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Valley Core Values


Letter from the Head of School


Valley Core Values


New Faces


Valley Happenings


A Day in the Life


Alumna Profile


Faculty Profile


Golf Tournament


Community Updates


Student Writing


Professional Development


Class Profiles


Overheard on Social Media

On the cover: Our students spend a lot of time outdoors. We snapped this photograph of 4th-graders, Gamin Owens and Beckett Sullenberger, as they worked in the Magic Forest to create an Inukshuk. Inuksuit (plural) are communally-constructed stone landmarks found throughout parts of Alaska, Canada, and Greenland. Traditionally, they were erected by Inuit people, and served myriad functions, including navigation, commemoration, cache marking, and concealment during hunting. The process of stacking stones to create inuksuit requires students to be creative and collaborative, and to exercise clear and respectful communication, patience, and perseverance. Valley School’s campus hosts dozens of student-stacked inuksuit, many of which are decades old.

BOARD OF TRUSTEES 2019–2020 Catharine M. Cathey ’81, President Ralph J. Artuso ’71, Vice President Paul A. Hannah, Treasurer Lisa R. Frederick ’87, Secretary Nathaniel D. DeRose ’97, Esq. Kristin A. Durkan Eric E. Elek, C.F.P. Edward Gaskey Pallavi Jain Patrick F. Koch ’96 John McConnell Ryan J. McHugh Edward Morgan Jessica Shirey ’96 Stephanie A. Van Norman Jonathan P. Strecker, Ed.D., Ex Officio CONTRIBUTORS Jessica Barbera, Editor Allie Arendas Katelyn Bruzda Sarah Fichter David Kirkland Tammy Kline Cindy Palmer Michelle Smith Candy Springer Jonathan P. Strecker Carole Wright Valley School Students, Faculty, & Staff PHOTOGRAPHY Jordan Good, Lovelight Photography Valley School Faculty & Staff GRAPHIC DESIGN Wall-to-Wall Studios PRINTING Unity Printing

A LETTER FROM THE HEAD OF SCHOOL I RECENTLY TRAVELED TO OHIO FOR MY 30TH CLASS REUNION. Over the course of the evening, my elementary school friends and I reminisced about our days at Schumaker School. My friends told funny stories from our past, and though we laughed long and hard at our many antics, the conversation stirred up some unexpected feelings for me. It dawned on me that those days of growth were some of my most momentous. I have achieved many of my academic goals, but school wasn’t always easy for me. I was fortunate at a young age to have teachers and friends who were kind, understanding, and steadfastly believed that with hard work I could triumph over any obstacle. In particular, I remember my 2nd-grade teacher, Mrs. Sarty, who wouldn’t let me give up. I also remember Mrs. Redd being charitably patient with me. Those teachers, and others, instilled values in me that persist today—hard work, perseverance, and growth mindset—the qualities I still rely on to serve me, personally and professionally. Along with my parents, the faculty of Schumaker School may be some of the most influential people in my life. Now, in my position as Head of School at Valley School of Ligonier, I understand the important role faculty and staff play in the lives of children. The delicate balance of support and autonomy we provide each child will define their success for a lifetime. From the earliest days of kindergarten, when children sit in a circle and ask questions about their teacher’s and friends’ favorite foods, colors, and animals, they are connecting—learning how to become part of a community and culture. As new members of the community, they find commonality and purpose, and begin to embody the values that will, in turn, define the school for years to come.

This year, Valley School has adopted the Valley Core Values program, which highlights the ideals that we hold most dear. Seeking wisdom, cultivating wellness, embracing integrity, and building community—these are developmental objectives that define the vision and mission of Valley School. Though we recently set out to formally articulate these ideals and implement them programmatically, they have always had a place in our classrooms and hallways. They were the essential developmental elements supported and promoted by our founders, General Richard King and Mrs. Constance Prosser Mellon, and modeled and held as expectations by the original faculty led by Mr. Peter Messer. Today, as I welcome our students at the front door each morning, receiving heartfelt and enthusiastic greetings and firm handshakes, I am encouraged that Valley School students have thoroughly adopted the Valley Core Values. I see children seeking wisdom as they strive to apply, critically evaluate, and creatively use the knowledge they have formed. I am proud that they cultivate wellness by participating in activities that strengthen their bodies, foster their emotional growth, and nourish their spirits. I watch them embrace integrity as they defend beliefs founded in respectful contemplation, advocate for themselves and others, and compassionately navigate new social landscapes. I am inspired by the ways in which they reach toward others to build community through acts of service, good sportsmanship, and active engagement in the issues that affect the people living in our region and beyond. I am confident that the work we do at Valley School each day will inculcate our extraordinary children with the guiding values they’ll rely on throughout their lives. It is my hope that they’ll someday look back and recall the educators here at Valley School who believed in them, supported their development, and helped them to become young adults well on their way to achieving their goals, finding contentment, and contributing their unique talents to our beautiful world.

Warm Regards,

Dr. Jonathan P. Strecker head of school



Introducing The Valley Core Values! by Carole Wright

VALLEY SCHOOL STUDENTS UNDERSTAND that in nature, growth requires basic components: water, air, nutrients, and sunlight. But they are also quick to note that, although not necessary for normal growth, extraordinary growth requires something special. In this way, children are not all that different than elements in nature. Therefore, at Valley School, we seek special ingredients to create an extraordinary learning experience for our students and families—rich academic content, carefully designed learning spaces, and a meaningful connection to a set of guiding values. This year, we are proud to unveil the Valley Core Values: Cultivating Wellness, Seeking Wisdom, Embracing Integrity, and Building Community. Together, they capture the essence of Valley School and uphold our founders’ vision of a school community marked by balanced intellectual, physical, emotional, social, and moral development. With the generous support of the Ligonier Valley Endowment and the McFeely-Rogers Foundation, Valley School’s faculty created—and are now implementing—programming that purposefully teaches, explores, and celebrates the Valley Core Values. As principles, the Valley Core Values are not entirely new to our school community. Rather, they have been freshly fueled and articulated using the most relevant bestpractices in education. The formal program is designed to

“For values or guiding principles to be truly effective, they have to be verbs.” — Simon Sinek accommodate the ways our 21st-century learners interact, obtain social responsibility, become self-aware, develop resilience, and contribute to their communities—now, and later in life. There is no doubt of the strength of our school community. Because students, parents, faculty, and alumni confirm its value for the educational process, we began this school year with a deep dive into the Valley Core Value of Building Community. Our Lower School students celebrated the features of community in Parliament, a weekly gathering of kindergarten through 4th-graders, through which our gifted faculty and students explored, defined, and demonstrated this intangible concept. Upper School students in 5th through 9th grades practiced community-building skills in their advisory program. Additionally, they participated in numerous events and service activities beyond our school walls, learning, handson, how and why contributing to our greater community is valuable.



“We don’t have to be perfect, just engaged and committed to aligning our values with actions.” — Brené Brown

At Valley School, one of our enduring strengths is our ability to cultivate learners who approach multidimensional education with vigor and enthusiasm. And while there’s a universal element to each of the Valley Core Values, perhaps the most rewarding aspect of the program is that it allows space for each student to interpret and engage with the concepts in ways that make sense for them, personally. As we celebrated the holiday season and now transition into the new year, we have begun our exploration of the Valley Core Value of Embracing Integrity. It is exciting and uplifting to see students discussing, exercising, and learning about integrity and how they can practice it authentically in their lives.

We are proud to see our students welcome and appreciate the Valley Core Values. Research shows that students’ content learning is enriched when emotional, social, and cultural well-being are prioritized along with academic achievement. Adding value-based education to our students’ curriculum means that in addition to having a strong academic foundation, our graduates will enter young adulthood with life skills that will enable them to confidently, responsibly, compassionately navigate and contribute to our complex world.

To learn more, please contact: Carole Wright Valley Core Values Program Coordinator cwright@valleyschoolofligonier.org





• Physical & emotional well-being

• Growth mindset

• Moral convictions

• Empathy

• Well-grounded confidence

• Pursuit of knowledge

• Ethical behaviors

• Healthy relationships

• Informed decision-making

• Humility

• Active engagement

• Critical reflection

• Mindful interactions

• Self & social awareness

• Spirit of optimism • Engaged & open mind


her Pennsylvania teaching license and joining Valley School, Allee studenttaught at Title 1 schools and in special education classrooms in Indiana. She also taught primary education in New Zealand, and began her teaching career in 1st grade at a public school in North Carolina. Allee is a native of Columbus, Ohio. When she is not in the classroom, she spends her time cheering for the Ohio State Buckeyes, teaching piano lessons, leading worship, serving the children’s ministry at her church, and enjoying time with family. Allee loves to water and snow ski, ride roller coasters, play Euchre, bake delicious treats, and drink Allee Dupuis a hot cup of coffee with friends. She lower school classroom aide was inspired to be an educator by her mother, grandmothers, aunts, and Since she was 10 years old, Allee has sister—all of whom have served as known she would become a teacher. teachers of various grade levels and In 2018, she moved with her husband subjects. Allee feels blessed and excited to Boswell, Pennsylvania, where the couple lives and serves at Summer’s Best to learn from such wisdom and passion. Two Weeks Camp. A graduate of Butler Likes: S’mores, music theater, adventures, travel, University in Elementary Education, lakes, water skiing, coffee, dark chocolate, scented Allee has diverse teaching experience candles, cozy blankets, amusement parks, Ohio in special education and international State, Philadelphia Eagles instruction, and familiarity across Dislikes: Peanut butter, tomatoes, sudden loud noises, horror movies, unkindness grade levels PreK-6. Before receiving

children, Ada and Oakley. A transplant from the Sawtooth Mountains in central Idaho, Jill considers the Laurel Highlands home—even and especially after a four-year stint in Portland, Oregon, during which time she taught Waldorf pre-school and co-founded a forest school cooperative. Jill is a 200-hour yoga teacher. For the last seven years, she has practiced nonviolent communication, and emboldened her students on their unique paths of self-inquiry and Jill Smyth compassion. She strives to help her food service aide clients identify obstacles to health and Jill is new in the kitchen and dining hall, implement healthy boundaries. She but she has been quickly welcomed into occasionally teaches children’s yoga. Parenting two school-aged children the Valley School family. She makes means that the psychology degree Jill is sandwiches and sanitizes dishes, but working on will take more time than she more importantly, she is a palpably would like, but in the meantime, she is enthusiastic and positive presence whose warm, reliable smile encourages happy working at Valley School, a place that reflects her core values, and brings students and staff each midday. her great joy. After over a decade in marketing— including six years running a dental Likes: Woodsmoke, lanterns, hiking on chilly days, marketing firm with her then-husband— finding hidden waterfalls, roller skating, dancing, Jill started working as a henna artist kindness, radical acceptance because it was a beneficial creative Dislikes: Exclusionary mindsets, pigs, water chestnuts outlet and fit easily into life with her

Michelle Smith

director of development

Michelle has joined the Valley School Advancement Office after over a decade in the athletic footwear and apparel industry. As Senior Vice President of Global Sales and Marketing at the boutique brand SUPRA and the publicly-traded DC Shoes, Michelle’s focus was on brand strategic planning. Though Michelle loved the international travel her profession required, she decided to take a year off to spend time at home with her young twins, and to study mind-body wellness. During that sabbatical, she achieved her 200hour yoga certification, and became interested in mindfulness and its positive effects on corporate cultures, executive management, and individuals of all ages. It was her children’s positive experiences in kindergarten and 1st-grade that inspired Michelle to become involved at the school. When the Director of Development position became available, she saw an opportunity to contribute in a meaningful and lasting way. Michelle spends her spare time hiking, snowboarding, cooking, traveling, and following fashion trends. Likes: The ocean, red wine, winter’s first snow Dislikes: Snakes

Timothy A. Wilochell

facilities team member

Tim is a Pennsylvania native who grew up the youngest of five siblings. He is a 1990 graduate of the Greater Latrobe High School. He has been married for 8 years. He and his wife enjoy amusement parks (especially Kennywood) and beach trips. They often visit Ocean City, Maryland. Tim enjoys gardening and spending time with friends and family. He is an animal lover. He and his wife share their home with 2 cats, Cinnamon and Simba. Tim has had a number of driving and maintenance jobs, but considers his job at Valley School to be his best ever. He reports being happy to come to work each day, and to have joined the Valley School family. Likes: Cooking, grilling, nice people Dislikes: Rudeness and impatience, raw tomatoes, heights





CALDECOTT DAY Early this year, Valley School 4th-graders practiced their reading and oral presentation skills when they welcomed the students of Wood Bridge Preschool for two mornings of special story time featuring the books of Valley School’s Caldecott Collection.




Thank you to our alumni who returned to Valley School in November for our annual Alumni Brunch. This year, The Pickled Chef—our local farm-to-table favorite—treated our guests to a gourmet meal. Our alumni, in turn, treated us to great conversation and hilarious, sweet, and nostalgic stories! It was so much fun to catch up!

Valley School 7th, 8th, and 9thgraders celebrated the United Way’s Day of Caring by heading out into the community to do service work activities. They spent the day helping at a local volunteer firehouse and assisting with yard work at the homes of several local senior citizens. It was a fantastic day for everyone and a clear instance of “giving back feels good!”

Numerous new clubs have been added to Valley School students’ extracurricular options. The offerings this year—all based on student suggestions and interest— include Gaming, Home Economics, Crafting, All About Sports, Improvisation, Books, Adventure and Environment, Relaxation, Fly Fishing, and Science and Technology.

FALL TOURNAMENT We had a beautiful day and an excellent turnout for this year’s Fall Tournament. Lots of volunteers, staff, coaches, and visitors came together to make the event possible. We were so proud of the sportsmanship displayed by all teams. CONGRATULATIONS to our players: The Valley Owls took 1st place in the field hockey competition, and our boys placed 2nd in soccer!

GREEN AND GOLD GAME Now and then, Upper Schoolers need a break from their studies. This fall, teachers took advantage of a warm afternoon and brought students outside to stretch their legs in a co-ed Green and Gold Soccer Game! We love to see how our students practice elements of the Valley Core Values on the field. All on display: teamwork, respect, discipline, humility, and sportsmanship. Go Valley Owls!

VISITING AUTHOR Michael Dooling, author of 5 children’s books, and illustrator of 65 additional books, visited Valley School to talk with our students about drawing, storytelling, working with publishers, researching history, and the value of making mistakes. He presented to small assemblies throughout the day about his process of creating a book, and then met one-on-one with students who are especially interested in art. He looked at their work with them, talked with each of them about their strengths as an artist, and gave them advice for improvement. He then sketched every student who visited with him!

FALL CONCERT At our first concert of the year, Valley School Upper Schoolers performed vocal and instrumental pieces from around the world. Thank you to all who attended the Fall Concert, and a special thanks to alumna, Kristin Markitell ’10, who returned to perform Pablo Beltran Ruiz’s “Sway” with Valley School accompaniment.

Save the date for the Valley School Spring Musical! annie jr . march

12-14, 2020




Early in September, our 8th-graders packed up and headed east to explore Gettysburg and camp out at Caledonia State Park. After a visit to the Gettysburg History Museum, students joined Don Walters on the battlefields. (Alumni from the last decade+ will remember the knowledgeable and charismatic veteran tour guide.) In addition to learning about the history of the American Civil War, an objective of this trip is getting students comfortable with authorship. They carried their writers’ notebooks with them, and spent lots of time capturing their intellectual and emotional responses to the battlefields’ history in poetic and freeform writing. Many students returned home claiming the trip to be their best school experience ever.

Everyone knows Valley School goes big for Halloween. This year’s theme was Super Heroes, and our faculty and students did not disappoint. They took their creativity to super extremes, and performed with full enthusiasm when it came time to execute their rescue missions. Good guys prevail!



Upper Schoolers started the year with community-building retreats at Laurel Hill State Park, Ligonier Camp and Conference Center, and Antiochian Village. The days included hiking, kayaking, climbing, rappelling, exploring, trust games, collaboration exercises, and a bit of zippy risk taking!

Is that George Washington in carbonite?! You bet! Congratulations to our 1st-place winners of this year’s Fort Days Parade Float Contest! We’re so proud of our students who conjured a super-creative theme this year and executed it whimsically and beautifully. The “Preserving Ligonier’s History” float reminds us that the past is always present. Bravo, Valley School! May the FORT be with you!





Sarah (Hamilton) Rice ’49

THE MATRIARCH OF HAWAIIAN AGRICULTURE “Sally” Sarah (Hamilton) Rice was a member of Valley School’s first graduating class. She is the Co-Owner and Vice President of Agro Resources Inc. (https://agroresources. com), a Hawaii-based agribusiness that provides tropical orchard, forestry, and ranch services—restoration, management, farming, and landscaping—for private clients and state agencies. An environmental preservationist, Sally’s work reflects her beliefs in the importance of sustainable farming practices. She is a sportswoman extraordinaire, active in Hawaiian rodeo and deep-sea fishing circles. Sally is a Director and past President of Ka Ahahui ‘O Ka Nahelehele, a native dryland forest restoration nonprofit, a past President of the Hawaii Forest Institute, and a former Director and past President of the Hawaii Forest Industry Association. She is a member of the Nature Conservancy of Hawaii. She also served as President of the Hawaii Tropical Fruit Association, and is the past Executive Director of the Hawaii Macadamia Nut Association, The Hawaii Avocado Association, and the Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers.


You lived on a farm in Ligonier, but agriculture wasn’t your career plan. How did you come to agriculture professionally? I loved where I lived in Ligonier, but no, agriculture hadn’t occurred to me as a profession. After Valley School, I went to The Baldwin School, an all-girls boarding school in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. My plan was to take languages and then to get into the UN, but my junior-year biology requirement changed that. A lightbulb went off, and I thought, “I really love this; I’m really having fun.” When I enrolled at Cornell, I pursued Animal Sciences. Agronomy was my minor.

Why Hawaii? I met my husband, Freddy Rice, at Cornell. He was in my program, and had grown up in Hawaii. His family was one of the original missionary families of the Congregational Church, and they were long-established there. Freddy was interested in ranching, and that worked for me. We got married in 1957 after I had graduated from Cornell. While Freddy completed his ROTC obligations, we lived in El Paso, Texas. Freddy was an accomplished polo player and had been a member of the Cornell Intercollegiate Championship team, so when we had the chance to purchase 2 polo ponies for $50 each, we went for it. They were good polo ponies, and we had a six month “honeymoon” in Texas, attending lots of polo games and bullfights in Juarez and enjoying plenty of mariachi music. When Freddy completed his military service, we headed to Maui. Two years later, we moved to the Big Island.

FUN FACT: Sally was an integral figure in the formation of the Hawaii Rodeo Cowboys Association, the Kona-Kau Roping and Polo Club, and the annual Honaunau Stampede.

You eventually branched out into land management and restoration.

“Me, presenting a trophy to a young Hawaiian cowboy from Kona, who won the 2019 state trophy for our “poo wai u” rodeo event, held in honor of my late ex-husband, Freddy Rice.”

In 1980, Freddy and I were divorced, and Steve Zuckerman, a fishing friend of mine, was buying a lot of agricultural properties in Kona. He asked me to be his property manager. There were ranch, trail riding, and orchard properties. One of my responsibilities was to establish a 100-acre macadamia nut orchard. I traveled a lot back then, because the properties were spread out and I managed the workers on all of them. I’d perform land evaluations, make usage recommendations, get bids, hire contractors, raise seedlings, and get orchards—papaya, macadamia, lychee, mangosteen, rambutan, longan etc.—up and running. Eventually Steve’s partners pressured him to sell his Hawaii properties, as they wanted to monetize their investments, which they did very successfully. At that time, I joined the agricultural consulting firm, Agricon Hawaii, Inc. Soon afterward, my partner in Agricon, David Rietow, and I saw a need for farming services, and so started Agro Resources Inc. to farm many of the properties for which we had done consulting.

What were your early ranching days like?

What services does Agro Resources Inc. provide?

By the time we moved to Hawaii Island, we had the first of our four children, a son, McGrew. Freddy and I both had management jobs at Kahuku Ranch, owned by the Honolulu Damon Estate, and located near the town of Naalehu on the south side of Hawaii Island. It was a beautiful 108,000-acre Hereford cattle ranch. We lived on the ranch, walked to the office each morning, and organized our days around work and the kids. We had three daughters while living and working at Kahuku Ranch. I was—am—a nutrition nut and had a little barnyard with chickens, ducks, pigs, and a milk cow, as well as a vegetable garden. My professional responsibilities ranged from assisting with plans for pasture improvement, to placing supply orders, to doing time sheets, to contractor management. Kahuku Ranch was progressive in the sense that the estate was very open to sustainable agricultural practices. Both Freddy and I were strong advocates of environmental preservation. We worked with the University of Hawaii Extension Service and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s soil conservationists to develop sustainable pastures. We planted grasses and legumes to enrich the soil, and trees with root systems that prevent erosion and maintain the integrity of the land.

We are a farming company with locations in Hilo and Kona, on Hawaii Island. We provide land restoration, tropical farm management and farming, consulting, and technical services to agricultural clients. For a long time in Hawaii, sugar was king—politically, economically, and in terms of land usage. But when other countries’ governments began to subsidize sugar production, Hawaii couldn’t compete. Now we find value in more diverse farming. Our client base includes commercial orchards, ranches, estates with agricultural property, and state agencies. In some cases, we evaluate, make recommendations, and complete the work. In others, the relationship is ongoing; the owners aren’t local, and so we do all the farming—preparing the land, planting, maintaining crops, harvesting, transporting crops to buyers, and arranging market strategy. When we do restoration projects and landscaping, we most often remove invasive species and replace them with native—sometimes endangered— Hawaiian plants. In addition to managing properties, we own and have developed a number of Kona coffee farms, and tropical and subtropical fruit farms.

Later, you and Freddy started your own cattle company. After 13 years at Kahuku Ranch, we moved to the west side of the island to take management positions at Puuwaawaa Ranch, a 120,000-acre cattle ranch with a 2,000-cow commercial herd. But we wanted to start our own business, so in 1974, we launched FR Quarter Horse Ranch. It was a small, intensively-managed operation in the Kohala area of the Big Island. We started with a 6,000-acre lease, and built our cow herd to 500 cows. They were cross-bred Hereford-Santa Gertrudis cows with Brahma blood, which do very well in the heat of tropical environments. We sold calves weaned from their mothers to pasture on grass on the Mainland. We bred quarter horses for polo and rodeo, both for our family and to sell.

“[Valley School] broadened my horizons. I saw how much world there was to explore, and how different landscapes could be.”



FUN FACT: Macadamia nuts are indigenous to Australia.

“A macadamia nut tree branch from a 100-acre orchard I established and managed in Kapua, South Kona, on Hawaii Island, in the early ’90s.”

Women must have been very scarce in agricultural professions—ranching especially—during the 60s, 70s, and 80s. How did you experience being a minority in your field (Ha!)? Well, there were women here and there. There was one other woman in my program at Cornell. I grew up with a sister and very supportive parents who believed in my talents. I married into a family in which the women were empowered and supportive of my work. I never really thought much about being a minority, and I wasn’t much aware of gender discrimination. Looking back, I can identify a few instances in which sexism may have played a role in my professional life, but discrimination didn’t occur to me at the time. I just didn’t experience much trouble with it.

What do you see as the future of agriculture in Hawaii? “We used sheep as mowers for our 100-acre Kapua macadamia nut orchard.”

The macro-goal should be to increase food sustainability. Hawaii produces only 15% of the food the state consumes. On average, our native-grown food supply can only sustain the state’s population for 2 weeks. Chefs and farmers are organizing and increasing their efforts to diversify our crop production so that Hawaii is less vulnerable to the instability of the airline and boating transportation industries. We need to expand the production of the tropical fruits that grow successfully here. In addition, we need to grow more vegetables—lettuces, broccoli, asparagus, Maui onions, taro, etc. The future I see includes keeping more grass-fed cattle here, too.

What was Valley School like for you?

“In 1948, I won Valley School’s “School Prize for Girls” and was awarded a Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, which I still use today. This is the front-page inscription by Mr. Messer.”

My mom and dad were delighted when Mrs. Mellon decided to start the school. I have strong and distinct memories of my time there. There were 6 of us in the class. And it was hard work. When I was faced with the expectations at Valley School, I had to up my game. It was a true challenge. Mr. Peter Messer and Mr. Roger Kent were wonderful teachers—not just brilliant educators, but charismatic men who we looked up to in a lot of ways. Attending Valley School was an eye-opener for me. We learned about the wild west, and my east coast eyes were amazed. Mr. Kent taught us about deserts and really big mountains. It broadened my horizons. I saw how much world there was to explore, and how different landscapes could be. I still feel very connected to Valley School and follow what goes on there.

FUN FACT: Sally holds records in the Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament for catches of marlin, and several International Game Fishing Association world records.


Enrolling now for the 2020-2021 School Year!

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

Katelyn Bruzda

director of admissions







David Kirkland

David Kirkland grew up on a cul-de-sac street in urban Orange County, California, just 45 minutes outside of Los Angeles. The youngest of 5, he recalls a childhood filled with trips to the beach, friends, and neighborhood gatherings. His parents and the other adults on his street were highly social together, and to David, his parents’ friendsgroup—and their children—felt like family. Aside from community, priorities in the Kirkland family included education, best efforts, and morality. David’s parents, Theresa and Raymond, worked hard to be able to send their children to Catholic schools from Kindergarten through 12th grade. They were exceptionally engaged in their children’s school experience. Theresa served as the nurse and librarian at David’s school, even while she worked fulltime night shifts at a Hospice for Kaiser Permanente. And Raymond, who was a driver for McDonnell Douglas aircraft company, frequently took time off to volunteer with school events and field trips. David always loved the idea of teaching. When he played “School” with friends, he coveted the role of “Teacher.” His peer group encouraged him. “I feel blessed to have been among those children—many of whom I still know—because they were so instrumental in my development. They gave me the confidence to be true to myself.” Despite his mom’s hope that he would pursue a career in medicine, by 8th grade, David knew he wanted to be a math teacher. After graduating from high school, David found a home away from home at St. Vincent College. He loved the smalltown ambiance of Latrobe, and quickly became accustomed to the slower pace of life the Laurel Highlands offer. Early on, he fell into a group of friends who participated in campus ministry, studied, worked, and played together. Among those friends was Cheryl Gerboc, who after years of friendship, became David’s wife. “I count those four years at St. Vincent

among the best of my life,” David muses with more than a hint of nostalgia in his voice. “I was a part of such a caring and supportive community, I knew that it would remain important to me forever. In fact, those qualities are a big part of what attracted me to Valley School.” By the beginning of 1995, David had happily settled in to a job teaching 8th grade mathematics in Canonsburg, when life took an unexpected turn. Brother Norman, the former President of St. Vincent, called about an opening teaching mathematics at a beautiful and small independent school just outside of Ligonier. “I’d never heard of Valley School, and I liked the school I was at, but Brother Norman thought I should apply, and I figured it couldn’t hurt. The moment I set foot on campus, I knew—I prayed—this would be the place for me.” David interviewed with then-Head of School, Michael Kennedy. “It was much more like a conversation than a question-and-answer session. I felt like we were talking about my becoming a member of a family. When I got home, I called to Cheryl, who was then my fiancé, and said, ‘This is where I belong.’” Michael Kennedy agreed, and within weeks, David accepted Valley School’s offer to teach Upper School math, as well as a science elective. As a relatively new teacher, he might have been overwhelmed, but he credits the people around him with helping him acclimate to the school culture and profession of teaching. Mr. Kennedy’s Assistant, Thelma Hartman, and Front Office Assistant, Candy Springer, helped him adjust. 6th-grade teachers, Laura Varga and Vera Hisker, took him under their wing. Whatever professional hurdle he might face, he knew he could turn to his colleagues for seasoned advice, as well as moral support. But it was students from whom David learned the most in those early years. “I was especially challenged by a group of 6th- and 7th-graders who were struggling with mathematical concepts. They inspired me. I had to uncover who they were and how they could best learn. I gained so much from pushing through difficulties with them. They thought I was teaching them, but they taught me, too. They are the reason I decided to pursue my Master’s Degree in Secondary Education at Duquesne.” In addition to continuing his education, David got involved in professional leadership organizations, eventually becoming the President of the Pittsburgh Area Independent School Teachers’ Association (PAISTA). Valley School librarian, Karen Koza, remembers the first conference over which David presided as PAISTA President. “He was giving a presentation to several hundred educators. I was so impressed by his command of the room, his presence and professionalism. I could see that he had found a passion for administration and leadership roles.”



In 2014, David became Valley School’s Upper School Division Head. As a leader, his colleagues describe him as thoughtful, principled, and fair. One Upper School teacher described David’s leadership this way: “One of the things I most admire about David is his willingness to let others shine. He’s a skilled delegator, and he isn’t intimidated by other people’s strengths. Instead, he believes the talents of others are an advantage to the whole community. Under his leadership, teachers flourish, and students benefit.” David’s administrative responsibilities don’t keep him from the classroom. He always wants to be engaged with students. Upper Schoolers describe him as “relatable and understanding.” One student explained that “Mr. Kirkland

is always available, and he creates ways of making math fun. He puts it on a level I can understand.” For David, the classroom just happens to be the place he belongs. “I’ve been blessed with a love of learning, and it’s important to me that I share that with my students. I see how capable they are, and I want them to feel supported and successful. Beyond middle school, I want them to be able to translate what they’ve learned here at Valley School into a life that genuinely fulfills them. It isn’t about just academics. It’s about finding happiness using their unique gifts and talents.” If you ask David about the future, he invariably mentions the past. He’s grateful for the generosity he’s encountered in his colleagues, especially former Head of Valley School, Clair Ward; former Head of Lower School, Johnny DeRose; and Valley School’s former Latin teacher, Shelley Miller. “They have meant so much to me professionally and personally. Each of them has been an outstanding mentor, role model, and friend. Even when he looks forward at what lies ahead for Valley School, David turns toward legacy. “What I wish for Valley School is that we will stay true to the beautiful mission, vision, and philosophy of the founding family, and continue to grow healthy and well-rounded children who care for themselves and others.”

“What I wish for Valley School is that we will stay true to the beautiful mission, vision, and philosophy of the founding family, and continue to grow healthy and well-rounded children who care for themselves and others.”



Friends of Valley School Golf Tournament

Save-the-Date for next year’s Tournament: Thursday, September 24, 2020

Thank you to all who sponsored and played in the 15th Annual Friends of Valley School Golf Tournament. After a soggy morning, we had a gorgeous afternoon on Laurel Valley’s greens. Proceeds from this event support the important work we do at Valley School every day. Valley School’s faculty and staff, administration, and students are grateful for your participation! 2019 TOURNAMENT WINNERS 1ST-PLACE TEAM Shallenberger Construction (Tom Baxter, Jack Maloy, Rich Colburn, Randy Johnson) 2ND-PLACE TEAM Fort Pitt Capital Group (Bill Weeks, Gene Rodgers, Daryl Patten, Venkat Maharaja) LOW NET Scott Gongaware BEAT THE PRO Mark Gera CLOSEST TO THE PIN - #5 Mike Toole

CLOSEST TO THE PIN - #8 RJ Zitzelsberger CLOSEST TO THE PIN - #14 John Werner CLOSEST TO THE PIN - #17 Steve McConahey LONGEST DRIVE - #12 Jacob Artuso LONGEST PUTT - #18 Dave Newschander STRAIGHTEST DRIVE - #1 Joe Shearer



COMMUNITY UPDATES Valley School alumni and friends, we’d love to know what’s happening with you! PLEASE SEND YOUR UPDATES AND PHOTOS TO: advancement@valleyschoolofligonier.org.

ZOE ANN BURGOON ’52 BARLEY graduated from Greater Latrobe High School in 1956, got an B.A. from Harvard (Radcliffe College) in 1960, and was married at Memorial Church in Harvard Yard right afterward. She taught elementary science for one year at the University of Chicago Lab School before her daughters were born in 1962 and 1964. Zoe’s husband is a Presbyterian clergyman. With him, the family went to work in community renewal on Chicago’s West Side from 1966 through the riots of 1968. Then from 1968-1969, they worked on church renewal in Malaysia, where there were four major riots. “Our colleagues asked if we took riots with us everywhere we went!” Zoe recalls. In 1972, Zoe’s husband became pastor of a church in Denver, where he served until 1989. During that time, Zoe worked at the University of Colorado, and completed her Masters and PhD. From 1989-1999 the Barley family lived in Michigan where Zoe was a faculty member at Western Michigan University. After her husband retired in 1999, he and Zoe moved back to Denver where she continued working as an educational evaluator and researcher, eventually acting as a consultant before closing her LLC in 2018. Zoe recently turned 80. She and her husband will celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary next June with a family cruise in Alaska. She would love to hear from Valley School classmates Scotty McDonald, Charles DuPuy, and John and Bill Bright.


ABBY TURCHECK ’15 spent the summer of 2019 in Houston, Texas, doing neurotechnology research at the University of Houston Cullen College of Engineering, through a National Science Foundation grant. She completed a research project involving the machine learning-based data analysis of brain EEG data throughout a 400 hour dataset, finding the parts of the brain most relevant to the creative process. In July, she presented her findings to engineering faculty and graduate students. She has since returned to Arizona State University for her sophomore year to continue her studies in biomedical engineering.

MIRANDA STEINER ’13 WALLACE married Nick Wallace on July 14, 2019, on Hatteras Island, in North Carolina. The newlyweds now live in Knoxville, Tennessee as they finish their last year of undergraduate school at Johnson University. Miranda is studying marketing, and working as a teaching assistant and graphic designer. Her husband’s degree will be in psychology. He is currently interning as a school counselor at a local junior high school.

BRIAN MOYER ’76 (not pictured) moved to Ohio—the closest he’s been to PA in the last 30 years—about a year ago. He has worked continuously in the printing industry throughout his career. He writes, “My days at Valley are some of my most treasured memories—camping and backpacking with Peter Messer and Jim Farr, chasing the girls who went upstream to wash their hair, causing soap suds to come through our cooking site, rock climbing, being coached by Larry Hutzell, taking Latin with Malcolm Tweedy, and so much more. I hope to get back to some Valley School events in the future. Valley has always had a special place in my heart and was a driving force in who I’ve become and how far I have gone in my career.”

CHLOE POHLAND ’16 is a member of the inaugural class of the Daniel J. Wukich School of Nursing at Seton Hill University. She is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and will also likely major in Spanish. Chloe will spend this summer in Argentina with the school for two immersive classes. She writes, “I am incredibly thankful for all that Valley School taught me and all of the wonderful opportunities I had there. From lifelong classmate friendships, to the way that languages are taught, Valley School is a really special place.” Chloe has found that Seton Hill resembles Valley School in the sense that the community is small and the professors genuinely care, and she feels that it will be a perfect home for her for the next four years. Her possible plans for the future include pursuing a nurse anesthetist graduate program or some other master’s in nursing.

KELSEY SHERBONDY ’05 (not pictured) has returned to Western Pennsylvania after more than 11 years spent studying, living, and working in Washington, D.C. and overseas. She is a Major Gifts Officer at the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Medicine and is living in Pittsburgh. After Valley School, KRISTIN MARKITELL ’10 attended Shady Side Academy, and then moved on to the University of Pittsburgh. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Natural Sciences and a minor in Social Work. She recently attended the Douglas Education Center where she completed the Esthetics program in order to pursue a career in the dermatology and cosmetics industry, with the long-term goal being to open her own business. Kristin still performs musically, and will always think of Valley School as being the place where she first found her voice. With her first solo in Godspell in 8th grade, she knew that she wanted to pursue singing, and performing became second nature to her. Since then, she has performed at many private parties, weddings, and with Harold Betters at several of his concerts—even for his birthday! Recently, Kristin returned to Valley School to perform with Upper School musicians during the Fall Concert. Valley School, for Kristin, is “a second forever home, where [she] always feels welcomed.”

RICHARD KNEEDLER ’57 is currently serving as Interim President of Wilson College in Chambersburg, PA. Richard writes that “the newly elected president will begin his term January 1, but being at Wilson since July has been great fun. It’s a very impressive school with excellent programs in the Life Sciences, Liberal Arts, Equine Studies, Animal Studies, Vet Tech, PreVet, and Fine Arts, among others. Plus, it’s a mere two hours east of Ligonier on Route 30!”

PHYLLIS LALLY ’03 SEEVERS and her husband, Leonard William Seevers II, welcomed their first child, Leonard William (“Willie”) Seevers III, on October 7, 2019. The family lives in New York City and looks forward to introducing Willie to Valley School on their next visit to the Pittsburgh area.

IN MEMORIUM: GALEN E. MOYER JR. ’75 passed away on Saturday March 3, 2018. He is survived by his wife, Shirley, and their son, Galen III, his brother Brian ’76, and his sisters, Anne ’79 and Beth ’79. Galen was an avid hunter and sportsman, and enjoyed spending time at the shooting range. Along with being active in his church and various civic organizations, Galen was an accomplished motivational speaker, sought after by the Lions Club, JDRF, and other groups, with whom he shared his vitality for life and message about not giving in to adversity.

When “ROCKY” ARTHUR THOMPSON ’71 got in touch with us in late November, he was at home in Colorado, buried under 2+ feet of snow. For the last 10 years, Rocky has been busy with his work as the Board President of the Colorado Environmental Film Festival, a 501(c)3 that aims to inspire, educate, and motivate audiences to make environmentally responsible choices, and thereby, make a difference in their communities. Rocky’s role with the organization keeps him closely involved with the filmmakers, as he’s responsible for receiving all the films and organizing them onto hard drives, so they are ready for projection. This year, the highly successful festival had 180 films submitted, and so viewing all the films and judging them is a monumental task. “It’s a labor of love. Anyone who is interested in helping should get in touch. The process can be done anywhere there is an internet connection.” More information can be found at www.ceff.net. The 2020 CEFF will be February 2023, in Golden, CO. Rocky would love to see other Valley School alumni there!


CINDY PALMER, Assistant to the Head of School, became a grandmother again on October 16th. Jocelyn Ann Palmer arrived weighing 7 lbs., 10 oz. and measuring 19 inches long. Parents, Jason and Jessica, and big brother, 1 ½ -year-old Jameson, are enjoying lots of adorable, teeny-tiny snuggles.




Autumnal Haikus

This term, 3rd-graders learned about haiku form, and then wrote their own 5-7-5 poems! LEAVES


Falling leaves come down In the trees no longer green In the end they’re brown

Walk in the forest Rain of orange, yellow, red Dancing in color

Leaves are falling off In the trees there is a squirrel – He is the culprit


by Louis Young

He will come down soon And when he does…he will make Some good mammal pie

I HATE LEAVES by Jaxon Makrevski

Terrible leaves float And it makes more work for me I hate leaves so much


by Aimee Hood

Leaves float side to side Down in a pile all around One looks like a mouse


by Vivia Brunton

by Steele Brunton

In autumn leaves fall Peacefully crunching into Big colorful piles


Fall is exciting Graceful big red gems float down Always gentle leaves


Leaves are dropping down Leaves are falling down on me Dancing to the ground


The leaves are falling Outside they are colorful Red, orange, and brown

SHINY LEAVES by Banyan Walters


Gold and crimson leaves Shining on the trees – sparkle Hitting the soft ground

Leaves fall gracefully On the way down to the ground Colorful leaves fly


by Ella Sundh

by Savanna Oliver

So tired tonight From playing in the leaf piles Now blowing in wind

What makes you SMILE?

These poems were written by 4th-graders after they studied acrostic poetry, a form in which a certain letter (usually the first) of each line spells out a word or a phrase.


by Jana Smith

Sitting on the couch with my mom and dad My family having a snowball fight I love to swim on hot days Living in a house of fun Every time we bake cookies


by Greyson Daugherty

Summer days in my pool My dog by my side Ice cream on a Saturday Laughing forever and ever Ever-lasting vacations

Are you a Pennsylvania earner who pays at least

Are you interested in supporting

$3,500 in PA state tax?

Valley School’s scholarship fund? Here’s what you need to know: • The EITC program operates on a first-come, first-serve basis. Pennsylvania allows a limited amount of charitable contributions to be donated to the EITC program each year. In order to receive the tax credit—and for Valley School to benefit from your contribution—it is important to send in your application as soon as possible. • Your donation can be magnified by more than 10x the amount of your out-of-pocket cost. • Your contribution will be used by Valley School exclusively for scholarships. If you would like more details about the EITC program, or would like to obtain your one-page, non-binding application, please contact Michelle Smith, Valley School’s Director of Development, at 724.238.5028 or email msmith@valleyschoolofligonier.org.


A World Without Borders Valley School Faculty in Greece by Sarah Fichter

I was a unique child, always with my nose in a book, captivated by places and cultures far from my own. I was inspired by my mother, who traveled frequently as a young adult, and I remember listening to her stories, and flipping through her photo album again and again. I was especially captivated by her accounts of Greece, her favorite destination. I grew up dreaming of traveling there, too. I imagined catching a glimpse of the turquoise waters, walking alongside structures that have been on this earth for thousands of years, being surrounded by the smells of unfamiliar cuisine, and absorbing the unique color palettes of the land and cityscapes. But traveling to exotic places (or taking vacations in general) was not part of my childhood reality. Though my mother carried guilt about this, that didn’t stop her from encouraging me to find opportunities to immerse myself in new cultures. My dream to see Greece became hers; she wanted that so badly for me. Last summer, my colleague, Jessi Yates, and I met frequently to work on our Social Studies curriculum. After finishing our Greece mapping work, I turned to Jessi, an experienced traveler, and offhandedly mentioned that I wanted us to go to Greece. To me, traveling with my colleague-turned-dear-friend would be the best way to live out my dream. Jessi studied abroad in Greece during college, and she has visited more than 20 countries. Matching my enthusiasm, Jessi began researching, and within days, she discovered the Classroom Without Borders (CWB) trip to Greece.

Classrooms Without Borders is a Pittsburgh-based organization associated with the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, that works to “open minds and hearts through learning experiences that transform education and empower educators and students” through group travel seminars to parts of the world affected by the Holocaust. While a trip to Greece to study Jewish history wasn’t what I had imagined as a child, the opportunity would perfectly blend my interest in ancient history and a more recent, uniquely Jewish narrative—something I didn’t know I was missing. Because CWB uses donations to offset the costs of trips for educators and students, Jessi and I were able to book our trip to Greece at a reasonable rate, and even add a few extra days of independent travel after the CWB seminar days. The reality of my dream would be more fulfilling than I ever anticipated. My mother cried joyfully when I told her the news.

SEEKING WISDOM The knowledge I gained in Greece has been immeasurably rewarding, and has extended beyond my own personal benefit. As a teacher of ancient and early modern civilizations, I couldn’t wait to bring our trip back to my Valley School students. Jessi and I spent hours poring over our photos, the notes we took, and the reflections we captured. There is just so much to share. The ruins of the Mycenaean and Minoan capitals. The views of the Acropolis from the paths of the Agora. The countless landscapes that crowd our cameras. Because of the knowledge I gained on the CWB trip, I teach Greece’s mountainous geography differently; now I have the stories of the Greek Jews and the Greek National Resistance who benefited from that mountainous terrain during the Axis occupation. What is geography without people to bring it to life?




The most significant effect our trip has had on my curriculum—the lesson I wasn’t expecting—is the power of storytelling. As we traveled from one archaeological site to the next, from one Jewish community to the next, we were immersed in the narratives of others—from ancient times, to the Holocaust, to our modern day. The Greeks’ ancestral stories radiate pride. As they were shared with me, it is my job as an educator, and my responsibility as a member of the human community, to care for and share them with others. There are too many to recount in this article, but I will choose one: We visited a hilltop memorial dedicated to the village of Distomo where 228 men, women, and children were massacred after a Greek partisan attack on a Nazi convoy. The memorial tells the story through a series of seven sculpted pictures that had me breathless. I was overwhelmed by the power of the medium. As Jessi put it, we were “lingering humbly as witness to resistance in the face of brutality.” I learned the greatest lesson of all on this trip: The stories we choose to tell are just as important as the ways in which we choose to tell them.

EMBRACING INTEGRITY This trip, specifically the time spent traveling the mainland of Greece with CWB, showed me the power of feeling the stories of others. Empathy. It’s easy to name, but difficult to see, hear, and feel. Listening to second-generation Holocaust survivors painfully recount the stories of their parents enabled me to empathize more profoundly than any textbook ever could. At one point on our journey, we toured the small town of Veria, where the last of the Jewish population died out ten years ago. Despite this, the synagogue remains open for visitors as a way to share the stories of the lives that once gave its walls life. Evi, the Greek Orthodox caretaker at the temple, spoke to us about the significance of keeping the stories alive: “We may know in our heads, but the most important thing is to feel in our hearts. Some of us don’t want to feel because it’s too hard. But feeling is the only way for us to keep this from happening again.” It is my duty as an educator to bring these stories back to my colleagues and students—to help others feel—because empathy is a peacekeeper. 24

The emotional benefits of this trip came as a surprise. Being far from home for the first time in my life, I expected some homesickness. But coupled with the sadness I felt hearing the stories of Greek Jews who lost their lives during the Holocaust, the emotionality of the trip took a toll on me earlier and more profoundly than I expected. When I’m feeling particularly down and during times of need, I think of my father, missing him more in those moments. He passed away from cancer six years ago, and since then, when I experience those waves of grief, I have found ways to connect with him, especially through the sighting of butterflies. There was one point during the trip when I had become reserved and introverted, recognizing that I needed time to reflect and be on my own. I stepped off our charter bus to take pictures at a breathtaking overlook in Arachova, right after having traversed the mountain paths of the ruins of the ancient city of Delphi, and I closed my eyes, trying to connect with my dad, needing love and affirmation from him. The moment I opened my eyes, a butterfly flew right past my face. And in that moment, I knew that my homesickness would fade, and that this trip—although emotionally challenging—would be good for my soul. The butterfly found me again in Crete. This time as we were hiking 13 miles through the Samaria Gorge. It followed us throughout most of the 13 miles—perching upon rocks along the way, fragile but steadfast, watching and waiting for me. I spent a lot of that hike contemplating the emotional benefits I was feeling, reflecting on how I could sense positive changes in myself. This trip was good for my professional development, my friendship and partnership with Jessi, and most of all, for me. Greece gave me a part of myself I knew I had been missing, dating back to when I had first heard about my mother’s experiences: a passion for traveling and an ability to see and connect with others through it.

AFTER DELPHI Today I saw the butterfly, and in it I sensed my dad. He could tell that I needed his strength,

“It is my duty as an educator to bring these stories back to my colleagues and students —to help others feel— because empathy is a peacekeeper.”

that I’ve been thinking of him as we memorialize the lost souls of the Holocaust, as we deal with an inner struggle between learning about a dark and sad and incomprehensible truth— a black stain on history that threatens to repeat, to spread— and experiencing the beautiful and


breathtaking and inspiring views of Greece.

As an introvert who has to work hard to navigate an extroverted world, I was fortunate to have had a friend with me on the trip. Jessi and I roomed together at every hotel, and our conversations helped me to process each day. We sat beside each other on every bus trip, which helped me to connect with others. Jessi’s naturally comfortable way with new people made me feel at ease and able to connect with my fellow travelers. I now have new professional colleagues. We’ve shared curricula, professional challenges, and even personal celebrations. I began my trip to Greece connected with one friend. But as we parted ways from the CWB group in the airport, Jessi and I left with new colleagues, new friends. That community building continues today, as I excitedly shared the news of my pregnancy with the group. And because of this community, I feel more prepared to become a mom; their kindness, empathy, and passion for learning are inspiration for my husband and me as we begin the journey of becoming parents. How fortunate am I that I get to bring our child into a community like this one. I am now a part of a much bigger world than I thought possible: I am a traveler—a story gatherer—in the great company of my dear friend and colleague Jessi, my new professional cohorts at CWB, my mother, and many more I will meet along my future travels. Each of us is grateful to feel our own narratives expand from listening to and witnessing the stories of others.

The butterfly swooped in and out, all around me and new colleagues, my new friends, a constant reminder that we can find the beauty even in our darkest moments if only we remember the stories of those gone before us— memory eternal, as they sang. I saw the butterfly today, and because of it I felt my dad; he reminded me of the importance of memory and feeling that memory to better understand.




Kindergarten How is school going so far?

In early October, we asked our youngest students about their early impressions of kindergarten, and what they expect from their years at Valley School. At the same time, we talked to the 9th-graders, and asked them to reflect back on their time here.

Why do kids go to school?


“To learn.”

“I love it!”

“So our brains can get stronger.”

“This is the best school I’ve ever been to!”

“To get really smart!”

What is your favorite part of Kindergarten so far? “Making new friends.” “Doing the activities.” “Playing with my friends.”

What was it like on the first day?

“To get ready for the future.” “To make new friends.”

What do you think of your teachers? RE: Mrs. Fryer: “She’s the best teacher I’ve ever had, and she’s really nice, and she has really curly hair!”

“At first I was scared but then I met a new friend on the bus.”

RE: Mrs. Shebeck: “She’s the best teacher in the world, and if you mess up she gives you a new paper.”

“I was scared because it was a new school. Now it feels happy.”

RE: Mrs. Dempsey: “She’s the best teacher in the world!”

“I was really scared but then I saw some friends and I started liking it.”

What do you think you’ll learn at Valley School? “I think I’ll learn to write my name in cursive.” “I’m going to learn a lot about math.” “More math!”

“Grilled cheese!” “Valley subs!” “Salad bar!” “Salad and tomatoes.” “Salad bar… Well, just the croutons.” “Ice cream!” “Ice cream!” “Ice cream!” “Ice cream!” “Ice cream!”


“History. I think I’ll learn about history when I get older.”


What is your favorite thing to eat at lunch?

2020 Ninth Grade What are the most important things you’ve learned at Valley School? “Hard work is key.” “The most important things I have learned from Valley are: how to be a self-advocate; the importance of community; and appreciating nature and learning from it.”

What is your fondest Valley School memory? “Swimming in the stream!” “I have so many fond memories of Valley, it is almost impossible to give just one. My time at Valley is not quite over, so I know there will be many more, too.” “Being the dog (Nana) in the school play, Peter Pan, Jr.!”

What do you most hope to accomplish during your high school years? “Make friends that I will keep in touch with throughout the course of my life—and learn cool stuff.” “Get good grades, do well in sports, and have a good time.” “I hope to accomplish my ultimate goal of getting into Notre Dame. I also hope to continue to grow as a person and build upon the values Valley School has instilled in me.” “I hope to learn better time management.”

What skill would you most like to develop? “Being able to bond and develop relationships with strangers.” “I would love to develop being good at math.” “I would like to develop my singing and performing side of me. That would include building my confidence.” “I would love to know how to commandeer any kind of aircraft.”

Which Valley Core Value most speaks to you and why? “Building Community is the most important to me, as it is one of the most important things to be able to do, but it is also super easy to mess up.” “Cultivating Wellness. No matter how stressful life is, you should find time for it!” “Building Community speaks to me the most because I believe maintaining healthy relationships with those around you is necessary.” “Building Community. From our first day to our last day at Valley, we are always working to build strong, healthy relationships within our Valley family as well as the outside community. This has helped me to become an empathic and engaged individual.”

Would you like to relay a message to someone at Valley? “Thank you, Mrs. Nolfi, for being so supportive with math and making advisory fun!” “Mr. Croley, thank you for inspiring me and encouraging me to be a self-advocate. You have helped me realize not everything has to be perfect and that my “grit” will get me further in life. Thank you!” “Ms. Earhart, Thank you so much for your patience and for flipping that switch for me in math. You are a voice of reason and have a way of putting things into perspective. I cannot thank you enough for being there to listen to and support me.”

From our first day to our last day at Valley, we are always working to build strong, healthy relationships within our Valley family as well as the outside community. This has helped me to become an empathic and engaged individual.”



OVERHEARD ON SOCIAL MEDIA We like your “likes,� but we love your shares! Follow us on Facebook (@valleyschoolofligonier) and Instagram (valleyschoolofligonier) to see what the chatter is all about, then share to spread the word about the amazing things happening at Valley School!

Love Loveseeing seeingMrs. Mrs.Koza Kozaininthe thespotlight. spotlight. What a special Whatperson a special in the person livesinofthe her students lives of her and students their parents. and their parents. Best school ever!

đ&#x;’šđ&#x;’›đ&#x;?† Best art teacher around!

My girls loved Mrs. Hugo and she has had a lasting positive impact on both of their lives. Thank you, Gail!

Thank you for honoring those who sacrifice and serve. Thank you, Valley!



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Pepperoni PepperoniRoll RollDays Daysare are the best days of the year! Mrs. Snyder is one of the best in the game!

Great friend, great person, great educator!!!


Great performance by all of the young musicians!


Mr. Jinks is simply an amazing educator!

[The Fall Tournament was] so much fun to watch!! Great sportsmanship.


Born to be a librarian‌ and always a teacher.


It is fascinating to see these active, creative, open environments. So different from the late 60s and, I suspect, considerably better for engaged young minds!

Such a special place.


#valleyschoolofligonier #valleyschoolproud #valleycorevalues #sharevalleyschool

I was lucky to have been in Mrs. Koza’s 5th-grade class many moons ago‌ I won’t ever forget the Oglebay oatmeal incident. I hope to instill the same love of learning in my students that she shared with me.


[She] had a great time at Valley today and wouldn’t quit talking about her great experience with “the big kids� at Valley! Fall days are always the best at Valley!

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“We didn’t realize we were making memories. We just knew we were having fun.” — A. A. Milne

PO Box 616 Ligonier, Pennsylvania 15658-0616 valleyschoolofligonier.org


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The Wheel 38.2 Fall/Winter 2019  

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