THE WHEEL 37.2 Fall/Winter 2018

Page 1



Stronger Together


Letter from the Head of School








Golf Tournament Winners


Student Writing


Family Portrait


Classroom Happenings

BOARD OF TRUSTEES 2018–2019 Catharine M. Cathey ’81, President Ralph J. Artuso ’71, Vice President Paul A. Hannah, Treasurer Lisa R. Frederick ’87, Secretary


Alumni Updates


Portrait of a Class


Staff Profile

Nathaniel D. DeRose ’97, Esq. Kristin A. Durkan Eric E. Elek, C.F.P. Edward Gaskey Pallavi Jain James A. Macintosh John McConnell Ryan J. McHugh Edward Morgan Stephanie A. Van Norman


A Day in the Life at Valley

Jonathan P. Strecker, Ed.D., Ex Officio


Alumnus Profile


New Faces


Uncommon Results


Annual Report


Thank You!

On the cover:6th-grader, Fintan Vallely, and 5th-grader, Benjamin Holsopple, make music together. After this photo was taken, Ben shared his thoughts about the joys of playing in the orchestra. “When all the instruments play together it sounds beautiful. It makes me happy to hear the music with everybody in sync. If I miss a note, it feels good that my friends can carry me through it. I can also do that for them. It’s like giving and getting a gift! What I’m saying, is that it’s all about teamwork!”

CONTRIBUTORS Jessica Barbera, Editor Katelyn Bruzda Maria DeCrosta Sandi Fryer Rick Kanuch Karen Koza Cindy Palmer Brandon Snyder ’08 Jeff Snyder Sharon Snyder Candy Springer Jonathan Strecker Jessi Yates Valley School Faculty & Staff PHOTOGRAPHY Jordan Good, Lovelight Photography Valley School Faculty and Staff GRAPHIC DESIGN Wall-to-Wall Studios PRINTING Unity Printing

Dear Valley School families and friends, THE MEASURE OF ANY GREAT SCHOOL is the ability and willingness of the faculty and staff to continuously better themselves in the theories and practices of intellectual growth, social collaboration, emotional well-being, moral development, and physical health. As an example of Valley School’s commitment to professional and personal improvement, faculty and administration recently met to discuss the theory of positivity. As a group, we watched a video by Shawn Achor, Harvard graduate, and author of the Happiness Advantage and Before Happiness. Achor postulates that contrary to the popular belief that happiness is the consequence of a person’s external world and circumstances, happiness is more a state of mind than a collection of achievements. When studying students at Harvard, Achor was surprised to find that despite having been admitted to Harvard—what many would consider the epitome of academic success—within two weeks of beginning school, many students were feeling stressed, depressed, anxious, and negative about their circumstances. “How can this be when we are at Harvard?” wondered Achor. “If Harvard represents the ultimate achievement in college placement, why are the students anything less than ecstatic?” This experience ignited Achor’s interest in positive psychology, the study of what qualities enable individuals and communities to thrive. Over the course of more than a decade, Achor has studied the virtues that are the best predictors of a person’s feelings of meaningfulness and fulfillment. His research, and the research of other academicians like him, reveals something that the Valley School faculty and staff already understood at an intuitive, if not conscious, level: happiness is a matter of the state of mind we keep. How your brain processes the world is a greater indicator of happiness than your material possessions or accomplishments. It is also a greater indicator of success than IQ. Optimism, social support, and the ability to view stress as a challenge, rather than a roadblock, are the qualities that best predict a person’s success. In other words, happiness breeds success, not the inverse. In fact, the brain performs

better when in a positive state than a negative one. Dopamine stimulates the learning centers in the brain. Intelligence, creativity, and productivity rise when a person’s mindset is positive. That is true for children as well as adults. The questions for us, at our faculty and staff meeting, became “how do we help our students benefit from what we know about positivity? How do we bequeath positivity to them?” The realization was quick, and lies in the power each of us have to spread happiness. Fortunately, positivity is contagious, and so it is within our ability to create and disseminate it all around. Acts of kindness, compassionate words, and smiles might be free, but their value is immense. As a school, we model positive thinking and positive relationships. We notice and draw attention to the good. At Valley School, we are well situated to do these things, because each of us benefits every day from an intangible advantage. It’s something easier to feel than describe, and it has to do with the shared sense that anything is possible. Our children are full of potential; we are full of potential. The faculty, staff, and administration of the school truly believe this, and this optimistic certainty permeates every classroom. Consequently, our children flourish academically, socially, and emotionally. They say it takes a village. The Valley School community is a strong, determined, and optimistic village. I’m proud of the work that all of us do here every day to create, nurture, and maintain our culture of positivity. It is, undeniably, a beautiful and happy endeavor.

Warm Regards,

Dr. Jonathan Strecker HEAD OF SCHOOL





FEB. 5


Winter Recess

6:00 p.m. | Auction and Art Show

5:30 p.m. | Chinese New Year Celebration at St. Vincent College FEB. 21

8:30 a.m. | State of the School Address 7:00 p.m. | School Musical 1:00 p.m. | School Musical (open to the public) MARCH 18–29


6th grade to Wallops Island, V.A. 7th grade to Williamsburg, V.A. 8th grade to Washington, D.C. JUNE 3

10:00 a.m. | Active Learning Day

1:30 p.m. | 8th grade Moving On Ceremony



GrandFriends’ Day



Dr. Deborah Gilboa lecture series

MAY 29


10:30 a.m. | Final Awards Ceremony 12:30 p.m. | Sports Day

7:00p.m. | Upper School Spring Concert


MAY 23

JUNE 10–28

9th grade to Spain

Spring Recess

Graduation 10:30 a.m. SOAR Summer Camps *Some dates may be subject to change. Please check website for up-to-date information.

HOMEWORK First grader, Max Juliussen, gets an A+ for completing last issue’s homework! He and his family spread their wings and flew all the way to Italy this summer. The Colosseum and Palatine Hill in Rome, and Positano on the Amalfi Coast were the Juliussen’s favorite spots!



ASSIGNMENT DUE NEXT TIME: Owls are usually solitary, but when they are seen together, they are referred to properly as a “parliament.” If you’ve spent time with your Valley School friends, please share your parliament photos with us. Let’s see those Valley Owl wings!

EVENTS Fall Tournament & Homecoming

In September, Valley School families and friends gathered on the upper fields to cheer on the Valley Owls in the annual Fall Tournament. While our athletes sweated it out in the competition, younger children played games, snacked on concession stand sundries, and enjoyed the face painting and activity booths. Under the Homecoming tent, alumni had the opportunity to visit and reminisce over a special lunch catered just for them.

Gettysburg Trip 8th-grade students

inaugurated the school year by traveling to Gettysburg to visit the National Military Park and Museum, where they experienced an overnight of camping, bonding, storytelling, and learning about the American Civil War. The students went screen-free for the duration of the trip, and spent a lot of time thinking and journaling about what they learned on the historic battlefields. Their writing exercises served as an opportunity for them to imaginatively engage the soldiers and civilians who lived through the Civil War.

Caldecott Day Caldecott Day is an

annual tradition at Valley School, during which 4th-grade students present and read award-winning children’s books to local preschoolers. The reading program is designed to benefit all children who participate and attend. 4th-graders select books and practice reading them aloud with appropriate intonation and performative qualities, which teaches them important presentation skills, builds confidence, and develops leadership qualities. The younger children enjoy a cozy morning in the library with a “big kid” who is enthusiastic about reading, and excited to talk about what can be observed in and learned from the texts. The interaction teaches both age groups about relating to others, social engagement, and the joys of reading.

Fort Days This year, Valley School participated in Fort Ligonier Days in multiple ways. We sponsored a booth in the Child and Family Services Block, volunteered at the 5K and Cannonball Dash, and of course, entered our float in the parade. Many Valley School faculty, administration, and families attended the festival, and it was heartwarming to see so many people from our community involved. Special thanks to our students and families who helped represent Valley School!

Halloween Every year, Valley School out-Halloweens itself, and this year was no exception. The Harry Potter theme was spectacularly over-the-top. Faculty and staff went all out recreating characters and scenarios from the fantastical book series. As part of the festivities, students were divided into Hogwarts houses, and competed against one another in potionmaking, broomstick-flying, and spellcasting contests. Screenagers We were thrilled to have a

robust attendance at our public screening of physician and filmmaker Delaney Ruston’s documentary, Screenagers. Ruston’s film examines the effects of tech time on children’s development, and how adults can empower kids to navigate the digital world and maintain a healthy mental balance. Afterward, local experts led a Q & A panel session to further explore the topics presented in the film.

World Kindness Day In November, we celebrated World Kindness Day. Valley School is a kind place anyway—good deeds, acts of service, and good will are everyday occurrences—but for World Kindness Day, the 8th-grade class decided to teach their schoolmates about “the kindness boomerang,” the principle by which one act of kindness leads to another and another and another. To illustrate the concept, the 8th-graders scripted, directed, filmed, and edited a Valley Kindness Boomerang video. Then, they presented it to the entire school in the hope of inspiring acts of kindness throughout the year. Author Visit and Book Fair

Also, in late November, Valley School was excited to host a visit from historian, architect, and artist, Steven N. Patricia. Mr. Patricia spent time with 6th-9th grade students teaching them about his work, which often depicts scientific, architectural, and historic subjects—real people, places, objects, and events. In the evening, he made an appearance at Barnes and Noble in Greensburg to sign copies of his book, And the World Went Dark: An Illustrated Interpretation of the Great War. During the hours Mr. Patricia was at the bookstore, The Valley School handbell choir performed. Shoppers enjoyed the talents of our student musicians, and their purchases supported Valley School.




Friends of Valley School Golf Tournament A little rain—No, a lot of rain—didn’t stop the 127 intrepid golf enthusiasts who participated in the 14th Annual Friends of Valley School Golf Tournament. Thank you to everyone who helped with and played in the tournament this year!


Individuals: LOW NET (MEN): Jacob Artuso ’10, Construction Engineering Consultants LOW NET (WOMEN) Dee Lowery, FirstEnergy STRAIGHTEST DRIVE Kurt Kuyat CLOSEST TO THE PIN, Hole 5 John Maggio, Transamerica CLOSEST TO THE PIN, Hole 8 Dan Kennedy CLOSEST TO THE PIN, Hole 14 Bill Dunn

CLOSEST TO THE PIN, Hole 17 Michael Cunningham, Northwestern Mutual, Monroeville LONGEST DRIVE Dan Sharrer, Donner-Farber & Associates, Inc.

1ST PLACE Excela Health (Michael Szwerc, Tom Albanesi, Brian Berry, Steve Gribar) 2ND PLACE BNY Mellon (Bart Carletto, Jeff Caster, Scott Gongaware, Paul Hannah)

LONGEST PUTT Frank Lucente, Westmoreland Mechanical Testing & Research

SAVE THE DATE: 15th Annual Friends of Valley School Golf Tournament September 26, 2019

Thank you to BNY Mellon, our Title Sponsor, for their continued generosity 4

Student Writing This year, 6th and 7th-graders have spent time talking and thinking about community. A few students translated their feelings about this sometimes-elusive concept into poems. Community The feeling of togetherness, A never breaking bond. Even when you’re far You’re tied together Like a bow. Comforting and loyalty is what we see in Community. Like the secret force keeping magnets together, Like glue keeping love and happiness stuck to us. Community is the tie, The glue, The force Keeping us Together.

The Circle of Community Holding hands Side by side. Hoola-hoops bouncing off our Shoulders. Laughing, Encouraging, Working together. One big circle That never ends. —Madeline Van Norman ’22

—Bridget McHugh ’21

Community Poem Conjoined and Organized. Made out of Many. Unified. Never not Inclusive. Truthful. Yearlong. COMMUNITY. —Lucas Orsatti ’21

—Piper Anke ’21



The Story of Us By Sandi Fryer and Jessi Yates

BOOKS AND STORIES are a meaningful part of many parent-child relationships. An uncanny imitation of Grover narrating There’s a Monster at the End of this Book, or a soothing cadence through the most suspenseful moments of Lassie Come Home, can alleviate the misery of chicken pox, distract a worried mind, assuage the grief of a lost pet, or pacify even the grumpiest child. In our mother-daughter relationship, stories have always been central to our time together, and a means by which we show our affection. For us, from the beginning, sharing stories has been an act of love. One of our favorite stories to share has always been 1983’s winner of the National Book Award for Children’s books, Miss Rumphius. In this beloved classic, young Alice is inspired by her grandfather to travel to faraway places and then come home to live in the place where she grew up. “That is all very well, little Alice,” says her grandfather, “but there is a third thing you must do… You must do something to make the world more beautiful.” These words of wisdom have become an axiom by which we try to live. While we both have seen much of the world, and are now together again, it is the third “charge” that is most important to us. In the book, Miss Rumphius scattered lupine seeds which, for the most part, continue to grow year after year. Lupine flowers, traditionally, have been associated with imagination 6

Kindergarten teacher, Sandi Fryer, has been teaching at Valley School since 1996. Her daughter, Jessi Yates, joined the faculty in 2009.

“Each day we strive to instill the value of sharing and listening to stories with our students.” and joy. As educators, we understand the importance of imagination and feel a profound joy in helping to grow the minds of young people, and we share pride in the small, daily impacts we make on the lives of the people around us. The beautiful coincidence that we work here, together, at Valley School, on Lupine Lane, is not lost on us. For all people, the stories of childhood enable us to form the stories we tell about ourselves. They are the means by which we come to know ourselves and others. After spending years apart, we consider ourselves blessed to be together again, even on the days we only have a moment to say hello in passing. Each day we strive to instill the value of sharing and listening to stories with our students. We could not imagine a community that is more attuned to valuing the stories we have to share. As we currently serve as co-chairs for Valley School’s Committee for Equity and Inclusivity, we continue to push each other to expand our capacity for understanding. In the end, it is all about seeking to hear and know the stories of others.



In September, the children planted lettuce, spinach, arugula, basil, and cilantro seeds. Together, we watered them daily and watched them grow. Our “kinder-garden” is just about ready to be harvested! We have learned that produce doesn’t just come from the grocery store, but must be carefully grown first. We soon will be adding some color to our greens and enjoying our homegrown salad! In kindergarten we are growing minds and lunch!


In 1st grade, we have been busy enjoying our new classroom environment. This fall, we began a pen pal relationship with Puppy Liza, a program begun by our beloved Johny DeRose, past Lower School Head. We have been building our STEM skills as Senior Engineers working alongside the kindergarten Junior Engineers. We are also excited to be learning about time, history, and author biographies through our study of the Gold Medal books found in Valley School’s Maggie Elder Caldecott Collection.


This autumn, our 2nd-grade superstars examined the nonfiction writing of Gail Gibbons. Throughout this author study, we noticed fascinating elements within the natural world as we identified informational text features and collaborated on animal reports. From exploring the outdoors during science class, to analyzing sentence structure with story-tower building, we flexed our developing reading and writing muscles, observing and utilizing key details across the curriculum.




3rd grade was drafted into the Pennsylvania militia during our visit to Fort Ligonier! Captain Matt drilled us and taught us to march like soldiers. We also became planners, designers, builders, and problem solvers when we created our own fortifications inspired by our observations of the structures at the museum.


4th-graders have been taking advantage of the natural outdoor classroom. While reading the novel The Sign of the Beaver, we spent time exploring the woods and getting a feel for what it might have been like to be a first-settler in a new territory. In social studies, we studied the life of the Cherokee in the 1700s, and then collected our own natural resources to create a model Native American village. Taking lessons outside is an exciting way to bring learning to life.


In social studies, 5th-graders are studying early humans, their culture, and how they left their mark on the world. Early humans painted and drew on cave walls to show their creativity. By writing on their handprints about the ways in which they will make their marks on the world, the 5th-grade students made a bulletin board to resemble cave art found in Argentina. They plan to influence the world in a variety of ways; their plans include contributing to science, caring for the environment, being a positive influence on others, and helping people and animals in need.


Miss Overly’s 6th-grade math students frequently participate in an activity called “Productive Struggle,” a process by which they problem solve using creative methods. They use the classroom’s new whiteboard tables to create bar-models to solve complex problems.



7th grade often starts out the day with a few minutes of juggling practice in homeroom. It’s great for building concentration and focus, improving hand-eye coordination, and loosening up before a long day of learning. It’s also lots of fun!


This year, the 8th-graders have been improving their complex algebraic equation problem-solving skills. During class recently, Ms. Overly and Mr. McNeil helped students to prepare for a chapter test that included writing and solving systems of linear equations.


In 9th-grade Advisory, we started the year with some team building experiences that laid the foundation for an excellent year. We went on an overnight retreat to Antiochian Village, where we challenged ourselves physically and mentally in group activities. We also traveled to Waterford, PA, to do some community service for the Fire Department.


In 7th through 9th-grade Mosaic Elective class, we studied ancient and contemporary mosaics, learned traditional methods, and created authentic pieces of artwork. These images show our work as we placed pieces and completed the grouting.




Lower school students learned to write thank you in Chinese “ (xiexie)” and drew pictures in thank-you cards to send their love to their families. In other classes, students who read and mastered a Chinese sentence correctly, took on the role of teacher and became responsible for tutoring their classmates. Thus, they reviewed with and learned from each other.


“Please, one more chapter!” When this is the response from 2nd-graders, the story—or, in this case, the trilogy—is definitely a hit. There is sure to be some sadness upon finishing The Dragons of Blueland, the third and final book of the My Father’s Dragon series by Ruth Stiles Gannett.

Lower School Science

2nd-grade Super Scientists were treated to a special visit with WJAC’s Severe Weather Team meteorologist, Mary Ours. She explained her daily routine and the behindthe-scenes details of being a meteorologist. She also gave us a weather forecast just for Valley School— accurately predicting our first snow day of the year!


Spanish classes celebrated Day of the Dead by creating traditional calacas, gingerbread cookies colorfully decorated to look like skeletons. With Mrs. Snyder’s help, the students also made pan de muerto, which is a traditional Day of the Dead fare. It’s a sweet, soft, orange and aniseflavored bread that is formed to appear bone-like, and drizzled with icing.



Upper and Lower School students performed in fall music programs in November. They demonstrated their instrumental, singing, and dancing skills for families and friends. It was a festive way to welcome the holiday season and celebrate the work that our music faculty and students do in vocal and instrumental music education classes.


In Lower School STEM, we practice problem-solving skills with Marble Run activities. Students have to create a run with “no bugs.” The students must follow steps in order to successfully debug their programs. Steps: 1. Name the bug (“My Marble fell on the floor instead of traveling through the tube.”); 2. Retrace the program to where the bug occurs; 3. Try something new to fix the bug. The process is repeated until they successfully get the marble to travel through all the parts of the run without stopping or touching the floor.

Upper School Computers

Now that students have completed a web design course, they will transition to Python Programming. By the end of the year, they will be designing applications for their iPads!

Upper School Science

In 8th-grade science, we have been investigating the kingdoms of life. During our study of plants, we spent a fall afternoon identifying trees using a dichotomous key. We had to take a break for a picture with the fallen leaves.




Alumni, we’d love to hear what you’re up to! Please be in touch.

Last spring Gabbie Albert ’15 graduated from Mercersburg Academy where she was a distinguished scholar for all three years of her attendance. She played squash and tennis and served as captain of her tennis team. Upon graduating, Gabbie won the Human Geography Award. She loves to travel, and recently spent time in South Africa, Zimbabwe, the UAE, and Europe. Gabbie began studying at Wake Forest University this fall. Best of luck, Gabbie!

Nathaniel DeRose ’97 and his wife, Jessica Bushar, welcomed their son, Henry Robert DeRose, on October 7, 2018. Henry is a personable little fellow and is looking forward to his first visit to the Pittsburgh area!



Back row (left to right): Kyle, Jill, Ryan, Hollins, Stephen, Daniel, and Cameron Front row (left to right): Mandy (holding baby Erin), Luke, Harper, Hadley, and Monica We were thrilled to receive a surprise visit this summer from the Alexander Family. Dad, Kyle, and mom, Jill, lived here on campus from 1990 through 1996 while “Mr. A” headed Valley School’s Sports programs. Their oldest boys, Stephen and Ryan, attended Valley School, and their youngest, Daniel, has faint but fond memories of toddling around campus alongside his brothers. After the family moved, Kyle continued to work in athletics education. He spent time at Virginia Episcopal School and Lynchburg College, and has been, for the last few years, at New Covenant School (Lynchburg, VA). Each having benefited from independent school education and grown up with an insider’s appreciation for its advantages, Stephen, Ryan, and Daniel all now work in independent schools. Stephen is at North Cross (Roanoke, VA) serving as Executive Director of a pilot Residential Life program for international students and football coach. Ryan is an Assistant Dean of Students and Director of Residential Life

at Woodberry Forest School (Woodberry Forest, VA), where he also coaches football and lacrosse. Daniel is an English teacher at Westminster, an independent Christian Day School (Atlanta, GA). Looking back at his time at Valley School, Mr. A mused, “In all my years of experience, Valley School stands out for its commitment to children’s experience of the natural world and encouragement of outdoor play. Moreover, Valley’s five-daya-week physical education program is a significant part of what makes the school so special. I recall the Valley students being well-rounded, fit, happy, and challenged through those formative years— all while building healthy relationships and leadership skills.” While visiting, the Alexander family reminisced over their Valley School days, and indulged us by posing for a photo in front of their old home.

Tom Hackett ’61 and his wife, Caroline, send the Valley School community their greetings from North Carolina, where they’ve been enjoying the mountains, beaches and owls for the last 5 years.

Last spring, Abbie Cavalier ’15 participated in Oakland Catholic High School’s Global Competence Initiative (GCI), and earned a Certificate in Global Competence. GCI is designed to address the need for a workforce that is globally aware and culturally fluent in our increasingly interconnected and interdependent world. Abbie researched and presented on the role of social media in both the Arab Spring (democratic uprisings that enveloped several largely Muslim countries), and also in the Alternative for Germany, Germany’s rightwing political party. As part of ACIS Women in Leadership program, Abbie traveled to Italy during the Summer of 2017 to interview women in leadership positions. Her trip included visiting the Italian Congressional Assembly, the Vatican, a working Tuscan farm, and the fashion world of Milan. She also spent time talking with immigrant mothers. While at Oakland Catholic, Abbie served in several leadership roles, including Student Ambassador, Co-captain of the field hockey team, President of the Guatemala Club, and President of her Junior and Senior classes. She is now a freshman at Providence College in Rhode Island, where she majors in Global Studies. She was also elected to Student Congress.

Valley School was thrilled to receive a visit this fall from Addie Gardner ’16 (far left), and to hear an update on her charitable work. From the time she was in 5th grade, Addie has been involved with the Miracles from Maggie (formerly Miracles for Maggie) Foundation. When her Valley School classmate, Maggie Elder, became ill with Ewing’s Sarcoma in 2011, Addie wanted to help, and so began making bracelets to sell at Fort Ligonier Days. Her hope was to raise money to contribute to the Elder family’s medical expenses. The first year, Addie made several hundred dollars. After Maggie passed away, her family wanted to support other families struggling with childhood illness. Addie wanted to do more, too. She enlisted the help of fellow Valley School students, and continued to produce and sell bracelets. Through sales and corporate matching gifts, Addie has raised over $20,000 to-date for Miracles from Maggie. The money that she has donated to the Foundation

supports families while they do their best to manage a child’s health crisis. Families have wide ranging needs, and the Foundation covers all sorts of expenses, like gas money, therapy dogs, and therapeutic equestrian lessons. Additionally, Miracles from Maggie supports organizations devoted to curing pediatric cancers. Addie is now a senior at Greater Latrobe High School. She spent her junior year participating in the Chick-fil-A Leadership Academy, a “servant leadership” program designed to teach high school students about achieving greater-good outcomes via collaborative leadership endeavors. Addie is still passionate about helping others, and she loves science. She would like to combine these two interests at college next fall, where she plans to enter a Physician’s Assistant Program.

Madeline Cavalier ’12 interned throughout fall 2018 semester for the Lieutenant Governor’s office. Madeline’s responsibilities included creating documents and case analysis for the Lieutenant Governor’s Pathway to Pardons initiative, researching various policy issues, attending and summarizing committee hearing sessions and other press events, writing speeches and notes, and addressing the concerns of constituents. Madeline is a double major in Government and Spanish, and will graduate from Franklin & Marshall College (Lancaster, PA) in May of 2019. In this photo, Madeline smiles with Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor Michael Stack and Pennsylvania State Senator Kim Ward on the floor of the Pennsylvania Senate.



Eve O’Sullivan ’16, Addie Gardner ’16, Zoe Shaffer ’16, and Cece Daniele ’18 have no trouble keeping in touch. They played together this year on the Greater Latrobe Field Hockey team.

Sharon A. Nincke ’12, graduated in December 2018 from Saint Vincent College with a bachelor’s degree in Marketing and a minor in Communication. She will be employed as a counselor for the Admission Office at Saint Vincent College. Sharon recently became engaged to Mitchell G. Farrell, who is also a recent grad of Saint Vincent, and is from Lower Burrell. He is an accountant with a CPA firm in Pittsburgh, and is working towards his CPA licensure. The couple is in the process of planning their wedding.

Anthony Bayani ’96 sends his greeting from San Diego, CA, where he works as the president of an engineering company that supports the Department of Defense/US Navy. Anthony and his wife, Kara, welcomed a daughter named Avery in August. Their son, Aston, was born in 2016. Anthony asks any alumni living in or visiting the Southern California area to please reach out to him, and he is looking forward to when he and his family make it back east for a visit.


These alumnae from the class of 2013 make it a priority to get together several times a year, usually on breaks from college. They recently updated us on their summer activities. Grace Noel had a premedical internship with Excela Health, and also worked at St. Vincent College in the duplicating office. She is a Bioinformatics major with a Premed focus. Veronica Tatone was a Pitt First Year Mentor this summer, but she was able to sneak some time away to explore Italy with a few friends. She is a Psychology major with a minor in Studio Arts. Julia Daniele was in Italy as well, studying and completing course requirements. She is a Psychology major with an Education minor. Kenzie Elder took several college courses over the summer. She also visited Colorado, where she spent

time with her family. She is a Social Work major. Sarah Meade had two internships this summer. She worked on the Latrobe Restoration Project and several other projects for the Ligonier Valley Chamber of Commerce. She also traveled with her family. She is a media and communications major with a minor in Women’s Studies and Gender Issues. Although Hadley Ankrum is missing from the photo, she keeps up with her Valley School classmates, too. She spent time this summer working at the Greensburg Hempfield Area Library and traveling with her family. She is an Environmental Studies major with a Spanish minor.

Enrolling now for the 2019–2020 School Year!

To schedule a tour, apply, or learn more about Valley School, please contact:

Katelyn Bruzda






2019 We asked the 9th-grade class to reflect on their Valley School experience. This activity provided the students with an opportunity to be thoughtful about the time they’ve spent here, who they’ve become, and where they’re headed to next. We learned a lot from their responses. It’s safe to say we won’t be eliminating our annual Thanksgiving feast anytime soon!


Who at Valley School has mattered to you in a special way, and why/how? I always looked up to Magistra Miller during my times in Latin. She was always someone who could deliver information in a funny and clear way. I feel very close to all of the teachers and all of my peers. Since there aren’t many of us, we are able to have a very close bond. Mr. Nordstrom! His love of science was what made me want to go into a science career. Ms. Wright. She is always so supportive, and I can always count on her for help on and off the field. Coach Kauffman and Coach Wright have mattered to me because they inspire me to put forth my best effort on the field. Miss Overly has also always supported and encouraged me.

“I feel very close to all of the teachers and all of my peers. Since there aren’t many of us, we are able to have a very close bond.” What advice would you like to give a soon-to-be Upper Schooler? Enjoy it! It goes by really fast! Always come to class prepared! Don’t be scared to hang out with people who aren’t in your grade. Time management is key! Don’t overload yourself. And, do everything thoughtfully. Stay caught up with your classes. If you don’t understand something, go to your teacher for help. Be organized! Always be your true self around your friends. Always try your best in school.

What is your favorite Valley School tradition? Every holiday meal, and the Carol Sing in the library! Thanksgiving Feast and Sports Day! The special lunches. Thanksgiving is my all-time favorite, but Christmas, Chinese New Year, and Pepperoni Rolls (it’s a holiday unto itself!) are all great too! The Carol Sing is definitely my favorite tradition because I love being cramped up in the Library singing happy Christmas songs with everyone. I think it’s a great thing to do, and I hope Valley never stops it. Thanksgiving dinner!

What do you most hope to accomplish—personally, academically, or in extracurricular activities—during high school? I want to make the most of AP classes, especially in the field of work I plan on going into. I also want to be in Advanced Bio Keystone. I want to have a positive effect on people. I want to make a positive change. I want to make a difference. I hope I become my best self. I hope to be accepted into Mercersburg. I would give my best effort to excel in all my classes. I hope to be on the Honor Roll. I hope to continue growing my skill set and improving. I hope to make good friends and keep my grades up. I’d like to take fun and challenging classes, especially physical science classes like chemistry and astronomy. I hope to letter in three sports. I also hope to get all As.

Love yourself. Be kind to yourself.

Ducky Race and Thanksgiving dinner!

What inspires you to do your best work or be your best self?

I am a huge fan of Thanksgiving dinner being that I am a food enthusiast, I really enjoy having this experience.

My family and my faith inspire me to do my best work and be my best self. My family constantly inspires me to work to the best of my ability.

My favorite tradition is the Carol Sing right before Winter Break. This is something I have always looked forward to.

When I look back on my time here at Valley School, I am most proud of…

I know I have so many people supporting me. I’m grateful they’re there for me.

The library Carol Sing!

The way I am able to handle adversity and winning MVP field hockey 2 years in a row.

It’s a combination of my own determination and my parents’, teachers’, and friends’ support. I’ve always thought hard work is really important. Do it right or not at all. The desire to make it into the best school that I can drives me to put forth my best effort. The idea that I could possibly make a lasting impact on people and my community constantly inspires me to be better.

I have always liked commencement. It’s really fun seeing the 9th grade in such a beautiful way. Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving!

I hope to develop my personal interests more and broaden my friend group. I also hope to excel in my classes.

Being part of the Valley community.

Being given the opportunity to pursue a more challenging math class. Learning to step out of my comfort zone and have perseverance. Making friends and doing well in my classes. How hard I have worked and the friends I have made. The friendships I have made. Winning the Peter Messer Scholarship! ISSUE 37.2 FALL$/$WINTER 2018



Sharon Snyder

Lunch Platters & Family Matters


Everyone everywhere loves lunch. But at Valley School, the lunch experience far surpasses the average school’s midday refection. In fact, at Valley School, lunch is such an eagerly anticipated part of the day that many children, as they walk from their bus to their classroom each morning, make a habitual detour to the dining room to check the menu board, squeal with excitement in anticipation of the meal they’ll receive later that day, and greet the kitchen staff. THE KIND OF ENTHUSIASM that surrounds a Valley School lunch doesn’t occur spontaneously. It is the product of thoughtful consideration, assiduous planning, a conscious evolution of philosophy, and expert execution. It is Sharon Snyder, Director of Food Services, who has been responsible for the squeals of excitement since 2001. When she started here, Mrs. Snyder knew she wanted to do something unique with the meal program, and Valley School was ready to expand and enhance the students’ dining experience. Over the years, Mrs. Snyder has worked to transform the food services program. Having come from Latrobe Hospital, where she had worked as Supervisor of Food and Nutrition Services, she was full of ideas for wholesome, homecooked meals containing local and organic ingredients. She cultivated relationships with regional farmers, vendors, and food providers in order to obtain the freshest and highestquality meats, vegetables, and fruits. As a result of her efforts, Valley School students are treated to local organic chicken, eggs, and grass-fed beef. Whenever possible, the ever-changing array of salad bar offerings are organic, too. This year, Mrs. Snyder was able to start providing organic milk. She goes the extra mile to be sure foods are prepared as healthfully as possible, too. Most sauces, salad dressings, and marinades are homemade. No foods are deep-fried, ever. The children, faculty, and staff have their clear favorites. Pepperoni rolls and Texas sheet cake receive the most enthusiastic responses. Ask anyone at Valley School if there’s a better homemade ranch dressing anywhere; the answer will be a resounding, “no way!” In fact, it has happened

more than once that a Lower School student has had to be reminded gently that ranch dressing and croutons do not, on their own, really make a salad. Although food is the most obvious factor in any dining experience, every true epicurean knows that what goes in your mouth is just the beginning of what makes a meal special. Eating is about people enjoying time together. That’s something Mrs. Snyder understands on every level. She explains, “Nutrition is only one of the reasons lunch is such an important part of the Valley School day. It is socially significant, too. It’s when the whole Valley School family comes together to spend time talking, laughing, and taking pleasure in one another’s company.” Students dine in mixedage groups, so they get to know kids from different grades. Every day, faculty members sit alongside the students, and meals are served family-style. In this way, the dining room serves as a classroom where children learn about manners and etiquette, practice appropriate social graces and conversation skills, and are provided opportunities to help their community by setting and clearing tables. Mrs. Snyder and her staff members, Charlotte Goodman and Devyn Langevain, intentionally work to curate this experience for Valley School students. “Of course, we emphasize physical health in our dining hall, but what the children may not be as aware of, is that this is also a space in which social education happens. It is one of the tools we consciously use to help create and maintain an environment of emotional support and health.” Indeed, Mrs. Snyder sees relationships as one of the most crucial aspects of her work space and job. She is grateful for the talents of her hardworking staff, and she encourages them to contribute creatively to the culinary process. And anyone who knows Mrs. Snyder can see clearly that one of her greatest pleasures is the children she nurtures each day. “I know these children from the time they are five years old. I know every single one by name. I learn their likes and dislikes. I see them all daily, and I watch them grow up. I love being a part of that. When I look across the dining room each day, and see the students happy and enjoying their meals, I often feel as though I have the best job in the world.” Mrs. Snyder is a widely and well-beloved Valley School figure. Though every student could express that, at the end of last school year, the level of appreciation and respect that students and families have for her and her team was brought, formally, to the attention of all. During his 9th-grade speech, School Prize winner, Ryan Banks, took the time to thank the people who helped and supported him most throughout his years at Valley School. He talked about having food allergies



and sensitivities, and how it was Mrs. Snyder who worked closely with his family to make the school a safe place for him. Ryan recalled that, even as a very small child, he was anxious about eating outside his home. But Mrs. Snyder and her team devised a plan for Ryan that made him feel secure in his school environment. Ryan’s expression of affection and gratitude brought tears to the eyes of the audience. Mrs. Snyder works with many students with allergies and food restrictions, both in the dining room and when they travel on field trips. She coordinates their meals and communicates with chaperones to be sure that they are safe everywhere they dine. For her it’s as simple as, “I love these kids. Their safety is paramount.” Anyone who chats with Mrs. Snyder about Valley School can see immediately that she loves her job. It’s obvious from her broad smile and the warmth in her voice when she talks about the children. But her feelings about the school and community are not just a matter of professional pleasures and accomplishments. She has deep personal connections to Valley School, as well. Sharon’s husband, Jeff, is employed by the Maintenance Department at Valley School. He works on all heating, cooling, and electrical areas. He is one of the staff members who keeps the campus beautiful and operating smoothly. “We rarely see one another during the work day,” explains Mrs. Snyder, “but when we do, we share a quiet smile and we both feel joy and a sense of pride in our jobs—


the ways we contribute to this community, and how we each make a difference in students’ lives. It’s a wonderful feeling, and this is a wonderful atmosphere to come to work in.” Perhaps most significantly, Mrs. Snyder knows and understands Valley School from the perspective of a mother who wanted the best educational experience for her family. Both her children, Brandon ’08 and Brooke ’11, attended here. “My children received an exceptional foundation here at Valley School. They benefited from the first-rate academics, familial environment, and holistic approach to education. They learned to love learning, and that is something they carry with them—something that gives them pleasure in their adult lives. My children have broad and diverse interests, and I attribute that, in part, to the variety of experiences they had here at school. Having our children here was an incredible blessing.” Brandon Snyder is one of the clearest examples of the influence that Valley School can have on a child. Mrs. Snyder smiles and marvels when she remembers the day her then-6th-grader announced to her and her husband, “I know what I want to be when I grow up! I want to be the next Mr. Nordstrom!” Most children have passions, and Brandon wouldn’t be alone in his love for science, but the kind of certainty he had for his life path at such a young age is remarkable. Brandon loved attending Ron Nordstrom’s science classes, and took advantage of every chance to work with him. They share a love for the natural world, and Brandon spent 4 summers assisting Mr. Nordstrom during Valley Day Camp. Brandon finished high school and college with his 6th-grade dream intact. When, in 2015, Valley School hired Brandon to be the new Upper School science teacher, he had the opportunity to work alongside Mr. Nordstrom, fulfilling his lifelong goal. But Brandon hasn’t settled for that—a devoted learner, he is continuing science education in his online master’s program at Washington University. Mrs. Snyder is visibly moved when she talks about coming to work each day in the same place as her son. “To see your child achieve and live their dreams… it’s indescribable. We feel truly, truly blessed.” And Valley School feels fortunate, too. Just visit the dining hall and ask any of the about 250 people Mrs. Snyder and her staff feed each day—that is, if you can convince one of them to take a break from their lunch. FUN FACT: When recently polled about their favorite Valley tradition, nearly every 9th-grade student mentioned Valley School holiday meals! (See page 17.)





Justin Gold ’91

After reconnecting with Justin Gold at an Alumni and Friends Gathering in Boulder, CO, last year, we wanted to learn a little bit more about the nut butter entrepreneur and the defining experiences that motivated him throughout the years he evolved his products from farmers’ market favorites to one of Inc.’s 500/5000 Fastest Growing Companies. An Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year, Justin had a lot to say about his formative years at Valley School, the people who have been his biggest supporters, and the moments that taught and inspired him to keep on keepin’ on.

Well, I like to joke that everything after Valley School has been easy. After graduating, I went to Hempfield High School in Greensburg, then Dickinson College ’00 in Carlisle, PA. I had a brief stint in Point Reyes, CA waiting tables, and then landed in Boulder, CO, where I’ve been since 2001. I married in 2010, and I share my life with Nancee, Nora (6), Morrison (4), and our Doberman, Mobi.

I wouldn’t say I necessarily have a favorite mistake, but I would say that my most significant learning was after an unpaid internship that I completed while in college. During my senior year, I was an Environmental Studies major with a focus in American Government/Constitutional Law. I was preparing for the LSAT, when on a whim, I decided to intern for a non-profit environmental law firm in Harrisburg. The experience forever changed my life, as I decided not to pursue law, but move west instead. I chose Boulder, CO, with the intention of gaining residency and—once I found the inspiration—going back to school at Colorado University for a graduate degree. Meanwhile, I was working in restaurants, and as an active vegetarian, I was eating a lot of peanut/almond butter. I was curious about why there weren’t many options available in grocery stores. So, I started making nut butters in my home kitchen with a food processor. With a little nudge from roommates, I decided to launch as a food company. I utilized CU’s business school as a resource to research and write my first business plan. I started making nut butters in a commercial salsa kitchen in Denver on nights and weekends, and debuted at the Boulder Farmers’ Market in 2004. Today, our products can be found at most grocery stores across the US and Canada. Insane.

What school experiences were fundamental for you, and how?

What advice do you have for today’s young adults?

Please tell us a little about your life since Valley School.

At Valley School, the small classroom environment, handson experience, and accountability were fundamental to my development as a student. My high school experience was quite the opposite, which motivated me to find a small liberal arts college to somewhat recreate my Valley School experience. I know I sound crazy, but looking back now, and thinking about it, it’s true.

In your life, who has influenced or helped you most, and in what ways? My mom and dad have most definitely had the most influence on me throughout my life. My dad taught me the art of going against the grain and setting my sights on the stars. My mom has been a bit more grounded and has been a great influence on me in terms of health and wellness, hard work, and patience (which I’m still working on).


What has been your favorite mistake? (From what mistake have you grown or learned most?)

My advice for today’s young adults is to go for it. It’s not easy to know what you like and are good at until you start compiling a list of things that you don’t like and/or are not good at. I recommend taking in as many experiences and opportunities as possible. You never know what you will learn or what will surprise you. Even on this business journey, we’ve had several pivotal revelations along the way that never would have become successes if we hadn’t taken a risk. Some of those risks ultimately defined our business. Examples include the introduction of the squeeze pack, which has since created an entire subcategory within nut butters, and our organic peanut butter cups, which helped launch better-for-you confections.

FUN FACT: Justin’s products have traveled to outer space! Search YouTube for “how to make a peanut butter and honey sandwich in space” to see astronaut, Chris Hadfield, enjoy a Justin’s snack in microgravity!


Welcome to Valley School Valley School is privileged to welcome new faculty members this year, and it seems these folks feel equally fortunate to be here. For more information on our New Faces, please visit


“I am very happy to be the first fulltime counselor contracted at Valley School. My role is to help the school to meet the social and emotional needs of all students, Kindergarten through 9th grade. There are many ways in which I will do this throughout the year. As part of the school’s efforts to foster strong social and emotional skills in our students starting at a young age, Lower School students will receive 10–12 guidance lessons this year. Lessons will cover many concepts, including Growth Mindset, Friendship and Conflict Resolution, Understanding and Managing Emotions, Understanding How the Brain Works, Development of Character, Resiliency, Executive Functioning Skills, and much more. Parents of Lower School students can keep an eye on what their children are learning, as well as see information on suggested resources, by visiting my page on our new website. Upper School students will also take part in lessons with me through our advisory program.

Other ways that I am available to students is through individual and small group counseling. School counseling is not therapy, but rather, an opportunity for students to connect with a caring adult who can help them through situations that inhibit them from feeling successful as a student, friend, or individual. I am here to be a good listener, and to help students in all grade levels feel heard. An important part of my role at Valley School is to help students create strategies that enable them to feel a sense of personal control, and thereby lessen frustration. I work closely with parents as an additional member of their child’s team. With parents’ permission, I collaborate with agencies, counselors, and doctors that students work with outside of school. I am here for parents to consult whenever they have a concern and would like someone with whom to confidentially discuss their thoughts. In addition to building strong relationships with students, working with parents and teachers is a major way I affect positive growth. I am so excited to be part of this community, and my goal is to continue to add value to the already amazing whole-child education program here at Valley School.”

Hannah Earhart



“Over the last few months I have experienced more growth than I ever could have imagined. Whether a student’s, colleague’s, or my own, growth is everywhere! It’s been an incredible privilege to learn about my students each day, come to understand how they learn best, grow in relationships with other faculty members, and see firsthand how community is fostered and nourished at Valley School!”

Yibo Li


“Valley School makes me feel like being in a family. Everyone shows kindness and selflessness, which influences our students to have a harmonious atmosphere. Teachers and students love each other. Therefore, as a teacher, I love my kids and love to teach here.”

Huanchang Jin


“I really enjoy my teaching and my life here, because I have the best kids and colleagues in the world. Love and kindness are contagious! That’s the most important thing I have learned from Valley School!”



Uncommon Results

“Teamwork is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.” —Andrew Carnegie


IF I HAD TO WRITE THE STORY of Valley School and Linn Run, I’d say it’s almost as if they’re friends. Linn Run has always been integral to Valley School’s identity and character. The stream embraces the school, and sets the mood on this beautiful campus, nestled alongside the Laurel Mountain ridge. Water swirling through its banks, knocking against the stone, the laughter of children exploring and splashing—those are sounds that mark this unique place, sounds that remind our students, faculty and staff, and visitors to be attentive to the beauty of the natural world. Those are sounds that color memories. Since Valley School was founded, Linn Run has nurtured the school and the children who have passed through it, and Valley School has cared for Linn Run, too. We have worked to preserve the stream and care for its inhabitants, even as the school building grew in this space. We keep an eye on the stream’s health—measuring factors like pH, turbidity, biodiversity, and oxygen, phosphorous, and nitrate levels. We work closely with the environmental specialists at Linn Run State Park to ensure that the stream remains ecologically sound. We share what we learn about the stream with the state park staff, and they reciprocate the favor. Every long friendship is bound to have moments of discord. By all accounts, Linn Run and Valley School—throughout their almost 73 years together—have maintained a mutually enriching, almost synergistic friendship. But June 20, 2018 will go down in the record books as the most significant… less-than-amicable incident in the history of this long, and most-often congenial relationship. Last spring was especially rainy, and early summer brought no relief. So, when I woke to a dark sky on June 20th, I didn’t


think much of it. It was raining hard, but there didn’t seem any reason for concern—nothing out of the ordinary relative to the previous weeks of drizzle and downpour. When I checked the stream at about 10:00 a.m., the water was high, but not alarmingly so. However, when I realized at about 11:00 that the water was nearing crest-over, I began to worry. Streamflow is one of the most important data measurements that Valley School receives from Linn Run State Park. If you hike the trails at Linn Run, you probably have come across the stainless-steel box at Adams Falls. That box is a streamgauge that measures the stage (height) and discharge (quantity) of water that flows through Linn Run at any given moment. The relation of those measurements can be converted into estimates of streamflow. According to the streamgauge at Adams Falls, Linn Run’s average streamflow is 25–50 cubic feet per second. At bankfull stage—the stage at which the elevation of the water coincides with the bank margins—the streamflow of Linn Run measures 400 cubic feet per second. On June 20th, over the course of just a few hours, Dr. Strecker and I watched helplessly as about 50 cubic feet per second became 400. And then 1,000. In no time, 2,000. 3,000. 4,000. Plus. Water spilled beyond the banks of Linn Run, and poured into my back yard and the school grounds. It rushed hard and fast, rising quickly to the school building. It first surged onto the 4th-grade play yard and porch. It infiltrated the school building through the ventilation system, exterior vents, and doors. Water entered the kinder-courtyard, computer lab, Spanish classroom,

main hallways, art and music rooms, board room, multi-purpose room, and all of the Lower School classrooms and offices. The utility tunnels and spaces that house Valley School’s plumbing and heating infrastructure were entirely overwhelmed with the deluge. By the time the water stopped rising, we knew we had a major renovation project on our hands. At 6:30 p.m., I placed a call to SERVPRO. By 8:30 the next morning, a crew of more than 25 disaster clean-up and restoration specialists were on site. By 8:45, the buzz and hum of their clean-up equipment could be heard throughout the school. Their quick response— pumping out water, cutting drywall, scrubbing and disinfecting affected areas, etc.—prevented the need for really extensive reconstruction and remediation throughout the school building. What we didn’t know in the early hours after the flood, was the extent of the environmental damage we had on our hands. It wasn’t until 24 hours later, when the water had receded to its normal level that we were able to gauge the state of the stream banks and school grounds. At its peak, the flood waters had reached into the central playground (in fact, Dr. Strecker found a stranded brook trout on the basketball court!) and, in front of the school, as far as 250 feet beyond the stream bank. The streambed was scoured out—so severely eroded that in some places we lost 20 feet of bank. Where boulders had been stacked to act as retaining walls, so much ground was lost that rocks as heavy as 8 tons had tumbled dangerously from their perches into the stream. Debris was everywhere. Aquatic habitat was critically compromised. I knew this would be another major restoration project. We are fortunate at Valley School to have wonderful partnerships with regional organizations that support our school, and individuals who volunteer their talents when we need them. This network of friends reached out to us to offer assistance, and immediately sprang into action. Trustee, Paul Hannah, showed up on site, surveyed the damage, and then mobilized multiple organizations that specialize in environmental rehabilitation. Josh Penatzar, Project Manager and Stream Reclamation Specialist for the Loyalhanna Watershed Association, visited the school to assess the situation and advise on next steps. Then the EADS Group, a Somersetbased environmental engineering and design firm, supplied recommendations for reconstruction and suggested measures to stabilize the stream and prevent future floods. Jim Pillsbury, from the Westmoreland Conservation District, quickly secured the permitting we needed. The R. K. Mellon Foundation, which has a relationship with California University of Pennsylvania, facilitated a partnership on Valley School’s behalf, and within days, Cal U—with machinery generously loaned by the Fish and Wildlife Commission—began the work to reconstruct and renovate Linn Run. In the months that followed, the team from Cal U removed and repositioned hundreds of tons of rock from along the streambed, and cleared tens of tons of debris. They devoted the utmost attention to structural and environmental integrity. They widened the streambanks and lessened the grade of the channel. Additionally, they built 16 waterfall-like support features in the stream that simultaneously diminish the streamflow and create habitat for aquatic species. The flood was an unexpected hardship for Valley School, but to witness and participate in the collaboration of so many groups and individuals has been a heartwarming and inspiring experience for me. It wasn’t only professionals who were hands-on during this trying time. Trustees, administrators, teachers, staff, and Valley School families—parents and students, alike—offered their help. They showed up to clear water, pack classrooms, relocate furniture, organize storage, and rip out carpets. They gave their time and energy generously. I’m in awe

Valley School’s Facilities and Maintenance staff: Ken Willochell, Jeff Turley, Jeff Snyder, Sedric Roberts, and Rick Kanuch.

of what can be accomplished—scientifically, physically, socially, and organizationally—when people come together in support of something they believe in. Sometimes, what is most challenging about a hardship like this one, is the way the grass keeps growing through the midst of commotion. I’m proud of how the Valley School maintenance team kept up and excelled at the day-to-day responsibilities of caring for this beautiful building and campus, all while managing and helping so many contracted workers. All summer, we worked alongside disaster response specialists, electricians, engineers, construction workers, plumbers, painters, and carpenters to clean and restore the inside and outside of the school. The Valley School maintenance staff already had planned a busy summer. There were offices that needed to be renovated, moved, or constructed, and of course, we had the regularlyscheduled maintenance and improvements to do, too. The flood necessitated that we add the orchestration of logistics for more than 75 contracted workers to our already full docket. But together, we made incredible things happen. The stretch of Linn Run that flows through Valley School’s property has been widened to accommodate a streamflow of 4,000 cubic feet per second. We followed a Comprehensive Flood Protection and Streambank Rehabilitation Plan set forth by EADS, and so our building is now fortified against future flooding. In September, our students returned to new drywall, new concrete floors, fresh paint, replaced carpets and millwork, new furniture, fully functional classrooms, and even upgraded technology. I am happy to report that the rainbow and brook trout we all love are thriving. On June 21st, after Catharine Cathey ’81, President of the Board of Trustees, toured the school to survey the flood damage, she sighed, but then looked at me with confidence, and said, “Rick, it’ll be better than it was.” At the time, I knew that’s what we’d aim for, but it was tough to discern how it could be possible. Now, however, it is deeply satisfying for me to see Valley School and Linn Run restored, each better than it was. I see their friendship rejuvenated, their harmony returned. I’m grateful for this experience. It has served as a poignant reminder of the beauty that can be achieved through the consolidated efforts of many. I’m grateful, too, to be a part of this community, a community for which adversity inspires strength, tenacity, audacious optimism, and extraordinary growth.



PO Box 616 Ligonier, Pennsylvania 15658-0616