Page 1








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.

COME INTO THE CLASSROOM Conversations Between Teachers Across the Divisions

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. 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.

This page: Lara Didden, Middle School Math Teacher, conversing with science teachers about girls in STEM (page 12).

VIEWPOINT RECOGNIZES the uniqueness of each child and is committed to the preservation and development of that individuality.

Opposite page: A rainy winter has made for a glorious spring on Viewpoint’s campus with a range of green foliage rarely seen, but so enchanting.

S P R I N G 2 017



VIEWPOINT Editor: Monica Case ’90 Editorial Consultant: Anne Leonetti


Creative Director and Photography: Bill Youngblood Art Direction and Design: Dog Ear Design

CONTRIBUTORS A special thank you to those listed below for contributing articles and photographs, and for assisting in the production of Viewpoint magazine. Nancy Argano-Rush Jennifer Berger Bill Brendle Robert Bryan Matheu Boucher ’18 Julie Clark Alison Corneau ’97 Lara Didden Scott Feldsher Marisa Felt Christina Furio Mara Garcia Ryan Goldstein ’09 Dana Gonzalez Diane Hoffmann ’14 Cait Hubbard Hilary Hunt Mary Helen Immordino-Yang

Gregg Kessler Lisa Kessler Nick Lawson Denise McAdoo Patrick Moyal Gregg Murray Jasmine Novick Elizabeth Pappademas Verity Paton Catalina Rivera Lisa Roskowinski Jodi Schapiro Patrick Skahan Anjali Tripathi ’05 Marian Williams Candy Wallace Adam Yates


Letter from the Head of School DEAR FRIENDS,

Additional Photography: Steven Chen, Gregg Kessler, Mara Lorin ’17, and Verity Paton

DURING OUR STRATEGIC PLANNING COMMITTEE MEETINGS this fall, there came a moment that stopped us in our tracks, focusing our work and filling us with purpose. One of the members of our committee, trustee and alumnus Seth Casden ’91, was telling us a story of the Viewpoint teacher who inspired his lifelong love of learning. Dr. William Turner Levy was a teacher of English and Latin at Viewpoint for 29 years, up to his death in 2008, and over those years he inspired generations of students, including Seth, with his scholarship, storytelling, and wisdom. As Seth told our committee about the impact of this teacher on his life, he grew emotional, the hair on his arms standing on end. We grew emotional too; our hair too stood on end, and in a single moment every member of our committee shared the feeling and experience that had moved Seth many years ago – the feeling of inspired learning.


Head of School: Mark McKee Director of Strategic Communications: Jill Shaw 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. Thank you. 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

LOVE OF LEARNING 18 Emotions and Learning –

Bob Bryan Interviews USC Professor Mary Helen Immordino-Yang 22 Catalina – The Ultimate Outdoor Classroom 24 Share Your Work: Cosmic Lander and Rover Mission to Mars, Fifth Grade Science

26 Students as Teachers – Advanced Human Development Program

IN OUR CANYON 28 Pursing Their Passions 38 Diane Hoffman ’14

Continues Her Passion Project in Berlin

40 Download: Marisa Felt, Corey Henderson, and Kate Iacoi

44 Viewpoint Welcomes Newbery Award Winning Author Kwame Alexander

COLLEGE COUNSELING 46  The Importance of College Tours


Viewpoint magazine received the 2017 CASE District VII Gold Award of Excellence from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.




ARTS 48 FOCUS ON THEATER 50 The Absurd and The Epic – Students Present Beckett and Brecht 53 Meet the Director: Scott Feldsher 54 Meet the Composer: Bill Brendle 55  Evita – A Staged Reading

56 56  Disney’s The Little Mermaid 60 Little Fir Tree 62 Behind the Curtain

ATHLETICS 64 Inspiring Athletes 66 Highlights of the 2016 Fall Season 68 Play for Your School 70 Soccer Great Brad Friedel — A Parent’s Role in Mentoring Successful Student Athletes

IN THAT MOMENT OF DISCERNMENT, we knew the focus of our strategy: how do we foster the inspired teaching and learning that will impact students for a lifetime? “INSPIRATION” IS THE DRIVING THEME of this issue of Viewpoint magazine and of our strategic framework for the next chapter of Viewpoint’s future. Titled “Creative Leaders, Inspired Lives,” our strategy places a priority on fostering a culture of innovation and continued improvement, on building and refining programs that prepare students for lives of leadership, meaning and impact, and on developing a faculty of the best teachers anywhere who inspire students to “go beyond.” IN THIS ISSUE, we invite you to see where Viewpoint students are already finding experiences of inspiration, creativity, and leadership development, throughout our canyon and throughout their days.


• In “Come into the Classroom,” more than a dozen members of faculty talk about some of the initiatives and qualities that define excellence in 21st century learning, highlighting some of the newer programs that exemplify innovation at Viewpoint and in the field of education.

DIRECTION FOR A LIFETIME 76 Alumni Profile: Ryan Goldstein ’09 78 Alumni Profile: Anjali Tripathi ’05 80 Class Notes 84 End Note

• A conversation between our Associate Head Bob Bryan and a USC professor of education explores the critical importance of emotions in learning, illustrating the ways that the “soft skills” of knowing oneself and understanding others are essential to developing critical thinkers and leaders for tomorrow.

• A focus on the theater program provides examples of experiential learning and creative leadership from Primary through Upper School, as we see how students challenge themselves in this most collaborative of arts. In this issue’s focus on athletics, our Athletic Director shares the educational value of competitive sports, and we meet a Viewpoint parent whose career in professional soccer offers lessons for all parents of promising young athletes. MOREOVER, THIS ISSUE HIGHLIGHTS the inspired lives of Viewpoint students and alumni, showing the many forms that leadership takes. In a recent article in the New York Times, author Susan Cain expanded the concept of leadership to celebrate “followership,” including the concepts of listening, of service, and of “excellence, passion, and a desire to contribute beyond the self.” In “Pursuing their Passions,” we profile seniors from our Class of 2017 who are models of purpose greater than oneself, showing us how far inspiration has taken them. Our alumni profiles go further, as we see the excellence and diversity of our graduates, from innovation in drone engineering to the connection between astronomy and public service. In their lives, we see how Viewpoint’s teachers inspire students to find their voice and give their best. And our issue closes with a new column featuring the students’ perspective in their own words. “INSPIRATION” COMES FROM THE LATIN WORD FOR “BREATH,” signifying the divine origins of inspiration or “breathing in.” It is the same root as “spirit.” And like breath, inspiration is invisible – I think of the cartoon light bulb over the head – making teaching an ineffable, spiritual act as well as a profession and a practice. As we focus on innovation for the new era of education, this issue highlights a deeper truth, that innovation is not an end in itself but serves a purpose, of inspired learning that prepares students for lives that make a difference. EACH DAY IN THIS CANYON, our students inspire me, with their passion, their character, their individuality, and their love of learning. I hope the stories and voices of our teachers and students inspire you as well. Go Patriots!

Mark J. McKee Head of School

S P R I N G 2 017


learning LOVE OF

engagement / reflection / iteration




Parents often wonder what happens in the classroom. Some children are more forthcoming and excited to share, while others are less so, often leaving parents to guess as to how their children spend their days. Yes, parents see the assignments and then the outcomes, but often little is known about the philosophy behind the approach, the intense time and thought that goes into developing the program, the curricula, or the specific project that fills their children’s time and eager minds. So we are inviting you to come into the classroom – lifting the veil – and sharing with you some conversations among our teachers who are actively engaged in shaping how Viewpoint approaches just a few of the critical topics of our times. These educators are thinking about inclusivity and diversity, girls in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math), teaching environmental sustainability, and studentcentered learning in order to create the most inspiring environment for our students learn and to grow – even if they don’t come home and tell you all about it.




S P R I N G 2 017




n January 17, Julie Clark and Catalina Rivera met in Catalina’s classroom to share their experiences with studentcentered learning. During her 30 years in the classroom, Julie has taught everything from Second Grade to Fifth Grade and in recent years, Middle School history. Catalina has been teaching for seven years, initially as a Ph.D. candidate in English and Comparative Literature at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and now as a teacher of AP English Language and British Masterworks. This year – her first year at the Viewpoint – she introduced the Harkness method to her students with great success. It emerged throughout Julie’s and Catalina’s conversation that, while the number of years spent in the classroom is different, their enthusiasm for actively engaging their students in their own learning process was exactly the same. How would each of you define student-centered learning? And then, Julie, how has your teaching evolved over the last 30 years?

JULIE: Student-centered learning to me is an active rather than a passive approach to learning. In other words, the students can experience or




participate in the learning process rather than simply reading about it, or listening to a lecture and taking notes day in and day out. This evolved for me about 20 years ago when I began teaching Fifth Grade and I developed a passion for history. I began looking for the stories that textbooks don’t tell. And that led me to visiting historical sites to gain a better understanding of specific time periods and events that I was teaching to my students. That in turn led me to use multiple perspectives when I'm teaching. I started incorporating simulation-based lessons that enabled students to actually re-enact, or participate, in these historical time periods. Now I continue to look for ways to branch out, out of the curriculum, away from the textbook, out of the classroom. I’m always trying to get my students to take historical trips themselves, so maybe it’s taking a historical trip within the classroom when I’m teaching a simulation. CATALINA: While our approaches are different, the expectation is the

same. When you say active versus passive learning, or that you experience learning, that’s exactly what I see as student-centered learning! It’s authentic and intrinsically-motivated learning, meaning students want to be in the room, they want to work on the activities. For me, that looks like

Julie Clark and Catalina Rivera

having an intellectual discussion, so that instead of parroting back my interpretation or reading of a text, students are actually learning how to have a whole group conversation together. They learn how to ask questions, they learn what kinds of questions are interesting for gaining a better understanding of literature, they learn how to respectfully disagree with each other, and they actually live the sort of intellectual discourse that they’re going to join in college.

a way for them to find their voice, which is one of the things we’re trying to encourage students to do here. The other justices would ask them for their opinion, so everyone had to weigh in. They knew they weren’t going to all agree and that's empowering in and of itself, seeing that today’s Supreme Court justices don’t all agree. We then go with the majority opinion and they had to write their findings for each of the cases.

JULIE: That reminds me of an example, of one

modeling something that many of us take for granted. Many assume that having a conversation is a skill that everyone just picks up, but for this type of student-led discussion, which is based on the Harkness method, the first skill we learn is how to have a conversation. We work on how to frame a question, and how to offer or advance your ideas without interrupting, skills that are really just communication skills, or general “being a person” skills. But we’re purposeful about learning them and bringing in the idea that you’re going to make mistakes and that’s okay. Part of learning is to allow yourself to fail and allow yourself to be clumsy in discussion.

of the simulations that my students engaged in where they had to communicate with each other and not necessarily agree with each other, but be respectful of ideas. They were learning about the Constitution and branches of government, and so they became Supreme Court justices to learn, or see firsthand, how the Constitution is actually a living document. They heard real court cases involving students close to their age and they debated whether or not the constitutional rights of the students had been violated. During the course of the simulation, each student, or justice, had to weigh in on the case. This was

CATALINA: That’s great, and it sounds like you’re

Can you explain the Harkness method? CATALINA: What inspired me toward this version of student-centered learning was my own experience as a student. At the boarding school I attended, Harkness was a commonplace approach to learning in every subject, where teachers took on the role of facilitator, instead of lecturer, and students were then charged with approaching texts or learning how to understand them as a part of problem-solving. The Harkness method began with a gift that was given to Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire by an alumnus, Edward Harkness in the 1930s. He considered himself to be a “middling student,” he wasn’t very proactive in class, and he found that he’d gotten very good at sitting in the back row of the classroom and saying very little. So he wanted to find a way to engage every student equally, and that’s where the Harkness table, essentially a big oval table where everyone is sitting in the front row and everyone is equally present at the table, came about.

As a student I didn’t understand what my teachers were doing in facilitating, but I felt that I S P R I N G 2 017



was very present, that it was up to me to ask the questions I had. I also felt that the conversations we had in class were much more interesting and engaging. The class time flew by! As a teacher, I wanted to recreate that authentic flow of learning in the moment, even when the text is prescribed by the teacher. And eventually I did go to the Humanities Institute at Phillips Exeter Academy, where I learned how to facilitate in the week-long professional development session, based on the Harkness method.

So they’re still working on all of the skills that I know are making them better readers and better communicators. That’s where giving instant feedback is so important. We debrief every conversation because I’m not controlling where the conversation goes, but I want students to notice how their own skills have developed. That's another way that we think about how to reach each individual child. Every student has a different strength and room for improvement in these conversations.

JULIE: You used the key word, facilitate. I love

JULIE: I’ve also found sometimes a student will come back a day or two later after having engaged in some sort of a simulation or reenactment activity, and done a homework assignment, read something from the textbooks, and said, “Mrs. Clark, I understand this now!” So after engaging in some sort of student-centered learning activity, it helps enhance the learning process. Things make more sense to some students. So, for some, that hands-on activity clarifies the learning for them.

that, because that’s how I think of myself as a teacher. I’m the facilitator and the students get to come alive. I’ll throw out some questions and then guide the proceedings and see what happens. I don’t always know how the class will go, I just rely on the students to start generating their own thoughts and opinions and evaluations. Can you share an example of the student-centered learning in your Upper School classes? CATALINA: I’ll always start the class with a broad, framing question. In AP, we’re working on our analytical skills. So, the question might be, “How does Fitzgerald use language to characterize Daisy in The Great Gatsby?” “How do we know who this character is through her language choices?” And once I’ve put that framing question on the board, I’m not going to ask any other questions that drive the conversation. So as long as the students pick up on that question and eventually get to an answer, the conversation can go anywhere and that’s okay.

If they don’t talk about my favorite passage, where the ladies seem to rise up and float about the room, it’s okay. Maybe that passage isn’t interesting to the students, but they’re still practicing finding their own points of interest in the text. They’re all working on making claims, providing evidence from the text, holding each other accountable for supporting their claims.






Another thing, you, being younger than me, are kind of teaching the way you were taught in high school. You’ve embraced what worked for you, and you've brought it into your own teaching practice, whereas I am teaching the way I wish that I was taught. But it’s really 21st-century teaching that we’re engaging in here. So we came from different backgrounds, and different time periods, but ultimately, we’ve merged into the same place.


It’s so funny, after 30 years of teaching, I never would have thought I’d still love teaching. I'm as excited about teaching today as I was when I was 21, and for me that’s incredible and it’s because of this type of teaching. Always looking for new ways to bring in innovative ideas, student-centered learning activities, being a facilitator, getting out of the box, so in other words, branching out of our comfort zone rather than just staying with a textbook curriculum.   ■

How did Diversity and Inclusivity come to be a part of your role as an educator?

ana Gonzalez (Ninth Grade Dean; Diversity Coordinator for the Middle and Upper School Human Development Teacher), Nick Lawson (Middle School Math Teacher and Advisor; Upper School Basketball Coach), and Jasmine Novick (Second Grade Teacher), sat down in Nick’s classroom on January 18, 2017 to discuss their roles in fostering inclusivity and an appreciation and understanding of diversity on Viewpoint’s campus. We began with the question:

DANA: I’ve been in education for 20 years. I was a Spanish teacher

Top: Catalina Rivera, Middle: Julie Clark, Bottom: Catalina Rivera

for most of that time and I started doing diversity and inclusivity work informally in the sense that students of color or students who were feeling marginalized from the normative culture were constantly hanging out in my classroom, and there was a reason for that. JASMINE: They felt it was a safe space.

NICK: And you, Jasmine? JASMINE: This is my sixth year at Viewpoint. And when I came, I would

notice little things in the Primary School related to diversity or inclusivity, but didn't know, “Who can I talk to about this or what's our wording, what dialogue do we have when a student brings up this sort of thing?” So I put myself out there and said I was interested in learning more. As part of my professional development, I participated in a program called ‘Never Too Young: Elementary Age Social Activism.’ It stressed that as soon as children start asking about social issues, we have an obligation to talk to them about it. Just like we teach our academic subjects, we should be teaching them the language of social inclusivity. DANA: The train has left the station, you have to get on it. And you, Nick? NICK: So this is my ninth year of coaching basketball, but my first year

teaching my own math classes. And when I decided to switch to teaching after a career in the music industry, diversity and inclusivity just had to be a part of what I was doing. I grew up in the South, but I also grew up in basketball culture, so there was this constant back and forth between S P R I N G 2 017



they feel like whatever it is that they could be going through – whether it’s something at home, or whether it's something at school, or something in society – that they feel they can come in and share it amongst the group and be supported, or if it’s something they just need to come to me and say, “Hey, can I talk to you?” JASMINE: I feel that in Primary School we make

From left to right: Dana Gonzalez , Nick Lawson, Jasmine Novick

it a habit of celebrating students’ differences. It is our differences that make us each unique and special. And I think that Responsive Classroom works seamlessly with that, because every morning, it’s giving us that safe space to be together. To find our voice and talk to each other, and ask questions, and bring up things that we’re either happy about, or that we’re discouraged about, but I feel that in my classroom they know whatever it is, they can talk about it at circle. DANA: Can you explain what Responsive

being in predominantly white culture then predominantly African-American culture. I don't know if it “opened my eyes” is the right term, but I am very aware of needing to be aware of the people and cultures around me. So now that I’m in Middle School and we have Advisory, which is where we meet every morning as well as once every six days, there is a built-in opportunity to talk about these things and so much more. We get to say, “Let’s talk about it,” and make everyone feel welcome and supported in an environment where we can share whatever issues that the students are dealing with at that particular time. JASMINE: And the students generate the topic

in Advisory? NICK: We have a curriculum that guides the

general themes, for example the topic could




be “respect,” where we talk about hypothetical situations. Like, what would we do in a situation where this would happen? It was so profound when we had our Advisory meeting where we talked about what they were thinking about the election. And then, we just talked about the issues that they care about. I’ll never forget the first thing that came up was someone said, “Why are they allowed to just increase Epi Pen prices like that?” JASMINE: Real concerns. NICK: And it just got the conversation started.

And ultimately this conversation led to the topic of inclusivity. I love that the students are given the opportunity to speak about issues that they care about. And they know that they can say, “Well, wait a minute. Why is it that way?”

DANA: Yeah. I think inclusivity that word is...

People always ask me, “What does it mean?” Or, “How do you implement it?” And I don’t have all the answers to that, but what I think you're speaking to is creating that environment in which everybody feels like they can say what they want to say. I can’t speak for everybody. I have no idea what everybody’s thinking. All I can do is create that space where every child, teacher, staff member, administrator, parent can come up and say, “This is what I’m thinking, feeling, and needing.” And if we’ve done our job in inclusivity, they feel okay to do that. NICK: I could not sum up what I feel is my role

as advisor better than that. The future is everevolving, but to have a home base at school for the kids to know that they have a place where

Classroom is? JASMINE: Yes, we did Responsive Classroom

training last year. It’s a system that helps create community, and puts the education in the students’ hands. We’re moving away from the traditional, “Oh, I like it when you did that.” It’s not about my liking it or the student learning to please me. It’s about the students recognizing what it looks like and feels like to be in control of their own success in the classroom, and focusing on creating more of that magic together as a team. When the students know your expectations clearly, and hear you noticing their positive behavior, they develop their own confidence to perform above and beyond. So in Responsive Classroom we start every day with a morning meeting, so that we can community build, laugh, share, and grow together before our daily work begins. There’s a message that I write

on a big poster board and they’re excited about it. Sometimes it could be as simple as “How do you feel today?” And they get to draw a face, and sometimes little Zs are coming out of it. Then they'll talk in morning meeting about how their little brother kept them up all night or their dog was barking. And just knowing that as a teacher puts you in a different space with that student. NICK: That is great. JASMINE: And it puts them in a different space

with you, because they think, “Oh, she knows. And I can start my day now.” So we begin with a greeting that usually involves a ball toss, singing, or dancing, then we read our morning message together. So it gets everyone talking and their bodies moving first thing in the morning. They don’t have to worry about where their skills are. We also do sharing where we get to talk or answer a question all together. Then we end with some kind of a group activity. In our class, I love singing and dancing, so that’s what it usually is. When I see students happy, and smiling, and skipping to their desk to start their work, that’s the confidence that we need in order to get the academics that we want. DANA: Well, I think you hit a really good point

when you spoke about the student who drew the Zs out their head and said their brother kept them up all night. That is the actual day-to-day work of diversity and inclusivity, because the child is bringing their whole self into the classroom, and once we know more about the whole child, their daily experiences, and the larger context of their experiences, they will learn better in the classroom. I work every day to get that message across. I think it’s huge.   ■

Top: Dana Gonzalez, Middle: Nick Lawson, Bottom: Jasmine Novick

S P R I N G 2 017




STEM From left to right: Lara Didden, Nancy Argano-Rush, Marian Williams, Alison Corneau ’97, Lisa Kessler


n January 17, 2017, Lisa Kessler (Primary/Lower School Innovation Teacher), Alison Corneau ’97 (Primary/ Lower School Technology Integration Coordinator), Marian Williams (Lower School Science Teacher), Lara Didden (Middle School Math Teacher and Former Middle School Science Teacher), and Nancy Argano-Rush (Upper School Science Teacher) gathered in the Primary and Lower School Innovation Space for a lively discussion on girls’ relationship to STEM and how to keep them engaged as they progress through Viewpoint’s four divisions and beyond. In K-5 there is no gender differentiation – they all love it. LISA: In the Innovation Space, I find that both girls and boys in K-5 are

equally interested and engaged in the lessons, activities, and the materials. I have an equal number of boys and girls who come to the Innovation Space, outside of their scheduled class time, to work on a variety of projects that they are passionate about. MARIAN: It is very natural for younger children to be interested in science

and they love learning about the world around them. In Lower School




we’re very intentional about keeping things balanced in class: we ask a boy, we ask a girl. We take the quiet student, we take the student who participates a lot. In Fourth Grade robotics, I have them paired by level abilities. If a set of partners both have a lot of experience with the robots, I put them together. If students have never worked with robots, they get paired together. So it’s based upon ability, where you have to step up. You can’t rely on that lab partner to see you through. Our focus for Grades K-5, with innovation, with technology, with science, is to give all our students a nice foundation. We build NXT Mindstorms Lego robots in Third and Fourth Grades, and VEX IQ robots in Fifth Grade, so when they get to Middle School they have some background as to what taking a robotics class entails. Then they can make a selection saying, “Oh, I have experience with that, I can do that.” They’ve seen it and done it, and can make a more informed choice. I hope by clearing up some misconceptions about STEM subjects, making the projects meaningful to all students, and giving them an opportunity to problem-solve, think critically, and build things, we’ll see more girls choosing these areas in Middle School.

ALISON: During Tech Time, in terms of

technology, they are getting exposure to a broad range of platforms using operating systems on PCs and Macs. Coding is done not only in the Science classroom and Innovation Space, but also during Tech Time, so that they are getting practice with block programming and Java Script which reinforces mathematical concepts and design elements. They achieve their own level of success by scaffolding their skill set of using different applications and software programs.

LARA: There’s definitely outside factors influencing their decisions whether to stay within the science, technology, and mathematics path. I talk a lot to my students in math class about opportunity costs. They start to have to make choices in Middle School. Everything has ramped up – sports, dance, whatever they’re in – is requiring more and more time, and they start to have to make choices about where they’re going to spend that time. And I think in Middle School, they’re very influenced by social cues and where their peers are.

Why is there a shift of interest in Middle School?

NANCY: Or if they encounter a friend who

NANCY: The Upper School girls have said to me

they feel that in Middle School there’s a lot of peer pressure, and social interactions become more important to them.

questions their own ability in math, science, or computer science. I think that has a large impact on their choices at that age. LARA: I really see Middle School as a time

when kids can try out lots of different interests,

just like they are trying out different behaviors and personalities. The beauty of a school like Viewpoint is that kids can be more than one thing at once – scientists, musicians, creators, poets, directors, artists, and mathematicians. Opportunity costs do start adding up, but doors are still open and we want to help girls embrace the opportunities in STEM fields. MARIAN: And maybe if the students had a

better idea about what a scientist or an engineer does, and if there were more role models like the Upper School Girls in STEM, more girls would see this as a viable path. The Importance of Role Models NANCY: I think the idea of role models is key.

In Upper School the Girls in STEM bring in outside speakers who both inspire and display S P R I N G 2 017



for the girls opportunities in the STEM fields. They also think about mentoring and being role models themselves for the younger students – for example, the recent event they held for the Fourth and Fifth Grade students.

LARA: And how many girls are there?

MARIAN: That was great. Just hearing the

was this something they were really excited to do – to be in Upper School where there would be this group they can join?

Fourth and Fifth Grade girls with the Upper School girls, it was really sweet. It gave them a chance to identify with a mentor, someone to look up to who is interested in science, and a great role model.

NANCY: There’s about 25 to 28 girls that attend

meetings regularly in grades Nine through Twelve. ALISON: So, for the girls who are in Ninth Grade,

NANCY: There was a large turnout at the Middle

make the students aware of the messaging around women in STEM fields in the wider world. Without these discussions, the girls might not even realize the impact, positive or negative, that it is having on them.

School robotics event last year and we took some time to discuss the Girls in STEM club. Being able to join the club in Ninth Grade is something for Middle School girls to look forward to and we have a great group that joined us this year in Ninth Grade. We also saw more students join in the other grades and currently there is about an equal number of girls in all four grades.

LISA: It is important for the younger students to

ALISON: When Someone like Amanda Boone

NANCY: Being a part of this group also helps

know that females can be scientists, designers, and engineers. When I have something in the Innovation Space that I know has been designed by a woman, I tell the students. For example, the Rigamajig was designed by Cas Holman, a female designer and educator, and littleBits were created by Ayah Bdeir, a female MIT graduate. ALISON: There are several women in history

responsible for great advancements in science and technology. As females in our fields, it is an amazing opportunity to be able to show young girls and boys that women can help shape their minds in traditionally male-dominated fields. Passions can be formed and followed with positive role models. Reinforcing that seems like one of the great things about Girls in STEM. NANCY: Last year we hosted a robotics event for Middle School, where some of the Upper School girls shared their experiences in robotics. And this year we had a Girl Powered Build Day, where in an hour the Lower School girls worked with an Upper School mentor to build a robot and then test it in a series of mini activities. The Upper School girls designed the activities, decided when they wanted to have the event, and did all of the planning. During the meetings there is always an amazing energy in the room. We have done a number of activities such as creating Halloween haunted science lab, celebrating Computer Science Education Week, and making snow! Currently we are planning a presentation for Diversity Day and building a mobile maker cart.






’11, who works as an engineer for Schlumberger Dyna-Drill, comes to talk about her experience in the oil industry, what does that do for those girls? NANCY: It’s really empowering. Amanda conveyed

what it was like working as engineer and it enables the girls to envision themselves in this field. She had a large impact on the students – they are still talking about her visit. Bringing in women from industry or academia also gives the students a chance to ask the harder questions. We had a panel of three women with Ph.D.s in STEM fields come in and before they came we were writing questions to ask them. I found it interesting that the girls were unsure whether they wanted to ask them outright if they’ve experienced gender bias in any way. After some discussion, we ended up choosing to ask that question directly, and I feel the girls benefited from the panel’s answers in addition to seeing this as a topic that could be discussed. I think that the discussions led by the students have to keep happening and the role models have to keep coming in. The club provides a space for these to occur.


hristina Furio (Primary School Science Teacher), Hilary Hunt (Upper School Biology and Environmental Science Teacher), and Adam Yates (Middle School Science Teacher and Environmental Sustainability Coordinator), sat down in the Fletcher Family Library on January 18, 2017 to discuss teaching about the natural world outside the classroom and encouraging students to become stewards of the environment. How did you come to teach environmental science? ADAM: I got my Bachelor’s degree in Biology at Humboldt State, and

MARIAN: Connecting with mentors and role

models is really key to bringing more women into STEM fields. We are working at Viewpoint to ensure the positive transition between divisions, and then continuing that transition between high schools and universities by bringing the alumni back to share their experiences. The next step is to get the industry onboard as well.   ■

Top: Lara Didden and Nancy Argano-Rush, Middle: Lisa Kessler, Bottom: Marian Williams

Liberal Studies, and then I got my Master’s in Education at Claremont. I’ve always loved science, and in my liberal studies major my emphasis was science. After I graduated, I became a first grade teacher, but I dreamed of working for the Park Service. I was a ranger in Joshua Tree for two years, and then at Muir Woods. Ultimately, I taught school there, and then I came to teach at Viewpoint. ADAM: You’re next, Hilary. HILARY: I decided when I was five I was going to be a marine biologist,

and I didn’t really deviate from that. I went to the University of Hawaii, got a Bachelor’s in Zoology and English, and then a Master’s in Science there. While you two went out into nature, I worked in a lab. But just being in Hawaii, you get a huge sense of how fragile a lot of the ecosystems are, and just how one change, like introducing a mongoose, can totally disrupt everything.

that’s where I first learned about the environment and the importance of protecting it. From there, I began teaching outdoor education with Naturalists at Large. I spent four years traveling around California, Utah, and Arizona, leading school trips. I fell in love with being in nature and leading groups outdoors to experience that too. That’s also where I decided I wanted to teach full time in a classroom, so I went to Lewis and Clark College and got my Master’s in Teaching.


CHRISTINA: I graduated from CalPoly Pomona with a Bachelor’s in

HILARY: So land is great, terrestrial ecosystems are wonderful, but my true S P R I N G 2 017



HILARY: In Ninth Grade we take them out to

ADAM: We’re trying to shift how they think about

the ECOLET to investigate the food chains. And then in Eleventh and Twelfth Grades they say, “Okay we’ve looked at the food chains, we know about the biome. What’s next?” So in AP Environmental Science, we consider what the construction would look like to preserve a natural area in the middle of an urban area.


maternity leave?” And so I did that, and found that I love ninth grade. After all that exploration, I now have my dream job. I teach biology to Ninth Graders and environmental science to the older students.

CHRISTINA: That’s fascinating.

ADAM: One of the things I love most about

HILARY: It is, but ultimately I determined I didn’t

Viewpoint is that the ECOLET is the heart of the School, it’s incredible to have a creek flowing through campus, and to have it set up as an outdoor classroom.

want to work in lab. I decided to use my English degree and I went into publishing. I worked at National Geographic, which left me unfulfilled. So I taught oceanography at a local community college, and I finally I felt, “This is what I want to do.” Then somebody asked, “Will you please teach a ninth grade class for a one-year




What role does the ECOLET and teaching outdoors play in your teaching?

CHRISTINA: The ECOLET and teaching outdoors is integral to teaching science here all the way through. In Kindergarten we begin our exploration of the ECOLET with a scavenger hunt.

HILARY: What do you have them look for? CHRISTINA: We have them look for simple

things – for example living and non-living things. Sometimes we’ll see things that aren’t on the list, and we’ll just fixate on that thing, and whatever it is becomes a teaching moment. ADAM: Right. CHRISTINA: We had a horrible fire last June,

and the kids noticed that most of the vegetation was charred on the hills. Many of them asked, “Is it ever going to grow back?” So we talked about that, and then we observed the plant communities around and talked about what we hoped would grow back. ADAM: What do you do in there, Hilary?

HILARY: You actually call it what it is, names

have power.

samples out there, too?

ADAM: The students now have a decision to

HILARY: We take samples from the creek bank,

make, even in a small way, of how their actions impact the world. Every time they eat lunch and have leftover waste they can consciously put it into the right spot, or not. Every day they can choose to compost their food scraps, which we can use in our garden, and they can recycle their plastics and metals.

ADAM: In the Middle School the biggest outdoor project is the Bird Project, which Blake Mattern teaches in Sixth Grade. It’s great, because it gets kids closely observing the environment, so they can tell the difference between this bird and that bird using Cornell University’s MERLIN Bird ID app. CHRISTINA: I’ve seen them out there. They all

love was the water. So I started looking at what happens when you dump untreated sewage into Mamala Bay, which is the bay that feeds most the South Shore. My master’s research was on microscopic worms that will grow in between the sand grains and what’s growing, and they can tell you whether the area’s polluted or not.

your trash, but wait, that’s recyclable, or that goes in the landfill bin. Oh my gosh! That’s going into the land?”

ADAM: That’s awesome. Do you also take soil

or from drier areas. We try to get a variety. I don’t prep the students at all. I have them go out and try to figure out what kind of soil it is, what kind of nutrients it is going to hold. They’re usually surprised, because it’s pretty sandy soil, it doesn’t hold a lot of nutrients. And they wonder, “How do all these trees grow? Where does all this come from?” And I say, “Well, think about it, there’s a stream coming through. And what does a stream usually have?” “Oh yeah, nutrients.”

From left to right: Christina Furio, Adam Yates, Hilary Hunt

CHRISTINA: I’ll start to say, “Okay, throw away

One of the things that I love about the ESC is that, largely thanks to Hilary, we have a strong group of Upper School students who are really dedicated to this. And the Council gives them a way to have authentic experiences in changing the world. The School has challenges that we’re trying to rise to, and we can’t do it without their help. So the fact that they get to be involved in conversations with the administration about environmental projects on campus, and with each other, and are trying to figure out solutions, it just doesn’t get more real for me than that.

had binoculars and they were really into it.

CHRISTINA: Or for them.

ADAM: The best part is if you know and are

ADAM: Or for anybody, really, because these are

familiar with your place, you’ll want to protect it.

real things.

You don’t fall in love with just a bird, but you fall HILARY: Exactly, it’s a team effort too. It takes in love with Kestrels. all these people to make this function, and it’s amazing when you get a whole room full of people Can you talk about the Environmental excited by one goal what a cool conversation it Sustainability Council (ESC)? strings into. ADAM: So we started the ESC to make our ADAM: It’s great, because I didn’t feel that campus greener, and more sustainable. We’re way until college when I really got engaged in trying to get our students to think about environmental issues and was experiencing stewardship and why that’s important, and how some of that. So, by getting them involved in high they could fulfill that goal. school, they’re going to have so many skills that CHRISTINA: One great thing is the even our they’re going to gain from this. Wherever they go youngest students are now calling the trash the next, they’re just going to hit the ground running, landfill bin, and sorting their other waste into the and they’re going to know how to make change compost bin and recycling bin. happen.   ■

Top: Hilary Hunt, Middle: Christina Furio, Bottom: Adam Yates

S P R I N G 2 017


learning LOVE OF

USC Associate Professor Mary Helen Immordino-Yang invited Viewpoint's Associate Head of School Bob Bryan to visit USC's Brain and Creativity Institute for a conversation in Cammilleri Hall about the relationship between emotions and experiences and cognition, and how that relationship helps to create engagement and understanding.



BOB BRYAN: I wonder if you might begin by sharing in broad strokes what your role here is at USC, what the nature of your research is in general.

MARY HELEN IMMORDINO-YANG: At USC, I’m Associate Professor of Education, Psychology, and Neuroscience. I move between those three different departments. And my work centers on emotion…the way people feel about themselves, about other people. And I particularly focus on emotions that are socalled pro-social emotions, emotions that are good for society and that are social in nature. Emotions like compassion, like admiration for virtue, like inspiration. I’m increasingly interested in emotions like curiosity and wonder and interest and the kinds of emotions that come together to make ethics, to make responsible people who have a strong sense of identity and values and beliefs. To understand how the brain creates values and beliefs from experiences, how culture organizes and shapes that process, how development shapes that process, and the role of education in supporting that process.



BB: How do those emotions play into the learning process in an educational environment? What’s the relationship between those emotions and the brain’s ability to learn in a cognitive sense? MHIY: I don’t see a separation between emotion and cognition. In a real person, we’re always cognitive and affective at once, so our emotional responses are some subjective value judgments – and judgment is a cognitive thing, about what we believe to be true. Which is then emotional, sort of affective and subjective. We’re bringing cognition and emotion together to produce these reflective and complex mind states about how the world is, how the world could be, how you make predictions about things. How you understand and integrate your understanding of the history of things, so that you can build beliefs about how things should be or could be, and then, construct paths of action and thought to be able to make things that way. The process of bringing value judgments and predictions and integrations of things you’ve noticed before together to infer things is what makes good




S P R I N G 2 017


learning LOVE OF

scientists, good historians, good politicians, and good citizens. All of those domains are inherently about being able to make meaning out of things. And that meaning is both subjective, cultural, affective, value-driven, beliefdriven, and evidence-based, all at once. And so it’s a process of helping kids to be able to bring together the things that they notice, to be able to build mind structures and belief systems and values and judgments and possible futures that don’t yet exist.

BB: What was the original motivation behind the research? What drew you to this field? MHIY: I was hired to teach seventh grade science in a suburban, high immigrant, working-class community in south Boston. It turned out we didn’t really have a science curriculum that fit the state standard. Everything was just falling apart. They had no textbook. So I basically was hired to write the curriculum for the district, which I just sunk my teeth into. It was fascinating for me as a young college kid who had been all over the world, who had just studied a year of each one of these sciences at a major Ivy League university, to bring it all together. I went back to my professors from college and they sent me resources and materials, and I put together this interdisciplinary curriculum that I thought would be a cool way for seventh graders to really engage with the world scientifically. It turns out the school district was the second most diverse district in the United States at that time. It had 81 languages spoken in the high school. And because they didn’t have enough space for the junior high, they had collapsed both schools together and I got stuck in a high school classroom. So I had all this great stuff in my closet, like microscopes and equipment, and so I built this whole thing around that. And started really engaging with this hugely diverse group of kids, first generation immigrants from all over the place. And I became fascinated with the way that the kids were engaging with each other, with the material, with their own immigration stories, with their own socio-historical experiences and cultural experiences, with the people in their communities. As they were trying to understand things like race relations, things like immigration and war, this was during the Rwanda genocide, for example. As they were struggling to understand these things, I found them bringing that into the science classroom and trying to use that fodder for understanding how the world works and trying to apply the science that I was teaching them, the ways of thinking I was teaching them, to their own life stories and I totally fell in love with that problem space. I realized this is the thing I’ve been looking for my whole life that I could really dedicate myself to. It’s a confluence between development and the mind and language and culture and experience on the one hand, and on the other hand, disciplinary and scientific and academic knowledge in the context of a real world, highly important societal problem, which is how to educate people.




BB: It sounds like that story is a real endorsement of experiential education.



MHIY: Absolutely. Without [experiential education], I never would have found this. Not only the experiential education piece, but also the holistic piece, where you’re really bringing together, in a learner-centered way, things that serve the purpose of student learning, not necessarily things that fit into a departmental structure specifically. I realized that we should have a way to constrain the theories we were building based on what we were seeing in the classroom and based on the way kids and teachers were growing and developing. And I thought that anything that is plausible biologically, should be more likely to be correct, so we should try to build an interface between what we know about how the brain supports sociality and learning and how people actually learn, and try to find the interface between those. And then I quickly realized that there was very, very little known about the social brain at that time, and even about complex emotions like admiration, there was nothing. So I moved on after graduate school to start to study those things and now I’ve got this interdisciplinary research that is bringing education and psychology and neuroscience together to watch real kids grow and see how it is that they make meaning and how the meaning-making process, as they subjectively construct their own understanding of their experiences as they perceive them, is shaping their brain development and shaping their future prospects as they grow. So we’re following kids over time.

BB: So how can schools, how can educators in general, leverage this information, this research that you’ve done to help move the ball forward in terms of how we really think about student learning? MHIY: So one thing I’m talking a lot about is that teachers need to be experts of child development and in human development in general, to understand what people look like as they’re engaging with the world and growing themselves, organizing their minds over time. So the aim of education is not to do math or to do reading although both of those things are absolutely critical skills to have to succeed in our society. But those are just means to an end and the end is being able to think and grow yourself in a way that creates a you that’s going to be purposeful, ethical, happy, mindful, and a good citizen moving forward and a productive person moving forward. I think that the ultimate purpose of education is to help people feel emotions. What I mean is that when you really understand something, when you really get the nuances of it, when you appreciate why it matters, you’re capable of having complex feelings about it and only then do you really understand it. So in that sense, the aim of education is to facilitate people developing the ability to have emotional feelings, because if you can truly feel something

S P R I N G 2 017


learning LOVE OF

about the state of our democracy, about the interest of this math problem, about the problem of cellular mechanics in cancer, whatever it is that turns you on, if you can get emotionally engaged with that, you have to really, really understand it to be able to have that kind of reaction. So the hallmark of the learning is whether people can truly build the emotional appreciation that experts have. I would also advocate for giving kids and parents more choice, and teachers more choice in the way in which they build themselves into a person over time. So not just choices in courses…that’s not what I mean. But the ability to really make decisions for yourself that matter is something that’s extremely important in young people’s development. To learn how to do that in a safe space that has real implications and repercussions, not super long-term ones so that they can’t screw themselves up too fast and too permanently, but letting them live their choices out and build and decide things and defend their choices and learn to reflect upon them and learn from them, so that they can build themselves into judicious thinkers over time, who are ethical and who are willing to examine and construct new beliefs in accordance with evidence.

thoughtful person, and you’re teaching them to find and develop their own talents and interests in relation to societal problems that they think are important. MHIY: And then you want to find a school that’s going to really support your child in genuinely engaging with their own learning process in a way that is challenging them to their utmost developmentally. But developmentally, so that means as a whole person in a context that is supporting them in becoming what they want to be. What I look for in my own children is that they’re really engaged with their school work, that they’re still talking about it over dinner later. That they’re really wondering about things, that they’re encouraged to think in new ways and to take chances and to fail at it, genuinely to fail at it.

BB: So we need to come to understand that things that we used to think of as peripheral really are central to a student’s ability to engage and to have that emotional connection to what he or she is doing in order to gain more meaning from it.

BB: What should parents be looking for in schools?

What kinds of things might they be looking for as they And I would also suggest maybe that from a leadership standpoint, every school wants to value leadership, wants to promote leadership look to schools to address their student’s learning? MHIY: This is the million-dollar question. I see that there’s a huge tension, not just for parents, but at the national level for policy makers and everything in between, around what constitutes rigorous scholarship in today’s world. The standard metrics of achievement are less and less good indicators of what we actually value in our citizens. So the question is, “What do we replace it with without lowering the standards? And how do we look at individual variation and honor kids’ individual talents and give them the choices over their own ways of understanding and building themselves while still having extremely high expectations and supporting them in achieving to the best of their ability over time? Standardization is also not the answer for what counts as learning. So how do we reconcile that for things like cultural and individual variability?” As parents, it’s difficult not to be afraid. We’re worried that our children are going to get left behind, that it’s more competitive than ever before, that if they don’t go to Harvard or Stanford they’re going to be worthless. We have this kind of expectation in society that it’s all or nothing, and you have one chance to market yourself and brand yourself is what I heard people saying to my kid. And what I would really encourage parents to do is to get to know their child. But understand also that your child is getting to know themselves and you’re facilitating that. You’re teaching them how to know themselves over time. Another way to say that is you’re teaching them how to be a good person, you’re teaching them to be a




among their students, but I think leadership comes most effectively through their experience when they are engaged in that way.

MHIY: Absolutely. Leadership comes naturally when you’re engaged in that way and sometimes the only person you really need to be leading is yourself, right? That’s leadership too, being able to stand and accomplish something. Whether or not other people are following you doesn’t affect whether you’re a leader.

BB: What’s on the horizon for you in your research? What do you think the next frontier is?

Catalina ISLAND


By Gregg Kessler, Middle School Science Teacher


“Mr. Kessler, remember on Catalina when...we saw the whale breach; the octopus inked us; the bison walked by our cabin; the ocean sunfish swam by our kayak; the fox stole food from my backpack; the smell of the compost pit; we ate prickly pear cactus and lemonade berries on the hike; the seal swam past our snorkel group; the hawk ate the quail; we saw 20 leopard sharks on the night snorkel…” All are fond memories that have stuck with students over the years. I have repeated this conversation with former students, from Eighth Graders to current high school students, to alumni in college and beyond. All of them are referring to the annual Seventh Grade trip to the Catalina Environmental Leadership Program (CELP) at Howland’s Landing on Catalina Island. For many, the memories last a lifetime. The best thing about these memories is that they all tie directly into lessons from the Seventh Grade Life Science curriculum. Whether it is seeing species while snorkeling or kayaking in the kelp community, hiking in the hills among native plants and animals, witnessing the food web in action, or learning how to use resources more sustainably, the hands-on nature of the Catalina trip turns classroom lessons into real world learning experiences. Catalina becomes our outdoor classroom that allows us to investigate larger ecological and environmental concepts that need to be witnessed firsthand instead of just being read about out of a text book. Being in nature makes the material more personal and can forge understanding and appreciation in even the most “citified” student.

The Science Department at Viewpoint values handson learning opportunities. Students start learning about the environment, ocean, and kelp forest communities in Primary and Lower School Science. The units continue in Middle School Science and are reinforced on the Catalina trip. Many students are inspired to continue learning about the outdoors and the environment in the Natural History elective in the Middle School or join the Garden Club or the Environmental Sustainability Council offered to Middle and Upper School students. Other learning opportunities are available in the Oceanography or Environmental Science classes popular in the Upper School. For some Upper School students, the adventure sparks a lifelong love of the outdoors, leading to field research on Viewpoint trips to the Virgin Islands or the Galapagos. A number of students have continued follow their passion for the ecology and nature with undergrad, postgrad, and successful careers in the biological sciences. Even if the natural sciences are not the chosen path, the memories of Catalina leave students with an appreciation for nature and the outdoors and a desire to include it in their lives. ■

Caption to come.

MHIY: I think what we need to do in society right now is really start to take the human developmental aspect of education, supporting people growing into citizens and I mean that in the broad sense, as our main aim. And to genuinely pursue that in a way that maintains high standards and rigorous standards, but that at the same time values and appreciates diversity and variability and an individual’s own subjective ways of making meaning.

BB: Well, it’s certainly my hope that Viewpoint will be a context within which we can work on these issues, and I look forward to working with you in that process.   ■

Grace Rynerson ’22 and Josie Mar ’22

S P R I N G 2 017


learning LOVE OF





THE CLASS Fifth Grade Science Astronomy Unit

THE MOTIVATION Why should we study Mars when there is still so much to learn here on Earth? Throughout history people have looked to the sky to navigate vast oceans, to decide when to plant crops, and to give context to our place in the universe. As our understanding of science progresses, we have found that the basic elements of the celestial bodies are the same elements as those that comprise Earth. Studying Mars can teach us much about our Earth. Mars, like Earth, has an atmosphere, wind, clouds, weather, and dust storms. Most importantly, Mars has evidence for liquid water and habitable environments in its past. The benefits of space exploration, astronomy, and related fields are at the forefront of science and technology, answering fundamental questions and driving innovation. The study of Mars will continue to expand our understanding of our planet Earth.

THE PROJECT For the Cosmic Lander and Rover Mission to Mars project Fifth Grade students are challenged to design a vehicle “to safely land on Mars”, and to explore the surface of Mars using their “Rover” robot. The students are tasked with researching previous missions to Mars, to design, build, and test a shock absorbing system to safely land on Mars, and to build and program a VEX IQ robot to complete a scientific goal approved by “Viewpoint Mission Control” (a.k.a. Mrs. Williams).

Surface of Mars, Mars Rover, Curiosity







KNOWN AS THE RED PLANET, Mars is nearly half the size of Earth. Its outer surface is composed of mostly basalt that was brought to the surface by ancient volcanoes, which were active during the planet’s early history. Mars has a thin atmosphere – too thin to easily support life. Giant dust storms can blanket the entire planet and last for months. The atmosphere of Mars is about 100 times thinner than that of Earth, and it is 95% carbon dioxide. Mars’ distance from the Sun means that Mars is much colder than Earth. Scientists are deeply interested in Mars partly because there has been evidence that the planet was once warmer and wetter. Mars is a compelling scientific target for exploration because it takes 26 months to reach and it’s the place in the solar system most likely to have had life emerge.

THE STUDENT ENGINEERS are then given the mission to reach the surface of Mars safely. Landing on a planet hundreds of millions of miles away from Earth is incredibly challenging. The surface of Mars has many hazards. Therefore, the engineering teams must design, construct, and test a shock absorbing system designed to protect their “Rover” (water balloon) and scientific equipment during landing at a specific landing site. Their maximum budget is eight million U.S. Dollars. They then go “shopping” at the International Lander Supply Company, Inc.

WHAT DOES A ROVER DO once it lands safely? The Mars Exploration Rover mission is part of NASA’s Mars Exploration Program, a long-term effort of robotic exploration of the red planet. One scientific goal of a mission is to search for and characterize a wide range of rocks and soils that hold clues to past water activity of Mars. After the landing craft is settled onto the surface and open, the Rover rolls out to take panoramic images of Mars. These images give scientists the information they need to select promising geological targets that tell part of the story of water in Mars’ past.

There have been a huge number of attempted missions to Mars since the 1960s. This exploration of Mars has occurred in three stages: Flybys, Orbiters, and Landers/ Rovers. Armed with this information, the student engineering teams then complete a data table identifying ten space crafts and information about their missions.

Once the student engineers have safely landed their Rover, their mission is to build and program a basic VEX IQ Robot. They also need to design a 3D printed part to be added to their robot to complete a scientific goal approved by Viewpoint Mission Control. Possible scientific goals are collecting magnetic particles on the surface of Mars, pushing rock samples into a collection site, or picking up pieces of lava rock and placing them into the Geologic Sample Bin (GSB).

S P R I N G 2 017


learning LOVE OF


learning the skills to become mentors

students as


By Cait Hubbard, English and Human Development Teacher, and Mara Garcia, Upper School Counselor and Director of Human Development


EACHERS EXPERIENCE countless moments of joy throughout our days: connecting with students, witnessing the fulfillment of their potentials, exploring subjects that strike us deeply – and the list goes far beyond these few. Academically, it is endlessly fulfilling to see that students have mastered material, and more importantly, truly made it their own. THIS FALL, WE BEGAN teaching Viewpoint’s first of two Advanced Human Development courses. It is entitled Skills, and combines direct instruction with experiential learning to cultivate exactly that: students’ skills in communication, goal setting, cultural competency, and group facilitation. This final unit aims to ensure that by the time students finish the course, they are capable of conducting a class on their own.

OVER THE COURSE OF THEIR 50-MINUTE BLOCK, Trey and Sarah illustrated their understanding of group facilitation as they 1) asked the group open-ended questions, 2) defined distinctions between colloquial experiences and formal diagnoses, 3) addressed stereotypes and dilemmas of anxiety, then finally 4) introduced habits to combat anxiety. Beyond the well planned structure of their lesson, this team maintained a truly ideal environment for student involvement. Everyone in the room came away with an increased sense of closeness to the others in the group, as well as a fuller understanding of the subject matter. The two of us came away feeling as though our students truly had “become the teachers.”

THE STUDENTS WHO TOOK the Human Development: Skills course have now moved into the next course of the program, Human Development: CONSEQUENTLY, IT WAS WONDERFUL, in December, to watch our Mentors. Beginning in February, they will enter Ninth Grade Human students co-teach classes to their peers. While all of the groups facilitated Development classes to serve as assistants for the teachers, and mentors adroitly, one pair in particular, Trey Spellman ’18 and Sarah Eicher ’17, for the younger students. As they conclude preparing to enter these moved the class through a powerful conversation about anxiety, both in classes, they are also preparing to facilitate workshops during Viewpoint’s general and in the Viewpoint community. Diversity Day – and have consistently surpassed our expectations by Trey and Sarah began class with one of the attitudes most characteristic of illustrating the strength of their communication abilities, and the lifelong teachers: an authentic, inclusive tone. Together, they evidenced their multidimensionality of their contributions to our community. It is a true own willingness to share personal experiences, and when their classmates pleasure to see that our students have mastered the skills requisite for were ready to share as well, they passed the conversation along. mentoring, and of course, are very much making the roles their own.




The expansion of Viewpoint’s Upper School Human Development program has been modeled after a similar program that has been running at Punahou School in Honolulu, Hawaii for the last 25 years. Mara Garcia, Viewpoint’s Upper School Counselor and Director of Human Development, attended Punahou for high school and was enrolled in their Peer Helping Program. Mara was passionate about starting a similar program at Viewpoint because of the role Punahou’s program played in her life. She feels that adolescents develop strengths in a number of ways and that an important element of an independent school are the resources to prioritize programming that meets the strengths of individual student interests. The Mentors Program at Viewpoint provides course offerings and experiences for students who are interested in exploring the social sciences. It also, of course, explicitly teaches students skills to prepare them for more meaningful and effective communication with people from backgrounds that differ from oneself. The Human Development: Skills course is singlesemesters elective prerequisite to the Human Development: Mentors course. Students learn a specific communication model to guide a conversation toward meaningful exploration, and when appropriate, conflict-resolution. Students are given direct instruction on observation of social dynamics that surround them daily, such as noticing trends in an individual’s language, conflicts between verbal and non-verbal communication, and the practice of listening to hear the subtexts of a conversation. Students set and consistently reevaluate their progress surrounding personal goals. The class goes on to explore the subtleties of implicit bias, privilege, and institutionalized oppression – as well as how these concepts connect to relational conflicts, emotional responses, and their influences on one’s sense of self. Students end the semester by co-facilitating a class period; they are responsible for presenting a topic, engaging the group in exploration of it, and guiding other students toward specific goals.

Cait Hubbard, Upper School English and Human Development Teacher, and Mara Garcia are co-teaching both courses, and have used the blog format as a digital journal. This medium allows students to reflect in whatever format speaks to their meaningful reflection, e.g. poetry, collage, essay, voice recording, etc. (See images below for examples.) Students have also been asked to set three overarching goals for themselves, which were written in the format of the Folio Collaborative, a new faculty evaluation software all Viewpoint faculty are using this year.

The Mentors Program is a service to Viewpoint’s community. During a student’s semester-long enrollment in this class, he or she is assigned to serve as a student facilitator under faculty supervision in the Ninth Grade Human Development course, a mandatory class that meets twice a rotation throughout the school year. This course builds upon previous training in individual communication strategies and group facilitation, which are introduced in the Human Development: Skills prerequisite – these skills are put into practice through classroom discussions and activities dedicated to self-exploration, decision-making, and reflection on topics of equity and inclusion. ■ S P R I N G 2 017


canyon IN OUR

ANDREW ELZAYN ’17 Syrian Refugee Project

teachers / students / creativity / grow th

In the summer of 2015, Andrew Elzayn ’17 volunteered with the Kayana Foundation, an organization in Lebanon bringing education to Syrian refugees living in camps on the Syrian border. In 2016, he returned to teach English, math, and art to the children. Andrew plans to study both political science and computer science in college, and with this education, he hopes to help bring technology to the students living in these camps, where internet access is currently limited. He is concerned for this generation of children, many of whom have educated parents who once held professional jobs, who now are missing the opportunity to be educated in basic subjects and in the use of technology because of their circumstances. He sees a real need to use technology to give them access to education, but also to educate them in coding and computer science to create opportunities to improve their job prospects in the future. For Andrew, “Happiness comes from helping others.”

PURSUING THEIR PASSIONS By Monica Case ’90, Associate Director of Communications

Viewpoint School is a community of extraordinary individuals, educators, and students who are passionate about their work – in and out of the classroom – and committed to challenging themselves each day. I met with a few of our students for this article. I am delighted to share their projects with our readers.




S P R I N G 2 017


canyon IN OUR

TY FROST ’17 Volunteering to Help Locally and Internationally Ty Frost ’17 came to Viewpoint in Sixth Grade and considers the School his home. He has a broad range of interests and dedicates his time to baseball, filmmaking – especially cinematography – photography, theater, and, most importantly, to CORE, Viewpoint’s Community Service Honors Society. Ty comes from a family committed to helping others both locally and abroad, and he is actively involved in the St. Joseph Center’s Bread and Roses Café in Venice, a soup kitchen that offers the experience of a restaurant for homeless people in the community. Ty remarked, “I really enjoy working with the homeless. The people are wonderful.” Ty is also actively involved with Mending Kids, an organization that provides life-saving surgical care to children in 57 countries around the world. In March, Ty ran his second marathon for Mending Kids, this time to raise funds for a little girl in Ethiopia to have heart surgery.




JACQUELINE TANG ’17 Studying the Ramifications of HIV Jacqueline Tang ’17 has known for a long time that she wants be a doctor. As the child of two physicians, she has a clear vision of a career in medicine and the potential to do something in her words, “meaningful and impactful.” Jacqueline is interested in the public policy as well as the biological side of medicine, and she plans to study pre-med and public health and minor in history. Last summer, she worked with radiologists from Olive View/UCLA Medical Center in Sylmar to devise an educational exhibit on manifestations in the abdomen caused by HIV. Due to reduced immunity, HIV patients can manifest a wide range of different diseases that are otherwise quite rare. Jacqueline helped present their exhibit at the Radiology Society of North America’s annual conference in Chicago. She is also doing an independent project this spring on the “Social, Pharmaceutical, Ethical, Historical, and Medical Consequences of HIV.”

S P R I N G 2 017


canyon IN OUR

CAROLINE KESTER ’17 Inventor of the “Digit Figit” and Future Engineer

JIMMY NGUYEN ’17 Performer and Volunteer Jimmy Ngyuen ’17 came to Viewpoint from the British International School in Ho Chi Minh City as a sophomore and quickly became known for his versatility as an actor. He played Korean liquor store owner Mrs. Young- Soon Han and Mexican sculptor Rudy Salas, Sr. in Anna Deavere Smith’s contemporary epic play Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992 and Clov in Samuel Beckett’s spare and unsparing masterpiece Endgame. As his senior project, Jimmy is directing Sartre’s existentialist work No Exit, which he feels is a true reflection of his culturally programed childhood in Vietnam. Jimmy returns home each summer and volunteers as a program manager with Mind Light, a non-profit organization working with blind children in Ho Chi Minh City. Jimmy explained, “There are very few social services for children with disabilities, but we teach them English in the morning, and in the afternoon they take piano lessons. At the end of the summer they do a public performance in a darkened house to demonstrate living the life of the blind. I am looking forward to working with the children again this summer.”




Caroline Kester ’17 is a budding engineer, who hope one day to have a career building roller coasters. She is CoFounder of the Upper School’s Girls in STEM group, which now has over 50 members, as well as a member of the Girls Robotics Team, which won The Engineering Skills Award and the Excellence Award at the 2017 VEX Clash in the Canyons competition. Caroline is the driver for the Girls Team and works on the coding of the controls. The Patriot Robotics Team advanced to the State Championships in March, and will compete in the World Championships at the end of April. In December 2016, Caroline traveled with the Team to the Sanborough School in London, England to learn about their robotics program. Caroline is also an inventor and she created the “Digit Figit,” a device that can be discreetly used in the classroom to promote concentration for students with ADHD.

S P R I N G 2 017


canyon IN OUR

PRANALI DAVE ’17 Medicine and Music Pranali Dave ’17 will be a fourth-generation doctor in her family and she is certain that she will go to medical school, but she would also like to pursue a Ph.D. in English. And then there is music. Pranali is the First Chair oboist in the L.A. Youth Orchestra and also plays the tabla, an Indian percussion instrument. She loves the intersection between science and music theory and feels this understanding helps her with the cancer research she has been conducting over the past three summers – 2014 and 2015 in the UCLA oncology lab and 2016 as a paid intern at City of Hope. At Viewpoint, Pranali is the Founder of the Indian Student Union, and a member of the Social Justice Club and the Feminist Club. In 2015, Pranali combined her interests in social justice, music, and medicine, when she traveled to Haiti with the charity, Lidè Haiti, to teach music theory to young girls and to conduct clinical research.




ERROL ASHBY ’17 Athlete, Volunteer, and Leader Football, lacrosse, soccer, and track, Errol Ashby ’17 does them all. But his passion for athletics extends well beyond playing. In the summer of 2016, he volunteered with the Special Olympics in the basketball, volleyball soccer, and track and field events, and he continues to volunteer with them in Long Beach because he “loves to see the joy of the athletes.” Additionally, Errol is interested in a career in athletic training or sports medicine. He plans to study kinesiology in college. Errol is also committed to the ongoing diversity projects on campus. He attended the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) Student Diversity Leadership Conference in 2015 and is the Co-President of Viewpoint’s Black Student Union. Since Seventh Grade he has been a part of 100 Black Men of Los Angeles, a mentoring organization that partners young black men with successful members of the black community.

S P R I N G 2 017


canyon IN OUR

SAMSON GRUENWALD ’17 Understanding the Jungle of Ecuador and Its People

DELIA XING ’17 Studying Chinese through Media and Film Delia Xing ’17 is in her second year at Viewpoint and fourth year in the U.S. She moved from Shanghai to Texas for an American education and she moved from Texas to California to see another side of American life on the West Coast. As the child of parents working in media and communications in China, Delia is interested in a career that allows her to be the bridge between the two cultures and the two countries. She has been working with Viewpoint Chinese teacher Ming Hodgson on an independent study project, “How to teach Chinese to Americans through Chinese media.” Delia is identifying films from the last decade that will help students to better understand Chinese history or social issues and then creating study guides to accompany them. One film that is particularly relevant to Delia’s own life is called, “The Celebration of Love,” which is the story of parents considering sending their child to study abroad.




Samson Grumwald ’17 has a passion for Latin America with a particular interest in the biodiversity of the jungle of Ecuador and the people who live there. His aunt and his uncle, who is one the world’s most accomplished mountain climbers and guides, live there, and since age 12 Samson has made regular trips to Ecuador on his own. After four trips into the deep, dense jungle, he has become an honorary member of the Achuar tribe and plans to spend some of his gap year after graduation in Ecuador studying their language. Samson explained his desire to do this, “I respect how the indigenous people focus on the core fundamentals of civilization: respect, honor, strength, and survival. I feel honored to have been welcomed into their community and I want to help protect their way of life.” During his gap year, Samson also plans to visit the jungles of South East Asia and Madagascar. With his firsthand experience of the natural world and his passion for conservation, Samson plans to study ecology and evolutionary biology in college.

S P R I N G 2 017


canyon IN OUR






Diane Hoffmann ’14 featured on the cover of the spring 2014 issue of Viewpoint magazine.


Passions Update DIANE HOFFMAN '14

Continues Her Passion Project in Berlin By Monica Case ’90, Associate Director of Communications

Diane in Berlin at the Brandenburg Gate, January 2017.

The spring 2014 issue of Viewpoint magazine introduced the feature we call “Pursuing Their Passions.” Diane Hoffmann ’14, who was also on the cover of that issue, was among the first group of students highlighted for their independent projects. Diane’s Viewpoint Scholar’s Project was on the East German government’s organized program of doping their athletes in the 1970s and 80s. Diane, who was a high school athlete, fluent in German, and interested in international relations, chose a subject that allowed her to expand her knowledge of Germany during the Cold War period. In the 2014 article, she said, “I am pleased to have the opportunity to do collegelevel research while I am still in Upper School. I know that next year I will have to set my own schedule and motivate myself, so this project is good practice.” And she was absolutely right. Her project was so motivating that she decided to continue her research during her freshman year at Boston College. With the encouragement of her professors, Diane applied for an Advanced Study Grant




to travel to Germany to do primary research in the Stasi (East German State Security Service) Records Agency in Berlin. While sitting in the archives among binders full of blacked-out documents, medical records, and handwritten notes detailing the minute behaviors of people being spied upon, Diane noticed a famous face from her research. At a neighboring table sat Ines Geipel, worldclass East German sprinter and outspoken advocate for victims of doping. Diane approached her and asked if she would be willing to be interviewed. The following week, Diane found herself in Ms. Geipel’s apartment learning the unwritten details of what the athletes had to endure – and in many cases the physical and psychological damage was irreparable – in order to win the medals the government felt they needed to raise the morale of its citizens and the reputation of East Germany. Back in Boston, Diane turned her research and this very special interview into a paper and a poster, which she presented at a symposium. While she is not sure if she will

take her findings on East German doping any further, the research skills she gained from this project were invaluable. Diane spent 2016 doing research for two different internships. She served as a Research Policy Intern for Governor Charlie Baker of Massachusetts in the Cabinet Relations Office, and was the assistant to a professor of International Relations, who is an expert on terrorist insurgencies. Diane’s was tasked with finding information on Turkey versus the PKK, the Rwandan Independence Movement before the genocide, and ISIS. This spring, Diane is studying at the Freie Universität Berlin. She is an International Studies major on the Political Science track, with an interest in international law and going to law school. When asked about the value of her Viewpoint Scholar’s Project now that she is in college, she said, “This research project ultimately encouraged me to look beyond the school book – to look at archives and primary sources. For my major and for my professional interests, there could be no better preparation.” S P R I N G 2 017


canyon IN OUR


started her career teaching in Lower School and Middle School at The Buckley School in New York City. She then served as the Middle School Director at The Albany Academies in Albany, New York, followed by the same role at The Hamlin School in San Francisco. During her final four years at Hamlin, Marisa was the Assistant Head of School. Marisa holds a BA from Trinity College in Theater and Dance, a MS in Elementary Education from CUNY-Hunter, and an M.Ed. from Columbia University in Private School Leadership through the Klingenstein Program. She now lives in Calabasas with her husband, Chris Soulios, and their blended family of four children, Guy ’22, Brady, Albert, and Katie.


WHAT ATTRACTED YOU TO VIEWPOINT? I was initially attracted to Viewpoint as a parent. I was planning a move to Calabasas and came to Viewpoint with my older son, Guy, who is now in Seventh Grade. We fell in love with the warmth of the people, the natural beauty, and celebration of learners as individuals. There is a dynamic peacefulness here in the canyon that I have grown to love and rely on as an idyllic backdrop to the Middle School. When I learned of the opening for a new Head of Middle School, I was eager to work in such a welcoming community that was much larger than in my two previous division head roles. I saw interesting opportunities for program growth in the areas of educational technology and advisory. Happily, I was offered the position to come to Viewpoint as a leader and a parent!

WHAT ARE YOUR INTERESTS AND PASSIONS OUTSIDE OF SCHOOL? I love theater, singing, dance, and athletics. All the way through school and college I was constantly trying to balance the time between the performing arts and athletics. I am deeply privileged and grateful that I was afforded the opportunity to learn in independent schools. My elementary and middle school, Rippowam Cisqua School in Bedford, NY, truly shaped me as a person and a learner. The arts, athletics, and




academics felt balanced to me and I was inspired to do it all. This carried over into my experience at Miss Porter’s School in Farmington, CT where I was Head of Players and Stagecraft and played Varsity Basketball.

you want to invest your time and not just spend it?” It was so wise and so helpful. I come back to that advice over and over again. Time is one of our most precious commodities.

Now, I love watching my own kids play sports, cheering for professional football, basketball, and baseball teams, and doing all kinds of exercise. Hiking, running, yoga, boot camp, dance classes, etc. You name it, I’ll try it! I also try to read as much as possible. I love getting the Sunday New York Times and hopefully having some time to drink coffee and read some of the newspaper.


SO, BALANCE SEEMS TO BE A THEME IN YOUR LIFE: ARTS/ATHLETICS/ACADEMICS AND THEN TEACHER/LEADER/MOTHER. ANY THOUGHTS ON THIS? Figuring some of this out has to do with being honest with yourself and when people who love you hold up the mirror for you to see yourself. There have been a few pivotal times in my life when I was “trying to do it all.” In college staying up until midnight rehearsing the fall production while getting up at 5:00 a.m. to row Varsity Crew was not sustainable. My parents held up the mirror and said, “You can do this for a little while but soon you will get sick, hate crew or hate theater and dance. How do

Sixth through Eighth Graders are so uniquely poised in their growth and development. I see this time as a tunnel of opportunity to be a critical part of the way adolescents begin to understand themselves and deeply invest in their learning. They are also funny, quirky, and wonderfully simultaneously young and mature. You never know what they might say, but if you get beyond the sometimes impulsive blurting out or delve into a seemingly hostile mood, there is an honesty of experience and thought that is to be celebrated. Supporting parents and families as they transition their parenting style to support the adolescent’s needs is also a great area of interest to me. Now that I am living it firsthand with my own son, I realize it is a significant shift. But in a nutshell, I love Middle School! ■




S P R I N G 2 017


canyon IN OUR






Henderson is a teacher of Spanish in the Middle and Upper Schools. He is the child of hardworking parents who always encouraged him to be himself, to reach his dreams, and to help people whenever he can. He studied Spanish and Education at Keene State College in New Hampshire, where he was awarded the prestigious Blackington Endowment Award for Spanish Proficiency. Corey completed his graduate studies at Middlebury College in Vermont. In 2012, he published an article in the New Hampshire Journal of Education and won “Best of Conference” for his workshop on Differentiated Instruction, sending him to represent NH at the regional languages conference in Baltimore. He’s lived in Ecuador and Argentina, and has traveled to Spain, Mexico, Uruguay, and England. He’s been a teacher his entire professional career, and recently moved to California this past summer. He’s enjoying being a part of the Viewpoint family and teaching students the importance of traveling the world, building bridges not walls, and speaking a second or third language.

Iacoi says that Fourth Grade has always been her favorite grade to teach. After teaching Fourth Grade for 12 years in Wellesley, Massachusetts, Kate moved west with her husband in 2014 for his job opportunity at UCLA. When she received the offer from Viewpoint School to be their Fourth Grade Reading teacher, it was the perfect match. Kate always knew she wanted to be an educator, as her family has a long history of teachers, and she began teaching tennis and swim lessons at an early age. Kate attended Boston College and received a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and also her Master’s degree at BC, making her a Certified Reading Specialist. She enjoys exploring California and is excited to come to school each day to inspire her students.

Corey Henderson

Kate Iacoi

THE BOOK THAT CHANGED MY LIFE I was a pretty typical child: happy, full of life, and always excited to be around people. When you’re from a small town in Vermont, you rely on the outdoors to gather with friends, play “kick the can,” basketball, or ride your bicycle. An early indicator that I’d love language was that I loved spelling. Honestly, I always wanted to be in a spelling bee! In Second Grade, we’d receive a Scholastic magazine full of that month’s books that were available for purchase. I noticed for the first time that there was a bilingual poetry book called Arroz con leche. Spanish? That seemed fun! When the book arrived, I spent all of my free time at school reading and learning the poems inside, with the help of a neighboring teacher who was from Mexico. That did it; it was the spark that began my love for the Spanish language – it was the book that changed my life!

WHEN I’M NOT TEACHING I am a big music enthusiast; I enjoy all genres, particularly when it’s live. Live music can be so special, so therapeutic, and so intimate. Right now,




I can’t get enough of Lady Gaga’s Joanne, Shawn Mendes’ Illuminate, and The Chainsmokers’ Collage, to name a few albums. Other than music, I love Zumba, hiking, going for a long drive, hanging out at the beach, and meeting new people. I love traveling to new places too! As a new Angeleno, I’m really excited about all that the city has to offer!

YOU CAN DO ANYTHING I’ve always believed that hard work pays off and that if something is difficult, it just means that you have to work harder. A personal accomplishment that I’m really proud of is reaching a weight-loss milestone last year. I’m proud to say that after a year of intense dedication and commitment, I lost and have kept off 100 pounds. It was so symbolic, so inspiring, and so empowering. My words of advice: be yourself, be happy, work really hard, spread positivity, and make people smile. People remember the way you make them feel; even 20 years from now. Remember: it may be hard, but it’s worth it. It may seem impossible, but you can do it. You can do anything. ■



With the beautiful California weather, I always want to be outside. We enjoy exploring the bike path and canals in Venice, hiking the Santa Monica Mountains, and swimming in the Pacific Ocean in November! I even try to walk the beach several times a week when I get home from school. I definitely miss the many ski trips we used to take in New England, but I’m looking forward to checking out Mammoth and Big Bear this winter.

Curling up in bed or lounging on a beach chair with a good book is my way to relax. These days many of my book selections are the latest children’s books. I recently just finished Raymie Nightingale, Echo, and The One and Only Ivan. I like to stay up-to-date with current titles so I can make recommendations to my students. Over the winter break, I couldn’t put down All the Light We Cannot See and up next is A Man Called Ove.



I am usually always on the move and never sit down on the couch, but we’re avid sports fans in our house. There’s always a game on in the background, usually football, baseball, or basketball. As many of my students know, I root for the New England Patriots, Red Sox, Celtics, Boston College Eagles, and UCLA Bruins. Lucky for me, I’ve lived through many championship titles which has made it so fun!

I grew up in a cooking household and have learned many recipes from my family which I like to continue. I even have a cookbook of my favorite family recipes. On a weekend, I’m usually baking cookies, cakes, or cupcakes. I have a huge sweet tooth! ■

S P R I N G 2 017


canyon IN OUR


Kwame Alexander By Monica Case ’90, Associate Director of Communications

Viewpoint welcomed Kwame Alexander, poet, educator, and New York Times bestselling author, to the Carlson Family Theater on Thursday, September 30 to speak to the Lower and Middle School students about his passion for poetry and to share the stories behind his writing. Mr. Alexander’s interactive Q&A approach – full of humor, poetry, and rap, as well as music provided by his friend and accompanist Randy Preston – was a huge success with an audience full of students who are great fans of his work. Mr. Alexander is the author of 21 books, including The Crossover, which received the 2015 John Newbery Medal for the Most Distinguished Contribution to American literature for Children, and the 2015 Coretta Scott King Author Honor Award, among numerous other recognitions. Mr. Alexander’s other works include Surf’s Up, a picture book; Booked, a middle grade novel; and He Said She Said, a YA novel. Mr. Alexander believes that poetry can change the world, and he uses it to inspire and empower young people in the US and in countries he visits across the globe. He encouraged the students to read widely and shared three of his favorite books:  Out of the Dust, a novel in verse by Karen Hesse; Rhyme Schemer, also a novel in verse by K.A. Holt; and his favorite series, The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins.   The students left the Carlson Family Theater with smiles on their faces and a renewed enthusiasm for poetry. The educators left the theater grateful for Mr. Alexander’s warmth and energy and for the power of reading to inspire our children. ■ 




S P R I N G 2 017



personal goals / expectations / research / deadlines


COLLEGE TOURS By Gregg Murray, Associate Director of College Counseling

“I WAS NOT EXPECTING to fall in love with a school in the middle of New Hampshire, but because I visited the school, I got a really good feeling from it.” Quotes like Hannah Martin’s ’17 are often heard in the college process and are indicative of the power of a campus visit. High school students take many factors into consideration when making their college choice. Web sites, social media, printed brochures, interaction with an admissions counselor, information from the college counselor and family input all guide the student, but the campus visit allows them to learn first-hand about the environment and other intangible aspects of the college. The campus visit is the most influential source of information for students during the college choice process. MANY TYPES of campus visit experiences exist to help students find their fit: visiting a class, shadowing a student, STEM tours, on-campus interviews, overnight programs with student hosts, scholarship programs, multicultural programs, admitted student days, summer programs/camps, or even selfguided visits. Nolan Pearson ’15 cited the vast opportunities in stage design, a passion he began pursuing at Viewpoint, at Emerson College as a big part of his decision to attend. A tour can include viewing academic facilities, residence hall rooms, dining areas, student life areas, and of course having interaction with current students. Each campus that provides a tour incorporates different characteristics into it. Tours may vary in length, content, and approach but the goal is similar, to determine if you fit the institution and whether or not it fits you. 




TRADITIONALLY, STUDENTS who want to visit a university sign-up for an information session and tour, offered by the admission office. The tour enables students to see an unedited, filter-free campus and determine if it is someplace where they could envision themselves spending the next four years. On Viewpoint’s East Coast College Tour, students get the opportunity to visit upwards of 15 college campuses from Boston to Washington D.C. Over the course of the trip, they explore public vs. private institutions, research universities vs. liberal arts colleges, urban vs. rural campuses, and develop a strong sense of their preferences. NOTHING COMPARES to a campus visit when evaluating the aesthetics of the campus environment, community/general vibe of the campus, and personal interactions. Callie Kutasi ’16, who now attends University of Wisconsin, shared that her time on campus made her feel at home. Her comfort engaging with students helped her gain confidence in her decision to attend. A student’s connection to a specific environment directly affects their response to the campus visit and tour experience on their college choice. BEYOND RESEARCH, the importance of campus visits was echoed by members from the Class of 2016 at Viewpoint’s Alumni College Panel, held in January. As students tried to articulate the determining factor in their college choice, the common thread was that they knew from the moment they stepped onto campus that it was the right place for them to learn and grow. ■

S P R I N G 2 017




canvases / paints / clay / glazes / cameras theater // brushes stage / music / comedy / drama

spotlight on

at Viewpoint Anger. Surprise. Own that emotion. Make the audience believe you. Give yourself over to it. That’s what theater is about. From Little Fir Tree to the most serious drama, the stage inspires self expression, where any student can own the moment, making it uniquely theirs.

Olivia Ondrasik ’19




S P R I N G 2 017




Logan Clark ’17 O

VER 13 YEARS AT VIEWPOINT, Logan Clark ’17 has distinguished himself as a scholar and a performer — he can dance, sing, act, and powerfully present spoken word poetry. But this year he was summoned to work behind the scenes, to direct his first full-length play, Samuel Beckett’s 1957 absurdist masterpiece, Endgame.

THE ABSURD & THE EPIC By Monica Case ’90, Associate Director of Communications

Logan explained his choice, “I always admired Beckett for the intricacy of his language and the level of complexity in something seemingly so simple – four characters on a nearly empty stage, Hamm who is seated and unable to move, Clov who is walking and unable to sit, and the elderly parents Nagg and Nell trapped in their trash cans. I love the specificity of the stage directions and the repetition of the movement. I also love that the play was written as a rebellion against the grandiosity of the theater.”

Endgame By Samuel Beckett Samuel Beckett – the Irish Nobel Prizewinning author and playwright – was an avid chess player, and the title of the play refers to the last part of the game when there are only a few pieces remaining. In this “endgame,” the four characters are all that is left of civilization. As the characters wait for death, the language of the play advances and retreats, provoking the audience to think deeply and to visit the mind’s dark places.

Logan Clark ’17

Hamm, whose name is meant to remind the audience of a hammer, was played by Iayn Gates ’18, and Clov is like clou which is French for nail, was played by Jimmy Nguyen ’17. Their conversation, which alternates between aggression and despair, gains intensity throughout the play and demands precision from both the director and the performers. Jimmy praised Logan’s skills a director, “He understands as an actor, and is able to communicate what he is looking for as a director. Logan was just great.” Jimmy Nguyen’17, Iayn Gates ’18




S P R I N G 2 017


arts The Caucasian Chalk Circle By Bertolt Brecht Directed by Scott Feldsher, Chair of the Theater and Dance Departments, the Conservatory of Theater presented Bertolt Brecht’s The Caucasian Chalk Circle – a satire of politics, power, and corruption and a parable of the power of selflessness and love. Chalk Circle, set in the Caucasus Mountains of Eurasia, is also an epic adventure filled with music and songs offering biting commentary on the action. With a cast of 19 actors, often playing multiple roles, original music by Viewpoint voice teacher and composer, Bill Brendle, and a simple architectural circle as the set, the audience was treated to an intentionally “theatrical” experience – where they are both aware of the artifice of the stage and absorbed by it.


Top left: Mylah Eaton ’19 and Jonathan Lovett ’19 Bottom left: Andrew Steele ’18, Bottom middle: Natalie Freidman ’19, Bottom right: Eddie Wolfson ’19 V I E W P O I N T


MEET THE DIRECTOR In just two years as Chair of the Theater and Dance Departments Scott Feldsher has demonstrated his ambition for his students in his choices of plays – Anna Deavere Smith’s Twilight, Los Angeles 1992, Marivaux’ The Dispute, and Brecht’s The Causcasian Chalk Circle. Scott believes, “Students like to be challenged. There needs to be both diversity and balance in our choices, so they can express themselves and stretch in different ways.” Above photos: Scott Feldsher with cast during rehearsal of The Caucasian Chalk Circle

Below Top Right: Olivia Ondrasik ’19 and Chloe Brendle ’26, Bottom Left: Jimmy Nguyen ’17 and Andrew Steele ’18, Bottom Right: Cole Kaplan ’19 S P R I N G 2 017



The Evita performance was a staged reading of the Tony Award-Winning Musical

Evita Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber Lyrics by Tim Rice Through the power of Tim Rice’s and Andrew Lloyd Weber’s music and lyrics and the passion of Viewpoint’s performers, the Ahmanson Foundation Black Box Theater was transformed into the city of Buenos Aires for a staged reading, or really staged singing and dancing, of Evita. This musical masterpiece tells the story of Argentina’s controversial First Lady Eva Peron who, based upon her ambition and charisma, rose from poverty to the Presidential Palace and was dead by the age of 33. On the heels of presenting The Causcasian Chalk Circle, the students embraced the challenge of learning and performing a score that fuses haunting chorales with exuberant Latin, pop, and jazz influences, and dazzled their audience. From left to right: Jimmy Nguyen ’17, Dani Granaroli ’20, Cole Kaplan ’19, Mylah Eaton ’19, Devon Knop ’20, Natalie Friedman ’19, Eddie Wolfson ’19, Katie Hameetman ’19, (Sophie Behzadi ’19 not seen), Alex Lisenby ’19

MEET THE COMPOSER Bill Brendle often quotes composer Igor Stravinsky as he prepares to create new music for Viewpoint’s theater productions, “Give me my limitations and I know how to be creative.” Bill began composing original music for Viewpoint’s theater specifications in 2001, and he has been teaching voice here full-time since 2013. His professional career includes 12 years as musical director for Sergio Mendes and arranging music for American Idol, but Bill loves working with the students and his colleagues in the Music, Theater, and Dance Departments.

A PROFESSIONAL ENSEMBLE When Bill was composing the music for The Causcasian Chalk Circle he imagined something in the Brechtian style being performed by a Balkan Street Band. Through the music of his five piece-band – tuba, trumpet, saxophone, clarinet, and Bill playing the accordion and the piano – the audience was immediately transported to the streets of old Baku or Tbilisi.


From left to right: Andrew Steele ’18, Isabel Wynne ’17, Mylah Eaton ’19, Eddie Wolfson ’19, Ty Frost ’17, (Sophie Behzadi ’19 not seen), Dani Granaroli ’20, Katie Hameetman ’19, Jimmy Nguyen ’17, Cole Kaplan ’19, Devon Knopp ’20 V I E W P O I N T


S P R I N G 2 017



The Little Mermaid By Lisa Roskowinski, Teacher of Middle and Upper School Drama, Musical Theater, Speech, and Dance





S THE AUDIENCE ENTERS THE CARLSON FAMILY THEATER you can feel the anticipation in the air. Backstage there is a buzz of nerves and excitement as the cast puts the finishing touches on hair, make-up, and costumes. At last they hear the words they’ve been waiting for, “Places, please! Places for the top of the show!” After some final hugs and a reminder to “Break a leg!” they make their way to their places. The lights go down, the overture plays, and just as the music hits its dramatic climax a mermaid with red flowing hair appears on a rock bathed in sunlight. This is opening night of the Middle School Musical, Disney’s The Little Mermaid.

Viewpoint’s tradition of an annual Middle School musical began about 25 years ago. In the beginning it was rehearsed and performed outdoors on Blaney Patio with minimal technical elements. In the late ’90s the students still rehearsed on Blaney Patio, but the performances were held at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza which enabled the addition of an orchestra, more elaborate sets, and microphones. Then in 2006 we opened the Carlson Family Theater and we now had a beautiful space to rehearse and perform in as well as the opportunity to grow our program further.

S P R I N G 2 017



“Auditions are open to all interested.” students and everyone is cast.”

From left to right: Top left: Luca Brendle ’22 and Annabelle Corneau ’23, Top right: Hannah Stanford ’21, Giannina Polimeni-Neal ’23, HH Landau ’22 Bottom: Preparing for Opening Night

From left to right: Bottom left: Director Lisa Roskowinski and Stage Manager Matthew Hernandez Right: Maya Fardad-Finn ’21, Sophie Weiss ’22, Hannah Stanford ’21, Tessa Green ’22

What has not changed in all these years is the experience. A group of dedicated and enthusiastic Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth Grade students coming together to collaborate and create a piece of art. Auditions are open to all interested students and everyone is cast. So whether you are a theater veteran or someone who wants to try something new you are welcomed. Once the show is cast, we have eight weeks of intense rehearsals which consist of learning music, blocking, choreography, character development, and perfecting all technical elements.  During this process a great deal of personal growth occurs; talents are discovered, friendships are formed, and self-confidence soars. At the end of the run there is a sense of accomplishment and an awareness of what it means to be part of something bigger than yourself. This year’s show Disney’s The Little Mermaid, based on one of Hans Christian Andersen’s most beloved stories and the classic animated film, was a hit with the cast as well as our audiences. The show with music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Howard Ashman and Glenn Slater and a book by Doug Wright follows Ariel, a beautiful young mermaid who longs to leave her ocean home to live in the world above. The array of colorful characters, unforgettable songs, and theme of growing up and going out on your own to find your place in the world offered something audience members of all ages could identify with. Our show featured standout performances by Bridget Cooper ’21 as “Ariel,” Brooke Butler ’21 as “Ursula,” Tessa Greene ’22 as “Flounder,” Morgan Humbert ’22 as “Scuttle,” HH Landau ’21 as “Sebastian”, AJ Williams ’23 as “Prince Eric,” Tynan Davidson ’23 as “King Triton,” and Amir Baylock ’23 as “Chef Louis.” This talented cast did a great job of continuing this Viewpoint Middle School tradition and bringing this Disney classic to life on our stage! ■




S P R I N G 2 017


arts Little Fir Tree


ITH A GENTLE DUSTING OF SNOW, the First Graders’ productions of Little Fir Tree signaled the start of the holiday season. Presented in the Carlson Family Theater, the performance of this play is one of the School’s most cherished traditions. Based upon an old European legend, the play tells the story of three fir trees vying to be the Christmas tree for the center of town, and how the loving, generous spirit of the smallest tree wins the honor.


“This play is one of my favorites for its sweet message of kindness and compassion,” said Cathy Adelman, Head of Primary School. “The children all embrace the simple, but lovely story, and the parents delight in seeing their children performing with such confidence on stage.”

Far down in the forest where the warm sun and fresh air made a sweet resting place 1

grew three fir trees.

TOP from Left to Right: 1. Jordan Mercuri 2. Daisy Bradway, Avery McGraw, Dylan Um, Jack Hale, Ella Hammelman, Vanna Maddox 3. Dio Sweeny, Aiden Mittledorf, Zach Crone


BOTTOM from Left to Right: 4. Dylan Um and Jack Hale 5. Daisy Bradway and Michelle Bradway 6. Avery McGraw, Sloane Faulhaber, Kyla Kane 7. Ella Hammelman, Ellie Maentz, Vanna Maddox 8. Sloane Faulhaber









S P R I N G 2 017



Behind The Curtain “The theater staff is fantastic. They are professional and creative problem solvers, and if it is humanly possible to say ‘yes’ to a request, they never say ‘no’.” This sentiment expressed by Scott Feldsher, Chair of Theater and Dance, is echoed across campus. This amazing team of talented theater professionals and the students who work with them to learn stage management; and lighting, set, and costume design are essential to Viewpoint’s theater program.

Four Rows; Top to Bottom; from Left to Right: Back Row: Elizabeth McAdoo ’19, Cindy Yan ’20, Miriam Henerson ’17, Hayley Blonstein ’20, Deja Tribbitt ’20, Matthew Hernandez, Janah Omordia ’20 Third Row: Matthew Powers, Ellen Holt, Lara Conklin, Sarah Donovan ’20 Second Row: Christopher Roskowinski, Rachel Chalfin ’18, Sydney Russell, Casey Covey First Row: Lily Andersson ’19, Gregory Schare ’19, Jose Duenas  




S P R I N G 2 017



practice / games / competitions

Focus. Determination. Leadership.

Zoe Beckman ’17



ach season the Cross Country Team t-shirt provides a theme for the season. Most years a meaningful quote highlights the importance of toughness, hard-work, or another admirable quality. This year, the team shirt said simply, “Viewpoint Cross Country 2016,” with an image much more powerful for our runners than any quote. It was a silhouette of team captain Zoe Beckman ’17 crossing a recognizable bridge on our home course. As the fall progressed, the symbolism and meaning of this image became more evident with Zoe’s impact on the team. Since her freshman year, Zoe had impressed her teammates with her running talent, and, again, she made those contributions this year. However, more important, was Zoe’s leadership and the respect that she earned from her teammates through her hard-work and support of their contributions. Her leadership helped both the Boys and Girls Cross Country Teams reach CIF Finals, a feat that had only been accomplished once before in Viewpoint’s history, and helped the Girls team have their second best performance ever at CIF Finals, placing eighth! –Andrew Harris, Upper School Cross Country Coach

Viewpoint runners left to right: Tyler Barron ’17 and James Smathers ’18




Stephanie Libonati ’17

Stephanie Libonati ’17 came to Viewpoint in the Seventh Grade and made an immediate impression with her tall frame and outstanding

Miles Clark ’21

coordination. Her high school career began in 2013 playing middle blocker on a CIF championship team. Her serving alone carried us beyond the semifinals with 6 aces. Stephanie was asked to play four different positions over her career, and this season was moved to outside hitter and back row setter. She had never played either position, but showed great maturity and selflessness doing whatever was needed for her team. She was the team’s only captain this year and did an excellent job. Stephanie received 1st team All-CIF in Division 4. She will be missed very much next year. –Frank Pontello, Upper School Volleyball Coach Through tremendous effort and perseverance, Eighth Grader Miles Clark established himself as one of the top Cross Country runners in the area during the fall season. In his first race of the season, Miles placed 29th out of 145 league runners. Driven to reach his potential, Miles turned every training opportunity in to a personal challenge to improve. This focus and determination enabled Miles to place 5th overall in our League Finals of over 140 boys from the Greater LA area. Congratulations to Miles for this incredible accomplishment. –Greg Stafford, Middle School Cross Country Coach

S P R I N G 2 017



Fall 2016 UPPER SCHOOL Girls Tennis All Gold Coast League 1st Team: Kat Ulich ’17, Delaney Eagle ’18 2nd Team: Emily Garber ’18 Boys Cross Country All Gold Coast League 1st Team: James Smathers ’18  2nd Team: Tyler Barron ’17, Ronnie Orosky ’20 Girls Cross Country All Gold Coast League 1st Team: Bridget Rosen ’18  2nd Team: Ellis Glickman ’18 Football All Gold Coast League 1st Team: Spencer Hylen, Matt Villanueva ’18  2nd Team: Noah Cohen ’17, Dyntaie Lee ’18



Middle School Championships: 6th Grade Girls Grey Basketball 6th/5th/4th Grade Girls Swimming Middle School Delphic Boys Swimming


All-Delphic League: Boys Swimming – Kyle Corbin ’21 Girls Swimming – Julianna Penner ’21 Boys Cross Country – Miles Clark ’21 Girls Cross Country – Victoria Balbín ’22 Girls Tennis – Elina Vaidya ’21

Highlights of the 2016 Fall Season


4 1.  Ronnie Orsoky ’20 2.  Isabella Tappin ’17 3.  Daryanne Bickers ’19 4.  Hannah Rosenberg ’18 and Catherine Jones ’19 5.  Bridget Rosen ’18






6. From left to right: Viewpoint v. McAuliffe High School. #2 – Spencer Hylen ’17, #55 – Zach Boyce ’18, #23 – Christopher Enuke ’18


7.  Mason O’Connor ’17

S P R I N G 2 017



Here’s why I believe school sports are so important: COMMUNITY CONNECTION, MENTAL HEALTH, AND SOCIAL RELATIONSHIPS

  •  Strong focus and concentration development

Playing on sport  teams enhances  school  connectedness, social support, and bonding among friends and teammates for females, and may have greater value compared to regular exercise. For males, it appears that regular exercise, and playing on a sport team at school are protective for improved quality of life (perceived life satisfaction). For males, building endurance, stretching, and strength training may be more important mentally and physically for competitive sports at school and for overall mental health.”

  •  Learning when to take risks

Also, students who participate in sports often forge close friendships with others on the team. These relationships are essential for mental, emotional, and physical health throughout the school years. Students bond together over a common passion, and the time they spend together at practice and games builds tight bonds that often last long after high school is over.

DEVELOPMENT OF LEADERSHIP ROLES In school sports players tend to look towards the older and more experienced athletes for guidance and leadership. As students stay with the program, they will assume these roles and duties and will learn how best to lead. They will also develop an understanding of which leadership qualities and styles best suit them. This is just like college – leadership skills will be expected to develop as athletes mature through the program and older, more experienced teammates are there for younger participants to look up to.


By Patrick Moyal, Athletic Director



A survey conducted by the Minnesota State High School League and reported by the National Federation of High Schools (NFHS) found that the average GPA of a high school athlete was 2.84, while a student who was not involved in athletics had an average GPA of 2.68. The survey also showed that student athletes missed less school than their non-athlete counterparts, with a total of 7.4 days missed and 8.8 days missed, respectively.

he 2016-17 winter athletic season is well under way and, bolstered by the emergence of Fourth Grade interscholastic teams, Viewpoint is fielding its largest number of teams ever. Indeed, students on 45 teams from Fourth Grade to Twelfth will be wearing Patriot colors this season. 497 of our students will actually be student-athletes for the next 10 weeks with another 50 participating in non-competitive activities in preparation for the upcoming spring season. In fact, 50% of our students who have the option to play for their school are choosing to.

While those numbers are strong, as we analyze the breakdown by grade, it is clear that interest in school sports wanes from its peak in Fourth and Fifth Grade when nearly 100% of students are participating, to 50% in Seventh and Eighth Grade, and down to a low of 30% in the Upper School. Although this is certainly a typical trend, I believe it is one worth trying to reverse.

SUCCESS MINDSET We Play Moms (Publicschoolreview.com) outlines the mindset for success that is instilled in student athletes, which includes:   •  Time management skills   •  Creativity in finding ways to improve

  •  Internal skills for handling pressure   •  Taking responsibility for individual performance These skills go far beyond the sports field or even beyond high school. Student athletes reap the benefit of their training for the rest of their lives. While I am not suggesting that Viewpoint’s students should base their decision to play sports or not on how it may make them a better employee later on, it is true that good habits, especially when established early on, can make a huge impact in how young people react to different situations. Learned behaviors can include:   • Willingness to receive feedback and be vulnerable in order to change for the better of the team.   • The ability to take a loss and turn it into fuel to succeed.   • Emotional intelligence  – reading people, knowing how/when to give feedback or criticism.   •  Motivation to always be better.   • Adaptability. Going from winning to losing during a game . . . . what is the game plan? We have seconds to react. It’d be the same in the work place, whether it be new people, obstacles, or changes to a plan.   •  Preparation, preparation, preparation. “Based on work done in looking at extracurricular activities and elementary school students, it makes sense that sports could benefit students as they enter the work world,” says Elizabeth Covay Minor, researcher director at the Michigan Consortium for Educational Research at Michigan State University. “In elementary school, participation in sports is related to an increase in students’ social and behavioral skills/soft skills – things like task persistence, attentiveness, organization, and flexibility. These are skills that are valued by employers. Extracurricular activities resemble classroom settings in many ways such as learning to deal with successes and failures, independence, and role specificity. I believe I have listed several compelling reasons that should make parents and students better understand that the benefits of playing for your school considerably outweigh whatever obstacles which may exist, because getting involved in the school community, and taking pride in it have been meaningful to me my whole life. ■

Deja Bickers ’20




S P R I N G 2 017


athletics SOCCER GREAT

In 2014 Brad Friedel saves a penalty for Tottenham

Brad Friedel By Monica Case ’90, Associate Director of Communications

A Parent’s Role in Mentoring Successful Student Athletes


September, Brad Friedel, one of the greatest American soccer players and a Viewpoint parent, kicked off the 2016-17 VSSA Parent Education Speaker Series in the School’s Carlson Family Theater. Mr. Friedel’s career as a college athlete, a professional soccer player in both the United States and Europe, and a coach makes him uniquely qualified to speak on the topic, “A Parent’s Role in Mentoring Successful Student Athletes.”   Mr. Friedel began his soccer career at UCLA, and he was recently selected to the College Soccer Team of the Century. He represented the US Men’s Olympic Team in 1992 and the US Men’s National Soccer Team at the World Cup in 1994, 1998, and 2002. Professionally, he represented Columbus Crew in Major League Soccer, Galatasary in the Turkish League, and then joined Liverpool in the English Premier League in 1997. He went on to represent Blackburn Rovers, Aston Villa, and Tottenham Hotspur in the U.K. as well. Mr. Friedel retired in 2014, and he is currently a senior soccer analyst and commentator on FOX Sports, and is the Assistant Coach of the US Men’s U20 National Team. Mr. Friedel began his talk by sharing some of his biography with the audience. Before his international soccer career, he grew up in Cleveland, Ohio and had very American childhood playing hockey, basketball, and tennis, as well as soccer. Mr. Friedel credits his parents for being supportive, but allowing him to take the lead in pursuing athletics. They encouraged him to play multiple sports and he gained valuable skills and experience from each of them. For




this reason, he urged the parents in the audience to support their children in trying a variety of sports and to avoid the mindset that he or she is just a onesport athlete. Mr. Friedel offered a wealth of other valuable suggestions for parents of student athletes including:   • Parents should be careful of their behavior on the field and avoid being negative towards the coach, the referee, the players, or other parents. This behavior reflects badly on the parent and it embarrasses the child. In his experience, nothing meaningful is achieved through aggressive behavior and it could have negative implications for the child in the future.   • Don’t live vicariously through your child. Achievements and set backs belong to the child and his or her team.   • Less than 2% student athletes earn college scholarships and 0.6% will become professional athletes. With these statistics in mind, focus on the life lessons and the joy of playing the sport, rather than making the sport a career.   • Stay positive even when your child or the team is not playing well. Try saying, “Did you have fun?” “I can’t wait to watch you again.” “I enjoyed watching you and your teammates.” “What did you learn today? “Do you want to try something different in the next game?”   • No matter how the season is going, do not allow your child to quit. Always finish the season. Mr. Friedel believes this ability to commit no matter what sets the tone for life both on and off the field. ■ S P R I N G 2 017



community / expansion / opportunities


spoke with a few of these Gen-Nexters. Here’s what they had to say about their enduring connections to Viewpoint, and their reasons for choosing the “Viewpoint experience” for their own children. THE SCHROEDER-KNUDSENS

I caught up with Susan “Susie” Schroeder-Knudsen ’87 on a glorious southern California afternoon soaking up the sun with her “Dream Boy”– a German Riding Pony. When Susie is not out on the pasture or training with Dressage Olympian and Instructor, Jan Ebeling, you will find her hanging out with her daughter Chloe ’17 and her husband Alf – her favorite pastime. Susie, one of 14 members of Viewpoint’s graduating Class of 1987, shared sweet memories and reflections as her daughter is poised to soon graduate with the Class of 2017 – exactly 30 years later! Susie joined Viewpoint a year after Dr. Bob Dworkoski took the reins as Viewpoint’s new Head of School in 1986. “When I think back to those early days, I especially think about the people. Dr. Dworkoski inspired us all with his big dreams and high expectations for the students. He took Viewpoint to a whole different level.”

GENERATIONS By Jodi Schapiro, Chief Advancement Officer

Fifty-five years is relatively young in the life of a school. Less than 20 years ago, fewer than 700 students across all grades attended Viewpoint. Today, 1,215 students explore, create, innovate, and thrive on our campus each day. Despite our youth as a school, one thing is clear: Viewpoint's roots are strong. Now, we are beginning to see generations of Viewpoint students return to Viewpoint, not only as alumni eager to reconnect with past teachers and friends, but as parents of the new generation of Viewpoint students. Susan Schroeder-Knudsen ’87 and Chloe Knudsen’17




“I was very fortunate to take a class with Dr. William Levy in Early American Playwrights. Dr. Levy was an extraordinary man and an even more captivating teacher. I fondly remember Dr. Levy with his perfectly centered bow ties, spiffy saddle shoes, and a well-read book always in hand. He could tame a rowdy room full of students transporting us to a bygone era, as he shared his long friendship with Eleanor Roosevelt. A uniquely Viewpoint experience!” “I also remember fondly the librarian, Mrs. Knebel, and my English teacher, Paul Rosenbaum and his great sense of humor. Viewpoint has had and still has some of the most extraordinarily talented educators. This year, Chloe was lucky enough to have Mr. Asif Azhar as her Humanities instructor. Chloe raves about Mr. Azhar and whatever topic they’re studying. She looks forward to his class. Interestingly, Mr. Azhar’s first year at Viewpoint was 1987, my senior year. 30 Years of Incredible!” Q. What does the viewpoint community mean to your family?


“As a student, we had a very close class. I have stayed in touch with so many of my Viewpoint classmates over the years. The community was special then, and I wanted the same for

Left to right: Sarah ’24, Jack Leach ’18, Julie ’28, Tina, and Brian Wynn ’85

my daughter. When it was time to choose a Middle School for Chloe, I knew it was time to visit Viewpoint. We wanted a place for her that would prepare her to become a thoughtful and passionate adult. That would never let us down. Viewpoint has been all of that and more. Joining Viewpoint was like a homecoming for us when we needed it most.” “What I love about Viewpoint is simple, my daughter has a smile on her face when she leaves the house in the morning and is still smiling when she comes home in the afternoon. She’s happy, enjoying what she is doing and thriving in every way.” 

THE WYNNS The Wynn Family has a forty year history at Viewpoint School which began with a life-altering experience for Brian Wynn ’85, a then Fourth Grade camper in Viewpoint’s Summer Program. “My Viewpoint experience began with summer camp in 1976, and it was quite an awakening for me. Encountering all of the opportunity and encouragement was energizing, and it helped me realize that Viewpoint was the place I wanted to be.”


“Mary Carpenter [one of the founders of Viewpoint School] was the Head of Viewpoint’s Summer Camp at the time and was one of the reasons I pushed my parents to send me to Viewpoint. She was kind, but also had a way of teaching us that actions have consequences – a lesson that has stayed with me. She would later become my homeroom teacher. She had such a presence about her; she believed in us.” “Viewpoint’s High School was very small back then, so I left after Eight Grade for a high school with a stronger athletic program. However, the four plus years that I spent at Viewpoint were foundational for me. I left Viewpoint with a strong sense of purpose and a value set that has stayed with me to this day. I still value integrity, fairness, and a strong handshake, which are all qualities that I learned at Viewpoint.” “We rediscovered Viewpoint when we explored admission for our oldest child Jack ’18, then entering the Sixth Grade. The admissions team’s warmth and kindness during the process underscored what I have been telling Tina for many years–Viewpoint is a wonderfully unique place for kids to learn and thrive. When we chose to enroll Sara ’24 a year later, we decided to S P R I N G 2 017



Detterman has been devoted to supporting and strengthening Viewpoint for more than 40 years, serving in many different roles, as a President of the Viewpoint Educational Foundation, a Board Chair, trustee, and VSSA leader and volunteer. She always stressed the importance of an exceptional education in a community of shared values. There was never a doubt that Jill and I would seek a Viewpoint education for Will ’17 and later Alyssa ’19, despite our initial commute from Westlake Village,” shared Will Detterman ’85. Q. You mentioned that your children have very different and distinct interests – has Viewpoint been able to support their unique paths and passions? “Absolutely! In making the commitment to a Viewpoint education we wanted a place where our children would have exposure to diverse and abundant opportunities. My son is into technology –he likes to take things apart and rebuild them to make them even better. He is now thriving in the Robotics Program, formed a Drone Club, plays in Viewpoint’s Jazz Band, and is applying to colleges with elite engineering programs for the fall. My daughter is thriving in the arts program at Viewpoint, while at the same time exceling in academics. She is a talented athlete, and on the Cheer team. I credit the School with partnering with us to help discover and nurture these passions.”


Left to right: Alyssa ’19, Will ’17, Will ’85, and Jill Detterman

uproot our westside home and move to Hidden Hills. We knew it was important to be closer to the school and local community so we could make the type of contribution that we wanted to make.” A few years later, Jack and Sara were joined by their sister Julie ’28. Q. You’ve described your family as “all-in” at Viewpoint. What influences you to make such an enormous commitment to Viewpoint? “We have rich friendships at Viewpoint – close friendships that have become a part of our extended family. We want to do everything we can to help Viewpoint be a differentiator for our children. We also believe in the power of charity and philanthropy, and what better way to give back then by channeling our time and energy toward Viewpoint.”

Q. What are your hopes for your children? “We want our children to have that same sense of wonder, excitement, and confidence that I experienced years ago. Tina and I would like them to benefit from the talented Viewpoint faculty and staff in the same way that Mary Carpenter taught me to be kind yet determined. We are delighted to see this happening everyday with Jack, Sara, and Julie as their individual passions are celebrated and nurtured.”  

THE DETTERMANS “It was natural – we knew that Viewpoint would be the top, and only choice, for our children’s education. I wanted a similar experience for my children that I had during my formative years at Viewpoint. And, Viewpoint is in our blood. My mother Ginger

Q. What else have they gained from their Viewpoint education?

Annual Fund The Annual Fund is vital to funding the best educational experience possible for our Viewpoint students, ensuring the highest quality and broadest choice possible in both academics and enrichment programs including elective classes, the arts, and athletics. This year, the Annual Fund goal is $2.3 million and we appreciate all that our community is doing to support the efforts to raise these funds. February 14 marked the 100th day of School and inspired the We Love Viewpoint Challenge! This challenge encouraged all families in the Primary and Lower Schools to make their gift or pledge to the Annual Fund. Ten individual Classrooms reached 100%, as did the entire First Grade, and we are pleased to announce we achieved a record breaking 96% parent participation! The challenge is over, but there is still time to make a gift! 96% OF ALL PRIMARY AND LOWER SCHOOL PARENTS JOINED IN THE “WE LOVE VIEWPOINT” CHALLENGE.

Classes that hit 100%: Kindergarten: Vicki Schulhof and Samantha Flaum; Brooke Stevens and Lacey Thompson First Grade: Megan Cooper and Lauren Sun; Brittany Burch and Stephanie Rutel; Sue Ashen and Brenda Brandt Second Grade: Robin Meyers and Paula Brendle; Julie Robbins and Connie Foreman Third Grade: Kimberlee Brennan and Salah Farrag; Kelly Heimsath and Melissa Pennington

ANNUAL FUND 2016-17 COMMITTEE AF Co-Chairs Middle & Upper Jaelee & Frank Watanabe

AF Co-Chairs Primary & Lower Karen & Scott Faulhaber

AF Leadership Co-Chair Middle & Upper David ZeBrack

AF Leadership Co-Chair Primary & Lower Jon French

Parent Ambassador Inga Goodman

Primary & Lower Class Captains 2024 Juan Alva (Petty) 2024 Gigi Bishai (Harrington) 2024 Dick & Olga Robertson (Fox) 2025 Mike Murphy & Inely Cassia Cesna (Ende) 2025 Nonie Shore (Iacoi) 2025 Daryl Thrasher (Sun) 2026 Stephen Earley (Heimsath) 2026 Kerry & Linda Harrison & Michael & Judy Maddox (Watkins) 2026 Sean MacNeill (Brennan) 2027 Rubina Habis (Robbins) 2027 Inga Goodman (Meyers) 2027 Amy Sylla (Novick) 2028 Greg Friberg (Ashen) 2028 Sean & Tabitha Kane (Burch) 2028 Brian & Tina Wynn (Cooper) 2029 Sige Gutman (Stevens) 2029 Michael Hakim (Blevins) 2029 Jared & Jessie Wolfson (Schulhof)

Middle & Upper Class Captains 2017 Hemali Dave 2017 M.B. Gordy 2018 Chris & Amy Enuke 2018 Alison Lindgren 2018 David Hoberman 2019 Frank & Jaelee Watanabe 2020 Matthew & Lara Nesburn 2021 Sid Gunasekera 2022 Monica Case ’90 2022 Arthur Gomez 2022 Sheri Ready 2023 Jillion Weisberg 2023 Ross Landsbaum

Fourth Grade: Kate Iacoi and Christine Hardenberg

“The world has changed so much and the jobs available today simply did not exist when I was in school. Viewpoint has changed as well; there are many more opportunities on campus today for students to explore and to learn. Jill and I noticed that our kids are developing impressive critical thinking skills. Their ability to reason and make sound decisions is the only constant that will serve them well in our tech-fueled evolving economy.” Q. Your family has a long history here, what do you think is enduring about the Viewpoint community? “We feel that it is important to be a part of a community with shared experiences and values. It is refreshing to attend Viewpoint events and to talk to other parents who are as engaged and passionate about a Viewpoint education for their children as we are.”   ■ The Kindergarten Class




S P R I N G 2 017


direction FOR A LIFETIME

achievements / announcements / life changes

Ryan Goldstein’09 By Patrick Skahan, Director of Alumni Relations; Major Gifts Officer; Associate Head Football Coach


Alumni Profile



HEN RYAN GOLDSTEIN ’09 helped found Viewpoint’s Robotics team under physics teacher Lance Argano-Rush in his senior year of high school, he never imagined where his love of technology would take his career. During the past eight years he has worked with the Army and Air Force, helped guide satellites to space, and put cinematic flight recording into the hands of thousands of GoPro users. His success is rooted in a passion for robotics and the program he helped create at Viewpoint.

After his four years at Viewpoint, Ryan enrolled at USC based upon the excitement he felt at their Engineering Open House where he met the students and clubs and organizations that he would have access to throughout his college years. The huge variety of clubs included robotics, a rocket lab, fabrication, and other very well-funded facilities and programs. He found that preview day confirmed his desire to be more hands on and applied in his education and the USC was the perfect place to be involved. Initially, Ryan was interested in joining the Underwater Robotics team. At that time, however, the underwater team was a mature and popular program, and during the interview process, Ryan spoke with a group that was creating an Aerial Robotics team. He found himself attracted to the idea of becoming a founding member of the team, much like his experience at Viewpoint. Because of the relatively small group, Ryan found himself working alongside teammates of upperclassmen building drones in his first year at USC. Ryan immediately started manufacturing parts and prototypes with USC resources long before the traditional mechanical engineering program would have allowed. Ryan’s unique first year at USC led to an opportunity with a start-up company, Advanced Tactics, in his sophomore year. Advanced Tactics was a small aerial robotics company of only seven people whose mission was to solve the problem of rescuing injured soldiers in active, urban battlefields. The idea was to build a two-ton, SUV-sized, unmanned drone that could be flown into tighter spots than a helicopter could fly but also be driven like an SUV to quickly evacuate disabled troops. The company received government contracts from the Army and Air Force to develop the idea and to build a prototype. For the next three years Ryan worked as a Mechanical Design Engineer helping to build and test prototypes and scaled models. Unfortunately, during his senior year, the start-up folded which lead Ryan to quickly change his plan to join Advanced Tactics full time after graduation. Instead, he focused directly on completing his master’s program, and completed the two-year Master’s of Science in Engineering Management program in just one year. After finishing his degrees at USC, Ryan took a position with Boeing Corporation as a Structural Design Engineer working on their satellite systems program. Ryan remarked, “At Boeing I learned more about myself and what I wanted to do than at any other point in my career. I learned through experience that I did not want to be part of a huge company where




my focus was only on one small piece of the organization.” Ryan knew that he enjoyed aerial robotics, and fell back on his experience with the start-up to find what he truly enjoyed. He wanted to develop products that were going to be out in the world and used by regular people. During his ten months at Boeing, Ryan began building a drone that could be used to carry his Go-Pro camera. The aerial drone that could be folded up, thrown into a backpack, and taken anywhere. At crucial stages in developing the drone, Ryan returned to Viewpoint to speak with Mr. Argano-Rush to fabricate parts, simplify the design, and develop the process for building his prototype. After posting a video on his own YouTube page, Ryan received a LinkedIn notification from a recruiter at GoPro and took the chance to send a message about what he was developing. Although he was aware that GoPro was possibly looking into the idea of selling drones for its camera system, the company had years of experience in consumer electronics, but did not have the expertise in flight. Ryan found himself a new job on the leading edge of the GoPro Karma program. Initially, the drone engineering program at GoPro was completely stealth as the company looked to beat their competitors to market, but at the launch event in Lake Tahoe Ryan was finally able to see the drone that he began building with Mr. Argano-Rush in the hands of consumers who were testing its flight! When the drone hit retail stores, Ryan went to a Best Buy just to see it on the product shelf, which confirmed his passion for consumer electronics. “No college club or class can replicate the development of an actual product. Building one drone is a completely different set of problems than building one million, and it is important for students to understand the difference,” he shared. Through the development of GoPro Karma, Ryan has had the opportunity to travel to South Korea and China to see various stages of the drone’s development from plastic manufacturing and cutting to production. He passionately believes that students must push themselves out of their comfort zone in the classroom and to find ways to get hands-on, applicable experience. His advice to our students: “Begin by thinking about what it is you like and really want to do! In my case, I enjoy the bigger picture of product development, and I would not have known that without my experience with Advanced Tactics and even more so the difficulty I had at Boeing. The excitement of seeing a product I help create being successfully used by my own grandmother has me eager to continue to build a career in consumer electronics!”   ■ S P R I N G 2 017


direction FOR A LIFETIME

Anjali Tripathi ’05 2016-17 WHITE HOUSE FELLOW By Monica Case ’90, Associate Director of Communications


This was evident during her high school summers spent researching at Caltech and NASA; as an undergraduate at M.I.T. serving as President of the Society of Physics Students; as a Marshall Scholar at Cambridge University, and as a Harvard Ph.D. candidate and National Science Foundation Research Fellow doing outreach in the community to encourage scientific literacy. This drive is one of the reasons Anjali is now spending a year as one of the 16 highly accomplished professionals chosen to be 2016-17 White House Fellows.


Alumni Profile

The White House Fellows program is one of America’s most prestigious programs for leadership and public service. Past Fellows include former Secretary of State Colin Powell and acclaimed historian Doris Kearns Goodwin. Selected based on their professional achievement, leadership skills, and commitment to public service, White House Fellows spend their year serving at the highest levels of the Federal government. The diverse group that makes up this year’s class includes doctors, lawyers, educators, business executives, and military leaders. It is worth noting that since the program runs from August 2016 to August 2017, this class of Fellows will serve both President Obama and President Trump.

Anjali Tripathi’s 2015 TED talk entitled “Why Earth May Someday Look Like Mars” was featured on TED.com.




OR ASTRONOMER ANJALI TRIPATHI, Viewpoint’s Valedictorian for the Class of 2005, the pursuit of scientific knowledge is limitless, and her desire to share that knowledge drives her even further.

Anjali is the youngest Fellow in the group and its only scientist. Throughout her impressive career, she has acquired the skills and experiences needed to place her in this rarified company. As an astrophysicist at Harvard, she has worked to understand how planets form and evolve. Among her numerous accomplishments, Anjali has pioneered the characterization of planet forming environments and developed the first 3D simulations of planets evaporating due to extreme atmospheric heating. Anjali also

possesses the rare ability to communicate complex scientific concepts to a non-scientist audience. Her 2015 TED talk entitled “Why Earth May Someday Look like Mars” was recently the featured talk on TED.com. She has also been selected as a 2017 juror for the Tribeca Film Institute to recognize screenplays that dramatize science and technology themes. Within her community, Anjali has been an active volunteer and mentor, establishing Harvard Astronomy’s first mentoring program, adopted by universities nationwide. To increase scientific literacy, she has also partnered with the Smithsonian and Teach for America. In November 2016, Anjali was back on Viewpoint’s campus to visit several of her teachers and to talk with students about her path to the White House Fellowship. While some teachers remember her as a contestant on the television game show “Jeopardy”, where she appeared in 1999 during “Kids Week” and in 2008 for the “Kids Week Reunion,” earning a $25,000 first-place prize, students have gotten to know her for her science and communication work. When asked about it, Anjali says that it all began with her Eighth Grade Science Fair project. She recalled, “We were encouraged to reach out to professors at local universities, to ask questions, and to become independent thinkers. That whole process set me on the road to being a scientist.” Her science fair project mentor helped her land her first internship, at Caltech’s Seismology lab between Tenth and Eleventh grade, which led her to study earthquakes and, later, physics and astrophysics. Anjali reflected that “These interactive experiences at Viewpoint opened my eyes to the sciences and how they fit in with the rest of society. It’s such a supportive place – full of great people and opportunities – that I love to come back and visit.”   ■ S P R I N G 2 017


direction FOR A LIFETIME



Nader Banki became a father! Sofia Banki was born on July 15, 2016. She's all smiles like her mom and dad.

Matthew Matrisciano followed his passion and in July of 2016 opened MGM Law Firm LLC, an estate planning and probate/trust administration law firm based in Bend, OR. Matt is very excited to offer a holistic and personalized approach to estate planning, wealth planning, and legacy planning.


CLASS NOTES The notes below include those received between April 1, 2016 – January 30, 2017.

Neil Chatani is still living in New York, and, in April, he and his wife celebrated the birth of their first child, Leila.


Sean Kelishadi’s plastic surgery practice at SSK Plastic Surgery moved to Newport Beach in December 2016. The group received the prestigious MyFaceMyBody Award for Best Aesthetic Practice in the United States. In addition to the accolades in his business, Sean’s wife Sherry continues to work as a compounding pharmacist and their daughter, Nadia, who is now 2-1/2 years old surprises them daily with new joys.

Nina Harada Mascia married Jeremy Mascia in Sonoma on October 22, 2016. Fellow Viewpoint alumnae Zeahna Young ’02 and Giorgia Horrell ’02 served as bridesmaids. The newlyweds live in the Silverlake neighborhood in Los Angeles. Nina still works for Kaiser Permanente's Educational Theatre as an actor/health educator. Christopher Olin and his wife, Kristin, are expecting a baby boy on March 1, 2017! Chris recently left his full-time job last year to start his own financial advisory business, Alesia Investment Management. Chris writes, “Starting a new business has its challenges, but the response from clients has been incredible! We are still living in Pasadena, but will probably move closer to Palos Verdes after the baby is born to be near at least one set of grandparents.”

1996 Charles Green is enjoying his career reviewing theater in Annapolis for the dcmetrotheaterarts.com website. Charles writes, “It’s been wonderful seeing so many talented performances!”

1975 Steve Ballard still lives and practices law in Redding, CA, where he recently added Social Security law to his Workers’ Compensation practice. He enjoys all manner of outdoor activities, especially salmon and steelhead fishing in Northern California water.


Bride Nina Harada Mascia ’02 with bridesmaids Giorgia Horrell ’02 & Zeahna Young ’02

Melina Watts started Change the World Books, a new publishing house, last year through a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to print their first book Tree. The campaign was a success and the release date is April 22, 2017. Melina is enjoying the process of putting together events to promote the project. Her book has been supported by many prominent Californians including: Aaron Mair, President of the Sierra Club, Dr. Kevin Starr, California historian, and Andy Lipkis, founder of TreePeople.

1997 Nolan Reichl and Julia, his wife, are continuing their lives and legal careers in the Portland, Maine area. Julia is federal prosecutor who focuses on human trafficking crimes and general appellate work, and Nolan became a partner this year at his law firm, Pierce Atwood. In 2016, they welcomed their second son, Adrian, into the world. He is doing marvelously, as is their first son, Theo, who enjoys being a big brother. Nolan looks forward to attending our 20th reunion at Viewpoint this upcoming June to reconnect with old friends.

Melina adds, “My oldest son, Vincent Scott ’14, is a junior at Colorado University Boulder studying Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology. He is doing research in a lab on python DNA. My younger children, Lucilla Orton and Stephen Orton, are in Third Grade and Kindergarten, and their fondest wish is to adopt a puppy!”

Gwen Abrams and her husband Chris will be married five years this September! Gwen is becoming a world traveler having visited Paris, Italy, Cancun, and Spain on her anniversaries. In July 2016 Gwen celebrated ten years with The Venetian/The Palazzo. She has served as the Lead Administrator in Casino Administration for the past nine years, and in December 2017 she will have been living in Las Vegas 13 years.

1985 Krisztina Holly writes, “Following a decade as a serial tech entrepreneur in Boston and then founding an innovation center at MIT, I returned to LA and have loved being back home ever since! After six years as Vice Provost for Innovation at USC, and curating and hosting the first ever TEDx (TEDxUSC), I’m back to being an entrepreneur again, refocusing my passion for building startup communities in the manufacturing sphere. I recently launched a non-profit initiative for LA Mayor Eric Garcetti called MAKE IT IN LA, to inspire designers and entrepreneurs to launch and scale their products in Los Angeles. I also host ‘The Art of Manufacturing’ podcast, an inspiring behind-the-scenes look at entrepreneurs who make things. Please check it out and let me know what you think!”





Sofia Banki

Christian Paasch  married the infinitely-more-talented and increasinglybeautiful Kristen in 2015 and recently welcomed a baby boy, Brendan Robert Paasch, to the world. He joins big brother, Carsten, in the Paasch Family. Christian still works at the Pentagon, recently became a member of the Atlantic Council, and was also selected for Term Membership in the Council on Foreign Relations.

Jessica Lessing O’Leary ’03 with daughter Leila Sophia

2003 Jessica Lessing O’Leary and her husband, Jim, welcomed their daughter, Leila Sophia O’Leary, on July 20, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts. Leila is already a big Patriots fan!

S P R I N G 2 017


direction FOR A LIFETIME




Mishan Wroe left her job with Schiff Hardin LLP in March to join a new firm called Riley Safer Holmes & Cancila. Mishan is proud to be among the founding attorneys of this firm. “Most importantly,” she writes, “we welcomed our son, Asa Everett Wroe, in October 2016. His big sister Alma is very excited to have a baby in the house and we are very thankful to have a happy, healthy baby.”

Elizabeth Woolf’s first fully realized musical Dreams of 18, which she wrote, directed, and produced, made it’s professional debut at PianoFight theater in San Francisco last December. She is currently completing her final semester at UC Berkeley studying Music and Theater, preparing to release the cast recording of the show, and applying to various writing/directing opportunities across the country.



Daniel Agarwal is finishing his Ophthalmology residency this June from the University of Arizona. After graduation, Daniel will begin a medical retina fellowship at Cleveland Clinic's Cole Eye Institute in July.

Jonathan Hutnicki participated in the Air Force Field Training program, a one-month boot camp for officers. Jonathan writes, “The program is based in Alabama and Mississippi where humidity is around 99% every day. It was long, tiring, and hard, but in the end it was very fulfilling.” Jonathan has had time to travel, he visited the Dominican Republic last spring break and will be going to Cancun this year.

Sarah Spano married Phil Kropoth on June 18, 2016. Sarah and Phil met at NYU and have spent months exploring Italy throughout their relationship. Naturally, they threw an Italian-inspired wedding celebration for family and friends in the hills of Topanga Canyon. They honeymooned for three weeks in Sicily, where they both have roots. Phil works at Netflix and Sarah is a consultant at Environmental Science Associates, and a proud member of the Viewpoint Board of Trustees.

Rachel Marlin is in her second semester of nursing school at Emory University. She graduated from Oxford College of Emory University with an associate’s degree last spring. Rachel volunteers as a mentor for underserved high school students in the metro Atlanta area who are interested in the healthcare field. She is the treasurer of the nursing school's SGA. This summer, Rachel plans on completing a nursing externship at UCLA or working as a nurse tech at a local hospital.


Cheyenne Williams welcomed her beautiful daughter, Adrianna, into the world. Cheyenne continues to play college basketball on scholarship at Lindenwood University in Illinois, where she also serves as the campus leader of the school’s national honor society.

2015 Daniel Essayan highlights his experience at The Scripps Research Institute during the summer of 2016. He writes, “The goal of my biomedical research internship was to characterize and develop an inhibitor for a protein through a process called ‘Activity Based Protein Profiling,’ which uses fluorescent molecular probes to test for protein activity. We were successful in finding a compound that blocks activity and further studies are currently being conducted by my mentor and other members of the lab. In the future, we hope to fully characterize the protein of concern so that if it represents a target for disease, this inhibitor can be developed into a therapeutic. I’d like to give thanks to the Cravatt Laboratory at TSRI for this experience. In the coming weeks, I will be starting a new chapter in research, working in organic chemistry at Occidental, where I am a sophomore.”   ■

Kelly Adelman took on a new role at her company, Trailer Park, a theatrical marketing agency responsible for creating movie trailers and theatrical television campaigns. Kelly is now a Vice President and Creative Director in the Film Audio/Visual department.

2008 Cara Hodgson will be graduating as a Doctor in Dental Surgery from UCLA School of Dentistry in June. After four years in dental school exploring the different dental specialties, Cara has decided to follow her passion for working with children and adolescents, and will be attending a nationally renowned residency in orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics at Loma Linda University this June. Cara will also be getting married in June! Despite her daily work as a dentist, Cara continues to tutor Chinese and mentor students because she misses her students very much. In her spare time, Cara enjoys traveling with her family and scuba diving!

2010 George Tew is now a Digital Content & Marketing Manager at Legendary Entertainment in Burbank. Lucy Tew is a boarding school teacher and resident advisor. She is completing her teacher training at The MacDuffie School in Granby, Massachusetts.

Newlyweds Sarah Spano ’05 and Phil Kropoth

2011 Rachel Leib just moved back to Los Angeles, and recently completed an EMT training course at UCLA Center for Prehospital Care. She received certification from the National Registry and will be working with McCormick Ambulance Services, the emergency care provider for the Los Angeles area before starting medical school. In addition to this training, Rachel is pursuing a Master’s Degree in Medical Sciences before gaining the highly coveted M.D. title. Rachel looks forward to clinical patient care interactions as well as working in the emergency medical field.

2012 Michael Ormond graduated from the University of Chicago with honors in June 2016. After graduation, he moved to New York City and is currently working as an Investment Banking Analyst for Société Générale. He enjoys living in and exploring Manhattan. Cara Hodgson ’08




S P R I N G 2 017


END NOTE SATURDAY, MAY 6 The Globe Theatre ~ Universal Studios Hollywood


came to Viewpoint in Seventh Grade nervous and a little overwhelmed. I remember feeling restless the night before my first day. I sat on the edge of my brother’s bed, peppering him with questions about what he thought everyone would think of me. Would I make any friends? Would I fit in? They were questions that we have all wondered about at one point or another, since uncertainty over the idea of belonging is inherent in human nature. I did not have the answers though and that left me feeling unsure and vulnerable. Of course the next day was my brother’s first day of high school so he was a little preoccupied with his own questions yet, in a moment of empathy, I remember him reminding me to just be myself. One of the most overused clichés but one that needs to be said more often. A lot of people do not really understand what this saying means to them. I do not even know and I am already 17. I should know everything by now. Yet, in that moment, my brother’s remark provided me with just enough encouragement to where I could manage to fall asleep. In the morning I woke up to a host of new opportunities. I remember my first day as a sort

Live Music, Dancing, Entertainment, Sensational Auctions, & Cuisine by “Chef to the Stars” Wolfgang Puck of blur, an emotional rollercoaster that seemed to change course with my every encounter. At times I remember feeling as though the only thing I wanted to do was return to the protection of my home. Now, with only a year left at Viewpoint, I am struggling to find any of that feeling leftover. Although Viewpoint might not seem inherently remarkable, what else is the hallmark of an exceptional institution than one that encourages groups of extraordinary people to interact in a way that forces them to do nothing but achieve extraordinary things? If one doubts the validity of this assertion, I invite them to walk just one day in my shoes. They will see a place where students converse routinely with teachers. A place where a history teacher sacrifices lunches and hours after school to discuss how the social and political dilemmas of today stem from the historical events outlined in the curriculum. A place where students are compelled to remind a physics teacher that other activities populate their schedules as he gets lost in his passion for the material. A place where members of various cultural groups can feel represented by the wide array of student-run clubs.

A place where a play read in English becomes real life up on the second floor of the high school. A place where global issues become communal affairs through schoolwide donations. A place where a ceramics teacher takes her students on unofficial field trips so they can revel in the beauty of the arts. A place where the facilities staff polish the halls in the late hours of the night to ensure that the students can fully engage in their academic studies come next morning. All of this embodies what Viewpoint means to me. In a dynamic and unpredictable world, Viewpoint presents me with a place of calm familiarity. A sanctuary whose commitment to inclusion I believe in and can trust. Viewpoint did not make me into the person I am today, but it created the environment that facilitated the transformation. Although I might still be that nervous kid from five years ago, this place that I am preparing to leave has allowed me to flourish in ways that I never would have been able to without it. And, for that, I am forever lucky.   ■ Essay by Matheu Boucher ’18

Artwork by Myca Camacho ’18, “Nesting,” Advanced Sculpture




New This Year: Pre-Gala Online Auction!

Be a Benefit Gala Underwriter! www.viewpoint.org/Giving/Benefit or contact Candy Wallace at cwallace@viewpoint.org or 818-591-4470 Your support is greatly appreciated!

In addition to those sought-after Reserved Graduation Seats, VIP Parking, Teacher Experiences, and Student Art, you’ll find hundreds of other fabulous items to bid upon and buy – ONLY ONLINE Friday, April 21 at 8:00 p.m. to Wednesday, May 3 at 9:00 p.m. PST www.viewpoint.org/Auction Don’t miss what’s in store for you at the Gala on May 6 including our amazing Super Silent and Exciting Live Auctions Limited Seating: www.viewpoint.org/BenefitRSVP


23620 Mulholland Highway Calabasas, CA 91302-2060 CHANGE SERVICE REQUESTED

Is this your preferred address? If you did not receive this magazine at your current address (or parents of alumni, if your son or daughter no longer maintains a permanent residence at your home), please notify Director of Alumni Relations Patrick Skahan (patrick.skahan@viewpoint.org or 818-591-4430) to update our records. Thank you for helping us to keep our addresses current.

Primary School science teacher Christina Furio and Second Graders Miles Goodman, Genevieve Watson, Samson Harrington and Jaclyn Pomada examining an animal pelvis bone found in the ECOLET.

Profile for Viewpoint School

Viewpoint Magazine Spring 2017  

Viewpoint Magazine Spring 2017