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THE PEGASUS SCHOOL

ISSUE 10 / FALL 2015

The

Study of

Us


MISSION STATEMENT The Pegasus School is dedicated to academic excellence and to the development of lifelong learners who are confident, caring, and courageous. COMMUNITY VALUES • Responsibility • Kindness • Teamwork • Generosity • Creativity • Curiosity • Courage • Integrity • Perseverance

Pegasus students love to learn, to be challenged, and to work hard; they are bright and motivated; they are joyful; they grow in both intellect and empathy. Pegasus teachers love to teach; they are flexible, creative, collaborative, and innovative; they foster each student’s individual gifts and passions; they educate the mind and the heart. Pegasus parents value education; they work closely with the school in a partnership based on thoughtful communication and mutual respect.

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PORTRAIT OF A GRADUATE • Academically Confident • Well Balanced • Critical Thinker • Exceptional Communicator • Collaborative Leader • Responsible Citizen • Environmentally Conscious • Technologically Adept • Economically Astute • Versed in the Arts • Globally Aware


Fall 2015 www.thepegasusschool.org EditorIAL BOARD Nancy Conklin, Director of Admission Rick Davitt, Photographer Sue Harrison, Director of Advancement Karla Joyce, Writer Jason Lopez, Head of School Shalini Mattina, Assoc. Director of Advancement, Communications & Web Master Marrie Stone, Writer Nancy Wilder, Middle School English Teacher Writers Karla Joyce Benjamin Jenkins Marrie Stone Jason Lopez Contributing Writers Clair Blundell Diem-Trang Dang Sharon Goldhamer Shalini Mattina Jasmine Mirhashemi Julia Ostmann Tricia Starkenburg

Table of Contents FEATURES

20

Prove It

24

The “I”s Have It

5

Head’s Message

Printing

6

At the Heart of

Orange County Printing

8

Program: A Child Shall Lead Them

10

Student Spotlight: A Little Slice of Pi

12

Program: Onboarding the Pegasus Way

14

Faculty Focus: The Pied Piper of Pegasus

16

Insight: The Art of Enchantment

28

Insight: How We Connect

30

Those Who Soar: The Goul Triplets, Colt Peterson

32

Alumni Connections

36

Mark Your Calendar

CREATIVE Direction AND DESIGN Shalini Mattina Photographer Rick Davitt

Pegasus Magazine is published twice yearly by the Office of Advancement at The Pegasus School. It is archived at thepegasusschool.org/about/publications We welcome your feedback! Please address queries and comments to Shalini Mattina smattina@thepegasusschool.org

PEGASUS NOW

PEGASUS MAGAZINE FALL 2015

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HEAD’S MESSAGE

What

Binds Us

Together

“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” Dr. Seuss

I

love Mondays. I bet you don’t hear that very often, and I must admit that it is new to my vocabulary since arriving at Pegasus. On Monday mornings, I get the wonderful opportunity to greet students and faculty at the gate. Many of you have seen me, probably somewhere between a smile and a laugh, because of what I get to see for that brief 45-minute period. Employees are bouncing in, children are literally running into school. Over my career, I have stood at the doorway to many a school and while I have often seen students speed out of school, I believe this is the first school where I am reminding students to, “slow down,” on their way in! However, it’s not just the enthusiasm that brings my smile, but rather, it is the great diversity of students and employees that I see that make me smile. It is their uniqueness and moreover, their appreciation for one another, that makes me giggle at times. For as different as we are, I hear the comments and the greetings and it is clear — we all need every one else to make us a better team. In her feature article, “Prove It,” Karla Joyce describes the need for people to work together cooperatively. I believe that the Pegasus community members have the quality of teamwork upon entry, or we grow this skill over the years. Appreciation for and collaboration with one another is simply ubiquitous inside the gates of Pegasus. In the article, “A Child Shall Lead Them,” Diem-Trang Dang discusses a few of the lessons our students have bestowed upon our faculty over the years, and we see that collaboration happens in many ways. The question may come to mind, if we are a community of unique individuals, “what is more important in the end — the strength of the community or the individual?” In her feature article, “The ‘I’s Have It,” Marrie Stone addresses this question in sharing feedback from teachers on the challenges and successes of each student, individually and when collaborating with their classmates. I also observe the various ways in which our teachers contribute and blend their work within their teams, their divisions and throughout the entire school. There is nothing more satisfying to me than seeing the teacher who may be the shining star of one aspect of our school, act in a supporting role for another program, led by another teacher. Teachers and volunteers model our school’s community values to students and families daily and students gain their skills over their time at Pegasus. Ultimately, it is the community that helps the individuals understand this balance. In her article, “Onboarding the Pegasus Way,” Tricia Starkenberg shares details on how we become a part of the whole at Pegasus, for both teachers and students alike. How ironic it is that our uniqueness is the secret sauce that gives Pegasus its incredible flavor, but our appreciation for the community is what binds us together. This combination is no accident. In fact, it is very intentional. It is comforting to know that we keep, or sometimes revive, practices that are a tradition of the Pegasus Community, like the faculty’s common endeavor of a shared summer read. Clair Blundell, middle school English teacher, describes her experience with the 2015 summer read in her article, “The Art of Enchantment.” Her experience differed from the majority. Again, the juxtaposition of the individual and the community is evident — an intersection which perfectly demonstrates the special nature of The Pegasus School. I believe your read of the Pegasus Magazine will have you appreciating our Pegasus Community in greater detail — and in your own unique way.

Jason Lopez Head of School PEGASUS MAGAZINE fALL 2015

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At the Heart of Pegasus

by Marrie Stone

The Everyday Stories of Exceptional People The Power of Presence How Dan Rosenberg Wins a Child’s Heart

D

an Rosenberg, middle school director, does one thing that makes a big difference: he shows up. From debate tournaments to athletic events, theater productions to middle school dances — Rosenberg is there, cheering for his students. “He’s always doing the right thing and supports our school. He really cares about us,” says Chase Groux, eighth grader and ASB president. Caring is what Rosenberg does best. He has been an integral part of Pegasus’s ongoing campaign of kindness and formalized the Pegasus BE KIND committee. He knows how it feels to be new, and how far kindness can go. He grew up an only child in Akron, Ohio, excelled in academics in school, and moved to Pennsylvania for college and graduate school. In 2011, he relocated to take on the role of lower school director at Pegasus. “I believe

in this school,” he says. “The strong feeling of community gave me the comfort to take a chance on the move.” Claire Contreras, middle school administrative assistant, says, “Dan asks every day, ‘Is there anything you need from me? What can I do for you?’ He makes you feel acknowledged and appreciated.” More than that, he defaults to ‘yes.’ “He never lets his ego get in the way of a decision,” says Cheryl Wilson, lower school music teacher. “He never shuts down an idea. He’s willing to give every suggestion a try.” Rosenberg has served several roles on campus — middle school director, lower school director, math teacher, advisor. He’s in the audience, in the stands, on the playground, in the classrooms. “Dan knows all the students’ names, but more than that, he knows their strengths, interests, and areas for

improvement,” says BJ Crabtree, lower school technology teacher and the Pegasus boys’ flag football coach. “My goal is to support the students,” says Rosenberg. “That means listening to what they need and adjusting course to achieve it.” Rosenberg’s humbleness, kindness and caring make him uniquely qualified to deliver on that goal.

Dream Team DSL Boys’ Basketball: A Year Without Defeat

S

hannon Vermeeren, the Pegasus Developmental Sports League (DSL) boys’ basketball team coach, had an interesting challenge last year. Her boys had wildly different skills and abilities and had only two practices before their first game. Some had years of organized experience, even playing on the same teams. Others had

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raw athletic talent, but only playground practice. None of them identified as clear leaders, but all of them had to come together fast for that first game. Fortunately, they found success. “The boys learned what needed to happen in terms of team work. By our third practice a few boys stepped up, and that made all the difference,” says Vermeeren. What surprised Vermeeren was that no single player emerged as the star. “One game it was Jason and his great three point range, but the next it would be Locke and Caden’s tenacious defense. Then it would be Troy’s ability to take the ball to the basket, while

the next game we’d get the fast break hustle from Jack and AJ. There wasn’t a single recipe that we relied on for success,” she says. When the opponents were formidable, the team strengthened its core and never backed down. “Our toughest game was won in the final minute. Our defense made tremendous plays against a feisty team.” When the opposition was weaker, the boys demonstrated compassion, kindness and good sportsmanship. “The Thunder boys were willing to pull back and give other teams moments to find success. They understood that winning with compassion and allowing others to lose with dignity was important.” Both on and off the court, the boys found their success together, becoming one of Pegasus’s all-time team of dreams.


A Rich Life In Spare Words Patty Seyburn, Poet and Parent

P

atty Seyburn refers to herself as a practical poet. “In certain spheres, I can be very linear,” she laughs. Poets say wonderful things like that. Seyburn enjoyed an unconventional education that perhaps led to an unconventional life. She grew up in Detroit and attended a small bohemian school started by two educators who had fled from the Nazis. Her parents held her to a high standard and imposed significant pressure, knowing Seyburn would rise to the challenge. “They utterly believed in my ability to achieve and accomplish, and expected me to do so.” Her mother once found a stack of Seyburn’s poetry, submitting it without her knowledge to a paper where it was published. So started her career.

Seyburn received a BA and MA in Journalism at Northwestern University, an MFA at University of California, Irvine, and her Ph.D. in Poetry and Literature from the University of Houston. She teaches full time at California State, Long Beach and has published four books, with three more waiting in the near wings. For Seyburn, poetry and parenthood create interesting intersections. While her children are never the subjects of her poems, they certainly inform them, just as poetry informs her mothering. “I’m lucky to have something I’m invested in besides parenting. There are diminishing returns when you have too much time to focus on your kids.” But poetry enriches the experience of mothering. “It makes me more sensitive to fringe

experiences and the complexities of a child’s life. My job, as poet and mother, is to look beneath the surface.” Poetry, like parenting, is also about exclusion. “What you leave out is often more important than what you include,” she says. “The work happens in the white space.”

Checkmates Joseph Samluk and Reagan Pearl

J

oseph Samluk (Grade 4) and Reagan Pearl (Grade 3) may know more about game-play and strategy than most adults. Both boys started playing chess at the age of five, and you won’t believe how far they’ve come. While Samluk and Pearl play regularly at Chess Palace in Garden Grove, they’ve also taken their game on the road. Samluk has traveled to Dallas, Nashville, and Saratoga.

In second grade, he tied for first place in his division, competing with over 2,000 children in scholastic chess. This past October, Pearl journeyed to Greece as part of the U.S. Team at the 2015 World Youth Chess Championship. He battled against 140 qualified players from 66 countries for the gold medal and the World Youth title. The game demands a level of seriousness and concentration unusual for boys their age. Samluk says he can tell immediately how strong his opponent is by his body language. “If he fiddles around, he’s not focused. You’ve got to be serious and poker faced. Don’t let your opponent read you.”

Even away from the board, chess has taught both boys some great life lessons. “It’s easy to get unfocused,” says Samluk. “Some people resign. They knock over their king and leave. But I don’t. I play it through, no matter what. If you’re down a few pieces, you can still win. I just tell myself to keep going.” Pearl agrees. “Chess is like life. If you wait before making a decision and really think about it, sometimes you’ll make a smarter one.” Aside from improving their game, these two chess aficionados have learned some valuable lessons on and off the chessboard, including mental and spatial visualization, and patience. Next up, seizing the title of Grandmaster.

Marrie Stone is a local writer, interviewer, and the Co-Host of “Writers On Writing” at KUCI, 88.9 and the mother of Haley Rovner (’15). Contact: marriestone@gmail.com

PEGASUS MAGAZINE FALL 2015

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PROGRAM

A Child Shall Lead Them: What Pegasus Students Have Taught Their Teachers by Diem-Trang Dang

D

uring the twentieth century, Edward Lorenz, American mathematician, meteorologist, and M.I.T. professor, ran a series of computer equations to theoretically predict the weather. After making miniscule adjustments to a single variable, he observed unpredictable results and soon discovered small changes have powerful, widespread consequences. The Butterfly Effect was born. The theory may have its roots in math, but for Pegasus teachers, their students embody the belief that everything and everyone matters, and each small act by even small people can have lasting and extensive effects. This fall, I spoke with nine Pegasus teachers, from pre-K through second grade (some new to Pegasus and some who have been at the school nearly since its inception) about how their students have changed them, what they’ve learned, and how they live their lives differently because of their students. Their insights were incredible.

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on

W onder

I’m constantly living and seeing things through the eyes of a child. I never forget what it was like as a kid because I’m always in my own memory. I’m living through it again with my students. I really appreciate that. ~ Sarah Hurwitz, Kindergarten A student will say, “I wonder about . . . “ And I want to go after-hours to find an answer for them. As teachers, finding the answers is something we do all the time because we want to help our students, and we want to learn more, too. ~ Stephanie Rinker, Grade 1

on

C uriosity

What I expect to see at an older age, I see younger now—an intrinsic love of learning. They already realize they want to be involved in learning, and it’s not something that just happens to them. They reach out and take advantage of all that’s offered. ~ Sharon Goldhamer, Grade 2 They notice the little things that adults don’t even notice. ~ Christine Reabe, Pre-K

on

I ngenuity

I had a student who used sticky rice to glue down all his words for homework because he didn’t have a glue stick at home. Students are wonderful problem solvers! ~ Allyson Grimes, Grade 2

on

B eing a Better Daughter

I’m a much better child. The compassion, patience, kindness it takes to teach — it all relates to my parents. It’s a reminder that there is a cycle of life going on. ~ Sandy Deering, Pre-K I’m a better daughter to my parents as a result of being a teacher to these youngsters. ~ Hurwitz

I’m someone who likes to do a lot at once and quickly. But teaching first grade helps me go at their pace. It allows us to have those “a-ha” moments that would otherwise be missed. ~ Rinker Take the time to enjoy the moment in what we’re doing. There isn’t a feeling of having to keep pushing through, and that’s a relief. ~ Ward You learn to come up with alternate activities and find new ways to do things. You learn to be flexible and open to different ways and rates of doing things. ~ Howard I’ve learned to take time to be with an idea or a thought. I call it “Thinking time” or “wait time,” and it’s something I teach the students to do. ~ Goldhamer

on

B onding

I had a student in class who wrote something in his journal for me to read that was private. We got to talk about it later. They will learn to trust you and share secrets with you. ~ Goldhamer I feel so honored every time someone asks me to go to a sporting event or after-school activity. The students say ‘hello’ and wave from across campus. They give hugs. I feel like a rock star. ~ Howard There is a bond you will form with your students. It’s a strong bond, and you can’t break it, nor would you want to. It’s very humbling and exciting to be a teacher. ~ Deering Throughout her career, Hurwitz continues to believe in the power of one person to effect great change. So much so, she names her class the “Brilliant Butterflies.” Teachers delight in unpredictable, yet transformative, students. They are the ones who help teachers enhance the lives of innumerable future students. Everything and everyone matters. Isn’t this proof of the Butterfly Effect?

on

M othering

Teaching keeps you young at heart because you are working with these children who remind you how to look at things through the eyes of a child. You’re doing it with them all day. It’s a lovely way to see the world. ~ Cheryl Howard, Grade 1 What’s impacted me most is my parenting. I’m a much better parent because of what the students have taught me. ~ Nancy Larimer, Kindergarten

on

P atience

They teach me about patience and to stand back and let them do it because they will figure it out. Allow them to spread their wings and to fly their own direction. They don’t always go the direction you want them to go, but as long as it’s a safe direction, let them explore and be there to pick them up if they fall. ~ Deering

Diem-Trang Dang is a member of the Pegasus Education Committee, and the mother of Baominh Dang Le (‘21) and Minhkha Dang Le (‘24). Contact: diempdang@gmail.com.

PEGASUS MAGAZINE FALL 2015

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STUDENT SPOTLIGHT

Chirag Singh ’16 A Little Slice of Pi by Jasmine Mirhashemi

F

or eighth grader Chirag Singh, “pi” was never about the favorite American dessert. His love was for the Greek letter “pi” that stands for “numbers representing a mathematical constant, defined as the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter,” starting with the numbers 3.14, to be exact.

Pi is often referred to as an “irrational” number, but to Singh it was quite coherent, and his initial interest in these

numbers brought him to present at the TED Talks at the impressive age of nine. These simple, but seemingly neverending numbers cultivated an interest in public speaking and has since resulted in a proficiency of this invaluable skill. With the confidence of a tech company CEO, Singh stood before hundreds of fellow students, teachers, and pillars of the community and discussed with great eloquence the beginnings of pi, its uses and practicality in the real world.

For Singh, this passion found its beginnings while watching his older sister complete her math homework. He has

since realized it’s more important to use math and numbers for, as he says, “real world applications instead of rote memorization,” as he had done early on.

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This forward-thinking mentality has led him to great

success, both by participating in the top ranking Pegasus Math team (where his team placed first overall at the Sage Hill Mathematics Invitational) and competing in the nationally ranked Pegasus Debate team (where his team went 4-1 at the Middle School Public Debate Program Western Region National Championship).

Success in debate events is not easily earned. Team members

are only given a month to prepare both sides of several topics, and then told just moments before which side they will be arguing. However, the intense pressure of this environment doesn’t cause Singh any stress. He loves competition. Not necessarily with the intent of winning, because this young man thinks about the morality of needing to win, especially for those who need to win at all costs. Singh arrived at Pegasus only last year but has already

enjoyed many inspirational moments, noting that one of his favorite memories thus far has been interpreting the depth of the life lessons taught to him by Mrs. Remy Carl. Through Carl’s

By working together, far more can be accomplished than by working alone.

wisdom, Singh has learned that it’s not only important to be a good student, but to be the best possible human being, and with that comes the responsibility of recognizing everyone’s unique strengths and weaknesses, and supporting those who strive to be the best they can be.

Singh firmly believes everyone has an obligation to work

hard and contribute to society as a team. As he says, “By working together, far more can be accomplished than by working alone.” On the outside, he looks like any other typical eighth grader,

evident when he mentions his favorite color is black, because it doesn’t “show dirt.” But Singh’s outlook on life resembles someone who has lived a thousand years. When asked who he considers a hero, instead of naming an individual person, he offers this: “any one individual who is able to be the ‘best they can be’ is a hero.”

Although Singh envisions his future as studying computer

science or physics, it is evident that his accomplishments won’t be singular. Singh will be admired and spoken about throughout history. His perception of the world will drive him to greatness. When asked about his favorite place, he doesn’t provide the typical response, but rather says he loves to be surrounded by

One of his favorite words is “Zeigarnikfrustration,” a

German word meaning “the gnawing sense of incompleteness knowing there is a partially eaten snack lying around somewhere.” It seems as if there is a puzzle he is hoping to solve, and he’s not seeing the completed picture.

Singh wants it all, and he is beyond capable of attaining it.

For the eighth grade Pegasus student, one slice of chicken potpie (his favorite food) is clearly not enough. In order for him to enjoy all of life’s pleasures and the full experience of his meal, he’s the person that will grab a spoon and dig in. And Singh is happy to share his pi with the rest of us. Jasmine Mirhashemi is an entertainment television attorney, co-author of best-selling young adult fiction series, Fae, and co-founder of natural cosmetic company Generation Klean. She is also the parent of Pegasus third grader Ella Mirhashemi. Contact: Jasmine_Abedi@yahoo.com

360 degree views of the world. Singh wants to take it all in. PEGASUS MAGAZINE FALL 2015

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PROGRAM

ONBOARDING The Pegasus Way by Tricia Starkenburg

I

have sat through my share of new employee onboarding

vary, Pegasus’s overarching onboarding goal has remained the

sessions. The mountain of paperwork and blur of

same: to make every new person feel like a valued member of the

PowerPoint slides, describing everything from the

Pegasus community.

company’s organizational structure to its hundred-year

This “community inclusiveness” onboarding objective is

history, left little impact on me other than a monster headache

vastly different from the “get what you need to succeed at your

at the end of the day. I wondered how Pegasus would approach

job” goal I experienced in corporate America. As Jennifer Green,

onboarding. Would it employ a formal sit-in-a-conference-room-

lower school director and person responsible for onboarding

and-listen-to-presentations method or a zany run-around-on-a-

Pegasus’ new hires, says, “Pegasus is not a teacher training school.

scavenger-hunt approach?

We only hire experienced teachers. We know each teacher will

Pegasus, I was happy to learn, uses neither method.

succeed on Day One. What we need to do is make sure they will

Instead, Pegasus onboards the Pegasus way—it assesses

be happy here, that they’ll thrive.” With nearly twenty new hires starting this past fall,

the needs of its current new hires, students and families, then

designs formal programs, and cultivates informal interactions, to

Pegasus, under Green’s leadership, decided to add more structure

address those needs. While individual necessities and programs

to its onboarding process. First, Green tasked Eva Polizzi,

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middle school English teacher, and Vicki Schmitz, art teacher, to

have dropped by my classroom to ask me if I needed anything,”

rejigger and run the mentor program, which matches every new

Chaapel added.

teacher, teacher assistant, and administrator with a mentor.

Polizzi and Schmitz’s first enhancement to the mentor

It is not surprising that Pegasus onboards new students and

families just as mindfully as it does new hires. Nancy Conklin,

program was to pair mentors more mindfully with mentees.

director of admission, along with Sarah Hebert, associate

“We matched mentees with mentors who had compatible

director of admission, plan and execute numerous onboarding

personalities and interests, but were not in the same grade level,”

programs such as Admitted Applicant Day and New Parent

says Polizzi.

Orientation day to help new students and families feel welcomed

“It’s important that every new hire be given a neutral person

and part of the community. The heart of the onboarding process,

to go to for questions and who

however, is the Pegasus Host

can help them navigate the

Family program, which matches

nuances of being at Pegasus,”

every new student and family

adds Schmitz. “No one wants to

with a current Pegasus student

be the person who shows up in

and family. “We work very hard

jeans on Grandparents’ Day.”

to match not just the students,

Polizzi and Schmitz’s

but the families,” says Conklin.

second enhancement was

“Many lifelong friends have been

to hold regularly scheduled

made through the program.”

“mentor only” meetings to

foster the sharing of ideas on

programs are vital to the new

how best to support mentees.

student onboarding process,

After the first mentor meeting,

it is once again the informal

While the admission team’s

Schmitz says, “each of us walked away with an action plan

moments that often make the biggest difference. “Nancy put

of some kind, whether a new topic to discuss, a plan to visit

me in touch with other families who had lived in the U.K.,”

classrooms, or a casual lunch date.”

recalls Kate Boundy. “It was tremendously helpful. I had so many

questions, everything from where to live, to the best routes to

Besides adding more structure to the mentor program,

Green has arranged five additional new-hire after-school

take to school. We even spent Thanksgiving in Sequoia National

sessions over the coming months. The first one, The History of

Park with one of the families that Nancy connected us with.”

Pegasus, was held in September with great success. “Hearing

teachers speak about Laura Hathaway was incredibly powerful.

unscripted moments that made Pegasus feel like home. “Middle

It reminded me why we are all here,” says Jessica Chaapel, a new

school students recognized my daughter from summer camp and

Pegasus fourth grade teacher.

came over to say hello,” she says. “And when my son was leaving

after his student shadow day, two students he had just met

Although the mentor program and new hire sessions are

Jean Wanlass, new Pegasus parent, also recalled the

crucial to the onboarding process, it is the casual interactions

called out, ‘Hi Kenney!’ from the bus.”

that often make the most impact. “My two fellow fourth grade

teachers went on apartment walkthroughs for me and ultimately

onboard newcomers. And it’s no wonder. As Green says, “The

found me an apartment,” Chaapel adds, regarding her move from

responsibility is on all of us. These are our new hires, our new

the East Coast to California, “And so many people, from Jason

faculty, our new students.” It’s our community.

Lopez and Jen Green, to teachers not even in my grade level,

It is clear that the entire Pegasus community works hard to

Tricia Starkenburg is a Pegasus parent and contributing writer for the Pegasus Magazine. Contact: tricia@starkenburg.com

PEGASUS MAGAZINE FALL 2015

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FACULTY FOCUS

The Pied Piper of Pegasus:

Cheryl Wilson’s Gift of Flow

by Sharon Goldhamer

“Music…gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination…” ~ Plato.

V

enture near the music room and you will find yourself drawn in by Cheryl Wilson. Wilson embodies the motto, “Building wings so bright minds can soar,” by engaging her students in active learning from kindergarten through eighth grade. Instruments, movement, and voices join together. It is a perfect example of what Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi,

psychologist, describes as “being in the flow.” All artists deserve this experience. Research confirms that once actualized, learners will seek to replicate it throughout their lives. Wilson is proof.

Wilson grew up in Torrance and attended the Methodist church, where her love of music was born. She sang in the

children’s choir, performed in musicals, and was surrounded by talented musicians who came to church services. “Somewhere along the way we got an old piano from the church, which my father refinished, and I started piano lessons,” Wilson says. The

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foundation for the young novice while appropriately providing challenges for those who are ready, eager, or accomplished learners. Cheryl Wilson is also trained and fluent in the Orff Schulwerk Approach, which combines music, drama, and speech into child-centered lessons. “I discovered Carl-Orff long after college and began to take classes and workshops,” Wilson says. “I love the philosophy. It has broadened my experience and brings together all the things I love and feel are important.”

Wilson showcases her students’ talents through several

concerts each year. Her father still attends every Pegasus show. In the summer, Wilson is the assistant director of the six-week Camp Pegasus. Step into “Morning Wake-Ups” and watch the oboe soon followed. “In fourth grade, an orchestra visited my school. I heard the bassoon in Peter and the Wolf and decided I wanted to play. The school didn’t have one, but they did have an old oboe. I began lessons and played for many years, eventually getting my own nicer model.”

Wilson believes in discipline-based education, but is holistic

in her approach. She incorporates creativity, improvisation, vocabulary, theory, history, and critique, along with aesthetic questioning. She also provides a cultural context, studying music from around the world. Every year, all second grade students learn about their heritage. In Wilson’s class, they are introduced to, and practice dances from, different cultures. Each class performs during their Heritage Day celebration in the theater.

“The first thing I noticed about Pegasus students,” Wilson

says, “is they are comfortable taking risks. Singing is very personal, and in public schools I spent a lot of time creating a relaxed environment and building trust. Pegasus children have lots of opportunities to perform, both in and out of the classroom, so they’re at ease in front of an audience at an early age. They also advocate for themselves and ask good questions.”

Wilson’s teaching aligns with the National Standards

for Music Education but is deeper and more complex. Her curriculum challenges students’ higher level thinking skills, and provides them with opportunities for goal setting, teamwork and creative problem solving. Her own training was rigorous. “I went to California State Fullerton where I sang with the Jane Hardester Singers. Jane encouraged me to do some student conducting. She was an amazing and very demanding woman,” Wilson says.

Wilson cultivates that multi-dimensionality in her students.

She has an amazing rapport with all ages, building a strong

enthusiasm Wilson infuses to the start of every day. Dustan Bridges, camp director, says, “Cheryl has a genuine passion and wants the kids to have as much fun as she is having.” Amy Ranney, Pegasus parent, shares, “Cheryl is one of those people who always makes you smile.”

That passion has been there from the start. “We would put

on shows for my parents when I was little,” Wilson says. “We never had the TV on during the day, so I was always moving. My dad would say, ‘Sit down! Don’t be so harum scarum!’” Still, her parents enjoyed blasting music on the hi-fi— classical, jazz, country and mountain music. “Mom’s Kentucky roots,” she laughs.

Wilson is a true collaborator. Her colleagues rave about her

talent, creativity, and positive spirit. “Cheryl works incredibly hard. I’m blessed with the best teammate I’ve ever had,” says Janice Coyle, performing arts teacher. Her students adore her and look forward to going to music class. “It’s exciting! I learn how to play different musical instruments; my favorites are drums!” exclaims Kayden Matthews, second grader. Hana Mariappa, sixth grader, describes Wilson “. . . like a bird, always fresh and bright.” Leah Weigand says, “There’s always something new. Class is different every time.” Ryder Rhoads adds, “Mrs. Wilson brings a lot of happiness.”

That happiness is genuine. “I get to do all the things I

love: sing, dance, act, tell stories, play the drum, create, and collaborate. I’m so lucky!” she says. “I could never handle a desk job.” Through Pegasus, Wilson has found her flow and is happy passing it along. As Csikzaentmihalyi says, don’t we all deserve that experience? Sharon Goldhamer teaches second grade at Pegasus. She truly enjoys facilitating the third grade Shakespeare club and participating in Battle of Books as a coach. Sharon and Cheryl Wilson have co-directed five school musicals. Contact: sgoldhamer@thepegasusschool.org

PEGASUS MAGAZINE FALL 2015

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INSIGHT

The of What Business Experts Can Teach Us About Education by Clair Blundell

T

his summer, like most summers, the Pegasus faculty bound

themselves together in a common endeavor—a reading of Guy Kawasaki’s Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions. Kawasaki, business guru and former chief evangelist for Apple, argues that in any interaction, our objective should not merely be to get what we want, but to elicit a voluntary, enduring, and delightful change in other people. By using the goals and desires of others, by being likable and trustworthy, and by outlining a cause that others can embrace, Kawasaki claims we can change hearts, minds, and actions.

When I was asked to write this

article about Enchantment, I jumped at the opportunity. I wonder why my instinctual reaction was so fervent. Maybe it was Sue Harrison’s winning smile, or perhaps it was Kawasaki’s advice to “default to yes” if we wish to earn likability. What’s most clear, though, is my own enchantment with The Pegasus School.

16 THE PEGASUS SCHOOL


But why is Pegasus so enchanting? How did we create such

faculty members, these events did not transpire overnight. It

effective likability? Do we have proof of enduring enchantment?

took years to develop into the experience that we now cherish

These are challenging questions, and no one holds all the

as part of “the Pegasus way.” Beginning with just a few brave

answers. However, what I have witnessed and experienced

out-of-the-box thinking individuals, Elizabethan costumes

in my five years at Pegasus is a community founded on

were incorporated, monologues were recited, and competitions

empowering ethical values — a community in which autonomy

ensued. Onlookers became curious, and enchantment took its

and collectivism are intertwined to provide each student the

course. Gradually, more and more people became involved, and

opportunity to soar. Pegasus has mastered enchantment. It’s a

now we are left with a fully enchanted community that has, in

community filled with individuals who value one another and act

the words of Kawasaki, “internalized” the notion of Shakespeare

for the good of the whole child.

Week as part of the unique Pegasus experience.

The first step of enchantment requires creating likeability,

Kawasaki speaks of enduring enchantment as a product that

says Kawasaki. At Pegasus, the floodgates of friendliness are

creates internalization. He uses the example of the Macintosh

open. I have never seen another institution with as many

computer as something he has “internalized”—it’s not a product

smiling faces. I’m not referring

he is coerced to buy; instead,

to forced “Pan American”

he genuinely believes in the

smiles; I mean fully-fledged

product. Though hard to

“George Clooneyesque” smiles.

compare a computer to an

Interactions with students,

educational institution, there

administrators, parents, and

is one fundamental similarity:

faculty all reflect this element.

internalization. Shakespeare

We are all genuinely happy to

Week is one example of the

be here; we are all genuinely

internalized enchantment of

passionate about our “product,”

Pegasus, and yet it characterizes

our education. And yet we are

the openness and innovation for

all individuals, each with our

which Dr. Hathaway strove, as

own idiosyncrasies.

well as the commitment of our

Enchanted by learning itself, and the opportunities afforded

by the school, our students thrive in pushing their individual

community to these values. Kawasaki’s book is not the type I would ordinarily have read.

boundaries. Not only do our students possess insatiable appetites

It’s a business proposition, and as an educator, I don’t consider

for knowledge, but they understand and take responsibility

myself to be in the business of building companies. Nonetheless,

for their own role in the process. From becoming independent,

I read it. Not because I was forced to — no one coerced me into

self-advocates in lower school, our students grow into powerful

reading it. I read it because I, along with the rest of the faculty,

public speakers, fearless environmentalists, and movingly

have internalized The Pegasus School and its community.

dramatic performers, to name but a few. Pegasus creates an

Jennifer Green, lower school director, once said that the summer

environment where the whole child is fostered, accepted, and

reading selection is “more than a faculty-bonding exercise,

has the opportunity to pursue passions. Seeing our students

[it] is a barometer of how we are evolving as a faculty — and a

thrive empowers those of us who guide them. They are a major

community.” Reading Enchantment is a barometer that measures

component of what makes our school so enchanting.

the commitment of our community to our progress. It also

One of the greatest characteristics of Pegasus is the openness

recalls our lasting commitment to the values that have driven

and opportunity for innovation, derived from the inspiration

both the mission and the character of our school. Kawasaki’s

of Dr. Laura Hathaway. Though I wasn’t fortunate enough to

Enchantment may have sought to help its readers “create a company

have met Dr. Hathaway, I have the pleasure of working in an

as enchanting as Apple,” but for me, it served to validate the

environment that still remembers and fosters her beliefs and

existing, enduring enchantment of The Pegasus School and its

values. Every April, students and faculty become absorbed in

enchanting community.

Shakespeare Week, and from what I’ve learned from seasoned

Clair Blundell is approaching her fifth year as a Pegasus sixth grade English teacher. Contact: cblundell@thepegasusschool.org PEGASUS MAGAZINE FALL 2015

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The Whole of Our Parts There are the dancers. But there is also the dance. Pegasus is a unique blend of strong, capable, and creative individuals. When we come together — to learn, collaborate, compete, or play — the synergy is profound. We find our strength both in numbers, and within ourselves. And often it’s the others that help us find the best in ourselves.

18 THE PEGASUS SCHOOL


PEGASUS MAGAZINE FALL 2015

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FEATURE

PROVE IT

Decades of Research Supports Current Educational Assumptions: Collaboration Can Fuel Creativity by Karla Joyce “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” ~Margaret Mead

T

here is a noticeable slant to the big, juicy adjectives and

The Science of Teamwork

motivational slogans that deck the halls of modern

A recent glut of feature-film biographies on legendary Apple co-

schools and it’s not: tow-the-line, fit in, or just finish

founder, Steve Jobs, might imply that it is the intermittent lone

the assignment, kid. That’s not inspiring. Rather, students

genius, toiling in isolation in a suburban garage, that has paved

today are urged to take a proactive stance in their own lives

the road of human progress. But, a more expansive examination

and the lives of those around them, which, in banner-parlance,

suggests a trend to the contrary: creativity is increasingly

translates grandly as: Change the World. It’s an unwieldy goal

becoming a group process.

for the average fourth grader and forty-year-old, alike. But, there

is near universal consensus that a valuable education is far

at Northwestern University, set out to prove the assumption

more than the linear dissemination of information. So, how do we make the leap from knowledge to breakthrough innovation to staggering change?

(Spoiler alert: we work together.)

The scientific examination of

human innovation resulting from group

Ben Jones, a professor at the Kellogg School of Management

...science suggests that many minds

will dramatically increase the odds of discovery.

work is immensely applicable to

that the “production of knowledge” is predominantly a team activity. In 2007, he analyzed 19.9 million peer-reviewed academic papers and 2.1 million patents from the past fifty years, and found that levels of teamwork have increased in more than ninety-five percent of scientific subfields. While the most frequently

how we educate our children. To be clear, training tomorrow’s

cited studies used to be the product of the isolated Einstein,

adults to be nice and get along and contribute to a common end

science papers by multiple authors now receive more than twice

is Civilization 101 stuff. (And, in a shrinking job market, it’s good

as many citations as those by individuals.

sense. A 2014 survey conducted by The National Association of

Colleges and Employers (NACE) found that companies sought

understand: scientific advances have led to a situation where all

graduates who possess good teamwork, decision-making and

the remaining problems are really hard. Researchers are forced

communication skills, in that order.) But it is more than a recipe

to become increasingly specialized because, frankly, there’s

for good business or an educational trend that drives the focus

only so much information one brain can handle. In essence, it’s a

on collaborative skills. It is, according to social researchers from

mandate for collaboration.

myriad spectrums, a key component of human creation and

innovation.

sense in a nanophotonics lab or the design division of Boeing’s

Jones interpreted his findings in terms a child can

While the many-minds-are-better-than-one theory makes

KC-46A Pegasus Tanker program, is it unwaveringly true under all circumstances? 20 THE PEGASUS SCHOOL


PEGASUS MAGAZINE FALL 2015

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Poking Holes 2012 was a banner year for bashing brainstorming. Susan Cain, author of the non-fiction book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, pointed out in her January 2012 New York Times article that the popular view (“Lone geniuses are out. Collaboration is in.”) conflicts with research that suggests “people are more creative when they enjoy privacy and freedom from interruption.” Some of the most creative people in many fields are introverts who are more comfortable working alone. The New Yorker issue of the same month led with a Jonah Lehrer feature called “Groupthink,” a research-driven attack

Brainstorming: The Original Idea Machine

on brainstorming as ineffective and linked to the concept of groupthink. (Groupthink is a term used to describe the negative

In 1948, legendary Madison Avenue adman Alex Osborn

effects of group pressure in decision making where consensus,

unwittingly launched a pop science frenzy with his book Your

rather than collaboration, is achieved.)

Creative Power, a mid-century harbinger of today’s self-help

phenomenon. It was a compilation of tricks and strategies to

wrote Lehrer to summarize a series of scientific challenges to

harness inspiration that, the author claimed, would boost career

the brainstorming technique, “but rather made each individual

success by “doubling creative output.” Osborn’s most celebrated

less creative.”

and enduring idea was that of brainstorming, which he defined

as, “using the brain to storm a creative problem — and doing

brainstorming was performed at Yale University in 1958. Groups

so in commando fashion, with each stormer attacking the same

of students were asked to pool their ideas to solve a given

objective.” The brainstorm technique, he promised, would

problem; a control group mimicked the task, working solo. The

transform employees into imagination machines.

isolated thinkers produced more than twice as many “feasible”

In pop-psych fashion, the book broke down strict ground

“Brainstorming didn’t unleash the potential of the group,”

The first experiment to test the effectiveness of

and “effective” solutions as the teams. Despite the enduring

rules for successful group brainstorming. Topping the list was

popularity of brainstorming, countless follow-up studies

the absence of criticism and negative feedback. Human fear

confirmed the results. The success of brainstorming was deemed

of judgement, Obsorn said, would doom the process. Readers

(at best) unpredictable at the same time human advancement

were encouraged to “aim for quantity, seek combinations

required greater collaboration. Clearly, an alternative template

and improvement, and welcome wildness” with the most

for group creativity was needed.

freewheeling associations to “jolt” people out of their normal ways of thinking. Unfettered by fear (of judgement) and buoyed by positive feedback, brainstorming seemed like the perfect — albeit simple — tool to boost productivity and creativity and, by extension, trigger innovation.

Fast-forward to a modern-day vernacular: brainstorming went

viral. Sixty-plus years since its inception, brainstorming is now the infrastructure of group interaction to near-universal extent and the most widely used creativity technique in the world. And, it’s no wonder; brainstorming sessions are fun, characteristically inclusive and non-discriminatory and, thus, great for self-esteem. But, do they work? Does group brainstorming elevate the level of creativity beyond individual potential?

22 THE PEGASUS SCHOOL

The Power of Dissent UC Berkeley psychology professor, Charlan Nemeth, took the empirical testing of group creativity to a new level of specificity


when she challenged Osborn’s golden rule of brainstorming:

do not criticize. In her 2003 experimental study, she divided

who attempted to determine the effect of physical proximity

265 undergraduates into teams of five and posed the same

on the quality of research by studying a WWII-era structure

problem, but assigned each group one of three conditions: to

built on the M.I.T. campus. In 1942, the 250,000 square foot

follow traditional brainstorming guidelines (no-criticism),

lab was constructed on the cheap to house the main radar

to use brainstorming as a base but with debate and criticism

research institute of the Allied war effort. Despite its lowbrow

encouraged, or to simply get-at-it (meaning, no instructions were

architecture and wretched working conditions, Building 20

offered.) The teams had twenty minutes to generate solutions.

became a center of groundbreaking research during the war.

An influx of post-war G.I.’s left the school short of space, so the

Alumni of the Pegasus Debate team could have predicted

Or, Isaac Kohane, a researcher at Harvard Medical School,

the results. The brainstorming groups slightly outperformed

horizontal maze of criss-crossing corridors remained intact and

the groups given no instructions, but the teams given the debate

become a chaotic mix of mismatched groups who knew little

condition produced a whopping twenty percent more ideas and

about each other’s work: engineers and physicists alongside a

generated twice the number of follow-up ideas, independently,

division of R.O.T.C., a piano repair facility, and a cell-culture lab,

days later. Nemeth conducted a series of related experiments to

among many others. According to an electrical engineer who

the same end, demonstrating that dissent, debate and competing

worked there for years, the building teemed with “knowledge

views add tremendous value; they stimulate divergent and

spillovers.”

creative thought. “The notion that groups perform better when

they share and even confront differences,” Nemeth pointed out,

“Building 20 had become a legend of innovation, widely regarded

“bears resemblance to the research on the value of diversity.”

as one of the most creative spaces in the world.”

“By the time it was demolished in 1998,” Lehrer wrote,

Translation: it is the multiplicity of perspectives that fuels

creativity.

More Than the Sum of the Parts Lehrer digested the implications of all this behavioral research, then dug deeper. “Recognizing the importance of conflicting perspectives in a group,” he said, “raises the issue of what kinds of people will work together best.”

Sociologists around the world have spent their careers

trying to identify the ideal composition of a team, or group. Like, R. Keith Sawyer, who sought to identify the optimal degree of diversity in a group in his book, Explaining Creativing: The Science of Human Innovation. (Answer: “Cognitive diversity contributes more to group creativity, rather than ethnic, national or gender

The Pegasus Laboratory

diversity; too much or too little reduces creativity.”) Or, Brian

The lesson of Building 20 might be that creative spaces are

Uzzi, the Northwestern University sociologist who identified

those which fling together people with different perspectives,

a “bliss point” of social intimacy between team members, one

talents, and personalities in unstructured settings… like an

that consistently heralded successful outcomes. He studied

outdoor playground. The lesson of group composition studies

relationships between members of production staffs on the

and brainstorming research might be that human friction, while

most successful Broadway plays, and quantified their “density

unpleasant, fuels creativity and problem-solving. Certainly,

of connections.” Loosely translated, this means he compared

the sum of all this science suggests that many minds, hurling

how many among them had existing personal or professional

varying degrees of insight and conflicting ideas toward a

relationships versus how many were newbies. He dubbed the

common goal, will dramatically increase the odds of discovery.

ratio between the two, “Q.” (Go figure: the ideal level of Q is

And, to a school-age child, today’s epiphany can become the

between 2.4 and 2.6 on five-point scale.)

world-changing breakthrough of tomorrow. Karla Joyce is a Pegasus parent, PTO President and contributing writer for the Pegasus Magazine. Contact: karlajoyce@cox.net PEGASUS MAGAZINE FALL 2015

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FEATURE

“I ”s Have It

The

How Individuality Both Ignites and Undermines Strong Teams by Marrie Stone

24 THE PEGASUS SCHOOL


W

hen Michael Jordan joined the Chicago

leaders, each one taking control of their specialized arena. “The

Bulls in 1984, the team had nowhere to go

most difficult aspect of teamwork is assigning the roles,” says

but up. Their record could not have been

Johnny A. “Especially when multiple members all want to be

worse. Jordan came from a competitive

leaders. We divide by talent. Whatever we are good at is the

culture. His focus was on success, and his attitude was to do

arena where we will take the lead.”

everything in his power to achieve it. One night, after scoring 20

points in a row and leading the Bulls to victory, former Chicago

very qualities that make an individual attractive can also make

assistant coach Tex Winter pulled Jordan aside to remind him,

them a nightmare on a team. “The best individuals put together

“There’s no ‘I’ in ‘team.’ Jordan looked at Winter and replied,

do not necessarily make for the most effective team,” he says.

“There’s not. But there’s an ‘I’ in win. So whichever way you

“The qualities that make individuals as gifted as they are can

want it.”

make them wearisome as team members.”

This anecdote sums up the problem for many Pegasus parents

In the book, There is an I in Team, Mark de Rond argues that the

The field of psychology offers tremendous insight into

and teachers—how do we prepare our children to become strong

the inherent rub between the individual and team dynamics.

leaders, independent thinkers, and self-sufficient individuals

For example, 1,800 senior managers were asked two revealing

while simultaneously training them to be good team players?

questions: (1) On a scale of 1 to 5 (5 being “very confident” and

Some may even ask why.

1 being “no confidence”), how confident are you in your own

Assuming agreement on the inherent value of collaboration,

ability to make good choices? An encouraging 83% were either

and that strong team skills are critical for success, there are

confident or very confident of their own ability; (2) On the same

unique tensions for many gifted and talented students. Even

scale, how confident are you in the ability of those you work

the messages we deliver to our children are often at odds. From

with most closely to make good choices? The number plummeted

debate tournaments to athletic competitions, we want the

to 27%. As a general rule, we tend to overestimate our own

team to win, but we also want the stars to shine. Colleges are

abilities and vastly underestimate the ability of those around

recruiting players—not teams. Employers are hiring individuals.

us. There’s an argument that this effect may be amplified in the

.........................................................

upcoming generations, many of whom are given trophies for

.........................................................

simply showing up and a false sense of pride for fairly hollow

Few things irritate a strong student more than being placed on

even stronger argument that self-possession is more prevalent

Follow the Leaders

a weak team. Jeopardizing an individual grade for the sake of the group infuriates many high achievers. They’d rather do all the work themselves than delegate. But what happens when the whole team is made up of leaders? “Collaboration is a drawback

accomplishments and mediocre performances. And there’s an amongst a population of highly gifted and talented students whose confidence is well-placed.

.........................................................

Teaming in the Digital Age

for some students,” says Keri Gorsage, fifth grade teacher.

.........................................................

“Especially the highly gifted. They often see things in black and

Technology facilitates how, when, and where teams can function.

white. They see one way to do it and rationalize that it’s the best

Between Skype, Google Docs and a number of similar programs,

way—or even the only way.”

people can participate from any location at any time of the day.

Kelly Barlow, fourth grade teacher, is careful to pair students

But as Pegasus teachers are finding, this type of collaboration is

who are similarly situated in terms of development and approach.

not always a good thing. “It’s not uncommon,” says Gorsage, “for

“For certain projects, I won’t team a child who struggles with

a student to access a Google Document in the middle of the night

someone who’s strong. It’s frustrating to them both. But I

and hijack it without the rest of the team being aware.”

will encourage each student to utilize individual strengths. If

someone has better handwriting, he/she should consider being

moment for faculty and students alike. Traditionally, the fifth

the one doing all the writing,” says Barlow.

grade class travels to the Ocean Institute each year to do

The students agree. Seasoned middle schoolers reiterated

Gorsage describes one event that proved to be a teachable

chemical testing on river and ocean water. They break into

that it’s essential to quickly ferret out the strengths of each

preassigned teams, and each group creates a hypothesis, gathers

individual team member and allow for the possibility of many

data, and assembles a PowerPoint presentation to be delivered

PEGASUS MAGAZINE FALL 2015

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The most difficult aspect of teamwork is assigning the roles, especially when multiple members all want to be leaders...Whatever we are good at is the arena where we will take the lead.

interest them, so long as they advance the company. Like Google, students are given class time to funnel all their curiosity and energy toward a project that speaks to them. The range of topics is limited only by their own imaginations. “When a child is having difficulty focusing, I remind them there will be time to explore their interests during the Passion Project,” says Barlow. “I won’t allow them to partner. It has to somehow benefit other people, be productive to society, and they must be willing to present the material to the rest of the class.”

By giving students space and time to develop their individual

interests, they are more prone to invest in their learning and enjoy the process. Individual passion produces significant results.

“Training our children to work well on teams is critical,”

says Gorsage. “There’s no question that’s true. But there are those in a professional environment. Each student on the team is

students— the super high achievers and the ultra-gifted—who

responsible for their own slide and portion of the presentation.

can only see it one way. So sometimes we pull them out and let

The stakes are high and the pressure for this age is significant.

them shine on their own. We’re always asking ourselves: (1) what

A team in Mrs. Gorsage’s class was not functioning well.

is our objective?, and (2) at what expense are we trying to achieve

One strong personality dominated the group, and one easygoing

it? If we can find that teaching element in something different for

personality bowed out. The rest of the team continued the best

that child, that’s the right answer. There’s always an opportunity

they could, doing a decent job and working hard. In the wee

for individualized instruction. We’re not going to do anything

hours of the morning before the presentation, the dominant

that’s detrimental.”

student accessed the PowerPoint online and made significant

changes to every slide. The results were arguably stronger, but

They’re not competing in the NBA or developing the latest

the team members were wholly unprepared to deliver their

iPhone. They’re still students. And the student experience is one

now-changed presentation the next day. Had the individual

of learning — trying a strategy, watching it fail, and attempting

communicated better — and earlier — the team may have

something new. The process is more important than the result,

benefited. But that wasn’t what happened.

at least at this point. “That’s what this time of life is all about,”

says Gorsage. “They have to figure out their strategies and try

“We’re new to this method as teachers,” says Gorsage.

Children aren’t yet on Goldman Sachs management teams.

“Perhaps the better we get at teaching in a digital environment,

different things. They won’t be 100% successful. Better here first

the more we can circumnavigate these concerns. We’re all

than out there.”

learning.”

.........................................................

The Pegasus Difference

.........................................................

.........................................................

When Colleagues Become Competitors

......................................................... Research suggests there’s a point at which having a team made

Among the many things Pegasus does well is to identify, honor,

up of all stars is detrimental to the entire group. Boris Groysberg

and teach to the individual. Pegasus has the luxury of small class

and his colleagues conducted extensive studies in a variety

size, a selective student body, and highly trained teachers to

of business settings in the late 1990 and early 2000s. They

tailor each child’s experience.

concluded that, depending on the types of teams they observed,

once the number of stars grew to greater than 44.6%, the team

Examples around campus abound, but one strategy has

worked particularly well in the fourth grade classrooms. Pegasus

suffered. Beyond that number, stars stopped sharing information

Passion Projects draw from Google’s innovative movement

and started making more demands. So what can this tell us

known as Genius Hour — a business practice the company uses

about the early years as teachers, parents, and students?

to incentivize employees to develop groundbreaking applications

by allowing them to devote 20% of their time to ideas that

students. In lower school, each grade level has three classrooms.

26 THE PEGASUS SCHOOL

Much of it involves modeling good team building behavior for


So, teachers work in groups of three as a teaching team. “Three is a rough number,” says Gorsage. “But it’s critical to the success of both the team and the faculty as a whole. We try to model all the behaviors critical to successful teams—trust, delegation, respect. It’s important for kids to see adults working together for a common goal.”

What happens when team members don’t trust each other’s

ability? In 2002 the coach of the US Military Academy’s rowing team conducted a bold experiment. The team was underperforming. Mistrust and resentment raged. The coach decided to pit teammates against each other in 90 second wrestling matches, one after the next. Over the course of time, anger turned to affection, and fear turned to laughter. The atmosphere changed from hostility to play, which lightened the mood, and each team member could tangibly feel the physical strength of their comrades. The team went on that day to the best performance any Army Crew ever had. “It restored a sense of trust within the crew—confidence in the sheer power that each of the oarsmen was able to bring to the crew, as well as in each other’s determination to make a fast boat,” said de Rond.

.........................................................

The Proof is in the Employment

......................................................... Pegasus places great value on creating a collaborative community. More and more, Pegasus graduates report employers are looking for strong team players. “Alumni return all the time to thank me for the many group projects I assigned, even if they didn’t appreciate them at the time,” says Gorsage. “Our graduates have concrete answers in interviews about how to navigate difficult teams, what strategies they employ, what methods they try when things aren’t working. We’ve given them the tools to be successful both as individuals and as teammates.”

They have to figure out their strategies and try different things. They won’t be 100% successful. Better here first than out there.

PEGASUS MAGAZINE FALL 2015

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INSIGHT

CONNECT

HOW WE

Communication and Social Technology at Pegasus by Shalini Mattina

We live in an age when unnecessary things are our only necessities. -Oscar Wilde For many tweens and teens, little is more important

than friends. Adolescents crave acceptance.

detailed response. Listed below are responses to

Relationships at this age are significant, and feelings

those questions.

are often intense. At a private school like Pegasus, where 100% of the student body commutes,

A couple of items on the survey required a

What is your favorite social media site (or method of

maintaining friendships outside the classroom can

digital communication) and why?

be especially difficult. On campus, there’s a synergy

Instagram because you can see what your friends

of excitement and interaction among students, staff and teachers. But something interesting, and very different, happens after school. As children make their way to the carpool line, buses, and after-school activities, a few can be seen texting or calling from their cell phones. Others review and critique a video they created on their iPads. Still more upload photos to Instagram and Snapchat with their friends. To

are doing and you don’t necessarily need to post so I find it nice to see everything. I also like the direct messages or pictures because you can send something to one or more people and chat about it. ~ Female, Grade 7 Text. I like it because it is my favorite way (besides talking to them) to interact with my friends anywhere

some, everyday interactions with teachers and peers

and time. ~ Female, Grade 5

depends on digital communication from home.

Instagram because it lets you post anything you want

Advances in technology, and access to a variety

of tools from school and home, contribute to the way our children — like the rest of us — connect with one another and share information. This technology,

and express yourselves. ~ Male, Grade 8 YouTube because I like to watch videos on trains, science and building things. ~ Male, Grade 3

called “social technology,” is rapidly becoming the

Snapchat because it’s a good way to communicate

norm among students.

with friends other than texting or calling.

~ Female, Grade 6

To find out how, and how much, our Pegasus

student body interacts with one another by using social technology and communication apps, I conducted an internal study. Using an interactive Google form, I invited students in third through eighth grades to anonymously participate. In sum, 65 students completed the form, of which 55 use social technology. See infographic on the next page to see the full results of the survey. 28 THE PEGASUS SCHOOL

Instagram. It’s the only one I’m allowed to use, because it’s easy for mom to monitor. ~ Female, Grade 6 YouTube. It’s fun to watch video gamers play their games. The website is easy to use. And my parents let me use it. ~ Male, Grade 5


Do you do homework using social technology, collaborating with friends or your teacher? Sometimes. If I have a hard homework problem I may

STUDENT SOCIAL TECHNOLOGY SURVEY RESULTS

work with my classmates. ~ Male, Grade 6 I ooVoo friends when I have questions on homework and I text friends when I need pics of the textbook.

STUDENT PARTICIPANTS

~ Female, Grade 8

MALE

FEMALE

29

34

25

29

I use FaceTime and iMessage to collaborate with my friends on homework sometimes. I use emails to ask my teachers any academic concerns and issues, and homework questions. ~ Female, Grade 6 Once in awhile, if I am completely stuck on a

STUDENTS WHO USE SOCIAL TECHNOLOGY

problem, I will either email my teacher or text my friend to explain it to me. ~ Male, Grade 7 STUDENT GRADE LEVEL

Yes, we group chat on Instagram about our homework sometimes. ~ Female, Grade 6 Yes, sometimes I FaceTime my friends at home when I do my homework and we do our homework together. ~ Female, Grade 6

7

6

3 4

HOW OFTEN TEXTS ARE SENT WEEKENDS 4 ONLY

8

~ Female, Grade 7

11

21

27

5 SOMETIMES

I sometimes use Google Hangouts to collaborate or study with my friends on group projects.

NEVER

TEXT OR CALL FRIENDS

56 OWN AN IPAD 43 OWN A LAPTOP 32 OWN A SMARTPHONE

35

With the evolution of social media sites, personal

TEXT

communication is also radically changing, especially

27

among our youth. While parents regulate the use of

CALL

these digital tools, social technology can be an asset

EVERY DAY

SOCIAL MEDIA SITES USED

in learning and communicating. Effective use of this type of media can benefit young teens in language development (through text-speak or texting), as well as allow them to build and maintain relationships with their friends, so long as it’s cooperatively used with face-to-face socializing.

31

INSTAGRAM

31

YOUTUBE

10

SNAPCHAT

8

OTHER

5

VINE

But is the use of social technology a necessity in life, or have we become so consumed that we have forgotten how to be real-world social? This survey serves as a reminder that we all need to lift our heads up from our phones and talk to our children about

4

FACEBOOK

4

TWITTER

responsible use of technology.

3

KIK

2

GOOGLE HANGOUTS

1

WHATSAPP

VIDEO CHAT APPS USED

Shalini Mattina is the Associate Director of Advancement, Communications and Webmaster, and the mom of a Pegasus eighth grader. Contact: smattina@thepegasusschool.org

40 FACETIME 15 SKYPE

18 OOVOO 8 OTHER

PEGASUS MAGAZINE FALL 2015

29


THOSE WHO SOAR

Community, Guidance and the Drive to Succeed

How Pegasus Paved the Journey for Four Alumni by Julia F.P. Ostmann

SCIENTIST SIBLINGS Windows ring the fifth floor of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) student center, where three freshmen often sit studying at neat, wooden study carrels under streaming sunlight. Like typical MIT freshmen, they are taking accelerated physics and chemistry, advanced mathematics and a smattering of humanities courses. They live in the same dorm, rushed Greek life together and frequently go for ice cream runs at the legendary local parlor Toscanini’s. They also happen to be triplets. Last spring, Claire, Edward, and Christopher Goul (’11) appeared on national television and saw their names in local newspapers, The Boston Globe and the Daily Mail, after turning down acceptances at other elite institutions to attend MIT. But just a few years ago, the Gouls were new fourth graders at Pegasus, seeking a school with academic flexibility and an emphasis on individual interests and growth. At Pegasus, they developed a desire to solve problems, a passion for trying new things, and a deep appreciation for supportive communities. Claire remembers with fondness Coach Tyler’s basketball team. A friend nudged her to join, and Coach Tyler’s kindness and emphasis on strength won her over. She still smiles when recalling scoring a winning layup in the last ten seconds. At MIT, Claire embraced new challenges by joining varsity crew, though she’s never rowed before.

Claire’s drive started early: At Pegasus, her winning entrepreneur team made $900 by convincing teachers to let them sell homework passes. Planning to major in Molecular Biology and Computer Science, Claire aspires to academia or the biotech industry. She finds meaning in “the limitless questions that you can ask in biology. There’s so much unknown, and so much to be known.” Edward remembers joining his siblings in the Pegasus library each week to practice for their eventual wins in Battle of the Books, an interschool competition. He credits Battle of the Books, as well as Mrs. Wilder’s English class, with helping him develop critical thinking and public speaking skills useful in high school and beyond. This semester in Introduction to Western Literature, he says, “the professor handed out a sheet of what not to do when writing an essay. It was very similar to Mrs. Wilder’s sheet from eighth grade.”

30 THE PEGASUS SCHOOL


Edward plans to double major in math and physics and pursue a career in finance or law. These days, he has taken up sailing, so you can often find him on the Charles River perfecting his tack and jibe turns. A former Pegasus Geography Bee champion, Edward hopes to teach English in Brazil this January. Watch out for Chris: He builds swords. One of his MIT application essays discussed using Home Depot tools and YouTube videos for sword-making. Now, Chris conducts research into the material science of Damascus steel used in historical swords. He hopes his planned Mechanical Engineering major will lead to a job at a startup, perhaps one that works on vehicles or transportation. Chris credits Pegasus with encouraging him to try new

CYCLING TO SATISFACTION

academic pursuits. He studied languages and won the

Colt Peterson (’07) can still recite Ms. Olivadoti’s advice:

spelling bee. But what he remembers with greatest joy is

“‘Proper Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance.’ That

the relaxed, fun community he found while playing soccer

was one thing she drilled into our heads.”

at lunch with friends. Despite the Gouls’ many accomplishments (which

It was an important lesson to learn for the competitive cyclist who trains 30 hours a week and

range from multiple research projects at UCI and MIT to

raced internationally for the US National Junior Team.

heaps of academic accolades), they feel strange about

Peterson credits soccer at Pegasus (and the team’s

media attention. “There are tons of other high school

championship win in eighth grade) with his first experience

students doing amazing things and so many other uses of

of a supportive, successful team environment. He recalls

that airtime,” Edward says.

Coach Tyler’s no-nonsense yet calming approach in PE

Though the Gouls have notoriety on campus, they are most happy to find at MIT what they learned to love at Pegasus: a deeply supportive community. “It’s surprising

class as a model for his own life. “There was something about his voice that was so strong to me,” he says. In high school, Peterson transitioned to cycling and

how much each person cares for another person and

won a national championship on an important track he

helps each other,” Claire says.

describes as “like NASCAR for bikes.” He was invited to live

And while they share many new experiences and fond

at the US National Junior Team house in Belgium, where

Pegasus memories, Claire, Edward, and Chris stress their

he learned the intensive European cycling style and

uniqueness. “When we’re working on the same problems

competed in four or five races a week across Europe.

in class, we all have different approaches,” says Chris.

Peterson recently won the prestigious Stazio Criterium

Each has cultivated an individual way of engaging the

race at University of Colorado Boulder, from which he will

world, even when they end up in the same place.

graduate this spring. He is considering a career in real estate, which hopefully will offer him cycling’s “feeling of complete satisfaction from all of the hard work.” Julia F. P. Ostmann ’07 graduates this December from Harvard University and will pursue science writing and narrative journalism. Contact: juliaostmann@college.harvard.edu

PEGASUS MAGAZINE FALL 2015

31


Alumni Connections by Benjamin Jenkins

Brandon ’99 and Tracy ’01 Carr visiting the Great Wall of China.

David Grant ’04 visiting some of his favorite teachers before his deployment to Okinawa.

1999

2004

Kelsey Hennegen ’05 (center) with Vicki Olivadoti and Coach Tyler, Pegasus faculty members, during a recent campus visit.

Michael Youhana is enjoying his first year at Berkeley Law School after graduating from

Brandon Carr with sister and fellow alumna

David Grant is serving in the U.S. Marine

NYU. Youhana is a supporting member of

Tracy Carr ‘01 recently visited the Great Wall

Corps. Grant was deployed to Afghanistan in

the the International Refugee Assistance

of China. Brandon and Tracy have set a goal

2012. In 2014, Grant was deployed to Spain for

Project. This group pairs law students with

to visit all of the Wonders of the World. They

crisis response. He is currently deployed in

licensed attorneys to provide legal assistance

have 2 left to visit.

Okinawa for six months.

to clients in life-or-death situations, including

2002

2005

Iraqis and Afghans at risk for their work as interpreters with the U.S. military, children

Sara Wells is following her passion by

Bijan Bonakdar is starting his own clothing

with medical emergencies, women who are

creating a wedding planning company in

line called Bijan Andre. This line specializes

survivors of domestic and sexual violence, and

Denver, Colorado called Sweetened Weddings

in women’s evening gowns. Bonakdar states

survivors of torture.

and Events. In addition to starting her own

that when he was at Pegasus he was involved

company, she also works as a graphic designer

in art classes which gave him his passion to

for Boulder Creek Events.

design. While at Pegasus, he also was involved

Madison Carroll graduated with honors

in the yearbook through which he learned

from UCLA and is starting her career at the

Adobe Illustrator, a program he still uses on

law firm Panish Shea and Boyle LLP. Carroll

his designs today.

recently took the LSAT and is excited about

2007

her future. Carroll hopes to go to UCLA Kelsey Hennegen moved to San Francisco for

School of Law.

her new job overseeing business development

Sara Wells ’02

32 THE PEGASUS SCHOOL

for an enterprise software startup called

Eric Hallett majored in engineering and

Lever. She is focusing on strategic partnerships

product design at Stanford University. After

and integrations. She is enjoying exploring

graduating in June 2011, he spent the summer

and getting to know a new city while

traveling Europe. He is now enjoying living

reconnecting with fellow Pegasus alumni

in Westwood in Los Angeles and working

living in the Bay Area. Hennegen also enjoys

as an analyst at Dimensional Fund Advisors

traveling south to San Diego to visit her

in Santa Monica. While attending Stanford,

sister, Kendra Hennegen ‘08, who is finishing

Eric performed in the school’s production of

up her senior year at Point Loma Nazarene

Les Miserables. He also sang bass in and was

University.

musical director of the Mendicants, Stanford’s


Jamie Ostmann ’13 (left) with a classmate dressed in Tudor costumes at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London.

Nicole ’11 (UC Berkeley) and Samantha ’11 (Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo) Apodaca back on campus visiting Pegasus faculty.

Natalie Lowenstein ’11 with Coach Tyler at her Sage Hill graduation party in Huntington Beach.

oldest a cappella group, which published two CDs in the past three years. Eric and his fellow Sigma Nu fraternity brothers created a politically inspired board game, which they hope to take to market soon. Julia Ostmann will be receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree from Harvard in December. Ostmann plans to continue her studies in History and Science in London in the fall of 2016. Her top two choices are Cambridge and University College.

2010 Mackin Carroll is a sophomore at USC

Pegasus class of 2011 graduating from Sage Hill in 2015.

Natalie Lowenstein is enjoying her first year

in the Thornton School of Popular Music. Carroll made the dean’s lists his freshman

Cohen plays keyboard and vocals. He is

at Tufts University after graduating from Sage

year. He is continuing to perform as a singer,

currently attending Vanderbilt University,

Hill School.

songwriter and bass player. Carroll plays at

School of Engineering, where he is pursuing

venues throughout Los Angeles with both his

his dual passions of music and computer

Helena Youhana is a freshman at Columbia

band, The Nova Darlings, and his solo project.

engineering and is a member of the Vanderbilt

University. She is politically active on campus

Carroll is also still involved with the Pegasus

coed a cappella group, Harmonic Notion.

and is involved in several Columbia University

Boy Scout troop 911 and often attends the

clubs. She recently acquired a position in the

Court of Honor.

Columbia Women’s Business Society where she will be part of the Social Media and Marketing Committee.

Anthony Jusuf is enjoying his sophomore year at USC. He is studying as a pre-med major.

2011 Bobby Cohen graduated from Sage Hill School where he enjoyed all aspects of his academic life and extended his love of the arts beyond piano by participating in theater, choir, and forming a band, The Torches, with fellow Pegasus alumnus Parthiv Worah ’11.

Bobby Cohen ’11 at his graduation from Sage Hill School with his sister Charlotte Cohen ’15, Chrissy Bridges, activities director, and Charlene Nakamura, former faculty member.

PEGASUS MAGAZINE FALL 2015

33


2012 Randon Davitt, a senior at Orange County School of the Arts, has received a National Merit Letter of Commendation for his PSAT scores and continues his AP/honors curriculum courses. Davitt continues to perform and record with Chase Walker Band. He has had over 120 gigs with recent highlight performances at The Mint in Los Angeles and prominent blues clubs, Harvelle’s in Santa Monica, and the famous Biscuit and Blues in San Francisco. Their videos recently topped 100,000 views on YouTube, and they’ve been featured on Stage TV, as well as coverage in Guitar World, Guitar Player and Boogie

Anushka Bhaskar ‘14 and Jenna Dyer ‘15 aboard the research vessel, Alguita, helping faculty member Pam Conti and her students from the Pegasus Algalita elective class to conduct research in the Long Beach Harbor.

Magazine. They are in the studio working on

2013

their second album, due in early 2016. Davitt

Julia Qualls ‘14 on her three week service trip to Guatemala where she worked on a service animal and rescue rehabilitation program.

Jamie Ostmann is a junior at the Orange County School of the Arts in the film conservatory. Her film, The Perks of Loving

was selected by the Grammy Foundation as

Fellow classmates Elena Bonvicini and

Logan, won best of show at the Orange County

one of three bassists worldwide to participate

Catherine Malzahn were two out of six

Fair in August. This holiday season, she is

in their ten day summer program writing

students who received recognition for their

playing the role of Fan, Scrooge’s sister, in

music, studying and recording in Los Angeles

haikus in the 2015 Nicholas A. Virgilio Haiku

South Coast Repertory’s A Christmas Carol.

with top industry talent. Davitt was recently

Contest for grades 7-12, sponsored by the

honored to become an Ernie Ball/Music Man

Haiku Society of America. It was noted that

sponsored artist with a custom Stingray bass

this year marked the first in its fifteen year

Anushka Bhaskar and Jenna Dyer ‘15

guitar. His second band, Self Help, recently

history that the competition had the highest

went aboard the research vessel, Alguita,

released their debut CD Help Yourself, featuring

number of entries... 3,653 entries from all

with faculty member Pam Conti and her

an alt-rock sound. Find it on iTunes and all

fifty states. The winners receive a cash prize,

students from the Pegasus Algalita elective

online music sources.

publication in Frogpond (the quarterly journal

class to conduct research in the Long Beach

of the Haiku Society of America), recognition

Harbor. The two alumnae served as youth

on the Haiku Society of America website, and

ambassadors and a peer advisor for Algalita

a one year subscription to Frogpond.

Marine Research and Education. Together,

2014

the group voyaged around the harbor as they Shane Larimer completed a summer

searched for plastic debris, collected sediment

internship at Boeing as a project manager and

grabs from the ocean floor, studied various

learned skills in management and finance.

fish species with a researcher from Cal State

Larimer is enjoying a scientific research

University, Long Beach, and investigated the

class at Sage Hill School which involves him

health of the ecosystem.

working in the biomedical engineering lab at

Randon Davitt ‘12 (Photograph by Robert Knight, legendary rock photographer, who has photographed Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin and Jeff Beck, among others.)

34 THE PEGASUS SCHOOL

UCI on Superhydrophobics, as well as doing

Julia Qualls took a three week service trip

his own research at Sage on various aspects of

this past summer where she worked on a

Antibiotic Resistance. Larimer is the setter

service animal and rescue rehabilitation

for the varsity volleyball team, as well as a

program in Guatemala called The Road

student ambassador. In addition, Larimer has

Less Traveled. She earned the Presidential

been working on a service learning project in

Volunteer Service Award through her

which he is helping to coordinate Sage’s first

volunteer work with this organization.

Tedx Talk.

Qualls was inspired to do this service trip


Max Roth ’15 visiting Pegasus on Veterans Day.

Maya Jaffe ’15 (front left) with her Sage Hill Cross Country teammates.

based on the incredible experiences she had

in sync, and I have Pegasus to thank for a

which made CIF and the state championships

with faculty member Pam Conti in Belize

tremendous foundation.” Jaffe has also been

in Fresno.

and Costa Rica while at Pegasus. Qualls is a

competing with Elite Academy in their

sophomore at Mater Dei High School.

debate program. Jaffe competed in an open

Joshua Cheadle, former Pegasus student

debate which included juniors and seniors,

body president, is enjoying his first year at

and she narrowly missed breaking by .025

Sage Hill School. Cheadle won first place

Charlotte Cohen was in the Sage Hill School

and placed 9th against many experienced

with an undefeated 3-0 record in one on one,

fall musical, Assassins, with fellow classmate

debaters. This was a commendable showing

individual debate at his first tournament. The

Tyler Wong ’15. Cohen also represented the

as many freshmen do not break during their

national debate league is highly competitive

freshman class in the Sage Hill open house.

first year. She is working towards Premier

with 8,000 schools participating. Cheadle

She is most excited about taking Mandarin

Distinction within the National Speech and

and fellow classmate Maya Jaffe ’15 are

and pursuing visual arts.

Debate organization. In addition to debate,

working weekly with Pegasus faculty member

Maya is participating in the science fair and

Jim Conti on Lincoln Douglas style debates,

Maya Jaffe is a freshman at Sage Hill School

plans to focus her project on biodiesel. She is

a one on one debate format that focuses on

where she is excelling in classes such as

also participating in Science Olympiad. Jaffe

societal ethics and morals. This is a new

English, Chemistry and Spanish. “All are

competed on the varsity cross country team

format to the two debaters, but both are

2015

excelling. Cheadle is also sailing for the Sage Hill Sailing Club. Haley Rovner joined Le PeTiT CiRqUe, the country’s only junior level professional cirque group. Rovner, who competes in the hula hoop, traveled as a cirque artist with the troupe to Montreal. They have also performed for the Dalai Lama, Qualcomm stadium and many others. She has opportunities to perform in Dubai and Panama, as well. Rovner began hula hooping in Mrs. Coyle’s theater arts class at Pegasus and is now a Hoopnotica-certified hoop dance instructor.

Kyle Baker ‘15 supporting the Pegasus flag football team.

PEGASUS MAGAZINE FALL 2015

35


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December 21 – January 1, 2016 Winter Break February 15-19 Intersession March 11 Spark Day March 12 Pegasus Carnaval Festival of Dreams Spring Benefit 2016 Island Hotel March 18 Earth Day March 28 – April 1 Spring Break April 18-22 Shakespeare Week

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