Bloom and Taylor Williams ‘03 were married on October 30, 2010 at First United Methodist Church in Montgomery. Taylor is an Economic Development Representative for PowerSouth Energy and Elizabeth is the Senior Public Support Director for the Central Alabama Red Cross. The couple resides in Montgomery. Laura Tyson and William Crum ‘03 were married on July 10, 2010 at Saint John’s Episcopal Church in Montgomery. They are at home in Birmingham were Laura is a Nurse Clinician in the Cardiovascular Operating Room at UAB hospital and William is a Certified Public Accountant with KPMG LLP. Joe Davis and Allison Leanne Guertin were married on July 31, 2010 at Peachtree Road United Methodist Church in Atlanta, Georgia. Joe graduated from Clemson University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering and is employed by Kimley Horn and Associates. Ali is a Senior Risk Manager for Bank of America Merchant Services. They reside in Atlanta.
Hunter Gilpin and Joseph Harris Oswalt were married on June 19, 2010 at First Baptist Church in Montgomery. They live in Atlanta, Georgia where Hunter teaches fifth grade and Harris works in construction management. Burns Parker and Emilie Reid were married June 12, 2010 in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida. The couple resides in Atlanta, GA where Burns works for ARC Excess & Surplus LLC and Emilie teaches 7th grade language arts at River Trail Middle School. Virginia Thomas and Woods McKibbens were united in marriage on August 14, 2010 at First United Methodist Church in Montgomery. Virginia graduated from The University of Virginia School of Law and is employed as an associate by Bradley Arant Boult Cummings, LLP in Birmingham.
Bradford Liles attended Auburn University where he received his B.S. degree in biomedical sciences in 2006. He graduated from University of Alabama–Birmingham School of Dentistry and received his Doctor of Dental Medicine in 2010. Bradford recently joined the dental practice of Thomas H. Williams in Montgomery. Mallory Dorand Salter and her husband James are excited to announce the birth of their son West on November 16, 2010. The happy family currently lives in Houston, Texas. Philip Sellers was named to the Dean’s List for the spring 2010 semester at Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law. Donald Thornbury and Sarah Rebekah Novotny were united in marriage on May 20, 2010 at Grace Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Gulf Shores. They currently reside in Auburn. Kaitlyn Van Dyke Williams and her husband Courtland are excited to announce the birth of their son Roger on June 7, 2010.
Thomas Debray, Bernie Brannan, Wilson Hunter and Taylor Fendley graduated from the University of Alabama School of Law in May 2010. Thomas Debray, Bernie Brannan and Taylor Fendley received their undergraduate degree from Ole Miss in 2007 while Wilson Hunter received his undergraduate degree from Vanderbilt in 2007. Laura (Dozier) and Wade McClendon are excited to announce the birth of Wade Wilson McClendon, Jr. Baby Mac was born on July 8, 2010 in Montgomery. The McClendon family lives in Montgomery, where Laura works as an accountant at Parker, Gill, Eisen & Stevenson and Wade is a founding member of Pilkerton & McClendon Construction and Remodeling.
Visions - Winter 2011 29
Class Notes Thomas Debray and Leighton Denman were married in June 2010 in Oxford, Mississippi. The couple resides in Birmingham, where Thomas is an attorney with Balch & Bingham. Nathan Pearman graduated from the University of Texas School of Law and currently lives in Dallas, Texas.
Rachel Johnson and Michael Collins married on October 30, 2010 at Young Meadows Presbyterian Church in Montgomery. Rachel is a recent graduate of the University of Alabama MBA program. She is currently working at Regions Bank in Birmingham, Alabama as a Campaign Analyst. Robert Mooty and Katherine Lester were married on July 17, 2010 at First United Methodist Church in Huntsville. Katie Sasser was named to the Dean’s List for the spring 2010 semester at Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law. Drew Woods and his wife Jodi proudly announce the birth of their daughter Grace Katherine on September 28, 2010 in Montgomery.
Sarah Crosby was awarded a bachelor’s degree in political science from The University of the South – Sewanee at its spring 2010 commencement ceremony. After graduating from Clemson in May 2009, Ann Hughston Davis moved to Orlando to work at Walt Disney World in Sponsorship Management. She recently moved to Atlanta and now works for Pardot, a marketing automation company. Laura Morello graduated from Samford University with Honors in 2009 with a Bachelor of Arts in Interior Design. Laura pursued the Leadership in Energy and Environment Design (LEED) accreditation in Fall 2008 and passed the LEED exam in January 2009. Laura is currently employed by Education Corporation of America in Birmingham in the facilities department as an Interior Design Associate. Mark Bethea and Brittany Tucker were married July 17, 2010 at First Baptist Church in Montgomery. They currently live in Auburn.
30 Visions - Winter 2011
Trey Holtsford graduated from the University of Alabama in December 2009, majoring in History and in Political Science, and is now attending the University of Alabama School of Law. Tripp Swann was named to the dean’s list at Samford University for the spring 2010 semester. John Crawford Freeman graduated from BirminghamSouthern College with a Bachelor of Science degree.
Phillip Moody was awarded a bachelor’s degree in political science from The University of the South – Sewanee at its spring 2010 commencement ceremony.
Albert Copeland is currently a junior at Furman University majoring in political science. He and a friend have successfully launched a small business called “Midnight Munchies” which gives late-night hungry students a place on campus to grab a snack. They formed the idea, worked with school administrators, and have even grown the business to employ six salesmen and one branch manager. Liz Laurie completed a summer internship in the Washington office of U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby. Liz is enrolled at the University of Alabama, where she is pursuing a degree in political science. Amelia McCall is currently a senior at Emory University where she was recently named the Sports Imports/American Volleyball Coaches Association Division III National Player of the Year. She is just the sixth Emory player to earn the honor. Amelia was also named the league’s Most Valuable Player and was chosen for the 2010 All-University Athletic Association Team (First Team) with 3.47 kills per set average. She ranks 10th on the conference chart with a 31.1 attack percentage and ranks 20th with 2.82 digs per set effort. Amelia is majoring in Economics.
Joseph Ashley was selected to be a Tiger Host, the official recruiting student group for Auburn University. Joseph is junior majoring in Accounting.
Class Notes 2009
Shernovious Bennett, Air National Guard Airman 1st Class, graduated from basic training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas.
Ben Mangum qualified and played at the 2010 US Amateur Golf Championship in Chambers Bay. Ben also walked on to The University of California Berkeleyâ€™s golf team. Cal is a NCAA Division I school and the golf team finished 8th in the U.S. Collegiate Championship.
Recently Betty Saunders connected with Sally Clark, who was a student at MA way back when. Sally was a brilliant math student and is now teaching math at Huntingdon College. Betty invited Sally to come see her at MA and contacted some former teachers to join the fun. Happy Reunion!
From L to R: Sally Clark, Diane Blondheim, Ken Dyess, Mary Roton, Betty Saunders, and Wade Segrest.
Stay Connected! find The Montgomery Academy Alumni on Facebook!
Visions - Winter 2011 31
The Montgomery Academy 2010-2011 Alumni Council President - Rick McBride ‘89
Kristin Bentley ‘00
Ron Head ‘66
Leigha Cauthen ‘99
Claire Fordham ‘70
Somerville Hill ‘89
Caroline Smith ‘97
Joe Hubbard ‘99
Stephen Dees ‘01
Mahaley McInnes ‘92
Anne Ferrell Rhodes ‘02
Clay McInnis ‘05
Hugh Frazer ‘88
John McWilliams ‘96
William Gordon ‘95
Allen Sheehan ‘00
Evans Bailey ‘01
Mary Beth Walls ‘02
The Montgomery Academy Alumni Association has a brand new look!
You’ll see this throughout our publications, on the website and many other places. Watch your mailbox for your own Alumni Association car decal. What a great way to show your support for the Academy.
32 Visions - Winter 2011
MY VISION OF THE ACADEMY By Laura Morello & Val Forster
Laura Morello, Class of 2005
I remember my time at The Montgomery Academy very fondly. Now that I am older, I realize how blessed I was to receive such a high quality education that thoroughly prepared me for college. I realize how lucky I was to have teachers who were willing to invest in me. And I am thankful that investment included more than merely the transfer of information. The Academy faculty helped me form my character, my work ethic, and my vocation. The first time I remember being extremely grateful for my years at MA came when I was finishing up my first year at Samford University. The time came for housing sign-ups, which would be determined by the number of credits each student had completed at the time of sign-ups. The freshmen – having only completed one semester – were the last to choose room assignments for the upcoming year. I looked at the list to see when the exact time would be for me to choose my room assignment, but my name was not there. Puzzled, I called Student Records and come to find out, because of my Advanced Placement credits from high school I was actually ranked as a sophomore after my first semester of college. I was able to go to sign-ups earlier than the whole freshman class and enjoyed the room I got so much, I stayed there until I graduated. For an only child who spent her first year away from home in a dorm full of girls sharing a community bathroom – this was one of the best gifts I could have been given! Some of you may be thinking: I spent all this time and effort teaching her, and she was first grateful for an opportunity to get a better dorm room?! But I take that as a good sign. I entered my first year at Samford with the same mindset as if I were entering my fifth year of high school at The Montgomery Academy. It was a seamless transition academically. I studied, completed assignments, and worked as hard as I would have if I had still been at MA. While life changed around me, and I struggled to learn how to live on my own, one thing was certain – I knew how to work hard in the academic realm. Many of my classmates were struggling in school for the first time in their lives, but I had already experienced and conquered hurdles in my own academic career before even starting college. I think I am most grateful not for one particular class or even how MA helped me get a superior dorm room. I think I am most grateful for a personal quality that MA helped nurture within me: the importance of work ethic. I have never been the smartest, most popular, or most athletic. Though I have not had a difficult life, things have not been handed to me on a silver platter. And so what MA offered me, I took, and that was a chance to learn how to step above what I had naturally been given. This was something I had to do myself, but without friends, family, and teachers to point me in this direction, I seriously doubt I would be where I am now. I have always favored the visual arts, and MA helped me develop that passion. I took every AP art class that would fit into my schedule and created a personal portfolio that I still use today. While at Samford, my affinity for fine art transformed into a love for Interior Design. I noticed the growing emphasis on environmental design as an intern at an Architecture and Design firm in Birmingham. Many of the leading designers were becoming LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) accredited professionals, which is a distinction given to those who pass an exam offered by the United States Green Building Council. I independently studied for the LEED exam during my senior year, successfully passing it in 2009. I firmly believe that the work ethic I developed during my years at MA laid the foundation for my initiative and ability to accomplish that goal. In addition, I was one of the handful of Interior Design majors to also graduate from the Honors Program. Without my AP credits from high school I would never have been able to
Visions - Winter 2011 33
fit both programs into four years. Now, I am one year into my career, in a field that I truly enjoy. Looking back on how I made it here, it is obvious that my time at The Montgomery Academy played a key role in my progress. I recently participated in a panel discussion for Interior Design majors who are about to graduate from college. They kept asking me, “In this economy, how did you manage to get a job?” I gave them some practical advice, but I also mentioned that if they were passionate about design and willing to work diligently, that would set them apart from their peers. I strongly believe that the teachers at the Academy helped me learn how to do that. Not only was I pushed academically, I was encouraged to explore my individuality, pursue my passions, and develop my character. There were times I wanted to give up, but without that extra push, I may not be where I am now. I cannot even express how thankful I am. It is encouraging for me to return and see how much MA has grown in five years. I am confident that students who are graduating now will be thoroughly equipped for college and eventually their vocation. And they, too, will join the ranks of grateful MA alumni just as I have.
Val Forster, Upper School Spanish Teacher I am in my ninth year of teaching Spanish at The Montgomery Academy. Before the Academy I taught Spanish for 25 years at Jefferson Davis High School and I taught ESL (English as a Second Language) for two years in North Dakota. Recently, Dave Farace asked me to speak to a group of adults and my immediate response was no, I don’t think that I can speak before adults. I then asked him what the topic would have been and he said, “Why I teach at The Montgomery Academy,” and within seconds I changed my mind. I told him how easy and exciting it would be to talk about what makes me glad to be here. I told my husband that I had been given the opportunity to speak and that I was excited to do so because I was going to speak from my heart. He asked to hear what I had to say and after twenty minutes, he informed me that I needed to write from the heart and read from a script because I had too much to say. He suggested that I choose five words that represented my feelings. When I first started to organize my list of words, my list spelled out the word G-R-E-A-T. Coincidence? I don’t know, but I took the idea and started thinking about all the things that make this school an extraordinary place to teach. Using each of the letters in the word great I compiled the following list:
rounds. This school has a beautiful campus with many outdoor areas in which to sit. Green grass, large trees, blooming plants, a gazebo, and first class athletic fields. You might wonder why I would talk about the grounds first? Well, it is what I see first thing in the morning as I drive up, and the last thing I see as I pull away. In the morning as I walk from my car to the building, I have a sense of serenity. The grounds are calm, soothing and inviting. During the course of the school day, I often look out the windows and again I get that calming effect. On exceptionally pretty days my students will ask to go outside for class, and because of the many available seating areas I am able to honor their request. It is a welcome change from the routine. As I leave in the afternoon, I no longer see calmness, I see students going across the bridge to football and track, or headed to the gym for volleyball or basketball, cheerleaders going through their routines in the grassy areas, dancers learning the latest dance and cross country runners running all over the place. The grounds are full of active and energized students. It is an amazing sight to see.
esources. I am amazed at what the Academy provides me as a classroom teacher. I have a wonderful classroom with a separate office. I have two white boards and a SMARTBoard. I have a laptop, a printer, dry erase markers, file folders, copy paper, the use of an incredible copier that is maintained and serviced all year long, a foreign language computer lab that allows my students to record speaking activities, create visual presentations, do research projects and to make use of the textbook web site. It also allows the Advanced Placement Foreign Language students to submit their AP exams on CDs. The department also has a budget with which to buy any additional supplies or needs that the school has not envisioned. All of these resources allow me to plan for a variety of instructional activities and to present them in a variety of ways.
34 Visions - Winter 2011
xcellence. The motto of the school is “the pursuit of excellence.” This motto provides me with motivation and encouragement to push my students to perform at their best. I am working with teachers and parents that share in this belief and the students have the results at the national level to prove that we are doing the right kinds of teaching. Excellence is not only pursued in the classroom, but in athletics, the fine arts, and in extracurricular activities. The accolades that the Academy and its students have received are too numerous to mention here, but they are quite impressive. The Montgomery Academy puts a premium on learning and giving back to the community. I have never worked at a school where community service is so valued and encouraged. The Academy has two school wide community days and the clubs’ participation in other community events throughout the year is very evident.
cademics. The importance of academics is apparent when you look at the student course offerings. The school is able to offer AP classes as well as honors level courses in English, Science, History, Mathematics, Foreign Language and the fine arts. Class sizes are kept small and teachers are encouraged and financially supported to attend seminars, conventions, work shops and even earn higher degrees in our teaching field. Ana Baker and I were able to attend a National Spanish Teachers Convention in San Diego several years ago and the impact of what we learned is still guiding our curriculum. eam spirit. I am part of a team that is composed of administrators, parents, teachers and students. We are all working for the academic success and personal growth of the students. The faculty and staff share in student accomplishments both in and outside of the classroom. They attend Eagle Scout ceremonies, sporting events, plays, choral presentations, forensic tournaments and they eagerly seek out their students to offer congratulations and observations. But often before they can say anything, the teachers are the ones to receive a “thank you” for coming. For the first time in my 36 years of teaching, my support of student activities is acknowledged and appreciated by administration, parents and the students themselves. All make a point of saying “thank you” and letting me know that my presence is appreciated and makes a difference in their lives.
Who wouldn’t want to work here? Before I started working at the Academy I was told by friends and other teachers that The Montgomery Academy is a wonderful educational environment. You’re valued, respected and encouraged. You will think you have died and gone to heaven.
Well they were right and they were wrong. It is wonderful, I am valued, respected and encouraged but I don’t feel like I have died.... I feel like I have been reborn. I am energized, excited and blessed to be here.
Visions - Winter 2011 35
THEN & NOW
It’s hard to believe, but I am now in the middle of my twentieth year of being associated with the Academy. I first arrived at MA as a new 8th grade student in the fall of 1991. After five years as a student, I graduated from the school in 1996 and then returned as a faculty member in the fall of 2000. As I reflect on the past twenty years, The Montgomery Academy has been a constant presence in my life. But, despite the fact that this single institution has played such a consistent role in my life over the past two decades, the school itself has experienced profound changes over that time. As we prepare to embark on the strategic planning process in the spring of 2011, I thought that it would be helpful to compare the MA experience in 1991 to what our current students are experiencing. A poster in my classroom at MA expresses this concept clearly: “You cannot know where you are going, until you know where you have been.”
MA Then: (1991) Enrollment: 730 Tuition: $4,788
When I first arrived at MA in the fall of 1991, MA was a smaller community that lacked many of the amenities that we have accustomed to. The school’s physical plant lacked the following buildings that have now become an integral part of the Academy student experience: - The Garzon Library (photo) - The practice gymnasium in the Bear Field House - The Archibald-Blount Upper School (photo) - The Sahlie Upper School Commons (photo) - The James W. Wilson, Jr. Theater (photo) - The baseball and softball complex across Vaughn Road - The track and field facility - The Lower School playground (photo)
Furthermore, consider the following: - In 1991, there was no email or internet access at MA (or at any other school, for that matter). - In 1991, there were no DVD players in classroom or SMARTBoards. - In 1991, no one on the MA campus owned a cell phone. - In 1991, there were no uniforms for students. - Finally, please note that in 1991, there were no alumni of The Montgomery Academy over the age of 50.
36 Visions - Winter 2011
MA Now: (2010) Enrollment: 811 Tuition: $11,484*
A note about tuition: The tuition increased nearly $6,700 in 20 years, but when adjusted for inflation (2.46% per year), the tuition increase was actually only $3,800 in terms of actual value. That’s pretty remarkable when you consider all the enhancements to the physical plant and school programming that have occurred during that time. Thanks in large part to strategic planning efforts and to the generous support of the board, parents, grandparents, alumni, students, faculty and staff, tremendous improvements have been made throughout the school. Furthermore, technological developments have drastically altered the daily experiences of students and faculty. Consider the following:
- We now have a beautifully landscaped campus. - We now have a library that rivals any school library in the nation. - We now have a practice gym and a full weight room so that our student athletes can be fit and ready for competition. - We now have an Upper School building and an Upper School student commons. - We now have the James W. Wilson, Jr. Theater, the only dedicated theater space at an independent school in the area. - We now have a state-of-the-art track that has enhanced our successful track & field program. - We have a full service technology department. - We have an elaborate and useful website that is used by students, faculty, parents, alumni and prospective families. - We have witnessed an increase in diversity in the student body and in the faculty. - We have experienced an increase in state and national honors. Prior to 1991, MA athletic teams had won four state athletic titles. Between 1991 and 2010, we have won thirty-five state titles. Our forensics program has captured 13 state titles in the past 16 years, and had a student win a national championship in 2006. Our choral and visual art programs have both received increased national recognition since 1991. - We now have a national network of maturing alumni. We now have an active Alumni Council that is coordinating activities for MA alumni across the city, state, region and throughout the country.
MA Then & Now: Although there have obviously been significant changes over the years, I do not mean to suggest that the MA of 1991 was somehow an inferior academic experience. In fact, I think that there are many aspects of the school’s life that have remained remarkably consistent over the years. Consider the following:
- In 1991, MA was the premiere K-12 educational institution in the region. It remains in that position today. - In 1991, MA had an academic curriculum that was challenging and that created an intellectually stimulating environment. The curriculum remains challenging and stimulating today. - In 1991, MA had a “family” atmosphere, and, despite the growth in our enrollment, we have maintained a “family” feel in the school. - In 1991, students at MA had amazing travel and enrichment opportunities, and those opportunities remain for students today. I had an opportunity to travel to France while I was a student at MA, and I have also had an opportunity to
Visions - Winter 2011 37
chaperone a trip to France as a faculty member. - As a student in 1991, I had opportunities to excel in arts and athletics, and our students still have those opportunities today. - MA students were attending the finest colleges and universities in the world in 1991, and they still have those opportunities today. - MA had an accomplished faculty who connected well with students in 1991, and we still have a strong faculty today who cares deeply about the student body. - Finally, the “pursuit of excellence” guided the school then and that motto continues to guide our actions today.
MA in the Future: Both the differences between 1991 and today as well as the shared qualities of these two time periods remind us that we must take any planning process for the future very seriously. The decisions that we make now will have a profound impact on the lives of students and faculty over the next twenty years and beyond. As we begin the strategic planning process, here are several questions that, in my opinion, the Academy community should seek to answer in the months ahead:
- We have built magnificent facilities, but are they being maintained and used to their full potential? - We have provided a tremendous school experience for our students, but are they motivated to be independent thinkers? Have MA students become too complacent? Are we preparing students to meet the challenges of the 21st century? - We have outstanding faculty members, but will we be able to recruit the next generation of MA educators and administrators?
We are a strong school and we should be proud of our past, but we can’t afford to overestimate our strengths or rest on our past achievements. I feel confident that through the visionary leadership of Dave Farace and through the engagement of our entire Academy community, we will rise to the challenges presented by the strategic planning process. We will be able to develop a strategic plan that will make the next twenty years as fruitful as the past years have been while, at the same time, staying deeply connected to the values of academic excellence that have guided the Academy throughout its existence.
“The Pursuit of Excellence” continues... 38 Visions - Winter 2011
YOU KNOW YOU GO TO MA WHEN... Upper School students on The Flyer (MA’s student newspaper) staff recently compiled a list about their favorite things about being a student at the Academy. Here are a few of the things they said.
You know you go to MA when… * You complain about walking over a million-dollar bridge every morning and afternoon
Your school even has a bridge in the first place
You mentally corrected the title of this article to read “You know you go to The Montgomery Academy when…”
Football players sing in the chorus
Your varsity boys’ basketball team hits a buzzer-beater to beat rival St James, causing the student section to storm the court
You find yourself chanting “SAT SCORES!” at an opponent’s student section for retaliation
What are your favorite memories and traditions from your time as a student at the Academy? Send your responses to marie_harrington@ montgomeryacademy.org Visions - Winter 2011 39
Th e M o n t g o m e r y A c a d e m y
Raising e x p e c t a t i o n s
in college preparation and placement. Contact Susannah Cleveland, Director of Admissions firstname.lastname@example.org â€˘ 334.272.8210 â€˘ m o n tg o m e ryac a d e m y. o rg We offer ESL (English as a second language).
The Montgomery Academy admits students of any race, religion, national or ethnic origin to all the rights, privilege, programs and activities generally accorded or made available to students of the school.