THE PEGASUS SCHOOL
ISSUE 7 / SPRING 2014
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 Our students learn best, and develop the skills they need to pursue their dreams, in a community that is: • Diverse, collaborative, and vibrant • Serious about academic life • Rich in opportunities • Nurturing of the gifted student • Engaged in the world outside the school
PORTRAIT OF A GRADUATE 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.
THE PEGASUS SCHOOL
• Environmentally Conscious • Technologically Adept • Economically Astute • Versed in the Arts • Globally Aware
Spring 2014 www.thepegasusschool.org EDITORIAL BOARD Nancy Conklin, Director of Admission Rick Davitt, Photographer Sue Harrison, Director of Advancement Karla Joyce, Writer Shalini Mattina, Assoc. Director of Advancement, Marketing Nancy Wilder, Middle School English Teacher John Zurn, Head of School WRITERS Karla Joyce Ellen Williamson John Zurn CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Shalini Mattina Amanda Miskell Patty Seyburn Anita Siddiqi Tricia Starkenburg Marrie Stone ART DIRECTION AND DESIGN Shalini Mattina
Table of Contents FEATURES
Game On! Creative Play in a Digital World
The Toy that Changed Everything
At the Heart of
Program: Hour of Code
Faculty Focus: Back in the Game
Student Profile: Anushka Bhaskar
Program: How to Feed the World
Orange County Printing
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Those Who Soar: The Kant Institute
PEGASUS MAGAZINE SPRING 2014
THE PEGASUS SCHOOL
“This is the real secret of life—to be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now and instead of calling it work, realize it is play.” – Alan Wilson Watts I recently spoke with a friend of mine who is a floor trader on the New York Stock Exchange and asked him how he handled the intense reality of high stakes, high pressure trading decisions on a daily basis. I was a bit taken aback to hear him say that he loved his job and found the stresses to be far overshadowed by the excitement of the deal making. This was followed by a conversation with a neurosurgeon who performs some of the most precise, painstaking maneuvers where the slightest unplanned twitch could debilitate a patient for life. The joy in his voice was apparent in our conversation, so much so, that I did not even bother to ask whether or not he loves his work…nor the politician who adores the campaign trail, nor the lawyer who cherishes her day in court, nor the police officer who walks the beat with joy in his heart. So in the face of all this workplace joy, how and when did we begin to determine that work and play were two separate entities? How did we seem to decide that one exists without the other? These lines between work and play are not quite so clear when we enter school at the youngest ages. And as we learn more and more about how the brain works and about attributes of successful adults, these lines between work and play become even fuzzier. In this issue of Pegasus Magazine, we tackle the issue of play as a formative force in the life of our children. Karla Joyce visits the playground and sees the birth of negotiation with other life skills that will define the future successes for our children. Marrie Stone explores the connections between technology and play—questioning the interdependent nature of the playground that gets lost with an iPad glued to a child’s palm. And throughout this issue, you will find students, alumni, faculty, and families who find the passion of play in their works at hand. Parents and friends at our annual Spring Benefit in March donated a great deal of money to help the school build a new outdoor classroom this summer in the Primary School for our kindergarten and pre-K students. Our teachers have refused to call it a “play” ground because they genuinely embrace the interdependent nature of work and play. They see the passion in the eyes of their children at play and fully understand how this passion builds their future dispositions to work hard in their desire to explore the world. It is this shaping of work and play together that will cement the passion and joy of this next generation. As The Pegasus School Founder, Laura Hathaway, noted, we are in the business of “building wings so bright minds can soar.” These are terms of joyful play and exploration. They define a Pegasus where children learn to work and to play with passion.
John Zurn Head of School
PEGASUS MAGAZINE SPRING 2014
At the Heart of Pegasus
by Karla Joyce
The Everyday Stories of Exceptional People
“Your work is to discover your world, and then with all your heart give yourself to it.” - Buddha
And The Tree Was Very Happy (Pegasus Parent: JB Bush) What motivates us to give of ourselves?
eferencing the apple tree in Shel Silverstein’s tender parable may not answer the question, but we can all likely agree that heart is involved. And that giving makes us happy. J.B. Bush — Pegasus parent and tech consultant — will chalk up altruism, love and role modeling to his decision to volunteer to co-chair the On Golden Wings fundraising campaign this past school year. All that, and friendship. Above all else, Bush is a get-involved guy. But by his own admission he came to Pegasus reluctantly, his heart and upbringing in public education. It was an encounter with a panel of uber-articulate eighth graders during his initial visit that hooked him: “From that moment, I was all in.” The next fall when his son John stepped into Mrs. Diamond’s Kindergarten classroom, Bush stepped into the community. Sure, he has attended every
event, “but it’s my wife Wendy,” he says, “who really volunteers.” (He chaired the Pegasus Golf Tournament for six years without blinking, but who’s counting.) Bush won’t concede his scope of participation, but consider this: everybody knows J.B. and, more revealingly, he knows everybody. Bush has been all-in for eight years now — John just finished seventh grade and daughter Ellie, fourth — and his belief in Pegasus is as high as ever. As is his satisfaction. He attributes this sense of fulfillment at Pegasus and in life to his friendships — which he has many — and admits that his more-is-more philosophy nudges him toward “yes” more often than not. Which is exactly what happened last summer. He was sitting across the table from his friend, fellow Pegasus parent Gary Allhusen,
at the Austria Hoff Bar in Mammoth Lakes, where their families vacation together. He had already been approached about On Golden Wings, and he was mulling it over. While Bush considered all of the reasons why he should do it — for his kids, for his kids to see him giving, for the joy it would bring — he whooped it up with a great friend. Friendship, the upshot of his time at Pegasus. In the end, it was a very easy decision. And he was happy.
And The Tree Was Very Happy… Part 2 (Pegasus Parent: Chad Cooper)
n late 2012, Chad Cooper was driving through Idaho with his family, reading aloud from a recent release of Pegasus Magazine to pass time. In that issue, we showcased the relationship between Crossover International Academy in Ghana and Jim Conti’s eighth grade social studies class. Cooper listened to the article in which former Pegasus student, Alisa Bhakta, shared an email from one of her African friends that said: “I feel important
THE PEGASUS SCHOOL
that you wrote ‘I love you.’ It is a sentence nobody uses for me.” To which Bhakta confessed: “Waves of emotion washed over me.” The same waves hit Cooper. He had to get involved. “We have always been active in charities,” he says, “but this was different. It was something we could touch.” He contacted Conti, and together they brainstormed ways to help these children, most of whom were orphaned by slave trade. They agreed that straight aid would be fleeting. What Crossover needed was a systemic solution to feed and provide better shelter, and the income to sustain it indefinitely. In May of 2013, Cooper funded a duediligence excursion to Crossover for Conti and him. (“The investment banker in me had to go kick-the-tires,” he says.) He had his “Alisa” moment on day three, when the blistering temperatures broke with a fierce, freezing rain, and the school — a collection of
tilt-ups on cracked dirt — was awash in mud. “The gravity of their situation hit me hard,” he admits. Cooper was moved. He established a non-profit organization called “Wings for Crossover” to launch a host of developments, the first being an aquaponic farming system that breeds tilapia and grows vegetable crops symbiotically providing a consistent source of calories, nutrition and income. “It blows me away what he’s been able to execute,” says Conti. When the local cell tower dropped Internet service from this rural area, Cooper convinced a global telecommunications service provider to install a satellite and supply free monthly service indefinitely, which allows for more regular communications with Pegasus students, for example. “He acts like none of it is a big deal,” says Conti, admiringly. “But in his heart and soul, he is proud.”
Wisdom 101 (Pegasus Eighth Grader: Henry Lavacude-Cola)
ne of the Pegasus attributes that I most admire is its casual expectation. By that I mean the belief that every Pegasus graduate will possess a set of skills and attributes which, while not guaranteeing success, certainly support it. And, in fact, our Middle School hums with exceptional communicators and critical thinkers and responsible citizens, as if confidence happened to them almost by accident. It’s no accident, of course. From its inception Pegasus has recognized the value of instilling life skills in its students and worked hard to achieve it. According to eighth grader Henry Lavacude-Cola, it’s inescapable. Teachers were quick to name him as proof-in-the-pudding that Pegasus delivers, but he insists: “There are other kids I would nominate for this.” When the five-year-old Henry first arrived at Pegasus he was, in a word, quiet. Over the years, he trekked through Heritage Day and Chit Chats with big ideas but
little voice. (His shyness didn’t make him popular, either: “By fourth grade I only had one friend.”) The Mission Building presentation that year was, by his estimation, a personal low. “I was prepared. I’d practiced all night. But I was so nervous I forgot my notecards.” He stops the story there, except to say: “It wasn’t a happy ending.” “But things started to change in fifth grade,” he admits. “I felt more mature, less intimidated.” Which explains how he managed to nail a presentation in Mrs. Gorsage’s class under similar constraints: no cards and wrong day. This success — coupled with the previous failure — was his ticket, he says. Henry was so inspired by his newfound voice that he joined the debate team in seventh grade and, as if overnight, took flight. (He has earned the coveted Golden Gavel debate award twice.) Cut to the eighth grade flag salute this past year year. As ASB President, Henry was
standing beside beside Head of School John Zurn, in front of the entire world. Zurn turned to him spontaneously and said, “Henry, we don’t have our piano today. Can you lead us in the patriotic song?” And without hesitation, before scads of friends, he did it. Of course he did, his teachers would say. We expected it.
Read This (Pegasus Librarian: Carin Meister)
t takes hours of conversation or shared experience to peel the husk of one’s persona and lay bare true character. Carin Meister doesn’t have that kind of time. Her duties as the school’s librarian are so varied and vital she pivots — albeit quietly — constantly. In any one day, she teaches, supports curriculum at every grade level,
maintains a hearty and inventive collection, and manages myriad book-based programs on a budget. It’s a big job and highly valued by the community. So, that’s what she does. To get to whoshe-is requires, well, reading. Meister can cite a host of titles that speak to her, but Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin tops her list. “Every Pegasus family should read this together,” she insists. The book begins in the Valley of Fruitless Mountain, where a young girl named Minli spends her days laboring for little gain and her nights listening to her father’s enchanting tales of Jade Dragon and the Old Man of the Moon. Minli finds hope in his stories and embarks on an extraordinary journey to find this Old Man of the Moon and ask him how her family can change their fortune. The adventures are rich with imagery and perspective but it is the bottom
line that likely best resonates with Meister: that stories are really important, essential to well being even. The next clue into character is the middle name Meister chose for her oldest daughter, Reese: “Caralee.” This was the name of a make-believe sister crafted in the imagination of Meister as an only child. (She thinks it came from a soap opera.) Today sisters surround her, some of her best friends are other Pegasus teachers… and the ultimate source for character-revealing facts. “She’s a Bananagram phenom,” says Chrissy Bridges. “And if you need a homemade soccer banner, she’s your gal.” Ultimately, the best way to get to know Carin Meister is to enter her world in the Valley of Pegasus, and listen to her enchanting tales of…
Karla Joyce is a Pegasus parent and contributing writer for the Pegasus Magazine. Contact: email@example.com
PEGASUS MAGAZINE SPRING 2014
<h0ur0fc0de/> by Tricia Starkenburg “Writing code is the closest thing we have to a superpower.” ~ Drew Houston, founder of Dropbox
ode writers may very well be the superheroes of this
funded by a Who’s Who in the technology and education
generation. The complex computer logic they wield
worlds, including Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Khan
drives many of today’s modern marvels such as the
Academy, believes every student in every school should learn
Mars rovers, robotic prostheses, and the Hubble Space Telescope,
code writing. Our society is dependent on computer code for
achievements Superman and Spiderman would be proud
almost everything — communications, banking, entertainment,
to claim. Unlike Superman and Spiderman, a programmer,
medicine, agriculture, and transportation — observes Code.org,
fortunately, doesn’t need to be born on Krypton or bitten by a
yet less than 5% of the U.S. population understands, let alone
radioactive spider to obtain coding superpowers. Code writing
knows how to write, code. Code.org believes this pervasive
code-illiteracy poses a serious and growing problem.
So when and how should this superpower be learned?
Code.org, a non-profit organization founded in 2010 and 8
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Similar to the illiterate or innumerate today, asserts
Code.org, the code-illiterate in the future will not only miss
out on job opportunities, but will not be able to fully explore, shape, or question the world they live in. Code.org’s mission is to fix code-illiteracy. They want every student to learn to code. Code.org kicked off their awareness campaign in December 2013 by launching Hour of Code™, which calls for every school to provide an opportunity for every student to write computer code for one hour in the classroom.
Pegasus middle school technology teacher, Adam Stockman,
supports Code.org and its Hour of Code™ mission. “Computer code is the language of the future,” Stockman says. “If we want Pegasus students to be the leaders of tomorrow, they need to understand and be conversant in technology and computer code.” Not only did Adam Stockman’s middle school students participate in Hour of Code™ (all sixth graders are required to learn Arduino code, a hybrid of “C” and Java programming
to succeed.” But failing was just as important as succeeding.
language), but Stockman also brought the program to the
“When a ‘robot’ got stuck, the code writers had to debug and
attention of his fellow Pegasus teachers.
rewrite the code for the robot to continue. The revision process
was a true ‘a-ha’ moment.” Bradford plans to participate in Hour
Second grade teacher, Benedict Bradford, jumped at the
chance to have her second grade math class participate. “My
of Code™ again next year. “Writing code requires math, logic,
students were already fascinated with computer coding after
revision, and teamwork. Plus it’s great fun.”
seeing the flashing light-up haunted houses the middle school
kids had programmed for Halloween. I knew they’d love to write
“The best thing about this year was that every teacher I spoke
to, whether or not they had time to participate, agreed learning
code is important,” Stockman says, smiling. “A dialog has
Instead of using computers, Bradford used an “unplugged”
Stockman also looks forward to next year’s Hour of Code™.
coding exercise, My Robotic Friends, found on Code.org. The
goal of My Robotic Friends is for a team of students to build
specified pyramid-like shapes using plastic cups and a human
Code™. Many kids today want to write code to create computer
“robot.” One to two students write the robot instructions, or
games, iPhone apps, or Minecraft mods. Pegasus offers several
code, using pen and paper, and the other student “robot” reads
worthwhile afterschool classes and summer camps that can be
and performs the code. Bradford’s inaugural Hour of Code
found on the Pegasus website. Code.org’s website also offers
was a hit. “The kids were completely engaged in the process,”
a variety of tutorials in various computer languages such as
says Bradford. “They desperately wanted their robot friend
LightBot, Scratch, Python, and C++.
Traveling Circuit Activity
Writing code, of course, doesn’t begin and end with Hour of
A few weeks ago, my third-grade son asked me if he could
little better. Pick Up Cup
Put Down Cup
Turn Cup Right 90°
Turn Cup Back 90°
Tricia Starkenburg is is a Pegasus parent and contributing writer for the Pegasus Magazine. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
CODE CONCEPT PROVIDED BY CASSIDY DRISCOLL, GRADE 2 PEGASUS MAGAZINE SPRING 2014
IN THE Two Pegasus Teachers, Stopping (and Starting) Time. by Patty Seyburn
ho knows where the time goes?” sang English folk-
rocker Sandy Denny. We may not have an answer
teach, is the official Clock Lady for girls’ volleyball, basketball,
to this abstract question but, at Pegasus, we know whom to ask: Eva Polizzi and Vicki Olivadoti. These ladies understand exactly where the time goes — to the second. Polizzi and Olivadoti are the timekeeper and scorekeeper at every Pegasus sporting event. They make sure games start and
Polizzi, who was a student at Pegasus before returning to
soccer, and — on occasion — boys’ volleyball and girls’ flag
I oftentimes see a completely different side to a student than I would in the classroom.
end when they should, with the proper
football. Her immersion in the school’s sports-scene, coupled with her own pre-K through eighth grade experience, gives her access to fascinating trivia. Did you know, for example, that Pegasus once had a roller-hockey team? (Probably not; it was short-lived.)
number of minutes allotted, and the appropriate scores noted.
Ms. Polizzi teaches seventh grade English, and Ms. Olivadoti
During a game, Polizzi holds the remote, changes the score,
teaches third grade.
and starts and stops the clock. Its simplicity begs the question:
10 THE PEGASUS SCHOOL
A Clock Lady’s duties are straightforward, she explains.
why? “I do it because I like seeing students in a different
But basketball can be stressful. It’s the volume of baskets and
environment,” she says. “I oftentimes see a completely different
speed of scoring that keeps her on her toes, and the spectators.
side to a student than I would in the classroom. I might have
“Once I didn’t tally the points correctly on a three-pointer, and
no idea that one student can jump so high, or another can be so
there was some yelling.” With a sigh, she adds tactfully, “Parents
aggressive.” She also sees different sides of teachers when they
can be intense.”
step onto the court to coach.
Olivadoti underscores the
“They can get more aggressive,
importance of letting children
use their bodies and the value
of sensory stimulation. She
Ms. Olivadoti, a 20-year
veteran of the school, keeps
believes many children benefit
time and score for two reasons:
from exercise before sitting
she wants her colleagues who
down to concentrate, while
have young children to be able
others are more focused when
to go home after work and be
exercise follows their academic
with their families, and she
work. Either way, she sees the
wants to maintain contact
balance as contributing to their
with the students she taught
success as adults.
as third graders. “I have watched them grow and develop. I
get to continue to see them, to keep these relationships alive. I
school. “My encouragement of their swimming was purely
get attached and don’t like to separate. My first group of third
selfish,” she admits. “We were surrounded by pools, and they
graders is 28 years old,” she says, smiling. This job as Clock Lady
needed to be good in the ocean.” She never dreamed they would
has evolved, she admits. “I went from one day a week to two days
swim competitively. “My response every time they stepped
a week to four days a week when I don’t get home before five
out of the water was the same: Were you happy with your
Polizzi’s commitment to Pegasus sports is strictly
Both of her daughters swam competitively during high
Vince Lombardi once said, “The price of success is hard
extracurricular. She grew up studying ballet and says the
work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that
closest she ever got to a team was when she watched her brother
whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves
compete. Athletics at Pegasus have grown. “There were no
to the task at hand.” Of course, he also was quoted as saying: “If
teams when I was in school here. But that was BMB (Before Mrs.
winning isn’t everything, then why do they keep score?”
Bridges),” she explains. “I think Pegasus is doing a great job now,
nurturing both the scholar and athlete. Students have to figure
the aegis of either team, Olivadoti and Polizzi are there to clock,
out that balance.”
record, support and cheer on the students.
Some sports, of course, require more of the Clock Ladies
than others. Polizzi says she has to be reminded each season of how to score each type of game. “Soccer is super easy,” she says.
However the score unfolds, whenever it occurs and under
Patty Seyburn is the Pegasus parent of Sydney (Grade 7) and Will (Grade 5). She is a poet and associate professor in the Department of English at California State University, Long Beach. Contact: email@example.com
PEGASUS MAGAZINE SPRING 2014
WHEREâ€™S THE PEGASUS? Every day brings new adventure on the Pegasus campus. Test your visual skills and see if you can find our Pegasus logo in this scene from one of our student-driven flag salutes. It just may be located on, or near you!
12 THE PEGASUS SCHOOL
PEGASUS MAGAZINE SPRING 2014
Anushka Bhaskar’14 Pushing for Change. by Anita Siddiqi
n a youth culture where time can be pinched and selfpreservation comes first, the genuinely selfless stands out. Meet Anushka Bhaskar.
Bhaskar, an eighth grader, is authentically altruistic and
bluntly driven. (It’s an effective combination.) Take for instance her involvement in the Huntington Beach plastic bag ban matter in 2013. Bhaskar argued to the Huntington Beach City Council on the importance of banning plastics bags in the city, citing the negative impact these bags have had on the environment. She came prepared and spoke with passion—tools developed and honed as a Pegasus debater. After several presentations alongside fellow students and staff, the ban went into effect.
Sure, it’s impressive. But it’s also impactful.
Fullerton, mom an AP Biology teacher — and profound role
With the help of Pam Conti, environmental science teacher,
models that Bhaskar never takes for granted. Her intrinsic knack
Bhaskar has presented scientific data to the Huntington Beach
for words — she learned to read at age two — was nurtured by
City Council four more times since then, each time arguing
her mother. By the age of three, she was writing words and, soon
to ban expanded polystyrene (a.k.a. Styrofoam). Her detailed
after, sentences. Any parent might recognize this quick learner/
testimony on the harm that Styrofoam inflicts on both local and
high achiever combination. But the Bhaskars took it further,
global ecosystems could convert even the most ardent supporter.
finding outside resources and ultimately Pegasus, to help their
“Anushka has been a tremendous asset to our marine pollution
daughter run with it.
elective, Algalita,” says Conti. “When she spoke in front of
the council, she was more poised, articulate, and intelligent
last year visiting family, Bhaskar read daily from the New
than most of the adult opponents in the room.” She wasn’t a
Delhi Times. (Her passion for reading and writing has now
student representative in a grown-up world; she was a citizen,
transcended the English language; she is diving into Hindi.) It
participating, pushing for change.
was during this trip that she came up with the idea to start a
student newspaper. While still there, she contacted Mr. Zurn
If Bhaskar’s knack for public speaking is chalked-up as just
While she was on a two-month summer vacation in India
one of her many “gifts,” it was gift given in part by her parents.
and Mr. Williamson and, like a true debater, provided the
Both of them are academicians — dad is a professor at Cal State
details necessary to demonstrate its viability. Just weeks after
14 THE PEGASUS SCHOOL
school began in the fall her concept turned into a nascent but
worried about looking cool or not; she is living a happy life.”
functioning publication. The Pegasus Flyer is now published three
times a year. It “employs” thirty middle school student members
toward Bhaskar, during lunch and after school. (She helps them
and a co-editor, classmate Amanda Miskell.
with homework, when she has time.) What motivates her? She
It’s impressive because of its impact.
covets knowledge. She talks about the importance of always
Since the beginning of her
time at Pegasus, Bhaskar has been remarkable both in academic record and authenticity in character. Her teachers rave about her. An unofficial survey of teachers, who
Teachers say they notice younger students gravitating
Bhaskar has been remarkable both in academic record and authenticity in character.
have experienced Bhaskar first-
understanding what she’s doing, not just getting it done. Of course, she aims for good grades, but learning is her goal.
Pam Conti: “Anushka is a leader,
a talented debater, and a dedicated environmentalist.”
hand, turns up a rare unanimity. No one points out that she is
Lisa Calvin, eighth grade science teacher: “Anushka’s
an “A” student (which she is), that she is a diligent and ethical
strength is her passion for learning.”
student (which she is), or that she humbly steps up to any
prowess or even love-of-learning. Her every action couples what
Instead, they say: She is genuinely kind. She is generous.
might be beneficial for her with what might be beneficial for
Julie Warren, seventh grade science teacher: “She inspires
others, like they’re inherently fused...two sides to the same coin,
Clearly there is more to Bhaskar’s abilities than intellectual
others with her enthusiasm. For her it’s not always about
a ying and a yang. It’s attractive, impactful and unquestionably
winning, it’s about learning and enjoying new opportunities.”
Anita Mahtani Siddiqi is the proud parent of Sahill (Grade 5), Ryyan (Grade 3) and Asher (Age 3). Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dustin Bridges, eighth grade math teacher: “She tries to
make the day enjoyable for all those around her. She is not
PEGASUS MAGAZINE SPRING 2014
Go Play! by Karla Joyce
his spring, a sizable group of visiting parents gathered in the middle school forum to learn more
about our middle school program and school culture before, possibly, submitting applications. To best articulate the essence of Pegasus, the Admission team had assembled a panel of diverse eighth graders to chat about classes, activities, student-faculty rapport, and peer fellowship…among much more.
The kids admirably depicted a robust
educational experience, but it was their resumes that really delivered. One student had argued successfully before the Huntington Beach city council; another held the coveted Golden Gavel from a recent debate; yet another crafted complex gadgetry, daily, in the open-door Dream Lab; and the “athlete” boasted a 24-7 schedule of competitive sports.
They prattled on about pursuing
passions (during lunchtime) and “making an impact” with such pristine optimism that even us believers — Pegasus parents with younger kids — bit.
A hand in the back row — an unfamiliar
face — shot up: “Do you play?”
16 THE PEGASUS SCHOOL
Bewilderment bounced back and forth between the faces of
every over-achieving adult and child in the room. “I play sports,” the burly boy reiterated.
“We hang with friends during lunch” explained another
on the panel. “We talk.” And, the debater added, if a student chooses to visit the lab or read or prep an argument during down time, they’re free to do so. “Which is play, in a sense.”
I must disclose that I have a thing for recess. One of my
favorite games in grade school was
Monkey Business: The Evolutionary Purpose of Play Ironically, the study of play is serious business. Dr. Stuart Brown of the National Institute for Play (NIFP) stumbled upon play research by discovering its absence in the life stories of murderers. He subsequently studied the relationship to play in thousands of people, spotting a strong correlation between success and playful activity. Alongside legendary primatologist, Jane Goodall, Brown observed animal play in the wild and developed a theory of play as a highly-
tetherball, and it is with pure kid-
evolved behavior important for the
immodesty that I declare: I was the
survival of animals, especially those of
best. Back in the seventies, if the rope
higher intelligence…like Pegasus students.
hit any part of your body, you were
out. Today, according to (my) two
experts abound, like Peter Gray,
Pegasus fifth-graders, the “ropey”
biological research professor at Boston
Who writes these rules?
I can recognize the Pegasus kids
College who explores the roles of play (and curiosity) as foundations for learning in his column in Psychology
like me — clock-watchers, waiting
Today. “Play,” he says, “is nature’s way
for recess — who must be first to the
of assuring that young mammals,
field, fully amped outdoors. But I see
including humans, will practice and
others visiting the guinea pigs, honing
become good at the skills they need to
PowerPoint presentations in tech-
develop in order to survive and thrive
lab, and taking thirty minutes to eat.
in their environments.”
With stunning reports about schools
banning balls during recess coupled with high-tech innovations, vying for attention, the idea of down time as a time for physical play is changing.
Just like puberty. We accept the
developmental deviations that occur during middle school as nature. Perhaps nature is involved in this fluid notion of play, particularly as we grow up. Maybe Mother Nature has her
As they get older, they start to gravitate toward new things on the playground, maybe even...new friends.
uniformity, and the educational power of triviality — a.k.a. play. Watching an early-morning pod of boys and girls hoisting
the smallest among them to the top of an eight-foot pole, feet and fists unabashedly working “together” to attach the rope and start play, I see..kids just playing. And, suddenly, it all makes sense.
This evolutionary connection
was developed 100 years ago in the
fanciful hand in the mysterious rule-changes, the utter lack of
But Brown is not alone. Play
books, The Play of Animals and The Play of Man by German naturalist, Karl Groos. Groos, triggered perhaps by then-contemporary Darwinian theory, recognized that animals, especially mammals, had to learn to use their own biological instincts. “Animals can not be said to play because they are young and frolicsome,” he wrote, “but
rather they have a period of youth in order to play.”
According to Gray, connecting play to its biological purpose
explains why young animals play more than older ones — they have more to learn. Like lion cubs or young gazelles or chimp children, human kids, when free to do so, play in ways that develop physical vigor, emotional fortitude, empathy, imagination, personal responsibility, and more...all skills critical for survival in a very adult world.
PEGASUS MAGAZINE SPRING 2014
“When they learn to control both in-play and between-play anger, they can keep playing. If they lose it or lash out, the play will end.” Adult life is riddled with anger-inducing situations, he reminds us. “Regulating our anger is a crucial life skill, so that it doesn’t lead us to behave in ways that harm others and ourselves.”
A purist like Gray might argue that observation and
intervention alters social relationships. “Learning can only occur in free play,” he says, “with no close supervision.” When adults are around to mediate, “they deprive children of the opportunity to learn how to protect themselves, resolve their own disputes, and regulate their own emotions.”
Safety-first say the TAs, but after that, they agree. In fact, it is
this very freedom that accelerates the transformation in type-
Blacktop Anthropologists Watching toddlers frolic, goal-free and unrestricted, it is easy to connect a particular budding skill set with choice of play, even when they overlap. From first steps and words, to the sandbox, taking turns at a single swing and dressing up, children play in ways that promote a full range of essentials falling loosely, but not mutually-exclusively, into six categories:
While the proficiencies associated with each type of play
are refined with age, sophistication (and sometimes conflict) emerges when free choice steers different kids with different needs in different directions. “Many of them have known each other since preschool,” explains Joanne Jareb, teacher’s assistant in Mrs. Bowman’s fifth grade classroom. “As they get older, they start to gravitate toward new things on the playground, maybe even...new friends.”
Standing watch at any time a child plays freely, Pegasus
teacher assistants (a.k.a. TAs) serve as a unique sort of scientific observer (with some admitted flaws in their methodology, like interference when necessary). According to Cathy Fosmire, teacher’s assistant to Mrs. Sarkin, emotions can erupt in third grade. “Arguments, spats...we see some of that at this age,” she admits. “We even see a few tears every now and then.”
But according to Gray, the spat is the point. When playing
children squabble, they are learning how to regulate anger.
18 THE PEGASUS SCHOOL
of-play as we approach middle school. Standing by observing is Yvonne Thornback, teacher’s assistant in Mrs. Vermeeren’s fifth grade classroom. “Dynamics definitely change as they get older,” says Thornback. “Around fifth grade, boys veer toward football and the girls get more social.”
No TA can say exactly who spearheads the flow from
wall ball to football or tetherball to gossip-pod in any given year, or how the rules of the games get so twisted. But they all acknowledge the emergence of alpha personalities during puberty. Cindy Lee, teacher’s assistant in Mrs. King’s fourth grade classroom, describes a “seasonal” change on the playground — from soccer to basketball to butts-up — and,
along with lower school director, Dan Rosenberg, attributes the flow to (possibly) P.E. curriculum. Lee echoes dozens of others when asked how, why, or exactly when it shifts: “I simply don’t know.”
But, she believes it is the sportiest boys who prompt it (which
implies, as a counter-weight, followers). “There is a hierarchy out there for sure, especially with the boys. There are guys who are more athletic, and others who are trying to fit in.”
Rosenberg sees it, too, but goes further. “While dynamics may
change slightly,” he elaborates, “I think it’s well before fifth grade that a good number of boys veer toward football — or the sport of the moment — and girls get more social. The key difference is more how they play rather than what they play, at least when comparing grades three through five.”
Patrice Vizzera sees alpha girls as the rule in middle school.
Vizzera, a teacher’s assistant in Devon Seifer’s sixth grade math class, roams the blacktop at lunch. “As they become adults, they become territorial.” She notices small pockets of kids drifting away, for privacy...and not just girls or just boys. “In fact, we have to worry about them noticing each other. If they’re talking that’s fine, but once I see them try to hold hands, then I step in.”
Recess is Freedom Perhaps the panel of eighth graders was at a loss to define play, because they never had. Today, they might still flit through a set of monkey bars instead of passing by, but only for nostalgia. And competition has usurped the simple game of catch. They’ve honed their reasoning in group-play, where rules beg to be bent. And, they’ve spent hours negotiating turns. They have recognized that their own needs and rights are no more valuable than are those of every other person.
The life skill left for refinement at thirteen and beyond is the
ability to balance responsibility and freedom.
So, with age, play becomes for some hanging out. That’s a cringe-
worthy idiom for many adults, but not Gray. He says, “Because it is an activity done for its own sake rather than for some conscious end outside of itself, people will see it as frivolous or trivial. But here is the paradoxical point: play’s educational power lies in its triviality.”
Education is the byproduct of foursquare in fourth grade; it’s also
the result of choosing to spend lunch talking, in middle school.
That woman who wondered whether our students were
successful at the expense of play was understandable, given the current culture of over-scheduled kids and performance anxiety. But it is more likely that the achievements of those Pegasus students are the result of free play regularly indulged, a few bumps on the blacktop, and a mastery of the basic skills necessary to survive and thrive...at least, in high school. PEGASUS MAGAZINE SPRING 2014
Creative Play in a Digital World An In-Depth Look at Video Gaming by Shalini Mattina
There’s been a significant shift in entertainment during the 21st century—one that involves the types of games our children play. This shift in gameplay is affecting the way our children learn, create, focus, solve problems, socialize and communicate. Unlike the typical outdoor and board games most of us played in our youth (hopscotch, tetherball, Hide-and-Seek, Monopoly, Battleship, etc.), these compelling new games allow our children access into a digital realm of interactive and imaginative play. Look closely into the broader, mass form of entertainment, and beyond… Video Gaming.
nline, PC and mobile gaming. Xbox, PlayStation and Wii consoles. Computer and video
games are taking over our screens and monitors—in our homes, on our mobile devices, at work, and yes, even in the
91% of children between the ages of 2-17 play digital games.
classroom. They are at the root of both
creativity, innovation, empathy and bigpicture thinking will be acknowledged and respected more. Design, Story, Symphony, Empathy, Play and Meaning are the skills critical to this Conceptual Age, and research shows that playing video games (otherwise referred to as
an economic and cultural revolution, and they are affecting the
“gaming”) can refine these skills. According to Pink, games are
futures of our tech savvy children. In fact, in
changing the way we think and when used in moderation, gaming
the United States alone, 91% of children between the ages of 2-17 play
can be beneficial to the future of our children.
Unlike the arcade, handheld and video games we played
during our youth (Pong, Centipede, Pac-Man, etc.), today’s digital games feature sophisticated scripts, realistic 3D graphics, and film-like cinematographic stories in a vast array of genres. A few examples of these games include Minecraft, Plants vs. Zombies, The Legend of Zelda, Madden NFL Football, and Super Mario 3D World. The combination of technology and creativity allows game developers to bring immeasurable images and storytelling to the screen, and lets players interact in virtual worlds and create their personal stories.
Daniel Pink, author of A Whole New Mind: Why Right Brainers
Will Rule the Future, explains how our world is moving from an “Information Age” toward a “Conceptual Age,” an era where
20 THE PEGASUS SCHOOL
What Happens in the Brain During Gameplay Since our brains are flexible organs, any type of stimulus can alter its wiring. Research reveals how playing certain genres of games changes the physical structure of the brain and causes specific reactions in different sections of the brain. After performing an action in a game that results in a reward, a player may experience a powerful sense of gratification. This is caused by the amount of dopamine, a neurotransmitter, released in the brain. The dopamine stimulates the brain to continue playing the game. The repeated actions of gameplay strengthen the brain cell connections responsible for memory and learning.
Speech, memory, movement, judgement; core for thinking, reasoning, emotions. Puzzle, strategy and similar games that require logical thinking activate this lobe.
Reading, language, sensation; center of intelligence. Real-time action games affect this section of the brain.
Behavior, hearing, memory, speech, vision. Action and first person shooter games stimulate the temporal lobe.
Controls vision. A wide genre of games can improve peripheral vision, navigational skills, and pattern recognition in this lobe.
Balance, coordination, fine muscle control. Strategy and action games trigger the cerebellum.
Reward, pleasure, motor function, compulsion, perseveration.
Mood, memory processing, sleep, cognition.
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How Games Build Skills to Succeed Gaming is more than entertainment. It is a resource tool for building strategies in business, a communication and therapy tool for children with autism, and a cognitive training tool to possibly detect and prevent Alzheimer’s disease. But, most relevant, gaming is an effective educational tool that develops critical skills in our youngest generation.
Creativity. Video game developer Ru Weerasuriya, Pegasus parent and co-founder and vice-president of Ready at Dawn Studios in Irvine, CA, believes video games are an art form and expand creativity through fascinating storylines.
During his childhood years growing up in Switzerland,
Weerasuriya enjoyed drawing and became fascinated with
Studies performed by the Brain and Learning Lab of
history. He began his career in the gaming industry while
Dr. Daphne Bavelier, University of Geneva professor and
working as a concept artist at Blizzard Entertainment, where he
cognitive neuroscientist, show how playing action games can
assisted in the development of Starcraft (real-time strategy game)
improve speed, concentration and cognitive skills such as object
and led the cinematic art direction for World of Warcraft (massively
tracking, focus, memory, multi-tasking and problem resolution.
multiplayer online role-playing game [MMORPG]).
On the flip side, excessive game playing (specifically,
At Ready at Dawn Studios, Weerasuriya produced God
high-action games) produces a decrease in prefrontal lobe
of War: Chains of Olympus (real-time strategy game), which is
activity, which can lead to an increase in aggressive thoughts
loosely based on Greek mythology. The game won him both
and negative behavior— addiction, impulsivity, anxiety,
the Academy Achievement Award and Game Developer’s
irritability—even after the game is turned off. Controversy still
Choice Award in 2008. His latest cinematographically styled
remains whether violent games actually trigger violent behavior.
masterpiece in the works, The Order: 1886 (action-adventure
game), takes place in an alternate Victorian-Era London where
A quick Internet search will reveal a countless assortment of
articles that weigh in on the pros and cons of gaming.
In the February 2014 issue of Psychology Today, Dr. Romeo
past history is intertwined with cutting-edge technology.
Fourth grader Max Milo enjoys playing Minecraft (action
Vitelli states: “Though many games have a violent content, they
role-playing game) because there is “no end to playing or specific
still provide players with an opportunity to learn social skills by
levels.” He enjoys the concept of building to survive and the red
focusing on cooperation with team members…More research is
stone circuit features, where he can build from his imagination
definitely needed, but there seems to be a strong potential value
and control his inventions.
of cooperative play in developing social behavior and curbing
antisocial thoughts and behaviors.”
Portal 2 (first-person platform game) and Mass Effect (action role-
Seventh grader Brian Dong prefers playing games such as
An article published in the April 2014 issue of Stanford
playing game) on his PC. He says, “Video games are a new way of
News indicates that Stanford engineers have developed a video
telling a story, like a book or a movie. They are more interactive,
game controller prototype that can sense brain activity, thus
and you can learn stories and morals by playing them.”
modifying gameplay to make the game more engaging, or on the reverse, toning down the game as a means to remind the player to take a break.
Education Gamification. In elementary and secondary schools, digital games are used as a learning tool inside the classroom for the direct intent of boosting abstract reasoning and problem-solving skills, in addition to promoting positive behavior and motivation. Gamification is the theory of using game-design concepts to non-game purposes in order to absorb users in solving problems.
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Quest to Learn, a public school in New York City for
students in grades 6-12, utilizes the process of gamification to engage students and maximize their potential in “systems thinking, creative problem-solving, collaboration, time management and identity formation.”
World Education Games, in partnership with UNICEF
and Samsung, challenges students to compete with their global
Game Developer Ready at Dawn Studios
counterparts. The online games boost learning while giving
students the opportunity to view how they measure up with
We need to educate our children and walk through the experience together.
the best in the world. Over five million students participate in World Literacy Day, World Maths Day and/or World Science Day.
Pegasus, too, incorporates educational games into its lower
school curriculum. The ST Math software program is hugely popular, and apps such as Stack the States, Reflex Math, Wordfeud,
Math Ninja, Draw It and Big Seed make learning fun for all students.
conversation that needs to be explored thoughtfully. I don’t find
What makes these games so appealing is the instantaneous
that many educational companies (such as Pearson, Houghton
feedback delivered to the student while playing. Children are
Mifflin) have done a good job exploring gamification as a real
encouraged to keep competing to advance to different levels and
educational tool. It’s an untapped market from the video
provided with “rewards” to increase their motivation.
Fifth grade teacher Shannon Vermeeren believes that
“With this generation, gamification of education is a
But some developers are trying. GlassLab, a non-profit video
regulated use of video games in education has great potential
game development group in Silicon Valley, recently launched
to assist students in learning, but it is still an area that needs
its first educational game that covers the Common Core and
further development in order to maximize its benefits of playing:
Next Generation Science Standards. The game, SimCityEDU:
A FEW FACTS ABOUT DIGITAL GAMING
OF AMERICANS PLAY VIDEO GAMES
AVERAGE AGE OF A
68% 63% 36% PLAY GAMES ON THEIR GAME CONSOLE
PLAY GAMES ON THEIR PC
PLAY GAMES ON THEIR SMARTPHONE
PLAY GAMES WITH OTHERS, IN-PERSON OR ONLINE
THE AVERAGE HOUSEHOLD OWNS AT LEAST ONE GAME CONSOLE, PC OR SMARTPHONE
GAME PLAYER IS
ARE UNDER THE AGE OF 18 YEARS
PLAY GAMES WITH THEIR FRIENDS
52% OF PARENTS SAY VIDEO GAMES ARE A POSITIVE PART OF THEIR CHILD’S LIFE
PLAY GAMES WITH THEIR PARENTS
Infographics represent statistics comprised from the Educational Software Association (ESA) 2013 Sales, Demographic and Usage Data, Essential Facts About the Computer and Video Game Industry guide
PEGASUS MAGAZINE SPRING 2014
Pollution Challenge!, takes real-world environmental problems and challenges students to develop solutions. The Lab is currently developing a series of educational games and has partnered with big names in the educational research, testing and game developer industries including: Electronic Arts (EA: Games), Educational Testing Service (ETS), and Pearson’s Center for Digital Data, Analytics and Adaptive Learning.
General Manager Cie Games
Building Confidence. Dr. Jane McGonigal, visionary game designer and author of the New York Times bestseller,
Games are an expression of creativity and sharing creativity.
Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World, says that “in the game world, we are most likely to feel less like failures because we can keep trying again to experience an ‘epic win.’” When a gamer achieves that level of exhilaration, confidence is reached. McGonigal believes that playing video games can increase four types of resiliency—physical, mental, emotional, and social.
Researchers from Stanford University agree; studies show
actually help him play better on the field. “When I play FIFA,” he says, “I learn different strategies that I can play in real life. You can turn your imagination into a reality.”
that when gamers create a personal alter ego, an “avatar,” in
Communication and Teamwork. Many games
games, they feel more courageous and ambitious. Avatars help to
offer multiplayer options to connect with family and friends,
connect the gamer with the character in the game and the gamer
whether sitting side by side or chatting online. Together, players
soon takes on the behavior of that character. The adoption of the
can build, explore, collect resources, and solve problems in their
devised physical and behavioral traits of the avatar can actually
digital world—skills that can be applied in the real world.
help our children overcome fears and possibly inspire them to
take on leadership roles.
Game Shack, established the largest interactive game center
in 2005 “as a means for people to come together and play in a
Seventh grader Alex Desbans plays sports games, such as
Howard Makler, Pegasus parent and founder of Howie’s
FIFA 13 and FIFA 14, on his Xbox. He is an avid soccer player
positive environment.” Tournaments at Howie’s have become
outside of academics and claims that the FIFA video games
a bustling social environment not only for players, but for
24 THE PEGASUS SCHOOL
spectators, as well. Gamers unite from within the four Howie’s locations to compete for prizes.
The rise of tournament playing became the core of a cultural
and economic revolution globally during the late 1990s. In 1998, Blizzard Entertainment in Irvine, CA, released StarCraft,
THE EVOLUTION OF GAMING Magnavox, Atari, Sega, Mattel, Nintendo and Microsoft are big brand names that changed history in the digital world and influenced us to play an array of video game genres.
gained massive popularity in South Korea during its severe
Early designs of video game consoles paved the development of today’s complex machines. Originally, the word “video game” derived as a result of computer research in artificial intelligence and other forms of computer science.
economic crisis, helping the country to increase its finances—
Below is a brief timeline of video game history:
a military sci-fi real-time strategy game. The multi-player game
Internet cafés and game sales reached their peak. Millions of players joined together online to participate, socialize and consort themselves into “clans” with others. Throughout the years StarCraft has become a national sport in South Korea and has led the nation to create professional teams and worldwide tournaments. Today, the South Korean game market is worth $9.16 billion.
Critical Thinking. Real-time and fast-paced strategy games can foster the ability to think quickly and objectively,
Nuclear scientist Edward U. Condon devises the computer, Nimatron, which played the first strategy-type game, Nim, at the New York’s World’s Fair Westinghouse. The first true video game, Spacewar!, a shooter game, is created.
and learn from former mistakes. Players acquire new methods to achieve their overall goals while learning their strengths and weaknesses to improve.
The findings of Dr. Brian Glass from Queen Mary University
of London, School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, reveal
Magnavox releases Odyssey, the first home game system, based on Baer’s designs.
that playing real-time strategy games can “promote our ability to think on the fly and learn from past mistakes...cognitive
flexibility, a cornerstone of human intelligence, is not a static trait but can be trained and improved using fun learning tools like gaming.”
Angry Birds, Crush the Castle and Ninja Dogs are a few games that
Mattel introduces electronic handheld games with a new console, Intellivision.
promote critical thinking skills and perseverance by enticing players to solve problems in order to reach the next level. The games challenge players to evaluate, observe, plan and apply new
ideas learned and more to advance through each level.
Seventh graders Hannah Romeo and Elena Plumb like
playing Flappy Bird and Frozen Free Fall on their iPads or iPhones to
Education software rises.
pass time away or when they are not with their friends. Plumb says Flappy Bird “is addicting because you want to keep beating your high score.” Romeo says Frozen Free Fall is appealing to her because it is a puzzle game.
Fifth grader Will Stauffer is intrigued with the iOS and
Android game, Plague Inc., a strategy-simulation game where he must choose plagues and viruses to infect certain parts of the world before humans find a cure. James Vaughan, developer of the game, spoke at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last year about how Plague Inc. can be used as an educational tool to inform the public about infectious diseases.
The first Xbox is introduced.
A series of strategic war games are developed to aid the United States military in its study of simulated military exercises.
Ralph H Baer invents the first video game console, Brown Box, which could easily connect to a television. Basic games such as tennis and ping-pong were played on this device. Atari introduces its home version of Pong and releases the Video Computer System (Atari 2600), which featured a joystick, interchangeable cartridges, games in color and controls for choosing games and difficulty levels. The Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), the Commodore and Sega evolve, along with Pac-Man, Mario Bros, Donkey Kong and Final Fantasy games. Fantasy role playing games are introduced. Sony releases PlayStation in the United States.
Playstation 4, Xbox 360 and Wii remain at the forefront.
Timeline represents information collected from Time.com, “A History of Video Game Consoles,” and The International Center for the History of Electronic Games® (ICHEG). PEGASUS MAGAZINE SPRING 2014
PHOTO COURTESY OF DEREK LYONS, HOWIE’S GAME SHACK
CEO Howie’s Game Shack
Gaming is socializing in an organized setting, sharing the same space together.
Matt Nutt, Pegasus parent and vice-president of business
If online social games such as Facebook’s Farmville can teach
development and operations at Cie Games, Long Beach,
farming and sustainability and Half the Sky Movement: The Game
CA, believes that games can be used to “solve problems by
can raise awareness and funds to empower girls globally, think
empowering people to make decisions on their own, as well as
of the impact such games will have on each if we collaborate
a means to express and share creativity.” Cie Games is a leading
and apply knowledge learned to reality. Perhaps we will create
developer and publisher of social, mobile and online games. Cie
and/or improve our own sustainable garden, or take action to
produces CarTown, Car Town Streets and Racing Rivals, games that
network across the world to keep women and girls safe.
assist in hand-eye coordination and allow users to “design” their
own personal cars and race with other players.
homes. Big tech companies like Sony and Oculus VR (acquired
by Facebook) have already developed the initial prototypes of
Jeanine Chen, mother to third grader Jaden, allows her
Gaming is going beyond the platforms we have in our
son to play Minecraft, Asphalt 8 (racing game) and Angry Bird
virtual reality (VR) headsets, designed to amplify the user’s
Kart (free-to-play game) on the family’s iPad, PC or iPhone. She
gaming experience. Gamers can be transported into a riveting
says that gaming has helped Jaden “not only understand and
and very realistic virtual world, where they have the ability to
become efficient on computers, but also with reading, spelling,
touch and interact with settings and characters. What if we used
vocabulary and comprehension.”
VR games to overcome our fear of the ocean through the eyes of
Games and the Future
a scuba diver, or explore the anatomy of the human body while performing a surgery, or maybe visit a third world country and
McGonigal asks, “What if we started to live our real lives like
unite with others to end the hunger crisis?
gamers, lead our real businesses and communities like game
designers, and think about solving real-world problems like
Oculus Rift, give people the ability to do the impossible. We can
computer and video game theorists?”
train for something entirely without any chance of getting hurt.
Virtual reality is where everyone can come together.”
So how can we begin? Pick up that controller and game with
Gamification has been utilized in education, business,
finance, and health and fitness industries, but what if we extend this process even further? Naturally, we become motivated by our emotions. If we are provided with opportunities to reach success and make a difference in our environment, we are going to want to work hard to experience the results.
26 THE PEGASUS SCHOOL
Seventh grader, Max Roth, says, “VR headsets, such as the
your children. Shalini Mattina is the Associate Director of Advancement, Marketing, and the mother of Kai Kasserman (Grade 6). Before researching for this article, she was not engaged in digital games. Now, she plays Dance Dance Revolution with Kai and friends on the Xbox 360 and looks forward to more gaming opportunities. Contact: email@example.com
Pegasus Student Interests As part of the Spring Benefit Student Masterpiece project, volunteers polled 567 students in pre-K through grade eight to learn about what things they liked and activities they enjoyed.
TOP 21 STUDENT INTERESTS 318 TIME WITH FAMILY 120 SOCCER PLAYING GAMES
97 LEARNING 85 FOOTBALL
ENJOY TIME WITH FAMILY
83 FRIENDS 81 ICE CREAM 81 SCIENCE
THINGS STUDENTS LIKE TO DO WITH FAMILY
70 BASKETBALL SHOPPING
64 ART 56 TENNIS 50 READING
45 HANGING OUT 45 SWIMMING 44 BASEBALL
42 LEGOS SPORTS
40 DANCE 37 CHOCOLATE 35 CAKE
21 VIDEO GAMES
TOP 10 GAMES STUDENTS PLAY
MINECRAFT CARDS VIDEO GAME
SKYLANDERS SORRY VIDEO GAME
GAME OF LIFE
PEGASUS MAGAZINE SPRING 2014
The Toy That Changed Everything by Marrie Stone
Seven years ago, Steve Jobs unveiled the device that changed the way we live our lives: The way we communicate, educate, entertain, work, date, relate, and play. Children in lower school will not remember a world without the iPhone. Even adults struggle to imagine their days without it.
A few months back, while out to dinner with my daughter
The data on children (specifically children under
age eight) is where it becomes interesting. After all,
and husband, we walked
what nine-month old needs an iPhone? They can
by a table of eight, their
barely hold it. But they can swipe it.
heads collectively bowed in
what I assumed was prayer. It quickly became clear they
Common Sense Media, a nonprofit firm that
studies the effects of media and technology on children, tracked families with children and their
were all bowing to a different god. “No iPhones
use of mobile media between the years 2011 and
at dinner” became my new rule, but it’s hard to
2013. In 2011, only 8% of families owned an iPad
follow, even for me. Someone’s phone often sits
or equivalent tablet device. In 2013 that number
buzzing between us, or a question comes up that
increased to 40%. Smartphone numbers are similar.
could soon be settled, or my daughter needs to do
As for mobile apps, that number is staggering,
homework that requires the device. When did this
too. On December 31, 2013, at 11:59 p.m., Flurry
happen? More important, are we better off? The
Analytics reported a record 4.7 billion app sessions
first is easier to answer than the second.
in a single day, reaching a total of 1.126 trillion
sessions in 2013.
The iPhone, unlike other slick new toys, isn’t a
The Way of Play
gadget reserved for the wealthy, and while it
Much like the debate at the turn of the last century
undergoes constant change, it isn’t going away.
regarding whether cars were more dangerous
In 2012, Apple sold 340,000 iPhones per day. That
than horses, the question of whether screen time
number increased to more than 375,000 the next
is appropriate for infants and toddlers misses the
year. That’s four iPhones sold per second, every
point. The genie has long left the bottle. Or, as Steve
second, all year long.
Jobs may have preferred, the worm has crawled
28 THE PEGASUS SCHOOL
out of the apple. Because the iPhone, or a close
relative, is here to stay, it’s worthwhile to analyze the
back to myself,” she says. “Its presence comforts
way it’s changed our children’s play.
me, not only because of the connection information
it archives of my contacts, but also because it
The iPhone is seductive. It’s bright and shiny,
“The entire purpose of the iPhone is to reflect me
slick and small enough to feel good in the hand,
has become my most intimate personal digital
thin enough for a back pocket, with a liquid crystal
companion. It is more consistently
display, impeccable sound, and a camera that
present for me, and with me,
rivals most on the market. There are games geared
than any human could ever
for the very young—an iPhone case that doubles
be. It amuses
as a teething toy, an app that reminds your toddler
it’s time to use the toilet, and a variety of games to
entertain them while they do. There’s even a $40 iPotty for iPad (the iPhone’s close cousin), which physically attaches the device to the child’s toilet. Imagine this new generation so integrated with their gadgets, they are born programming their own biological functions.
The interface is friendly and colorful and,
more importantly, interactive. Children aren’t typing—they’re swiping and pointing and dragging. They’re physically and mentally immersing themselves in the device. The way of play, the how of play, is eerily reminiscent of the “Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer” in Neal Stephenson’s 1995 book The Diamond Age, which looks astonishingly like an iPad.
As infants become toddlers, the toy not only
teaches shapes and colors, it teaches them to sign and talk in any language they choose. Their behavior adapts to the toy; they instinctively know what to touch, shake, and say. The iPhone talks back. Now it’s becoming more than any toy or device— it’s becoming a friend. A place they turn when they’re lonely or bored, when they’re lost, when they need you.
Man’s New Best Friend In her essay, “I Phone, I Learn,” Anne Salsamo observes that the iPhone is the ideal technological embodiment of the perfect mother.
PEGASUS MAGAZINE SPRING 2014
reassures me, educates me, surprises me, hijacks
rehearsals or sailing lessons. It’s like having my
me, soothes me, angers me, delights me, amplifies
friends—and my mom—in my pocket.”
me, connects me, reflects me.”
In an informal survey of Pegasus middle school students, some said their
The effect of the iPhone’s playful nature is to
entice the user in whatever way interests them most, record that data, and give them more. In other words, the gadget is getting to know the user
iPhone makes them
as much as the user is getting to know the gadget.
feel safe. They know
So begins the “singularity,” a term coined by the
they can’t get lost. They
science fiction writer Vernor Vinge, which describes
know they can always
the point at which technological change not only
call. This generation
outpaces our ability to apprehend it, but also to do
of children doesn’t have
anything about it. It’s a topic frequently discussed
the freedom of movement
by Ray Kurzweil, futurist and director of engineering
around the neighborhood
at Google. In his book The Singularity is Near, Kurzweil forecasts a time when the human mind will meld with the machine, when the device will be barely distinguishable from the body. That future isn’t far off.
The Benefits of Connectivity Media scholar Henry Jenkins has coined the term “prosumer” to describe this generation of young, tech-savvy students who are forming a “participatory culture.” In participatory culture, “young people creatively respond to a plethora their parents enjoyed, so they’re dependent on their device for the autonomy and independence necessary to grow up, and to stay in touch with friends. “I don’t always have time for playdates on the weekends,” says seventh grader Isabelle Meegan. “And my
ways that surprise their makers, finding meanings and identities never meant to be there and defying simple nostrums that bewail the manipulation or passivity of ‘consumers.’”
In other words, our kids are no longer passively
consuming technology by simply watching TV or listening to music. They are actively participating in creating culture. Their writing can be published, their movies watched, their music listened to, and their ideas heard, all in an instant. They aren’t
friends aren’t in my
experiencing the barriers to entry of previous
neighborhood. But I can
generations, and this freedom is giving them an
still FaceTime with them on the way to orchestra
30 THE PEGASUS SCHOOL
of electronic signals and cultural commodities in
innate sense of power.
For a generation of children who aren’t allowed to play
outside unsupervised, the iPhone is more than a book, television, or toy. It offers access to a whole world that has been, in some respect, physically inaccessible to our youth.
The Dark Side of Dependence The dark side of the tech-savvy kid is the digitally dependent child. Last year, the UK reported that many of their youngest technology consumers were becoming pathologically dependent on their gadgets, spending up to four hours a day in addictive play. The youngest known patient is a 4-year old girl whose parents enrolled her in behavioral cognitive therapy last year after she became “distressed and inconsolable when the iPad was taken away.” The doctor treating the child reported that young addicts experience the same withdrawal symptoms as alcoholics or heroin addicts.
The Telegraph in London stated that parents are paying
more than $26,000 (US) for a 28-day “digital detox” program. This in response to what U.K. psychiatrists report as a 30% increase in the number of people who have becoming digitally dependent over the past three years.
Now What? It’s difficult to draw conclusions while we’re still identifying all the issues. Ask almost anyone, and their own feelings about their relationship with the device are conflicted. It’s an age of technological ambivalence. We feel more connected, but are we more alone? We have access to more information, but are we smarter? Our friends may be in our pockets, but are our friendships more shallow? If we restrict our kids’ use, will they get left behind? One thing is clear—we have taken a collective byte out of the forbidden fruit, and our world will never be the same. Marrie Stone is the Director of Public Affairs and co-host of “Writers on Writing” at KUCI, 88.9 FM and the mother of Haley Rovner (Grade 7). Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
PEGASUS MAGAZINE SPRING 2014
How to Feed
An Eighth Grader’s Perspective by Amanda Miskell
In a climate such as Ghana’s, the dry season can prove
the UN World
especially difficult for crops, and in Crossover’s case, the
ground has never been fertile. These two factors mean that at
certain times of the year there is a food shortage for the children
in eight people worldwide
living at the school. After this year’s particularly devastating
are hungry. In Africa
dry season, the non-profit organization, Wings for Crossover,
alone, that proportion
founded by Pegasus parent, Chad Cooper (see page 6), along
doubles to one in four,
with Pegasus middle school students, came up with a course of
with a total estimate of
action that had the potential to solve Crossover’s food problem,
238 million people lacking
as well as ensure a sustainable future. The plan: to raise money
the food they need to
for and build an aquaponics system at Crossover that would
survive. Numbers like
grow enough crops to nourish its 275 students without ever
these are frightening to anybody but, to a Pegasus student, they
are a call for change. When coupled with an inspired social
studies teacher, an international connection driven by the fuel of education, and the agricultural and technological innovation known as “aquaponics,” that call for change becomes a plan of action.
For the past three years, Mr. Jim Conti’s eighth grade social
studies class has maintained a pen-pal-style relationship with the Crossover International Academy, a school in Ghana for
So how does it work? Aquaponics is a combination of hydroponics — the process of growing plants in nutrient-rich water instead of soil — and fish-farming. By recycling both the output of a tilapia farm and the nutrient-drained water of hydroponic plants, the particular set-up chosen for Crossover forms a sort of “closed-loop” system.
orphaned children run by David Yayravi. Last year, Mr. Conti
PEGASUS STUDENTS, AT WORK
and his students raised money to provide the two-classroom
One of the great things about this project is that Pegasus middle
school with a water filter, a tool which has been of supreme
school students were involved in every step of development—up
value to them. This year, students chose to address an even
to the actual construction of the system—from brainstorming
bigger issue for the kids at Crossover: hunger.
and researching to budgeting and fundraising. Eighth graders
32 THE PEGASUS SCHOOL
used their Global Issues elective to investigate different
don’t have the things we take for granted. The great thing about
aquaponics companies and examine pricing, taking into account
building an aquaponics system at Crossover is that it’s a simple
size, crop range, and maintenance requirements. Additionally,
process for us that can do really incredible things for them.”
under the guidance of teachers Mr. Conti, Mrs. Conti, and
Mrs. Harrelson, students ran awareness campaigns through
have on the world, or in some way we doubt our ability to make
social media, held booths at community events to gather funds,
change. With their massive stores of creativity and imagination,
and sold hand-made items to support the cause. (Wings for
children are often the strongest source of belief in the seemingly
Crossover’s official slogan is “Students helping students.” It is
impossible, which also makes them great agents of change.
a concept that clearly stood its ground throughout the entire
World leaders could learn quite a bit from Pegasus students—
and children everywhere.
As of the end of February, Crossover Academy successfully
Eighth grader Patrick Aimone says it best: “This aquaponics
completed installment of their brand-new 60,000-plant
project has had a lasting effect on students at Pegasus and at
aquaponics system and a 27,000 gallon fish tank, which should
Crossover. For them, we’ve provided a sustainable food source;
produce enough to feed the students, as well as create a small
for us, we’ve learned that there’s no excuse. There’s no excuse
profit on the side from selling excess.
for refusing help to other people, for we’ve learned that where
there’s a will, there’s a way, and where the ability and inclination
When asked to reflect upon the importance of this project, eighth grader Kinsale Hueston remarked, “Often, with our lives here, we forget that people in other places or other countries
PHOTO COURTESY OF DAVID YAYRAVI, CROSSOVER INTERNATIONAL ACADEMY
At one point or another, we all question the impact we can
to give to others exists, an opportunity will present itself.” Amanda Miskell is involved at Pegasus through debate, Algalita and Girl Scouts. In April, she won the Golden Gavel award duting the Middle School Public Debate Program (MSPDP) National Tournament. Amanda is passionate about global and environmental issues. She aspires to be a writer in the years to come.
PEGASUS MAGAZINE SPRING 2014
THOSE WHO SOAR
THE KANT INSTITUTE
DARE to Know An Interview with Founders Adin Dobkin ’08 and Andrew Mather ’08 by Marrie Stone
egasus alumni Adin Dobkin ’08 and
work at The Institute mirrors what I’m doing in other
Andrew Mather ’08 are more than childhood
areas of my life. Meeting with administrative and
friends. They are co-founders of The Kant
Congressional members is an awesome experience.
Institute (“The Institute”), an innovative think tank
Negotiating with them about our cause is even
that strives to create a collaborative platform of
better,” he says.
big thinkers with the joint goal of enacting positive
changes to public policy.
expertise differs. Currently a student at Stanford
University, Mather is the COO of The Institute. He is
Dobkin, an Adjunct Fellow of the American
Mather shares his enthusiasm, although his
Security Project in Washington, D.C., and a political
proficient in computer science, programming and
consultant at de Beaufort Group (in-between
economics, with additional experience in financial
studying for a B.S. in Economics from American
management and investment strategies. His primary
University), is the CEO of The Institute. In addition to
focus at The Institute is overseeing fellowships and
being engaging and articulate, Dobkin is passionate
research projects. The Institute can be found at
about politics. “Getting our message out and making
a tangible difference is unbelievable. Much of my
34 THE PEGASUS SCHOOL
What is The Kant Institute and what
that kept appearing time and
politics, but the desire to enact
inspired its formation?
again in our discussions was a root
change. Equally important is our
cause that created the problems
administrative team and support
words, a think tank. It’s a term
we were hoping to solve. More
network. Ultimately, the more
that’s thrown around often, but
often than not, that root cause
people we meet and discuss our
not really understood. Our work
was education. It’s practically
ideas with, the more successful our
revolves around informing and
omnipresent in domestic political
shifting public discussion as it
issues. Our current three-
relates to policy. In practice, this
pronged approach to education
means writing briefings, meeting
policy involves the creation of
with legislators, interacting with
a 21st century curriculum, the
media, and a whole host of other
development of adequate
things. Whatever it takes to get our
infrastructure, and the integration
word across and maximize
of educational technology.
In the shortest number of
Talk about the role The Pegasus School, and any of its teachers or courses, played in igniting your interest in politics and policy concerns. What seeds from your Pegasus education are most helpful in your current role(s)?
Talk about the synergistic
How does the Institute differ from
relationship between the two
so many of our first forays into this
other think tanks, and what makes
of you, what makes you a
area — both during our education
this organization unique?
strong team and what unique
there and once we left. Mrs.
elements you each bring to the
Wilder honed our writing skills. Mr.
policy is often times the best way
Conti’s mock trial experiences
to enact change on a broad
perfected our persuasive
scale, the best individuals to
things for success: the ability
speaking. The foundation that
develop that policy are frequently
to communicate with and to
was created as a result of our time
found outside Capitol Hill. Not all
influence strategic partners,
spent there was a critical measure
of our Fellows have experience
and to source people with an
to so many things down the road.
developing legislation on an
unparalleled desire to see their
issue, but all have a ‘big idea’
big idea make an impact. We’re
that they’re passionate about
an ideal match in terms of both
developing. Our administrative
personal qualities and location.
We’re of the mindset that while
team works with them to find
This model requires two
Pegasus paved the way for
Is there anything the Pegasus community can do, as a whole or individually, to assist the Institute?
We believe both Pegasus
What types of individuals or firms
parents and administrators share
are you hoping to involve? What
many of our personal values, as
traits, experiences or expertise
well as the values of The Institute.
The Institute is primarily focused
does the Institute look for when
Much of our current momentum,
on issues surrounding education.
as well as the potential for future
Talk about how that arena
momentum, rely upon meeting
became your focal point and
this organization is that its success
new and interested people.
what you hope to accomplish.
is supported by the active citizen
Anything from sharing your
just as much as the involved
thoughts with us to becoming
expertise at The Institute and
legislator. We look for people with
a partner in our venture is an
even varying levels of practical
a passion and a big idea who
interaction we couldn’t be
political know-how. One thing
aren’t weighed down by party
happier to have.
the best way to see that idea to fruition.
We all have different sets of
One of the great things about
PEGASUS MAGAZINE SPRING 2014
Chad Bailey ’95 with his wife Megan, son Colby and daughter Bridget.
Don Ayres ’03 with his mother, Sandra.
Stephanie Teazis ’09 chose to dedicate herself this year to service in Uganda, Ghana, South Africa, Peru, Nepal, and Thailand.
women’s and children’s wear company.
Chad Bailey and his family live in Lake
Toni’s designs for knit intarsia and
Forest, and Chad is the chief marketing
prints will be featured in their Spring/
officer at Robeks Corporation which
Summer 2014 show and are now being
is the premier, industry-leading fresh
sold in stores. She is designing a holiday
juice and smoothie chain in the world
children’s wear collection with European
with over 200 restaurants worldwide.
flare for her senior Fashion Show this
Between family time, commuting and
year. After graduation, Toni-Marie plans
working, Chad recently enjoyed speaking
to design children’s knitwear or attend
engagements at Variety magazine’s
graduate school in London. In her limited
MASSIVE Conference on Consumer
spare time Toni loves to bake Greek
Brand Marketing, and he will be speaking
desserts and spend time with family.
at another industry event, the Fast Casual
Executive Summit, in October.
2003 Don Ayres returned to California from SMU after completing his BS in Real Estate Finance and MS in Accounting. He works as a real estate analyst for HFF in their Irvine office. He lives in Newport Heights with his Pegasus/Sage friends, Cameron Stuart ’03 and Taylor Moore ‘03. Sandra shares that she is still enjoying the ride with husband Don III and her boys, Don IV and Ethan ‘06.
Toni-Marie Koulos ’06 will earn her degree in Fashion Design in June from Drexel University.
Toni-Marie Koulos graduated from Woodrow Wilson Classical High School in 2010 and recemtly graduated from Drexel University with a degree in Fashion Design. In 2012, Toni-Marie studied abroad in Florence, Italy at Accademia Italiana where she focused on tailoring and designed a coat that was featured in Drexel University’s Annual Fashion Show. She then completed a six month internship at Milly NY, a high end
36 THE PEGASUS SCHOOL
Penelope Koulos ’08 is a dance and kinesiology major at the University of Michigan.
Penelope Koulos graduated Valedictorian in 2012 from Woodrow Wilson Classical
Shelby Bolen ’09 catches up with Mr. and Mrs. Bridges and Pegasus 7th and 8th graders when the group visited Boston during Spring Break.
Kevin Kassel ’09, 2013 Wings of Honor recipient, was honored at Pegasus at a recent luncheon and Middle School Community meeting. He’s pictured with his parents, Lisa and Dan.
Terrin Morris ’10 recently visited Pegasus faculty, including Mr. Stockman.
High School. She now attends University
life skills. Stephanie shared that Coach
Wyatt Robertson will be attending
of Michigan where she is a dance and
Tyler was her inspiration as her primary
Harvard University in the fall. He recently
kinesiology double major. As a member
objective was to positively impact as many
volunteered his time at the 2014 Spring
of the highly acclaimed “Big Blue” Dance
children’s lives as possible. Currently
Benefit, “Wig Out” for Pegasus.
team, Penelope performs throughout
Stephanie is visiting Australia with
the year at all of Michigan’s football and
another service volunteer and will attend
basketball games. She placed in the top
college in San Diego next year.
10, in Jazz and Hip Hop, at the College Dance Team National Championships in Orlando, Florida. A member of Delta Delta Delta sorority, Penelope is involved
St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital and locally
year at USC, where he is studying
with the Mott Children’s Hospital.
molecular biology and business. He
College where she is double majoring in economics and math, with a minor in political science. This summer Meghan will be interning at the White House for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
2009 Stephanie Teazis graduated from Huntington Beach High School last year and dedicated herself this year to
attending UCLA in the fall.
recently finished her freshman year at
Kevin Kassel is completing his freshman
her sophomore year at Williams
year at Foothill High School and will be
Shelby Bolen, a communications major,
in the sorority’s philanthropy efforts for
Meghan Vunnamadala is finishing
Douglas Schneider completed his senior
has accomplished amazing work in mobilizing individuals and companies to bring water purification methods to those suffering with waterborn diseases in remote parts of the world. Last year, Kassel was recognized as a 2013 Top
Jack Williamson ’10 will be attending Yale in the fall 2014.
Graduate by the OC Register and was also featured in the Daily Pilot.
2010 Lauren Balfour recently graduated from the Orange County School of the Arts (OCSA) and will be studying acting at
Jack Williamson decided to make Yale University his home for the next four years. The Sage Hill School student body president and varsity basketball player had myriad college choices, but the
Emerson College in the fall.
moment he stepped on the Yale campus in
Peru, Nepal, and Thailand. Stephanie
Terrin Morris will be heading to Auburn
place for him.
worked with children, including orphans,
University this fall. She plans to major in
in every country. She volunteered at
service in Uganda, Ghana, South Africa,
New Haven he just knew it was the right
schools teaching English, nutrition and PEGASUS MAGAZINE SPRING 2014
Congratulations to Wyatt Robertson ’10 on his acceptance to the Harvard University Class of 2018…not a coincidence that Wyatt was dressed in crimson red when he visited Pegasus to share the good news!
Douglas Schneider ’10 stopped by the Pegasus field to say hello to Coaches Charles Tyler and BJ Crabtree.
Jessica Harris ’12, a student at Corona Del Mar High School, recently visited to say hello to faculty, staff and students.
Ryan Harrison ’13 received the Good Citizenship Medal from Estancia High School and was honored at the 64th Annual DAR Student Awards for the Newport-Mesa Unified School District. His grandmother attended the award ceremony.
Darius Lam’13 has been accepted to Phillips Academy Andover where he will begin his sophomore year in fall 2014.
Jamie Ostmann ’13 (right) assisted the Pegasus Algalita students and Mrs. Pam Conti (left) during Algalita’s 2014 Plastic Ocean Pollution Solution (POPS) International Youth Summit, held at The Ocean Institute in Dana Point. Ostmann had the pleasure of meeting musician and environmental activist, Jack Johnson (center).
Ryan Harrison’13 (left) and Jamie Ostmann ’13 volunteered at the 2014 Wig Out for Pegasus Spring Benefit.
2013 Cameron Patten, who plays soccer for Mater Dei High School, recently shared words of wisdom and worked out with the Pegasus Lady Thunder soccer team. Ryan Harrison enjoyed his freshman year at Estancia High School where he took a full load of honors classes, including AP human geography. He played for the Eagles’ football and baseball teams. In April, Ryan was honored at the 64th Annual DAR Student Awards for the Newport-Mesa Unified School District. Ryan was the young man selected from the freshman class to be awarded the Good Citizenship Medal for his outstanding qualities of citizenship and leadership within his school and community. Jamie Ostmann works closely with the Pegasus Algalita team and assists Mrs. Conti and students in their efforts to rid beaches and oceans of polluting debris. Darius Lam will be attending Phillips Academy Andover for his sophomore year in the fall. A recipient of one of Andover’s highly coveted Oscar Tang Scholarships, Darius is looking forward to attending the 236 year-old boarding school in Andover, Massachusetts. Lucky for his classmates, there is a piano in every dorm! 38 THE PEGASUS SCHOOL
In recognition of our 30 year milestone, we devote this page from our 25th Anniversary Tribute Book to the memory of our founder, Dr. Laura Hathaway.
PEGASUS MAGAZINE SPRING 2014
NONPROFIT ORG. U.S. POSTAGE PAID HUNT. BEACH, CA PERMIT NO. 421
19692 Lexington Lane Huntington Beach, CA 92646 www.thepegasusschool.org
June 10 End of Year Celebration June 11 Last Day of School Moving Up Exercises Graduation June 23 - August 1 Camp Pegasus September 2 First Day of School