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VOLUME 20 / NUMBER 1 / WINTER / SPRING 2019

FOCUS ON

FINE ARTS

The Culture of Collaboration

DIVERSE THINKING. MULTIDISCIPLINARY PERSPECTIVES. CREATIVE PROBLEM SOLVING.


60 VIEWS OF MULHOLLAND DRIVE

Second Grade Students worked collaboratively to recreate David Hockney’s Mulholland Drive: The Road to the Studio. Each student was responsible for a small section of the whole. They partnered with their fellow students by connecting pieces to draw major shapes and match blended colors. Oil pastel on poster board. 84"x 31.65"

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editor’s note

The Value of Collaboration By Monica Case ’90, Viewpoint Editor

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he artwork on the two preceding pages, 60 Views of Mulholland Drive, is the reinterpretation by 60 of our Second Grade students of David Hockney’s iconic L.A. painting Mulholland Drive: The Road to the Studio. This collaborative assignment, where each student was responsible for their own square of the painting, but also had to work with the students creating the adjacent squares to make sure they would fit together, was conceived by their thoughtful and creative Primary School art teacher Wendy Mar. It is the perfect example of the challenges, the fun, and the extraordinary results of working together to create something where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

The cover image shows another collaborative project – this time between two advanced photography students, Weston Bell-Geddes ’19 and Carson Gilford ’19, with the direction of their inspired and inspiring teacher, Charlie Sitzer. The three of them worked together for two years to photograph a 1.5-inch tall insect in a mosaic of 15,000 images rendered at a super-high resolution that could be printed the size of a billboard. For all three of them, each day presented new technical and creative challenges, but through dogged determination, and a commitment to the project and each other, they completed the image that you see on page 40. It is exquisite, and for the students who admire the photo on display in the Upper School’s Malcolm Family Art Gallery, it is a massive symbol of what is possible through collaboration and crazy resolve.

about the value of collaboration in the classroom and the mindset that it takes to create this kind of pedagogical environment. In the Primary and Lower Schools, the students, faculty, and staff all contributed to the charming cardboard Enchanted Rainforest. In the Middle School, the students worked together to create the clubs that meet during I Block. Even our visiting authors program is the result of collaboration between the library staff, the English faculty, and on occasion other schools and bookstores. All of these projects and opportunities are possible because of Viewpoint’s commitment to fostering a culture of collaboration. When we are asked what distinguishes Viewpoint from other academically rigorous independent schools, the answer always comes back to our community, and this culture of collaboration is fundamental to the perceptible warmth that one feels at school. This embrace extended beyond the borders of our campus during the Woolsey fire last November. Hundreds of our families were impacted – both directly and indirectly – and our community rallied to take care of one another in countless ways. For the members of our community who lost their homes, the distress of the fire continues. For the rest of us, it remains a reminder of the value of coming together to create a whole that is certainly greater than the sum of its parts.   ■

Throughout this issue of Viewpoint magazine, there are numerous examples of collaborative projects, as well as a conversation among seven teachers

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The Culture of Collaboration

arts

38 56

F O CU S O N

FI N E A RTS ATHLETICS

M I S S I O N S TAT E M E N T Viewpoint School is a welcoming, vibrant, and collaborative community that offers a challenging and enriched college preparatory education in a nurturing environment for students in Kindergarten through Twelfth Grade. The School embraces students and families from diverse cultures of the world and teaches the history and wisdom of these traditions. Viewpoint inspires a love of learning and develops those qualities which provide strength and direction for a lifetime. The School promotes among its students respect, integrity, responsibility, and optimism.

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The School celebrates its love of country by commemorating our nation’s holidays and honoring its finest traditions. Viewpoint affirms in its assemblies and programs the ethical principles inherent in all religions. Viewpoint’s students learn the importance of service to others and to the greater community with the expectation that this introduction becomes a lifelong commitment. Viewpoint recognizes the uniqueness of each child and is committed to the preservation and development of that individuality.

V IE W P O IN T O N T H E W EB

VIEWPOINT SCHOOL’S EQUESTRIENNES SOPHIE BLUHM ’21 & MADISON NADOLENCO ’23

Cover: Weston Bell-Geddes ’19 and Carson Gilford ’19 Inside Front Cover – 60 Views of Mulholland Drive: Second Graders’ version of David Hockney’s Mulholland Drive: The Road to the Studio.

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VIEWPOINT Editor: Monica Case ’90 Creative Director and Photography: Bill Youngblood

LET TER FROM THE

Head of School

SPRING 2019

Art Direction and Design: Dog Ear Design Additional Photography: Gregg Kessler, Verity Paton, Charlie Sitzer Head of School: Mark McKee Director of Strategic Communications: Jill Shaw

BOARD OF TRUSTEES Jonathon Wolfson, Chair Kafi Blumenfield Jay DiMaggio Tim Fish Dirk Gates Andrew Gengos Brian Glicklich Jeremy Helfand Robert Flachs Peggy Jones Robert Lopata Susan Lotwin John Nadolenco John Nelson Dick Robertson Jill Schecter Charles Schetter Sarah Spano ’05 Lindsey Spindle Shelly Sumpter Gillyard Howard Tenenbaum Frank Watanabe Rob Webster Brian Wynn ’85 David ZeBrack

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Culture is Key Dear Viewpoint Families and Friends,

32

54 ARTS 38 Focus on Fine Arts 40 Microsculpture 43 Jonathan Lovett ’19 – U.S. Presidential

Viewpoint is published by the Viewpoint Educational Foundation. Every effort is made to avoid errors, misspellings, and omissions. If, however, an error comes to your attention, please accept our apologies and notify us. Viewpoint School admits students of any race, color, national or ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the School. The School does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin in the administration of its educational policies, its admission policies, scholarships, and athletic or other School-administered programs. Viewpoint School 23620 Mulholland Highway Calabasas, CA 91302-2060 www.viewpoint.org

52 LOVE OF LEARNING 8 The Culture of Collaboration 10 Conversation – Teaching Collaboration 16 The Cardboard Challenge 18 I Block in the Middle School 20 Share Your Work: Middle School Debate

22 Visiting Author Program

IN OUR CANYON 24 Public Speaking –

Confidence and Purpose K–12

27 Patriot Pod / What’s on Your Playlist? 28 DOWNLOAD – Asif Azhar; Sue Gellerman; Fran Espinoza

32 Fire Comes to Our Community 34 Red Hot Chili Peppers Perform at Great Pumpkin Day 35 Philanthroparties – Service Learning K-5 Viewpoint magazine received the CASE District VII Grand Gold Award of Excellence from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education in 2019, and the Gold Award in 2017 and 2018.

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COLLEGE COUNSELING 36 Keep Calm and Apply to College

Scholar in the Arts Semi-Finalist 44 Fine Arts in the Upper School 47 What does art class mean to me? 48 Fine Arts K-8 50 Eighth Grade Mural 52 Fall Theater Productions: Seussical, Spelling Bee, Wizard of Oz

ATHLETICS 54 Athletics: 2018 Fall Highlights 56 Viewpoint Equestriennes – Sophie

Bluhm ’21 & Madison Nadolenco ’23

58 Profile on Coach Will Burr and Trinity Stanger ’21

ADVANCING VIEWPOINT’S MISSION 60 Q&A with the New Director of the Viewpoint Fund Susan Marx 61 Q&A with Colette Connor, New Director Alumni Relations

DIRECTION FOR A LIFETIME 62 Letter from Alumni President

Krystal Dry-Murphy ’03 63 Alumni Holiday Party / Join the Alumni Board 64 Alumni Profile: Devin Ehrig ’03, Entrepreneur in China 67 Class Notes 72 End Note – Julia Kushell ’19

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t this time of year, we are actively engaged in recruiting new teachers and staff to join our team at Viewpoint. In their final round, candidates spend a full day with us on campus, meeting people, observing class, even teaching a model class. These visits yield candidates’ reflections on students and teachers, their interactions and relationships – on our campus culture. When we identify a candidate with the experience, knowledge, skills, and personal qualities such as integrity and character, it is their “fit” with the culture that makes the difference. One who appreciates our culture – who “gets us” – is more likely to win the offer to join us. Reflecting on “The Culture of Collaboration,” this issue about teamwork in Viewpoint classrooms, my attention is drawn to that first word, culture. Viewpoint is often described as having a distinctive culture, described in many words around the question that rarely define it spot-on. “You have to walk on the campus to experience it.” Even Viewpoint’s strategic framework includes the phrase, “Grounded in a culture of innovation, we will . . .” as an introduction to our bold statements about the future. Our faculty evaluation rubric includes a standard for “classroom climate,” acknowledging the importance of this powerful yet amorphous concept.

A quote attributed to Peter Drucker states that “culture eats strategy for breakfast.” No matter the merits of an idea or innovation, the “what,” it’s the people and relationships – the “how” – that carries the day. Culture is the water in the fish tank, invisible but wholesome – or toxic – for the inhabitants. So there is no collaboration without culture to support it. But one of our powerful insights of late is how much each of us is a distinct individual, “jagged” or “spiky” in our unique signature of strengths and weaknesses, preferences and talents. Making a team of such individuals is like fitting together the blocks in a Lego set, with a set

made up entirely of unique, jagged pieces. A positive culture is a reinforcing agent – when it comes to collaboration, culture is the oil in the machine, helping team members benefit from the challenging diversity of their strengths. The wisdom of much current research, such as that of University of Michigan economist Scott Page in his book The Diversity Bonus, attests that diverse teams perform better than homogeneous ones. To get the benefit of those divergent individuals, it’s culture that’s key. In recent listening sessions, I have been asking parents to name one thing that is going well at Viewpoint and one thing that can be improved. While the suggestions for improvement have been richly diverse, many of the “going well” statements were similar, a version of “my child is happy / engaged / challenged.” These responses’ simplicity points to culture, “simple” to experience but not “easy” to create. Every Viewpoint student is a culture detective, every member of our team a culture worker. The work comes in every interaction, in what we choose to notice, to say, or to ignore. Done right, the effect is joyful – the water helps us swim better, the living machine hums, a community greater than the sum of the parts. This issue presents many illustrations of creative collaboration, from the fine and performing arts to the classroom and field. In all of them, it’s culture that’s key. Go Patriots!

Mark J. McKee Head of School

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Teamwork and communication skills are becoming more and more important as solutions to complex problems require multidisciplinary perspectives.” – Dr. Cynthia Breazeal, Associate Professor of Media Arts and Sciences at MIT

Collabo  ration THE CULTURE OF

By Robert Bryan, Associate Head of School

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e all know those times when it seems so much easier just to do something ourselves rather than get others involved. When doing more mundane tasks that we need to check off our to-do list, this can indeed be a more expedient approach. Getting a group organized and pointed in the same direction can be time consuming and frustrating, especially when we know, or think we know, exactly what the outcome needs to be.

That being said, we have all been on teams of one kind or another – perhaps most notably in athletics or performance – in which the whole is indeed greater than the sum of the parts. Research and experience, and common sense for that matter, support the idea that bringing diverse backgrounds, skill sets, and perspectives to a problem-solving exercise significantly enhances the likelihood of arriving at an optimal outcome. In many cases, it is an outcome that no single individual entirely imagined or proposed at the beginning of the process. Scott E. Page, mathematician and Professor of Complex Systems, Political Science, and Economics at the University of Michigan, is the author of several books on the benefits of collaboration, perhaps most

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notably The Diversity Bonus. In his book, Page provides compelling evidence through mathematical analysis that diverse teams perform significantly better on complex tasks than homogeneous groups. The “diversity bonus” that results produces increased creativity and innovation as well as more accurate predictions, all of which lead to improved performance and outcomes. Dr. Cynthia Breazeal, Associate Professor of Media Arts and Sciences at MIT agrees: “Teamwork and communication skills are becoming more and more important as solutions to complex problems require multidisciplinary perspectives.” A successful problem-solving outcome relies on a collaborative process that is valuable in its own right for a variety of reasons. A successful collaborative process usually involves the following components:          

– Active listening – Negotiating and creating a shared sense of purpose – Identifying and clarifying a common goal – Agreeing on an initial approach or plan of action – Brainstorming and creative abrasion:

factoring in the creative insights and observations of individuals with different skill sets and perspectives   –A  ssessing and Iterating: changing the plan of action to meet emerging challenges The process requires an appreciation of the bigger picture and tends to produce a more thorough anticipation of consequences, intended and unintended. In some cases, problems are solved that were not even initially considered. Rather than being inefficient, the collaborative process produces a greater likelihood of arriving at a successful longterm solution that addresses underlying causes, which can be, in the end, more efficient. The process also creates opportunities for self-analysis, as individuals are challenged to think about and articulate their own competencies and contributions while acknowledging those of others. It enhances the capacity and willingness of individuals to grow beyond their comfort zones, and the group dynamic yields greater courage for creative thinking. Having a variety of collaborative experiences over time allows Viewpoint students not only to practice collaborative problem solving, but also gain both a confidence and an interactive skill set that will

almost surely constitute a significant advantage for them in college and beyond. The articles that follow in this issue of the Viewpoint magazine show specific examples of how collaboration is being incorporated into teaching and learning in every division at Viewpoint. You will hear from teachers about how collaboration is facilitating conversation in English, Science, Social Studies, Math, Kindergarten, and Fifth Grade classes, and you’ll see how collaboration is enriching the student experience in the Innovation Space as well as in Middle School Debate and I Block. You’ll also see examples from teachers and administrators of how collaboration is enriching and extending our professional knowledge and practice, allowing us to craft and support deeper and more engaging learning experiences for our students. Finally, Director of Libraries Sarah Davis and student Melissa Deng ’19 discuss the value of our Visiting Author Program. We hope you enjoy your tour through Viewpoint’s collaborative learning culture.   ■

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LATE START LEARNING COHORTS By Anneke Emerson, Chief Innovation Officer

TEACHING COLLABORATION From the top, left to right: Eric Steiger, Marian Williams, Sarah Levin-Katchinskiy, Lacey Thompson, Nan Cohen, Katie Fox, Georgio Livanos ’10

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n January 31, Middle School math teacher Georgio Livanos ’10, Upper School history teacher Dr. Eric Steiger, Chair of the English Department Nan Cohen, Fifth Grade language arts teacher Katie Fox, Kindergarten teacher Lacey Thompson, Middle School social studies teacher Sarah Levin-Katchinskiy, and Lower School science teacher Marian Williams all came together to talk about the challenges and great benefits of collaborating in the classroom.

Facilitating Collaboration What is the key to working collaboratively in the classroom? How do you teach collaboration? SARAH LEVIN-KATCHINSKIY: I think that it helps to begin with some shared knowledge. In addition to the shared sense of purpose, and everybody’s unique contributions, having some basic information that everybody is using, or starting with is also necessary. MARIAN WILLIAMS: When you are working with young children, the language of how we collaborate is really important. You have to teach them how to collaborate. Some people are very natural at it, and some are not, so sometimes we start with something simple like, “What would it sound like if you’re sharing an idea?” KATIE FOX: Even in Fifth Grade, you still have to teach them how to collaborate. I might say, “What would it look like if you were actively listening to your reading partner? Your body is turned to them, you’re looking in their eyes...And, when we’re talking about literature we might hear an idea that maybe we don’t agree with, how are we going to politely or respectfully disagree, or debate that idea?” All of those things are learned, and need to be modeled, but once they get it, it is satisfying to just watch them go off and running with an idea.

Viewpoint teachers regularly collaborate with colleagues about students and curriculum in their department and division, but the opportunity to learn with colleagues from different content areas and grade levels happens less often. Viewpoint’s Late Start Learning Series provides a framework for faculty and staff to collaborate alongside educators across the School, focusing deeply on one of six topics – Education Technology, Diversity and Inclusivity, Social and Emotional Learning, The Science of Learning, Critical Friends Groups, and the Future of Education. Launched in January 2019, the Late Start Learning Series was designed by Viewpoint faculty, counselors, specialists, and administrators who were looking for ways to embed practical, high quality, and consistent professional learning into the school day. In this framework, faculty and staff cohorts meet four to five times over the course of a semester to learn from research, readings and one another. While each learning series is different, all endeavor to provide teachers with tools and strategies that will enhance the student experience.   ■

SARAH: I think with older students, there’s an assumption that they know how to collaborate, so there’s a lot less scaffolding that happens from Middle

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TEACHING COLLABORATION School and on up, but often we find that they don’t. Ultimately, collaboration can be more efficient, but when you are learning how to do it, it can be messy. The kids themselves find it frustrating, but the frustration is where the growth is. Frustration leads to those big leaps in how to communicate, and how to be an effective group member, and how you impact the world around you. LACEY THOMPSON: In Kindergarten, we are trying to build independent people, at the same time we have certain projects that are based upon partner work. We are creating the collaboration, and it’s really neat to see their own frustrations within it, and then the growth that follows. They might say, “I don’t want to be with this partner. I’m not going to work with him.” Then, you have others who say, “This person listened to me so nicely, I want to be their partner again.”

CRITICAL FRIENDS By Megan Grewal, Upper School English Teacher

KATIE: I feel like they are more willing to learn from each other too, they might say to their peer, “Oh, show me how you did that,” instead of me saying, “There’s this other way we could think about this...”

Critical Friends is a group of educators who meet in a cohort to address professional challenges and dilemmas by using protocols designed by the National School Reform Faculty. At Viewpoint, Critical Friends started in 2015, and in the summer of 2016, both Upper School Science teacher Hilary Hunt and I were trained as coaches.

NAN COHEN: It is interesting how often when you look like you are collaborating, what you are really doing is interacting with others, and through that interaction you are changing and developing your own individual ideas. Sometimes it’s peer review, but often it’s just conversation. Sometimes, I will stop the class and say, “In the last five minutes, did anybody say something that made a light bulb go on over your head?” Almost always, somebody will say, “Yes,” and they’ll go back to something somebody said five minutes ago, and say, “When you said this, I thought that.” Maybe it’s not collaboration in the sense of we are all working toward a common goal, unless that common goal is better individual understanding. It really is a tool; it is not necessarily an end in itself.

The cohort examines pertinent texts, student work, fine tunes lessons and units, examines various forms of assessment, and professional dilemmas that educators face. Teachers take turns presenting and are able to share their work in a supportive and structured environment that allows for collaborative problem-solving.   ■

It is interesting to see the level of participation when you say, ‘There’s no right or wrong answer, I just want to know what you’re thinking.’ ”

Is teaching collaboration about letting go? ERIC STEIGER: When I think about collaborating, one of the things is the anxiety it creates, whether I’m a collaborator or a teacher, because I have to let go of a certain endpoint that I want. For example, if there is a particular answer that we’re supposed to get to, particular information they’re supposed to know, collaboration is risky because they’re not getting that answer from me. They know I’m the one that’s assessing the work, they want to get to that answer. So they can be reluctant, not because they don’t want to work with their peers, but because they feel like there’s an answer that they’re supposed to get, and they want to get it straight from me because that’s more efficient. It requires a letting go of that outcome, and appreciating the process because collaboration, in a sense, has to be its own end.

Is collaboration more about process than result? SARAH: I would say that we’re pushing more and more towards process as what we want in education, as opposed to product. Because you can get from point A to point B, but the process is where the work is happening, and that’s the important part. So letting go of the control of knowing, or being the one who decides what the outcome is, I think that is hard for them. NAN: We are doing literature circles in English 2 Honors, Tenth Grade English. It started last year, and it’s been really exciting. I think they’ve had a wonderful time in their groups, but when I talked to them about their final

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project, initially there was a huge amount of resistance, “What if he doesn’t do a good job? What if she wants to go in this direction?”

It requires a letting go of that outcome, and appreciating the process because collaboration, in a sense, has to be its own end.”

Each group proposed their project, and I gave them some very general criteria. I also told them there could be individual pieces. In fact, they could choose to have 90% of it be an individual product, and be evaluated as such, but in the end, they all are doing completely group projects. I think it’s because they wrestled their way toward what they wanted to do together, and they stopped worrying. I think it was because there wasn’t so much of that outside imposition, and it required a lot of pulling back from me. LACEY: In Kindergarten, we started doing Number Talks. It is interesting to see the level of participation when you say, “There’s no right or wrong answer, I just want to know what you’re thinking.” Today, 16 out of 16 kids told me their ideas. We had four different things on the board, and they had to tell me which one didn’t belong, and everybody had different ideas. There was only one student who thought what I was thinking. So it’s good for them to hear how there’s no right or wrong on certain things. I think in school, they’re not used to that. We’re shifting towards the process, not the product, and I think one positive part of it is the comfort that brings. When they realize that the process is different for everybody, it’s easier to feel like you can think differently, or get to the answer a different way. Especially in math, I would think that’s so helpful because then you know, “I could go this route, if I didn’t understand that route.” You might end up with the same answer, but it’s good to know that you can use different ways, and that it is different for everyone. GEORGIO LIVANOS ’10: You’re right. In math, collaboration is so important because one approach for one student might not work for another. They may hear some other approach from another student that could be something I haven’t even seen before. I encourage collaboration, and there’s definitely time in class that’s dedicated for just collaborating. NAN: Collaboration also can feel messy and uncertain while it’s happening. I think one of the most important things students learn when they write, is that, to produce a first draft that feels like garbage is normal. The process of collaboration involves sitting with a group of people, and realizing that one of you is the big-idea person, who is going to propose something that you can never complete in the time that you have. One of you is the voice of reason, and one of you is the one who makes a stupid joke, that actually, coming back from that stupid joke, somebody has a really good idea. That’s not an accident or a mess, that’s the way it works. It’s the way you create new things that you don’t know what you’re creating. If I made you all make the same wooden box, following the same set of steps, that would be very different. But if I had you invent a toy, it would be a messier process, but a toy is much more interesting.

GENIUS HOUR By Anneke Emerson, Chief Innovation Officer

The concept of Genius Hour originated at the search-engine giant, Google, which allows its engineers to spend 20% of their time working on any pet project that they want. The idea is very simple. Allow people to work on something that interests them, and productivity will go up. In November 2017, Viewpoint hosted its first Genius Hour, providing time for faculty to collaborate in a variety of configurations across the school. Using a collaborative online document, faculty proposed their own learning project for the morning, or chose to join a teacherled workshop. Projects and workshops included topics such as cultural competency, rubric design, differentiation strategies, project-based learning, VR programming, and formative assessment. Groups were as small as two and as large as 20, and they worked on items as narrow as a single lesson plan and as broad as the School’s strategic framework. What all sessions had in common was a personal investment on the part of each teacher to come together to learn. Viewpoint School’s faculty are some of the best in the world at what they do. Providing opportunities for our educators to explore personal interests and learn from one another is one of the most effective ways we can structure professional collaboration time.   ■

GEORGIO: I have some very bright students that can get straight to the answer in their head, and so they’ll get a problem, and they’ll skip 10 steps, and write the answer on paper, and then turn in their homework to me. I look at them and say, “I can’t accept this, I need to see the process.” I even tell them on tests, if you just wrote the answer, you won’t get a lot of the credit, I’ll maybe give you a point or two for the answer, but...

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TEACHING COLLABORATION NAN: And is the reason for that, that when you hit a problem that you can’t just do in your head, you need some processes to fall back on?

FOLIO COLLABORATIVE By Nan Cohen, Chair of the English Department

My favorite thing about our teacher development system, Folio Collaborative, is its simple recommendation that teachers express their goals in the form of a question. Asking a question acknowledges what ought to be obvious, but often isn’t: If we knew exactly how to reach our goals, we’d probably already be there! Asking a question also makes it seem natural to invite others into the process. As Folio supervisors, teachers meet with supervisors (department chairs, division heads, or other administrators) to collaboratively develop and refine the questions. For example, “How can I foster a growth mindset in students to help them become more ambitious writers and revisers of their own work?” Then we come up with action items – what we’ll read, whom we’ll talk to, what we’ll design and try, and how we’ll evaluate our progress. Throughout the year, we return to and even revise the question and action items. The conversations that we have in the Folio process are ambitious and wide-ranging; ideally, they often foster goals that are well articulated and realistic, with the potential to transform our practice.   ■

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GEORGIO: I think that’s it. I also want to prepare them for later on, when they start working one day, their boss will ask for some report, and they will just give a number. Then they will be asked, “How did you get there?” They need some evidence, some proof of what you did. You can’t just say, “I just did it in my head,” because you need to be able to present your work. I think presenting is one of the most important things in math. Showing how you get from one step to another, which is essential for collaboration, is how you can really show evidence of what you know.

I encourage collaboration, and there’s definitely time in class that’s dedicated for just collaborating.”

Retention through Collaboration? Do you think the students retain their knowledge better when they work collaboratively? Do you think that makes a difference? ERIC: I teach Twelfth Grade Social Studies, and for me the place I’m trying to get students isn’t knowing a set of things, that’s the box Nan just described, that’s the box that they have all of the instructions to. It’s getting them to a place where they’re able to think and talk through problems that are real-world, that are... dilemmas, they’re not solvable. They’re social values, they’re personal values, they’re internal, intrinsic kinds of things, that they’re having to put new evidence up against those kinds of feelings. And so I think that having to do that, whether it’s in a class discussion, if it’s in small groups, if it’s having to navigate, negotiate to create a common product, I think all of those are the skills where they’re having to sort of test those things. They may not know, or retain the knowledge of those things better than if they had done that project independently, but what they’ve done is now had to navigate the process of having to make compromises between irreconcilable problems. I think that having to do that in real time, working with other people, is life. I think that is getting to the place I want them to be. LACEY: When I think collaboration, I don’t know how much knowledge they get from the projects I give, but I think that it creates these active members of society, that they’ll end up going out and being active participants in the bigger picture.

Any final thoughts on collaboration? SARAH: I think it’s also worth knowing that when it is messy, that is okay, and we as educators, don’t expect it to be perfect every time. Sometimes parents worry that if things aren’t going smoothly, they’re not learning, but they are. KATIE: What we’re saying brings to mind our motto, that’s all about finding your voice, and giving your best, and going beyond, that’s the collaborative process. You are able to find your voice. You feel safe and secure in your classroom climate because everybody is collaborating, everyone is sharing. You are pushing each other’s thinking, so you are going beyond. You are trying to be the best partner you can by actively listening, and you are taking pride and ownership in what you are doing because you did it together with somebody else. So I feel like it goes really well with what our school is striving to be, and stands for.   ■

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Jack Hale ’28, Jordan Mercuri ’28

THE CARDBOARD CHALLENGE– FOCUS ON THE RAINFOREST By Lisa Kessler, Innovation Space Teacher

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f you walk into the Innovation Space during the fall, you will enter a room bustling with young makers creating pieces for the yearly Cardboard Challenge. Each year there is a new theme, and this past fall, there were trees, animals, jeeps, and waterfalls constructed by individuals and different groups of people to make the Enchanted Rainforest. Kindergarteners designed their projects to be 3D-printed and Lara Didden’s Middle School design students helped to make their animals move like they were alive.

The First Graders designed their pieces digitally and their animals and plants were laser cut. With greater hand strength and a wider variety of tools, the Second through Fifth Grade makers created their projects entirely by hand. Students proposed names for the project, and over 400 members from various departments and divisions of the Viewpoint community came out to vote for the final name, Enchanted Rainforest. When the project was all assembled, all of the students and faculty had an opportunity to walk through and observe the inspiring hard work of our young makers. The cardboard challenge brings our Viewpoint community together through the power of collaboration, creativity, imagination, and making.   ■ Top left: Dio Sweney ’28, Grace Henning ’28 Center photo: Lisa Kessler

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 Team Design Post-It Art  Center: Sixth Graders making seed bombs with native poppy seeds to restore the burned hillside with native plants  Opposite page, right: I Block Drawing Club

 Eighth Grade Garden Club  This page, left: I Block Drawing Club  This page, right: Sixth Grader making a seed bomb  Opposite page, left: Upper School Physics Teacher Nancy ArganoRush working with her Middle and Upper School Girls in STEM students  Opposite page, right: Girls in STEM meeting

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Taking Charge –

I Block in the Middle School

By Melissa Strong, Assistant Head of Middle School

Middle School is a great time to ask questions, make connections, explore budding interests, and practice leadership skills. An important part of our program is our community choice period, also known as I Block. During this period, students lead and collaborate in clubs ranging from esoteric to academic, including Garden Club, Mathcounts, Dungeons & Dragons, Design & Engineering, Environmental Sustainability, Creative Writing, Soccer Club, Service Learning Club, Junior Classical League, and Science Olympiad. Many of these clubs are student-driven, so students work together to plan activities, organize meeting spaces and needed materials, and mentor younger members. In addition, this is a time for Middle School students to collaborate with Upper School students in crossdivisional events, such as Girls in STEM, Service Learning Club, Math Mentors, and our various affinity groups, as well as to enjoy guest speakers. Here is a snapshot of our Middle School I Block activities as photographed by students themselves.   ■

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      Eighth Grade ready to harvest herbs for the kitchen     Team Design Post-It Art

    Students review the new student-drawn design for the next Garden Club t-shirt       Girls in STEM from Upper and Middle Schools working together

 Sixth Graders working on seed bombs WI NTER /S P R I N G

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SHARE YOUR WORK MIDDLE SCHOOL DEBATE

THE CLASS Middle School Debate

THE MOTIVATION Why create a Middle School Debate program? Middle School students are great communicators – they talk about the highs and lows of their days, negotiate with parents, gossip with friends, and contribute to class discussions. That makes them perfect for a class like this. Debate combines analytical ability and critical thinking, research and evaluation of evidence, verbal and nonverbal presentation, and persuasion and argument, all in a setting that emphasizes teamwork and collaboration.

THE PROJECT Students are assigned a topic, such as “All schools should require students to wear uniforms.” Middle School students typically debate in teams of three, all of whom are responsible for researching the topic. They can take two possible sides in the debate, the proposition side which affirms the topic, and the opposition side, which argues against it. For our sample topic, students have to consider both the prop and the opp perspectives. What do you think that the proposition arguments would be? What do you think that the opposition arguments will be? This is one of the harder aspects of Debate for students to learn. Typically, we are asked “How can I argue something I don’t believe?” In Debate, this is a necessary skill. As students research the topics, they encounter multiple perspectives and evidence that supports different sides. Students learn how to do argument anticipation – planning how to argue against your opponent’s arguments even before you know what they are. This technique is common in sports and gaming too. At competitions, students will not know what side they are taking on the topic until shortly before the debate begins. For our Debate classes, however, we give additional time for students to prepare.

From left to right: Chloe Elie ’23, Madison Foxhoven ’23, Abigail Gugsa ’24, Palmer Helfand ’24

THE PROCESS 1ST PROP AND 1ST OPP CONSTRUCTIVE

2ND PROP AND 2ND OPP CONSTRUCTIVE

The debate begins with the first speaker for the proposition, who makes the case for the prop side. He argues that the topic makes sense and that, on balance, it is more likely to be true than false. The 1st prop speakers typically offers three or four arguments to build a case, based on reasoning and the evidence that has been gathered earlier by the team. For example, he could argue that school uniforms increase school focus since students will not be focused on each other’s clothes.

Once the opening arguments have been made, the debate becomes more focused. The second set of constructive speeches allow for the debates to go into more detail in their arguments. The second speakers can bring up new arguments and evidence. They also have the ability to point out any arguments that the other side failed to address. For example, if the opposition failed to refute the proposition argument that school uniforms increase focus in class, the prop team could point this out to the judge. This would count as a “dropped” point for the opposition and could help the prop team to win the debate.

The second speaker leads the opposition side’s challenge to the prop arguments. In debate, countering arguments is referred to as clash. She has several techniques to employ. She could directly refute the prop’s reasoning and facts by pointing out inconsistencies or contradictory information. For example, she could argue that wearing uniforms does not ensure that students would not compare clothing. After addressing each of the proposition’s arguments one by one, she would then state the opposition side’s main arguments.

THE REBUTTALS Refutation, extension, and comparison of arguments are the highlights of debate. The formal debate ends with the two rebuttal speeches. These are the shortest of the speeches – the speakers use their time to point out to the judges the logical progression of their side’s arguments. Essentially it is the time to persuade the judge as to why their side has won!   ■

By Stephen Chan, Head of Middle School

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WHO IS THE MAIN CHARACTER OF YOUR STORY?

WHAT’S BEHIND THE COVER? Creating Inspiring Author Programs at Viewpoint School

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IS NO SECRET that Viewpoint students are avid readers and lifelong learners. This is evident in both the Benjamin Franklin and Fletcher Family libraries, where each day our librarians have the opportunity to connect excited students with a book that matches their reading taste. This is even more apparent in the anticipation that is felt when we welcome an esteemed author to our campus. EACH YEAR, WE ARE FORTUNATE to host at least one author at Viewpoint School. Our visitors range from illustrious scholars such as Patrick N. Hunt, to Newbery Award winner Kwame Alexander, from bestselling children’s author and Newbery Honor winner Adam Gidwitz, to We Need Diverse Books co-founder and author Ellen Oh, and most recently, middle grade author Henry Lien.

Guest Author Henry Lien

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HOW DO WE CHOOSE which authors will visit our campus? This can vary by event. Availability of a prominent author, a classroom connection or divisional theme, a direct tie-in to a teacher’s curriculum, or simply an author who gives a great presentation; these are all factored in as we begin to design the day.

By Melissa Deng ’19

WE ARE FORTUNATE to have a networked community of independent school libraries and independent bookstores in Southern California. Viewpoint School’s librarians are active members within several area consortia, which provide opportunities for shared school visits. FOR INSTANCE, in October, our libraries partnered with Viewpoint’s English teachers, Crossroads School, and Wildwood School to bring Ellen Oh to campus to speak about the We Need Diverse Books organization’s efforts to publish and publicize underrepresented authors. Our librarians collaborated with Once Upon a Time bookstore in Montrose to sell Ms. Oh’s books, which resulted in a connection with Henry Lien, who spoke to our Lower and Middle School students in December. Mr. Lien also gave a presentation at the holiday VSSA Book Fair at Barnes & Noble, and graciously signed books, personally interacting with our students and families throughout the day. OUR COLLABORATIVE PARTNERSHIPS continued in April 2019, when our Primary and Lower School students had the chance to meet picture and chapter book author Laurel Snyder, who will also visit John Thomas Dye School. These shared programs create connectivity with our area peer schools, the VSSA and our Viewpoint families, and our students and faculty. A SUCCESSFUL AUTHOR VISIT is indeed a highly collaborative effort between many campus partners. Our librarians contact the appropriate division heads to secure funding, and the main school calendar is checked with our Master Calendar and Support Services Coordinator Robyn Marrow. We coordinate the day’s activities with the help of Director of Support Services Lara Conklin and Director of Events Planning Patti Miler, arranging for any special set-up or meals. We arrange for audiovisual support with Venue and Theater Coordinator Matt Hernandez, Audiovisual Specialist Jose Duenas, and Theater Technician Matt Powers, and our awesome facilities team is given a detailed work order with any special setup requests. Our librarians work with publishers and area bookstores to order the author’s books, and once they are personally signed by the author, we have the unique joy of hand-delivering the books to our students. WHAT DO THESE VISITS ALL HAVE IN COMMON? While the path from idea to fruition can be windy and complex, the results of these collaborative partnerships have a deeply lasting impact on our community. Author visits spark curiosity in our children, they inspire readers and writers, and they teach perseverance, as almost all of the writers who visit speak about the challenges of crafting stories and getting them published in a competitive literary market. Bringing prominent authors to Viewpoint allows our librarians the chance to “bring the outside in,” opening windows that allow our students to connect with the world through words. How fortunate are we to benefit from this collective effort.   ■

W

hen I was asked this as a child, I would always respond the same way: a blond-haired, blue-eyed girl, the same one I saw described in all of the books I had ever read. I had grown up writing the same stories that had been told to me by so many American novels, ones in which the word “Asian” rarely appeared more than once (and if it did, it would reference how Asian culture was “exotic” and “oriental”). For years, I believed that was perfectly normal, and none of my stories ever included a character that was of Asian descent. However, not seeing myself represented in any sort of media, whether through books or movies, made my identity particularly convoluted, which I didn’t realize until I got older. The more books I read, the more I forgot who I was. THIS IMPERFECT NORMALCY was shattered when I read Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club in Ninth Grade, a story about first-generation ChineseAmerican daughters and their immigrant mothers. I cried more than I should’ve – not only because of the beautifully told story, but also because it was such a new feeling to see people who shared my experiences come to life in the pages of a book. When I finished the book, I remember vividly looking at my own face in the mirror, thinking to myself, “How could I have forgotten who I was?” All of the features, my own identity – they all came rushing back to me in a heartbeat. I didn’t have blonde hair and blue eyes, like all of my fictional protagonists did. And for the first time, it felt wholly refreshing to know that I was different from those characters. PEOPLE OFTEN SAY that you never know how much you’re missing something until you finally have it, and this was no exception. I grew up without Asian role-models in the books I read, without seeing heroes that looked like me in my favorite fantasy stories. When author Ellen Oh visited Viewpoint a few months ago to talk about her efforts in publishing underrepresented authors, I realized how common my experience was and how incredibly important it is for children to grow up seeing themselves represented in the pages of books. Her organization, We Need Diverse Books, provides grants, internships, and many writing opportunities for underrepresented authors or those that feature diverse characters in their stories. As a writer, listening to her talk left me with a new sense of purpose in crafting my stories, and left me feeling a sense of both solidarity and drive. MY HOPE IS THAT as more underrepresented authors get published and diverse stories are proliferated, curricula all over the country will be further diversified as well. It is essential for children to grow up with those rolemodels and to know that they are somebody; that they can be heroes, too, not just sidekicks or exoticized cultures used as backdrops in books and movies. Viewpoint’s efforts in bringing these important speakers and authors to campus, like Ellen Oh, mean so much to me and is a testament to how the future is moving toward positive change in the field of literature and media. And with more representation in books, we as a society can move toward eliminating “the danger of a single story,” in the words of author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and reduce stereotypes or single accounts of stories. I AM SITTING in the Fletcher Family Library, typing a fictional story within the confines of a Word document when someone asks me, “Who’s the main character in this story?” I’m glad that now I have a different answer from the one I gave years ago.   ■ WI NTER /S P R I N G

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Opposite page: Nyssa Singhal ’19 This page from top down: Taliiya Flemming ’21, Nathan Danese ’25, Rowan Hewish ’31, Elliott Rockwell ’31.

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SK ANY VIEWPOINT “LIFER” – our term for those students who have been at Viewpoint from Kindergarten through Upper School graduation – and they will tell you of the enduring impact of the assembly program. They carry lasting – memories of the experience of standing before an auditorium filled with people – classmates, parents, teachers – and learning to speak clearly and confidently. Ask any parent of a Viewpoint student who has attended Primary or Lower School what they value most, and you are likely to hear mention of their child’s experience with public speaking. It is as dramatic evidence as any we have of our students’ growth: before our eyes, each year students gain poise and presence. THE EXPERIENCE OF PUBLIC SPEAKING works for all students, even though they don’t all start from the same place. Whether a Kindergarten child is quiet and shy or expressive and bold, a softvoiced mumbler or a bubbly, budding actor, by Fifth Grade all have a strength of stature that enables each to speak – from holiday programs to the end-of-year culmination – and to be seen in all their individuality. Time and practice through the years produce a similarly high level of skill, yet reflecting distinct personalities of each student. It is no wonder these moments are memorable, and a point of pride.

Confidence and Purpose Public Speaking K-12 By Mark McKee, Head of School

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WHAT IS IT ABOUT THE EXPERIENCE of standing before a group of people that carries such transformational power? Part of the answer surely lies in our awareness that for years, public speaking has been one of adults’ greatest fears. Most of us have had little experience with public speaking in our schooling, and those who present or speak in their work usually report it is a skill they gained only in adulthood. So it is impressive seeing our children do well, what we do only with nervous hesitation, when required by a work commitment or a best friend’s wedding toast. Such experiences are powerful because they speak to each person’s desire to be seen, known, and affirmed within our community. The strength of the act of speaking lies in its vulnerability as well as its challenge, and the power comes in using one’s voice to assert a place in public life. “Find your voice,” our motto says, an act which can only be achieved standing before others – hence the value of “public” in “public speaking.” ASSEMBLIES ARE ONE of Viewpoint’s oldest traditions, dating to the School’s founding curriculum and our belief in an education that honors values and celebrates our country. These values led the founders to give our School the name Viewpoint, and the need for students to develop a public point of view is as forward-thinking and innovative as it is traditional. In his book about education in the age of artificial intelligence, Robot-Proof, Northeastern University President WI NTER /S P R I N G

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“ THE ATHENIAN ORATOR DEMOSTHENES WOULD BE PROUD TO SEE OUR STUDENTS CARRY ON THE TRADITION, BRINGING IDEAS FORWARD INTO THE PUBLIC SQUARE, PROMOTING DEMOCRACY, FREEDOM OF SPEECH, AND THE PRACTICE OF INQUIRY.” Joseph Aoun asserts that human skills are as essential as data and technological skills in preparing students for the complex problems and collaborative workplaces of the future. For this reason, we are building on our signature assembly program, with strong new offerings such as Middle School Debate (pages 20-21) and our Senior Speech program (page 72), which continue the focus on public speaking throughout the Viewpoint experience all the way to graduation. When our 12 year olds develop arguments on challenging contemporary questions, or our 18 year olds share the wisdom of their most dearly held beliefs with the entire Upper School, they are developing those seeds planted in the first assembly in Kindergarten.

WHILE MUCH ABOUT OUR WORLD has changed since Viewpoint held its first assemblies, other truths about human communication have not. In a world where students and their parents share complex ideas and feelings in tweets, snapchat posts, one-letter texts (“k?”), and emojis, there is still a place for the 2,500-year-old practice of public speaking. The Athenian orator Demosthenes would be proud to see our students carry on the tradition, bringing ideas forward into the public square, promoting democracy, freedom of speech, and the practice of inquiry. By virtue of their education, Viewpoint students are destined to be leaders, and the skills, values, and personal development they gain from speaking in public, ensure they will lead with confidence and purpose.   ■

Mock Trial students top row, left to right: Felix (“Ben”) Foyle ‘22, Hudson Campbell ‘19, Sophia Karimpour ‘21, Gabriel Malek ‘21, Frederick Xu ‘22, Dominique Harpoothian ‘22, Alexander Kresnicka ‘19, Lauren Tepper ’20, Hannah Keyes ‘21, Max Heubusch ‘22 Bottom row, left to right: Sarah Berger Maneiro ‘19, Julien Fagel ‘21, Arya Mehran ‘19, Benjamin Reznick ‘21, Margaux Bauerlein ‘20, Sam Kritzer ‘19

Ari Shah ’26, Nikhil Sarvaiya ’26

Student Voices Find New Reach By Alison Corneau ’97, Technology Integration Associate, Primary/Lower School

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adio communication has existed for more than 120 years. A brilliant advancement in mass communication, it has evolved several times over with bright discoveries ahead. Fast forward to 2019, and not only does radio still thrive in many iterations (AM, FM, satellite), it has morphed into podcasting in the last several years. Podcasting has quickly become a way for many people to share information in this century similar to what the Golden Age of Radio did for those in the 1920s. TEACHING TECHNOLOGY has been an invaluable opportunity to show our youngest students that their reach goes far beyond a screen. Among a host of many tech tools, I was passionate about creating a podcasting channel for our students so they too could share their voices in this way.

PODCASTING HAS BECOME SO POPULAR that it was no longer a question of why we were not hosting a podcast; it was simply how soon we could get it started. Podcasting is open to all Fifth Graders, and as the school year rolls on students in Second Grade will have the option to host episodes as well. EVENTUALLY, THIS PODCAST CHANNEL can be a platform for any teacher, class, or group of students to share and give insight into the minds of the future. The Patriot Pod, our current channel, has four wonderful and original episodes so far, all written and created by the student hosts. IT HAS BEEN AMAZING to witness their excitement in exploring this method of communication that connects them to a past rich in mass communication and to a future that is full of possibilities to grab hold.   ■

What’s on your playlist? We put this question to our community, and learned the Viewpoint’s faculty and staff spend a lot of time listening to podcasts. Here are some of their favorites: 99% Invisible A24 Podcast A Way With Words Ask Me Another Back Story Bag Man BBC Women’s Hour Birds with Friends Blue Heaven (Go Dodgers!) Call Your Girlfriend Casefile Code Switch Comments by Celebs Criminal Crooked Conversations Dinner Party Download Good Food

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Finding Mastery by Dr. Michael Gervais Fit & Fearless FiveThirtyEight Politics Freakonomics Radio Fresh Air Good Muslim Bad Muslim Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls How I Built This Hysteria Launch by author and screenwriter John August LeVar Burton Reads Literary Disco Lovett or Leave It Mac Power Users My Favorite Murder

Myths and Legends Nerdette On Being Oprah SuperSoul Conversations Pod Save America Pod Save the World Politico’s Nerdcast PRI’s The World Private Podcast RadioLab Serial Stay Tuned with Preet StoryCorps Stuff You Missed in History Class Stuff You Should Know TED Radio Hour Terrible, Thanks for Asking

The Bill Simmons Podcast The Daily The JJ Redick Podcast The Lawfare Podcast The Memory Place The Learning Scientists The Listening Project The New Yorker Radio Hour The Rewatchables The Ringer NFL Show The Science of Happiness Think Differently and Deeply This American Life This is Love Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me West Wing Weekly With Friends Like These WI NTER /S P R I N G

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“WHAT INCREDIBLE STUDENTS WE HAVE ALWAYS HAD AT OUR SCHOOL. THEY ARE NOT JUST GREAT STUDENTS, THEY ARE ALSO GREAT PEOPLE.”

is in his 33rd year of teaching at Viewpoint School. He currently serves as President of the School’s chapter of the national academic honor organization, the Cum Laude Society, and is also the Curricular Adviser for Accelerated Programs in the Upper School. He teaches the Advanced Calculus courses in the Math Department and Humanities in the Social Studies Department. Over the years, he has worn many hats, including being Chair of the Math Department for eight years. He founded the School’s Tennis program, the Soccer program (co-founder), the Film/Video program, the AP Physics program, the AP Calculus BC course, the Advanced Topics in Calculus course, the Geometry Honors course, the Humanities course (co-founder) and the Chess Club. Currently, he is also a faculty advisor to the Indian Student Union and the Spectrum: Gender-Sexuality Alliance club. Viewpoint School officially nominated him for the Presidential Teaching Award (national designation) in 1993. The National Science Foundation awarded him the NSF Fellowship in 1995, for interdisciplinary research in Humanities/Science. And the Daily News newspaper made him 2004 Coach of the Year, after his Boys Tennis Team won the School’s first CIF Championship in any sport.

ADVENTURE AND TRAVEL I think of travel as a great educator. I have learned so much from my travels to 44 countries so far, and I bring some of those experiences into the classroom in my Humanities class, to help educate my students as well. Having a strong adventurous streak has led me to many interesting experiences, such as climbing the Great Pyramid at 3:00 a.m., hiking the Athabasca Glacier in Canada, walking through day-old lava fields in Hawaii, encountering the Russian Mafia in Latvia, sailing through Norwegian fjords, zip-lining atop the Costa Rica rainforest, finding secret thermal pools in Wyoming, riding elephants in North Thailand, doing sweat-lodges in South Dakota, swimming with dolphins in Cozumel, hiking the Grand Canyon, climbing the Sydney Harbor Bridge, finding a way inside Socrates’ prison in Athens, etc. My idea has always been “Why not live life as fully as possible?” Some favorite places are Copenhagen (been there 20 times), Berlin (22 times), Bangkok (five times) and New York City (52 times). I have many Danish, German, Thai, and New Yorker friends. But, there are still so many places I haven’t been and would love to go!

IMPETUS I have always loved teaching at Viewpoint. This was my very first job coming out of graduate school (Master’s degree in Physics) at Brown.

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Growing up in Pakistan, almost my entire extended family consisted of teachers (so it’s in my blood!). My mother was a teacher and then owned and ran a school, and she was/is my foremost inspiration. My sisters, aunts, uncles, etc., were all teachers. My mom raised me to love knowledge and understanding – that is the single most driving influence in my life – the constant search for truth. And thus, Socrates, Newton, Descartes, and various mystics have all inspired me as well – they too were searching for truth, in very different yet profound ways.

SCHOOL HIGHLIGHTS There are so many highlights over 33 years. First of all, seeing my students’ beaming faces every day is in and of itself a highlight, truly. What incredible students we have always had at our school. They are not just great students, they are also great people. It is truly a privilege and honor to be amongst them in the classroom and around school. They may not even realize it, but they teach me and inspire me in the most profound ways. There are also particular moments that stand out over my time here. The biggest highlight of my 19-year career as Head Coach of the Boys Varsity Tennis Team was in 2004, when the team won the CIF Championship. This was the very first CIF Championship for the school in its entire history in any sport! The team then won CIF

LOAD ASIF the next three years as well. The Daily News  newspaper said this made  Viewpoint only the fourth local high school tennis team to win four CIF consecutive Championships in the 94-year history of Southern California high school tennis. When I taught Physics, each year we would go to Magic Mountain on their annual “Physics Day” and win just about all their physics competitions – that day was always so much fun, for the students as well as for me. Another highlight for me was going to see the movie Star Wars I – The Phantom Menace on the first day of its release with the Class of 1999.

COMIC BOOKS I do love comic books – the old ones, the original ones – the ones that started pop culture movements that move and inspire our young people, then and now. Julia Kushell ’19 invited me ( thank you, Julia!) to give a presentation on comics last year. One of the fun things to do when I travel (both in and out of the US), is to look for old comics wherever I am. It adds another dimension to the travel experience. These comics open a window into the culture of the place they were created. More generally though, I love antiques. I have colorful, ornate Victorian board games that teach morality, games made during WWI and WWII that depict military events, midcentury lamps and furniture, and intricate art glass vases. I find certain objects very beautiful and meaningful, and keeping them around me continues to inspire me.   ■

AZHAR

ASIF AZHAR

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“MY JOB IS TO MEET THE PHYSICAL, MENTAL, AND EMOTIONAL NEEDS OF OUR YOUNGEST STUDENTS AND TO KEEP OUR STUDENTS HEALTHY, SAFE, AND READY TO LEARN!”

“OUR EMPHASIS IS ON BUILDING GOOD CHARACTER. WE WANT TO DEVELOP OUR STUDENTS FOR THE REAL WORLD AND SPORTS IS IDEAL FOR THAT.”

SUE

FRAN

Her daughter Samantha was born in 1989 and son Brian in 1992. Her husband of 37 years, Doug, is a practicing ophthalmologist in West Hills. They love to travel, ski, hike in the local mountains, and relax with friends. Sue enjoys all genres of music and always has a song on the tip of her tongue. She says, “Give me a word and I’ll think of a song. If I could choose another career, I would be a back-up singer in a rock and roll band!”

Since Fran joined Viewpoint’s Athletics Department 11 years ago, he has been a PE teacher, JV Boys Basketball coach, Varsity Girls Softball assistant coach, and JV Boys Golf coach. In the Middle School, he coached Tackle Football, Flag Football, Girls Basketball, Soccer, Baseball, and Golf. He also serves as the equestrian rep for the Upper School. Fran is currently Viewpoint’s Sports Information Director, which is his favorite job of all. He lives in Simi Valley with his wife Andrea, and sons Cruz ’30 and Chance.

Gellerman grew up in Yonkers, NY as the second of six siblings, which meant she was always caring for young children. She decided to become a nurse when she was offered a full scholarship to the Westchester School of Nursing at Westchester County Medical Center in Valhalla, NY. She completed her B.S. in Nursing at Cal State Fullerton a couple of years later. Sue worked at the WCMC’s Pediatric Unit before accompanying her fiancé, Doug, to Long Beach, CA in 1980 for what was meant to be a six-month Ophthalmology fellowship. They fell in love with Long Beach, and Sue ultimately joined the St. Mary Medical Center’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

Susan Gellerman

ALL THE JOBS I HAD BEFORE My nursing career has afforded me many opportunities to explore different specialties. I have worked dialysis, pediatrics, NICU, mother-baby/post-partum, discharge planning, and parent /childbirth education. I feel like all of my nursing experience prepared me and led me to Viewpoint where I began substituting in 1997.

THE BEST JOB IN THE SCHOOL As they say, “Time flies when you’re having fun,” and 20 years have flown by and I am still having fun. I love my job, the people I work with, and watching our students grow and mature from Kindergarten through Fifth Grade. I am always amazed watching students I have known in Primary and Lower School move on to “find their voice” and become accomplished young adults. I might possibly have the best job in the school in that I get to nurture and make a difference in the lives of our youngest students at their most vulnerable moments. To comfort and console a sick or injured child and to “turn a frown upside down” is magical. To walk through the Primary School courtyard and have children calling my name and waving with excitement warms my heart on a daily basis. I see about 30-50 children each day in the Health

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Office. My job is to meet the physical, mental, and emotional needs of our youngest students and to keep our students healthy, safe, and ready to learn!

TOOLS OF THE TRADE First aid and health education comprise my day; I strive to teach students how to manage their conditions and in time make life-long decisions that affect their physical and mental health. Cuts, scrapes, bumps, bruises, fevers, colds, and coughs make up the bulk of visits to the Health Office with over 100 teeth lost already this school year! There is a fascination with the Health Office that I cannot explain. Some say the children just like to come for the Saltine crackers or because I am “too nice” (is there any such thing?) or they just want to get out of class. I believe, as Maya Angelou so aptly said, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Determining if a child is truly injured, needs to see a doctor, or is too ill to remain at school is sometimes a challenge. My miraculous Saltine crackers, Vitamin C cough drops, and water are the primary tools of my trade. I work closely with teachers and parents with the primary goal of keeping students in the classroom when able. Five minutes rest and a little empathy, validation, and reassurance go a long way.    ■

Espinoza is a proud product of the San Fernando Valley. He attended Crespi High School in Encino and studied Kinesiology and Communications at Pierce College and Cal State University Northridge. From the beginning, his working life always included athletics and kids. Before coming to Viewpoint, Fran spent a decade at Chatsworth Hills Academy, a K-8 school. His roles there included afterschool day care, Fifth Grade Teaching Assistant, PE teacher, and ultimately Athletic Director.

Fran Espinoza

VIEWPOINT ATHLETICS’ BIGGEST CHEERLEADER

HIS OTHER FAMILY IS VIEWPOINT ATHLETICS

In my role of Sports Information Director, I often attend multiple sporting events each day. I really want to get the word out about our athletes, and that can mean that I am racing from one end of the campus to the other to report on Swimming and Volleyball in the Upper School and Sixth Grade Soccer on Robertson Family Field. I am not comfortable in the limelight. I love that it is my job to promote our games, provide updates, and share our athletes’ accomplishments. I’m happiest being the guy on the sidelines or the pool deck posting the latest results on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Snapchat.

I believe in Viewpoint School and Viewpoint athletes. The coaching staff is great, and we are a tightknit family. We are all dedicated to nurturing our student-athletes. Our emphasis is on building good character. We want to develop our students for the real world and sports is ideal for that.

ANYTHING ELSE TO SHARE? Go Dodgers! ■

FAMILY TIME IS STILL SPORTS TIME In my off hours, my focus is on my family. My son, Chance, is only seven months old, so he is a little young for sports, but Cruz is in First Grade. We spend our weekends playing basketball, baseball, golf, and soccer. We also like to hang out on the beach, or go to Magic Mountain, Hurricane Harbor, Knott’s Berry Farm, or Legoland. Whenever possible, we try to take weekends away to San Diego or Lake Arrowhead for some fun and relaxation. There is nothing better than being active together.

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"AS THE HOURS AND DAYS PASSED AND THE WINDS PICKED UP, THERE WAS A GROWING SENSE OF UNCERTAINTY."

FIRE COMES TO OUR COMMUNITY By Jill Shaw, Director of Strategic Communications

Dear Viewpoint Community, I am writing to share information about our planning in light of the two significant fires that may affect our school operations… With that urgent message from Head of School Mark McKee and Director of Campus Safety Carlos Sanchez on Thursday afternoon, November 8, the rollercoaster ride of the Woolsey Fire was underway at Viewpoint School.

These five objects are among the few things that remain from the Malibou Lake home of the Rodriquez family. Aiden ’19, an accomplished photographer, found some comfort in turning his family’s few surviving possessions –a mug made by ceramics teacher Nell Yates, some Christmas decorations, the football masks that belonged to him and his brother Brenden ’16 – into art. Made exquisite by fire, these objects remind us of the fragility of things, but the power of the memories that they carry.

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While families awaited evacuation notices, the Leadership Team met by phone on the evening of the eighth to set plans for the next day. It was the first of many daily conversations about all things Viewpoint: How will the Sixth Grade retreat get home the next day? What roads were closed? Was Calabasas going to be evacuated? How many families would have to leave their homes? How many would lose their homes? As the hours and days passed and the winds picked up, there was a growing sense of uncertainty. Carlos Sanchez stayed at school the entire time in order to keep watch over our vulnerable 40-acre campus. An emergency email account was set up because Viewpoint servers were down, and Mark McKee worked around the clock to answer messages and personally find solutions for many of our community members.

Once the waiting was over and school was back in session, 11 days later, 11 Viewpoint families had lost their homes completely and hundreds had been evacuated. Dozens of other families made offers of hotel rooms, bedrooms, homes, supplies, and food to the community. There were many unanswered questions for many of our families, but we were connected to one another and the lines of communication remained open through regular email, phone, and text updates. Even though it was a shortened week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, school resumed on Friday, November 16. Many of the students whose families lost homes returned to school and to the familiarity of teachers, friends, and routines of lessons and play. Even though the community had (and still has) many months to go before there is a total sense of normalcy, it was heartwarming to see friends and colleagues reaching out to one another for hugs and conversations across our campus. As I write this article, the winter rains have brought lush greenery to the hillsides that were charred by fire just a few months ago. Families are continuing the rebuilding process, and although this fall and winter were trying times for our community, the greenery brings with it a sense of hope and peace for the Viewpoint Family.   ■

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canyon IN OUR

Philanthroparties — Service Learning K-5 By Mayanthi I. Jayaratna ’99, Teacher of Primary School Library, Coordinator of Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Service

T Red Hot Chili Peppers Perform at Great Pumpkin Day By Monica Case ’90, Viewpoint Editor

he spirit of giving is the cornerstone for Primary and Lower School class parties. During the first trimester of the school year, the Student Action Committee, made up of Third and Fourth Grade students, sold candy at the Homecoming Game and wristbands for Unity Day. The money raised from these sales was used to buy knit hats and mittens. During the holiday parties, Primary and Lower School students worked with their parents to decorate a gift bag in which the hats and mittens were wrapped. These gifts were evenly dispersed between two local charities, New Friends Homeless Center in Woodland Hills and St. Joseph’s Center in Venice. Starting Service Learning early on in our students’ lives gives us the opportunity to guide their practice in thinking and taking action as socially responsible global citizens. These small acts of kindness build our student’s empathy for all members of our community and world.   ■

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or Viewpoint students in Primary and Lower School, Great Pumpkin Day is one of the best days of the school year – filled with costumes, Halloween songs, trick-or-treating around campus, bouncing slides, and ice cream. This year, the Great Pumpkin Day assembly was extra special, when the Red Hot Chili Peppers took to the stage of the Paul Family Athletic Center for a surprise performance. For the parents who had come to see their children, dressed in amazing costumes that included alien abduction, giant inflatable dinosaurs, mermaids, athletes, ghosts, and skeletons of all descriptions, the assembly was already a great start to the holiday. The Red Hot Chili Peppers’ performance of “Can’t Stop,” while dressed in Halloween costumes that included a Viewpoint School uniform, made for a Great Pumpkin Day that will be remembered for years to come.   ■

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QUIETLY

accept the unknown. These words from the I Ching speak volumes about the college application experience. As a college counselor and yoga teacher, I often think about “yoga mat” philosophies that I can bring from the studio to the counseling office. Senior year is often a stressful time for students and parents due to the uncertainty of admission outcomes and a fear of the unknown. As college counselors who facilitate the process for students year after year, we know if students engage deeply in the process and follow our advice it will turn out well. Our goal is to help students and parents find peace in the midst of what may feel like chaos, in the knowledge that a student’s bright future will ultimately be revealed.

college COUNSELING

BE MINDFUL IN THE TRANSITIONS Yoga is about the transitions. As we move from pose to pose we want to do so slowly and mindfully. Just as in life it is not only the big moments, but the journey to get there that is important. Transitions are hard on any family, especially as seniors are about to graduate, leave home, and embark on their next adventure. In yoga, we talk about not rushing through the transitions, but to breathe, find the flow, and remain conscience of the present moment.

& Keep Calm Apply to College By Rebecca Heller, Senior Associate Director of College Counseling

SELF-REFLECTION Svadhyaya is one the five niyamas and it means self-study in Sanskrit. The niyamas are part of the eight limbs of yoga that refer to the attitude we adopt towards ourselves as we move toward a more meaningful and purposeful life. During their Upper School years, students begin to turn an eye inward and think about what they really want after high school. If that is attending a college or university, what kind of school do they want to attend? Many aspects will help narrow down the wide range of schools out there: Are students looking for a large public university or a small liberal arts college? Where in the country (or world!) do they want to be? What subjects do they want to study? What is their idea of fun at college? As part of our college counseling program, we ask juniors to answer questions in the self-reflective Junior Questionnaire. We also ask parents to fill out a Parent Statement before our Junior College Counseling Family Meeting so that their perspective is included in the process. The goal is for everyone to have a shared idea about the student’s hopes and dreams. Self-reflection starts early. The college counselors work with students each year building their class schedules in a self-reflective way. We always encourage balance, playing to strengths and holding back in other areas to allow students the time for involvement in school life. It is nearly impossible to do it all! We want students to understand their own abilities and priorities. While often they could handle many of the challenging courses at Viewpoint, they may not be able to handle them all at one time. Students must begin to prioritize what is truly important to them. BREATHE INTO IT In yoga we purposefully stress our body through challenging poses. Junior and senior year, all kinds of stressors are thrown at you, and the advice is the same as you would receive on the mat. Breathe, allow yourself to feel the emotions, and then detach from them. Relax into the experience rather than force it. Students and parents can choose the emotions they tie to the college application process. They can choose to be stressed and worried, or they can breathe, choosing to see this as a time of self-reflection and excitement as they prepare to transition to the next phase of their life. The mind can be our enemy; the breath is our friend. Our minds can play tricks on us, believing untruths to be true. The way to find clarity

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is through calming the mind and not allowing it to dwell on bad thoughts or jump around keeping us up at night. It is said that “worry is a misuse of imagination.” The goal is to re-harness the imagination and use it in constructive ways: task completion, creativity, and problem solving. We can do all this through slowing the breath and calming the mind, whether that is in meditation, art, music, a yoga class, a walk, or a run. These are ways to deepen our breath and smooth the turbulent ripples of our mind. NON-JUDGEMENT 

Rebecca Heller

One of the rules in my yoga class is that of non-judgement. I ask that the students not judge others, and more importantly, not judge themselves. The doing of anything is in the practice, not in the perfection of it. This is also true in school and life; someone will always be better than you at all things, and you will often be better than someone else. Through the college process, don’t worry about what others are doing, whether that be test prep, college lists, or activities. Do what is true to you and makes you happy. Do the things that you are willing to do over and over for the simple joy of the practice without worrying about the outcome.  GET REAL Samtosa is another niyama and means modesty, or being content with what we have. The best way to keep the process manageable and positive is by having realistic expectations and options. It is important for a student to understand where they land with regards to their grades, test scores, and family finances. Understanding these personal components and knowing what kind of college or university the student wants is key to creating a realistic, effective college list. If a student can get excited about and apply to schools within their range, they will create many positive outcomes. Stress sets in when a college list is top heavy with mostly reach schools, as the likelihood of obtaining admission to these schools is slim. The more highly selective schools on the list, the more stress you are adding to the process.  LET GO There is only so much you can control. But in fact that is quite a lot. Enrolling in appropriate courses and doing your best in the classroom, will almost always result in strong grades. Engaging in the process, self-reflecting, and figuring out what you want not only out of college but life after will help you see things more clearly. If you look at the college process as the opportunity to find schools that the student likes, that fit their academic profile, and meet their needs as a maturing student, you will have a calmer process and feel more in control. Do good work on your applications, and then send them out into the universe. At that point whether the answer is yes or no, you will be assured that you have done your best. I was once told that there are only three answers when we ask something of the universe: yes, not yet, and I have something better in mind. Students and parents can trust that the college process will be much the same. While not every answer will be a yes, and it can be frustrating when the answer is not yet, be confident that a college application experience well-engaged in will bring you something much, much better than you ever could have imagined.   ■ WI NTER /S P R I N G

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arts

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he fine arts play an integral role in the education of Viewpoint students. Throughout Primary and Lower School, all students take fine arts classes every year. In Middle and Upper School, taking fine arts is optional, but for many of our students school just wouldn’t feel like school without the time to paint, draw, sculpt, take a photograph, or create with clay. My love of fine art began in Mrs. Barbara Exum’s class when I started at Viewpoint in Third Grade. Each year, I was filled with pride as my mother displayed the work that I brought home. I was not a gifted artist, but that act of creating set the course for my academic and early professional life. As an undergraduate and graduate student of art history, I always wanted to connect with the artist and understand the impulse behind the work – whether it was personal or tied to some larger historical or political event. I could identify with the creator and that made learning so much more fun.

FOCUS ON

FINE ARTS

Only a few of our students go on to art school, or make a career in the arts, but all of them know what it means to create something. To think about it, toil over it, and ultimately share that work with an audience – even if it is just their parents. This process is vital for mental and emotional development. It also brings pleasure. As you look at the very impressive works that follow, you are in collaboration with the artists – the recipients of their creativity and imagination, and their time and care. The fine arts are a gift to both the artist and the audience. Enjoy!    ■

Alexa Kramer ’19, Handle with Care, in the Malcolm Family Art Gallery

By Monica Case ’90, Viewpoint Editor

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“FROM THE OUTSET, THE CHALLENGES WERE DAUNTING, WITH THE LARGEST BEING HOW TO ADJUST FOR STROBE EXPOSURE WHEN THE SCARAB BEETLE RESTS JUST INCHES FROM THE LIGHT SOURCE, AND YET ITS SIZE IS NO BIGGER THAN A GRAPE.”

STATISTICS:

Process time: 280 hours Individual shots: Approximately 15,000 Enlargement: 333%

Middle School students admiring “The Bug”

Charlie Sitzer, Weston Bell-Geddes ’19, Carson Gilford ’19

TWO STUDENTS’ TWO-YEAR JOURNEY TO BRING AN INSECT TO LIFE THROUGH MICROSCOPY

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s a teacher and an artist, I believe my most successful student projects derive from topics that I would pursue myself. Until the summer of 2017, my interest in

microscopy (the use of microscopes) was tangentially applied to my students’ projects, such as macro-photography (photographing small objects to make them look larger than life-size), but this new project would take me to the heart of it.

THE INSPIRATION

MICROSCULPTURE By Charlie Sitzer, Teacher of Photography in Middle and Upper School

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My interest was ignited by the work of British photographer Levon Biss (microsculpture.net), a well-known and respected commercial photographer, who created the term “Microsculpture” to describe the aesthetic of insects the way I imagined them to be – which is to say that I imagined the final photograph to be of human scale, with rich color and glorious detail. I knew that two of my students, now in Photography Honors, would embrace with similar passion a project both aesthetic and biologic: then sophomores Carson Gilford ’19 and Weston Bell-Geddes ’19.

ENTER, “THE BUG” Enter, the eupholus bennitti (blue), a genus of beetle, 3.81cm x 1.7cm (1.5 inches long and .7 inches wide), from Papua New Guinea. To the human eye, the beetle’s exterior appears as a flat blue hue, yet, when lighted, chromatically transforms into a startling array of iridescent scales and textures. The goal for this project would be to produce an image where every hair, fiber, and flaw on the surface of “the bug” would resonate even when enlarged at the scale of a small car. The boys were excited for the challenge, but soon they were beset with initial technical lighting difficulties. Not long after, the boys began exchanging emails with Levon Biss directly, who offered some advice and resource information early on in their photographic journey.

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This project was made possible through the School’s support of teachers’ innovation in the classroom. Here is the hardware required to create this image: Nikon D810 Camera, Nikon 200mm prime lens, Nikon 10x/0.30 Plan Fluor Objective Lens, StackShot3x Rail, and Bowens Strobe Lights.

images, each one comprised of 100-500 individual shots. From the outset, the challenges were daunting, with the largest being how to adjust for strobe exposure when the scarab beetle rests just inches from the light source, and yet its size is no bigger than a grape.

The process took hours from shot to flattening. Weston transferred the flattened image to Carson, who color managed, edited, cleaned up artifacts within the frames, adjusted the exposure, and stitched together the individual sections to form one completed image. Throughout the process, Carson and Weston re-evaluated and adjusted their workflow and organizational management, all the while maintaining the wonder and discovery of creating an artistry that marvels the senses.

Each shot focused on approximately two millimeters of surface area. The camera sat on a moving rail and was calibrated to travel 10 microns for a single shot. Now, imagine that the width of a human hair is approximately 75 microns. ACTUAL SIZE: The movement between shots is indistinguishable to our Additionally, Weston worked on developing a virtual reality 1.5 inches long and .7 inches wide eyes. The 10x objective lens (microscope lens), which I education app that allows the user to stretch the bug from adapted to a 200mm prime lens and mounted to the camera its original size to scales that simply cannot be produced body sets focus on position 1, the nearest point on the beetle, and then is in the real world, while maintaining resolution. After publishing the moved to position 2, the farthest point and sets focus on it. After the experience, people from all over the world were able to experience the camera returns to position 1, the camera fires off a shot, the strobes go magnificent nature of the bug and take advantage of the open source off, the camera then automatically moves 10 microns forward, settles for code for the project that Weston published (www.westonbdev.com). five seconds for the vibrations to stop, and the process is repeated, THE RESULT sometimes up to 500 shots for one photograph. The total number of Weston and Carson went beyond what they could have perceived as shots between position 1 and position 2 is based on the subject’s depth attainable to deliver a project that was passionate. I am not surprised, of field or how much area of each image is in focus. After photographing, since they are students beyond their years, both intellectually and each image was transferred via USB, from the camera to a computer, and creatively. They possess a maturity that the rigors of this project loaded into software called Zerene / StackShot. This software program required. It was heartwarming to note how much they enjoyed this culled out the sharpest points of each shot and flattened them into one experience and the proof is the creation of this magnificent image.   ■ photograph. This process was repeated approximately 15,000 times.

Jonathan Lovett ’19 U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts Semi-Finalist For his exceptional photography, Jonathan Lovett ’19 was named one of 60 Semi-Finalists in the Presidential Scholars in the Arts competition, which is part of the 2019 U.S. Presidential Scholars Program. Jonathan was nominated from among 7,000 applicants in the annual YoungArts competition, which is conducted by the National YoungArts Foundation each year. The U.S. Presidential Scholars Program, established in 1964, recognizes some of America’s most distinguished graduating seniors for their academic success, leadership, and service to school and community. In 1979, the Self Portrait in Tromsø, Norway program was expanded to recognize students demonstrating outstanding scholarship and talent in the visual, creative, and performing arts. This is one of the nation’s highest honors for high school students.   ■ View Jonathan’s photographs on Instagram @ j.lovettt

Photograph by Jonathan Lovett, Forbidden Fruit No. 1

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Upper School students have the opportunity to explore a wide range of media and techniques. These three young artists have demonstrated mastery of their chosen medium and conceptual maturity well beyond their years.

M AG A Z I N E

painting

sculpture

Cherry He ’20

Robert Brooks ’19

The Cocoon of Psyche, is one of a series of 10 paintings inspired by Cherry’s interest in Greek mythology, which is read widely in China. Cherry came to Viewpoint in Eighth Grade because of the strength of the Fine Arts Program, and she plans to attend art school to study animation.

This ceramic piece, Flowers from Ky La, is an exploration of Robert’s half-Vietnamese heritage. The rice hat, the lotus flower, which is the national flower of Vietnam and is a symbol of rebirth, as well as the cracks and holes in the surface of the skin, all reference the experiences of the Vietnamese people and that of Robert’s own family.

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arts what does art class mean to me? ceramics Elizabeth Scott ’20 The elegant forms of Wave are the result of Lizzie’s interest in science and her scientific approach to ceramics. Wanting to create a piece that looked “carved by the wind,” she researched the process that would allow her to carve away the clay to achieve a natural windswept quality.

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e asked students in all four divisions this question, and from our youngest artists to those about to graduate, the responses were often the same: it is a creative outlet, a place for self-expression, a break from the rigors of their academic classes. They all viewed art class as a special time – separate, but vital to their education. Curious to know if this feeling extends beyond graduation, we posed the question to an alumna, Melina Keighron ’15, who continues to find the making of art fundamental to her pursuit of science.   

“To me, art class is the thing I wait for all week, a place where I let my dreams soar high, and my creativity run wild. Art class is the best!” – DYLAN ONASCH ’26

“Art class is a fun and colorful place. It makes me feel like I am an awesome and great artist.”

– ELSA COLLIER-REAM ’28

”Art relaxes me and lets me express myself on paper. I don’t have to say how I feel; I just show it.”

– JASMINE SANIFAR ’28

“Art class is a time for me to relax. It allows me to show my imagination and the ideas in my head. It’s like a dream, but you can physically see it and touch it.” – BIANCA GOMEZ ’22

“Art class means a lot to me because you can learn new things and you can learn from your mistakes, and you can put all your heart into your pieces, so you can make a happy memory.”

– ASHLEY CHESED ’27

“Art shows me determination and many different moods or feelings.” – KAIYA POLACHECK ’27

“To me, art class is a way to express myself and what I love. It is a stress reliever for all the other aspects of my life. When I lost my house in the fires last fall, it was sculpture and photography that helped me through it.” – AIDEN RODRIQUEZ ’19 (see photos on page 32)

SCIENTIST AND ARTIST

Melina Keighron ’15 In the Summer 2014 issue of Viewpoint magazine, we featured a delicate ceramic bowl depicting a fisherman on the Li River in China made by then-junior Melina Keighron. Melina is now a senior at Duke University, where she studies biology with a concentration in environmental conservation ecology. She spends much of her time outdoors conducting field research, including studying algae-fish interactions in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, or in a laboratory. She also continues to make art – ceramics, paintings, drawings – and she plays the piano. Melina feels that her work as an artist has helped her as a scientist. Her meticulous attention to detail, the ability to stay focused when engaged with repetitive tasks, and her creativity all contribute to the way she works in the field and in the lab. After graduation, Melina plans to continue to study and work in conservation, as well as continue to make art inspired by her time outdoors.

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Koady Murphy ’25

Doreen Choroomi ’24

It All Begins Here: K-8 Artwork

Daisy Bradway ’28

Throughout the years, students in Kindergarten-Eighth Grade experiment with a range of media. As their skills and confidence grow, the projects become increasingly sophisticated and technically challenging. The art teachers also work with grade level teachers to create projects that complement the students’ academic coursework. This collaboration enriches the students’ experience and deepens their connection to the material.

Marissa Shurgot ’26

Pippin Taylor ’27 Luke Jen ’29

Sydney Elias ’23 Ben Hale ’30 Emma Azad ’23

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Rinya Dilg ’29

Siena Mercuri ’31 WI NTER /S P R I N G

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Eighth Grade Mural Painting 50

This year’s Eight Grade Mural Painting class worked collaboratively to determine the mural’s design and theme of “Global Warming and Its Impact on Our Oceans.” Students worked in cold and windy weather, with onlookers full of questions and encouragement.  The mural beautifully brings awareness to a global issue we could all help to improve. 

Students pictured in the group photo starting on top: Eighth Graders Austin Aragon, Erin Beazley, Jamie Greenberg, Aspen Aragon, and Kate Stutman On the bottom, from left to right: Eighth Graders Ally Davis, Alana Malingagio, Emily Robins-Faden, Sydney Elias, Hannah Hoberman, and Osiris Nalls The smaller individual pictures of students painting, from top to bottom: Eighth Graders Erin Beazley, Jamie Greenberg and Kate Stutman, Osiris Nalls Not pictured, but enrolled in the class: Eighth Graders Caroline Jacobsen and Amir Baylock

– Donna Hicks, Middle School Art Teacher V I E W P O I N T

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arts Fall and Winter Performances Wizard of Oz Second Grade

Seussical the Musical Middle School

Top left: Caden Wolfe ’29 Bottom left: Isabella Swarbrick ’29 Top center: Lena Chakraverty ’29

Above: Collin Nelson ’24 Below center photo from left to right: André Wandeler ’24, Maddy Aaronson ’24, Daniyar Ali ’24, Collin Nelson ’24, Lily Davis ’25, Ella Katz ’25

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee Upper School

Mia Nelson ’24

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Laurel Eith ’24, AJ Williams ’23 M AG A Z I N E

Mia Nelson ’24, AJ Williams ’23

Above back row: Ian Riegler ’19, Katie Hameetman ’19, Zoe Plotkin ’20, Devon Knopp ’20, Dani Granaroli ’20, Alex Lisenby ’19 Front Row: Eddie Wolfson ’19, Natalie Friedman ’19

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Fall 2018 U PPE R SCHOOL Girls Volleyball 1st Team All League: Trinity Stanger ’21, Darynne Bickers ’19

athletics

2nd Team All League: Genevieve Franz ’19, Deja Bickers ’20 1st Team All CIF: Trinity Stanger ’21, Deja Bickers ’20 Cross Country Girls and Boys both made it to the CIF Finals. Boys finished in 5th place and qualified for the CIF State Finals. CIF State Finals: Boys finished in 7th place for Division 5. Gold Coast League Champions, 1st Team All-League, 1st Team All-CIF, All-State Honors (9th): Ronnie Orosky ’20 1st Team All League, 2nd team All-CIF, All-State Honors (7th): Miles Clark ’21 2nd Team All League: Carson Gilford ’19, Thomas Matthew ’20, Henry Didden ’22, Marcus Intal ’20 1st Team All League, 2nd team All-CIF: Elizabeth Scott ’20 1st Team All League: Amanda Hogan ’20 2nd Team All League: Colette Samek ’22, Rebecca Danese ’19 Gold Coast League Finals: Boys 1st place LEAGUE CHAMPIONS! Girls finished in 2nd Place Girls Tennis 1st Team All Gold Coast Doubles: Ava Button ’19, Lauren O’Connell ’19 Football 1st Team: Niko Candido ’20, Aiden Rodriquez ’19 2nd Team: Evan Pearlman ’19, James Kasaba ’19

Fall Highlights 2018

Left page: Girls Cross Country Team This page top: Boys Cross Country Team This page middle left: Catherine Jones ’19 This page middle right: #8 Luke Boehm ’21, #10 Niko Candido ’20, #66 James Kasaba ’19 This page bottom right: Varsity Girls Volleyball Team

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Madison Nadolenco ’23; photo by Shawn McMillen, 2018

VIE WPOINT EQUESTR IENNES

Sophie Bluhm ’ 21 & Madison Nadolenco ’ 23 By Monica Case ’90, Viewpoint Editor

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ophie Bluhm ’21 and Madison (Madi) Nadolenco ’23 are two of the most accomplished equitation riders in the United States in their age group. In November 2019, they were among the top 104 riders in the country to qualify to compete in The Hamel Foundation National Horse Show 3’3 Equitation Medal Finals in Lexington, Kentucky. After a day of nerve-wracking competition, Sophie came in 2nd Place as the Reserve Champion and Madi came in 5th Place. This was a world-class competition at a worldclass venue, and Viewpoint is proud to say, “Congratulations!” to these young champions.

true grit and determination. The crowd and announcers went wild for California having two of the top riders in the country, and they both go to Viewpoint! Through it all, their characters flourished – staying humble, focused, determined, and enjoying the experience. I will never forget watching the joy on their faces, accomplishing something they will never forget.” Most riders at this level, many of whom have dreams of competing in the Olympics, are home schooled, so it is quite extraordinary that both girls are in school – and attend the same one.

Both girls spend at least six days each week training or working with their horses, and travel to competitions most Riders from all over the country between the ages of the year. To attain this level of horsemanship, Madi of 12-18 compete to qualify for this Medal Final all began riding at age two and one-half and Sophie began year, and both girls emphasized that it was an honor training at age eight. It requires a great deal of discipline just to qualify for this show. As a middle school From L-R: Madison Nadolenco, Sophie Bluhm to stay on top of their schoolwork, while dedicating student, Madi was among the youngest to qualify, themselves to achieving the highest level of success in and Sophie competed with a broken wrist and her competition. However, what each of them loves most is the bond they have hand in a cast. Madi’s father John Nadolenco, reported on the event: with their horses. Madi put it this way, “I love the connection between you “I cannot describe the pressure that all the riders were under, riding on that and the horse, and to be able to communicate. It is like speaking another stage and in those circumstances. In the final round, many cracked under language. We understand each other.”   ■ the pressure, and it was heartbreaking to see, but Sophie and Madi showed

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Opposite page: Sophie Bluhm ’21; photo by Shawn McMillen, 2018 V I E W P O I N T

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Profiles

By Patrick Moyal, Athletic Director

Trinity Stanger ’21

Coach Will Burr

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he Viewpoint Girls Varsity Volleyball Team had a special season in 2018. Under first-year Head Coach Sheldon Sheehy, the Patriots succeeded in making it to the CIF Division V Semi-finals and qualified for the State Tournament in the process. That great run was highlighted by outstanding seasons by so many of our girls, including seniors Darynne Bickers, who was named to the All-Gold Coast League 1st team, and Genevieve Franz, who was All Gold Coast 2nd team. Viewpoint’s Libero, Trinity Stanger ’21, was also named to the All Gold Coast League 1st team as well as All-CIF and team M.V.P., and established herself as one of the team leaders. Coach Sheehy describes her volleyball skills very simply, “After coaching this game for over a decade there aren’t too many times when I say about anyone, ‘How did she do that?’” Trinity, a club player both indoors and formerly beach as well, was new to Viewpoint as a freshman in 2017. According to Coach Sheehy, “She showed early on that she was going to compete hard in practice and train the ordinary over and over in order to do the extraordinary.”

The recognition Trinity has received because of her considerable ability does not tell the whole story. A fierce competitor, she is praised by her coach as having an infectious energy that flows throughout the whole program. “It is rare that you find someone more interested in the success of others than themselves, but Trinity is that person.” Her teammate, and good friend, Gracie Schechter ’21, describes her as someone who is always there to “take care of her teammates.” She adds, “When Trinity isn’t on the floor, something is missing. Something doesn’t click.” Coach Sheehy agrees, “She is certainly talented, but I believe her greatest talent is that she stays positive no matter the circumstances of the match. She is someone who her teammates can always rely on to build them up and help them achieve their best. She is an ultimate team player and has the on the court skills to back it up. When she does something extraordinary, she is the first person to hop up off the floor and congratulate or encourage a teammate for something they did that point, and that is what makes her truly special.” Asked to describe her Viewpoint Volleyball experience, Trinity is quick to point out that the importance of being close to her teammates, and that the girls are all friends on and off the court. “We over me,” the team’s motto this year, is how she describes her attitude. While losing talented seniors to graduation is never easy, a strong group of girls including Deja Bickers ’20, also a 1st Team All Gold Coast and All-CIF nominee and Team Offensive Player of the Year, are ready for the challenge. Trinity has set the expectations, “We want to leave a legacy, win CIF and State.” Lofty goals to be sure.   ■

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or Viewpoint’s Girls Basketball program, the word family is representative of more than its traditional meaning, it represents a mindset. From the first day of Upper School basketball practice a few days after graduation, to the last thing shouted from an end-of-game huddle at the end of the winter season, the word family resonates. For Coach Will Burr, the patriarch of the Girls Basketball family, it has been a fundamental concept around which he has built his program over the last seven years, emphasizing commitment, communication, appreciation, accountability, and problem solving. And all this, together! Coach Burr, a San Fernando Valley native, graduated from Alemany High School and went on to play basketball at Glendale Junior College before moving on to play at Clark Atlanta University, where he earned honors as the Naismith Division-II Player of the Year in Georgia. His next step was playing in the A.B.A. where he made the All-Star team. A captain at every level he played, Coach Burr was a natural to become a leader and a coach. His career saw him coach at Calabasas High School, the A.B.A., Chaminade High School, Westlake High School, and Citrus College before he finally joined the coaching staff at Viewpoint in 2012. At the start of every season, Coach Burr’s goal is always the same, development. He asks, “How can I make every girl in the Program better than when she started”? His time at Viewpoint has shown that he has had success reaching that goal. Through great support of his players, attention to detail, and challenging every team-member, his teams continuously surpass expectations both individually and collectively. Most recently, the Patriots reached the CIF Division-IV Semi-finals in 2017. Coach Burr, who runs the Triple Threat Hoops Basketball Club, also coaches some of Viewpoint’s young, aspiring players in the Lower and Middle Schools, winning league championships, but more importantly, he strives, as he says, “to bring something out of the girls that they never knew they had in them.” His serious demeanor on game nights does not tell the whole story. Junior Katie Topacio appreciates the great care he shows all his players on and off the court, “When Coach Burr knows we have a lot of school work or have had a tough day or week, he makes practices easier. For him, it is never just about basketball, he cares about our lives off the court as well.” Longtime assistant Delaney West who has been with Coach Burr during his entire Viewpoint tenure, makes a similar observation. “From the very beginning, Coach Burr emphasizes, in a very honest and genuine way, that he cares deeply about the girls on and off the court, and that basketball is just a vehicle to help them achieve the goal of becoming the best person they can be.” We are so proud to have Coach Burr on our staff and are confident that there is no better person that we can entrust with the responsibility of managing the Girls Basketball Program.   ■ WI NTER /S P R I N G

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advancing VIEWPOINT’S MISSION

Q&A WITH THE NEW DIRECTOR OF THE VIEWPOINT FUND

Susan Marx

Why Annual Giving? THE IDEA THAT ANNUAL GIVING is a cornerstone of fundraising at a school and helps to increase the operating budget and allow for added programing, opportunities, and activities on a yearly basis is something that fuels my work. Being able to help provide additional resources, which can inspire teaching and enhance learning, is something that motivates me in the dayto-day pieces of the position.

The Cornerstone of our Philanthropy At Viewpoint School, tuition only funds about 85% of day-to-day costs. Closing this gap through the Viewpoint Fund and other philanthropy helps us:

Q&A WITH THE NEW DIRECTOR OF ALUMNI RELATIONS

  – Maintain a more inclusive and economically diverse student body   – Fund the best education experience possible for our students   – Offer the highest quality and broadest choice in academics and enrichment programs   – Support financial assistance for 15% of our student body   – Provide professional development to recruit and retain top faculty and staff

Colette Connor

Viewpoint is pleased to introduce Colette Connor as our new Director of Alumni Relations. She comes to us from Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy in La Cañada Flintridge, where she was the Director of Alumnae Relations. Prior to working at Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy, Colette worked in events and communications. Welcome Colette!

JOIN PARENTS, ALUMNI, ALUMNI PARENTS, GRANDPARENTS, FACULTY, AND STAFF with a gift to the Viewpoint Fund today www.viewpoint.org/give. TOGETHER WE CAN ACHIEVE so much more than any one of us alone! As a community, let us set a new record to increase the number of people contributing and dollars raised this year to the Viewpoint Fund! Your gift is 100% tax-deductible!    ■

Thank You to the Viewpoint Community for Reaching Our Benefit Goals

Why Viewpoint? GROWING UP, I was a part of an incredible community and benefited from the opportunities that were available in an independent school. I have been drawn to this environment ever since. Having just started at Viewpoint, I am excited to be a member of this welcoming community and eager to be a part of a place that supports and challenges students to discover their passions and realize their potential as leaders. What are your goals for the Viewpoint Fund? ONE OF MY FIRST GOALS is to increase parent participation in the Viewpoint Fund. I hope that continued education about the importance of annual giving and all that those funds provide to students, faculty, staff, alumni, and the community will be a key piece of that shift. I am also hoping that with a focus on increased participation across all constituencies we are able to increase the yearly support provided by the Viewpoint Fund.  SUSAN WELCOMES any thoughts or questions you may have and would love to hear from you. If you are interested in getting involved in the Viewpoint Fund, she can be reached at susan.marx@viewpoint.org.   ■

Why alumni relations? I WAS FORTUNATE ENOUGH to have the opportunity to attend schools similar to Viewpoint growing up and it wasn’t until I graduated that I realized how lucky I was to have a builtin community to network. I love connecting alumni with one another and their alma mater and offering opportunities to stay connected. Why Viewpoint? I AM EXCITED TO BE PART OF A SCHOOL that believes in meticulously combining tradition with innovation. The first time I stepped onto campus I witnessed all of the incredible opportunities that Viewpoint offers to students. From the Gardening Club to the robotics lab, there is excitement everywhere that I know will inspire alumni and instill pride for their alma mater.

VIEWPOINT’S 36TH ANNUAL BENEFIT, held at the beautiful Calamigos Ranch in Malibu on Saturday, May 4, was a night to remember. Under the stars, our families gathered at this magical venue for two goals: to celebrate our Viewpoint community and raise needed funds for our School. With a larger crowd than last year, we had a great time and were able to achieve both! This evening of laughter, camaraderie, and line dancing provided support for our outstanding faculty and our talented students, and reminded us of the joy that comes from connecting with our community for a common cause. 

What are your goals for the Alumni program? MY FIRST GOAL IS TO BRING NEW ENERGY to the Alumni Association by introducing new events, opportunities to interact with students, and re-launching the Alumni Board. I am also excited to create a Viewpoint Network for alumni that offers meaningful opportunities to connect with one another and network. COLETTE WELCOMES any thoughts or suggestions from the Viewpoint community and its alumni. If you are a graduate wishing to be more involved in alumni activities, she can be reached at colette.connor@ viewpoint.org.   ■

THANK YOU TO THE ENTIRE VIEWPOINT COMMUNITY WHO CELEBRATED WITH US THIS YEAR!   ■

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Alumni Holiday Party

direction FOR A LIFETIME

Krystal's da

her tr ughter and

Dear Fellow Alumni, I am thrilled to serve as the President of our Alumni Association. I cannot think of an association that is more appropriate for me to be a part of these days. Viewpoint has always held a special place in my heart and I am lucky enough to not only stay connected through the Alumni Association, but also through my siblings: Jaclyn Dry ’05, Georgio Livanos ’10 (who is now a Middle School math teacher at Viewpoint), Paris Livanos ’16, and Fourth Grader Brody Jones. I also cannot wait for MY kids to go to Viewpoint one day soon!

I HAVE BEEN ABLE TO RETURN TO CAMPUS frequently and am so impressed with the school and all it has accomplished since my graduation, including introducing robotics, engineering, innovation labs, animation classes, one-to-one laptop programs, and many more cutting-edge advances in education. However, what impressed me the most is Viewpoint’s ability to perfectly weave tradition with innovation. Our memories of the plays on Blaney Patio, the holiday program, and, of course, sports, still remain a vital part of the Viewpoint experience.

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iplets.

I AM EXCITED TO WELCOME our new Director of Alumni Relations, Colette Connor, who is building a dynamic new Alumni program with more opportunities to get involved, including more local and regional events, networking programs, and student mentorship opportunities. I encourage all of you to get involved with our Alumni Association in whatever way you can – whether you would like to join our Alumni Board, attend or host an event, participate in our Viewpoint Network programs, reach out to an old classmate, or donate to the Viewpoint Fund. THERE WILL ALWAYS BE A PLACE for every one of you at Viewpoint and in our Alumni network. If you have any further questions on how to get involved, please feel free to contact me or Colette Connor at colette.connor@viewpoint.org. I look forward to welcoming many of you back to Viewpoint and working together to continue expanding our Alumni program.

Top left to right: Jaclyn Dry ’05 and Sarah Spano ‘05; Trey Spellman ’18, Persia Fardad-Finn ’18, Andrea Harvey ’18, Cassidy Shrover ‘18 Middle left to right: Viewpoint Alumni gathered together for a fun holiday celebration; Rachel Thommen ’13 and Michael Osborn ‘15 Bottom left to right: Sara Klausner ’03, Alireza Ahmadian ’03, David Goodman ’03, Jackie Goodman, Hannah Catterall ’03; Viewpoint Alumni gathered together for a fun holiday celebration

Viewpoint Alumni Association celebrated the holidays with an exciting and lively Alumni Holiday Party at The Local Peasant on December 19. The room was abuzz and filled to capacity with over 100 alumni and 20 faculty members toasting to the season. We are looking forward to welcoming more alumni back to Viewpoint with our upcoming events. Stay tuned for more information!

Sincerely,

Krystal Dry-Murphy ’03 Alumni Association President

Interested in getting more involved in the Viewpoint Alumni Association? Join our Alumni Board! The Alumni Board is comprised entirely of Viewpoint alumni who have volunteered to help continue strengthening the connection between Viewpoint and our alumni. We are looking for alumni of all ages to help plan events, share ideas, and network with fellow alumni. All alumni are welcome to join our Board or come to a meeting. We meet four times a year and it is a fun, easy way to get more involved with Viewpoint. If you are interested in joining or learning more, please contact Colette Connor, Director of Alumni Relations, at colette.connor @ viewpoint.org.   ■

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“WE PRODUCE QUALITY, STORY-DRIVEN, FULLY IMMERSIVE AND INTERACTIVE EXPERIENCES, OFFER NEW AND EXCITING WAYS TO ENGAGE AUDIENCES, AND EMPOWER ORGANIZATIONS WITH THE BENEFITS OF NEXT-GENERATION DIGITAL MEDIA.”

VIEWPOINT

Alumni Profile

T

ech entrepreneur Devin Ehrig ’03 credits two Viewpoint teachers, Dan Anderson and Ming Hodgson, with helping to determine the course of his life. Dan taught Devin to understand technology and to speak its language, and Ming introduced him to Mandarin Chinese, which led him to study in China and ultimately settle and build his business there. Now Devin is eager to create opportunities for the next generation of Viewpoint students by offering internships at his start-up, Shadow Factory, in Hong Kong. THE FOUNDATION

Devin Ehrig ’03 By Monica Case ’90, Viewpoint Editor

Devin spent his early years in Hawaii, and he and family moved to Los Angeles in Eighth Grade. Devin, a talented viola player, attended Upper School at Viewpoint to play in the orchestra, but he also took Dan Anderson’s computer science classes, and was in Ming Hodgson’s first Chinese class. Upon graduation, Devin accepted a music scholarship to Willamette University, but he was already interested in pursuing Chinese studies. Because of his year in Ming’s class, he was able to study in China as a freshman in the northern city of Shenyang, which also happened to be where Ming’s family lived. Devin ultimately graduated from Willamette in three years, having spent most of that time in China. Devin moved to Hong Kong in 2008 to study law at Chinese University, where he focused on banking and financial services law and regulation. He followed this by spending a year at Boston University earning a MA in Banking and Financial Law. Devin returned to China, where he worked for a trust company – which in China is essentially a banking platform that helps facilitate international business. He spent these years building a community, and because he speaks both Cantonese and Mandarin, he was able to work all over China helping Chinese businesses set themselves up internationally.

SHADOW FACTORY In 2015, Devin decided to make a change. As he explained, “I was tired of the finance world. I was facilitating international investment, but the economic environment was starting to shift, and my then friend, now

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business partner, and I decided to try something entrepreneurial. We started Shadow Factory.” On LinkedIn, Shadow Factory is described succinctly as “a leading developer of extended reality content and solutions operating across Hong Kong, Toronto, and Los Angeles. We produce quality, story-driven, fully immersive and interactive experiences, offer new and exciting ways to engage audiences, and empower organizations with the benefits of next-generation digital media.” In just three years, Shadow Factory has grown from two people with an idea, contacts, skills, and as he puts it “houses we could mortgage” to having 50 employees in three countries and growing. When asked about his plans in the U.S., he explained, “Our first venture is in Santa Monica. We are focusing on TV, online digital commercial production, and music videos, and we plan to expand into our traditional immersive strengths as well as exploring new options in Hollywood. We also have a field office in Honolulu that we are building for tourism and the travel sector. We are trying to build autonomous teams that can function and work well together as a unit, so that the company really does not need us, and we can explore and push these new boundaries. Our ultimate goal is to have a full-strength production studio for the modern era.”

THE INTERNS In the summer of 2018, Devin invited three Upper School computer science students to intern in the Hong Kong offices of Shadow Factory – WI NTER /S P R I N G

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1983 Melina Watts and her two younger children live in Chico and her oldest son, Vincent Scott ’15, lives in Boulder. Melina works at the Glenn County Resource Conservation District. She published her first novel, Tree, in April 2017 and is currently working on her second novel. Last June, Los Angeles Zen Center invited her to discuss how the tree under which the Buddha meditated may have contributed to the Buddha’s shift of consciousness.

The notes below include those received between September 1, 2018 and February 1, 2019. If you would like to submit a Class Note, please email collette.connor@viewpoint.org.

1971 Rob Jordan and his wife of 26 years, Louise, have purchased a vacation home in Reno and intend to transition out of Southern California over the next few years. Rob’s son, Devon, and his wife, Shana, are going to make them grandparents shortly. His daughter Taylor is firmly embedded in the tech industry in San Francisco, and daughter Mackenzie graduates from Texas Christian University (Ft. Worth) in May. He writes, “Even though I was in only the second graduating class at Viewpoint, the school had high standards, and prepared me well for high school, college and beyond. I have fond memories of Shakespeare plays, cotillion (outdoors on the basketball blacktop!) and crushing Campbell Hall in swim meets! My best to all past and current Patriots!”

Melina Watts ’83

1985 Ginger Burnett Cartmell donated her kidney to the love of her life (since 1993) and married him shortly after the surgery. His kidney failure was directly related to his liver transplant that he had in 1998 when they were dating. They were married on August 8, 2014 and her men’s hockey team, Ruination, was in attendance. She has one handsome step son who is now 13 years old. She is a TK teacher in the Hemet School District and is still close friends with three other Viewpoint graduates, Suzyn Card ’86, Tracey Dole ’85, and Danielle Turner ’85.

Ben ZeBrack ’21 and Jack Watanabe ’19 in Shadow Factory’s office in Hong Kong

Ben ZeBrack, Jack Watanabe, and Ayush Kumar. When asked how this happened, Devin explained, “I’ve always been affiliated with and enjoyed technology, but I have always been one of the worst coders in the room – despite Dan Anderson’s best efforts. But one of the things I respected is that for Dan it is not always teaching the latest technology, but learning the fundamental skills and the building blocks of thinking around technology. This made it possible for me to work with technology people and communicate with them differently than if I had just been someone jumping in. Because of my experience with him, when Dan and I started talking about bringing over a few students to intern with me, I knew that they would be well prepared.” He continued, “We are a three-year old company, really brand new, but I am excited that we have the opportunity to give back. Hong Kong is the old media center of Asia and Shenzen, which is right across the border, is where iphones and every piece of hardware are made. I thought that this would give them the chance to see first-hand the Hong Kong business platform and the Shenzen technology platform.”

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In the future, Devin would like to establish a program where he could pair Viewpoint interns with his staff, who are like them – talented, young, and creative. Devin believes that for students who are genuinely interested in learning Chinese, they must spend time in China. He emphasized, “Language and culture are intertwined. Immersion makes all the difference.” Devin continued, “I would like us to be able to offer internships to those interested in technology and those on the Chinese language and business track. Regardless of what you study, if you want to be successful in the start-up industries where you are combining tech with creativity, there are certain business practices that you need to learn. We would like to help.” For Ben, the experience at Shadow Factory was eye opening. They tested video games, conducted research on Japanese companies, and learned about the textures behind the color in 2D and 3D games. What Ben most enjoyed was experiencing work culture. He said, “Devin is a really nice guy and a good boss. He works hard to create a positive environment for everyone. Being an intern allowed me to see what is possible in the tech world – and I would definitely be open to living in China.”   ■

1979

Rob Jordan ’71

David Lyons is celebrating his 20th wedding anniversary with his lovely wife, Reyna. He is currently under construction on his retirement beach house, “Casa Chill,” in beautiful Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca, a well-known surfing destination. His son, Charlie, is a sophomore playing both soccer and football and is starting to visit college campuses.

Ginger Burnett Cartmell ’85

1987 Ali Banki welcomed his daughter, Lili Banki, on January 19, 2017. He is enjoying his recovery from practicing international arbitration with the United Nations in Switzerland and is now working as a banker with City National Bank. His wife Elwira is a graphic designer with Snapchat.

David Lyons ’79

Lili Banki, daughter of Ali Banki ’87

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1988

1998

Jenny Lynn Burnett earned her Commercial Remote Pilot “Drone” license, which complements her skill as a volunteer Search & Rescue (Private Pilot) for Civil Air Patrol. She also worked on a movie called Once Upon a Time in Hollywood as the Construction Accountant, in charge of tracking movie sets that were being built. She is so grateful for the opportunities and people in her life. Asha Sethi Kello is teaching Sixth Grade and raising two teenagers in Northern California. Asha has been married for 20 years to a UC Professor/Dean. She credits her outstanding Viewpoint English teacher, Mrs. Ellen Bresnick, for her writing skills and Viewpoint for her passion toward lifelong learning.

1991 Rosa O’Neill Foyle has come back to LA after 22 years in Germany to spend this school year with her son Ben ’22. Ben is spending his freshman year at Viewpoint to polish his English language skills. He loves Viewpoint’s positive and warm learning environment. Rosa has been enjoying catching up with friends from her Viewpoint years: Seth Casden ’91, Amanda Lively ’90, Romina Cusenza ’94, Rachel Wilson ’93.

1996

Emily (Holzer) Robinson has two kids, Jordan (6) and Samantha (4). She practices family law in Westlake Village and enjoys travelling, camping, and rescuing dogs.

daughter, Lila, and another baby arriving in June. Best wishes from his family to yours!

Kareem Shaarawy is a sports medicine doctor at Barrows Neurological Institute in Phoenix, Arizona. He is the head team physician for Grand Canyon University and is a physician for the MLB baseball team in Arizona.

2008

Brett Malkin is married with a little nine-month-old girl, Sivan. He owns a thriving business in the South Bay, where he designs and builds beach homes.

Maddie Schwarz Kahan completed her pediatric residency training at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland in June 2018, and is now a resident physician in Child Neurology at UCSF in San Francisco. In May 2018, she and her husband, Kyle, were married in Malibu, with three fellow class of ’08 alumni (Fiona Angel, Stephanie Cohen, Lexi Sharma Lee) in the wedding party!

Matthew Matrisciano celebrated the birth of a son in 2018. Matthew is also now a licensed attorney in California, Washington, and Oregon. His estate planning law firm, MGM Law Firm, is based in Bend, Oregon where he lives with his new son, amazing daughter, and beautiful wife in their new house.

Derek Taylor Kent and his wife, Sheri Fink, last year formed their new children’s book publishing company, Whimsical World, which has already produced three #1 best-selling new titles with many more to come in 2019. Their mission is to inspire, delight, and educate children of all ages while planting seeds of self-esteem and high achievement. Derek credits his Viewpoint teachers for inspiring him toward the path of writing, and he still loves coming back to Viewpoint to participate in the annual book fair.

Tristan Brown worked as a laboratory research assistant for three and a half years with Dr. Frances Arnold while an undergraduate at Caltech. Dr. Arnold was awarded the 2018 Nobel Prize in Chemistry last fall and part of Tristan’s research was cited in the Nobel Prize technical description. Tristan received his Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of WisconsinMadison in October 2017. Nataly Malinger received her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine in June of 2018 and is now pursuing a Veterinary Pathology residency at Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine.

2000

Nassir Nassirzadeh and his wife, Courtney, welcomed their daughter, Amelie Sophia Nassirzadeh, in October 2017. They moved back home from New York shortly before the birth of Amelie and are living in Calabasas.

2007

Charles Ciongoli ’05

David Sheftell has pursued two career paths. The first as an actor where he has worked on shows like The Young & the Restless and Days of Our Lives, starred opposite Pierce Brosnan in Stephen King’s Bag of Bones on A&E and done voice over work for cartoons like Family Guy, American Dad, and The Cleveland Show. His second career path has been as a realtor, and is an Associate at Compass Real Estate in Beverly Hills. He has been fortunate enough to work with many friends going all the way back to Kindergarten and helping them purchase their first home as well as helping friends from Viewpoint either purchase or lease a property right out of high school and college. Both careers have fueled him and have been incredibly fulfilling. Maddie Schwarz Kahan ’08

2009 Michelle Berlinger launched her jewelry line, Berlinger Jewelry, in 2018 after getting her start at Dartmouth College. She designs wedding rings, engagement rings, and more. Her website is berlingerjewelry.com.

Nasir Nassirzadeh ’00

2005

Derek Taylor Kent ’96

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Charles Ciongoli is excited to share his first update with his Viewpoint family since he graduated. He moved to West Palm Beach, Florida about two and a half years ago. While he misses California from time to time, his life has blossomed and he married his best friend, Lexi, on June 8, 2018. Charles is an IT specialist for Walgreens and Lexi graduated nursing school and is beginning her career as an RN. Charles has a

David Sheftell ’05

Michelle Berlinger ’09

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2009 (continuted)

2011

Patrick Caloz graduated from Bucknell University with a B.S. in Biology and a minor in Neuropsychology. He considered applying for medical school, but decided to take a breather from school. After a year of working in a biotechnology lab in Canoga Park, he learned of the Physician Assistant profession. The perfect fit. The condensed training, better work-life balance, and more immediate track to practicing was exactly what he wanted. After gaining experience as a 911 EMT in the LA area for almost a year, he attended Penn State’s College of Medicine in Pennsylvania again; this time, in the famous city of Hershey. Two brutal years later, Patrick is a provider in Adventist Medical Center’s emergency department in Portland, OR. He loves to both play and run Dungeons and Dragons, cook, then eat his favorite chicken burritos, and keeps up his high school swimming and cellist routines.

Riley Cook is a RDN (Registered Dietician Nutritionist) and loves her job at a Holistic Eating Disorders program in San Francisco.

Rebecca Hess is working as a tutor, mentor, and role model to at-risk youth in an underserved community within Los Angeles through City Year Los Angeles. She has been a City Year Americorps Member for six months now, and has loved every minute of it. She serves with Seventh Graders and has developed life changing relationships with her students that have inspired her to want to become an LAUSD teacher in the future.

2015 Morgan Hamilton is moving to Shanghai in June to work for Metric Design Studios. Skylar Kutasi will be graduating from the University of Southern California and will dual major in Health and Human Sciences and East Asian Language and Culture. She recently completed a semester abroad in the UK attending the University of Sussex.

Skylar Kutasi ’15

2016

Sarah Ashdown is currently studying abroad in Oaska, Japan. Riley Cook ’11

Holly Dickinson is a second year medical student in Pennsylvania. Webster Heath has earned his Master’s degree in English from Vanderbilt University. He is currently in pursuit of his PhD.

2012 Ben Willner is currently in his third year working for the University of Notre Dame Office of Undergraduate Admissions. This year he took over the Southern California territory and had the opportunity to return to Viewpoint in a professional capacity as a college rep.

Rebecca Hess ’13

Callie Kutasi is a junior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she is majoring in Criminal Justice. She is a spring 2019 voyager on Semester at Sea, which will visit 11 countries including China, Japan, South Africa, and India.

Adam Katzner has been living in Los Angeles working in the film industry, most recently as a Camera Operator on the Avatar Sequels.

2014 Jonathan Hutnicki is currently stationed at Vance Air Force base for pilot training. He is flying the T-6 Texan, which he is flying in formation with someone else (pictured). In a month Jonathan will be moving on to either the T-38 or T-1, where he will spend five months flying in that aircraft to complete pilot training.

Callie Kutasi ’16

2017 George Dickinson is happily living the NYC life, while attending NYU Tisch School of Film and NYU Stern Business School.

2018

Patrick Caloz ’09

Katrina Leonoudakis earned her MA in Translation from Kent State University and began pursuing a career in the localization industry, translating web and video content for Netflix and Sentai Filmworks. In addition to her freelance work, she is currently working full-time at SEGA/ ATLUS USA, where she translates video games. In her spare time, she volunteers for a local cat rescue organization and acts as webmaster and newsletter editor for the Japanese Language Division of the American Translators Association.

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Jonathan Hutnicki ’14 Ben Willner ’12

2013 Matthew Dickinson is currently attending USC Marshall School of Business. He works at the Daily Journal in the Journal Technologies area and still plays violin.

Rachel Marlin graduated magma cum laude and earned her BSN from Emory University’s School of Nursing. She now works as a critical care RN at UCLA, Santa Monica. She is currently working on an Evidence Based Practice research project on how to reduce clostridium difficile infection rates in her ICU.

Vincent Finello is studying aerospace engineering at USC. He is part of USC Rocket Propulsion Lab, which is attempting to successfully launch a student-led rocket between earth’s atmosphere and space. The next launch is March 8 in New Mexico, and Vincent is very thankful for his exposure to robotics and engineering from Mr. Rush. He is very excited to be on such a talented team that pushes the boundary for what a student-led rocket team can achieve. If anyone is interested in learning more, you can contact Vincent at vincentfinello5@gmail.com.   ■ WI NTER /S P R I N G

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END NOTE The Senior Speech Program is a culminating project for all Viewpoint seniors. Using the NPR series, “This I believe,” as the basis for their speeches, each senior writes and then delivers a speech to a cohort of fellow students, and in some cases to the entire Upper School community. The keys to writing a good senior speech are honesty, personality, and clarity. Julia Kushell’s speech below is a model of all three essential elements.

Good Morning Everyone! Looking into the mirror through eyes sparkling with intensity, my crazy curls barely reaching the height of the doorknob; I’m sporting my favorite baby blue nightgown. To complete the look, I slip on my brother’s giant green foam Hulk hands. I scrunch my face, trying to look tough. From my earliest memories, I’ve seen myself as “The Girl in Charge,” a leader with strong opinions, effective organization and a doer mentality. But I also have memories of kids who saw me differently: steamrolling, overpowering, too loud, too big, too controlling. You see, we were both right. There are a lot of words to describe people who step up to take charge; they are often visionary, resolute, and strong. I was bossy. But I believe there’s a big difference between being bossy and being a leader. Although teachers respected me and I got along great with adults, I struggled socially, especially during middle school. At a time when every teenage girl feels all eyes are on her, I felt even more in the spotlight, as I felt judged for my control-freak tendencies. I blamed my problems on other people’s immaturity. I saw high school as my fresh start, and soccer was my in. I loved the aggressiveness and physicality of the game and was excited by the idea of being part of a team. Being fast and confident, I fully expected to waltz directly onto Varsity as a freshman. When teams were posted, I found my name in the JV column. I was crushed, but rather than sulking, I saw it as my duty to dominate… I thought to myself, “If I’m not on Varsity, I’ll lead JV.” Once again, I struggled. Trying to create a positive team dynamic, I got frustrated when everything was falling apart. Just like before I blamed everyone else. But then my coach, Travis Kikugawa, pulled me aside to tell me what I didn’t want, but needed to hear: the truth: I had a massive ego that needed to be tamed. Why hadn’t he put me on Varsity? Because

I was a strong athlete who needed focus and discipline in more areas of my life than sports. And yes, he explained, I was powerful, fast and great at bulldozing obstacles in my path, but those “obstacles” were people and I was making them feel awful. For all my emotional intelligence, I was dropping the ball on having empathy where it was so important: in conflict. Through many difficult and trying conversations, Travis forced me to start looking inward. I learned two important things: 1) I can accomplish a lot by listening, not just by talking. And 2) I can learn a lot by having real confidence: the confidence to admit I don’t know everything. My growth was put to the test last summer when I went to a program at USC. Group projects had often been a challenge for the control freak in me, and the class was fully made up of them. I took the lead on all three of our major projects, and the experience was a breakthrough. Tasks were divided, we accomplished our goals and I managed my teammates with respect. I left the summer with an appreciation for the struggles that got me there, plus the bonus of a great group of new, close friends. I was not bossy. I was a leader. I don’t regret who I used to be: someone who struggled socially because of her poor leadership. I actually learned a lot from her. Her drive. Her resilience. Looking in the mirror today, my hair is carefully blown straight. The green Hulk gloves are long gone. There’s more room – and maturity – in my 5'9" self to contain the fire, energy and determination that used to overflow from little me. Strong-willed but not stubborn, knowing I’ve learned a lot while still accepting how far I have to go, I’m ready to grab that doorknob and open it. I still feel powerful, but in a totally different way. I’m empowered. I believe if you’re a leader, lead. Be a boss, but don’t be bossy. Thank you.   ■ Senior Speech by Julia Kushell ’19 Opposite page: Artwork by Marcus Intal ’20, “Self Reflection on a Rainy Night”

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Dio Sweney ’28 and Grace Henning ’28 working on the cardboard Enchanted Rainforest.

Profile for Viewpoint School

Viewpoint Magazine: Winter/Spring 2019  

Viewpoint Magazine: Winter/Spring 2019  

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