THE PEGASUS SCHOOL
ISSUE 10 / FALL 2015
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
The “I”s Have It
At the Heart of
Orange County Printing
Program: A Child Shall Lead Them
Student Spotlight: A Little Slice of Pi
Program: Onboarding the Pegasus Way
Faculty Focus: The Pied Piper of Pegasus
Insight: The Art of Enchantment
Insight: How We Connect
Those Who Soar: The Goul Triplets, Colt Peterson
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 email@example.com
PEGASUS MAGAZINE FALL 2015
THE PEGASUS SCHOOL
“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” Dr. Seuss
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
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
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
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
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
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
PEGASUS MAGAZINE FALL 2015
A Child Shall Lead Them: What Pegasus Students Have Taught Their Teachers by Diem-Trang Dang
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 theyâ€™ve learned, and how they live their lives differently because of their students. Their insights were incredible.
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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
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
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
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
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?
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
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: email@example.com.
PEGASUS MAGAZINE FALL 2015
Chirag Singh ’16 A Little Slice of Pi by Jasmine Mirhashemi
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
ONBOARDING The Pegasus Way by Tricia Starkenburg
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
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.
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
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
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
PEGASUS MAGAZINE FALL 2015
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.
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: email@example.com
PEGASUS MAGAZINE FALL 2015
The of What Business Experts Can Teach Us About Education by Clair Blundell
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.
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
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
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: firstname.lastname@example.org PEGASUS MAGAZINE FALL 2015
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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: email@example.com PEGASUS MAGAZINE FALL 2015
“I ”s Have It
How Individuality Both Ignites and Undermines Strong Teams by Marrie Stone
24 THE PEGASUS SCHOOL
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
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
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
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.”
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
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
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.
~ Female, Grade 8
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
HOW OFTEN TEXTS ARE SENT WEEKENDS 4 ONLY
~ Female, Grade 7
I sometimes use Google Hangouts to collaborate or study with my friends on group projects.
TEXT OR CALL FRIENDS
56 OWN AN IPAD 43 OWN A LAPTOP 32 OWN A SMARTPHONE
With the evolution of social media sites, personal
communication is also radically changing, especially
among our youth. While parents regulate the use of
these digital tools, social technology can be an asset
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 itâ€™s cooperatively used with face-to-face socializing.
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
responsible use of technology.
VIDEO CHAT APPS USED
Shalini Mattina is the Associate Director of Advancement, Communications and Webmaster, and the mom of a Pegasus eighth grader. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
40 FACETIME 15 SKYPE
18 OOVOO 8 OTHER
PEGASUS MAGAZINE FALL 2015
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: email@example.com
PEGASUS MAGAZINE FALL 2015
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.
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
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
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
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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
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,
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
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
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,
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.
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
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
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
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