The Unquowa School's 2021 Annual Report

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Annual Report 2020-2021

Thank You For Your Support! Support!

The Unquowa School Annual Report 2020 - 2021 “The mission of The Unquowa School is to develop, educate and prepare our family of children with an unafraid spirit to achieve their personal best in a changing world.”

from the Board President

Annual Report 2020-2021

The 20’- 21’ school year was one of challenges and perseverance. The uncertainty brought on by the Covid pandemic required the leadership at Unquowa to make decisions that they believed allowed them to offer the best and safest learning environment for our students, faculty and staff. During the course of the year, the board worked with Ms. Lauer to ensure we had sufficient capital to add additional resources in staffing, online communication-related equipment and services, and health and safety facilities. Attracting new students to Unquowa is traditionally a very personal process. Parents and children visit the school, children do a “Take-a-Look” day and are permitted to see and experience the unique and robust learning environment we offer. Because this process was entirely virtual for prospective families last year, we were understandably concerned about new enrollment. The board supported additional marketing funds to reach out to new families moving to the area and local families whose current school experiences were not meeting their needs or expectations. Unquowa’s ability to provide a full in-school experience coupled with our reputation for academic excellence and educating the whole child allowed us to attract many new families to the school. The board took measures throughout the year to manage operating costs, take advantage of supplemental Covidrelated funds, and optimize our endowment and investment portfolios. These measures resulted in Unquowa finishing the year in an even stronger financial position. This combined with our Fund for Unquowa (annual fund) exceeding its fundraising goal allowed us to make significant improvements and enhancements to the campus and facilities. As we steer into our 104th year, we are grateful to our entire Unquowa community for their incredible support, resilience, perseverance, and generosity. Through a challenging year, we have remained strong and focused on our mission. The future is in our care. Joan Panagos, Board of Governors President Mother of Lucy’16, Lola’17 and Lily’19

from the Head of School

During the 2020-21 school year, I tried to keep the solemn warning of James Baldwin in my head - “Not everything that’s faced can be changed but nothing can be changed that isn’t faced.” And so it was that my faculty, executive board and I worked weekly over the past year to face the changes we needed to make so that our school could open every day, with both safety and vigorous learning as our goals. I’m happy to say that we were able to do just that… and more. Finding ourselves almost a third of the way through the 2021-22 school year, our new goal is not only to respond thoughtfully and concretely to what looks like the possible tail end of the pandemic but also to take time to evaluate measures that we’ve put into place for pandemic mitigation that we’ve found to be brilliant practices and to keep them in place - things that are academic, social and simply operational. Two years ago at the 2019 Annual Meeting, when we could not yet have imagined the global pandemic and racial justice challenges that would come only a few months later in the spring of 2020, I began my remarks by reading the poem “Of Hope and History” by the late Miller Williams. Written in 1999, Williams’ poem presciently focused on our democracy’s need to address equality and justice for all, and warned us as adults that we must keep our eyes on this goal as the “long gift” we owe our children, children whose own “eyes are already set on a land we will never visit”. Over the past decade and a half, our school has constantly re-examined both the innovative programming that serves as a framework for and the campus facilities that support that programming to provide our children with the “long gift” of unafraid spirit.

The Future is in Our Care

Annual Report 2020-2021 Just a few of the ways in which we have been able to return to or add to such programming this year have been: ~ Our return to lunch in our school’s true family-style Farm to Fork dining room, to our powerful format of in-person weekly community assemblies where 8th graders are able to address their younger schoolmates, to athletic competition with other Fairchester independent schools and to our school’s full performing arts program, which one month from this writing will bring Winter Festival back to our stage and gymnasium and in the spring will host our Upper School Musical. ~ Our new participation in the Yale University/Grace Farms Life Worth Living Program which will allow our 8th graders and their teachers to explore such questions as: what is worth wanting, to whom do I answer and what does it mean for life to go well? Alums from eighteen to eighty-eight continue to express pride in their school’s direction, a direction derived from and clarified by Unquowa’s century-old mission “to develop, educate and prepare our family of children with an unafraid spirit to achieve their personal best in a changing world,” a mission that was formed to serve students during a world pandemic over a hundred years ago and whose bedrock concept has impressively continued to do so through the past year and a half as we faced the impact of yet another pandemic and work to be part of the positive conversation around social justice as well. We continue to tweak our robust Humanities curriculum which engenders Socratic dialogue skills and social awareness by partnering it with our Inclusivity, Diversity, Equity and Anti-Racism programming so that we can continue to help our students understand the implications of a global pandemic and a call for true social justice, as well as becoming active citizen participants in the overwhelming environmental challenges of our planet. As a result of these efforts, we have seen our highest re-enrollment percentages in memory this past spring and new enrollment this fall that has been above our projected number. Our school will go through its ten-year re-accreditation this coming spring and our broad self-study goal, as a twentyfirst century progressive school that remains child-centric, is to work with our families to guide children on their path to becoming adults who are personally happy, who are engaged in meaningful work and who are ethical. Focusing on this goal, I think about a second quote that has continued to give me inspiration through these challenging months. It is a quote from the poet Emily Dickinson, perhaps the most famous and willing of shelterers, who wrote, “Life is a spell so exquisite that everything conspires to break it.” Finding ourselves a third of the way through a second year of responding to the unknown path of this global pandemic and the challenge of much needed social justice, it has been through the continued financial guidance of our tireless and visionary Board of Governors, the ceaseless energy, grit and skill of a talented and loving team of teachers and staff, a committed group of parents who continue to hold hands with those teachers to keep their kids in school and to support our faculty and staff in ways both practical and emotional, and finally the continued generosity of Unquowa’s parents present and past, grandparents present and past, alumni and a larger steadfast community of friends that we have been able to successfully face this year’s continued challenges and to carefully and thoughtfully protect “the exquisite spell of life” we have here at Unquowa from being broken by any and all conspiring forces. We are here to teach kids how to live well in the world: to experience the mystery and satisfaction of learning, to understand the power of collaborative intellectual achievement, to find their own voices and to make ethical decisions along the way. I want to offer my sincere gratitude to those of you who understand the importance of our work and who help us to make it possible. I am inspired to be spending this 2021-22 school year with our children, with my faculty and staff, and with all of you. Sharon Lauer, Head Of School


The Future is in Our Care

Annual Report 2020-2021

from the Treasurer

I am pleased to report another successful year financially for the Unquowa School. For the fiscal year ending June 30, 2021, we continued multi-year improvements both financially and physically. Revenues from all sources again exceeded expenses in the past fiscal year. This gave us the ability to invest nearly $150 thousand dollars in the building to make the school both a healthier and happier place. Excellent attention to keeping expenses within or below budgeted ranges was evident across all parts of the Unquowa Community. The Finance Committee continues to focus on key variables and risks so we can identify potential challenges to Unquowa’s financial foundation. The Unquowa School’s leadership team took strategic action to address changing realities of the economy and demographics both to area independent schools and the State of Connecticut, and we benefitted from those strategies. The Admissions Office worked hard to improve the school’s brand awareness to prospective parents and to expand the school’s enrollment catchment area. This has resulted in strong Admissions statistics for both 2020-21 and the current fiscal year with an accompanying improvement in tuition revenues. The Second Century Campaign for Endowment, along with a notable increase in grant revenue, resulted in growth of the school’s endowment and non-restricted reserves, which are now over $1.9 million. Parent giving via The Fund for Unquowa and the overall support from the Unquowa Parents Association continue to play a vital role in bridging the gap between tuition and what it costs to provide a diverse education environment for all our students at Unquowa. Building on the experience and know-how of its first 104 years, our school remains excited to execute our plans for the future. With your support, Unquowa will remain well positioned for continued financial growth and success in an everchanging Connecticut. I hope you will continue to help us achieve our goals. Karl Martone, Board of Governors Treasurer Father of Max’09

The Future is in Our Care

Annual Report 2020-2021


With the theme of “In This Together” for the 2020-2021 school year, our amazing community linked arms and showed up with unwavering generosity. With gifts totaling over $180,000, our school was unquestionably“Feeling the Love.” Each year, the Fund for Unquowa provides vital support for programming, financial aid, student activities, professional development and salaries. This past year, the Fund’s “In this 100%” parent challenge helped Unquowa meet the demands of a pandemic school year. The Fund purchased student Chromebooks, built a very popular basketball court and set up outside classrooms. Reorganization of our operational floorplan and renovations throughout our campus were undertaken, including a new Health Office and new Faculty/Staff Room. None of these improvements would have been possible without your commitment to the Fund for Unquowa. What an incredible and supportive community! On behalf of every student, faculty member and the Board - we are deeply grateful and hope that knowing the impact of your generosity brings you great joy. Please keep us as your philanthropic priority and help us fund a bright, exciting and fulfilling future for the Unquowa School.

Melody Waterhouse, 2021 The Fund For Unquowa Co Chair Mother of Lara, Gr.7 and Max, Gr.5

Total $188,158 - From July 1, 2020 through June 30 2021 1917 FOUNDERS’ SOCIETY ($10,000 TO $14,999) Estate of Richard McKinley III Grabe Family Foundation John & Ellen Levinson Elizabeth McCance Steven and Joan Panagos The McCance Foundation Alexander Thomson and Katie Shields Thomson

THE WINTERFEST SOCIETY ($5,000 TO $9,999) Athena and Daniel Adamson David Cooper and Charis San Antonio Cooper Steven and Sandra Frost Paul and Ellen Greenberg Bill and Beth Krueger Philipp Kusche and Melody Waterhouse Maggie Lehnerd-Reilly and Kerry Reilly Tim Lewis and Alisyn Camerota David and Elizabeth McKinnis Will and Alison Roberts The Midvale Foundation David and Heather Winkelmann

THE BROOK SOCIETY ($2,500 TO $4,999)

Rahul Ghai and Priyanka Singh Mark and Sara Greenawalt Matthew and Rachel Kelley Peter Lanni and Cornelia Gallo, M.D. Matt and Gail Smith State Street Foundation Peter and Jo Toolan, Aryn and Rebekah Wadadli

THE GARDEN CIRCLE ($1,250 TO $2,499) Peter and Bridgett di Bonaventura Michael and Jennifer Dooher Sharon Lauer and Jerry Joseph Jeffrey and Rosalind Looby Eric and Betsy Price

Mike Scotto and Vicki Hornbostel Michael and Karen Speller Alan and Debbie Steckler United Way of Central & Northeastern Connecticut Visa Inc.


Bruce G. Lockhart Scholarship Fund Henry duPont ‘81 Charles and Margaret Farinella Bowman and Jennifer Garrett Michael Higgins Christopher and Melissa Howe Stephen and Gina Jones Dan and Crissy Kelly Gedas Keras and Giedre Kere Craig and Jennifer Knebel Amber and Alex Leykikh MacAllaster Family Foundation Brian and Sharon Miles Nor’ Easter Foundation (Henry duPont ‘81) Joe Saint and Elizabeth Hayes George Wheeler Seeley ‘53 Sheila Clancy Sandra and Michael Srihari Rev. Cecily Stoddard Stranahan ‘47 Gregory and Hilary Tanner Bojana and Michael Weatherly Stephen and Doni Wisdom

THE GATOR SOCIETY ($350 TO $749) Eric and Lisa Broder Richard and Janice Cerone Elizabeth and Harris Falk Ariana and Luke Ferrandino Michael and Kusumarn Fleming David and Jennifer Gruen Frank and Jennie Gulden Diana Haskell Haskell Family Foundation Jennifer and Christopher Anto Daniel Lincoln(deceased)

MasterCard Inc. Saral and Heidi Mehra Jacqui and John Mudre Mona Mulvey Lily Panagos ‘19 Lola Panagos ‘17 Lucy Panagos ‘16 Patricia(Caira) and Shane Herlet Vivian Perez Scott and Laurie Renzulli Scott and Julianne Seymour Tara Tanzer Kevin Taylor Ted Morton Photography Christian and Jessica Toebe Jenah and Jack Yeung David and Katie Zorub

FRIENDSOF UNQUOWA (UP TO $349) Claire Abate ‘14 Steve Aikenhead ‘54 Michele and Andrew Ames Andrew and Gina Arnold Natasha Auguste-Williams Ernesto and Faith Barbuto Mary and Joe Benoit Jr. Victoria Benoit and William Ackley Joseph and Jan Bevan Bob Blasko Christian and Sara Brebbia Elizabeth W. Brew Boyd ‘70 Jonathan C. Brew ‘72 Samantha Brownlow ‘07 Shantay Bullock and Roderick Taylor Enrico Cacciatore and Kathryn Ingram Cacciatore Susanna Carrillo and Andrew Foote Peggy and Phillip Chappell Cameron and Alexander Choniski Chris and Hillary Onthank Edward B. Christie ‘74 Robert and Deborah Colantuoni Katharine Corti and William Cooper John and Mary Curran Bradford and Seena Cushman

The Future is in Our Care

Annual Report 2020-2021 Marlon and Karin Dale Eric W. G. Dawson ‘76 Sandro and Ivona De Carvalho Teresa de Carvalho Maureen and Djibril Diallo Donald and Karlene Hylton Denny Dumbwizi Sr. and Belinda Chibbonta Henry duPont ‘50 Dion and Rachelle Ehrlich Michael and Lauren Ehrlich Ryan and Marianna Erenhouse Carlos Esteves and Corti Cooper Matthew Evans Michelle Feeney Felix and Olivia Charney Tarell and April Floyd Marcus and Deanna Forman Jennifer Frascatore Michael Frascatore Lauren Gabriele and Steve Diforio ‘98 Carolyn Gaines Ruckle and James Ruckle ‘53 Paul and Diane Galasso George and Chriss Gombos Douglas and Daneen Grabe Richard T. Harriss, III ‘52 Sandy and Kate Haviland William and Jean Ann Heise ‘55 and Robert Hobbie Charles and Shelby Hodgkins IBM International Foundation James and Maria Mulvehill Brooke Jones ‘18 Kelly Jones ‘19 Judith and Joseph Clark Gerard and Shannon Kavanaugh Tré Kayumba and Hannah Onchak Wendy Kerr Charles and Megan Kirk Virginia Klein Barry Kresch and Leslie Miller Peter and Atty. Rachel Kushel Evan Lawrence ‘68 Leah (Gambal) and Santiago Alfageme Debbie and Brian Leidlein Shelley Levi and Kevin Sorhaindo Lillian and Matthew Raben David and Sharon Mack Karl and Lynn Martone Bruce and Sally McDermott ‘09 Lloyd and Kathy Mitchell Paula Moloney Ralph Money and Laura Babala Richard and Kathy Mongelluzzo Paul and Megan Mountcastle Michael and Monica Murray Daniela Ami and Bruce Musser Ashley Nechaev Vincent and Donna O’Hara Celiane Oliveria and Marcos Borges Ade and Joann Omisore Ann Palm Lysandra Pamias Anna Panagos-Chandler Ginger Parsons Joan Phillips

Kim and Neil Phillips Victoria Polito ‘91 Robin and William Pompa Tim and Krissy Ponden ‘95 Ruth Powell Sarah and Ross Raggio Philip and Ruth Reed Natalia Rojas-Restrepo and Alexander Rojas Ruth Munson David Ryan and Susan Breen Mary Jo Scott Mrs.Serrano Olivia Seymour ‘14 Rebecca Shepard ‘49 David Spiecher and Alicia Levy Suzanne and James Spiecher Max Spitzer ‘06 Lee Streett ‘51 Sankar and Subhashree Sunder Susan Amble Deborah Sylvestro Trevor and Lisa Sylvestro Lorraine and George Tanner Stanley and June Topar John Trainer John Richard Turner ‘48 Anthony and Jenna Venditto Shabiroon Vereen and Woodrow Vereen Jr. Voya Financial Jessica Wolf Linda Ziac


Claire Abate ‘14 Steve Aikenhead ‘54 Elizabeth W. Brew Boyd ‘70 Jonathan C. Brew ‘72 Samantha Brownlow ‘07 Edward B. Christie ‘74 Eric W. G. Dawson ‘76 Henry duPont ‘50 Lauren Gabriele and Steve Diforio ‘98 Carolyn Gaines Ruckle and James Ruckle ‘53 Richard T. Harriss, III ‘52 William and Jean Ann Heise ‘55 Brooke Jones ‘18 Kelly Jones ‘19 Evan Lawrence ‘68 Bruce and Sally McDermott ‘09 Lily Panagos ‘19 Lola Panagos ‘17 Lucy Panagos ‘16 Victoria Polito ‘91 George Wheeler Seeley ‘53 Olivia Seymour ‘14 Rebecca Shepard ‘49 Max Spitzer ‘06 Rev. Cecily Stoddard Stranahan ‘47 Lee Streett ‘51 John Richard Turner ‘48


Estate of Richard McKinley III Grabe Family Foundation Bruce G. Lockhart Scholarship Fund Haskell Family Foundation IBM International Foundation MasterCard Inc. The McCance Foundation Ted Morton Photograghy Nor’ Easter Foundation (Henry duPont ‘81) United Way Of Central & Northeastern Connecticut State Street Foundation Visa Inc. Voya Financial


The Winkelmann Family The Stuart Family Robert Hurwitz Genevieve Lau Margaret & Charles Farinella Chasey Allen Patrick Sikes(Patrick Sikes Photography) Dr. Bojana Jankovic Weatherly, MD Jo Toolan Peter Toolan(Benebone) The Yeung Family Diana Haskell (Diana Haskell Photography) Pamela Einarson (Pamela Einarson Photography) Sara Brebbia The Kavanaugh Family Breen-Ryan Family Ginger Parsons Sandra and Michael Srihari Luke and Ariana Ferrandino The Malkin Family The Venditto Family Alisyn Camerota Bridgett Di Bonaventura Di Bonaventura Family Frost Family Tanner Family Kavanaugh Family Miguel Pamias The Ackley Family (Prepared Collaborativeness) Mary and Joe Benoit David Plant Heidi Schmenk Shannon Vaughn (The Stand Vegan Café) Rachel Reinhardt (Rachel Reinhardt Jewelry) David Devendorf (Nantucket Kitchen Design) Amy Kahn Russell Ginger Richardson Melody Waterhouse Jessica Toebe

The Future is in Our Care

Annual Report 2020-2021

GRANDPARENTS .......................... IN HONOR OF Teresa de Carvalho...........................................Dominic de Carvalho, Sofia de Carvalho, Olivia de Carvalho William Cooper and Kit Corti.........................William Esteves Cooper(Grade 3) & Micah Esteves Cooper(Grade 1) Mona Mulvey…..............................................Katherine Viteretto‘10 Paul and Diane Galasso…...............................Ava Sylvestro(Grade 6) Charles and Shelby Hodgkins….....................Rose Choniski Shelley Levi and Kevin Sorhaindo................. Archer Venditto(Kindergarten), Anthony Venditto III(Grade 4) Linda Ziac…....................................................Jacklynn Ackley(Grade 2), Samantha Ackley(Grade 3) Sharon Lauer and Jerry Joseph..............….....Vivian Kelley(Grade 5) Dion and Rachelle Ehrlich…..........................Cassidy Ehrlich(Grade 1), Beckett Ehrlich Phil and Ruth Reed…......................................Ashlee Kirk(Grade 4), Ethan Kirk(Grade 7) Richard and Kathy Mongelluzzo….................Olivia Albenze‘12, Rachel Albenze‘15 Mary Jo Scott.........................................…......Alex Renzulli‘21, Samantha Renzulli‘18 Virginia Klein…..............................................Halie Perkins‘19 James and Suzanne Spiecher…..................….Jaxon Spiecher(Grade 2) Joseph and Jan Bevan…..................................Dylan McCormick‘16 Deborah Sylvestro……....................................Ava Sylvestro(Grade 6) Anna Panagos-Chandler............................ ......Lily Panagos‘19, Lola Panagos‘17, Lucy Panagos‘16 Matthew Evans.......................................... ......Dylan Phillips‘21 Joan Phillips.............................................. ......Dylan Phillips‘21 John Trainer.....................................................Sebastian Kerr Mary and Joe Benoit Jr....................................Jacklynn Ackley(Grade 2), Samantha Ackley(Grade 3)

Unquowa Parents’ Association

During the 2020-21 school year, countless parent volunteers in the Unquowa Parents’ Association came together to raise funds to support their children’s school while promoting events and activities to strengthen the connections among our students, families and faculty. Their extraordinarily successful fundraising efforts supported both traditions and innovation and impacted every child and every classroom. Funds raised by the UPA helped to underwrite a wide range of activities and events throughout the year - SpringFest, & spring musicals, teacher appreciation, commencement, yearbooks for every student, custom sweatshirts for 8th grade(in lieu of socials) & much more. A Giving Tree Challenge from the Board of Governors at the Spring Gala & Auction raised an additional $50,000 for financial aid.

Total UPA Net Profits July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021 - $64,920 Unquowa Autumn Wine Event....................... $3,160 Celebrate Unquowa Gala & Auction...........$66,540 Gator Goods Gift Shop..................................$740

The Future is in Our Care

Annual Report 2020-2021

Unquowa’s founding Headmistress, Virginia Birdsall (second from left) with the school’s first faculty in 1917.

The Unquowa School Endowment Total as of June 30, 2021 $1,843,210

When Unquowa celebrated its first 100 years during the 2017-18 school year, the Board launched the Second Century Campaign for Endowment in an effort to dramatically strengthen the school’s financial foundation. A strong endowment is vital to every independent school. Endowment funds, some of which are restricted, are carefully invested so that a portion of earnings each year will provide critical resources to the school and it’s students. A healthy endowment protects against the potential impact of future market or enrollment fluctuations and ensures unwavering support for curriculum, innovative programming, financial aid commitments and faculty.

NAMED ENDOWMENT FUNDS AT UNQUOWA Created with endowment gifts of $25,000 or more Proceeds from family funds may be directed by the donor towards an area of interest at the school or may be unrestricted for the school’s leadership to determine where they are needed most. We are so grateful to these donors who have already established Named Funds in Unquowa’s endowment.

~ The Brewer and Beach Family Fund ~ Friends of Maria Taylor Fund ~ The Alan ‘53 and Arthur ‘54 Kornblut Endowed Fund for Tuition Support ~ The Russo Family Fund ~ The Jean Carpenter Winton ‘34 Endowment Fund

The Future is in Our Care

Legacy Giving Society

Annual Report 2020-2021

Our celebration of The Unquowa School’s first 100 years is a chance to look back...and to look ahead. As alumni, parents, grandparents and faculty came together to mark this historic milestone, we had both the opportunity and responsibility to launch Unquowa’s second century from a position of financial strength. Established in 2012, Unquowa’s Carl Churchill Legacy Giving Society is named for the school’s longest sitting headmaster. Mr. Churchill’s twenty year tenure shaped the early years of Unquowa’s history and laid the firm foundation for its progressive philosophy. Legacy giving offers a unique level of long-term security that strengthens Unquowa’s financial foundation for the future. As with all giving to the school, donors have the option of directing a legacy gift towards an area at the school that they are passionate about or leaving it unrestricted for the school’s leadership to determine where it is needed most. We are so grateful to these dedicated families who have made a bequest to Unquowa in their wills or whose family has established a legacy gift in their name to support the school for years to come. Please let us know if you have made a bequest to Unquowa so that we can thank you and recognize you as a member of the Carl Churchill Legacy Giving Society. ~ Steve Aikenhead, ‘54 ~ Georgiana Brewer Beach,* ‘26 ~ Kate and Sandy Haviland, Charlie ‘10, Grace ‘13 ~ Craig Knebel, current faculty ~ Bruce G. Lockhart,* ‘48 ~ Norman Morse,* ‘33 ~ Joan and Steve Panagos, Lucy ‘16, Lola ‘17, Lily ‘19 ~ Ruth Powell, former faculty ~ Carolyn Gaines Ruckle, ‘53 ~ Jean Carpenter Winton,* ‘34 A variety of legacy giving methods are available at Unquowa and each offers a different path that can be taken to support the school while providing possible tax and inheritance benefits to the donor and their family. Since the school is not in a position to provide financial advice, if you are considering making a planned legacy gift, we strongly urge you to discuss these options with your financial advisor. Together we are making Unquowa stronger for the students who are here now and for those who will join the Unquowa family in the future. On behalf of all of them, thank you. To learn more, visit the Giving section of the school’s website or contact Janice Cerone in the Business Office at 203-362-2561 or * deceased We have carefully reviewed the names listed in this report but recognize that errors may still occur. Please accept our sincere apology if your name has been omitted, misspelled or incorrectly listed. So we may correct our records, please notify Jacqui Mudre, Advancement Associate at

The Future is in Our Care